Milan-San Remo isn’t usually known for technological innovation, but this year’s edition was no ordinary start to the season of the classics. With all the pre-race attention focused on Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and a host of non-rookies, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) had different ideas.
Speaking at the post-race press conference right after his first win at Monument, the other world-beating Slovenian explained how he has prepared throughout the winter with San Remo in mind, including working with the team to add a dropper post to the Merida Scultura.
“I’ve been thinking about this race all winter,” Mohoric said after the race. “The team came up with the idea of using a dropper shaft because this race suits me well and has a descent at the end.”
Mohorič’s decision not to ride the aircraft-focused Reacto from Merida initially seemed at least a bit surprising, but the aircraft’s described seat post would have made using the dropper post impossible. The Scultura, on the other hand, features a round seat and suddenly it makes more sense because Mohori was quick to explain his decision to race with a dropper.
“The team set up a bike for me. We’ve had this plan for a very long time now,” Mohoric said. “I was thinking at first that maybe it wouldn’t make much of a difference getting off, but then I tried it in training and the first time I tried it, I was amazed at the The safest amount of safety [it is]. If you’re going normally it gives you more control of the bike, and if you’re on full fuel then of course you can go a little bit faster. It’s easier to avoid mistakes or correct them when they happen.”
Mohori’s descending skills are well known, and Poggio’s descent gave him a great opportunity at the classic season opener. While crowning on Poggio behind the leading group, Mohori quickly caught up and overtakes his pre-race favorite, somehow escaping the roadside drain almost certain, and was on his way to victory.
Why turn on the dropper function?
With the option to drop his saddle, Mohori could lower his center of gravity, get more air and, in some ways, circumvent a UCI ban on super tuck. In fact, when the super folds were banned, many, including Nerd Alert Podcast geeks, speculated whether this might signal the start of dropper flyers in road racing. Apparently, that beginning has now come.
UCI rules forbid a rider from sitting on the top tube, but don’t (for now) forbid a rider to drop the saddle down into the top tube.
Mountain bikers have known for years that getting the saddle out of the way improves descent control. It allows the bike to bend farther and allows more freedom of movement of the body over the bike. This can make salvaging near-misses a little easier as well, something Muhuric experienced several times on his way to Poggio.
This wasn’t the first time Mohori had broken out of a falling box to do well. Some credit him with inventing (or at least popularizing) the super tuck when he used the post to break away from the cargo field in the Under-23 World Championships race in 2013.