Matej Mohorič won Saturday’s Milan-San Remo with a hair-raising descent off the Poggio that will live long in the memory. The Slovenian’s daring was aided by the use of a dropper post, making his victory in the Italian Monument even more remarkable.
“I've been thinking about this race all winter. The goal was to train very well in the winter on the mountains, so that I could come over the Poggio,” Mohorič said after his victory on the Via Roma. “Then I could show my descending abilities in the descent. The team had prepared a special bike for me for that.”
The ‘special bike’ included a Fox Transfer SL Performance Elite dropper post. It’s marketed for XC and gravel use although this may change given Mohorič’s heroics. The post lowers the seat by 50 or 70mm depending on the model and has a claimed weight of 327g and 338g respectively.
While we don’t know the exact weight of the stock Merida S-Flex carbon post normally featured on the Baharin team Sculturas, it’s fair to say that the use of the dropper is likely to have added at around 150 grams to the overall weight of Mohorič’s bike.
To use the post Mohorič had to forgo his favoured aero bike, a Merida Reacto, for the brand’s all-rounder, the Scultura. The Reacto requires a proprietary aero post, while the Scultura can run any 27.2mm post.
"My bike was specifically tuned for the descent of the Poggio,” the 27-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider said. “It gave me a lot more control when descending and I was able to correct more easily if I took a little too much risk.”
Mohorič certainly took plenty of risks as he pulled away from a chasing group that included pre-race favourites Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and fellow countryman Tadej Pogačar . On more than one occasion Mohoric had to correct his line, including bunny hopping from a gutter, as he pushed himself and his bike to the limits.
“I was amazed how much more control I had over the bike, how much safer I felt and how much easier I could correct my mistakes just by pushing a button”, he said during a post-race press conference. Mohorič had the lever which controls the dropper mounted on the right-hand drop of his handlebars.
While his use of a dropper post was only revealed to the masses post-race, Mohorič hadn’t been shy in sharing the gadget with his fellow competitors ahead of the 113th edition of the year’s first Monument.
“I drove past all the favourites, I came to show a little bit with my bike,” he said. “ I sang the James Bond tune, to make it exciting. I showed my dropper. They said, 'Matej, what are you doing?' I said: I tested this, it makes a big difference. Do not try to follow me on the descent of the Poggio, it is at your own risk.”
When the details of his dropper post became common knowledge many wondered about the legalities of using this tech in a WorldTour event. However, the UCI were quick to ensure that Mohorič had broken no rules. Its statement read:
‘The UCI Equipment Commission approved the use of dropper seatposts in road cycling competitions in 2014. Their use is subject to the minimum 5cm setback rule of article 1.3.013 of the UCI Regulations, i.e., when the dropper seatpost is set to its highest or lowest setting, the saddle setback must be in full compliance with article 1.3.013.’
It was clear that Mohorič and his team also knew the rules. The rider was renowned for his embracing of the super tuck position, which the UCI then outlawed due to safety concerns for the riders. It seems that his move to a dropper post was in some ways driven by a search for a legal descending position that could aid him in a similar fashion.
“Under the UCI rules, you can only use parts that are already on the market. We did,” said Mohorič “The dropper post makes descending much safer than the super tuck, I can say that. You have more control. And you drive faster with it. It's nice to be able to adjust your saddle position so easily. I think that is the future of cycling.”
Only time will tell whether this is the case. Back in 2016 Vincenzo Nibali, another rider regarded as one of cycling’s best descenders, trialled a FSA dropper with 20mm of adjustment during the Tour de France while riding for Astana. It didn’t catch on, with the additional weight a potential stumbling block. Fast forward to 2022 and Mohorič believes that with the creases ironed out, the dropper could be here to stay.
“Technology has now progressed and there is hardly any difference in weight with a regular, fixed seatpost,” Mohorič said after winning the 293-km race. “I can imagine that next year all bikes will be equipped with it. But now, for once, I had an advantage that the opposition hadn't thought of. This just had to work. With that I could write Milan-San Remo on my palmares, the race I have been working on for years to find the winning recipe.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for over twenty years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
Five talking points from stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia
Our highlights from a stage where the GC contenders rolled in eight minutes behind the day's winner
By Stephen Puddicombe • Published
Giro d'Italia 2022 standings: Results from the 105th edition after stage 15
The latest standings from the 105th edition of the Giro d'Italia
By Adam Becket • Published