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Have a question for Lennard? Please email us to be included in Technical FAQ.Dear Lennard,
I was reading your recent Q&A regarding Speedplay cleats and cleat placement being moved farther back. In the article, you mention that moving the cleats farther back can potentially provide relief from “hot spots.” I saw a fitter last year who had adjusted the fore-aft of my road cleats to what they believed to be a neutral position and inserted a few shims to my left cleat to compensate for a leg length discrepancy. The shims solved one issue in my lower back and made another more noticeable. My left foot never experiences any numbness or tingling, but I frequently feel it in my big toe on the right foot.
You mentioned that some riders may experience this sensation by having too much weight placed on the front of their foot. In this case, would you recommend moving only the right cleat back further and leaving the left where it is with the shims in place, or is it best to move both cleats back slightly and also lower my saddle accordingly?— JustinDear Justin,
That stack of cleat shims alone could be a good solution to the leg-length discrepancy that your fitter has diagnosed for you, but it is cause for concern that new pains have appeared since then. I’m glad you’re investigating alternatives.
Moving the cleat further back will likely improve the foot numbness you are feeling, as long as you have a stiff (carbon) shoe sole. However, if you were to only move one cleat back and not the other, you would be throwing off that leg-length correction. I would recommend against doing that.
That said, there is a reason where one might wish to move one cleat back and not the other, and I have no way of knowing if it applies to you. Raising the cleat off of the shoe with a cleat shim (while keeping the fore-aft position of both cleats the same) is a good way to correct for a minor leg-length discrepancy that is isolated in the lower leg. However, if the leg-length discrepancy is in the upper leg, correcting with a cleat shim alone is ill-advised. Rather, the correction should consist of a combination of a thinner cleat shim combined with putting the long leg deeper into the pedal (i.e., moving the cleat back on just that one shoe). This is discussed eloquently by Andy Pruitt in his excellent book.
As with all adjustments meant to alleviate problems caused by leg-length discrepancies, the total amount of correction, whether with a cleat shim alone or with a cleat shim combined with fore-aft repositioning of a single cleat, should be less than the measured amount of leg-length discrepancy.
window.ia_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [[300, 50],[300, 250],[320, 50],[728, 90]], 'ad-ia-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_ia).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-ia-1'); });In your case, I have no way of knowing the amount of any leg-length discrepancy you might have and where that length discrepancy is located. My ability to make a recommendation is thus limited. If you have confidence in your fitter, going back to him or her for further adjustments might be the best course of action.
If you are going to move the cleats without further guidance from your fitter, I recommend that you initially move both cleats the same amount (and correct the seat height accordingly) unless you have a medical reason not to. And it would seem to make sense to move the shim stack along with its cleat and try that first. If you still have back pain resolved in one area but newly appearing in another, you might then remove a shim or two.― LennardDear Lennard,
Appreciate your column and common sense insight and advice on all things cycling. Regarding cleat position, I’m a size 46.5-47 shoe (6’2″ 190lbs) so I fit the profile you described, regarding someone who would benefit from a further rearward cleat position. While in triathlon I somehow got advice and ended up with my road cleats almost as far forward as possible, but as I’ve migrated toward dirt (MTB and gravel) the last few years, I’ve slowly moved those back on my MTB shoes and now my road shoes as well.
That said, I already have some toe overlap on my current road/gravel bike (3T Exploro in size large) and worry that experimenting with pushing cleats further back will cause the overlap to worsen. Is toe overlap a sign that the frame is too small? Or just something to ignore and not worry about, given that the only time you’re turning the bars (and front wheel) that far left or right is at a stoplight or when you’re barely moving?— Henry with Big FeetDear Henry with Big Feet,
While toe overlap can be indicative of a frame that is too small, this is not the case with small riders; the bike geometry must allow them to not only have the reach to the bars they desire (and the wheel size they desire), while also keeping the front tire away from their feet. With you at 6’2,” I suspect that your top tube length might indeed be short for you.
Toe overlap is caused by a combination of crank length, shoe size, cleat position, top tube length, tire diameter, head and seat angles, and fork offset (rake). If the other above variables are kept constant, toe overlap is reduced either by:
Decreasing crank length
Decreasing shoe size
More forward cleat positioning
Increasing the top-tube length
Decreasing the tire volume (or wheel size)
Decreasing the head-tube angle (i.e., making the angle of the head tube more shallow)
Increasing the seat-tube angle (i.e., making the seat tube steeper), or
Increasing the fork rake.
Without replacing your frame or fork, the only things you can realistically do are to decrease your tire and/or wheel size, decrease your crank length, or move your cleats further forward, none of which you probably want to do. You could get a fork with more rake, which would make the ride more compliant while making the steering quicker (decreased stability) and the wheelbase longer. Realistically, most carbon gravel road forks have 47mm of rake, so you’re not likely to make much of a change there.
As you have correctly identified, toe overlap is only a crash-causing issue at low speeds. Thus, it is an absolute no-no for a mountain bike on technical climbs, but it may be acceptable on a gravel road bike. If you find it to be a safety issue for you, you might want to look around for a different bike.― Lennard
Read the full article at Technical FAQ: More on cleat positioning and toe overlap on

PARIS (AFP) — Teenage Italian cyclist Samuele Manfredi has emerged from a coma more than a month after a serious crash in training, his team announced on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old, who rides for French outfit Groupama-FDJ, was rushed to a hospital with head injuries after being run over by a car in his hometown of Pietra Ligure in northwest Italy and placed in a medically-induced coma on December 10.
“The young Italian rider’s life is no longer in danger, but he is now entering a long process of rehabilitation,” his team said.
Manfredi finished in second place at last year’s Paris-Roubaix Juniors race and was European junior individual pursuit champion in August.

We have good news to share with you! Yesterday, Samuele Manfredi woke up from the induced coma he was kept in after his accident on December 10. He is no longer in a life-threatening condition and will now start a long recovery process.
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Read the full article at Top young Italian cyclist out of coma after crash on

Giro d’Italia fanatics have had it good this winter. Over the past few weeks, one GC star after another has announced plans to race the Italian grand tour in 2019. The start list is shaping up to be fantastic, with Tom Dumoulin, Simon Yates, and Vincenzo Nibali among the marquee names set to hunt the pink jersey this spring. Geraint Thomas may even join the fray, according to recent reports in Italian media.
Sounds great, right? Sure, if you’re okay with the sport’s biggest stars shying away from cycling’s biggest race.
Call me a curmudgeon: I’m not pleased with the Giro’s stellar field this year, because it weakens the field at the Tour de France. And with Chris Froome set to contend for his fifth maillot jaune, I want the Tour lineup to include the sport’s best GC riders, all on top form.
Froome’s decision to attempt the Giro-Tour double last year bummed me out because it meant we wouldn’t see cycling’s top stage racer at his best for the main event in the summer. I’ll be just as bummed to see Froome crush a weaker field this summer.
I love the Giro for numerous reasons. The race always delivers excitement, drama, and great scenery. For years now, people have been perfectly content to watch a field of mostly Italian and up-and-coming riders battle on gorgeous high-mountain passes in testing conditions. The formula works — I can’t remember a recent Giro that bored me.
I don’t need the Giro to have all of the top GC names in cycling on its start list to get me to tune in, so I can’t get behind the groundswell of riders flocking to the Italian grand tour. It is hard to see this as anything other than a decision by these riders to avoid taking on Froome and Co. in France.
This summer more than ever, I want to see the strongest field at the Tour. Froome is looking to join the special company of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain with a fifth Tour win this July. That’s an incredible feat, but it only means so much if half of Froome’s would-be challengers skip the showdown. He — and cycling fans too — deserve fierce competition at the Tour de France, which is why I’m hoping at least a few big names have a change of heart before they book their flights to Italy.
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Instead of taking on the challenge, Dumoulin is opting to target the Giro yet again. While he may ride the Tour as well, it won’t be a truly dedicated yellow jersey bid with the fatigue of a Giro run in his legs.
Dumoulin has pointed to the difference in the race routes as a determining factor in his decision. The upcoming Tour will be very light on individual time trial mileage, while the Giro will give the former ITT world champ three opportunities to put his talent on display.
I feel for Dumoulin, but it’s not like he wouldn’t have his chances at the Tour. The ASO is billing it as “the highest Tour in history,” with a collection of high-altitude climbs that will inject uncertainty into the race. As strong as Froome and Sky are, they aren’t immune to bad days, especially when the competition is there to push them to the limit. Should Froome suffer through a jour sans high in the Alps, even a power guy like Dumoulin could capitalize if he’s on a good day.
Plus, it’s not like the Giro’s route is overly friendly to the time trial specialists. The total TT distance sits under 60 kilometers. Is that really worth skipping a Tour battle the sport deserves?
And what about Yates? He is coming off a year in which he won the Vuelta a España and multiple Giro stages en route to the top spot in the WorldTour rankings. Now is just the time to see how far he can go in the biggest race on the calendar. Then there’s Primoz Roglic, who had a breakthrough 2018 too. Why aim for a Giro win when the Tour podium seems possible? Speaking of podiums, Miguel Ángel López finished in the top three in both the Giro and the Vuelta last year. He’ll be heading back to the Giro this spring; isn’t it about time he made his debut in the Tour de France?
And now even Geraint Thomas himself is reportedly considering a Giro run. We’re talking about the defending Tour champion here. Leave Egan Bernal to tear up the Giro. Aim for another yellow jersey, and may Sky’s best former Tour champ win.
I know that each of these riders faces a daunting challenge in prioritizing the Tour. For most, it’s the thought of going up against the indomitable Froome and his Sky train. For Thomas, perhaps, it’s the specter of intra-team strife. But how much is a grand tour title really worth when it’s won over a field of riders eschewing a bigger test?
Froome only went for the Giro victory last year after collecting four Tour titles — for him, the Giro-Tour double seemed a worthy challenge. For Dumoulin or Yates, on the other hand, focusing on the Giro this season is shying away from the worthy challenge of targeting the Tour.
Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, and Rigoberto Urán are at least set to try to take on Froome in France. They deserve credit for accepting the challenge. Hopefully, they will put up enough of a fight to make things interesting this July; we’ll see how that goes.
In the meantime, Mr. Dumoulin, Mr. Yates, and Mr Roglic: Please reconsider and join the battle for yellow this summer.
Read the full article at Commentary: Giro stars should race the Tour instead on

LONDON (AFP) — Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman is to face misconduct charges brought by Britain’s General Medical Council (GMC), it was announced on Monday.
An independent medical tribunal, which will start in Manchester on February 6, is to hear GMC claims that Freeman was involved in a cover-up after allegedly ordering large quantities of testosterone, a performance-enhancing drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to be delivered to the National Cycling Centre.
According to information published by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the GMC has alleged Freeman obtained 30 sachets of Testogel “to administer to an athlete to improve their athletic performance.”
The tribunal has the power to suspend or remove the ability of any doctor to work within the United Kingdom.
Freeman was also the doctor at the center of the so-called ‘Jiffy Bag’ scandal which saw Team Sky accused of a suspected anti-doping violation regarding a mystery package reportedly destined for star rider Bradley Wiggins in 2011.
However, a UK Anti-Doping investigation concluded without any charges having been brought.
Freeman has previously denied all doping charges against him.
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Team Sky’s future was thrown into doubt last month after British media company Sky announced it was ending a partnership that has delivered six Tour de France titles in the past seven years.
Wiggins, riding for Sky, became Britain’s first Tour de France champion in 2012.
His Sky teammate Chris Froome won four Tour de France titles and Geraint Thomas became the team’s third winner of cycling’s marquee event in 2018.
Read the full article at Former Team Sky doctor to face misconduct probe over doping claims on

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali is planning a 2020 project, with either his current team Bahrain-Merida or Trek-Segafredo, that will guide him through the end of his professional career.
The Italian grand tour star and winner of last year’s Milano-Sanremo is with his teammates this week in Spain for a training camp that will launch his 2019 season. The next years, however, are on his mind. A decision to stay with the Middle East team or move to the U.S. team backed by Italian coffee giant Segafredo is expected soon.
“We have two teams where talks are at a high level,” Nibali’s agent Johnny Carera told VeloNews. “We want a decision by the Giro d’Italia.”
Nibali is considering a switch to the U.S. squad after a serious push by general manager Luca Guercilena and Segafredo boss Massimo Zanetti. Already, the team courted him at the end of the 2016 season before he moved from Astana to help start Bahrain-Merida.
Now with Nibali’s three-year deal up for renewal, parties are talking. The 34-year-old Sicilian wants to plan the next two years of his career, which could be his last in the peloton.
He has won all three grand tours – the 2014 Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia in 2013 and 2016, and the 2010 Vuelta a España. He counts two victories in Il Lombardia and an amazing Milano-Sanremo solo win last spring. He wants to continue through the 2020 Olympics and world championships and the 2021 season at a high level.
News from the Nibali camp is that “Trek-Segafredo made a good offer” to get Nibali in its roster for 2020 and 2021 and as an ambassador with Trek bicycles and Segafredo after retirement. Currently, the team is starting the 2019 season at the Santos Tour Down Under with new Australian hire Richie Porte.
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“However, we also have to consider the positive things in the team that we have now. We have to look at it calmly and decide by May.”
Nibali helped get Bahrain-Merida off the ground after a chance ride with Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa on his Bahrain island in the Persian Gulf. The prince and several major Bahraini companies back the WorldTour team. This season, British motorsport giant McLaren joined as a 50 percent partner.
That deal delayed Nibali’s contract renewal talks.
Last week, Nibali and Carera met with Bahrain-Merida general manager Brent Copeland and managing director Milan Erzen. Copeland is currently talking to Prince Nasser and McLaren about Nibali’s request for a two-year deal through 2021.
“We haven’t discussed an ambassador or post-retirement deal in detail,” Copeland said. “I know Trek-Segafredo is offering it. They can gain from it, they are a bike brand, and Segafredo is Italian.
“I don’t see how a team that is sponsored by a consortium of sponsors in a country like Bahrain is going to benefit from that. Maybe if Merida bikes wants to do something similar like what they did with Joaquím Rodríguez. At the moment, I don’t see that happening.”
Nibali is due to speak with the team by the end of January and meet to discuss a new contract in the first weeks of February. His 2019 season starts in Spain, where he will race the Volta a Valenciana starting Feb. 6. He is targeting the Giro and Tour this year.
Read the full article at Nibali 2020: Bahrain-Merida or Trek-Segafredo? on

ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — Peter Sagan’s won just about everything he can win in his career. More than 100 pro victories, among them three world titles, six Tour de France green jerseys, two monuments and counting. There’s one thing missing: racing the Giro d’Italia.
Sagan vows to race the Italian grand tour some day, but admits it’s a big challenge to squeeze the Giro into his schedule.
“I want to race the Giro some day,” Sagan said. “Right now it’s not so easy.”
Since his WorldTour debut in 2010, Sagan has raced in 11 grand tours. That breaks down to seven Tours de France and four editions of the Vuelta a España, winning stages in both.
Sagan and his desire to race the Giro simply doesn’t square with his calendar.
“Right now it’s difficult for me to think about the Giro,” Sagan during a public event at the Santos Tour Down Under. “To train and prepare for the classics and then to try to hold that form until the Giro and then race the Tour, well, that would be a killing program.”
Right now, Sagan’s seasonal approach is pretty much set in stone. There are tweaks along the way — like this year’s possible run at Liège-Bastogne-Liège — but his calendar highlights are not going to change any time soon.
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Since his Tour debut in 2012, Sagan has largely followed the same schedule.
Some early season racing leads up to the spring classics. Then there’s a short break, with racing at California and the Tour de Suisse, all before a run at the Tour. The Vuelta isn’t always in the cards, and the world championships bookend Sagan’s season.
To race the Giro, Sagan would have to alter his calendar quite substantially. He’d have to skip California and the Swiss tours and perhaps cut short his classics campaign in order to hit the Giro in top form.
Of course, Sagan could start the Giro without the intention of finishing, race a week or two to try to win a stage and abandon early to leave him plenty of time to recover for the Tour. That isn’t Sagan’s style, who likes to race to the end of any grand tour. And if he does only race the Giro once or twice in his career, he would like to finish the race as well as try to win the points classification.
Another twist is Sagan’s close relationship with Specialized. The bike company has invested heavily in the Slovakian and likes to bring its star rider to the Amgen Tour of California each May, exactly when the Giro is unfolding in Italy.
“There are many big races I want to win. Another world title would be OK,” he said with a laugh. “Before I am finished, I want to race the Giro at least once.”
When could that be? Sagan hinted it could be as soon as next year. First he’d want to win a seventh green jersey.
Read the full article at Giro not on Sagan’s radar — yet on

After an afternoon of languid racing in the brutal Australian heat, Elia Viviani fired up the sprint that won him 18 races last season to claim the season opener Tuesday in Adelaide, Australia. Sunweb’s Max Walscheid came home second to Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Italian sprinter in stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Jakub Mareczko (CCC) was third in the sprint.
“We were not in super-good position, but I was feeling good and comfortable in that position,” Viviani said. “I found a little space on the left of the barriers when I passed that space I was really feeling that I could win.”
Four riders decided to brave the 110-degree heat at the start of the 129km stage, breaking away immediately.
Astana’s Artyom Zakharov was first to fade out of the breakaway after he was defeated to the day’s lone king of the mountains sprint by UniSA’s Jason Lea.
Lea remained off the front with fellow Aussie Patrick Bevin (CCC) and Michael Storer (Sunweb).
However, the sprinters’ teams were keen to set up a bunch gallop at the end, and they were perhaps aided by the brutal heat.
After the bunch caught the break with about 32 kilometers remaining, the riders seemed content to roll into the finale without any more fireworks.
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The Dutch team in yellow was taken by surprise as Walscheid jumped early and momentarily looked to have the stage in the bag.
About 10 riders back in the sprint, Viviani had other ideas. He came off of Peter Sagan’s (Bora-Hansgrohe) wheel late and squeezed up the left barriers, fitting in an unbelievably small gap next to Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida).
“Today the plan was to wait a little bit and put me in the best position,” Viviani said, and it seems like that’s just what his Belgian team managed to do.
The Italian champion hopped on Walscheid’s wheel for a moment and then sped past, winning the opening stage and taking the race’s first leader’s jersey.
Stage 2 will be a bit hillier, taking the race from Norwood to Angaston on a 122.1km route, about 30km shorter than originally planned due to the heat.
Read the full article at Tour Down Under stage 1: Viviani victorious in scorching sprint on