The descent of the Poggio is often the decisive battleground of Milan-San Remo and Matej Mohorič launched a pre-planned attack there to win the opening Monument of the 2022 WorldTour season – using a dropper post.
The Slovenian descended the Poggio at breakneck speed to claim the biggest one-day victory of his career and revealed in the post-race interview that he used a dropper post on the daring drop into San Remo.
Mohorič typically rides Merida’s aero road bike, the Reacto, but switched to the Scultura all-rounder for Milan-San Remo. While the Reacto has an aero-shaped post, the Scultura has a round seatpost, allowing the team’s mechanics to swap in a dropper.
Mohorič‘s bike was fitted with a Fox Transfer SL dropper post, launched in June 2021 and claimed to weigh 327g. It’s described by Fox as the “lightest mainstream dropper post on the market”.
“I was thinking about this race for the whole winter,” said Mohorič, who won two stages of the Tour de France in 2021. “The team came up with the idea of using a dropper post because this race suits me pretty well and it has a descent at the end.
“I knew that if I could train properly and be in a good enough condition to not be dropped on the Poggio, that I have a chance of doing my best descent and risking a little bit but maybe being able to hang on for the win.”
Are dropper posts legal in UCI road races?
Following Mohorič victory at Milan-San Remo, the UCI has released the following statement confirming the legality of dropper posts:
“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.”
Article 1.3.013 in the UCI’s rulebook states:
“The peak of the saddle shall be a minimum of 5cm to the rear of a vertical plane passing through the bottom bracket spindle.”
Dropper posts are almost exclusively seen on mountain bikes and allow the rider to drop the saddle height at the flick of a switch, making it easier to lower the centre of gravity or shift position on steep or technical terrain, improving the ability to manoeuvre the bike.
Droppers are also gaining popularity on gravel bikes – not least those aimed at the more extreme end of gravel riding – but Mohorič’s application in Milan-San Remo is the first time we’ve seen a dropper used to such effect in the professional peloton.
The WorldTour bikes of Mohorič’s Bahrain-Victorious team are normally fitted with FSA/Vision finishing kit. However, while FSA offers the Flowtron AGX gravel dropper post, as well as the standard Flowtron for mountain biking, Mohorič’s opted to deviate beyond the team’s sponsor in choosing the Fox Transfer SL.
“Due to the UCI rules we had to use a dropper that was on the market and so went for a MTB model,” Mohorič, who crested the Poggio in a small group of fewer than 30 riders before attacking on the descent, told Cyclingnews.
Most dropper posts are offered in a range of lengths. Those with a shorter range of adjustment are better-suited to gravel or cross-country bikes, where the terrain is less demanding, but long-travel dropper posts can offer as much as 200mm of movement.
“We tested a 12cm dropper but that was too much and meant the pedalling wasn’t efficient anymore, so we opted for a 6cm device,” said Mohorič. “I had a grip shift on the bars and lowered and lifted it several times on the descent of the Poggio.
“People have long dismissed the idea of using dropper posts but the technology is more advanced now and they don’t weigh much more than a regular seatpost. Maybe next year all the bikes will be available with a dropper. It’s safe in traffic too and so in training. You can brake better. I think it’s a big advantage in racing too.”
We’ve previously seen dropper posts fitted on neutral service bikes at the Tour de France in 2017, with the theory being that a rider would be able to achieve a vaguely familiar position if forced to use one of Mavic’s machines in the event of a mechanical.
But Mohorič has undoubtedly ripped up pro road cycling’s tech rule book with his setup – and remarkable race-winning move – in San Remo.
With the UCI’s 2021 ban of the ‘super tuck’, popularised by Chris Froome at the 2016 Tour de France and with Mohorič among the riders also credited with establishing the now-illegal descending position, could the 27-year-old’s victory at Milan-San Remo pave the way for dropper posts to feature more regularly in events with potentially race-winning descents?