A black swan for Damiano Cunego

March 4th, 2019

Words: Wolfgang Turainsky

What virtuous and poetic words could possibly do justice to Damiano Cunego?

Perhaps “baby-faced winner of the 2004 Girod’Italia,” Cunego triumphant after a fierce battle for the lead against the world’s best teams? Or maybe “divine hero of theMadonna de Ghisallo, the famous chapel museum that tops the legendary climb, which rises skyward from the shores of Lake Como in Il Lombardia, a race that he won three times. Or “a great and humble team leader,who lifted up his finale destination, the Italian-Japanese Nippo Pro-Continental outfit? Or, “larger than life” in Japan, where he acquired super star status due to his final team sponsors and maybe just a little because of his blond hair and blue eyes.

"It’s hard for us to say because we have seen so many positive sides of Damiano in the time we’ve worked together following his well-deserved retirement from pro cycling. "


That’s a decidedly easier question for us to answer. It is — to be precise —eight. For example, the length of his foot is 120 mm. Or his flexed trunk length measures 520 mm; his shoulder width is 380 mm. As his nickname, “Il Piccolo Principe” (the little prince), suggests, his physiology is one on the main reasons for his explosive climbing ability, having scored victory in mountain top finishes at both the Giro and the Vuelta a España, earning the white jersey at the Tour de France, and conquering the famous Cauberg in Valkenburg to win the 2008 edition of the Amstel Gold Race. And that’s where we start when constructing a bike. You may have already been wondering why we didn’t mention measurements like saddle height or top tube length. They are just results of our bike fit.

First step

First, we took Damiano’s eight key body measurements and entered them into our online configurator to establish a baseline for his anthropometric fit. We compared the results to his last pro race bike. Similar to nearly all pro riders, he “slammed” his handlebar stem flush with the frame. As our bikes are made-to-measure, our philosophy is to use the right stem length by placing a premium on fit without compromising riding and steering behavior. A bike with a Race profile and a very long stem may not steer as quickly and reactively as the Race profile that the spec sheet and bike description suggest. As a final result we went back to a 100 mm stem.

Second step

The second step was to perform a dynamic fit in order to fine-tune his position based on his anthropometric baseline. A dynamic fit puts bike geometry, pedaling and riding style into context with personal characteristics. Having finished his last race, the Japan Cup, on October 21, 2018, Damiano was fresh off of racing and still training hard post-retirement. His pedaling efficiency analysis revealed that his most efficient power output resulted from a bike a bit longer than our baseline calculation, but not as extreme as his last race bike. We credit this to the fact that he trained his body during his 16-year career to perform best in his position.

What would the result
look like?

What would the result look like? For starters, with a horizontal top tube of 536 mm in combination with a seat tube of 538 mm, the bike is longer than average. Let’s keep in mind that Damiano’s torso too, is longer than average. He was riding in a more horizontal position than average throughout many years, which is normal for a rider at the sport’s highest level. His reach is 395 mm combined with a stack of 519 mm.
It comes as no surprise that Damiano went for our Race riding style. This means that – at 410 mm – the chain stays are as short as possible, but just enough to accommodate disc brakes. The fork trail is fixed at 66 mm to guarantee crisp and reactive handlin. Fork trail is the biggest driver for our riding style. We adjusted the head tube angle to a tenth of a degree along with selecting one of two available fork rakes in order to achieve the desired fork trail.

"Enough said about our bike. Granted we are a bit biased because we are proud of our bikes; we are also cycling fans who are stoked to work together with Damiano. "