I haven’t heard anyone else comment on this, so by golly I will. What is up with some of these Pro Tour riders constantly ping-ponging themselves back and forth on the saddle during time trials? And I mean constantly. Alberto Contador is exhibit A: he works himself forward several centimeters over 5 or 6 pedals strokes and then hops to the back of the saddle again. This goes on every few seconds for the entire TT. It is painful for me to watch as a bike fitter.
Could it be that his saddle is so darn uncomfortable that he needs to do this to avoid pain or numbness? As I say in the video below, he (and others) looks possibly too low in the forward saddle position, yet this is probably the preferred spot for hip angle. Do these guys set their saddle heights to be “right” in the rearward or forward saddle position? They commonly look to be sliding 5-10 cm forward on the saddles, resulting in as much as an effectively 2cm lower saddle. In many cases they look low to me when forward. So maybe we have several conflicting forces: rearward position = proper saddle height and more comfortable, forward position = better hip angle but too low saddle and pain or numbness.
Seems like this could be solved with the right saddle and proper saddle positioning. An ISM Adamo for example would allow for a steeper effective seat angle and no perineal pain. The UCI says the saddle nose must be 5cm behind the bottom bracket (ridiculous!), but Adamo Race and Road saddles are missing 5cm of nose. For an average rider, a standard saddle set 5cm back might be at a 73 degree effective seat angle, but an Adamo set that way would be at 76.5 degrees thanks to the missing nose.
Maybe I have this all wrong. Could it be a secret technique for “tripping the flow” around the rider, making him more aero?? The equivalent of pounding him full of dimples with a ball-peen hammer (which would only be slightly less painful than it appears Contador’s saddle is)? Or maybe it is a method of putting more power to the pedals at the expense of any future offspring? Only Alberto knows…