Tadej Pogačar’s Tour de France 2024 Setup: The Benefits of a 55-Tooth Carbon Chainring and 165mm Cranks

Tadej Pogačar’s Tour de France 2024 Setup: The Benefits of a 55-Tooth Carbon Chainring and 165mm Cranks

Tadej Pogačar, the Slovenian cycling sensation and two-time Tour de France winner, is renowned for his relentless pursuit of marginal gains. In the 2024 Tour de France, Pogačar’s equipment choice highlights this focus on optimization. Notably, he is using a 55-tooth carbon chainring and 165mm cranks. These specific choices reflect a calculated approach to enhancing performance. Let’s delve into the benefits and marginal gains associated with this setup.

The 55-Tooth Carbon Chainring

A 55-tooth chainring is larger than the standard 53-tooth typically used by professional cyclists. Here are the key benefits of this upgrade:

  1. Increased Speed and Efficiency:

    • Higher Gear Ratio: A larger chainring allows for a higher gear ratio, enabling cyclists to maintain higher speeds, especially on flat terrain and downhill sections.
    • Optimized Power Output: With a larger chainring, Pogačar can convert more of his pedaling power into forward momentum, reducing the number of pedal strokes needed to cover the same distance.
  2. Aerodynamic Advantages:

    • Reduced Chain Angle: The larger chainring helps to reduce the angle of the chain, which can slightly improve aerodynamics by lowering the drag force acting on the bike.
  3. Material Benefits:

    • Carbon Construction: Carbon fiber is not only lighter but also stiffer than traditional materials, resulting in better power transfer and reduced flex during pedaling.

The 165mm Cranks

Switching to 165mm cranks from the more common 170mm or 175mm cranks offers several advantages, particularly in terms of biomechanics and power efficiency:

  1. Enhanced Cadence and Acceleration:

    • Higher Cadence: Shorter cranks allow for a higher pedaling cadence. This is beneficial for maintaining momentum and accelerating out of corners or during breakaways.
    • Smooth Pedal Stroke: Shorter cranks can lead to a smoother and more efficient pedal stroke, as they reduce the range of motion required by the rider's legs.
  2. Biomechanical Efficiency:

    • Reduced Knee Stress: Shorter crank arms can help reduce the amount of stress on the knees, making it easier for the rider to maintain a high power output over long stages without discomfort.
    • Improved Fit and Comfort: For riders with a shorter inseam, like Pogačar, shorter cranks can provide a better fit and enhance overall comfort, allowing for a more aero position.
  3. Marginal Gains in Weight and Control:

    • Weight Savings: Shorter cranks weigh less, contributing to the overall weight reduction of the bike. Every gram counts in professional cycling, and this marginal gain can have a significant impact over long races.
    • Better Bike Handling: Shorter cranks can improve bike handling, particularly when navigating tight turns or technical descents, allowing for more precise and controlled movements.

The Synergy of Both Upgrades

The combination of a 55-tooth carbon chainring and 165mm cranks represents a strategic approach to achieving marginal gains. While each upgrade provides individual benefits, together they create a synergistic effect that enhances overall performance:

  • Optimized Power and Speed: The higher gear ratio from the larger chainring complements the increased cadence from the shorter cranks, maximizing both power output and speed.
  • Improved Efficiency and Comfort: The reduced knee stress and smoother pedal stroke from the shorter cranks work in tandem with the enhanced power transfer and aerodynamic advantages of the carbon chainring.


Tadej Pogačar’s choice to use a 55-tooth carbon chainring and 165mm cranks in the 2024 Tour de France exemplifies his commitment to marginal gains and performance optimization. These equipment upgrades are not just about innovation but also about understanding and leveraging the biomechanics and physics of cycling to gain every possible advantage. As Pogačar competes in one of the most grueling cycling races in the world, these seemingly small changes could make a significant difference in his quest for victory.

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