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52

The simplest answer to your question is that 1) speeds have increased; but 2) speeds would have increased even more except Tour organizers have been consciously making the Tour harder in order to increase the drama, suspense, and entertainment value of the race. That makes comparisons of overall winner's speed quite complex when combined with normal ...


50

I have raced Cat 1/2 for a number of years (elite road cycling) and I can unequivocally say the many here have no clue what they are talking about. On a climb "getting on the wheel" is rarely about slipstreaming (unless there is a severe headwind), instead its about positioning, pacing and psychology. Position and Pacing Rides who attack or lead out the ...


37

There are a few "pseudo-facts" I think might be at play in this graphic: You mentioned 10% of increase, say from 35km/h to 40km/h average speed. That is a VERY significant increase. Anyone well trained can sustain 35km/h average for some time even in a mountain bike, but FORTY km/h is MUCH HARDER to sustain, and that's because aerodynamic drag is ...


28

There are 2 good reasons for this. First, a TT bike is the most efficient machine for flat, fast course racing, where there are a minimum of hills. It is not the most efficient machine when it comes to climbing. The body position is far too aggressive for even professional athletes to use in a non-TT style event. A bike with more a more upright body ...


26

Bicycle racing is both about taking whatever small advantages you can, and putting your opponents in as disadvantageous a situation as possible. It's easy to understand this when there is a headwind; in that case, you get the most protection when you are drafting someone else. However, when there is a crosswind, the favored position isn't exactly behind the ...


22

They don't start slow because they are on a fixed gear (track) bike. They start slow because they are trying to coax the other rider into starting the sprint for the finish line before they do. The advantage is typically given to the rider behind the other because you have not only the element of surprise, but you also get a draft off the person in front. ...


21

Tradition, and the layout of the final stage. Tradition holds that the last stage is a victory parade for the GC contender, and the yellow jersey. Cadel Evans rode a good part of the 2011 final stage, once in Paris, with champagne in hand. In addition, the layout of the stage, a 95 km flat ride finishing with multiple laps around the Champs Elysees, and ...


19

As has been mentioned, the actual categories are fairly subjective. Things such as the fame of a climb as well as how the organizers feel about giving out King of the Mountain points on a given stage will affect rankings. That said, there are some general rules of thumb if you want to get an idea of how your local climb rates up to a given ranked climb in ...


18

As noted above, part of the ranking of a climb depends on its placement within a stage: usually, the ending climb of a stage gets "bumped up" by a category. You can see that in the plots below, which show climbs as categorized by the organizers of the Tour de France itself for the 2012, 2007, 2005, and 2004 editions of the Tour, and plotted by the length of ...


17

The Tour de France is primarily an endurance event, where team strategy is more important than outright speed. In addition there are UCI rules for racing bicycles. This includes a 6.8kg weight restriction that has been in place since 2000. If you want to compare outright speeds it would be more interesting to look at how the average speed of the time ...


16

I am not a bike expert, but a computer programmer. The problem with this question is that there is no control to compare it to. Each year the TDF changes. They visit different parts of Europe, yes it is not 100% in France. This means you can't compare times between years. Weather (not climate) is a concern. The temperature, wind and humidity will impact ...


15

The focus is on the riders, because the bikes are just not so different from one another. The UCI (international cyclists' union) tightly regulates what shape and weight the bike must be, and what technical solutions are acceptable, so the sponsoring manufacturers can only compete on relatively minor features such as aerodynamic tubing or frame stiffness. ...


15

Not a stupid question. The simple answer is that they are throwing every ounce of leverage, weight, and power into the pedals and that much movement side to side is the visible result of trying that hard to move forward. If you could stay absolutely still, and input the same amount of force to the pedal, then more of that energy would go to moving forward, ...


14

Look at any high end bike and you will find hydraulic disc brakes. There will be people who argue the pros/cons of hydraulic vs mechanical disc brakes but it's hard to deny what the entire industry is putting on their most expensive rigs. For ease of stoppage, minimal brake fade and ease of modulation - the hydraulic disc brake wins hands down. You can ...


13

What really struck me though was that the average speeds really haven't changed much The chart ranges from about 25km/h to over 40km/h, and that is a big change. As others have mentioned, increasing your average speed requires a non-linear increase in power applied to the pedals. In other words, to increase average speed from 25km/h to 26km/h is easier ...


13

The main reason is because they are not legal. UCI rules states that (Technical regulations for bicycles, a practical guide to implementation, comments on article 1.3.022): Only the traditional type of handlebars is authorised for use in massed-start road races [...]. The attachment of any additional handlebar component or extension is prohibited. ...


13

The physics of the answer are actually pretty well known, and it doesn't require any psychological explanation (there are psychological reasons but the physical reasons suffice; the psychological reasons are in addition). You're right that the speeds are slower while climbing so the absolute benefit of drafting is less. However, gaps are always a problem ...


12

While pro riders often change gearing or whole bikes depending on the nature of the race or the stage, you do sometimes see compact cranksets, particularly among domestiques in mountain stages or races. A big-name example is Tyler Hamilton in the 2003 Tour De France. After crashing and breaking his collarbone before the huge mountain stages he was unable ...


12

Contact a local club. Most have regular training outings (weekends, evenings), you'll meet other racers who'll willingly teach you the tricks of the trades, the local routes and just the espirit de corps which makes competing all the better. (As well as recommending the best local events.) Everyone was a beginner once, although not everyone remembers ...


12

They quite simply must sway the bike back and forth because of the mechanical reality of the situation. It's not even really a conscious act — if the rider didn't do this, the bike would fall out from under them. These riders are applying extreme power to each pedal. Since the pedals are not centered laterally, applying a large force to the right pedal (for ...


12

If you are not familiar with road cycling it may seem like simply a feat of strength/endurance, but there are also a number of skills required. Skill: Group Riding Riding in a peloton at speed around corners is difficult. Often you can be at 65km/hr with 100+ other cyclists around you with only inches to spare while entering a series of corners. In this ...


11

Not a big fan of this type of answer, but wikipedia has a pretty good definition of it. The races are usually 90-140 kilometers in total length. While some are longer or shorter, most are about 120 kilometers. The race is comprised of a set distance and number of laps over the established course[2]. There are typically 10 to 20 laps, of ...


11

Speed is very difficult to use as a measure due to the fact that the measurements have to occur in an uncontrolled environment. Power, on the other hand is great because it's unaffected by the environment - it's a pure measure of what you're capable of doing at that moment on the bike. A lot of power data has been collected by awesome folks like Andy Coggan ...


11

Much of this is due to UCI regulations. They specify what shape and size of frame can be used. It is not allowed to add extra parts just for improving aerodynamics. See the UCI document Technical Regulations For Bicycles - A Practical Guide To Implementation (PDF) which covers most of this. As it says for Article 1.3.020, the frame elements must be ...


10

I think it depends both on the rider (as @moz pointed out) and on the bike. And of course, you should have a clean road also. If you have a high end road bike in good shape, you can get to very high speeds if you've got the skills and the clear road ahead. In Tour de France downhill sections, they can go at speeds as high as 65 mph / 110 Km/h, even losing ...


10

I think that the answer to this question is not "how fast can you safely go?", but rather to look at the inverse, "how fast do you need to safely stop?". If you are on a long road with no side roads, and no chance of animals, dirt, gravel, stopped cars, braking cars, etc, then your maximum speed is very much a personal decision. As others in this question ...


10

In the world of professional cycling, the 'Monument' races are five of the oldest and widely considered most prestigious one-day races held each year. They are: Milan – San Remo (Italy) Tour of Flanders (Belgium) Paris–Roubaix (France) Liège–Bastogne–Liège (Belgium) Giro di Lombardia (Italy) More information can be found on each race, and the ...


10

To an extent, yes it does have negative connotations. The word was first used in cycling as an insult for Maurice Brocco, known as Coco,[4] in 1911. Brocco started six Tours de France between 1908 and 1914, finished none of them, although a stage he won in 1911 caused the coining of domestique. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestique In road ...


9

There is a part on the hub of the wheel called the Freehub. This is a ratchet mechanism which allows your bike to freewheel, or move forward, even when you are not pedaling. This is different from Fixed gear bikes, which have no freewheel mechanism, and will force your pedals around, as long as the wheels are moving. The noise you are hearing is the pawls, ...



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