Hot answers tagged

82

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 ...


76

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 ...


59

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 ...


52

In road racing there are lots of way to try and gain an advantage (or not to give others an advantage). Because this is a friendly race, I will break it down into friendly, indifferent and hostile tactics. Update 1: The OP updated their question to make it clear that they were a beginner and the other rider was a more experienced road rider. So I ...


49

To a racer, rolling resistance and handling top the list; durability is far down the list. The coefficient of rolling resistance (Crr) for a racing tire on typical French or Italian roads used during a Grand Tour is about .004, or even lower. The Crr of a puncture resistant tire can be > .01. Crr scales like gradient, so the difference between Crr's of .01 ...


48

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 ...


45

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 ...


43

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 ...


37

Unethical, because you're imposing costs on the organisers anyway. Apart from the obvious "if you get hurt they're going to help you", they almost always face costs per participant and often have a limit on numbers. Violate those limits and the organisers will have problems. You're also causing wear and tear on the track, equipment and marshals. You can't ...


36

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 ...


26

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

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 ...


21

Let the co-worker pass and then draft behind them. It becomes a game of chicken to see who goes first. This is partially why road racing at the professional level is usually done in teams. The team works together letting riders take a turn in the front so that the race moves at a reasonable pace. The other option is to just give a good effort on an uphill ...


20

Puncture resistant tires are heavier relative to non-puncture resistant tires. They also have sloppier handling/less control/higher rolling resistance, and are typically harder to change (though professional racers will usually wheel swap). And you have the question of rider preference -- you're going to set the type of tire + pressures and what not, the way ...


19

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 ...


19

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. They ...


19

The 6.8 kg limit is due to UCI regulation 1.3.019, which you can find here, and thus applies to all races sanctioned by the UCI. It was originally instituted in 2000 in order to ensure that manufacturers didn't produce racing bikes that risked structural integrity, to promote rider safety. At the time, with the then-current technology, that was considered a ...


17

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). Update: a relevant research finding here. You're right that the speeds are slower while climbing so the absolute benefit of drafting is ...


14

Last year I plotted average speed versus race distance and there's an incredibly accurate inverse relationship. http:///www.32sixteen.com/2011/07/25/correlation-does-not-equal-causality/ But to add to my chart and flesh out the reason I think it hasn't increased so greatly. The Tour is a stage race. The average speed we have presented is the average speed ...


14

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 ...


14

The only way to be sure is to measure. You can use an app such as Strava during the ride, then look at it's analysis later. It will show you how fast you were going at each point, and also gives an approximation of your power output. We don't know what algorithm or assumptions it uses to calculate the power, but since it uses just one algorithm you can ...


14

This is a special device that gathers the following data, according to this article: the stage winner’s top speed, average speed and time per kilometer the fastest riders up key climbs the speed of the winner at the finish line the top speed achieved by a rider on the day average speed across all riders


14

If you have set of identical riders, and one rider puts a slower tyre on, they will lose if no-one gets a puncture (let's simplify and assume a time trial so we can ignore effects of the peloton). Anti-puncture tyres are slower as seen in R. Chung's answer. Of course for a real race of merely very similar riders who may be having good or bad days, it's not ...


13

They are very similar but have to follow different certification rules. For example, under UCI regulations the saddle of a TT bike must be at least 5 cm behind a vertical line drawn through the bottom bracket (cf. Rules 1.3.011 to 1.3.025), there are constraints on the size, shape, and orientation of frame members, and so on. Triathlon bikes are certified ...


12

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 "Classics"...


12

I saw this question a couple of weeks ago and was interested in it, I have just got back from spending 2 nights at the Tour de France where I happened to stay in the same hotel as one of the teams. So I asked one of them. I'm afraid it has absolutely nothing to do with protection, or with ventilation. In fact you hit upon the disadvantage of a skinsuit in ...


12

Wheels and tires are the interface between the bike and the road; and are the parts that take the most stress (wear and tear) along with the bottom bracket. (IMO) lighter wheels will reduce the rotating mass (rotational inertia); you will need less energy to make the wheels accelerate/decelerate. higher quality bearings in the hub will reduce friction. ...


12

Treating "competitive cyclists" as this single unified group (with three subgrouping) belies some prejudices. Like all walks of life there are a diversity of people, all with different motivations, morals and life experiences. As such there is no single correct answer your various questions. For example: are people in pelotons generally friendly, ...


12

Yes it has in fact happened several times, the most recent ones being 2017 (Chris Froome), 2006 (Óscar Pereiro after Floyd Landis was disqualified) and 1990 (Greg LeMond). Before that, the TdF was also won without a stage victory in 1922, 1956, 1960 and 1966. (see here). For your second question, Wikipedia has a list for the Giro (1913, 1946, 1951, 1961-...


11

"Rolling attacks" are a series of sequential attacks on the peloton by typically a team or a group of riders acting as a team. R. Chung covered this nicely in the comment section, but I will expand a bit here. Typically you get two or three groups of riders together to orchestrate this (where a group may consist of one or more riders). The first group ...


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