Race Speeds

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Race Speeds

Postby Retro man » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:25 am

Why don't race commentators give us more information on the speeds the riders are doing during the race. It would have been interesting to know how fast Tom Boonen was riding to stay in front of the bunch during his solo breakaway. It would be good if they had a little graphic on the top of the screen showing the relevant speed of the riders. I bet I am not the only one who would like to see this info. Is there a reason they are not shown or talked about?
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by BNA » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:09 am

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Re: Race Speeds

Postby iaintas » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:09 am

I imagine it has something to do with the television rights that the UCI currently have, the teams getting no money back from television rights so therefore why should they provide riders stats such as speed and cadence and power data, i know that the SRM website often has the data available on some riders in the TDF. It's a pitty because power data and even onboard camera's could be used to great effect for television broadcasts, but until the UCI start providing some money for the teams none of this will happen IMHO.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby rogan » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:39 am

For the top riders, power output, heart rate zones and certain other data are closely guarded secrets. It has been suggested that even the weight figures you see for top climbers and Grand Tour GC contenders are works of fiction.

However speed can be worked out very easily. Put a motorbike 10 m behind the rider/breakaway and get an output of the motorbike speed. The bike is already there - it's the camera bike. I don't know why the TV doesn't do this - except that it could possibly assist the chasing teams (who will have someone watching the broadcast). There may be some convention or rule that the broadcaster does not show the breakaway's speed.

Average speed is very easy to work out - from the distance to go displayed on the TV screen. Eg. for the Boonenator, you could see how long it took him to get from 50 km to go to 40 km to go (or any other segment), from which the speed calculation is very easy.
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Race Speeds

Postby jamesn184 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:23 pm

I was watching the coverage and one of them made a comment that the pack chasing Tom Boonen was going at the same speed..
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby simonr23 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:30 pm

I've been watching the British coverage of tdf 2011 and it would have been excellent to have live speed,etc displayed. They did mention occasionally the likely speeds, and also showed the camera bike speedo a few times. It's very impressive the speeds those top riders can maintain up,down and on the flat.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby Nikolai » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:48 pm

Showing speed can't be done as easily as it may appear. If it's motorbike's speed, they move up and down all the time, they rarely stay put for long. It will be 90k/h one minute, 40 the next. If you measure a rider's speed, which one do you pick? How do you know what he's going to do in the race? Or even finish the race? Perhaps they could track 5-7 riders and display their speeds at the bottom of the screen... Tracking is already happening anyway, they all have transponders with live data feed, you just need to capture it and pass it on somewhere where it can be displayed. This, btw, was done at the 1st edition of the Tweed tour in 2009, people were able to see live data feed on the net from the transponders (or so I was told).
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby Nikolai » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:02 pm

iaintas wrote:I imagine it has something to do with the television rights that the UCI currently have


UCI doesn't have much TV rights (thankfully). In road racing, they own TV rights for WC and races they have created recently such as Tour of Beijing.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby Retro man » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:24 am

Ok
So what would be your guess as to how fast he was going to stay in front.
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Race Speeds

Postby scotto » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:39 am

A BMC rider puts his races on Strava
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby Nikolai » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:23 am

Retro man wrote:Ok
So what would be your guess as to how fast he was going to stay in front.


It depends where. There are a couple of false flats just before Roubaix but there were also places with tailwind where he was flying. They showed a couple of times what gear he was on (53x15-14) and judging by the cadence he was around 45 km/h (at that point). It may not sound like much but this is at the end of Paris-Roubaix after all. of course, according to Paul, he was probably doing 70 on asphalt and 65 on the cobbles. And every time there's a descent, they're doing 110.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby vander » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:32 am

45km/h by yourself in a not at all aero position for 55km is a lot. He wouldnt go too bad in a world champs time trial with that and he is yet to jump on a TT bike with the aero savings he would probably be looking at around 49km/h something a normal Boonen couldnt do..........Just throwing it out there Omega pharmas doctor is now linked to the Mantova doping scandal. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/omega-p ... va-hearing

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Re: Race Speeds

Postby rogan » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:48 pm

vander wrote:45km/h by yourself in a not at all aero position for 55km is a lot. He wouldnt go too bad in a world champs time trial with that and he is yet to jump on a TT bike with the aero savings he would probably be looking at around 49km/h something a normal Boonen couldnt do.


I don't agree vander. Just about any pro could do exactly that. I have a good mate in the UK who is plainly and avowedly an amateur who did 3.5 hours for a 100 mile (161 km) time trial last year. That's an average of 46 km/h, and he freely admits any common or garden pro would do much much better. Boonen is MUCH better than your average pro...

Paris Roubaix only ascends 1600 m over the course of its ~260 km. I do more vertical in a 100 km ride around Sydney. Unlike the TTs in the grand tours these days, it's almost pancake flat. There are two tricks to it:

1. If you want to do a long break off the front a la Boonen (or Cancellara in past years) you need to get to the ~180 km mark without having crashed and feeling fresh. Rupert Guinness had an article in the SMH on this a few weekends ago - analysing Gerrans' win in the MSR, he noted that he went anaerobic only once in the first 140 km, but hit over 1000W 7 times in the last 20 minutes. The modern pro teams PROTECT their star riders and they do it VERY well. Getting back to Paris-Roubaix - Boonen had obviously had a relatively calm ride for the first half of the race. But he had another advantage, which is point 2...

2. The cobbles. It takes courage and tremendous bike handling skills to get to the cobbles at high speed and hold it. There are others who can do it - Cancellara, obviously, is one. When Boonen last won the race in '09 he was off the front with a group of 5 or 6. They were quality riders too - Hushovd, Van Sommeren, Flecha, Pozzato and Hoste. He simply rode them all off his wheel, by keeping a good speed into the cobbled sections - a speed which he had the skill level to handle, but the others did not. There were crashes all around him.

On Sunday, his own teammate (Terpstra) disappeared - I suggest Tom was just going faster on the cobbles than Terpstra dared to risk. Boonen is simply the best rider of rough cobbles in the pro ranks. Also note, the various bunches simply get carved to pieces every time they hit a tough section of cobbles. There is no advantage in being in a bunch on a bad section of cobbles, and no chance for the bunch to any take time off a solo rider who is riding strongly through that section. The tarmac between the cobbled sections is a different story of course.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby vander » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:53 pm

Thanks to adding to my point. Yes no climbing but there were a lot of cobbles. On which the riders slowed immensely seemed to be doing about 35km/h possibly less.

http://www.tissottiming.com/
Look at the speeds at the world champs over a comparitive distance. Very few got up and over the 49km/h mark. Then look at Boonens bike with 25mm tires not very aero wheels at all. Add to that he has no skin suit no TT position and no aero helmet.

MSR was a walk in the park compared to this race. This was (I believe) the fastest ever P-R yet Boonen (who has never done it before) rides off the front of a bunch of amazing riders.

If someone that had showed this power before like Canc did it fair enough but for Boonen to do it, thats a big ask. If he came home even with a group of just 3 or 4 that would of been fine but to solo off the front for 55km and just keep growing your lead, well it makes me wonder. I want to see Boonens power data I think it would be massive, then comparing it to what he could do previously would be very interesting.

If you looked at Terpstra's face in the photo of him getting dropped it was not that he dared not go faster its that he couldnt keep up Boonen was too strong. I do want for him to have done it clean I am just very suspect about it all.
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Race Speeds

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:19 pm

He only soloed off the front of a small group... Between 6 &14 riders at times.
Pozzato crashed and he was one of the few cobbles specialists in there.
I would also dare to say that being on your own on the cobbles with a tail wind would be quicker than following another rider.
As for Tom's power ... We know his 5 minute power is only a tiny bit less than Fabian's as he is often very close to the lead in a prologue... Often getting the leaders jersey in the first stage. At around 82-84kilos I am sure he could hold 400-450w for 1 hour after been hidden for the first 150 km's of which there are not many cobbles of note.

Ps... The BMC rider who posts on strava being Taylor Phinney... But his upload failed for roubaix ... He also never posts power details.
The only other rider is one of the Kings, he didn't finish.
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Re: Race Speeds

Postby rogan » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:02 pm

vander wrote:Thanks to adding to my point. Yes no climbing but there were a lot of cobbles. On which the riders slowed immensely seemed to be doing about 35km/h possibly less.

http://www.tissottiming.com/
Look at the speeds at the world champs over a comparitive distance. Very few got up and over the 49km/h mark. Then look at Boonens bike with 25mm tires not very aero wheels at all. Add to that he has no skin suit no TT position and no aero helmet.

MSR was a walk in the park compared to this race. This was (I believe) the fastest ever P-R yet Boonen (who has never done it before) rides off the front of a bunch of amazing riders.

If someone that had showed this power before like Canc did it fair enough but for Boonen to do it, thats a big ask. If he came home even with a group of just 3 or 4 that would of been fine but to solo off the front for 55km and just keep growing your lead, well it makes me wonder. I want to see Boonens power data I think it would be massive, then comparing it to what he could do previously would be very interesting.

If you looked at Terpstra's face in the photo of him getting dropped it was not that he dared not go faster its that he couldnt keep up Boonen was too strong. I do want for him to have done it clean I am just very suspect about it all.



The course profile for the 2011 WC Mens TT (45.7 km) is here:

http://www.limburg2012.nl/images/maps/elite_men_time_trial.jpg

Not at all like the last 50 km of Paris-Roubaix.

http://www.letour.fr/2011/PRX/COURSE/us/le_parcours.html

A good aero position helps, but ALL top pro riders can ride at 46 km/h for an hour or so on the flat on a road bike.

It was not the fastest ever Paris-Roubaix, and Boonen is in any event a good TT'er on the flat. I've seen Hushovd do similar things, and a decade ago, Museeuw (who was also best known as a sprinter) won this race by 3 minutes on a solo breakaway. Third that day was none other than a 21 year old Tom Boonen, who rode solo after Museeuw for a lengthy period (before being caught by another rider in the closing kms).

The race suits people who can pump out good power for an hour or so with brilliant bike handling skills. Unlike most other races, carrying a few extra kilos over the bean shoots and wiry nuggets (that make up most of the pro peloton) is no disadvantage. And the bike handling skills of top sprinters is obvious.

Like on a long hill, sitting in a bunch is of little advantage in the last 50 km of P-R - but unlike a long hill, the riders who can exploit the conditions are the strong bike handlers, not mountain goats. If Contador or Schleck rode away from the pack in uphill conditions that suit them, no one would make particular note of it. What you have to realise about Paris-Roubaix is the course, the pave, creates similar bunch destroying properties as a steep long hill - but you have a different type of rider coming to the fore. It's not a simple cruise around some bumpy laneways of NE France.

I don't know if Boonen is clean. I don't think he is any dirtier than the bulk of the peloton. I think he is one of only a few top riders targetting this end of the season. With Gilbert and Hushovd out of form, and Cancellara injured, the only one who looked near as strong was Chavanel (who was unlucky to get a puncture and rides for Boonen's team anyway).
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