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Inside the TT bike changes that could happen on La Planche des Belles Filles – VeloNews.com

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Contained in the TT bike adjustments that would occur on La Planche des Belles Filles – VeloNews.com

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Ought to a rider use a time trial bike on a course with a steep, robust climb, or ought to he change to a street bike on the base of the ascent? This query is taking heart stage throughout Saturday’s stage 20 of the Tour de France, which featured a person time trial to the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles.

It appears clear the selection comes right down to a rider’s choice and objectives on the stage. However what different concerns go into that call? How does a rider decide which bike is finest for them? Gear issues, however really feel issues extra.

What’s quicker?

Some riders opted to trip their TT bikes all the best way to the summit. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Photos

Typically, the TT bike will likely be quicker in most circumstances, which shouldn’t come as an excessive amount of of a shock given the deal with aerodynamics, each when it comes to physique place and the bike itself. However the stage 20 TT up La Planche des Belles Filles is comprised of 30 kilometers of flat and rolling terrain, adopted by a six kilometer climb averaging 9 % with ramps on the high above 20 %. Which means different elements past aerodynamics come into play right here.

Notably, TT bikes are usually a lot heavier than a typical street race bike. As increasingly more info turns into out there about at what level weight makes extra of a distinction than aerodynamics, riders now have a troublesome tools determination to make.

In our personal VeloNews testing,  Lennard Zinn discovered {that a} pitch proper round 5 % makes for a difficult tools alternative in relation to wheels, as a result of at pitches 5 % and under, deeper aerodynamic wheels current a transparent benefit for a lot of riders. At pitches steeper than that, lighter wheels can turn into a bonus for riders.

So a motorbike change on the backside of the steep climb is smart from an tools standpoint, assuming a rider’s street bike is considerably lighter than his TT bike. (Just about all of them are.) Some riders who doubtless didn’t need to make a mid-stage bike change ditched water bottles altogether on the TT bike throughout Stage 20 in a nod to weight discount. As you may think about, the comparatively flat stage, ending in a steep pitch, presents distinctive challenges when a lot is on the road.

So the reply to the query of what’s quicker comes right down to the previous acquainted bicycle racing reply: It relies upon. Weight issues when the street will get steep, and aerodynamics matter when the street is flatter. The transition itself performs the X-factor.

The transition issues

Different riders like Peter Sagan completed on a street bike. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Photos

All of this comes with a serious caveat, in fact.

In biking, good points are sometimes measured in milliseconds. In terms of a motorbike change, these milliseconds get worn out virtually instantly. It might price a rider seconds or extra, particularly if the bike change doesn’t go easily. (Victor Campanaerts can converse to that: A botched transition through the 2019 Giro d’Italia ITT successfully ended his stage earlier than the climb even began.) In Saturday’s episode of The VeloNews Podcast, retired rider Jens Voigt famous that riders take into account a motorbike change in a person time trial to be ‘quick’ whether it is 18 seconds or much less.

And there are a couple of elements that govern a motorbike change as effectively. Whether or not or not the staff can station a mechanic on the facet of the street with a motorbike, or whether or not the staff should get a motorbike from a following staff automobile is one other issue that may affect the time of the transition.

So the transition from a TT bike to a street bike might certainly profit a rider based mostly on the terrain and the tools’s tailor-made design for it. However even a barely sluggish transition might erase all these good points within the blink of an eye fixed. It’s of venture, little doubt.

Really feel issues most

Through the Stage 20 time trial, NBC Sports activities interviewed Neilson Powless (EF Professional Biking) to get a way of his decision-making course of. Powless famous that he had spent sufficient time on his TT bike to be snug on it, and the concept of transitioning to his street bike mid-stage didn’t seem to be a good suggestion given how a lot effort and time it could take him to get used to the totally different place and really feel on the fly.

A rider asks a number of his physique throughout a motorbike change like this. For the reason that time trial place is so drastically totally different than the street bike place, such a transition generally is a shock to the system. The change in place requires a transition too: the physique wants to regulate. That takes time. It might solely be milliseconds, however in biking, milliseconds rely.

Finally, riders doubtless selected tools based mostly on what they felt most snug using, balanced towards the course profile and the rider’s particular person strengths — and objectives for the TT.

It’s essential to notice, too,  {that a} good match could make or break a rider’s time trial earlier than it even begins. The quickest TT bike isn’t all that quick if the rider’s place isn’t optimized, too. At this level, most, if not all WorldTour groups put riders within the wind tunnel, or have them get skilled matches, or each, with a view to optimize that place. However some riders simply don’t jibe with the TT bike, so a transition to a street bike can show to be a bonus right here — and a probable aid.

 

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