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Tour de France 2020 time trial: Roglič vs Pogačar, TT bike or road bike, and how many watts will decide the winner? 

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Tour de France 2020 time trial: Roglič vs Pogačar, TT bike or highway bike, and what number of watts will determine the winner? 

After three weeks of brutal racing, the 2020 Tour de France comes down to at least one closing take a look at – an uphill time trial on La Planche des Belles Filles. 

Heading into stage 20, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) leads the race by 57 seconds over Tadej Pogačar (UAE Staff Emirates), having led the race since stage 9. 

There are nonetheless 36km of lonely highway between the Slovenian nationwide champion and his first yellow jersey, as riders race to the highest of the 6km, 8.5 per cent common Planche des Belles Filles. 

Pogačar could have hope nonetheless, having triumphed over Roglič within the Slovenian time trial championships on the same, however shorter, course in June, taking the nationwide title by 9 seconds.  

However what would be the deciding components on this race towards the clock to determine the 2020 Tour de France – will they experience TT bikes or highway bikes, what number of watts would Pogačar have to win the race, and will tyre alternative make the distinction? 

We requested aerodynamics and time trial skilled Xavier Disley to get his ideas on this pivotal second within the race.   

Horses for programs

Firstly, which type of experience does this course swimsuit? 

The stage is 36.2km-long and may be break up into three distinct sections – the flat opening 14km a gradual climb on the Col de la Chevestraye within the center 10km and the next descent, then the categorised climb to La Planche des Belles Filles.

The flat part ought to take riders round 18 minutes, the center part about 23, whereas the ultimate climb is eighteen minutes straight uphill. 

Disley mentioned stage shall be effectively suited to a rider with a powerful aero pedigree, however who’s barely heavier than the pure climbers and might maintain a excessive watts per kilogram – suppose Tom Dumoulin over Nairo Quintana.  

He mentioned: “They might then have a bonus over the very small riders on the primary two sections and never lose as a lot time (or any) on the uphill if they will match their w/kg.”

TT or highway bike?

On bike alternative, Disley, director of testing, teaching and aero product firm Aerocoach, mentioned: “They will select a TT bike for the beginning line, and though we noticed Roglič do a motorcycle swap to a highway bike for the ultimate climb when he received silver on the Bergen World Championships TT in 2017, and Pogačar doing a motorcycle swap at Slovenian TT nationals this 12 months from highway to TT bike after the primary 7km climb, I don’t suppose it might be a good suggestion for this race except the rider actually isn’t snug climbing on their time trial bike.”

Disley mentioned that there’s a weight-saving alternative in switching from an 8.3kg time trial bike to a 6.8kg-minimum highway bike, however the change continues to be an excessive amount of of danger. 

He added: “The danger of a botched change is excessive – we’ve seen this earlier than – and the bike would have to be quite a bit lighter to account for the misplaced time (over 1.5kg lighter), in addition to having an ideal changeover. 

“I don’t suppose it’s a good suggestion, however we will definitely see riders doing it.” 

What number of watts does Pogačar have to win the Tour de France?

However what sort of efficiency would Pogačar have to put in to overthrow the pre-race favorite Roglič? 

Each are excellent towards the clock, significantly on climbing course, so it’s going to take a particular efficiency to search out nearly a minute out on the highway. 

Disely mentioned Pogačar would wish 15 watts greater than Roglič to achieve 57 seconds, with most of that point being discovered on the ultimate climb, the place you can discover 34 seconds with these 15w. 

You may additionally pull out that type of benefit by weighing 3.8kg much less, however Roglič and Pogačar are very related in weight (65kg and 66kg respectively, in line with Pro Cycling Stats), and you’ll’t save that a lot weight in your bike or different tools. 

The hole equates to round a 9 per cent lower in aerodynamic drag, which Disley says is not any small change.

Tyre alternative is essential

However there may be one element, usually missed, that might be pivotal – tyre alternative.  

Disley mentioned: “We do a whole lot of work each for most people in addition to for a few of the WorldTour groups on tyre rolling resistance because it’s an usually under-appreciated subject for efficiency, and a lot of the groups are effectively versed within the significance of TT tyres in addition to highway race tyres.”



Tubeless can be best in a scenario just like the Tour time trial, Disley mentioned, as any punctures received’t trigger issues so long as the outlet seals correctly, and also you’ll keep away from a really pricey mechanical. 

Each UAE Staff Emirates and Jumbo-Visma are partnered with Vittoria tyres, which is nice information for the groups because the Vittoria Corsa Pace had the lowest rolling resistance in Aeroach testing. 

Disley mentioned the tubeless model of the Corsa velocity might be the best alternative, however with each  groups prone to have entry to those tyres, the benefit might be neutralised.

So how will all this play out on the highway? 

“Add in a tyre alternative (let’s say Pogačar chooses a quicker tyre like a Vittoria Corsa Pace and Roglič a slower tyre like a traditional Vittoria Corsa), then you’ll be able to halve the hole instantly because of the variations in rolling resistance,” mentioned Disley.

“Now you solely want 7.5w extra, or a 2kg weight saving or a 4-5 per cent drop in aero drag to beat the deficit. Or you’ll be able to mix all these financial savings, so higher tyre, plus 3w extra, plus 800g much less, plus two per cent decrease drag – now you’ve received the Tour de France.”

>>> Tour de France 2020: Here’s all the riders that have been fined in this year’s race 

After all it’s by no means that straightforward, as Jumbo-Visma have actually elevated their concentrate on time trials in recent times in pursuit of Grand Tour victories.

Disley mentioned: “Don’t suppose that Roglič’s crew don’t know this although! However you must optimise your tools to present you each finest probability to win.” 

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