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Old 07-03-12, 04:12 PM   #1
apesrunner58
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Tour de France What gearing do they have to ride at 40mph to 45mph on the flats?

I have a compact 11-18. I was in my 11 going down a slight hill, my cadence was 110 and I was going 35mph. How could you go 45mph on the flats?
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Old 07-03-12, 04:18 PM   #2
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53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.

Edit: The velominati calculator says only 114rpm: http://www.velominati.com/about/cadence-calculator/
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Last edited by AzTallRider; 07-03-12 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Added a cadence calculator link
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Old 07-03-12, 04:44 PM   #3
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There is the shared aerodynamic reduction of being the middle of the Peloton, too

taking turns, top teams, they all pull at the front , changing team members..
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Old 07-03-12, 04:58 PM   #4
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There is the shared aerodynamic reduction of being the middle of the Peloton, too

taking turns, top teams, they all pull at the front , changing team members..
Of course. Nobody can do 45mph for any significant duration. Nobody. It's a pretty quick rotation at those speeds. Well, it's not even a rotation. It's guys giving everything they have for a brief moment, then pulling off to be swarmed and dropped. Very few people can hit 40 on the flat without assistance. I know I can't, even with a little hill to get me up into the 30's without draining myself. It's something I practice, and while I've improved, I still max out well under 40.
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Old 07-03-12, 05:00 PM   #5
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Of course. Nobody can do 45mph for any significant duration. Nobody. It's a pretty quick rotation at those speeds. Well, it's not even a rotation. It's guys giving everything they have for a brief moment, then pulling off to be swarmed and dropped. Very few people can hit 40 on the flat without assistance. I know I can't, even with a little hill to get me up into the 30's without draining myself. It's something I practice, and while I've improved, I still max out well under 40.
Sprinters are different. They have it, we don't. We can improve, but we can never have what they've got.
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Old 07-03-12, 06:20 PM   #6
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Methinks the engine, not the gearing is the key. For I hath the gears, but, alas, not the engine.

I have sped at 42 only once, downhill, squeezing brakes and spraining my puckerstring. Can't even begin to imagine 42 from pedaling. I've done 30, but it dinna last long.
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Old 07-03-12, 06:58 PM   #7
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The pros can also get gearing that we don't usually see. I read Greg Lemond used a 61 tooth chainring for a TT.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:23 PM   #8
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The pros can also get gearing that we don't usually see. I read Greg Lemond used a 61 tooth chainring for a TT.
55 & 42 is often used on flat sections.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:50 PM   #9
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53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.

Edit: The velominati calculator says only 114rpm: http://www.velominati.com/about/cadence-calculator/
What kind of wattage would you estimate they're driving for that kind of speed?
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Old 07-03-12, 08:26 PM   #10
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53-11 and 120rpm gets you 45.2mph. You need a boatload of watts, and low aerodynamic resistance.
A downhill and Phil Liggett exaggerating your speed will get you there also. In yesterday's stage they were talking about the riders doing 45 and hitting close to 50mph in the sprint. But when you download the actual data from Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles with a top speed of 40.4mph. He didn't win but he was near the front. The only way someone is riding 45mph on a tour stage is with a tailwind or possibly in the final 200m.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:28 PM   #11
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Greg - where can one d/l that data? Thanks!

Edit.... Found some data at http://connect.garmin.com/teamgarmin

Last edited by k7baixo; 07-03-12 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 07-03-12, 08:45 PM   #12
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Tyler's stage 2 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/195049427
Team Garmin data http://connect.garmin.com/explore?owner=team-garmin
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Old 07-03-12, 09:04 PM   #13
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Last year I tried to break fourty a couple times and think I got to something like 39.7 (downhill with tailwind). During a ride a month or so ago, I thought I had a chance with a strong tailwind at the top of a steep hill. I had to get a start at the top by bombing through a stop sign. I wasn't able to pedal above about 35, so I went into a tuck. By the bottom I was going 41.7. OK, I broke 40, so that's done, that's fast enough, and I don't think I want to set a faster goal!
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Old 07-03-12, 09:32 PM   #14
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...Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles...
Oh - huh - is that all? He needs to HTFU!


God! Averaging 36 mph for that distance - even with drafting help, that's an incredible pace!
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Old 07-03-12, 09:35 PM   #15
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Methinks the engine, not the gearing is the key. For I hath the gears, but, alas, not the engine.

I have sped at 42 only once, downhill, squeezing brakes and spraining my puckerstring. Can't even begin to imagine 42 from pedaling. I've done 30, but it dinna last long.

+1
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Old 07-03-12, 09:41 PM   #16
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A downhill and Phil Liggett exaggerating your speed will get you there also. In yesterday's stage they were talking about the riders doing 45 and hitting close to 50mph in the sprint. But when you download the actual data from Tyler Farrar he averaged 36mph over the final 7 miles with a top speed of 40.4mph. He didn't win but he was near the front. The only way someone is riding 45mph on a tour stage is with a tailwind or possibly in the final 200m.
When they are going that fast for a prolonged period like the end of that stage, the top speeds for the sprint will drop a bit because the lead-outs and sprinters will not be as fresh. It was clear they were exaggerating. The pack was flying, but not doing 45!
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Old 07-03-12, 09:57 PM   #17
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i think the broadcast would be greatly enhanced with more speed, power, and cadence data in real time. i heard somewhere that Sagan topped 1200 watts on his stage win Sunday.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:30 PM   #18
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i think the broadcast would be greatly enhanced with more speed, power, and cadence data in real time. i heard somewhere that Sagan topped 1200 watts on his stage win Sunday.
I heard that too. Actually, I heard he averaged 493 watts over the final 2 minutes, with a peak of 1200+.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:35 PM   #19
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Top Gearing on the tandem is 48/11 and at a cadence of 100 we can get 30 mph. Only for a couple of miles and the slightest upslope or headwind and it will be for less.

But we went for it once on the flat seafront at Eastbourne and saw 45 on the computer. That is a cadence of 150 and we were still pulling on the pedals. May have been a tailwind but it was flat and it hurt. I never want that cadence again.

And although the computer is properly set up--we may want a more accurate computer.
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Old 07-04-12, 02:40 AM   #20
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If people are interested in power data, Sky were publishing the Training Peaks data for Konstantin Siutsou during the Tour. Unfortunately, he's now out with a broken leg. But here's the summary data for Stage 1. Bear in mind he's a domestique, not a sprinter:

Training Stress Score: 288 TSS
Energy: 4030 KJ
Average Heart Rate: 120 bpm
Max Heart Rate: 196 bpm
Average Cadence: 87 rpm
Average Watts: 195 W
Normalized Power: 268
Max Watts: 914 W
Peak 1-minutes: 571 W
Peak 6-minutes: 453 W
Peak 20-minutes: 356 W

The detailed charts can be accessed via the link.

The interesting thing here is how modest the average watts and average heart rate are. Sheltered in the peloton, he's riding most of the stage (average speed 25mph) in his recovery zone. Plenty of power there if he needs it, though. He weighs 68kg (150lbs) so at 356w for 20 minutes at a time he'll have been comfortably under his threshold, I should think.

As for gearing, I don't think anybody will be riding anything bigger than 53-11 other than in the TTs.

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Old 07-04-12, 04:46 AM   #21
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Size matters......the size of the group you ride in. Unless your name is Fabian, then you can do it alone.
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Old 07-04-12, 05:05 AM   #22
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With a big big gear and no wind resistance the speeds can get high. It has so much to do with the wind.
Sports cars can get to 100 without much trouble, but it takes alot of horsepower to push the car to faster speeds due to the wind.
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Old 07-04-12, 07:13 AM   #23
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I heard that too. Actually, I heard he averaged 493 watts over the final 2 minutes, with a peak of 1200+.
That is probably reasonable for someone in top condition. Long-term average power output was the big issue for achieving human-powered flight, and it takes an elite cyclist to pull it off.
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Old 07-04-12, 07:17 AM   #24
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... As for gearing, I don't think anybody will be riding anything bigger than 53-11 other than in the TTs.
Yes, I believe 53-39/11-21 is typical default gearing for most TdF riders. I don't know what I would do with an 11- or 12-tooth cog, but I am an old school spinner who finds 30mph / 50kph fast enough.
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Old 07-04-12, 07:29 AM   #25
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Yes, I believe 53-39/11-21 is typical default gearing for most TdF riders. I don't know what I would do with an 11- or 12-tooth cog, but I am an old school spinner who finds 30mph / 50kph fast enough.
I know what you mean. Even with a compact crank and a 12-25 I can't spin out on the flat. If I could I'd be doing over 40mph, and I can't touch that, poor old man that I am...
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