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Question about Aitor Gonzalez's technique at the end of The Tour de Suisse

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Question about Aitor Gonzalez's technique at the end of The Tour de Suisse

Old 06-19-05, 04:36 PM
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Question about Aitor Gonzalez's technique at the end of The Tour de Suisse

Those of you who just watched the thrilling finish on OLN probably noted that Gonzalez, desparately in need of every second he could get, having run a long solo effort, and with Rogers closing for the win, ran at least the last KM on the hoods rather than the drops. Why would he give up the aerodynamic advantage of riding in the drops? All of his chasers (as would be expected), to a man, were in the drops, and many of them had the advantage of a draft.

The only thing that comes to mind is that he had expended himself so much by then, that he had to open himself up a bit to enhance his oxygen consumption. Any ideas? I have been in the position of being totally tapped out aerobically, but I would not have dreamed of giving up the aerodynamic advantage afforded by riding in the drops at that kind of speed.
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Old 06-19-05, 04:44 PM
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My guess is that he needed the leverage provided by pulling on the hoods. As you totally exhaust the glycogen in the muscles from such efforts...the legs just can't push down on the pedals anymore. This means that more upper body has to come into the game. Of course it isn't nearly as effecient...but merely survival. Aitor had nothing left in his legs...so my guess is that he was using the hoods for leverage...using his upper body to help keep the pedals turning by pulling on those hoods. This is a sure sign that Aitor left everything he had out there on the race course. He was dead empty in the closing kilometers. What a gutsy ride! A win well deserved.
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Old 06-19-05, 04:50 PM
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Was he sitting up, or tucked down with hands on the hoods? The latter is fairly aero isn't it? I often do it as an alternative to going all the way down to the drops. Also I think shifting is slightly easier from the hoods with Campy ergo shifters... was he using Campy stuff?
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Old 06-19-05, 04:54 PM
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I think Euskatel uses Dura Ace.
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Old 06-19-05, 05:04 PM
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hands in the drops in no more aero than on the hoods and all you have to do is bend more at the elbows to get the same position (these days most people who prefer the hoods to drops have their bars lower too)... in addition, with your hands on the hoods you are presenting less arm to the wind (less frontal area) so it's actually Gonzalez that actually had the advantage. in the drops you have way more leverage when you really want a lot of torque (e.g in sprinting) but this is not really necessary if you're just time trailing in as they were... I'd say Gonzalez was the smart one today...
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Old 06-19-05, 05:37 PM
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Here's Tom Boonen soloing to the win at the Tour of Fanders... hands on the hoods... only the upper part of his arms are presented to the wind. if his hands were in the drops both his fore arms and upper arms would be presented to the wind... plus, you can't argue with success... but it makes sense too.

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Old 06-19-05, 05:41 PM
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Even though he was on the hoods, his back looked flat and level - very aero.

What a victory!
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Old 06-19-05, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by oneradtec
My guess is that he needed the leverage provided by pulling on the hoods. As you totally exhaust the glycogen in the muscles from such efforts...the legs just can't push down on the pedals anymore. This means that more upper body has to come into the game. Of course it isn't nearly as effecient...but merely survival. Aitor had nothing left in his legs...so my guess is that he was using the hoods for leverage...using his upper body to help keep the pedals turning by pulling on those hoods. This is a sure sign that Aitor left everything he had out there on the race course. He was dead empty in the closing kilometers. What a gutsy ride! A win well deserved.
I get tremendous leverage in my drops even though they are a bit of a reach with the FSA K-Wings. I believe that I can exert more pressure with my arms pulling on the drops than I can on the hoods.
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Old 06-19-05, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bunnyrabbit
Was he sitting up, or tucked down with hands on the hoods? The latter is fairly aero isn't it? I often do it as an alternative to going all the way down to the drops. Also I think shifting is slightly easier from the hoods with Campy ergo shifters... was he using Campy stuff?
He was not in a particularly aero position, and I have on ocassion gotten down quite aero on my hoods just for a change of position while racing. Not sure about the Campy stuff, but at that stage of the race, I would doubt he shifted even once. He was pumping his butt off for the win, and a win he did get.
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Old 06-19-05, 05:54 PM
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He lost almost 10-20 sec in the last km.. I think he was just bushed... That was one amazing solo ride from a pack of 5. I thought he would get caught on the downhill.. For the speed freaks, I heard 85-90KM tossed around regularly..
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Old 06-19-05, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by doctorSpoc
hands in the drops in no more aero than on the hoods and all you have to do is bend more at the elbows to get the same position (these days most people who prefer the hoods to drops have their bars lower too)... in addition, with your hands on the hoods you are presenting less arm to the wind (less frontal area) so it's actually Gonzalez that actually had the advantage. in the drops you have way more leverage when you really want a lot of torque (e.g in sprinting) but this is not really necessary if you're just time trailing in as they were... I'd say Gonzalez was the smart one today...
Well, I guess the best point is that you can't argue with success. I have read, however, on more than one ocassion, that on the hoods you actually have more power, but on the drops the increase in more efficient aerodynamics more than makes up for the power loss. Having said that, the picture of Boonen sure depicts someone aero as hell on the hoods.

I just thought it very strange, because of all the riders following him, every one was riding their drops. And of course they were following him about 40 some odd seconds back.
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Old 06-19-05, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by skinnyone
He lost almost 10-20 sec in the last km.. I think he was just bushed... That was one amazing solo ride from a pack of 5. I thought he would get caught on the downhill.. For the speed freaks, I heard 85-90KM tossed around regularly..
You know, your theory is probably the most accurate. The guy was just totally spent, and at that point it was probably even difficult to hold form. I know that before I got my dedicated TT bike, I time trialed my road bike sans aero bars. Sometimes, I would be so spent, I couldn't even stay in the drops anymore, and would revert to the hoods all the while trying to tuck as aero as possible.
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Old 06-19-05, 06:07 PM
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tiredness, breathing, it's easier to get air sitting a bit more upright and you can still motor along quite well. He may not have had full gas potential at that point, so needed to get some deep breaths in.
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Old 06-19-05, 06:08 PM
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Here's some insight from Chris Horner himself(from cyclingnews.com)....

Horner has form coming out of his ears

After doing much of the work up the final climb of the Furka Pass and finishing in the first group behind stage and race winner Aitor Gonzalez in yesterday's stage of the Tour de Suisse, Chris Horner was understandably over the moon about his performances thus far.


"I've got form comin' out of my ears right now!" exclaimed Horner to Cyclingnews straight after the stage finish.


"Every day, it's just getting better and better. Today, the descent was the hardest part, because you had to go maximum to try and catch Gonzalez. I honestly don't know how he stayed [away], but we had three of us rotating - we should have had five - I don't know what the others were doing...


"It was me and Rogers pretty much. Rogers did his share - he did more than I did; he was so fast through the corners... it was almost like riding by myself, because he just dropped me through the corners, he was so fast."


Another guy that impressed the 33 year-old American was Gonzalez - so much so that Horner was a little lost for words when asked if the Spaniard was simply too strong. "I don't know...Evidently he won - there's no doubt about that - but how he could have stayed off on the descent against three of us working like that is pretty impressive. That guy's got some good form."


With his long-awaited Tour de France debut to look forward to, Horner can go into Le Grand Boucle with high hopes, safe in the knowledge that he can not only compete with the best in Europe, but also beat them at their own game.
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Old 06-19-05, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by climbo
tiredness, breathing, it's easier to get air sitting a bit more upright and you can still motor along quite well. He may not have had full gas potential at that point, so needed to get some deep breaths in.
That was my first thought.
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Old 06-19-05, 06:14 PM
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Interesting piece one! I found it one of the more thrilling races I have watched on OLN. That descent was amazing!! I loved when the team car came alongside him, and probably gave him a mini, quick, pep talk!
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Old 06-19-05, 06:37 PM
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I noticed that Horner and Rogers were doing all the work.. It almost seemed that the other 3 riders werent motivated to attack/work as their race position were probably insignificant... Couple of turns that Gonzales took were really close esply one hairpin where he went way wide.. The railings and god knows what woulds happened... Horner looked in great form.. lets see how he looks in the tour...
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Old 06-19-05, 06:46 PM
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yeah Dodger !!!
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Old 06-19-05, 06:46 PM
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Nice shots from the motorcycle cameras! yes that was an exciting race. It's always great to see someone win a race in that fashion. Yes that was some great footage of the descent from the motocycle cameras. Great job today by Phil and Paul! Thank god Bobke was in the studio.

ON TO THE TOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-19-05, 06:47 PM
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At some of those speeds I thought the riders would spin out but they still seemed to be in decent cadence... Are they just faking the cadence to get rid of the lactic acid or are their rpms insane at that gear.... I looked up sheldon for an 180mm crank, 11-21 casette and @120 RPM you get 45.2MPH in tze 53-11
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Old 06-19-05, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by skinnyone
I noticed that Horner and Rogers were doing all the work.. It almost seemed that the other 3 riders werent motivated to attack/work as their race position were probably insignificant... Couple of turns that Gonzales took were really close esply one hairpin where he went way wide.. The railings and god knows what woulds happened... Horner looked in great form.. lets see how he looks in the tour...
Horner is in great form, but my fear is that he probably peaked for the US Pro Championships - I'd love to see him turn in a great result at the TDF. That one turn looked hairy - I bet he was puckered to that seat!
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Old 06-19-05, 07:10 PM
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The reason he did that was..... get ready for it.....

























it doesn't really matter. They are all really strong and i'm sure his position on the hoods was as aerodynamic as being in the drops. He had some luck and broke away solo and won the bike race. Maybe he just felt like it?
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Old 06-19-05, 08:50 PM
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Not to mention these guys rarely do anything their not told to do over the radio anymore these days. They DS's have TV's in the car, they have the commisares motorbikes giving them the splits. They can all do the math in their heads as to what speed is needed over the remaining course to either stay away, or to catch the break.
If they Tell Aitor he has to keep it above xxkmh, and he can do that on the tops, he probably would. But 22 seconds is pretty damn close.

He may have been cramping, or having trouble breathing in a full aero tuck also.

There are a lot of factors, but the bottom line is, it was enough.

Last edited by Smoothie104; 06-19-05 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 06-20-05, 03:33 AM
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Slightly OT, but if anyone recorded OLN's show today, I'd really like to get my hands on it! It didn't show up in my PVR's schedule until it was too late, so I missed it. PM me if you have it.

On topic, Aitor is one of my favorite riders for his ability to do what he did today. He had a similar winning break in last year's TdF. Made a nifty move away from a four or five man break, and TT'd it to the line. The guy can squeeze more from his limbs than most folks can dream of.
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