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TdF then and now

Old 07-15-18, 02:04 PM
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Back to the "Then and Now". I think that power meters and radios have changed race tactics.
"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." –Mark Twain
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Old 07-15-18, 02:07 PM
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For me the biggest difference is the support - cars, mechanics, spare bikes, trainers for warm up and cool down.

Same bike, same rider, easier gears now, and more colorful kit.
And much, much different head protection.

Same rider and bike - now, THAT's cool!

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Old 07-18-18, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
Great discussion. I never made it to Le Tour, but as a junior racer back in 1964, we sure had a lot of fun trying. Here's a couple of pictures, then and now. Same bike, same rider, easier gears now, and more colorful kit.
I'm on holiday whenever I ride my bike
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Old 07-18-18, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
Great discussion. I never made it to Le Tour, but as a junior racer back in 1964, we sure had a lot of fun trying. Here's a couple of pictures, then and now. Same bike, same rider, easier gears now, and more colorful kit.
Nice! I wish I had a couple of the bikes I started out on, and I wish I had pictures of what I looked like riding them back then.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:24 PM
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I'm wondering how much faster cyclists are now, given the trend toward lighter weight riders and bikes, with all factors more or less leveled to account for variables. Just looking at the history of distances and times, it doesn't appear the TdF is that much faster now -- but it's difficult to say without knowing the road and weather conditions, etc.

There's a theory that the better gear range has revolutionized the sport, especially for cyclists who spin at higher cadence. But perhaps that equipment change benefits only the riders whose bodies function better that way. Perhaps the horses like Merckx and Indurain who could mash big gears up mountains would still be better off mashing big gears.

The RAAM may be a better indicator than the TdF. Despite refinements in equipment, training, etc., the finishing times aren't that much faster than decades ago. Jonathan Boyer and Pete Penseyres set pretty high standards for speed back in the mid-1980s and only during the past few years have RAAM winners finished at consistently faster speeds. That may be due more to the aero TT bikes and much more slippery apparel and helmets now available. No team tactics, sport politics ("Hey, you need to slow down while the yellow jersey fixes his flat!"), or other considerations to account for variations, unlike the TdF and most stage races.
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Old 07-18-18, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
But would the riders competing for the Tour win be competing for the stage win every day, or just marking time on each other in order to win overall, whether they ever won a stage?
No. That's not how stage races work. They also don't all take off in a full sprint from the start line. Strategy has been a feature of bike racing since the first race.

Formerly fastest rider in the grupetto, currently slowest guy in the peloton

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Old 07-18-18, 02:03 PM
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Bicycle Quarterly did a study to see to what extent the faster TdF times today can be attributed to improvements in riders or to improvements in equipment. The first assumption is that improvements in training had made riders faster and you could infer that because the times of runners had also improved over the last 100 years and they don't really use new improved equipment.

So if you subtracted the improvements in rider performance (as represented by the slope of the line of runners improvement) than it pretty much cancelled out improvements in TdF speed with two noticable exceptions. One was the introduction of lighter weight aluminum components and derailleurs before WWII which made hill climbing much faster. (TdF racers used to push their single speed bikes up steep inclines while derailleur equipped spectators rode on ahead to watch them again.) The other blip in the line was the success of effective performance enhancing drugs in the early 2000's.
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Old 07-18-18, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
Great discussion. I never made it to Le Tour, but as a junior racer back in 1964, we sure had a lot of fun trying. Here's a couple of pictures, then and now. Same bike, same rider, easier gears now, and more colorful kit.
Maynard Hershon wrote a "Tales from the Bike Shop" column once about a guy with a Legnano. I'd never heard of the brand at the time but I always think of that column now when I see one. I don't even remember what the story was about.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
That is why I have more respect for Froome this year. I really do think he is going for the triple as the Austrian Worlds' course does suit him well. Now that Porte is out, his chances of winning the double have also improved pretty well. I also like Nibali because he was never a one race type either.

So yes, LA was a specialist, but if Froome bombs out, and the Pyrenees could easily do it, it may be the only way to win the TdF.
Hadn't thought of Froome doing the triple till you mentioned it.
​​​​​That really would be something special.
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Old 07-18-18, 07:03 PM
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In olden times coureurs raced 200 days a year unless they raced 250. It was a job. Nowadays a racer races 70 or 80 days a year. They don't know their colleagues so well as they used to. The camaraderie is not there. The old masters teaching the journeymen is not there. There is pressure on the riders to perform for the sponsor and team management every time they start a race. Instead of race a very long season and see how it goes it is all right now. In a lot of ways the racers are lab rats and gym rats and performing seals. The old concepts of honor and glory are just not part of the entertainment any longer. And it is plain less entertaining. Watching the TdF and seeing guys who can't even hold a line is just sad.
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Old 07-29-18, 07:22 PM
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GCN Tech did an in-depth look at Team Sky's Egan Burnal's Pinarello Dogma F10 X-Light. Taller guy riding a smaller frame, so that hasn't really changed. Great rider now and will be even better as he gets older.

So it has all the fun Dura-Ace 9100 bits (rim brakes!) but the best bit??? The bottom bracket shell is threaded, and Italian-threaded at that! The wonders of something being creak-proof! You can now rest easy that when the world blows up and there is somehow still this frame around, you can thread on your cockroach-grade three-piece Campagnolo Record BB and mount that Nuovo Record crankset...and it will work.

I may be looking for one of these years down the road!
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