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Pros Changing Bikes Mid-Race

Old 08-30-20, 12:42 PM
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Metallifan33
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Pros Changing Bikes Mid-Race

This is my first time watching the TDF (been cycling for about 8 months now). I'm quite enjoying watching the race. During the first stage I noticed a rider changing bikes due to a wreck. He picked his head unit off the old bike and put it on the new one and rode away. I wonder if he then had to pair and calibrate a new power meter while riding to catch up with the peloton. I assume the new bike transponder number then gets assigned to him by race control? Also, do the riders have backup bikes that are properly fit to each team member? Have you guys heard any pros/commentators talk about this before?
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Old 08-30-20, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
This is my first time watching the TDF (been cycling for about 8 months now). I'm quite enjoying watching the race. During the first stage I noticed a rider changing bikes due to a wreck. He picked his head unit off the old bike and put it on the new one and rode away. I wonder if he then had to pair and calibrate a new power meter while riding to catch up with the peloton. I assume the new bike transponder number then gets assigned to him by race control? Also, do the riders have backup bikes that are properly fit to each team member? Have you guys heard any pros/commentators talk about this before?
I've heard some of this discussed by commentators and ex-pros.
Riders have to switch bikes due to crashes or other mechanical issues. For a typical road stage, the team car should carry a backup bike for every rider . . . time-trials are a different concern, the team will carry a selection of backup bikes but not always one per rider.

Anyway when a rider moves onto his backup bike, he takes his computer with him and connects to the backup bike, as it should already have been paired with both his bikes by team staff / mechanics . . . this way the rider can still see his power data and speed etc. However, the backup bike often won't have transponder that communicates with race control. And the backup bike won't usually have the rider's number on it, this is how commentators can sometimes detect a rider has changed bikes off-camera, when he's riding a bike with no number plate below the seat. For example, yesterday (Stage 1) Caleb Ewan switched bikes . . . and Anthony (host / commentator) was remarking / questioning how the race data showed that he was well back of the group but camera coverage showed him much further up near the peloton . . . and Simon (analyst / co-commentator) pointed out that Ewan was now riding his backup bike, it had no race number and no transponder, and that race data was actually communicating with his first bike which was on top of the team car way behind the peloton.

And in addition to each rider's backup bike, the team also will have identified which teammates can ride each other's bikes . . . so sometimes a rider needing a bike change can get a replacement from a teammate (who's been alerted by radio) faster than the team car can deliver the replacement. Later, the riider can decide based on circumstances whether to change back over to one of his own bikes when the team car approaches, etc.
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Old 08-30-20, 06:34 PM
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Iride01
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It used to be a more common thing when there were fewer gears on the rear. A bike for the flatter portions and a bike for the climbs. A route with multiple flats and multiple climbs would be multiple changes.

Yes the more important the rider is for the team, the more apt spare bike will be specifically set up and carried for them. Others on the team just get a spare bike that might fit.

I'm just surprised a how few bike changes we see in these times.
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Old 08-30-20, 06:51 PM
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In major multi week bike races the teams will have two road bikes optimized for each rider and an additional TT bike. If a frame is trashed
backup frames are usually available from team resources but not carried with the team on a day to day basis. The team mechanics
are adept at modifying bikes for different courses: flat/fast versus monster climbs and can swap out cassettes and adjust electric
shifters tand display electronics to match. Top riders get further accommodations such as special wheels and cranks (eg Peter
Sagan, one year was described as having a 56t CW, which is definitely special order these days, for one stage 3-4 yrs ago) and
of course there are always the yellow frames provided to the yellow jersey rider by the team when this is wrapped up in the last
week. A few years ago racers were switching back and forth between disc brake bikes and rim brake bikes but the trend is
disc on all bikes now, which makes wheel changes much more difficult (ie the rider can't do this on his own, you need power tools,
so has to wait for the team car).
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