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TDF Top Speeds?

Old 08-22-07, 05:52 PM
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jbarros
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TDF Top Speeds?

Hello,

A friend and I were discussing it, and after a few days of googling, I can not find the top speed the TDF racers hit. Not on a level sprint, or over an average, but, say, downhill on the mountain course, or wherever, absolute top speeds their hitting.

Anyone know?

Thanks.

-- James
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Old 08-22-07, 06:14 PM
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Average speed for flat stages is around 24-26 mph if the weather is good with no head winds. Average speed for time trials is around 33-35 mph. Last year on Floyd Landis's winning stage he clocked 51 mph top speed on the mountain descent.

Fastest average for the whole TDF is Lance Armstrong with a race average of over 25 mph. Yes, that includes steep mountain stages !!!

Last edited by Hezz; 08-23-07 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 08-22-07, 07:04 PM
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Low 50s are common on downhill descents from the mountains, though not every descent allows for those speeds.
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Old 08-22-07, 09:20 PM
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I call BS. I can hit low 50s on a short descent in Wisconsin. I'm sure some of the mountain stages can fairly easily have them over 60mph.
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Old 08-23-07, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JPradun View Post
I call BS. I can hit low 50s on a short descent in Wisconsin. I'm sure some of the mountain stages can fairly easily have them over 60mph.
BS to what. Descending speeds vary a lot depending on the twists and turns in the road. Most TDF descents don't have long steep downhills at the top so high speeds are limited by the need to stay on the road. The lower straighter downhills are less steep. The Landis example cited above was only an example it is by no means the fastest speed attained on a descent.

If you think that these guys can easily hit 60 mph you are mistaken. That would require just the right kind of straight steep smooth descent. I'm sure it's happened before but it is not the norm.

Last edited by Hezz; 08-25-07 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:59 AM
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I think it was Sean Kelly or Roche that hit 120 kph on a mountain decent a few years back.
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Old 08-24-07, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
BS to what. Descending speeds vary a lot depending on the twists and turns in the road. Most TDF descents don't have long steep downhills at the top so high speeds are limited by the need to stay on the road. The lower straighter downhills are less steep. The Landis example cited above was only an example it is by no means the fastest speed attained on a descent.

If you think that these guys can easily hit 60 mph you are mistaken. That would be a record if anything.
Several times during this past TDF I saw shots of a motorbike pacing the riders' speedometer registering 90+ kph. That's almost 60 mph in descents I'd be quite nervous hitting 40 on. On a long, steep, straight run, they'd have no trouble exceeding 60.
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Old 08-25-07, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
BS to what. Descending speeds vary a lot depending on the twists and turns in the road. Most TDF descents don't have long steep downhills at the top so high speeds are limited by the need to stay on the road. The lower straighter downhills are less steep. The Landis example cited above was only an example it is by no means the fastest speed attained on a descent.

If you think that these guys can easily hit 60 mph you are mistaken. That would be a record if anything.
The world record for riding downhill on a tarmacked surface would be well over 60mph (100kph). I hit 118kph after slipstreaming a group of riders then being hip-slung forward by the last rider to peel off the front. Although that was on a very long, smooth and incredibly steep descent. Most of the Tour descents are twisty. I rode down the Galibier/Telegraph and found it hard to get a really good speed up.
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Old 08-25-07, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by oldsprinter View Post
The world record for riding downhill on a tarmacked surface would be well over 60mph (100kph). I hit 118kph after slipstreaming a group of riders then being hip-slung forward by the last rider to peel off the front. Although that was on a very long, smooth and incredibly steep descent. Most of the Tour descents are twisty. I rode down the Galibier/Telegraph and found it hard to get a really good speed up.
This is generally the case. As has been stated there are a few times when really high speeds (in excess of 60 mph) have been obtained but because of the general nature of the courses usually the speeds are in the low 50's However 50 -60 mph on a bike is not to uncommon for a short duration. World record times in controlled situations are probably far faster than this.

I have done some google searches but can't find anything official regarding TDF maximum speed records. That is why I cited the Landis example.

Last edited by Hezz; 08-25-07 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 08-25-07, 10:01 PM
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What is the average "climbing" speed?
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Old 08-26-07, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by islandboy View Post
What is the average "climbing" speed?
Don't know but I'd venture a guess that except for all but the steepest hills it's between 17-21 mph. For hills up to a 3-4% grade my guess is that the speeds stay at around 20 - 22 mph.
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Old 08-26-07, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
Don't know but I'd venture a guess that except for all but the steepest hills it's between 17-21 mph. For hills up to a 3-4% grade my guess is that the speeds stay at around 20 - 22 mph.
As far as I know, riders usually maintain just 10-12 mph on the 7-8% grade 10-mile long climbs of TDF.
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Old 08-27-07, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourmalet View Post
As far as I know, riders usually maintain just 10-12 mph on the 7-8% grade 10-mile long climbs of TDF.
Chubby, drunken fans usually don't have any trouble running along side for short distances on the steep sections.

TCS
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Old 08-27-07, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Chubby, drunken fans usually don't have any trouble running along side for short distances on the steep sections.

TCS
Average person sprinting speed is around 17-19 mph so a chubby drunk would probably be about 15-16 mph as a gross estimate. I noticed some younger, more in shape fans sprinting with the riders near the top of one of the climbs. He only could go around a hundred yards so I would say he was going around 16 - 18 mph. He was matching speed with Contador or one of those guys. And this was on a relatively steep upper section close to the summit of one of the climbs. Must have been at least a 7-8% grade. However near the top the rider may have been stepping up his speed because the summit was in site.

I usualy climb a 5-6% grade at around 13-15 mph if it is not too long and I am a lot slower on hills than the TDF guys. Plus I'm 40 pounds overweight. So I would think they can do around 15-17 mph on a 7-8% grade for at least ten to fifteen times farther than what I can do.
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Old 08-28-07, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jbarros View Post
Hello,

A friend and I were discussing it, and after a few days of googling, I can not find the top speed the TDF racers hit. Not on a level sprint, or over an average, but, say, downhill on the mountain course, or wherever, absolute top speeds their hitting.

Anyone know?

Thanks.

-- James
One of the fastest descents in TDF is the Mont Ventoux. French television often show motorbike speeds of around 95 km/h (whatever that is in pounds per second ). I spent a holiday there 4 years ago, the tarmac was brand new. I hired an old rusty mountainbike from the camping site, and rode it downhill. My girl friend was following me in the car (I know, not very intelligent, but I wanted to do the whole downhill for fun. I reached speeds of 80 km/h down direction Malaucene (northern descent). It's amazing, the road is very large, perfect tarmac, not many curves (except close to top)...it still took me 15-16 minutes to get down.
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Old 08-28-07, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by adamastor View Post
... I reached speeds of 80 km/h down direction Malaucene (northern descent). ...
I was also there after they had just resurfaced the Malaucene road (July 10, 2003). In fact, the Armco wasn't even installed there near the top yet - it was by 2006 when I saw it last. I hit 75 kph on the longer straightish sections on my old bike. Only managed to hit that speed twice since, but never over here. I have to marvel at the pros.
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Old 08-28-07, 09:51 PM
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At some level, average climbing speed has to be irrelevant. What's often important is to go faster than the guy(s) you are trying to beat.

Though I, too, have often wondered how fast top pros climb. Interesting useless factoid ..
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Old 08-29-07, 08:51 PM
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In 1986, Hinault & lemond hit over 110km on the descent before alpe de huez..
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Old 08-30-07, 08:52 AM
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If you want the real facts i.e stop guessing, I suggest you visit Motionbased.com. Team Milram logs all their training and race data, including the TdF from their Garmin Edge on this site.

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/user/team-milram

Last edited by poululla; 08-30-07 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 08-30-07, 03:20 PM
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Lance Armstrong won the 2004 Alpe d'Huez time trial in 39' 41". The length of the climb is 15.5 km. If my math is right, that's an average of 14.6 mph. On the one hand, that time was a still slow because he was riding by himself. On the other hand, it was a little fast because he didn't have 150+ km in his legs before he hit the hill.
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Old 08-30-07, 06:58 PM
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Yates told me 115-120kmh was not uncommon.

but he was the best descender in da bidness..
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Old 08-31-07, 01:35 AM
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The facts gentleman is on the link I provided. You do not have to guess, speculate or take an old pro cyclist word for it....
You can choose individual stages of this years TdF and see for yourself.

To quote my father -"The stream of knowledge of flowing past your feet, all you have to do is drink from it....."
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Old 08-31-07, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by poululla View Post
The facts gentleman is on the link I provided. You do not have to guess, speculate or take an old pro cyclist word for it....
You can choose individual stages of this years TdF and see for yourself.

To quote my father -"The stream of knowledge of flowing past your feet, all you have to do is drink from it....."
This thread is about the fastest, how does one teams logs answer that question?
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Old 09-01-07, 01:41 AM
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Yes, if you bothered to follow the link. Certain individual riders in Team Milram are fitted with a Garmin Edge 305 cycling GPS. It is these individual rider's speeds that is logged onto the site. Although these speeds might not be the fastest ridden on that particular day, or for that matter ever ridden, it gives a very good, and accurate indication of the kind of speeds ridden by TdF participants during various sections of the stages.

What makes the data on the site so interesting is that you can see where exactly these top speeds were obtained, and cross reference it with the elevation data. It is not always on the steepest sections of decents it turns out...

Many riders have claimed through the years that they hold the top speed (downhill) ever attained in the TdF, but cannot back this claim up. With the introduction of GPS tracking it will now be easier to see who really is holding, and more importantly, who is breaking speed records.

I know what the thread is about, thank you

Last edited by poululla; 09-01-07 at 02:54 AM.
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Old 09-10-07, 02:16 PM
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Cool stuff poululla. Thanks for the link. You're right, I don't think the particular rider recorded on any particular stage makes much difference. I clicked Stage 18 and found the top speed of 57.1 mph. Yikes. I get nervous anytime I go over 40 mph. These guys are the cream of the crop...even the Lantern Rouge is a fast, skilled cyclist.
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