Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Cycling does not require skills?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Cycling does not require skills?

Old 03-25-24, 01:18 PM
  #101  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by wheelreason
I was a tennis player before I was a cyclist, as a matter of fact, I used cycling to work on endurance for tennis because while really good at it, I hate running. An elite endurance runner isn't that because he/she is fit (yes, that is a prerequisite) they are elite because they pocess the abilities to be at that level. You can take the average person, make them as fit as they can be, and that will not take them to the top of any endurance sport. we are going to have to agree to disagree, though I don't think we are so far apart that we couldn't hash it out over a couple of beers.
Sure, it’s a fun debate. We are defining “skill” in different ways. I prefer to separate genetics from sport specific skill sets. Obviously you need to have the right genetic potential, but I don’t view genetics as a skill.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-25-24, 01:35 PM
  #102  
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,248

Bikes: Litespeed Ultimate, Ultegra; Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10567 Post(s)
Liked 12,167 Times in 6,227 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
This is exactly what I was arguing. To me, genetic prowess is not a skill in itself.
Unless you're a Geneticist...
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is online now  
Likes For genejockey:
Old 03-25-24, 01:37 PM
  #103  
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,248

Bikes: Litespeed Ultimate, Ultegra; Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10567 Post(s)
Liked 12,167 Times in 6,227 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Sure, it’s a fun debate. We are defining “skill” in different ways. I prefer to separate genetics from sport specific skill sets. Obviously you need to have the right genetic potential, but I don’t view genetics as a skill.
Depending on the sport, skill can overcome genetic advantage.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is online now  
Old 03-25-24, 01:51 PM
  #104  
Not actually Tmonk
 
TMonk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 14,320

Bikes: road, track, mtb

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2746 Post(s)
Liked 3,346 Times in 1,749 Posts
I'm going to assume this discussion was meant to be in the context of road cycling. I also ride MTB where skill can make quite a big difference (depending on the race course). I've been a competitive cyclist for about 16 years and am still at the elite level (on road at least)

Does cycling require skill? Yes
Does cycling require a comparable level of skill to most other spots? No, in my opinion
Is skill level ever a limited in a competitive road cycling event? Very rarely
__________________
"Your beauty is an aeroplane;
so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste
TMonk is online now  
Likes For TMonk:
Old 03-25-24, 06:01 PM
  #105  
Grupetto Bob
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 6,426

Bikes: Bikey McBike Face

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2680 Post(s)
Liked 5,915 Times in 3,039 Posts
Originally Posted by genejockey
Depending on the sport, skill can overcome genetic advantage.
Chess?
__________________
Road 🚴🏾‍♂️ & Mountain 🚵🏾‍♂️







rsbob is offline  
Old 03-25-24, 06:23 PM
  #106  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob
Chess?
Ah but is Chess really a sport? I checked and officially it has been recognised as a sport by the IOC since 1999, but not an Olympic sport.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-25-24, 06:40 PM
  #107  
Grupetto Bob
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 6,426

Bikes: Bikey McBike Face

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2680 Post(s)
Liked 5,915 Times in 3,039 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Ah but is Chess really a sport? I checked and officially it has been recognised as a sport by the IOC since 1999, but not an Olympic sport.
I just changed the 6 plugs on the 914, and lost one temporarily but fished it out with a magnet - now that was good sport. That too is not an Olympic sport and luckily is not a timed event. Oh and does it require skill? Not so much, just a memory for weird angles.
__________________
Road 🚴🏾‍♂️ & Mountain 🚵🏾‍♂️







rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 03-25-24, 11:34 PM
  #108  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
It’s all relative. Tom Pidcock has bike handling skills way above the average level seem in the pro peloton. While useful, those handling skills are much less important in road biking than they are in mountain biking disciplines. Bike handling skills are also more important to the sprinters than the climbers.
Just because it's less obviously important in road racing, doesn't mean skill isn't important. Descending skill made a heck of difference to Remco during the 2022 Giro, Joao Almeida before this year, and even Pogacar trying to win the TdF and MSR. But those are just some of the recent obvious examples. A lack of skill can be masked in the short term but over the course of an entire race, especially a long stage race, it can come back to bite the rider. Less obvious are that without top-notch skills, a pro may not even be able to stay in the peloton at a World Tour level at all.

Not only do pros go fast, but crucially on technical descents they can also save more energy by not having to sprint out of every corner (same case for flat cornering). In a race of attrition like many WT road races are, the payoff for not wasting energy is rarely obvious in the moment but almost always critical to winning or helping the team. GCN observed this by comparing a pro vs. Ollie vs. an experienced amateur descending.

The argument for top-notch handling skills can also be noted by the near unanimous agreement from SlowTwitchers on how few triathletes could cut it in a pro peleton despite world class FTPs (and actual scarcity of successes). Not to mention the growing pains from Zwift Academy winners having to adapt to pack riding and navigating the caravan, even if they'd had lower-level road race experience. Or even late to the sport stars with fantastic physiologies like Roglic or AvV, who've made mistakes snatching defeat from the jaws of huge opportunities for victory. You can find plenty of stories of how invaluable it was for pros to learn how to ride in a tight peloton or have someone skillful to follow behind. With neither, even the fittest pros would mostly have to find their wins through long distance attacks and being lucky enough not to crash or have all their matches burned before a finale. And the ones with mid-pack fitness would be dropped from the World Tour for being useless to their teams.
surak is offline  
Likes For surak:
Old 03-25-24, 11:53 PM
  #109  
Habitual User
 
Eric F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Altadena, CA
Posts: 8,168

Bikes: 2023 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2018 Trek Procaliber 9.9 RSL, 2018 Storck Fascenario.3 Platinum, 2003 Time VX Special Pro, 2001 Colnago VIP, 1999 Trek 9900 singlespeed, 1977 Nishiki ONP

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5062 Post(s)
Liked 8,343 Times in 3,939 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob
I just changed the 6 plugs on the 914, and lost one temporarily but fished it out with a magnet - now that was good sport. That too is not an Olympic sport and luckily is not a timed event. Oh and does it require skill? Not so much, just a memory for weird angles.
Wait!….You have a 914-6?? Very nice. My dad had a 914 1.8 when I was a teenager. Such a fun car to drive.
__________________
"Swedish fish. They're protein shaped." - livedarklions
Eric F is online now  
Likes For Eric F:
Old 03-26-24, 03:19 AM
  #110  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by surak

Not to mention the growing pains from Zwift Academy winners having to adapt to pack riding and navigating the caravan, even if they'd had lower-level road race experience. Or even late to the sport stars with fantastic physiologies like Roglic or AvV, who've made mistakes snatching defeat from the jaws of huge opportunities for victory. You can find plenty of stories of how invaluable it was for pros to learn how to ride in a tight peloton or have someone skillful to follow behind.
These examples contradict your argument, especially Roglic. Obviously having amazing bike handling skills is an advantage, but not a necessity. Otherwise we wouldn’t see such a wide variety of bike handling skill levels in the pro peloton. Neither would we see late crossover athletes and Zwifters if it was that hard to learn to an acceptable level. The skill level required for road cycling is hard, but not that hard.

Remember this is a relative argument. If you took an average competent club cyclist and gave them a 7 W/kg FTP they would soon be riding in the pro peloton. The select few who do have exceptional bike skills (usually gained from other more technical bike disciplines) just have an additional advantage.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 04:03 AM
  #111  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
These examples contradict your argument, especially Roglic. Obviously having amazing bike handling skills is an advantage, but not a necessity. Otherwise we wouldn’t see such a wide variety of bike handling skill levels in the pro peloton. Neither would we see late crossover athletes and Zwifters if it was that hard to learn to an acceptable level. The skill level required for road cycling is hard, but not that hard.
You'll have to define "not that hard," because the examples I give show that without years of honing racing skills at the highest level, they are heavily disadvantaged at winning races their clearly superior genetics and physiology would otherwise dictate. That they win any at all is also a function of continually improving skills (but noticeably never reaching the level of those with more experience), teammates, and advantageous race profiles.

Remember this is a relative argument. If you took an average competent club cyclist and gave them a 7 W/kg FTP they would soon be riding in the pro peloton. The select few who do have exceptional bike skills (usually gained from other more technical bike disciplines) just have an additional advantage.
They wouldn't last through the neutral rollout without crashing, crapping their pants, or going back to the team car in a panic. Maybe with 3 years in the Belgian Kermesse scene, if they even would have the guts to enter a single one, they'd be able to finish a WT stage race. You're way over-estimating an average club rider's skill and seemingly oblivious to all the occasions where skill makes the difference between getting dropped or not, crashing or not, or burning all their matches or not. This place is littered with people retelling Cat-5 carnage, and even higher categories where fitness far exceeds skill. And I have every right to frame this as an absolute argument given the title of the thread.

I could go on and on with more high profile examples. Jai Hindley's jacket-gate on the Stelvio. Emma Pooley downhill or even every corner, until she worked and worked at cornering and descending. Luke Plapp always being in the back of the bunch at inopportune times. Chloe Dygert and one of those Hayters being often out of position. Ganna with nearly no non-TT wins. Many a pro not able to make the right split when echelons form, while others seemingly are always there.
surak is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 04:36 AM
  #112  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by surak
You'll have to define "not that hard," because the examples I give show that without years of honing racing skills at the highest level, they are heavily disadvantaged at winning races their clearly superior genetics and physiology would otherwise dictate. That they win any at all is also a function of continually improving skills (but noticeably never reaching the level of those with more experience), teammates, and advantageous race profiles.

I could go on and on with more high profile examples. Jai Hindley's jacket-gate on the Stelvio. Emma Pooley downhill or even every corner, until she worked and worked at cornering and descending. Luke Plapp always being in the back of the bunch at inopportune times. Chloe Dygert and one of those Hayters being often out of position. Ganna with nearly no non-TT wins. Many a pro not able to make the right split when echelons form, while others seemingly are always there.
So again you give examples of significant skill deficiencies related to riders who still compete at the highest level. In most other sports, there is nowhere near as much variation in skill level between the top competitors and those skill levels are rarely, if ever, achievable for late starters.

I actually agree with all your observations, but not so much when comparing skill levels with other sports or even other cycling disciplines. That doesn’t mean road endurance cycling is easier overall. It’s obviously insanely difficult for many reasons, but bike handling skills are not the main focus of this discipline unless you are a sprinter.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 04:39 AM
  #113  
Senior Member
 
Ghazmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: The banks of the River Charles
Posts: 2,030

Bikes: 2022 Salsa Beargrease, 2020 Seven Evergreen, 2019 Honey Allroads Ti, 2018 Seven Redsky XX, 2017 Trek Boon 7, 2014 Trek 520

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 696 Post(s)
Liked 910 Times in 487 Posts
I always enjoy scrolling through to find the exact moment that we go from 2012 to 2024.
Ghazmh is offline  
Likes For Ghazmh:
Old 03-26-24, 04:47 AM
  #114  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,556
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18553 Post(s)
Liked 15,948 Times in 7,490 Posts
Originally Posted by Ghazmh
I always enjoy scrolling through to find the exact moment that we go from 2012 to 2024.
#MeeToo

Do you scroll forward or backward?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 04:48 AM
  #115  
Senior Member
 
Ghazmh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: The banks of the River Charles
Posts: 2,030

Bikes: 2022 Salsa Beargrease, 2020 Seven Evergreen, 2019 Honey Allroads Ti, 2018 Seven Redsky XX, 2017 Trek Boon 7, 2014 Trek 520

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 696 Post(s)
Liked 910 Times in 487 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
#MeeToo

Do you scroll forward or backward?
On a five pager like this one backwards.
Ghazmh is offline  
Likes For Ghazmh:
Old 03-26-24, 05:07 AM
  #116  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
So again you give examples of significant skill deficiencies related to riders who still compete at the highest level. In most other sports, there is nowhere near as much variation in skill level between the top competitors and those skill levels are rarely, if ever, achievable for late starters.
I give examples of physiologically top tier athletes who are arguably underachievers if the sport is, as your premise goes, overwhelmingly dominated by fitness. The fact that some improve over time in order to achieve more wins cannot come solely down to fitness, since their peers are also getting fitter, but from narrowing the skills gap. And practice within the pro ranks / widely regarded kermesse scene >>>> riding with club mates.

I also question how you can determine that other sports don't have similar skill range spread. Every major team sport that I can think of has quite obvious spreads. Plenty of amateurs can shoot free throws better than Shaquille O'Neal could., but they aren't in the basketball Hall of Fame. In baseball, some of the "top competitors" are voted best at fielding their position while others aren't even allowed by the team manager to "play" defense lest they actively hurt their team's chance to win. Some players in the NHL score 60 goals in an 82 game season and others get an ovation for scoring their 1st goal after nearly the 60th game of the season.

I actually agree with all your observations, but not so much when comparing skill levels with other sports or even other cycling disciplines. That doesn’t mean road endurance cycling is easier overall. It’s obviously insanely difficult for many reasons, but bike handling skills are not the main focus of this discipline unless you are a sprinter.
I believe your skill level at moving goal posts is what's evidently elite , as I made no prior skill comparisons to other sports or cycling disciplines, nor that skills were the "main focus" of road racing.

And again, thread title man.
surak is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 05:09 AM
  #117  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by surak

They wouldn't last through the neutral rollout without crashing, crapping their pants, or going back to the team car in a panic. Maybe with 3 years in the Belgian Kermesse scene, if they even would have the guts to enter a single one, they'd be able to finish a WT stage race. You're way over-estimating an average club rider's skill and seemingly oblivious to all the occasions where skill makes the difference between getting dropped or not, crashing or not, or burning all their matches or not. This place is littered with people retelling Cat-5 carnage, and even higher categories where fitness far exceeds skill. And I have every right to frame this as an absolute argument given the title of the thread.
Michael Woods wasn’t even a club rider and yet he managed to transition into a world class Grand Tour rider in his late 20s entirely off his physical climbing ability.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 05:12 AM
  #118  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Michael Woods wasn’t even a club rider and yet he managed to transition into a world class Grand Tour rider in his late 20s entirely off his physical climbing ability.
And hiring a descending coach, and still constantly messing up finals by being boxed or mispositioned such that a Monument permanently eluded him. Underachiever in your would-be world of fitness uber alles.

And it took him 6 years of being focused on bike racing with that pre-installed engine of his to get major results. https://velo.outsideonline.com/news/how-michael-woods-transitioned-from-a-runner-to-a-world-tour-bike-racer/

Last edited by surak; 03-26-24 at 05:18 AM.
surak is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 05:34 AM
  #119  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by surak

I believe your skill level at moving goal posts is what's evidently elite , as I made no prior skill comparisons to other sports or cycling disciplines, nor that skills were the "main focus" of road racing.

And again, thread title man.
I was relating to the first post rather than taking the thread title literally ie. is the emphasis in endurance cycling more on fitness than skill compared to sports like football or tennis. I would say yes it is. I haven’t tried to move any goalposts. Of course it would be ignorant to suggest that endurance cycling does not require ANY skill.
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 05:40 AM
  #120  
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 8,771
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4579 Post(s)
Liked 5,120 Times in 3,162 Posts
Originally Posted by surak
And hiring a descending coach, and still constantly messing up finals by being boxed or mispositioned such that a Monument permanently eluded him. Underachiever in your would-be world of fitness uber alles.

And it took him 6 years of being focused on bike racing with that pre-installed engine of his to get major results. https://velo.outsideonline.com/news/...ur-bike-racer/
How do you think he would have got on transitioning to a career in tennis or soccer instead? Would hiring a tennis coach have allowed that same kind of transition or would the skill level required be totally unobtainable for someone in their late 20s, regardless of their fitness and physical ability?
PeteHski is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 07:17 AM
  #121  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski
How do you think he would have got on transitioning to a career in tennis or soccer instead? Would hiring a tennis coach have allowed that same kind of transition or would the skill level required be totally unobtainable for someone in their late 20s, regardless of their fitness and physical ability?
Is that supposed to be a gotcha? He's the one, out of more than a thousand, and only runner with a sub-4 mile whose made it to the TdF. According to https://www.sportsnet.ca/cycling/lon...-career-paths/ many more such runners have become pro NFLers. I have no context or desire to imagine soccer, as wildly overrated a global sport as it is that the obsession over it biases the talent pool sampling to a nigh impossible to compare status. Tennis has physical reliances beyond cardio, irrelevant to project with running. You might as well ask if someone being a good runner is an indication that they could be a good gymnast. Upper body coordination and strength ?!

Rather than your smoking gun, Woods' a statistical oddity, and despite his numerous crashes (same article noted him crashing 3 times and breaking his ribs at the TdF after reaching high on GC by stage 8, maybe bunch riding is hard actually), who's to say he wasn't inherently talented at bike riding compared to all other runners, since not one other elite runner has made it? And maybe he was as natural and/or determined as they come amongst runners to be able to absorb all that "learning there was a lot more to it than cardio or aerobic stuff — how to manage yourself in a crowd of bikes, race strategy," as he put it. How many places back would he have gotten at the Tokyo Olympics if he hadn't the skill to handle "a nervous minute or so while he changed a shoe without dismounting, pedalling with one leg and contorting over his crossbar."? Probably not better than his placing at his first Olympics in Rio, 20 minutes behind the winner. For an athlete on the wrong side of 30 when physical prowess diminishes, it sure seems like learned skill and experience made a difference.

By your logic it'd be a slam dunk to recruit the best VO2Max athletes and plop them right into the peloton at races that matter. Instead, they (rowers, alpine climbers, speed skaters) get stagiaired for a year or more and ride in minor races if the team has the luxury of a dev squad, just to see if they can hack pack riding and bottle duty skills, and to a man and woman, every article I've read asking them have them echoing Woods statement that the hardest adjustments are gaining those bunch riding skills. Not all continue in the sport, and even fewer get any results. Evidence of skill discrepancy is plain to see as soon as the skilled pool is diluted, as the TdF Femmes avec Zwift did with the non-WT invited teams not used to the speed and compactness of the peleton, with chaos and crashes ensuing.

You wrote that you would separate skill from physical prowess and talent. Then I would argue that by and large, many world class sports involving hand-eye coordination are mostly dependent on talent rather than skill. That's why those leagues can scout, project, and draft young players, and why success is highly correlated to draft order, because innate talent is already evident. And those highly ranked often enter their respective leagues and make a difference in 1-3 years, despite not having to increase their skills by previously playing against the best opposition, with the best coaching, or the best facilities in which to develop skills. If skills are so much more important, why do most sports, even those without huge physical demands like baseball, usually have athletes peak before or closer to 30 years of age? Wouldn't skill development monotonically increase with age? And yet as the body gets only slightly and gradually weaker, no amount of acquired skill is enough to compensate, and decline or retirement become inevitable. Not too different from pro cycling.

Lastly, cycling's not the only sport with crossover athletes. The Last Dance argued that Michael Jordan could have made it to major league baseball, despite not playing for years (but then again, maybe he's "like Mike"... Woods, an exception). Many pro athletes decide in college between entering the NFL and basketball or baseball, with money or the risk of CTE being more of a decider than strictly draft position. Those kids are demonstrating that athletic talent overwhelms whatever skill development must've been split across multiple sports, in the limited time young athletes have to develop said skills.

Last edited by surak; 03-26-24 at 08:45 AM.
surak is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 07:29 AM
  #122  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 447
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked 228 Times in 123 Posts
Mountain Biking and competitive Road Cycling requires a lot of skill.
WaveyGravey is offline  
Old 03-26-24, 09:51 AM
  #123  
Senior Member
 
surak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,970

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Inflite AL SLX, Ibis Ripley AF, Priority Continuum Onyx, Santana Vision, Kent Dual-Drive Tandem

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 890 Post(s)
Liked 733 Times in 439 Posts
Switching to cycling from another sport after determining that it's possible to turn pro is about as accessible as it gets. It's low-impact (or at least, not likely to induce permanent injuries that prevent ever competing in that sport again, unlike running or ski jumping), has a well-defined and measurable fitness baseline in power, and involves a lot of training time that can be straight up fun. It's also a sport that doesn't have such a comprehensive active talent pool, so it's less daunting for an outsider to consider. All of these reasons can lead to selection bias. It's not proof that it's easier to turn pro in road cycling compared to another sport.

But just because cycling seems accessible doesn't make it easy to translate fitness into real world success. The difference between pure W/kg Zwift champions and full-time pro riders on the road in real life, and vice versa in Zwift, is a performance gap that can be attributed to where skill factors in. As the Zwift Academy contest has evolved, recent versions have deprioritized pure W/kg in selecting winners. Instead both men and women's teams have emphasized pack riding, descending, and bike handling (bottle and musette duties). This despite offering only development positions rather than WT contracts like they used to, so there is already a lower expectation that the winners can just drop into the pro peloton. Teams have learned that they don't have the runway to waste time on riders who have the power but not the skills. And along with those requisite skills comes a preference for younger candidates who can improve in all facets of competitive cycling over a longer time period.

Beyond the Zwift Academy teams, older pros across the WT and WWT now often say that it would be nearly impossible to make it today with the level they were at when they entered the ranks. What's notable about the youth revolution is not just power, but also racing pedigree. Teams looking for more Pogs than Rogs. Those cases of older athletes crossing over into cycling are going to get rarer. Crossover candidates are going to trend younger too, to get an earlier and more extended development path to adapt to the top tier in their identified specialization.
surak is offline  
Likes For surak:
Old 03-26-24, 10:17 AM
  #124  
Administrator
 
BillyD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Posts: 33,080

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene '04; Bridgestone RB-1 '92

Mentioned: 326 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12014 Post(s)
Liked 6,782 Times in 3,539 Posts
Originally Posted by TMonk
Does cycling require skill? Yes
Does cycling require a comparable level of skill to most other spots? No, in my opinion
We might remember back a few years when Lance Armstrong was voted athlete of the year, pros from the other major sports had a **** fit in protest.

In reality it really is no comparison.
__________________
See, this is why we can't have nice things. - - smarkinson
Where else but the internet can a bunch of cyclists go and be the tough guy? - - jdon
BillyD is offline  
Likes For BillyD:
Old 03-26-24, 10:39 AM
  #125  
Not actually Tmonk
 
TMonk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 14,320

Bikes: road, track, mtb

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2746 Post(s)
Liked 3,346 Times in 1,749 Posts
Originally Posted by surak
But just because cycling seems accessible doesn't make it easy to translate fitness into real world success. The difference between pure W/kg Zwift champions and full-time pro riders on the road in real life, and vice versa in Zwift, is a performance gap that can be attributed to where skill factors in. As the Zwift Academy contest has evolved, recent versions have deprioritized pure W/kg in selecting winners. Instead both men and women's teams have emphasized pack riding, descending, and bike handling (bottle and musette duties). This despite offering only development positions rather than WT contracts like they used to, so there is already a lower expectation that the winners can just drop into the pro peloton. Teams have learned that they don't have the runway to waste time on riders who have the power but not the skills. And along with those requisite skills comes a preference for younger candidates who can improve in all facets of competitive cycling over a longer time period.
.
Nicely put. If the engine is really that good. you can kinda just get dropped into the World Tour peloton and do reasonably well, like Jay Vine or the aforementioned Mike Woods. But, short of a mountain top finish, it does take some skill and tact to actually win a bike race. You can't just brute force your way to a win most of the time.
__________________
"Your beauty is an aeroplane;
so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste
TMonk is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.