The Tour – Could you wing it?

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  • The Tour – Could you wing it?
  • Premier Icon paulosoxo
    Subscriber

    I doubt I’d last the first mile.

    bikebouy
    Member

    Once I could but not now.

    mudshark
    Member

    Chris Boardman said on one of his wind resistance pieces on the ITV4 highlights show that if you’re at the back of the peloton you would benefit so much from the shielding that you’d need to output minimal watts – seemed to imply 0 watts which must be rubbish. But would take a lot of skill to ride inches behind someone at that sort of speed for that length of time – and lots of people jostling about too with curbs and road furniture to worry about. Not many would survive for long.

    Premier Icon ironbrucove
    Subscriber

    If you take mortals as3/4 cat roadie then no you’d get blown out the back in the neutralised zone

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    The Etape is about the terrain though, the challenge would be the other riders.

    In Cav’s autobiography he says the thing that took him by surprise was how frantic it all is – people bumping and jostling, hopping kerbs constantly etc. I reckon the pace wouldn’t be too bad if you’re fairly strong, but the race craft would be lacking.

    nickwatson
    Member

    If you can average 30mph over 130 miles, then yes. Otherwise, unlikely.

    clubber
    Member

    Maybe but I think for most, they’d realise that a flat TdF stage isn’t really flat and the climbs would be an issue even if they were small. The speed the peloton goes up them is something to behold.

    Not to mention that even holding a decent position in the pack is a skill in itself.

    Edric 64
    Member

    Not a chance .Even in my early thirties when I was sub 2 hours for 50 miles and sub 4hr 15 for a 100 miles in timetrials I was crap at road races .Hiding at the back of the peleton is ok until you get corners to accelerate out of .The guys at the back struggle.Even an easy stage averages well over 25mph.

    Premier Icon stratman
    Subscriber

    Cav reports such a conversation with his mates back home (according to the slightly hagiographic tv show the other night he still rides with them when he goes back home). His response was that they wouldn’t even reach the start, because riding in the peloton requires so much skill – which I think he demonstrated getting back to the peloton when he got dropped -can’t find a video of that though.

    So I think no is the answer

    Premier Icon twinklydave
    Subscriber

    It’d probably be like a crit that lasted for 5hrs…with close to 200 people in it, none of whom even notice cat4 climbs, so no!

    Edric 64
    Member

    The other problem being that if you managed to hide in the peloton it wouldnt be long before you got scared cased a crash and had most of your teeth knocked out by someone !!

    tang
    Member

    In my turbo session (complete with soundtrack) fantasy I’m right up there.

    Tom B
    Member

    No way. I doubt that the average cat 3/4 rider would last more than an hour in the peloton. I reckon many of the domestic pros would be on the ragged edge trying to stay with the bunch in the last 20km’s of a sprint stage-just look at how many of the TdF riders on smaller teams get spat out of the back on a tough sprint stage!

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    If: AND[access to a “Tour doctor]AND[6 months to train to get as fit as I was in 07]THEN

    No chance.

    Where’s the lighter gone?

    Premier Icon ironbrucove
    Subscriber

    When you watch stuff like the crit series on telly and see the difference between the top guys and the folk making up the numbers (who are good enough to get in so can’t be all the bad domestically), then compare those top guys domestically to the continental pro at the national road race champs you get an indication of the jump in performance required. Never mind the race craft as demonstrated by Cav negotiating the team cars, and when you see them in the flesh you see the gears they push up hills and touching elbows.

    tang
    Member

    my friend (21 and 3rd year on contract)who rides for ukyouth says the difference between pro conti and pro tour is on paper a bridgable gap, in reality a massive gulf. He’s specialising in long races as opposed to crits. Already handy on the road(winning the Ras etc) top 30 in nationals, racing UCI races on the continent, training all winter abroad with a full training staff. He hopes that if it all comes together he might make the pro peloton in 3 years!

    Edric 64
    Member

    When you see a 3 week tour pro in the flesh off the bike you also see how small and lean a lot of them are.They dont look like your average poster on here (of which im one )

    samuri
    Member

    Perhaps not the entire race but lets take a nice, flattish stage.
    All you have to do is stay in the pack and cross the line with everyone else.
    For the most part you’d not have to do very much work at all.

    But could you? Or even amongst the peleton, would the effort simply be too much for a mortal man?

    soobalias
    Member

    i certainly wouldnt make it to the start line.
    i dont even know how a cat4 climb relates to a hill round here

    gonna buy myself one of those chinese carbon copies tho, that should help. Oh and some gears. How do i enter?

    tpbiker
    Member

    I rememeber reading this
    Tour Power Outputs

    which is interesting. Basically alludes to the fact that average power output required would be easy enough, but as soon as anyone hits a hill, goes round a corner or gets near the end you’d struggle

    Thats not taking into account as said above you’d probably crash within the first 10 minutes.

    Premier Icon schnor
    Subscriber

    In terms of MTB, I sometimes ride with local level DH riders; the gap between me and them is fairly wide TBH. When I watch them compete against national level riders (e.g. at the BDS series) the difference is roughly the same, and then from watching world cup coverage there’s a similar gap again between them and the world cup guys. It seems if you’re at the top 10% of one level you’re only at the bottom 10% of the next one up – a big difference between them basically.

    Having only started road biking 8 months ago the same comparisons can be made to me, the leap up to decent club riders, then up to national level riders, then again at the top of that the international guys. You could argue there’s another leap up to be able to ride the grand tours.

    An example of this is the ‘Horseshoe Pass Challenge’, which is only a few miles away from me. I can do it in 24.32. Geraint Thomas did in 14.22. WTF? Maybe I could knock 30 secs off (on a really good day), but 10 minutes? And that pace over 150km?

    Anyway, even after 8 months I’m still a mincer going downhill so I’d definitely crash within a few miles. So no, there’s no chance 🙂

    mtbmatt
    Member

    Not sure about this years Etape, but I know in last years Etape Act 1 even the winner would have been outside of the time cut off for the stage. Sprinters can’t climb, huh? 😉

    It’s all relative, so a pro in the TdF going “easy” would be beyond most peoples capabilities.
    While some might be able to stick in the bunch at times when its flat and not so manic, sticking with the peleton through the accelerations is something else.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    If you look at the last few years of the National Road Race Championships, it’s basically turned into a Sky 1/2/3 (apart form this year where Cav won it). Most of the rest of the bunch (consisting of the top British pros, plenty of former National Champions) are nowhere close.

    Given the massive leap between a 3rd Cat racer and a domestic pro and you then see the leap between the domestic pros and the Grand Tour riders – that’s two gigantic leaps!

    It’d be like trying to race an F1 car while driving a 1974 Morris Minor.

    wingnuts
    Member

    There is no hiding in the pro peleton. If you ride at the front, say in the first 20 where during the first couple of hours it is pretty steady you are still exposed to the wind and it would take its toll on mere mortals like us. If you ride at the back you may gain some advantage in terms of shelter, but it is more than made up for by the sprinting out of the corners. The pros go through a corner 20/30% faster than a good amateur and it is very nervous which eats up energy reserves. Like some above I’ve been quite quick in my past/youth and know I wouldn’t have lived with them. If you’re down to 7% or less body fat, can hold 25mph average for 4hrs in any terrain you would be lucky to last an hour on a real flat stage. The reality is that at the first bump and I do mean canal bridge we would be gone.

    GaryLake
    Member

    I thnk I calculated I’d last about 45 mins on a flat rest day ride one of them stuck on Strava, so no.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    The stage the other day that Cav won as part of a breakaway, flat(ish) though it may have been, the average pace was over 29mph!

    You’ve got to be some rider just to stick with that even on the back of a mass group for 4hrs plus!

    CaptJon
    Member

    I’d struggle to hand out bottles from the team car, let only ride with the pack.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Not sure about this years Etape, but I know in last years Etape Act 1 even the winner would have been outside of the time cut off for the stage.

    That happened the year that we did it .. Limoges – St Flour ( was the longest Etape route at the time, 150 miler)

    The person that finished first on our day would have been well outside the cut off on the proper race stage ( won by Richard Virenque from 35k out ).

    It still ranks as one of the best cycling days of my life,rolling out at dawn with over 8000 riders was amazing “un,deux,trois ” .I have never been so nervous clipping in at a start 🙂

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    No chance and I rode for a while at the top level (albeit occasionally and albeit cycling was at a low) in the late 90’s in the UK. A few premier calendars and 5day stage races.

    mogrim
    Member

    No chance, it was hard enough just holding on at 42km/h on the flat on the end of the last sportive I did, there’s no way I could follow the pros doing that from the start.

    steve_b77
    Member

    An example of this is the ‘Horseshoe Pass Challenge’, which is only a few miles away from me. I can do it in 24.32. Geraint Thomas did in 14.22. WTF? Maybe I could knock 30 secs off (on a really good day), but 10 minutes? And that pace over 150km?

    Don’t worry, I know a couple of guys who are around 3 minutes faster that G up that climb!! And they’re not pro tour riders for sure.

    Back to the OP, I’ve got more chance of winning the US masters

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I can’t ride at 30mph for more than a couple of hours without a break – I’d be knackered after a day of it, bunch or no bunch

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I can’t ride at 30mph without a tailwind! And a stretch of road that’s constantly downhill….

    white91
    Member

    No chance, ever ridden at 29 mph for even a few miles?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    From tpbiker’s link the power outputs are pretty doable for a decent rider, the speed is a red herring.

    I still reckon its the madness in the pack that would prove problematic!

    ac282
    Member

    The problem would be surviving the first hour or do. What TV doesn’t tend to show is how hard the petition go until the break of the day is established.

    I think the powers required to sit in for the middle section of a flat stage can be quite low.

    monkeyfudger
    Member

    That was a good read. Cheers tpbiker.

    I remember back in the day at the redbull 24hr getting on the back wheel of Rune Hoydahl as we went round the tarmac lakeside bit. He was cruising and I was flat out following him thru some twisty singletrack. He was a shockingly good smooth rider after about 5mins we hit a slight uphill grassy field and my lungs exploded. I would guess he was slow compared to a tour rider! (Ligett would have loved him though). I have ridden with first cat roadies who would ride me off their wheels in 1km if they wanted. Tour riders are unbelievable.

    _tom_
    Member

    Nope, I struggle to keep above 17mph average on my solo road rides.

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