AC's climbing style

Sep 1, 2009
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Watched part of the Tour of Basque country the other day. The leaders were in the mountains surging ahead of the Peloton. I noticed in this race and the '07 & '09 TdF that AC is out of the saddle a majority of the time when climbing. Even if he is just riding with others on a climb he is up. Would anyone consider this a sign of weakness or just his preferred style? Just curious on others thoughts.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Looking back through history, I believe a lot of the Spanish climbers tended to be out of the saddle (Big Mig was not a "pure" climber so he is a big exception), the Columbians seem to ride that way also. Body style/size/type also plays into it. But it mostly comes down to the individual. If one wants to half-believe anything about Lance, pre-cancer he was mostly an out of saddle climber; post cancer he trained himself to stay in the saddle to benefit from a lower heart rate during the effort.
 
ProCycling published a feature on this topic. It found with the EPO era that sitting in the saddle grinding up mountains was a lot easier. Without EPO you had to change positions a lot and get out o the saddle more often to keep the temp up.


Big Mig and Ullrich were the first to make this style really, really silly.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Virenque was also an out of the saddle climber.
It really depends on your aerobic capacity. If you are superior aerobically then you can spin a smaller gear and stay in the saddle but if you are not then you have to rely more on muscle strength and use higher gears which requires you to spend more time out of the saddle.
Obviously EPO improves your aerobic capacity.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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It really is preference for what you want to hurt more :) Also, I believe there is some evidence that climbing while standing is "easier" for the lighter riders - in other words, it does not have as much negative cost on their efficiency. Heavier riders can get more acceleration when standing up, but there is a greater increase in HR. This is one of the reasons why guys like Big Mig sat while climbing - the trade off when standing up was not worth it except for momentary periods. I believe history has shown that most pure climbers (i.e very light riders) tend to stand more when climbing.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Preference is correct. Its really a matter of what works for each individual and has usually developed over a number of years.
 
beroepsrenner said:
Preference is correct. Its really a matter of what works for each individual and has usually developed over a number of years.
it also has a lot to do with how you are feeling at that time. contador just explodes when he is climbing out of the saddle. very good acceleration.
when you get a good sized gap, you can sit down and maintain your pace and
recover for the next attack. you really have to be able to do both at that level, but he is very good when standing, no doubt. :cool:
 
Aug 8, 2009
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thehog said:
ProCycling published a feature on this topic. It found with the EPO era that sitting in the saddle grinding up mountains was a lot easier. Without EPO you had to change positions a lot and get out o the saddle more often to keep the temp up.


Big Mig and Ullrich were the first to make this style really, really silly.

What a STUPID an opinion. Without EPO, you "had" to get out of the saddle more? Oh really? Take the pig to the slaughterhouse. I'm hungry.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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I know common sense can only take you so far in science then you have to actually do some study but I cba so...

You use slightly different muscles out of the saddle right? But at the price that you are slightly less efficient hence the higher heart rate for the same speed.

So it seems you expend a little more energy but you might "save" the muscles a bit that you use while seated. So that's the hypothesis for testing.

In the lab subjects hold velocity v for time t, in one trial out of the saddle OS, and in the other sat in the saddle SS. Immediately after time t has expired subjects perform a regular maximal test MT (of your choosing, doesn't matter the test as long as it's applied to all subjects consistently and is a test of maximal aerobic capacity).

Is there a significant difference in MT after OS or SS? Either way (difference or not) this would provide evidence as to the efficacy of being out of the saddle in a race.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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cromagnon said:
Is there a significant difference in MT after OS or SS? Either way (difference or not) this would provide evidence as to the efficacy of being out of the saddle in a race.
it may do that. but then we are completely ignoring the mental aspect to a sport which is much, much more than pure physical ability.

it makes no difference which is more efficient if a rider percieves one style to be better or easier than another.

think about your own riding, are you able to sustain a higher effort riding solo, or when you are hanging on to a pack? i know the carrot keeps me motivated, therefore i'm 'able' to push harder.
 
Over the 39 years that I have been paying attention I think it has been a generally accepted thought that bigger riders are more comfortable climbing primarily sitting, while smaller lighter riders are more comfortable standing or alternating between standing and sitting.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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mherm79 said:
it makes no difference which is more efficient if a rider percieves one style to be better or easier than another.
Firstly I don't think I've ever seen someone disregard efficiency when discussing elite aerobic performance. It takes a Grade A moron to do that.

Secondly this theoretical study is not even testing efficiency. Did you actually read my post? Don't respond without first thinking - or whatever you do that passes for that verb.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Flat Tyred said:
[...]Would anyone consider this a sign of weakness or just his preferred style?[...]
The guy just won the TdF twice, the Vuelta a España and the Giro de Italia in less than 3 years.

What do YOU think?
 
Sep 1, 2009
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Correct Senor Contador. No doubt he is a great climber and rider.
Just curious if getting out of the seat could mean a rider is on the edge or if it is just a riding preferance.
It was also my understanding that you use slightly more energy while standing.

Thanks for the thoughtful input though.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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cromagnon said:
Firstly I don't think I've ever seen someone disregard efficiency when discussing elite aerobic performance. It takes a Grade A moron to do that..
discussion are heard, not seen. if you watch sport than you would have seen athletes disregard 'efficiency' in competition.

think Michael Johnson's non 'efficient' up right running style.

or the number of Pro's that ride TT's without HRM's and go purely on percieved effort.

point being that scientifical measures may provide the optimal parameters within a laboratory or controlled environment, but once in competition there are far too many variables which can not be controlled.

One of those is percieved effort. Competitive sport is more than just a set of scientifical numbers
 

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