Climbing Speeds

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Dec 13, 2012
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Wallace and Gromit said:
Ironic that the fastest ever speed was in 1998, when the Tour was being raided by the Gendarmes on a regular basis!

Does anyone have the 1981 or 1982 average speed? I recall that for one of these years, the average speed was ~39kph, which really makes analysis of the 1980s difficult.

Worthy of note though is that the average speed increased slightly more from 1983 to 1990 than it did during the subsequent years when EPO use went from experimental (1991) to universal (1995/96).

What were they doing in 1994?
2005 was fastest ever Armstrongs last year. http://bikeraceinfo.com/tdf/tdfstats.html

Wikipedia isn't correct.
 
Dec 13, 2012
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The Hitch said:
The op has started a legitimate and interesting discussion about climbing speeds. The only link to sky was the perfectly valid comment that sky point to lower speeds meaning cleanliness.

Must you come in to any post someone who doesn't trust sky makes with this "show me.the evidence" line. Its getting tiring already. Sometimes the discussions are not about the evidence.

Like this thread.




Average speeds are.too.reliant.on whether the peloton chases a break or.lets them take the stage by 15 minutes on transition stages. Thy are not the best way to calculate performance.
That said sky did do most of the work in that tour so.it may be something worth keeping in mind.

Btw.what was nibalis average speed? wouldn't it be quite similar to wiggins in which case showing again that average.speeds are not the best way to do.this.
Nibalis avg speed was 39.77 Kmh.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
One has to take things with a pinch of salt, for the reasons you state, but there's not a huge variation from one year to the next in tactics, weather, route etc. So when one can observe with one's own stopwatch that the ascent of Alpe D'Huez in 2011 took the top guys 3-4 minutes longer (*), when they were racing seriously (**) than during the EPO years, one would be unwise to ignore the information.

(*) EPO years ascent times: 37:30 to 38:30 approx. In 2011, Rolland was fastest (~41 minutes) with Evans and the Schlecks ~42 minutes. Berto and SS were somewhere in between. For reference, the 2011 times are on a par with the fastest achieved in the late 1980s, though there are more riders in that range now than there was then.

(**) as evidenced by the state Contador (pedalling squares) and Franck S (slumped against barriers) at the end of the stage.

It should be noted that the 2011 ADH stages was unusual, being both short (110k) and subject to Berto's attack with 100k to go. These factors would work in opposite directions on the final climb speed, one would think. Short stage = good; fast early pace = bad.
Alpe 2011 was not.raced seriously by the top guys. Thomas de gendt and peter velits finished in the same group.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
Ironic that the fastest ever speed was in 1998, when the Tour was being raided by the Gendarmes on a regular basis!
....
Also there were 96 finishers that year when many teams pulled out. It's hard to get useful data from average overall speeds.
 
Dec 13, 2012
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The Hitch said:
So riders who finish as much as 6 minutes.down still have a very similar average speed. I don't think average speeds of entire tours have any value.
Well between 1990 - 2000 (including those years) 2012 was faster than all but two of those years - 98 & 99. 2012 was also faster than 2007/10/ & 11.
 
Dec 13, 2012
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Fatclimber said:
Also there were 96 finishers that year when many teams pulled out. It's hard to get useful data from average overall speeds.
It wasn't though it was nowhere near the fastest year! 2005 was fastest - strangely enough the year that every rider on USPS was doing multiple BBs.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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The Hitch said:
Alpe 2011 was not.raced seriously by the top guys. Thomas de gendt and peter velits finished in the same group.
I'm sure the Schlecks were soft-pedalling, knowing that Andy had more than enough of an advantage to hold off Evans in the next day's TT.

De Gendt did a good Giro in 2012, if memory serves, so he's not a bad climber.

Also note that the main contenders really had toasted themselves on the Galibier stage the day before whilst Vellits and De Gendt had been 18 minutes down and so would be relatively fresher for the ADH stage.

Putting aside a convenient go-slow by Evans and the Schlecks (*), Rolland, Sanchez and Berto were most definitely racing up the Alpe that day, and they all came home in the 41:00 to 41:30 range.

(*) You should scour YouTube and see if you can find footage of Franck at the end of the stage. He was metaphorically on his knees. I watched the stage live and particularly remember this, as I've always had him down as being a bit soft in the head, but remember vividly thinking at the time that no-one would be able to accuse him of slacking that day.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Ideally we'd be able to build up some kind of database with average speeds, distance before the final climb, amount of climbing before the final climb, gradient and distance of final climb, etc. But that's an awful lot of data.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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The Hitch said:
So riders who finish as much as 6 minutes.down still have a very similar average speed. I don't think average speeds of entire tours have any value.
They essentially show you how fast the peloton as a whole were going on the flat. Bernie Eisel will have had more influence on Wiggins' average speed over a whole Tour than Wiggins himself.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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Fatclimber said:
Also there were 96 finishers that year when many teams pulled out. It's hard to get useful data from average overall speeds.
I thought the quoted speeds were the winner's average speed, which wouldn't be affected much by the loss of half the field.
 
Dec 13, 2012
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Caruut said:
They essentially show you how fast the peloton as a whole were going on the flat. Bernie Eisel will have had more influence on Wiggins' average speed over a whole Tour than Wiggins himself.
So its not the final climbs and TTs where riders lose many many minutes that have more of an impact.
 
Apr 20, 2012
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Bet they were all climbing around the Holy Grail watts per kilo.

The Ivan Basso quote on Porte was a matter of nuff said. Note, Porte came on front on the last climbs of the day.

Average speeds say something, but not on climbing speeds.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
I thought the quoted speeds were the winner's average speed, which wouldn't be affected much by the loss of half the field.
Smaller field = less riders available to work on the front. Yes, of course it's the winners time used for the calculations but it's not like they spend any time at the front other than the last climbs of the day and TT's.
 
Dec 13, 2012
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Fearless Greg Lemond said:
Bet they were all climbing around the Holy Grail watts per kilo.

The Ivan Basso quote on Porte was a matter of nuff said. Note, Porte came on front on the last climbs of the day.

Average speeds say something, but not on climbing speeds.
what was the Basso quote? thanks.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
What were they doing in 1994?
I remember 1994 as one of the hardest parcours the Tour ever had.

Pyrenees:
1 stage: Hautacam (mountaintop)
2 stage: Peyressourde - Aspin - Tourmalet - Luz Ardiden (mountaintop)

Provence:
Ventoux

Alps:
1 stage: Alp dHuez (mountaintop)
2 stage: Glandon - Madeleine - Val Thorens (mountaintop)
3 stage: Saises - Croix Fry - Colombiere
4 stage: Avoriaz (mountaintop) (time trial)

I think a HC-climb costs around 24 minutes (+3 as mountaintop) (need 42 minutes instead of 16 minutes for 13 km, gain 3 minutes in the descent)
1 cat around 12 minutes (+3 as mountaintop)
2 cat around 6 (+2 as mountaintop)

so for a Grand Tour a HC makes a difference of around 0.18 km/h (0.2 km/h as mountaintop)
1 cat 0.1 km/h (0.11 km/h)
2 cat 0.05 km/h

Of course these values are really questionable, but they gave an idea of how important the parcours is.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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Cannavaro said:
I remember 1994 as one of the hardest parcours the Tour ever had.

Pyrenees:
1 stage: Hautacam (mountaintop)
2 stage: Peyressourde - Aspin - Tourmalet - Luz Ardiden (mountaintop)

Provence:
Ventoux

Alps:
1 stage: Alp dHuez (mountaintop)
2 stage: Glandon - Madeleine - Val Thorens (mountaintop)
3 stage: Saises - Croix Fry - Colombiere
4 stage: Avoriaz (mountaintop) (time trial)

I think a HC-climb costs around 24 minutes (+3 as mountaintop) (need 42 minutes instead of 16 minutes for 13 km, gain 3 minutes in the descent)
1 cat around 12 minutes (+3 as mountaintop)
2 cat around 6 (+2 as mountaintop)

so for a Grand Tour a HC makes a difference of around 0.18 km/h (0.2 km/h as mountaintop)
1 cat 0.1 km/h (0.11 km/h)
2 cat 0.05 km/h

Of course these values are really questionable, but they gave an idea of how important the parcours is.
Thanks. Interesting stuff. A crafty surf on YouTube of Pantani, Mig and LeBlanc going up Hautacam certainly suggests that the low speed that year wasn't due to everyone behaving themselves! The look on Pantani's face as Mig went past simply said "That's unbelievable", and he knew a thing or two about unbelievability!
 
Oct 30, 2011
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SundayRider said:
So its not the final climbs and TTs where riders lose many many minutes that have more of an impact.
Not on the average speed of the winner, no. On the placings between riders, yes of course the final climbs and TTs count. On the average speed of the winner, from year-to-year, the pace set by the bunch has a far greater effect.

Take the 2012 Tour, from the top to the bottom we have;
1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 87:34:47 (87.5797 hours)
153. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Saur-Sojasun, at 3:57:36 (91.5397 hours)

Now the race was, 3,496.9km meaning that while Wiggins' average speed was 39.93km/h, Engoulvent had an average of 38.20km/h. If you look upthread you can see that Engoulvent raced it faster than the winners 1983 to 1989. The vast majority of the Tour is raced as a peloton - the speed set by the pacemaking teams on the flat has a much bigger effect on the overall time of the winner than times up climbs.

To look at another example, let's take the stage 9 ITT;
1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 51:24
178. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Saur-Sojasun, at 11:10

Neatly, Wiggins and Engoulvent bookend the stage as they did the overall. The difference between the two on this stage is, as we can see, just 11:10 - over the 3,496.9km. Had Wiggins finished at the same time as poor Jimmy, his average speed would have been 39.84km/h, just 0.085km/h slower than it was. While this would have been enough to lose the Tour to Froome, it does not constitute a major difference in the average speed.
 
Caruut said:
Not on the average speed of the winner, no. On the placings between riders, yes of course the final climbs and TTs count. On the average speed of the winner, from year-to-year, the pace set by the bunch has a far greater effect.

Take the 2012 Tour, from the top to the bottom we have;
1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 87:34:47 (87.5797 hours)
153. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Saur-Sojasun, at 3:57:36 (91.5397 hours)

Now the race was, 3,496.9km meaning that while Wiggins' average speed was 39.93km/h, Engoulvent had an average of 38.20km/h. The vast majority of the Tour is raced as a peloton - the speed set by the pacemaking teams on the flat has a much bigger effect on the overall time of the winner than times up climbs.

To look at another example, let's take the stage 9 ITT;
1. Bradley WIGGINS, Sky, in 51:24
178. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Saur-Sojasun, at 11:10

Neatly, Wiggins and Engoulvent bookend the stage as they did the overall. The difference between the two on this stage is, as we can see, just 11:10 - over the 3,496.9km. Had Wiggins finished at the same time as poor Jimmy, his average speed would have been just 0.085km/h slower than it was - enough to lose the Tour to Froome, but not a major difference in the average speed.
This deserves a sticky as it clearly describes the why using average speed and aggregating stages to derive something meaningful about the TdF is not useful.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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DirtyWorks said:
This deserves a sticky as it clearly describes the why using average speed and aggregating stages to derive something meaningful about the TdF is not useful.
Not useful to determine anything about the winner. You can make some conclusions about the bunch (or more accurately the roleurs on the top teams) and the route, however.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
I'm sure the Schlecks were soft-pedalling, knowing that Andy had more than enough of an advantage to hold off Evans in the next day's TT.
Andy did think he had enough time. He said so himself. He also would be absolutely knackered from 1 a 60k break the day before and 2 spending half the day in a 2 man break with Contador earlier in the stage,

And the Schlecks spent most of Alpe arguing with Evans trying to get him to take pulls.
De Gendt did a good Giro in 2012, if memory serves, so he's not a bad climber.
He lost time on almost every mountain stage and got the podium through tactics and balls, not by being the best climber.

Also note that the main contenders really had toasted themselves on the Galibier stage the day before whilst Vellits and De Gendt had been 18 minutes down and so would be relatively fresher for the ADH stage.

Putting aside a convenient go-slow by Evans and the Schlecks (*), Rolland, Sanchez and Berto were most definitely racing up the Alpe that day, and they all came home in the 41:00 to 41:30 range.
Contador attacked 100km out on that stage. He also cracked the day before, had a knee injury and was toast from the giro. I would say Contador doing 42 on those conditions makes one wonder how much faster he could go.
(*) You should scour YouTube and see if you can find footage of Franck at the end of the stage. He was metaphorically on his knees. I watched the stage live and particularly remember this, as I've always had him down as being a bit soft in the head, but remember vividly thinking at the time that no-one would be able to accuse him of slacking that day
Frank Schleck was never one of the great climbers.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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The Hitch said:
Andy ...would be absolutely knackered from 1 a 60k break the day before and 2 spending half the day in a 2 man break with Contador earlier in the stage
Indeed, but cumulative fatigue is one of the things that blood-doping/EPO is so effective against. The fact he appears to have folded like a limp dishcloth is telling.

Doubtless Schleck A could have gone faster with a better distribution of effort over the two days, but it wouldn't have got him anywhere close to EPO / blood-doping era speeds. He'd need to be ~8% faster to be matching such performances, and I don't think your factors would aggregate to anywhere close to this.

And Schleck the Younger is widely regarded as a stellar talent in the mountains, even if his bro is a bit a damp squib.
 
Caruut said:
Ideally we'd be able to build up some kind of database with average speeds, distance before the final climb, amount of climbing before the final climb, gradient and distance of final climb, etc. But that's an awful lot of data.
I am working on something like that. You can find here http://tour-manager.freehostia.com/climbingtimes.htm a good database for historic climbing times. Unfortunatetly the site is userunfriendly because of my lack of programming skills und time. But it should be useful. You can search for riders (family name) and climbs.
I advise everybody not to add climbing times himrself, since it is complicated. I will improve this in the future.
 

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