Remco Evenepoel

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But then what separates him from Pinot? Right now, I'd say it's that, first, he's more explosive.
Pinot is pretty explosive, whereas Remco can't sprint to save his life. However, it seems very obvious to me that his CdA is much lower than Pinot's, based on their heights alone.

about the same weight, maybe Pinot is slightly heavier
It's surprising to me that their listed weights are so close when Pinot is 4" taller. We have no way of verifying Remco's weight, but I suspect it's lower than listed.

This is the key to why larger riders are generally better TTers than climbers--power increases with mass, or the cube of body height, whereas surface area increases only with the square.
Although your conclusion is correct, I have to pick a nit here: power doesn't increase with mass. If it did, climbing wouldn't favor smaller (shorter) riders. Power clearly increases sublinearly with mass. And it's not as simple as "taller means better at time trialing", because most of the recent TT world champs are about 6' tall or just over. Even though it's easy to find humans who are substantially taller than that, none of them are very good at TTs.
 
Pinot is pretty explosive, whereas Remco can't sprint to save his life.
i wouldn't equate explosiveness exactly with sprinting ability. Explosiveness, as I understand it, is greater acceleration. Sprinters don't have to be explosive in that sense. That's why they have lead-out men. They have to be able to maintain a very high power/speed for a brief time, but they don't have to get up to that speed extremely quickly.

Although your conclusion is correct, I have to pick a nit here: power doesn't increase with mass. If it did, climbing wouldn't favor smaller (shorter) riders. Power clearly increases sublinearly with mass.
I didn't say that mass was the only factor. In the case of climbers, it's thought to be that their smaller mass means a greater surface/mass ratio not only externally--handicapping them in TT--but also internally. So relatively more interfaces in the lungs and capillaries that are critical to oxygen transport. More efficient heat loss may also help.

So power does increase with mass, but not linearly when taking into account internal surface, so I agree with your statement that it's a sublinear increase. That's actually a good way to put it.

And it's not as simple as "taller means better at time trialing", because most of the recent TT world champs are about 6' tall or just over. Even though it's easy to find humans who are substantially taller than that, none of them are very good at TTs.
Do we know that? How many really tall men have tried to be pro cyclists? Most unusually tall men are likely to be drawn to other sports, where height is a definite advantage. Maybe the problem with internal surface area becomes exacerbated, but I don't think we know for sure that TT ability tends to decrease beyond a certain height. It could be that they are so disadvantaged in climbing that their superiority would not be apparent except on very flat terrain, which of course is not something any racer can expect to find exclusively.
 
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i wouldn't equate explosiveness exactly with sprinting ability. Explosiveness, as I understand it, is greater acceleration. Sprinters don't have to be explosive in that sense. That's why they have lead-out men. They have to be able to maintain a very high power/speed for a brief time, but they don't have to get up to that speed extremely quickly.



I didn't say that mass was the only factor. In the case of climbers, it's thought to be that their smaller mass means a greater surface/mass ratio not only externally--handicapping them in TT--but also internally. So relatively more interfaces in the lungs and capillaries that are critical to oxygen transport. More efficient heat loss may also help.

So power does increase with mass, but not linearly when taking into account internal surface, so I agree with your statement that it's a sublinear increase. That's actually a good way to put it.



Do we know that? How many really tall men have tried to be pro cyclists? Most unusually tall men are likely to be drawn to other sports, where height is a definite advantage. Maybe the problem with internal surface area becomes exacerbated, but I don't think we know for sure that TT ability tends to decrease beyond a certain height. It could be that they are so disadvantaged in climbing that their superiority would not be apparent except on very flat terrain, which of course is not something any racer can expect to find exclusively.
Size will increase the distance between the heart, lungs and muscles, so not only would the heart have to pump more blood, it would also have to do so at a higher pressure to get oxygen to travel around at the same rate. Smaller riders are also handicapped by bike weight being not adjusted for rider weight.

I think in general we pay way too much attention to just height/weight and not to anthropometry, but then we don't really get data for that type of stuff as far as I know.
 
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Why, why, why do individuals who hide behind fake usernames, use these forums to defame athletes such as the young, highly talented Remco Evenepoel, by accusing him of taking performance enhancing drugs, when there are absolutely no evidence whatsoever. I'm not defending anybody, but using suspicion to satisfy your own curiosity, just because an athlete is sucessful is downright wrong and not in any way evidence of anything, it's just mere speculation and amounts only to defamation of ones character, which is illegal.

Fair enough, performance enhancing drugs are prevelant in sport worldwide. But in the real world, you just can't go around accusing people, when there are no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Apologies if that isn't digested very well, but it's an honest and factual statement. :)
 
Size will increase the distance between the heart, lungs and muscles, so not only would the heart have to pump more blood, it would also have to do so at a higher pressure to get oxygen to travel around at the same rate. Smaller riders are also handicapped by bike weight being not adjusted for rider weight.
The relationship between body size and blood pressure appears to be unsettled. We can say that larger people have larger, more powerful hearts, a larger volume of blood, and larger blood vessels. Using that cube law, the volume of their blood vessels will increase proportionally to their mass. So I wouldn't buy the notion that larger riders would necessarily be handicapped by CV factors.

Why, why, why do individuals who hide behind fake usernames, use these forums to defame athletes such as the young, highly talented Remco Evenepoel, by accusing him of taking performance enhancing drugs,
Has anyone said flat out that Remco is doping? Not that I'm aware of. One would have to be very naive and uninformed not to harbor a little suspicion.
 
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Why, why, why do individuals who hide behind fake usernames, use these forums to defame athletes such as the young, highly talented Remco Evenepoel, by accusing him of taking performance enhancing drugs, when there are absolutely no evidence whatsoever. I'm not defending anybody, but using suspicion to satisfy your own curiosity, just because an athlete is sucessful is downright wrong and not in any way evidence of anything, it's just mere speculation and amounts only to defamation of ones character, which is illegal.

Fair enough, performance enhancing drugs are prevelant in sport worldwide. But in the real world, you just can't go around accusing people, when there are no evidence of any wrongdoing.

Apologies if that isn't digested very well, but it's an honest and factual statement. :)
  • Because absence of evidence doesn't mean evidence of absence.
  • Because in cycling if things are unbelievable they generally are literally unbelievable
  • Because humans cheat in just about every aspect of life to win, thinking they wouldn't out of the kindness of their heart is magical thinking
  • Because basic statistics dictate that even a relatively small performance enhancing effect of PEDs would mean dopers are very disproportionately represented at the top.
The only counterargument is Lance Armstrongs "I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles"
 
The relationship between body size and blood pressure appears to be unsettled. We can say that larger people have larger, more powerful hearts, a larger volume of blood, and larger blood vessels. Using that cube law, the volume of their blood vessels will increase proportionally to their mass. So I wouldn't buy the notion that larger riders would necessarily be handicapped by CV factors.



Has anyone said flat out that Remco is doping? Not that I'm aware of. One would have to be very naive and uninformed not to harbor a little suspicion.
There's no differences in blood circulation times?

Anyway, one bias I'd see is simply that taller athletes are rarer in the total population. I also don't really know if heart size scales the same population wide as in elite endurance athletes.
 
i wouldn't equate explosiveness exactly with sprinting ability. Explosiveness, as I understand it, is greater acceleration. Sprinters don't have to be explosive in that sense. That's why they have lead-out men. They have to be able to maintain a very high power/speed for a brief time, but they don't have to get up to that speed extremely quickly.
I don't quite follow the logic here. Acceleration is a result of nothing but "very high power for a brief time". Every successful sprinter has a very high power to weight ratio over short periods of time. That's true for 1s, 5s, 10s, even up to a couple minutes (ref. sprinters like Cav having success in prologue TTs). If lead out men could increase their speed more quickly than their sprinter, they'd gap them out.

[...]so disadvantaged in climbing that their superiority would not be apparent except on very flat terrain, which of course is not something any racer can expect to find exclusively.
Well, the other big reason it sucks to be a super tall cyclist is that even in a flat mass start event, you're going to have a hell of a time dropping someone who's a foot shorter than you, and you'll basically never get a great draft. Still, Velodromes are pretty flat :) as are many countries, like Holland or Chicago. The UK has a thriving TT scene, and triathlon is popular in many places, with mostly flat courses. So I think there are plenty of opportunities to shine as a world-beating TTer who can't climb so very well. The UK, Australia, and perhaps other countries, pour money into their Olympic track program, in terms of training and equipment but also early-stage talent identification. I don't think taller world-beaters are falling through the cracks there.

Rowing in comparison does favor larger competitors. Every Olympic gold in the single scull since 1996 has gone to someone 6'4" or taller (I was too lazy to look up other disciplines). Lots of rowers switch to cycling or cross train in cycling. Hamish Bond is a famous example of a world class rower switching to cycling and failing to make an impact. So while exceptional aerobic ability is possible to find in larger athletes, somehow it doesn't translate to cycling, even on flat courses.
 
There's no differences in blood circulation times?

Anyway, one bias I'd see is simply that taller athletes are rarer in the total population. I also don't really know if heart size scales the same population wide as in elite endurance athletes.
A friend of mine, who is quite tall, said this to me: When we were younger, he started to grow pretty quickly, and during his teenage years his arms and legs became so long so fast that he did not know how to control them properly like he used to as a child. By the time he relearned it, he was out of the "scouting age" for most sports. Larger people just take longer to get comfortable with their body proportions. For someone like me (just a bit over 170cm) this sounded funny at first but then I thought about it. If your arms and legs are double their size from ages 12-14 you might actually have to start learning how to use them from scratch.
 
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A friend of mine, who is quite tall, said this to me: When we were younger, he started to grow pretty quickly, and during his teenage years his arms and legs became so long so fast that he did not know how to control them properly like he used to as a child. By the time he relearned it, he was out of the "scouting age" for most sports. Larger people just take longer to get comfortable with their body proportions. For someone like me (just a bit over 170cm) this sounded funny at first but then I thought about it. If your arms and legs are double their size from ages 12-14 you might actually have to start learning how to use them from scratch.
Hmm.

I wouldn't see how this would affect cycling in terms of coordination, but I guess it could be that taller riders perhaps peak a little later, or perhaps it should be phrased as the amount of years after they stopped growing or something.

I have occasionally wondered if Lionel Messi had benefitted from being so short early in his life.
 
A friend of mine, who is quite tall, said this to me: When we were younger, he started to grow pretty quickly, and during his teenage years his arms and legs became so long so fast that he did not know how to control them properly like he used to as a child. By the time he relearned it, he was out of the "scouting age" for most sports. Larger people just take longer to get comfortable with their body proportions. For someone like me (just a bit over 170cm) this sounded funny at first but then I thought about it. If your arms and legs are double their size from ages 12-14 you might actually have to start learning how to use them from scratch.
Ha, that's actually not really clinic-related, but in general I am very sure that being short and having short legs and arms really helps to feel comfortable and in control of your body, if you are a child. So if you are also kind of athletic in that age you will enjoy sports a lot, because you will be better than most others...
(Then growing fast is a big problem for some figure skaters for instance, I think. They really have to re-learn all their movements and adept their body control.)
Regarding cycling I can only see this as important in a general way: You feel more at ease with your body, therefor you might enjoy sports more. But as someone who's not exactly small for a woman and grew very fast as a child, I always found cycling one of the sports that I was good at because coordination of legs and arms is less important.

For football technique short legs are great, as a kid and as a grown up. For running fast over a longer distance of course not so much...
 
The only counterargument is Lance Armstrongs "I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles"
Which LA later amended to, "It's not cheating if everyone does it."

I don't quite follow the logic here. Acceleration is a result of nothing but "very high power for a brief time". Every successful sprinter has a very high power to weight ratio over short periods of time. That's true for 1s, 5s, 10s, even up to a couple minutes (ref. sprinters like Cav having success in prologue TTs). If lead out men could increase their speed more quickly than their sprinter, they'd gap them out.
I'd say no, it's rate of change of power. Acceleration in physics is defined not as a high velocity, but as a high rate of change in velocity. The same applies to power, even if there is some lag between power and speed.

Let's say a sprinter rides at 500 W near the end of a race, and ups it to 1000 W in the sprint. His leadout man gives him some time to make the change--maybe he goes from 500 to 1000 in two seconds, or 250 W per second. Let's say Remco goes from 400 to 600 W in half a second. His acceleration is 400 W per second, quite a bit higher.

Now those numbers are purely hypothetical, I have no idea what they really are or could be, but they illustrate the concept. And if Remco doesn't have an unusually high rate of acceleration, I don't know how else to explain his successful attacks. Once he gets clear, his TT ability will come into play, but he does have to get clear. Tactics could play into that, picking a moment when the peloton doesn't expect him to go, but surely they're starting to catch on now.

Rowing in comparison does favor larger competitors.
I believe rowers generally have the highest absolute V02 max values, i.e., oxygen intake not related to weight. You wouldn't expect them to be successful cyclists, because they have highly developed arms and upper bodies, which of course are virtually a total waste, dead weight, for a cyclist.
 
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I don’t think Remco has any particularly notable acceleration or explosiveness, I think on the contrary it’s (relatively) a weakness. What he does have is the ability to produce a lot of power, and a lot of power for his weight, and he can do it when others are tired, at the end of stages.

He simply makes people give up.
 
I don't quite follow the logic here. Acceleration is a result of nothing but "very high power for a brief time". Every successful sprinter has a very high power to weight ratio over short periods of time. That's true for 1s, 5s, 10s, even up to a couple minutes (ref. sprinters like Cav having success in prologue TTs). If lead out men could increase their speed more quickly than their sprinter, they'd gap them out.
This isn't scientific, as I'm no expert when it comes to power outputs, but I've watched the sport for 30 years and know the sport well enough to explain in common terms.

Many great sprinters have been diesels. They require a leadout at a high speed to kick into high gear like Petacchi or Cipollini. Others like Robbie McEwen or Peter Sagan relied on their kick to win sprints and didn't have to rely on a leadout train.

Climbing wise look at Contador, Pantani, and Delgado. Lethal acceleration and terrible sprint.
 
I'd say no, it's rate of change of power. Acceleration in physics is defined not as a high velocity, but as a high rate of change in velocity. The same applies to power, even if there is some lag between power and speed.
Power influences the slope (derivative) of velocity (aka acceleration). Slope (derivative) of power would correlate to the derivative of the derivative of velocity, also known as "jerk". I don't think you need to go that deep to explain sprinting. What you're describing would be a human who can't reach maximal force during pedal strokes 1, 2, 3, etc., but on the 10th pedal stroke they're finally able to exert maximum force. If this were the case, you'd see power lifters who had to do 9 reps of lower weight immediately before they attempted their 1R max.

You wouldn't expect them to be successful cyclists, because they have highly developed arms and upper bodies, which of course are virtually a total waste, dead weight, for a cyclist.
On a flat course that dead weight has little (not zero but little) impact. Definitely not enough difference to obscure the fact that this could be a world champion cyclist. Besides, muscles go away if you stop using em. A shorter rower such as Drake Deuel (make a note of that name, you'll hear it again) has no problem making the transition.

I believe rowers generally have the highest absolute V02 max values, i.e., oxygen intake not related to weight.
Which is my point. They produce the most power. Yet somehow, even though their CdA would not increase linearly with weight but at some lower factor, they still can't compete with 6 foot nothing Rohan Dennis.
 
I don’t think Remco has any particularly notable acceleration or explosiveness, I think on the contrary it’s (relatively) a weakness. What he does have is the ability to produce a lot of power, and a lot of power for his weight, and he can do it when others are tired, at the end of stages.

He simply makes people give up.
People can argue all day that Remco isn't explosive, doesn't have great acceleration...fine. Then please explain how he rides away from the peloton. It isn't his TTng, because Dennis doesn't do it, Dumo doesn't or hasn't done it. Cance did it sometimes, but not as often or as easily as Remco does it. And I don't buy that it's because competing riders, protected all day, are tired.

I have no preset position in this, if someone wants to produce numbers showing Remco has weak acceleration, I'll buy that. But I'm still waiting for a plausible alternative explanation for how he escapes.

What you're describing would be a human who can't reach maximal force during pedal strokes 1, 2, 3, etc., but on the 10th pedal stroke they're finally able to exert maximum force. If this were the case, you'd see power lifters who had to do 9 reps of lower weight immediately before they attempted their 1R max.
I think that is the case for sprinters, that it takes several pedal strokes to get to full power. As for power lifters, they don't come cold into the competition, and immediately aim for a world record weight. They work up to it, which helps. For the rest, I think the sport does select for explosiveness. I'm not very familiar with it, but I imagine some lifters have an advantage over others who may be just as strong but not as explosive. It may also be something that can be improved with training, in which case one would train for it. Whereas sprinters frequently don't need it.

On a flat course that dead weight has little (not zero but little) impact. Definitely not enough difference to obscure the fact that this could be a world champion cyclist.
But again, has any taller guy actually tried? Maybe some guy occasionally puts out really good numbers, but as soon as he starts training, he's confronted with less than flat terrain, and his advantage starts to dwindle. I don't know, but it's pretty hard to prove a negative, unless there have been studies comparing different sized riders, controlling for V02max.
 
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People can argue all day that Remco isn't explosive, doesn't have great acceleration...fine. Then please explain how he rides away from the peloton. It isn't his TTng, because Dennis doesn't do it, Dumo doesn't or hasn't done it. Cance did it sometimes, but not as often or as easily as Remco does it. And I don't buy that it's because competing riders, protected all day, are tired.
You’re of course welcome not to buy my explanation, but it doesn’t make much sense to ask for an explanation in response to someone offering an explanation.

I’m not saying he has no explosiveness, I’m just not of the opinion it’s a strength of his, it’s a relative weakness. . He’s explosive enough to get away, but the real talent, his superpower even, is to maintain that high level of power after the initial attack.

Usually guys get brought back, he just extends the gap. Poland was a perfect example.
 
I think we're making way too much the importance of explosiveness in riding away in a situation where he's less tired than the other guys and where his own wheel offers less shelter. It's probably a bit of tactical hesitation and the window where you can close the gap and it being too late is really short.

I think a big difference between Cance and Evenepoel is that Evenepoel probably has less power output just sitting in the bunch than his direct competitors, and that Cance's opponents are probably much more used to racing flats hard.

As for the height thing. Height could be a benefit, but the talent pool gets significantly less deep the taller you go, and size is detrimental when riding in the peloton cause you get less drag from the guys in front of you.

The most puzzling thing for me is why guys like Dumoulin or Roglic, or Froome great TTers and more proven climbers in their own right, haven't chugged out any similar solo's on hilly terrain.
 
I think the other factor is his huge willingness just to go for it and commit to an attack. He has basically nothing to lose in the races in which he's done it, he goes for it, keeps going for it, and doesn't spend a lot of time worrying that someone comes to help him, or who is sitting on his wheel. How many times have we seen Cancellara or another rider getting frustrated and whining about someone sitting in their wheel? Remco gives no F's, he just hammers until the wheel-suckers have dropped. It seems to me this is borne from his easy victories in the junior ranks and his generally aggressive and mindset. He figures he's going to drop folks at some point. He's had a ton of success attacking and commits to it like others don't.

How this plays out in a big race, a goal race that he cares about will be really interesting. Will he commit to a huge attack from far out, or will he be more cautious and tactical like more experienced riders. We may know more after this weekend.
 
People can argue all day that Remco isn't explosive, doesn't have great acceleration...fine. Then please explain how he rides away from the peloton. It isn't his TTng, because Dennis doesn't do it, Dumo doesn't or hasn't done it. Cance did it sometimes, but not as often or as easily as Remco does it. And I don't buy that it's because competing riders, protected all day, are tired.

I have no preset position in this, if someone wants to produce numbers showing Remco has weak acceleration, I'll buy that. But I'm still waiting for a plausible alternative explanation for how he escapes.



I think that is the case for sprinters, that it takes several pedal strokes to get to full power. As for power lifters, they don't come cold into the competition, and immediately aim for a world record weight. They work up to it, which helps. For the rest, I think the sport does select for explosiveness. I'm not very familiar with it, but I imagine some lifters have an advantage over others who may be just as strong but not as explosive. It may also be something that can be improved with training, in which case one would train for it. Whereas sprinters frequently don't need it.



But again, has any taller guy actually tried? Maybe some guy occasionally puts out really good numbers, but as soon as he starts training, he's confronted with less than flat terrain, and his advantage starts to dwindle. I don't know, but it's pretty hard to prove a negative, unless there have been studies comparing different sized riders, controlling for V02max.

He rides away because he's able to ride a higher pace than others for a longer time. Cyclists have limitations on how long they can run at certain rates. Sprinters can put out crazy power but for a limited time.

Remco has greater stamina than everyone else.

His ride in Tour De Pologne was about holding a level that was just above what everyone else could hold. Another way to look at is to say that Remco is less taxed than others at certain watts between a particular range.

Remember in that in stage 3 of TDP he was able to stay in the front group but when it came to to the final sprint climb he looked like he was going backwards.

That's what it means by lack of acceleration and explosiveness.

Again if you look at Burgos Sosa exploded away from him in the last climbing stage. In prior climing stage he just rode at a pace that no one could ride at for a long period of time.

That's how Remco wins he can ride at X speed for 30 minutes where everyone can only ride a X-1 for 30 minutes. He also has a slower "decay" over time. So is pace also falls off much more slowly than everyone else. That's why his win at TDP went from about a 1 minute to nearly two. He lost less and his competition fell off dramatically.

It also the reason I think GTs will actually favor Remco because he'll be able to grind down his opposition over the course of a race because he expends less energy than other riders.
 
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He rides away because he's able to ride a higher pace than others for a longer time. Cyclists have limitations on how long they can run at certain rates...That's how Remco wins he can ride at X speed for 30 minutes where everyone can only ride a X-1 for 30 minutes.
But unless Remco has teammates who are pushing it at the front, riders don't get exhausted riding in the peloton. They're taking it easy for much of the time.

And suppose at some point the pace is lifted, so the speed is X-1. This still doesn't exhaust everyone in the peloton. If it did, how would the riders in the front, who have to put out much more power, manage to maintain that pace? If a handful of leading riders can manage a certain pace for thirty minutes, the ones following them can't be as exhausted. That's why riders taking a pull drop away eventually--because they can't maintain a pace that everyone else can.

You could argue, OK, the other riders aren't totally exhausted, but they aren't strong enough to maintain a higher pace. Suppose Remco starts riding at X + 1, and the other riders can't long maintain a speed faster than X, even drafting behind him. But if Remco can ride at a speed that others can't maintain behind him, you can be sure that speed is very temporary. The drafting advantage is too great to allow him to ride consistently at that speed. IOW, Remco has to have the acceleration that allows him to get away before anyone can get behind him.

What you say could apply to a relatively small group, where either everyone has to work equally hard, or the ones in front are much stronger than those behind them, but there's nothing unusual about riders breaking away in this situation. Remco is more or less unique in that he can escape much larger numbers of riders. If he can do it, why can't other great TTers do it?
 
But unless Remco has teammates who are pushing it at the front, riders don't get exhausted riding in the peloton. They're taking it easy for much of the time.

And suppose at some point the pace is lifted, so the speed is X-1. This still doesn't exhaust everyone in the peloton. If it did, how would the riders in the front, who have to put out much more power, manage to maintain that pace? If a handful of leading riders can manage a certain pace for thirty minutes, the ones following them can't be as exhausted. That's why riders taking a pull drop away eventually--because they can't maintain a pace that everyone else can.

You could argue, OK, the other riders aren't totally exhausted, but they aren't strong enough to maintain a higher pace. Suppose Remco starts riding at X + 1, and the other riders can't long maintain a speed faster than X, even drafting behind him. But if Remco can ride at a speed that others can't maintain behind him, you can be sure that speed is very temporary. The drafting advantage is too great to allow him to ride consistently at that speed. IOW, Remco has to have the acceleration that allows him to get away before anyone can get behind him.

What you say could apply to a relatively small group, where either everyone has to work equally hard, or the ones in front are much stronger than those behind them, but there's nothing unusual about riders breaking away in this situation. Remco is more or less unique in that he can escape much larger numbers of riders. If he can do it, why can't other great TTers do it?

It’s not really acceleration. He’s able to push a consistent speed for a longer threshold and it takes less energy from him.

Most of his attacks are simply pushing a pace that others cannot follow, which typically neutralizes their burst accelerations. If you are at the limit you cannot accelerate. Remco looks for situations where the other riders are at the limit and pushes 5%-10% beyond that limit because of his freakish physiology and mental strength that affords him the opportunity.

Most every rider has said that they cannot stay on his wheel. It ends up being a case where he can push harder for longer than anyone else in the world.

He just keeps increasing the speed and eventually everyone else falls over because they can’t follow.

The difference is many riders in the past could launch explosive attacks to distance themselves and they could ride away because they broke their opponent and they were near the top in terms of stamina.

In Remco’s case he just keeps turning the screw until people pop.
 
What you say could apply to a relatively small group, where either everyone has to work equally hard, or the ones in front are much stronger than those behind them, but there's nothing unusual about riders breaking away in this situation. Remco is more or less unique in that he can escape much larger numbers of riders. If he can do it, why can't other great TTers do it?
This has been addressed a few times in the last several posts. He's simple more willing and more able to maintain a high output for a long time with his attacks than others typically are. He's also not been racing at the very highest level.
 

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