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Rider Type...

Mar 18, 2009
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Here is an interesting question I have...someone in another thread mentioned, quite correctly, the size issue when comparing riders that win Liege or Roubaix. Bigger rider making it over the climbs and a small rider lacking the power on the cobbles. Who are the smaller riders who have won in Flanders and PR? Kelly was not a real big guy? I remember when I raced in the Netherlands and Belgium in the late 80's there was this Austrailian guy...he was about my size 170 cm tall and 60 kg. He finished 4th I think in the amateur Paris Roubaix. He could really motor and the harder the race the better he did. I wish I could remember his name...I did train with him quite a bit. Anyway, just curious as to any smaller statured riders who can and do excell in early April!!
 
TRDean said:
Here is an interesting question I have...someone in another thread mentioned, quite correctly, the size issue when comparing riders that win Liege or Roubaix. Bigger rider making it over the climbs and a small rider lacking the power on the cobbles. Who are the smaller riders who have won in Flanders and PR? Kelly was not a real big guy? I remember when I raced in the Netherlands and Belgium in the late 80's there was this Austrailian guy...he was about my size 170 cm tall and 60 kg. He finished 4th I think in the amateur Paris Roubaix. He could really motor and the harder the race the better he did. I wish I could remember his name...I did train with him quite a bit. Anyway, just curious as to any smaller statured riders who can and do excell in early April!!

Alessandro Ballan won Flanders and he does not fall in the category of "big" cyclist- rather very tall and skinny.
 
Michele Bartoli won the Ronde in 1996, although not quite the typical cobble conqueror. He was build more like a climber (his Wikipedia suggests 179 cm/65 kg), but he sure could push the bike up those cobbled roads. Rolf Sørensen (won the 1997 race) wasn't a huge guy either, though no ligthweight Jose Rujano type.

Paris-Roubaix is a different beast. Bernard Hinault definitely sticks out from the usual winners, but he's - after all - Bernard Hinault. He doesn't count, being the monster he is/was.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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mortand said:
Michele Bartoli won the Ronde in 1996, although not quite the typical cobble conqueror. He was build more like a climber (his Wikipedia suggests 179 cm/65 kg), but he sure could push the bike up those cobbled roads. Rolf Sørensen (won the 1997 race) wasn't a huge guy either, though no ligthweight Jose Rujano type.

Paris-Roubaix is a different beast. Bernard Hinault definitely sticks out from the usual winners, but he's - after all - Bernard Hinault. He doesn't count, being the monster he is/was.

Good info there..I had thought of Hinault...but he wasn't really small by comparison..and yes a beast he was!!
 
Exactly. Hinault was more...compact, in lack of better words. Small, height wise, but definitely not skinny. The same goes for Stuart O'Grady. Although they weren't (aren't) these monstrous Magnus Bäckstedt types, they probably fit a race like Paris-Roubaix due to sheer punch and power.
 
Nov 24, 2009
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hfer07 said:
Alessandro Ballan won Flanders and he does not fall in the category of "big" cyclist- rather very tall and skinny.

ok but, 6'3 (190cm) and 72+kgs is not small by any stretch of the imagination, esp considering cyclists
 
Mar 18, 2009
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dgodave said:
Is it just a power issue, or does more weight actually help you stick to the cobbles better?
.

A combination of both...more raw wattage...and not bouncing around quite as much. Also, sitting on the steep cobbled climbs in Flanders having that raw power is definitely a benefit.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Big GMaC said:
ok but, 6'3 (190cm) and 72+kgs is not small by any stretch of the imagination, esp considering cyclists

Ballan is also a outlier to me. I think he does well in cobbled races when the weather is dry...but add cold and rain...I don't think he stacks up. Which is also why bigger riders do well...insulation from the elements.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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TRDean said:
A combination of both...more raw wattage...and not bouncing around quite as much. Also, sitting on the steep cobbled climbs in Flanders having that raw power is definitely a benefit.

More raw wattage, so they can slog bigger gears easier to keep the back wheel from bouncing around too much.
 
Mar 17, 2010
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mortand said:
Exactly. Hinault was more...compact, in lack of better words. Small, height wise, but definitely not skinny. The same goes for Stuart O'Grady. Although they weren't (aren't) these monstrous Magnus Bäckstedt types, they probably fit a race like Paris-Roubaix due to sheer punch and power.

The power Hinault had in his Roubaix sprint win was simply amazing...rode to the front on the velodrome and stayed there until the finish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvAdfqo43s0
 
In Cycle Sport last year they had an article on Arenburg where they mentioned that the power outputs required for each sector were comparable to a 4k individual pursuit. A rider needs to be able to put out these numbers and most smaller riders cannot reach these numbers. Plus in Roubaix, as opposed to De Ronde, the course is for the most part flat, which so the power to weight ratio wouldn't be nearly as important as putting out the necessary power.
 
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Big GMaC said:
ok but, 6'3 (190cm) and 72+kgs is not small by any stretch of the imagination, esp considering cyclists

Your signature is HILARIOUS! N1
 
Mar 18, 2009
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TRDean said:
Ballan is also a outlier to me. I think he does well in cobbled races when the weather is dry...but add cold and rain...I don't think he stacks up. Which is also why bigger riders do well...insulation from the elements.

On the other hand, he did win a Vuelta mountain stage and take the GC lead in awful weather
 
Jun 19, 2009
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TRDean said:
A combination of both...more raw wattage...and not bouncing around quite as much. Also, sitting on the steep cobbled climbs in Flanders having that raw power is definitely a benefit.

That and having the power to turn a relatively larger gear than normal on climbs. Cadence on cobbles is important, especially for lighter riders.
 
Jul 26, 2009
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Fignon........he was great on the cobbles, the last real tour champion that was a true threat in april.......and well i just like him..:D

he really had the power and he was not a huge man by any stretch
 

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