Why are the riders faster this year ?

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Just a simple question:
Do you think that the average speed of the TdF is of any value indicating if the race is hard or not?

You seem to cope bad with me calling out bull... in your arguments. Just admit that and we'll move on. Now you're grasping to straws.
 
Reactions: DFA123
You seem to be confusing intensity and speed.
This was not the question that was asked and evidence about the perceived difficulty of the race compared with perceptions of previous years has been posted.
Well you got me confused. Is it about pure speed? Or about intensity? Or about speed up the hills?

If this discussion is simply about if riders are going faster in terms of average speed, there is no discussion as this is just a number (not a very interesting one though).
What I am sure about is that the intensity (normalized power) of this Tour was way higher than all previous Tours. I was pointing out that the average speed was not a good indicator at all to say anything about the intensity.
But as with intensity, I am pretty sure the average speed, if corrected for meters of vertical ascent, is also at an all-high level this year.
 
We have multiple data points and rider or staff comments showing climbing speeds and the overall level were much higher this year. It seems obvious. If one wanted to dispute this, they would have to bring extensive and compelling evidence which explained why the data and observations of those closest to the race are all wrong. No one has come close.

That people continue to try and defend points which have been wholly discredited is nothing new, but it does always beg the question “why”. It’s not like it’s hard to say “Yup, I was wrong on that one”.
 
Reactions: djpbaltimore
No, I think you were confused long before you entered this conversation.
I'm not confused. You are confused since the start of the topic. Opening post:
Well, I thought I'd ask this question in the clinic. I saw Bardet stating that this TDF is the highest level ever, and that they were breaking climbing records again and again. Why do you think that is ?
...
Your first response in this topic:
One question we could ask is whether we really are seeing a faster race than last year. Let's take the blunt instrument of average speed: ...
And that's were it all went down. You introduced average speed and the whole 7 pages of responses were blurred without something completely irrelevant.

You would be confused for less. Bardet talks about a harder race. You argue that the race isn't faster. You seem to confuse what Bardet, and everybody who acknowledges that the race is harder this year really meant.
 
Well you got me confused. Is it about pure speed? Or about intensity? Or about speed up the hills?

If this discussion is simply about if riders are going faster in terms of average speed, there is no discussion as this is just a number (not a very interesting one though).
What I am sure about is that the intensity (normalized power) of this Tour was way higher than all previous Tours. I was pointing out that the average speed was not a good indicator at all to say anything about the intensity.
But as with intensity, I am pretty sure the average speed, if corrected for meters of vertical ascent, is also at an all-high level this year.
Sorry, got caught up.

The initial discussion was about speed and that's generally what I've responded to I think, or have at least been clear where I've tried to tie things together. Maybe I wasn't.

The problem is things being conflated or people assuming one means the other (or posters mean both or either). I'm quite happy to say I don't know if the intensity (even NP is a blunt tool here) is higher or not but it could well be. The issue is intensity of effort is related to physiology of the rider. I can design two workouts that would result in similar average speeds, VAM, NP, etc. but would leave me feeling quite different at the end, depending on how I chose to splits the workload. After multiple workouts my fatigue levels can be quite different as this affects my recovery. The same happens over the course of a stage race and can be dictated by weather, parcours, race tactics and so on. I'd actually be really interested in this kind of analysis as it would indicate a shift in racing tactics based on who is dictating the day and opens up an discussion around whether other teams should involve themselves more in pace setting etc. if they think they can force a more beneficial racing style for their leader. I'm sure the difference is a lot more nuanced for pros than it is for Cat2/3 riders, but I'd also be very interested in that.

The discussions are then confounded by outside influences. Some riders will find some things harder than others. We've had climbing records broken but as you've noted, they're on climbs that haven't been ridden much (and I think not in important parts of many stages?), but we've also apparently seen a lot of soft pedalling early on where a lot of the additional vertical ascent was found this year. There will be a number of reasons for this no doubt, I would think a general nervousness from lack of racing and the weather being a big one, but all will have an influence on the perceived intensity from different riders and then there's the impact on their race level the lockdowns will have had.


Ideally a much more nuanced analysis, stage be stage of speeds, VAM, etc. and comparisons with previous tour stages would give a clearer picture, but that's a lot of work. I do remember seeing one riders power data for a couple of climbs and it was well within the range of probability, but I cannot for the life of me remember who it was (it certainly wasn't one of the leaders but I think it was a reasonable climber). Of course, rider power data would be excellent but that won't be coming anytime soon.


TL-DR: The OP was about speed and that's what I've tried to stick with, although as always online discussions get fragmented and getting your full position across, even in a number of posts, can be difficult. I think this is probably what FMK_RoI is getting at too, but I don't know.
 
Reactions: Volderke
I think this is probably what FMK_RoI is getting at too, but I don't know.
I spoke to the title of the thread. As I have also posted rider testimony about the perceived difficulty of the race this year I think it's pretty clear that I draw a distinction between speed and effort. You can go hard without being fast, you can be fast without going hard.

WRT @red_flanders : isn't it time you produced a table showing the climbing records broken, just so we're all clear on the specifics of the discussion and aren't just dealing in the usual vague and frequently confusing generalities favoured by so many herabouts?
 
You referenced the climbing records earlier in the thread, fmk-Rol. Are you now going to claim these specifics are in need of clarification? Add in the PdBF and that is the gist of it. I assume most people are aware of the blog that collects these comparisons if you are a poster in this sub-forum. Those figures are neither vague or confusing IMO.
 
Lmho! They're faster this year because.......

Wait for it....

They're STILL doping & finding ways around it. Remember, Wonderboy, (aka "The king of doping") "was tested 938 times & never 1 positive".
 
Lmho! They're faster this year because.......

Wait for it....

They're STILL doping & finding ways around it. Remember, Wonderboy, (aka "The king of doping") "was tested 938 times & never 1 positive".
Of course. There was a story a month or two back that out of competition testing was almost non existent due to Covid. But I also think the lack of racing this year means riders are fresher. So a combination of factors of which doping is one.
 
Of course. There was a story a month or two back that out of competition testing was almost non existent due to Covid. But I also think the lack of racing this year means riders are fresher. So a combination of factors of which doping is one.
If they are indeed faster (which they might have been on several occasions), its for sure not because riders are fresher. Hell, all 90% of the TdF GC candidates only use the races before July for building form. There is no way that this is an inferior approach. Because if it was, all riders that do not care about results in 1-week races or classics (which nowadays are actually plenty of GC rideres) would be super dumb doing them, when they could just sit and wait for the Tour and have a significant advatage over the competitors.

On the topic of speed: Hirschi did 2:45 yesterday on Mur de Huy:

2020:1 km@11,1%---2:45---average speed 21.82 km/h(Hirschi-Cosnefroy-Woods-Barguil-D.Martin-Kwiatkowski)
2019:1 km@11,1%---2:50---average speed 21.18 km/h(Alaphilippe-Fuglsang)
2018:1 km@11,1%---2:48---average speed 21.43 km/h(Julian Alaphilippe)
2017:1 km@11,1%---2:53---average speed 20.81 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)
2016:1 km@11,1%---2:52---average speed 20.93 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)
2015:1 km@11,1%---2:49---average speed 21.30 km/h(Rodriguez-Froome)
2015:1 km@11,1%---2:53---average speed 20.81 km/h((Valverde-Alaphilippe-Albasini-Rodriguez-Moreno)
2014:1 km@11,1%---2:41---average speed 22.36 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)-RECORD
2013:1 km@11,1%---2:48---average speed 21.43 km/h(Daniel Moreno)
2012:1 km@11,1%---3:00---average speed 20.00 km/h(Joaquim Rodriguez)
2011:1 km@11,1%---2:44---average speed 21.95 km/h(Philippe Gilbert)

On the faster side but no new record. Then again, Alaphilippe would probably have been faster and then there would have been a real threat to the two fastest times ever - Valverde 2:41 (2014) and Gilbert 2:44 (2011).
 
If they are indeed faster (which they might have been on several occasions), its for sure not because riders are fresher. Hell, all 90% of the TdF GC candidates only use the races before July for building form. There is no way that this is an inferior approach. Because if it was, all riders that do not care about results in 1-week races or classics (which nowadays are actually plenty of GC rideres) would be super dumb doing them, when they could just sit and wait for the Tour and have a significant advatage over the competitors.

On the topic of speed: Hirschi did 2:45 yesterday on Mur de Huy:

2020:1 km@11,1%---2:45---average speed 21.82 km/h(Hirschi-Cosnefroy-Woods-Barguil-D.Martin-Kwiatkowski)
2019:1 km@11,1%---2:50---average speed 21.18 km/h(Alaphilippe-Fuglsang)
2018:1 km@11,1%---2:48---average speed 21.43 km/h(Julian Alaphilippe)
2017:1 km@11,1%---2:53---average speed 20.81 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)
2016:1 km@11,1%---2:52---average speed 20.93 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)
2015:1 km@11,1%---2:49---average speed 21.30 km/h(Rodriguez-Froome)
2015:1 km@11,1%---2:53---average speed 20.81 km/h((Valverde-Alaphilippe-Albasini-Rodriguez-Moreno)
2014:1 km@11,1%---2:41---average speed 22.36 km/h(Alejandro Valverde)-RECORD
2013:1 km@11,1%---2:48---average speed 21.43 km/h(Daniel Moreno)
2012:1 km@11,1%---3:00---average speed 20.00 km/h(Joaquim Rodriguez)
2011:1 km@11,1%---2:44---average speed 21.95 km/h(Philippe Gilbert)

On the faster side but no new record. Then again, Alaphilippe would probably have been faster and then there would have been a real threat to the two fastest times ever - Valverde 2:41 (2014) and Gilbert 2:44 (2011).
I'd be a bit reticent to read too much into times over such a short climb. All it takes is a couple of seconds hesitation whilst they all look at each other and you probably turn a 2:45 into a 2:50. Not to mention the wind etc. as usual.
 
I spoke to the title of the thread. As I have also posted rider testimony about the perceived difficulty of the race this year I think it's pretty clear that I draw a distinction between speed and effort. You can go hard without being fast, you can be fast without going hard.

WRT @red_flanders : isn't it time you produced a table showing the climbing records broken, just so we're all clear on the specifics of the discussion and aren't just dealing in the usual vague and frequently confusing generalities favoured by so many herabouts?
All final climbs this Tour were ridden at record speed (ignoring the go slow over Lusette). Of course, it sounds more impressive than it is, given that most of them haven't been raced full gas before (Orcières-Merlette[only pre-EPO], Marie-Blanque, Peyrol, GC, Loze, Glières). So more genuine records would be PdBF and Peyresourde.
 

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