Why do pro cyclists have 'peaks' in form?

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Asero831 said:
What is the difference between peaks in boxing, cycling, basketball/football and tennis?
We have seen Federer and Nadal dominate tennis from Australian Open until October.
How about Lebron James, truly he is in peak form from November to June. Messi seems to be on form everytime
Do they need to do it for 21 days in a row at times? No. Klitschko had 69 matches in 21 years for example. Cyclists do about 90 race days per year. And that is without counting cross or track in winter.
 
You can't compare an endurance sport like cycling to a sport like basketball where players don't even play the full game. All players get breaks for varying lengths during the game. Also there are TV time outs, team time outs, breaks between quarters, and the longer half-time break.
Also you only get a few back to back games during the season. The NHL has more back to back games during the season for teams than the NBA has and in the NHL goalies almost never play in back to back games.
 
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Asero831 said:
What is the difference between peaks in boxing, cycling, basketball/football and tennis?
We have seen Federer and Nadal dominate tennis from Australian Open until October.
How about Lebron James, truly he is in peak form from November to June. Messi seems to be on form everytime
Peaks in cycling are aerobic performance variations. In those other sports, aerobic performance is only a (significant but) small portion of what constitutes overall performance.
 
Mar 22, 2011
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Skill - Skill is important for table tennis or football etc. A good skill could cover bad form.

Team - Team game such as brasket ball or football, one's form is hard to observe.

Racing distance - Most of sports ended within 3 hours. A short classic is 200km and takes 5 hours.

Hardship - GT repeats 200km crazy effort for 21 days. So, a fresh leg and fresh mind is required. One day off, you lose.

Endurance - most sports, endurance is not as important as cycling. Most of sports emphasis on short efforts.

Resting time - Most of sports, athletes have time to rest. Cycling is just restless.

And one of important point is "Individual target"... This factor causes confusion of "Who is stronger".
 
Mar 22, 2011
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For most of sports, targets for top elite is clear and coincide. All the best athletes' target are similar.. or same...
So, most of people will have great form for important races.

For cycling, athletes have choices. For example, people with TDF in his eyes (and his domestiques) will peak for TDF. He should be in top top peak at right moment. Then, he will not show his hand on preparation race even he has a chance to win. Over done during training race means TDF failure.

Sagan is clearly for PR this year. Himself and his Bora team perform weak before PR.
QS has his individual rider peak and strike for different races.

May be only in cycling, best athletes are in training mode and compete with less strength athletes and lost.
 
Mar 22, 2011
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If a rider could life in mountain for 3 years, 100% train under a nice plan. Everyday go sleep by 9pm and wake up a early morning. No night life, no girls (or boys :lol: ), no cannabis no liqueur no disco no new years new chrismas. Only training and rest. He could have an extremely strong peak (and base).

An athlete stayed in 100% focus for years is very difficult. Especially you have got a nice contract and salary.
NBA stars and ladies are happy together inside presidential suite before NBA finals is no news.

Of course, 100% focus and no injury is impossible. Just depends on how far from 100% focus and 100% healthy.

2012 Philippe Gilbert is a nice example. He became a king on 2011. A lots of interviews and activities came along.
He needed to spend his salary and lost focus.
During TDF, you could see him to spend his leg for some short climbs midway on a stage.. It is more clear when came to Veulta, he won stage 9 and 19 with an improved form.
During world Championship, he is unbeatable. Even you know that he will attack there, you just cannot follow. Belgium team drop him on last assent and win. Just similar to the wins during 2011.

It may be Andy Rihs order and financial influence.
 
Mar 22, 2011
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Koronin said:
This is why you see so much inconsistency with riders. Most riders have a very definite difference between being in race shape, being near a peak and being at a peak. Also most riders typically pick 2 major goals to peak for as a 3rd peak is even harder to achieve.
The rider who comes closest to maintaining a consent level for the entire season is Valverde. His consistency is actually not because of a consent level year round it's because his being off peak and at or near peak is not that different compared to other riders. He just doesn't have the high variance in levels. He has stated a few times that this is a great gift he's always had.
This is why riders peak and why for the most part you can tell the difference between when a rider is at/near peak and not.
If talk about consistently productive, Peter Sagan is for sure No.1.
From TDU to WC, he keep to win, he keep to the front of peleton.

I think people with stronger body and faster sprint will look more consistent. But at the end, human should have peak and days off.

People without fastest finish will go for attack for a win. A strong rider with good form might lose badly if the race roll out against him. You might overlook this if you only read one's results.

For Sagan, he is always fast. And more importantly, his normal level is higher than others.

Valverde is another example. He is a extremely strong all rounder with super fast finish kick.
He won't be dropped as Mark Cavendish. His TT is far better than most of climbers. He won't lose the wheel under crosswind when QS kicks. He has good team around him. Rain, cold, heat, downhill all good. He has no clear weakness. If he could hang on till finish line, his finishing speed put him in the front of the group.

When you check out Valverde's top 5s ( or Close losts), you might find that his finish time is same as 10th, 15th or even 20th finisher.

Moreover, I believe Valverde has a great professionalism. He seems to be able to stay-focused and obey team/coach instructions. "Not so many people with his level" is willing to work as domestique for others during GTs. He did it since 2015.
His normal level is higher than most of riders. So, he could win less important races with a less effort. By return, he lose the chance to win biggest races such as TDF or WC
 
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toolittle said:
Koronin said:
This is why you see so much inconsistency with riders. Most riders have a very definite difference between being in race shape, being near a peak and being at a peak. Also most riders typically pick 2 major goals to peak for as a 3rd peak is even harder to achieve.
The rider who comes closest to maintaining a consent level for the entire season is Valverde. His consistency is actually not because of a consent level year round it's because his being off peak and at or near peak is not that different compared to other riders. He just doesn't have the high variance in levels. He has stated a few times that this is a great gift he's always had.
This is why riders peak and why for the most part you can tell the difference between when a rider is at/near peak and not.
If talk about consistently productive, Peter Sagan is for sure No.1.
From TDU to WC, he keep to win, he keep to the front of peleton.

I think people with stronger body and faster sprint will look more consistent. But at the end, human should have peak and days off.

People without fastest finish will go for attack for a win. A strong rider with good form might lose badly if the race roll out against him. You might overlook this if you only read one's results.

For Sagan, he is always fast. And more importantly, his normal level is higher than others.

Valverde is another example. He is a extremely strong all rounder with super fast finish kick.
He won't be dropped as Mark Cavendish. His TT is far better than most of climbers. He won't lose the wheel under crosswind when QS kicks. He has good team around him. Rain, cold, heat, downhill all good. He has no clear weakness. If he could hang on till finish line, his finishing speed put him in the front of the group.

When you check out Valverde's top 5s ( or Close losts), you might find that his finish time is same as 10th, 15th or even 20th finisher.

Moreover, I believe Valverde has a great professionalism. He seems to be able to stay-focused and obey team/coach instructions. "Not so many people with his level" is willing to work as domestique for others during GTs. He did it since 2015.
His normal level is higher than most of riders. So, he could win less important races with a less effort. By return, he lose the chance to win biggest races such as TDF or WC

I think you're correct about sprinters in general seem to be on form more consistently as well. You do have a point about the fast finish. It's something you either have or you don't have. That's not going to chance rather you're on form or not. Then in Valverde's case he also has that. He may not be able to beat Cavendish in a flat sprint, but Cav isn't going to be there when you start climbing. (Goes to the saying that Valverde can out sprint anyone that can out climb him and out climb anyone that can out sprint him. Sagan has a bit of that although he's not near the climber Valverde is, on the other hand he has a faster sprint.)
 
Re:

Asero831 said:
What is the difference between peaks in boxing, cycling, basketball/football and tennis?
We have seen Federer and Nadal dominate tennis from Australian Open until October.
How about Lebron James, truly he is in peak form from November to June. Messi seems to be on form everytime
I don't think it's correct to say that Federer and Nadal have dominated all season long last year, Federer peaked in the winter (AUS Open and Sunshine Double) then he didn't even play until grass season and after Wimbledon he wasn't so good and this season he's doing almost the same (he only added Rotterdam to grab the No. 1).
Nadal was good but not at his best in the winter and after peaking for clay season every year he's pretty bad on the grass (if I recall correctly it's almost a decade that he didn't do well at Wimbledon) and he never won a tournament in the fall. Last year he was able to win also the U.S. Open (even if with a decimate field within the top players) and he disappeared again in the fall. This year he was nowhere at AUS Open and returned at his best only two weeks ago, I'm pretty sure that after giving his best on the clay he'll disappear again for some time.

For sports like basketball and football I think it's different because you need to play regularly without breaks, probably they use to be at good but not exceptional form always without peaking.
 
I read somewhere that peak form can only last six weeks maximum. So to win the Tour you can't be in top shape yet during the Dauphiné etc. After a first peak you can however work towards a second peak if you take a period of rest in between, and then do a lot of endurance training again. So combining LBL and the Tour is possible, or winning Giro and Vuelta in the same season. They said of Indurain that he could win the Giro without being in absolute top shape yet.
 
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Pantani_lives said:
I read somewhere that peak form can only last six weeks maximum. So to win the Tour you can't be in top shape yet during the Dauphiné etc. After a first peak you can however work towards a second peak if you take a period of rest in between, and then do a lot of endurance training again. So combining LBL and the Tour is possible, or winning Giro and Vuelta in the same season. They said of Indurain that he could win the Giro without being in absolute top shape yet.

At least some guys can do 3 peaks in a year. Valverde has stated he's been doing 3 peaks for a long time. First one for the Ardennes, 2nd for the Tour, 3rd for la Vuelta and hold that one through the Worlds. Last year (before it got cut short) he said he was attempting to only do 2, the Ardennes and then the Vuelta/Worlds.
 
Sep 28, 2014
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Koronin said:
I think you're correct about sprinters in general seem to be on form more consistently as well. You do have a point about the fast finish. It's something you either have or you don't have. That's not going to chance rather you're on form or not. Then in Valverde's case he also has that. He may not be able to beat Cavendish in a flat sprint, but Cav isn't going to be there when you start climbing. (Goes to the saying that Valverde can out sprint anyone that can out climb him and out climb anyone that can out sprint him. Sagan has a bit of that although he's not near the climber Valverde is, on the other hand he has a faster sprint.)
Sprinting is, more than climbing, also a matter of skill, luck and experience. You have to fight to stay in the right wheel in a 60km/h whirlwind, hit the wind not a second too late or too early and have the gaps open in front of you to win, while hopefully you wont't get shoved by your competitor. If you can tick all those boxes, you might not need your legs to be in top shape to win.
 
Marathon training can be the extreme example of peaking. Even most elite athletes only run a couple of marathons a year. You basically train during 4 months for one day race. The whole training is a complex set of cycles. And it ends with 2 or 3 week taper.
Ultramarathoners, OTOH, tend to keep a constant high volume, low intensity, and can run several races a year (especially if collecting points for UTMB).

As for team sports, is somehow common to see, average teams that have very good starts followed by horrible sequences, or the opposite. While this can be due to strategy, injuries, internal issues, etc... Sometimes you can see the wooden legs in the second half/third period in a team that few weeks back was outrunning/outskating the rivals.
 

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