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Climbers train for the mountains?

Old 07-18-21, 05:02 PM
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dacarzi
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Climbers train for the mountains?

The grand tours feature high mountains that every rider must climb including the sprinters. the climbers usually climb and struggle as a group to finish stages under a time limt. Do the sprinters train specifically for these climbs in addition to their sprint training?
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Old 07-18-21, 05:14 PM
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Not sure what you mean, exactly. Most teams will do winter training camps that include serious climbs. But remember that a lot of the training for the TdF is spring racing. In the spring, the GC guys are competing in stage races where there are plenty of mountains (Tour de Suisse, Volta a Catalunya, etc.) whilst the sprinters are competing in Belgium and environs, with no major mountains in the races. Sprinters will do some stage races that require both (Paris-Nice).

All of these guys are monster riders. The sprinters who seem to be just "surviving" the mountains are outrageously good climbers compared to anybody EXCEPT for pro all-rounders and GC/climbing specialists.
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Old 07-18-21, 07:56 PM
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Well said. ^

The thing to remember about the sprinters is that they are doing a 100yd dash at the end of a marathon.

The best 100yd dash guys are the track sprinters. Who would crush your Ewans, Philipsens, Cavs, Sagans, Merliers, etc. in a sprint every day and twice and Sunday. But probably not at the end of a 150km stage. And none of them would make the time cut on a mountain day.

The grand tour sprinters and almost to the same degree the one day race sprinters can run a marathon within par and still bang out a sprint that none of the better marathoners can match.

Yes, they train for the marathon. And the sprint.
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Old 07-20-21, 07:28 AM
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According to Google, Cav is 5'9" and 154lbs.
Egan Bernal is also 5'9", but 130lbs.
Tadej Pogacar is 5'9", and 146lbs.

So in addition to training for that explosive sprint power, Cavendish is carrying 3.5 kilos more than Pogacar, and over 10 kilos more than Bernal. Given how much attention is paid to ~0.5 kilos on the bike, a 10 kilo deficit will end up adding up quite a bit over the course of a 10 mi/16 km climb. That said, I'd bet dollars to donuts that anybody in the Gruppetto can outclimb anybody on this forum.

(as a side note, I'm a little surprised that top riders don't have completely shaved heads/facial hair to save those precious last few grams going uphill)
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Old 07-20-21, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
According to Google, Cav is 5'9" and 154lbs.
Egan Bernal is also 5'9", but 130lbs.
Tadej Pogacar is 5'9", and 146lbs.

So in addition to training for that explosive sprint power, Cavendish is carrying 3.5 kilos more than Pogacar, and over 10 kilos more than Bernal. Given how much attention is paid to ~0.5 kilos on the bike, a 10 kilo deficit will end up adding up quite a bit over the course of a 10 mi/16 km climb. That said, I'd bet dollars to donuts that anybody in the Gruppetto can outclimb anybody on this forum.
That's not a dangerous bet. The "sprinters" would drop all of us on an HC climb without breaking much of a sweat
Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
(as a side note, I'm a little surprised that top riders don't have completely shaved heads/facial hair to save those precious last few grams going uphill)
There was a period of time when suddenly all the riders were bald, but that was for a different reason.
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Old 07-20-21, 03:16 PM
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On TdF stage 17 the Grupetto did 108 miles in 5:37:41.

While that might not sound like a great time for some of the regular 100 miler riders that are in a fast group, there were also 14,500 feet or so of climbing and 14 miles of that over 8% grade.

Last edited by Iride01; 07-20-21 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 07-23-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dacarzi View Post
The grand tours feature high mountains ...
Relatively low in the mountain category. Whole cities (La Paz) in S America 2X the peak height in the TdF peak mountain height. Euro riders that did the then Tour of Utah and Tour of CO found the 12K' passes rather difficult.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Relatively low in the mountain category. Whole cities (La Paz) in S America 2X the peak height in the TdF peak mountain height. Euro riders that did the then Tour of Utah and Tour of CO found the 12K' passes rather difficult.
Yeah, I've posted about this before. Growing up in Ecuador surely gives Carapaz an edge, even compared to the Colombians. AFAIK, there aren't any Bolivian prospects on the world tour. And though the passes in Colorado are high, there are no major cities in Colorado at elevations comparable to Quito. Leadville doesn't count, I don't think.

But not enough of an edge, it seems
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Old 07-23-21, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Yeah, I've posted about this before. Growing up in Ecuador surely gives Carapaz an edge, even compared to the Colombians. AFAIK, there aren't any Bolivian prospects on the world tour. And though the passes in Colorado are high, there are no major cities in Colorado at elevations comparable to Quito. Leadville doesn't count, I don't think.

But not enough of an edge, it seems
I don't think it matters much at the TdF level of mountains. I do think it matters at above 2km/6Kft. I would not have a rider train at altitude (much) for the TdF. A simple altitude tent in the off season is fine.
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Old 07-24-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Yeah, I've posted about this before. Growing up in Ecuador surely gives Carapaz an edge, even compared to the Colombians. AFAIK, there aren't any Bolivian prospects on the world tour. And though the passes in Colorado are high, there are no major cities in Colorado at elevations comparable to Quito. Leadville doesn't count, I don't think.

But not enough of an edge, it seems
Yup. I have been to Quito when my wife and I went to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and the elevation is pretty noticeable. I took the tram to the highest peak there while in Quito and at that point is is VERY noticeable and I (a person from the Bay Area which is not much more than sea level) had to be pretty careful with my efforts (and by efforts I mean just walking around) and I was happy to go back down to the "regular" Quito elevation.

There were tons of locals jogging and cycling like it was nothing though.
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Old 07-27-21, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Not sure what you mean, exactly. Most teams will do winter training camps that include serious climbs. But remember that a lot of the training for the TdF is spring racing. In the spring, the GC guys are competing in stage races where there are plenty of mountains (Tour de Suisse, Volta a Catalunya, etc.) whilst the sprinters are competing in Belgium and environs, with no major mountains in the races. Sprinters will do some stage races that require both (Paris-Nice).

All of these guys are monster riders. The sprinters who seem to be just "surviving" the mountains are outrageously good climbers compared to anybody EXCEPT for pro all-rounders and GC/climbing specialists.
I talk smack on Cav for being lucky to make the time limit on mountain stages but I do acknowledge that he can climb stronger than I could ever dream of. And I'm a decent climber.
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Old 07-27-21, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
There was a period of time when suddenly all the riders were bald, but that was for a different reason.
They all lost a bet?
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Old 07-31-21, 12:50 PM
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I watch relatively few pro races (on TV) and typically there are expectations from race commentators about riders from those high elevation South American countries but they usually never pan out when I watch a race.

They sometimes rode well in hills in some past races and it is automatically attributed to them growing up and training at high altitudes but then I see them struggle on hills and other racers who were born and trained in low altitudes show them their backs.

Thing is, race commentators put too much weight on racers past achievements, but really what counts is the 'time window' when a racer gets into form, which can last a season, a month or even only a day. This last means that if a given guy from low lands happens to have his day and another from high lands is at his normal day performance, the former can ride the 'colombian' to the ground, the altitude in which you have grown up matters nothing at all.

That comment about shaving weight on bike and the rider having 10kg weight difference over some others. I don't think it is so linear comparison, kg for kg, no matter if on the bike weight or the riders'.

As to sprinters, personally it is somewhat disappointing part of the racing field. given that mostly you don't even notice them, they keep in the tow the whole race only to have their day the last kilometer. But here again, commentators are proven wrong on their estimates, like Cavendish rising from a dead has been and some others who have been touted as the ones to bet on disappoint... I love to watch race commentators not eat their *()_ but always skating out of it like expert insiders who know what they talk about.

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Old 07-31-21, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
That's not a dangerous bet. The "sprinters" would drop all of us on an HC climb without breaking much of a sweat


There was a period of time when suddenly all the riders were bald, but that was for a different reason.
So true. I used to go watch the pros in person.

I would guess my FTP in the mid 80's was around 360 watts and around 4.3-4.5 W/Kg. It is 309 W 35 years later, so, just a guess. I was doing a climb on my touring bike in 1986 out of Colorado Springs in the days leading up to the World Road Championship. I was riding hard and suddenly a large group of riders speaking Italian were passing me. The freaking Italian team!! Holy ****. They were joking and jabbing at each other. Probably a Z2 ride or maybe a recovery ride. The head honcho waves me in. No Kiddin. I was absolutely on the rails holding their wheels. Another time, I did l'Alpe d' Huez in the days leading up to the tour going up it, a good effort a few days after La Marmotte but my time was totally garbage. It is completely unfathomable to me how good these guys are. Just watching them climb in person is very humbling. Even the caboose
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Old 08-02-21, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
So true. I used to go watch the pros in person.

I would guess my FTP in the mid 80's was around 360 watts and around 4.3-4.5 W/Kg. It is 309 W 35 years later, so, just a guess. I was doing a climb on my touring bike in 1986 out of Colorado Springs in the days leading up to the World Road Championship. I was riding hard and suddenly a large group of riders speaking Italian were passing me. The freaking Italian team!! Holy ****. They were joking and jabbing at each other. Probably a Z2 ride or maybe a recovery ride. The head honcho waves me in. No Kiddin. I was absolutely on the rails holding their wheels. Another time, I did l'Alpe d' Huez in the days leading up to the tour going up it, a good effort a few days after La Marmotte but my time was totally garbage. It is completely unfathomable to me how good these guys are. Just watching them climb in person is very humbling. Even the caboose
totally. got passed, dropped and outta sighted by chris horner on a respectable san diego county climb about three years before he won the vuelta.
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Old 08-02-21, 03:57 AM
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^^ vane171 , how do you feel about meteorologists?
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