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Marathon at the Giro d' Italia
By: Michele Ferrari
Published: 23 May 2011

The third alpine stage, and the 15th in succession, after the tough Grossglockner and Zoncolan ones saw the first riders produce efforts for 7 hours and 30 minutes, the last ones for well over 8 hours.
Six thousand meters over almost 90 km of total climbing, resulting in about 4h of fighting against gravity, transformed the stage in an ultra-marathon, where the fuel tank is at least as important as the engine and where energy saving and distribution of the effort become crucial.

Contador, the strongest rider yesterday, knows this very well, and was able to find a few allies along the road to the finish, especially spanish riders from other teams, helping him to save precious energy in the chase of the daily attacks and keep a high regular pace on the Fedaia.

Naturally, the VAMs were all affected by the energetic expenditure and progressive exhaustion of glycogen store: 1617 m/h (5.39 w/kg) for the group of the best riders on the stretch from Malga Ciapela to Fedaia and 1700 m/h (5.66w/kg) for Contador on the final climb to Gardeccia, done in 2150.
The day before, on the Zoncolan, Contador managed to climb at 1765 m/h (5.88w/kg) for the 4123 of ascent.

On such extreme gradients (12-15%) VAM values seem paradoxically inferior to the ones obtained on 8-10% slopes: in fact, even though low speeds result in less air resistance, they are also majorly affected by the deceleration-acceleration action of each pedal stroke, in line with the inferior "dead spot", forcing extra work against inertia.

All this further favors lightweight riders in a Giro course that undoubtedly penalizes athletes weighing 64-66 kg, compared to colleagues that are less than 60 kg.

More Race Comments:
Giro dell'Emilia 2011 9 Oct 2011
World Championship 2011 27 Sep 2011
Vuelta a Espana 2011 7 Sep 2011
Tour de France 2011 - Part II 23 Jul 2011
Tour de France 2011 - Part I 17 Jul 2011
Kiryienka's Feat at the Giro 2011 29 May 2011
Tiredness at the Giro 2011 24 May 2011
Marathon at the Giro d' Italia 23 May 2011
Horner Vs. Contador 21 May 2011
Giro d' Italia 2011 - Etna Stage 16 May 2011
Fleche Wallonne 2011 21 Apr 2011
Frank Schleck's Chest Fairing 28 Mar 2011

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