TdF 2012 - Part I

After the usual flat stages, as always stuffed with too many crashes and broken bones, the short climb of La Planche des Belles Filles (500m of ascent at 8.5%) already offered a certain selection, with Froome, Evans, Wiggins and Nibali expressing 1844 m/h, equal to 6.47w/kg.

A great performance, promptly celebrated by certain journalists as the best ever at the TdF, but surely much helped by the shortness of the effort (16 minutes) at the end of a not too difficult stage, by the moderate altitude and by the strong but steady pace impressed by Team Sky, with only one significant acceleration imposed from an excellent Froome.

 

The Sky riders are pedaling uphill with very high cadences of pedaling (often over 100 RPM), which seem quite excessive in relation to the power outputs, around 420-440W: either these athletes are riding below their limit, or the asymmetrical chainrings used by most of them require higher cadences in order to get the best out of them.

 

The hilly time trial in Besancon confirmed the superiority of Wiggins, expressing 6.7% higher power than Evans (not in a good day) and 8.3% higher than Nibali, who improved slightly from the time trial of the Dauphiné.

Curiously Wiggo uses higher pedaling cadences (110 RPM) on the uphill sections than on the flats (100 RPM) where he utilized longer gears: perhaps because of longer cranks?

 

The excellent performances of Wiggo, Froome, Rogers, Porte and all of Team Sky in general have suddenly raised the usual rancid suspicions from some observers, whom Wiggins has responded to in appropriately colorful fashion.

Certainly the superiority hitherto manifested is clear: if their rivals want to have a chance of winning the TdF, they won't have to wait until the last minutes of the final climb, but look for a brave solution from far away, with the purpose of shifting the challenge from power to endurance.

10 Jul 2012