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All the crashes
Last Post 07/28/2014 03:37 PM by Andy Eunson. 12 Replies.
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07/27/2014 11:53 AM
Been thinking bout this long before this years crashes, have the bikes gotten too stiff and short and over responsive especially for the lighter riders AND when they are fatigued badly? Seems like they are all about "performance" and they would do better with longer more laid back designs?


07/27/2014 01:03 PM
I think it is a case just as much that riders do not get the disciplined "education" they need to ride in race situations. In the '70s around Boston, we all learned directly or indirectly from John Allis who had raced in Europe and who taught us old-school bike handling. Little stuff like how to hold the handlebars safely, to stay up when bumped, to stay up when you hit a pothole you didn't see, to stay up when these things happen and you have just one hand on the bars. Like all of us, I would be lectured mid-race if I broke some of those "rules". I suspect Contador's crash would not have happened had he used what I had been taught. (To reach into a pocket on a rough descent, I was taught to always grab the bar next to the stem with my steering hand; not keep it out on the lever or drop.)

I personally had a mantra that would have saved Chris Froome two broken wrists. "Hands on the bars until after you hit the road." I'll call out the Sky DS for not having Froome surrounded by Sky riders in the opening miles of a flat stage. That would have saved him from his first crash.

Then there is the fact that the Tour keeps getting bigger, more money, raced harder, and fewer easy days. The need to be riding the front keeps getting more important, yet the roads are not getting wider.

Notice that all of this predicts more crashes and none of them are either caused by nor cured by the handling of the bicycles they are riding.



07/27/2014 02:57 PM
I don't think new bikes are too stiff or too twitchy. If anything they handle a lot better than the steel bikes we used to ride. Ben is probably right. Too many riders have seriously poor handling skills plus poor braking on carbon rims. I remember when I was young, if you road like Jens Voight you would be told to right in a straight line. Froome crashed a lot because I think he has poor technique. Even Contador. His standing climbing is awkward and that scootch he does on his TT bike is horrendous. Watch Tony Martin or Peter Sagan. Beauty on a bike. Watch riders lean their heads in on downhill corners. Nope. Your not on a moto where the bike weighs way more than the rider and can touch down if you lean too much.


07/27/2014 07:29 PM
Seems like riders are lower and more stretched out than back in the day, which may make staying upright a tad more difficult. Just a generalization.


07/27/2014 10:28 PM
Racing has changed. In the days of Merckx and even Hinault, teams were smaller, the sport was confined to the Euro continent and the talent pool was much smaller. The GT's were smaller, leadership roles were more defined and the money was less. The same guys rode the spring classics, 1 or 2 GT's, post tour crits, the worlds and fall classics. Only a handful of riders or teams had realistic chances in most races, stages were longer and time spent "racing" was much less.
Now, teams have nearly double the rosters, specialists for every type of race from all over the world, media pressures and more riders coming to each race to prepared to win. Everyone is better trained, equipment is faster, fields are larger but more compact and the roads have less room for manuevering due to crowds, race vehicles, and road furniture. I also think riders are more fragile than in previous generations due to more specific training and weight loss and there is less comradery among the riders since they don't see each other as often in competition.
All of the above lead to faster and more intense racing. Crashes will happen in races, but higher speeds and larger packs mean the margin for error is less and higher speeds usually means higher chance of injury.
Ride On


07/28/2014 06:28 AM
I think you all have made valid points.


07/28/2014 10:47 AM
I was wondering also about carbon rims. Lots of rain this year, lighter, faster bikes, peloton riding closer together, lots of nervous riders. It all adds up...


07/28/2014 10:47 AM

Not directly related, but it raises the question about the consequences of crashing on carbon fiber bikes.


07/28/2014 11:20 AM
Thinline, interesting article. However it should be clarified that the bikes are breaking after the crashes, not causing the crashes. That is a misleading headline as it does not explain or even give proof that crashes are more frequent or more severe. Just that the crashes cause the frames to fail.

My contention is that this came about over the past 20 years as the fitness level of the cyclists has evened out and the expectation of teams that every team will contest the finish and every GC guy has to be protected from splits. Fewer guys are riding like Danny Pate and just gapping off with about 5 or 6k to go.
Orange Crush


07/28/2014 11:30 AM
I posted this a while back in another thread; someone in US did some stats on number of abandons from crashes in tour:

5 in 2002,
6 à 7 in the years after,
16 in 2011,
17 in 2012,
13 in 2013
15 in 2014

Something points to a fairly dramatic change around 2010/2011; I don't think bike handling ability or rider postition fit the profile for an explanation of that rapid of a change. It's gotta be technology.


Of course 2010/2011 is also when Froome staring at stem became obiqutous in the peleton
Cosmic Kid


07/28/2014 01:45 PM
2010 was when they supposedly stopped doping.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


07/28/2014 02:01 PM
OC, has anyone tracked the use of carbon braking surfaces in the peloton? I've noticed many crashes in local criteriums due to poor braking practices. It never occurred to me that could be because of the brakes/braking. I have noticed the change to dual pivot brakes with stopping power we retros never dreamed of. I wonder if that is also a factor, especially on wet roads.



07/28/2014 03:37 PM
Ben. My experience with Zipp 303 wheels and various pads is that they heat up fast and become grabby. For example riding in the city toward a light at say 35 kph and the light turns and I need to stop pretty quick. Just like that it's grabby and the rear locks up easily. No modulation to speak of. That is one reason the stink. Did not notice this effect in cross though. Wetter perhaps. I tried yellow Swiss stops, dura -ace and something else. Might try the newest swissstops and see if they work any better but i am ready to dump these wheels cheap soon.
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