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Riding in the pro peleton
Last Post 04/01/2014 04:16 PM by jacques anquetil. 40 Replies.
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stronz

Posts:307

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03/29/2014 05:39 PM
So here's a question I was pondering on today's ride. Is the ability to ride comfortably - or almost comfortably - in the pro peleton something you are born with or can you be trained to do it? Stated another way -- Could an average or above average athlete, of which there are many, if given enough proper training, diet, recovery and proper equipment be made into a pro-peleton level rider? Or is this something you either have or you dont? I'm not talking about dominating or winning. Just keeping up with the pros on a consistent basis. My feeling is that if given the mental committment, the time to train and do it right with diet and recovery, a lot of athletes could get to that level.
jacques_anquetil

Posts:221

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03/29/2014 08:53 PM
a good question. probably dependant on two major factors: good genes, and mental fortitude.

so, that said, choose your parents well and push yourself really hard.
Ride On

Posts:441

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03/29/2014 09:14 PM
Terreno stage

Pelucchi averaged 188 watts over the 166km stage with an average cadence of 66rpm. He held an average speed of 41kph with a 141bpm heart rate average requiring over 2,100 kilocalories.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1130

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03/29/2014 09:46 PM
188w seems insanely low.....hell, I did 183w for 82 miles the other day and avg 21mph+.

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

Posts:307

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03/29/2014 10:09 PM
I do think you need a certain amount of genetic luck. But how much really? Do you have to be a major outlier? I dont think so. 188w seems very sustainable to this average athlete. OK maybe a little above average.
longslowdistance

Posts:695

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03/29/2014 10:18 PM
Miles count for a lot. But to be really good like good trackies, stealthy field sprinters, Sean Yates, George Hincappie and a ton of others, genetics and courage surely come into play, too. And position on the bike. Some aero positions we see can't help bike handling in a pack or on a tricky high speed descent.
longslowdistance

Posts:695

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03/29/2014 10:22 PM
That's Yates in the pic. He would get dropped on a climb but bomb the descent without crashing or going into the red zone and rejoin before the bottom, did this so often it became known as "pulling a Yates".
 PS: the forum once again just let me post a pic with a simple click and drag, done while editing the post. (post the post, then edit - then sometimes I can add a photo with a simple click and drag. Just sometimes.) This seems only to work late at night. I wish I understood the alchemy.
Bernie

Posts:7

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03/30/2014 09:26 AM
Regarding the first question posed, I say don't kid yourself. The example cited only shows some days are easier than others. Have you ever ridden with one of those guys when things got hard? What I've seen is what those guys do is head and shoulders above what the local strong athlete can pull off. Could a strong athlete ride in the peleton protected and exist on an easy day, probably. Could a strong local athlete go to the front and take a monumental pull like you see Jens Voight do year after year, no way. My guess is the strong athlete would be spit out the back as soon as someone decided to turn on the heat and stretch things out.
Keith Richards

Posts:739

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03/30/2014 10:47 AM
A pro? No, pros (no matter what sport) are pros for a reason.

But do I think anyone who starts the sport at a young age, HS say, can get to the cat 1/2 stage?

The answer to that is certainly yes.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
steelbikerider

Posts:44

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03/30/2014 11:42 AM
My experience shows cat 2 - yes. Cat 1 /pro is a huge step up.
I played all sports growing up but was never more than an average athlete who got by on smarts and practice/training. I starting racing in college and reached cat 2 in 3 1/2 years. As a 3 I was at the front and always in at the finish. 5 more years as a 2 and I was never more than pack filler. The first 2 years of that time was serious, after that - not so much. The eye-opener was riding Wisconsin Superweek pro/1/2 in the late 80's. It was 200 rider pack strung out double file at 35 mph on the lakefront drive in 53-12. I was hanging on for awhile by the skin of my teeth before getting dropped while the guys at the front seemed to be out for a Sunday ride, then they started racing.
Testing showed that my lung capacity/V02 max etc were right about the 3/2 level so it looks like I achieved about what was normal. The limit for me was training capacity. Anything more than 250 - 300 miles per week and I would break down and get sick. I was a college student and graduated and worked part-time to race and train
Orange Crush

Posts:1204

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03/30/2014 11:47 AM
I'd say hard work for the vast majority and genetic disposition for the lucky few; guys like Freire.
Keith Richards

Posts:739

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03/30/2014 11:54 AM
steelbikerider, yup. I think just about anyone picking up the sport at a young age can get to that level. I don't think genetics has all that much to do with it. The multi geared bike is a great equalizer of human potential, IMHO.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
longslowdistance

Posts:695

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03/30/2014 12:01 PM
Duh, I misunderstood the question, thought it was about bike handling, not horsepower. KR may be right, but I think US cat 1/2 pelotons are fast enough that only a small minority of the population could ever get fit and fast enough to hang comfortably.
jacques_anquetil

Posts:221

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03/30/2014 12:05 PM
Hey Ride On. those are interesting numbers for sure. but to put it in perspective Pelucchi probably did 117w for the first three hours, then 400w for the last hour for an average of 188 watts.
Keith Richards

Posts:739

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03/30/2014 12:16 PM
longslowdistance to me there is a huge difference between your local P/1/2 race and a 1/2 race at a national level event. I think the former is totally doable for person who is not a genetic outlier provided they got into the sport at a young enough age and are trained properly.

I always point to huge guys like Eros Poli and Magnus Backestedt. Are they gonna win a hilly stage race? Never. But they are big strong dudes who made a mark by picking their shots on terrain that suits them. I think anyone who starts out young, learns the sport and knows their strengths can be a cat 2.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.
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