's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

How fast are the top pro sprinters going(19 posts)

How fast are the top pro sprinters goingcyclinseth
Dec 18, 2001 7:35 AM
when they are really "going"? And aside from descents and tail winds, are these the fastest speeds that pros achieve? And why can't they climb well?
world record 200mDog
Dec 18, 2001 7:57 AM
The world record for the flying 200m on a track bike is 9.8 seconds, which is around 45.6 mph average. I would bet instant speed would exceed that.

On a track, you can go up the banking, and the drop down for more speed, too.

Sprinters can't climb well basically because their power to drag ratio is much better than their power to weight. In a sprint, huge fast twitch muscles win the race; in climb, enormous aerobic capacity and low mass wins.

Dec 18, 2001 10:27 PM
True the classic climber is a stick with lungs, but their are great climbers who depend on their strength to weight ratio and not their low mass high aerobic capacity. Paolo Bettini is a very good climber, Zabel aint bad either. Pantani is not known for his awesome aerobic capacity, but for his relentless surging.

I know this has nothing to do with the original post. Pro road racing sprinters sprint in the mid to upper 40's most often. They rarely are sprinting on a flat. It's either slightly uphill or down. I can only hit about 38 on a flat with no lead out.
re: How fast are the top pro sprinters goingElefantino
Dec 18, 2001 8:00 AM
Top road sprinters can accelerate to close to or above 40mph. (Marty Nothstein holds the American record for the 200-meter sprint at 10.092 seconds, which is a tad under 45 mph.)

Most of the sprinters are larger than the average cyclist, which means they have trouble climbing. Erik Zabel, Ivan Quaranta and Mario Cippolini are the world's best sprinters, yet they all have trouble when the road tilts.
road racingDog
Dec 18, 2001 8:09 AM
In road racing, a lead out makes a huge difference in top speed. If you can save that precious anaerobic capacity for those last few seconds and mph, you can sprint quite a bit faster than you might in an attempt all alone.

Also remember that these guys are sprinting really fast at the end of 100+ mile races, often in multi-day events, too.

Just for some measley reference, I've measured myself at just over 36 mph sprinting alone on flat ground, no wind. With a good lead out, I can hit around 40. I am basically a sprinter by nature, too (ran the 400m in college). At top speed, though, every mph is vastly more diffucult to get than the last.

Also realize that much of what makes a great road racing sprinter is team work, timing, bike handling, and courage, besides big muscles.

BSJack S
Dec 18, 2001 9:52 AM
Sprinters aren't necessarily bigger than the average cyclist, pro or amateur. Cipollini for example has a lower BMI than most on this board. Have you seen Zabel? 5'10", 69 kg. Blijlevens? 5'8", 70kg. Pro cyclists in general are alot smaller than you think, and contrary to popular belief sprinters are not built like linebackers. They don't climb well because they train to their strengths- sprinting. Most would still outclimb any of us.
a real sprinterDog
Dec 18, 2001 10:21 AM
Marty Nothstein
Born: February 10, 1971
Weight: 215
Height: 6' 2"

I'd bet I could beat him. The race must be at least 500 miles, though.

dontcha think he was asking about ROAD riders?bn
Dec 18, 2001 10:29 AM
not TRACK?
Dec 18, 2001 10:40 AM
Well, yes, that's certainly possible. But, he did ask about "top pro sprinters."

In my view, a guy like Cippo really isn't a sprinter, he's just relatively better at it among the road racers. Road racing is really an endurance sport, especially the multi-day tours. Of course, he often drops out of the grand tours.

Nonetheless, it's hard to get a read on how fast the sprinters are going at the finish of a road race. A track event is much easier to determine.

Nothstein does road racesDuane Gran
Dec 19, 2001 5:38 AM
In fact, I saw Nothstein win a criterium in Washington DC. It was quite impressive. His accelerations were scary fast. He passed the lead motorcycle for a prime and pushed a 54x11 in the final sprint. He passed the local cat 1 guys like they were standing still. Anyhow, these days he rides for Mercury and does road stuff in addition to track, however he confesses that the new road work has negatively affected his track performance.

This guy is a sprinter, through and through. Although there are lightweight sprinters out there, in general they can afford to be a bit heavier and they focus their training on the anaerobic system. That doesn't help you on an extended climb, so this explains why sprinters crawl up the climbs compared to the pure climbers. It also explains why climbers tend to be pack fodder in the last few kilometers of a road race. Grumble grumble. Don't get me started on that one. I'm working on it. ;)

Since the question has morphed into "what is a sprinter" I would say that it is mental as well as physical. Sprinters are the kids who jumped off the roof with a bed sheet as a parachute while others declined. They are gutsy sorts who push harder instead of pulling off when it gets hairy. Sometimes the videos show an overhead view and you will see them wedge themselves into very narrow openings, often doing so by shouldering another rider. Their mental disposition is fearless and they have an interesting ability to maintain focus in a chaotic situation, such as a bunch sprint.
and Cipollini does 6 day racesbud
Dec 19, 2001 1:25 PM
does that make him a trackie?
Bet you couldn't (nm)allervite
Dec 18, 2001 10:32 PM
small sprintersTig
Dec 18, 2001 12:43 PM
Al Whaley, 2-time World Masters sprint champion, is about 5'8", 130 pounds, and although is not a Nothstein, his 200 meter record is 11.408 at the Superdrome in Fresco, TX. You look at this small framed, slender guy and think, "climber". His road sprint is almost as dangerous as his track sprint. Nothing beats a heavy dose of fast twitch muscle combined with desire.
Dec 18, 2001 12:46 PM
I believe I could take Quaranta on a climb! In the Giro this year Quaranta could barely get over a speed bump without lots of pushing from his team. Even Cipo was dropping him hard on climbs, which is pathetic! He sure is fast on flats, however.

Zabel will never keep up with climbers like Ullrich and Armstrong, but he is pretty good for a sprinter. That's how he wins races like the TDF 2001 stage into Liege and the Amstel Gold race. Hincapie is a similiar rider, too, as he showed in Zurich and San Francisco this year. These are hardmen, not sprinters.
What's a hardman?aet
Dec 18, 2001 1:29 PM
What's a hardman?mr_spin
Dec 18, 2001 2:02 PM
Probably the best answer to that question is to say that sprinters don't win Paris-Roubaix--hardmen do. Hardmen are guys like Johan Museeuw and Andrei Tchmil.

In general, spinters are carried to the line by their team, and excel on flatter courses. A hardman is a sprinter who doesn't need a team to carry him to the line, and doesn't mind a few hills, cobblestones, and mud puddles along the way. A hardman thrives in races that are 250K long.

Maybe the ultimate hardman was Eddy Mercx, who could outsprint and outclimb just about everybody in any race. Recent hardmen are Erik Zabel, Erik Dekker, Davide Rebellin, and Ludo Dierckxsens.
Dec 18, 2001 10:40 PM
Are you saying Zabel is not a sprinter. By any stretch of symantics I cannot see how you can pull off that argument. Hincapie we could argue and I would, but Zabel is a sprinter period, end of story. The term "hardman" is usually used for rolleurs, not exclusively but usually. Tchmil is a hard man, Musseuw is a hard man, Tafi is a hardman.
Quaranta started as a trackie!bn
Dec 19, 2001 5:55 AM
Zabel is a fair climber (nm)allervite
Dec 18, 2001 10:29 PM