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Will Lemond's 54 k/hr TDF time trial record fall tomorrow?(38 posts)

Will Lemond's 54 k/hr TDF time trial record fall tomorrow?Spoiler
Jul 25, 2003 7:21 AM
Lance said the record will fall tomorrow. Lance holds the next fastest time set in 2000 when he was racing against Jan. Lance had plenty of time over Jan in GC, but the Yellow Jersey hadn't won an stage yet. Here's an excerpt from Lance's book, describing the battle for that stage win.

"We would race across 58.5 kilometers, over an hour of riding at top speed. What's more, there was always the specter of the unexpected accident. "It only takes one guy to do something devastating," I told the press. One spectator lunging into the road could send you crashing. Much as I wanted a stage win, I needed to finish safely to protect the overall lead.

Ullrich started three minutes ahead of me. As soon as he went off, the crowd started roaring, and it seemed to me that they never stopped, not for an hour. As I left the start area the noise was almost a physical presence. In the follow car was the U.S. Postmaster General, Bill Henderson.

At first I rode with one eye on my heart monitor, to make sure I stayed within my physical limit and didn't push too hard. Then Johan reported that Ullrich and I had the same time after 11K. Johan gave me the green light to go for the win.

I upped my cadence and gradually began to make up time on Ullrich. Johan fed his stream of reports into my earpiece: I was two seconds ahead of Ullrich after 15K, five seconds after 20K, 15 seconds after 33K. By the 52K mark my lead was 29 seconds. Ullrich tried to fight back, but I was riding at too frantic a pace, just under Greg Lemond's epic time-trial record of 54 kilometers per hour, which he had set in 1989.

I hit the finish line ahead by 25 seconds. I had ridden the second-fastest time trial in Tour de France history. Lemond still ruled."
Will they have a tailwind? (nm)Dwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 7:29 AM
Not a chance,TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 7:30 AM
Unless there's a strong tailwind, there's no chance that they'll beat the Lemond record. To ride at 54kph would have the TT finished in ~54 minutes; consider that Ullrich won the 47k TT in ~58 minutes, and you're talking about riding 2k further in 4 fewer minutes. Won't happen (without a huge tailwind).

Lemond went so fast because his TT was only ~25k - he finished it in 27 minutes. There's no chance that Lance can hold the same pace for twice the distance.
better drugs back then, too? nmDougSloan
Jul 25, 2003 7:42 AM
sadly, probably not (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 7:51 AM
Nah...Dwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 7:51 AM
that was before EPO and that's really the only drug that would substantially improve your time trial time.
Jul 25, 2003 8:18 AM
but they are kind of tough to mask. An interesting question. Would the same riders who wait for fallen rivals, be willing to use banned drugs to beat their competitors?
What do you think?Dwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 9:11 AM
if you're only doing what everyone else is doing, that's not cheating!
extacy? wasn't Jan suspended for it? nmcyclopathic
Jul 25, 2003 12:42 PM
Yeah, butDwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 12:47 PM
it's hard to argue he was doping since he hadn't ridden his bike for months due to recovering from knee surgery!
extacy? wasn't Jan suspended for it? nmrussw19
Jul 25, 2003 7:14 PM
That's like stripping the American snowboarder of his Gold Medal for smoking Pot... it's not like it's a performance enhancer. What was Jan doing, tying glow sticks to his bars, listening to techo/electronica music in his ear piece and stroking his bar tape while riding in some big JNCO cycling shorts with 38" leg openings?

Extacy wouldn't make me ride any faster... it would just make me a lot more touchy feely with the podium girls!

All in fun,

It's not impossible...James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 7:52 AM
A couple of things to consider:

1. The ITT that Lance won in 2000 was twice the length of Lemond's, and almost as fast.
2. The first ITT in this year's Tour (which Ullrich finished in ~58 minutes) wasn't at all flat - Tomorrow's 54K is...
I thought it was 49K tomorrow? (nm)270bullet
Jul 25, 2003 12:23 PM
The two course profiles and the weather.Spoiler
Jul 25, 2003 8:11 AM
stage 12 TT course

stage 19

I don't know how to make them appear in the post, so links will have to do.

Total elevation change:
Stage 12-161m
Stage 19- 24m

Elevation change from start point to finish point:
Stage 12-161m gain
Stage 19- 10m gain

Here's the forcast for saturday at race time:
Rain, temp. 20 C, wind southwest at 12 mph. The riders will be traveling east, from Pornic to Nantes.

The riders will be traveling east, from Pornic to Nantes.
Lemond went so fast because he had a tailwind ..Tom C
Jul 25, 2003 1:03 PM
and the course was mostly downhill. Even the 3rd place guy, Thierry Marie clocked in around 33 mph.
Jul 25, 2003 5:58 PM
But the last TT was fairly hilly, tomorrow is pancake flat. And Lance nearly did go as fast over twice the distance. The TT Lemond did was about 30 minutes (I can't remember exactly) and averaged right at 34 mph. The TT Lance did was 1:05 and averaged 33.7 mph. I think Lance has a shot at it, and since Jan is gunning for yellow, I think he does too.

How much climbing in stage 19???sysop
Jul 25, 2003 8:38 AM
And how much climbing in stage 12?

Net feet please, or net meters. If someone can tell me, then I can answer this question better.

The distance is almost identical, and the stage 19 seems like a lot less climbing. Jan's stage 12 speed was 48+ kph.

too much of a risk, unless Ullrich's close to Lemond's speedJS Haiku Shop
Jul 25, 2003 9:00 AM
i'm guessing strategy plays into this, if you're the final starter. it would go like this:

ullrich sets a good pace, time checks go back to armstrong, armstrong matches or falls just short. suppose this is due to the fact that armstrong's time checks would be thus reported back to ullrich. if ullrich saw that LA was matching or beating him across the first two time checks, and ullrich was not on the rivet, he'd probably find a little extra umph and pick up the pace.

however, if LA sets good, but not the best, times at the first 2 time checks, it would give ullrich a false sense of accomplishment, not necessarily pushing him into a personal best performance. LA would then endeavor to push a seriously negative "split" (actually "third") from the last checkpoint 'til the finish line; after LA passed the second checkpoint, it would be far too late for ullrich to do anything about it.

I suspect this is why postal was behind at the the first two checkpoints in the TTT, but won.

an uneducated guess.


btw, Do(u)g, there was also a feed in the middle of the TTT course profile.
Jul 25, 2003 9:25 AM
Maybe I interpreted the "no assistance from the team car" rule to mean "no feed." Maybe they can get handups from the roadside in the feed zone. Makes sense.

too much of a risk, unless Ullrich's close to Lemond's speedSpoiler
Jul 25, 2003 9:26 AM
I think Lemond had no strategy other than to ride as fast as possible, short of panicking. But again, that was a shorter route.
I wish I knew whether Ulrich has ridden the course yet, or whether the morning warm-up will be his first look. Of course, it might be flat and straight enough so that in-depth recon work isn't needed.
The time checks and feeds go as follows:
1st time check: 15km
RAV(I think this stands for "feed"): 20km
2nd time check: 32.5 km
3rd time check: 42 km
we'll know early on if there's a chanceBAi9302010
Jul 25, 2003 9:42 AM
in 2000, Laurent Jalabert was the first rider to set a really fast time (when he finished, his tt was the 2nd fastest in tdf history but LA and Ullrich went after him and set faster times), so we'll probably see early on how the times are. A rider like Uwe Peschel, low in the GC but who is a great tt'ist should set the standard for the day and this course suits him much better than st.12.
Jul 25, 2003 9:50 AM
keep in mind, when Greg Lemond set his record the distance was shorter, but his bike, clothing, helmet, etc. were far less aerodynamic and much heavier to what they use today. on top of that in wind tunnel tests, it showed that he could have gone faster without his "aero" helmet because it was too big for him and didn't have a tail, so it almost acted as a tiny parachute because air got trapped under it.
True, but we're talking a magnitude here,TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 10:13 AM
While we like to think that equipment makes us go faster, and it helps us justify new equipment, the actual delta from the fastest equipment to the slowest is not that great. Recall that Chris Boardman has shown us the extremes of this, by setting both the Hour Record (49.441k) and the Hour Performance (56.375k). Ignoring for a moment that the Record was set in the waning days of his career, and the Performance at his peak, we see that the BEST (and now illegal) position/bike/wheels etc. produced a speed only 14% greater than that produced with the worst (well, not the worst, but pretty bad). The difference between the 48 kph that Ullrich rode last week and the record of 54 kph is roughly 12.5%.

Consider that the bike and position used by Ullrich/Armstrong will not be as aerodynamically advanced as Boardman's 1st, and that Lemond's was not so un-advanced as his 2nd, and I don't think the advance in equipment is enough to make up for the increased distance.

Equipment, while expensive and fancy, just doesn't buy a lot of raw speed.
not necessarilyBAi9302010
Jul 25, 2003 10:35 AM
imagine if Lance had to ride tomorrow's tt on Lemond's bike from '89. He would obviously be several minutes slower than he would with his own tt bike, skinsuit and helmet. another example, a good tt helmet alone will probably make up a minute over not wearing a helmet at all in a course of this length. modern equipment can take several minutes off of a tt time compared to what they used 15 years ago. in general, tt speeds nowadays are a lot faster than tt speeds of Lemond's or even Indurain's time.
Not at all accurate...James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 10:53 AM
in general, tt speeds nowadays are a lot faster than tt speeds of Lemond's or even Indurain's time.

If that were true, then Lemond still wouldn't hold the record.

In actuality, the bikes used in Indurain's era were more aerodynamic that the bikes used nowdays. Remember the Lotus TT bike? The bike that Boardman used to break the hour record? Both now banned from competiton by the UCI and perfectly legal when Indurain was the TDF champ.

I don't think that the distance is that great of a factor, either. Look at the prologue - much shorter than Lemond's '89 ITT, more aero bikes, and still slower...
In addition...James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 11:01 AM
It's the frontal area of the rider, not so much the "bike frame" that makes the difference with aerodynamics...

From my own experience, I have a teammate who is 6', 180 lbs. and carries a lot of upper body mass. I, on the other hand, am 5'8" 145 lbs. Per a Computrainer ramp test, we both put out ~ the same power at threshold. We recently did an ITT in which he rode a fully aero (frame & rear disc wheel) TT bike and I rode my road bike w/clip-on aero bars and Zipp 404's. I beat him by 30"...

Why? His frontal area is enormous, even in the "tuck"!
Minor correction,TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 11:09 AM
There have been faster prologue time trials - Boardman's 1994 effort was the fastest at 55.152kph over 7.2km. Prologues do not count as stages however, so Lemond's 54.545 over 24.5km stands as the fastest TT stage. Equipment does not make the difference that people believe it does - I'd say it's at MOST 5 minutes in a 50k TT - or about 10% faster.
Good point...James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 11:20 AM
I believe, however, that Boardman rode that Prologue on the Lotus bike - extremely more aerodynamic than Lemond's... Even in that case, .5k's isn't that huge a margin...

I think that you're even being generous with the 5 minutes... In the book "High Performance Cycling" there is a chapter on aerodynamics with contributions from John Cobb. They compare different bike setups at varying power outputs, and I think (don't have the book in front of me) that the time difference in time in a 40K TT @ 400 watts between a fully aero bike (frame & wheels) and a standard road bike was ~2.5 minutes or so.
I also think 5 minutes is generous - benefit of the doubt (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 11:27 AM
I'd even be willing to bet thatJames OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 11:26 AM
Lemonds power at LT was pretty close to Lance's, and Indurain's was even greater than Lances. I'd also be willing to bet that Lance would beat Indurain due to Indurain's size...

The only thing that made Indurain a great TT'er was the fact that he produced a huge amount of power.

Take two cyclists that are the same size and produce the same amount of power, their position on the bike will determine who will win the TT. This is further evidenced by the "superman" position used by ??name on the tip of my tounge??.
Obree and Boardman were "supermen" - copied by everybody (nm)TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2003 11:29 AM
Further minor correction! :)noveread
Jul 25, 2003 12:40 PM
Boardman's effort is no longer the fastest, Verbrugghe's from the Giro a couple of years ago is. Over 56kph. Also, see below for my comments on prologues vs TTs...

The Empty Wrapper
Don't compare prologues to TTs...noveread
Jul 25, 2003 12:38 PM
Prologues and TT speeds often are not comparable. The reason being that a prologue will often have a much higher number of turns per amount of distance covered than a TT.

After all, think what Rik Verbrugghe (sorry if I butchered that spelling!) did on a slightly less technical prologue course in the Giro a couple of years ago, he set the all time speed record for a crono of any type. Over 56kph if I remember correctly.

The Empty Wrapper
Fair point... (nm)James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 5:47 PM
The only problem is...noveread
Jul 25, 2003 12:31 PM
Ullrich can not risk not giving 110%. If, by your scenario, Lance is close to Jan's time at the first or second check, and Jan feels he must put more umpf into the pedals, he has already made a tour-wining fatal mistake.

Jan has no strategy for the final TT other than to cover the distance in such a manner that will give him the fastest possible time. He cannot, absolutely cannot concern himself with what Armstrong does. And this is exactly what LeMond did in '89. LeMond wanted no time checks, no information whatsoever from his team car. He knew that his only strategy was to cover the distance as fast as possible.

The Empty Wrapper
let me make some correctionsBAi9302010
Jul 25, 2003 4:33 PM
I can't remember what we were origionally arguing about :-), I'm pretty familiar with tt technology and here is a bunch of random info...

Graeme Obree invented the "superman" position and Boardman copied him along with everyone else

the fastest tt was...

-Rik Verbrugge's 2001 Giro prologue. it was 58+ km/h with a strong tailwind on a flat course

-The second fastest tt ever is held by Chris Boardman from the final stage of the 1996 Paris-Nice @ 56+ km/h on a slightly downhill course with a tailwind (I believe it was in Paris)

-The third fastest tt ever was Chris Boardman's 1994 tdf prologue in Lille @ 55+ km/h. He beat Indurain by 15 seconds over 7.2 km's and caught Luc Leblanc for 1 minute just as he crossed the finish line (he was going so fast that he just flew past him in the aero position while Leblanc was sprinting out of the saddle.). Boardman's '94, '97, and '98 prologue wins are the three fastest tdf prologues.

-The 4th fastest ever was Greg Lemond in 1989 on the slightly downhill course with a tailwind from Versaille (???) into Paris. I believe Pedro Delgado finished second (not sure if it was him or Marie) and Fignon third.

Now for aerodynamics.

The Lotus Sport 110 frame and fork were the most aerodynamic frame and fork ever made but was very heavy, brittle and not stiff.

With the exception of the Lotus Sport 110, Pinarello Espada, and a few other monocoque frames, tt bikes were far less aerodynamic than those used by top contenders today (such as Ullrich's Walser, Lance's Trek, and Tyler's Cervelo. Many of the smaller teams such as FDJeux have yet to start using better technology though). Just look at most of Indurain's tt bikes, they used round or slightly aero tubing.

TT positions for road tt's (not track) have also developed significantly since Indurain's and Lemond's times.

TT bikes are much lighter today than they were in Big Mig and Lemond's days, especially frames and wheels.

Aerobars have developed a lot since the early and mid-ninties. Just look at the frontal area of a set of vision techs compared to Lemond's or Indurain's bullhorns w/clip-ons.

TT times ARE faster than those of Indurain and Lemond's time, with a couple of exceptions such as Lemond's '89 performance and one of Mig's '92 tt's.

I'm not sure of the exact numbers but I think on average, the body makes up about 80% of the frontal area and the bike 20%.

Over a 58km course, modern aerodynamics can easily make up several minutes over a standard bike.

A full aero helmet such as Lance's switchblade IS worth 30-60 seconds over a bare head in a 40km tt, so in a 58km tt, the advantage will be more.

I vaguely remember John Cobb saying that a lenticular disc wheel in the rear and an aero wheel up front (such as a trispoke) is worth 1-2 minutes in a 40km tt over a set of 32 spoke wheels.

The new USPS skinsuits are worth about 30-60 seconds over a 40km course compard to a normal skinsuit. The technology in these skinsuits was origionally designed for downhill skiing, but was banned before the 1998 olympics because it gave a big advantage over normal downhill skinsuits.

The rider's position on a tt bike is obviously the first thing to look at, and it does make the biggest difference in the amount of drag, but a good aerodynamic tt bike and skinsuit does make up a fairly large piece of the cake and can cause very significant time changes.
New technology...James OCLV
Jul 25, 2003 5:53 PM
You would expect, then, that Lance should be MUCH faster just because of the skinsuit alone... So, take away the suit, and Lance would have really lost ~2:00 in the first ITT...

Besides, in a flat TT, weight has no real significance. If you don't believe me, check out Plug in the numbers and see. Frontal area & power, however, make all of the difference...
Power at LT...noveread
Jul 25, 2003 7:45 PM
Aha! So the cat's out of the bag! Aero stuff be d@mned! It's all about power!

Let's face it, these guys know how to TT. Their gear will be roughly comparable. So it comes down to who gots da power!

I've read that Lance can put out 500watts at LT. Anybody know what Big Jan puts out? If you read Dr. Ferrari's comments about the first TT, he didn't mention anything about equipment, he talked about power. That's were the difference will be tomorrow IMO.

I wouldn't be suprised if Jan beat Lance tomorrow, I give them even odds on the stage. I would be suprised if either one takes more than 30sec off the other...

The Empty Wrapper