Qualities of a good time trialist



bktx1

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May 5, 2003
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Watching the Tour de France, the commentators talk about Rasmussen not being a good time trialist. Leipenheimer is a pretty small guy, too, but he does much better. Cancellara is not a real big guy, either. What makes a person good at time trials? Is it VO2, riding position, or some other quality? I get climbing, I get sprinting, but time trial ability escapes me.

I have never raced bicycles other than triathlons, so thanks for your forbearance.
 

johnnyspt

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Jul 18, 2007
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1. Ability to focus on producing peak watts, efficient pedalstroke, and not let speed drift down.
2. Ability to produce power in an aerodynamic position.
3. Enhance performacne with emotion.
 

SLG

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Feb 13, 2007
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Im no expert but:

'Naturally' aerodynamic - ie slim build etc
Good concentration
High power to weight ratio
Wanting to go fast
Pacing
 

tafi

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Jul 31, 2003
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Power to weight is not as important for TT as it is for going up hills. Brute Power is what counts in a TT.
Fabian Cancellara is bigger than you think and is very well muscled. So too is Ullrich, Riis, Indurain et al.
The difficulty for Rasmussen is that he is an anorexic little climber who has little in the way of muscle mass and so will be down on power. It comes to his advantage on the uphills though.
Aerodynamics is also important. Michael Rich was a good example. He was tall with a long torso for aerodynamics.
Concentration is probably the hardest part though. In some events a rider will be clearly way ahead of the rest simply because he found the perfect rhythm and didn't loose concentration. If your mind wanders, you will lose time.
 

tinear10

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Jul 24, 2007
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I aggree with the above posts. I would also add the abilty to stay focused. You see riders all the time who keep putting their head down and sticking that giant aero helmet tail into the wind. You also see riders who are in and out of the saddle or just fidgeting. It takes a special rider to just sit still and mash.
 

bobke

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Oct 3, 2004
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There are three factors in going fast in a TT:

1. Sustainable power at lactate threshold

2. Sustainable power at lactate threshold

3. sustainable power at lactate threshold

Tiny guys like Rasmussen produce high power to weight ratio because their weight is so small.

This is why guys like Millar, Ullrich, Indurain win the long TTs, because they produce such massive power numbers at LT. And greater size and height produces progressively higher power numbers up to a height.

Power to weight ratio is somewhat relevant but much much less so. Levi is probably putting out I dunno 80-100 less watts than Cancellara in a prologue and 50-60 watts less in an hour long ITT, thats just a guess, because his chest/cross section area is so much smaller reducing the wind resistance.

so size/weight matters on the flats in terms of bigger guys often have directly bigger cross sections areas, but not always. David Millar is very small across the chest compared to height and leg length and on and on.