Sunday shorts

Gerrans wins Milan-Sanremo but the clip above is an illustration of the teamwork and success being enjoyed by all. Expletives are beeped out and at times the soundtrack is like Morse Code as riders and managers alike share the moment.

Quiet news day
Whilst Australian fans savour the win, a few have expressed frustration after sections of the Aussie media didn’t report Simon Gerrans’ win in Milan-Sanremo. Winning a monument is a big deal, this is no ordinary one day race, and in the country where Cadel Evans is a hero, many were hoping “Gerro” would get prime time attention, especially on the TV news bulletins.

But note the race didn’t get big treatment in Italy. Here’s the front page of La Gazzetta Dello Sport on the morning of the race:

We have Mark Cavendish on the masthead but the main coverage is soccer and the news that a team from Milan will play a team from Barcelona. Open the paper and there are three pages of a Milan-Sanremo preview and another page for other cycling news. That’s not much. Especially when you consider the newspaper is owned by RCS which is the race organiser too. Italy is football crazy and a race organised by the newspaper struggles for get coverage.

Monday morning update: Gerrans got some great coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Gerrans heralded in Sydney the morning after

1600 Watts
From the power of soccer to the power of Cavendish. In an interview with La Gazzetta Dello Sport, he tells the Italian newspaper he produces “1590 to 1610 watts” in the sprint. Germans Marcel Kittel and André Greipel are said to pump out 1900 watts. In both cases this is peak power.

If Cavendish surrenders 300W to other sprinters, his winning advantage is elsewhere. He is short and in addition, very low on the bike. This makes him aerodynamic and offers reduced shelter to anyone on his wheel.

Cavendish weighs 70kg, 10kg lighter than Marcel Kittel. Indeed he claims to be at his Tour de France weight right now so there has to be another explanation as to why he was dropped on Le Manie in yesterday’s Milan-Sanremo.

If you’re not familiar with power measurements, these are usually measured with strain gages on the cranks and riders race and train with a bike computer that displays the power. Data from the whole ride can be downloaded.

Dutch energy food
Peijnenburg is a brand of biscuits and cakes that belongs to Lotus, the big Speculoos manufacturer. Hapklaar means ready to eat.

Photo sales
If you see a picture on here with the INRNG watermark in the corner then it is possible to buy a copy as a hi-res file to download, a print or even a mug. Just email me with the details of the photo and in turn I’ll ask Cor Vos – the INRNG pro photographer – who will upload a copy of the photo to a website where you can put the hi-res or print into a basket. I don’t make a cent from this but the photographer does and I’m only too pleased to help in the middle.

20 thoughts on “Sunday shorts”

  1. Interesting to hear Cavendish’s power when sprinting.

    Using a power to weight ratio calculator such as this one – – that would give Cav a 22.91 p/w ratio (assuming he weighs 70kg), compared to a 23.80 p/w ratio for Kittel (with an assumed weight of 80kg).

    As you say, Cav probably produces much less drag than a bigger sprinter. Two thirds of a cyclist’s drag comes from their body (the other third from their bike), and the higher the speed, the more energy required to overcome that drag. This is probably a big reason why Cavendish performs so well in the sprint against more ‘powerful’ sprinters like Greipel and Kittel.

  2. Funny you mentioned La Gazzetta – yesterday morning when I went to get mine the guy said “last one” and I stupidly thought lots of folks must be interested in La Primavera. This despite the fact I have to go off the island for my monthly Bicisport, just a block or two from where Paolo Tiralongo fanclub’s HQ is…but the news guy said “CHAMPIONS LEAGUE” as the reason they were almost sold out. The doping scandals have caused plenty of Italian pro cycling fans to quit caring, while FIFA seems to be able to sweep the doping news away for now, just like cycling used to do before the Festina fiasco. With the Giro skipping so much of southern Italy this year I doubt things will change down here anytime soon, unless Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali wins the thing!

  3. Here we go again with the watts and the weight. He had a bad day. Very simple. And why also never a mention of the head on the shoulders along with the power and aerodynamics? We are is this awful phase in cycling, caught trying to cope with new technology and what it means and a lot of basic common sense is getting pushed aside along with traditions in the sport. Let’s hope they don’t succeed with the break away league or the only way for the next Aussi to grab attention in Australia is to set himself on fire as he crosses the line to win in any other race besides the Tour de France.

    That’s fairly typical for La Gazzetta, Cycling never gets a front page spread expect for the Giro. On tv they even include soccer with the main news before the sports news segment. Football is destroying the world! Pump you wheels lads!

  4. Geoff Bumble: fixed

    Rider Council: like I say there’s no explanation for Saturday yet from Cavendish. I merely wanted to use the data to show he produces 15% less power… but usually goes faster.

  5. “Football is destroying the world?” We don’t agree on much RiderCouncil but I’m with you on that one! Interestingly, the sport dominates the Italian news in a lot of aspects but, as you know, the freakin’ matches are almost NEVER on regular, broadcast TV…they make folks to pony up for SKY and the like to see ’em. Italians don’t seem to care much if their football heroes are doped or involved in match-fixing, unlike cycling where it’s a big deal. THAT I find tough to understand.

  6. That video shows some great management from Matt White, congratulating every rider for what must often be a thankless task.

    Did anyone else find themselves warming to a team that prior to Milan San Remo they had been midly hostile towards? I certainly did.

  7. That videos great in many ways. I found it really interesting to see Matt White explain to each rider as he came through how the victory was made. You don’t realise how oblivious the riders behind are. Great stuff.

  8. A couple ideas / thoughts on Cav:

    A) My understanding, is that he has never been high on a large Vo2Max or overall 60′ power #. His strength is his ability to pedal really fast while in a very, very aero position. Much like Cancellara’s move is a known quantity, and the way to neutralize it is to suck his wheel and make him drag you to the line….the way to beat Cav is to make him pop in the middle of the race on a climb or tough section where aerobic endurance is key. Liquigas and BMC pushed the pace…and Liquigas in particular wanted to get rid of as many sprinters as possible, given that once you shed some of the top, top sprinters, few can match Sagan.

  9. @inrng. Yes I see, but my point is why does there have to be an explanation? He was doing a ‘I cant get my legs to go’ shake of the head, that sluggish dead feeling you can have and can’t ride it away. He seemed to have an off day, his body may just not have fully recovered from TA. I doubt we will get a scientific explanation from a team doctor but for now I think we should give him a break and acknowledge that he can have a bad day every now and then. Besides didn’t he got dropped on Le Manie before?

  10. Well done to Simon Gerrans & his team, that was one of the best poker hands I have seen in a long time! Cool head & fast legs at the right time.
    @benjamin hall, I too agree that some may find Greenedge a bit hard to warm to with it being a new team. Personally I have a lot of time for Matt White & I think his role at Garmin was important for that team & its success, more than JV would realise until he left/ got the sack. Stevo I find harder to understand, he rode at Festina in the 98 tour and was on the ONCE team so I am not able to warm to him as much now as much as I did when he was a rider in the 80’s and early 90’s. But he impressed in the video the team posted.
    Putting all this aside though hats off to this team for such a great start. You can’t help but think how things at Leopard in 2011 might have turned out differently if their year started like this? Also it is very interesting to see how a team reacts in the car when they have success these days and the obvious relief that they all feel. Similar to Riis & Tristan Hoffman last year at Flanders and something you don’t see when standing at the side of the road watching the races, where all you see is a flash team car with a roof full of bikes. Cycling has certainly changed in the last 20 years from a time when the sponsor might see the team at the Tour or a few other times throughout the year and quite often just wrote the cheques to have a name on the team jersey and team car.
    Lastly, great ride by Fabian Cancellara, this guy is my descending hero.

  11. Cav’s “aero” position shouldn’t be under estimated. a quick poke about on shows that for a given speed. I chose 21ms(~75kph) as that yielded close to peak power values on a flat road changing the riders frontal area by even small amounts yields huge gaps in the power needed at those speeds.
    Speed 21ms
    Slope 0
    I left everything else the same
    frontal area: 0.5 = 1485watts
    frontal area: 0.6 = 1764watts

  12. Absolute power difference for Cav’s race-end sprint is large compared to his competitors but his relative power output is quite an advantage and that’s what matters since there’s no requirement for all to weigh the same. Also, getting the larger mass of those competitors to move requires greater momentum and while the longer levers of competitors may provide more absolute power, the cost is in longer time to get to that absolute power, and then in time to maintain it, which is short – about the time he pops around.

    Milan San Remo has already been in Cav’s pocket. So as far as his fitness, perhaps periodization is at work here. I’ve not been following Cav’s comments to know what his motivation was for Milan-San Remo this year, but one could conclude that given 2 possible physiological peaks (3 if smart/fortunate) per season, one would expect him to be jamming in late July for the Olympics in his home country after more TdF stage wins. It’s possible he could be training through this portion of the year.

  13. Green Edge video is great. Relatively low tech, some great inside-the-team shots, and a little editing makes for a great presentation to their fan base. I think there is an argument for the use of race radios and the inclusion of in-the-car videos in the real time television race coverage to provide additional appeal.

    Whitey has appeared in earlier HTC videos and his demeanor as a DS never fails to impress.

  14. Maybe MSR didn’t get a lot of Gazzetta coverage because of the relatively poor state of Italian cycling at the moment? Ballan and Pozzato’s top ten finishes were a bit of a suprise (to me at least)

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