What's Cool In Road Cycling

Comment: How To Win The Tour

Barring something crazy, Lance will win his 4th consecutive maillot jaune, and take another step closer to the Big Mig’s all time record. And Lance’s domination of this Tour has been nothing short of awe-inspiring, while unfortunately so predictable that it’s removed the “competition” and “thrill” of sport from this year’s race. It’s great to see an athlete perform at his best and prove his superiority, and Armstrong makes a great and gracious champion, but he’s also won the most boring Tour in years. This is not to take anything away from him, but perhaps to serve as a wakeup call to the rest of the bunch – hey guys maybe you can learn something about training from Lance! His preparation is hardly secret, spin smaller gears at higher revs, ride the key stages before the race, focus on peaking in July – these are techniques available to everyone. Why do we still see riders lumbering away pushing huge gears over alpine cols, when this clearly does nothing more than slow you down and shorten your career (ie: Ulrich’s knee troubles)?

In the late 80’s we saw Greg Lemond go faster by using new technology like aero-bars, aero-helmets, and wind-tunnel testing to create a better position on the bike. In the last 4 years we’ve seen Armstrong use better training techniques to increase his speed and get to a new level – is he the only one doing this? North America was created by people who didn’t like the old ways of doing things – it has always represented the land of innovation and change. Americans have led the advances in bicycle and racing technology for over a decade now, and continue to show the old way of doing things isn’t always the best.

The Tour de France is great because of its rich history and tradition, but American’s have proven that a bit of innovation goes a long way toward winning the world’s greatest sporting event. As its history becomes deeper and more rich each year, it also evolves as a reflection of racing and training techniques. Here in lies the key to future Tour victories, and a message for any future hopefuls… look no further than Lance himself and make use of a little innovation of your own.

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