What's Cool In Road Cycling

Spinners Are Winners? Well, That Is Part Of It.

– By Mike Carter For AthletiCamps –

Yes, it’s true, spinners are winners. Look at Lance Armstrong, his cadence in the last couple of Tour De France races looked to be over 110 RPM’s at times. In the mountain stages, and in the TT’s he was not only
flying down (and up) the road, but he was flying his pedals around like the wind too. But is that all you need to win races, a high cadence?

Well, yes that is part of it – the easy part of it. The ability to spin smoothly and effectively is key to an efficient pedal stroke, and it does require deliberate training workouts to develop leg speed. Leg speed helps to conserve energy and power for those critical defining
racing moments when you need to close a gap, bridge to a break, attack the break and sprint for the win.

Developing good leg speed is the easy part however. Without power, it does not matter how fast you can turn the pedals over. What matters is the capability to spin a gear, big enough gear that will hurtle you down the road, and hurtle you with speed!

Leg speed alone however, does not necessarily translate into going fast on the road. Notice the size of the gear(s) Lance is turning over in the TT’s. He probably had a 55 or even a 56 large chain ring on, and he was in his 14 or 13, maybe in his 12 at times in the TT at the 2001 Tour De France. While Lance has incredible leg speed, he has the massive power to turn over a big gear to go with that leg speed. Lance has worked hard on his leg speed, but he has dedicated even more time to developing his power.

So The real key is maximizing the balance between developing leg speed and combining that leg speed with a power base. Spinners are winners, but only if there is power behind it.

Mike Carter is a former top level pro, having ridden in the Tours de France, Italy, and Spain, 5 World Championships and countless other international events. Mike is now a certified cycling coach and trainer, and works with www.athleticamps.com.

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