More fascinating insights from Team IG-Sigma Sport’s Daniel Lloyd, this time with additional comment from Michael Barry (Team Sky).
The duo take to their bikes to give a rider’s eye view of Wednesday’s seventeenth stage from Pfalzes/Pfalzen to Cortina d’Ampezzo, a route that will take the riders along snow lined roads to the high mountains.
Lloyd and Barry descend the 2236 metre Passio Giau to demonstrate a range of descending positions, including the don’t-try-this-at-home ‘super tuck’ position in which the rider places his weight on the top tube.
A 69kg rider improves his descending effiiency by 22.5 per cent by adopting the tuck position rather than by riding with his hands on top of the bars. Barry pays tribute to the descending skills of teammate Mark Cavendish and Vincnezo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) who showed his ability going downhill at this year’s Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Lloyd highlights the additional challenge presented by plummeting temperatures as the road heads skywards. Riders starting a stage a sea level in 25 degree heat will experience a drop in temperature of one degree every 100 metres, leaving them faced with temperatures close to freezing at 2300 metres.
Correct fueling takes on additinoal importance after the cumulative effects of a series of climbs if the riders are to have sufficient concentration for the descents ahead.
Depletion of gluycogen stores in the liver can lead to the dreaded ‘bonk’ – inconvenient to the amateur cyclist on a Sunday training ride, potentially lethal to a professional faced with a descent at up to 130kmh.