Years of intense coaching and sticking to a strict dietary plan helps in turning into an elite bike owner. However there are additionally many equally necessary technological benefits obtainable to the cyclists at the Tour de France.
In recent times, there was a rise in tech developments, which permit for cyclists to experience quicker and make certainly one of the hardest biking occasions on the globe, a bit extra snug. These tech improvements present riders with vital benefits over their rivals or riders from generations previous. With it turning into clear that a couple of seconds or millimeters shaved off throughout the course of a race makes monumental variations in time, power expenditure, and general success, small modifications to the riders’ gear could make the distinction between second place and the coveted yellow jersey.
For a workforce to implement new tech inside their riders’ set-up, it isn’t so simple as simply making modifications.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing physique of biking, should settle for the proposed technological innovation prior to make use of in the Tour de France. As said in the UCI Technical Laws, groups should submit technological improvements previous to the race. Failure to take action will end in the responsible rider being faraway from the race:
“If at the begin of a contest or stage the Commissaires panel considers that a rider arrives with a technical innovation or an gear not but accepted by the UCI, it shall refuse to allow the rider to start out with such an innovation.”
Regardless of the strict laws set by UCI, producers are always conjuring up new and imaginative methods to make riders quicker. One in every of the most essential technological improvements in biking and the Tour de France was the software of carbon fiber composites to the biking world. The carbon fiber bike body offers the riders with a light-weight bike and a extra snug journey as a result of the carbon fiber shock absorbing properties.
The introduction of carbon fiber bike frames in 1986 has triggered a dramatic change in bike design, forcing governing our bodies to put a minimal weight restrict on the bike of 6.8kg (14.9 lbs). This minimal weight restrict primarily signifies a reduce off level the place the UCI is saying that although know-how could make bikes lighter and quicker than this 6.8kg minimal restrict, they need to hold the enjoying subject as whilst potential regardless of potential technological benefits.
Additionally, the introduction of digital gear shifting one other one in every of the most revolutionary technological developments in current Tour de France historical past. The excessive-finish (£1700+) Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 digital transmission permits customers to have a smoother shift in addition to save important time and power. The digital shifting system requires actually the contact of a button to seamlessly change gear – easy and repeatable.
However wait, it should weigh lots and make the bike too heavy?
Nope, the system solely provides a further 50g to the bike.
When discussing repeatedly shaving milliseconds over the course of a race, the bike isn’t the solely essential element that receives particular tech consideration. In the previous couple of years, there was a shift away from helmets primarily involved with offering air flow for the riders, in the direction of helmets that give an ‘aerodynamic’ benefit over different rivals. Producers akin to Bell and Kask have been creating helmets which might be extra aerodynamically ‘aggressive’ but in addition give riders the choice to obtain some a lot wanted air flow. Bell even goes as far as to say that their Star Professional Helmet can put riders 1.5m forward of their opponents over a 300m dash!
Considered one of the easier applied sciences at this yr’s Tour de France is the introduction of the bottle vest. The easy bottle vest which has been produced by Sportful permits the help rider to move crammed bottles from the group automotive to the contending riders. Beforehand riders actually had bottles stuffed down their race jerseys which means that once they reached their teammates they needed to cumbersomely take away the bottles from beneath their jerseys and hand them out. The easy new system permits for the help group to organize the bottle vests and hand them to the ‘water boy’ who can safely hand out the a lot appreciated H2zero.
Know-how at Le Tour has additionally impacted the followers watching at house. This yr has seen the use of motorcycle-cams for the first time, giving the followers a view from a totally new perspective. The micro-cameras are positioned on the back and front of chosen rider’s bikes which provides you an actual really feel for a way intense and exact the riders have to be to keep away from collisions. The use of cameras in different sports is turning into extra widespread. In Rugby the official is fitted with a digital camera so you will get an appreciation of what they should endure and navigate however it’s nice to see an identical use in biking which is giving the viewer some unimaginable footage from France.
Le Tour de France is the biggest biking occasion on the planet, with the 2014 race overlaying a grueling 3664 kilometers over 21 levels; so no it’s not your common Sunday afternoon cycle with tea and cupcakes. Know-how is clearly an intrinsic a part of the sport and right here to remain, with increasingly more developments yearly that attempt to make it somewhat bit simpler for the riders to finish the hardest experience of their life.