2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Now we have something / quite-a-lot to discuss and celebrate.
mig
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby mig » 16 Jul 2017, 10:22pm

mjr wrote:
mig wrote:ps how many riders are using disc brakes? i saw gilbert going back to his car fairly early in today's stage and noticed that he was. i'd like to see how they get on in the mountains, or if riders change away from them for those stages.

Wouldn't they be more likely to change to disc brakes for mountain descents? Calipers on carbon rims aren't famously good for stopping. More discussion from another forum at http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/ ... mpare.html and from a touring context at http://tomsbiketrip.com/touring-bike-fa ... -v-brakes/


not if they're getting tremendously hot down the long descents.

Samuel D
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Samuel D » 17 Jul 2017, 8:10am

Brucey wrote:cracking stage yesterday and a cracking stage today! Team Sky were absolutely solid under pressure today; shame that the local crowd booed Froomy as he was chasing back on after a puncture.

That was actually a broken spoke in his rear wheel that Froome suffered, though observers first thought it was a puncture (see the URL of that Guardian article). Froome himself said: “I broke a spoke and the wheel wasn’t straight any more.”

If I were Sky, I’d be looking to reduce the number of mechanicals that Froome gets. In his Stage 15 commentary here, Lance Armstrong speculates that Froome might be hard on gear.

Anyway, the racing has indeed been intriguing. It’s still so close for the GC.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 17 Jul 2017, 9:41am

Hi,
IIRC, at least three stuck in bottom / top gear so far, and that's just the ones at the front?
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Samuel D » 17 Jul 2017, 9:53am

Yeah. Urán had his derailleur hanger bent by Martin’s boot in a crash, so not really the fault of his Di2. He asked the Mavic neutral service to make it work in one gear – the 11T sprocket – and they did that (while hanging out of the car in a perilous manoeuvre).

He went on to win anyway, but if he’d had a cable system with the option of friction shifting – as many downtube shifters have – he’d have been able to keep using the gears even with his bent hanger.

If Froome’s wheel had had more spokes, he probably wouldn’t have broken one. And if it had happened anyway, he would have been able to keep riding and not had to perform that wheel change and desperate chase.

Proof that half of this stuff doesn’t even work well for racing, if you ask me!

mig
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby mig » 17 Jul 2017, 1:50pm

i wonder when the last tour stage to be won on a 32H box rim or similar was?

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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Brucey » 17 Jul 2017, 4:00pm

Samuel D wrote:Yeah. Urán had his derailleur hanger bent by Martin’s boot in a crash, so not really the fault of his Di2....


It looked to me as if the Di2 rear mech broke in the impact. It has occurred to me that a standard rear mech might just have pushed inwards (against the return spring) instead and might not have broken in the same way. If so, it perhaps was the Di2 system that was (indirectly perhaps) at fault.

I agree that Froomy's bike has suffered too many mechanical issues, any one of which could have cost him the race. In recent years I have not seen a race (or even a stage perhaps) where riders have not had complete shifting failure on Di2 or EPS. 'A big step sideways' someone said...

cheers
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thirdcrank
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Jul 2017, 4:26pm

If you ask me, Henri Desgrange had the right idea when he insisted they should all ride fixed. Pure weakness to allow them to change gear by turning their back wheels round. While I'm on, it's the same with this carbon fibre garbage. Eugène_Christophe AKA Le Vieux Gaulois would never have been able to mend his bike in the blacksmith's if it hadn't been made of good old steel. Back to all-wool racing jerseys, I say!

:wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Paulatic » 17 Jul 2017, 6:14pm

Rest day ..... Brailsford chooses his journalists and Froome wears long sleeves.
I fear it's all going in the wrong direction for Sky.
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mig
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby mig » 17 Jul 2017, 9:53pm

Brucey wrote:
Samuel D wrote:Yeah. Urán had his derailleur hanger bent by Martin’s boot in a crash, so not really the fault of his Di2....


It looked to me as if the Di2 rear mech broke in the impact. It has occurred to me that a standard rear mech might just have pushed inwards (against the return spring) instead and might not have broken in the same way. If so, it perhaps was the Di2 system that was (indirectly perhaps) at fault.

I agree that Froomy's bike has suffered too many mechanical issues, any one of which could have cost him the race. In recent years I have not seen a race (or even a stage perhaps) where riders have not had complete shifting failure on Di2 or EPS. 'A big step sideways' someone said...

cheers


are they contract bound to use them?

Brucey
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Brucey » 18 Jul 2017, 9:23am

mig wrote:
are they contract bound to use them?


I suspect it varies with the way the various teams are supported by the manufacturer. If they are sponsored by them, and get their kit for free, they might be. However quite a few of the teams buy their kit, in which case (price incentives aside) they might have a free choice.

The riders will probably have a preference but one factor that may be important (in ways that are not clear) is how the maintenance is carried out, and if the mechanics are short-handed or not. Keeping a whole team's worth of bikes in working Bowden cables is no small undertaking and some mechanics may find it quicker to play 'parts change bingo' with Di2 or EPS systems instead.

There are also questions of failure modes and how any in-service problems are perceived by the riders and the team management. Personally I think it is almost inevitable that electrical systems of this sort will play up from time to time; for example electrical contacts only have three states; connection made, connection lost, connection intermittent. Two out of three states will give an unforgiving failure mode, and one of them may cause endless trouble before it is identified and corrected. [By contrast Bowden cables usually carry on working (badly) for quite a while before they pack in altogether, which is arguably a more benign failure mode.]

When a Di2 system goes wrong this could be blamed on

- the mechanic
- the rider (doing something weird with it)
- the system

In this day and age if a system is found to be unreliable a common approach is simply to replace all the parts in it more regularly. This approach is predicated on the assumption that the parts wear out or otherwise deteriorate in some way, and is no substitute for improving other aspects of the system (since at best it will make failures less frequent, rather than eliminate them), but it may seem like a good choice if you are "in that particular hole".

It is an interesting conundrum; if the Di2 shifts are seen to be even fractionally quicker or better or less tiring for the rider, this would be seen as 'a marginal gain' which would have to be balanced against the risks and consequences of system failure. This kind of risk/consequence judgement is notoriously difficult to do well, and how any issues are perceived and managed within a group of people can affect everything.

I feel sorry for the mechanics, actually. If you assemble a Di2 system (as per factory specifications) and test it thoroughly, you still can't be absolutely sure it will carry on working for five weeks, five days or even five minutes, and when it fails it can't always be known exactly what has gone wrong. I suspect that most experienced mechanics would feel more confident that a mechanical system would work well in the short term, and/or fail in a more graceful fashion.

cheers
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thirdcrank
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Jul 2017, 10:06am

It's funny how things go round - not just bike wheels.

There was a time when a top rider would have a personal domestique, largely chosen for riding the same size bike as their leader. Improvements in the reliability of motor vehicles have meant that most problems in pro races can be solved with a swift bike change. The sight of a forlorn race leader standing holding a wheel aloft as time slips away seems relatively rare. Chris Froome setting off to run uphill without his bike was perhaps an example of this change: he wasn't used to being without close mechanical support. What we have seen recently also includes a range of different pedal systems and now wheels, so that neutral service cannot deal with every problem. Perhaps we'll go back to selecting riders on bike size as well as ability. :lol:

mig
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby mig » 18 Jul 2017, 1:05pm

i had assumed that riders like froome opt for electric shifting so that they can have a shifter on the tops for long mountain stages so that they can change gear with a finger/thumb press only. that plus the manufacturer making sure that their premium (priced) product was on that bike for the duration of the tour so that the wannabees follow suit.

Samuel D
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Samuel D » 18 Jul 2017, 1:07pm

Echelons all but guaranteed later today. Should be good!

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mjr
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby mjr » 18 Jul 2017, 2:58pm

thirdcrank wrote:What we have seen recently also includes a range of different pedal systems and now wheels, so that neutral service cannot deal with every problem. Perhaps we'll go back to selecting riders on bike size as well as ability. :lol:

We've actually seen two differences at the tour this year:

Firstly, neutral service have changed their bikes, so they now carry one set up ready for each of the top three GC riders plus a generic, all with dropper seatposts that can have their height adjusted while riding. I don't think Mavic thought it was good advertising having Froome pedalling with his knees up when he tried to ride one of their bikes last year!

Secondly, when Froome broke a spoke and the wheel bent, Kwiatkowski replaced it with his back wheel in about thirty seconds (although slinging his own bike on the floor, which most of us wouldn't do ;-) ) which would be pretty good going even for a pro mechanic... so I do wonder whether some riders get selected partly due to abilities besides being super super strong riders because Sky has plenty of those and probably needs some other way to choose between them. A few riders who can fettle bikes is probably a good idea with a team leader who is reportedly rather good at breaking bikes.
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Re: 2017 TdeF (spoilers post-highlights please)

Postby Postboxer » 18 Jul 2017, 6:29pm

Maybe one of Sky's marginal gains is mechanic and pit stop school for their riders, imagine if it had taken another 30 seconds.


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