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In race up Mont Ventoux, for example...

RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,479
edited August 2009 in Pro race
....who would win?

Emma Pooley/Nicole Cooke (which ever is the better climber - they're both good) or Mark Cavendish?

My instincts tell me Cavendish, but I have no idea. Do the best female climbers climb faster than the autobus fodder of the TdF?

I'm not sure because I remember one year at the London Marathon, Paula Radcliffe was faster than any British man.

Anyone got some times as evidence?
Twitter: @RichN95

Posts

  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    No evidence but I'm pretty sure Pooley would batter the other 2. She is an awesome climber.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    You have to remember that those in the autobus in the Tour aren't actually trying to ride quickly, just conserve as much energy as possible and finish inside the time cut-off. Also no matter how good a climber Pooley might be when fresh, or riding in a relatively short women's RR, how fast could she climb after a couple of weeks of riding the Tour and 6 hours in the saddle on a long mountain stage?

    In my experience even the best female racers are about as strong overall as a decent second cat male. When I was last racing I was a reasonable second cat and my best 10 mile TT ride was quicker than Yvonne McGregor's female competition record. (And I used to TT on a standard road bike with clip on tri-bars, no aero helmet or any of that stuff and have never had a days specialist coaching in my life). My local training group did get a few national-level female road racers coming out from time to time, including a national champion, and she could see off the 3rd cats on the hills but not the second cats, let alone the 1st cats / elites.
  • jim onejim one Posts: 183
    Nicole Cooke did that 2/3/4 Ras Cymru race last year and I think finished up 5th on GC a few weeks before she went on to win the olympics. Pooley won the final climbing stage from what I remember of the race report up a 3mile climb in Wales, but perhaps not as convincing over a load of 2nd cats as one might think she would.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I know that when my club had a girl in it who later turned pro - I used to beat her on the club hillclimb. And I was a third cat.

    Cav can get over mountains ok so I think he would win. Assuming that's all it is - one climb to the finish.
  • CumulonimbusCumulonimbus Posts: 1,730
    In the Alpe d'Huez TT in 2004, both Boonen and Hushovd did the climb in 45:20, 45:30 sort of time, based on Lance Armstrong doing a 37:40 (TT didnt start at the bottom of the official climb). Not sure how that would compare to a one day TT as it was in the third week of the tour. Maybe Boonen's time is a good standard to measure Cav's by though?
  • shinyhelmutshinyhelmut Posts: 1,350
    I know it doesn't quite compare but last year Chrissie Wellington came second overall only about 2 minutes behind the overall winner. Admittedly Chrissie is the best female long course triathlete in the world and the first guys were 2nd tier pros but an impressive effort anyhow!
  • stagehopperstagehopper Posts: 1,593
    Bronzie wrote:
    No evidence but I'm pretty sure Pooley would batter the other 2. She is an awesome climber.

    Don't forget Cooke won the Ventoux stage by 4 minutes in the women's tour a couple of years back. She also won the women's Giro on the last mountain stage with a solo attack. She's no mug.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    Don't forget Cooke won the Ventoux stage by 4 minutes in the women's tour a couple of years back. She also won the women's Giro on the last mountain stage with a solo attack. She's no mug.
    But in a RR she still can't see off a bunch of second cat British male amateurs! :wink:
  • afx237viafx237vi Posts: 12,630
    Don't forget Cooke won the Ventoux stage by 4 minutes in the women's tour a couple of years back. She also won the women's Giro on the last mountain stage with a solo attack. She's no mug.
    But in a RR she still can't see off a bunch of second cat British male amateurs! :wink:

    Venus Williams would probably get beaten in straight sets by a male player ranked 100+ too, but that doesn't make her a bad player.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    afx237vi wrote:
    Venus Williams would probably get beaten in straight sets by a male player ranked 100+ too, but that doesn't make her a bad player.
    Of course not, but the OP was trying to make some direct comparisons between male and female cyclists.

    Events such as the Grimpée de l'Alpes d'Huez and Grimpée de Ventoux do allow some comparisons to be made as such events are races in all but name and are often ridden by some very good riders. Jeannie Longo has often been the fastest woman in the Alpe TT. For example in 2005 she got up 53.56. The male winner , some guy called Stefano Sala did the climb in 41.13! This years Grimpée de l'Alpe d'Huez was won by some guy called Guillaume Novel in 43.31. The fastest female was French Olympic rider Edwige Pitel in 51.39.

    Again, we need to remember that riding up the Alpe as a one-off is a whole different kettle of fish to riding up it as part of a Grand Tour. I would bet that Cavendish's power-to-weight ratio is shed loads higher than any female cyclist, and that he could actually get up a climb quite fast if he had to.

    I would think that in a one-off TT, when fully fresh, with all riders going for it rather than cruising as most of those outside the top 10 of the Tour tend to do, a top-level pro and climbing specialist could get up in under 37 minutes, The likes of Cavendish and Boonen should be able to come in at around the 43 minute mark, and someone like Emma Pooley, if she is as good as some say, might just crack 50 minutes. Me? For what it's worth my best time, a few years ago now, was 56 minutes, bang on the money for my 'well built' frame (78 kg) and estimated threshold power output (320w or so). I have always considered myself to be a complete non-climber!
  • In the tour this year on the stage to Ventoux, the Grupetto (inc Cavendish) crossed the line in 5:05 for the whole stage. The Etape winner, who was a pro and the French RR champion, won in 5:11 for the same stage presumably reasonaby fresh and certainly not after 3 weeks of racing.

    I'm not sure what this says but my gut feel is the Tour Pros are pretty handy all round riders compared to normal folk and sprinters & rouleurs would easily see off any woman on any climb you like.

    I watched Pooley, Cooke and the rest of the top women go up the Muur at Flanders a couple of years ago and they really didn't look that quick at all compared to the men. Nothing against women, I love em, they are just genetically different
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    I watched Pooley, Cooke and the rest of the top women go up the Muur at Flanders a couple of years ago and they really didn't look that quick at all compared to the men.
    A climb like the Muur is a different kettle of fish to an Alpine climb, but on such short climbs where power is everything even 'non climbers' like Cavendish would simply blow any female rider away!
  • TusherTusher Posts: 2,762
    Sadly, I have to say I agree. Simple physiology, but I bet Cav, Boonen et al can't multi-task as well as the girls.


    I do recall reading somewhere (I think it was a running web site) that there was a rule of thumb that the best women are 10% behind the best men. In a marathon, and athletics generally, this rule would seem to apply. (I think- can't be bothered to hunt for the actual figures).

    Anyone know what difference the actual bike makes? (ie a smaller person will ride a smaller bike, a taller person will ride a bigger bike. If both pedal at, say, 100 rpm, won't the bigger bike travel further than the smaller bike? Apologies if this is too stupid a question, but I'm too tired to think and probably too tired to post .Logically that would mean that short people like Contador should always loose to the Fabians of this world, wouldn't it?
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I would think that in a one-off TT, when fully fresh, with all riders going for it rather than cruising as most of those outside the top 10 of the Tour tend to do, a top-level pro and climbing specialist could get up in under 37 minutes, The likes of Cavendish and Boonen should be able to come in at around the 43 minute mark, and someone like Emma Pooley, if she is as good as some say, might just crack 50 minutes. Me? For what it's worth my best time, a few years ago now, was 56 minutes, bang on the money for my 'well built' frame (78 kg) and estimated threshold power output (320w or so). I have always considered myself to be a complete non-climber!

    Female racers have a much flatter power profile - it's not their 1 hour power to weight that is lacking, it's their 1 and 2 minute actual power where they really get caught out. Especially on the flat circuits you get in the UK. If your 4.1 watts / kilo gets you up Alpe d'huez in 56 minutes, Pooley's well over 5 w/kilo+ will do her a lot better.

    Female racers problems come when it's absolute watts for short time periods in races. ie the things that you need to get away from a group or the thing that you need to go with a break. Which is why even elite female road racers struggle to get away but there's plenty of non-elite 50kg women able to stay with the pack in flatter Cat 2/3 races. They'll never win the sprint, and they're unlikely to have a jump good enough to get away, but that's the limitations - the flatter power profile, not once you get out at the hour.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    edited August 2009
    jibberjim wrote:
    If your 4.1 watts / kilo gets you up Alpe d'huez in 56 minutes, Pooley's well over 5 w/kilo+ will do her a lot better.
    I would hope so! As I said I have always seen myself as being a total non-climber. On paper she might beat 50 minutes, but I doubt she would beat the likes of Cavendish if he was giving it some. Apparently she weighs 50 kg, at say 5.2 w /kg that’s a threshold power output of 260 watts. On a 10 kg bike (the figure I used in my figures) this would give her an ‘on paper’ time of 48 minutes. Whatever, even is she is an 'awesome' climber for a female, the top male riders are still in another league.

    It's interesting to speculate how much difference giving up the beer and pies for while might actually make. Being, ahem, 'well built' I know from some body fat measurements that I once had done that to maximise my potential I should really have worked to get my weight down to about 72 kg. If I had done, all other things being equal, I should have been able to get up the Alpe in under 52 minutes. This is a surprisingly small difference for such a significant weight loss, perhaps showing that developing more power is more valuable than dropping a bit of weight. (And of course extra power give you an advantage on the flat as well). Of course, I never had the motivation to do this, in part because even a ‘big’ rider can power their way up most of the hills one encounters in UK races! I bet I could have still kicked Emma's censored in a flat TT though!
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Tusher wrote:
    Anyone know what difference the actual bike makes? (ie a smaller person will ride a smaller bike, a taller person will ride a bigger bike. If both pedal at, say, 100 rpm, won't the bigger bike travel further than the smaller bike?
    The size of the bike will make no difference unless it has smaller wheels which will affect the gearing. The weight of the bike relative to the weight of the rider could make a difference, but of course smaller bikes are a bit lighter than the same frame in a larger size - but the wheels, gears, bars are all going to be pretty much the same weight.
  • jim onejim one Posts: 183
    Here is an interesting link.

    Gives the rough power output in watts per kg that is needed in each level of the sport.

    http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/ima ... ile_v4.gif
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    The lower cat graphs on there are nowt like with British racing as I am according to the chart, at the moment, just about cat 4 according to that (British Cat3). I can't even hold on to the slower group ride at the moment...

    Cat5s in the US are a lot slower than in Britain, there are events are much more geared towards beginners with Sat/Sun morning crits in virtually every town whereas in Britain it's hard enough finding any local road race and then the level is pretty high.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    jibberjim wrote:
    If your 4.1 watts / kilo gets you up Alpe d'huez in 56 minutes, Pooley's well over 5 w/kilo+ will do her a lot better.
    I would hope so! As I said I have always seen myself as being a total non-climber. On paper she might beat 50 minutes, but I doubt she would beat the likes of Cavendish if he was giving it some. Apparently she weighs 50 kg, at say 5.2 w /kg that’s a threshold power output of 260 watts.

    I doubt very much that she's as low as that, given that at 52 kg, 255 watts at threshold leaves you mid-pack in domestic women's events in the UK, good enough to not get dropped, good enough to maybe make a break, but not good enough to do more. Those races are some way down on elite races. Pooley's going to be nearer 300.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    edited August 2009
    jibberjim wrote:
    Pooley's going to be nearer 300.
    'Nearer', maybe, but not by much! From that table 5.2 w/ kg would still put her right up in the international pro class for women. That table of power outputs gives a theoretical maximal value of 5.69 w / kg for women, so even if she was right at the very top of the scale at 50 kg this would still give just 285 watts. A lower figure also ties in with her relatively slow TT performances. When she came second in the 14.6 mile Olympic TT she averaged just 24.8 Mph and when she recently won the Grand Boucle Feminin TT, which was 11.25 miles, she averaged 26.8 Mph, even when fully kitted out with all the technology Cervello could muster. If she really has 300 watts on tap she should go a lot faster than that!

    I never had a TT bike or aero helmet, never indulged in the madness of chasing fast times on traffic-filled 'motorways' and in a 10 I usually did a middling 20 something on a 'fast' course, which is over 29 Mph, and a perhaps a very short 22 on a 'hardriders' course, or over 27 Mph. My guestimate is that I did this with about 320 watts on tap and my frame produces rather more drag than Pooley's! As I said I was just a reasonable second cat who was given a hard time by other second cats on the climbs.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    edited August 2009
    P.s that table also ties in closely with the performance of the world best Elite women, such as Cooke and Pooley, in events such as the 2/3/4 Ras Cymru.

    A typical 2nd cat, with 4.44 w /kg to play with and weighing say 72 kg will produce 320 watts at threshold. A typical world-class woman producing 5.36 w/kg at threshold and weighing say 55 kg will have 295 watts available. So, an exceptional female climber would be able to give the average 2nd cat a hard time on a long climb. However, the average second cat UK male racer will make up for this by having more peak power available for those short power climbs typically found in UK races, as well as having more short-term power when making break-aways and so on. They will also have more sustainable power on the flat and so will be better at time trialling. Again, it all suggests that the average second cat British rider would be right up there in even a world class women’s RR. Also, given the huge jumps from second cat male to first cat, elite and then pro I don't think any elite woman would give any pros any problems, even when going uphill!
  • deejaydeejay Posts: 3,138
    I'm not sure what this says but my gut feel is the Tour Pros are pretty handy all round riders compared to normal folk and sprinters & rouleurs would easily see off any woman on any climb you like.

    Remember the Pro's are doing 120/140 miles a day and on a Classic's ride about 170/180 miles.
    That to get that Continental Racing Standard they will spend time just getting used to such distances.
    We all take these Pro's for granted and today's Vuelta Stage in Holland is looked at with some derision because it really is "Flat", but it's still 127 miles (nothing to a Pro) followed by 118 miles tomorrow and 140 and so on.
    Further thoughts are the UK home riders have problems finishing a World Championship Race.

    I agree with that quote above by xover_runner, which sums up the question that was asked.
    Organiser, National Championship 50 mile Time Trial 1972
  • MettanMettan Posts: 2,103
    On totally fresh legs, Cav would easily beat Pooley and Cooke. Cav's proved throughout recent GT's on very tired legs he can climb well-enough - on fresh legs, he'd do much better. He's improved alot.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    Tusher wrote:
    Sadly, I have to say I agree. Simple physiology, but I bet Cav, Boonen et al can't multi-task as well as the girls.
    Maybe, but I bet Cavendish can read maps and parallel park! :wink:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    And throw his bidon properly.
  • afx237vi wrote:
    Venus Williams would probably get beaten in straight sets by a male player ranked 100+ too, but that doesn't make her a bad player.
    Of course not, but the OP was trying to make some direct comparisons between male and female cyclists.

    Events such as the Grimpée de l'Alpes d'Huez and Grimpée de Ventoux do allow some comparisons to be made as such events are races in all but name and are often ridden by some very good riders. Jeannie Longo has often been the fastest woman in the Alpe TT. For example in 2005 she got up 53.56. The male winner , some guy called Stefano Sala did the climb in 41.13! This years Grimpée de l'Alpe d'Huez was won by some guy called Guillaume Novel in 43.31. The fastest female was French Olympic rider Edwige Pitel in 51.39.

    Again, we need to remember that riding up the Alpe as a one-off is a whole different kettle of fish to riding up it as part of a Grand Tour. I would bet that Cavendish's power-to-weight ratio is shed loads higher than any female cyclist, and that he could actually get up a climb quite fast if he had to.

    I would think that in a one-off TT, when fully fresh, with all riders going for it rather than cruising as most of those outside the top 10 of the Tour tend to do, a top-level pro and climbing specialist could get up in under 37 minutes, The likes of Cavendish and Boonen should be able to come in at around the 43 minute mark, and someone like Emma Pooley, if she is as good as some say, might just crack 50 minutes. Me? For what it's worth my best time, a few years ago now, was 56 minutes, bang on the money for my 'well built' frame (78 kg) and estimated threshold power output (320w or so). I have always considered myself to be a complete non-climber!

    Well I turned myself inside out and got up in 1:08 this year, 8 mins quicker than last. IMO 56 mins is fecking quick. Chapeau.
    Dan
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    l I turned myself inside out and got up in 1:08 this year, 8 mins quicker than last. IMO 56 mins is fecking quick. Chapeau.
    I couldn't do it in that now. I couldn't do a 20 minute '10' any more either! :(
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