Pro race average speed

The Pro race average speeds are insanely fast. Going that fast on a bike doesn't come natural, it needs to be worked on, and of course intense and long training hours in the saddle will help them achieve this....but....

Going at these speeds in a race is one thing. Roads are closed so it is safer, sort of, crashes still happen.

But how the hell do pro riders train at these speeds. I doubt very much that they get special permission from the authorities to close off public roads.

They may even go to some training camp in the Med where the weather is nicer and the roads are quieter. But all it needs is one car and I still doubt they get permission to shut roads down so they can train.

And if they did want to go full kamikaze during training and go full gas on open public roads, then surely the police would stop them for speeding, not to mention aggro from sponsors for putting their prized assets in danger!

Or do they take the totally safe option of pushing 400-500W on the turbo trainer for hours on end?

It's a question that has been niggling at me for a while.

Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,178
    Train outside towns where speeding isn't an issue and the faster you go the closer to motorised vehicle speeds so actually safer.
    Just a guess.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    But still, unless those roads are made as safe as possible before a team of riders come hurtling at 50-60kmh through them, ie closing them down to public vehicles, then there is always a chance of catastrophe.

    Individual training programmes aside, for climbers or sprinters for example, where they can train alone to sharpen their unique skill, the need for speed is a universal one throughout the peleton. I'm struggling to get my head around a team of 8-10 pro riders training at 50-60kmh going full gas on quieter B roads even.

    And where on earth do they hone their descending skills where top end speeds of 100kmh are quite common!

  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,646
    edited August 2023
    bonk_king said:

    The Pro race average speeds are insanely fast. Going that fast on a bike doesn't come natural, it needs to be worked on, and of course intense and long training hours in the saddle will help them achieve this....but....

    Going at these speeds in a race is one thing. Roads are closed so it is safer, sort of, crashes still happen.

    But how the hell do pro riders train at these speeds. I doubt very much that they get special permission from the authorities to close off public roads.

    They may even go to some training camp in the Med where the weather is nicer and the roads are quieter. But all it needs is one car and I still doubt they get permission to shut roads down so they can train.

    And if they did want to go full kamikaze during training and go full gas on open public roads, then surely the police would stop them for speeding, not to mention aggro from sponsors for putting their prized assets in danger!

    Or do they take the totally safe option of pushing 400-500W on the turbo trainer for hours on end?

    It's a question that has been niggling at me for a while.

    Check out the pro strava routes. They just go on roads that tend to be quiet.




    https://www.strava.com/activities/9542523568




  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,178
    bonk_king said:

    But still, unless those roads are made as safe as possible before a team of riders come hurtling at 50-60kmh through them, ie closing them down to public vehicles, then there is always a chance of catastrophe.

    Individual training programmes aside, for climbers or sprinters for example, where they can train alone to sharpen their unique skill, the need for speed is a universal one throughout the peleton. I'm struggling to get my head around a team of 8-10 pro riders training at 50-60kmh going full gas on quieter B roads even.

    And where on earth do they hone their descending skills where top end speeds of 100kmh are quite common!

    You are over thinking things based on your own experience. For them all of the above is normal. Club runs around me have groups of 10-20 hurtling along at 40-50kmh.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • bonk_king said:

    The Pro race average speeds are insanely fast. Going that fast on a bike doesn't come natural, it needs to be worked on, and of course intense and long training hours in the saddle will help them achieve this....but....

    Going at these speeds in a race is one thing. Roads are closed so it is safer, sort of, crashes still happen.

    But how the hell do pro riders train at these speeds. I doubt very much that they get special permission from the authorities to close off public roads.

    They may even go to some training camp in the Med where the weather is nicer and the roads are quieter. But all it needs is one car and I still doubt they get permission to shut roads down so they can train.

    And if they did want to go full kamikaze during training and go full gas on open public roads, then surely the police would stop them for speeding, not to mention aggro from sponsors for putting their prized assets in danger!

    Or do they take the totally safe option of pushing 400-500W on the turbo trainer for hours on end?

    It's a question that has been niggling at me for a while.

    Check out the pro strava routes. They just go on roads that tend to be quiet.




    https://www.strava.com/activities/9542523568




    Maybe not the best example as average speed was 28kmh for 4 hours.

    But to the original question, there will be a lot of training done within early season races. It is quite remarkable how fast one can go after a solid off-season of base conditioning without having done any specific speed work.

  • pblakeney said:

    bonk_king said:

    But still, unless those roads are made as safe as possible before a team of riders come hurtling at 50-60kmh through them, ie closing them down to public vehicles, then there is always a chance of catastrophe.

    Individual training programmes aside, for climbers or sprinters for example, where they can train alone to sharpen their unique skill, the need for speed is a universal one throughout the peleton. I'm struggling to get my head around a team of 8-10 pro riders training at 50-60kmh going full gas on quieter B roads even.

    And where on earth do they hone their descending skills where top end speeds of 100kmh are quite common!

    You are over thinking things based on your own experience. For them all of the above is normal. Club runs around me have groups of 10-20 hurtling along at 40-50kmh.
    Worth noting maybe that both Froome and Bernal have finished their top-level careers by riding into solid things at high speed on training rides.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,178

    pblakeney said:

    bonk_king said:

    But still, unless those roads are made as safe as possible before a team of riders come hurtling at 50-60kmh through them, ie closing them down to public vehicles, then there is always a chance of catastrophe.

    Individual training programmes aside, for climbers or sprinters for example, where they can train alone to sharpen their unique skill, the need for speed is a universal one throughout the peleton. I'm struggling to get my head around a team of 8-10 pro riders training at 50-60kmh going full gas on quieter B roads even.

    And where on earth do they hone their descending skills where top end speeds of 100kmh are quite common!

    You are over thinking things based on your own experience. For them all of the above is normal. Club runs around me have groups of 10-20 hurtling along at 40-50kmh.
    Worth noting maybe that both Froome and Bernal have finished their top-level careers by riding into solid things at high speed on training rides.
    I advise watching where you are going and keeping your hands on the bars.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • gethinceri
    gethinceri Posts: 1,551
    I advise watching one or more of the many documentaries where you see pros training.
  • mididoctors
    mididoctors Posts: 17,646
    Scout your routes ...bowling around at 35kph is relatively safe thing to do with road awareness knowledge and high Viz clothing . Want to get run over at any speed ride in dark coloured kit
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • mididoctors
    mididoctors Posts: 17,646

    I advise watching one or more of the many documentaries where you see pros training.

    I see plenty of pros riding solo
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • mididoctors
    mididoctors Posts: 17,646
    Pro riders may go out with a support vehicle too
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,056
    edited August 2023
    bonk_king said:


    And where on earth do they hone their descending skills where top end speeds of 100kmh are quite common!

    Where I am in the Alps it is common not to see a car on rides, especially in the spring and autumn. On hairpinned roads you can often see down the hill to check for cars then take the corner wide but it can get hairy with things like tractors blocking the road after a hairpin and stuff like that.

    I don't think 40-60kph on the flat is too fast either. On one of my commute routes I can ride at 45-50kph through a small town on what is quite a busy road with chicanes and stuff - ok these days I can only do that for a km or two.

    As others have noted, plenty of training ride crashes and even deaths. Thinking of Amy Pieters among others. :-(
    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
    Instagramme
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,378
    A lot of the teams base themselves in the same areas and where groups of cyclists are commonplace (Tenerife, Majorca etc.) which in turn makes motorists more used to sharing the roads with them. The local economy benefits from cycling and therefore I assume the authorities are more accepting of them being out with team car support. That said I think a lot of training is done solo in informal group rides at lower speeds that would be similar to amateur training especially getting winter base miles in. The bits that would be frowned on most by the police in the UK are probably the sessions using motor pacing. I also suspect a lot of the more structured training these days gets done on turbos where it is easier to work at set power levels. In short, I don't think there is a huge amount of team group riding done at race speeds.
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    A lot of good points made which go a fair way to help understand the pro training regime.

    As far as practicing descending goes, and at race speed too, how the hell does that happen?!?

    Or do the likes of Tom Pidcock not practice descending at all, they just have extremely large balls and "wing it" on race day!
  • bonk_king said:

    Or do the likes of Tom Pidcock not practice descending at all, they just have extremely large balls and "wing it" on race day!

    TP will doubtless hone his handling skills via 'cross and MTB.

    There is a limit to how much "on the edge" stuff you can simulate in training. Even at my lowly level, what seems far too dangerous in a training ride is done without a second thought in a race situation when the "red mists" descend. I got to the point where riding a practice lap prior to a 'cross race was pointless (for me - it seems popular as a general concept) as the course looked completely different once the whistle sounded, with effective warming and psyching up best done elsewhere. Though maybe good riders can simulate race conditions more effectively in training, as I tend to worry too much other than when completely "in the zone".

    I don't doubt there is a serious element of "Big Balls" on race days!

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,178
    bonk_king said:

    A lot of good points made which go a fair way to help understand the pro training regime.

    As far as practicing descending goes, and at race speed too, how the hell does that happen?!?

    Or do the likes of Tom Pidcock not practice descending at all, they just have extremely large balls and "wing it" on race day!

    There is a video of TP on a training ride. Look on YouTube.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,056
    bonk_king said:


    As far as practicing descending goes, and at race speed too, how the hell does that happen?!?

    some riders do a lot of work on descending. Thibaut Pinot, who was an awful descender, spent an off season working on it - then he won the Lombardia.

    In 2014: "Thibaut Pinot's teammates and observers have the impression of a guy who presses a little too much on the brake pads to reassure himself. The vision of a rider whose trajectories are not really mastered as soon as the route becomes technical, and who can constitute a danger for him and for others."
    His fear of descending probably went back to a serious injury in the junior peleton when he broke both arms.

    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
    Instagramme
  • m.r.m.
    m.r.m. Posts: 3,369
    You can easily reach 80-90% of race speed descending the in Alps or Dolomites e.g. on your every day training ride. People do it all the time. Not just professionals.

    Most pro rides are fairly easy with only intervals mixed in that are extremely hard, but also fairly short in context of the entire ride like 6 blocks of VO2 max intervals of 4 min. or sprint intervals or the classic 2x 20 min. at the upper end of sweat spot.
    PTP Champion 2019, 2022 & 2023
  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    I don't see the issue for most training.

    Pro's will be sustaining 40-45 where I'm doing 30-35. Does it feel riskier for you when it's 2% downhill rather than pan flat? Just select quiet routes that match your training programme. Slightly more dangerously, higher-speed close racing can be done with moto pacing.

    For downhill training, there are a couple of things to consider:
    1) you know there's traffic, so instead train the racing line/grip within your lane
    2) mountain passes tend to be reasonably quiet most days in most of France/Spain anyway, with few well-known exceptions (e.g. Stelvio, ski season during the weekend...)

    Full beans sprinting is a different matter, but since you're training brief bursts possibly any short closed loop that's not too busy works.

    Despite this, yes, the main risk is an idiot not paying attention while driving their car. It really helps if you're somewhere drivers are used to see, and respect, cyclists
  • drhaggis said:

    Despite this, yes, the main risk is an idiot not paying attention while driving their car. It really helps if you're somewhere drivers are used to see, and respect, cyclists

    I think there's a certain amount of "chicken and egg" here in that if you willingly ride at [60]kmh where drivers are only used to a typical cyclist speed of [40]kmh then you create a situation for yourself where drivers are not paying enough attention. And whilst you may be in the right, that's not much consolation when you have a collision.

  • As has been alluded to above, your average pro's training speed is not going to he as high as race speed.

    They will spend 18+ hrs per week at mid Zone 2 which is going to be 20-22mph for most of them.

    As mentioned, many live near mountains and out in quiet areas, when they have intense training days with intervals, they will pick quieter routes where they know there is little traffic.

    They are pro's, it is their livelihood and everyday life, so they are going to train and prepare in areas they know and are as safe as can be.
  • joeyhalloran
    joeyhalloran Posts: 1,080
    Out of interest do you have as much concern with cars driving on these roads at 30mph?
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277

    Out of interest do you have as much concern with cars driving on these roads at 30mph?

    I don't have a problem with cars driving about at 30mph, as long as they're abiding to speed limits etc. It's because of these cars driving around at 30mph during training rides which raised my question in the first place.

    The roads are closed during pro races, obviously for extra safety, not that closing roads prevents crashes, but of course it helps immeasurably.

    However, closing roads during training rides aren't an option. I was under the naive impression that pro riders train as hard as they race. The replies on here suggest that's not necessarily the case.

    To take my notion to the extreme I had visions of teams of pro riders on training rides hurtling about at race speed during rush hour, lol. I couldn't get my head around that type of insanity. This thread has put paid to many of my misconceptions regarding training.

    I've checked out some of the you tube stuff too. It seems that their training rides are pretty laid back actually, nothing like I envisaged.



  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,178
    bonk_king said:


    ...
    To take my notion to the extreme I had visions of teams of pro riders on training rides hurtling about at race speed during rush hour, lol. I couldn't get my head around that type of insanity. This thread has put paid to many of my misconceptions regarding training.
    ...

    This thread exists only due to a misconception.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    bonk_king said:

    Out of interest do you have as much concern with cars driving on these roads at 30mph?

    I don't have a problem with cars driving about at 30mph, as long as they're abiding to speed limits etc. It's because of these cars driving around at 30mph during training rides which raised my question in the first place.

    The roads are closed during pro races, obviously for extra safety, not that closing roads prevents crashes, but of course it helps immeasurably.

    However, closing roads during training rides aren't an option. I was under the naive impression that pro riders train as hard as they race. The replies on here suggest that's not necessarily the case.

    To take my notion to the extreme I had visions of teams of pro riders on training rides hurtling about at race speed during rush hour, lol. I couldn't get my head around that type of insanity. This thread has put paid to many of my misconceptions regarding training.

    I've checked out some of the you tube stuff too. It seems that their training rides are pretty laid back actually, nothing like I envisaged.



    Do you think they would put their real training rides out there. so everyone could see what they are doing.
    However there is one video where one team is practicing for a time trial and they have cars and helpers on every corner and they are flagging cars down and virtually stopping them.
  • bonk_king
    bonk_king Posts: 277
    I hadn't thought about time trials but yes, that is another brilliant example of exactly what I mean regarding pros training on unclosed roads. Thanks for that.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,646
    webboo said:

    bonk_king said:

    Out of interest do you have as much concern with cars driving on these roads at 30mph?

    I don't have a problem with cars driving about at 30mph, as long as they're abiding to speed limits etc. It's because of these cars driving around at 30mph during training rides which raised my question in the first place.

    The roads are closed during pro races, obviously for extra safety, not that closing roads prevents crashes, but of course it helps immeasurably.

    However, closing roads during training rides aren't an option. I was under the naive impression that pro riders train as hard as they race. The replies on here suggest that's not necessarily the case.

    To take my notion to the extreme I had visions of teams of pro riders on training rides hurtling about at race speed during rush hour, lol. I couldn't get my head around that type of insanity. This thread has put paid to many of my misconceptions regarding training.

    I've checked out some of the you tube stuff too. It seems that their training rides are pretty laid back actually, nothing like I envisaged.



    Do you think they would put their real training rides out there. so everyone could see what they are doing.
    However there is one video where one team is practicing for a time trial and they have cars and helpers on every corner and they are flagging cars down and virtually stopping them.
    Terpstra put all his rides up apart from training camps.
  • Dorset_Boy
    Dorset_Boy Posts: 7,094

    webboo said:

    bonk_king said:

    Out of interest do you have as much concern with cars driving on these roads at 30mph?

    I don't have a problem with cars driving about at 30mph, as long as they're abiding to speed limits etc. It's because of these cars driving around at 30mph during training rides which raised my question in the first place.

    The roads are closed during pro races, obviously for extra safety, not that closing roads prevents crashes, but of course it helps immeasurably.

    However, closing roads during training rides aren't an option. I was under the naive impression that pro riders train as hard as they race. The replies on here suggest that's not necessarily the case.

    To take my notion to the extreme I had visions of teams of pro riders on training rides hurtling about at race speed during rush hour, lol. I couldn't get my head around that type of insanity. This thread has put paid to many of my misconceptions regarding training.

    I've checked out some of the you tube stuff too. It seems that their training rides are pretty laid back actually, nothing like I envisaged.



    Do you think they would put their real training rides out there. so everyone could see what they are doing.
    However there is one video where one team is practicing for a time trial and they have cars and helpers on every corner and they are flagging cars down and virtually stopping them.
    Terpstra put all his rides up apart from training camps.
    Quite a few put most of their training rides on Strava but will often hide the power data.