US Pro Cycling Challenge-Time Trial, Denver, CO 2012

US Pro Cycling Challenge-Time Trial, Denver, CO 2012.

Taylor Phinney (USA) would go on the win the time trial stage, there was but a brief view of the movement sequence and it was a SBHH with great clarity. In another George Hincapie (USA) sighting, he performed the SBHH as well, that is his style since I first had a look at his performances in the Tour de France.

Much like he climbed yesterday, Rory Sutherland (Aus) displayed the roll motion of the upper trunk and a hike of the hips. Cadel Evans (AUS) riding the course and dispensing valuable advice to Tejay van Garderen (USA) prior to his time trial effort. van Garderen tended to bounce on the saddle, resulting from unevenness in the road surface, in fact he was jettisoned at least once, though could not determine if he continued performing his movement pattern even under those circumstances, some do, but it can’t feel very good to land body weight on the tip of the saddle. Most riders are susceptible to bouncing off the saddle in that time trial position vs. on the road bike.

Tom Danielson (USA) had an effective SBHH; however, the repositioned his pelvis back at least once a minute. While this certainly takes time, I am not clear on the impact on the event. Levi Leipheimer (USA) took advantage of a TPR while off the saddle on a mini-incline, something he does very well. His movement pattern was about as fluid as I have seen from him; he tends to be very compact and overall difficult to figure out. There was some very focused and excellent motorbike camera work, could not have asked for anything more. Overall, a very good display of the movement patterns by all participants and a testament to the athletic ability on hand.

US Pro Cycling Challenge-Stage 6 2012

US Pro Cycling Challenge-Stage 6 2012.

Timothy Duggan (USA) performed a roll motion of the upper trunk along with what appeared to be a hip hike while off the saddle. Jens Voigt (Ger), bobbing around as he tends to do, which is in fact a sidebend of the upper trunk, roll with a hike of the hips; working well with teammate George Bennett (NZL) who tends to bob the shoulders as well (is it contagious?), however his roll movement tends to be rather fine while seated, and a roll motion of the torso plus a hike while off the saddle. In his first try with Bennett, Voigt loses contact, the same would happen with Rory Sutherland (Aus) later on; in fact while he appeared to have blown a gasket on the climb, he must have recovered quickly to finish 3rd on the stage and win the climbers jersey (we didn’t hear from him until he crossed the finish line). Sutherland took the climb and the stage; he tended towards a TPR, which he performed very well and consistently up the climb, it sure helps to be familiar with the terrain. As enthusiastic as the crowds were, some individuals clearly interfered with the progress and safety of the riders.

US Pro Cycling Challenge- Stage 4 to Beaver Creek

US Pro Cycling Challenge- Stage 4 to Beaver Creek.

Excellent win for Jens Voigt (GER) and nice to see Andreas Kloden (GER) back on the podium. Voigt has a gangly way of moving about on the saddle. Uphill he appears to bop the shoulders up and down which may lead to tipping the pelvis on the downstroke side. Certainly a sidebend with hike motions, though clearly an oversimplification, but at least it gives you a sense for what he does, very methodical about his climbing effort. After he wiped out on a descent a few years ago in the Tour de France, you just hope he makes it in one piece on the fast descents, the roads were wide enough, but did seem to avoid the yellow line especially in the rain. Did not have a good look at Kloden’s off saddle sprint to the finish for second place. Riders struggling with their breathing at the finish, unless of course you just won the race. Fun to get an inkling on how the riders motivate themselves, no doubt each has his own way to do so.

US Pro-Challenge: Stage 3

US Pro-Challenge: Stage 3 towards Independence Pass.

Thus far the best stage. Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (Col), did you take a look at the hand contact on the handlebars? In contrast to Castiblanco, that pelvic tilt was not apparent. Relaxed grip, good hand/arm weight shifting – just what the doctor ordered! Jeffry Louder (USA): SBHH seated while a TPR off the saddle and hands on the drops – which seems to be the trend. Tom Danielson (USA) off the saddle, defining “dancing on the pedals”. Castiblanco sprinting off the saddle with the TPR and hands on the drops, nice bend of the elbows up hill (the climbers’ version of the Cavendish sprint?). Later in the stage, Colorado (aptly named) would develop a more methodical sequence of the SBHH ie. sidebend – drive the hike- engage the upstroke – repeat (on a steeper part of the climb?); much like Kristin Armstrong did in the London Olympics, 2012 during her time trial. There is a message here somewhere. Again, hand contact on the drops or the hoods tends towards weight shifting and relaxed.

Another George Hincapie sighting from the front, comfortably weight shifting on the hoods, off saddle. Tom Danielson (USA) with what appeared to be a roll motion off saddle, hands on the hoods. The impression of the movement will vary with the perspective as the movement pattern tends to a hybrid of the TPR and SBHH. He was to keep a high quality movement pattern throughout, and for that matter so did Colorado until Danielson gapped him. If there was a breakdown in his movement pattern, I could not tell.

A few well placed Gendarmes are required close to the finish lines. On occasion, you will see a spectator running with the riders (the Shmengy as Bob Roll would refer to them?), and the Gendarme lands him deep in the third row.

The 2012 Pro-Challenge

The 2012 US Pro-Challenge is on!

Better camera position during the second stage of the event, to view the actual performance of the athletes. No doubt there are spreadsheets of the performances; I’d rather get excited about how the athletes actually do what they do, and you can only do that by looking. Otherwise, what is the point of turning to the broadcast?

Jorge Camilo Castiblanco Cubides (Col), he did a very nice job sprinting on a climb, off saddle, hands on the drops, elbows well bent, in a good display of the trunk pelvic roll. David Zabriskie (USA), and I may have shifted some of the observations from one stage to the other in my notes, but a clear cut rotation of the trunk and hip hike. Something which is not easy to see when he time trials. On the subsequent stage, another monumental effort, but at some point, he suffered a significant engine failure (F5 out of 5); hands on the hoods, lower trunk rotation apparent along with a hike: What I could not tell if there was a delay of the hike, and how well connected the whole was. F5 may take many forms in different individuals. The remarkable thing was that he recovers to do the same thing the following day!

A good view of George Hincapie (USA), in his final race? A side view (not optimal viewing, but do need a George sighting somewhere). Sidebend hip hike, very active at a good rpm, apparent if you know what to look for. One of the first SBHH’s I noted in a time trial, some time ago, with a very clear hike motion.

Rafael Infantino Abreu (Col) attempting to slide away from a group with a trunk roll and a well defined hike.

Overall, the climbing portions and breakaways in particular, tend to isolate the cameras on areas of interest. I vote for more of this!

Jorge Camilo Castiblanco Cubides (Col), seated climbing, very clear pelvic tilt (timed with the downstroke) plus a hike, which I had only seen prior in members of the Rossetti Team at the track, a team under the guidance of Emile Abraham. May have been a feature of the steepness of the incline (I can’t tell). Off saddle, he tends to roll the trunk and hike the hips. While in terrain which may not be as steep, the tilt disappears. The level of coordination of this whole sequence is out of this world, using every available effort to remain in contact.

I am told cyclists remain perfectly still on their bikes to “conserve energy”. Nobody told this to the Colombian team who is leading the charge in breakaways and contributing to a very good spectacle, exactly what people want to watch.

A spectator by the side of the road, with a leg cast and crutches, attempting to “run” with the riders close to the finish. Clearly, one French fry away from a Happy Meal.

While the cameras were focusing on Castiblanco and others, Tejay van Garderen (USA) and Christian Vande Velde (USA) blow by to the finish. Vande Velde is in good position behind van Garderen at the sprint, takes a few pedal strokes with the SBHH off saddle, has to sit as he is even with TJ and off the saddle again. There was nothing left to give.