Showing posts with label Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Show all posts

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dan Martin's crash in Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Yesterday, full of self-loathing, I sat addicted to my laptop watching the final 45 km of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I can't help it. I'm addicted. But the spring classics are done now, right? I'm free, right? I'll be able to resist the daily lure of the Giro, right? Sigh.

But it was an exciting finish. Caruso and Pozzovivo got a gap which looked like it might just hold... then Daniel Martin of Garmin-Sharp, last year's winner, bridged up, passing the weaker Pozzovivo and just about reaching Caruso. One more corner, then 300 meters to the repeat victory...

But amazingly, he crashed in the corner. Jonathan Vaughters, his manager, reacted:

Here's the video on YouTube.

As reported by CyclingNews, Daniel's post-race comments were:

“It’s one thing to make a mistake or know what you’ve done but we figure that there’s a patch of oil or something. I think I had tears in my eyes before I even hit the floor. There aren’t really words for it. To race for seven hours and for that to happen on the last corner…. it’s poetry.”

But was it oil on the road? In the video, there's an audible "click" right as he goes down, his inside Garmin Vector pedal down. Here's the frame from the video where everything went wrong:


His inside leg is clearly fully extended, and I don't see any indication either his front or rear wheel is out of line. It looks as if he simply tried to pedal through a corner, leaned over too far, and hit his pedal on the road.

Of course, early on the Vector was developed for Speedplay, but was later switched to Exustar due to the proprietary nature of the Speedplay design. Speedplay claims it has superior cornering clearance. Indeed, with Speedplay, the shoe will hit before the pedal. The Exustar body used on the Garmin Vector is much larger, and if you were to test without shoes, you'd conclude clipping an Exustar is much more likely than a Speedplay. But Speedplay has a lower stack height with 4-hole shoes, and thus the foot sits lower. So it's unclear if the maximum lean angle with Speedplays is actually greater. I could test, but I don't want to remove the Garmin Vectors from my bike right now, due to calibration issues. Speedplays can also be set up with short spindles, moving the shoes inward, which also contributes to lean angle.

The other contributing factor to cornering clearance are bottom bracket drop, crank length, crank "Q-factor", and tire radius. The Cervelo R5 has 68 mm drop. This is not exceptional. Dan Martin's bike is described here (from last year, but also an R5). The crank arms are photographed, but I can't tell the length. He has 25 mm tires, which help versus 23 mm tires.

So nothing here indicates he has a compromised cornering lean angle. If the pedal strike was the main thing, you wonder if the pedal choice made the difference between crashing and finishing on the podium.

For more info on the race, I recommend Inner Ring's analysis. It's probably the best site right now for pre-race and post-race reading.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Milan San Remo 2014: active rider podiums on cycling monuments

Still suffering the after-effects of oral surgery, and mourning the loss of my missing tooth, I took solace in watching a pirate feed of the Eurosport coverage of 99.7 of the final 100 km of Milan-San Remo. Unfortunately I lost the feed during the final 300 meters...

So why don't I pay for Because I keep telling myself I'm not going to watch these races any more. Except for this one. Special circumstances. That's it...

The result: my man Cavendish didn't win Milan San Remo after all, his sprint tempered by the freezing rain, and once again I sold the remarkable Fabian Cancellara short as he finished an amazing second in a medium-group sprint. Katuscha's Alexander Kristoff took advantage of the work of his teammate, Luca Paolini, to win the sprint. Both of them pack some beef on their frames, something which likely worked to their benefits in staving off hypothermia.

Cancellara's 2nd place has continued an amazing streak of podium finishes for him. Here's his results in the last ten monuments he's finished, as he retweeted: 1, 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, 1, 1, 2.

CyclingTips posted this excellent montage of Cancellara podiums to Facebook:
Cancellara podiums

Back to Milan-San Remo:
sprint photo

US riders had a relatively quiet race this year, with candidate-for-the-win Taylor Phinney missing out due to illness. United Health Care had two US riders make it to San Remo: Kiel Reijnen in 77th, and Christopher Jones in 109th. I simply cannot imagine riding 294 km in under 7:15, let alone in those conditions, as these riders did. It's truly mind-boggling. The lead group finished in 6:55, an average speed of 42.4 kph, which is a typical fast criterium by NCNCA cat 3 standards.

The following data were impressively compiled by jaylew on the cyclingnews forums, showing the record in cycling "monuments" by current riders as of Milan San Remo 2014. Cancellara's record is absolutely amazing. Even one monument podium is enough to make a career a success.

F Schleck4000031
S Sanchez4000004
A Schleck2100020

Here's a correlation matrix for the above podium statistics. A positive correlation implies a rider podiums in one race is likely to do podium in the other. A negative implies a podium in one race is less likely to podium in another. Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders (RVV) have a strong correlation, while Giro di Lombardia, held at the end of the season and on a very different sort of course, is negatively correlated with these races, but positively correlated with Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which is a similar course.