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THE PELOTON AND A WHEELSUCKER  

spunkycumfun 61M/67F  
29851 posts
7/5/2013 2:26 am
THE PELOTON AND A WHEELSUCKER



After Stage 6 of the Tour de France, the South African cyclist Daryl Impey is wearing the yellow jersey. Riding for the Australian team, Orica-GreenEdge, he is 3 seconds ahead of the field. The Tour favourites are close behind: the British (sort of!) cyclist Chris Froome is 8 seconds, the Spanish (ex-druggie) Alberto Contador is 14 seconds and the Australian Cadel Evans is 31 seconds behind the leader. In the weekend, the Tour moves to the mountains of the Pyrenees; this will be when the favourites will hope to gain a lot of time over their rivals (or at least minimise their time losses).

The peloton is the main pack of cyclists who ride together to save energy. By riding close together, they protect themselves from the wind. But more important, by riding close behind each other, called drafting or slipstreaming, they use up to 40 per cent less energy than the cyclists at the front. Saving energy is key to winning each daily stage race and the three-week Tour overall.

The peloton behaves like a shoal of fish. Riders of each team will share the workload riding at the front, but the leading rider will never ride at the front in the peloton as his energy needs to be conserved to win the race. Often, a small group of riders will mount a breakaway from the peloton. A breakaway is called an echappée, a French word for escape.

It is not common, though occasionally happens, for one of the breakaway riders to win the race as they have to use a lot of energy to stay ahead of the peloton as there are only a few of them. Usually, even though the breakaway may be minutes ahead, the peloton will chase them down as the race unfolds and they will be swallowed up by the peloton. To stand a chance of winning the race, the breakaway riders, despite riding for different teams, must work together and share the workload of riding at the front. Breakaway riders that don’t ride at the front and stay close behind other riders are called wheelsuckers. Wheelsuckers are not popular cyclists.

I’m a recent convert to cycling but I find its tactics and strategies fascinating. When I first watched the Tour de France, I could not understand why cyclists did not just ride as fast a possible to win the race. Now, I know why they ride in a peleton and why wheelsucking is an effective but unpopular way of winning.

If you like sport, what is it that you like about the sport ?
Is it the speed, skill, competition, rivalry, tactics, strength, toughness, teamwork, grit, determination, dedication or something else that makes you like sport?


For other Tour de France blog posts, see BICYCLE RACE and LE TOUR DE FARCE.

lok4fun500 M  
51906 posts
7/5/2013 6:30 am

I don't know anything about the race other that its long. I don't care to watch it as there has been too much damage done by cheating over the years.


lok4fun500 M  
51906 posts
7/5/2013 9:15 am

There is another blogger following the race and appears to be well informed. First ever South African in the yellow jersey


spunkycumfun 61M/67F  
41171 posts
7/5/2013 10:11 am

Many thanks for the tip-off. She is knowledgeable!
I think (or, at least, hope) that the worst of the drugs episode is over for cycling. Speeds on the Tour have dropped significantly in recent years, suggesting the riders aren't doing drugs (at least on organised scale a la Lance Armstrong).


smartasswoman 64F  
35813 posts
7/5/2013 12:09 pm

Nobody likes a wheelsucker. Even on recreational rides! Especially the ones that hang back for the whole ride, and then zoom to the front as the group is pulling into the parking lot at the end, to make it look like they're strong


smartasswoman 64F  
35813 posts
7/5/2013 12:16 pm

P.S. You might enjoy this old post of mine:

Bicycle Racing Explained


FMAOPLS 69F  
27112 posts
7/6/2013 11:41 am

My favourite sports are the ones where you get to enjoy a male athletes physique.

To be truthful, figure skating, as it is one of the only sports I am really knowledgeable about. But I enjoy watching almost every sport during both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Check out my profile or and become a "watcher" of my blog FMAOPLS,to learn more about me, and for intelligent, lively, smartassy and fun discussion, with a little irreverence thrown in. "Like" or comment on my photos, and I promise I'll add more. Thanks.


spunkycumfun 61M/67F  
41171 posts
7/7/2013 7:42 am

I have enjoyed reading your posts and will continue to watch out for more posts on cycling.


spunkycumfun 61M/67F  
41171 posts
7/7/2013 7:43 am

    Quoting FMAOPLS:
    My favourite sports are the ones where you get to enjoy a male athletes physique.

    To be truthful, figure skating, as it is one of the only sports I am really knowledgeable about. But I enjoy watching almost every sport during both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
I've not watched much figure skating, except for Torvill and Dean.
Cyclists are possible too thin and wiry compared to other athletes' physiques!


spunkycumfun 61M/67F  
41171 posts
7/7/2013 7:44 am

    Quoting smartasswoman:
    Nobody likes a wheelsucker. Even on recreational rides! Especially the ones that hang back for the whole ride, and then zoom to the front as the group is pulling into the parking lot at the end, to make it look like they're strong
Wheelsuckers suck!


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