There are many ways we can all emulate professionals, from buying the same kit, similar bikes, competing in the amateur racing ranks, riding in large pelotons and donning the very cool array of sunglasses to look every bit the part!
You may think that the professional rider gets the best of everything, however this is very far from the truth. They are in fact tied down heavily by sponsors who use the riders as a real-life advertising board.
Recently, the partnership between Irish ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport and bike sponsor 3T that went very badly at the Tour de Suisse, is a good example. The team publicly criticised their own sponsors for flaws in their bikes and drivetrain equipment.
Clearly not all partnerships go this badly, but there are certainly enough riders looking enviously at some of their competitor’s equipment. This highlights the fact, that for truly optimal performance competing in a sponsored team, even if the kit is free, is actually less than ideal. Look closely at a peloton and you will see riders wearing their own kit modified with a black marker pen or electrical tape to hide the true manufactures.
With the bikes and technology that we as amateurs have access to today (if willing to re-mortgage the house) we can get the upper hand with more advanced kit. Perhaps most importantly amateur riders are not limited to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 6.8kg weight limit, and wide variety of pedantic rules, measurements and definitions that all professional racers must adhere to. The list of these is long… very long!
What the professionals do:
- Adding weight – on occasion the pro teams actually place weights on their bikes to achieve this 6.8kg. They choose a bike that is outside of the weight limit then add weights to assist their handling.
- Electronic gears – all of the tour teams now use this, simply because they are better. If you have the cash, or are buying a new bike, my recommendation is to go for it. Evidence supports cleaner shifting of gears and you are less likely to have a mechanical failure.
- Disc brakes – nearly all riders in the pro peloton will have disc brakes this year. With the recent advancements in weight, the argument has become null and void. Disc brakes are better and less likely to fail. Again, if buying a new bike or you have some spare cash, they are worth it.
So, what do the professionals have that we don’t?
Bluntly, the support around them and the ‘time’ to train, on and off the bike. Also, the conditioning of their bodies, professional advice and guidance to gain the best positions. One of the things that they benefit greatly from is a bespoke bike fit.
Our Complete bike fit clinic, we use the same GebiomizedÆ software as many of the top professional teams to provide motion analysis, measurement and clinical assessment of your body, on and off the bike, to optimise your position. This will likely be the biggest gain in free Watts and speed, that money can buy.
As well as improvement in power output, our lead Bike Fit clinician is focussed on injury prevention and ensuring you are comfortable and pain-free on your bike. Eradicating pain and ensuring consistency on the bike is where physiotherapists have made themselves invaluable to professional tour teams.
To book a bike fit or ask us a question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7482 3875.