Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The art of descending

We have all seen the riders cutting through the air descending from the great mountains during the Tour, Giro or the Vuelta. Riders can gain or loose minutes descending well or poorly. Some riders use sheer willpower and have enough staying on two wheels, while others rely on excellent technique and bike handling. It demands it's rider descending on tyres 1/4 of an inch thick in 100 km/h on those narrow roads. Add hairpin turns and a view none of the riders notice and you have a recipe for disaster. It takes only a small rock to throw a rider off his bike, the consequences might be catastrophic.

Sprinter or classic specialist which probably is the correct term these days Thor Hushovd has perfected his descending skills, perhaps he needs it to regain the peloton after loosing minutes on the ascent? During the Tour in 2009 he was voted best descender by the other riders.

In this video you'll see Fabian Cancellara make his way down a mountain at full speed the Tour 2009 stage 7, barely missing the med car by some 20 cm. That happens 1:30 out in the film.


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