Can a lackluster season be attributed to the bike???

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53x12
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by 53x12

Ballan, Roche, Bettini, Simpson, Maertens...etc. And no, the curse doesn't affect everyone. But it seems to affect some riders more than others. Do not ignore the curse the jersey holds on riders.

Is Gilbert suffering from the curse of the Rainbow jersey?


The Rainbow Jersey. The mark of the world champion. Those colored hoops represent one of the finest achievements the sport has to offer, rivalling the Maillot Jaune of the Tour de France and the cobblestone trophy of Paris-Roubaix.

There are even some at the top end of the sport that desire the Rainbow more than any other accolade, more than Tour champion, certainly more than World #1, a designation that carries little real weight in all honesty.
Why? Because the world champion wears those colours all year long, in every race, in every training session even, if they so desire.

The worlds race is generally so hard that only the best can achieve victory, and they do it on a day when those best suited to the course are all at or very close to their best.

Yet the Rainbow Jersey can bring with it, for more than a few, something else, something known, darkly, as ‘the curse of the Rainbow jersey.

The most recent example came in the form of the Italian rider, Alessandro Ballan.

Claiming victory in 2008, Ballan then contracted the disease Cytomegalovirus, which suppresses the human immune system. Ballan had such a torrid time of it that he failed to win again while wearing the famous jersey.
A strikingly similar case was the Irishman Stephen Roche, who suffered knee problems after a stellar year in 1987, in which he won the Triple Crown of the Giro d’Italia, the Tour and then the worlds, a feat only equaled by one other rider, the legendary Eddy Merckx.

1988 brought zero wins for Roche.

Others to feel the wrath of the Rainbow include Tommy Simpson (1965 WC), Freddy Maertens (1981 WC), and Paolo Bettini (2007 WC).

This year’s incumbent is a rider who has commanded fear and respect in equal measure since turning pro back in 2003, Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert.

Gilbert has a palmares that is simply stunning, including a host of Classics, mini-classics, stage victories in Grand Tours and days in the Maillot Jaune.

And yet after claiming victory in last year’s world championships he’s still awaiting his first victory in the Rainbow jersey, with his best result of 2013 being second place in Brabanste Pijl and the slim picking of a fifth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

This is a rider who racked up an incredible 11 wins in 2011. These wins were incredible not in terms of the total but in their importance.

Belgian national road and time trial champion. First in the Tour of Belgium. First at Liege, Amstel Gold and La Fleche Wallone, first at the Strade Bianche and a win in the Tour and a day in Yellow, among others.
So what happened? Has he lost the plot? Lost the form?

To find the answer we need to look not at 2013, but back to 2012 when he joined the BMC Racing team.
Before that move, Gilbert had been a devotee not of coaches, SRMs, heart rate monitors and training plans, but of riding and training on ‘feel’.

Upon joining BMC he took on the advice of their coaches and switched saddles, two factors that he later admitted he felt contributed to his lack of form and niggling injuries through the season.


He bounced back with two wins at the Vuelta a Espana and then that memorable worlds win, where he looked truly like the Gilbert of 2011, but since then his palmares has recorded not a single victory.

Then we have to factor in the effect of the hallowed hoops. It takes a leap of imagination to truly believe in the curse of the Rainbow (unless you’re Ballan, Bettini et al), but there is no doubt that having that fabric on your shoulders brings with it pressures that are only too obvious.

With the eyes of the whole world – and the rest of the peloton – on your back, every move you make is scrutinised and in some ways telegraphed. The wearer feels that outside pressure and also the pressure from within, to get an early win and to put the nerves at rest.

In this sense then the jersey is both a blessing and a curse.

His second place at the recent Belgian ITT championships suggests that he is finding form once again, but then you could have said that several times this season.

Is Gilbert cursed? If he doesn’t win in 2013, the believers will say yes.


http://www.theroar.com.au/2013/08/16/is-gilbert-suffering-from-the-curse-of-the-rainbow-jersey/
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

by Weenie


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Rick
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by Rick

I know that if I ever won the Rainbow Jersey I would spend the next year just parading around wearing it with a big smile on my face.
Plenty of time for a "come back" next year! :thumbup:

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Rick
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by Rick

KWalker wrote:Not true whatsoever. There are lots of instances of bike fits hampering pros in terms of causing injury and reducing power output. A bad fit can result in a significant loss of pedaling efficiency for some people.

Well, maybe so. But it is really hard to believe that an experienced pro would all of a sudden switch to a "bad fit".
I'm certainly no pro, and I make any changes to my fit in small increments specifically to avoid problems like that. Like if I have some brain fart that makes me think my saddle should be 1 cm back one day, I deliberately think about it for another day, and then make a few long rides with it moved back only half that until I am sure nothing bad is happening.
I wouldn't even consider just changing everything so much at one time that it suddenly became a "bad fit". How bad can it really get if you are being even a little cautious ?

Once I kept raising my seat about a mm per ride until I could feel the backs of my knees starting to get sore. So I just immediately backed off the next ride and things were fine. I wouldn't do that sort of experiment on an exceptionally hard ride or before a big race. ;)

I would like to believe that my "poor fit" is what's limiting my power output and efficiency; but all the evidence is that it is my fat ass.

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aarw
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by aarw

You could say the same about Cadel Evans. Had a cracking couple of years on his Canyon (which there were rumours about him not getting on with), moves to a BMC....and nothing.

Thor..?

How many riders have moved to BMC (team, not bikes) and performed better than their previous team??

Cummings and Phinney maybe.

sawyer
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by sawyer

Have BMC ever ridden on another bike? ;-)

Cadel is another one who did well on a Canyon yes.

Not forgetten Rodriguez is the new Gilbert since he threw his leg over a Canyon.

Katusha have been on fire the last two years.

See a pattern here?

LOL at the "curse of rainbow" jersey credence alongside the absolutely farcical idea that a complete change of bike could have any impact on performance.
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Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

jockster
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by jockster

aarw wrote:...moves to a BMC....and nothing..


Nothing now includes wearing yellow in Paris?

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Tinea Pedis
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by Tinea Pedis

aarw wrote:You could say the same about Cadel Evans. Had a cracking couple of years on his Canyon (which there were rumours about him not getting on with), moves to a BMC....and nothing.

His issue with Canyon was, incidentally enough, refusing to ride their stock sizing and wanting custom. They initially refused, but reneged just his offseason was coming to an end.

Straight from the horses mouth too, as my old workplace built him a bike for him to ride over said offseason.

And "nothing"? He won a Tour on one :lol:


euan wrote:
sawyer wrote:Maybe also the hoops ... he had CCUs for the punchclimbs back in the day ... not floppy Eastons.


Which is why they are on Shimano this year...

Which also has a bit to do with Hincapie leaving and them being able to have access to all of Shimano's gear, as Shimano sponsorship is tiered such that you get full support if you go everything (this includes Pearl Izumi for clothing).

They quotes, from the BMC riders, about what the difference was like moving from Easton to Shimano wheels...was not great for Easton.

sawyer
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by sawyer

TP - that is interesting re the comments from team members. Anything published on that?

For obvious reasons pros' real views on gear are hard to come by but very interesting.
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HUMP DIESEL
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by HUMP DIESEL

Like I said before, I am not speaking in terms of fit, because it has been proven over and over that contact points can be transferred to multiple bike sizes for a range of a persons anatomy. What I am talking about is in terms of the bikes feel at these levels. If you don't agree, go to a shop or if you have access to different frame sizes in a different range, go and set up three different bikes with your same measurements: Saddle height, setback and handlebar reach and height. Do this on bikes where you would have to run a 140mm stem and one where you get there with a 120. Take them both out on a course that you can replicate an effort and come back and tell me that one or the other feels better and that you feel faster on one than the other.
I have done this and that is what I was trying to convey through the question. A bike set up can effect how it rides and subsequently how well you race on it.

HUMP
Why are the best things in life always the ones you start last?

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micky
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by micky

Hump, I might sell my Canyon at the end of the year in case you wanna win more races.

On a serious note, a friend of mine who works for one of the technical sponsors of BMC told me exactly one year ago that for whole 2012 after having troubles in getting some form, Gilbert tried to swap around all parts like pedals, saddles, etc like if it was due to his bike.

HUMP DIESEL
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by HUMP DIESEL

micky,
I like them, but not in the market for another bike...A small truck, yes.

HUMP
Why are the best things in life always the ones you start last?

sawyer
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by sawyer

Micky - that is some interesting intelligence!

So it does appear the BMC bike has got in amongst Gilbert.

How fascinating!

He could re-badge a Canyon and use some papier-mache to mock up those odd BMC seat-tube things.
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Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

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Rick
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by Rick

Widely cited story:

"On yesterday's Tour coverage, the commentator asked the great Sean Kelly what was the best bike he'd ever ridden. The answer was, "The one I'm paid to ride."

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AGW
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by AGW

sawyer wrote:TP - that is interesting re the comments from team members. Anything published on that?

For obvious reasons pros' real views on gear are hard to come by but very interesting.


In the pro cycling thread, Gilbert had tweeted something like "what a difference" it made going from Easton to Shimano, words to that effect. Don't know what other riders may have said.

by Weenie


sawyer
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by sawyer

Rick wrote:Widely cited story:

"On yesterday's Tour coverage, the commentator asked the great Sean Kelly what was the best bike he'd ever ridden. The answer was, "The one I'm paid to ride."


Yes, that is the official answer but I bet if you sat the legendary hard man down in a pub with a pint of stout he would divulge his favourites
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Stiff, Light, Aero - Pick Three!! :thumbup:

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