I did a post a while a go about “the new” way Sagan was descending. And it might not have been so new, but for sure, Peter Sagan made it possible for this style to become way more common. Funny how that works.
Descending on your top tube isn’t for the faint of heart. It really isn’t that stable of a position on a bicycle when you are going 90 kph +. The reason is that you’ve taken all you shock absorbing abilities out of the mix. By that I meant that when you are sitting on your top tube, your knees and elbows are available to be used for bumps.
I thought of this while watching the finish of the Ruta del Sol yesterday. Valverde had dropped Contador on the final climb and they were both descending pretty aero. Then Contador starts to pedal while tucked, like Sagan started, then Froome did to win a stage at the Tour last year.
I don’t get the pedaling while tucked. For one, I can’t really do it. It is hard enough getting in the position. I think I read Sagan say he could produce something over 200 watts for doing it. I guess that is enough to add speed, but to me, it seems a little over the top.
Contador is so small, he looks silly pedalling. The video of the finish is below. Go to around 1:40 into it and you’ll see him start pedalling tucked.
Then there is a shot of Valverde and he is way over his front end while in the top tube, tucked position. Talk about being unstable. The road is pretty good, but this seemed ridiculous, since it really all got back together again anyway.
I tuck like this, at last practice tucking like this now. I can’t see doing it in a race unless I was off the front trying to win descending, or off the back, trying to catch back on. It seems valueless if you do this in a field. You might as well be just in a normal tuck, and drafting.
Anyway, look at the photos and video. If you decide it is for you, make sure you watch out from your front tire. Seems like nearly everyone I know had an issue with burning the inside of their knees with their front tire initially. These guys are so far forward, that they could burn their upper thighs. Like I said above, seems like it wouldn’t be that stable, but it seems to have worked for him.