The rear rider maintained a constant body position throughout all of the runs, with the large starting gap ensuring that he would not benefit from a draft from the front rider.
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The only controlled variable was the coasting position of the front rider. Each rider had a piece of reflective tape running down the length of his right fork leg. The Star Crono Test records times to the thousandth of a second and saves 50 numbered files of time gaps for later review. I also timed it with an iPhone as a backup. A larger time gap at the finish meant a faster position, as the front rider was rolling away faster from the rear rider. Conversely, a smaller time gap indicated a slower descending position for the front rider, since the rear rider was able to lose less time or perhaps even gain time on him.
After the first run of eight different positions, three of them were so slow indicated by small time gaps between the riders that there was no point in testing them any further. These were positions 5 Pantani , 7 Froome , and 8 Cancellara. After the next run of five positions, we also eliminated position 6 Nibali, v.
At this point, we altered the protocol slightly to improve accuracy. We noticed that having the front rider immediately assume the chosen descending tuck position could lead to some wobbling at low speed in some positions, particularly the narrow ones or the ones hung over the stem. So, he instead held the Sagan position, the most stable at slow speed, for the initial 0.
Since we were interested in how these positions compared at high speed, not low speed, we felt that bringing them all up to the same speed first before going into the position would make the test more accurate. This position had consistently tested second fastest to the Phinney position 0. It also posed the highest danger to the rider, as it offered the least control of the bike, hence its elimination for the safety of the test rider. We now wanted to find which position would take the third podium step, since the first two were clearly well ahead.
We then performed three more runs of the Sagan position and two more each of the Phinney and Nibali tucks.
Analysis: What is the fastest descending position?
Taking a straight average of the total runs on each position gave us the ranking on the left of the table, with two positions tied for fifth. As there had been an occasional surprising outlier in some of the runs, we then threw out the one run from each of those that had multiple runs that most deviated from the others and averaged the times again. This did not change the order of the positions from fastest to slowest, but it did break the tie between the Pantani position and the Nibali position on the drops.
Tucked low on the top tube, with his hands placed close together on the tops of the handlebars near the stem, Phinney dropped the entire field on the descent of San Marcos Pass on stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California and held on to win the stage in Santa Barbara. At the ripe age of 18, a year after winning the junior world championship, Slovenian Mohoric won the U23 world road championship in by holding off South African Louis Meintjes using this technique, alternately pedaling and coasting while sitting forward on the top tube, chest slung over the stem, head hanging down, and his shoulders as far forward as the brake hoods.
He dropped an elite group on the descent of Monte Grappa, switching back and forth between this position and position 6. Sagan used this technique on stage 16 of the Tour to drop Jarlinson Pantano and almost catch breakaway rider Ruben Plaza. Sagan kept his back flat, head up, shoulders on the tops of his bars, and crotch firmly planted on the top tube with his butt slid back to the seatpost.
Definition of Descending Order
Sagan held this position through turns of the technical descent of the Col de Manse. Pantani scooted off the back and rested his chest on the saddle while unsuccessfully chasing Richard Virenque down the Col du Tourmalet in the Tour de France. Cancellara has also been known to descend in this position. Nibali has used this position many times to take corners at speeds that few riders can or dare to.
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However, the Shark of Messina also has his limits; he was leading the Olympic road race on the final descent before the run-in to Rio de Janeiro, when he crashed and took down Colombian Sergio Henao , at the expense of his collarbone and their almost certain podium positions. Thyreoidea ima Right subclavian Right common carotid.
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- Descending into ML.
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