It was time! After a tough start in the Tokyo Games, the French cycling race won its first medal, With bronze runners on the track Tuesday : A podium has never been easy with a completely overhauled team. François Pervis, now a consultant at France Télévisions, provides his analysis of the performance of the blues.
François Pervis, nearly a dozen national, world or Olympic records smashed on Tuesday morning at Izu Racecourse in Japan, how can this be objectively explained?
There are many criteria that led For these extraordinary offers. The first is that the weather was really good.
that by saying?
The temperature in the air-conditioned velodrome is about 28 degrees, which is ideal. Cooler, runners will lack performance and muscle level. Punishment would be hotter for recovery. And since it’s air conditioned, the air is very dry, the relative humidity was 50% early in the morning, and it sure ran dry again after that. But when you have 30% velodrome it is perfect.
Dry air penetrates the body of a moving cyclist much better than moist air, since there is much greater friction with moisture particles. There is an increase in speed due to less resistance.
But wasn’t that the case in Rio in 2016?
Yes, it was hot and dry too, but not that bad. There, we were less than 1,000 hectopascals of atmospheric pressure. The lower the pressure, the lower the density of the air and this is a bit like being at higher altitudes.
And what about the path?
There, it must be said that the design of the track is quite original and rare. There is little like that. There’s Berlin, where a lot of records were broken last year too, there’s Roubaix, Cali in Colombia…
What distinguishes it?
It has longer straight lines and very narrow turns. And it is these tight turns that make the inertia, when you enter the turn, even more significant. It’s like a catapult or a floppy sway coming out of a bend, like a marble in a bowl. You should know that not all tracks are the same in shape, they just have to be 250m
And paint, can they have an effect, too?
Yes when it is of poor quality. But there is a good quality, like most large phyllodromes. The path was recently sanded with sand, which is of the same wood generally used as Siberian pine, a tree that has grown in the cold and is very dense.
Yes it plays a lot. Especially textiles. Today’s bikes are so streamlined anyway, that they don’t have more aerodynamic drag than a car’s rear-view mirror. The runner is the one who takes the wind, so we have to work on his path. And developments on equipment are developing very rapidly. Especially diving suits, with latex sleeves for New Zealanders in particular, where the shoulders are in the skin of a striped shark etc.
And in terms of training?
We see that the trend is to pull the big gears now. So runners are no longer limited by the rhythm of the pedals, like the older ones, but by their strength. They are accustomed to these large gears from the power gained. So the records are in the end accumulating marginal gains. Thousands of a second are not here and there, but they improve times.
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