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How fast?! New road bike 10-mile time trial record set at 51.6km/h average speed for 18:41 clocking

George Fox set a time of 18:41 on the F11/10 course in Hertfordshire on Sunday

The 10-mile time trial, a staple of the British racing scene, is now with a new record for the road bike discipline after George Fox set a blistering time of 18:41 on Sunday. 

Just last month Cycling Time Trials introduced a road bike category to all of its events in a bid to "get more people time trialling", just don't expect to get too close to George's 51.6km/h average speed if you do fancy giving it a go.

On his mind since 2019, George admitted previously setting a time of 19:19 "almost by accident" but that it "sparked the interest in just seeing what was physically possible".

"This winter came a real concerted effort into testing equipment and spending a lot more time in the position," he told road.cc. "I've road raced the bike for most of this year, various crits and a local handicap series which proved really useful to force myself to hold an aero position as training for Sunday essentially.

> Road bike category introduced by British time trial governing body to "get more people time trialling"

"Everything fell into place really nicely on the day, it was no accident that I was ready for the occasion though as the date had been written on the wall in the office ever since the CTT calendar got posted in the new year!

"We're in a science based sport now and all I had to do was apply the same approach that I do with the riders I coach and bike fit to myself, along with outside support from my coach James Millard and a couple of other very supportive people."

George Fox breaks 10-mile road bike TT record (George Fox)

George set his time aboard an Argon E-17 frame, with a Princeton 7580 wheel up front and a VeloElite 88mm at the rear. That eye-catching dinner plate of a chainring is a whopping 62t and the chain runs through one of Ceramic Speed's (very expensive) aero pulley wheel systems.

The rear derailleur is Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed and the bars are Prime's carbon aero offering in 36cm width for getting nice and tucked. The finishing kit includes a Syncros Belcarra carbon saddle, profile design Aria stem and Speedplay pedals.

George's power meter shows he held a normalised power of 378w for the 18:41 mins of effort, hitting a maximum speed of 75.5km/h and averaging a cadence of 86, while his average heart rate was 182bpm, rising as high as 191bpm by the final metres.

George Fox breaks 10-mile road bike TT record (George Fox)

 

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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55 comments

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Dhill | 9 months ago
1 like

I think people just need to remember the purpose of a time trial; us against the clock. It Wasn’t  really that many years ago that TT’s were ridden on road bikes, some geometry/ angles may have been tighter but. It is about what we can do on our bikes, or with our budget.

Good on George,  good on all who go and ride. I’m off to do my first TT in 3 1/2 years since heart problems, doing it to see if I and my old Scala hold up. Let’s just enjoy the sport.

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wtjs replied to Dhill | 9 months ago
1 like

Good on George,  good on all who go and ride

Agreed!

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brakesmadly | 9 months ago
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Bear in mind that the CTT's new rule is exactly that: new. It will no doubt be revised in the light of experience to try to keep the bar as low as reasonably possible. At least the right intention exists, there will always be those who sail as close to the wind as possible.

The CTT AGM road bike proposal did include a restriction on TT style aero helmets. I know it was discussed but not sure why it didn't make it into the rules. In the CTT West District we include that restriction in all our road bike events.

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Rendel Harris replied to brakesmadly | 9 months ago
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mbrads72 wrote:

...to try to keep the bar as low as reasonably possible.

C'mon, you did that on  purpose!

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zwingi | 9 months ago
1 like

I need all the help I can get . Plus there is something rather special about getting it right on a TT bike . It doesn't happen that often for me but when it does it is worth the effort and expense . But don't worry I am still way down the field . For me it is just about bettering my own times on different courses and I am happy with that . Shame some people have to try and spoil it by invoking a non existent TT ethical universe where I assume even pedalling hard would be frowned upon . 

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Cyclo1964 | 9 months ago
1 like

62T Chainring  - feck me 

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PRSboy | 9 months ago
0 likes

Good video here from GCN, with Si attempting a sub 20 on a road bike.  They reckoned around 370w is needed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7zZ4OROgeQ

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Bigfoz | 9 months ago
1 like

Hmmm. Aero road bars on a TT bike isn't really a "road bike" is it? Not sure how an immediate arms race in the road bike category combats the idea of a cheap, less threatening and intimidating entry point.

Personally I'd prefer rules that stated no TT frames, wheels up to 50mm, at least that would indicate a genuine "road racing" bike and no aero helmets.

The potential newbie looking at that is still adding up £10k+ to be top end competitive. Not exactly an encouragement to start is it?

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PRSboy replied to Bigfoz | 9 months ago
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I've done a few TTs and only ever on a road bike in 'normal' roady gear.  TTs to my mind are races against the clock/self as you know what you're aiming for so I don't think people should feel intimidated by others with rocket-ship rigs.  I remember they did a road bike TT stage in Tour of Qatar 2015, was very interesting, albeit over 11km.  Winner managed 46.5kmh.

Anything around 40kmh is decent on a normal road bike over a 10, to my mind.

Id be very interested to see what George could do on a normal road bike and gear.

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monkeymike replied to Bigfoz | 9 months ago
1 like

You can be a used TT frame that would be slower than some modern aero road bikes. You can buy a 'road' helmet that's faster than a older TT helmet. So how and where do you draw the lines? This is a great step because it does lower the barrier to entry and at least attempt to make a slightly more level playing field.

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Cugel replied to monkeymike | 9 months ago
1 like
monkeymike wrote:

You can be a used TT frame that would be slower than some modern aero road bikes. You can buy a 'road' helmet that's faster than a older TT helmet. So how and where do you draw the lines? This is a great step because it does lower the barrier to entry and at least attempt to make a slightly more level playing field.

As with everything else in the human world these days, sport has been suborned by rabid capitalists using the traditions of various physical competitions to sell more stuff. You can be a winnah! if you've got the dosh and are willing to spend it on the latest go-faster gubbins albeit often including some mere go-faster stripes (even more money but only for looks).

Were bike racing to be a true sport, measuring the skills, determination and abilities required of the riders and nothing else, the bicycles would be highy standardised, with no variations other than sizing to fit the riders. Instead, there's a competition of wallet size and of technologies.

"Race against the self"?  Only at how fast you can empty your wallet over the shiny gubbins counter. Well, a bit harsh that. Many competitors do try very hard and do have great abilities. It's a pity they've been persuaded to cheat by use of gubbins, though.  1

Some sports are still largely about the physical abilities of the competitors.  It's difficult (although not althogether impossible) to make swimming races highly dependent on the swimming costumes. A good thing too.

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Miller replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
6 likes
Cugel wrote:

Were bike racing to be a true sport, measuring the skills, determination and abilities required of the riders and nothing else, the bicycles would be highy standardised, with no variations other than sizing to fit the riders.

That's Japanese Keirin racing. They race on highly standardised bikes. Nobody watches it for the thrill of the sport though, it's a downmarket betting game, like greyhounds.

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chrisonabike replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
1 like
Cugel wrote:

As with everything else in the human world these days, sport has been suborned by rabid capitalists using the traditions of various physical competitions to sell more stuff. You can be a winnah! if you've got the dosh and are willing to spend it on the latest go-faster gubbins albeit often including some mere go-faster stripes (even more money but only for looks).

Were bike racing to be a true sport, measuring the skills, determination and abilities required of the riders and nothing else, the bicycles would be highy standardised, with no variations other than sizing to fit the riders. Instead, there's a competition of wallet size and of technologies.

Some sports are still largely about the physical abilities of the competitors.  It's difficult (although not althogether impossible) to make swimming races highly dependent on the swimming costumes. A good thing too.

I have a little sympathy but I think this horse was out of the stable a very long time ago!  If it's capitalism you're concerned about let's not forget that while the original TdF was "low-tech" by today's standards a large part of its raison d'etre was to flog newspapers!  People have been wanting "the pro's bike" / gear for time.

Swimming is maybe not such a clear example either - technology marches on there also.

The good thing about many sports is you can start with little and enjoy them.  Plus if you've got talent you can make some progress.  On the flip side even for sports apparently without much "kit", at the top levels you're still going to need increasingly large sums of money for access to trainers and training facilities etc.

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Cugel replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

......If it's capitalism you're concerned about let's not forget that while the original TdF was "low-tech" by today's standards a large part of its raison d'etre was to flog newspapers!  People have been wanting "the pro's bike" / gear for time.

Swimming is maybe not such a clear example either - technology marches on there also.

The good thing about many sports is you can start with little and enjoy them.  Plus if you've got talent you can make some progress.  On the flip side even for sports apparently without much "kit", at the top levels you're still going to need increasingly large sums of money for access to trainers and training facilities etc.

When I were a lad, 383 years ago, it was easy to take up many sports, even cycling, as necessary equipment didn't usually cost 6 months average wages. (There were exceptions, even then - polo; carriage driving). Most trime trialists, for example, used a fixed wheel bike with perhaps only one or three with tubs and their wheels a bit exotic and potentially pricey - although you could buy the cheaper ones of those too.

There was one lad who had made his own frame of, literally, welded gas pipe! A horrible machine but he still managed 24 minute tens on it. He was admired, for ingenuity and athletic ability, despite the gas pipe, since there still was an overall ethos of "racing against yourself" in them olden days.

At the last local club-organised crit race I attended (just to take photos, not to race) some 5 years ago, every bike was a super-exotic costing at least £5000 and often more. The mad helmets and skin suits added another large chunk of expense. No one was racing on a standard road bike, anyway. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm an avid buyer of the latest improved gubbins albeit of the standard sort rather than the exotics. (E.g. 105 type stuff not DuraAce). But cycle sport should be about the athletes, not the equipment.  Better equipment is for we tourists and others needing a helping gubbin to get home before dark. 

Professional racing, of course, is a shop window-cum-circus. Sport of a kind but more like big tent daring-doings with dangerous wild beasts and hire-wire antics than a sporting competition between ordinary folk.

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chrisonabike replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
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Cugel wrote:

When I were a lad, 383 years ago, ...

I'm glad to hear it!  Perhaps further proof of the health benefits of life-long cycling.

Cugel wrote:

... There was one lad who had made his own frame of, literally, welded gas pipe! A horrible machine but he still managed 24 minute tens on it. He was admired, for ingenuity and athletic ability, despite the gas pipe, since there still was an overall ethos of "racing against yourself" in them olden days.

At the last local club-organised crit race I attended (just to take photos, not to race) some 5 years ago, every bike was a super-exotic costing at least £5000 and often more. The mad helmets and skin suits added another large chunk of expense. No one was racing on a standard road bike, anyway.

Devil's advocate, but was the home-made bike chap an international competitor?  Also - on the "now everyone races with the expensive kit" isn't this just a measure of inflation?  What fraction of the average income was a good race machine and kit back in the day?

Thankfully there are lots of places to compete and indeed lots of types of contest.  If you favour a more DIY ethic in cycle racing I can recommend the British Human Power Club.  Former alumni include Mike Burrows.

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chrisonabike replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

On "cheating" - I don't really know about this one but I note that the UCI has been busily heading some technologies off at the pass since at least 1933!

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Paul J replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes
Cugel wrote:

Were bike racing to be a true sport, measuring the skills, determination and abilities required of the riders and nothing else, the bicycles would be highy standardised, with no variations other than sizing to fit the riders. Instead, there's a competition of wallet size and of technologies.

Keirin in Japan gets this. The bikes and equipment are standardised. The bikes especially so. Everyone is technologically identical steel track bikes, little different from bikes from the 60s.

And precisely to prevent ability of people to influence the racing with money. Cause... Keirin largely exists to facilitate betting and gambling in Japan.  3

I'd love to see the pros in road racing all on standardised bikes. Preferably traditional steel framed bikes.  3 Would be great.

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Organon replied to Bigfoz | 9 months ago
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And those sock... this is not football, sir.

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Jimmy Ray Will | 9 months ago
2 likes

I am slightly challenged by this, as that bike isn't really a road bike is it?

That position is not something you could spend any real time on comfortably, and it would be unlikely to handle descents, corners etc very effectively. The gearing is very specialist to out and back 10m tt's. 

For me, the appeal of the road bike category is that people that either can't afford a tt rig, or roadies wanting to compete against fellow non-tt specialists can rock up on their normal road bike and have valid competition. This bike kinda kills that notion dead... Anyone can rock up on a road bike, as long as that road bike has been fully optimised for TT's. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 9 months ago
1 like

I agree, if the only stipulation is going to be no tri-bars it's pretty pointless; I wonder if even now people are ordering extra long stems so that they can adopt a tri position without the bars.

(Not taking anything away from the absolutely amazing time and achievement though)

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
3 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

I agree, if the only stipulation is going to be no tri-bars it's pretty pointless; I wonder if even now people are ordering extra long stems so that they can adopt a tri position without the bars.

(Not taking anything away from the absolutely amazing time and achievement though)

It's just a good way for someone who otherwise would be in the middle of the pack to feel a sense of achievement in coming first for a change. He should be thankful he only had to lop off his handlebars. Some people lop off things that are far more valuable to achieve the same result.

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Simon E replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 9 months ago
2 likes
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

It's just a good way for someone who otherwise would be in the middle of the pack to feel a sense of achievement in coming first for a change.

Are you referring to George Fox?

Or maybe to Alex Dowsett, who is due to ride the Leo 30 mile TT in the road bike event this weekend.

So if they perform well are they 'cheating' by using the best equipment available to them? After all, the point of a TT is to go as fast as possible. The Argon 18 is also George's road race bike, he said that the only thing he changed for the TT is the chainring.

But I guess it's a tough pill to swallow for bitter individuals when they see people work hard to legitimately optimise their performances and enjoy some success.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Simon E | 9 months ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

It's just a good way for someone who otherwise would be in the middle of the pack to feel a sense of achievement in coming first for a change.

Are you referring to George Fox?

Or maybe to Alex Dowsett, who is due to ride the Leo 30 mile TT in the road bike event this weekend.

So if they perform well are they 'cheating' by using the best equipment available to them? After all, the point of a TT is to go as fast as possible. The Argon 18 is also George's road race bike, he said that the only thing he changed for the TT is the chainring.

But I guess it's a tough pill to swallow for bitter individuals when they see people work hard to legitimately optimise their performances and enjoy some success.

Riding a TT bike (albeit with the bars chopped) certainly was not in the spirit of the creation of the new road bike category.

I'm not at all surprised that he also uses that TT bike for other road races.

I'm just glad he didn't take more extreme measures to feel the sense of achievement he so desperately craves.

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Simon E replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 9 months ago
1 like
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Riding a TT bike (albeit with the bars chopped) certainly was not in the spirit of the creation of the new road bike category.

Who said that (apart from you)?

What is "the spirit" of the new rules? Have you been party to the discussions or had any input? And how does his bike, which is used in BC road races, not fit the road bike criteria? The frame is probably one of the least critical major components in reducing CdA. Nevertheless, haters gonna hate.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Simon E | 9 months ago
2 likes
Simon E wrote:
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Riding a TT bike (albeit with the bars chopped) certainly was not in the spirit of the creation of the new road bike category.

Who said that (apart from you)?

What is "the spirit" of the new rules? Have you been party to the discussions or had any input? And how does his bike, which is used in BC road races, not fit the road bike criteria? The frame is probably one of the least critical major components in reducing CdA. Nevertheless, haters gonna hate.

An organisation called Cycling Time Trials (heard of them?), who said that the change was to make "time trialling more accessible to everyone whatever type of bike they own."

https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/pages/road-bikes

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Simon E replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 9 months ago
0 likes
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

An organisation called Cycling Time Trials (heard of them?), who said that the change was to make "time trialling more accessible to everyone whatever type of bike they own." https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/pages/road-bikes

I most certainly have, been time trialling and marshalling since 2008 and organising TTs since 2013.

And what is wrong with the type of bike he owns? How is Fox's choice of bike making TTs less accessible?

What is your involvement in the TT scene (apart from bitching)?

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Simon E | 9 months ago
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Simon E wrote:
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

An organisation called Cycling Time Trials (heard of them?), who said that the change was to make "time trialling more accessible to everyone whatever type of bike they own." https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/pages/road-bikes

I most certainly have, been time trialling and marshalling since 2008 and organising TTs since 2013.

And what is wrong with the type of bike he owns? How is Fox's choice of bike making TTs less accessible?

What is your involvement in the TT scene (apart from bitching)?

Are you suggesting that George Fox didn't own a TT bike before the change (he did) or was already very involved in TTing (he was) before the change was made?

The fact is, a new category was introduced to allow more riders to get involved, using their existing bikes.

Chopping the bars off a TT bike for the purpose of setting records in a new category wasn't the aim. I'm not saying it's not allowed (it is) or that any rules were broken (they weren't). I just think it's a bit sad.

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Simon E replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 9 months ago
2 likes
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Are you suggesting that George Fox didn't own a TT bike before the change (he did) or was already very involved in TTing (he was) before the change was made? The fact is, a new category was introduced to allow more riders to get involved, using their existing bikes. Chopping the bars off a TT bike for the purpose of setting records in a new category wasn't the aim. I'm not saying it's not allowed (it is) or that any rules were broken (they weren't). I just think it's a bit sad.

Why is it sad?

He didn't "chop" anything, he fitted road handlebars to a TT frame. It's a shame that you have such a negative view of his achievements, whether on this bike, the Giant Propel he used previously to do 19:19 for 10 miles or his TT bikes. I never even suggested that he didn't own a TT bike before riding the Argon as it's entirely irrelevant, you're just inventing more bollocks.

The rules do exactly what was intended, which is to give more opportunities and what some long time TTers have termed 'better optics' for time trialling while not being too restrictive. Perhaps you'd like to follow the UCI's model and require frame approval stickers, sock height rules etc.

In beating Sturgess's record from 1988 no-one (including Fox) is suggesting that it's the same thing:

https://twitter.com/ColinASturgess/status/1655567161811763204

Do you feel the same way about Dan Bigham's Hour record and team pursuit titles? He took aerodynamics to another level and has been very clear about the fact that he's gone faster than more powerful/physically gifted riders because he has worked on so many little things, including (but not only) getting himself incredibly aero.

Perhaps you'd prefer to see an IQ ceiling placed on TT riders so they don't think too much.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Simon E | 9 months ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

Are you suggesting that George Fox didn't own a TT bike before the change (he did) or was already very involved in TTing (he was) before the change was made? The fact is, a new category was introduced to allow more riders to get involved, using their existing bikes. Chopping the bars off a TT bike for the purpose of setting records in a new category wasn't the aim. I'm not saying it's not allowed (it is) or that any rules were broken (they weren't). I just think it's a bit sad.

Why is it sad?

He didn't "chop" anything, he fitted road handlebars to a TT frame. It's a shame that you have such a negative view of his achievements, whether on this bike, the Giant Propel he used previously to do 19:19 for 10 miles or his TT bikes. I never even suggested that he didn't own a TT bike before riding the Argon as it's entirely irrelevant, you're just inventing more bollocks.

The rules do exactly what was intended, which is to give more opportunities and what some long time TTers have termed 'better optics' for time trialling while not being too restrictive. Perhaps you'd like to follow the UCI's model and require frame approval stickers, sock height rules etc.

In beating Sturgess's record from 1988 no-one (including Fox) is suggesting that it's the same thing:

https://twitter.com/ColinASturgess/status/1655567161811763204

Do you feel the same way about Dan Bigham's Hour record and team pursuit titles? He took aerodynamics to another level and has been very clear about the fact that he's gone faster than more powerful/physically gifted riders because he has worked on so many little things, including (but not only) getting himself incredibly aero.

Perhaps you'd prefer to see an IQ ceiling placed on TT riders so they don't think too much.

I think it's sad that people feel the need to leverage a new category and play within the hair's breadth of the 'rules' to win records, yes. Especially when the new category was all about making TT cycling less elitist and exclusive.

The hour record was not aimed at creating a more accessible sector of the sport, so no, it's not a fair comparison. That's like comparing Le Mans to junior go-karting.

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Simon E replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 9 months ago
2 likes
ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

I think it's sad that people feel the need to leverage a new category and play within the hair's breadth of the 'rules' to win records, yes.

So you mean that you don't like the premise behind competitive sport. Perhaps people shouldn't training manuals or scientific journals, buy nice (faster) kit, just pedal their 6-speed Raleigh hard and be grateful.

There's nothing "hair's breadth" about it, those are the rules, which are intentionally open-ended. The bike is clearly within those rules, as are all the aero bikes, 88mm wheels and expensive skinsuits people can choose to use.

This is an extreme outlier, a performance by a talented athlete (2nd behind Dowsett with 18:05 last year) and you just can't handle it. It does not harm the intention of CTT and is likely a positive bit of publicity, though it seems it was not done/timed for that reason.

Unless individual promoters want to mandate additional restrictions (known as Special Conditions in CTT parlance) then this is what is allowed for everyone, whether they can do 380 watts or 180 watts, whether they spend £500 or £5,000. It's the real world, get used to it cry-baby.

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

That's like comparing Le Mans to junior go-karting.

That comparison is so full of shit I don't know where to begin...

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