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Tour de France: time trialists
Around the Academy:

Spain's Miguel Indurain won the Tour de France five times in a row
'Big Mig' blew everyone away in time trials


Chris Boardman gives the Academy all the answers


The three key things that a top time trialist must be able to do are:

  • Ride at a consistently high speed for a very long time
  • Circulate huge amounts of oxygen
  • Make yourself very small

    A good time triallist is somebody who is very, very efficient.

    They can't necessarily sprint very fast but can keep a good speed up for a long period of time.

    A good time trialist can also process a lot of oxygen.

    'Big Mig' had  big lungs!
    Best time trialist: Miguel Indurain

    How much oxygen you can process is what basically makes you a good time trialist or not.

    Weight does come into it but you also need to be able to get really small to cut down air resistance.

    Aerodynamics play a big part in how fast you can go.

    The bike itself is about 20% of the whole frontal area whereas you as a person are 80%.

    So how small you can get in your riding position is more important than having a fancy bike.

    Time trialists also have to be able to concentrate very hard.

    They have to go at the maximum speed they can sustain and then stay right on the edge of that for the duration of the race.

    Miguel Indurain in action in a time trial
    Streamlined helmets also help

    This requires good concentration.

    Spain's Miguel Indurain was consistently the best time trialler in the world.

    But he was also an anomaly - a freak of nature!.

    He was big but he could also supply the oxygen needed to give him enough power to overcome the fact that he weighed about 78kg.

    He was a rarity who had his cake and ate it!



  • Introduction
    Sprinters
    Climbers
    Time trialists

    Did you know?
    Miguel Indurain had a heart rate of 29 at rest and lungs which could suck in an incredible eight litres of air!


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    :: BBC Sport's Tour coverage

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