After Tom Pidcock shared his view on time trial bikes – with the heavy crash of Tour de France winner Egan Bernal in mind – now also Chris Froome shares his thoughts. The pro cyclist, who once had a nasty crash with a time trial bike himself, has a clear message: “Time trial bikes are not meant to be ridden on the road the way we need to ride them to be ready for time trails.” In a YouTube video he explains why.
Even though Froome is a strong time trial cyclist himself, he explains there are plenty of reasons to not use such bikes out on the open road. “My big victories have always had time trials in there. I love time trial. It’s an art, a skill. It’s really nuanced, something you need to know a lot about in terms of how to get right as a professional cyclist. That’s one of the magical things about time trialing and Grand Tour racing, and the balance of pure climbers versus guys who can time trial as well. It really does add an interesting element to the race. But being out on my time trial bike this morning, and in light of recent events… Time trial bikes are not really meant to be ridden on the roads the way that we need to ride them to be ready for time trials”, he states.
Froome mostly refers to training out on the open road, where you are not in the safest environment. “If there is a time trial in the Tour de France… Let’s say it’s an hour long time trial; to get ready for an hour long time trial, you have to get out there on your time trial bike and simulate it. How many roads do you have around you where you can literally ride for an hour in almost closed-road conditions; where there is no traffic, no stop signs, no traffic lights? Those kind of conditions just don’t really exist in the real world. When you’re on your skis on the time trial bike, you’ve got no brakes right there. You need to actually sit up. It’s not really that safe.”
Gravel roads and cobblestones
It’s not only the art of time trialing that Froome questions, he also wonders whether cobblestones and gravel roads shouldn’t be excluded from road cycling races. “It’s a tricky one, because it does give excitement to the race, but it’s such a big risk as well. You think of what it takes to be ready to go into a race for the general classification. It’s months of dedication. Not just from the team leader, but the team around him, the support crew, the investment, the resources, everything into that. Which can literally just all be for nothing. You get into a cobble section or a gravel section, a touch of wheels, fighting for position, and ‘bang’ the whole race is over. I see the excitement of it, but it is rolling the dice in terms of risks versus reward.”