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Tour de France: No Women Ever?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 9th 03, 02:40 PM
Pbwalther
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

A number of years back I was riding in a paceline and getting beaten up -
rolling terrain and cruising at 25 mph+. Well one of the riders was a woman
and it turned out that she was a very successful triathelete at that time (came
3rd in the nationals). I thought to myself, "Shoot I am only a fit
recreational cyclist. There is no way I should be able to keep up with someone
that strong unless there is a major gender effect on performance.". I recalled
that as I had gotten stronger I saw fewer and fewer females riding in the
groups I rode in.

So being a trained biologist, I started poking around in the literature looking
for physiological explanations.

1) Women's muscles are just as strong as men. Shoot that is a no brainer.
Muscle tissue is very similar from mammal to mammal so a gender difference here
would be amazing. Of course, men tend to put on more muscle mass because of
androgens and that makes men much stronger for strength events. Means men have
an advantage in sprints and short hill climbs.

But cycling is mostly aerobic. Where is the male aerobic advantage?

2) Men tend to have larger hearts for their body size then women. This means
more blood flow and more blood to muscles which means more oxygen to muscles.
So here you get a male aerobic advantage.
3) Men tend to have more hemoglobin in their blood then women. Hemoglobin
transports oxygen so here is another male aerobic advantage.

Now I am a cruddy sprinter but I have a lot of aerobic power. However, my
hemoglobin levels are not high for a male but my heart is very large - it is
large enough to cause concern but that is because it is just plain big - not
diseased. Diseased hearts tend to get enlarged as a way to keep getting the
job done.

So a woman who had a lot of muscle, very large heart and high hemoglobin levels
might be able to compete with men but not at the top levels. She would crush
other women though. Thing is that the top men would still have more of all
three then the woman would have.

Personally, I figure that if a woman is the same age as I am and she can hang
onto my wheel, then she is probably in about the same condition as I am and
maybe a little better.

Of course, women can have babies something which men can't do. I would guess
that women's bodies have made a few adjustments for this ability and come to
think of it without this women having this ability, none of us would be here.

Also, cycling is really neat. A strong fit female rider can still do things
like ride centuries with aplomb that the average person feels borders on the
supernatural.

But compete in the Tour de France? Well maybe a really tremendous female
athelete like Babe Diedrickson could have done it and then just be an in the
pack rider. Why do that when the same woman could dominate competing against
other women? Seems to be no percentage in it.
3)
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  #2  
Old July 9th 03, 03:30 PM
Robin Hubert
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

"Slider2699" wrote in message
om...

"F. Golightly" wrote in message
.. .

"Jkpoulos7"
Even golf (hardly a sport) has men doing much better.


Ever competed at golf? Ever entered any state or regional

championships?
Ever try to qualify for the PGA tour? Ever taken someone on... "one on

one"
...in a 36 hole final?

Huh?

Golf is a game, not a sport. I'm not saying it's not difficult, but so is
bowling. Not a sport. What's the old definition----if you can drink beer
while doing it, it's not a sport. :-)


I guess my average 60-100 mile ride is not a sport then! I must have at
least one beer on such a ride.



--
Robin Hubert



  #3  
Old July 9th 03, 08:57 PM
Bill Davidson
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

David Kerber wrote:
IIRC (and I'm NOT a big golf fan) on the first day, she did very well
with her short game; better than many of the men, but on the 2nd day she
seemed to fall apart. Not being able to consistently drive as long as
most of the men puts more pressure on her short game, and any problem
there is going to hurt her more than it might a longer hitter.


Yes, the pressure was on her short game. The men were beating her at the
short game and only the short game. Keep in mind that this was a very tight
course and being able to hit the ball far is not much of an advantage there.

She was +1 for the first day. Her short game was not really good on that
day but other than putting it was rarely tested. On the first day her ball
striking was very good though. She was ranked with the top men for fairways
hit and greens hit in regulation. She still couldn't putt. I think her
average final putt distance was around 3 feet. The top men were more like
7-8 feet and they were making birdies, which she was not. Making green in
regulation means you get at least one putt for birdie. She only missed the
green four times all day. She made one birdie putt (on a par 3). That means
she missed 13 birdie putts. That doesn't work in the PGA.

The second day, she started missing the fairways and the greens. She
needed to shoot par that day to make the cut (one stroke better than the
first day). Instead she was four strokes over par (+5 total) and she
finished near the bottom of the field, tied for 96 out of 111 who finished
two rounds. She did do O.K. on the chipping and made all of her sand
saves the second day but that's just saving par and it doesn't help you
make birdies and she still couldn't putt when she did hit the green.

http://www.pgatour.com/players/02/70...2003,r021.html

If she could putt as well as Tiger or Nick Price or Justin Leonard or any
of the other top putters, she could be a contender on the tighter courses
because of her usually excellent ball striking.

  #4  
Old July 10th 03, 04:11 PM
Mark Weaver
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?


"Bill Davidson" wrote in message

Some people are mentioning the ultra marathoners and I think part of that
is that the speed goes down. Those ultra marathoners are not doing the
5 minute miles that the top regular marathoners are doing.


The difference between the male and female world records has gotten to be
quite small. The male record is 2:05:38 and the female record now stands at
2:15:25. Paula Radcliff's average pace during her recent record run was
5:10:

http://www.insidetri.com/news/fea/1479.0.html

Mark


  #5  
Old July 11th 03, 01:55 AM
Bill Davidson
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

"Bill Davidson" wrote in message
Some people are mentioning the ultra marathoners and I think part of that
is that the speed goes down. Those ultra marathoners are not doing the
5 minute miles that the top regular marathoners are doing.


Mark Weaver wrote:
The difference between the male and female world records has gotten to be
quite small. The male record is 2:05:38 and the female record now stands at
2:15:25. Paula Radcliff's average pace during her recent record run was
5:10:


As with any sport where it's about speed, one finds that the faster one
goes, the harder it is to get that next little increment of speed. These
are the fastest marathoners in the world. They are at the maximum already.
At this level 10 minutes is actually quite a lot; 22-23 seconds per mile at
a roughly 5 minute pace. That's 11.6 mph (5:10/mile) vs 12.5 mph (4:48/mile).
How many times has the men's record been broken since it was around 2:15 and
how long ago was that?

Also, how does this compare with the pace of ultra-marathoners?

--Bill Davidson

  #6  
Old July 11th 03, 05:11 AM
Seecyd
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

Ryan Cousineau wrote:
In article , "GIGANews"
wrote:
Beryl Burton in her prime arguably rode as an equal with most men in
her time trial categories, but that isn't the same as on the track or
in a mass start race. She also arguably was the greatest female
cyclist in history (a lot of Brits would strike the 'arguably').
The reason that you will not see a woman in the Tour de France in our
lifetime is that any woman at that athletic level could make a larger
fortune dominating a woman's sport with money than being a domestique
on the Tour. To pretend otherwise is to put political correctness
above reality.

That's one way to put it. Another way is that the world has probably not
yet seen a woman at the athletic level to compete in the TdF.
This isn't meant as a knock on the numerous excellent female cyclists:
the best of them might be able to trail along somewhere near the back
of the pack for several stages, which is far more than most male
cyclists could do. But the Tour's demands for huge endurance to survive
the event, massive power to do well in the TTs, and more massive power
combined with minimum weight to do well in the mountains does not
favour women.
Among male cyclists, the Tour only takes 200, and it's a fair bet that
even the worst domestique on FDJeux is one of the 1000 best riders in
the world, and probably more like top 300. All of the great GC riders in
the world are at the tour (Cipo is good, but he's no GC rider, and I
don't see giving a tour spot to a guy who has repeatedly ridden the tour
only until it pointed uphill), and even so most of them don't have a
hope of winning this event, and of the rest, 2 (Lance and your pick of
the others) have a straight chance of victory, and probably 3 others
will have a shot if the favourites falter.
Venus and Serena Williams once made a foolhardy boast about being better
than any tennis player outside of the top 200 men. A guy ranked about
211 in the world then went out and demolished them one after the other
in a pair of exhibition sets. I think the final scores were about 6-1
and 6-3 or so, and he flaunted the fact that he had taken a fairly
relaxed approach to the event. This rule of thumb seems to hold in most
sports: you can generally expect the best women to be about as good as
the 200th-best men, better in finesse sports, worse in physical sports.
--
Ryan Cousineau,
http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousinehttp://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President,
Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club


Women compete in marathons, triathlons, duathlons, and ironman
distances... I suppose the Tour has just always been reserved as a man's
sporting event. If more women were to show interest, a women's version
of the Tour would be resurrected, I'm sure. If a woman were able to take
part in the 'tour, and not be left in the dust, would they disallow her
to take part in it?




--
You can't be good, unless you love it!

You can't be good, unless you love it!

--------------------------

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http://www.cyclingforums.com
  #7  
Old July 11th 03, 06:07 AM
Zippy the Pinhead
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

One thing everyone is forgetting in all this is just how sexist
France, like most of Europe, is.

Downright un-American of them, dammit.
  #8  
Old July 11th 03, 08:59 AM
Ryan Cousineau
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

In article ,
Seecyd wrote:

Ryan Cousineau wrote:


Among male cyclists, the Tour only takes 200, and it's a fair bet that
even the worst domestique on FDJeux is one of the 1000 best riders in
the world, and probably more like top 300. All of the great GC riders in
the world are at the tour (Cipo is good, but he's no GC rider, and I
don't see giving a tour spot to a guy who has repeatedly ridden the tour
only until it pointed uphill), and even so most of them don't have a
hope of winning this event, and of the rest, 2 (Lance and your pick of
the others) have a straight chance of victory, and probably 3 others
will have a shot if the favourites falter.


Women compete in marathons, triathlons, duathlons, and ironman
distances... I suppose the Tour has just always been reserved as a man's
sporting event. If more women were to show interest, a women's version
of the Tour would be resurrected, I'm sure. If a woman were able to take
part in the 'tour, and not be left in the dust, would they disallow her
to take part in it?


Women compete in all these events, and they routinely are slower than
men. There is a Tour for women, the Tour de Feminin. If a woman was fast
enough to take part in the tour, they would probably allow it (I'm
pretty sure the rules don't specify the sex of riders), but I'm also
pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime. And I'm still
pretty young.

--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine
President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
  #9  
Old July 11th 03, 01:16 PM
Zippy the Pinhead
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?

On Fri, 11 Jul 2003 00:59:19 -0700, Ryan Cousineau
wrote:

I'm also
pretty sure that barring a Tammy Thomas-style sex change fiasco, there
will be no competitive women in the Tour in my lifetime.


I prayed about this, and learned that it won't happen in God's
lifetime, either.
  #10  
Old July 11th 03, 05:49 PM
Mark Weaver
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Default Tour de France: No Women Ever?


"Zippy the Pinhead" wrote in message
s.com...
One thing everyone is forgetting in all this is just how sexist
France, like most of Europe, is.


Yeah -- what's up with kissy kissy from the podium bimbos handing out the
jerseys? What do they think this is...NASCAR?

Mark


 




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