Closer Look at The Praying Landis
Yesterday I called Floyd Landis’ Time Trial position the “Flying Protological Exam” because of the extreme forward position that places Floyds butt at the extreme end of the saddle. Landis did use this type of position last year, so it is not new. Last week, Landis and his Phonak team did some wind tunnel testing that enabled Landis to further tweek his position. How much did the wind tunnel work help Floyd Landis to improve his time trial position?
The big difference with Landis this year is not his extreme forward position, but the position of his arms which are placed very narrowly on the bars.The photo courtesy of Flickr user mnorri shows how narrows Floyd’s arms are in the aero bars extremely close. It also looks like Floyd is digging in for extra forward position by folding his hands together in a praying mantis motion. This position will now be dubbed the “Praying Landis” TT position.
What Landis is using is not new, he is leveraging his power by extending his position forward much like a triathlete. The advantages of a forward position vary by rider. As the position is moved forward different muscles are used. Triathletes often use the forward position so that they would feel fresher for the run. More emphasis is being placed on the quads rather than the hamstring muscles. Breathing is improved since there is much more room to expand the chest.
(Floyd Landis 2005 Tour of Georgia)
(Floyd Landis 2006 Tour of California photo courtesy of Flickr user Leslie Veen)
What is interesting though is the difference from 2005 to 2006. Floyd still employs the extreme forward position, big difference is on the arm position and the height of Floyd’s head. By bringing the arms forward and up, Floyd is able to lower his head. This results in a smaller frontal profile that would result in less drag.
That difference in drag could be what gave Landis such an advantage in the Stage 3 Time Trial.