Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 7th Aug 2010

The Tour de France

TdF in Giers-Venon (c) Meera Senthilingam

The Tour de France is the subject of this week's summer special as we look into the science and engineering of professional road bikes, training the human physique to endure thousands of kilometres on the saddle and eating the right food to keep you on the road. We also go out along some of the stages of the tour, meet a professional sprinter, find out why fans travel thousands of miles to see their cycling heroes in action and meet the doctors, mechanics, and organisers that turn the Tour de France into the well oiled machine that it is!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:11 - Introducing the Tour de France

    The Tour de France is an annual cycle race which takes place in July throughout France and its surrounding countries. Meera joined the Garmin-Transitions team out on the road to see it all in action, as its not just about winning the overall race, as Matt White, their sports d...

  • 06:14 - Aerodynamics of the Tour de France

    With cyclists reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour on descents down mountains, and wanting to preserve their energy whilst also trying to ride fast on flat stages, the ability to cut through the wind and reduce its resistance is crucial. One man trying to improve thi...

  • 13:54 - Designing the World's Fastest Bikes

    Endurance events like the Tour de France rely on strong, sturdy, yet fast equipment to win points, time and stages. So the structure and design of these road bikes is constantly developing. To find out more about their design, Meera went along to the warehouse of Trek Bikes, p...

  • 20:52 - The mechanics behind the Tour de France

    Geoff Brown explains how he, and his team of mechanics, maintain and repair bikes on a daily basis throughout the tour, to ensure the cyclists have a panic-free ride...

  • 23:36 - Mending broken bones at the Tour de France

    As well as mending broken bikes, the cyclists may need broken bones mended, which is when team medic, Shannon Sovndal, is called into action. Meera found out more about his role.

  • 27:09 - Taking it to the VO2 max with Cycling Physiology

    Cyclists on the Tour de France cover between 150 and 200 kilometres every day, for three weeks, with only two rest days in between. This requires an extreme level of stamina and endurance. So to find out how the physiology required to meet this endurance level can be monitored...

  • 35:50 - Driving Stage 9 of the Tour

    Andrea Peron takes us on a tour along stage 9 explaining the speeds reached, points to be won and the affects of such high altitudes...

  • 40:36 - Fans of the Tour

    We meet a mix of fans and cyclists who travel from all over the world to see their cycling heroes in action...

  • 45:46 - Eating your way to Endurance

    Fergal Grace explains how a well timed and well controlled diet can provide the energy for endurance...

  • 48:55 - Eating for Energy and Recovery

    Nutritionists Matt Rabin and Mark Qod explain how our diets can not only give us the energy we need for endurance, but help our bodies recover as well...

  • 52:40 - The Views of a Sprint Cyclist

    We meet sprint cyclist Tyler Farrar to find out how he puts the technology, nutrition, and fitness together to try and win stages, and jerseys...

Supported by

The Open University






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