The women’s Olympic champion and men’s national champ were in a race well below her means – seventh and 25th places – and neither knew what was wrong.
Remarkably, they were both on the first podium and were feeling great on Sunday. Van Vleuten thought this might be the day she became world champion again, until halfway through the sledgehammer strike: her interval turned out to be minutes too slow. After that mental blow, all that’s left is suffering.
Mollema had trained well on the time trial bike for several days and was pedaling with the appropriate high wattage. “The first ten minutes felt good, too.” But when he looked at his bike computer, he was shocked. He paid 20 watts less than usual. He felt that it was caused by the gust of wind brought about by Stefan Kong, who came in at number two. Already after three-quarters of the trial period, the Swiss passed Mollema, who had started 1.5 minutes earlier.
Mollema and Van Floten weren’t the only ones groping in the dark. And the Italian Filippo Ganna, the favorite and favorite of the world champion, also did not understand his spare time: he took only seventh place. “The last few days, I’ve been driving my hopeful car.”
Cycling is now so data-driven that if power numbers, for example, are inexplicably bad, other data will be sought for a conclusive explanation. The most heard after the World Cup time trials is called jet lag. Unfortunately, the data surrounding attempts to overcome the time difference shows little agreement for both the losing riders and the winners.
The rule of thumb is that it takes a day to get used to every hour of the time difference. Europe and Australia eight o’clock. Jana was in Australia more than 10 days ago when he collapsed painfully in the middle of the road on Sunday. Mollema was also there early and announced exactly a week before the time trial that he had completed his first leg in Australia.
On the other hand: Elaine van Dijk arrived in Australia at the same time as Mollema and won her third world title in time trial. Norway’s Tobias Voss fell behind in Australia, but is now the men’s time test world champion. Could it be because he took the western route through Canada? The biological clock tends to adapt to the West faster than to the East.
Jet lag . protocol
Van Vleuten also sat on the bike later than the rule of thumb states. During the Vuelta it won, it had already begun the jet lag protocol in which passengers follow the times of day and night in Australia in advance, step by step – dinner at lunchtime.
Riders also use light therapy goggles to bridge the time difference. According to two previous riders, it succeeds with the head rather than the body, in part due to the physical requirements, due to the long ride. Matthew van der Poel hardly got any sleep in 25 hours from Brussels – Dubai – Sydney. However, he was so tired upon arrival that he slept like a tree stump on the first night in Australia.
Two days later, Van der Poel got off to a good start in the mixed team trial, which fell in the water for the Netherlands due to a series fall at Mollema and Van Vleuten’s explosion. No theory about the effect of jet lag on top athletes will help avoid equipment failure.
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