go try to ride 20 miles into a headwind without some giddy up in your bag
i do amateur racing and can vouch for this. there are 5 levels; 5-1 (5 beginner, 1 is semi-pro) and the difference in ability is very clear.
its all about training; getting used to doing long rides with short intense intervals but its not that difficult to move up to a cat-3 level with consistent riding and training if you have the desire and time to devote to it.
having said all that; once you get into the 2s and 1s everyone is strong; everyone is at the max of their abilities and everyone tapers off to a large degree so the skills are fairly equal.
this is why maybe 5-6 minutes is all that separates the top 10 finishers of the TDF year after year.
amateur racers generate somewhere between 275-325 watts (based on a 1-hour max power test) and the pros..if you look at the power numbers published from the tour on some of the tough stages..are only somewhere around 400 watts.
thats alot, but its not as huge of a gulf as people make it seem. however that 50 - 75 watts makes a HUMUNGOUS difference when you're talking they have the ability to do that for 6 hours a day over 3 weeks.
big sprinters like cavendish can crank out close to 2000 watts in a sprint; but that type of power is only happening for maybe 15 seconds.
anyway, at the very top international pro level, doping is the only way you can get an advantage.
that's all i'm saying.
This post was edited on 8/24 at 3:40 pm