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Did drafting kill triathlon?

It seems as a spectator sport (which tri isn't great for anyway IMHO), then a drafting race is a bunch of folks swimming fairly fast, goiing for a nice bunch ride around for a bit, followed by a 10k running race, if I watch tri on TV I only watch the last stages of the run..dull, dull, dull. So yes I agree drafting kills tri & a drarting race isn't a tri..


  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    yes, in the most part I do agree with this. As you mentioned britspin it is fast becoming a extended warm-up before a 10k race, and i think the mens olympic race only served to underline the point that there is no ground to be gained by pushing on the bike and it is far better to stay within the main group ala gomez, whitfield etc.

    The people are really feel sorry for in the elite groups are the good cyclists, who if it were draft-illegal could have a shot at winning, and were they to take part in an age-group event would be hot favourites.

    However, can you imagine if the olympic race had been draft-illegal? With that group coming out of the water at the same time it would have been chaos!

    On watching the london triathlon though I was so pleased that Julie Dibens pushed on the bike, got herself a healthy lead then maintained it on the run, which will hopefully show that is possible in some circumstances to push on the bike and still win the race, shame it didn't work for the french geezer [;)]
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Due to the similar abilities of the elites the only way to eliminate drafting is to have the event run on a time trial basis,then it ceases to be a race in the true sense.Drafting exists and since it does should be used in team tactics to get the best result,the Americans tried it to some limited success a few years ago by pulling their best runners through the bike section by drafting.

    Drafting will always exist even in none drafting races,It will not kill Triathlon,the sport and the athletes should adopt policies to reduce the effect drafting has.

    My view is that drafting is cheating(although I did enjoy my 35mph cruise behind a tractor yesterday).
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    That brings up another point I was going to ask about, are you allowed to draft cars/buses in races? I know it wont happen very often as most races go out onto 60mph roads, and I don't think I can ride that fast! But yesterday I quite happily drafted a bus at 45kph through a 30 zone for a while and felt very easy, which would have given me a big advantage if I had been racing.

    But yeh you are right jon, the point I was clumsily trying to make above about the olympic race was about their similar ability making it impossible not to draft, so it has to be allowed.
  • Conehead

    In Australia the draft zone for a vehicle (not bicycle/motorcycle) is 35 metres by 5 metres, I expect it something similar inthe UK.

  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    [quote]ORIGINAL: Conehead

    I drafted a van during Bala last year, but didn't have an option really as the only other choice was try and overtake it (!) or ride on the inside of it. So I thought it was better to take my chances in its draft for the few minutes respite. What would the 'draft-box' be on a van anyway?!?! The other side of the road..? Better not give the BTF ideas....


    Conehead it does state in BTF competion rules that drafting behind a motor vehicle is illegal. I did a race at Ripon (i think it was) where somebody got a time penalty for drafting behind a tractor!

    The debate about drafting/non drafting has been going on for years now, you can imagine the furore that happened when it was first introduced.

    At the end of the day its not triathlon as us age groupers know it but it is triathlon as the elites know it and I imagine they train accordingly.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Before I even attempted my first triathlon (hosted at our gym and you were considered a wimp if you didn’t enter) my perception of triathletes were men and women of steel who would launch off into the three events in a lung bursting, muscle straining all out effort.

    Now I realise tactics do play a part but I dare say the appeal for many groupers is to beat their PB ... and perhaps get a place on the podium. How can you beat a PB if your pace is then dictated by someone in front of a peloton? The appeal for me particularly on a wave start is that I am racing against myself and the clock until I cross that line. I say this even though by positioning myself in the middle of a pack in a draft legal tri I could actually match someone who is a better cyclist as my forte is the run.

    As has been mentioned there is drafting in the swim and bike for the elites and there are ‘clumps’ of abilities so all we see are blobs of swimmers, blobs of runners and the only all out racing appears to be on the 10K run. I suppose the only good thing about drafting is that for TV purposes it allows the cameras to focus on a small group instead of a procession of riders.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I can see how a volume of athletes coming out of the swim at the same time would be difficult to manage, but is this a chicken & egg situation? They all come out together because no one wants to take on a really fast swim & end up out on their own on the bike being hunted down by a pack on bikes drafting along? After all there is no drafting at Kona (or any IM race) & although there is a long procession out of the swim there will always be a grouping of similar times/abilities, maybe a neutral zone where it is recognised that unintentional drafting may take place, & if no positive move is made to avoid or escape this then a warning & then a penalty would be applied..as mentioned above that is mostly the case in age group racing..common sense taking over.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I do not think it was you Conehead,unless you have a large green Trisuit with John Deere written on it,although it was towing a slurry trailor at the time.

    One of the elites reckoned at some Ironman events that if you were first on the bike you could get behind the press van and gain a good advantage from its draft.

    As the number of entries increases it is will inevitably lead to drafting but at HIMUK in 2003 I was told to catch up to the group ahead by one of the Draft Marshalls.

    In conjunction with the thread about Tri teams for/against perhaps if the teams of three were allowed to draft amongst their own team and penalised heavily if they or any other team/competitor drafted with them ,might make a more interesting race,with the team time being taken after the last team member crossed the finish line.Just a thought.

    My memory is fading with the passage of time,but I now remember that in 2003 some Americans used drafting to get someone in the Olympic team,I think it was either Potts or Kemper.
  • Drafting, or riding closely behind another cyclist to reduce wind resistance, is a common tactic in competitive cycling and triathlons. In a cycling race, drafting can allow riders to conserve energy and ride faster, while in a triathlon, drafting is allowed in the cycling leg of the event.

    There have been some concerns that drafting in triathlons can lead to a more dangerous and less fair race, as it allows riders to save energy by drafting off of others, potentially leading to a less challenging and less exciting race. However, it is not accurate to say that drafting has killed triathlon. Triathlons continue to be popular and well-attended events, with thousands of participants competing in races around the world.

    It is important to note that drafting is only allowed in triathlons during the cycling leg, and that rules and regulations regarding drafting vary depending on the race and the organization. Many triathlons have strict rules in place to ensure that drafting is done safely and fairly, such as penalties for drafting too closely, or disqualifications for riders who are caught cheating.

    It is not clear if drafting has killed triathlon, but it's a matter of opinion and perspective. Some people think that drafting is a key element that makes triathlons more exciting and challenging, while others think it is unfair and takes away from the individual effort of the athletes.

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