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Elite drafting?

Isn't it about time that drafting in elite races was banned. All the elite races I watch consist basically of two 'warm-up' segments followed by a 10k running race.


  • zoezoe Posts: 28
    Try racing an elite race.

    It is in no way two 'warm-up' events before the run. There is a lot more in it than that and you have to actually race rather than just do each discipline at your own pace.

    thats like saying most city marathons and half marathons are a trot round the park for the top guys followed by a sprint finish.

    Besides, how would it work as non-drafting? you'd have to effectivly run the race as a time trial- which wouldn't exactly be spectatlor friendly.
  • I have to disagree also, I race frequently in Elite races and to make that first front pack you have to work so hard - the 1st 300m of a swim are absolutely red-lining it, and the same at the start of the cycle section. You can't race at your pace you have to race everyone else all the time.

    But yes in some ways it does annoy me, I particularly enjoy working hard on the bike to break everyone up.
  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    Interesting to get the insiders perspective on it, I enjoyed the race but until the last couple of posts here thought that drafting spoilt the race, however having read this thread and considered what it would mean to me to have to redline the swim start and also the back to even be in with a shot I can now appreciate the technical aspects of it more. In the same way that I appreciate the technical aspects of team cycle events more having read up on it.

    Time trial triathlon, now that would be dull...
  • Besides, how would it work as non-drafting? you'd have to effectivly run the race as a time trial- which wouldn't exactly be spectatlor friendly.

    Non-drafting cycling is fairly well established concept I believe. What's wrong with asking cyclists to race rather than catch a lift behind the guy in front. Triathlon is supposed to be an individual effort not a team event.
  • zoezoe Posts: 28

    And how many 'non-drafting' cycling races have you watched? Time trials are an entirely different event to a cycling race.

    You seem to be under the mis-apprehension that the cycle leg in drafting triathlons involves everyone spinning around the course without putting any effort in. This simply is not the case- it is a race from word go. In most events you have seperate groups, with individuals trying to put breaks in to catch/ lose different groups.

    Yes, i acknowledge that the stronger runners have no reason to try and put a break in on the bike, and more reason to sit it- (the same as the sprinters so in cycles races), but watch Julie Dibbens or Stuart Haynes race...
  • And how many 'non-drafting' cycling races have you watched? Time trials are an entirely different event to a cycling race.


    Not quite sure what you point is, I take part in and watch many Triathlons with 'non-drafting' cycle legs every year. Cycling-only racing is a different matter, it's triathlons I'm interested in and what have Time Trials got to do with any of this? In my age-group races I'm required to either overtake the cyclist in front or stay the hell away from him. I realise this is for safety reasons since most participants in age-group racing wouldn't have the necessary skills to draft safely. However we cannot gain any aero advantage from sitting in behind a pack and the the genuinely stronger cyclists can break away at the front and get to transition with a good lead i.e. racing! If it's a level playing field for all participants, where's the harm?


  • zoezoe Posts: 28
    It way you who raised non-drafting cycling racing by way of comparison!!

    My point is just that non-drafting racing is still racing. There are tactical elements rather than just balls-out for 2 hours!

    Its personal preference at the end of the day to what type of races you want to enter, but please don't be-little my choice of event. I train very hard, on all three discaplines (not implying anyone else doesn't- before you take offence), but don't really enjoy the suggestion that i'm only racing in a running race.
  • I don't think there's any such thing as non-drafting cycling racing, however, the cycling leg of triathlons is what I've been talking about here! I have to ask though, why do you seek to defend drafting (in the cycle leg!) (of a triathlon!) so strongly. If the guys at the front are working 20% harder than the guys tucking in behind, how can that be fair? And if everybody in the pack is democratically taking their turn at the front then how can that be racing? I'm certainly not belittling your choice (is there a choice to be an elite?) of event, but I can't see why non-drafting rules would detrimentally affect any athlete since it would be the same for everybody but the spectacle for those watching would be increased rather than waiting for the race to start at the 2nd transition.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    whilst I have all the respect in the world for elites & the top age groupers who embarrass me every time I race....it is still dull to watch as a TV sprort entertainment, I enjoyed the 70.3 coverage at the weekend, guess what..a non draft race.
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    I must admit i far more enjoy watching the ironman race coverage on the TV over the Olympic ones.

    Olympic races you could really just fast forward and watch the run.
  • Are you against drafting in the swim leg as strongly?
  • Are you against drafting in the swim leg as strongly?

    Well yes, since it also gives weaker swimmers an advantage (like me). But you have to be practical, and it is, of course, impossible to expect large numbers of swimmers in a mass start to keep their distance from each other. It isn't impossible in the cycling leg however, as thousands of age-group racers would testify to. So why, my question is, are elite athletes allowed to draft, which kills the interest, when they are the very ones who draw the most spectators, both on TV and roadside.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Because they are the pros, no one in their right mind or who doesn't know me is going to want to watch me race..draft or not!

    Same as any pro sport, you can pay HOW MUCH? to watch premiership soccer, or go minor league or go park football, who gets the bigger crowd..it is still football.

    NFL fill Wembley, get live covearage on BBC, a month ago you could have gone & watched all 3 divisional championship games for way less than a Wembley ticket for 2 days of american football, but I get the crowd was tiny..just how it is.
  • You don't get get what I'm saying Britspin, I'm not questioning the fact that it's the elites that draw the crowds and TV coverage, that's the whole point! The same is in any sport. But since it's the elite races that people want to watch as a sport on TV then their races would be made MORE interesting to watch if drafting were to be banned!

    The reason sporting authorities in any sport, whether its F1 or Rugby Union, consider changing the rules, is not because the players want the rules changed, it's because they want to make the sport more attractive to TV audiences which generates MONEY!

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Aha..now have right end of stick..& I totally agree, I always have to explain that what you see on the TV is not what I do as such, thereby explaining why I tend not to watch it myself as I find it dull. So..why exactly DO they allow drafting?
  • So..why exactly DO they allow drafting?

    Can't think of any common sense reason, other than trying to fabricate close finishes for the run segment by gathering up as many of the leaders as possible into a small group! In which case, as many others have observed, the real racing only starts once the run is under way.

  • MGMG Posts: 470
    [quote]ORIGINAL: mellamopaul

    [quote]So..why exactly DO they allow drafting?

    One reason and one reason only.................makes better television and spectator event. End of..............

  • I'm not really convinced that this is the case (that it's all for TV). I think that reason the ITU sanctioned drafting is that it's almost impossible to not allow it. In the elite races, so many people come out of the water together, then go hell for leather on the first bit of the bike it's impossible to say who would be at fault for the draft. By forcing someone to drop back (possible a whole load of people) you force them to slow down, that doesn't seem right.

    It seems to me to be pretty much accepted that the draft legal races are not races against the clock, they are against the other people, you have to nail the swim and save enough for the run. The bike gives some people a chance for glory, others a chance to claw back the fastest swimmers. The run is, at the moment, the dominant part of the race, accept it and move on. When I glance down finishing times of non drafting races, it still seems to be mainly the good runners in the top 10 anyway.

    In the end it's a tactical race and I don't think that devalues the race effort. Of the few races I've seen televised, drafting has always played a big part, and made the whole thing enjoyable to watch. (mind you TV coverage just glosses over the swim most of the time).

    For those that think that the first 2 sections are a "Warm up" for a 10K foot race, I suggest they have a go in a draft legal race.. (not that I have).. It doesn't look like a warm up to me.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Still not getting it, I can see draft legal being more TV friendly if/when 'team' tactics come into play, pacelines etc, but when a bunch of riders are nervously watching each other not wanting to make a move...no fun there.

    The bunching thing doesn't work for me either...seems to work for Ironman, 70.3 etc...loadsa people out of the water at the same time...still I will accept, move on we have 2 sports in one, different but the same & leave them to it.
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595

    If races were run with no drafting allowed, even only on the bike, then they would have to be time trial style format, to avoid immediate bunching of the pack. That would mean that nobody knew the result until all the athletes had finished, which is already the case in some events but hardly promotes drama in the closing stages. Perhaps there's something of a reason in there?
  • The run is, at the moment, the dominant part of the race, accept it and move on.

    Accept it and move on? Okay then, let's not question things, let's not try to debate possible improvements, let's not try to grow the attraction of the sport, let's just all accept things as they are!

    As for drafting making better television (MG), then people watching on TV must have a higher boredom threshold than I do!

  • If races were run with no drafting allowed, even only on the bike, then they would have to be time trial style format, to avoid immediate bunching of the pack.

    This is just plainly not the case, thousands of very good athletes (not me) in age-group triathlons are perfectly able to leave 1st transition together and not draft because them's the rules that they sign up to. Organisers have enough common sense not to penalise cyclists while they're getting onto the road and up to speed.
  • Re-reading what I wrote, I didn't really mean to come across so pompous!.

    Digging around, all I can find about the ITU's drafting decision in '98, was it's either to increase TV interest, or that non drafting is too difficult to police. I did read though the ITU rules handbook (well the bit on drafting) and to fairly implement those rules to a whole field would need each competitor to be monitored by one judge. I'm not sure how effectively the large non drafting races are policed but 2 blokes on a Motorbike and 3 on foot around the circuit won't effectively catch many people. When I race, I don't draft and try and follow the passing rules, but then I'm just happy dragging myself round in the middle of the field. I'm not a full time pro with that drive to win, if I was, i'm sure the odd bit of tucking in would happen.

    I'm still not convinced that the big packs are effectively inthe race anymore, the people racing are near the front (still drafting though I suppose) in smaller groups.

    To be honest, it doesn't really matter to me, I enjoy what i do, and will watch the miniscule coverage on the TV when I can (it's always seesm to be on a silly time). I don't really think that the ITU pay too much attention to the discussions of the community, otherwise in the last 10 years they would have dropped draft legal races. They'll do what they think is best for the growth of the sport. If you have kids who might be interested in triathlon, I'd make sure they are excellent swimmers and runners and teach them how to tuck in behind a bike...

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