I don't think the overall times from either classics or stage races say anything about the efficiency of modern components, frames or riders. Team racing is about tactics, breaks, chase groups, sponsorship and protecting leads and not about making "best" times on a consistent basis.
Individual time trial averages would give a better indication of the development of both riders and their gear and it will always be impossible to separate the degree to which each of these "parts" contribute to any overall improvements.
Funny thing though...I keep getting slower as the years go by...must be all the vintage bikes I'm riding these days!
Warren Young Toronto
>Thought this letter from the letters section at cyclingnews.com was
>interesting in the light of this ongoing thread of vintage vs new race
>Bike tech a waste of time?
>Consider this: Leige-Baston-Liege winner's average speed in 2001 was 38.5
>kmh, in 1974 it was 38.5 kmh! But get this, in 1943 it was 37.7. Makes
>you wonder if titanium frames, 10 speed clusters etc are making any
>difference at all. Another comparison: Amstel Gold winner's time in 2001
>was 38 kmh. In 1967 it was 43.7.
>I know courses vary over the years, as do wind and weather conditions But
>looking at average speeds over, say, the last 40 years, you'd be hard
>pressed to see an upward trend of any sort. Factoring in the road
>surface, which would presumably be better now than in the 50's and 60's,
>and things look bad indeed for the expensive new bike technologies and
>training methods. (Read Cycling News Tech Pages)
>Saturday, April 27, 2002
>Just thought it was kinda interesting. Don W. Tucson, AZ