Podcast: Rob Stanley’s literal PhD in bike racing

Many elite coaches are former pro riders. Performance scientist and Olympic coach Rob Stanley comes at it from a different angle — detailed, academic study.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Having twice coached at the Olympics, Rob Stanley is a performance scientist and men’s endurance track cycling coach at USA Cycling. Previously he was performance scientist at the Japanese Cycling Federation. And he is currently wrapping up his PhD at Leeds Beckett University — in bike racing.

Stanley joins host Ben Delaney to talk about the merging of his academic work and his coaching of athletes like Gavin Hoover, who just won the inaugural UCI Track Champions League.

Stanley’s PhD title is a mouthful: Exploration of determinates of performance in the Elite Men’s Track Cycling Omnium. The Omnium is a four-event, points-based competition at the Olympics as well as in track cycling competitions around the world. And the new Track Champions League used a condensed format of it for its fan-friendly nighttime series that was held in Mallorca, Lithuania, and London,

Stanley talks about breaking down races into more manageable chunks for riders, and making the summations of data from past racing accessible to them to help guide choices in the heat of racing.

He says he wishes he could see inside riders’ minds during racing, because the feedback afterwards is always the same: “That was hard!”

Before speaking with Stanley we catch up with James Startt in Paris, who is just back from covering the Tour de la Provence, where he managed to photograph the winners’ bikes from all four stages — before they won the stages.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.