Tour de France Finishing Lunge

At the finish line of a bicycle sprint, the cyclist “lunges” himself forward, as a sprinter would lunge forward at the tape. I wouldn’t think that his lunge would have any impact on the forward momentum of the bike and therefore this is a meaningless effort.

Have there been studies or other research done to verify this?

It absolutely would make a difference. The bike moves away from the center of mass of the bike/rider system, ie: towards the finish line. This movement is in addition to the movement of the center of mass its self and thus makes a difference. Do I have that right, experts?

This technique definitely makes a difference. The bike gets a big push from the rider’s arms that causes it to get a good last minute acceleration. Meanwhile, the rider will be going backwards relative to the bike. This is why you see the sprinters get extended arms and sit at the very back of their seat when they do a good lunge.

The rider’s arms do work and that increases the total energy of the rider/bike system.

The same technique, although with less force, is used by good cyclists when they transition from pedaling standing up to pedaling sitting down. It is used to minimize the changes in speed as you change your position on the bike so the rider behind you doesn’t run into you.

And in case it’s not clear, your time is from when the first part of the bike crosses the line. So it’s important to get you body back which pushes the bike forward, while the center of mass doesn’t change.

Actually, the time isn’t that important (everyone in a pack will get the same time) but the position and sprint points are giving on placing.