Originally Posted by thegripo
a 2h05 marathon requires 8 wks recovery time just to start training hard again. and even then, elite marathoners at best are able to run 2 marathons in one year at that level. And EVEN THEN, they can't even hold that level for 2 years in a row.
recovery in cycling is totally different game.
anyways, i think it is possible to race a 3 wk stage race without doping, BUT not at current levels. IMO there's no way you can handle the training loads/intensity and recovery required to race current TDF stages at current paces.
remove doping and performance would change drastically.
Ok, so basically the initial flaw in my idea is that for the marathon runner the recovery is more needed for the stress put on the body (ankles, joints, feet etc) rather than the exhaustion.
The general consensus seems to be that without drugs people would simply go slower.
Ok, so let's do a simplified example:
Before the suspected start of EPO doping, the average speed of a tour was around 35/36 kph, and it went rapidly to and past the 40kph mark ever since. Allowing for advances in technology (Carbon instead of steel) lets forget everything above 40kph. That still means EPO increased the average speed by something like 5kph. Over the course of a typical tour (3.500 km) that would make a wooping 12.5 hours increase in riding time. But then we still have other things to consider
a) drugs like "the oil" which facilitate better/faster regeneration.
b) decreased regeneration time due to longer travel times.
I think with 'regeneration drugs' and other things like growth hormones taken out of the equation and factoring in that average speed would decrease over the tour due to less drug-optimized regeneration, I'd say another 2kph drop is warranted, leaving us at a 'pedestrian' 33kph. That would leave us at a racing time of 106 hours, 20 more than currently, which mean on average the riders would have one whole hour less recuperation time EVERY DAY.
Add to that that flat stages will be less affected by time increase as well as time trials, we could well look at 8-9h mountain stages, especially in the last week. That would hardly leave enough time to travel/regenerate etc. for the next stage, not even counting the fact that it will be a tough sell to have 6 hour live broadcasts.
So wouldn't a 'clean field' at least require a shortening of those mammoth mountain romps of 200+ kilometers?