A Question About Indurain...

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Nov 7, 2013
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hrotha said:
Yes, of course, but there's Zoetemelk and then not really much after that for over a decade (as far as GTs are concerned, which is key, since that's where you'll have all sorts of logistical problems with old-timey transfusions).
And if transfusion were a bigger thing, how come you never saw a grand tour winner come out of the blue like you do now? Anybody could spot a potential tour winner by the time they were 21-22 years old. That fact that they could be done doesn't mean they were done with any frequency. Heck, a blood doped Armstrong could have put 10 minutes in Zoet on one mountain stage. Even if it was done, it likely wasn't done "right".
 
Benotti69 said:
That Indurain was dropping Robert Millar in the Pyrenees was ridiculous.
No, that just tells me Indurain made much more power than Millar. Going uphill fast is not just about weight but sustained power - like is needed in TTs.

Millar was never good in TTs - Indurain was from an early age.

Indurain was about 79Kg when he won his TDFs. That is about 6 or 7Kg lighter than he was in his early career like when he won Tour de l'Avenir as a 20 year old.

I have no doubt Indurain doped but I think he was not a super responder like say Armstrong (or Riis). Indurain had big talent from a young age.

I think there is evidence athletes with super high genetic aerobic potential do not get the same boost from EPO or transfusions than less talented athletes in this aspect?

In 1996 Indurain was probably discouraged seeing what Riis (and Virenque) was prepared to do to win. He probably felt with 5 TDFs there was not much else to prove - and I think he was right. Indurain was not a big ego like Armstrong. A big ego type would have wanted to win again to set the record straight.
 
Cookster15 said:
No, that just tells me Indurain made much more power than Millar. Going uphill fast is not just about weight but sustained power - like is needed in TTs.

Millar was never good in TTs - Indurain was from an early age.

Indurain was about 79Kg when he won his TDFs. That is about 6 or 7Kg lighter than he was in his early career like when he won Tour de l'Avenir as a 20 year old.

I have no doubt Indurain doped but I think he was not a super responder like say Armstrong (or Riis). Indurain had big talent from a young age.

I think there is evidence athletes with super high genetic aerobic potential do not get the same boost from EPO or transfusions than less talented athletes in this aspect?

In 1996 Indurain was probably discouraged seeing what Riis (and Virenque) was prepared to do to win. He probably felt with 5 TDFs there was not much else to prove - and I think he was right. Indurain was not a big ego like Armstrong. A big ego type would have wanted to win again to set the record straight.
It would be interesting to know what his MVO2 was. We do know that he has huge lungs, and his resting pulse was near stasis.

Those are natural genetic advantages.

Dave.
 
Cookster15 said:
No, that just tells me Indurain made much more power than Millar. Going uphill fast is not just about weight but sustained power - like is needed in TTs.

Millar was never good in TTs - Indurain was from an early age.

Indurain was about 79Kg when he won his TDFs. That is about 6 or 7Kg lighter than he was in his early career like when he won Tour de l'Avenir as a 20 year old.

I have no doubt Indurain doped but I think he was not a super responder like say Armstrong (or Riis). Indurain had big talent from a young age.

I think there is evidence athletes with super high genetic aerobic potential do not get the same boost from EPO or transfusions than less talented athletes in this aspect?

In 1996 Indurain was probably discouraged seeing what Riis (and Virenque) was prepared to do to win. He probably felt with 5 TDFs there was not much else to prove - and I think he was right. Indurain was not a big ego like Armstrong. A big ego type would have wanted to win again to set the record straight.
I am somewhat sure that Indurain was not 85kg when he won Avenir.
 
May 26, 2010
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Cookster15 said:
No, that just tells me Indurain made much more power than Millar. Going uphill fast is not just about weight but sustained power - like is needed in TTs.

Millar was never good in TTs - Indurain was from an early age.

Indurain was about 79Kg when he won his TDFs. That is about 6 or 7Kg lighter than he was in his early career like when he won Tour de l'Avenir as a 20 year old.

I have no doubt Indurain doped but I think he was not a super responder like say Armstrong (or Riis). Indurain had big talent from a young age.

I think there is evidence athletes with super high genetic aerobic potential do not get the same boost from EPO or transfusions than less talented athletes in this aspect?

In 1996 Indurain was probably discouraged seeing what Riis (and Virenque) was prepared to do to win. He probably felt with 5 TDFs there was not much else to prove - and I think he was right. Indurain was not a big ego like Armstrong. A big ego type would have wanted to win again to set the record straight.
We know EPO benefits bigger riders. Riis needed to get his HCT up to 60+% to win the TdF. I dont call that super responding, i call it overdosing!!

Indurain was ahead of most of the peloton on how best to use EPO.

Strange how small and light guys are the best climbers in the high mountains.
 
D-Queued said:
It would be interesting to know what his MVO2 was. We do know that he has huge lungs, and his resting pulse was near stasis.

Those are natural genetic advantages.

Dave.
It's hard to know what is truth or PR. But Indurain's relative VO2 max was quoted as 88 ml/min/kg. I am sure you could easily verify this on the web. His lung capacity was quoted at 7.8 litres. Breathing hard there are pictures where it looked like he had a belly when he breathed his diaphragm pushed his gut out to fill his huge lungs.

I read a story where his max heart rate could be 195 at a MTF. Then 60 seconds later would fall back to 60. His resting pulse was said to be measured at just 28 bpm. Incredible but who knows what is true and how much was due to doping versus genetic talent or PR hype?

But certainly lung capacity cannot be influenced by doping and that would help capture more oxygen for use by the rest of the cadiovascular system.
 
In 1987 and 1989 Delgado climbed AdH in 42:15
In 1991 he did it in 40:29 + 45sec = 41:14

In 1991, same team Indurain climbed AdH in 39:45 +45 sec = 40:30

In 1995, with better EPO protocole, he did it in 38:14.
To do 38:14 you need more than 90 ml/mn.kg, at least 92-93 ml/mn.kg.

In 1991, a guy like Luc Leblanc, 3 years before he started EPO, managed to hold on to Indurain wheel : 41:15 (with just Guimard type preparation)

Indurain's lung capacity is really not than huge 1 liter for every 10 kg, it probably is just average for a pro cyclist.
Oxygen flow rate (intake) is far, far more important.

You are not born with a large lung capacity usually, you develop it through appropriate exercise.

I read a story where his max heart rate could be 195 at a MTF. Then 60 seconds later would fall back to 60. His resting pulse was said to be measured at just 28 bpm.

Yes Cookster15, nice signatures for EPO :D.
 
Le breton said:
In 1987 and 1989 Delgado climbed AdH in 42:15
In 1991 he did it in 40:29 + 45sec = 41:14

In 1991, same team Indurain climbed AdH in 39:45 +45 sec = 40:30

In 1995, with better EPO protocole, he did it in 38:14.
To do 38:14 you need more than 90 ml/mn.kg, at least 92-93 ml/mn.kg.

In 1991, a guy like Luc Leblanc, 3 years before he started EPO, managed to hold on to Indurain wheel : 41:15 (with just Guimard type preparation)

Indurain's lung capacity is really not than huge 1 liter for every 10 kg, it probably is just average for a pro cyclist.
Oxygen flow rate (intake) is far, far more important.

You are not born with a large lung capacity usually, you develop it through appropriate exercise.

I read a story where his max heart rate could be 195 at a MTF. Then 60 seconds later would fall back to 60. His resting pulse was said to be measured at just 28 bpm.

Yes Cookster15, nice signatures for EPO :D.
I don't disagree about the likelihood of Indurain doping and if you read my posts again you will see I stated that. And I also agree with most of what else you say except the bold bit. There is not a lot you can do to increase lung capacity with training - most of it will come in the early stages of training and racing as a junior when you learn to breathe with the diaphragm and relax. You can also ask any swimmer.

Just like heart stroke volume - lung capacity doesn't change much with training, just how efficient the rest of the cardiovascular system works with the limitations of lung capacity and heart stroke volume you are born with.

My understanding is the cardiovascular system is like a car engine. All else being equal the engine with the higher capacity makes the most power.

Doping of course helps make more out of what you have got - like a Supercharger that increases the volume of oxygen available to burn. From all I have read on here up to 15% improvement in good responders. But doping won't turn a donkey into a racehorse because the gains are at max 15% - not 20, 30 or 40%. Average gains would be more like 10%.

To win GTs - much less 5 TDFs in succession in the manner Indurain did you still need to be a thoroughbred to begin with. The fact is he stood head and shoulders above eveyone else in those 5 years in the midst of the onset of the EPO era and that is my point.
 
Le breton said:
...

Indurain's lung capacity is really not than huge 1 liter for every 10 kg, it probably is just average for a pro cyclist.
Oxygen flow rate (intake) is far, far more important.

You are not born with a large lung capacity usually, you develop it through appropriate exercise.
...
As with Cookster, I agree with you on most of your points.

I agree with Cookster on the ability, or not, to increase lung capacity.

As I recall, Scuba diving is about the only activity that could increase lung capacity. Lung capacity can increase with pulmonary disease (kind of like how heart size increases as/when the heart gets inefficient), but that is a sign of inefficiency.

I disagree with you on whether Indurain had huge capacity, or not.

We are the same height, Indurain and I, and I weigh more. By your rule, my lungs should be larger. Indurain's Vital Capacity was 7.8 litres. Mine is roughly 10% more than normal, but is far far less than 7.8 litres.

Dave.
 
D-Queued said:
As with Cookster, I agree with you on most of your points.

I agree with Cookster on the ability, or not, to increase lung capacity.

.....

I disagree with you on whether Indurain had huge capacity, or not.

We are the same height, Indurain and I, and I weigh more. By your rule, my lungs should be larger. Indurain's Vital Capacity was 7.8 litres. Mine is roughly 10% more than normal, but is far far less than 7.8 litres.

Dave.
I didn't say anything about your lung capacity.
Let me just point out that for his 80 kg Miguelon only had 7.8 liters while Bernard Hinault had 7.5 liters for his 65 or 66 kg.

I don't know much about lung capacity, it's not an important factor in cycling.
I had mine measured only twice, once in high school, when I was 16 or 17 y.o., it was one of the lowest in my class : 4.3 liters.
Later at age 43 it had jumped to 5.6 liters. I have to assume that competitive cycling accounted for that huge improvement (weight around 60 kg).

In between, at age 26, I happened to be visiting a lab and they had a machine to measure maximum air exchange over 10 seconds. Presumably everybody has different machines to assess forced air flow, so that absolute values probably don't mean much. I did 210 liters/min and the Dr in charge who had worked with pro teams in football had never seen more than 140 liters/min on that particular test.

A funny thing is that I repeated the same test at age 43 (when also taking a stress test) and the nurse seemed so annoyed that a little thing like me could do about 200 l/min on her machine that she assumed the measurement was wrong :D (she had me repeat the test making sure the mask was well positioned, with no possible leak anywhere, it made me laugh)

Anyway, as you say, the cardiac output (in liters/min or more importantly in oxygen content/min) really is what is important and tightly correlated with power output.

Now about donkeys and race horse.

Let's take a guy with a VO2 max of say 72 ml/mn.kg.
Lots of guys have such a value of VO2 max - or even more - on this forum.
Still, in a pro cycling environment they would be called donkeys (even though they would be the best on their street)

Increase their VO2 max by 15%, now they jump to 83 ml/mn.kg.

In a non-EPO world those guys become potential GT winners, ie. good race horses. Several GT winners, pre-EPO were aroung 80 ml/mn.kg, Hampsten (79) for example.

So yes, definitely, EPO can transform and has occasionally transformed donkeys in race horses ( as long as the subject fulfils the other requirements for top performance)
 
Le breton said:
I didn't say anything about your lung capacity.
Let me just point out that for his 80 kg Miguelon only had 7.8 liters while Bernard Hinault had 7.5 liters for his 65 or 66 kg.

I don't know much about lung capacity, it's not an important factor in cycling.
I had mine measured only twice, once in high school, when I was 16 or 17 y.o., it was one of the lowest in my class : 4.3 liters.
Later at age 43 it had jumped to 5.6 liters. I have to assume that competitive cycling accounted for that huge improvement (weight around 60 kg).

In between, at age 26, I happened to be visiting a lab and they had a machine to measure maximum air exchange over 10 seconds. Presumably everybody has different machines to assess forced air flow, so that absolute values probably don't mean much. I did 210 liters/min and the Dr in charge who had worked with pro teams in football had never seen more than 140 liters/min on that particular test.

A funny thing is that I repeated the same test at age 43 (when also taking a stress test) and the nurse seemed so annoyed that a little thing like me could do about 200 l/min on her machine that she assumed the measurement was wrong :D (she had me repeat the test making sure the mask was well positioned, with no possible leak anywhere, it made me laugh)

Anyway, as you say, the cardiac output (in liters/min or more importantly in oxygen content/min) really is what is important and tightly correlated with power output.

Now about donkeys and race horse.

Let's take a guy with a VO2 max of say 72 ml/mn.kg.
Lots of guys have such a value of VO2 max - or even more - on this forum.
Still, in a pro cycling environment they would be called donkeys (even though they would be the best on their street)

Increase their VO2 max by 15%, now they jump to 83 ml/mn.kg.

In a non-EPO world those guys become potential GT winners, ie. good race horses. Several GT winners, pre-EPO were aroung 80 ml/mn.kg, Hampsten (79) for example.

So yes, definitely, EPO can transform and has occasionally transformed donkeys in race horses ( as long as the subject fulfils the other requirements for top performance)
On your own lung capacity experience, the body can grow quite a lot between 16 and 43. At 16 you still have a lot of growing to do. It is wrong to assume the increase in your lung capacity was all down to enhancement from training.

On your Lab test at 26 how do you know your parents didn't give you a genetic advantage? Because unless you can provide a link to a credible source rather than your personal experience I still disagree you can significantly boost lung capacity via training.

And if cycle training did boost capacity then it would have a performance benefit - otherwise why would the body adapt in a way that provides no boost to the external stresses?

On VO2 Max, you earlier claimed 90ml/min/kg as equating to climbing AdH in 38minutes (I will assume this has some basis in fact). Deduct 10% for doping and you get 82 - not 72. As I keep saying Indurain was no donkey dope or no dope. btw I assume 15% boost for doping is exceptional - not typical. Other posters have supplied w/kg data from the 90s that suggests Indurain doped to keep up with the pelotons move to EPO during his reign.

Anyhow the other riders in the peloton will know or suspect what goes on and I don't recall a murmur of complaint against Indurain in his time (or since). That tells me nobody thought he was on anything more special than than anyone else. I actually think Indurain's dominance accelerated the adoption of EPO to keep up - like Rominger in 93. With Riis in 1996 it became rediculous.
 
Cookster15 said:
On VO2 Max, you earlier claimed 90ml/min/kg as equating to climbing AdH in 38minutes (I will assume this has some basis in fact). Deduct 10% for doping and you get 82 - not 72. As I keep saying Indurain was no donkey dope or no dope. btw I assume 15% boost for doping is exceptional - not typical. Other posters have supplied w/kg data from the 90s that suggests Indurain doped to keep up with the pelotons move to EPO during his reign.

Anyhow the other riders in the peloton will know or suspect what goes on and I don't recall a murmur of complaint against Indurain in his time (or since). That tells me nobody thought he was on anything more special than than anyone else. I actually think Indurain's dominance accelerated the adoption of EPO to keep up - like Rominger in 93. With Riis in 1996 it became rediculous.
I don't know enough to argue further on the 1st point about lungs (of no importance in fact), I said what seemed reasonable to me, don't know the stats.

For the rest you are slightly twisting my numbers.

Also, I didn't say Indurain was a donkey.
Just saying that EPO allowed a fraction of the donkeys to become race horses (he could have been a half-breed :D)
There are a lot of rather good donkeys (i.e 72 ml/mn.kg) out there, including on this forum. Out of so many donkeys some are bound to profit more than others and be post-EPO considered to be authentic race horses. (Therefore I am entitled to use the 15% figure provided by you for those happy few since I am not claiming everybody on a EPO programme benefits to that level).

72 + 15% (72) ~ 83
83/ 1.15 ~ 72

Indurain "lived" in a time of absolute omerta, plus he was humble as befits a racer who knows it's his Drs who allow him to be so good (and contrary to a certain texan).

Serious Drs limited their racers to 54% (at Banesto, even Festina).

As for the 38:14 corresponding to a VO2 max of roughly 92-93 ml/mn.kg, I have posted calculations supporting it so many times on CN forums (usually to shoot down L.A., in particular in 2004) that I don't feel like going thru it once more.

I agree on Riis being ridiculous. You might be too young to remember how profusely he thanked Fignon at the time, over and over again. Obviously Fignon must have been the one who told him who the good Drs were for weight loss and EPO and what were the recipes.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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More telling than Alpe D'Huez, and perhaps more damaging to Indurain's case is the historical performances done at Lac de Vassiviere:

1985: no aerobars [45.7km]

1 Lemond 62:51 [43.5 kph]
2 Hinault 62:46

1990: with aerobars [45.5km]

1 Breukink 62:40 [43.5 kph]
4 Indurain 63:20
5 Lemond 63:37

Not much difference ... only :11 over five years, even with aerobars in place.

Now for the EPO era circa 1995 edition at a slightly "longer" distance of 46.5km:

Stage 19, 46.5km time trial Auphelle--Auphelle

1. Miguel Indurain (Esp - Banesto) 00:57:34. (average: 48,461 km/h)

2. Bjarne Riis (Dan) +48 secs.
3. Tony Rominger (Sui) 1:05.
4. Ivan Gotti (Ita) 1:41.
5. Fernando Escartin (Esp) 1:46.
6. Alex Zulle (Sui) 1:49.
7. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 1:58.
8. Melchor Mauri (Esp) 2:18.
9. Richard Virenque (Fra) 2:37.
10. Alvaro Mejia (Col) 3:07.
11. Laurent Madouas (Fra) 3:15.
12. Thierry Marie (Fra) 3:37.
13. Laurent Brochard (Fra) 3:42.
14. Erik Breukink (P-B) 3:43.
15. Bo Hamburger (Dan) 3:44.
16. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) 4:04.
17. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) 4:20.
18. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) 4:21.
19. Laurent Dufaux (Sui) 4:21.
20. Alberto Elli (Ita) 4:32.
21. Hernan Buenahora (Col) 4:43.
22. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) 4:45.
23. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) 4:46.
24. Bruno Cenghialta (Ita) 4:54.
25. Francois Simon (Fra) 5:02.
26. Alessio Galletti (Ita) 5:04.
27. Rolf Aldag (All) 5:06.

As you can see, one has to navigate down to the 27th place rider to equal the time set by two men with 8 Tour de France victories between them. This includes Indurain himself, who is now going a full 5 minutes and 46 seconds faster than he went just 5 years earlier! The difference has ballooned from a miniscule :11 seconds over 5 years, to a frightfully stupendous 5 minutes and 6 seconds over the same time span!

Now you tell me if this is legitimate! The 43-43.5 kph of Lemond, Breukink and the top 5 from 85-90 has become desperately pedestrian by 1995. Neither would be in the top 25 in 1995. 30 mph has supplanted 27 mph as the new standard!

Now go back and check the history of each rider in the top 27 and get back to me if you still think that Indurain was on water and vitamin supplements in 1995! Indurain himself has upped his average from 43.1 to 48.4 kph, and when you consider that most believe that he could have won in 1990, it is rather puzzling how a mostly mature rider could improve so drastically in 5 years, let alone beat confessed and known hematocrit manipulators. The man second to him in 1995 gives us a compelling/cogent inference. Breukink has improved from 62:20 to 61:17, which is 1:23 faster than his 1990 time. However, he is still 3:43 behind Indurain, who went :57 slower than Breukink did in 1990.
 
vrusimov said:
...

Now you tell me if this is legitimate! ....

Now go back and check the history of each rider in the top 27 and get back to me if you still think that Indurain was on water and vitamin supplements in 1995!

...
Okay, I'll bite. Else your post might be without an audience.

It was legitimate.*

And, yes of course, Indurain used both water and vitamin supplements in 1995.

Now, who are 'you' referring to when you say you?

Dave.

*Actually, I sincerely appreciate your analysis and think it is bang on. We have seen TT average speeds of 53 kph in some instances. The power required for this is astronomically higher than 43-45 kph. There have been some aerodynamic improvements, of course, but not enough to explain 10 kph improvements.
 
vrusimov said:
More telling than Alpe D'Huez, and perhaps more damaging to Indurain's case is the historical performances done at Lac de Vassiviere:
Glad you bring that up.
I have been keeping that topic up my sleeves for some time. Maybe next month, when I have a bit more more time I will come back to it, using average speeds rather than actual times as there were slight differences in the 1985, 1990 and 1995 courses.
See you next month :)

(Actually, I don't see all that as an endictment of Indurain, but of nearly the whole peloton)
 
Le breton said:
I agree on Riis being ridiculous. You might be too young to remember how profusely he thanked Fignon at the time, over and over again. Obviously Fignon must have been the one who told him who the good Drs were for weight loss and EPO and what were the recipes.
Thanks I think we have come to a point of mutual agreement :D

On your quoted bit above I don't recall Riis thanking Fignon but don't doubt that. But it makes total sense. I do recall Riis looked skinnier than ever in 96 with veins popping out in his forehead. Your quote helps explain how and why.
 
May 11, 2014
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Benotti69 said:
We know EPO benefits bigger riders. Riis needed to get his HCT up to 60+% to win the TdF. I dont call that super responding, i call it overdosing!!

Indurain was ahead of most of the peloton on how best to use EPO.

Strange how small and light guys are the best climbers in the high mountains.
Is 6 foot 152 considered big for a cyclist?
 
6'2 is very big for a climber. For a TT/Northern Classics/Rouleur type it's excellent. Mig riding TT's like a steam train isn't really that dodgy, it's the way he kept up with the likes of Pantani, Chiapucci and others in the mountains.
 
Mar 31, 2010
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Cookster15 said:
No, that just tells me Indurain made much more power than Millar. Going uphill fast is not just about weight but sustained power - like is needed in TTs.

Millar was never good in TTs - Indurain was from an early age.

Indurain was about 79Kg when he won his TDFs. That is about 6 or 7Kg lighter than he was in his early career like when he won Tour de l'Avenir as a 20 year old.

I have no doubt Indurain doped but I think he was not a super responder like say Armstrong (or Riis). Indurain had big talent from a young age.

I think there is evidence athletes with super high genetic aerobic potential do not get the same boost from EPO or transfusions than less talented athletes in this aspect?

In 1996 Indurain was probably discouraged seeing what Riis (and Virenque) was prepared to do to win. He probably felt with 5 TDFs there was not much else to prove - and I think he was right. Indurain was not a big ego like Armstrong. A big ego type would have wanted to win again to set the record straight.
good post. could not agree more
 
Mar 31, 2010
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Benotti69 said:
We know EPO benefits bigger riders. Riis needed to get his HCT up to 60+% to win the TdF. I dont call that super responding, i call it overdosing!!

Indurain was ahead of most of the peloton on how best to use EPO.

Strange how small and light guys are the best climbers in the high mountains.
pls share any evidence of this. most ridiculous thing I've read all day
 
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