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Antoine Vayer's newspaper column

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Mar 22, 2011
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Le breton said:
If you are a scientist you should tackle the problem scientifically.

Go back and look at what Antoine Vayer and Frédéric Portoleau have written in the past ( for example in cyclismag.com) detailing their method.

Alternatively, if you are allergic to French, you could educate yourselg on sportsscientist.com
I am familiar with sportscientist.com, do you think a grand tour is a good environment for scientific evaluation?
 
function said:
From the 2nd article posted;

So he's basing his calculations on extrapolated data from a hill climb after 4 hours of riding 2 weeks into a GC with varying levels of fatigue for each rider, GC tactics being employed, wind, altitude and drafting.

The scientist in me tells me that is not a good test environment for determining physiological limits. What do you think?
It is not.

But if you can compare it against something done historically in the race (30-40 yrs) maybe can tell you something. You can plot it and see a trend. That way you can qualitatively deduce something.

Sports of Scientist.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2010/11/limit-of-human-performance-how-much.html

Greg Lemond take on his max.

http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/oralhistory/lemond.html

By the way I am not a physiologist, I am an engineer. That's why enjoy doing these calculations.:)
 
Mar 22, 2011
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Escarabajo said:
It is not.

But if you can compare it against something done historically in the race (30-40 yrs) maybe can tell you something. You can plot it and see a trend. That way you can qualitatively deduce something.
But is this "qualitative deduction" enough evidence to be used to tarnish/destroy someone's career and livelihood? Would you allow the same to determine whether you are accused in the media?
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Apollonius said:
The calculations used to produce in the figures in the article are wrong. This was proven in 2009 when the article was published (...)
function said:
(...) anyone who races or knows someone talented personally will know that "410W is the limit" is total nonsense. The people who know, know, the rest is inexperienced posturing on the internet.
function said:
I'm accusing someone of claiming 410W as the limit as being wrong as real life clearly proves otherwise and i stand by that statement. Just because someone is a professor (even physiology), it doesn't make them an authority as they have been wrong on many counts. What i particularly don't agree with is the arbitrary "410W" line.

This guy here (article credit to hrotha) confirms the 410 Watts threshold as a rough doping marker.
http://www.lalsace.fr/actualite/2011/07/24/le-docteur-megret-sur-ses-gardes
Apparently there is some plausibility to Vayer's calculations.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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Cycle Chic said:
I think you should google Antoine Vayer as you clearly have no idea who he is - thats the whole point of the thread.
That's not the best approach to take around here. Better still I checked out him out Medline and he is not the world authority you make him out to be.
 
May 3, 2010
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rata de sentina said:
That's not the best approach to take around here. Better still I checked out him out Medline and he is not the world authority you make him out to be.
Physician arise and heal thyself?

Pots and kettles etc
 
Apr 19, 2010
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function said:
Let me ask you this, do you believe that Lemond is the pinnacle of human physiology? The absolute limit of what we are capable of?
Lemond seems to think so, so it must be true.
If Greg couldn't do it, no one can.
 
Apr 14, 2011
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sniper said:
This guy here (article credit to hrotha) confirms the 410 Watts threshold as a rough doping marker.
http://www.lalsace.fr/actualite/2011/07/24/le-docteur-megret-sur-ses-gardes
Apparently there is some plausibility to Vayer's calculations.
The 'guy here' is Vayer himself.

« Pour la première fois depuis 1999, aucun coureur n’a dépassé la barre des 410 watts moyens (seuil du dopage « avéré ») dans les cols tests de fin d’étape », se réjouit Antoine Vayer, professeur d’EPS et ancien entraîneur de l’équipe Festina ( Le Monde des 24 et 25 juillet).
 
Sep 26, 2009
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For the first time since 1999, no rider has surpassed the 410-watt capacity (threshold doping" out ") in the collar end of the stage of testing," says Antoine Vayer, PE teacher and former Festina coach (The World of July 24 and 25). La puissance développée par certains coureurs dans les Alpes laisse toutefois pantois cet expert de l'étude des performances : selon lui, Andy Schleck a amélioré jeudi de 1'12'' le record de la montée de l'Izoard, détenu depuis 2000 par Lance Armstrong. The power generated by some riders in the Alps, however, leaves stunned the expert performance of the study: according to him, Andy Schleck has improved from Thursday's record of 1'12''the rise of Izoard, held since 2000 by Lance Armstrong. Une performance qu'il évalue à 423 watts. Performance which he estimated at 423 watts. Celle de Cadel Evans dans le Galibier aurait selon lui atteint 423 watts. Cadel Evans of the Galibier in his opinion would have reached 423 watts. Même Voeckler aurait atteint les 433 watts dans le Télégraphe. Voeckler have reached the same 433 watts in the Telegraph.

On est très loin des 470 watts de Pantani dans l'Alpe en 1995. It is far from the 470 watts of Pantani in the Alps in 1995. Mais Antoine Vayer comme Armand Mégret jugent qu'il faut rester très vigilants. But as Antoine Vayer Armand Megret deem it necessary to remain vigilant.

Le médecin de la FFC s'alarme d'une « reprise des comportements déviants » après avoir constaté une augmentation de 73 % des anomalies biologiques chez les coureurs français, notamment des administrations abusives de fer, souvent associées à des prises d'EPO. The doctor of the FFC alarmed a "resumption of deviant behavior" after finding a 73% increase in abnormalities among French riders, including government abuse of iron, often associated with the taking of EPO.

Les deux experts s'inquiètent aussi du « gros problème des corticoïdes », « libéralisés » par l'Agence mondiale antidopage. The two experts also worry about the "big problem of steroids", "liberalized" by WADA. Depuis le début de l'année, les sportifs n'ont plus besoin de présenter une « déclaration d'usage » pour cette substance, dont le seuil de détection a de surcroît été relevé, ce qui rend quasiment impossible tout contrôle positif. Since the beginning of the year, athletes no longer need to present a "Declaration of Use" for this substance, the detection threshold has in addition been identified, making it virtually impossible to positive control. Outre ses effets antidouleurs et stimulants, ce produit apporterait aussi, selon le docteur Mégret, des « capacités physiologiques supplémentaires ». In addition to its effects painkillers and stimulants, this product would also provide, according to Dr. Megret, the "additional physiological capacities." Elle permettrait aussi de potentialiser les effets de l'EPO, et donc de réduire les doses d'érythropoïétine, rendant celle-ci indétectable. It would also potentiate the effects of EPO, and thus reduce the doses of erythropoietin, making it undetectable.

Mais les corticoïdes présentent aussi des risques pour la santé – augmentation de la rétention d'eau et de la tension artérielle. But steroids also have health risks - increase water retention and blood pressure. Ils sont donc souvent administrés avec des diurétiques, qui ont l'effet inverse. They are often managed with diuretics, which have the opposite effect. Ce qui explique peut-être le contrôle positif d'Alexandre Kolobnev, ou celui de quatre nageurs brésiliens. This may explain the positive control of Alexander Kolobnev, or one of four swimmers from Brazil.
 
Sep 26, 2009
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"For the first time since 1999, no rider has surpassed the 410-watt capacity (threshold doping" out ") in the collar end of the stage of testing," says Antoine Vayer, PE teacher and former Festina coach (The World of July 24 and 25). The power generated by some riders in the Alps, however, leaves stunned the expert performance of the study: according to him, Andy Schleck has improved from Thursday's record of 1'12''the rise of Izoard, held since 2000 by Lance Armstrong. Performance which he estimated at 423 watts. Cadel Evans of the Galibier in his opinion would have reached 423 watts. Voeckler have reached the same 433 watts in the Telegraph.

It is far from the 470 watts of Pantani in the Alps in 1995. But as Antoine Vayer Armand Megret deem it necessary to remain vigilant.

The doctor of the FFC alarmed a "resumption of deviant behavior" after finding a 73% increase in abnormalities among French riders, including government abuse of iron, often associated with the taking of EPO.

The two experts also worry about the "big problem of steroids", "liberalized" by WADA. Since the beginning of the year, athletes no longer need to present a "Declaration of Use" for this substance, the detection threshold has in addition been identified, making it virtually impossible to positive control. ». In addition to its effects painkillers and stimulants, this product would also provide, according to Dr. Megret, the "additional physiological capacities." It would also potentiate the effects of EPO, and thus reduce the doses of erythropoietin, making it undetectable.

But steroids also have health risks - increase water retention and blood pressure. They are often managed with diuretics, which have the opposite effect. This may explain the positive control of Alexander Kolobnev, or one of four swimmers from Brazil.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Cycle Chic said:
"For the first time since 1999, no rider has surpassed the 410-watt capacity (threshold doping" out ") in the collar end of the stage of testing," says Antoine Vayer, PE teacher and former Festina coach (The World of July 24 and 25). The power generated by some riders in the Alps, however, leaves stunned the expert performance of the study: according to him, Andy Schleck has improved from Thursday's record of 1'12''the rise of Izoard, held since 2000 by Lance Armstrong. Performance which he estimated at 423 watts. Cadel Evans of the Galibier in his opinion would have reached 423 watts. Voeckler have reached the same 433 watts in the Telegraph.
So am I correct in interpreting the above to mean that:

1) while nobody exceeded Vayer's "doping threshold" on any of the final climbs, e.g., l'Alpe ("the collar end of the stage of testing");

2) he estimates that Schleck, Evans, and Voeckler produced 6 W/kg (423/70) on the Izoard, Galiber, and Telegraph, respectively?

If so, I wonder what he thinks of Flecha's data showing he was unable to hang onto the Contador et al. train on Galiber after sustaining 6.1 W/kg for just 5 min?

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/races/team-sky-races/2011-tour-de-france/stage--19.aspx
 
May 13, 2009
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French articles often use normalized power data in the sense that the actual power output is normalized to a standard 70 kg rider. You might like this approach or not, but you have to be aware of it and understand it before you throw out statements such as 'I know someone who can do ...' or 'power alone is useless, it all depends of W/kg' to discredit the study and the numbers.
 
Mar 22, 2011
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Cobblestones said:
French articles often use normalized power data in the sense that the actual power output is normalized to a standard 70 kg rider. You might like this approach or not, but you have to be aware of it and understand it before you throw out statements such as 'I know someone who can do ...' or 'power alone is useless, it all depends of W/kg' to discredit the study and the numbers.
Especially so at 70kg do I stand by my previous assertions.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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acoggan said:
So am I correct in interpreting the above to mean that:

1) while nobody exceeded Vayer's "doping threshold" on any of the final climbs, e.g., l'Alpe ("the collar end of the stage of testing");

2) he estimates that Schleck, Evans, and Voeckler produced 6 W/kg (423/70) on the Izoard, Galiber, and Telegraph, respectively?

If so, I wonder what he thinks of Flecha's data showing he was unable to hang onto the Contador et al. train on Galiber after sustaining 6.1 W/kg for just 5 min?

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/races/team-sky-races/2011-tour-de-france/stage--19.aspx
If so, I wonder what he thinks of Flecha's data showing he was unable to hang onto the Contador et al. train on Galiber after sustaining 6.1 W/kg for just 5 min?

Unless i am mistaken, the article you quote says that Flecha went to 438 watts for the last 7 min of Télégraphe, ie, 6.26-6.34 watts/kg, depending whether he was 69 or 70 kg.

It goes on to say that he reached 450 watts for 5 min at the foot of Galibier - presumably in the steep ramp leading to Les Verneys - but that would be 450/69 or 450/70, ie 6.42-6.52 watts/kg, not 6.1 watts/kg as you state.

The article also says that Flecha averaged 426 watts over Télégraphe, 6.13-6.17 watts/kg which he climbed in 33 min, against 30:40 for Contador and implying that a 69 kg cycling, riding next to Contador would have produced in the neighbourhood of 1980/1840 times 426 watts = 458 watts ie 6.64 watts/kg. This is well above the 6.38 watts /kg I calculated for Contador on another thread, 4% above. I don't know what to make of it and would like to see the file. Maybe the SRM was slightly miscalibrated as there is not much room for a miscalculation on a climb like Télégraphe.

Also, it seems logical that after climbing Télégraphe at 6.38 watts/kg Contador would tackle the first slopes of Galibier at the same intensity for the few minutes necessary to reach the false flat after Les Verneys where he could breeze a while.

Concerning the other topics, I was not able to see the Le Monde article, but Portoleau-Vayer's method is well know : only consider the last climb of "serious" mountain stages.

On the power estimate thread I gave a few of my own estimates on Izoard and the North side of Galibier. I don't know much of the Pyrénées well enough to do calculations for that region (don't know the winds, etc...).

--------
I should add that my estimate for Contador on Télégraphe puts that climb of friday exactly at an intensity which Hunter Allen estimates to be Contador's FTP threshold (6.3-6.4 watts/kg)
 
Nov 10, 2009
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Le breton said:
.....
The article also says that Flecha averaged 426 watts over Télégraphe, 6.13-6.17 watts/kg which he climbed in 33 min, against 30:40 for Contador and implying that a 69 kg cycling, riding next to Contador would have produced in the neighbourhood of 1980/1840 times 426 watts = 458 watts ie 6.64 watts/kg. This is well above the 6.38 watts /kg I calculated for Contador on another thread, 4% above. I don't know what to make of it and would like to see the file. Maybe the SRM was slightly miscalibrated as there is not much room for a miscalculation on a climb like Télégraphe.


In my previous post I assumed that Flecha used an SRM. If it was a Powertap, ift would increase the discrepancy between calculation and measurement by about 2.5% to ~6.5%.

http://www.srm.de/index.php/fr/srm-blog/tour-de-france/661

Here are the data for Sorensen in the Alps.
Telegraph : 383 watts (64kg) 32:13
Total Energy 740 kJ

So, while producing just about 6 watts/kg, Sorensen managed to climb Telegraph faster than Flecha, producing 740 kJ over the whole climb.

Anyway, using analyticcyling to calculate Sorensen's power during the climb, I get (including 2.5% transmission loss and assuming the same other parameters as for Contador) 388 watts, ie 1.4% more than measured by his SRM.

Of course, it would be possible to make a more detailed comparison by looking closely at Sorensen speed during his attack, then at his position within the group he was riding in, but since aerodynamic forces consume only ~85 kJ of the 740 kJ (11.5%) produced by Sorensen, the final result of the calculation would not be all that different, so that I would say that contrary to Flecha's data (Hunter Allen), the Sorensen data on Telegraph lend support to the calculation.
 
Le breton said:
For 30 minutes 6.6 watts/kg would be on the high side.

Did you calibrate your formulas based on Flechas numbers? The problem here is that Contador rode more at the front than Flecha, which could make the gap bigger.

Now we get criticized in this forum about using analytical cycling calculations in order to estimate power outputs, but a miss-calibrated SRM can lead to bigger errors. There is no perfect system unless you are working on a thesis with a lot of monitoring.:)
 
Jun 14, 2009
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Le breton said:
Anyway, using analyticcyling to calculate Sorensen's power during the climb,
I have data on a rider who did the same uphill race two years in a row. The second race was 6% faster, so his VAM was 6% higher. However, unlike all of these cases, I also happen to have his SRM files from both years, contemporaneous accounts of the conditions, and his comments on race situation and tactics. His overall power and watts/kg were the same. So, VAM different by 6% but same watts/kg; or alternatively, if you were trying to estimate this guy's watts/kg from VAM (depending on the other assumptions you made) you could be off by something like 6%. In the case of the TdF stages and riders you're talking about in this thread, 6% of their estimated watts/kg (based on observed VAM) can be 0.3 or 0.4 watts/kg. That's the difference you guys have been ascribing to being clean vs. being doped. IOW, the magnitude of the difference you're ascribing to doping is roughly the magnitude of the difference you could observe from changing conditions.
Escarabajo said:
Now we get criticized in this forum about using analytical cycling calculations in order to estimate power outputs, but a miss-calibrated SRM can lead to bigger errors.
Sometimes there are ways to tell whether a power meter is misreporting (or that a power file has been manipulated post hoc).
 
Nov 10, 2009
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RChung said:
I have data on a rider who did the same uphill race two years in a row..........
I am not saying that what you describe could not happen, the guy was say 2kg lighter, used better wheels, had a slight tail wind the 2nd year, managed to stay better hidden behind his opponents. Hell who knows, maybe it was a quantum mechanical fluctuation with a likelihood of 0,0000000000...........0000000000001%.

So, for a starter, I would ask : which mountain? I bet it wasn't the Télégraphe.
I imagine you don't want to say which rider.

Anyway, I take it that you don't think that the discrepancy between Flecha's and Sorensen's data deserve an explanation.

(6%) That's the difference you guys have been ascribing to being clean vs. being doped. IOW, the magnitude of the difference you're ascribing to doping is roughly the magnitude of the difference you could observe from changing conditions

I guess I'm plural, unfortunately not ubiquitous though. No, I tend to believe the diffrence can be more than 6%, like 12% sometimes even. But in the case of Telegraph, 1st pass of the day, I am just saying that at 6.38 watts/kg for one of the top cyclist you can't automatically incriminate his doctor.

However, when I see guys (sometimes pelotons) climbing AdH after 2 or 3 major passes at 6.6 watts/kg and above, I know that something is fishy, and it's not just Omega3.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Le breton said:
Unless i am mistaken, the article you quote says that Flecha went to 438 watts for the last 7 min of Télégraphe, ie, 6.26-6.34 watts/kg, depending whether he was 69 or 70 kg.
I'm afraid it's time to go back to the drawing board: according to his WKO+ file (available for download via the TrainingPeaks site), Flecha weighs 73.9 kg. I therefore used that mass in converting the absolute power values Hunter extracted/quoted to watts/kg.

BTW, Flecha uses an SRM.
 
Jun 14, 2009
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Le breton said:
I am not saying that what you describe could not happen, the guy was say 2kg lighter, used better wheels, had a slight tail wind the 2nd year, managed to stay better hidden behind his opponents. Hell who knows, maybe it was a quantum mechanical fluctuation with a likelihood of 0,0000000000...........0000000000001%.
His weight and bike were the same, though I don't know if his wheels were the same. I know the race tactics he used both years -- and whether he hid better or he had more beneficial winds, the point is the same: his VAM was 6% different but his watts/kg wasn't.

So, for a starter, I would ask : which mountain? I bet it wasn't the Télégraphe.
I imagine you don't want to say which rider.
It wasn't the Telegraphe but it doesn't matter -- the main point is that VAM is a blunt tool and that's proven by showing the watts/kg are the same. I wrote up the comparison years ago and the files have been publicly available since then (along with his race reports) so it's not like it's a secret -- but it's irrelevant to whether VAM is appropriately used in this context so I left out the name and race. Since I post under my real name and people know I've been posting about power files for a decade or so it wouldn't take more than a few minutes to find the files if you (mistakenly) thought it to be relevant.

Anyway, I take it that you don't think that the discrepancy between Flecha's and Sorensen's data deserve an explanation.
You'd be wrong. I just don't think there's enough information to resolve discrepancies.

I guess I'm plural, unfortunately not ubiquitous though.
Nah, I just picked your post to respond to for the analyticcycling.com reference, and continued the post in the plural "you guys" as a literary device to signal that I was broadening the audience to the entire thread. Obviously, my device was unsuccessful so I apologize that I was unclear.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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RChung said:
............. the main point is that VAM is a blunt tool and that's proven by showing the watts/kg are the same. I wrote up the comparison years ago and the files have been publicly available since then (along with his race reports) so it's not like it's a secret .
.... the main point is that VAM is a blunt tool and that's proven by showing the watts/kg are the same.

Of course, which is why I wrote a letter to cyclingnews years ago to point this out to Ferrari who was a regular contributor at the time

I wrote up the comparison years ago and the files have been publicly available since then (along with his race reports) so it's not like it's a secret

I seem to remember a comparison by you a number of years back, I guess it was on Mt Diablo or something like that. I might go back to it.

Thanks for the reply.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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Le breton said:
.... the main point is that VAM is a blunt tool and that's proven by showing the watts/kg are the same.

Of course, which is why I wrote a letter to cyclingnews years ago to point this out to Ferrari who was a regular contributor at the time
At the time I took a 66 kg cyclist + 9kg, for a total of 75 kg.

CdA = 0.38 m^2, air density = 1.1 and rolling resistance = 0.004

A CONSTANT 430 watts at the back wheel, ie about 440 watts at the crank ( 6.67 watts/kg). I had picked that value thinking of Iban Mayo and his infamous TT Mt Ventoux climb in the 2004 Dauphiné

Then I asked about

VAM variation according to the steepness of the climb?

Answer from analyticcycling:

% VAM
-- -----
6 1590 meters/hr
7 1696
8 1777
9 1837
10 1883
11 1917
12 1948
..........
15 1998

My conclusion, of course is the same as yours

VAM is really a crude estimator of efforts on climbs of different steepnesses as for the same given power the VAM drops from 1883 m/hr on a 10% incline to 1590 m/hr on a 6% slope, a difference of more than 15%.

So considering that I never used VAM, I was intrigued by the fact that you picked me for your attack on VAM (or on you guys who use VAM.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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acoggan said:
I'm afraid it's time to go back to the drawing board: according to his WKO+ file (available for download via the TrainingPeaks site), Flecha weighs 73.9 kg. I therefore used that mass in converting the absolute power values Hunter extracted/quoted to watts/kg.

BTW, Flecha uses an SRM.
And you made several mistakes

Mean Maximal 20-minute power = 423w
incompatible with this here :

On the Telegraphe climb, Flecha averaged 426 watts for 33 minutes which is right at his FTP and he averaged 438 watts in the last seven minutes when Contador caught the breakaway group.

I don't feel like hunting down the WKO file right now but it looks like the 4% discrepancy may well have disappeared with Flecha 6% weight gain.
 

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