Cadel Evans: Yay or Nay on EPO

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I've read this article. There are some interesting conclusions indeed. TTE increases by half for the same absolute power values (80% of pre-administration VO2 max) and decreases when applying 80% or power relative to the current VO2 max which shows that maintaining bigger power (even if it's still 80% of VO2max) is more difficult and depends on non-VO2 max factors as well. Still, 50% addition of TTE is important - for medium-length climbs a cyclist usually losses 2-3% of average power (i.e. 0.2 w/kg) when increasing duration by half. It would be good to have numbers for 30minute power comparisons. And I also think these numbers could be different for top pros - possibly bigger differences due to their large oxygen demand (effective muscles), which (alongsite lungs) can use EPO even more efficiently.
The rare research on how blood doping affects subjects with different baseline Vo2Max tilts more to the direction that the fitter athletes get a lesser boost (in Vo2Max) if same protocol is used.

E.g two reinfused blood bags increased the Vo2Max of 50-70 ml/min/kg guys (on average) by ~ 13-14 %, but Vo2Max of the 85-90 ml/min/kg group only by ~ 3-4 %.

Doesn't give answer to the increases in submaximal power outputs. IMO, even slightly overstated difference, because the Hb in two blood bags likely increased total Hb less in % terms in the superfit group, who had more total Hb to start with.
 
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Porte's flaws are too well known. he's two levels below Evans except on raw ability. Evans was a much a more complete professional in every way and much more versatile. Porte did nothing in one day racing or at the worlds. Porte has a good TT and is a great climber in short stage races, not quite as good in the longer versions but his problem was always how to get to the finish physically, tactically and mentally............
Porte just figured it out even later in his career than Evans did. By then he was too old and the big two had arrived with more young talent coming online. I think he’d be happy with his 2020 TdF podium it shut up a lot of doubters.
 
A large difference between 16 and 34 minute power has to be noted after EPO administration (about 12% - equal to VO2max difference). This is really a lot - it's as if a cyclist generating 6.3 w/kg for 34 minutes was able to maintain incredible 7-7.1 w/kg for 16 minutes. Or vice versa: a cyclist able to maintain 6.6 w/kg for 16 minutes would be able to maintain merely 5.9 w/kg for 34 minutes. This shows bigger EPO benefits for shorter climbs (i.e. 15-20 minutes), where larger percentage of max. effort is used. Then again, I'm curious how it would look for top pros.
 
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Porte's flaws are too well known. he's two levels below Evans except on raw ability. Evans was a much a more complete professional in every way and much more versatile. Porte did nothing in one day racing or at the worlds. Porte has a good TT and is a great climber in short stage races, not quite as good in the longer versions but his problem was always how to get to the finish physically, tactically and mentally............
Yes and no.

Evans has 5 GT podiums. Porte has 1. I don't think this is reflective on their respective stage race abilities.

Porte probably wasn't good enough to ever win the Tour (and a part of that is mental, could he have coped with strongly contending for yellow in week 3?), but with just a little more going right he could have matched Cadel's 3 Tour podiums (2016-18 and 2014, if he hadn't gotten ill he was a decent shot at finishing second).
 
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Yes and no.

Evans has 5 GT podiums. Porte has 1. I don't think this is reflective on their respective stage race abilities.

Porte probably wasn't good enough to ever win the Tour (and a part of that is mental, could he have coped with strongly contending for yellow in week 3?), but with just a little more going right he could have matched Cadel's 3 Tour podiums (2016-18 and 2014, if he hadn't gotten ill he was a decent shot at finishing second).
2016 should have been another podium, the others he had some great form before the Tour but then had that crash on Mount Chat which was entirely his own fault and he actually knew that descent as it was used in the Dauphine a month before the Tour where he did the right thing by backing off the group he was in and was cautious.Some of the other crashes that cost him and illness were just the run of bad luck he was having like when someone crashed right in front of him on a flat stage and he broke his clavicle. He always looked pretty nervous on the fast technical descents and often lost contact and got back at the bottom of the climbs.
 
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I don't doubt for a second that Evans was using PEDs. His teams wouldn't have backed him otherwise. The pressure was on him to perform, and he wouldn't have been able to do that as much during his career if he hadn't doped. Maybe he didn't push the limits as much as others or wasn't a first mover whenever a new drug/method came around, but to think he wasn't playing by the internal rules of the sport, seems delusional to me with today's knowledge.

And I'm not blaming Evans for anything here, cause he didn't start the fire, though he probably didn't try to fight it either. He would have been dropped harder than on Plateau de Beille in that uphill battle anyway.
 
A large difference between 16 and 34 minute power has to be noted after EPO administration (about 12% - equal to VO2max difference). This is really a lot - it's as if a cyclist generating 6.3 w/kg for 34 minutes was able to maintain incredible 7-7.1 w/kg for 16 minutes. Or vice versa: a cyclist able to maintain 6.6 w/kg for 16 minutes would be able to maintain merely 5.9 w/kg for 34 minutes. This shows bigger EPO benefits for shorter climbs (i.e. 15-20 minutes), where larger percentage of max. effort is used. Then again, I'm curious how it would look for top pros.
It would've been also interesting to know what the 16 min watt output would've looked like before EPO to get some estimate about the watt boost. Unfortunately it is in the steeper end of the power/duration- curve.

Vo2Max actually increased somewhat less than W at Vo2Maxonly by 8-9% vs. 12-13 % -- a small but noticeable difference. If due to the EPO group (they were unblinded) simply increasing training volume, the effect of EPO in the boost as such is debatable.

The high(ish) gap of 12 % in watts between the 35 and 16 min can also be partly just more effort in the latter test.

Already at the 10 minute-point of the 16-minute test, the lactate reading is exactly the same (10.3 mmol/l) as the reading at the end of the pre-EPO control that lasted for 22 minutes. Still they kept cycling for additional 6 minutes ending up with highest lactate in all of the tests (12.3 mmol/l).
 
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Vo2Max actually increased somewhat less than W at Vo2Maxonly by 8-9% vs. 12-13 % -- a small but noticeable difference.
It's because watts measure net power (for motion only) while Vo2Max is related to total power (both motion and organs work). I actually meant VO2max watts difference in my previous post.

As for lactate levels I think it's normal: 16-minute max. effort is way more aerobic so lactate grows rapidly there.
 
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I don't doubt for a second that Evans was using PEDs. His teams wouldn't have backed him otherwise. The pressure was on him to perform, and he wouldn't have been able to do that as much during his career if he hadn't doped. Maybe he didn't push the limits as much as others or wasn't a first mover whenever a new drug/method came around, but to think he wasn't playing by the internal rules of the sport, seems delusional to me with today's knowledge.

And I'm not blaming Evans for anything here, cause he didn't start the fire, though he probably didn't try to fight it either. He would have been dropped harder than on Plateau de Beille in that uphill battle anyway.
One theory is Telekom didn’t select him for the TdF for this reason. It is discussed above that oxygen vector doping gives a much lower boost in elite endurance athletes than assumed by most.
 
One theory is Telekom didn’t select him for the TdF for this reason. It is discussed above that oxygen vector doping gives a much lower boost in elite endurance athletes than assumed by most.
He managed to improve dramatically afterwards and stayed in the sport for another decade. Other people who were known to have been hesitant about doping either gave in eventually, left/got pushed out of the sport or were never able to consistently ride for the wins in the biggest races.

Even if he or others were able to match or outdo the dopers without the use of EPO or blood transfusions, I don't really see the likelyhood of any serious GT contender actually attempting to do so (at least not in those days). Maybe I'm being too cynical, but history backs me up.
 
Lol, a 174cm 67kg guy podiuming grand tours and winning world champships in the dirtiest years of the sport. This thread is a joke
LOL, the "dirtiest years of the sport" were before the EPO test which was adopted for the 2000 Sydney Olympics - Evans wasn't riding road then. If there were no doping controls the peloton would be using synthetic EPO, not transfusions.

I leave it open that Evans may have doped but nobody here has provided a sound argument why this thread is a "joke" - including you. The reason this forum is popular is that we can discuss matters we don't all agree on. If controversial matters were never discussed it would quickly become very boring. An example of a genuine "joke" thread was "."

But when people drag up the Ferrari meeting or BMI as some kind of evidence it just propagates threads like this. Also on BMI FYI Evans was super lean - like all GC guys.
 
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He managed to improve dramatically afterwards and stayed in the sport for another decade. Other people who were known to have been hesitant about doping either gave in eventually, left/got pushed out of the sport or were never able to consistently ride for the wins in the biggest races.

Even if he or others were able to match or outdo the dopers without the use of EPO or blood transfusions, I don't really see the likelyhood of any serious GT contender actually attempting to do so (at least not in those days). Maybe I'm being too cynical, but history backs me up.
I know history backs you up. But there has been very good discussion in this thread. For example, I assumed oxygen vector doping gave up to 15% boost in V02 max / FTP when in fact for elite endurance athletes in is likely closer to 3%.

As for your comment that other people who were known to have been hesitant about doping either gave in eventually, left/got pushed out of the sport or were never able to consistently ride for the wins in the biggest races - sounds like Evans at Telekom? After not being selected for the TdF he went to Lotto who were hopeless at supporting him. Finally when he was getting old he found BMC where he delivered albeit late. Liberty says Evans Palmarès fell short of what his talent deserved, who am I to argue.
 
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I know history backs you up. But there has been very good discussion in this thread. For example, I assumed oxygen vector doping gave up to 15% boost in V02 max / FTP when in fact for elite endurance athletes in is likely closer to 3%.

As for your comment that other people who were known to have been hesitant about doping either gave in eventually, left/got pushed out of the sport or were never able to consistently ride for the wins in the biggest races - sounds like Evans at Telekom? After not being selected for the TdF he went to Lotto who were hopeless at supporting him. Finally when he was getting old he found BMC where he delivered albeit late. Liberty says Evans Palmarès fell short of what his talent deserved, who am I to argue.
Again I'm not really interested in the debate about whether PEDs are/were necessary in order to win or not, cause as I have stated I don't believe a major GT contender would repeatedly take the risk and not use them or could cope with the pressure/temptation. Maybe Evans never emptied two blood bags on a rest day, but I'll be pleasantly surprised if he never used any.

There's also the possibility he didn't give in before he went to BMC and had few chances left for a GT win. Maybe Andy Rihs himself offered to buy the drugs for him, like Hamilton accused him of having done at Phonak. I don't find that likely though, because Evans had already been a runner up in the Tour twice before and podiumed the Vuelta. I don't doubt he had the talent and physique to become a great rider, but so did a lot of other GT winners who didn't ride paniagua.
 
Well, it's more that his palmarès - especially in the calibre of wins - was falling well short of what it should have been, but he did a lot to compensate for that in the twilight of his career. He got that unexpected chance to make good at the Tour, and he got some more races like Tirreno-Adriatico and La Flèche Wallonne to rectify the lack of major wins (he had a lot of placements); he's probably another signature win short of where he ought to have been - maybe a Lombardia or if we're generous a Vuelta short. I mean, for much of his career there was a legit argument as to who had the better palmarès, Evans or Menchov. And for a long time I would argue, Evans is clearly a superior cyclist - similar as a GT rider, better in short stage races, and far better in one day races - but Menchov would be retiring with (then) three Grand Tours and Evans at the time had none, without the wins in the areas where he held the advantage to back that up. Because Menchov had decided to target races he could win and gone up against fields he could beat and got those wins, whereas Evans had been focusing on the Tour de France and coming up short - largely because of racing too timidly.

Also, 2010 BMC were an even worse support team than any of his Lotto squads, yet he came out of it with a major one-day classic and an iconic Grand Tour stage win, at least equal if not better calibre of wins than he had in the previous seasons - 2007 he won the Beijing test event only, 2008 he won a stage and the GC of Coppi e Bartali and a Paris-Nice stage, 2009 he won a Dauphiné stage and of course the most important win of his career, the World Championships. Figuratively speaking, of course, since he has a maillot jaune, but I honestly don't think he wins that if he doesn't win the rainbow bands a couple of years earlier.
 
This is gossip and hearsay as well as ancient history so take with a huge grain of salt but a friend of mine was a minor pro mountain biker and happened to be in the same car as Cadel when he was at Sea Otter circa 1998 and said Cadel was pretty loose with the doping talk. My friend was fairly naïve and came away quite disillusioned and quit riding as a pro not long after that.

Not sure why Cadel has always had a clean reputation? Because he was a diesel?
That could mean nothing IMHO. Peer pressure in the workplace and especially in sports could distort things.

I am not sure if he was clean or not, but I am more incline to say that he was not. There are different programs however. People are black and white about this but I don't think he was a heavy doper like let's say Armstrong. I feel like he was very talented but very hard to believe that he was completely clean.
 
Well, it's more that his palmarès - especially in the calibre of wins - was falling well short of what it should have been, but he did a lot to compensate for that in the twilight of his career. He got that unexpected chance to make good at the Tour, and he got some more races like Tirreno-Adriatico and La Flèche Wallonne to rectify the lack of major wins (he had a lot of placements); he's probably another signature win short of where he ought to have been - maybe a Lombardia or if we're generous a Vuelta short. I mean, for much of his career there was a legit argument as to who had the better palmarès, Evans or Menchov. And for a long time I would argue, Evans is clearly a superior cyclist - similar as a GT rider, better in short stage races, and far better in one day races - but Menchov would be retiring with (then) three Grand Tours and Evans at the time had none, without the wins in the areas where he held the advantage to back that up. Because Menchov had decided to target races he could win and gone up against fields he could beat and got those wins, whereas Evans had been focusing on the Tour de France and coming up short - largely because of racing too timidly.

Also, 2010 BMC were an even worse support team than any of his Lotto squads, yet he came out of it with a major one-day classic and an iconic Grand Tour stage win, at least equal if not better calibre of wins than he had in the previous seasons - 2007 he won the Beijing test event only, 2008 he won a stage and the GC of Coppi e Bartali and a Paris-Nice stage, 2009 he won a Dauphiné stage and of course the most important win of his career, the World Championships. Figuratively speaking, of course, since he has a maillot jaune, but I honestly don't think he wins that if he doesn't win the rainbow bands a couple of years earlier.
The 2011 BMC team was seriously good albeit without a lot of mountain talent but he he was surrounded by great domestiques especially for flat/medium stages and it was an upgrade on his 2010 team The worlds win no doubt made Evans mentally stronger.
 
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I thought Contadoper was caught(with positives) & stripped of what that 2010 title?
Like Red Rick said and the amount was theorized it was from a blood bag because it was so minuscule. So that’s probably what you’re thinking of.

Then he was found to have accidentally got clenbuterol in his system but he is ultimately in charge of what he enters his body. So positive of accidental ingestion of clenbuterol and banned for it was the ruling.
 
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Speaking of gains from doping, how fast do you think Riis would have been able to climb Hautacam if he had never doped at all?

When Nibali went from the bottom and won with more than a minute, it took him 7.9 % more time than it took for Riis. Of course a professional doping program will see far greater gains than just 5 %.

Even if MTB is a small pond, you don't win the World Cup back-to-back in the late 90's without epo.
 
Speaking of gains from doping, how fast do you think Riis would have been able to climb Hautacam if he had never doped at all?

When Nibali went from the bottom and won with more than a minute, it took him 7.9 % more time than it took for Riis. Of course a professional doping program will see far greater gains than just 5 %.

Even if MTB is a small pond, you don't win the World Cup back-to-back in the late 90's without epo.
The thing about Riis is he transformed between 1993 and 1996. Obviously he was on EPO in 93. But what arrived at the 96 TdF was something else :astonished:. Pretty obvious that "Mr 60%" Riis was a great responder so I'd guess he would be really ordinary without EPO.

But as posted by Aragon the boost for riders with already very high aerobic capacity may not be as large as you assume .......
E.g two reinfused blood bags increased the Vo2Max of 50-70 ml/min/kg guys (on average) by ~ 13-14 %, but Vo2Max of the 85-90 ml/min/kg group only by ~ 3-4 %.
 
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It should be emphasized that the (on average) 3-4 % boost took place when hematocrit was increased by modest 5-6 %-points, but athletes in the EPO era weren't this cautious, e. g Claudio Chiappucci's Hct went (with EPO) from 35.7 % to 60.7 %, ~ five-six times the amount in the blood transfusion paper. There are also some naturally higher responders, but on the other hand, it is very unlikely that every consecutive Hct increase would give similar boost as the preceding one.

The comparison of ascent times are also interesting -- they reveal some patterns, but still many factors can affect the results, e.g weather, team strategy and even where in the calendar of the GT the ascent is located, early on or later, first or last in a series of mountain stages etc.

In 1996, Hautacam was only the second full-length mountain stage preceded by ~ 57 hours of riding in the Tour. There had been one short mountain time trial and one mountain stage was shortened due to bad weather.

In 2014 it was the sixth mountain stage in the race, and the stage took place after ~ 76 hours of riding.

In one recent study, Vo2Max of elite cyclists fell by 9 % in the course of the Vuelta, and power outputs by 12-15 %. There is at least tendency for the later stages to be slower for that reason alone.
 
He managed to improve dramatically afterwards and stayed in the sport for another decade.
I didn't comment on this yesterday but this quote deserves a reply.
  1. Most of us improve at that age. Evans was 26 in 2003.
  2. Dramatically? Evans's mental outlook improved after his worlds win and team change. Plus he had plenty of great results before then e.g. Commonwealth Games TT gold medal (beating Mick Rogers). The issues at Telekom were complex it was strange they didn't select him to ride the TdF at least to support Ullrich, I haven't read a convincing explanation for that.
  3. Cadel was fortunate to have hit pay dirt in 2011 before age took its toll. I think his physiological peak (for grand tours) was around the time of the 2007 TdF when he was 30.
 
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It should be emphasized that the (on average) 3-4 % boost took place when hematocrit was increased by modest 5-6 %-points, but athletes in the EPO era weren't this cautious, e. g Claudio Chiappucci's Hct went (with EPO) from 35.7 % to 60.7 %, ~ five-six times the amount in the blood transfusion paper. There are also some naturally higher responders, but on the other hand, it is very unlikely that every consecutive Hct increase would give similar boost as the preceding one.

The comparison of ascent times are also interesting -- they reveal some patterns, but still many factors can affect the results, e.g weather, team strategy and even where in the calendar of the GT the ascent is located, early on or later, first or last in a series of mountain stages etc.

In 1996, Hautacam was only the second full-length mountain stage preceded by ~ 57 hours of riding in the Tour. There had been one short mountain time trial and one mountain stage was shortened due to bad weather.

In 2014 it was the sixth mountain stage in the race, and the stage took place after ~ 76 hours of riding.

In one recent study, Vo2Max of elite cyclists fell by 9 % in the course of the Vuelta, and power outputs by 12-15 %. There is at least tendency for the later stages to be slower for that reason alone.
Is there any data on how bikes and gear compare between the 90s and now in the mountains?
 

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