Cavendish: class of his own?

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Oct 16, 2010
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bobbins said:
sniper said:
Cavendish still doping strong.
I doubt he would need to charge for the Tour of California, it's little more than a mid-reason training camp.
to be there in that shape you have to be well-prepared.
i didn't say he's doping specifically for the ToC.
Generally we see less and less of the kind of 'targeted' doping of the past. These days if you want to peak in the TdF, you have to start your program early in the season.
So if he's targeting the TdF, imo he should already be juicing in training now.
btw, for the likes of Sagan this certainly isn't just a mid-season training camp. The pressure is on.
And I don't think Cav considers it to be just training either. It's California. It's prestige. It's exposure, etc.
 
Feb 22, 2011
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Re: Re:

sniper said:
bobbins said:
sniper said:
Cavendish still doping strong.
I doubt he would need to charge for the Tour of California, it's little more than a mid-reason training camp.
to be there in that shape you have to be well-prepared.
i didn't say he's doping specifically for the ToC.
Generally we see less and less of the kind of 'targeted' doping of the past. These days if you want to peak in the TdF, you have to start your program early in the season.
So if he's targeting the TdF, imo he should already be juicing in training now.
btw, for the likes of Sagan this certainly isn't just a mid-season training camp. The pressure is on.
And I don't think Cav considers it to be just training either. It's California. It's prestige. It's exposure, etc.
This, plus a win is a win. You take them wherever/whenever because there are so many unknowns. One especially does not know how one's program will stack up against the other programs come July.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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fenns said:
I didn't catch this in the end. What was Cav's secret? Has he discovered a new way of pedalling faster?
According to Cav the other guys can do more watts but he can just pedal 10% faster than everyone else.

Which is a rather odd point to make, because power is surely a function of cadence and resistance.

Perhaps Cav doesn't even understand why he's good. Elsewhere I've read he has an aero advantage.
 
Jul 27, 2014
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Cav puts out lower numbers than everyone else. Also, % power increase should in theory benefit Cav more because at faster speeds, aerodynamics are more effective/beneficial.

The way Cav take about dopers also is, quite believable

Kittel on the other hand.
 
May 26, 2010
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SeriousSam said:
fenns said:
I didn't catch this in the end. What was Cav's secret? Has he discovered a new way of pedalling faster?
According to Cav the other guys can do more watts but he can just pedal 10% faster than everyone else.

Which is a rather odd point to make, because power is surely a function of cadence and resistance.

Perhaps Cav doesn't even understand why he's good. Elsewhere I've read he has an aero advantage.
They just tell Cav the pills are vitamins and he is too good to dope......hahahaha!
 
At the time of the last post in this thread I had few concerns about Cav, but this is getting hard to watch. To have had such poor form, for so long and to be targeting green jersey intermediate sprints and stage wins at the outset of the race at the age of 36 as an apparent late substitute has shattered my confidence. Even with Caleb crashing out and the clear experience and technical abilities of QS and Cav, I can't believe that the other top sprinters in this race who are at the age of their physical prime shouldn't be faster than Cav over a final 200 metres.

Can anyone make the case for his rivals in this TdF being inadequate or injured? For example Phillipsen and Merlier in particular who I know nothing about. I am not surprised that Bouhanni, Sagan, Griepel and WVA aren't winning and think even a geriatric in form Cav could feasibly beat them with his superior team, so it is more Merlier and Phillipsen I'm interested in.
 
At the time of the last post in this thread I had few concerns about Cav, but this is getting hard to watch. To have had such poor form, for so long and to be targeting green jersey intermediate sprints and stage wins at the outset of the race at the age of 36 as an apparent late substitute has shattered my confidence. Even with Caleb crashing out and the clear experience and technical abilities of QS and Cav, I can't believe that the other top sprinters in this race who are at the age of their physical prime shouldn't be faster than Cav over a final 200 metres.

Can anyone make the case for his rivals in this TdF being inadequate or injured? For example Phillipsen and Merlier in particular who I know nothing about. I am not surprised that Bouhanni, Sagan, Griepel and WVA aren't winning and think even a geriatric in form Cav could feasibly beat them with his superior team, so it is more Merlier and Phillipsen I'm interested in.
I don't follow all sprints very closely, but... in my eyes the biggest improvement and decisive factor is not that he got his speed back. It's that he now has the endurance again. He could hardly finish a WT race in October after already not being competitive anymore for years, and at the end of winter that has completely changed. Another few months and he makes the time cut in Tour stages when quite a few others can't.
I suppose he now enters the sprints way fresher than before and therefor he is able to retrieve his end speed which has probably declined but not disappeared.

Maybe, if they gave me a reasonable, scientific explanation how they treated his Epstein-Barr problems and what exactly has changed there, I would be more inclined to believe them. (I'd also be very happy and try to use that approach myself.) But instead the only thing that really changed during this time is the team switch, coming with some diffuse explanations that he is happy again and has regained his confidence.
Now, I've also had episodes of depression, I'm really understanding when it comes to such problems, and I'm even happy for him on a personal level, but I just don't believe for one second that any amount of happiness and confidence will make you go from not being able to compete on WT level at all to being able to dominate sprints in a really tough Tour, best lead-out and not highest possible level of competitors or not.
 
Putting aside the improbable sprints, we will witness a minor miracle if Cavendish even finishes this Tour.

If we are to believe the story from his team he was not expecting to ride it and indeed he hasn't ridden anything longer than a week since the Tour in 2018 where he was OTL on Stage 11.

That was supposedly Merlier's problem. After a career full of CX and single day events with the occasional short stage race he doesn't have the legs to survive a GT. Apparently the old dog could teach him a few tricks.
 
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Now, I've also had episodes of depression, I'm really understanding when it comes to such problems, and I'm even happy for him on a personal level, but I just don't believe for one second that any amount of happiness and confidence will make you go from not being able to compete on WT level at all to being able to dominate sprints in a really tough Tour, best lead-out and not highest possible level of competitors or not.
Disagree. You don't have to be depressed it is simply a state of mind. When you are in a good place you perform. You work better. You sleep better. You think better. You train better and you race better. Psychology. Maybe Cav's current miracle is doping to be fresher for the sprints but I'd rather wait and see because I still think it is better explained by what is between his ears and factors in his life that influence his state of mind.
 
Disagree. You don't have to be depressed it is simply a state of mind. When you are in a good place you perform. You work better. You sleep better. You think better. You train better and you race better. Psychology. Maybe Cav's current miracle is doping to be fresher for the sprints but I'd rather wait and see because I still think it is better explained by what is between his ears and factors in his life that influence his state of mind.
I don't question the influence of the mental side at all! Clearly it is very important. Still in my opinion it has limits, and this jump is too big to explained by psychology alone.
 
I think 2017-2019 performance can be explained away with his multiple Epstein-Barr bouts, many crashes, and out of race shape from Epstein-Barr and crashes. 2020 he was said to be cleared from Epstein-Barr and all that was left was depression and he was still crashing though not as frequently as before. In the sprints he was there but missing power and seemed to show no confidence at all in his ability. The confidence obviously improved this year and his results slowly got better. Than whether he prepared or not for the Tour, his team says he did but than why would he if it was a very small chance and his preparation would have only started in June. He also could have just been done with Bahrain. As a team they didn’t really perform last year, especially compared to this year. Another factor is the team. His team is a lot more caring and have had riders help him when he has been dropped. He has not been left to dry like from 2017-2020. That has to be a huge boost in confidence. Having a team that believes in him.

To be fair with Demare, he has often struggled to make the time cut and others have said Merlier wasn’t ready for a 3 week race. Which could be why AF decided to go with Philipsen over Merlier, that he was getting tired and they were worried he didn’t have the sprint anymore.

Now is he doping, I don’t know. I hope not, as a rider he has been very lax and most of his performance came from his aerodynamics, light weight, and cunning vs more powerful sprinters like Kittel or Greipel.
 
I'm finding my position changing despite suspicions about DQS. The sprint rivals and rival teams are just nowhere near the normal TdF standard this year and Cavendish and DQS are nailing the final kms and laying it on a silver platter for Cavendish. The DQS leadout man coming second kind of says it all about the quality of competition so should we be surprised none of them can overtake Cavendish's dominant positioning wiht 200ms to go?

So maybe the all time great road sprinter can defeat a sub-par field at age 36 without crazy assistance. And maybe Cavendish's sharp decline in recent years was substantially caused by health issues.

Even though DQS don't get busted (assuming cheating for the sake of argument), technological advances in the future mean Cavendish could risk a test years down the line of this years samples destroying his legacy (the early years of which are not particularly suspicious in comparison to anything else).
 

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