Climbing Speeds

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Caruut said:
Not useful to determine anything about the winner. You can make some conclusions about the bunch (or more accurately the roleurs on the top teams) and the route, however.
It may be the case that a race that has a fast average speed will suit a certain type of rider. If the flat bits are raced consistently hard that is probably going to suit the bigger riders more than the smaller riders

Mainly though I think the thing that race speeds reflect more than anything is the weather. I'll bet the slowest Tours correspond to the wettest Julys
 
Apr 19, 2010
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MartinGT said:
Whenever I speak with people about Sky doping or, doping in the peloton, all I hear is "aye, but climbing speeds are down"

So climbing speeds are down on the big climbs, therefore its clean. Surly its not THAT clear cut!
Don't you know? If climbing speeds are down a little from the ludicous speeds of Pantani and Armstrong then it means everyone is clean, even if muppets like Froome are climbing as well as Fignon.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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MartinGT said:
Whenever I speak with people about Sky doping or, doping in the peloton, all I hear is "aye, but climbing speeds are down"

So climbing speeds are down on the big climbs, therefore its clean. Surly its not THAT clear cut!
The point is that when you conduct an estimation of w/kg required to climb at the speeds we have seen in 2012, 2011 and 2010, you find that those numbers are physiologically possible without doping. Prior to that, the numbers were considered impossible by world leading experts. Therefore, you can no longer use those numbers as de facto proof of doping as you could in Armstrong's day. It doesn't mean they aren't doping now, it just means it is possible that the best cyclists in the world could achieve that without doping.

When you conduct an analysis of the probable benefit of doping based on published data on the effects of EPO and transfusions on VO2max and performance, you find that it makes about 3-4min of difference up a 30min or so climb such as Alpe d'Huez. What a coincidence that the fastest times in the past 2-3yrs are down by about 3-4mins compared to the best times from 5-15yrs ago.

So this begs the question, are the best cyclists in the world today physiologically inferior to the best cyclists from 5-15yrs ago? Should they all be going 5-6min slower if they were clean? I think not. There is a genetic ceiling which doesn't change much if at all. If you put the greats of 30yrs ago into a modern pro cycling team with modern training methods and bike tech, my bet is that their performances would equal those of the world's best cyclists of today.
 
BroDeal said:
Don't you know? If climbing speeds are down a little from the ludicous speeds of Pantani and Armstrong then it means everyone is clean, even if muppets like Froome are climbing as well as Fignon.
And its not like climbing speeds are down for Froome in the first place. There were no actual MTF's in the 2012 Tour for us to be able to compare the speeds of Froome or Wiggins with the past.

All we have is how 2 mountains (luz ardiden and Alpe dhuez) were raced slower in 2011 compared to previous years. But froome and wiggins werent even there.

Its kind of like the 500 tests crap with armstrong. people say it a lot as they think it backs up their argument. But when they do the response should be - show me the data.
 
Krebs cycle said:
So this begs the question, are the best cyclists in the world today physiologically inferior to the best cyclists from 5-15yrs ago? Should they all be going 5-6min slower if they were clean? I think not. There is a genetic ceiling which doesn't change much if at all. If you put the greats of 30yrs ago into a modern pro cycling team with modern training methods and bike tech, my bet is that their performances would equal those of the world's best cyclists of today.
If you put Wiggins and Froome with the greats of thirty years ago with the same training and the same drugs, my bet is that those two would struggle to make it as domestiques. Asserting that Froome is equivalent to a Hinault or a LeMond or a Fignon is ridiculous.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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BroDeal said:
If you put Wiggins and Froome with the greats of thirty years ago with the same training and the same drugs, my bet is that those two would struggle to make it as domestiques. Asserting that Froome is equivalent to a Hinault or a LeMond or a Fignon is ridiculous.
Or Wiggo.

Big fish coming from a tiny pursuit pond as evidence of his greatness.
 
SundayRider said:
So its not the final climbs and TTs where riders lose many many minutes that have more of an impact.
No, it's not. For at least 60% of the Tour Cavendish is in exactly the same group as Contador - both largely taking it easy. Whether that group goes at 41kph or 39kph makes little difference to either.

The pace they go up a major MTF has less impact on the average speed than how much messing about they do on the final stage.

Average speeds tell you nothing.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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BroDeal said:
If you put Wiggins and Froome with the greats of thirty years ago with the same training and the same drugs, my bet is that those two would struggle to make it as domestiques. Asserting that Froome is equivalent to a Hinault or a LeMond or a Fignon is ridiculous.
What does "equivalent" mean? I haven't asserted that Froome is equivalent in terms of cycling success. I have asserted that the genetic ceiling of the world's best endurance athletes hasn't changed in the last 50yrs. If you want to challenge that and can prove otherwise, then I suggest you're up for a Nobel prize.

It's not just about Froome and Wiggins, which is the problem that you have in this debate. Its about the entire top 10. They aren't producing less power whilst climbing big mtns because they have inferior physiology to the top cyclists in Armstrong's era. The estimated power has just gone back to where it was in the 1980s.
 
Jun 5, 2010
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The Hitch said:
Contador attacked 100km out on that stage. He also cracked the day before, had a knee injury and was toast from the giro. I would say Contador doing 42 on those conditions makes one wonder how much faster he could go.

To me, this is what will make this year's race so fascinating, seeing a rested Contador at the Tour for the first time since 2010. Not only facing the Sky train, but also facing the dancing ghost of himself from Tours past.

I have little doubt that he will drop all contenders at some point Froome included, but I will be very interested to see his w/kg on these climbs and especially on l'Alpe since he was heavily fatigued in 2011 when the Tour climbed it last.
 
Jun 5, 2010
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So in short, I will be interested to see how his climb times and w/kg compare to his previous Tours, Sky's Tour last year and head to head with Froome.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Ferminal said:
No, that's what Contador and Schleck did in 2010, supposedly a "clean year" (riddled with evidence of doping at the top).
Supposedly according to who? Nobody in pro cycling, nor anti-doping nor on this forum has ever stated that 2010 was a "clean" year or the start of a "clean" era. Everybody in pro cycling and anti-doping and cycling performance experts are saying that the slower times reflect a "cleaner" peloton.

Now I'm sure you are intelligent enough to figure out the difference between the absolute term "clean" and the relative term "cleaner".

DarkWarrior said:
So in short, I will be interested to see how his climb times and w/kg compare to his previous Tours, Sky's Tour last year and head to head with Froome.
As are we all ;)
 
Krebs cycle said:
Supposedly according to who? Nobody in pro cycling, nor anti-doping nor on this forum has ever stated that 2010 was a "clean" year or the start of a "clean" era. Everybody in pro cycling and anti-doping and cycling performance experts are saying that the slower times reflect a "cleaner" peloton.

Now I'm sure you are intelligent enough to figure out the difference between the absolute term "clean" and the relative term "cleaner".
Well you mentioned 2010 in an earlier post, as though what was achieved then could have possibly been done clean, I have two issues with that.

1) The Tourmalet performance is psycho, Stage 17 of a GT. If that was on Alpe d'Huez they would have been close to breaking into 38' territory. If the estimations are correct then to say this is possibly a clean performance is highly misleading when only crazy dopers have ever reached this level (think Aubisque 2007).

2) The list of riders at the top in that year:

Ivan "look at my numbers" Basso
Michele "one more bag" Scarponi
Vincenzo "Franco's training partner" Nibali
Alberto "what's the beef?" Contador
Andy "Frank's brother" Schleck
Denis "never tested positive" Menchov
Eze "it's not performance enhancing" Mosquera

There is direct evidence that Scarponi and Contador used transfusions that year, you are welcome to come to your own conclusions on what the others did or didn't do.

My point is that we shouldn't even be talking about what the numbers may indicate relative to theoretical limits when it's very hard to say any of the above rode clean.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Ferminal said:
Well you mentioned 2010 in an earlier post, as though what was achieved then could have possibly been done clean, I have two issues with that.

1) The Tourmalet performance is psycho, Stage 17 of a GT. If that was on Alpe d'Huez they would have been close to breaking into 38' territory. If the estimations are correct then to say this is possibly a clean performance is highly misleading when only crazy dopers have ever reached this level (think Aubisque 2007).

2) The list of riders at the top in that year:

Ivan "look at my numbers" Basso
Michele "one more bag" Scarponi
Vincenzo "Franco's training partner" Nibali
Alberto "what's the beef?" Contador
Andy "Frank's brother" Schleck
Denis "never tested positive" Menchov
Eze "it's not performance enhancing" Mosquera

There is direct evidence that Scarponi and Contador used transfusions that year, you are welcome to come to your own conclusions on what the others did or didn't do.

My point is that we shouldn't even be talking about what the numbers may indicate relative to theoretical limits when it's very hard to say any of the above rode clean.
We are talking about a general trend though. Not a single year in isolation. I actually agree with you about 2010 and I see it as a sort of "iffy" transition year. In 2011 contador and sanchez did 41:30 or thereabouts up Alpe d'Huez which is nowhere near the 38' you reckon they could have done in 2010. So regardless of whether 2010 was completely dirty, the slowing trend happened in 2011 and continued through 2012.

My point has always been that when the theoretical* limits are not being broken it is much harder to say if any of them rode dirty. If the theoretical limits are not being broken and you assume that the top riders ARE doping as many around here do, then it implies that all of the world's leading experts are wrong about the upper limits to human performance. You can conclude what you like, but I'll take the word of experts any day over the wannabes in this place.

edit: btw, those limits are not theoretical, they are measured and so they are real.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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BroDeal said:
Don't you know? If climbing speeds are down a little from the ludicous speeds of Pantani and Armstrong then it means everyone is clean, even if muppets like Froome are climbing as well as Fignon.
Bro - As you well know, the current climbing speeds are not down by a little vs Pantani and Lance. They are down by a lot ie circa 10%. This is hugely significant as is the fact that you pretend not to know just how much slower the climbs are being undertaken now.
 
Krebs cycle said:
We are talking about a general trend though. Not a single year in isolation. I actually agree with you about 2010 and I see it as a sort of "iffy" transition year. In 2011 contador and sanchez did 41:30 or thereabouts up Alpe d'Huez which is nowhere near the 38' you reckon they could have done in 2010. So regardless of whether 2010 was completely dirty, the slowing trend happened in 2011 and continued through 2012.

My point has always been that when the theoretical* limits are not being broken it is much harder to say if any of them rode dirty. If the theoretical limits are not being broken and you assume that the top riders ARE doping as many around here do, then it implies that all of the world's leading experts are wrong about the upper limits to human performance. You can conclude what you like, but I'll take the word of experts any day over the wannabes in this place.
But 2008 Evans Kohl Vandevelde were 41'ish, they weren't exceptional on Hautacam, then look what happens the next year. Even Contador was comparably average in the Giro. For whatever reason the "climbing speeds" of 2008 were slower, but if you looked at it in 2010 wouldn't have said it (2008) was a year where a slowing trend began.

The real problem for me is the link between slower climbing speeds and "clean(er)" podiums. Most of our estimates of climbing speeds/performances are rough and a very general guide to what actually happened. There are a whole raft of reasons why any one day, or week, or GT may have slower climbing times. So if all we are going on are the rough numbers, I feel we can only say that they are slower/faster and nothing more. Slower times may be the result of "clean(er)" riders but that is just one potential explanation. Additionally, if we're going to hypothesise that slower numbers are in fact the result of less doping, we should be providing additional explanation as to why there may have been a reduction in doping. In 2011 we have Contador Scarponi Schlecks Cobo... if we are going to say that slower times in 2011 are the result of less doping we would want to provide reasons as to why these names reduced their doping from previous years.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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The Hitch said:
All we have is how 2 mountains (luz ardiden and Alpe dhuez) were raced slower in 2011 compared to previous years. But froome and wiggins werent even there.
Hitch - There's a thread somewhere in the Clinic that contains estimates of power on lots of climbs undertaken recently, including plenty by Wiggo since the start of stage race success. Of those in the "1000m ascent at the end of a long stage" category (ie the most commonly used benchmark) there a few, if any, where more than 6.0w/kg has been achieved. The one that does stick in the mind was the Angliru in the 2011 Vuelta, where Cobo was estimated at 6.2, Froome 6.1 with Wiggo/Menchov at 5.9.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Ferminal said:
Measured where/when?

Measured from clean GT riders in the 3rd week of a race?
By coaches in training and in lab tests for the past 20yrs all over the world. And if you think everyone shows up for lab testing totally fresh, well then you probably haven't been involved in much lab testing.
 
Jul 17, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
Big fish coming from a tiny pursuit pond as evidence of his greatness.
So given that Wiggo was a superior pursuiter to McGee in terms of one-off performances and the ability to back them up, how did McGee achieve what he achieved on the road?

He can't have relied on natural talent, as his pursuiting ability is undeniably inferior to Wiggo's and by your own assessment, Wiggo's ability is nothing special.
 
Wallace and Gromit said:
Bro - As you well know, the current climbing speeds are not down by a little vs Pantani and Lance. They are down by a lot ie circa 10%. This is hugely significant as is the fact that you pretend not to know just how much slower the climbs are being undertaken now.
What Lance? Even at his best e.g. 2004 ITT he's estimated around 6.3 with par being around 6 for all climbs of his 7 years.
 

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