Contador on Recovery

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King Boonen said:
Dear Wiggo said:
The other argument is:

Rider 1 FTP: 6.4W/kg
Rider 2 FTP: 6 W/kg

Rider 1 can appear to have better recovery than Rider 2, purely because when the going gets tough, he's operating at 6% below his FTP as he follows Rider 2 up the climb, but Rider 2 is at 100% of FTP.

You never see Rider 1 being pushed, so never get to gauge his true, unleashed capacity. Over time, he appears to be recovering better, when in actual fact he's just not being pushed to the same subjective level as Rider 2.
Good point. It's an extremely complex situation and something that's very hard to work out, especially when we are talking about pro riders where the differences may be very small.
Sure, it's really complex. But to name names the very same Alberto Contador seemed to push it pretty hard the first week, closing gaps in the TTT, pulling at the front to get time on Uran, dropping everyone but Porte on an early stage, and really digging deep to pull a large group in in the stage before the time trial. All the while struggling with an apparently dislocated shoulder and often isolated at the end of stages and repeatedly taking little digs. I didn't really seems like he was really "saving himself", at least all that much, before the time trial. Some of the top GC guys, however, managed to not loose that much time in what were really mostly medium mountain stages -even though I'm sure if any of them had enough strength in them they'd have tried to stay on for longer when everyone but Astana and Contador where dropped, particularly on that stage where the break was caught by the lead group and a big chase group lost 50 seconds. Yet he and Aru (if his TT level is anywhere close to what it was last year and if aesthetics have anything to do with TT form) seemed to have recovered better than any other of the GC guys for the time trial stage. Then on the next day were again head an neck above everyone, absolutely smashing the field and leaving everyone else sprinkled in little clumps of dust while everyone else seemed to be paying for their TT efforts. This wasn't the first MTF in the Giro, nor really that epic a stage, not even the hardest stage in terms of vertical feet so far, neither was the first stage that saw Aru and Contador attack and pull of the front, but after that much effort it was really the TT and the Madonna di Campiglio that utterly destroyed guys like Caruso, Uran and Porte. A stage in which Contador, for all his strength, took repeated little digs and couldn't get any but the same inches of separation from Aru he's been getting all giro. Contador is known to ride defensively at times, but he's not the kind of guy who won't stick the dagger in if he thinks he can pull it off.

Again, I agree with you that it's really hard to really dis-aggregate the factors behind the performances, but I'm guessing while Contador isn't completely giving it the stick he ain't just cruising, either. He and the Astana boys just seem to be recovering better than everyone. So yeah, definitely there's some confirmation bias, but ever since Contador himself said it I've been struggling not to agree with him: recovery just might be THE difference in grand tour racing.
 
It's too difficult talking about specific riders. Contador is clearly a level or even two levels above Porte, Aru etc. and hasn't looked at all troubled from what I've seen, even in what is going on right now, so Dear Wiggo's scenario seems the most likely here, but it could be recovery.
 
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King Boonen said:
It's too difficult talking about specific riders. Contador is clearly a level or even two levels above Porte, Aru etc. and hasn't looked at all troubled from what I've seen, even in what is going on right now, so Dear Wiggo's scenario seems the most likely here, but it could be recovery.
Really? At all? On this Giro? Boy I must be watching a different race.

Again, I'm trying to talk about the general situation more than specifics, and I do think Contador has been the strongest, but not "at all troubled" seems like taking it a step or ten too far.
 
He's currently putting minutes into Aru and looks like he's out on a Sunday ride (maybe not quite but he looks very comfortable). Of course he's not on a training ride but I don't think I've seen him really go into the red yet.
 
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King Boonen said:
He's currently putting minutes into Aru and looks like he's out on a Sunday ride (maybe not quite but he looks very comfortable). Of course he's not on a training ride but I don't think I've seen him really go into the red yet.
He just soloed up half the Mortirolo like Pantani. He previously absolutely smashed a mostly flat time trial à la Annecy. And almost sprinted past Gilbert up a Koppenberg-y finale.

Plus, you know, this:


That didn't seem to be at least a slight dip into the red?
 
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carton said:
King Boonen said:
He's currently putting minutes into Aru and looks like he's out on a Sunday ride (maybe not quite but he looks very comfortable). Of course he's not on a training ride but I don't think I've seen him really go into the red yet.
He just soloed up half the Mortirolo like Pantani. He previously absolutely smashed a mostly flat time trial à la Annecy.

Plus, you know, this:


That didn't seem to be at least a slight dip into the red?
Please don't try and play with words with me and get into semantics. He has obviously had to work hard, but to me he has not look troubled at all, he's been in control of his riding and more than capable of doing what is needed, even when things don't go right, as evidenced today.
 
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King Boonen said:
Please don't try and play with words with me and get into semantics. He has obviously had to work hard, but to me he has not look troubled at all, he's been in control of his riding and more than capable of doing what is needed, even when things don't go right, as evidenced today.
I'm not. I'm not disputing he's been completely in control bar the crashes. But that's just the thing: he's had a few things go wrong that he's had to recover from. All I'm trying to say was what you've just said: he's had to work hard so far. Or to paraphrase Greg LeMond, I don't think he's taken it any easier, he's just gone faster than everybody else. Which in my mind would point away from the DearWiggo scenario.

But of course I could be wrong and you and DearWiggo could be right about this Giro. I still think it's been a particularly telling race, recovery-wise.
 
Ok, I think I get you. My personal opinion is that of Dear Wiggo on this performance, that if you were to look at ACs performance compared to his challengers, he has been riding a a lower % of his total power, so while his recovery might be better it's difficult to tell in this example as he doesn't need to recover as much.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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I think what Contador did today shows he's definitely riding within himself the rest of the time. Except for the TT (?) but on the climbs, yes.
 
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Dear Wiggo said:
I think what Contador did today shows he's definitely riding within himself the rest of the time. Except for the TT (?) but on the climbs, yes.
By doing what he did I doubt he was riding within himself. Looking at him after the past two stages, he is looking tired which did not show earlier in the race. Landa looks like he has gone for a jog around the park but of course he he had a much easier ride than Contador yesterday. Aru looks shot. I doubt he will make any time on Contador for the rest of the race. I think he has hit the wall. Amador will will be watching closely. But there is no doubt who has been the strongest for most of the race. I still think that Contador won't do the double but he might get closer than anyone else has in recent times.
 
May 12, 2015
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staubsauger said:
Pantani was the maximal combination between sheer talent, and maximum doping benefits. What he did in 98 and especially 99 was simply inhuman. Because that's what's happening if you give the best climber ever, the best doping medicine ever. Peak Pantani 99 has probably produced the best ever gt performance in history. Better than Contador, Armstrong, Indurain, Anquetil, Merckx etc.. He would've outclimbed all their peak performances easily while limiting his losses in the time trial. Just look what kind of guys he declassed in 99 with ease. Heras, Gotti, Jalabert, Savoldelli, Simoni. Tonkov, Zülle and Ullrich in 98. Former, future gt stars were dropped like school kids.

What I want to say is: we should stop using Pantani as a reference to anyone. It's just unfair. If you put a scary-crazy talented man, on a scary-crazy doping program and he responds scary-crazy positive to it. Then you get scary-crazy legendary inhuman performances that will never ever be equalled again, although he rode a **** aluminum frame and today everything is high-tech.

Contador definitely has a great recovery. No matter if he helps himself with doping or not. Just remember how broken Scarponi, Nibali, Kruijswijk and Purito were after that brutal 2011 Giro? They were still draught out at the Vuelta. Contador managed to be at least competitive at the Tour. You can't make up that much only with doping imho. There must be a plenty amount of talent already, to better it so much with a good program.

Well, unless you're in a Sella 08 or Berzin 94 scenario of course!
Don't forget to use "IMO" when making such de facto statements. Pantani was neither sheer talent nor the biggest doper. And when up agains the A-listers (Armstrong or Indurain,) he failed misserably apart from the "one-hit wonders".

Fact of the matter was that Marco was doing things with his blood that were outright dangerous, pushing the limits of what was unofficially "acceptable". There are stories floating around about Tonkov and him being awoken four or five times during the night to ensure that their blood didn't thicken up to the point that their hearts were unable to pump the blood through their bodies. And Riis was a continuation of these kamikaze practices.

Let's separate the users from the abusers. From what it is known, Indurain and Armstrong were insanely talented and had natural talents that set them apart from everyone else. Indurain had an insane resting heartbeat rate. Lance was beating people in the triathlon way older and more experienced than him in his teens, meaning he had IT.

On the other hand, without the 65% hematocrit, Marco had a really rough time. And we all kind of know what he had to do to get it to 65%. He was an full-fledged abuser. I mean... your HCT has to be through the roof, INSANELY HIGH, for you to STILL test positive for high HCT even after you've been administered blood dilutants.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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We'd need to know how good Armstrong and Pantani were without dope and how much they doped, and lots of other things, to estimate their talent.
 
Not to sound like a broken record, but again, talent is one of those words used so often but isn't specific enough. You can't just say "talent" and expect it to mean the same thing

Of all the factors that go into performance, is talent being born at a high level? Or having a high ceiling for that characteristic? What about the nature of their high level? Nepalese have the same natural ability to live at altitude as east Africans, but only East Africans that adaptation in a way that is beneficial for athletic performance.
 

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