Contador refuses to reveal VO2 max

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Jul 19, 2009
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LargusMeans said:
Maybe you should read the whole article before posting. The numbers have been questioned by a few now that they are not correct and are OVER inflated. Thats basicly what the second half of the article says, so try reading the whole picture instead of just half.

"Taking everything into consideration, I'd say that a more reasonable estimate of Contador's power during that ascent is about 450 W, which would require a sustained VO2 of 'only' 80 mL/kg/min. That is still quite high, but not so high that you can definitively state that it can only be achieved via doping."
A sustained VO2 of 80mL/kg/min for 450W? It's interesting to note that Dr. Ferrari estimated his power output at only 417W, so perhaps it required a sustained VO2 lower than that.

You also have to ask at what percentage of VO2 can Contador ride for extended periods of time? Apparently Derek Clayton - former Marathon World Best - could run at something like 95% VO2max for a full marathon. Vayer makes many assumptions beyond the air density, aerodynamic drag, etc. He assumes that Contador is only capable of holding 90% VO2Max for 20'55". Maybe he's one of those freaks of nature who can hold 95% VO2Max for extended periods of time?

I'm pretty envious of these guys. Depending on how I feel, I can only manage about 80% Vo2max for 20 minutes.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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ihavenolimbs said:
Laszlo, AWC is the ability to produce work without oxygen. If any of ones AWC is used, it's like a battery, it has to be paid back, which uses oxygen. The goal with a mountain-top finish is to deplete this stored energy before the finish line (though it'll hurt), and pay it back afterwards.

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yes I am very well aware of that- and I see that a calculation that concerns only his aerobic power output for a stage is failing to take into account anerobic efforts. A rider impulsing high workload for short intervals, especially to cover ground on a climb; will climb much faster than an aerobic capacity would suggest.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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I don't pretend to undersrtand Haemotcrit levels or VO2 Max that well but just being an on looker the way Contador climbs seems to be too good to be true. The way he blows the field away even on an 8km climb just seems ridiculous. I'm sorry but the way AC doesn't even seem tired looks false to me. The only rider who could go with AC on a climb was Michael rasmussen and we know what happened to him:rolleyes:.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Laszlo said:
yes I am very well aware of that- and I see that a calculation that concerns only his aerobic power output for a stage is failing to take into account anerobic efforts. A rider impulsing high workload for short intervals, especially to cover ground on a climb; will climb much faster than an aerobic capacity would suggest.
The reverse will be true. If Contador has a LT of 400 W and if he rode at 500 W for 1 min then he'd have to ride at about 300 W for 1 min to recover (this isn't exactly right, it's a simplification, but going above LT creates an oxygen debt that needs to be repaid eventually). There would be no net gain from yoyoing about. But since air resistance is non-linear, going faster for a bit (esp. when he is dancing on the pedals, his drag coefficient will probably increase too) means that he's actually wasting energy.

Sastre showed that climbing steadily at your own pace is fastest when he won on Alpe d'Huez last year. (While the others that were behind were constantly attacking each-other). Alberto Contador would be fastest to spread the use of his anaerobic work capacity out over the duration of a climb/TT (using a little more on the slowest parts, a little less on the fastest parts).
 
Jun 18, 2009
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auscyclefan94 said:
The only rider who could go with AC on a climb was Michael rasmussen and we know what happened to him:rolleyes:.
he never actually tested positive though, or did i miss something?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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michaeld05 said:
he never actually tested positive though, or did i miss something?
I understand that but if your missing test like he did or lying about whereabouts then something is not quite right.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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auscyclefan94 said:
I understand that but if your missing test like he did or lying about whereabouts then something is not quite right.
hell yeah, i dont want him back but they never proved anything
 
Mar 19, 2009
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michaeld05 said:
he never actually tested positive though, or did i miss something?
They could see Dynepo in his sample but couldn't bust him for it at the time because the test wasn't officially in place. Same thing happened to Dekker but they went back and checked his sample again because he was still active.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Epicycle said:
They could see Dynepo in his sample but couldn't bust him for it at the time because the test wasn't officially in place. Same thing happened to Dekker but they went back and checked his sample again because he was still active.
ah, knew there was something, cheers
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Has anybody observed the 'LOOK' ad with AC. He says "I demand the best, I know what I want". Hilarious. Talk about making it obvious.He obviously does get his drugs when he wants and definetly gets the best.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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pankadog said:
Totally agree. All the sudden everyone is a performance physiologist. The real accurate measurement of VO2max is in a lab (when they actually measure the inhaled and exhaled O2 and CO2 values, there are no methods that can reliably estimate without that).
This is exactly IT. For anyone reading about VO2 max on these forums you can base all your data on as shaky & presumed variables that you want, but the above statement is all you need right now & all you should have the cop on to realise.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Krebs cycle said:
Not everyone who follows cycling is a pseudo-science conspiracy theorist though. Contador is producing performances that are bordering on the realms of human impossibility as determined by scientists. He won't reveal his VO2max because it will very likely say one of two things a) it is a score that is physiologically possible but below what is required to achieve his performances on the road, or b) it is high enough to achieve his performances on the road (which of course it must be), but is a score that could very well be one of the highest ever recorded values in history. It pretty much needs to be somewhere between 89-99 ml/kg
love the user name, Krebs cycle, wish i'd thought of it

my response was to the question "if you are clean, why not reveal your VO2Max" and never intended to lump every enthusiast into the category of conspiracy theorists. just explaining one obvious rationale for not publicizing
numbers and how they are managing public relations.

some of these discussions are moot. Max VO2, kinemetric analysis, etc at this moment won't lead to a doping positive. The only thing that leads to a doping positive is a failed doping control. This is the area which requires diligence and i tend to shy away from other analysis as a source of evidence.

No one can say with "confidence" that these other analysis' are proof of doping. It comes down to an issue of causality of which the burden of proof is theoretical. Teasing out cause/consequence from evolving training techniques, advances in sports nutrition, improvement to equipment, etc. is nearly impossible.

you get to a point where you can say that rider x's z-score is such and such standard deviations away from the norm and with a certain level of confidence he is a doper b/c that type of anamoly occurs once every 3 billion years. that won't hold up in a court of public opinion let alone a court of law.

dilligence in the form of better doping controls is the only answer in the short term.
 
May 15, 2009
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Kerbdog said:
This is exactly IT. For anyone reading about VO2 max on these forums you can base all your data on as shaky & presumed variables that you want, but the above statement is all you need right now & all you should have the cop on to realise.
Yep.

There are plenty of reasons for people to be suspicious of cyclists, but trying to calculate something like VO2 max on the speed someone climbs a hill is very woolly indeed.
 
May 15, 2009
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Also I'm led to believe that these days cyclists are very careful about giving out data such as VO2 max etc whether they're doping or not - I'm sure there's plenty of things about their physiology they don't want their opponents to know.

I try to keep an open mind on these things, but riding up a hill quickly is not quite the same as say, having rediculously high testosterone or meeting dodgy doctors in Italy when you were supposed to be in Mexico.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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Well, considering the teams Contador has been on (in the past), he did not need to go anywhere to meet dodgy doctors and/or team directors.
 
lean said:
because you give people who are uninformed about human performance but good at creating propaganda ammunition.

not saying he is clean but it's a catch 22

probably less damaging to not reveal values than to reveal them and have to defend yourself to a bunch of psuedo-science conspiracy theorists.

i think the trend is going to move more towards privacy for this reason.
Completely valid points and from a juridical perspective he did well not to answer.

But it is a catch 22, as you say, because in not responding you only add fuel to the critics. And given what has come out since Festina and OP and down to the most recent incident with DiLuca, their voices are being taking with ever increasing seriousness...because we can't trust the athletes, they have time and time again failed in the transparency department.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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If he gave a VO2 max he would be ripped apart & also as he has not people are at him also. Classic example of damned if you do & damned if you dont. If they give out VO2 max numbers then every cyclists life would be made hell as when every time they ride everything would be logged, questioned etc. They dont have to be that transparent, it would be a negative entity being queried & over analysed. Just look at this Forum without it!!! Not only that but then you would have all the barstool cycling watchers thinking they understood it & using it as another stick to bash the sport with without FULLY understanding it. If I was a pro cyclist & i was clean as a whistle i still wouldnt give that information out about myself. Now im not saying Contador is clean or dirty but i think he was dead right not to answer those questions.
IT IS AMAZING WHAT PEOPLE WILL DO TO CAST DOUBT ON ANYTHING THIS SPORT IS ABOUT & REPRESENTS.
If Mikael Astarloza got his teeth straightened he would be up for surgical doping bringing the sport into disrepute as this gave him 0.0000000968 of a second per km advantage & this forum would be snarling like dogs that havent been fed in a week. "Oh but by my calculations etc etc & this & that & he could gasp more air in etc etc". Shut up & get SOLID FACTS.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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Kerbdog said:
This is exactly IT. For anyone reading about VO2 max on these forums you can base all your data on as shaky & presumed variables that you want, but the above statement is all you need right now & all you should have the cop on to realise.
Yep, what he said. Not only that, but even measuring it in the lab is going to be subject to some variation. You have to go 100% all out to measure VO2 max. Some days that's easier to do than others. I did 3 VO2 max tests in the lab in the 1990's when I was in my early 20's. Each time I was at roughly the same fitness level - I could run a 5K around the same speed and had been doing roughly the same training. Each time used the same protocol and even the same lab and equipment. each time I went as hard as I could.

And yet, there was a 5 ml/kg variation from my lowest test to my highest test. The day I had the best result, I could tell I was having a "good day" and would have raced better that day had it been a race.

The issue here is not whether Contador's on anything. It's whether VO2 max is going to be a very good indicator of it (it isn't) and whether one can calculate anything like an accurate value outside a lab test (you can't). I just laugh when I see the attempts to estimate what VO2 max was required to do the climb. A number of the variables are based on norms, and by definition a TDF podium contender is such a physiological outlier that you can throw those out the window. I'm a big believer in science, but too often we see the tendency to draw more conclusions from results than the results warrant.

If you want to argue that the general picture of professional cycling as a whole and Contador specifically suggests he is on something, that's a pretty reasonable conclusion. But misusing a physiological variable in trying to make your case just invites ridicule.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Sports performances cannot be explained entirely by science or mathematical equations. There are always variables, both physical (efficiency) and mental (motivation, good days, bad days), which are difficult to factor in to such simplistic equations as LeMond's. I am sure Contador is or has doped, but to use a single physiological parameter to determine whether a rider has doped or not is illogical.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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A few misconceptions about VO2max here. Just because VO2max isn't a good predictor of performance in a homogenous sample doesn't mean it has no validity. All it does is sets an upper boundary of what is humanly possible. No matter how hard a person tries, nobody can jump 3 metres into the air. This is a function of human physiology and basic physics. By the same token, riding up Verbier in 10mins would be beyond anything that is humanly possible aswell, and this is simply a function of the maximum amount of energy production that can be sustained for that period of time.

People just want to know how it is physiologically possible for Contador to be climbing as fast or faster than someone such as Marco Pantani, a man who turned up with a Hct of 60% once upon a time. Lab tests will never predict performance with 100% accuracy, but knowing an individual's physiology goes a loooong way to explaining what feats of physicality they are capable of.

edit: for the record though, the figure of 80 ml/kg @ 90% quoted by Andy Coggan, is entirely possible without the use of artificial enhancements.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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Krebs cycle said:
edit: for the record though, the figure of 80 ml/kg @ 90% quoted by Andy Coggan, is entirely possible without the use of artificial enhancements.
i don't discourage the effort to calculate VO2Max in real world settings. it's admirable but compared to laboratory analysis its the difference between a hack saw and surgeon's scalpel. to then base an opinion of doping on it starts to look very foolish.

cycling is a unique problem in exercise science. there are a lot folks who are very knowledgeable in the areas of biomechanics and physiology but who do not understand the strategy of actually racing a bike at a high level. at face value it appears to be mostly a steady state when in reality intensities vary widely. we rightly assign physiologists credibility but they often make assumptions that are downright embarassing. racing IQ and a formal education in exercise science is a rare but very valuable combination.

there is an obvious fallacy in the examination of verbier. the assumption is that contador is 100% motivated. he is not. he will take out an advantage for the day and then ride comfortably when he has a margin he is content with. he will have to back off in the interests of riding successfully the next day. (a rest day following the stage mimimizes this but not entirely, a GT rider is always conserving if he can)

I would expect these calculations to actually be a little low as scary as that sounds. (you can extrapolate max VO2 with a submaximal test pretty reliably but how motivated was he? what a mess)
 
Jul 9, 2009
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auscyclefan94 said:
I don't pretend to undersrtand Haemotcrit levels or VO2 Max that well but just being an on looker the way Contador climbs seems to be too good to be true. The way he blows the field away even on an 8km climb just seems ridiculous. I'm sorry but the way AC doesn't even seem tired looks false to me. The only rider who could go with AC on a climb was Michael rasmussen and we know what happened to him:rolleyes:.
Sorry, what did happen to him? (Not meant sarcastically!)

I was under the impression that he got thrown out for lying about his whereabouts - did he test positive at some point during or after that escapade?
 
Jul 9, 2009
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cody_57 said:
Sorry, what did happen to him? (Not meant sarcastically!)

I was under the impression that he got thrown out for lying about his whereabouts - did he test positive at some point during or after that escapade?
Son't bother, saw the rplies further down the thread. Sorry:eek::eek:
 

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