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Contador's doping on Verbier debunked?

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Mar 18, 2009
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python said:
Here is what I called meek and toothless andy.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/contadors-climbing-credibility-questioned


available sources put contador’s weight at 62 kg. So by your calculation he produced 7.2 w/kg during a twenty minute plus ascent. considering that contador could not climb this long at 100% of his aerobic power (more like 85%-90%), it would put his maximum aerobic power at 8 to 8.5 w/kg.

now explain what planet did you live on when you came up with the estimate of 450 watts.

That's easy: because it is stupid to waste any significant time on such calculations in the first place, I used Vayer's 'normalized mass' approach so as to keep things apples-to-apples, i.e., to illustrate how much values can vary depending on the actual gradient of the climb, the % of VO2max sustained, etc.

Indeed, your assertion above that someone can only maintain 85-90% of VO2max for ~20 min is a perfect example of this, as the actual fraction can vary significantly (e.g., I've ridden at close to 90% of VO2max for 75 min).


Reference a study or a credible source where a rider can reach 8 w/kg either at VO2 max or VO2 peak.

No need, as I never made that claim.

also explain how it square off with the a. lim's statements (paraphrasing by see below) that he doubts a rider can exceed 6.7 w/k at threshold.
http://www.saris.com/athletes/CommentView,guid,37da0f26-ac2e-4f9d-b7f0-37784b1a2ae0.aspx

Again, no need, as 1) I don't necessarily disagree (highest I've seen for an hour effort is Boardman's 442 W hour record, which equates to 6.4-6.6 W/kg depending on precisely how much he really weighed), and 2) power at threshold isn't particularly informative in this context since the percentage of VO2max that someone can sustain for ~20 min varies.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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acoggan said:
<..> I used Vayer's 'normalized mass' approach
still something does not add up with your 450 watt estimate for a 62 kg contador climbing for almost 21 minutes. You even said “taking everything into consideration” 450 watts was reasonable.

everything? reasonable?

let’s perform a sanity check (and i don't claim it's perfect) that would be based on the reliable, available and well controlled data for another world beater - Indurain..

a simple calc from Padilla et al study (reported in the journal of applied physiology) indicates that indurain could maintain only 7 watts per kilo at vo2 max intensity and only for about 4 minutes. And if we take your 450 watts and divide by the generally accepted weight for contador (62kg) we get 7.2.w/kg. so it appears that contador’s threshold watts on verbier exceeded indurains vo2 max watts by almost 3%?? Something does not add up even if we stay away from the individual differences in % sustainable power at threshold as you insist.

either your assumption for contador’s weight must be much higher or 450 watts is a gross overestimate…or your calculation supports vayer’s doping theory? there is no personal acidity here as your solid work speaks for itself, just trying to make sense of your estimate as quoted in cn.

python said:
also explain how it square off with the a. lim's statements &#8230]I don't necessarily disagree
[/quote]
as was obvious from the link above allen’s statement about 6.7 w/kg at threshold was made with a clear reference to doping. if you don’t "necessarily disagree with him", the 7.2 w/kg for contador derived from your 450 watts (and the generally accepted weight of 62kg) makes little sense as you obviously refer to the similar definitions of threshold and performance limits.

again, it comes down to the questions I raised above - what assumptions did you use because things don‘t add up?
 
Jul 26, 2009
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python said:
[...] so it appears that contador’s threshold watts on verbier [..]

A major issue here seems to be that you're misapplying the term "threshold".

The wattage a rider can maintain at threshold is *significantly* lower than the wattage a rider can maintain for 20 minutes (for example, my threshold is approx 265 watts, but I've maintained 291 for 20 minutes).

So if AC's ratio is similar to mine, his 7.2 w/kg Verbier effort might translate to something like a 6.55 w/kg threshold (which still seems very high, imo, but not as ridiculous as 7.2). Add to that the inaccuracies of the power estimate, and you very quickly get into "grey" territory.

(BTW: I believe I have a relatively high anaerobic work capacity, which makes my ratio unusually high)
 
Sep 25, 2009
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ulrichw said:
A major issue here seems to be that you're misapplying the term "threshold".

The wattage a rider can maintain at threshold is *significantly* lower than the wattage a rider can maintain for 20 minutes (for example, my threshold is approx 265 watts, but I've maintained 291 for 20 minutes).

So if AC's ratio is similar to mine, his 7.2 w/kg Verbier effort might translate to something like a 6.55 w/kg threshold (which still seems very high, imo, but not as ridiculous as 7.2). Add to that the inaccuracies of the power estimate, and you very quickly get into "grey" territory.

(BTW: I believe I have a relatively high anaerobic work capacity, which makes my ratio unusually high)
i don’t think i am misapplying the term ‘threshold‘. i am actually well familiar with every definition out there (lt, obla, anaerobic, ftp etc etc). and i understand the differences between the definitions and the fact they may cause confusion. i am also quite familiar with andy’s interpretations, clarifications and contributions to the threshold concept..

if you wish call contador’s verbier effort ‘sub maximum‘ or 21 minutes power... the term one chooses does not change the fact repeated several times above and illustrated by indurain’s example - if we take andy’s estimate (450 watts) and contador’s reported weight (62 k), bertos submaxumum 21 minute w/kg (7.2) exceeded induarins vo2 max 4-minute w/k (7.0) by 3%. this does not add up.

I appreciate your personal data but it would probably be better if andy himself sheds light on his assumptions.
 
Nov 22, 2009
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The reply of Frédéric Portoleau (who calculates the data used by Antoine Vayer for his analysis) is here (in French): http://www.cyclismag.com/article.php?sid=5441#ancre1

To summarize, Corsetti pretends Vayer and Portoleau found a VAM of 1920 m/h. This is wrong, they found 1855 m/h. For your information, Michele Ferrari found 1852 m/h. Moreover, Portoleau compared his data to the ones published by Chris Anker Sörensen on a website and the difference was 2,5%.
 
Jul 26, 2009
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python said:
i don’t think i am misapplying the term ‘threshold‘. [...]

Your clarification makes sense to me (though I still find your use of the term "threshold" confusing in the context where you used it); I was thrown off by your inclusion of a quote from Allen Lim, which clearly was applying a different definition of "threshold" than the one you used.

In any case, I'm not arguing one way or the other on Contador's performance: I just wanted to point out that there is enough uncertainty and enough alternate explanations around the numbers that it's impossible to conclusively say there's something irregular going on.

Thought point for you: What was Indurain's anaerobic work capacity? What is Contador's? How would that influence their ability to maintain a supra-threshold effort (both in terms of scale and duration)?

ptyhon said:
[...]

I appreciate your personal data but it would probably be better if andy himself sheds light on his assumptions.

That would certainly shed more light on the subject, and I hope he does respond.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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ulrichw said:
So if AC's ratio is similar to mine, his 7.2 w/kg Verbier effort might translate to something like a 6.55 w/kg threshold (which still seems very high, imo, but not as ridiculous as 7.2). Add to that the inaccuracies of the power estimate, and you very quickly get into "grey" territory.

Normally it's considered that threshold power is 95% from 20-minute all-out effort. So if Contador actually did 450 watts for around 20 minutes, he should have threshold power of 428 watts, 6.9w/kg, and that is fishy as hell.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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python said:
still something does not add up with your 450 watt estimate for a 62 kg contador climbing for almost 21 minutes. You even said “taking everything into consideration” 450 watts was reasonable.

everything? reasonable?

let’s perform a sanity check (and i don't claim it's perfect) that would be based on the reliable, available and well controlled data for another world beater - Indurain..

a simple calc from Padilla et al study (reported in the journal of applied physiology) indicates that indurain could maintain only 7 watts per kilo at vo2 max intensity and only for about 4 minutes. And if we take your 450 watts and divide by the generally accepted weight for contador (62kg) we get 7.2.w/kg. so it appears that contador’s threshold watts on verbier exceeded indurains vo2 max watts by almost 3%?? Something does not add up even if we stay away from the individual differences in % sustainable power at threshold as you insist.

either your assumption for contador’s weight must be much higher or 450 watts is a gross overestimate…or your calculation supports vayer’s doping theory? there is no personal acidity here as your solid work speaks for itself, just trying to make sense of your estimate as quoted in cn.


as was obvious from the link above allen’s statement about 6.7 w/kg at threshold was made with a clear reference to doping. if you don’t "necessarily disagree with him", the 7.2 w/kg for contador derived from your 450 watts (and the generally accepted weight of 62kg) makes little sense as you obviously refer to the similar definitions of threshold and performance limits.

again, it comes down to the questions I raised above - what assumptions did you use because things don‘t add up?

As I told you before, I used Vayer's "normalized mass" approach 1) so as to keep things apples-to-apples, and 2) because it wasn't worth my time to try to estimate Contador's power any more precisely by, e.g., attempting to guess the exact mass he carried up the hill, as there are simply too many uncertainties. If obsessing over such details somehow adds meaning to your life, though, don't let me stand in your way...
 
Mar 18, 2009
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ulrichw said:
The wattage a rider can maintain at threshold is *significantly* lower than the wattage a rider can maintain for 20 minutes (for example, my threshold is approx 265 watts, but I've maintained 291 for 20 minutes).

So if AC's ratio is similar to mine, his 7.2 w/kg Verbier effort might translate to something like a 6.55 w/kg threshold (which still seems very high, imo, but not as ridiculous as 7.2). Add to that the inaccuracies of the power estimate, and you very quickly get into "grey" territory.

(BTW: I believe I have a relatively high anaerobic work capacity, which makes my ratio unusually high)

The latter is true by definition...which leads to another question:

Based on how he performs in races (e.g., when he attacks, on what sort of terrain, how he does in shorter vs. longer TTs, etc.), would you expect Contador to have a below average, average, or above average anaerobic capacity? He strikes me as having an above-average anaerobic capacity, such that the ratio of his 20 min power to his functional threshold power (doping-enhanced or not) would also be higher than average.
 
Aug 29, 2009
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python said:
if you wish call contador’s verbier effort ‘sub maximum‘ or 21 minutes power... the term one chooses does not change the fact repeated several times above and illustrated by indurain’s example - if we take andy’s estimate (450 watts) and contador’s reported weight (62 k), bertos submaxumum 21 minute w/kg (7.2) exceeded induarins vo2 max 4-minute w/k (7.0) by 3%. this does not add up.

I appreciate your personal data but it would probably be better if andy himself sheds light on his assumptions.

What you want to do is take 450 W and divide by 70 kg because the calculation is performed for a 70 kg guy plus an 8 kg bike+equipment (6.4 W/kg). If you then multiply by 6.4 W/kg 62 kg you find that Contador is supposed to be riding at 398 W on the climb. ACoggan was very clear that he was using the calculation with "normalised mass".
 
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python said:
still something does not add up with your 450 watt estimate for a 62 kg contador climbing for almost 21 minutes. You even said “taking everything into consideration” 450 watts was reasonable.

everything? reasonable?

let’s perform a sanity check (and i don't claim it's perfect) that would be based on the reliable, available and well controlled data for another world beater - Indurain..

a simple calc from Padilla et al study (reported in the journal of applied physiology) indicates that indurain could maintain only 7 watts per kilo at vo2 max intensity and only for about 4 minutes. And if we take your 450 watts and divide by the generally accepted weight for contador (62kg) we get 7.2.w/kg. so it appears that contador’s threshold watts on verbier exceeded indurains vo2 max watts by almost 3%?? Something does not add up even if we stay away from the individual differences in % sustainable power at threshold as you insist.

either your assumption for contador’s weight must be much higher or 450 watts is a gross overestimate…or your calculation supports vayer’s doping theory? there is no personal acidity here as your solid work speaks for itself, just trying to make sense of your estimate as quoted in cn.


as was obvious from the link above allen’s statement about 6.7 w/kg at threshold was made with a clear reference to doping. if you don’t "necessarily disagree with him", the 7.2 w/kg for contador derived from your 450 watts (and the generally accepted weight of 62kg) makes little sense as you obviously refer to the similar definitions of threshold and performance limits.

again, it comes down to the questions I raised above - what assumptions did you use because things don‘t add up?

So after all that. I will tell you that Pistelero doped on the Verbier.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Riley Martin said:
So after all that. I will tell you that Pistelero doped on the Verbier.

Oh really? So he doped for one day on the Verbier climb. What exactly is this undetectable miracle drug that he took? Please tell.
 
python said:
still something does not add up with your 450 watt estimate for a 62 kg contador climbing for almost 21 minutes. You even said “taking everything into consideration” 450 watts was reasonable.

everything? reasonable?

let’s perform a sanity check (and i don't claim it's perfect) that would be based on the reliable, available and well controlled data for another world beater - Indurain..

a simple calc from Padilla et al study (reported in the journal of applied physiology) indicates that indurain could maintain only 7 watts per kilo at vo2 max intensity and only for about 4 minutes. And if we take your 450 watts and divide by the generally accepted weight for contador (62kg) we get 7.2.w/kg. so it appears that contador’s threshold watts on verbier exceeded indurains vo2 max watts by almost 3%?? Something does not add up even if we stay away from the individual differences in % sustainable power at threshold as you insist.

either your assumption for contador’s weight must be much higher or 450 watts is a gross overestimate…or your calculation supports vayer’s doping theory? there is no personal acidity here as your solid work speaks for itself, just trying to make sense of your estimate as quoted in cn.


as was obvious from the link above allen’s statement about 6.7 w/kg at threshold was made with a clear reference to doping. if you don’t "necessarily disagree with him", the 7.2 w/kg for contador derived from your 450 watts (and the generally accepted weight of 62kg) makes little sense as you obviously refer to the similar definitions of threshold and performance limits.

again, it comes down to the questions I raised above - what assumptions did you use because things don‘t add up?
Where were you when we needed you? (Back in July)

I agree with you when you say that the numbers look suspicious, but I don't think they are that high.

Something I can not relate is what is humanly possible with the power files, because I am not an expert in Physiology, but I can see that you are bridging the power numbers with the physiology which I like. You also have provided some interesting information about what are the possible maximum power values for a human.

One thing I can not accept is some people in this forum saying that there is a lot of variance and therefore we have a lot of gray area on the calculation. The "Science of The Sport" already did the exercise of taking the maximum points on the variables to estimate the worse case scenario, and "El Pistolero" came up suspicious by all accounts. Unless we are dealing with a new kind of breed, then, IMHO, Alberto Contador's numbers look suspicious.

I took the time to estimate the power changing all the variables and needed up with maximum's and minimum's for his climb on the Verbier. The worst case scenario indicated that Contador had a power per kilogram of 6.42 W/kg (90% of all numbers are above this one). The most likely scenario which indicates a number of 6.7 watts per kilogram. The difference between my numbers and Vayers numbers is that I have not normalized the power for 70 kilograms. My equation is straight energy conservation equation and don't need any normalization. So that's why they look smaller than Andy's. I think you need to use different power number than 450 watts because this has been normalized and it looks a little high. I took into account the tail wind in the most likely scenario also. Nevertheless, the numbers still look high for the third week of the Tour.
 

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Jun 16, 2009
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Polish said:
Greg hinted/accused Alberto of doping in a major French Newspaper.
No proof, mind you, just "An Indication"

Alberto should SUE Greg's keester big time!


And now ? you still think that Polish ......
 
Psalmon said:
The VO2 Max argument does not hold water in mountain climbing either. Although Ed Viesturs (only US climber to have summited all 14 8km peaks without 02) has a stratospheric VO2 Max, Reinhold Messner's (arguably the greatest mountaineer ever, first to do all 14 8km peaks and without bottled O2, first this way up Everest too, did it twice before anyone, once solo!), his VO2 Max is in the 40s, more common.

QUOTE]

his VO2 Max is in the 40s

Actually you are wrong, his VO2 max was negative, which is of course why he was so good : it became less negative the higher he climbed.:):D
 
Originally Posted by python
if you wish call contador’s verbier effort ‘sub maximum‘ or 21 minutes power... the term one chooses does not change the fact repeated several times above and illustrated by indurain’s example - if we take andy’s estimate (450 watts) and contador’s reported weight (62 k), bertos submaxumum 21 minute w/kg (7.2) exceeded induarins vo2 max 4-minute w/k (7.0) by 3%. this does not add up.

I appreciate your personal data but it would probably be better if andy himself sheds light on his assumptions.


Rydberg said:
What you want to do is take 450 W and divide by 70 kg because the calculation is performed for a 70 kg guy plus an 8 kg bike+equipment (6.4 W/kg). If you then multiply by 6.4 W/kg 62 kg you find that Contador is supposed to be riding at 398 W on the climb. ACoggan was very clear that he was using the calculation with "normalised mass".

Hi Rydberg,
Nice of you to spend time explaining this to Python, I really pulled my hair (figuratively speaking as there are not many of them left) when I read his comments. Strange to see people making lengthy arguments without even trying to understand the basics.
 
Le breton said:
Psalmon said:
The VO2 Max argument does not hold water in mountain climbing either. Although Ed Viesturs (only US climber to have summited all 14 8km peaks without 02) has a stratospheric VO2 Max, Reinhold Messner's (arguably the greatest mountaineer ever, first to do all 14 8km peaks and without bottled O2, first this way up Everest too, did it twice before anyone, once solo!), his VO2 Max is in the 40s, more common.

QUOTE]

his VO2 Max is in the 40s

Actually you are wrong, his VO2 max was negative, which is of course why he was so good : it became less negative the higher he climbed.:):D

Maybe I should not have poked fun at your statement. I have wondered what his VO2 really was, but the information is hard to find. I seem to remember either Di Pamprero or Cerretlli stating in a talk that it was quite high, but could not find anything on the web.

Just now I found this:

The VO2max of Reinhold Messner, arguably the most remarkable high-altitude climber of all time, is only 48.8ml O2, kg –.1min, essentially the same as Sir Edmund Hillary. The values are little better than those found in untrained but healthy young men.

Still, I don't know if I believe it. I would guess a figure at least near 70 would be necessary to do what he did..
 
Sep 25, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
Where were you when we needed you? (Back in July)
thanks. i am here now. btw, take lebreton with a bag of salt b/c he may not be as good as he thinks he is if he apparently not able to follow the issue basics properly or the flowing assumption from an ambiguously asked question.