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Cycling in the 70's to the present day

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Jun 19, 2009
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David Suro said:
I the past decade, the training programs have been further refined and programs increasingly tailored to single events. Armstrong's run of 7 tours would not likely have occured if he had tried to maintain prowess in the Spring Classics or attempt a second serious bid at a world championship. Armstrong, Charmichael, and Bruyneal refined the science of building to a specific 'peak' for the TdF beyond what any other team could accomplish.[/QUOTE]

You're ignoring the huge "gains" Armstrong made prior to meeting Bruyneel and after being at odds with Carmichael. He was working with other training consultants. What they have all mastered is the overwhelming power of economics and the politics that come with it. They didn't refine sh*t other than the art of the con.
 
David Suro said:
In the mid-80's, there were tremendous advances in the field of exercise physiology. It was discovered that a structured training program could build a rider to a 'peak' of fitness that lasted for only a couple of weeks.

Prior to the mid-80's, cyclists generally rode a lot of long slow miles in the winter and the found their 'race form' for the classics and worked to maintain it throughout the season. Sure, they would rest prior to and following stage races and take it easy for a couple of days prior to marquis events such as World's or spring and fall classics, but the science of a year-long campaign to reach optimal form for a short window of time was not well understood.

Enter Greg LeMond. LeMond and his training staff recognized that a rider could be at his absolute best for only a couple of weeks out of the year. Given that the TdF was the only race that had a decent sized following in the United States, Lemond decided to have that be the sole focus of his season for obvious financial reasons. He trained with near singular focus on the Tour and achieved fantastic results. He built to a second 'peak' for World's and showed success there, too.

A recent article in Cycle Sport shows Fignon racing tough in an edition of Paris-Roubaix during a year that he also waged a campaign to beat LeMond and Hinault in the TdF. If a rider attempts to have peak form for both events, he will compromise his chances of success in either if his competitors have singular focus in their training programs for one major event.

Since LeMond's training program and the success it brought, the racing programs of cyclists have changed dramatically.

As dominant as Merckx was, I wonder how he would have done if each of his rivals had focused on one event in their entire year's preparations while he tried to dominate from March until October.

There are currently very few riders who show good form all season long. None of them are top GC contenders or Classics specialists. Jens Voigt comes to mind as a year-rounder, but most of his victories come at times in the calender that fall between the Spring Classics and the GT's or after the GT's when the World's contenders are focused on the rainbows.

Sprinters have better successes throughout the season in part becuase the discipline is as much about tactics, teamwork, and skill as they are about pure power production.

I the past decade, the training programs have been further refined and programs increasingly tailored to single events. Armstrong's run of 7 tours would not likely have occured if he had tried to maintain prowess in the Spring Classics or attempt a second serious bid at a world championship. Armstrong, Charmichael, and Bruyneal refined the science of building to a specific 'peak' for the TdF beyond what any other team could accomplish.

I agree, it was LeMond who started the Tour focus mindset but only after his accident. Pre accident LeMond raced hard before the Tour. Look at pictures of him up there competing in Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Giro and other races. After his accident, he still took part in early season races but struggled, for example he took part in both the 89/90 Giro and I remember him being particularly overwight at Paris-Nice in 90. LeMond used racing to get himself in shape.

Who remembers ONCE taking 6 weeks out mid season to focus on training for the Tour. They tried it a few times mid 90s, completely backfired in 94 but had the opposite effect in 95. Looking back, its seems the purpose was for doping reasons more than anything else, they seemed to be perfecting their doping practices.

Lance was the first pro cyclist to disappear of for months at a time then show up for the Dauphine in decent shape and then in absolutely top form for the Tour. Bruyneel/Armstrong did perfect this sytle of thinking but who did Bruyneel race for in the 90s, thats right ONCE. I think athletes who spent huge chunks of time not racing were training unhindered and away from prying eyes so they could dope as they liked and perfect it.

Lance was living in France up till his first Tour victory but once he came on the radar with his Tour victory, he got the hell out of France. France had stronger anti-doping laws than anywhere else at the time.
 
Feb 1, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
......Lance was the first pro cyclist to disappear of for months at a time then show up for the Dauphine in decent shape and then in absolutely top form for the Tour. Bruyneel/Armstrong did perfect this sytle of thinking but who did Bruyneel race for in the 90s, thats right ONCE. I think athletes who spent huge chunks of time not racing were training unhindered and away from prying eyes so they could dope as they liked and perfect it.

.......

Cyclist may have gotten the "I'll disappear for months then show up at the big event fit and ready, after doping my a** off" from bodybuilders. They are famous for that.
 
pmcg76 said:
Lance was the first pro cyclist to disappear of for months at a time then show up for the Dauphine in decent shape and then in absolutely top form for the Tour. Bruyneel/Armstrong did perfect this sytle of thinking but who did Bruyneel race for in the 90s, thats right ONCE. I think athletes who spent huge chunks of time not racing were training unhindered and away from prying eyes so they could dope as they liked and perfect it.

True. Before the Dauphine, LA would often only show for the odd "fitness" test around late March/early April (eg. Flanders, Amstel Gold, Crit Intnl). LA didn't disrespect those races with weak performances, but he'd only race hard enough to gauge himself against the rest of the peloton.
 
There is no comparison with the 70/80's

Back then, every top rider raced everything, from classics to tours. Now, they specialize. Now, they have certain peaks.. They didn't "train harder", on the contrary even. And the training programs even sucked, they just rode for hours and might know interval training, but nowhere near the programs guys ride nowadays with SRM systems and what-not.

There is just no comparison. It's much, much, much more professional these days, which also explains why 1 rider can't win both Paris Roubaix and the Tour anymore
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Dekker_Tifosi said:
There is no comparison with the 70/80's

Back then, every top rider raced everything, from classics to tours. Now, they specialize. Now, they have certain peaks.. They didn't "train harder", on the contrary even. And the training programs even sucked, they just rode for hours and might know interval training, but nowhere near the programs guys ride nowadays with SRM systems and what-not.

There is just no comparison. It's much, much, much more professional these days, which also explains why 1 rider can't win both Paris Roubaix and the Tour anymore
If riders want to preserve a bit their body and thei vascular system, they cannot have high blood pressures every time.
So that could explain why riders focus on some races!