Cyclists Vs. World Class athletes

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karlboss said:
Why is it an insult to the sport? Heaven forbid someone from another sport excel at cycling also, Rebecca Romero.

Where did I say anyone in the NFL was an athletic God, some just happen to run fast and jump high, also performance indicators for sprint cyclists.

Middle distance runners...long femurs, high Vo2, high sustainable power to weight, yep there's a stretch at finding compatability with a climber.

Or did you mistake my post and think I said any sprinter in athletics could sit a bike and wipe the floor with Chris Hoy straight up, or that the top 10 Kenyans would beat Contador up a hill?

It would take time to adapt I said 5-8 years as that is the time its been quoted to me from entering a sport to making it to the top. Some would make the adaption and compete with the best others would pedal squares and go nowhere.

Plug for Kenenisa Bekele here, would love to see what he can do on a bike, after learning how to not fall off and not much more, the guy is amazing, after only a year I wouldn't put anything past him.
If they were made for cycling, they'd have taken up the sport in 99% of the cases. Perhaps a couple of exceptions could be made, though this only confirms the rule.

And cycling isn't merely about the aerobic statistics, power output, andsoforth: it is an entire athletic culture and state of mindin it's own league. Not superior, just different. It requires a certain mentality that attracts a certain type of individual. And it is not something connected to just training and preparation, but is also, and perhaps just as importantly, about a mentality to race. And bike races are unique, in that one has to have great skill in this profession in managing the most perilous of situations and about reading the race as it evolves under an infinate set of circumstances.

I doubt, therefore, that athletes from other sports, with a rare few exceptions again, could hope to make the transition. Some might become decent cyclists, but that is nowhere near what they have been able to achieve in their own discipline. I have seen many guys who were great runners, swimmers, football playes who after years of riding were simply mediocre cyclists.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
If they were made for cycling, they'd have taken up the sport in 99% of the cases. Perhaps a couple of exceptions could be made, though this only confirms the rule.

And cycling isn't merely about the aerobic statistics, power output, andsoforth: it is an entire athletic culture and state of mindin it's own league. Not superior, just different. It requires a certain mentality that attracts a certain type of individual. And it is not something connected to just training and preparation, but is also, and perhaps just as importantly, about a mentality to race. And bike races are unique, in that one has to have great skill in this profession in managing the most perilous of situations and about reading the race as it evolves under an infinate set of circumstances.

I doubt, therefore, that athletes from other sports, with a rare few exceptions again, could hope to make the transition. Some might become decent cyclists, but that is nowhere near what they have been able to achieve in their own discipline. I have seen many guys who were great runners, swimmers, football playes who after years of riding were simply mediocre cyclists.
You are are right...in ethiopia there is this huge cycling culture which attracted their great athletes...like the jamacian sprinters and the massive numbers of black cyclists in the US.

The top 10 running backs in the NFL all make more than the highest paid cyclist. I suppose that culture wouldn't feature at all when picking a sport
 
Jun 15, 2009
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One (or rather two) athletes who were successful at cycling AND another sport were the Heiden siblings, Eric and Beth Heiden. After retiring from an illustrious speed skating career, Eric Heiden then turned to cycling and, after coming close to making the U.S. Olympic team in a second sport, he had a brief career as a professional, winning the United States’ national professional title in that sport in 1985 and competing once in the Tour de France, but did not finish the race. His sister, Beth, was also an outstanding speed skater and cyclist, who won a bronze medal in speed skating in the 1980 olympics and was women’s world road race cycling champion in 1980.
But they're kind of an exception to the rule.
 
hektoren said:
One (or rather two) athletes who were successful at cycling AND another sport were the Heiden siblings, Eric and Beth Heiden. After retiring from an illustrious speed skating career, Eric Heiden then turned to cycling and, after coming close to making the U.S. Olympic team in a second sport, he had a brief career as a professional, winning the United States’ national professional title in that sport in 1985 and competing once in the Tour de France, but did not finish the race. His sister, Beth, was also an outstanding speed skater and cyclist, who won a bronze medal in speed skating in the 1980 olympics and was women’s world road race cycling champion in 1980.
But they're kind of an exception to the rule.
Heiden was a US publicity stunt and couldn't even finish the Tour as you indicate. On the ice he was a champion though.
 
karlboss said:
You are are right...in ethiopia there is this huge cycling culture which attracted their great athletes...like the jamacian sprinters and the massive numbers of black cyclists in the US.

The top 10 running backs in the NFL all make more than the highest paid cyclist. I suppose that culture wouldn't feature at all when picking a sport
You really don't understand the sport do you.

The top 10 running backs, apart from thier salaries as an supposed incentive to not take up riding a bike, would have no chance at becoming world class cyclists. They're athletic qualities are totally different and so is their dicipline. Your seeming point that athletic prowess in the NFL should indicate potentiallity in cycling is, to put it frankly, nonsensical.

And the absence of a cycling culture in Ethiopia as an attempt to explain why we don't have more Ethiopian cyclists is inane. Ethiopians are meant for the marathon, not the Tour de France. Again before trying to demonstrate things, let's at least have some damn understanding of cycling.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Heiden was a US publicity stunt and couldn't even finish the Tour as you indicate. On the ice he was a champion though.
Couldn't even finish??? You're dead wrong in assuming it was a publicity stunt. He left the race with a concussion. No planned publicity stunt there...
 
Jun 15, 2009
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hektoren said:
Couldn't even finish??? You're dead wrong in assuming it was a publicity stunt. He left the race with a concussion. No planned publicity stunt there...
FYI : He crashed in a descent at the 18th stage...
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
You really don't understand the sport do you.

The top 10 running backs, apart from thier salaries as an supposed incentive to not take up riding a bike, would have no chance at becoming world class cyclists. They're athletic qualities are totally different and so is their dicipline. Your seeming point that athletic prowess in the NFL should indicate potentiallity in cycling is, to put it frankly, nonsensical.
How so? what athletic qualities are so totally different? Its not their ability in american football that makes them suitable, its their ability to put out huge amounts of power in short periods of time. Perhaps its not the top 10...but the qualities of the guys with the highest vertical leaps and fastest 40s.

rhubroma said:
And the absence of a cycling culture in Ethiopia as an attempt to explain why we don't have more Ethiopian cyclists is inane. Ethiopians are meant for the marathon, not the Tour de France. Again before trying to demonstrate things, let's at least have some damn understanding of cycling.
Please tell me you aren't serious. Why are australians so good at swimming? We are Caucasian...so why don't the countries, also caucasian, with more people, kick our asses?

Which understanding of cycling would you have me have?
 
hektoren said:
Couldn't even finish??? You're dead wrong in assuming it was a publicity stunt. He left the race with a concussion. No planned publicity stunt there...
If I recall correctly, he crashed on a descent because he was so delirious with fatigue that he was unable to handle his bike. I doubt, even without the crash, he'd of made it to Paris. And if I recall correctly again, he even commented how the Tour was the hardest thing he'd ever done athletically, which amounts to an admission of his inadequacy at the event, something which certainly was not the case on the ice.

In any case, my point was in regards to Heiden having had the opportunity to ride the Tour, not because he was a real top cyclist, but because he was famous in the US and just good enough on the bike to at least not make an embarassment of himself. In other words if he hadn't been Heiden the 5 time gold medalist, but just a pretty good rider, I don't think, just on his riding abilities alone, he'd have ever riden the Tour. That's what was meant about the publicity stunt because his presence was good sponsorship advertizing for 7-Eleven at the time in the US. And it's all about profit.
 
karlboss said:
How so? what athletic qualities are so totally different? Its not their ability in american football that makes them suitable, its their ability to put out huge amounts of power in short periods of time. Perhaps its not the top 10...but the qualities of the guys with the highest vertical leaps and fastest 40s.



Please tell me you aren't serious. Why are australians so good at swimming? We are Caucasian...so why don't the countries, also caucasian, with more people, kick our asses?

Which understanding of cycling would you have me have?
Your inability to look at reality is embarassing, whereas bringing in a racial issue is out of context between Austrailians and swimming and Ethiopian marathoners.

And putting out power in a playing field with a body type that has bulky muscle mass and uses muscles in different ratios than those required to be explosive on a bike, with little body mass; makes turning the running back into a top quality cycling sprinter a highly unlikely scenario.

People like you think it's easy to be a good cyclist, just because having demonstrated exceptional athleticism in other sports. Though this is simply not the case.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Your inability to look at reality is embarassing, whereas bringing in a racial issue is out of context between Austrailians and swimming and Ethiopian marathoners.

And putting out power in a playing field with a body type that has bulky muscle mass and uses muscles in different ratios than those required to be explosive on a bike, with little body mass; makes turning the running back into a top quality cycling sprinter a highly unlikely scenario.

People like you think it's easy to be a good cyclist, just because having demonstrated exceptional athleticism in other sports. Though this is simply not the case.
Why is it out of context? The people of North/East Africa have a body type predisposed to middle to long distance running? West Africans have a predisposition to power specifically legs, Caucasians have more a pre disposition to upper body related activities. Cycling in case you didn't know in terms of climbing favours folk with long femurs and small upper bodies...same as middle distance running.

Bulky muscle mass? have you stood next to a track sprinter? they are real waifs...

It's not easy to be a good cyclist, it's not easy to excel in any sport, though the smaller the sprt the easier it is. Cycling... not huge(just to bait you).

Seriously go to your nearest academy of sport and look at what sort of things are looked for in different athletes and you'll see the cross over.
 
Apr 18, 2010
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titleshot said:
And I'm posing the scenario that all the non-cyclists would be on a level playing field with the cyclists, so no drafting or race tactics just a shoulder to shoulder flat 500 meter sprint to the finish.
You're not the first with the idea of a cycling challenge between athletes from different sports: At the end of every episode of Holland Sport (a talk/quiz show), there's a small cycling competition between the guests. The top 10 of the 2009/2010 season currently looks like this:

19:44 Teun Mulder (track cycling)
20:64 Ronald Mulder (speed skating)
21:18 Mark Tuitert (speed skating)
21:91 Roel Brouwers (football/soccer)
22:03 Michel Mulder (speed skating)
22:10 Wout Brama (football/soccer)
22:17 Theo Bos (cycling/wrestling)
22:19 Rhian Ket (speed skating)
22:32 Tom Boonen (cycling)
22:96 Bobbie Traksel (cycling)

It is of course by no means a serious or scientifically correct competition, but it gives some sort of comparison. Some of them can be considered world class athletes (Teun Mulder, Bos, Boonen as cyclists + Tuitert and Ronald Mulder as speed skaters), Brama and Brouwers otoh are two (very) average football players.

An older episode featuring Karsten Kroon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUlC3srYgvU
 
karlboss said:
Why is it out of context? The people of North/East Africa have a body type predisposed to middle to long distance running? West Africans have a predisposition to power specifically legs, Caucasians have more a pre disposition to upper body related activities. Cycling in case you didn't know in terms of climbing favours folk with long femurs and small upper bodies...same as middle distance running.

Bulky muscle mass? have you stood next to a track sprinter? they are real waifs...

It's not easy to be a good cyclist, it's not easy to excel in any sport, though the smaller the sprt the easier it is. Cycling... not huge(just to bait you).

Seriously go to your nearest academy of sport and look at what sort of things are looked for in different athletes and you'll see the cross over.
To suggest that a a significant number of Ethiopians are not predisposed to excelling at the marathon, is to negate a national fact. There has been a connection between their body "type" and being very good long distance runners just on the sheer quantity of champions coming out of that land, just as in Kenya the extremely tall and lanky tribe have demonstrated to have exceptionally high jumping skills.

As to the size of cycling, it is practiced, at various levels and degrees of skill, by millions: though only a few hundred are world class and, of those, only a handful ever become true champions. Which means it is damn hard to be really good and not every type of athlete is cut out for it.

The ex-Soviet Union "channeled" its athletes and, if anything, such selective processing, demonstrated how specialized the world of sport really is. Some may be pretty good a several disciplines, however usually of those they are good at, only in one can they hope to be world class with good preparation.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
To suggest that a a significant number of Ethiopians are not predisposed to excelling at the marathon, is to negate a national fact. There has been a connection between their body "type" and being very good long distance runners just on the sheer quantity of champions coming out of that land, just as in Kenya the extremely tall and lanky tribe have demonstrated to have exceptionally high jumping skills.

As to the size of cycling, it is practiced, at various levels and degrees of skill, by millions: though only a few hundred are world class and, of those, only a handful ever become true champions. Which means it is damn hard to be really good and not every type of athlete is cut out for it.

The ex-Soviet Union "channeled" its athletes and, if anything, such selective processing, demonstrated how specialized the world of sport really is. Some may be pretty good a several disciplines, however usually of those they are good at, only in one can they hope to be world class with good preparation.
Check the number of competitive cyclists in africa...all of africa vs europe, and the popualtion of both. You'll probably notice something.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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rhubroma said:
If I recall correctly, he crashed on a descent because he was so delirious with fatigue that he was unable to handle his bike. I doubt, even without the crash, he'd of made it to Paris. And if I recall correctly again, he even commented how the Tour was the hardest thing he'd ever done athletically, which amounts to an admission of his inadequacy at the event, something which certainly was not the case on the ice.

In any case, my point was in regards to Heiden having had the opportunity to ride the Tour, not because he was a real top cyclist, but because he was famous in the US and just good enough on the bike to at least not make an embarassment of himself. In other words if he hadn't been Heiden the 5 time gold medalist, but just a pretty good rider, I don't think, just on his riding abilities alone, he'd have ever riden the Tour. That's what was meant about the publicity stunt because his presence was good sponsorship advertizing for 7-Eleven at the time in the US. And it's all about profit.
As the then reigning US pro roadcycling champion I'd say he was qualified to be on the 7-11 team, which won one of the stages that year (Davis Phinney) and had Steida in the yellow jersey for some hours. Saying the Tour was the hardest thing he'd ever done athletically certainly wasn't an admission of inadequacy. I haven't come across any Tour rookie that is unfazed by the needed effort. And, for a guy who'd typically do skating competitions that was over in a weekend, with the longest race lasting something like 15 min's, cycling three-week tours certainly would be a change. He crashed out descending Col Galibier, on the last mountain stage, and with Paris in sight. Of course he'd have made it to Paris!
http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2008/tour08/?id=/features/2008/tour08_first_american_team
 
Nov 24, 2009
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wasn't A CERTAIN GREG LEMOND a pretty promising junior XC skier?

With his VO2 he would have been very competitive internationally as an adult
 
Big GMaC said:
wasn't A CERTAIN GREG LEMOND a pretty promising junior XC skier?

With his VO2 he would have been very competitive internationally as an adult
Probably one of the most likely cross over sports. As people have said, Ole Einar has done an ok time up Alpe D'Huez. Cycling is one of the main components of training during the summer.

Somehow I can imagine Mr. Northug burning people off his wheel in similar fashion which is practiced by a certain Spartacus. Remember he talked some *** to Armstrong last year? Very very unlikely that there is a successful cross over (either way) between the two though - has there been any attempts previously?

Remember the thread about Rowing too - lots of rowers having a crack at cycling in Australia.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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I think there are certain sports that would transfer well and others that wouldn't.

In general, I've always kind of thought there were two kinds of "athleticism"... one emboddied by "endurance" atheletes and one by the "sprint" atheletes.

Cycling definitely falls within the "endurance" area. While there would DEFINITELY be a huge amount of training to develop technique and tweek the athelete's physique to fit the sport... a big portion of endurance comes from natural ability.

The easiest switches I'd think would be things like cross country skiing, distance speed-skating or distance running to the bike. These types of atheletes already have well developed leg muscles and the ability to make sustained efforts over long time periods.

Endurance sports with a larger upper-body focus like distance swimming would require a bit more adjustment as all that upper body mass would be a negative.



My belief is that there are only so many elite atheletes in each country. Many of them could be very successful in multiple sports... but the country they are in will impact what sport they choose. I think there are some professional football players or basketball players in the US that might have been exceptional soccer players had they grown up in europe... but I aslo feel like there are some soccer players in europe who could have been very successful football players if they had been born in the US.

Similarly, I think there are some runners from Kenya who might be exceptional cyclists if their training were geared in that direction... but there are probably some cyclists from certain european countries who might have been exceptional distance runners.

The culture you live in does play a role in what sports you focus on.
 
hektoren said:
As the then reigning US pro roadcycling champion I'd say he was qualified to be on the 7-11 team, which won one of the stages that year (Davis Phinney) and had Steida in the yellow jersey for some hours. Saying the Tour was the hardest thing he'd ever done athletically certainly wasn't an admission of inadequacy. I haven't come across any Tour rookie that is unfazed by the needed effort. And, for a guy who'd typically do skating competitions that was over in a weekend, with the longest race lasting something like 15 min's, cycling three-week tours certainly would be a change. He crashed out descending Col Galibier, on the last mountain stage, and with Paris in sight. Of course he'd have made it to Paris!
http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2008/tour08/?id=/features/2008/tour08_first_american_team
So he won the USPro Champ. in 85. Wow! Against who?
Today he'd be a pack finisher at best and, even then, he was inserted for his fame.
 
Apr 19, 2010
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Cycling also attracts lots of people that would not necessarily be interested in endurance sports when they were growing up. That you can have little breaks whilst still moving and cover great distances really appeals to people across the board.
 
Jul 17, 2009
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I read once that Allen Iverson had a high VO2Max compared to many great cyclists

but he'd have to practice on a bike....to be any good
 
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karlboss said:
It's not easy to be a good cyclist, it's not easy to excel in any sport, though the smaller the sprt the easier it is. Cycling... not huge(just to bait you).
Cycling is not huge. Nordic skiing is not huge. Alpine skiing is not huge. Speed skating is not huge. Figure skating is not huge.

And yet most of the top participants in these sports have been training for them for years, and these sports have histories of decades of heightened levels of performance. For example, Peggy Fleming's gold medal performance at the 1968 Olympics would not even get her a place on today's national team. By your logic, because figure skating is a small sport and the top schoolgirl athletes don't practice figure skating, with a little work any world class female athlete should be able to rise to the top of figure skating.

Granted, the age of the sport does correlate to the development of its participants. Thirty years ago, a female friend of mine ran a couple of 3:10-3:20 marathons, ranking her in something like the top 30 female marathoners. Women's marathon was a new thing, participation was still small, and many women who had passed to the next level were finding themselves placing well in big races--but not winning.

I've been hearing this argument over and over for as long as I've participated in cycling, almost 40 years. It's time to put it out of its misery.
 
http://www.topendsports.com/testing/records/shuttle-run.htm

The beep or bleep test, or more correctly known as the Multistage Shuttle Run Test, is a test of aerobic (endurance) fitness that is a common test undertaken by many team sports and school groups. See a description of the Beep Test. The test involves running between two markers 20 meters apart. There are several versions of the test, and which one used is not always listed with the results, and should be considered when comparing test results.

There are some unconfirmed rumors that some athletes such as David Beckham (football/soccer), Lance Armstrong (cyclist) and Neil Back (England rugby player), have completed the test, which is 23 levels on the commonly used version. This is probably unlikely. David Beckham is fit, but not the fittest in his teams, and Lance Armstrong struggled to perform well during retirement from cycling when he attempted running some marathons.

As this is a field test of endurance that is often used to test large groups, the best endurance athletes in the world would probably not have even tried the test. If they had, there would more likely be many athletes who can reach near the maximum score. High level endurance athletes would more likely perform a VO2max test to measure their aerobic fitness
http://www.topendsports.com/testing/records/vo2max.htm

score name sport notes
96.0 Espen Harald Bjerke Norwegian cross country skier This score was achieved in 2005 (7.3 liter/min, 76 kg body weight), listed on an article http://www.fasterskier.com.

96.0 Bjørn Dæhlie Norwegian cross country skier though another source has him recording a best of 90 ml/kg/min
92.5 Greg LeMond cycling US professional cyclist
92.0 Matt Carpenter runner Pikes Peak marathon course record holder
92.0 Tore Ruud Hofstad Norwegian cross country skier achieved in 2005
91.0 Gunde Svan Swedish XC-skier won a total of 4x gold, 1x silver and 1x bronze medals at the Winter Olympics.
91.0 Harri Kirvesniem Finnish cross country skier
88.0 Miguel Indurain cycling professional cyclist
87.4 Marius Bakken runner Norwegian 5k record holder
85.0 Dave Bedford runner 10k world record holder
85.0 John Ngugi distance runner World XC Champion
84.4 Steve Prefontaine runner from the US
84.0 Lance Armstrong cycling professional cyclist
82.7 Gary Tuttle US runner
82.0 Kip Keino runner Olympic 1500 champion
81.1 Craig Virgin distance runner twice World cross country champ
81.0 Jim Ryun runner US miler WR holder
80.1 Steve Scott runner US miler 3:47
 
ustabe said:
Cycling is not huge. Nordic skiing is not huge. Alpine skiing is not huge. Speed skating is not huge. Figure skating is not huge.

And yet most of the top participants in these sports have been training for them for years, and these sports have histories of decades of heightened levels of performance. For example, Peggy Fleming's gold medal performance at the 1968 Olympics would not even get her a place on today's national team. By your logic, because figure skating is a small sport and the top schoolgirl athletes don't practice figure skating, with a little work any world class female athlete should be able to rise to the top of figure skating...
.
He has no logic.
 

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