Cyclists Vs. World Class athletes

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karlboss said:
Check the number of competitive cyclists in africa...all of africa vs europe, and the popualtion of both. You'll probably notice something.
Hey with an analysis like yours, and the questions you pose, I'm begining to wonder if we should stop calling it "The Land Down Under" and just "Upside Down". :D

In any case have fun fantasizing about Bolt (or some African) riding Cancellara off his wheel on the cobbles of Northern France. Cheers
 
hektoren said:
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
PS. Thanks for the Galibier record. I'll stand corrected on that about reaching Paris, and hats off to him, though not about the PR factor. In an case, his was a rare exception that I don't think indicates the possibility of a more general trend.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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rhubroma said:
...have fun fantasizing about Bolt (or some African) riding Cancellara off his wheel on the cobbles of Northern France. Cheers
To be fair, wasn't the Bolt idea (and the NFL Running Back idea for that matter) repeatedly referred to in comparison to TRACK riders and not road?
(I seem to recall the distance 500m being mentioned)

I think if Rebecca Romero can go from rowing to the Pursuit between two Olympics then it IS actually an interesting question whether Bolt could retrain his firing patterns to become a track sprinter...

Not saying he would be definitely be world class - just think its a reasonable question to ask
 
Martin318is said:
To be fair, wasn't the Bolt idea (and the NFL Running Back idea for that matter) repeatedly referred to in comparison to TRACK riders and not road?
(I seem to recall the distance 500m being mentioned)

I think if Rebecca Romero can go from rowing to the Pursuit between two Olympics then it IS actually an interesting question whether Bolt could retrain his firing patterns to become a track sprinter...

Not saying he would be definitely be world class - just think its a reasonable question to ask
Switching from rowing to cycling is not easy....

http://drewginn.blogspot.com/2010/03/ooopps.html
 
Jun 16, 2009
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swuzzlebubble said:
Switching from rowing to cycling is not easy....

http://drewginn.blogspot.com/2010/03/ooopps.html
excellent point!

I know guys that rode with Drew late last year on the Melbourne Hell Ride. He blew everbody's wheels off and single-handed destryed the bunch. He was shelling riders into a headwind doing around 45kph for more than an hour.

Does this make him an international class rider? Nope. However, some pretty well respected riders were walking around town saying that he had a scary-big engine.

In his own comments he points out that the Timetrial is a sensible goal as he has no idea how to ride in a mass start road race.
 
Martin318is said:
To be fair, wasn't the Bolt idea (and the NFL Running Back idea for that matter) repeatedly referred to in comparison to TRACK riders and not road?
(I seem to recall the distance 500m being mentioned)

I think if Rebecca Romero can go from rowing to the Pursuit between two Olympics then it IS actually an interesting question whether Bolt could retrain his firing patterns to become a track sprinter...

Not saying he would be definitely be world class - just think its a reasonable question to ask
I'm skeptical about a Bolt doing similar results in track cycling, precisely because "retraining his firing patterns," as you appropriately call it, from running to peddling isn't at all a given.
 
May 11, 2009
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You dont need to be a world class athlete to compete with a pro cyclist.

Look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QEjuCLcwyM

Jens Voigt is competing in a 200 m sprint against a Swiss postman on a 15 kg postbike in a German gameshow. The race starts at approx 3.20 in the video.

Can you guess who wins?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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rhubroma said:
I'm skeptical about a Bolt doing similar results in track cycling, precisely because "retraining his firing patterns," as you appropriately call it, from running to peddling isn't at all a given.
No its not a given, but you seem to believe its an impossibility.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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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.

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.
Your example is flawed for 2 reasons, number one figure skating is a skill sport. Number 2 no African or South American has ever won a winter olympic medal, do you think that there is noone in 2 billion people who with the opportunity are capable?
 
Sep 25, 2009
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rhubroma said:
I'm skeptical about a Bolt doing similar results in track cycling, precisely because "retraining his firing patterns," as you appropriately call it, from running to peddling isn't at all a given.
an interesting real/actual (not hypothetical as most in this thread) case is Eric Heiden.

the absolute top performer in speed skating became a superb/elite bike racer but never matching his first career achievements by a long shot.

retraining did not work for him and he spoke about the limitations iirc.

i don't think there is a definitive answer. the sprinters fast twitch fibers are largely inherited and theoretically they should lend themselves to any specific trainability regardless of the sport.

in a real world, however, different sports demand emphasis on the development of different muscle groups even in the sprinters who use the same legs. running, for example, requires both the propelling and stabilizing muscles whereas a bike sprinter has the luxury of supporting his weight on the seat and h-bars. depending on the age, it may be too late to retrain.
 
python said:
an interesting real/actual (not hypothetical as most in this thread) case is Eric Heiden.

the absolute top performer in speed skating became a superb/elite bike racer but never matching his first career achievements by a long shot.

retraining did not work for him and he spoke about the limitations iirc.

i don't think there is a definitive answer. the sprinters fast twitch fibers are largely inherited and theoretically they should lend themselves to any specific trainability regardless of the sport.

in a real world, however, different sports demand emphasis on the development of different muscle groups even in the sprinters who use the same legs. running, for example, requires both the propelling and stabilizing muscles whereas a bike sprinter has the luxury of supporting his weight on the seat and h-bars. depending on the age, it may be too late to retrain.
My initial comments were in regards to top athletes from other sports, making the transition to road racing, though I realize the initial point was made in reference to the track.

My opinion is that road cyclists especially have not only to be very fit, as are other athletes, but psychologically cut-out for handling the specific type of aerobic pain (which can endure for up to an hour and more, not just a few explosive seconds) and stress (caused by the speed, proximity to others in the field, changing roads and terrain, andsoforth) that the sport places upon the athletes, which is quite different than any other sport with the exception perhaps, I think, of skate technique cross-country skiing with all the due caution such a comparison requires. This is why I don't think NFL running backs and track sprinters have either the specific athletic nor mental qualities needed to perform well in the highest ranks of cycling. And the aerobic fitness required to even finish the Tour makes an NFL game seem like child's play. That's not boasting about cycling, but stating just a simple physiological fact.

In any case, your reference to Heiden admitting the limitations of "retraining" the muscles, though I would also add as equally important, the mind, would seem to affirm what I have always thought: namely that champion athletes are drawn to the sport most adapted to their specific abilities and talents often by instinct, at times through a process of elimination. Certainly there are physiological reasons behind this, but also cultural and I wouldn't exclude that certain ethnic factors play a role (in some instances even a significant one, in others little or none).
 
Jan 13, 2010
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karlboss said:
Your example is flawed for 2 reasons, number one figure skating is a skill sport. Number 2 no African or South American has ever won a winter olympic medal, do you think that there is noone in 2 billion people who with the opportunity are capable?
(1) And cycling isn't a skill sport, and figure skating isn't a physical one? (2) I believe there are many African and South American athletes who are hypothetically capable of participating in the Winter Olympics, if they start training and competing early enough at a place where the level of their chosen sport is high.

I think rhubroma makes the right case, though, for the cultural and psychological obstacles for this to happen. I believe cultural factors contributed to Eric Heiden's not reaching a higher level in cycling. 7-Eleven was a road squad and Heiden's physical attributes would have served him better as a track rider. He chose 7-Eleven (or they chose him) and he had a rewarding season on the US pro circuit (consisting mainly of flat circuit races). At the international level, however, his riding personified everything that was wrong with the US development system at the time.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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ustabe said:
(1) And cycling isn't a skill sport, and figure skating isn't a physical one? (2) I believe there are many African and South American athletes who are hypothetically capable of participating in the Winter Olympics, if they start training and competing early enough at a place where the level of their chosen sport is high.

I think rhubroma makes the right case, though, for the cultural and psychological obstacles for this to happen. I believe cultural factors contributed to Eric Heiden's not reaching a higher level in cycling. 7-Eleven was a road squad and Heiden's physical attributes would have served him better as a track rider. He chose 7-Eleven (or they chose him) and he had a rewarding season on the US pro circuit (consisting mainly of flat circuit races). At the international level, however, his riding personified everything that was wrong with the US development system at the time.
1) That's exactly what I meant cycling has no skills at all, and figure skating requires the muscle tone of a jelly fish. :D
I would say road cycling is an endurance sport and skating a skill sport, these elements are not mutually exclusive.
2) So if you agree on this point why not on someone switching sports? How do you know a 100m track sprinter isn't the most talented track sprinter on earth, they just haven't tried yet and with years training they would be a top cyclist?
 
Apr 19, 2010
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Cyclists and other pro athletes

A few years ago when everyone was doing O2 uptake testing, the highest recorded was Gunda Swan, World nordic ski champion at 96. The highest north american recorded then was Pierre Harvey, Canada's world cup winning nordic skier at 92. The highest Pro cyclist was Lance at 82. The fittest athletes list is totally dominated by nordic racers.:)
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Bolt is too lanky for track sprinting (in cycling). Other sprinters would transition much better.

screaming fist said:
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen rode Alpe d'Huez in about 45 min, that's slower than the climbers but beats a lot of the heavier pros.
Do you have a link to that?

Walkman said:
Someone earlier stated that Ole-Einar rode upp Alpe D'Huez in 45 minutes, wich is a rather decent time. Imagine if someone like the swedish skier Gunde Svan (vo2 max at 91 and a lung capacity og 7.08 liters) or Björn Dæhlie (vo2 max at 96 ml/kg/min) compared to Indurains 88ml/kg/min, would do some serious training. How good would they be?
I believe XC skiers are expected to have a higher VO2 max than other endurance athletes because they use more muscle groups so they wouldn't necessarily have a higher VO2 max if they were cyclists.

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.
Running is very different from other endurance sports thought. The world class runners are that great because they are extremely efficient. This doesn't translate that well to cycling, at least not on flat terrain where they'd probably lack power. Of course there are very talented cyclists in running, but it's not necessarily the best runners. All the best TT'ers in cycling would make poor runners because they'd have crap economy.
 
Feb 4, 2010
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Apples and oranges. As most of us will agree, certain physical attributes will make a person more suited to one sport or another. A person who's body type would make them a great linebacker or weightlifter, probably wont make a good cyclist or xc skier and vice vesa. Personally, i think most who excel at endurance, aerobic sports like running, xc sking, cycling, etc, with enough time and training, could cross over to excel at one sport or another. To be at the truely elite level however, one pretty much has to devote their entire life to one sport.

PS: Heiden was not built to be a great climber or GT rider, but he was no publicity stunt.
 

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