Ed Coyle's paper about LA delta efficiency is a fraud.

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Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
What's revealing? That I've seen his testimony, but not online.
Yes, that. I am always curious as to the identity of anonymous posters with whom I interact. The fact that the testimony isn't (apparently) online yet you have seen it is one small clue as to who you might be.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Krebs cycle said:
Ed Coyle says maximum heart rate explains LA's better performance. I guess Ed forgot to read the studies that show an inverse relationship between max HR and performance in elite endurance athletes.
I am not aware of any such studies - perhaps you are confusing the results of longitudinal versus cross-sectional experiments?

More importantly, even if one (or more) such study exists, wouldn't it just serve to reinforce Coyle's claim that Armstrong was at an advantage because of his slightly higher-than-average maximal heart rate (as he would be an exception to what you are claiming is a general rule)?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Krebs cycle said:
Hey you are the one who said "if it isn't published, it didin't happen". As stated above, there do not appear to be any other studies in the literature that show that DE changes over time apart from a case study and one original paper on professional cyclists. Alessandro Lucia, Asker Jeukendrup and Inigo Mujika have been doing this stuff for yrs and none of them has published any such results, however, there are numerous cross sectional studies that cannot seem to find a difference between elite and non-elite DE.
I think you are overstating the amount of quality data that someone like Asker or Inigo (both of whom I have advised in research via email, BTW...check the acknowledgement section of Asker's dissertation for details) have collected. Remember, they are no more in the business of doing longitudinal studies of elite cyclists than Coyle, i.e., the vast majority of the data they collect is for service, not research, purposes.

I also disagree with your assertion re. lack of other studies in the literature - in fact, I posted links to several such studies earlier in this thread (but am too lazy to find them for you now :)).

Krebs cycle said:
So why don't you publish your own data then? Case study "Cycling efficiency improves as cycling physiologist matures" :)
Similar to Coyle's study of Armstrong, the data I have on myself were not collected with the goal of publication in mind. Thus, while I believe that they are interesting to discuss in contexts such as this one, they do not meet my personal standard for publication. YMMV.

Krebs cycle said:
I can definately say that the laboratory standards in the Australian sport science system are world's best practice.
That smacks of the sort of hubris that people such as Ashenden accuse Coyle of displaying.

In any case, just because a lab or system is good does not mean that it might not miss something/be wrong about something. Furthermore, should history definitively reveal that efficiency does indeed improve over time in highly-trained cyclists, this wouldn't necessarily be the first time that Gore, Martin, et al. may have "missed the boat". For example, they have never been able to detect any increase in red cell mass due to altitude exposure, whereas Levine and Stray-Gunderson are convinced that this is the primary, if not the exclusive, mechanism by which altitude improves endurance performance. Conversely, studies out of the AIS have reported that altitude exposure significantly increases anaerobic capacity (maximal accumulated O2 deficit) and hence short-term performance, something that neither Levine and Stray-Gunderson or one of Steve MacGregor's students have been able to demonstrate.

Krebs cycle said:
....ps: don't think that I haven't noticed how you have been ignoring certain aspects of my posts and focussing on others.
Our interchanges have been all over the map, so despite my habit of quoting the exact words to which I am responding it is quite possible that I have simply overlooked something. As well, I am not in the habit of responding to things with which I do not disagree, or with which I do not disagree so strongly that it seems worthy of debating. If there is something specific to which you'd like me to respond, however, please feel free to bring it up again.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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acoggan said:
I also disagree with your assertion re. lack of other studies in the literature - in fact, I posted links to several such studies earlier in this thread (but am too lazy to find them for you now :)).
My bad, it was in the Lemond thread:

"Recent cross-sectional or longitudinal studies supporting the conclusion that cycling efficiency improves with training:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18953100

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276841

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059575

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16998438"

Note that these are in addition to the recent Terrados et al. paper...
 
acoggan said:
My bad, it was in the Lemond thread:

"Recent cross-sectional or longitudinal studies supporting the conclusion that cycling efficiency improves with training:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18953100

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276841

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18059575

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16998438"

Note that these are in addition to the recent Terrados et al. paper...
i realize i am not a medical professional, but how is the conclusion that
cycling efficiency improves with training, news? i must be missing something.:cool:
 
Mar 18, 2009
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usedtobefast said:
i realize i am not a medical professional, but how is the conclusion that
cycling efficiency improves with training, news? i must be missing something.:cool:
No need to apologize: sometimes the most astute questions come from those with little or no background in a particular field, as they are free of the preconceived biases those working in that field often inherit.

Anyway, for starters it probably needs to be made clear that we are talking about efficiency here in the thermodynamic sense, i.e., energy out/energy in x 100%. In that context, cycling differs from other endurance sports (e.g., running, swimming) in that our pattern of movement is largely constrained (in all directions) by the dimensions (seat height, crank length) of the machine (bicycle) to which we are attached. As well, we typically choose gears that limit the speed of movement, and hence the rate of muscle shortening. Because of this, efficiency varies less from one individual to another when cycling compared to other sports. The notion that cycling efficiency is unresponsive to training, however, seems to stem originally from cross-sectional studies comparing untrained individuals with (at best) moderately well-trained cyclists. Even before the paper by Coyle, though, at least one study (Lucia et al., 1998) reported that professional cyclists tended to be more efficient than elite cyclists. Jeukendrup, Martin (David, not Jim), and Gore, however, questioned these findings, and published their own cross-sectional paper demonstrating that, at least on average, there was no difference (thus reinforcing earlier studies of much less well-trained individuals). Coyle then published his paper, and the area really heated up, as indicated by the four recent papers I cited above.
 
Aug 17, 2009
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efficiency improvement

acoggan said:
No need to apologize: sometimes the most astute questions come from those with little or no background in a particular field, as they are free of the preconceived biases those working in that field often inherit.

Anyway, for starters it probably needs to be made clear that we are talking about efficiency here in the thermodynamic sense, i.e., energy out/energy in x 100%. In that context, cycling differs from other endurance sports (e.g., running, swimming) in that our pattern of movement is largely constrained (in all directions) by the dimensions (seat height, crank length) of the machine (bicycle) to which we are attached. As well, we typically choose gears that limit the speed of movement, and hence the rate of muscle shortening. Because of this, efficiency varies less from one individual to another when cycling compared to other sports. The notion that cycling efficiency is unresponsive to training, however, seems to stem originally from cross-sectional studies comparing untrained individuals with (at best) moderately well-trained cyclists. Even before the paper by Coyle, though, at least one study (Lucia et al., 1998) reported that professional cyclists tended to be more efficient than elite cyclists. Jeukendrup, Martin (David, not Jim), and Gore, however, questioned these findings, and published their own cross-sectional paper demonstrating that, at least on average, there was no difference (thus reinforcing earlier studies of much less well-trained individuals). Coyle then published his paper, and the area really heated up, as indicated by the four recent papers I cited above.
Independent of what is shown in these scientific tests it is obvious cycling efficiency improves with age. Generally VO2 max declines on average from around 30 years old yet some cyclist peak performances are later than this. Just observing professional races and even looking at your own performances and rivals the pattern seems to follow. Few tour cyclists peak in their early 20s so efficiency can be as or more important than VO2 max in grand tour performance. From your comments above and other papers I found among some of your same sources listed earlier in the thread also show that top amateur cyclists can show similar VO2 max to professionals.

What I always find suspicious with LA is the claims his efficiency improved between 1996 and 1999. Efficiency improves with training but he had a long period of time not riding at all with muscles wasting away. Also riders that peak later in their careers wouldn't develop so young. LA was a pro triathlete at 16 so must have developed efficiency substantially to reach this. He won the world champs at 21. His progress slowed a bit then he got cancer. He came back from a layoff the bike with a significant gain in efficiency.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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cyclingmad said:
Independent of what is shown in these scientific tests it is obvious cycling efficiency improves with age. Generally VO2 max declines on average from around 30 years old yet some cyclist peak performances are later than this. Just observing professional races and even looking at your own performances and rivals the pattern seems to follow. Few tour cyclists peak in their early 20s so efficiency can be as or more important than VO2 max in grand tour performance. From your comments above and other papers I found among some of your same sources listed earlier in the thread also show that top amateur cyclists can show similar VO2 max to professionals.

What I always find suspicious with LA is the claims his efficiency improved between 1996 and 1999. Efficiency improves with training but he had a long period of time not riding at all with muscles wasting away. Also riders that peak later in their careers wouldn't develop so young. LA was a pro triathlete at 16 so must have developed efficiency substantially to reach this. He won the world champs at 21. His progress slowed a bit then he got cancer. He came back from a layoff the bike with a significant gain in efficiency.
You make some very good points. One clarification, prior to the introduction of EPO into the Pro Peloton most GT riders peaked at 25. It was only when EPO was introduced that you saw riders like Riis and Armstrong suddenly discover they were GT riders in their late 20's early 30's.
 
May 26, 2009
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acoggan said:
No need to apologize: sometimes the most astute questions come from those with little or no background in a particular field, as they are free of the preconceived biases those working in that field often inherit.

Anyway, for starters it probably needs to be made clear that we are talking about efficiency here in the thermodynamic sense, i.e., energy out/energy in x 100%. In that context, cycling differs from other endurance sports (e.g., running, swimming) in that our pattern of movement is largely constrained (in all directions) by the dimensions (seat height, crank length) of the machine (bicycle) to which we are attached. As well, we typically choose gears that limit the speed of movement, and hence the rate of muscle shortening. Because of this, efficiency varies less from one individual to another when cycling compared to other sports. The notion that cycling efficiency is unresponsive to training, however, seems to stem originally from cross-sectional studies comparing untrained individuals with (at best) moderately well-trained cyclists. Even before the paper by Coyle, though, at least one study (Lucia et al., 1998) reported that professional cyclists tended to be more efficient than elite cyclists. Jeukendrup, Martin (David, not Jim), and Gore, however, questioned these findings, and published their own cross-sectional paper demonstrating that, at least on average, there was no difference (thus reinforcing earlier studies of much less well-trained individuals). Coyle then published his paper, and the area really heated up, as indicated by the four recent papers I cited above.
Andy, again I would like to point out that younger pro's win more than older and that is even more important for the big winners. That seems to make the claims that a late twen-early thirty is more efficient collide with real world data.

What I always miss in these discussions is that real world data is dismissed over lab data, which is not justified. Whereas lab data is controlled and thus can give clear results, real world data is often a larger sample. Any scientist should know not to overlook real world data.
 
cyclingmad said:
What I always find suspicious with LA is the claims his efficiency improved between 1996 and 1999. Efficiency improves with training but he had a long period of time not riding at all with muscles wasting away. Also riders that peak later in their careers wouldn't develop so young. LA was a pro triathlete at 16 so must have developed efficiency substantially to reach this. He won the world champs at 21. His progress slowed a bit then he got cancer. He came back from a layoff the bike with a significant gain in efficiency.
Good point.
According to Coyle, Lance's weight loss during cancer was a big factor in this improvement in efficiency. Small problem with this though. He had to rely on Lance's own words, for the most part, in order to establish his weight, at important junctures. But what is more revleaing, is that Lance's weight was shown to have dropped by two kilos, and not the much greater values which Lance claimed.
So yeah, that's an interesting way of looking at it. His improvement in efficiency came about when he had missed a huge block of training, and hadn't really lost weight.
 
May 26, 2009
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Race Radio said:
You make some very good points. One clarification, prior to the introduction of EPO into the Pro Peloton most GT riders peaked at 25. It was only when EPO was introduced that you saw riders like Riis and Armstrong suddenly discover they were GT riders in their late 20's early 30's.
If you take out Lance, Riiss and Sastre it's business as usual (AC, Jan Ulrich). The data shows that riders peak earlier than is stated by Andy and others. Lance just eschews the data because he has 5% of all tdf wins on his conto.
 
Franklin said:
If you take out Lance, Riiss and Sastre it's business as usual (AC, Jan Ulrich). The data shows that riders peak earlier than is stated by Andy and others. Lance just eschews the data because he has 5% of all tdf wins on his conto.

Rominger, Piotr Ugrumov, Di Luca, Simoni and Franco Chioccioli - all thirty or more when they achieved their best place in a Grand Tour, and this so happens to be the EPO era.
Ugrumov is the only one in there who didn't win a Grand Tour, but he deserves a mention for someone who was a very very average rider prior to EPO, and then bang, he finishes second in the 1993 Giro, at the age of 33. At the age of 34, he finished second in the Tour of france. Prior to 1994, he rode the Tour of France one time in all his career and came in 45th.
EPO turned mules into racehorses.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Franklin said:
If you take out Lance, Riiss and Sastre it's business as usual (AC, Jan Ulrich). The data shows that riders peak earlier than is stated by Andy and others. Lance just eschews the data because he has 5% of all tdf wins on his conto.
You also need to ignore Pantani, Indurain, and most of the podium's of the 90's.

The fact remains prior to 1990 the vast majority of GT winners showed their dominance prior to the age of 25. After 1990 suddenly you have a bunch of guys in their late 20's coming from nowhere.
 
Race Radio said:
You also need to ignore Pantani, Indurain, and most of the podium's of the 90's.

The fact remains prior to 1990 the vast majority of GT winners showed their dominance prior to the age of 25. After 1990 suddenly you have a bunch of guys in their late 20's coming from nowhere.
That seems kind of true for any pro sport though. The guys just seem to last longer, for whatever reasons.
As Grace Slick put it in a song "did you ever think the preservatives might be preserving you?"
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Hugh Januss said:
That seems kind of true for any pro sport though. The guys just seem to last longer, for whatever reasons.
As Grace Slick put it in a song "did you ever think the preservatives might be preserving you?"
There is a difference between lasting longer...having a longer career... and suddenly showing talent where there was none before.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Franklin said:
...I would like to point out that younger pro's win more than older and that is even more important for the big winners. That seems to make the claims that a late twen-early thirty is more efficient collide with real world data.
I'm not so sure there is a conflict because, even if efficiency improves with training, at some stage the aging process is going to counteract that improvement. Specifically, if blood doping favors older riders over younger, something must improve with age, and doping must compensate for some decline with age. Otherwise, everyone would just go faster and the optimal age for cycling performance wouldn't change.

I read that even in highly trained athletes, VO2max begins to decline after about 35. But what if aerobic decline of some sort actually start earlier in people trained to the level of pro cyclists? Then a simple recipe for success, would be to improve your efficiency with age and find some way to support your declining aerobic performance....age + treachery....

That's just an example. There are bound to be other factors, that improve and decline with age to affect when cyclists peak. I would be interested to learn more about those other factors, if anyone has comments.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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BanProCycling said:
Armstrong was world champion at 22.

Grand Tour riding takes many years to perfect, and there is often a peeking order. It makes sense that riders will come to the fore during their late 20s or even older, last Sastre.
Armstrong dropped out of his first two Tours.

You have been reading too many of Armstrong's BS books. The Tour has always been about who has the biggest engine. Prior to EPO riders never became GT late in their careers, they showed their ability early.

Lemond- Podium at 24 won at 25
Fignon-Won at 22
Zoetemelk-Podium at 23
Hinault - won at 23
Van Impe- Won the KOM jersey at 24
Thévenet- 4th at 23
Merckx - Won at 24
Gimondi- won at 24
Coppi - Won the Giro at 21

Compare this to Armstrong, Riis, and Indurain, all either dropped out or barely finished their first Tours. This BS about GT riders needing more years to develop is just more of the Armstrong myth unsupported by fact.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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BanProCycling said:
Are you saying that the dopers stopped someone like Armstrong, who was world champion at 22, from being a contender in the tour earlier? Interesting thesis. There could be some truth to that.

You talk about the facts but you don't provide a comprehensive list of the age of the average tour de france winner. Until you provide that you cannot back up your claim.

You're new to cycling but you'll find that it is not Armstrong that talks about grand tour GC riding taking longer to pefect than other types of bike riding. That's conventional wisdom in the sport as a whole. It's common sense too.
Thank you for proving my point.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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acoggan said:
In any case, just because a lab or system is good does not mean that it might not miss something/be wrong about something. Furthermore, should history definitively reveal that efficiency does indeed improve over time in highly-trained cyclists, this wouldn't necessarily be the first time that Gore, Martin, et al. may have "missed the boat". For example, they have never been able to detect any increase in red cell mass due to altitude exposure, whereas Levine and Stray-Gunderson are convinced that this is the primary, if not the exclusive, mechanism by which altitude improves endurance performance. Conversely, studies out of the AIS have reported that altitude exposure significantly increases anaerobic capacity (maximal accumulated O2 deficit) and hence short-term performance, something that neither Levine and Stray-Gunderson or one of Steve MacGregor's students have been able to demonstrate.
CJG and MA never 'missed the boat' with respect to the altitude and Hbmass story because different methods were used. The distinction between Ben and Jim's 1997 paper and MA's studies is clear... MA used 8-10hr per day whereas Ben and Jim used around 16hr per day. Increased red cell mass has now been measured on numerous occasions at the AIS going back at least 3-4 yrs. I think this is an example of science working as it should. Neither study design was flawed or produced erroneous results. The combination of the different methods used taught us that not only did the hypoxic stimulus need to be of a certain magnitude but a certain duration per day (around 12-14hrs appears to be about the threshold).

Heikko Rusko has reported improved 400m running performance and Mizuno and Gore both reported enhanced muscle buffer capacity. Hans Hoppeler's group has argued for a long time regarding non-hematological mechanisms of possible performance enhancement. You don't need an increase in VO2max to achieve an increase in performance after altitude acclimatisation. Ben and Jim will argue until the cows come home about increased Hbmass and VO2max being the primary mechanism but there is some very new data that will definitively bury this viewpoint once and for all (sorry but you'll have to wait for it in the appropriate forum because its not my data to disseminate here).

Back on topic. Only one of the 4 studies you posted was conducted on elite or professional cyclists. I don't think we can apply the results of untrained subjects to Mr Armstrong now do you? But I thought of something else. If enhanced DE is inversely related to VO2max (Lucia et al) then it would be suspicious therefore if both VO2max and DE increased over the same period. Did this occur? I don't know the history of LA's VO2max testing well enough to answer but you probably can. Again, please do not think that I believe cycling DE cannot change. Our exchanges here have certainly opened my mind to the possibilty (including the possiblity that it did indeed occur in LA) and I thank you for that, however, given that Ed Coyle's published DE calculations for the 1993 data are wrong, going on that data alone, we cannot make that conclusion. The entire data set needs to be re-examined.

On the subject of publishing data which has been collected with research versus servicing in mind, you appear to want to have your cake and eat it too. You used your own data as support for the theory that cycling efficiency improves, but by your own words you said if its not published it doesn't count. Why should you be able to use unpublished data but DTM cannot? Its not fair!! I trust both of you and as a result I think the real answer to the question must lie somewhere inbetween, just like the Aus vs USA red cell mass/altitude debate.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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BanProCycling said:
Armstrong was world champion at 22.

Grand Tour riding takes many years to perfect, and there is often a peeking order. It makes sense that riders will come to the fore during their late 20s or even older, last Sastre.
To win a world champion race a one day race don't say much about the ability of a rider on a 3 weeks race!
Most of the GT contenders have never won a world titles but they were able to pass mountains in their first GTs.
 

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