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

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Mar 18, 2009
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ScienceIsCool said:
Oh yeah. Go nuts! It was never intended for publication, so the only review its undergone (prior to being posted on my site) is having it read by two physicist friends. Have at 'er!
My primary criticism (which is mentioned in the write-up) is the fact that your method doesn't account for translational drag. The latter accounts for ~80% of the aerodynamic drag of a bicycle wheel, which means that you have overlooked what is undoubtly the single most important factor defining a wheel's performance (assuming, of course, that it is strong enough to not fail during use). Is that how things are done in physics? Glad I stuck to physiology. ;)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
Coyle and his PHD student below are the main people defending this particular paper.
1. Coyle isn't posting to this list.

2. I am not his Ph.D. student (although I was >20 y ago :D).
 
Mar 18, 2009
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workingclasshero said:
it's pretty obvious to anyone that you're defending your old mate
I make no bones about the fact that I did my PhD under Coyle back in the late 1980s. I wouldn't say, however, that I am defending him - rather, I am attempting to provided a more balanced perspective on the paper than would exist if all one ever read were things written by, e.g., Michael Ashenden.
 
acoggan said:
Which would be...?



Actually, it has. Specifically, despite the criticisms leveled at it from various quarters, it has not been withdrawn by the journal, Coyle has not admitted to any serious mistakes, and the most interesting part of the results (i.e., that efficiency tends to improve over time in highly trained cyclists) has been supported by subsequent papers.



You must be using some sort of new math, because as I see it Indurain's VO2max of 79 mL/min/kg is indeed lower than Armstrong's 80+ mL/min/kg (as measured in two different labs).



Yes, let's. :)

(Fact: to have a VO2max of 6 L/min with a maximal heart rate of 200 beats/min would require a stroke volume at VO2max of ~175 mL/min, which is actually significantly greater than you'd expect to find in an untrained 7 ft tall man.)



As clearly stated in the paper, Coyle relied on Armstrong's self-reported race weight of 72 kg in his calculations. If the numbers Armstrong provided aren't correct (I believe that he testified under oath that he raced the Tour at 73-74 kg), then Coyle's conclusions would also be incorrect. However, you can't blame Coyle in the least for presenting the numbers that he had available to him, especially since he clearly documented their source (i.e., Armstrong himself).



And again I ask, what are my vested interests in this area? Morever, where is my lack of objectivity? Everything that I have stated is factually correct, as anyone can verify for themselves.

Seriously what was the point in measuring his VO2Max five times in that case, if he was going to take the highest one anyway? If we take the average, which most scientists would agree on, then it is below 79.
Was Lance's heart ever measured apart from an ehcocardiogram?

And Coyle relies on what Lance says for the weight calculations. Unbelievable.
No weighing scales in his lab I guess. Are scientists in the habit of disregarding measuring instruments in favour of word of mouth?


Coyle not admitting to serious mistakes. Yes i've seen this and what he has admitted to and it is farcical. Not many scientists have had academic misconduct charges levelled against them.
Your response to people like Michael Ashenden, and the Science of Sport guys? Well we already know your response to the former, "I think that it is absolutely clear that this was just his (Ashenden's) way of trying to make Coyle's life miserable."
That's right - vested interests....If you have to, use an assumption to figure it out. You've learned from the Master in this regard.
Shame MA and others couldn't get their hands on Coyle's data records. The dog ate it I guess.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
Seriously what was the point in measuring his VO2Max five times in that case, if he was going to take the highest one anyway?
You seem to be missing a key point: Armstrong was simply tested whenever he asked. It was only many years later that Coyle decided to publish the data.

Digger said:
If we take the average, which most scientists would agree on
I don't think you'd be able to find a single exercise physiologist who would concur with averaging the data.

Digger said:
Was Lance's heart ever measured apart from an ehcocardiogram?
I don't know, but Coyle didn't present any measurements of heart size in his paper. Nonetheless, it is obvious that his heart must be very big (since his VO2max is ~6 L/min).

Digger said:
And Coyle relies on what Lance says for the weight calculations. Unbelievable.
No weighing scales in his lab I guess. Are scientists in the habit of disregarding measuring instruments in favour of word of mouth?
Except for the off-season of 1999, Coyle never weighed Armstrong during his Tour-winning years. Thus, he had no choice but to take Armstrong's word that he weighed 72 kg in-season.

Digger said:
Coyle not admitting to serious mistakes. Yes i've seen this and what he has admitted to and it is farcical. Not many scientists have had academic misconduct charges levelled against them.
That is true, but said charges were not sustained (and IMO Ashenden, if he were a faculty member anywhere, should be charged with academic misconduct for his frivolous abuse of the system).

Digger said:
Your response to people like Michael Ashenden, and the Science of Sport guys? Well we already know your response to the former, "I think that it is absolutely clear that this was just his (Ashenden's) way of trying to make Coyle's life miserable."
Ashenden himself has publically admitted that was essentially his goal (cf. the NYT interview).

Digger said:
That's right - vested interests....If you have to, use an assumption to figure it out. You've learned from the Master in this regard.
I haven't made any assumptions.

Digger said:
Shame MA and others couldn't get their hands on Coyle's data records. The dog ate it I guess.
Unless Coyle simply made up all the numbers, it wouldn't have made any difference. Delta efficiency was calculated the same way (and correctly, just not using the method in the paper that was cited) on each occasion, so recalculating them a different way would not change the overall trend. More importantly (far more importantly), gross efficiency - which people like Ashenden seem to conveniently ignore - changed in parallel to delta efficiency. Thus, as I was quoted on this website, I think that Ashenden et al. have been myopically making a mountain out of a molehill. In the process, they have provided fodder for the Charlie Walsh's of the world, while doing nothing really constructive to advance our scientific understanding or the battle against doping in sports.
 
acoggan said:
Thus, as I was quoted on this website, I think that Ashenden et al. have been myopically making a mountain out of a molehill. In the process, they have provided fodder for the Charlie Walsh's of the world, while doing nothing really constructive to advance our scientific understanding or the battle against doping in sports.
:D

MA has done nothing constructive in the battle against doping in sport?
 
acoggan said:
You seem to be missing a key point: Armstrong was simply tested whenever he asked. It was only many years later that Coyle decided to publish the data.



I don't think you'd be able to find a single exercise physiologist who would concur with averaging the data.



I don't know, but Coyle didn't present any measurements of heart size in his paper. Nonetheless, it is obvious that his heart must be very big (since his VO2max is ~6 L/min).



Except for the off-season of 1999, Coyle never weighed Armstrong during his Tour-winning years. Thus, he had no choice but to take Armstrong's word that he weighed 72 kg in-season.



That is true, but said charges were not sustained (and IMO Ashenden, if he were a faculty member anywhere, should be charged with academic misconduct for his frivolous abuse of the system).



Ashenden himself has publically admitted that was essentially his goal (cf. the NYT interview).



I haven't made any assumptions.



Unless Coyle simply made up all the numbers, it wouldn't have made any difference. Delta efficiency was calculated the same way (and correctly, just not using the method in the paper that was cited) on each occasion, so recalculating them a different way would not change the overall trend. More importantly (far more importantly), gross efficiency - which people like Ashenden seem to conveniently ignore - changed in parallel to delta efficiency. Thus, as I was quoted on this website, I think that Ashenden et al. have been myopically making a mountain out of a molehill. In the process, they have provided fodder for the Charlie Walsh's of the world, while doing nothing really constructive to advance our scientific understanding or the battle against doping in sports.
So in essence, do you believe there's anything whatsoever wrong with the paper?


By the way, I find it asbolutely shocking that Lance was not weighed in his Tour winning years.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
:D

MA has done nothing constructive in the battle against doping in sport?
In my opinion, not really. For example, essentially all of the effort he (and others) have put into attempting to develop methods to identify use of EPO is negated by his public posturing and unsubstantiated/unsubstantiable claims re. the accuracy of such methods. The end result merely undermines the end-goal by making it seem as if the anti-doping authorities are on a witch-hunt fueled by bad science.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
So in essence, do you believe there's anything whatsoever wrong with the paper?
Oh, there are plenty of limitations to the data - the question is, do you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater? As I have said before, I don't really know whether I would have recommended acceptance of the paper or not, and at this stage it is impossible for me to say. I do believe, though, that a different standard applies when it comes to forcing withdrawal of a paper vs. its initial acceptance.

Digger said:
By the way, I find it asbolutely shocking that Lance was not weighed in his Tour winning years.
I'm sure that he was - just not by Coyle.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
Your opinion indeed and to be fair it underlines my comment on vested interests.
And again I say, what "vested interest"? That is, what good does it do me to be critical of Ashenden? The answer is, none whatsoever - in fact, I have in the past received emails from people associated with him that I know and respect saying that I was being unfair. Nonetheless, my opinion is what it is, and is based upon his publically-reported actions and words.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
That's a shame for a paper where weight is such a factor...ah well.
Indeed, that is undoubtly the single biggest limitation, since Coyle's conclusion that a decrease in body mass was "half the story" is directly dependent upon Armstrong's self-reported data. Ironically, however, many people have chosen instead to focus upon the minutiae of how delta efficiency was determined, when delta efficiency isn't as important as gross efficiency in this context.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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acoggan said:
There is no fraud, merely a somewhat flawed paper that has received far more attention than it really deserves.
Just to put things in context: according to the Institute for Scientific Information, Coyle has authored/coauthored 83 primary articles since 1980, which on average have been cited 77 times each. The paper in question ranks only 49th on this list, having been cited only 34 times to date. IOW, despite what one might be led to believe by reading forums such as this one, the scientific community's response to the study seems to be pretty much "eh", i.e., as such things go it hasn't really generated too much reaction one way or the other.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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acoggan said:
In my opinion, not really. For example, essentially all of the effort he (and others) have put into attempting to develop methods to identify use of EPO is negated by his public posturing and unsubstantiated/unsubstantiable claims re. the accuracy of such methods. The end result merely undermines the end-goal by making it seem as if the anti-doping authorities are on a witch-hunt fueled by bad science.
this is really twisted, it's clearly personal, you can stop now
 
Mar 18, 2009
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lean said:
this is really twisted, it's clearly personal, you can stop now
Personal opinions are always that: personal. The only difference in this case is that I'm more willing than most to state my opinions publically.
 
A

Anonymous

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acoggan said:
Personal opinions are always that: personal. The only difference in this case is that I'm more willing than most to state my opinions publically.
<slow clap>
 
acoggan said:
Just to put things in context: according to the Institute for Scientific Information, Coyle has authored/coauthored 83 primary articles since 1980, which on average have been cited 77 times each. The paper in question ranks only 49th on this list, having been cited only 34 times to date. IOW, despite what one might be led to believe by reading forums such as this one, the scientific community's response to the study seems to be pretty much "eh", i.e., as such things go it hasn't really generated too much reaction one way or the other.
My problem with it, and I'm not saying this is your fault, is that it has been used too much by the Lance camp as a defense that he has not doped. Coyle himself was used in the SCA trial in this defense. Journalists, in their defense of Lance, are citing the paper. And imo, this is not right. The criticisms of the paper aren't as well known as they should be.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Digger said:
My problem with it, and I'm not saying this is your fault
I should hope not, since the only way it could be my fault is if I were one of the original reviewers (which I wasn't).

Digger said:
, is that it has been used too much by the Lance camp as a defense that he has not doped. Coyle himself was used in the SCA trial in this defense. Journalists, in their defense of Lance, are citing the paper. And imo, this is not right. The criticisms of the paper aren't as well known as they should be.
As I alluded to just a couple of posts above, I think that in the lay world the paper is both unduly criticized and criticized for the wrong reasons. Most (although clearly not all) scientists in the field, OTOH, don't get all that worked up about it, because they realize that only rarely does a single publication really serve to greatly advance a field. The rest are just "bricks in the wall", the importance of which can only be judged over the long haul.
 

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