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fastest ascent ever in the TDF

Jul 16, 2009
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In the long history of the Tour de France, no cyclist has ever climbed a mountain as fast as Alberto Contador rode up to Verbier today.

His climbing rate was 1900 m/hour, breaking the old record held by Bjarne Riis of 1843 m/hour. You may decide for yourself if this is due to tactics/race situation, doping, following wind or physiological ability! Regardless, it's incredible climbing.


http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/07/tour-2009-contador-takes-yellow.html
 
A

Anonymous

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interesting statistics... will be more interesting when the full stats are compiled

i think this one might end up in the clinic pretty quickly,.. :eek:
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Please don't use VAM to measure climbing performances. I fails to take quite a bit into account. For example, that in a steeper climb there is much less wind resistance.
 
Jul 8, 2009
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and seeing that this climb wasn't VERY steep, it only makes it more incredible.
Steeper climb = higher VAM
lots of turns = lower VAM

As I sawthe climb there were alot of turns, which would lower VAM.
But this climb was short - that plays a role as well.
 
*the Author is taking the entire grade (20 km) for the entire math, whereas the real climb is only 8.8 km at 7.5 % average.- the remaining 11.2 km at 4% average will cause the VAM results to be way high -but to compare this with Hautacam-which is 15.8 km at 6.8% average- just simply does not make sense at all....
 
Jun 22, 2009
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hfer07 said:
*the Author is taking the entire grade (20 km) for the entire math, whereas the real climb is only 8.8 km at 7.5 % average.- the remaining 11.2 km at 4% average will cause the VAM results to be way high -but to compare this with Hautacam-which is 15.8 km at 6.8% average- just simply does not make sense at all....

I think you may be looking at a different article. The authour of the Science of Sport article has used 8.7 km @ 7.5% and a time of 20:36 for the climb. Giving the 1900m/hr rate. And based on my understanding, adding another 11km at 4% would reduce the VAM (unless they were going around 40km/hr which is fast up a 4% grade)
 
issoisso said:
Please don't use VAM to measure climbing performances. I fails to take quite a bit into account. For example, that in a steeper climb there is much less wind resistance.

DarkWing said:
and seeing that this climb wasn't VERY steep, it only makes it more incredible.
Steeper climb = higher VAM
lots of turns = lower VAM

Good detective work.

If you'll recall, Gilberto Simoni put up an impressive VAM in 2007, something close to 1,800m/h if I recall. But he did it on Zoncolon, on a day with no wind, cool temps, almost no climbing before the final climb. Proving your theories pretty accurate.
 
bikeGURU said:
I think you may be looking at a different article. The authour of the Science of Sport article has used 8.7 km @ 7.5% and a time of 20:36 for the climb. Giving the 1900m/hr rate. And based on my understanding, adding another 11km at 4% would reduce the VAM (unless they were going around 40km/hr which is fast up a 4% grade)

my apologies- I misread it!:D
 
It was a SHORT climb...of course it's going to be fast. Also it was a fairly easy stage beforehand with only a second category climb leading up to the finale..which was raced from the bottom as fast as possible.

Interesting stats, but too many variables to read too much into them.
 
Contador was drafting on the lower part of the climb BIG TIME!

Duh!

Author is pretty honest about not understanding cycling. Some of the arm chair exercise physiologists around here drive me nuts. Usually I just keep my well informed mouth shut but WTF on that egregious error?

VAM is honestly a pretty weak tool. Thorough Kinemetric analysis would break the climb into segments, include many environmental factors, (temp, start/end elevation, wind speed/direction, changing rider heading, drafting, just to name a few) Very tedious work. Through it you could get pretty close to his actual wattages.

Even with accurate numbers no serious exercise physiologist/biomechanist could state with ANY confidence that Contador is cheating. Causality, levels of confidence, z-scores, scientific method, anyone? anyone? anyone?

Proof of doping is..........drum roll please..........a failed doping control!

10 second version:

He rode really fast. Those who are disbelieving will find some psuedo-science to support their claims. For those who aren't suspicious I have some art work I'd like to sell you.

THIS NOW BELONGS IN THE CLINIC!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
lean said:
Proof of doping is..........drum roll please..........a failed doping control!

Nope, for rational people it is the balance of all the evidence.

Positives--even if there are six of them--will still be dismissed by true believers saying HWCNBN must be clean because he was not sanctioned. That is not rational.
 
issoisso said:
Please don't use VAM to measure climbing performances. I fails to take quite a bit into account. For example, that in a steeper climb there is much less wind resistance.
Correct. Has to take all into account.

hfer07 said:
*the Author is taking the entire grade (20 km) for the entire math, whereas the real climb is only 8.8 km at 7.5 % average.- the remaining 11.2 km at 4% average will cause the VAM results to be way high -but to compare this with Hautacam-which is 15.8 km at 6.8% average- just simply does not make sense at all....

This is very truth. The problem with the VAM measurement here is that you are extrapolating the Contador results in order to get the 1 hr rate. So it is not fair to compare climbs with completely different lengths and gradients. Another problem with this calculation is that athletes can have higher power outputs on shorter climbs than in longer like the Hautacam. The "Time to Exhaustion" plays a big factor in the big climbs.

Just Google "Time to Exhaustion" and see for yourself the plots for athletes.
 
VAM = (Vertical meters climbed x 60) / Your recorded time

Extemely simple formula which is a strength and a weakness.

Strength
Quick calculations that can be used in training.

Weakness
Too simple. Doesn't account for environmental (wind speed/direction) factors at all. Very inaccurate for measuring Contador on a day like today when he is drafting for a long period of time on the lower less severe gradients.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
Correct. Has to take all into account.



This is very truth. The problem with the VAM measurement here is that you are extrapolating the Contador results in order to get the 1 hr rate. So it is not fair to compare climbs with completely different lengths and gradients. Another problem with this calculation is that athletes can have higher power outputs on shorter climbs than in longer like the Hautacam. The "Time to Exhaustion" plays a big factor in the big climbs.

Just Google "Time to Exhaustion" and see for yourself the plots for athletes.

well said, does anyone actually believe that contador could climb at that rate for an entire hour? Its like saying CAV doesn't need a leadout just let him sprint on his own for the last k. Contador drafted behind while Cancellara was hammering, even though they were going uphill it was not at 10mph so there was plenty of advantage to be gained by drafting, leaving Contador to only have to push the last 5km.
Supposedly Schleck pulled back some time in the last k so doubtful Contador could have sustained such a speed on his own for a longer period of time.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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runninboy said:
does anyone actually believe that contador could climb at that rate for an entire hour?
Well, given that he looked like he was breathing through one nostril and was not even tired at the end, I would not be surprised if he could keep it up for an hour. It looks a lot like his climbing in the 2007 Tour when he was the only one who could keep up with Rasmussen and neither looked tired.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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patswana said:
Well, given that he looked like he was breathing through one nostril and was not even tired at the end, I would not be surprised if he could keep it up for an hour. It looks a lot like his climbing in the 2007 Tour when he was the only one who could keep up with Rasmussen and neither looked tired.

I disagree, if you watch Contador he climbs not at a steady pace, he does repeated accelerations and when his momentum drops he accelerates again. Eventually that would catch up with you over the course of an hour. Or at least the accelerations would not be as strong.
You mention the 2007 tour, remember Rasmussen climbed at a much steadier rate, while Contador climbed more in a series of jumps.
 
Jul 4, 2009
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So thats 1.9K in an hour? I can crawl faster than that.

If you mean 1.9K up hill, whats the gradient?

Gotta love stats.

I remember the late Pantani climbing at 28kph up the mountain. I think that was a record.
 
Jul 20, 2009
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Fastest Climb

the truth. said:
In the long history of the Tour de France, no cyclist has ever climbed a mountain as fast as Alberto Contador rode up to Verbier today.

His climbing rate was 1900 m/hour, breaking the old record held by Bjarne Riis of 1843 m/hour. You may decide for yourself if this is due to tactics/race situation, doping, following wind or physiological ability! Regardless, it's incredible climbing.


http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/07/tour-2009-contador-takes-yellow.html

May be true, but didn't he have some extra "chemical help?" I recall his admitting to doping a year or so ago.