Ferrari's "magic"

Mar 18, 2009
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Apologies if this has already been discussed elsewhere, but this statement in the front page article re. Evans' contact w/ Ferrari caught my eye:

"I had him repeat the same test after 4 additional hours of riding, climbing the Albula and Julier Pass, with the purpose of checking his performance over distance: the result was a VAM = 1820 m/h, even better than the first test, probably because of the slight weight loss from the ride."

A much more logical explanation is that Evans' muscle glycogen stores were sufficiently reduced by 4 h of exercise that he simply produced less lactate...this would lead to an overestimation of his power (and/or corresponding VAM) at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol/L (i.e., OBLA, which is what Ferrari uses/used).

On the one hand, I find it hard to fathom that in-depth understanding of exercise physiology is so poor at the pro level that someone like Ferrari can be "viewed" as any sort of a guru (outside of any doping expertise) when he makes elementary mistakes such as above. OTOH, having seen a bit what passes for true expertise in this area it doesn't surprise me in the least.

Anyway, rant over...carry on!
 
Apr 21, 2012
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Reading the USADA files I was also surprised by the very poor level of Ferrari's training plans for Armstrong (see the intercepted emails for the 2009 and 2010 seasons). Armstrong paid 25000€ for that...

IMO, the real art of Ferrari was to schedule the blood withdrawals/reinfusing in order to train/race/avoid BP anomalies, including altitude training. In the different emails the strategy can be read between the lines, especially in 2009 from the Giro to the Tour : power estimation, blood infusing, new threshold estimation (+6%), etc.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Who would you consider an expert in this area?

Ed Coyle?
David Martin?
Michael Ashenden?
Andrew Coggan?
Hunter Allen?
Rumsas Damsgaard?
Chris Gore?
Aldo Sassi (RIP)?
Chris Carmichael?
Joe Friel?
 
May 14, 2010
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acoggan said:
Apologies if this has already been discussed elsewhere, but this statement in the front page article re. Evans' contact w/ Ferrari caught my eye:

"I had him repeat the same test after 4 additional hours of riding, climbing the Albula and Julier Pass, with the purpose of checking his performance over distance: the result was a VAM = 1820 m/h, even better than the first test, probably because of the slight weight loss from the ride."

A much more logical explanation is that Evans' muscle glycogen stores were sufficiently reduced by 4 h of exercise that he simply produced less lactate...this would lead to an overestimation of his power (and/or corresponding VAM) at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol/L (i.e., OBLA, which is what Ferrari uses/used).

On the one hand, I find it hard to fathom that in-depth understanding of exercise physiology is so poor at the pro level that someone like Ferrari can be "viewed" as any sort of a guru (outside of any doping expertise) when he makes elementary mistakes such as above. OTOH, having seen a bit what passes for true expertise in this area it doesn't surprise me in the least.

Anyway, rant over...carry on!
From my own studies of a few years ago I recall reading that lactic acid and its role are completely misunderstood in cycling. Not only is there is no direct correlation between lactic acid levels and discomfort, but in fact lactic acid actually aids in muscle function. If this is the case, Ferrari's practice is nothing more than drug-based quackery; it works because of the drugs, but not for the reasons Ferrari thinks, or claims to think.
 

mastersracer

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Jun 8, 2010
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Maxiton said:
From my own studies of a few years ago I recall reading that lactic acid and its role are completely misunderstood in cycling. Not only is there is no direct correlation between lactic acid levels and discomfort, but in fact lactic acid actually aids in muscle function. If this is the case, Ferrari's practice is nothing more than drug-based quackery; it works because of the drugs, but not for the reasons Ferrari thinks, or claims to think.
That wasn't AC's point (as I understood it). The underlying physiological role of lactate is a separate issue - what matters is whether there's validity in blood lactate curves to assess endurance capacity (see Oliver et al., Lactate Threshold Concepts: How Valid are They? Sports Medicine). Typically done in a lab using graded incremental tests. A lactate sample after four hours of excercise as per Evans could simply result in an underestimate, which would result in a bogus lactate curve and over-estimate of threshold power.

Didn't Armstrong write about Ferrari's 'genuis' being his development of field tests like this somewhere?
 
Jun 18, 2009
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acoggan said:
On the one hand, I find it hard to fathom that in-depth understanding of exercise physiology is so poor at the pro level that someone like Ferrari can be "viewed" as any sort of a guru (outside of any doping expertise) when he makes elementary mistakes such as above. OTOH, having seen a bit what passes for true expertise in this area it doesn't surprise me in the least.

Anyway, rant over...carry on!
Have you ever actually read some of his stuff on 49x14 or whatever his website is called? It's painfully obvious even to me (with a hard science background, but not exercise physiology-specific) that his knowledge is quite limited. It's just like Rick Crawford and the bursting capillaries: limited knowledge+lots of dope=coaching success!
 
May 9, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
Who would you consider an expert in this area?


David Martin?
Not me, the other one. I'm an analytical data analyst with expertise in protein mass spectrometry (and many other things but they aren't relevant here)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Dear Wiggo said:
Who would you consider an expert in this area?

Ed Coyle?
David Martin?
Michael Ashenden?
Andrew Coggan?
Hunter Allen?
Rumsas Damsgaard?
Chris Gore?
Aldo Sassi (RIP)?
Chris Carmichael?
Joe Friel?
Define "this area".
 
Mar 18, 2009
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131313 said:
Have you ever actually read some of his stuff on 49x14 or whatever his website is called?
No.

131313 said:
It's painfully obvious even to me (with a hard science background, but not exercise physiology-specific) that his knowledge is quite limited. It's just like Rick Crawford and the bursting capillaries
No comment. :D
 
Sep 29, 2012
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acoggan said:
Define "this area".
Let's pretend I am talking about the same "area" as you, shall we? Feel free to just list names, they don't have to be from my list.

OTOH, having seen a bit what passes for true expertise in this area it doesn't surprise me in the least.
 
Jul 12, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
Who would you consider an expert in this area?

Ed Coyle?
David Martin?
Michael Ashenden?
Andrew Coggan?
Hunter Allen?
Rumsas Damsgaard?
Chris Gore?
Aldo Sassi (RIP)?
Chris Carmichael?
Joe Friel?
Certainly not the last two...
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Dear Wiggo said:
Let's pretend I am talking about the same "area" as you, shall we?
Okey-dokey - just wanted to make certain we're on the same page.

Dear Wiggo said:
Feel free to just list names, they don't have to be from my list.
Any open-ended list would be sure to exclude people who rightly deserve to be on it, so I'll just stick w/ yours.

Anyway, of those with whom I've had personal interaction:

Ed Coyle
Dave Martin
myself :D

Others based on their background/publication records:

Chris Gore
Michael Ashenden (although his "track record" is very narrowly focused on exercise hematology/anti-doping efforts, making it harder to judge)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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SlowtwitchLeaks said:
Interesting you mention the name of someone that contributed for the Lance Fraud.
The fact that he reported the measurements he made on Armstrong doesn't mean he's not an expert on the physiology of exercise.
 
Oct 13, 2012
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acoggan said:
The fact that he reported the measurements he made on Armstrong doesn't mean he's not an expert on the physiology of exercise.
And by reported you mean manipulated the data in order to fit the myth. Just another enabler.
 
Apr 21, 2012
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gerundium said:
i thought Ferrari was the one who came up with VAM in the first place? So he did have some useful ideas.
VAM was already used in the 80's in order to choose the right gears in the first edition of that guide for tourists :D http://www.amazon.fr/Atlas-routiers-cols-Alpes/dp/2903968381

Ferrari used it a new way for estimating the possibility of being on a GT podium, that's how his "golden number" 6.7 w/kg came... Even in 2009 when Armstrong's test showed he was around 6.0, Ferrari was asked if it was enough to win the Tour, his answer wasn't very clear but he said with that VAM Armstrong wouldn't have many challengers except from Contador (estimated at 6.2-6.3 according to Ferrari)
 

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