Fuglsang on his and his opponents' watts

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My uninformed 2 cents: if it were a matter of Fuglsang and Nibali (also Bilbao) getting old then they should see worse watts than, say, last year (especially Nibali who got 2nd place at the Giro against a decent field). But according to them the values have remained more or less the same. So how come that those performances are now destroyed by Hindley, Kelderman, Hart, and others? Hindley may be a great talent, I didn't really pay any attention to his career, but the other 2 don't have a history of top GT performances - although you might argue Kelderman has finally found the legs he had at 22.

I am not necessarily saying they are all doping way harder. I am just saying that in the context of these comments (see also Bernal at TdF, though he was dropped badly afterwards) some of this year's performances look suspicious. Maybe they are all lying to feel better about themselves... but at least Bernal and Nibali have always been pretty honest when assessing their failures.

Then again I don't normally like to comment about this stuff, we all like to speculate but at the end of the day we know how pro-sports are like. You gotta enjoy the show without asking too many questions...
 
My uninformed 2 cents: if it were a matter of Fuglsang and Nibali (also Bilbao) getting old then they should see worse watts than, say, last year (especially Nibali who got 2nd place at the Giro against a decent field). But according to them the values have remained more or less the same. So how come that those performances are now destroyed by Hindley, Kelderman, Hart, and others? Hindley may be a great talent, I didn't really pay any attention to his career, but the other 2 don't have a history of top GT performances - although you might argue Kelderman has finally found the legs he had at 22.
Fuglsang has one GT top ten (7th) in his entire career. His current 12th position is very good for him.

Nibali gets stronger as GTs go on. Judge his performance at the end of the race.
 
Being one of the top favourites ahead of the Giro, and himself defining it as the main goal of the season, doesn't indicate that 12th position is good. On Monday, he said he would have wanted the race to go differently.

My point was that Fuglsang has never been a GT contender so why should we take him as a benchmark now. He's just getting beaten by different people
 
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I'm postponing judgement until after the big stages, to see if these "different people" can keep pushing the same amount of watts throughout the last week.

I'm willing to bet they can't and that at least on of the young guns is going to crack hard. Nibali, Pozzovivo and possibly Fuglsang to remain consistent and to look more competitive by default. You heard it here first :p

If they can... then when they go on and win multiple GTs we will look back at Giro 2020 and laugh at the idea that it had a weak field.
 
3 points:

  1. I think something is going on. Climbing times are super suspicous in my opinion this year. And just because TGH was 1:30 (not even that much) slower than Pantani on Piancavallo in cold weather, does not really lower that feeling of mine. If it has to do with an absence of controls in times of COVID or if it is a new doping regime remains to be seen.
  2. Fuglsang was never a good GT climber. He finished in the top 10 only once, years ago, despite trying multiple times. One can argue that Fuglsang also "transformed" in the past two years but there is no reason to not believe Kelderman is a better GT rider.
  3. Comments about watts are always to be taken with a grain of salt. This is basically the number 1 excuse since ever. "My watts are good". Then again, there is certainly a shift. Its basically older riders that are saying this this year and young guys are flying. For whatever it is worth.
 
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Nobody believes Fuglsang is clean. In fact Rasmussen gave some hints in his column after 2016 Giro d'Italia about Fuglsang not willing to take the same risks as other pros. This obviously changed from 2017 onwards.

It's what Fuglsang actually tells anybody with a clue here between the lines what's interesting. He has got the same numbers he ever had since stepping up his game and from his own perspective is on 2017 Dauphine level. What was massive in 2017 & 2019, suddenly isn't worth anything anymore IF he indeed has his act together in a gt once after all. But that's where he brings up Nibali & Bilbao in reference as their numbers apparently are normal as well.

The question is whether we tend to believe him about his own shape, which is debatable given his track record in gt's.


IMHO he choose the wrong grand tour after the lockdown. But I will evaluate that sporting aspect in the road section as ironically I made the same miscalculation as a fan, Fuglsang & Astana made themselves!
 
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This "something new in the peloton" thing is somewhat unexpected to me.
My believe before this season was that the doping of today is one of microdose cocktails, and, most importantly, a question of complex hormonal stimulation, where it is not just about what you give/ take, but when, in which combinations and to whom. Something for endocrino-specialists. And I thought the differences could be made by those who knew best how to use the things at hand.
Then suddenly some things pointed to something more like a comeback of simple, old methods, blood bag doping? epo? something similar, just maybe in a form that cannot be detected that well.
And now we are talking about something completely new? In which direction are your thoughts going there?
 
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while Fuglsang doesn't have a great GT track record, people forget that his season had been so good that he was considered a top favorite for last years TdF until he crashed on the first stage. if there really is something "new" out there in the peloton I think Fuglsang and Astana (does anyone remember them doing a Gewiss on the last Pais Vasco stage last year?) probably already had it last season, so he would know exactly why all of these random young riders are suddenly flying.
 
My point was that Fuglsang has never been a GT contender so why should we take him as a benchmark now. He's just getting beaten by different people
Well, since he stayed with Nibali on the climb, then he is a benchmark. If he had finished way behind Nibali I would agree. But his performance on Piancavallo must have been equal to Nibali's, so he is a relevant benchmark (and that is even if you discount the fact that he is one of the best classics and 1-week stage racers in the peloton).

That being said, this is a different season than what we usually see. Riders probably need to choose their peaks very wisely. In Lombardia and Tour de Pologne it was Kelderman and the likes who were way behind Fuglsang, so it could simply be a matter of not peaking for the right moment. In that case Nibali appears to have never found the form this season at all.
 
while Fuglsang doesn't have a great GT track record, people forget that his season had been so good that he was considered a top favorite for last years TdF until he crashed on the first stage. if there really is something "new" out there in the peloton I think Fuglsang and Astana (does anyone remember them doing a Gewiss on the last Pais Vasco stage last year?) probably already had it last season, so he would know exactly why all of these random young riders are suddenly flying.
You mean, he and Izagirre did a Gewiss when the five-man-break also consisted of two UAE riders, one of which was a neo-pro at the time? That is somewhat of a stretch, I believe.
 
Well, since he stayed with Nibali on the climb, then he is a benchmark. If he had finished way behind Nibali I would agree. But his performance on Piancavallo must have been equal to Nibali's, so he is a relevant benchmark (and that is even if you discount the fact that he is one of the best classics and 1-week stage racers in the peloton).
So your benchmark is a rider who has once come top 10 in a Grand Tour and a great rider who is nearly 36 in his 23 Grand Tour (few do anything after their 20th)
 
As I said: age or results don't matter. The one thing that matters is watts. If Nibali's watts are really the same as last year then by default his rivals' performances look pretty incredible, as that means they would also dominate a remarkably stronger field (by 2019 standards).

But, my current opinion is that when all is said and done on stage 21, those performances will be put in perspective by a likely 3rd week decline. If I am wrong then props to all of these future champs.
 
As I said: age or results don't matter. The one thing that matters is watts. If Nibali's watts are really the same as last year then by default his rivals' performances look pretty incredible, as that means they would also dominate a remarkably stronger field (by 2019 standards).

But, my current opinion is that when all is said and done on stage 21, those performances will be put in perspective by a likely 3rd week decline. If I am wrong then props to all of these future champs.
I mean, just to be clear: Jai Hindley is supposed to have ridden a 6.4-6.5 w/kg 20 minutes effort on Piancavallo. Roglic rode at 6 w/kg for the 15 minutes that took to climb La Planche des belles Filles in the TdF TT. His strongest performance was on the Col de Marie Blanque at 6.1 w/kg for around 24 minutes.

The numbers I've seen may be off and there may be several key considerations I'm not knowledgeable enough to make. But based on these numbers alone it looks like Hindley could have been more than competitive at the Tour (provided he could pull this off consistently).
 
Bernal said the same in the Tour last month, i.e. "those were my best power numbers ever!" or words to that effect after he'd lost time on a climb. This raised suspicions about those who were beating him... & then Bernal completely blew up a couple of days later & then abandoned because he really, really wasn't well or anywhere near his best.

Personally speaking I wouldn't read too much into these watts remarks which seem like a new convenient excuse from riders who're dropped. Like in F1 when a driver is slower than his teammate he'll usually blame his tyre temperatures or car balance. In cycling we now have watts which serve the same "I have a perfect defense to handwave my bad performance" purpose.
Whatever riders moan or boast about, i'm not taking it too seriously. Like you said, Bernal was pushing his best numbers... except that he wasn't. Bardet said he had never witnessed such climbing times... yet he was easily following (for the first time since long) at that "unbelievable" tempo. Evenepoel was pushing "unseen watts" on Malhao... while he was being dropped by Dan Martin and Lopez. He also claimed to be pushing 8w/kg on the last climb in San Sebastian... unheard of, according to Eurosport former pros. But the chasing group, which included Greg Van Avermaet, climbed at the exact same pace (even a few seconds faster start to finish of the climb). And now Fuglsang is pushing his best numbers. As his best numbers would otherwise bring him in contention to win a GT, since he's won so many in the past. On Etna he was also outclimbed by Kelderman.

I remember when Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, that he also said his numbers were better than they had ever been during his 7 TDF wins. And then he got dropped by Janneke & Mieke. Didn't Froome make a similar statement a few months ago?

The proof is in the pudding and they are all free to share their data with all of us on Strava or whatever, but i'm not inclined to believe a rider when he makes statements like that.

PS: does Fuglsang take the rest of the race into account? When a stage leading up to a final climb is being raced slowly, it makes sense that you could push better numbers on that final climb compared to a stage that was ridden harder. Which could make him think he was "better" while he was actually worse. Also, this Giro had already a rather weak-ish field before it started, but with Yates, Thomas, Vlasov, Kruijswijk + Jumbo Visma entirely, Lopez... gone (a total of 40 riders already have DNF), it isn't that hard to believe that the overall pace / difficulty has also dropped, making it easier to control a race without spending too much energy, hence saving energy for the actual climbs.
 
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Whatever riders moan or boast about, i'm not taking it too seriously. Like you said, Bernal was pushing his best numbers... except that he wasn't. Bardet said he had never witnessed such climbing times... yet he was easily following (for the first time since long) at that "unbelievable" tempo. Evenepoel was pushing "unseen watts" on Malhao... while he was being dropped by Dan Martin and Lopez. He also claimed to be pushing 8w/kg on the last climb in San Sebastian... unheard of, according to Eurosport former pros. But the chasing group, which included Greg Van Avermaet, climbed at the exact same pace (even a few seconds faster start to finish of the climb). And now Fuglsang is pushing his best numbers. As his best numbers would otherwise bring him in contention to win a GT, since he's won so many in the past. On Etna he was also outclimbed by Kelderman.

I remember when Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, that he also said his numbers were better than they had ever been during his 7 TDF wins. And then he got dropped by Janneke & Mieke. Didn't Froome make a similar statement a few months ago?

The proof is in the pudding and they are all free to share their data with all of us on Strava or whatever, but i'm not inclined to believe a rider when he makes statements like that.
If they would reveal the exact data, it would be more comparable, of course.
 
Whatever riders moan or boast about, i'm not taking it too seriously. Like you said, Bernal was pushing his best numbers... except that he wasn't. Bardet said he had never witnessed such climbing times... yet he was easily following (for the first time since long) at that "unbelievable" tempo. Evenepoel was pushing "unseen watts" on Malhao... while he was being dropped by Dan Martin and Lopez. He also claimed to be pushing 8w/kg on the last climb in San Sebastian... unheard of, according to Eurosport former pros. But the chasing group, which included Greg Van Avermaet, climbed at the exact same pace (even a few seconds faster start to finish of the climb). And now Fuglsang is pushing his best numbers. As his best numbers would otherwise bring him in contention to win a GT, since he's won so many in the past. On Etna he was also outclimbed by Kelderman.

I remember when Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, that he also said his numbers were better than they had ever been during his 7 TDF wins. And then he got dropped by Janneke & Mieke. Didn't Froome make a similar statement a few months ago?

The proof is in the pudding and they are all free to share their data with all of us on Strava or whatever, but i'm not inclined to believe a rider when he makes statements like that.

PS: does Fuglsang take the rest of the race into account? When a stage leading up to a final climb is being raced slowly, it makes sense that you could push better numbers on that final climb compared to a stage that was ridden harder. Which could make him think he was "better" while he was actually worse. Also, this Giro had already a rather weak-ish field before it started, but with Yates, Thomas, Vlasov, Kruijswijk + Jumbo Visma entirely, Lopez... gone (a total of 40 riders already have DNF), it isn't that hard to believe that the overall pace / difficulty has also dropped, making it easier to control a race without spending too much energy, hence saving energy for the actual climbs.
This all makes sense to me but still, it is undeniable that a few riders are pulling off superb climbing performances at this Giro. It may be because overall the pace is slower and therefore there is more in the tank for the finale. But based on the numbers disclosed (take a look at this analysis) I am not at all surprised the winners on Piancavallo could drop most GC guys so easily, weak field or not.
 
Whatever riders moan or boast about, i'm not taking it too seriously. Like you said, Bernal was pushing his best numbers... except that he wasn't. Bardet said he had never witnessed such climbing times... yet he was easily following (for the first time since long) at that "unbelievable" tempo. Evenepoel was pushing "unseen watts" on Malhao... while he was being dropped by Dan Martin and Lopez. He also claimed to be pushing 8w/kg on the last climb in San Sebastian... unheard of, according to Eurosport former pros. But the chasing group, which included Greg Van Avermaet, climbed at the exact same pace (even a few seconds faster start to finish of the climb). And now Fuglsang is pushing his best numbers. As his best numbers would otherwise bring him in contention to win a GT, since he's won so many in the past. On Etna he was also outclimbed by Kelderman.

I remember when Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, that he also said his numbers were better than they had ever been during his 7 TDF wins. And then he got dropped by Janneke & Mieke. Didn't Froome make a similar statement a few months ago?

The proof is in the pudding and they are all free to share their data with all of us on Strava or whatever, but i'm not inclined to believe a rider when he makes statements like that.

PS: does Fuglsang take the rest of the race into account? When a stage leading up to a final climb is being raced slowly, it makes sense that you could push better numbers on that final climb compared to a stage that was ridden harder. Which could make him think he was "better" while he was actually worse. Also, this Giro had already a rather weak-ish field before it started, but with Yates, Thomas, Vlasov, Kruijswijk + Jumbo Visma entirely, Lopez... gone (a total of 40 riders already have DNF), it isn't that hard to believe that the overall pace / difficulty has also dropped, making it easier to control a race without spending too much energy, hence saving energy for the actual climbs.
Ignore quotes. Look at climbing times. They were flying like crazy in the Tour. Now you get Piancavallo where a bunch of kids and historically bang average GC riders come within 1'30 of Pantani himself.

If it were just Nibali getting stomped and he was saying his numbers were good while he was doing a 40 minute climb 2 minutes slower than 3 years earlier, I'd definitely call him full of ***. But that's not what's happening.

The most ridiculous one this year was definitely Pogacar on La Planche the Bells Filles, basically the equivalent of breaking the 5km running world record at the end of a half marathon while stopping to tie your shoe along the way
 
This "something new in the peloton" thing is somewhat unexpected to me.
My believe before this season was that the doping of today is one of microdose cocktails, and, most importantly, a question of complex hormonal stimulation, where it is not just about what you give/ take, but when, in which combinations and to whom. Something for endocrino-specialists. And I thought the differences could be made by those who knew best how to use the things at hand.
Then suddenly some things pointed to something more like a comeback of simple, old methods, blood bag doping? epo? something similar, just maybe in a form that cannot be detected that well.
And now we are talking about something completely new? In which direction are your thoughts going there?
There were rumors about some sort of synthetic blood - I believe it was some sort of hemoglobin powder. Which would make sense in my mind cuase the effects we're seeing and climbing speeds were seeing in some races far exceed any ordinary effect we've seen down the years.
 
Ignore quotes. Look at climbing times. They were flying like crazy in the Tour. Now you get Piancavallo where a bunch of kids and historically bang average GC riders come within 1'30 of Pantani himself.

If it were just Nibali getting stomped and he was saying his numbers were good while he was doing a 40 minute climb 2 minutes slower than 3 years earlier, I'd definitely call him full of ***. But that's not what's happening.

The most ridiculous one this year was definitely Pogacar on La Planche the Bells Filles, basically the equivalent of breaking the 5km running world record at the end of a half marathon while stopping to tie your shoe along the way
Climbing times are also very dependent on context and circumstances. Wind, temperature, race length, stage length, 1st week, 2nd week, 3rd week, race pace, etc etc...
Even watts need to be analysed in the correct context.

There were rumors about some sort of synthetic blood - I believe it was some sort of hemoglobin powder. Which would make sense in my mind cuase the effects we're seeing and climbing speeds were seeing in some races far exceed any ordinary effect we've seen down the years.
I asked a pro team manager last month whom i have some contact with, and he said the only thing he has heard of that's going around is H7379 Hemoglobin Human. Obviously he said his team was not using it, but if there was one product being used, it would be this. This was also used in the Aderlass cases. So it's definitely not "new" by any means. It can be detected, but most labs aren't equipped for it specifically.
 
Climbing times are also very dependent on context and circumstances. Wind, temperature, race length, stage length, 1st week, 2nd week, 3rd week, race pace, etc etc...
Even watts need to be analysed in the correct context.
Yes. And the context makes makes most of the numbers from the Tour all the more impressive. Especially the ones on climbs that are visited very frequently.
 
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