How does my VO2 compare to pro cyclists?

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Jun 21, 2009
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Le breton said:
50% correlation is what I got doing a rough estimate ( not done quite rigorously) from a scatter plot of marathon running time vs VO2max. Clearly the "useful" VO2 is different from VO2 max, in particular in a long race like a marathon. But the author of the article claimed an excellent correlation while showing a graph with a very poor correlation.

I scanned that plot and can send it to you if you wish.

Obviously, if you select a sample with people who are more "alike" the correlation will increase.
please do

But i will repeat that in a marathon the vo2 max isn't that important (although it isn't pointless), it is less important than in for instance a 1500, 3000, 5000, 10k, half marathon. So using a scatterplot based on marathoners isn't that interesting.

i'll see if i can dig up the thread where quite a few of the world's top running coaches including renato canova and antonio cabral share a lot of thoughts and information on this. even if you think you know a lot, there's tons to learn from it
 
Aug 12, 2009
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NashbarShorts said:
Wasn't there a story about how after '99, LA and Comical posted LA's VO2 online. Lemond looked at it and calculated that something was amiss, given Lance's body weight and stated VO2, he wouldn't have been able to climb as fast as he did. He communicated this discrepancy to Comical, and then supposedly very soon thereafter, LA's online V02 #'s were revised "upwards" so that everything matched up.

Good ole CTS. Pretty funny if true :)
Lance apparently rang Lemond after Greg started expressing his disappointment that Lance was working with Ferrari. Believe it was around 2001 (don't quote me on it). They started talking and Lemond later explained in an interview that some numbers got dropped on both sides. Lemond stated his figures, which are literally amongst the best you will ever find in a clean athlete after Lance asked him why one would consider Greg clean. Greg used his figures to justify what was humanly possible. He said having a low to mid 90s VO2max meant he could win a GT and then alluded that someone (like Lance) having a low 80s figure is suspect. Basically told LA that one of them had the engine, the other didn't and went to the tune up shop for some more oommphh.

Lance shut up after that and let the lawyers do the direct talking...oh and he also went to Trek for a whinge. That went to court and Greg was paid out last year...a lot of money. Gregs figures make sense, because I've heard Hinault state his...not much between them. Ironically they were always close in GTs. A position or two at most between them. LA on the other hand, his figures for VO2max are susbstantially lower, yet he's climbed with more power than those two ever did. His W/Kg is off the charts. Above 6.5 for some years. There are graphs on some old threads...but they will be hard to find.

I might find those figures from a Cadel and Lance comparison if someone wants them, power outputs, etc. I know I've got those in a mag lying around. Finding VO2max figures are hard though. Bjorn Dhaelie has the highest I've ever heard of, 96. Great nordic skiier. Funnily enough, the figures weren't from his peak competition time, they were pre-early season numbers. The numbers from Verbier in 09 were off as well. Le Monde (newspaper) stated Contador rode with a VO2max of 99 that day. That one was BS! They didn't have enough data to accurately extrapolate that.
 
GALIC HO : Gregs figures make sense, because I've heard Hinault state his...not much between them. Ironically they were always close in GTs. A position or two at most between them.

Yes , we find everywhere figures around 92-93 for both LeMond and Hinault, while L.A. never went above 83ml/mn.kg.
.

GALIC HO : Bjorn Dhaelie has the highest I've ever heard of, 96.
The figure for Dhaelie is from a highly suspicious period. Before that 96 figure started appearing, the highest recorded VO2 max was by Juha MIETO, also a nordic skier, with 94 ml/mn.kg and 7.4 l/mn. He therefore weighed 78.7 kg at the time. Since he got his medals in 1972 and a few years after, that number was not boosted by exogenous EPO. However, since Lasse Viren was a contemporary of his, blood transfusion boosting can't be excluded.

GALIC HO : The numbers from Verbier in 09 were off as well. Le Monde (newspaper) stated Contador rode with a VO2max of 99 that day.

That figure does not come from Le Monde, it comes from Frédéric Portoleau and cyclismag.com. It should be revised a little bit downwards after corrections introduced by Portoleau to take into account the effect of favorable wind and the data provided by Sorensen(?) - srm powermeter
 
Some helpful numbers

Thanks Galic Ho and Le Breton for the information.

I had these numbers in my Vault:

Lemond: 92-93 ml/kg/min

http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/oralhistory/lemond.html

Hinault: 88 winter 93 Summer (I read it from him in an interview)

http://www.gitaneusa.com/Hinault.asp

Indurain: 88 (But this number has been seriously been challenged by another forist in another thread with some good information, but I can not remember exactly where it is)

Armstrong: 82

I thought that one of the errors made by Lemond in the calculation of the Verbier was that his information was corrected or normalized by Vayer to 78 Kg (70 Kg weight), so the power/kg was a lot higher and therefore the prediction of the VO2 max was off by a lot. They arrived to a VO2 max on Contador of 88-89 ml/kg/min. Without correcting for his true weight the original posted number by Greg was 99 ml/kg/min which was quite high. Here is the link:

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/07/tour-de-france-2009-contador-vo2max.html

In the Interview with Greg he explains about he could be a GT winner clean with that VO2 max and went to talk about maximum possible on the w/kg measurement.

Galic Ho, I think the chart you were looking for is this one. I caution that already talked about it with other members and we all agreed that the last Lance Armstrong number of 6.97 watts/kg could be wrong. I get more in the 6.5-6.6 watts/kg number.

Escarabajo said:
I found this chart in the Science of the Sport. You can be the judge:



This is based on climb performances. Here is the complete link if you want to read some more:

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/07/tour-de-france-2009-power-estimates.html
 
Escarabajo said:
.....
I thought that one of the errors made by Lemond in the calculation of the Verbier was that his information was corrected or normalized by Vayer to 78 Kg (70 Kg weight), so the power/kg was a lot higher and therefore the prediction of the VO2 max was off by a lot. They arrived to a VO2 max on Contador of 88-89 ml/kg/min. Without correcting for his true weight the original posted number by Greg was 99 ml/kg/min which was quite high. Here is the link:

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/07/tour-de-france-2009-contador-vo2max.html

.
After reading your post I realized that Galic Ho was talking about LeMond the racer, not "Le Monde" the newspaper :)

Anyway, the original calculations that made so much noise were from Frédéric Portoleau and can be found here

http://www.cyclismag.com/article.php?sid=5184
There is no mistake due to normalization to a 70 kg rider. Portoleau did calculate 99.5 ml/mn.kg for those 20 minutes55s.

CONTADOR PLUS FORT QUE BASSO ET ARMSTRONG À LA MONGIE

Contador réalise une performance exceptionnelle avec 490 watts de moyenne en « puissance étalon » pendant 20min55s. Il développe 445 watts en puissance réelle avec 62 kg de poids de corps soit un rapport poids puissance de 7,2 W/kg. Sans aucun doute, son plus bel exploit en montagne. Pour des ascensions relativement courtes entre 20 et 30 minutes sur le Tour de France, nous n'avons pas relevé plus de 460 watts (Basso et Armstrong à La Mongie en 2004) mais ce type de final n'est pas si fréquent sur le Tour. Nous avons plus souvent des escalades comprises entre 30 et 45 minutes. Le « record du monde » appartient à Bjarne Riis avec 480 watts pendant 34 minutes à Hautacam en 1996. La performance de Contador apparaît inférieure.


He calculates a real power (not normalized) of 445 watts for 62kg, ie 7.2 watts/kg.

Since many people were shocked, as soon as Sorensen SRM data became available
http://www.srm.de/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=420:analyse-der-15-etappe-tdf- 09&catid=112:le-france-09-blog&Itemid=260〈=us
he used them to verify his earlier calculation, but contrary to what i may have written elswhere this did not change his estimate.
You can find here his later assessment.
http://www.cyclismag.com/article.php?sid=5207

Not only does he give the Sorensen data, he gives à 1/25000 map with partial times of Contador on the climb, arrows showing the direction of the wind, in fact everything one could possibly want to prove him wrong, but nobody has done that and certainly not the sportscientist source that you provide.
However, as far as I am concerned he overestimates the result by 2.5% since he makes a 2.5% transmission loss correction which should not be there as Sorensen was using a SRM device that measures the power at the crank, before losses occur.

So his result should in fact read 97 ml/mn.kg for those 21 mn or so.

Had he not made that 2.5% correction, he would have been spot on in his estimate of Sorensen power!
 
Le breton said:
Excellent information.

Sorry for being OT but I don’t want to create just a thread for this.

I am a little puzzled about those red arrows. Strange is that sometimes they go sideways and at the same time it shows a perpendicular direction.

I corrected my numbers for Contador for a slight tailwind and ran Crystall Ball probabilistic program and I got a spread from 6.3 watts/kg to 7.23 watts/kg with 6.7 watts/kg being the expected value. Funny thing is that the expected value assumed a slight tailwind but when I see Sorensen numbers you would almost have to get rid of some of the tail wind that I had originally assumed to fit it. It that case you would have to do something similar with Contador. Don't worry about the drafting from other riders because I took that into account in my program. If what the numbers that he is showing for Sorensen are true then we are looking at numbers around 7 watts/kg for Contador. Based on this he was right.
 
Escarabajo said:
Le breton said:
....
I am a little puzzled about those red arrows. Strange is that sometimes they go sideways and at the same time it shows a perpendicular direction.
..........
I am not sure how Portoleau collected the wind information. I must assume he watched the video images and looked at the flags on the side of the road.

It can be seen that that the tendency for the wind is a general draft up the mountain, i.e. perpendicular to the road, except near the hairpins where the geometry of the road is somewhat different.

On the map the altitude at the bottom, or very near the bottom, in the middle of the bridge, is not very readable, it actually is 821 meters. I checked on my 1/50000 map.

I have done that climb myself only 3 times, so I don't know it very well.

BTW . Portoleau collects the data and then relies on Vayer to translate W/kg into VO2 values. To do that he can use the huge database he collected with festina in the days.

En enero estaba en Costa Rica, me sorprendio mucho la cantitad de ciclistas en las carreteras, con bici de ruta o de montaña. Vi el final de una carrera de bici de montaña con 600 ciclistas!
 
I believe Thomas Wassberg, Olympic XC he-man showed a VO2Max over 90 in the pre-epo era. But I'll let others correct me if I'm wrong.



Abraham Olano reportedly had a relatively low VO2Max, something like 80, and managed to win the World's and the Vuelta. Fast marathon runner in retirement too. Several minutes faster than JaJa, who was faster than LA.

 
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Anonymous

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NashbarShorts said:
I think w/ the right gear, you could go far. Anybody know what Papp's was? Now there's a good example of a guy 'punching above his weight' due to the gear...
Because this thread is about Papp and doping???? NOT..
 
Some more VO2 Max numbers:

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/records/vo2max.htm

These are some of the top male VO2max scores ever recorded (in ml.kg.min-1).

score name sport notes
96.0 Espen Harald Bjerke Norwegian cross country skier This score was achieved in 2005 (7.3 liter/min, 76 kg body weight), listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.

96.0 Bjørn Dæhlie Norwegian cross country skier though another source has him recording a best of 90 ml/kg/min.
92.5 Greg LeMond cycling US professional cyclist
92.0 Matt Carpenter runner Pikes Peak marathon course record holder
92.0 Tore Ruud Hofstad Norwegian cross country skier achieved in 2005
91.0 Gunde Svan Swedish XC-skier won a total of 4x gold, 1x silver and 1x bronze medals at the Winter Olympics.
91.0 Harri Kirvesniem Finnish cross country skier
88.0 Miguel Indurain cycling professional cyclist
88.0 Anders Aukland cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
87.4 Marius Bakken runner Norwegian 5k record holder
87.0 Jon Anders Gaustad cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
86.0 Thor Hushovd cycling listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
86.0 Ole Einar Bjœrndalen biathlon listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
85.0 Dave Bedford runner 10k world record holder
85.0 John Ngugi distance runner World XC Champion
84.4 Steve Prefontaine runner from the US
84.0 Lance Armstrong cycling professional cyclist
83.5 Mark Walters cycling a pro-cyclist, former Navigators team member, won Philadelphia. This score was from the peak of his career. (personal communication, heard first hand from Mark himself)
83.0 Jens Arne Svartedal cross country skier achived 2005, listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
82.7 Gary Tuttle US runner
82.0 Kip Keino runner Olympic 1500 champion
81.1 Craig Virgin distance runner twice World cross country champ
81.0 Jim Ryun runner US miler WR holder
80.9 Øyvind Leonhardsen
Norwegian professional soccer player listed in an article on http://www.fasterskier.com.
80.1 Steve Scott runner US miler 3:47
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
On a similar vein yet unrelated my haematocrit has gone up from the high 30's to 51.1% :D

apparently 51% aint bad. ;)
 
To the OP's question:

When I was 28 I had a VO2Max test done, it came out to 66. My weight was 147lbs. I never got above Cat 3 as a racer, and never won a race at that level. I usually attributed that to mental more than physical attributes - I just didn't have the killer instinct needed most of the time. This was in the 1980's, and I don't know how such a level of fitness would compare to today. But if I could get there with what I had, I seriously think you could get to Cat 2, or maybe even beyond with your level with proper training, race preparation, and the right focus.

Here's another way of looking at it. Tom Danielson is a physical specimen. I don't know what his numbers are, but I'm going to guess they are very high. Scott Moninger's numbers I don't know either, but I'm betting they weren't nearly as high as Tom's, though still good. But Scott won a heap of races, way more than Tom, and more than any other American ever. He could climb with consistency, and had a good enough kick to sprint over a lot of guys. But he also had the serious tenacity and will to win, and wasn't ailed by the mental and physical problems Tom seems to have had his entire career.

You're probably not going to get to the level of either of those guys, you're not going to the Tour de France, or winning an Olympic medal, but there's probably no reason you can't be the Scott Moninger of your racing circle.
 
Aug 11, 2009
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Since this thread seems to have embraced a glance at some sports beyond just cycling, I thought I'd throw in a few rowers like myself. They're interesting because their ml/kg*min numbers are just pretty good (around 70), but their absolute volume numbers are massive--remember, it's a purely flat "terrain" sport requiring very high muscle loads and low cadences for 5-7 minutes.

Matthew Pinsent (4x Olympic Gold): 68 (7.5L at 110kg)



Olaf Tufte (2x Olympic Gold in single scull): 77 (7.2L)



My favorite freakshows, though, are Rob Waddell and Derek Porter. Waddell held over 700 Watts for five-and-a-half minutes and just south of 600 Watts for 15 minutes:




Porter was famous for his 15-20 minute interval speed:

 
That first pic is a little big there. Have a smaller version?

Rowers are indeed some of the fittest athletes, period. Years ago I ran into a guy who had been on the UCLA rowing team. Though he was retired from competition, and about 40, I couldn't believe how damned strong he was.
 
ergmonkey said:
Since this thread seems to have embraced a glance at some sports beyond just cycling, I thought I'd throw in a few rowers like myself. They're interesting because their ml/kg*min numbers are just pretty good (around 70), but their absolute volume numbers are massive--remember, it's a purely flat "terrain" sport requiring very high muscle loads and low cadences for 5-7 minutes.

Matthew Pinsent (4x Olympic Gold): 68 (7.5L at 110kg)

...

Olaf Tufte (2x Olympic Gold in single scull): 77 (7.2L)

...

My favorite freakshows, though, are Rob Waddell and Derek Porter. Waddell held over 700 Watts for five-and-a-half minutes and just south of 600 Watts for 15 minutes:

...

Porter was famous for his 15-20 minute interval speed:

...
And my team beat Porter's team on the erg...

And...?

Dave.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
That first pic is a little big there. Have a smaller version?

Rowers are indeed some of the fittest athletes, period. Years ago I ran into a guy who had been on the UCLA rowing team. Though he was retired from competition, and about 40, I couldn't believe how damned strong he was.
Correct. My brother in law was a world class rower. Finished fifth in Worlds one year. He was an incredible athlete, still is. Row's on Schukill River nearly every day still.
 
Aug 11, 2009
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And, for those who thought only lightweight rowers (like Cameron Wurf) could bridge the gap to cycling, check out Drew Ginn (Olympic Gold in rowing) at Aussie TT nationals this year:

1 Cameron Meyer (WA) 0:47:10
2 Jack Bobridge (SA) 0:00:13
3 Michael Matthews (ACT) 0:00:21
4 Benjamin Day (QLD) 0:00:54
5 John Anderson (QLD) 0:01:25
6 Luke Roberts (SA) 0:01:59
7 Darren Rolfe (QLD) 0:02:00
8 Drew Ginn (VIC) 0:02:05
9 Adam Hansen (QLD) 0:02:13
10 Chris Martin (SA) 0:02:19
11 William Clarke (SA)



Rowing (in the bow):

 
Jun 16, 2009
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andy1234 said:
Oops, you are of course correct. I am confusing absolute with normalised.
Weight loss is however no more possible from a lean 100kg athlete than it is from a 60kg lean athlete.
The limitation in cycling terms, is the frontal area of a larger rider.
:eek: Show me a cyclist who is a lean 100kg with no real weight to lose! My god! Recalling from memory I think even the likes of Chris Hoy are in the 90's rather than 100+.

(but yes, the lean for lean point is accurate if you have someone who is that big and that lean already)
 
ergmonkey said:
And, for those who thought only lightweight rowers (like Cameron Wurf) could bridge the gap to cycling, check out Drew Ginn (Olympic Gold in rowing) at Aussie TT nationals this year:

1 Cameron Meyer (WA) 0:47:10
8 Drew Ginn (VIC) 0:02:05
9 Adam Hansen (QLD) 0:02:13
10 Chris Martin (SA) 0:02:19
11 William Clarke (SA)

]
That is on the flat, how about in the mountains?
Xavier Dorfman finished 5th in "La Marmotte" in 2002, in horrendous weather conditions

Dossard Nom Age Dep Cat Temps officiel Gén. Cat Ecart / 1er Km/h Temps réel brevet
1 DEKKER BERT 32 HOL D 06:39:58:
2 TALABARDON YANNICK 21 94 ElitH 06:41:00
3 SORICE MASSIMO 27 ITA C 06:44:24:000
4 BEILLEVERT LAURENT 31 45 D 06:45:55:000
5 DORFMAN XAVIER 29 73 C 06:49:45:000

Talabardon turned pro that year, Beillevert may have been a pro then, not sure.

La Marmotte : 5000m uphill, 174km, Croix de Fer, Télégraphe, Galibier, Alpe d'Huez.
There was no big rowing challenge for him that year, so Dorfman took on cycling to keep in shape :)

Dorfman was gold medallist in Sydney. "Only" 71 kg.
 
Sep 2, 2010
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Galic Ho said:
Cadel allegedly has one of 88. Lance's is 81, 82 max, it was always changing. Basso's has done the same...his is 80, 81 as well. Hence why I've always said Cadel is better than Basso clean. His engine is bigger and guess what, Sassi said so.
Wrong. Basso has a VO2 max in the vicinity of 87-88. You need to go back at look at the interview with Sassi and he says that their VO2 max is very similar, but he did say that Cadel had an advantage somewhere else

here's a test done in november 08 while Basso wasnt anywhere near his peak:

http://www.mapeisport.it/IvanBasso/public/VO2max_test_EN.pdf

83.5
 
Sep 25, 2009
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ergmonkey said:
... I thought I'd throw in a few rowers
Alpe d'Huez said:
.. Olympic XC he-man showed a VO2Max over 90 in the pre-epo era.
reading these 2 posts i recalled one curious episode involving the 2 sports..

last year whilst xc skiing, i noticed a group of female skiers in front. they all seemed disproportionably larger and taller compared to the lady skiers i normally meet.. Curious enough i accelerated, caught up and measured them with my eyes. they were 4 women, at least 180 cm with powerful upper bodies skating uphill with a rather ungraceful V-1. i greeted them, and asked as politely as i could if they ski locally often. long story short - they were members of the national rowing team. later during a lunch conversation in the ski lodge i told them of my keen interest in sports physiology and i inquired their vo2 max.

they told me, between 65 and 70s.
 
whittashau said:
Wrong. Basso has a VO2 max in the vicinity of 87-88. ..........
here's a test done in november 08 while Basso wasnt anywhere near his peak:

http://www.mapeisport.it/IvanBasso/public/VO2max_test_EN.pdf

83.5
Thanks. Have not yet looked at those data in detail, but I notice that, at ventilatory threshold, interestingly, Basso is producing 81 watts/liter oxygen consumed .

that's the ratio 380 watts over 4.68 liters/min.

380 watts is the energy equivalent of 380/355 = 1.07 liter oxygen/min.

Therefore his efficiency is 22.9%. Can't quote an uncertainty, don't have enough information.

Funny is not it, all of us outstanding :):):)endurance cyclists, YOU probably, me, L.A. Chris Boardman, Museeuw, etc. have about the same mechanical efficiency, yet some famous physiologists still quote Lucia's study ( I would rather call it a joke, but who that's another story) and claim that there are huge gains to be made in mechanical efficiency.
 
Sep 2, 2010
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Le breton said:
Thanks. Have not yet looked at those data in detail, but I notice that, at ventilatory threshold, interestingly, Basso is producing 81 watts/liter oxygen consumed .

that's the ratio 380 watts over 4.68 liters/min.

380 watts is the energy equivalent of 380/355 = 1.07 liter oxygen/min.

Therefore his efficiency is 22.9%. Can't quote an uncertainty, don't have enough information.

Funny is not it, all of us outstanding :):):)endurance cyclists, YOU probably, me, L.A. Chris Boardman, Museeuw, etc. have about the same mechanical efficiency, yet some famous physiologists still quote Lucia's study ( I would rather call it a joke, but who that's another story) and claim that there are huge gains to be made in mechanical efficiency.
http://www.mapeisport.it/public/IvanBasso/vo2max_nov08_commen.pdf

here's another test done with Basso. I couldnt find any newer ones.
 

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