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New York Times Julie Macur doesn't seem like a fangirl to me

May 25, 2009
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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/sports/cycling/11climb.html

"Riders with at least 7 of the unofficial top 16 times up L’Alpe d’Huez have tested positive, like Floyd Landis and Iban Mayo; have admitted to doping, like Bjarne Riis, Richard Virenque and Alex Zülle; or have been implicated in a doping scandal, like Jan Ullrich. "

As with many of these articles - nothing new for us here but for the NY Times and casual fans almost all of it will be news to them.

Macur dares to question the myth with a quote from (of all people) Aldo Sassi:

"“So for Pantani, for Armstrong, I’m just not sure,” he said."
 
Jun 26, 2009
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She's been quite good: if you follow her on twitter the occasional thing comes through...I think it's all the more deadly when you have someone reporting in the relatively bland voice of the NY Times; makes the veiled accusations all the more trenchant...
 
Jun 19, 2009
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A guy from New York sat next to me in our local Irish pub; saw some fresh road rash on my arm and asked "you race"? I said yes, poorly this week. His next question was "is Armstrong through after that bumpy stage or is he waiting to start doping again?" I asked if he was a fan and the reply was negative; he'd been following regular news.
That is a quick turn from US major media prior to Landis disclosure and surprised me. Our local press doesn't pay much specific attention to the Tour so I'll still get casual questions about Lance and not much awareness of Floyd.
 
May 25, 2009
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acoggan said:
Too bad she didn't follow through on her attempt to contact me - I could have told her what a futile endeavor this is, as emphasized by the calculations Alex Simmons recently did after I mentioned to him the story she was working on:

http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/

Andy, first let me say what respect I have for your early work on Power. I read your book and your posts in the Google Wattage forum, and your patience with questions is really great. My training improved greatly after that.

That said, you miss the point of why I posted the article to this message board. In the very beginning of the article Vaughters and therefore Macur makes it clear that times up alpine climbs is an "inexact science" - you can't qualify it any more clearly than that.

The point of posting this article was not what the coaches and directors were saying about time up alpine climbs but the way they are tabling the questions - namely questioning Armstrong and his efforts during a time when every one of his peers was caught using EPO or admitted using EPO.
 

Polish

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Mar 11, 2009
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oldschoolnik said:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/sports/cycling/11climb.html

As with many of these articles - nothing new for us here but for the NY Times and casual fans almost all of it will be news to them.
."

Many casual fans of cycling are not familiar with pro cycling's rich doping history This article helps nudge the casual fan towards the realization that "everyone is doing it".

How long until we see articles showing young Lance corrupted by a nasty nasty sport?

Hey, maybe Lance can write a book about that.
 
acoggan said:
Too bad she didn't follow through on her attempt to contact me - I could have told her what a futile endeavor this is, as emphasized by the calculations Alex Simmons recently did after I mentioned to him the story she was working on:

http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com/

futile?

there's nothing futile about these calculations. you should be embarassed for your ignorance or your word choice. which is it? pick one.

it's important to know that these calculations aren't "exact" and should be recognized as estimates but the efforts aren't futile.

using alex simmons calculations, i haven't checked them in detail myself, we can pretty safely assume lance armstrong's 37:36 ascent of alpe d'huez works out to about 6.5 W/kg.* very impressive. many educated folks think this is suspicious. i'm one of them.

*if you're fumbling with how to discredit YOUR source, let me help. this performance was a time trial on very narrow extremely crowded roads, fans lining the route should have mostly negated head/tail winds less than the 2.5 m/s (5.6 mph for perspective). there was essentially no wind. i'm willing to be proven wrong if someone has actual weather info from that day.
 

mastersracer

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Jun 8, 2010
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oldschoolnik said:
...That said, you miss the point of why I posted the article to this message board. In the very beginning of the article Vaughters and therefore Macur makes it clear that times up alpine climbs is an "inexact science" - you can't qualify it any more clearly than that.

The point of posting this article was not what the coaches and directors were saying about time up alpine climbs but the way they are tabling the questions - namely questioning Armstrong and his efforts during a time when every one of his peers was caught using EPO or admitted using EPO.

You're mistaken if you think the modeling efforts provides any evidence regarding the issue you raise in your last paragraph. It's not just that it is an inexact science, but that the amount of error in it means you cannot reject the null hypothesis (that the watt/kg is physiologically feasible). By the way, all science is 'inexact' since measurement always introduces error, so that's really a red herring. The essential point is that the estimation introduces so much error that the dataset is really just noise...
 

mastersracer

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Jun 8, 2010
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lean said:
futile?

*if you're fumbling with how to discredit YOUR source, let me help. this performance was a time trial on very narrow extremely crowded roads, fans lining the route should have mostly negated head/tail winds less than the 2.5 m/s (5.6 mph for perspective). there was essentially no wind. i'm willing to be proven wrong if someone has actual weather info from that day.

Science doesn't work by consulting oracles. Either there's data for the wind or there isn't.
 
May 25, 2009
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Ok fair enough - let's say benchmarking these climbs is an inexact science or even worse just "noise".

My point is I'm glad the NY Times is pointing out that "riders with at least 7 of the unofficial top 16 times up L’Alpe d’Huez have tested positive or been implicate din drug scandals.

I could care less if the science would pass muster with peer review.
 

mastersracer

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Jun 8, 2010
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lean said:
who's consulting oracles? if you have data i'm willing to adjust. if you don't have data the most accurate calculation assumes no wind.

try again.

YOU are acting as an oracle. There's no basis for assuming no wind. In fact, assuming no wind is probably the most inaccurate assumption you can make. You'd have to assume some distribution for the wind. I'd bet if you do that and re-run the simulations you'd still not be able to reject the null hypothesis - that's essentially what Simmons shows.
 
May 15, 2010
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Polish said:
Many casual fans of cycling are not familiar with pro cycling's rich doping history This article helps nudge the casual fan towards the realization that "everyone is doing it".

How long until we see articles showing young Lance corrupted by a nasty nasty sport?

Hey, maybe Lance can write a book about that.

Seems he was first corrupted and then returned the favor by first exploiting the relatively clean post-festina environment and then taking it to a higher level by making governing bodies explicit parties to the conspiracy. Now that's a book I would love to read if he writes it truthfully and honestly.
 

mastersracer

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broken chain said:
And just think,Lance posted one of the best times totally clean.Quite the accomplishment.

you're missing the point. The point is whether or not modeling data provides any evidence regarding whether or not Armstrong's (or anyone else's) performance was physiologically feasible (clean) or not (doped). Coggan was pointing out that these efforts provide no evidence because the estimation error is too large. That seems right, given what Simmons indicates for quite modest assumptions about wind, and has nothing to do with how one might feel about Armstrong's performance. If you really care google 'spherical cows'
 
Jul 14, 2009
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I like how a couple of quotes were just "sometimes great things just happen". Lemond won't give up..now he is a statistician Contador is dirty..Greg is so bold.
 
This jumped out at me:

Lance Armstrong, who is trying to win the Tour for the eighth time, holds two of the top four unofficial times up L’Alpe d’Huez. His team manager, Johan Bruyneel, said those fast times should not cast a shadow on Armstrong, who is under federal investigation for fraud and doping during the years he rode on the United States Postal Service team.

Is Juliet the first journo to actually come out and say it?
 
May 25, 2009
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MacRoadie said:
This jumped out at me:



Is Juliet the first journo to actually come out and say it?


Well, the second Wall St Journal article says "People familiar with the matter say they are exploring several avenues, including whether teams defrauded sponsors by failing to race cleanly or whether Mr. Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team misused federal funds. " - that's pretty similar.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575357423818505614.html
 
oldschoolnik said:
Well, the second Wall St Journal article says "People familiar with the matter say they are exploring several avenues, including whether teams defrauded sponsors by failing to race cleanly or whether Mr. Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team misused federal funds. " - that's pretty similar.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575357423818505614.html

Yeah, but everybody and their brother has beat around the bush and said everything but what they were trying to say. I haven't seen anyone just flat out say LA is under investigation, and that it's for doping and fraud.
 
mastersracer said:
YOU are acting as an oracle. There's no basis for assuming no wind. In fact, assuming no wind is probably the most inaccurate assumption you can make. You'd have to assume some distribution for the wind. I'd bet if you do that and re-run the simulations you'd still not be able to reject the null hypothesis - that's essentially what Simmons shows.

i'm not assuming there was no wind. i'm saying that he is likely closer to 6.5 w/kg than 6.1 w/kg or 7 w/kg unless you have evidence of a tailwind that day.

simmons is right in that some of the times/power figures staddle plausibility. using 6.2 w/kg*, armstrong's 37:36 really doesn't straddle plausibility so well unless you assume a tailwind.

*simmons references 6.2 w/kg. too high? too low? either way it's what he's chosen.

lastly, wind speed/direction is obviously critical. it should be observed and measured as accurately as possible. without it, we have much greater uncertainty and we're left to make assumptions. rhetorically speaking, should we not even bother to perform the calculations based upon a few different scenarios for the purposes of discussion?
 
Jul 11, 2010
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If we're talking ADH in 2004 I don't remember much of a wind that day. Moderate temps and a SLIGHT breeze. I'd have to check my photos to see if the flags we're moving.

Anyone check the local weather that day?
 
Jun 20, 2010
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Given the hairpin nature of the most of the l´Alpe ascend, I suppose the headwind and backwind will distribute itself rather equally = moinor effect of wind direction (except for the part close to the village at the top).
 

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