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Reason for Lemond's decline

Page 11 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

Dr. Maserati

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Bagster said:
Elapid, it would be very rare that a person would approach a topic in a purely unbiased manner. Most people have a particular personal view on a subject and they will tend to in the main look for evidence to support that view. To what extent they do this will depend upon the strength of their initial thoughts on the matter. Take Lance for instance. People who enter this forum will generally have a view about him as both a person and or as a rider. If your initial view of him is negative (or vice versa) it will take a great deal to shift you from that view and you will tend to look to support that view from the available 'evidence' that supports it. I am not saying that people cannot form opinions but by and large we enter a discussion about a topic because our opinions on it are already preformed one way or another to varying degrees. Those opinions are not necessarily based on facts but can nonetheless be strongly held. It takes a great deal of convincing to get people to change to a contrary opinion. Far more than it does to reinforce beliefs already held and people will tend to look for evidence to support their perceptions around an issue.

This is more like it - I agree with the theory that people will already have formed a general opinion and usually look more favorably at the content that supports their initial view.
You bring up Lance as an example. I think you will find that most here on this forum were one time Lance supporters - as indeed is the case with me.

Of course as circumstances change and more information becomes available our perceptions can change too. From reading between the lines of many of Lances sternest critics - on this forum - it appears that with the L'Equipe article, Operation Puerto and the Landis affair all happening in a short period, a lot of supporters were forced to re-evaluate and question their initial beliefs.
 
Bagster said:
Elapid, it would be very rare that a person would approach a topic in a purely unbiased manner. Most people have a particular personal view on a subject and they will tend to in the main look for evidence to support that view. To what extent they do this will depend upon the strength of their initial thoughts on the matter. Take Lance for instance. People who enter this forum will generally have a view about him as both a person and or as a rider.

I still think you're diminishing the logical path of people forming their opinion initially based on facts. For example, one could conclude either case:

1. I learn about Lance.
2. I study cycling, medicine even.
3. I read reports. Many reports. All I can find.
4. I determine Lance doped/didn't dope.

The way you seem to imply it is that people are starting from step 4, then going to steps 2 & 3 to justify it.

I do agree with you however that the majority of posts often are more like drive by shootings. Big Boat, or Robert Merville for example. Not so interested in making rational arguments, as hammering opinions home.
 
Bagster said:
What they actually do is have a particular personal view on a topic. Lets take doping in cycling for instance:) They then read the available literature that tends to support their world view which then allows them to post in an apparently authoritative manner from one perspective, (either for or against) without really being able to support their argument from a knowledge base of their own. (eg David Walsh said it, so it must be true. I think Lance is a drug cheat and what David says supports that viewpoint) or (I don't think Lance is a drug cheat therefore I will only listen to argument in support of that view and ignore everything to the contrary). The point is that unless you are well versed in the science you lack the knowledge to actually "yield to it with logic" because seemingly quite plausible "scientific" arguments can be totally false.

Then you have posters who merely put forward a shopping list of all the non detectable PED's and make the immediate unsubstantiated inference that because of the way a rider is performing and the fact that he has not tested positive he must be on the aforementioned PED's or a combination of them. This assertion may or may not be true, but it is hardly an objective scientific form of logic. This is the form of posting that Bigboat tends to specialise in, and I don't say that to be nasty, it's just a fact.


I hope that Escar doesn't find this post too offensive;)

This is a lot better. I like it when we all can have a nice objective discussion, even if we don't agree.:)

Thanks.
 
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elapid said:
Ha, this one made me laugh. That poorly worded sentence was not written by me. This poorly worded sentence was written by Coyle - it is a direct quote of his conclusion from the abstract of the paper we are discussing. Not my words, but Coyle's. I am sure you have the paper - read the abstract. That is his conclusions word for word. So you can take it up with him about how poorly he writes.

How can you say "no error was made" when he did not measure reduced body fat (or mass) and he then goes on to conclude that the very thing he did not measure was one of the reasons for his improved power-to-weight ratio?

I know that Coyle wrote that, not you - my point is that you keep holding this up as some sort of serious error, when all it really represents is sloppy writing (cf. the one-word change that I suggested that would solve your "problem").
 
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elapid said:
I think Bagster has it the wrong way around - we don't go in with preformed ideas and then look for information to support those ideas. We read about the topic and then form an opinion. It's not CNN where we get fed information and digest it as the truth. The world would be a pretty sad place if we couldn't think for ourselves and form opinions based on our experiences and readings.

Beroepsrenner, I was interested in some of the things you had said in previous posts and actually started a thread a little while ago asking about whether professional cyclists such as yourself and/or management knew team mates were doping. As a non-professional cyclist, I wanted more information than what I could read. However, you did not contribute at all to that thread. So instead of complaining about people talking about doping within their own limited scope, maybe you could help and educate us as an ex-professional cyclist who has used PEDs.

Sorry Elapid. I must have missed that thread. They come and go so quickly and sometimes I go a few days without the time to log in. I'm not sure that what went on in the 80s is even relevent to the current era. There is a lot more money involved now and anything I hear is only second or third hand.
When I first went to Belgium to race I was with small low budget teams and i was introduced to PEDs through soigneurs, not doctors. Steroids could be bought over the counter if you knew the right pharmasist. Amphetamines were available through the blackmarket. Often other riders supplementing their income. Nothing was hidden. Everyone would be loading their syringes with Pervatine while getting changed for kermis races and comparing doses.
As far as I could tell, everyone involved with pro cycling in Belgium knew what went on, even the spectators to some degree. It just seemed to be accepted as part of it. My involvement in the practice was not to the extent of many but I did experiment with just about everything available. My conclusion as I have said before did not make a great difference to my results and ironically some of my best performances where done without PEDs. Most people dont appreciate the work load a pro cyclist faces compared to other athletic sports and 20 years ago it was greater than it is now and for much less money. If you or anyone else has any specific questions, dont hestate to ask
 
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elapid said:
Riders's weights often increase in the off-season as their training load decreases and they then lose weight to get into racing condition for the racing season. His preseason weights for 1992, 1993 and 1999 are listed. But not his racing weight. Furthermore, his racing weights probably would have been around 74-75 kg as well for 1992 and 1993.

And you know that how?

elapid said:
The power-to-weight ratios used by Coyle were preseason power-preseason weight for 1992 and 1993, and preseason power-estimated racing weight for 1999. Why compare paired samples from 1992 and 1993 to an unpaired sample in 1999? Why use a different (and unmeasured) weight for the 1999 calculation and not use the measured preseason weight like he did in 1992 and 1993? This skewers the results and, knowing that Coyle is no doubt an intelligent man, is manipulating the data and misrepresenting the results. If he had done these calculations appropriately, then the power-to-weight ratio improvements would have been only 6.9% and 1.6% compared to 1992 and 1993 preseasons.

Coyle simply compared the data using the body masses available to him, i.e., those that he had measured and those provided by Armstrong. Given that he was clear about how the data were obtained (in particular, the fact that Armstrong's in-season body mass was self-reported), there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about that. (Although the lack of frequent, accurate measurements is clearly a weakness of the paper.)

elapid said:
Isn't it obvious to you that the 1999 power-to-weight ratio calculation is a preseason power and an estimated racing weight?

Yes, it is.

elapid said:
Don't you see anything wrong with this, especially when the 1992 and 1993 power-to-weight ratios were based on preseason power output and preseason body weight, not racing weight?

Not really, as 1) Coyle was clear about how the data were obtained and used, and 2) by far the most interesting finding were the changes in efficiency.

elapid said:
Then why word a conclusion like this (again, not my words but a direct quote for Coyle's abstract) if the improvement in the steady state power-to-weight ratio was not the focus of the paper?

"Therefore, over the 7-yr period, an improvement in muscular efficiency and reduced body fat contributed equally to a remarkable 18% improvement in his steady-state power per kilogram body weight when cycling at a given Vo(2) (e.g., 5 l/min)."

Simple: because that is the conclusion that Coyle reached.

elapid said:
How do I know the 18% calculation is incorrect? Because Coyle's calculation of Armstrong's 1999 power-to-weight ratio is incorrect (see above). As explained ad nauseum, this calculation is incorrect because the 1999 power-to-weight ratio is based on an estimated racing weight from four months previously (and when his racing power output was not known or reported) and not the preseason weight.

You keep saying that this calculation is incorrect, but the fact is that you simply don't know, because you don't know either Armstrong's in-season body mass during his pre-Tour winning years, nor do you know his in-season power at any time. So, your choice as a reviewer (or subsequent reader of the paper) is to either accept the estimates that were made based on the available data as worthy of reporting, or not. What you clearly can't do, however, is fault Coyle for reporting the numbers that he had, and providing his interpretation of what they mean.

elapid said:
If Coyle wanted to use Armstrong's racing weight to make this calculation, then he should have measured his steady-state power during the racing season and actually weighed Armstrong at the same time rather than use an estimate from the subject (which Armstrong later admitted was false).

My recollection is that Armstrong testified under oath that he started the Tour each year at ~74 kg, i.e., slightly heavier than the 72 kg quoted in the paper, but clearly lighter than the 78-79 kg he weighed in previous off-seasons. Really, though, that is neither here nor there, since 1) the trial took place long after the paper was published, and 2) changes in body mass/body composition were not the primary focus.

elapid said:
Weight loss, particularly when it is done quickly as cyclists often do to get into racing condition results in loss of muscle mass (because they do not have sufficient fat stores to lose this amount of weight in fat alone), can decrease power output.

No doubt, but the operative word here is "can", not "does". That is, you don't know for a fact that Armstrong's reduction in body mass led to a loss of power, just as you can't argue, e.g., that moderate altitude always reduces arterial O2 saturation and hence VO2max.

elapid said:
Power is not a constant in this equation, so it is inappropriate to use a power measurement from November and an estimated weight from July, especially when Coyle was comparing this to powers and weights measured concurrently in November 1992 and February 1993. Who is to say that Armstrong's steady-state power output would not have also decreased with this weight loss?

Who (what) is to say that it did not?

elapid said:
Assuming his power-to-weight ratio in preseason 1999 remained constant, which is much more likely than his power output remaining constant, this means his steady-state power output at 72 kg would be 364W, not 404W.

So let me get this straight: in order to win an argument on the web, you are willing to *** u me that a reduction in body mass automatically results in a commensurate reduction in power, but you believe that it is inappropriate for Coyle to have reported the data that he had available to him. Seems like a bit of a double-standard, no?

elapid said:
So if I write an interesting "paper" full of incorrect calculations, misinterpreted data and with conclusions that cannot be supported, you would publish it in the JAP just because it was a smashing good read? Good one!

If you've got some data that would make a "smashing good read" I'd be happy to review it for you. :D
 
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acoggan said:
I know that Coyle wrote that, not you - my point is that you keep holding this up as some sort of serious error, when all it really represents is sloppy writing (cf. the one-word change that I suggested that would solve your "problem").

When a conclusion is based on a factor that is not measured or cannot be proven then it is a serious error, both on the part of Coyle and the JAP, because it null and voids the conclusion. It doesn't matter whether it is reduced body fat or reduced body weight. Neither were measured and all the evidence points towards the opposite with increased body weight.
 
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elapid said:
Don't you see anything wrong with this, especially when the 1992 and 1993 power-to-weight ratios were based on preseason power output and preseason body weight, not racing weight?

Not really, as 1) Coyle was clear about how the data were obtained and used, and 2) by far the most interesting finding were the changes in efficiency.



Simple: because that is the conclusion that Coyle reached.



You keep saying that this calculation is incorrect, but the fact is that you simply don't know, because you don't know either Armstrong's in-season body mass during his pre-Tour winning years, nor do you know his in-season power at any time. So, your choice as a reviewer (or subsequent reader of the paper) is to either accept the estimates that were made based on the available data as worthy of reporting, or not. What you clearly can't do, however, is fault Coyle for reporting the numbers that he had, and providing his interpretation of what they mean.



My recollection is that Armstrong testified under oath that he started the Tour each year at ~74 kg, i.e., slightly heavier than the 72 kg quoted in the paper, but clearly lighter than the 78-79 kg he weighed in previous off-seasons. Really, though, that is neither here nor there, since 1) the trial took place long after the paper was published, and 2) changes in body mass/body composition were not the primary focus.



No doubt, but the operative word here is "can", not "does". That is, you don't know for a fact that Armstrong's reduction in body mass led to a loss of power, just as you can't argue, e.g., that moderate altitude always reduces arterial O2 saturation and hence VO2max.



Who (what) is to say that it did not?



So let me get this straight: in order to win an argument on the web, you are willing to *** u me that a reduction in body mass automatically results in a commensurate reduction in power, but you believe that it is inappropriate for Coyle to have reported the data that he had available to him. Seems like a bit of a double-standard, no?



If you've got some data that would make a "smashing good read" I'd be happy to review it for you. :D

The whole point is it is not for me to know, but for Coyle to show me. If he wants to use a racing weight, then he has to show the racing power. He cannot use the preseason power from four months later because of all the variables that may affect power output, including potentially muscle loss. I don't know if Lance lost muscle mass, but it makes sense, and I don't know what affect weight loss or loss of muscle mass will have on power output. Nor do you or Coyle. And this is the point because power is not a constant. As a scientific paper, Coyle has to measure steady-state power at the same time as he measures Lance's 72-74 kg body weight to show whether this weight loss affects his steady-state power. Again, this is not up to me to show but for Coyle to prove. If he cannot do this, then he has to use the data in presented in Table 2.

I cannot believe you are supposedly a world renowned physiologist and think it is perfectly acceptable to compare two paired preseason power-to-weight ratios in 1992 and 1993 to a disparate preseason power-to-estimated racing weight in 1999. Equally, I cannot believe that it is acceptable to you and the JAP editors that Coyle can state Armstrong's performance was partly due to reduced body fat when it was not measured (or even reduced body weight when the opposite is plainly obvious).

I have no faith in you or your profession or your journal if you think this is acceptable science and scientific process. I also have no doubt to the veracity of Ashenden's and the Science of Sport's concerns regarding the efficiency calculations if Coyle, and you by your unwavering support, cannot even grasp the fundamentals of study design and basic scientific research. Good riddance to you and your bad science.
 
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beroepsrenner said:
Sorry Elapid. I must have missed that thread. They come and go so quickly and sometimes I go a few days without the time to log in. I'm not sure that what went on in the 80s is even relevent to the current era. There is a lot more money involved now and anything I hear is only second or third hand.
When I first went to Belgium to race I was with small low budget teams and i was introduced to PEDs through soigneurs, not doctors. Steroids could be bought over the counter if you knew the right pharmasist. Amphetamines were available through the blackmarket. Often other riders supplementing their income. Nothing was hidden. Everyone would be loading their syringes with Pervatine while getting changed for kermis races and comparing doses.
As far as I could tell, everyone involved with pro cycling in Belgium knew what went on, even the spectators to some degree. It just seemed to be accepted as part of it. My involvement in the practice was not to the extent of many but I did experiment with just about everything available. My conclusion as I have said before did not make a great difference to my results and ironically some of my best performances where done without PEDs. Most people dont appreciate the work load a pro cyclist faces compared to other athletic sports and 20 years ago it was greater than it is now and for much less money. If you or anyone else has any specific questions, dont hestate to ask

Thanks. Cycling is a hard sport even for recreational cyclists. I can only appreciate the workload, pain and suffering that professional cyclists put themselves through, often for little reward other than personal gratification.
 

Bagster

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elapid said:
I will disagree, but agree to disagree. :D Maybe I am just different, but I rarely develop an opinion and then look for evidence to support that opinion. I read and/or listen to the evidence and then form an opinion. Maybe it is because I have a research background in science and using the evidence to support a preformed result is a fundamental no-no. But I do agree with you that once an opinion has been formed that it is difficult to sway people away from that opinion.

My opinions of Lance have changed over time and definitely cannot be labelled as either love or hate. I admire his cycling talents, achievements, comeback performances in the Giro and TdF, motivation and determination, and his cancer awareness efforts. I do not like his public image as arrogant and controlling, or his manipulation of the media. It is my opinion that he has doped based on my interpretation of the evidence, but IMO this is not a negative considering the likely situation in the professional peloton. However, his treatment of the likes of Simeoni and Bassons is a negative.

My opinions of other rides are equally complex. For instance, two of my favourite riders are Voigt (but cannot understand his opposition to banning race radios) and Cancellara (but did not like his histrionics against Evans and his complaining about the motorbikes in the final iTT). Professional cyclists, like all people, are flawed to some extent and you have to take the good with the bad, but they are not either "good" or "bad".

Well put. I too like FC but did not enjoy his rant at Cadel and even less his whining over AC beating him in the ITT. But like you say we all have good and bad points, it's just that with public figures those points are out in the open and hyped through the media. I don't know about you but I don't get a lot of adverse media coverage or forum comments if I let rip at someone in my local club race!:D
 
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physics verses physiology

it seems like the problem eladip is having is related to the quality of the field being discussed. based on the coyle paper the muck that gets published in physiology wouldnt stand up for 10 secs in physics (for example). so when this level of std (ie a physics type of std) gets applied to a physiology paper then the physiology paper is shown to be rubbish. but from dr. coggan's point of view, this kind of garbage is often published in physiology so why get your knickers in a twist? plus there might be some nuggets of useful info, even if the conclusions cant be made from this data, it turns out they are luckily [maybe?] correct, and so its all good. while i tend to agree with elapid, this kind of differing std happens alot between the various "scientific" fields. the problem comes in when this kind of rubbish gets out to the media and or the courts and are used to support certain conclusions. my guess would be that dr. coggan is comfortable with that cuz he thinks the conclusions in the paper are correct even if the data as presented in the paper dont necessarily support these conclusions. i guess we should give coyle bonus points for being a good guesser even if this paper is not his most shining moment....
 
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eigenvalu2 said:
it seems like the problem eladip is having is related to the quality of the field being discussed. based on the coyle paper the muck that gets published in physiology wouldnt stand up for 10 secs in physics (for example). so when this level of std (ie a physics type of std) gets applied to a physiology paper then the physiology paper is shown to be rubbish. but from dr. coggan's point of view, this kind of garbage is often published in physiology so why get your knickers in a twist? plus there might be some nuggets of useful info, even if the conclusions cant be made from this data, it turns out they are luckily [maybe?] correct, and so its all good. while i tend to agree with elapid, this kind of differing std happens alot between the various "scientific" fields. the problem comes in when this kind of rubbish gets out to the media and or the courts and are used to support certain conclusions. my guess would be that dr. coggan is comfortable with that cuz he thinks the conclusions in the paper are correct even if the data as presented in the paper dont necessarily support these conclusions. i guess we should give coyle bonus points for being a good guesser even if this paper is not his most shining moment....

How do you figure the conclusions are correct? Coyle's conclusions were improved efficiency + reduced body fat = 18% improved steady-state power-to-weight ratio.

1. Improved efficiency: Draw at best. Ashenden and the Sports of Cycling guys have cast plenty of doubt on Coyle's efficiency methods and calculations.

2. Reduced body fat: Wrong. There was no reduced body fat because it wasn't measured. There was not even reduced body weight as you can see in Table 2. The only low body weight was an unmeasured estimate of the 1999 racing weight provided by Lance, but there are no estimates of his 1992 or 1993 racing weights and definitely no objective measurements of his actual racing weights. He can only state this conclusion if he can compared the 1999 racing weight estimate to estimates from the 1992 and 1993 racing seasons. Comparing body weights during the preseason and racing season is not valid because nearly every cyclist gains weight in the off season and takes this weight off for the racing season.

3. 18% improved steady-state power-to-weight ratio: Wrong. Coyle's comparisons are like comparing boxers in different weight classes. The relevant data is provided in Table 2: 1992 preseason power and weight, 1993 preseason power and weight, and 1999 preseason power and weight. What is the value of using an estimated racing weight and preseason power calculated 4 months after the TdF in 1999? None. It tells us nothing because it is not a valid comparison. You can compare preseason to preseason, and you can compare racing to racing, but not preseason-preseason to preseason-racing. It is an immediate and deliberate bias which conveniently fits the conclusions but is so wrong in every other sense. Using the data in Table 2 comparing preseason power-to-weight ratios in 1992, 1993 and 1999, Armstrong's preseason power-to-weight ratio increases by 6.9% compared to preseason 1992 and 1.6% compared to 1993. An increase of 6.9% over 7 years is hardly remarkable (I improved 9% over 12 months for instance) and very different to the quoted 18%.

So two out of the three conclusions are wrong and the third is highly debatable. So how do you figure they are correct?
 
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i'm in 100% agreement that the data in coyle's paper doesnt support his conclusions. my point was that coggan thinks the conclusions are meta correct - ie have been proven elsewhere to be right. thats why he is relatively unconcerned regarding your on point analysis of the faulty use of the data.
 
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The Science of Sport said:
Hear, hear! Well said! It reminds me of an article I read recently in Newsweek - http://www.newsweek.com/id/202791

You're 100% right, the science is sometimes a hindrance! Which is why everyone - newly minted, never minted, yet to be minted, and those whose mint has long worn off - can all arrive at the correct conclusion quite independent of the scientific bluster that all too often shrouds the matter! Sometimes the best evidence is the least 'empirical'!

Alpe d'Huez said:
One thing to note regarding the discussion. Part of what gets left out of discussions on science in our society is philosophy. And I mean that in the literal, classic sense. Philosophy as a study of wisdom, and how we live our lives and think, if you will. Our educational system has pushed philosophy aside and treated it as a specialized study, like, English Literature, or Political Studies, when it's much more encompassing than that. It's what we base our decision making on, our thinking, our lives.

I don't want to write a huge treatise here, so forgive me if I'm too succinct, but how we choose to interpret, implement, or ignore science is not based on the scientific evidence itself without a reference to philosophy, and I think that's what we're seeing here as much as anything else. Not that one person's "philosophy" (a theory based opinion, actually, not a philosophy) is getting in the way of seeing the science objectively, or balancing scientific information, rather their lack of applying philosophical principles.

runninboy said:
I am not an expert but it seems like you have kind of blurred the lines between philosophy & psychology. Is not psychology the study of human behaviour ie how we live our lives?

If you guys are really interested in "Science" and 'Philosophy', I highly recommend Bruno Latour Biography, especially "science in action" and "laboratory life", which is an anthropological analysis/study of the 'scientific community'. Another great read is "we have never been Modern".

Another thing, to add to this and obviously completely off topic, I find it inetresting to see how US universities are generally more specialized in quantitative approaches to knowledge. From SATs, GREs, LSATs, IQ tests to even get into schools, to the methodology used in many studies such as PolSci, Anthropology, Sociology etc most research seems to be done using quantifiable data(sets).

This 'obsession with numbers' seems to be reflected, or spilled over, in sports here, everything is quantified, and 'statistified', ie the numbers and %s in baseball, the yards run in football, the seconds in the pocket, the % of within red zone touchdowns, the % of scoring in power plays, the 'decisiveness' of wins in 5th games out of 7 (I am making a lot of categories up here I think, but you get the point).

And when I watched the elections on a number of news channels, with voter registrations, targeting neighbourhoods, counties, based on numbers and statistics of voting behaviour, life style.... woah, I was glad you only had two parties vying for voters instead of multiple parties. Made analysis somewhat straightforward.