Remco Evenepoel

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Regardless of Evenepoel being clean or not I'm kinda wondering if his otherworldly performances will have an effect on the cleanliness of the rest of the peloton. I mean, how many of the top guys will be content with racing for 2nd place?
I'm not sure. I think Evenepoel in the multi mountain stages at this point is the big question mark, but to me it seems there's currently a few teams way ahead in the arms race.
If this lad had a INEOS kit on, there would be so many more than 14 pages in this thread.
At the very least it's not another Ineos donkey-to-racehorse transformation. But what I don't understand is how in a sport where the unbelievable generally turns out to be unbelievable in hindsight the biggest outlier in decades is somehow assumed to be beyond doubt.
I'm pretty sure he's not entirely clean. I am also sure he's an incredible talent. There are also lots of other riders with all kinds of connections, astounding efforts, transformations... so to me Evenepoel is certainly not beyond doubt (but I can hardly be called a fan of him), but going with "this performance is too good to be true" is only frustrating in cycling. I take wins as wins, enjoy them if I like the guy, and keep myself from admiring a rider too much: the chance of him not being clean is just too big. The chance of a bad or mediocre rider doping is not much smaller, though.
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The fact that he was a high level soccer player previously, and was able to finish 11th against the professionals in a half marathon the day after he played 90 minutes, leads me to believe he actually may be legit. Doesn't mean clean, but his performances are legit.

This isn't a Froome transformation. This is someone who showed exceptional athletic talent in multiple sports before he started cycling
To be consistently so good, over different kind of terrains, should be ringing some alarm bells.

What do the results of Remco's physiological tests tell us? Here’s an article that lists Remco’s V02 max at 85-87, his HT at 47-48, and his 10-20 minute power at 6.5-6.7 W/kg.

Let’s consider those values.

A V02max of 85-87 is high, in the range of what has been at times reported for Froome, but not an all-time high. Lemond and Indurain were reported to have values in the 90s, though we aren’t sure how reliable that information is. Bernal has claimed to have a value of 90 or more, and same with Gaudu. In any case, it’s pretty clear that at least a few athletes have had V02max values over 90. So Remco is not that exceptional in that regard. There are certainly other riders with values in that range who haven't been particularly successful. Oskar Svendsen reportedly recorded the highest V02 max of all time, 96.7:

V02max is important, but it's not everything.

His HT is higher than average, but again, not exceptional, as there are of course riders with natural HTs of over 50. It would contribute to his V02max, so it's really of less value than the latter. If anything, it suggests that some of the other contributory physiological factors, like intake volume, are also not exceptional.

His power is actually similar to what Pinot reported back in 2013: 6.9 W/kg for 10 minutes, and 6.4 for 20 minutes. Pinot also reported power of 5.9 W/kg for 45 minutes, which is more or less what would be regarded as FTP, or sustainable power.

That Remco might have a similar value for this period of time is suggested by his V02max. Assuming an efficiency of 22%, which is somewhat high, but quite plausible, and an FTP at 90% of maximum power, he would have an FTP of about 6.0 W/kg.

All this suggests his sustainable power could be close to what Pinot’s is, or was, which indicates that right now he has at least the potential to climb with some of the best. If you couple Pinot's climbing with world class TTng--at this point in time, maybe only Dennis is better--Remco does look formidable in any GT. An Indurain type rider, who at worst can limit losses on climbs and make up large chunks of time on TTs. The one other factor, which remains to be seen, is how well he can recover from day to day.

But then what separates him from Pinot? Right now, I'd say it's that, first, he's more explosive. Though I haven't seen any data, based on what he's doing on the road, I assume his power outputs in very short intervals, such as 30" or 1 minute, are very high, and that he reaches them very quickly, allowing him to make sudden attacks. And second, that he's of course a better TTer, allowing him to sustain those attacks on relatively flat or even lumpy terrain. If his power is no greater than Pinot's (they're about the same weight, maybe Pinot is slightly heavier, so their output in watts should be fairly similar), why is he a better TTer? Aside from perhaps better technique, there must be an aero advantage to his body type. In fact, that link I've posted comes to the same conclusion, claiming that he has an unusually low CdA, or surface area. This is the key to why larger riders are generally better TTers than climbers--power increases with mass, or the cube of body height, whereas surface area increases only with the square. So Remco, if the CdA claim is true, is able to hold surface area/mass down even as a relatively small rider, which otherwise would favor him only in climbs.

So how suspicious is he? If his FTP is no greater than 6.0 W/kg, then he's no more suspicious than Pinot, or some others in the peloton, at least when it comes to blood doping. Even skeptics like Ross Tucker would allow that values like this are possible clean. The highest suspicion in that regard comes with sustained, other-worldly climbs, and Remco hasn't produced any of those--yet. Of course, that doesn't mean he isn't blood doping, and there are other substances/programs that could be relevant to his explosiveness. I think it's also important to verify his CdA, because any time a rider with the FTP of elite climbers (if Remco proves that this is the case) is also able to TT at an elite level, one should be at least a little suspicious.
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Yes, my point was just that blood doping would less likely be the reason. Salbutamol actually might help in this case, for the initial escape. Blood doping would help a rider stay away.
Yes, you need both to kick away from the bunch and then sustain the effort. The kick will mostly utilise the glycolytic and pcr systems and sustaining the effort is then predominantly aerobic. Not sure I got you - do you mean that salbutamol would help the kick via being slighlty anabolic, or some other way?

I will not pretend to have a clue as to what kind of a cocktail might be driving his performances. The point I was getting at is simply that if one can just ride away from the field from 50ks out, then either they must be aerobically a step or two above others. So their vo2, fractional utilisation (threshold or FTP) and efficiency, or indeed their combination must be through the roof. Winning the genetic lottery three times in a row is rather rare.

Blood doping (EPO included) sure helps here, as other pros are no slouches, and possibly doping themselves.

Remco has small cda and is aero but somehow cannot come to the conclusion that this explains the difference.
Weren't they talking about 7 W/kg earlier?

Anyway, he's obviously really aero, just how much this would contribute is a different question, and I'd wonder what his cycling economy is like. To me he seems to have a really short torso (short distance for oxygenated blood to travel), big legs (maybe bigger diameter on blood vessels, reduced resistance, etc), etc.
Bernal wasn't donkey (or solid classics/track rider) to race horse like all the other Sky riders.
I think that's the entire point. No one is bashing Sky/Indeos because they're Sky/Ineos or as I've so often read on these pages, because they're "British".

They've had long threads assigned to them because of the team's absurd PR behavior, sham anti-doping stance, doping scandals, and because both Wiggins and Froome were totally uncompetitive on the road for years in the pro peloton before they became world beaters.
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But then what separates him from Pinot? Right now, I'd say it's that, first, he's more explosive.

Pinot is pretty explosive, whereas Remco can't sprint to save his life. However, it seems very obvious to me that his CdA is much lower than Pinot's, based on their heights alone.

about the same weight, maybe Pinot is slightly heavier

It's surprising to me that their listed weights are so close when Pinot is 4" taller. We have no way of verifying Remco's weight, but I suspect it's lower than listed.

This is the key to why larger riders are generally better TTers than climbers--power increases with mass, or the cube of body height, whereas surface area increases only with the square.

Although your conclusion is correct, I have to pick a nit here: power doesn't increase with mass. If it did, climbing wouldn't favor smaller (shorter) riders. Power clearly increases sublinearly with mass. And it's not as simple as "taller means better at time trialing", because most of the recent TT world champs are about 6' tall or just over. Even though it's easy to find humans who are substantially taller than that, none of them are very good at TTs.