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Sprint power, & FTP power, & climbing ability

Apr 11, 2009
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Is is unusual for a pro who is already in top third of peleton to, in one year, achieve substantial (winning) increases in 3 variables simultaneously:

1) top-end sprinting speed (to sprint with the very best)

2) threshold power on the flat

3) and climbing ability

Just a question if--and how--it is possible to hit three targets simultaneously in one year for someone already near the top.

It's the combo of #1 plus [#2 + 3] simultaneously that puzzles me for top pro. I can see #2 and 3 together maybe in one year--but not together with #1 too.

NB: NOT talking of amateurs or neo-pros here, who still have substantial overhead capacity to improve. No names, because I don't want the credulous to get their undies in a knot. :D (Will just mention Bettini and Valverde seemed to combine these, but not significantly increasing all three in one year, perhaps.) Maybe others know better.
Apr 11, 2009
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Well, I can hardly post this in the main section, can I. The road racing section is hardly about exercise physiology, as far as I can tell, obviously. And you don't have to read.

It's a legit. question of simultaneity. Let me give you a "coincidental" example from international economics. It's possible simultaneously to target/set 2--but NOT 3--of the following variables:

- a flex. exchange rate,
- an independent monetary/interest rate policy,
- and free capital flows.

In short, you step on your own toes if you try to target 3 of the above simult. It's a well-known dilemma/ tradeoff. Many very, very bright PhDs and central bankers, etc., have been churning out papers on this policy dilemma for decades. Odd combinations are difficult to achieve.

A bit like TT'ing/rolling, climbing, AND sprinting together.

As I said, Bettini and Valverde combine some of these sorts of abilities. Maybe there are others....

The exercise physio guys should have some ideas about simult. changes in one year and the physiology/training of it. I'm looking for answers, not sticking my head in the sand.
Hi folks I'm new to this forum, but I know lots about exercise physiology hence the geeky username :)

There is a large body of evidence which suggests that increased endurance training inhibits strength and power gains. So to achieve an increase in TT and climbing ability which requires endurance training is very likely to impair improvement in sprint ability.

The difference between TT on the flat and climbing ability is all about the trade off between absolute engine size, frontal surface area and watts per kg. Bigger cyclists such as Cancellara have bigger aerobic engines (ie: VO2max in L/min), which more than accounts for the detrimental effect of the increase in frontal surface area (ie: increased wind resistance), so these guys have the advantage on the flat. However, once you start going uphill, the velocity is much lower, so the need to overcome wind resistance is less important which means the advantage of the bigger engine is diminished, whereas the amount of weight you need to move uphill against gravity now becomes the limiting factor, so watts per kg is the variable that is required to be a great climber. Smaller cyclists have the advantage here because as you get bigger, the increase in aerobic power is not proportional to the increase in mass since you have a lot more weight to carry that isn't involved in energy production eg: bone, conective tissue etc Therefore, VO2max in ml/kg/min tends to be higher in the smaller guys.