State of Peloton 2023

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I don't buy it, it's not like every race in the past was ridden the same way.
Gilbert won RVV from 100K, there where editions that were almost bunchsprints, it's always different.
And they don't only ride faster the first hours of a race, just look at Strava. They are also smashing all records in the finals of the races. So even after these fast starts ...
Carrefour today was crazy fast, even with a flat tire.

I suggest you study the history of cycling - Patrons of the peleton decided who and when the break could form - Riders used to jog along until the TV coverage - The peleton used to ride ' the piano ' in which teams would ride slow for the first 120kms and race home the last 80 kms.

The strangest thing is that all sports are getting faster and stronger year by year but somehow, cycling should be different.
 
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I suggest you study the history of cycling - Patrons of the peleton decided who and when the break could form - Riders used to jog along until the TV coverage - The peleton used to ride ' the piano ' in which teams would ride slow for the first 120kms and race home the last 80 kms.

The strangest thing is that all sports are getting faster and stronger year by year but somehow, cycling should be different.

That is absolutely not true for classic races (not on a consistent basis). In stage races yes that happenes a lot.

Classics that started fast, were typically ended slow and were called 'the sprint of the dead swans' because most of the time nobody could get away because everyone was dead. Every ex-rider commentator will say 'such a fast start will really get you'.

Now we have an extreme fast start, followed by a very fast middle and breaking records at the end.

Imagine having a race of super doped riders, riding 80 km at a leisure pace.. to then explode on one of the climbs... and riding 20 seconds slower than the guys who were racing as all hell broke loose for 80km.

 
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What I find interesting is omerta is back with a bang. After pandemic, a few French off the record complaints, since then pretty much silence.

The other thing I find fascinating is how all this happens in the age of social media - so many riders are Youtubers now, and teams have their own Youtube channels pushing the brand. Harry Sweeny, Ben O'Conner all smiling away in Andorra, Remco and Van der Pol hijinks with Average Rob, the hiding in plain site a long way away from Vino training in a black kit.

Lanterne Rouge same thing, guy used to love the mad lunacy of the old school dopers in his vids, now suddenly he's has never seen a doper or could recognise one even if a needle dropped out of their shorts as he drinks the Jumbo Kool aid.
 
So ...

We have a revitalized, healthy, extra terrestrial van der Poel absolutely smashing people since Milan San Remo. Pretty sure his acceleration numbers are alien and he certainly is destroying people. Then the Pogster absolutely spanks him on the terrain he really should be the most dominant on, Flanders.

All this to say, it's been an enjoyable classics season to watch for the pure spectacle. The racing has been quite interesting. But the performances are really quite laughable, and I really can't get excited by the Pogster, because it's just excessive and silly.

The Tour de France 2023 could be the silliest spectacle yet. It's shaping up to be the stuff of legends; i.e. at least enough to give Antoine Vayer a mental breakdown as he manically posts his outrage on his Twitter account.

But I agree that Van der Poel is a level above where he was. He seems to have made a jump from previous years which surprised even me. I didn't think he had this in him. I mean without Pog being Pog & doing Pog things, he would have done a hattrick of monuments this season so far. Wild.

It's probably what depresses Jumbo the most, i.e. winter breaks in cycling are now the equivalent of Formula 1 where all the brains of the teams get together & devise a way to make their machines go faster. So when these riders are pushing 'best watts ever' in training, it's no guarantee of anything in the spring because the other teams have also improved.

Van der Poel came into the spring stronger than Wout van Aert. That's something for Jumbo to mull over (just wait until they cook up a Vingegaard-bis for the classics team, i.e. after Rog 'disappointed' them in 2020, they magically produced a new & improved GT contender in the form of Jonas V, so let's see if the classics side of the team gets the same treatment... although the sponsor situation at Jumbo might affect some of their long-term objectives a little).
 
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So ...

We have a revitalized, healthy, extra terrestrial van der Poel absolutely smashing people since Milan San Remo. Pretty sure his acceleration numbers are alien and he certainly is destroying people. Then the Pogster absolutely spanks him on the terrain he really should be the most dominant on, Flanders.

All this to say, it's been an enjoyable classics season to watch for the pure spectacle. The racing has been quite interesting. But the performances are really quite laughable, and I really can't get excited by the Pogster, because it's just excessive and silly.
for sure RVV surprised me the most. I've never seen VDP as strong as this year and he would've won all 3 monuments solo, were it not for Pogacar being even stronger than him in RVV and quite easily at that. His numbers must be off the charts
 
VdP seems to be on some heavy stuff. There’s a lot more than just blood and EPO in today’s day and age. No doubt some fancy newer stuff is being used to varying degrees, even if the tried and true substances are still the foundation.

Speeds closer to 50kph than 40kph for 250k races are a bit too much for me. Anti doping is the natural killer of the spectacle of sport, but is it possible for sports to get so supercharged they become a turnoff?
 
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Speeds closer to 50kph than 40kph for 250k races are a bit too much for me. Anti doping is the natural killer of the spectacle of sport, but is it possible for sports to get so supercharged they become a turnoff?

i mean, no. you can't actually tell the difference between 47km/h average and 42km/h on TV. it was a very good race and the Ronde was exceptional.

someone mentioned 2010 PR, that was an example of doping, whether you believe it's medical or mechanical, ruining a race (that was also a very weak field, the classics fields were way below par from like 2009-2013 but maybe that's just because the field as a whole was much cleaner)
 
i mean, no. you can't actually tell the difference between 47km/h average and 42km/h on TV. it was a very good race and the Ronde was exceptional.

someone mentioned 2010 PR, that was an example of doping, whether you believe it's medical or mechanical, ruining a race (that was also a very weak field, the classics fields were way below par from like 2009-2013 but maybe that's just because the field as a whole was much cleaner)
It’s not about the visual look of 47kph, it’s that the performance peloton-wide is getting outrageous and average speeds are an easy barometer, in addition to maybe a couple kph due to bike tech advancements. Although I do think faster speeds have an indirect effect on things like race dynamics, crashes, etc as far as that goes.
 
November 2018 WADA announced the lifting of the Russian ban.
March 2020 the pandemic hit.

Maybe no new drug is needed when WADA has shown they won't enforce their punishements, and a pandemic has given teams months to get ahead of doping controls?
 
Pantani's time on Joux Plane should be out of reach. Maybe Vingegaard will take 2nd.

To add some data points to your point: (Padun was doing ~6W/kg for his time of 34:53)
Pantani top time was done at 6.73W/kg (number comes from chronoswatts, no clue on accuracy, just wanted to provide a ballpark number)

Think even lowballing 34' would already be eye dropping though, 32:50 is insanity :/


Col de Joux-Plane
2021:11,6 km@8,5%---34:53---average speed 19.95 km/h(Mark Padun)
---35:06---average speed 19.83 km/h(Jack Haig)
---35:11---average speed 19.78 km/h(Thomas-Porte-Lutsenko-Lopez-I.Izagirre-Gaudu-O'Connor-Kelderman)
2016:11,6 km@8,5%---35:34---average speed 19.57 km/h(Joaquim Rodriguez)
---36:04---average speed 19.30 km/h(15 riders group)
---37:05---average speed 18.77 km/h(Nibali-I.Izagirre)
2012:11,6 km@8,5%---35:16---average speed 19.74 km/h(Nairo Quintana)
---35:35---average speed 19.56 km/h(Evans-Porte-Froome-Wiggins-Rogers-Van Den Broeck-Weening-Kiryienka-Zubeldia)
2006:11,6 km@8,5%---35:47---average speed 19.45 km/h(Carlos Sastre)
---36:39---average speed 18.99 km/h(Christophe Moreau)
---36:59---average speed 18.82 km/h(Damiano Cunego)
---37:00---average speed 18.81 km/h(Floyd Landis)
---37:33---average speed 18.54 km/h(Boogerd-F.Schleck-Pereiro-Zubeldia-Kloden)
2000:11,6 km@8,5%---34:12---average speed 20.35 km/h(Virenque-Heras)
---34:40---average speed 20.08 km/h(Jan Ullrich)
---35:15---average speed 19.74 km/h(Beloki-Herve-Escartin)
---36:24---average speed 19.12 km/h(Botero-Conti-Atienza-Armstrong-Moreau)
1997:11,6 km@8,5%---32:50---average speed 21.20 km/h(Marco Pantani)-RECORD
---33:45---average speed 20.62 km/h(Virenque-Ullrich)
---34:19---average speed 20.28 km/h(Escartin-Riis)
 
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It’s not about the visual look of 47kph, it’s that the performance peloton-wide is getting outrageous and average speeds are an easy barometer, in addition to maybe a couple kph due to bike tech advancements. Although I do think faster speeds have an indirect effect on things like race dynamics, crashes, etc as far as that goes.

oh i agree, its nuts. it just doesn't take away from the show, at least for me.
 
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To add some data points to your point: (Padun was doing ~6W/kg for his time of 34:53)
Pantani top time was done at 6.73W/kg (number comes from chronoswatts, no clue on accuracy, just wanted to provide a ballpark number)

Think even lowballing 34' would already be eye dropping though, 32:50 is insanity :/


Col de Joux-Plane
2021:11,6 km@8,5%---34:53---average speed 19.95 km/h(Mark Padun)
---35:06---average speed 19.83 km/h(Jack Haig)
---35:11---average speed 19.78 km/h(Thomas-Porte-Lutsenko-Lopez-I.Izagirre-Gaudu-O'Connor-Kelderman)
2016:11,6 km@8,5%---35:34---average speed 19.57 km/h(Joaquim Rodriguez)
---36:04---average speed 19.30 km/h(15 riders group)
---37:05---average speed 18.77 km/h(Nibali-I.Izagirre)
2012:11,6 km@8,5%---35:16---average speed 19.74 km/h(Nairo Quintana)
---35:35---average speed 19.56 km/h(Evans-Porte-Froome-Wiggins-Rogers-Van Den Broeck-Weening-Kiryienka-Zubeldia)
2006:11,6 km@8,5%---35:47---average speed 19.45 km/h(Carlos Sastre)
---36:39---average speed 18.99 km/h(Christophe Moreau)
---36:59---average speed 18.82 km/h(Damiano Cunego)
---37:00---average speed 18.81 km/h(Floyd Landis)
---37:33---average speed 18.54 km/h(Boogerd-F.Schleck-Pereiro-Zubeldia-Kloden)
2000:11,6 km@8,5%---34:12---average speed 20.35 km/h(Virenque-Heras)
---34:40---average speed 20.08 km/h(Jan Ullrich)
---35:15---average speed 19.74 km/h(Beloki-Herve-Escartin)
---36:24---average speed 19.12 km/h(Botero-Conti-Atienza-Armstrong-Moreau)
1997:11,6 km@8,5%---32:50---average speed 21.20 km/h(Marco Pantani)-RECORD
---33:45---average speed 20.62 km/h(Virenque-Ullrich)
---34:19---average speed 20.28 km/h(Escartin-Riis)
They‘re gonna be well into the 33s if they go full gas considering washed-up Purito did mid-35 and Padun did a 34 from the breakaway.
 
Classics that started fast, were typically ended slow and were called 'the sprint of the dead swans' because most of the time nobody could get away because everyone was dead. Every ex-rider commentator will say 'such a fast start will really get you'.
Moreno Moser said exactly this after the first 80 km of Paris Roubaix yesterday and then in the end he was like: "ok with these freaks it doesn't matter if they start fast or slow..."
 
But is it doping?

From a site for athletics competitors (although it is to do with WADA list, so still applicable)
A substances or method can be added to the Prohibited List if it is deemed to meet two of the following three criteria:
  1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
  2. Use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
  3. Use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport (as described in the introduction to the Code).
Number one can include almost anything that is not nutritionally null: a banana "has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance" (and many of us ride with one in a pocket)

So it is a matter of whether it either is (potentially) injurous to health, or whether it falls foul of the incredibly woolly specification of "the spirit of sport."

The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind. It is the essence of Olympism and is reflected in the values we find in and through sport, including:
• Health • Ethics, fair play and honesty • Athletes’ rights as set forth in the Code • Excellence in performance • Character and Education • Fun and joy • Teamwork • Dedication and commitment • Respect for rules and laws • Respect for self and other Participants • Courage • Community and solidarity
The spirit of sport is expressed in how we play true.
(World Anti Doping Code 2021)

It'd be interesting to see how they can get anything to be defined as breaking that through a court of law (to say nothing of the appalling misuse of an adjective as an adverb at the end)
I would suggest that there is nothing that can be ingested that is per se incompatible with that list of sporting values (unless it breaks rule 2 above), so I guess that is directed at gene manipulation or replacing , I don't know, tendons with high strength elastic bands.

So are we suspecting something already banned but not detected, something not banned but should be (if so, according to rule 2 or 3?), or something legal but kept secretive?
 
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But is it doping?

From a site for athletics competitors (although it is to do with WADA list, so still applicable)

Number one can include almost anything that is not nutritionally null: a banana "has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance" (and many of us ride with one in a pocket)

So it is a matter of whether it either is (potentially) injurous to health, or whether it falls foul of the incredibly woolly specification of "the spirit of sport."


(World Anti Doping Code 2021)

It'd be interesting to see how they can get anything to be defined as breaking that through a court of law (to say nothing of the appalling misuse of an adjective as an adverb at the end)
I would suggest that there is nothing that can be ingested that is per se incompatible with that list of sporting values (unless it breaks rule 2 above), so I guess that is directed at gene manipulation or replacing , I don't know, tendons with high strength elastic bands.

So are we suspecting something already banned but not detected, something not banned but should be (if so, according to rule 2 or 3?), or something legal but kept secretive?
I believe more in something legal but kept secret and, and something not yet banned and secret.