State of the peloton 2022

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What fascinates me the most is why Ineos, who was the mighty team of the last decade and has one of the biggest budgets around (and bigger than TJV i think) can't come up with an answer to what Jumbo and UAE are doing. Sure they have been on the podium the last 2 years but neither Carapaz last year nor Thomas this year have showed signs of being capable of more than that.

And the team who brought Wiggins, Froome and Thomas to the pinnacle of GT racing, despite buying continuously the biggest young talent available, hasn't come out with a new freak to dominate it all.

Even the Bernal reign was shortlived. I know he had back problems that could have hampered is progression, but could the 2019 Bernal be of any match this year? His 2021 Giro and 2021 Vuelta versions don't seem to have the speed and consistency to hang around to this pace.
i think you still need an exceptional responder to doping to get a Tour winner, talent itself isnt nearly enough...i think froome was exceptional in that regard,Indurain obviously,Pantani, Lance, Pog, Vingegaard, despite what people think about froome, he had to have some level of talent even tho it never manifested until he was 25

Bernal (and roglic) both strike me as guys who have some level of talent but arent exceptional responders to doping, if roglic doesnt abandon every other race he is in, he has a proclivity to lose the form in 3rd week while we have seen Pog and Vingegaard being strong constantly and both are able to conjure all time performances when needed - i can hardly remember bernal or roglic doing something out of this world
 
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In the meantime I also think studies like these are interesting. This is also why I ask a lot of noob questions because I don't believe marginal gains is complete bull either. It's just both.


(Or they are actually using mechanical or rather electric doping after all.)

Link to the study is here: Double blind controlled study of epo use in cyclists shows no difference between epo and placebo up Venteux. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28669689/
Problem with marginal gains is that most of these are done for decenia.

TRaining in Zone 2 (Pog)
Sprinting uphill for training (Froome)
Training in different cadence for more efficiency (Armstrong)

The bike weight is more or less constant since they fixed the weight limit.

What can change is food, but keep in mind that previously riders could use baxters... now they can't anymore... so don't know how much difference it would make compared to those days.


Related to EPO, they can do blind studies whatever they want... but we saw what EPO did... see Riis :D

i think froome was exceptional in that regard,Indurain obviously,Pantani, Lance, Pog, Vingegaard, despite what people think about froome, he had to have some level of talent even tho it never manifested until he was 25
If you look at some of the attacks of Froome, i suspect more infrastructure doping than the body itself. The way he sped up uphill in the saddle, peddling like crazy, with arms and knees pointing to the side of the road...
 
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Too bad there's no TTT this year. Think about this: van Aart, Roglic, Laporte, van Hooydonck, Benoot, Vingegaard, Kruiswijk... They would destroy all other teams like we have never seen before.
 
Getting Thomas to the position he’s in this Tour is probably the equivalent of getting Pog and V to where they are. Ineos will take one of their young guns from the classics season and bring them to the top, and maybe get a new signing, and they’ll be back in the fray.
But I agree that they are indeed struggling. Pidcock, Yates, Martinez - that all didn’t work, while they had yeras where Wiggins, Froome, Porte, Thomas, Rogers all were at least top 10 climbers.
 
Related to EPO, they can do blind studies whatever they want... but we saw what EPO did... see Riis :D
Well. The double blind study says it doesn't matter as much as we think it does. So imagine Riis didn't know if he was given EPO or not would he perform as well if:

  1. He thought he had EPO in his blood but didn't.
  2. He had EPO in his blood but thought he didn't.
The study only say we cannot know for sure if it's the thought of EPO that creates the result or the not knowing you have EPO in your blood that weakens the result, whether you have EPO in your blood or not.

Placebo and nocebo are very real effects and it doesn't mean EPO doesn't make a difference, only that we don't know why.

People oftentimes thinks placebo and nocebo means something is fake, but nothing could be further from the truth. You still need to believe and you cannot just fake that belif.

I guess the ultimate trolling antidoping move would be to be a doctor undecover pretending to give someone EPO while giving them saline. :joycat::joycat::joycat:
 
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Well. The double blind study says it doesn't matter as much as we think it does. So imagine Riis didn't know if he was given EPO or not would he perform as well if:

  1. He thought he had EPO in his blood but didn't.
  2. He had EPO in his blood but thought he didn't.
Perhaps you are forgetting a third possibility, which we might call the "Virenque effect", whereby he willingly but not knowingly doped. He has the combined mental and physical benefits of doping without the downsides of feeling guilty about it. Must be the maximum effect possible.
 
Perhaps you are forgetting a third possibility, which we might call the "Virenque effect", whereby he willingly but not knowingly doped. He has the combined mental and physical benefits of doping without the downsides of feeling guilty about it. Must be the maximum effect possible.
Interesting although I could see that as having the opposite effect too - you don’t think you’re doped but you assume your competition is, so even if you’re flying you wonder what your competition is capable of.
 
i think you still need an exceptional responder to doping to get a Tour winner, talent itself isnt nearly enough...i think froome was exceptional in that regard,Indurain obviously,Pantani, Lance, Pog, Vingegaard, despite what people think about froome, he had to have some level of talent even tho it never manifested until he was 25

Bernal (and roglic) both strike me as guys who have some level of talent but arent exceptional responders to doping, if roglic doesnt abandon every other race he is in, he has a proclivity to lose the form in 3rd week while we have seen Pog and Vingegaard being strong constantly and both are able to conjure all time performances when needed - i can hardly remember bernal or roglic doing something out of this world
Disagree with this post. There is research that shows those with naturally high Vo2 max respond less to oxygen vector doping. A naturally talented aerobic freak can still live with less naturally talented super responders.

Edit: The other point is testing. The brakes were briefly put on the peloton after the UCI passport was introduced. This provides a brief window for the naturally aerobically talented to compete before the arms race catches up. Of course teams and doctors learn to work around it. It seems a little like Formula One when they change rules to slow the cars but within a season or two they are back to the same level.
 
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Well. The double blind study says it doesn't matter as much as we think it does. So imagine Riis didn't know if he was given EPO or not would he perform as well if:

  1. He thought he had EPO in his blood but didn't.
  2. He had EPO in his blood but thought he didn't.
The study only say we cannot know for sure if it's the thought of EPO that creates the result or the not knowing you have EPO in your blood that weakens the result, whether you have EPO in your blood or not.

Placebo and nocebo are very real effects and it doesn't mean EPO doesn't make a difference, only that we don't know why.

People oftentimes thinks placebo and nocebo means something is fake, but nothing could be further from the truth. You still need to believe and you cannot just fake that belif.

I guess the ultimate trolling antidoping move would be to be a doctor undecover pretending to give someone EPO while giving them saline. :joycat::joycat::joycat:
Riis knew. The already balding Riis was already suspect when he was cannon fodder desperately hanging onto Indurain and Rominger's coat tails in the 1993 TdF. But what showed up at the 1996 Tour was a different animal.

The below thread has a lot of good info It also covers how some people respond better to doping than others. I think its safe to assume Riis and Armstrong were superior responders than say Egan Bernal or Cadel Evans. Food for thought on what we are seeing now.

Timing of EPO in early 90's that doesn't add up.. | Cyclingnews Forum
 
Disagree with this post. There is research that shows those with naturally high Vo2 max respond less to oxygen vector doping. A naturally talented aerobic freak can still live with less naturally talented super responders.

Edit: The other point is testing. The brakes were briefly put on the peloton after the UCI passport was introduced. This provides a brief window for the naturally aerobically talented to compete before the arms race catches up. Of course teams and doctors learn to work around it. It seems a little like Formula One when they change rules to slow the cars but within a season or two they are back to the same level.
Sort of unrelated but I still don’t understand how the passport doesn’t catch more doping. Unless you maintain the same blood levels 365 days a year you stand a high risk of being caught. Microdosing shouldn’t be enough to attain the performance levels that are being reached today so I don’t buy that that’s the only thing being done. If I take a blood bag or a normal dose of EPO I should have a dramatically higher HCT or HB count, or are they only using untestable compounds these days?
 
Sort of unrelated but I still don’t understand how the passport doesn’t catch more doping. Unless you maintain the same blood levels 365 days a year you stand a high risk of being caught. Microdosing shouldn’t be enough to attain the performance levels that are being reached today so I don’t buy that that’s the only thing being done. If I take a blood bag or a normal dose of EPO I should have a dramatically higher HCT or HB count, or are they only using untestable compounds these days?
I can think of a few possibilities:

- Blood is not tested every day, microdosing allows your numbers to more or less be similar. There is a big variation possible to support all kinds of things.
Blood values are not the same over a year. So the goal is to make your lower level be your upper level, so that your new upper level is far above your normal.
  • They just don't want to big scene so catching people is accidental. (even those are typically handled within the teams. I remember SKy put some rider(s) to inactive due to very unexpected blood values. (So teams test internally as well to not be caught..)
  • We have motorized doping?

Plausibility seems to point more to the 'we don't really want to catch people'
 
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One thing that stands out to me about the haydays of EPO is that the riders were just so much heavier. Maybe that's also thanks to gear, but guys like Riis and Ullrich were basically closer to Van Aert than Pogacar in their build, let alone Vingegaard.
Looking at some tour winners before EPO:

Eddy MErckx 74kg
Jacques Anquetil 70kg
Bernard Hinault : 62kg
Zoetemelk 68kg
Louison Bobet: 74kg
Greg Lemond: 67kg

Seems being around 70kg to be more common then lightweights of 60kg. Which makes sense since it is extremely hard to have keep up the energy intake in a GT.

Indurain: 79kg (this is the most extreme outlier i found)
Riis: 71kg
Pantani: 58kg
Amstrong: 72kg (most likely higher, probably 74-75kg)
Froome 68kg (big doubts on that given him being stick and bones)
Contador 61kg

Data from : https://www.procyclingstats.com/

Ofcourse i don't know when that weight was taken... at the lowest or highest point in their carreer...
 
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One thing that stands out to me about the haydays of EPO is that the riders were just so much heavier. Maybe that's also thanks to gear, but guys like Riis and Ullrich were basically closer to Van Aert than Pogacar in their build, let alone Vingegaard.
Don't forget Big Mig lol, but then again, riders like Pantani, Virenque were very skinny but were off their heads on EPO
 
One thing that stands out to me about the haydays of EPO is that the riders were just so much heavier. Maybe that's also thanks to gear, but guys like Riis and Ullrich were basically closer to Van Aert than Pogacar in their build, let alone Vingegaard.
I don’t know. There were sub 60kg climbers then too - Pantani? I think Sky perfected weight loss without loss of power. But I’ve also read that EPO benefits bigger riders more?
 
One thing that stands out to me about the haydays of EPO is that the riders were just so much heavier. Maybe that's also thanks to gear, but guys like Riis and Ullrich were basically closer to Van Aert than Pogacar in their build, let alone Vingegaard.
This I come back to all the time. Whatever Jonas is on his extremely low weight is helpful for longer climbs. Also logically should be easier to withstand heat.
 
With regard to rider weight, don’t forget how much the sport has changed in terms of the TT (and team TT for a while). The number of TT kilometers was far higher than we see now. This has changed what kind of rider can win the Tour.

The fact we assume Vingegaard can compete in the TT with a weight of 58-60km, having no real aero advantage (e.g. Remco) while pushing lower power than Remco... would be strange as ***. (6,4W/kg @ 60kg = 384W).
Assuming pog only pushes 6,2W/kg he still would push 409W. They are about the same height, so assuming a similar aero drag, Vingegaard shouldn't be in the same facinity in a flat+ explosive TT.

But i agree, the low amount of TT drasticly favored the low weight riders.
 
One thing that stands out to me about the haydays of EPO is that the riders were just so much heavier. Maybe that's also thanks to gear, but guys like Riis and Ullrich were basically closer to Van Aert than Pogacar in their build, let alone Vingegaard.
1991 Tour: 135km of ITT, 36km of TTT
1992 Tour: 137km of ITT, 64km of TTT
1993 Tour: 118km of ITT, 81km of TTT
1994 Tour: 119km of ITT, 67km of TTT
1995 Tour: 108km of ITT, 67km of TTT
1996 Tour: 103km of ITT
1997 Tour: 125km of ITT
1998 Tour: 116km of ITT
1999 Tour: 121km of ITT
2000 Tour: 75km of ITT, 70km of TTT

1991 Giro: 116km of ITT
1992 Giro: 112km of ITT
1993 Giro: 92km of ITT
1994 Giro: 86km of ITT
1995 Giro: 104km of ITT
1996 Giro: 62km of ITT
1997 Giro: 58km of ITT
1998 Giro: 82km of ITT
1999 Giro: 77km of ITT
2000 Giro: 82km of ITT

1991 Vuelta: 124km of ITT, 49km of TTT
1992 Vuelta: 97km of ITT, 33km of TTT
1993 Vuelta: 116km of ITT
1994 Vuelta: 102km of ITT
1995 Vuelta: 100km of ITT
1996 Vuelta: 90km of ITT
1997 Vuelta: 78km of ITT
1998 Vuelta: 79km of ITT
1999 Vuelta: 98km of ITT
2000 Vuelta: 89km of ITT

This is probably your biggest culprit. Interesting to note how the Giro went a whole decade without a TTT and were actually the ones with the least TT mileage, reducing down to only one long TT in the mid 90s, possibly with the hope of keeping crowd-pleasers like Pantani in the mix more than they could be in the Tour. The Vuelta in 1991 has two TTTs (one in trios and one as a full team), two long ITTs and an MTT. All of those tour TTT mileages are from a single stage, they don't have an example like the 1991 Vuelta with two TTTs, so an 81km TTT being in the repertoire absolutely was part of the sport back then. Notice how the Tour scales back ITT mileage and replaces it with TTT mileage from 1993 to 1995 to try to engineer closer competition to Indurain, but without drastically altering the balance - suspect they had little problem with Indurain winning but wanted to foster a closer competition; of course he also won the 1992 and 1993 Giri, the latter of which had reduced ITT mileage, notwithstanding that part of that was the Sestriere TT which finished with the long uphill drag and eventually climb. Similarly the 1994 Tour includes that 47,5km Morzine TT that went over a couple of climbs which Piotrs Ugrumovs went nuts on. This type of mixed TT is pretty uncommon nowadays, certainly over that kind of full distance. We get a few TTs like the mini-MTT to Megève a few years back, but I'm thinking something more like Sestri Levante in the 2009 Giro as the last example I can recall off the top of my head of this type of TT which is not an MTT but includes a wide array of terrain and has mountains but not as a defining feature.
 
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