Study: No Evidence for Superior Time Trial Performances in the “Epo Era”

Jul 11, 2013
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Study: No Evidence for Superior Time Trial Performances in the “Epo Era”

Another newly published study..

Challenges the "speeds are down" discourse since the epo-era with a historical comparison.
Seems to be relevant to the other study posted here a few days ago..

Go to this page, and press full-text to get PDF:

http://www.oalib.com/articles/3126053#.VHSe-ouG8dc

Abstract
Studies examining effects of doping in professional road racing building on archival records of the three major European stage races—the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España—concluded that riders’ final performances in the “epo era” (>1990) strongly improved, yet declined since 2004. These observations can be criticized. First, we argue that time trial performances are more valid than final performances to indirectly evaluate doping effects. Second, we will pay attention to an informal logical flaw—the Texas sharpshooter fallacy—which may have biased findings and conclusions presented in the studies. To empirically substantiate our critique, we analyzed mean kilometers per hour (km/h) performances realized by winning riders in all time trials on flat and rolling terrain in the three tours (1933-2013). Regression analyses revealed no evidence for nonlinear in- or decreases in riders’ speed beyond the 1990s, but a straightforward linear progress over time of b = 0.16 km/h per year (R2 = 0.50, p ≤ 0.001). Findings corroborate our comments on previous archival studies and qualify opinions about effects of the “epo epidemic” on cyclists’ achievements, since the time trial performances delivered in these years are no exemption to the observed linear progress in speed.

From page eight:

Figure 4 also illustrates that riders’ performances do not level off going from 2003 to 2013. Rather, they show a clear-cut linear progress in speed in this era compared to the foregoing epo years.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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I came to this conclusion too when I studied TT speeds.

They are not down since Indurain and Lance.

This is of course something that JV and other new generation believers will ignore.
 
Parker said:
So they're completely ignoring aerodynamics then?
Don't forget:

• Better Roads
• Better Nutrition
• Personal Pillows
• Strict Nutella Regulations
• Pineapple Juice

15% improvement right there, seamlessly dovetailing with the end of doping such that performance was level the entire time since everyone stopped doping in 2006. Or wait, 2003. Or...I'm confused now.

Darn it.
 
Parker said:
So they're completely ignoring aerodynamics then?
Read the article, what they claim is EPO had no effect on time trial performances from the pre EPO years aswell, basically they say it has no effect on time trial performances at all.

They also say

We further argue that conclusions drawn in all three studies (admittedly, including our own) are perhaps unsound
and

Their conclusion

To conclude, findings of the current study corroborate our comments [10]-[12] on previous archival studies, which examined effects of doping use and anti-doping efforts on riders’ final km/h performances in the three major European races in the years of the “epo epidemic” and thereafter. As suggested in the Introduction of this paper, the choice of an incorrect dependent variable combined with the Texas sharpshooter fallacy may indeed
have led to biased conclusions relating to these developments. When reckoning individual riders’ time trial performances, our findings compellingly revealed there is no solid evidence whatsoever that justifies making any
such statements.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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Something to note. A 1.5% increase in speed is a 5% increase in power output (or reduction in drag).

Another thing to consider is that although top speeds increased by 1.5%, a lot of riders started winning (i.e., much bigger than 1.5% improvement) after being mid-pack previously.

John Swanson
 
the sceptic said:
what has changed in aerodynamics since 2003?

links?
Where's the part in the paper which says it hasn't? After all, they are the ones who have seen fit to completely discount it.

Do you really think that equipment has stayed constant throughout the period of the study?
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Parker said:
Where's the part in the paper which says it hasn't? After all, they are the ones who have seen fit to completely discount it.

Do you really think that equipment has stayed constant throughout the period of the study?
the claim was "speeds are down".
regardless of why, fact seems they are not down, and so we have once more been lied to.
you don't mind though do you?
 
Jul 11, 2013
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ScienceIsCool said:
Something to note. A 1.5% increase in speed is a 5% increase in power output (or reduction in drag).

Another thing to consider is that although top speeds increased by 1.5%, a lot of riders started winning (i.e., much bigger than 1.5% improvement) after being mid-pack previously.

John Swanson
Thanks...
--------------------------
To the posters arguing aerodynamics:

So are you saing that aerodynamics was around 2003-2006 suddenly capable of nullyfying the effects of EPO?

Time improvement follows a linear curve even after the epo-era..

Surely it rather seems that the epo-era is either not over, or have been replaced by other scientific PED-imrovements..
Much like aerodynamics right?
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Parker said:
When has anyone said speeds in time trials specifically are down?
nobody said it didn't apply to time trials either.
and in the Ryder thread it was shown that top climbing speeds aren't really down either (both Froome and Hesjedal beating records on MTFs). So which speeds are down? Be precise if you want to claim that speeds are down. It's an important issue.
 
I think people will find JV said speeds are down on the climbs.

On TTs, he said it was harder to quantify due to aerodynamics.

Never let what a person said be what they actually said when it can be misrepresented as something else entirely.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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pmcg76 said:
I think people will find JV said speeds are down on the climbs.

On TTs, he said it was harder to quantify due to aerodynamics.

Never let what a person said be what they actually said when it can be misrepresented as something else entirely.
Doesn't make any sense why speeds should be down in one but not the other.
 
sniper said:
nobody said it didn't apply to time trials either.
and in the Ryder thread it was shown that top climbing speeds aren't really down either (both Froome and Hesjedal beating records on MTFs). So which speeds are down? Be precise if you want to claim that speeds are down. It's an important issue.
Where exactly in the Ryder thread was it shown climbing speeds are not down. The only type of analysis put forward by anyone was myself who compared climbing speeds on Alpe d'Huez over a 15 year period(7 ascents). There was as is normal, outliers but overall yes speeds were down for that climb.

I have yet to see anyone on here put forward anything different other than to cherry pick individual years to compare. Individual years are not trends.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
I think people will find JV said speeds are down on the climbs.
fair enough.
but i've heard it all, "speeds are down", "average speeds are down", "race speeds are down".
i think we can all agree that the mantra "speeds are down" needs revision.
you've done an excellent job with the Alpe d'huez data. more such comparisons are needed, otherwise it sounds like a gratuite statement to me.
 
the sceptic said:
Doesn't make any sense why speeds should be down in one but not the other.
Perhaps becasue aerodynamics play a bigger role in TTs than Climbs. There is only so light you can make a bike before if falls victim of the UCI rules.

Try this one for size, Christophe Bassons has Top 10 performances in TTs in races like Dunkirk, De Panne, GP des Nations during the peak EPO years(96-97) but has no equivilant performances in climbing stages. According to Bassons himself, he had the physiology of Hinault so......
 
Oct 16, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
Where exactly in the Ryder thread was it shown climbing speeds are not down. The only type of analysis put forward by anyone was myself who compared climbing speeds on Alpe d'Huez over a 15 year period(7 ascents). There was as is normal, outliers but overall yes speeds were down for that climb.

I have yet to see anyone on here put forward anything different other than to cherry pick individual years to compare. Individual years are not trends.
i said "top climbing speeds", with both Froome and Hesjedal beating records. But fair enough.
If I may ask, what did your data show for the period 2003-2013?
 
the sceptic said:
so we cant cherry pick a year, but we can cherry pick a climb?
No but nobody else is willing to put forward any alternatives and Alpe d'Huez is the most frequently used climb in Tour history with the most amount of historical data available so therefore the best case-study.

Due to the nature of the climb, it is also less likely to be impacted by factors like wind which have a major impact on some climbs like Mont Ventoux.

If you want to use other data, research it and bring it forward.
 

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