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

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D-Queued said:
Height difference between arm rests and highest and lowest point of the extension limited to 10 cm. This is a further restriction of the ‘praying mantis’ position
Out of all those listed, this one is actually less restrictive that what it replaced, which was a (somewhat poorly defined) requirement for the forearm to be horizontal. In aero testing we've been able to legally set people up with a partial mantis that would not have been permitted after the 2007 rule change.

Also they removed morphological checks this year and now automatically permit riders to have one or the other of bring saddle forward to the vertical line of the centre of BB or an extra 5cm extension of bars, but not both. Previously this option was not automatic (especially the saddle) and you were very much at the whim of the commissaire on the day.
 
Alex Simmons/RST said:
Out of all those listed, this one is actually less restrictive that what it replaced, which was a (somewhat poorly defined) requirement for the forearm to be horizontal. In aero testing we've been able to legally set people up with a partial mantis that would not have been permitted after the 2007 rule change.

Also they removed morphological checks this year and now automatically permit riders to have one or the other of bring saddle forward to the vertical line of the centre of BB or an extra 5cm extension of bars, but not both. Previously this option was not automatic (especially the saddle) and you were very much at the whim of the commissaire on the day.
Yes, I understand the change on the morph check. But the new situation is actually more restrictive and I have still seen people disqualified needlessly.

In fact, had I not bought a new TT bike* to overcome some of the more recent restrictions and had I not installed electronic on the new bike (because mechanical wouldn't actually fit), I would also have had a non-compliant position due to the change in lever measurement(s). If you are a big rider, shorter bars start to become unsafe even with the 80 cm.

My overriding complaint is not personal, however, even though these changes have cost me thousands of dollars and at least hundreds of hours in bike setup.

My overriding complaint is more often than not, those disqualified are less experienced and are almost certainly not receiving any unfair advantage.

It is unfair to them. Either they cannot race or they have to find some kind soul with the right tools, in the right place, in the middle of a pre-race panic and hope that they can still make their Junior/Novice/Cat 4/5/Masters 60+/Cat 3 Womens start time.

The UCI is just plain stupid. What a way to kill participation. Maybe they will think of gear restrictions next when you cannot even buy anything but 11 speed cogsets. :rolleyes:

But, back to the subject.

It is astounding that speeds have increased by more than a few seconds.

Dave.

*Having tested the old setup and the new setup in the tunnel, the conclusion is that the UCI made me waste a bunch of money for nothing. Net/net even after tunnel refinement, my drag hasn't changed much from the 'illegal' setup. I do have more toys to test with and compare though.
 
Enforcement of rules is different issue. As a commissaire myself, bike checks are a part of life and one does try to apply some discretion and common sense. But as in any sport, the nature of the official in charge can vary.

Heck there are some older riders who can't ride with handlebars lower than the saddle.
 
The main trend in aero at present is not in equipment or position, it's the increasing level of access for riders to be tested. More tunnels and the advent of real time field testing at tracks has opened up the opportunity to optimise aero for more riders than previously.

Tunnel and other testing has been fairly uncommon for most pros, usually only the top riders doing any work, and even then fairly limited given cost of tunnel time.

But more are beginning to do it, and more teams are investing in working with their riders on it.

I'm off next week to do some testing for a pro-continental team, and I know one of my colleagues is heading to Europe for testing with a couple of pro teams. Almost all of the riders involved have never had any aero testing done before.

It's one of those performance areas where amateurs have often led the way and pros are catching up. Let's face it, the less power you have, the more clever you need to be to get the most from it.
 
Alex Simmons/RST said:
The main trend in aero at present is not in equipment or position, it's the increasing level of access for riders to be tested. More tunnels and the advent of real time field testing at tracks has opened up the opportunity to optimise aero for more riders than previously.

Tunnel and other testing has been fairly uncommon for most pros, usually only the top riders doing any work, and even then fairly limited given cost of tunnel time.

But more are beginning to do it, and more teams are investing in working with their riders on it.

I'm off next week to do some testing for a pro-continental team, and I know one of my colleagues is heading to Europe for testing with a couple of pro teams. Almost all of the riders involved have never had any aero testing done before.

It's one of those performance areas where amateurs have often led the way and pros are catching up. Let's face it, the less power you have, the more clever you need to be to get the most from it.
Surely the more progressive people are moving away from using wind tunnels as their primary test method by now and are using CFD. Wind tunnels are good for double checking the results and some nice PR shots, but CFD is superior in every other way.
 
Again a GT obsessed study ...

Chris Boardman in Agrigente 1994 : 50.832kmh
Tony Martin in Valkenburg 2012: 46.755 km/h
Bradley Wiggins in Ponferrada 2014: 50.092 kmh
Fabian Cancellara in Stuttgart 2007: 48.380 kmh

Only Cancellara in Mendrisio exploded the Boardman average speed...
 
Echoes said:
Again a GT obsessed study ...

Chris Boardman in Agrigente 1994 : 50.832kmh
Tony Martin in Valkenburg 2012: 46.755 km/h
Bradley Wiggins in Ponferrada 2014: 50.092 kmh
Fabian Cancellara in Stuttgart 2007: 48.380 kmh

Only Cancellara in Mendrisio exploded the Boardman average speed...
What was the course like in 1994, though?

Wiggins did 52.122 on a very flat course at the London Olympics.
 
May 6, 2011
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Merckx index said:
Making this connection is particularly difficult since EPO use came very suddenly, over a period of time in which technological changes would be relatively minor. To demonstrate effects of technological changes one needs to look at periods of a decade or more, but changes resulting from doping can occur much more quickly. By smearing this out over a decade, in a set of data that already have a lot of scatter, the possibility of detecting a very real difference in the increase as a result of EPO, and that from other factors, is reduced.
The rapidity with which EPO came in to use would be exactly why I would have thought it would be straightforward to separate its effects from general technological progress.

My prior assumptions would be that technological progress leads to the general upward trend in times observed, and that use of EPO would lead to a one off jump in performances (and their distribution) upwards. As such, my expectations would have been - before this seeing this study - that:

- If EPO spread rapidly, the observations would show a discontinuous shift in the regression line upwards around 92/93.

- If EPO use spread slowly, the I would have expected a 'kink' in the regression line up to the point at which its use was widespread, and then a return to historic trends as no further gains from EPO use can be made.

The observations in the study (see Figure 4 for example) clearly show neither of these patterns hold in the data. It may just be that technology dominates the effects of EPO in performance in time trials. Or perhaps technological progress stopped and was replaced by the gains from EPO. But it does require some explanation..,
 
Does the data show a kink in 1990, once everyone started using tri bars? Surely the most significant technological development in TT equipment in the "modern" era? If it doesn't then we'd have to question the data/conclusions thereon (assuming that tri bars really do make such a significant difference).
 
May 6, 2011
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simoni said:
Does the data show a kink in 1990, once everyone started using tri bars? Surely the most significant technological development in TT equipment in the "modern" era? If it doesn't then we'd have to question the data/conclusions thereon (assuming that tri bars really do make such a significant difference).
The data doesn't appear to show any discontinuous change in TT speeds of any sort over the entire period under consideration 1933-2013.
 
Echoes said:
Again a GT obsessed study ...

Chris Boardman in Agrigente 1994 : 50.832kmh
Tony Martin in Valkenburg 2012: 46.755 km/h
Bradley Wiggins in Ponferrada 2014: 50.092 kmh
Fabian Cancellara in Stuttgart 2007: 48.380 kmh

Only Cancellara in Mendrisio exploded the Boardman average speed...
BigMig - Luxembourg 1992: 49.038 km/h for 65K, LeMond 5th at 4:04. We all seem to agree that LeMond was clean and BigMig loaded. If so, how much of it is the Espada, how much is EPO, and how much is talent/ITT skills? 20-70-10? 30-70-0? Whichever way you cut it, it would seem to indicate some (if not a major part) of the 4+ minutes due to EPO...what do you think?
 
Echoes said:
Again a GT obsessed study ...

Chris Boardman in Agrigente 1994 : 50.832kmh
Tony Martin in Valkenburg 2012: 46.755 km/h
Bradley Wiggins in Ponferrada 2014: 50.092 kmh
Fabian Cancellara in Stuttgart 2007: 48.380 kmh

Only Cancellara in Mendrisio exploded the Boardman average speed...
Tony Martin in Firenze 2013: 52.957 km/h
 
Sep 29, 2012
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And whether the rider had an ear piece to know to go faster to win vs riding the bare minimum to win.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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ralphbert said:
Is there an Echo in here?
I see posts from echos. Ok I asked the same question as someone else and I missed the response? I guess I lost it in all the Aero discussion.
 
Unless I’ve missed something, the authors conclusions are incorrect with regard to both the relationship of the EPO era to the previous era, and of the EPO era to the post EPO (Perneger) era.

First, look at the last three lines in Table 1, where the average speeds in these three eras are provided: 44.16 kph, 49.34 kph, 49.34 kph, respectively. These raw data indicate that the average speed in the EPO era was considerably faster than in the previous era, and did not change in the post-EPO era.

Now go to the fourth paragraph in the Results section, where they discuss these values and how they correct for them, using a year of competition b-value and a distance b-value. The first reflects that the raw data indicate a steady increase of 0.16 kph per year over the entire period of the study; the second is based on a decrease of 0.03 kph per additional km of ITT length. Comparing the EPO era with the pre-EPO era, these factors are 4.60 (representing about a 30 year difference between the mean of the pre-EPO era and the mean of the EPO era), and -0.096 (because the average distance in the EPO era was about 3.2 km longer than in the pre-EPO era, see Table 1). The first factor in effect reduces the difference between the pre-EPO and EPO era, by correcting for the steady increase in speeds over time; the second factor increases it, by correcting for the longer distances in the EPO era, which would reduce average speeds.

After making these corrections, they find that the difference in average speeds between the two eras is greatly reduced, to about 1.5% (45.59 vs. 44.92). This value, however, since it already includes correction for the steady increase, indicates that speeds during the EPO era increased by 1.5% above and beyond the steady increase. This is about what one would expect if there were roughly a 5% increase in power, and would certainly be consistent with doping.

Now consider the EPO vs. post-EPO era comparison. The two raw values are identical; no difference at all in average speeds. This can also be seen in Fig. 2, where the curve flattens out after 1990. They claim in the text, though, that when corrections are made for year of competition and length of ITT, the post-EPO speeds go up, to about 1.8% more than for the EPO era.

Several problems here. First, as with the EPO vs. pre-EPO comparison, this difference is above and beyond the steady increase, so again, it would suggest an effect of doping. But more important, their conclusion doesn’t make sense. As they state in the text, the year of competition correction factor is -0.83, which corresponds to about 5 years. It ought to be about double that, corresponding to ten years between the mean years of these eras. But the negative value means that the correction goes the other way, that is, the speeds in the post EPO era are reduced relative to the EPO era, when one takes into account the steady increase. Moreover, they claim only a very small correction for distance, though the average distance for the post EPO era was even less than for the pre-EPO era, so the correction should have been even larger.

All of that is bad enough. But then at the end of the discussion in this section, they state, “Notice that the slight performance differences we obtained between the various comparison groups did not yield significant results. Still, they are indicative of the linear progress in speed we discussed previously.” As I just pointed out, these differences exist after the speeds are corrected for the linear progress in speed. They are above and beyond this.

So unless I’m missing something—and I welcome anyone to correct me if I am--their data actually do show an increase in speeds from the pre-EPO era to the EPO era above and beyond the steady increase in speeds seen throughout the pre-EPO era. The increase is not large, and given all the scatter, not significant, but as I discussed earlier, given the power vs. speed relationship in time trialing, one would not expect it to be very large. And second, there is no increase in speed going from the pre-EPO to post-EPO or Perneger era. So these data seem to be quite consistent with doping in the 1990s that has not decreased since, though again, because these changes are not significant, one certainly could not rule out that doping has decreased.
 
Parker said:
What was the course like in 1994, though?

Wiggins did 52.122 on a very flat course at the London Olympics.
4 days after apparently being the rider of the day at the 250k road race, and 10 days after finishing a 3 week 3000km Tour de France in which he been at the front in every major stage, which included something like 20 catergorized mountains.
 
May 27, 2012
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The Hitch said:
4 days after apparently being the rider of the day at the 250k road race, and 10 days after finishing a 3 week 3000km Tour de France in which he been at the front in every major stage, which included something like 20 catergorized mountains.
Thanks for the perspective...though I'm sure the significance of the information is lost on Parker...
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Netserk said:
Tony Martin's time in Firenze was the longest (both duration and length).
the old GP des NAtions chrono was ~70km, and this was when GPdN was the default World tt title
 
ChewbaccaD said:
Thanks for the perspective...though I'm sure the significance of the information is lost on Parker...
And what is the significance then?

I was responding the Echoes selective picking of World TT times to show that no-one had gone as fast as Boardman in a one off TT with no reference to the courses, so I picked a TT that I knew was very flat to show that they had. Another person offered Tony Martin as another who had gone even faster in Firenze. When Wiggins did it is irrelevant (or even that it was Wiggins), fresher he may have gone faster which would have only emphasised my point that people had very much gone faster than Boardman.

So that's my perspective and significance. What is yours that will be lost on me?
 
Merckx index said:
Unless I’ve missed something...

So unless I’m missing something—and I welcome anyone to correct me if I am--their data actually do show an increase in speeds from the pre-EPO era to the EPO era above and beyond the steady increase in speeds seen throughout the pre-EPO era. ... So these data seem to be quite consistent with doping in the 1990s that has not decreased since, though again, because these changes are not significant, one certainly could not rule out that doping has decreased.
I think that is what I understand.

Doping should have decreased, or been more moderated, with the advent of the Passport.

Doping should have decreased such that the 'clean' teams can be more competitive.

Certain knowledgeable folks have suggested that speeds are down as a result of decreased doping.

The speed data doesn't support a decrease in doping, even though it is still possible.

Dave.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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Parker said:
And what is the significance then?

I was responding the Echoes selective picking of World TT times to show that no-one had gone as fast as Boardman in a one off TT with no reference to the courses, so I picked a TT that I knew was very flat to show that they had. Another person offered Tony Martin as another who had gone even faster in Firenze. When Wiggins did it is irrelevant (or even that it was Wiggins), fresher he may have gone faster which would have only emphasised my point that people had very much gone faster than Boardman.

So that's my perspective and significance. What is yours that will be lost on me?
Well there is always this, Parker.

Bradley's Tour in numbers

Age: 32
Height: 192cm (6' 3")
Weight: 69kg (10st 8lb)

Distance cycled: 3,497km (2,172mi)
Time in the saddle: 87 hours 34 minutes 47 seconds
Climbing: 21,000m (68,900ft)
Daily calorific intake: 7,000 calories (average male requires 2,500)

Average time-trailling speed: 50km/h (31mph)
Power output: 475 watts (average weekend cyclist rides at 150 watts)
6.88w/kg. Do you find that significant?
 
Parker said:
Surely the more progressive people are moving away from using wind tunnels as their primary test method by now and are using CFD. Wind tunnels are good for double checking the results and some nice PR shots, but CFD is superior in every other way.
Hardly. How long does it take to properly set up a single rider, with every wrinkle, for every possible combination you might want to test, with a non-static (i.e. moving) test subject?

Accuracy and reliability are still issues for CFD, results are sensitive to a large number of user input parameters and verification and validation of results are imperative.

From a practical POV, show me a CFD application and lab that can rapidly test a different skinsuit material or fit, or quickly change bars 5mm between test runs, or see how a rider's slight positional changes impact aero as they fatigue?

No, CFD is a very useful and complementary technology and is definitely great for solving flow problems that cant be solved or tested in other ways, and for visualising what's going on, but practically you just aren't going to achieve the number of level of testing outcomes that you can with field and tunnel testing.
 

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