The age question

Basically a thread to discuss why people around the age of 40 have been so succesful at sport over the last few years. In cycling we have had Horner win a gt at age 41 and 8 months of course and a bunch of guys around 38, 39 going as strong as they ever did.
In biathlon Bjorndalen won an individual olympic gold age 40. In Ski Jumping, Kasai won silver age 41 and 7 months despite being not being a top performer in the sport for 20 years.

Why is this happening? Is it just a coincidence or are drugs responsible for this? If so, why are older athletes benefiting more now than they did before?
 
quite an obvious answer would simply be that the science behind training is much better now even from a young age, so people hits their 30+ where they naturally start to regress slighly better prepared. In addition to an increasing knowledge into how to change a training regime as you get older and older.
So someone like Bjorndalen, doesn't seem to me to be that "far fetched". Guys that signifanctly improve when they get 35+ are of course doing something interesting :p
 
The problem with 34 years old is that some times you are tired of racing and you want to waste your life in other sport. if you have a good genetic and you take care of you and train properly the diference between performance at 30 and 40 is small, of cpurse is lower, but you can performed really well, as we see in horner, Rebellin, Voigt, Tossato, Pettachi, and as did in the past a lot of great champions as Zoetemelk, who won Amstel at 40, Bahamontes, he was top ten in La Vuelta and won Montjuic climb at 37, Van Impe, won Valles Mineros at 40, Duclos Lasalle, won Roubaix at 39 and a stage in basque country at 40, Coppi, his last victory at 38, and a lot of examples more.. maybe more that great riders abandon at 32.

You can add other motivations, as if start an era of doping left becouse you dont want to dope, or in an era of doping abandon before for heath issues, it is dangeropus to be as Riis with 60 hematocric,...

Depend as well of how intense was thes`sportif life of an athlete, but anyway, every body is different.

But to win Turkie is not even similar to win Amstel, Flecha and Lieje in a row or to be top ten at the Giro. There is a big difference, and more when you has less days to compite.

But there is a wrong perception that with 35 you are alredy old to perform and with 40 you must be out and no possible to win anything. Of course not.

How Horner would have performed with 30 in this era and with a normal biografy for a cyclist?, we dont know, he should have been really strong. He is very good in very steep climbs, he climb almost all the Angliru up of his bike, and that skill maybe you dont lose with the age, the same as aerodinamic.
 
May 26, 2010
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The Hitch said:
Basically a thread to discuss why people around the age of 40 have been so succesful at sport over the last few years. In cycling we have had Horner win a gt at age 41 and 8 months of course and a bunch of guys around 38, 39 going as strong as they ever did.
In biathlon Bjorndalen won an individual olympic gold age 40. In Ski Jumping, Kasai won silver age 41 and 7 months despite being not being a top performer in the sport for 20 years.

Why is this happening? Is it just a coincidence or are drugs responsible for this? If so, why are older athletes benefiting more now than they did before?
Of course it is doping. But it also could be down to the older rider having one last roll of the dice and loading the dice more than ever in their favour.

Today Paolo Tiralongo was the oldest stage winner in Il Giro's history, 37years and 313days. So much to be gained the risk so small and they will be long gone by the time testing catches up with whatever they used.
 
I can't type the full response, but I need to make this point before th discussion moves on: the discussion needs to be very specific about the actual mechanisms of aging, and the effect of age on adaptation processes. Chnaging hormone profiles, mitochondrial changes, no more blank-slate... It win't do anyone any good to talk about aging as some single concept, like saying "the economy..."

Full post coming later
 
Jun 15, 2009
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It even hit snooker, snooker of all, where the best of the best emerged at a very very early age... Stuart Bingham, a no show for 20+ years in the pro tour, all of a sudden wins the WC. :eek:
 
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del1962 said:
1984 Olympic Marathon was won by a 37 year old
1 example of a guy way below 40 in a discipline people of that age have always done better in from a year that was pretty doped across all sports, is supposed to be some sort of an argument for something or just a random non sequiter?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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From my point of view, in Cycling people will often say someone is too young to win this or that race or too old to win this or that race.
There are many factors in age and the ability to win, and you cannot rule out doping as one of those factors.

Perhaps the reason we have seen so many depart the sport in mid 30's is because they believe it when they are told they are too old to continue at a high level, making those who stay on to race and win the exception to the rule. And I get distinct feeling that teams want young riders to develop over the old guard.
 
Re:

msjett said:
From my point of view, in Cycling people will often say someone is too young to win this or that race or too old to win this or that race.
There are many factors in age and the ability to win, and you cannot rule out doping as one of those factors.

Perhaps the reason we have seen so many depart the sport in mid 30's is because they believe it when they are told they are too old to continue at a high level, making those who stay on to race and win the exception to the rule. And I get distinct feeling that teams want young riders to develop over the old guard.
On the contrary many of the top gt names in recent history went into gts as favourites fully backed by their team and disappointed and that's how's they showed decline.

A few recent examples include Armstrong 2010 tour, Sastre 2010 Giro, Basso 2012 giro, Menchov 2012 tour, Evans 2012 tour, Sam San 2013 giro.
 
Mar 31, 2015
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More riders getting to late 30's+ without carrying a debilitating injury now maybe a big factor? Would Henault's knee have been such a problem with modern treatment? (first example I could think of.... don't actually know how much treatment has advanced for that type of injury).
 
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Tommy79 said:
More riders getting to late 30's+ without carrying a debilitating injury now maybe a big factor? Would Henault's knee have been such a problem with modern treatment? (first example I could think of.... don't actually know how much treatment has advanced for that type of injury).

Yes, another factor to take into account is illness, as Hinault.

Some people look at Merck, Hinault, Indurain, Fignon,... ending his carreer or result early and they thing later is not possible to perform.

Now medicine (legal medicine) is better and that helps. But not only medicine.

I think you can perform better with 33 than with 26.
 
Jun 27, 2009
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Re: Re:

Taxus4a said:
Tommy79 said:
More riders getting to late 30's+ without carrying a debilitating injury now maybe a big factor? Would Henault's knee have been such a problem with modern treatment? (first example I could think of.... don't actually know how much treatment has advanced for that type of injury).

Yes, another factor to take into account is illness, as Hinault.

Some people look at Merck, Hinault, Indurain, Fignon,... ending his carreer or result early and they thing later is not possible to perform.

Now medicine (legal medicine) is better and that helps. But not only medicine.

I think you can perform better with 33 than with 26.
I think what I could gather from Hinault's books and interviews, Hinault had it in his head to quit at 32 when he started his career, though as you mentioned his knee problem may have helped force the issue, plus not winning five Tours.. when you look at the workload of those guys ( and Hinault's palmares ) back then, it's a miracle they still raced into their 30's at all... Imagine the four you mentioned with 2015 levels of training, preparation, recovery and modern equipment... Yikes....
 
Re: Re:

S2Sturges said:
Taxus4a said:
Tommy79 said:
More riders getting to late 30's+ without carrying a debilitating injury now maybe a big factor? Would Henault's knee have been such a problem with modern treatment? (first example I could think of.... don't actually know how much treatment has advanced for that type of injury).

Yes, another factor to take into account is illness, as Hinault.

Some people look at Merck, Hinault, Indurain, Fignon,... ending his carreer or result early and they thing later is not possible to perform.

Now medicine (legal medicine) is better and that helps. But not only medicine.

I think you can perform better with 33 than with 26.
I think what I could gather from Hinault's books and interviews, Hinault had it in his head to quit at 32 when he started his career, though as you mentioned his knee problem may have helped force the issue, plus not winning five Tours.. when you look at the workload of those guys ( and Hinault's palmares ) back then, it's a miracle they still raced into their 30's at all... Imagine the four you mentioned with 2015 levels of training, preparation, recovery and modern equipment... Yikes....
Thanks for the info.

Boonen said as well he will quit at 30, but you can change your mind.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Re: Re:

The Hitch said:
msjett said:
From my point of view, in Cycling people will often say someone is too young to win this or that race or too old to win this or that race.
There are many factors in age and the ability to win, and you cannot rule out doping as one of those factors.

Perhaps the reason we have seen so many depart the sport in mid 30's is because they believe it when they are told they are too old to continue at a high level, making those who stay on to race and win the exception to the rule. And I get distinct feeling that teams want young riders to develop over the old guard.
On the contrary many of the top gt names in recent history went into gts as favourites fully backed by their team and disappointed and that's how's they showed decline.

A few recent examples include Armstrong 2010 tour, Sastre 2010 Giro, Basso 2012 giro, Menchov 2012 tour, Evans 2012 tour, Sam San 2013 giro.
Wiggins also had the full backing of his team in the 2013 Giro and failed to perform, he isn't the age of Evans or Sam San (probably not got half the talent either). So does that mean his decline started sooner than the examples you gave? Or are there other factors.

Which makes me ask the question for example Aru is 24 and currently has the backing of his team and if he fails to perform how many chances does he get simply because he is young?

Is it possible that someone will look at him and say we gave him a chance and he failed so he is as good as he is going to get?
 
Re: Re:

msjett said:
The Hitch said:
msjett said:
From my point of view, in Cycling people will often say someone is too young to win this or that race or too old to win this or that race.
There are many factors in age and the ability to win, and you cannot rule out doping as one of those factors.

Perhaps the reason we have seen so many depart the sport in mid 30's is because they believe it when they are told they are too old to continue at a high level, making those who stay on to race and win the exception to the rule. And I get distinct feeling that teams want young riders to develop over the old guard.
On the contrary many of the top gt names in recent history went into gts as favourites fully backed by their team and disappointed and that's how's they showed decline.

A few recent examples include Armstrong 2010 tour, Sastre 2010 Giro, Basso 2012 giro, Menchov 2012 tour, Evans 2012 tour, Sam San 2013 giro.
Wiggins also had the full backing of his team in the 2013 Giro and failed to perform, he isn't the age of Evans or Sam San (probably not got half the talent either). So does that mean his decline started sooner than the examples you gave? Or are there other factors.

Which makes me ask the question for example Aru is 24 and currently has the backing of his team and if he fails to perform how many chances does he get simply because he is young?

Is it possible that someone will look at him and say we gave him a chance and he failed so he is as good as he is going to get?
Wigins has no any phisical decline, he has SKy problems and lack of motivation to get ready for a GT... but a rider close to win Roubaix is difficult to think about decline. And he won last year California.
 
Re:

The Hitch said:
Basically a thread to discuss why people around the age of 40 have been so succesful at sport over the last few years. In cycling we have had Horner win a gt at age 41 and 8 months of course and a bunch of guys around 38, 39 going as strong as they ever did.
In biathlon Bjorndalen won an individual olympic gold age 40. In Ski Jumping, Kasai won silver age 41 and 7 months despite being not being a top performer in the sport for 20 years.

Why is this happening? Is it just a coincidence or are drugs responsible for this? If so, why are older athletes benefiting more now than they did before?
In theory, barring career ending trauma, the body should be able to keep going, and keep progressing with age. There is nothing about training in itself that weakens itself over the long term, besides any mental exhaustion, maybe.

So the physiological factors that do impair performance are about age, not fitness. There is a changing hormone levels:

THE mechanisms responsible for biological aging have not been clearly delineated, as aging is a complex, multifactorial process with a high degree of individual variability. It is believed that a major portion of age-related changes are a result of lifestyle and environmental influences, which may explain why some individuals age more successfully than others (1). It has been well documented that there are significant changes in endocrine function with increasing age. Levels of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and estrogen have been shown to decrease with age (2)(3)(4)(5). Reduced levels of anabolic hormones may be responsible for many of the changes in body composition and loss of function that are associated with aging. In men, age-related changes in insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) and testosterone have been shown to be significantly related to muscle mass (6), and many of the changes in body composition that occur with aging are similar to changes observed in subjects with growth hormone deficiency (4). Females experience a similar decline in anabolic hormones (3)(7), and it has been shown that quadriceps muscle function is significantly correlated to serum IGF-I and the sulfate conjugate of DHEA in elderly women (8). There is also some evidence that loss of estrogen after menopause accelerates the loss of muscle mass and bone mineral density in female subjects (9), and low levels of testosterone have been shown to be a limiting factor in strength and muscle development in older female subjects (7).
In addition to hormone stuff, there are biomechanical changes. Muscle elasticity changes, and the way the body changes elasticity also changes. Learned movement patterns are fossilized. Some of this is due to hormone changes, but it also comes from a sum of parts changing the way the body adapts to exercise stress. Armature athletes run the risk of physical damage from bad movement, damaged cartilage and arthritis, but let's ignore that for elites.

But a big piece is mitochondria dysfunction. The mitochondrial theory of aging is the idea that over time, various processes damage mitochondrial DNA. The ability to make new mitochondria weakens, and so does the ability of those mitochondria to produce energy.

It may read like a lot of gibberish, but you can figure out that it is talking about decreased gene expression and function with age. But it is well explained in the podcast I linked at the bottom (Author is the guest on the podcast). (It is a great podcast in general, and would interest a lot of the arm chair scientists like me on the forum).

A decline in skeletal muscle mass and function with aging is well recognized, but remains poorly characterized at the molecular level. Here, we report for the first time a genome-wide study of DNA methylation dynamics in skeletal muscle of healthy male individuals during normal human aging. We predominantly observed hypermethylation throughout the genome within the aged group as compared to the young subjects. ... Our findings highlight epigenetic links between aging postmitotic skeletal muscle and DNA methylation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24304487

Check out episode 49: http://guruperformance.com/consulting/podcasts/


So on to doping...

The first problem can be solved with steroid and hormone supplements. But Hitch's question is a good one when he asks "If so, why are older athletes benefiting more now than they did before?" I think that the specific issues of aging are better identified, and better interventions have been designed. Even if the published science does not know everything (and it knows a lot more than it did several years ago), the trial and error of practitioners, athletes, coaches and doctors will always figure it out first. We may have seen experimentation in age-related hormone/steroid doping for 40 years, but they only "got it right" recently.

Biomechanical stuff can also be better addressed than in the past. If Hinault had seen Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt, he probably could have ridden for several more seasons.

But that last piece, mitochondrial dysfunction, is a little different. The science is newer than hormone stuff, but it is also less intuitive than hormone stuff. The science knows that resistance training can be a good intervention to stimulate satellite cells' (with higher quality mitochondrial DNA and function) function, to cause more mitochondria production in the muscle cells. A lot of older athletes avoid strength training, prioritizing more specific exercises when they feel their body has less capacity for different stresses.

I don't understand the science well enough, but I don't think traditional doping would be helpful in this case. They're good for their anabolic or catabolic effects, but that's not what we're looking for out of the resistance training in this case.

Effects of age and unaccustomed resistance exercise on mitochondrial transcript and protein abundance in skeletal muscle of men.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25695287

Regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883043/

As with anything exercise or performance, it is not a yes/no or a this/that. It's complicated. We know what Horner was up to thanks to his passport, but what allowed that to work, when it wouldn't for other 41 year olds is still a mystery. It's possible that some of the older athletes mentioned already could be clean, or not.
 
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