The age question

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Gung Ho Gun said:
Which guys do we actually have in cycling, still at their best at age 38+?
Horner, Peraud are the only ones that immediately spring to mind
What you mean "his best" in the moment they get better result, but not the performance that he could have reach better in his life.

If Peraud would have followed the same story that Pinot, Contador, Aru,... always from young in road cycling, he will have got his best result with around 30, and he will performe better than now, not much better, but something.
 
cost/benefit analysis: as you approach the end of your career, the benefits of doping stay the same, but the expected cost (i.e. what you lose if caught) goes down. So you dope more and more flagrantly with little to no repercussions.
 
In my opinion i think it's unfair to put Kasai in there if it where meant as suspicious. He has always been good, and he is as professional as Rebellin, in terms of dedication and lifestyle. So it's no suprise he is up there.
 
Re:

FoxxyBrown1111 said:
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:
Speedway too, where American Greg Hancock won his 3rd world title at the age of 44.
 
Apr 3, 2011
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Vino attacks everyone said:
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.
especially if they have been "training scientifically" throughout the whole carrier (long term benefits of full genius era of EPO that todays youngster are deprived of)
 
Older great performers is nothing new: Poulidor, Zoetemelk come to mind. In recent times, Jeannie Longo is the prime example of longevity. Better illegal and legal medicine, treatment of injuries, training, all this contributes to more athletes' increased longevity. The one thing that brings doping to the forefront, IMO, is that regardless of the progress made in understanding the human body and its care, there's nothing (natural) one can do about the impact of aging on recovery. If you can't recover, you can't train/compete at the highest level. A joint pain that heals overnight at age 20 turns into a one week ordeal at the age of 40. The recovery part makes me uneasy when I see older top performers, particularly if they have subjected their body to heavy training for decades.
 
Mar 27, 2014
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Tonton said:
Older great performers is nothing new: Poulidor, Zoetemelk come to mind. In recent times, Jeannie Longo is the prime example of longevity. Better illegal and legal medicine, treatment of injuries, training, all this contributes to more athletes' increased longevity. The one thing that brings doping to the forefront, IMO, is that regardless of the progress made in understanding the human body and its care, there's nothing (natural) one can do about the impact of aging on recovery. If you can't recover, you can't train/compete at the highest level. A joint pain that heals overnight at age 20 turns into a one week ordeal at the age of 40. The recovery part makes me uneasy when I see older top performers, particularly if they have subjected their body to heavy training for decades.


Absolutely any top athlete knows it is as much about rest and recovery as it is about the training, You need to recover the muscle from the workload to enable it to regenerate and produce new fibres to be able to undertake more training. What the drugs do is enable the recovery to happen faster, One of EPO's main benefits is not really the oxygen carrying ability of a rider in the tour during the mountain stage. It is more the oxygen carrying blood cells in the body during the large training blocks that allows the athlete to build the strength to go up mountains at those power outputs which are required.

To be able to compete at the top level is all about the training / recovery / training repeat.
Add in the advances in weight management clenbutarol, then aicar etc.
Add in the advances in muscle and joint management Dianobol and various other steroids which increase muscle mass (not size necessarily) and also increase fluid development around joints. Then add in some testosterone treatment and you have a perfect cocktail of the older athlete able to compete with a younger athlete.

Then as others have said , add in the risk of getting caught and losing a career diminishing, as the career is coming to an end anyway.

Simples......
 
robertmooreheadlane said:
Absolutely any top athlete knows it is as much about rest and recovery as it is about the training.
Actually, I know one top athlete who recently said in his book that he doesn't understand what recovery is and that when his coaches tell him to recover he takes off his computer and secretly does another 4 hours on the bike.
 
May 19, 2015
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People are definitely getting older. In 1992, when Sean Kelly won Milano-Sanremo, he was the oldest man in the peloton at 35. And was considered a dinosaur.

Now there is about 70 pro's (World Tour and Pro-continental) over the age of 35.

35 and 36 is not old anymore. At 37, you are getting there, but you are not old-old. You first become an elderly statesman of the peloton when you reach 38.

Don't know if it has something to do with dope or not. But they are certainly lasting longer.
 
A friend of mine is a supremely motivated, medically educated cyclist, professionally involved in legal supplements. with many masters rainbow jerseys. Well into his 50's now.
What struck him recently is an article about interval training. Yeah. 30 seconds full (on), 30 seconds off. Do many.
He'd never trained in this way, but has found that despite relativelyminimal endurance training of late (life gets in the way), the claimed VO2 increase does seem to happen. Recently he did a high-speed criterium type of thing he's done for decades, and it was surprisingly easy for him.

So yeah, we CAN find training regimes later in life that (suddenly) work a lot. Which doesn't mean they would have boosted performance in the same way as the same body at a younger age.
Cumulative knowledge and consious use of legal supplements DOES negate the performance loss over the years, to a degree. And will in some periods even allow for a net increase in performance despite age related degredation.

In the case of Horner, I feel the trick is all about cumulative doping knowledge, and PED use long-term effects. Cycling has been clean-ish the past 10 years, but Horner was doping HARD well before that. And is still having benefit from that. Plus, he had the best people and on-board knowledge to fine tune his microdosing. A 21 years old just cannot match the training volume, PED body changes over decades, race tactics, and day-to-day spot on doping regime. The 21yo's doc is just figuring out how to best treat this particular body. Horner can predict his blood values to well within 3% without seeing a test result, I'm sure.
 
Tonton said:
Older great performers is nothing new: Poulidor, Zoetemelk come to mind. In recent times, Jeannie Longo is the prime example of longevity. Better illegal and legal medicine, treatment of injuries, training, all this contributes to more athletes' increased longevity. The one thing that brings doping to the forefront, IMO, is that regardless of the progress made in understanding the human body and its care, there's nothing (natural) one can do about the impact of aging on recovery. If you can't recover, you can't train/compete at the highest level. A joint pain that heals overnight at age 20 turns into a one week ordeal at the age of 40. The recovery part makes me uneasy when I see older top performers, particularly if they have subjected their body to heavy training for decades.
Sure, recovery matters, but what is the exact mechanism? Hormones can be replaced illegally, or stimulated both legally and illegally.

Recovery may require more attention with age, and certainly a part of why not evryone can continue into their forties. But, the deterioration of recovery is not an automatic with aging.

Re: 30"-30" VO2 intervals: there is a good term in talent development called "blank slate". Imagine a sound board, where raising one level brings up the whole average. It is the reason young athletes can reach the same levl with wholly different training: anything will be a stimulus. It is rare for an experienced athlete to have never touched one aspect, to leave a stone turned, so to say. Much more common in amatuers. Not saying anything about your example, just wanted to bring up blank slate, and its role in age and talent development.
 
More Strides than Rides said:
Tonton said:
Older great performers is nothing new: Poulidor, Zoetemelk come to mind. In recent times, Jeannie Longo is the prime example of longevity. Better illegal and legal medicine, treatment of injuries, training, all this contributes to more athletes' increased longevity. The one thing that brings doping to the forefront, IMO, is that regardless of the progress made in understanding the human body and its care, there's nothing (natural) one can do about the impact of aging on recovery. If you can't recover, you can't train/compete at the highest level. A joint pain that heals overnight at age 20 turns into a one week ordeal at the age of 40. The recovery part makes me uneasy when I see older top performers, particularly if they have subjected their body to heavy training for decades.
Sure, recovery matters, but what is the exact mechanism? Hormones can be replaced illegally, or stimulated both legally and illegally.

Recovery may require more attention with age, and certainly a part of why not evryone can continue into their forties. But, the deterioration of recovery is not an automatic with aging.

Re: 30"-30" VO2 intervals: there is a good term in talent development called "blank slate". Imagine a sound board, where raising one level brings up the whole average. It is the reason young athletes can reach the same levl with wholly different training: anything will be a stimulus. It is rare for an experienced athlete to have never touched one aspect, to leave a stone turned, so to say. Much more common in amatuers. Not saying anything about your example, just wanted to bring up blank slate, and its role in age and talent development.
You must be young, my friend, or you would know from experience how a two-day injury back then takes longer and longer to heal as the years go by. Sad, but true. Many older athletes have also made that very point. And if you skip sessions,reduce training volume, you decline. And when natural/legal methods don't help enough, I suspect that doping becomes an attractive proposition.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Tonton said:
You must be young, my friend, or you would know from experience how a two-day injury back then takes longer and longer to heal as the years go by. Sad, but true. Many older athletes have also made that very point. And if you skip sessions,reduce training volume, you decline. And when natural/legal methods don't help enough, I suspect that doping becomes an attractive proposition.
It's as ugly as sin, but it's the truth.

And losing weight takes longer and longer, should you stop for any period of time and continue to consume race-level training program quantities of food.

I have seen more and more studies showing ongoing training and in particular weight bearing exercises producing excellent results in older people (cross sectional muscle mass measurements), and VO2max declines being mitigated or severely curbed, but recovery is definitely going to be an ongoing issue, IME and IMO.
 
Reading this thread reminded me of how AC. Milan had a back four of players of an age most would regard as high: Maldini, Costacurta, others playing top class football at 40. I found some references to a Milan Lab and this piece by Simon Kuper in the FT (needs registration, so pasted) which has Kerrisonesque overtones:



AC Milan's very old men are sauntering around a training pitch in the hills near Lake Como. A grey man in a blue suit and blue trenchcoat gazes down at them, smoking a cigarette. Surely this smoker can't be the head of football's best medical team?
But it is. Jean Pierre Meersseman, Belgian director of the Milan Lab, may have discovered the secret of eternal youth. His Lab has helped make Milan world and European champions. On Tuesday, in the Champions League's second round, Milan defend their title against Arsenal's kids.
"As a matter of fact," chuckles Meersseman when we sit down, "yesterday we had a game, and the average age was 33. We have the oldest team in Europe."
He singles out Milan's eternal captain, Paolo Maldini. "He's close to being 40, and whenever he was running against that kid playing against him yesterday, he was much stronger. He's close to perfect."
What is the maximum age for a top-class footballer? "I think around 40. It used to be 34 at most." Again, that soft chuckle.
The Milan Lab began in 2002. Milan had just spent €30m in transfer fees and salary to sign Real Madrid's Fernando Redondo. Redondo's body appeared perfect. Then it collapsed. Milan resolved never to waste €30m again. The Lab was created to reduce injuries.
"If you can predict the possibility of injuries," says Meersseman, "you stop the player before." The Lab discovered that just by studying a player's jump, it could predict with 70 per cent accuracy whether he would get injured. It went on from there, collecting millions of data on each player on computers.
Meersseman says: "The extent of non-traumatic injuries has been reduced by over 90 per cent, compared with the previous five years. So that's interesting. We have 92 per cent less medication than in the previous years." Sadly, days after we spoke, Milan's forward Ronaldo suffered the injury that may end his career.
When Milan buys players, is the Lab consulted?
"You bet you," says Meersseman. "The last signature on the contract before the big boss signs is mine. On many occasions I said no, and I would say every" - he pauses - "yes, every time, the player did not do very well afterwards."
Why might he veto a player? "Basically alterations in their gait mechanisms, how they jump. But we did sign some players when everybody said: 'You can't do it, he's at the very end.' I can give you a name: Cafu. That was five years ago. He's still here. Because we saw the problem could be fixed."
Having vanquished injuries, the Lab turned to perfecting Milan's players. As each player was different, each needed a different regime. Clarence Seedorf, for instance, was banned from exercising certain muscles as they were already at the desired maximum.
The Lab now thinks this "sensory perception" is the key quality in football.
After meeting Meersseman I visited Daniele Tognaccini, Milan's chief athletics coach, who is tall, slim and fairly superhuman himself. Tognaccini told me that the average Milan player ran 10 to 11 kilometres a game.
Who ran most? Kaká, Rino Gattuso and Cafu, replied Tognaccini. He laughed: "Ronaldo, no."
But, he added, there was no correlation between running kilometres and winning matches. "There is a correlation between the number of sprints and winning."
Before leaving the Lab converted, I asked Meersseman whether other big clubs did anything similar. "No."
Why not? It seems a good idea. Meersseman smiled: "It seems a good idea. You can drive a car without a dashboard, without any information, and that's what's happening in soccer. There are excellent drivers, excellent cars, but if you have your dashboard, it just makes it easier. I wonder why people don't want more information."
Did other clubs ask him for advice? "Oh yes." And what did he say? "That they should do it." The Lab's methods are secret. Ask Tognaccini to explain a certain machine, and he says: "No."
Other clubs, said Meersseman, "fall back into the medical model. You see, that's the problem. In medicine you are dealing with sickness. Here we are dealing with extremely healthy people."
And the Lab has only just started. Its new partner Microsoft is improving the Lab's software. Belgium's University of Leuven is helping to perfect training. "Let me stop for a second and explain this better," said Meersseman. "We are trying to make a system that may say: 'Now you will run 100 metres. You will rest 43 seconds, then run 80 metres, stop for one minute two seconds, and then run 61 metres.' We are trying to do this with predictive algorithms."
Forget sharing information with other clubs. If the Lab sold its secrets to the world's consumers, it would render face-lifts and wrinkle creams defunct. This could be the salvation of Italy's economy.

Simonkuper-ft@hotmail.com
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