Teams & Riders The marvelous Victor Campenaerts, cult hero, thread

After the untimely demise of the previous cyclist I made a dedicated topic for, i wasn't planning on starting another topic anytime soon. However, it was a bit outrageous that Victor Campenaerts, 28 and currently riding for NTT, still didn't have his own thread. Not because i'm a big fan of him, or because he's a winner with a huge following, but because he's a bit of a cult hero, in my eyes.



A rider that seems perfectly aware of what he can and can not (will never be able to) do. Who has carved himself a niche. Who doesn't take himself too seriously, but works hard and meticulously at perfecting the things he's good at. Which got him, after a couple of national and European ITT titles, the current world hour record. As a kid, he was a swimmer, then moved to triathlon, but running wasn't his thing. So he became a cyclist instead. One of the most colorful ones at that. Doing ITT's with a moustache and without visors, because he did some testing in the windtunnel and that worked better for Vocsnor.

People think he's a bit of a dweeb (and maybe he is) but he actually is pretty smart and had to put his studies for Engineer on hold to focus on cycling. The way he talks probably throws people off, he also has a very bad accent when speaking English.

Never seen as the biggest talent by many, Victor has now released some of his data online... and it is (somewhat surprisingly) better than i (personally) expected, for a guy of only 1m73.

VO2Max of 88
VLaMax of 0.65
FTP of 398 W


Victor also has his own Youtube channel, since last week and already posted 6 video's in 5 days.

 
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Quite agree with your bio. Weird guy, not always cool or elegant but charming in his own way.

Was happy to see him winning EC's and taking a medal at the Worlds, and really proud when he set the new WHR. I'd like to see him with an olympic medal and a TT victory in a grand tour.
 
If anything, I'd say any sport needs people like him; the oddballs and the weirdos. Those people who - as Wvv puts it - may not be "cool", in the traditional sense of the word, but are still cool in their own off-beat way.
And his English accent is just awesome!
 
Last week i noticed that the times in The Containercup (a corona induced sporting challenge with 7 disciplines inside a container) of Evenepoel and Campenaerts were nearly identical. Their times in 1500m running, 1000m rowing and 3000m cycling were all within +/-1 second of each other. Now Campenaerts shows us his data, and it turns out his FTP is also nearly identical to that of Evenepoel. They are also +/- the same height (1m72 vs 1m73)... but not the same weight.
 
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Last week i noticed that the times in The Containercup (a corona induced sporting challenge with 7 disciplines inside a container) of Evenepoel and Campenaerts were nearly identical. Their times in 1500m running, 1000m rowing and 3000m cycling were all within +/-1 second of each other. Now Campenaerts shows us his data, and it turns out his FTP is also nearly identical to that of Evenepoel. They are also +/- the same height (1m72 vs 1m73)... but not the same weight.
What does this mean exactly? Am I correct in assuming that this means they have nearly the same power output but this is more impressive for the rider who weighs less? So the rider who weighs less should go faster than the heavier rider with the same FTP? Or is it vice versa?

I'm a real noob when it comes to watts, FTP, power and whatnot. :rolleyes:
 
What does this mean exactly? Am I correct in assuming that this means they have nearly the same power output but this is more impressive for the rider who weighs less? So the rider who weighs less should go faster than the heavier rider with the same FTP? Or is it vice versa?

I'm a real noob when it comes to watts, FTP, power and whatnot. :rolleyes:
Indeed, they have the same output, meaning on a hometrainer they should have similar results, since it only looks at how hard it is being pushed. Whether it is a 200 pound gorilla or a tiny girl, doesn't matter. Your weight doesn't slow you down on a hometrainer. Once aerodynamics and weight come into play (on the road), it's a different matter, especially when going a few % uphill. I think Victor weighs +/- 8kg more than Remco. Most of that will be muscle. So, for Remco to be able to push the same numbers is impressive. On the other hand, if Victor wants to lose weight, he will need to lose muscle (since there won't be too much fat to lose anymore) and likely not be able to push those same numbers anymore. Basically, in a completely flat ITT, Victor might still be able to beat/rival Remco. As soon as the road tends to go up, it's a lot more predictable. Considering they're the same size, aerodynamics will also be rather similar in their case.

Today in the Container Cup, Mathieu and Wout will compete. I assume they will smash Remco's and Victor's time on the bike, but they are also 75-78kgs of mostly muscle. It's an unfair competition in that sense.
 
Indeed, they have the same output, meaning on a hometrainer they should have similar results, since it only looks at how hard it is being pushed. Whether it is a 200 pound gorilla or a tiny girl, doesn't matter. Your weight doesn't slow you down on a hometrainer. Once aerodynamics and weight come into play (on the road), it's a different matter, especially when going a few % uphill. I think Victor weighs +/- 8kg more than Remco. Most of that will be muscle. So, for Remco to be able to push the same numbers is impressive. On the other hand, if Victor wants to lose weight, he will need to lose muscle (since there won't be too much fat to lose anymore) and likely not be able to push those same numbers anymore. Basically, in a completely flat ITT, Victor might still be able to beat/rival Remco. As soon as the road tends to go up, it's a lot more predictable. Considering they're the same size, aerodynamics will also be rather similar in their case.

Today in the Container Cup, Mathieu and Wout will compete. I assume they will smash Remco's and Victor's time on the bike, but they are also 75-78kgs of mostly muscle. It's an unfair competition in that sense.
I don't think Remco took the Container Cup as seriously as later participants. After his run, Wesley Sonck commented "he looks like he hasn't run". The same goes for Hans Vanaken. When you look at the performances of other football players like Mignolet or Praet, he should have performed much better. I look forward to tonights duel. My money is on Van Aert for once.
To remain on topic: I was very impressed by Victors performance.
 
I don't think Remco took the Container Cup as seriously as later participants. After his run, Wesley Sonck commented "he looks like he hasn't run". The same goes for Hans Vanaken. When you look at the performances of other football players like Mignolet or Praet, he should have performed much better. I look forward to tonights duel. My money is on Van Aert for once.
To remain on topic: I was very impressed by Victors performance.
Van Aert was insane in the cycling test, completely smashing the competition. But pretty much sucking in all other parts. As i predicted a few posts up, both van Aert & van der Poel handily outperforming guys like Evenepoel and Campenaerts in a "max output" challenge that does not take weight or aerodynamics into account.

The 3km cycling times (the last of 7 challenges) for participating cyclists:

van Aert: 3m45s
van der Poel: 3m55s
Van Avermaet: 3m59s
De Gendt: 3m59s
Aerts: 4m04s
Lampaert: 4m08s
Evenepoel: 4m10s
Campenaerts: 4m10s
Naesen: 4m14s
Nys jr: 4m39s
 
So... campenaerts slept in an altitude tent, set to 4700m in order to reach the numbers in the opening post.

It was an experiment, and at that altitude, he says, it is so extreme that" your body is just short of starting to die, but at which point, it will still start producing a lot more red blood cells". The result should be similar to that of taking EPO, he says.

He'll focus on the Giro and the ITT championships.

 
So... campenaerts slept in an altitude tent, set to 4700m in order to reach the numbers in the opening post.

It was an experiment, and at that altitude, he says, it is so extreme that" your body is just short of starting to die, but at which point, it will still start producing a lot more red blood cells". The result should be similar to that of taking EPO, he says.

He'll focus on the Giro and the ITT championships.

I don't really understand - either the positive effect of this approach outweighs less training, or it doesn't. I would have thought that by now it has been sufficiently studied to decide whether it's worth it and therefor the majority would do it if they benefitted. So if they don't... Is it a case of "every body reacts differently"? Or is it a question of "may help/ may do damage", a question of believe, because the results are inconclusive?
 
I don't really understand - either the positive effect of this approach outweighs less training, or it doesn't. I would have thought that by now it has been sufficiently studied to decide whether it's worth it and therefor the majority would do it if they benefitted. So if they don't... Is it a case of "every body reacts differently"? Or is it a question of "may help/ may do damage", a question of believe, because the results are inconclusive?
He says it's really difficult/heavy to sleep in a tent set to such extremes, and for 3 weeks. I can imagine others have thought about it, but didn't like the sacrifices they would have to make. For instance, he will do a new session soon, but not to that extreme. So, maybe it's worth it from a result driven perspective, but you'd have to be a bit mental to actually (be able to) do it.
 
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Altitude tent? Hematocrit? Science behind "top form" Campenaerts explained

World hour record holder Victor Campenaerts says he feels "super strong", thanks to a few nights in his height tent. "I want to start my last training block with an unseen high hematocrit." Can't follow anymore? Kris Van der Mieren, federal doctor at Belgian Cycling, explains it all.
What is the use of a height tent?

"A height internship stimulates the production of erythropoietin, epo for short," says Van der Mieren. "The body needs EPO to make red blood cells. The hormone is on the prohibited list of the UCI, but altitude training is a natural form of EPO use."

"Sleeping in a height tent creates the same effects. The oxygen content in the air decreases and the production of EPO is stimulated."

"If you stay in the Ardennes, you can already see a bit of an effect. From 2,000 meters you get very good effects. And the higher you go, the stronger the effect."

Is 4,700 meters still healthy?

Victor Campenaerts set his height tent at 4,700 meters, "extremely high". Is that still healthy? "The higher you go, the more disadvantages there are," warns Van der Mieren. "If you suddenly reach 4,000 meters, you become restless and you suffer from shortness of breath."

"So you have to build up slowly. Victor has a schedule, which occasionally includes a peak. So he will never sleep 10 days in a row at 4,700 meters. Such a peak causes an extra boost in the EPO production. It gives it's an extra kick under the butt, as it were. "

"But the effect expands after 3 weeks. So top athletes usually sleep at height for 2 weeks and then return to sea level. That gives the best effect."

In the meantime, Campenaerts also hardly trained. Why? "During an altitude internship your recovery capacity decreases", explains Van der Mieren. "If you combine a high training rhythm with a height tent, you go underneath it. Then you take one step forward and two backwards."

More red blood cells, then what?

Thanks to his altitude training, Campenaerts now has more red blood cells, but how does that translate into his athletic performance? "The more red blood cells you have in your body, the more oxygen can be transported to the muscle cells."

"That is the famous hematocrit value. A normal man has a value of 42 percent: if you poured a liter of blood through a funnel, you would have 42 percent red blood cells. Some riders once reached values above 60 percent. Then the blood is also much thicker and there is a risk that it will clot in the thinner blood vessels. "

"Victor can now use his higher hematocrit in heavier workouts. The more red blood cells, the higher the VO2Max and the more oxygen you can use during exercise. So his internal engines have become more powerful."

"Epo also stimulates the micro blood vessels in the muscles. For example, riders who have doped for 5 years will benefit from it for the rest of their career."

What are the dangers of an altitude internship?

Can non-athletes also crawl in a height tent of 4,700 meters? "It is not life-threatening for a healthy man or woman," says Van der Mieren. "But anyone will gasp for a while. It can be life-threatening for people with cardiovascular disease."

"That's because of oxygen saturation. Normally, 95 to 100 percent of red blood cells are filled with oxygen. But the higher you go, the less oxygen in the air and the fewer cells are filled with oxygen. At an altitude of 4,700 meters the oxygen saturation drops below 90 percent. "

"In the triage posts for the fight against the coronavirus, oxygen saturation is one of the criteria. If the red blood cells are less than 92 percent filled with oxygen, they are hospitalized."
 
Nothing against you for posting this, but I personally think this PE stuff should just go in the clinic. Artificially manipulating blood values . . .
 
There is nothing wrong with training and sleeping on altitude to my knowledge, and neither is sleeping in an altitude tent.
You’re right.. it’s just my bias that to me the tents are more artificial than, say, getting a nebulizer treatment or an IV to replace fluids. whether they are considered legal or not, you’ll find discussions of those end up in the clinic. That’s where you’d also find the discussion of how effective actual altitude training is to boost performance vs. a means of justifying certain changes in blood values.
 
You’re right.. it’s just my bias that to me the tents are more artificial than, say, getting a nebulizer treatment or an IV to replace fluids. whether they are considered legal or not, you’ll find discussions of those end up in the clinic. That’s where you’d also find the discussion of how effective actual altitude training is to boost performance vs. a means of justifying certain changes in blood values.
Just for arguments sake, you think people shouldn't be able to train on altitude either? Or, only people who are born/live there? Or should we move every topic about a Colombian rider to the clinic?
 
Nothing against you for posting this, but I personally think this PE stuff should just go in the clinic. Artificially manipulating blood values . . .
I agree, in Italy is considered blood doping and is a banned method since 2000, sleep in an altitude tent here and you'll likely get a 4 years ban for "using a method that artificially manipulates the blood values".
 
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I wouldn't consider this doping, though people arguing against it obviously have a point. For me, doping have two main areas of concern:

A) Potential side-effects on the human body
B) Obtaining an artificial/unnatural advantage over your competitors.

By his own admission, Campenaerts has been on the limit where the human body starts to collapse, he was extremely weak... The hyperbaric tent doesn't seem the best thing to do and personally I wouldn't vouch for using it, yet it does not produce any unnatural advantage. He would obtain the same effects if he went to the top of the Mont Blanc. You can't compare it to any performance enhancing drug.
 
Yeah, I'm on team This is just like going to the top of a mountain as well. Especially considering that for someone in Italy it's somewhat easier to find a mountain to go to the top of than for someone in Belgium, especially with travel restrictions, though they are being eased.
Or, you could probably find a berg in Belgium to get to the top of, but I don't think it would be very efficient.
 
I agree, in Italy is considered blood doping and is a banned method since 2000, sleep in an altitude tent here and you'll likely get a 4 years ban for "using a method that artificially manipulates the blood values".
Completely ridiculous. Then start banning altitude training as well, as it does the exact same thing to your body. And tell the Colombians not to get on that plane while we're at it.
I could see that there need to be some limitations, sure. I'd suggest that those limitations could be that the altitude in a tent, should not exceed the altitude that a cyclist could realistically and safely train/live on in actual mountains, whatever that may be. You can't live/train/sleep on top of Mount Everest, so your altitude tent (for cycling purposes) should not be able to reach such extremes.

But i don't see why a guy living next to a mountain, should be able to manipulate his body, but a guy living on a big pancake, shouldn't.
 
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