What exactly made Armstrong so strong?

A few questions before I begin-

1) Testicular cancer-after chemo treatments and removal of a testicle, what sort of testosterone levels can a normal, otherwise healthy male expect to produce?

2) Do these individuals go back to living normal lives or do they have to take testosterone supplements for the rest of their lives?

3) Can they produce enough sperm to have children?

This is why I ask-Armstrong's' vital numbers, like weight, power output and VO2 max have always been shrouded in secrecy. There is no doubt that an increase in power, heretofore unrealized pre-1999, took place. Hard work and maniacal training?

No. Something happened between the time he left Paris-Nice I believe in early 1998 (someone please chime in with the exact date-the timeline is important) and the Vuelta/World championships.

This is what I've been told, in layman's terms-the cocktail he was ingesting wasn't anything Earth-shattering but it does lend credence to his power output increase. The stamina came from blood manipulation, the tried and true method of combining EPO micro-dosing and transfusions. But the power, how was it able to increase so much?

I've been told this weekend that Armstrong had a special dispensation that allowed him to take up to 7 times the normal amount of testosterone that a normal male his age produces to make up for whatever deficiency he may suffer after having a testicle removed.

Granted this is overkill, as I doubt any normal male would need this amount introduced exogenously, but this is what he was doing. He was taking this amount during the times he was riding the Tour. The medical dispensation was never recorded by the UCI that I know of for whatever reason, but given the cozy relationship he had with the UCI it is not a stretch to say he probably made them verbally aware of the situation but wanted to keep it quiet so as not to take away from his mythological persona as the strongest rider in the peloton, which at the time both he and the UCI profited greatly from. So not a stretch to see why he would find an ally to keep this quiet within cycling's governing body.

This, in combination with HgH, cortico-steroids and blood manipulation was what made his doping regimen different than the other riders. This is aside the assurance that he nor any of his teammates would test positive for anything after the 1999 incident, which was another advantage riders from other teams didn't have. So they were able to behave as if the rules did not apply to anyone of the US Postal riders.

This is what makes the theory of the doping "super responder" harder to believe. Or at the very least that he was one of these cases, which I believe he was not.

The day Jan Ullrich took one and a half minutes out of Armstrong in the 2003 Tour, Lance was visibly suffering not from heatstroke but from a bad transfusion. Either the blood was not stored correctly or it belonged to someone else. But the situation was righted by the doctors that evening and all was well after that. It only seems right that one of the few bad days Armstrong had in the Tour wasn't due to loss of form but from a glitch in the doping regimen.

Having a high hematocrit that never decreased due to blood transfusions/EPO injections only tell part of the story. Many people feel in this regard he wasn't doing anything the other top contenders weren't also engaged in. So what made it possible for him to fly away from climbers whom he outweighed sometimes by over 20 pounds? Climbers he never in any other race in his career could keep up with much less leave in the dust?

It would seem a foregone conclusion that the Federal investigation will reveal systematic doping on the US Postal squad. But that is not enough. How did he do it? What made his regimen so much more effective? His transformation wasn't merely a consolidation of previously exhibited strengths-he morphed into a totally different rider.

Many people have underestimated the use of testosterone in cycling. In combination with the right amount HgH it makes for an incredible combination. If it's true that Armstrong was jacked up on such a great amount of testosterone, along with everything else, this would appear to be the missing ingredient, the one product he was able to use with impunity that others could not touch for fear of testing positive. At least not in the prodigious amounts he was allowed to ingest.
 
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jimmypop

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The Hitch said:
I asked a similar question about half a year ago.

http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=9734

Conclusion: a very big hunger for victory which left no stone unterned talent, and a superior doping programme through Ferrari.
Indeed; he is the consummate competitor. It's just that he resorted to cheating to win.

He is incapable of rationalizing or internalizing anything less than complete victory. Witness the excuses and sour grapes following losses in his younger years, particularly when he was a teenage phenom.
 
Well, two new details have seemingly come to light here-

1) An actual amount of testosterone, which proves yet again that it wasn't Ferarri being a master at his craft so much as he was working with a rider who had more leeway than others, hence putting to pasture the "level playing field" excuse for dopers.

2) That Armstrong was sick from a transfusion the day Jan Ullrich took time out of him in the time trial in 2003. Hindsight being 20/20 I have no idea why anyone would have believed it was merely dehydration given how he looked at the end of that particular stage.
 
Mar 31, 2009
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Don't forget the advance warning of any impending tests via his cronies in the UCI - enough time to hook up the saline
 
In 1998 Armstrong also won the Tour of Luxembourg, which was some three months before the Vuelta.

Personally, I don't think 1998 Armstrong was much stronger than 1996 Armstrong. His transformation started when he began to work with Ferrari, and hadn't he been stopped by cancer I think he would have already got some interesting GT results in 1996 and 1997.

The difference between 1999 and 1996-1998 would lie in whatever Bruyneel brought to the table and in the UCI's unofficial endorsement (advance warning of tests, etc).
 
Jul 6, 2009
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he is a physically talented egomaniac who was doped on a good program and cared only for winning and nothing else his motto is win lose/live die. what a *** none the less if you have not noticed top level cycling promotes self centered selfish egomaniacs it is what is is. lance is simply the best when it comes to this. i bet he really sucks to be around in every day life though. ulrich's problem was that he was a half normal human he never lived to win like lance though i like him better as a person he someone people after meeting probably dont hate unlike lance.
 
Berzin said:
Well, two new details have seemingly come to light here-

1) An actual amount of testosterone, which proves yet again that it wasn't Ferarri wasn't a master at his craft so much as he worked with a rider who had more leeway than others, hence putting to pasture the "level playing field" excuse for dopers.

2) That Armstrong was sick from a transfusion the day Jan Ullrich took time out of him in the time trial in 2003. Hindsight being 20/20 I have no idea why anyone would have believed it was merely dehydration given how he looked at the end of that particular stage.
The 2003 Tour was a strange one. My sources told me that due to the excessive heat during that Tour those responsible for the delivery of the blood were having a hard time keeping it cool. It wasn’t so much someone else’s bag but the bag had gone slightly “off” in the heat. There was also the story that from what I’m told came from the Armstrong camp. Ullrich warmed up for the TT in air-conditioned bakery near the start line. Now air-conditioning is great. Keeps you cool. But the worst thing about it is that it makes you dehydrated and promotes germs. Ullrich always hated air-conditioning. He was just better in the heat than Armstrong. The bakery story was one to try and explain why Armstrong finished 1:30 down on the fattest bloke in the field. It was interesting day. Armstrong was visibly frothing at the mouth. I suggest it was a combination of things; The severe heat. A blood bag which was warm, testosterone and HGH, EPO never go well when the temperature is 40+. They make you sweat a lot and you get real jittery. The final factor and probably the biggest is that everyone else had caught on and caught up to Ferrari. Fuentes was doing a roaring trade from jilted cyclists annoyed that Armstrong had an embargo on Ferrari. Hamilton, Vino, Mayo, Ullrich and everyone else now had their own programs almost as sophisticated as Armstrong’s. If you go back at watch the d’Huez stage of the 2003 Tour the entire peloton is in overdrive. On the first ramp the field is literally sprinting up the mountain. The footage looks like its running at twice the speed. Armstrong even had to call his team back they were going so fast! The French were complaining a lot at this stage. They all knew what was going on but while Armstrong kept winning no one was going to stop it. The final final factor is as you mention. Armstrong had the UCI right where he wanted them. He didn’t need to take the additional precautions that everyone else had to. Sure he couldn’t openly use PED’s but if he ever slipped up the positive would go away with a new donation.
 
hrotha said:
In 1998 Armstrong also won the Tour of Luxembourg, which was some three months before the Vuelta.

Personally, I don't think 1998 Armstrong was much stronger than 1996 Armstrong. His transformation started when he began to work with Ferrari, and hadn't he been stopped by cancer I think he would have already got some interesting GT results in 1996 and 1997.

The difference between 1999 and 1996-1998 would lie in whatever Bruyneel brought to the table and in the UCI's unofficial endorsement (advance warning of tests, etc).
This is why this timetable is so important. If memory serves me correctly he had terrible form in the beginning of the year, dropped out of Paris-Nice and considered retiring. Then he went to train in the states and came back. I believe the race you mention was his first win since he had come back.

Something happened between that time. You don't go from almost retiring because you couldn't hack the speeds at P-N and then win the Tour of Luxembourg with no racing miles in you legs. That doesn't happen. Well, it did but you know what I mean.

Then fourth at the Vuelta-that was the watershed moment for me. He wasn't climbing with the best, but he was up there in the mountains and contesting the time trials, riding like never before in his life. What I thought at the time was the best he could do in a grand Tour turned out to be a prelude to more ridiculous feats of strength that can now be explained.
 
Berzin said:
This is why this timetable is so important. If memory serves me correctly he had terrible form in the beginning of the year, dropped out of Paris-Nice and considered retiring. Then he went to train in the states and came back. I believe the race you mention was his first win since he had come back.

Something happened between that time. You don't go from almost retiring because you couldn't hack the speeds at P-N and then win the Tour of Luxembourg with no racing miles in you legs. That doesn't happen. Well, it did but you know what I mean.

Then fourth at the Vuelta-that was the watershed moment for me. He wasn't climbing with the best, but he was up there in the mountains and contesting the time trials, riding like never before in his life. What I thought at the time was the best he could do in a grand Tour turned out to be a prelude to more ridiculous feats of strength that can now be explained.
The Ferrari program was all about strength. Most cyclists would go out and do 6 hours on the bike. Ferrari got Armstrong and put him on the steroid pack and told him to lift weights, ride up mountains in the biggest gear he could, perform multiple hill repeats, forget long steady distance and just get you strong as an ox. Now when you add EPO into that mix you become one hell of a bike rider. You ride like a one day rider but for 23 days straight plus you can hill climb with guys who weigh 63Kg. There was method behind the high cadence but it only really worked when you’re pushing a massive gear and taking enough EPO to pull it off.
 
Jun 25, 2009
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His strength seemed to return when he disappeared off into the mountains with someone (Carmichael?)
 
A

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Berzin said:
A few questions before I begin-

1) Testicular cancer-after chemo treatments and removal of a testicle, what sort of testosterone levels can a normal, otherwise healthy male expect to produce?

2) Do these individuals go back to living normal lives or do they have to take testosterone supplements for the rest of their lives?

3) Can they produce enough sperm to have children?

This is why I ask-Armstrong's' vital numbers, like weight, power output and VO2 max have always been shrouded in secrecy. There is no doubt that an increase in power, heretofore unrealized pre-1999, took place. Hard work and maniacal training?

No. Something happened between the time he left Paris-Nice I believe in early 1998 (someone please chime in with the exact date-the timeline is important) and the Vuelta/World championships.

This is what I've been told, in layman's terms-the cocktail he was ingesting wasn't anything Earth-shattering but it does lend credence to his power output increase. The stamina came from blood manipulation, the tried and true method of combining EPO micro-dosing and transfusions. But the power, how was it able to increase so much?

I've been told this weekend that Armstrong had a special dispensation that allowed him to take up to 7 times the normal amount of testosterone that a normal male his age produces to make up for whatever deficiency he may suffer after having a testicle removed.

Granted this is overkill, as I doubt any normal male would need this amount introduced exogenously, but this is what he was doing. He was taking this amount during the times he was riding the Tour. The medical dispensation was never recorded by the UCI that I know of for whatever reason, but given the cozy relationship he had with the UCI it is not a stretch to say he probably made them verbally aware of the situation but wanted to keep it quiet so as not to take away from his mythological persona as the strongest rider in the peloton, which at the time both he and the UCI profited greatly from. So not a stretch to see why he would find an ally to keep this quiet within cycling's governing body.

This, in combination with HgH, cortico-steroids and blood manipulation was what made his doping regimen different than the other riders. This is aside the assurance that he nor any of his teammates would test positive for anything after the 1999 incident, which was another advantage riders from other teams didn't have. So they were able to behave as if the rules did not apply to anyone of the US Postal riders.

This is what makes the theory of the doping "super responder" harder to believe. Or at the very least that he was one of these cases, which I believe he was not.

The day Jan Ullrich took one and a half minutes out of Armstrong in the 2003 Tour, Lance was visibly suffering not from heatstroke but from a bad transfusion. Either the blood was not stored correctly or it belonged to someone else. But the situation was righted by the doctors that evening and all was well after that. It only seems right that one of the few bad days Armstrong had in the Tour wasn't due to loss of form but from a glitch in the doping regimen.

Having a high hematocrit that never decreased due to blood transfusions/EPO injections only tell part of the story. Many people feel in this regard he wasn't doing anything the other top contenders weren't also engaged in. So what made it possible for him to fly away from climbers whom he outweighed sometimes by over 20 pounds? Climbers he never in any other race in his career could keep up with much less leave in the dust?

It would seem a foregone conclusion that the Federal investigation will reveal systematic doping on the US Postal squad. But that is not enough. How did he do it? What made his regimen so much more effective? His transformation wasn't merely a consolidation of previously exhibited strengths-he morphed into a totally different rider.

Many people have underestimated the use of testosterone in cycling. In combination with the right amount HgH it makes for an incredible combination. If it's true that Armstrong was jacked up on such a great amount of testosterone, along with everything else, this would appear to be the missing ingredient, the one product he was able to use with impunity that others could not touch for fear of testing positive. At least not in the prodigious amounts he was allowed to ingest.

Yep. I think LA may have come back to the sport (having just dodged what, at the time, was a near certain death sentence) not wanting to risk his health as he did before with PED use. He found out very quickly he was not competitive without dope and went home intending on retirement.

Something happened, a decision was made, the doping programme perfected...

There is no way he should have been so strong at the '98 Veulta...

IMO, this may have been the last time LA behaved like a normal human being. Once the decision was taken, the total focus on racing, corruption, doping and winning, he sold his soul.
 
A

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lostintime said:
No matter how it was done, it was amazing how anyone wins a GT 3,4,5 or 7 times in a row.
Better living through chemistry.
 
This thread is a repeat. This is what I remember from the previous thread.

- Determination
- Ferrari's program better than previous renegade's program
- More dope.
- Having the UCI on your side helped a lot.
- Note that they got tips of when they were going to be tested.
- Systematic team doping. Some teams had it but not all. With the years it has become harder to achieve.

Race Radio had some good information of when exactly his transformation took place.
 
Escarabajo said:
This thread is a repeat. This is what I remember from the previous thread.

- Determination
- Ferrari's program better than previous renegade's program
- More dope.
- Having the UCI on your side helped a lot.
- Note that they got tips of when they were going to be tested.
- Systematic team doping. Some teams had it but not all. With the years it has become harder to achieve.

Race Radio had some good information of when exactly his transformation took place.
Not really. This part is very new:

"...Armstrong had a special dispensation that allowed him to take up to 7 times the normal amount of testosterone that a normal male his age produces to make up for whatever deficiency he may suffer after having a testicle removed."
 
A

Anonymous

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lostintime said:
No matter how it was done, it was amazing how anyone wins a GT 3,4,5 or 7 times in a row.
Well, that's one adjective to describe it...
 

Dr. Maserati

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Berzin said:
This is why this timetable is so important. If memory serves me correctly he had terrible form in the beginning of the year, dropped out of Paris-Nice and considered retiring. Then he went to train in the states and came back. I believe the race you mention was his first win since he had come back.

Something happened between that time. You don't go from almost retiring because you couldn't hack the speeds at P-N and then win the Tour of Luxembourg with no racing miles in you legs. That doesn't happen. Well, it did but you know what I mean.

Then fourth at the Vuelta-that was the watershed moment for me. He wasn't climbing with the best, but he was up there in the mountains and contesting the time trials, riding like never before in his life. What I thought at the time was the best he could do in a grand Tour turned out to be a prelude to more ridiculous feats of strength that can now be explained.
Sorry but your memory is slightly off - not so much the timeline but the detail.
Hrota was bang on the money earlier.

When LA returned in 98 his first race back was the Ruta del Sol and he managed to finish a very credible 14th overall.

So his physical form when he started 98 was quite good.
His Paris Nice exit (IMO) was not physical, just psychological - he had spent a year away and I am sure to keep himself motivated he had dreamed about getting back in to the Pro peloton - when he was back there and huddled in a wet cold pack following wheels the romance quickly goes. Add to that (IIRC) Hincapie puncturing and having to wait and chase back on was the final straw.

He was not long off the bike and he did a camp in Boone and was back racing in the US less than 2 months after quitting P-N.

As Hrota mentioned - the big increase came from working with Ferrari from late 95, as the first part of the 96 season was good.
 
Feb 14, 2010
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It's a bit off topic, but Carmichael's name was mentioned earlier, and something's been bugging me. Carmichael has always claimed to have been Lance's coach the whole time, writing about it in his own books on training like Lance, etc. But if Ferrari was also a "coach" (was he the guy waiting at the top of training climb intervals taking drops of blood to check lactate or whatever?), would the two have been used for different things or was their work done together? Is there a relationship between Carmichael and Ferrari, or was CC a public beard for part of the time?
 
Scott SoCal said:
Yep. I think LA may have come back to the sport (having just dodged what, at the time, was a near certain death sentence) not wanting to risk his health as he did before with PED use. He found out very quickly he was not competitive without dope and went home intending on retirement.

Something happened, a decision was made, the doping programme perfected...

There is no way he should have been so strong at the '98 Veulta...

IMO, this may have been the last time LA behaved like a normal human being. Once the decision was taken, the total focus on racing, corruption, doping and winning, he sold his soul.
Ding-ding-ding-ding! I believe we have a winner.
 

Dr. Maserati

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theswordsman said:
It's a bit off topic, but Carmichael's name was mentioned earlier, and something's been bugging me. Carmichael has always claimed to have been Lance's coach the whole time, writing about it in his own books on training like Lance, etc. But if Ferrari was also a "coach" (was he the guy waiting at the top of training climb intervals taking drops of blood to check lactate or whatever?), would the two have been used for different things or was their work done together? Is there a relationship between Carmichael and Ferrari, or was CC a public beard for part of the time?
I would liken it to a racecar - Carmichael was the mechanic, Ferrari the engineer.

Armstrong was working with Ferrari from 96, visiting him in Ferrara and being tested there.
Ferrari is a hematologist with a good understanding of the sport.
Carmichael was a former Pro, and a coach who had some knowledge of doping and was not scared to inject people.
So they complemented each other.
 
Dec 17, 2010
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Berzin said:
A few questions before I begin-

1) Testicular cancer-after chemo treatments and removal of a testicle, what sort of testosterone levels can a normal, otherwise healthy male expect to produce?

2) Do these individuals go back to living normal lives or do they have to take testosterone supplements for the rest of their lives?

3) Can they produce enough sperm to have children?
Here is an Online article which will answer the three question's that You have posed:

Testosterone Replacement Therapy After Testicular Cancer:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/testicular-cancer/testosterone-replacement.aspx
 
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