Why are the riders faster this year ?

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Funny as in, it makes no sense. Whether he enjoys it or not, is completely besides the point. Oh, but he's saying he's going faster than ever before? Well, i guess in that case it makes sense... So I guess if Pogacar just comes out with a statement that he's going faster than he's ever gone before, everything would be ok? Ah, too much of a strawman argument for you probably.
Probably best to let me make my own comments about something you say before speculating about it. RE: Pogačar that doesn't make a lot of sense. You're over complicating something simple here. As you say, Bardet's comments makes sense. I'd leave it at that.


Because you were making a point that other people are only speculating. "A reasonable question but I don't see any evidence for it." There is no evidence of anything you're saying either.
Again, rider commentary and performances are evidence. When everyone starts going faster, IF that is the case, that would be evidence in favor of some kind of change in rider preparation. Or something else. It is not conclusive or even good evidence at this point, but as we've seen in the past, when levels shoot up there has historically been one reason for it. And people will come in and argue this and that, road surfaces, rounder wheels, bike aero advantages, training, blah blah. We shall see what the levels look like at the end of the Tour.

Right, sorry, in Dutch there is no such difference between evidence or proof (I guess you'd say "bewijsstuk" and "bewijs" in that case). In this case however, i would certainly not see those as "evidence" regardless. It's a statement by a rider, based on nothing but his personal impression. If climbing times are evidence, than so are tailwind and plenty of other factors we've already discussed. It would rather say the climbing times are "a fact to take into consideration".
I see. In English, any fact in favor of a proposition is evidence for the proposition, specifically - "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid." That does NOT mean any one piece of evidence is convincing, it just means it's a piece of the picture. So speeds up cols and rider testimony is evidence. At this point it's not compelling. Your "...fact(s) to take into consideration" is a close approximation and makes sense to me, but "evidence" is correct and clear in English.
 
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It might be largely unrelated to covid and just the continuation of trends from previous years.
Yeah.

If it's just freshness, why the hell does anyone race in the spring if they can boost their Tour chances by not showing up at all before June?

Add in that we saw some insane climbing performances early in the season as well, so it's not like things were normal before the season restarted.
 
Ross Tucker's podcast. No smoking gun at the Tour so far, though he's concerned that, over a period of time now, patterns have appeared to be repeating. Convo starts about 25 mins in, a lot of it is generalities and he's quite light on specifics
 
Bernal after today's stage:

“I did my best, but the others were stronger than I was. I couldn't do more than this. I felt very good all day. I looked at my numbers from today's stage and they were almost my best ever. The rest simply went faster. We have to see what will happen in the coming days. From now on I will look at it day by day. We must continue to focus and manage our efforts. In any case, I'm not giving up. We have to keep morale high and we do our best. That's the second time I've heard a rider say they were equal to or out-performing previous Tours. Those Slovenians are next-leveling it somehow."
This is more evidence that things are going faster this year, and I think with this addition, the case that it's faster this year is starting to look compelling.
 
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Yeah it's an interesting question to me how much PEDs help in training/recovery and how much of their benefit is acute and during races. I think it's predominantly the latter.
That doesn't make sense to me. From all the doping testimony we've seen (Festina, USPS, etc.) the bulk of the doping was done during lead up to A races. Armstrong claimed in 2000 he didn't do a bag that year during the Tour. My reaction to that was, well...you did all the things you always did in the lead-up...

Not to say micro-dosing, rest day bags, and EPO in the pre-test era weren't a thing and weren't effective, but even then they were only a part of the picture.
 
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Yeah.

If it's just freshness, why the hell does anyone race in the spring if they can boost their Tour chances by not showing up at all before June?

Add in that we saw some insane climbing performances early in the season as well, so it's not like things were normal before the season restarted.
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Isn't this what Ineos have been doing year after year ? Racing less than the competitors and going all in for the tour ? Compare for instance with Valverde riding everything he can ride. Back in the Armstrong days, wasn't this the US Postal strategy as well ? Focus it all on one race, and if anything use the other races as prep only ?
Our expert commentator on eurosport here in Norway, speculated on the same thing today, how pros never before have had 4-5 months of dedicated training time without racing, and how this would do them well. Bernal also told us that he had his best numers ever when dropped, also indicating as Bardet, that climbing is faster this year.
 
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Isn't this what Ineos have been doing year after year ? Racing less than the competitors and going all in for the tour ? Compare for instance with Valverde riding everything he can ride. Back in the Armstrong days, wasn't this the US Postal strategy as well ? Focus it all on one race, and if anything use the other races as prep only ?
Our expert commentator on eurosport here in Norway, speculated on the same thing today, how pros never before have had 4-5 months of dedicated training time without racing, and how this would do them well. Bernal also told us that he had his best numers ever when dropped, also indicating as Bardet, that climbing is faster this year.
Bernal did a full spring schedule last year. Contador in his best years would fly in March/April as wel. Froome rode the full spring schedule in 2013-2014 as well. Only in 2015 did he start dialing it back a tiny bit and even then it was only in Catalunya and him and Contador were flying in February already.

I think some riders tend to race the spring too hard and are now benefitting from it, like Richie Porte, but in no way does it explain the gaping chasm that is the gap between last year and this years climbing speeds.
 
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Isn't this what Ineos have been doing year after year ? Racing less than the competitors and going all in for the tour ? Compare for instance with Valverde riding everything he can ride.
For me Sky were the team that brought us the five month peak with Wiggins and Froome winning and dominating races from March through the end of July, and bringing us is the “we train harder and longer” than everyone else explanations for their success. Quite the opposite of light schedules (or so it was claimed over and over RE: the training), but yes, all aimed at the Tour.
 
Almost. Close, but no cigar. In a game of such small percentages nearly there can be a long way off.
That’s a reach. You’ve removed the context and seem to be trying to re-frame his entire point. “Today” he is almost his best “ever“, which in the context of his comments means he’s on top form for the Tour and is still getting beaten. Again:

“I did my best, but the others were stronger than I was. I couldn't do more than this. I felt very good all day. I looked at my numbers from today's stage and they were almost my best ever. The rest simply went faster. We have to see what will happen in the coming days. From now on I will look at it day by day. We must continue to focus and manage our efforts. In any case, I'm not giving up. We have to keep morale high and we do our best. That's the second time I've heard a rider say they were equal to or out-performing previous Tours. Those Slovenians are next-leveling it somehow."
Hes also hardly the only rider, insider, or commentator to see the level and state how high it is publicly, how it’s much higher than last year.
 
So... i have a crazy theory, which is 99.9% likely to be stupid, but keep an open mind just in case there is some truth in that 0.1%. What if wearing a face mask all the time, not unlike using an oxygen tent, also stimulates creation of red blood cells? Oxygen tents simulate breathing on altitude, having the body take in less oxygen than normal. What if constant breathing through a face mask also has a similar effect?

If wearing a face mask does indeed "hamper" the amount of oxygen you would otherwise breathe in, think about the fact that these guys are probably wearing face masks several hours per day. It just might offer some explanation. We're hearing top riders who are pushing their best numbers ever, and still not being the best in the race. Bardet said everyone was going super fast... but so was he. Bernal is suddenly even pushing bigger numbers than last year. Roglic and Pogacar are insane... and yet good old Porte and Landa only lose a couple of seconds. So if everybody is on a higher level maybe we should try to think out of the box and look further than "everybody is doping more". Hence my slightly insane theory. In case this theory gets debunked, i have no medical degree so it only makes sense for me to have no idea what i'm talking about. In case there is truth to it, i have already patented the concept you motherfckers! I have already bought a few thousands of masks on Aliexpress and am rebranding them "altitude masks" as we speak.
 
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Lockdown has encouraged unprecedented structure to training rather than extended periods of base. Couple this with the freshness and keenness from the lack of racing and people are flying.

Doping regimes wouldn't have changed, just timings.
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Really? You don't call a 90% (I don't have the exact figure) reduction in out-of-competition testing because of the pandemic something that might induce a "change in doping routines"?
 
Lockdown has encouraged unprecedented structure to training rather than extended periods of base. Couple this with the freshness and keenness from the lack of racing and people are flying.

Doping regimes wouldn't have changed, just timings.
Nothing about a regime would have needed to change other than freedom to do it without fear of a test. Moving from microdosing to taking optimized doses might presumably be a rather large shift. Based on what we’ve seen in the past I’d wager that’s plenty to make a change in the apparent level.
 
^ and that is it really, isn't it?

If professional athletes can dope, they will dope. I think we know this.

I doubt not being able to rampantly dope for the last few years has imbued them with a strict sense of morality.
 
Lockdown has encouraged unprecedented structure to training rather than extended periods of base. Couple this with the freshness and keenness from the lack of racing and people are flying.

Doping regimes wouldn't have changed, just timings.
Somebody should have explained that to Gastronomic Thomas:D

The Speeds got a ketone boost
Sponsors pay cyclists thru the year. So expectation is to race thru the season instead of only in the TDF. But i donot think freshness is a factor for everybody except some. Temperature and humidity can play a role as well in the power output of a rider. Motivation also is an important factor if raced perhaps as the last race of the season.
 
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I'm sceptical about riders suddenly overdosing on blood bags and EPO just because there were no tests. Yes, certainly, there were no tests. There was also hardly a race schedule they could plan their programs around.
 
Blame it on the rollers:
Froome believes the variation in lockdown restrictions around the world has had an impact on form.

“We didn’t have that much racing coming into the Tour. A lot of the peloton was stuck in lockdown on turbo trainers for a few months prior to the Tour, some people were out training on the roads,” Froome explained. “It’s interesting to see from the Group of GC riders who was actually allowed out training and who was stuck inside. Obviously, the Slovenians were allowed out and they seem to be flying. Roglič and Pogačar seem to have a hold on the race at the moment.”
 
I'm sceptical about riders suddenly overdosing on blood bags and EPO just because there were no tests. Yes, certainly, there were no tests. There was also hardly a race schedule they could plan their programs around.
Indeed, but not just the schedule. At what point do you know for a fact that it's "safe(r)" to start upping the volumes? At what point do you know for a fact that they have massively cut doping tests in such a way, that the risk of getting caught has all but disappeared? And at what point do you know for a fact that you are still months away from racing, and do you know this period of reduced testing will continue?

Again, it's easy to say that "we haven't raced for 6 months and there were no tests during that period, so they had plenty of time" but there are plenty of arguments to be made that it wasn't that easy. It must have been rather minimal considering nothing was certain and we had updates every day and different measures every week.

I made this argument somewhere as well. Especially the fact that the Colombians seem to suffer more...
 
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Well, Putting out power is neuromuscularly different while on the road and the turbo or indeed the rollers. So maybe froomes point is not completely moot. But IMHO that is not the Big picture. There have been high level races for more than a month now, moreso two months, so if the metabolic fitness is there, riders have had plenty of time to adapt neurally.

So I am with red and macbindle here. Use the lockdown to tune in an optimal program for building aerobic fitness & muscular endurance (call it improving the threshold for brevity) for months and that is bound to work, even for elites. Couple that with enhanced recovery from not having to race and travel that much, plus recovery products, and ice the cake with a race specificity block and at least theoretically it is plausible to say that the likelihood of performing really well in the standard threshold durations (say 30-70min) ie decisive climbs increases. All the typical preparations are there, too.

Non gc riders might choose another variable, obviously.
 

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