Why are the riders faster this year ?

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This issue came up again in Dumoulin's comments on his ITT performance. I find it strange that we have some of the top guys going on record that they gave it their absolute best and were soundly beaten. Personally, I find it believable because this is not something that you would expect a sportsman to admit (even if it were true).
Dumoulin can, of course, release all of his data so that an objective assessment can be made of what has happened and if what he claims is true. Whether we find it believable or not isn't really helpful and that's kind of the point of this whole thread I think. There is a huge difference between perception and reality in many things, along with many reasons why people may wish to frame perception in a particular way. Cyclists are regarded as inherently untrustworthy, supposedly lying about doping, participating in Omerta, breaking rules elsewhere whenever they can. As such, I think we need to be very careful when believing something they have said that happens to confirm our own beliefs.
 
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You believe he was pointing the finger and that's why he said it:

"He was clearly pointing the finger and what he said clearly mapped to what we saw play out. So yeah, what he said made sense."
That's not confirmation bias, that's a reaction to a particular scenario. Confirmation bias deals with long-held beliefs or values which cloud one's analysis of a particular situation. I'm not sure what long-held beliefs or values are clouding my judgment here. And I don't think he's saying anything directly, I think he's saying all he can without starting a controversy.

Fine to disagree with my view on it all, reasonable people can. I'm just saying you're not using the term confirmation bias correctly.
 
As an example, Adam Yates has claimed that it's not necessarily the climbing speed, but the speed on the flat that is noticeably high:

“It’s a hard pace [on the climbs] but it’s more in the middle of the stages, in the flats and the valleys, sprinting out of corners and stuff,” the Brit said on the second rest day. “The peloton is at such a high level you’re fighting for your place. It’s not really the pace on the climbs, it’s the pace of the whole race which is making the difference.”

article here: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/why-are-so-many-climbing-records-being-broken-at-the-tour-de-france-2020-468131

This would certainly fit the narrative that speeds have gone up this year, except Pogacar's average speed across the race is 39.88 kph, and Bernal's was 40.58kph last year. 2018 was 40.21, 2017 was 41.00. It's back to 2016 and 2015 to find a speed slower, by then 2014 and 2013 are quicker.
 
That's not confirmation bias, that's a reaction to a particular scenario. Confirmation bias deals with long-held beliefs or values which cloud one's analysis of a particular situation. I'm not sure what long-held beliefs or values are clouding my judgment here. And I don't think he's saying anything directly, I think he's saying all he can without starting a controversy.

Fine to disagree with my view on it all, reasonable people can. I'm just saying you're not using the term confirmation bias correctly.
I mean, we can argue semantics if you want (I don't believe that they have to be long held beliefs or values. It's just a favouring of information or an interpretation of that information that confirms your position, above and beyond what would be considered a fair interpretation) but either way, I think you are taking what he said and favouring a particular interpretation of it when other interpretations are just as plausible based on the available evidence.
 
Dumoulin can, of course, release all of his data so that an objective assessment can be made of what has happened and if what he claims is true. Whether we find it believable or not isn't really helpful and that's kind of the point of this whole thread I think. There is a huge difference between perception and reality in many things, along with many reasons why people may wish to frame perception in a particular way. Cyclists are regarded as inherently untrustworthy, supposedly lying about doping, participating in Omerta, breaking rules elsewhere whenever they can. As such, I think we need to be very careful when believing something they have said that happens to confirm our own beliefs.
Overall, I agree with your main points. I would further add that athletes in general are inherently untrustworthy narrators. My favorite is the MLBer or NFLer reporting to training camp in their self-described 'best shape of my life' every year. Most of what they say is horsemanure. Particularly cyclists whose professional performances are uniformly built on lies and deception (IMO). I won't hold my breath that any of their comments will be supported by data and that is an important caveat to any of their griping. And yet, I am getting the impression that there is a modicum of candor within their complaints. YMMV....

One point that I would add is that I have not been of the belief that climbing times have been on the steady increase prior to this year. I think the SKY/Ineos years has seen doping tolerized at a Goldilocks level. Not a level playing field, but a playing field that has been relatively consistent for individuals. The gripes seem to me to be rooted in the thought that doping methodology was taken too far leading up to this race. It comes off as pretty hypocritical given the sources and there are definitely other reasons why a rider would put out false rationales for losing as you have indicated. I have been more swayed by the numbers than the opinions from authority about what happened this TDF.
 
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I would be curious to see if your opinion that climbing levels are not increased this year survived the ITT climb by Pogacar?
Thank you DJP for so ably demonstrating how this thread has passed its use-by date and turned rotten.

Somewhere around stage 14 or so I said that the overall average speed - blunt instrument as it is - was down and so the correct answer to the thread title was probably the riders weren't actually faster this year. Later, I reiterated that point. And I acknowledged that, by multiple accounts, climbing speeds times have been falling, since before the hiatus. I have also pointed to possible contributing factors - contributing factors, before anyone leaps for a dictionary, do not have to explain everything, they just have to contribute to an explanation - that may help explain what we've been seeing. And what you do you do, DJP? You challenge some claim I haven't made that climbing levels have not been improving?
 
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I mean, we can argue semantics if you want (I don't believe that they have to be long held beliefs or values. It's just a favouring of information or an interpretation of that information that confirms your position, above and beyond what would be considered a fair interpretation) but either way, I think you are taking what he said and favouring a particular interpretation of it when other interpretations are just as plausible based on the available evidence.
Definitions are not semantics. I can't confirm a belief I never previously had. You're not making sense in that regard. But yes, other interpretations are possible. So what I've offered is an opinion. There's no bias involved.
 
Confirmation bias means only being able to see evidence that confirms prior opinion. Dont know if that is what is going on here

As such, I think we need to be very careful when believing something they have said that happens to confirm our own beliefs.
Yes. Very much this. Much of the narrative in this Clinic is built on confirmation bias, that becomes received wisdom. It is understandable given the scarcity of known facts, but of course arguments built on assumptions are of questionable value
 
Thank you DJP for so ably demonstrating how this thread has passed its use-by date and turned rotten.

Somewhere around stage 14 or so I said that the overall average speed - blunt instrument as it is - was down and so the correct answer to the thread title was probably the riders weren't actually faster this year. Later, I reiterated that point. And I acknowledged that, by multiple accounts, climbing speeds have been falling, since before the hiatus. I have also pointed to possible contributing factors - contributing factors, before anyone leaps for a dictionary, do not have to explain everything, they just have to contribute to an explanation - that may help explain what we've been seeing. And what you do you do, DJP? You challenge some claim I haven't made that climbing levels have not been improving?
You're welcome! Glad to have helped foster discussion!

The arguments about average speed are pretty specious IMO. The differences to look at are where the race is decided. A pedantic answer to the thread title is one thing, but what do you think about the central point of the thread? From where I stand, you minimized whether the climbing speed is actually increased, so it seem like you are wanting to sit on the fence with pedantic answers, which is your right. But I am still curious what you thought about the ITT and whether climbing speeds have seen an abrupt increase this year given that you didn't answer my question. TIA.....

A few protested loudly when two early climbs were scaled faster than previously (which some point out could be to do with where those climbs came in the race, compared to previous years) but have gone mysteriously silent since then.
 
If Pogacar comes back with a stronger team and same performance in the next coming years there is no hope for anyone. We would really have US Postal 3.0 (If we believe Sky was 2.0).
I am hoping this is an odd year because of the Covid made things completely different.
I don't know. Until the time trial everyone was going on about JV being so strong. So I guess they will be a factor next year too. And Ineos also might bounce back.
 
Overall, I agree with your main points. I would further add that athletes in general are inherently untrustworthy narrators. My favorite is the MLBer or NFLer reporting to training camp in their self-described 'best shape of my life' every year. Most of what they say is horsemanure. Particularly cyclists whose professional performances are uniformly built on lies and deception (IMO). I won't hold my breath that any of their comments will be supported by data and that is an important caveat to any of their griping. And yet, I am getting the impression that there is a modicum of candor within their complaints. YMMV....

One point that I would add is that I have not been of the belief that climbing times have been on the steady increase prior to this year. I think the SKY/Ineos years has seen doping tolerized at a Goldilocks level. Not a level playing field, but a playing field that has been relatively consistent for individuals. The gripes seem to me to be rooted in the thought that doping methodology was taken too far leading up to this race. It comes off as pretty hypocritical given the sources and there are definitely other reasons why a rider would put out false rationales for losing as you have indicated. I have been more swayed by the numbers than the opinions from authority about what happened this TDF.
the difference between the usual PR BS you hear from athletes in minicamps and training camps to what Dumoulin said is that athletes usually talk about themselves (either to pump themselves up or for contract reasons whatever) but you will rarely see an athlete admitting not only that somebody is/was better but also they will never be able to reach that level...athletes at the top need confidence to perform even if they are objectively delusional, but saying it out loud is certainly interesting, now it might be that Dumoulin is just an honest dude, or maybe he was frustrated, or it was to excuse his performances into the future who knows him personally could probably say what was it about
 
the difference between the usual PR BS you hear from athletes in minicamps and training camps to what Dumoulin said is that athletes usually talk about themselves (either to pump themselves up or for contract reasons whatever) but you will rarely see an athlete admitting not only that somebody is/was better but also they will never be able to reach that level...athletes at the top need confidence to perform even if they are objectively delusional, but saying it out loud is certainly interesting, now it might be that Dumoulin is just an honest dude, or maybe he was frustrated, or it was to excuse his performances into the future who knows him personally could probably say what was it about
I agree with that. That was also what I found to be the most interesting part if you check my comment before the one you responded to. There is ample room to speculate why he said that. Maybe he was covering for Roglic, to lessen the stigma of choking by claiming that they performed to their max. Or maybe he was a little peeved that someone flew a little close to the sun during their preparation. I lean toward the latter but clearly a definitive answer is not going to be forthcoming. I am more curious what that result has the potential to unleash on the peloton for next year, assuming it was not a COVID-19 specific effect.
 
Across the three and three quarter hours of his three Tour podcasts Ross Tucker doesn't quite sound like a man overly disturbed by the 2020 Tour. Mild concern at a climbing times trend that predates Covid but largely rationalising most of the race's climbing times. Not saying nothing to see here but not running round screaming fire at the top of his voice.
 
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If Pogacar comes back with a stronger team and same performance in the next coming years there is no hope for anyone. We would really have US Postal 3.0 (If we believe Sky was 2.0).
I am hoping this is an odd year because of the Covid made things completely different.
I'm guessing Pogacar plays the Ullrich to US Postal 3.0
Well we'll see who UAE buys in the next transfer window
If Aru comes back as Pogacar's lieutenant then things will really get suspicious
 
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To go back to the rollers argument. Here's Geraint Thomas on his spring training:
"I got the training done, but when I look back now I definitely think I was just going through the motions. Just like, exactly that, just getting it done because at that stage we didn't know what the calendar was going to look like. We didn't know if there was going to be any racing. So yeah, you were kind of just doing it and then, when we came out of lockdown...we went back to France when we could train there at the start of May. And then the calendar came out after that and at least it gave us a target to work towards, then it became a bit easier. I got the work done, but there's definitely a big difference, for me anyway, from doing what you need to do and then really doing it with some real purpose and impetus. So I think that's one of the factors why I struggled to make it into top, top shape for the Tour."
Whoever you choose to believe on this, one thing seems clear: it ain't clear.
 
Somewhere around stage 14 or so I said that the overall average speed - blunt instrument as it is - was down and so the correct answer to the thread title was probably the riders weren't actually faster this year.
Cherry picking some words: average speed ... blunt instrument
your conclusion: probably not faster.

So first you pick a number that you say is blunt, and later on your argue, based on an irrelevant number, that they are probably not faster.

I'll say it blunt for you: your comment doesn't say anything so you could have left it out of the discussion. This Tour was way way harder than last year's Tour. So you can't say anything meaningful based on average speed.

A totally different story: In my amateur category, the racing is faster (parcours are the same). There is no relief, no single lap done slower than the previous, so much harder to get away and much harder to not get dropped from the back of the peloton. I blame this on more people working at home, so more training for all.
 
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Cherry picking some words: average speed ... blunt instrument
your conclusion: probably not faster.

So first you pick a number that you say is blunt, and later on your argue, based on an irrelevant number, that they are probably not faster.

I'll say it blunt for you: your comment doesn't say anything so you could have left it out of the discussion. This Tour was way way harder than last year's Tour. So you can't say anything meaningful based on average speed.

A totally different story: In my amateur category, the racing is faster (parcours are the same). There is no relief, no single lap done slower than the previous, so much harder to get away and much harder to not get dropped from the back of the peloton. I blame this on more people working at home, so more training for all.

"I'll say it blunt for you: your comment doesn't say anything so you could have left it out of the discussion."
 
As an example, Adam Yates has claimed that it's not necessarily the climbing speed, but the speed on the flat that is noticeably high:

“It’s a hard pace [on the climbs] but it’s more in the middle of the stages, in the flats and the valleys, sprinting out of corners and stuff,” the Brit said on the second rest day. “The peloton is at such a high level you’re fighting for your place. It’s not really the pace on the climbs, it’s the pace of the whole race which is making the difference.”

article here: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/why-are-so-many-climbing-records-being-broken-at-the-tour-de-france-2020-468131

This would certainly fit the narrative that speeds have gone up this year, except Pogacar's average speed across the race is 39.88 kph, and Bernal's was 40.58kph last year. 2018 was 40.21, 2017 was 41.00. It's back to 2016 and 2015 to find a speed slower, by then 2014 and 2013 are quicker.
What does the average say?

Basing your opinion on average speed (using a quote of a knowledgable person):
It's just a favouring of information or an interpretation of that information that confirms your position, above and beyond what would be considered a fair interpretation
The average meters of vertical ascent in the Tour is 49034m (2005-2020), with a standard deviation of 3650m. (procyclingstats).
So reasonably, in order to compare average speed, you would like to have a similar parcours in terms of vertical ascent (to say the least, not even taking into account weather and how the race is actually raced). So you could compare Tours with 49034m plus minus 3650m difference (range: 45500-52500m, roughly).

The lowest is 42487m (2015). The highest is 58838m (2020). The second highest is 2019 (52856m).

In other words: 2020 is a massive outlier in terms of climbing (3x standard deviation from the average). The Tour has never ever had this before: before 2010 they didn't even go over 50.000. Since 2010, they went over 50.000m in 2011 (51711), 2013 (50283), 2014, (50421), 2016 (51088) and 2019 (52856) before they went full genius in 2020.

So we are looking at a Tour with 6000 meters climbing more than the tour with the second highest number of vertical meters, and 16.000 meters more than 2015. That's the equivalent of 3 super hard mountain stages without downhills.

If people still wonder why it is possible that the average is lower while the intensity of racing is higher, here you go.
 
If you can't read it all, don't read any of it. Go play your games with someone else.
If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. I read enough to know it doesn't make sense what you were writing, and I argued why. If you have no counterarguments, you resort to accusing me of playing games... If you really want to know, yes, I like playing games with numbers and statistics, especially when my bul... radar is on high alert.

The topic is about riders riding faster this year (claimed by Bardet and others, and supported by KOM on many climbs, but with the reservation that most of these climbs weren't climbed a lot, before).
You try to claim they actually ride slower by dragging average speed into the equation and resort to the nonsense "so the correct answer to the thread title was probably the riders weren't actually faster this year. "
Average speed is no indicator at all of the intensity of this year's TdF.

You tried that argument in this post before, but really, that argument doesn't make any sense. You say it yourself, it's blunt, so stop using it as an argument ffs.
What "overall" speeds? The race itself is within acceptable parameters (the average speed is lower than last year and not inconsistent with the last five years and blunt as average speed is, it evens out over time).
 
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If you can't read all of it don't reply to any of it. Also, if you don't know the difference between hard and fast then get a dictionary. Go play with someone else.
Guess you should start understanding that the parcours of the Tour was significantly harder (3 standard deviations more of vertical ascent), while the average speed was within standard deviation of the last 5 (or even 15) years. So they went AS FAST on a parcours that was WAY HARDER. If you can't understand that, I'm done.
 
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