Wout van Aert

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Sep 22, 2020
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omg, Jumbo are a dirty team, maybe just taking advantage of the pandemic to take the piss with less surveillance, but

Wout van Aert is doping
Vingegaard is doping

Dumoulin was/is doping

So obvious.

The less ethical highly funded teams like UAE and Bahrain are also doping (DUH!) (Pogacar far more embarrassing for TdF legacy than LA)

~10 years of clean sport with financial doping and boring sky train wasn't what the public wanted - so welcome back to the dark side idiots
 
The Belgian Bugno, he seems to get better at everything without any drawbacks. I can see a good TTer like him loosing weight and improving his climbing, but being competitive in bunch sprints and winning them at the same time is a big of a red flag for me.
An interesting comparison given that Bugno likely was the first in the Italian EPO gold rush. His 1990 season was very Wout like albeit with a Giro win. I'm a huge Bugno fan, but what I'm seeing from Wout is even more impressive. Bugno could often be mentally very weak and ride like dog ***, plus an often timid descender, Wout has no such kinks in his armour.
 
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An interesting comparison given that Bugno likely was the first in the Italian EPO gold rush. His 1990 season was very Wout like albeit with a Giro win. I'm a huge Bugno fan, but what I'm seeing from Wout is even more impressive. Bugno could often be mentally very weak and ride like dog ***, plus an often timid descender, Wout has no such kinks in his armour.
I made the Bugno comparison because they can both sprint, climb and TT. Bugno was also a great one day racer and they both look great on the bike.
 
omg, Jumbo are a dirty team, maybe just taking advantage of the pandemic to take the piss with less surveillance, but

Wout van Aert is doping
Vingegaard is doping

Dumoulin was/is doping

So obvious.

The less ethical highly funded teams like UAE and Bahrain are also doping (DUH!) (Pogacar far more embarrassing for TdF legacy than LA)

~10 years of clean sport with financial doping and boring sky train wasn't what the public wanted - so welcome back to the dark side idiots
Seriously? The last 10 years were clean? And then WTF is "financial doping"? Seriously? Get the *** out.
 
Don’t forget it was WvA pacing the leading group on that Grand Colombier stage last year when Bernal was dropped.
Not for the whole climb. I could pace that leading group for 500 meters. What does that say? Nothing if you are prepared to let go some kms from the top. And Bernal had serious back problems.
And then in addition he wins a very tough mountain stage within days too, yes, from the break, but easily outclimbing someone like Ellissonde.
Is Ellissonde a reference? For pro standards, he is mediocre at best. 1 stage in Vuelta and 1 in Paris-Nice. You could argue that his 2nd at Ventoux was in the top 3 of his best performances, ever. And he is 30 now. + How much energy did Ellissonde spent in the break to set up Mollema?
On top of everything he finished 19th in GC (last year he was 20th). I might be wrong but didn't his coach say before the Tour he didn't train at all for the mountains because of his appendicitis?
Check his back-to-back altitude stage before the Tour on Strava. He was in the Sierra Nevada, and near Tignes. 85.000 altitudinal meters in 5 weeks. That's as much as each week in the Tour. If the guy is doping, he's still training very hard on climbing, it seems.
Clearly Wout isn't quite climbing with the best all the time and he isn't quite sprinting with the best all the time, but he is competitive with both on his day.
This. WvA is far from the best climber. He is maybe 15-20th best climber in the World tour, and following Strava, I honestly see very few riders (even those higher in GC) that do the same amount of altitude training as WvA did the last couple of years. And amazing as it seems, with this level of climbing and all those training kilometers at altitude, he is still very far from winning a grand Tour.
I think true all-rounders like Wout, Remco, Pidcock, Vingegaard, Hayter etc will not be unusual, we're entering a new era where young riders just don't accept tradition anymore, don't accept even a hierarchy in the peloton anymore either.
I don't agree with the rest of your comment: modern riders not listening to hierarchy / tradition: you still need the legs to overcome the hierarchy. If some guys dominate on every terrain, it's not because they aren't obeying tradition, it's because they have the legs. It is remarkable that some guys have legs for e.g. outclimbing and out-TT-ing everyone (Pogacar) or close to that (Vingegaard). I find the TT of both more suspicious than the climbing of WvA.

All in all, this topic is one big echo chamber, and while I am totally undecided whether WvA dopes or not, the arguments pro-doping are not convincing or backed up by good arguments / data to say the least. The discussion could be much better, but I fear some on here are better off with non-factual rethorics.
 
Not for the whole climb. I could pace that leading group for 500 meters. What does that say? Nothing if you are prepared to let go some kms from the top. And Bernal had serious back problems.

Is Ellissonde a reference? For pro standards, he is mediocre at best. 1 stage in Vuelta and 1 in Paris-Nice. You could argue that his 2nd at Ventoux was in the top 3 of his best performances, ever. And he is 30 now. + How much energy did Ellissonde spent in the break to set up Mollema?

Check his back-to-back altitude stage before the Tour on Strava. He was in the Sierra Nevada, and near Tignes. 85.000 altitudinal meters in 5 weeks. That's as much as each week in the Tour. If the guy is doping, he's still training very hard on climbing, it seems.

This. WvA is far from the best climber. He is maybe 15-20th best climber in the World tour, and following Strava, I honestly see very few riders (even those higher in GC) that do the same amount of altitude training as WvA did the last couple of years. And amazing as it seems, with this level of climbing and all those training kilometers at altitude, he is still very far from winning a grand Tour.

I don't agree with the rest of your comment: modern riders not listening to hierarchy / tradition: you still need the legs to overcome the hierarchy. If some guys dominate on every terrain, it's not because they aren't obeying tradition, it's because they have the legs. It is remarkable that some guys have legs for e.g. outclimbing and out-TT-ing everyone (Pogacar) or close to that (Vingegaard). I find the TT of both more suspicious than the climbing of WvA.

All in all, this topic is one big echo chamber, and while I am totally undecided whether WvA dopes or not, the arguments pro-doping are not convincing or backed up by good arguments / data to say the least. The discussion could be much better, but I fear some on here are better off with non-factual rethorics.
I don't find your arguments convincing either. Basically what you're saying is van Aert is not suspicious because he trains climbing a lot and the competition is just weak?
Regardless of how much each rider is training climbing there is no doubt that van Aert has a very high climbing level - he's able to outclimb some decent pure climbers and on his day some of the very best climbers. I'm not saying he's the best in the peloton, that would be most disgusting. But there aren't that many riders in the peloton that can outclimb him when he's in form.
Also there are maybe two, three or four guys who can rather reliably outsprint him (I'd say Ewan and someone like Groenewegen when he's on form). And he's among the very best time trialers: only the very very best can, on their day, do that better than him on a rather flat course. He can do all of this within days.
I don't consider that in the realm of clean riding.

What would make him seriously suspicious in your eyes? Only if, in addition to being among the top5 sprinters and top3 time trialists, which he already is, he would also be among the top 5 climbers?? In this age of specialists, with a peloton where everybody is, with nutrition, training science, altitude camps, professionally scouted and evaluated, at the limit of what he can do?

I don't really want to rate how suspicious one rider looks in comparison to another, but no, he doesn't look much more unsuspicious to me than Pogacar for instance.

I mean, there are several factors that make a rider very suspicious to me, sometimes it's one factor, sometimes another, sometimes many.
  • sudden huge rise of performance (Wout: no)
  • very late clear rise of performance (Wout: no)
  • complete change or huge addition of a discipline, e.g. time trial specialist becomes complete GC rider (Wout: not really)
  • absolute numbers seem out of this world (Wout: pushing it, but, no, that's not really the thing about him)
  • can do it all, combines disciplines on the highest level when you would think that to be the best in one of them you would have to sacrifice another (Wout: yes. Absolutely.)
Like I said, what I can't explain to myself is how someone can be among the best time trialers, compete on a level just below the amazing Ganna, and the best sprinters, just a bit below someone like Ewan. Those are really, really different disciplines, you can be strong enough to be somewhere up there, but to be among the very best in both disciplines - with my limited knowledge of human's physiology I don't see how that's possible, without even talking about his climbing, which in my eyes then just adds more to the jaw dropping.
I guess you have to go back to a guy like Sean Kelly to find a rider that you can somehow compare to van Aert. Riders before my time. In this age of specialization, the times I've seen, I can't think of anyone. And in a doping-burdened sport that is enough for me to call that incredible as in incredible.

Sorry, I'm repeating myself here a few times, a bit of a messy text, but I think you get what I want to say.
 
Got it, thanks. And largely agree with what you said… I would start to find it incredible if WvA lost weight, climbed as well as top 3 in GC AND still won flat sprints. As long as he weighs around 75-76kgs I don’t see him outclimbing the best (look at Luz ardiden: that’s his best level at the moment), but I do see him TT and sprint like he does now (top 3 in both disciplines).
 
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Not only was he performing over all terrain but his recovery and stamina was high as well. He would compete across different terrain back to back with his helping duties and he still finished 19th and was competing for KOM. Worst stage finish was 86th, average was 24th. Pogacar average was 18th, Vingegaard was 29th, and Carapaz average was 21st. He had the 3rd highest stage average out of everyone. On the two flat stages he finished on the podium on, he put out the same 67 km/h from 200-250 m out. One of those was behind Cavendish's "slipstream" and we can all agree he has no slipstream really.

15th stage 3 flat stage
4th stage 4 ITT
8th stage 6 flat stage
8th stage 7 hiily stage (in breakaway)
2nd stage 10 flat stage
1st stage 13 mountain stage 1
5th stage 13 flat stage
19th stage 15 mountain stage (in breakaway and did work for Vingegaard)
1st stage 20 ITT
1st stage 21 flat stage
 
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I don't find your arguments convincing either. Basically what you're saying is van Aert is not suspicious because he trains climbing a lot and the competition is just weak?
Regardless of how much each rider is training climbing there is no doubt that van Aert has a very high climbing level - he's able to outclimb some decent pure climbers and on his day some of the very best climbers. I'm not saying he's the best in the peloton, that would be most disgusting. But there aren't that many riders in the peloton that can outclimb him when he's in form.
Also there are maybe two, three or four guys who can rather reliably outsprint him (I'd say Ewan and someone like Groenewegen when he's on form). And he's among the very best time trialers: only the very very best can, on their day, do that better than him on a rather flat course. He can do all of this within days.
I don't consider that in the realm of clean riding.

What would make him seriously suspicious in your eyes? Only if, in addition to being among the top5 sprinters and top3 time trialists, which he already is, he would also be among the top 5 climbers?? In this age of specialists, with a peloton where everybody is, with nutrition, training science, altitude camps, professionally scouted and evaluated, at the limit of what he can do?

I don't really want to rate how suspicious one rider looks in comparison to another, but no, he doesn't look much more unsuspicious to me than Pogacar for instance.

I mean, there are several factors that make a rider very suspicious to me, sometimes it's one factor, sometimes another, sometimes many.
  • sudden huge rise of performance (Wout: no)
  • very late clear rise of performance (Wout: no)
  • complete change or huge addition of a discipline, e.g. time trial specialist becomes complete GC rider (Wout: not really)
  • absolute numbers seem out of this world (Wout: pushing it, but, no, that's not really the thing about him)
  • can do it all, combines disciplines on the highest level when you would think that to be the best in one of them you would have to sacrifice another (Wout: yes. Absolutely.)
Like I said, what I can't explain to myself is how someone can be among the best time trialers, compete on a level just below the amazing Ganna, and the best sprinters, just a bit below someone like Ewan. Those are really, really different disciplines, you can be strong enough to be somewhere up there, but to be among the very best in both disciplines - with my limited knowledge of human's physiology I don't see how that's possible, without even talking about his climbing, which in my eyes then just adds more to the jaw dropping.
I guess you have to go back to a guy like Sean Kelly to find a rider that you can somehow compare to van Aert. Riders before my time. In this age of specialization, the times I've seen, I can't think of anyone. And in a doping-burdened sport that is enough for me to call that incredible as in incredible.

Sorry, I'm repeating myself here a few times, a bit of a messy text, but I think you get what I want to say.
Good points and mostly agree. Regarding your third bullet "complete change or huge addition of a discipline, e.g. time trial specialist becomes complete GC rider (Wout: not really)", well, in short order he demonstrated being a TT specialist, World Tour level sprinter, and an incredible climber over the mountains (easy to forget how many jaws were dropping last year), so I think he takes that box off fairly convincingly given where he was just a few years back.

I'm certainly not suggesting he's any more suspicious than a number of the other characters out there. But I don't need any convincing that something's going on.
 
Not for the whole climb. I could pace that leading group for 500 meters. What does that say? Nothing if you are prepared to let go some kms from the top. And Bernal had serious back problems.

Is Ellissonde a reference? For pro standards, he is mediocre at best. 1 stage in Vuelta and 1 in Paris-Nice. You could argue that his 2nd at Ventoux was in the top 3 of his best performances, ever. And he is 30 now. + How much energy did Ellissonde spent in the break to set up Mollema?

Check his back-to-back altitude stage before the Tour on Strava. He was in the Sierra Nevada, and near Tignes. 85.000 altitudinal meters in 5 weeks. That's as much as each week in the Tour. If the guy is doping, he's still training very hard on climbing, it seems.

This. WvA is far from the best climber. He is maybe 15-20th best climber in the World tour, and following Strava, I honestly see very few riders (even those higher in GC) that do the same amount of altitude training as WvA did the last couple of years. And amazing as it seems, with this level of climbing and all those training kilometers at altitude, he is still very far from winning a grand Tour.

I don't agree with the rest of your comment: modern riders not listening to hierarchy / tradition: you still need the legs to overcome the hierarchy. If some guys dominate on every terrain, it's not because they aren't obeying tradition, it's because they have the legs. It is remarkable that some guys have legs for e.g. outclimbing and out-TT-ing everyone (Pogacar) or close to that (Vingegaard). I find the TT of both more suspicious than the climbing of WvA.

All in all, this topic is one big echo chamber, and while I am totally undecided whether WvA dopes or not, the arguments pro-doping are not convincing or backed up by good arguments / data to say the least. The discussion could be much better, but I fear some on here are better off with non-factual rethorics.
I think if you are totally undecided whether WvA dopes or not, then that comment about an echo chamber goes both ways. I am guessing you are totally undecided with respect to TP and MvdP a well?
 
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Cancellara never climbed like this a day in his life. His peak TTs and flat steamrolling vs groups was probably a bit better, but he never hit the climbing and sprinting like this.
I meant more like Mendrisio 2009 where he was just so much stronger than anyone else & it counted against him, Beijing 2008 likewise, but fair point. Wout whittling down that chase group on the steepest section sure was something.
 
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This guy has tuned into a complete Dragon Ball Z character. That image of him popping back into view only a few seconds down, dragging a train of climbing specialists after it looked like Pog had dropped them for good, then pulling everyone to within 14 seconds of Carapaz, and winning the bunch sprint… pretty amazing to watch. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in any race with him.
 
He sure has perfected the cyclocross punch combined with 200+km endurance riding, with some big mountain climbing mixed in, sprinkled with a strong TT and then topped off with a final race sprint. All served up for WvA to win on any terrain.
 
I love it. It looks like more teams are able to do whatever they want again, instead of one team going so balls out bananas that the rest of the peloton looks clean in comparison. TJV, UAE, Bahrain and Ineos (and I guess MvdP on his own) are going to have some epic doping duels going forward.
 

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