Where does Lance rank among the greats?

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by derKaiser, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. pod

    pod New Member

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  2. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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    You posted 93-96 and only gave times for ITTs LA completed. There were no 96 times and no 91 times. I´m missing two ITTs from 91 and one from both 93 and 94.

    I´ll take a look at your reservations about pre and post LA and see what I can find.

    I find it interesting you won´t compare a post cancer LA with a prime time Indurain! You keep hiding behind the "Mule to Horse" argument.
     
  3. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I documented all of the ITT where LA and Indurain went head to head in the TDF.
    In 1991, LA was still an amateur and in 1993 and 1994, he dropped out of the TDF before the second ITT (after losing huge time to the eventual winner and
    many others in the TDF field).

    But here's one for you and POD to consider.
    You're both very hung up about, to use your expression, "mule/horse" comparisons, between a young Armstrong and Indurain.
    How come Jan Ullrich in his TDF professional debut managed to finish 2nd overall on GC, and beat Big Mig in an ITT at St Emilion ITT ?
    Mule/horse comparison doesn't work there does it.
    Ullrich was only 22 after all.

    It really boils down to this.
    If LA was a great flat rider in 1992/1996 : he was managing to lose six minutes year on year to BigMig.
    Jan Ullrich debuts and beats BigMig in the ITT, in his (Ullrichs) debut season.
    If LA is a great climber, how come he blew up in the mountains continuously between 1992/1996 ?
    If he is supposed to have had the greatest engine in cycling ever (and remember we only have his claims to this to rely upon), how come that engine
    managed not to prevent him from performing during the 1992-1996 ?
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    The same heart, same muscles, that failed to propel him to stage race victories, apart from the TDuPont in 1995/1996.




    He would have had these attributes during the 1992-1996 period too - yet he
    still managed to finish only one TDF out of four starts and even when he did manage to finish it he was 1hr 30mins down on the overall winner.

    These attributes were also insufficient to make him win a classement jersey within the TDF.

    So you're saying that these attributes worked from 1999-onwards but did not
    work between 1992-1996 ?


    Somebody who does weigh less does tend to climb more efficiently.
    But he was unable to even finish the TDF, on three occasions between 1992-1996 because he was losing massive time in the mountains.
    (if you want the footage, I'll send you a copy of the tapes).
    I'll grant you that he did lose weight when he caught his cancer.
    And then he came back and managed to outclimb, the greatest climbers of the day with ease.
    Just a tad suspicious, non ?
    I mean, a climbing nobody, loses some weight and then comes back and demolishes guys who have been destroying all opposition for years !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Go on admit it - it is a bit fishy.

    No one denies that LA was mentally strong.
    1993 book "Inside the TDF" in an extensive interview with David Walsh, Lance tells us all about how hard he trained.
    How he trained like never before.
    How he found cycling much tougher than triathlon.
    A whole chapter is devoted to LA entitled "Neopro" - where LA waxes lyrical
    about his lifestyle, training, how hard the peloton is, how he had become toughened, how his life was 24/7 cycling.
    22 years old, he was at the time.
    Mentally tough - he was mentally very tough in 1993.
    Still didn't propel him to win a TDF in that time period though, did it ?
    Still didn't manage to outclimb Pantani & Co at the time, did it ?
     
  5. micron

    micron New Member

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    I've read an interview with Armstrong post chemo where he is asked about the inevitable weight loss and he says he didn't lose much weight at all as he was stuffing his face in the canteen. Then he rode Paris-Nice but had to retire and was spirited away by Chris Carmichael (US Olympic cycling team 1984 - record number of medals won through blood packing, also settled out of court with 2 members of the Junior Olympic team who alleged that they were doped - they were on the team the same time as Armstrong, Carmichael was coach) to work with Dr Ferrari (convicted of sporting fraud and a widely known doping doctor - Virenque was very impressed by him but felt working with him would be like announcing to the peloton that you're a doper) - later that year he's 4th in the Vuelta and can all of a sudden climb a bit....

    the company Armstrong keeps is questionable to say the least...
     
  6. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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  7. meehs

    meehs New Member

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    I don't know where you read that interview but I'm quite certain that it must've either been incorrect or that it misquoted Armstrong.

    Every interview I've heard and account of Armstrong's battle with and recovery from cancer that I've read (and I've read and heard a few) invariably tells that he lost anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds during his cancer treatment. If you look at photos of Armstrong before and after his cancer treatment, his weight loss is plainly obvious.

    Stuffing his face in the canteen? I've read and heard Armstrong say on several occasions that the only thing he was able to eat duiring his chemotherapy (without imediately vomiting-up) were apple fritters. By his account he spent the majority of his time sleeping and/or curled-up in the fetal position in his hospital bed. Not sitting around in a canteen eating. The man was very near death.
     
  8. pod

    pod New Member

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    Look some people wont let the truth get in the way of a good theory and will selective quote irrelevant facts to support their opinion. Others will say anything that is necessary to discredit the guy who regularly floggs their hero.

    Perhaps they are all taking drugs. One thing is for sure, the testing is far more rigorous now than during the careers of previous greats. Unless you have some facts or evidence, what is the point? Speculation and innuendo are worthless. I could say, how is it possible the Cannibal was so good? It just doesn't stack up. pretty fishy non! and then quote his times as a junior as evidence.
     
  9. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Merckx won consistently throughout his career.
    He was winning events like Ghent Wevelgem - Milan San Remo - World Road Race Champion - Fleche Wallone : within 12 months of his pro debut.
    He also finished 9th in his first Giro win that first year (picked up two stage wins too).
    So he was consistent from day one.
     
  10. pod

    pod New Member

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    Yes, I agree, Merckx was a freak and if I was cynical I could also point out that at the same time there were some freaks in East German swimming and little or no testing for drugs.

    I not saying (and don't believe) he was on drugs, I'm just saying it's wrong to suggest that someone was taking drugs just because they were good, or for that matter improved a lot. There are reasons for Armstrong's improvement, including greater dedication, training and weight loss for climbing (7kg is a huge difference). He really was a world class rider before cancer with great potential but not up to the rigors of long stage races at that early age. You also can't compare someone working as a domestic in one TdF with their performance later as a team leader being supported and nursed along. Support riders have to sacrifice their own interests for the team leader and often get used up in ways that help the team leader but hinder their own performance. Having such a great well disciplined team probably also flatters LA.
     
  11. ct2

    ct2 New Member

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    On an 11% grade, a 7 kg drop in weight amounts to a nearly four minute time gain over the course of a 10k climb. Substantial.

    Armstrong won a stage in '93 and a stage in '95. It's one thing to go for a win, another thing to race for your team or for a stage, or enter the tour for experience or training. How many guys take it easy on mtn stages or itts to save up for an important stage?

    I would rank armstrong one or two places ahead of ullrich, and put ullrich down a few more places from where he is.

    I haven't ready the article, but this suggests a steady improvement in armstrong's abilities over the years.


    Improved muscular efficiency displayed as 'Tour de France' champion matures.

    Coyle EF.


    Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.

    This case describes the physiological maturation from ages 21-28 y of the bicyclist who has now become the six-time consecutive 'Grand-Champion' of the 'Tour de France', at ages 27-32 y. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in the trained state remained at approximately 6 l/min, lean body weight remained at approximately 70 kg and maximal heart rate declined from 207 to 200 beats/min. Blood lactate threshold was typical of competitive cyclists in that it occurred at 76-85% VO2max, yet maximal blood lactate concentration was remarkably low in the trained state. It appears that an 8% improvement in muscular efficiency and thus power production when cycling at a given VO2 is the characteristic that improved most as this athlete matured from ages 21-28 y. It is noteworthy that at age 25 y this champion developed advanced cancer , requiring surgeries and chemotherapy. During the months leading up to each of his 'Tour de France' victories, he reduced body weight and body fat by 4-7 kg (i.e.; approximately 7%). Therefore, over the seven year period, an improvement in muscular efficiency and reduced body fat contributed equally to a remarkable 18% improvement in his steady-state power per kg body weight when cycling at a given VO2. (e.g.; 5 l/min). It is hypothesized that the improved muscular efficiency probably reflects changes in muscle myosin type stimulated from years of training intensely for 3-6 h on most days.
     
  12. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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  13. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Coyle EF.

    Now wait a moment.

    The LA apologists tell us he had the highest ever VOmax ever in all cycling history, from the beginning of time etc etc - when he was 18.
    I believe the University of Texas is where the highest ever VOmax, in the
    entire history of cycling, from the beginning of time etc etc, at 18 years of age.

    This is the problem with revisionism.

    If this allegedly great engine was ticking over at 18 years of age, our friend with the greatest VOmax reading ever in the entire history of the entire peloton, ought to have reaped more stage race wins, instead of his two tour dupont victories.
    You'd think this great engine would have made some impact at the grand tours or the major stages races between 1992-1996.

    I wonder what Ullrich's muscle efficency reading was when he almost won the 1996 TDF (ultimately finished second in his debut tour) ?

    Maybe the Oracle Coyle EF could riddle me that ?
     
  14. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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    Are you saying all this stuff about Armstrong isn´t true?

    That he didn´t have a big engine from a very young age?

    It´s all made up?

    Tejano?
     
  15. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    The simple answer is - I don't know if he had a big engine or not.
    I never heard any great claims about LA when he debuted in the European peloton.
    There was no coverage of big engines or great ability in this case, when he debuted.

    Unlike Ullrich - who was identified as a great talent by his amateur career.
    Unlike LeMond - who was identified as a great talent by his amateur career.

    This sudden rush of information that LA had a great engine and how he was fantastic at 18, aren't born out by the stage race results for 1992-1996.
    This retrospective release of information, smacks of revisionism.
     
  16. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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    How do you explain a 16 year old challenging the greatest Triathletes in the world!

    Pretty frickin´amazing?
     
  17. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I have no knowledge of triathlon.

    I do have some insight to cycling, though.
     
  18. Tejano

    Tejano New Member

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    Another problem I have with your theory is that Armstrong was cycling full time for how long before his debut in Europe? The junior cycling system at that time in the U.S. and cycling in general was far below the level in Europe? Cycling is a very technical and tactical sport even though it appears to be just riding a bike?

    I´d compare it to Basketball. There are good european players in the NBA but 99% of them have to go through a learning and adaptation process ´cause the NBA is very different from Euro ball.

    Armstrong had a lot to learn I think?

    Tejano
     
  19. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Yeah, there would be a learning curve involved - but when you don't even manage to finish a grand tour, how can you be expected to learn ?
    When you jump up and down on a podium when you win a stage in a race, it is very evident that he had a lot to learn.
     
  20. micron

    micron New Member

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    sorry to be cynical, but where was this piece of research conducted? University of Austin, Texas. We can expect that to be completely objective and not just a piece of Armstrong apologia then, can't we?

    Agreed, Limerickman - the case for Lemond, Ullrich, Indurain et al was clear from the start through their amateur careers and their numbers etc. None of this was mentioned when Armstrong first hit the scene - and his results always fluctuated wildly, last in his first race then 2nd in his next and so on.

    One last thing - if dropping 7kgs makes you 4 minutes faster in the climbs, then Armstrong would have needed to shed about half his early 90s bodyweight to make up the shortfall in his climbing.
     
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