Jump to content
[[Template core/front/custom/_customHeader is throwing an error. This theme may be out of date. Run the support tool in the AdminCP to restore the default theme.]]

2009 Tour de France thread


Chavez
 Share

Recommended Posts

Great article on what PEDs do for an athlete:

 

"Let's start with human growth hormone," Dr. Jones announced that first day in his office. I wasn't surprised. HGH is the foundation of his anti-aging regimen, and it's one of the hottest banned supplements in sports. It's a protein produced by the pituitary gland that's involved with various strength- and growth-related body processes, including normal growth during childhood, adult sexual function, bone strength, energy levels, protein formation, and tissue repair.

 

"Between 20 and 30 years of age," Dr. Jones explained in a long, impressive presentation, complete with fancy computer graphics, "our growth hormone is at its absolute peak. And then all of a sudden, it drops."

 

He ticked off the negative effects of low HGH levels: "Total cholesterol goes up, good cholesterol goes down, bad cholesterol goes up. Reduced body tone, decreased muscle strength, reduced lean body mass, increased total body fat, reduced exercise performance, decreased mental function."

 

It was the bit about "reduced exercise performance" that athletes seized on in the mid-nineties. If lower HGH levels hurt performance, the reasoning went, then higher levels would help it. And while there are sophisticated tests for steroids, there is still no means to detect HGH.

 

....After a few weeks of the HGH, I began to notice subtle changes. My skin started getting... better. Sun blotches that I'd had on my arms for a year faded away. One morning I woke up and a scar on my forehead—which I'd gotten from a mountain-bike endo two years earlier—was more or less gone. Even though I was training like a madman, I looked more rested. Younger. A little fresher.

 

Then I started to realize that my eyesight really was improving. I'd been thinking about getting glasses to read fine print on maps, but now there was no need. The glasses I used for night driving stayed in the glove compartment, unused, unnecessary.

 

 

Testosterone:

 

Testosterone urges the RNA, or message center, in muscle cells to create more protein, hence more muscles. Higher testosterone levels have been shown to increase energy and aggression, in both men and women. Anti-aging types believe that testosterone decline is a big factor in the loss of muscle and the increase in fat that are standard signs of getting older. Not to mention a loss of libido. There can be side effects from taking it—ranging from acne to high blood pressure—but the drug's many fans think the trade-off is worth it.

 

 

EPO:

 

"You have to be careful with this stuff," Dr. Jones warned "One of my bike racers who isn't really a climber went on a training ride and dropped the best climbers on his team," he said. "They were like, 'Um, what are you taking?'"

 

The morning after I took my first dose, I woke up with a strange headache, a very distinct kind of pain that I would come to associate with EPO. It defied all manner of ibuprofen and aspirin but gradually went away.

 

Within three weeks, my hematocrit level had risen to 48.3. By this time, my testosterone levels had shot up to 900 nanograms per decaliter, from a previous mark of 280. (My starting level was just below normal.) My HGH had increased only slightly, which Dr. Jones found unusual. He upped my HGH dosage to 1.2 IU a day, speculating that the long hours I spent training might be keeping the level down.

 

 

At that point:

 

I remained skeptical about all the drugs until March 29, when I rode an event along the central coast of California, the Solvang Double Century, at what for me was a fast and hard pace, finishing in around 11.5 hours. About ten hours in, it dawned on me that something was definitely happening. Sure, I'd been training hard, but I'd done enough of that to know what to expect. All around me were riders—good, strong riders—who looked as worn out as you'd expect after ten hours in the saddle. I was tired, but I felt curiously strong, annoyingly talkative and fresh, eager to hammer the last 40 miles. The last time I'd ridden 200 miles, I felt awful the next day, like I'd been hit by a truck. After the Solvang race I woke up and felt hardly a touch of soreness. I also felt like I could easily ride another 200, and I realized that I'd entered another world, the realm of instant recovery.

 

 

Roids:

 

A MONTH LATER, when I added a basic anabolic steroid to the mix, I felt like I'd grabbed on to a car moving at 60 miles an hour. The effect was powerful, fast, and difficult to modulate.

 

"steroids" is a broad term for various synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones, and that they promote the growth of skeletal muscle and the development of male sexual traits. Though each steroid has different effects, they generally increase the amount of nitrogen in the body, which in turn stimulates protein synthesis.

 

ONCE I STARTED THE DECA, I didn't even think about lifting weights. I wanted to get stronger, not bigger. Within two weeks, the pain I felt in my left knee after 100 miles or so—100 was now just a standard ride—went away, coming back only on the most brutal hills. My shoulder felt much better. And then one morning I stepped on the scale.

 

Two hundred and nine pounds.

 

"Don't give me this you're-getting-fat crap," he said in an exasperated tone. "You sound like some teenage girl. You've lost six pounds of fat and gained 12 of muscle. That's why you're heavier."

 

 

End result:

 

I felt shockingly strong until the final 200 kilometers, when my stomach started to shut down. Unaccustomed to the aero bars on the tandem, I'd also developed agonizing saddle s*res. These were typical woes of ultrariding, but through it all, my legs and heart felt fine. Five months earlier, I couldn't have imagined riding this far and feeling so strong. We finished the 1,225-kilometer ride in just under 76 hours—sleeping only twice for a few hours. The next morning, if it weren't for my saddle s*res, I could have easily done it again. Obviously, Dr. Jones's program had worked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 154
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Also, I honestly believe that Team Slipstream has no doping either.

 

Columbia Highroad also beats their chest about their stringent drug testing program. I think Slipstream and Highroad use the same standards.

 

I tend to cast a slightly skeptical eye at Saxo and Astana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a difference (in scale, at least) between using painkillers and stimulants and EPO and HGH.

 

Avg speed of the TdF started out at 25.5 k/ph in 1903. It went up to 28 k/ph in 1907 was generally in the 24-28 k/ph range, and in the 30s the average was consistently in the 28-29 k/ph range. 1939 was the first year they broke 30 k/ph. WW2 interrupted, but the avg steadily climbed into the 35-36 k/ph range in the mid-to-late 50s....and then it stalled there. Jacques Anquetil was winning at about 35 k/ph in the mid 50s, Lemond was winning at about 37.5 k/ph in the late 80s, and Indurain was winning at around 38 k/ph in the early 90s.

 

Dopers Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich, and Marco Pantani ran it up to about 39 k/ph in the 96-98 seasons. In 99, Armstrongs first win, the avg speeds jumped consistently up into the 42 k/ph range.

 

Now, call me Pollyanna, but I think the steady increase from the 50s to the mid-90s can in large part be attributed to technology and better training. But a big jump coming around 2000, when there were already carbon forks, wind tunnel training, tremendous knowledge about proper diet, etc? Average speeds have dropped from the 42+ k/ph of the Armstrong era back to around 40 k/ph since the increasing crackdowns on PED.

 

But if Lance Armstrong was riding 10-15% faster than guys like Lemond, Hinault, and Indurain, and crushing a doped-up field while clean as a whistle, then he really has an argument for being the greatest athlete EVER.

 

well, you got me curious, so I looked up the average speed, and I think you are overestimating the changes. you can see it all here. the highest overall speed ever was 41.654 in 2005. from 1992 to 2008:

39.504

38.709

38.383

39.193

39.227

39.230

39.383

40.273

39.556

40.02

39.93

40.94

41.654

40.784

38.98

40.50

 

I don't see any overly dramatic changes there, especially when you consider the circuit is different each year, the way intra-race strategy can affect whether a stage is raced fast or slow, etc.

 

AND, I recall one of the big new things when lance started dominating was his uber-scientific training regimen, and eventually how other riders started emulating that, and so on. so there definitely were some big technical advances in that era.

 

I don't know that lance has always been clean. if pressed, I would say I bet he was doing some stuff his first year or two back after cancer. however, I kind of find it unlikely he did much of anything illegal after that -- simply because there have been a whole slew of people who have made it their mission to catch him, and he's been the most tested individual on the planet during that period. yeah, cheaters are usually a step or two ahead of the game, but don't they keep a lot of those blood and urine samples and test them years later? I just think if there were something to catch, somebody probably would have found something concrete by now. but I wouldn't be shocked to find out he had. disappointed, but not shocked.

 

but even if he has cheated, I admire the hell out of the guy's athletic prowess. for me, it really is kinda like barry bonds. barry is the greatest hitter I have ever seen play, period. yeah, the fact that he distanced himself from a drugged up field by being drugged up himself taints some of his numbers and accomplishments. but the once-in-a-lifetime awesomeness of his talent is still absolutely undeniable for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, you got me curious, so I looked up the average speed, and I think you are overestimating the changes. you can see it all here. the highest overall speed ever was 41.654 in 2005. from 1992 to 2008:

39.504

38.709

38.383

39.193

39.227

39.230

39.383

40.273

39.556

40.02

39.93

40.94

41.654

40.784

38.98

40.50

 

I don't see any overly dramatic changes there, especially when you consider the circuit is different each year, the way intra-race strategy can affect whether a stage is raced fast or slow, etc.

Hmm, bad info - my source (the book Blazing Saddles) had numbers that showed a jump from 36.6 (which was a bit below average at that time, anyway) in '95 to 39+ in 96, then a jump from just below 40 to over 42 from 98-99 - a 5% jump. The numbers I was using made things look a bit more suspect than yours.

 

As far as the circuit affecting things, I agree but with a large sample size, it all evens out to being about the same - as your numbers would show, 38.4 to 41.7 with no notable fluctuations one way or the other, really.

 

AND, I recall one of the big new things when lance started dominating was his uber-scientific training regimen, and eventually how other riders started emulating that, and so on. so there definitely were some big technical advances in that era.

And again, by the numbers I had, the avg speed backslid under 40 k/ph as the PED crackdown started. Our data differed, therefore the conclusions differ. If I'd had your numbers I wouldn't have seen a big jump between 98-99 in particular that led me to go "hmmmm."

I don't know that lance has always been clean. if pressed, I would say I bet he was doing some stuff his first year or two back after cancer. however, I kind of find it unlikely he did much of anything illegal after that -- simply because there have been a whole slew of people who have made it their mission to catch him, and he's been the most tested individual on the planet during that period. yeah, cheaters are usually a step or two ahead of the game, but don't they keep a lot of those blood and urine samples and test them years later? I just think if there were something to catch, somebody probably would have found something concrete by now. but I wouldn't be shocked to find out he had. disappointed, but not shocked.

 

but even if he has cheated, I admire the hell out of the guy's athletic prowess. for me, it really is kinda like barry bonds. barry is the greatest hitter I have ever seen play, period. yeah, the fact that he distanced himself from a drugged up field by being drugged up himself taints some of his numbers and accomplishments. but the once-in-a-lifetime awesomeness of his talent is still absolutely undeniable for me.

 

I pretty much agree with this - assuming everyone was using equally good stuff, he was STILL dominant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You must not be a fan of MLB over the past 20 years :wacko:

 

 

Couldn't agree more - I grew up with baseball as my first love, won a state championship, was scouted quite a bit during summer ball and ended up not getting drafted after all and going the JC route. Baseball was it, loved everything about it, memorized stats, collected cards..... now??

 

 

I can't stand it - everything about the PED era ruined it for me, and I don't think I am ever coming back. I am an ESPN junkie during football and hoops season, and baseball tonight, the highlights and constant ridiculous stats Gammons/Timmy and the other dorks spew out bore me now, I have hardly any interest. Throw in the the Yankee/Red Sox jock-fest, baseball is done for me. The only cool thing about it is getting out to game on a nice summer night

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And that's why it's believable that Lance never doped... he took the science of it to a whole new level.

Was he the only guy on USPS/Disco training that way?

 

You'd think not, but the rest of the team was notably deficient in Palmares when they were re-inventing training.

 

Admittedly, that's at best, circumstantial. And if the entire team was also dirty, they should've won more as well.

Edited by Chavez
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem with stats is the human element. For example, Lance raced to win and only win. If it was by two seconds or two hours, he didn't care. As such, he slowed his team down to defense only on regular occasions. He only rode fast when responding to a challenge. So, the stats could be significantly distorted because of team philosophy and position on any given year.

Again, this was going by the numbers I had access to (and which I had no reason to believe were inaccurate)....a 5% jump in average speed for a 7-8 yr span qualifies as "of interest." Az's numbers show that there WAS no spike, and that regardless of tactics or strategy, etc, in general, the TdF has run at about the same speed (within a 5% range with no massive jumps or dips, really) for the past 16 yrs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was he the only guy on USPS/Disco training that way?

 

You'd think not, but the rest of the team was notably deficient in Palmares when they were re-inventing training.

 

I know at least one or two of the guys who were really driving the innovative body testing and training stuff were lance's personal trainers, not really employees of the team. the main guy I'm thinking of....chris something?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:wacko:

 

cool, grueling event, and those dudes are in phenomenal shape but you have got to be joking. The Tour De France and the sport of cycling is an absolute joke and a farce with all the cheating and scandals and chit.

 

If I was into biking and a cycling fan, I would be flat out embarrassed

So I take it you're not a fan of either football or baseball?

 

The only difference between cycling and those sports is that cycling is actually doing more than make some token gesture towards cleaning it's sport up. Dude gets caught on roids in football, he's got to sit a few games out. Mind you, the NFLPA makes sure they lob enough appeals to see to it that the games he misses are the least important ones. In cycling, he's thrown out on the spot, right in the middle of the tour.

 

Hell, baseball has a freaking list of 100 or so players that they know tested positive for banned substances and they're just sitting on it.

 

So, because, unlike all the other sports with rampant cheating, cycling actually punishes it's offenders, it's fans should be embarrassed?

 

Oh, and "grueling" doesn't even begin to describe it.

 

To be honest, having done just a few brutal mountain rides of even close to 100 miles when I was much younger than now and in pretty damned good shape. Just one day, or sometimes on back to back days, but nothing close to sprinkling in 5 or so 100 milers with 5000+ vertical feet of climbing in the middle of 3 weeks of riding 100+ each and every day. Nor, for that matter, at anywhere near the speeds that these guys do it. I can't fathom how any human could actually manage without something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as I know, he was the only one who took that level of training seriously 100% of the time and his focus was strictly on the TdF.

 

I'm not sure what your question/comment was exactly :wacko:

 

 

I know at least one or two of the guys who were really driving the innovative body testing and training stuff were lance's personal trainers, not really employees of the team. the main guy I'm thinking of....chris something?

 

 

...Carmichael.

 

The comment was dependent on it being a team regimen, not Armstrong's personal regimen. And it was personal, not team, so NM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tomorrow, it starts.

 

Going to be at a party but it WILL be DVR'ed.

 

And to celebrate, I'm going to attempt my furthest ride ever - just under 60 miles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:wacko: Allez Chavez!!!! :D

 

We talking road bike or mountain?

Road. My buddy upgraded and gave me a sweet deal on his "old" one, a Diamondback Racing Podium 1.

 

I feel like a freakin' mountain goat when I climb hills on that after all those years on my Giant Sedona.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to celebrate, I'm going to attempt my furthest ride ever - just under 60 miles.

The ride was good. I need to get some real biking shorts, because near the end the most difficult thing to deal with was the pounding my, er, undercarriage was taking.

 

I don't know that I could have gone MUCH farther than 60 mi but I felt good, if a bit exhausted, by the end. Had plenty of water but shorted myself a bit on food - with about ten miles left my stomach was really squawking.

 

As far as the REAL rider, Cancellara is a stud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ride was good. I need to get some real biking shorts, because near the end the most difficult thing to deal with was the pounding my, er, undercarriage was taking.

 

I don't know that I could have gone MUCH farther than 60 mi but I felt good, if a bit exhausted, by the end. Had plenty of water but shorted myself a bit on food - with about ten miles left my stomach was really squawking.

:wacko:

 

First off, kudos for going 60 miles, let alone in gym shorts. Get thee some proper cycling shorts. A word of advice, spend a bit more and get bib shorts. So much more comfy and if you've got a bit of a gut, the straps really help keep 'em up. Performance Bike sells pretty good stuff for the money. There's better out there but nothing you won't miss unless you're logging major miles at high speeds.

 

As for water and food. Water is fine, water with stuff like Accelerade mixed in, that's another level. Last summer there was this guy who started riding with us. He's about 10 years younger than I am and a former DII college swimmer. In other words, nobody I had any business punishing like I did at the end of every ride. Then I noticed he was only drinking water as opposed to electrolyte and carb fluids. I hipped him to the good stuff and he's been crushing me since.

 

The thing you need to worry about on rides as long as 60 miles is that your body needs protein after 2-3 hours, so things like gatorade don't cut it. The better mixes have protein.

 

Another thing to keep in the back pocket of your jersey (and yes, once you've done 60, you're allowed to wear a proper jersey). Things like GU, or Powergel will save your ass at some point. Nothing you want to make a meal out of but they're not so bad. Pretty much tastes like cake frosting. But when you're 20 miles away from the end of your ride and feeling dizzy... There's little packets of gels out now that are basically like gummy bears and some tend to prefer. They annoy me because when you're trying to stay with a pack rolling 20 mph, they take too damned long to deal with. My wife, however, vastly prefers them because she is more sane and simply stops on the side of the road from time to time to deal with nuisances like eating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get thee some proper cycling shorts. A word of advice, spend a bit more and get bib shorts. So much more comfy and if you've got a bit of a gut, the straps really help keep 'em up. Performance Bike sells pretty good stuff for the money. There's better out there but nothing you won't miss unless you're logging major miles at high speeds.

I might make do with some waist shorts until I can justify/afford a coupla pair of bibs.

 

Ideally I'll be doing major miles next year...dunno about the high speeds, though. :wacko:

 

As for water and food. Water is fine, water with stuff like Accelerade mixed in, that's another level.

 

The thing you need to worry about on rides as long as 60 miles is that your body needs protein after 2-3 hours, so things like gatorade don't cut it. The better mixes have protein.

Good to know, thanks.

 

Another thing to keep in the back pocket of your jersey (and yes, once you've done 60, you're allowed to wear a proper jersey).

 

Can it be yellow? :D

 

Sorry for the mystifying joke - there was a discussion on a cycling MB about Joe Schwinn-type rider wearing yellow spamshirts; the vocal minority thought it was wankerish, most people were of the opinion "hey, it's a primary color, You don't bring me flowers...ANYMORE! do you want?"

 

Things like GU, or Powergel will save your ass at some point. Nothing you want to make a meal out of but they're not so bad. Pretty much tastes like cake frosting. But when you're 20 miles away from the end of your ride and feeling dizzy... There's little packets of gels out now that are basically like gummy bears and some tend to prefer. They annoy me because when you're trying to stay with a pack rolling 20 mph, they take too damned long to deal with. My wife, however, vastly prefers them because she is more sane and simply stops on the side of the road from time to time to deal with nuisances like eating.

Good info, thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just checked and it seems that I might have a chance to see either stage 14 or stage 15 this year. I would prefer stage 15 since it looks more interesting, but we come back to America the next day, so I think that is out.

 

(Amusing note: my wife really has no desire to go see the race. She said, "It would be different if the race was coming close to us, but it isn't." I then pointed out to here that by American standards, they will be passing less than 100 miles away from us and it is indeed very close.)

 

What do you think? Should I go? (I'd like to see a decent climb, but I think that is out.)

Edited by wiegie
Link to comment
Share on other sites

only watching the little internet updates, but wow, team columbia is kicking ass a couple stages in. just clinically setting up cavendish for the stage win yesterday, and then today leading a big breakaway for another easy cavendish stage win. lance got on to the breakaway...a lot of the other contenders didn't...they picked up 40 seconds on the peloton. I don't have it handy, but how far was he behind his teammates contador, kloden, leipheimer? if it was less than 40 seconds, lance could be pulling on yellow tomorrow after astana dominates the TTT.... :wacko:

 

edit: just checked, and lance was only 20 seconds behind contador after the prologue, less on everyone else on his team. so unless I'm missing something.....if astana does as well as everyone would expect in the team time trial tomorrow, lance armstrong puts on the maillot jaune tomorrow :D:D

Edited by Azazello1313
Link to comment
Share on other sites

so, I just saw video of the last few kilometers....and there were definitely a couple astana dudes (not lance -- must've been zubeldia and popovych) at the front of the lead pack working, along with the columbia guys. that's only going to contribute to the interesting team dynamics going on with lance/contador.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just checked and it seems that I might have a chance to see either stage 14 or stage 15 this year. I would prefer stage 15 since it looks more interesting, but we come back to America the next day, so I think that is out.

 

(Amusing note: my wife really has no desire to go see the race. She said, "It would be different if the race was coming close to us, but it isn't." I then pointed out to here that by American standards, they will be passing less than 100 miles away from us and it is indeed very close.)

 

What do you think? Should I go? (I'd like to see a decent climb, but I think that is out.)

Absolutely. If I was within a few hours drive and blew it off, I'd never forgive myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely. If I was within a few hours drive and blew it off, I'd never forgive myself.

Here is the deal, I'm over here during the Tour every three years or so, so I would likely have another chance to see it in the future even if I skipped it this year. However, I've pretty much decided that if Armstrong is still in the hunt, then I am going to go--and today's events seemed to advance that possibility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you think? Should I go? (I'd like to see a decent climb, but I think that is out.)

If you pass up this chance, I will come over to GR and punch you in the gut.

 

Then I will buy beers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information