Another one in via email. I can’t wait to get this kid up and running.
Did you listen to this yet?
Lemond has ADD .. so he sort of speaks in phrases and he sort of instantaneously drifts his ideas from phrase to phrase, but if you listen to the disjointed phrasing and sort of put a smoothing filter on it .. the guy is hugely intelligent … and he lays out this gem
Actually it is the GEM of all GEMS … it is the pure physics of “doping” and how you know one of the big names in cycling is doping …
It’s like this.
VO2 max potential is pretty much genetic. You can train VO2 max, but some people are born hugely gifted and plenty are simply mules. VO2 max and watts are tightly correlated per individual. Sure, bigger people put out more watts, small people a lot less. But then Lemond says let’s normalize on the avg rider, about 71Kg in weight .. about 155# … to put out a sustained … I forgot what the actual number are he used.. but to put out about 390 watts let’s say … (that’s sustained watts, like what you would do to get over a single large mountain in a Tour stage) .. you would have to have a VO2 max of about 90. That’s huge .. that’s the genetically super gifted only. The highest ever recorded was 94. Armstrong was tested at about 83. Lemond was tested at 92.
Now let’s go back … VO2 max is your efficiency at using O2 during exercise … basically Watts .. your power output is how much O2 you can suck in to your muscles locations to burn with your muscle glycogen.. you’re oxidizing or “burning” your carbohydrates (muscle glycogen) … the analogy is, assume your car can pump as much gas (carbohydrates / muscle glycogen) into the cylinders as it wants .. the limiting factor of how much it can burn and thus the power output is not the gasoline part of the fuel equation .. but the oxygen to mix with the gas. Your body has a cap on how much oxygen it can provide to the muscle sites to complete the burn.
For Armstrong to have a sustained wattage up some of the climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees of about 470 … which is what he did sustained (20 minutes or so) … at his weight, + bike weight … he would of had to have a VO2 max of about 99 … but Armstrong didn’t have genetically anywhere near that!
Let’s say Armstrong was tested at 83 .. but that through careful training he increased that by a vast amount .. to 90 .. he STILL was incredibly far short of being able to sustain 470, or even 450, or even 430 Watts …
How did Armstrong get that extra oxygen to his muscles to sustain that incredible Wattage which would of equaled a VO2 max of about 99? He used blood hormones and/or classic blood doping (transfusion) so that his blood would carry more oxygen to give him a VO2 max of about 99.
We could bust LOTS of people in the peloton. We could measure their VO2 max … and then calculate their sustained wattage over long climbs in races by easy means, then relate that back to their VO2 max. If a rider exceeds his VO2 max potential by let’s say, 5% … they could be excluded from the next stage. In fact you could calculate their estimated VO2 max right at the race and immediately snag them and rush them off for a blood volume and/or hematocrit and/or EPO test and bust them right there. You will find that their red blood cell volume, or some factor with their O2 carrying capacity, is dramatically out of whack (there are blood substitutes that increase carrying capacity of O2 by 20-50x)
Periodic (and unannounced) VO2 max tests could be done on all riders as a ticket for entry to the pro-elite class. A VO2 max combined with careful blood profiling would reveal the natural maximum potential any rider could obtain. It sucks that the whole “art” of cycling is reduced to raw numbers and reductionist physics, but it also sucks that the whole peloton is doping like crazy and now all cycling news is 50% divided into two parts; 1) what happened in the race, and 2) who is the latest doper to get caught or under investigation, or confessed.
There is no way, it is physically impossible, there is no, no, no way that Armstrong could of put out those crushing climbing performances on Huatacaum, Alp de Huez, Siestre and so on … with his excellent, but substandard to his watt results VO2 max number of 83. He would of had to have a VO2 max in the very high 90’s … meaning higher than has ever been recorded for a human being.
Did Armstrong dope?
Oh yeah .. Lemond gave us the formula … it is no longer a question .. with 100% certainty Armstrong doped. He went up those climbs as though he had a VO2 max of about 99, but he only had a natural one of 83. So he blood doped to obtain that effective VO2 max.
Indurain doped, Riis doped, Ullrich doped, Pantani doped, Armstrong doped … the last undoped champion of the Tour de France we have had? That would be Greg Lemond. … we have to go back to Lemond to have the wattage outputs on climbs that correspond to the athletes true VO2 max. Not only that but with his natural VO2 max of 92, Lemond would of crushed Armstrong in any Tour. He would of beat him by several minutes spread across several mountains and ITTs. Yes, Armstrong has the lowest lactic acid accumulation rate ever known, but with Lemond’s VO2 max almost 10 mL/min/kg units higher, Lemond would of crushed him, there is not question about it. He was putting out many watts per Kg body weight higher than Armstrong. Only when Armstrong could obtain a VO2 max in the high 90’s by blood doping could he possible win the Tours the crushing way he did.
Why are we not calculating the wattage that all the lead riders climb a hill with to win a stage, and measuring that off against their natural VO2? We would reduce doping magnitude by about 90%! Why doesn’t WADA and USADA and the UCI do this automatically for each large climb and each ITT? You could hone in instantly on riders who are far outside their potential, and test them right there for all the blood profile characteristics that would make their race performance possible. If you can’t find anything fine, but probably you’ll find a massive deviation in some parameters of their blood profile. You’ll catch them when they are most susceptible to being caught.
We can’t stop all doping, but we could lower the amount that riders dope by a massive, massive amount by this simple calculation.