The key stage that mostly decided the Giro was wednesday’s climb of the Zolcan. What an excellent time to test the riders. So they actually did.
First we have this Link, in which the Italian Olympic Committee focuses not on “any” rider, but the premier riders; Danilo Di Luca, Eddy Mazzoleni, Riccardo Ricco and Gilberto Simoni.
Now let’s look at what their VAMs (vertical ascent speed on a climb, an excellent measure of sustained strength to weight) which we mostly find in this Link.
Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) conquered the 10.1-kilometre Monte Zoncolan in 1850 metres per hour according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The speed, 39 minutes over the 1203 metres, 1850 VAM (Velocity Ascended, Metres per hour Vm/h), was faster than that of Ivan Basso on the Maielletta Passo Lanciano in 2006, 1805 VAM. Marco Pantani blasted up the Alpe d’Huez with a 1791 VAM and Danilo Di Luca did the final four kilometres of Tre Cime di Lavaredo with a 1750.
Those VAM’s are very, very high. They may not exceed (undoped) human possibility, but they are damn close. With the riders weights, we could probably back of the envelope calculate their wattage output over that climb, and then juxtapose that with their VO2 max if those have been published for those riders. Why would we want to do that? Because per given rider VO2 max and wattage are almost perfectly correlated. We could then estimate if their VAMs exceed the realm of possibility for their respective VO2 max numbers.
If you have doped blood, that by increasing the amount of red blood cells can carry more oxygen, your wattage and VAM will go up. If it goes up enough to exceed your genetically given VO2 max, then you can conclude the rider is likely doped.
Back to the tests. I wonder if they drew blood? I wonder if they did any sort of blood volume study of red blood to total blood fluid? I wonder if they will do any isotopic ratios of testosterone from the tested riders, looked for natural versus introduced testosterone (administered testosterone is made from plant sterols, a molecule that is fractionated differently in Carbon atom isotopes than naturally occurring testosterone).
Stay tuned for big news hitting the cycling press in about a week.
One indulgence; you think you will see Velonews or Cycling News ever plug in these numbers to estimate if a rider “could” reach those wattages with their genetically given VO2 max? Maybe write a story on that? Let’s hope this analysis becomes routine for the “monument” climbs in the Grand and lesser Tours.by