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Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?(24 posts)

Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?eoind
May 25, 2001 6:26 AM
I once heard that in his prime Miguel Indurain had a resting heart beat of 27bpm and a 8.5 litre lung capacity making him probably the fittest, (at least aerobically), man on the planet. Are these facts correct?
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?Jonathan Zook
May 25, 2001 7:07 AM
Fit enough to win 5 Tours de France and 2 Giro d'Italia's. Need I say more!!
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?reverendswampy
May 25, 2001 7:41 AM
Those numbers sound right. My Scottish cousin is a road biking nut, and he convinced me a long time ago that Indurain was a freak of nature. If you watch some of those old Tour video's, you can actually see him riding at the front of the pack with his mouth closed, while everybody else in the peleton is gasping for air. His heart moved more O2 than 99.9% of all other humans.
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?bartali
May 25, 2001 7:42 AM
I believe it is true.

Indurain was a tremendous athlete winning 5 Tours in a row from 91 thru 95 and two Giros in 91 & 92.

Winning 5 Tours in a row is difficult enough, throw in the two Giros and that means he won Giro & Tour in the same year, two years in a row!

The only drawback to Indurain was that he was a stage racer and that's it. He didn't win any of the European Classics or day races. He was never World Champion either. But he did hold the hour record for a month or two.

He has to be considered as one of the all time greats but definitely behind Merckx, Coppi, Hinault, Anquetil and possibly even Bartali and Bobet.
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?Jonathan Zook
May 25, 2001 9:17 AM
I believe we have seen the last of the great all around cyclists such as Merckx, Hinault and Anquetil. Even Lance is now solely focused seemingly on the Tour de France, even though he used be a one day threat in the classics before his cancer. I'd love to see him ride the Giro. Every great rider sets specific goals, and that is it. Indurain was this type of rider. He only raced competitively in the big tours. Riders now ride only the Giro and not the Tour, or vice versa. Riders like Musseuw focus on the classics, and maybe a stage win or two in the big stage races. Who knows what Cipo's goals are (rack up a many fines as possible for not wearing appropriate team clothing)!!
I doubt that a roadie would ever...Kyle
May 25, 2001 9:04 AM
take the title of fittest man alive--though Indurain was an amazing machine. Resting HR and lung capacity are not necessarily indicators of fitness. I believe he did have a VO2max hovering around 84,though which is amazing. Similar to Armstrong's.
Actually cyclist and X-C skiers are the acknowledged fittestJ.S.
May 25, 2001 9:13 AM
cardiovascular athletes on the planet. The reason being is that these two sports are relativley low impact allowing people to train huge amounts. If a runner tried to run as much as a cyclist rode their bones would turn to dust. And Miguel Indurain could be considered one of the fittest CARDIOVASCULAR athletes ever.
Don't forget rowers...Bruno S
May 25, 2001 11:19 AM
They rank in second place below the X-C skiers in max VO2.
Rowers....Dinosaur
May 26, 2001 10:25 AM
I have a Concept Rowing Machine; a 45 minute-one hour workout is closely compared to climbing a 10% grade in a 21 gear for the same period of time. Excellent VO2 max workout, unfortunately staying stationary and looking at stupid computer gets old after awhile (real old). Rowing on water (which I have never done) is a whole new ballgame..
Rowers....ha!
May 27, 2001 9:26 AM
If you're a fred forget about rowing on water... not only do you need good technique (particularly for single sculls)and balance, but you have wind, current, etc. to consider. While the erg's are fine for fitness, ain't nothing like the real thing.
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?--Don't forget about LemondWayne
May 25, 2001 9:44 AM
Lemond would have one 6 tours in-a-row, had it not been for his team manager holding him back to save Hinault and his 2 years he lost to the shotgunning incident. I read a VO2 max website that his VO2 max was in the low 90's. Indurain's VO2 was 88. The highest VO2 ever recorded was 94 by a X-C skier. The only other present day athlete that has hit 90 was Bjorn Daelie, a Norwegian X-C skier who holds the record for most Gold Medals in the Olympics. Cyclists are amonsgst the most fit but the honor for fittest belongs with X-C skiers.
Matt Carpenter of Pikes Peak fame.Breck
May 25, 2001 10:03 AM
Carpenter's lung capacity is 90.2 VO2 rating, the highest ever recorded by a runner. These guys tend to have small body mass and large motor or hearts.
http://skyrunner.com/bio.htm

Secretariat, the kentucky derby winner eas reported to have twice the heart mass of the other horses. Not fair :)

It is well documented that Nordic cross country skiers are among the fittest aerobic athletes on the planet. Have done extended week winter Nordic sking & camping out over the crest in the eastern Sierra with full 50 pound pack back in the 70's when me at 5' 11", weighed 138 pounds and agree with the accessment. was doing 100 mile running weeks in the city and easily tired doing the snow trips, etc. But hell it was fun!

cheers
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?--Forget about LemondTom C
May 25, 2001 10:24 AM
Except that Lemond was dumb and greedy and let Hinault hire his chief rival as his lieutenant. By the way, if Hinault didn't have to drop out of the 1980 tour in which he was already in the yellow jersey and had won 5 stages he would have won 6 and probably 8 but missed 1983&1984 because of a cycling injury not gunshot wounds.
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?--Forget about LemondTom C
May 25, 2001 10:28 AM
Let me amend that Hinault finished second to Fignon in 1984 by 10 plus minutes in the first year of his comeback.
& merckx missed oneBreck
May 25, 2001 10:34 AM
because he got belted in the stomach by an over zealous fan on the Puy-de-Dome stage TdF 1975. He was in yellow at the time. Damages of one franc were awarded as the fine to the man who claimed he was pushed. A blood thinning medication was given to Eddy and he blew up on the 15th stage, maybe or maybe not as a result of the blow received 2 days prior.

don't recall if the pellets were lead or copper that LeMond received, but he did comment on this later and some stayed in i believe.

cheers
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?--Forget about LemondMissed Giros and Tours?
May 29, 2001 7:45 AM
I'll take it back even further. There was no Tour de France from 1940 thru 1945 and no Giro d'Italia from 1941 thru 1946.

Those were the years Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi could have racked up more wins.

Gino Bartali won 3 Giros (36, 37, 47) and two Tours (38, 48). The Tour win in 1938 came when he was 24 years of age. Mussolini was in charge in Italy and told Gino NOT to race the Giro that year in order to save himself for the Tour. Back then it was unthinkable to win Giro and Tour the same year. Gino Bartali then went on to win the Tour de France in 1948 at 34! He finished second to Fausto Coppi in 1949 IN THE GIRO AND THE TOUR at the age of 35!

Fausto Coppi won 5 Giros and 2 Tours. The years that he won the Tour, he also won the Giro (49 & 52) becoming the first man to win Giro and Tour in the same year.

When Gino Bartali died last year, I remember reading that he was EXTREMELY bitter about losing all those years to World War II.

I can't say that I blamed him. It is quite possible he would have been the first man to win Giro and Tour in the same year and he could have definitely added another Giro and Tour victory.

The same could be said for Coppi as his first Giro d'Italia victory came in 1940 when he was all but 20 years of age.
Miguel Indurain's Banesto Team's First Leftenant?Breck
May 25, 2001 9:47 AM
Can anybody name this guy?

Tour racing is a team sport, One Day Classics more considered a specialty race now a days. The first Postie Victory is because imho they finally got it right and worked as a team with Lance the Man to be protected and coming to be a great bike racer in his own right at the same time and winning One Day Classics and the first American to do so, Andy Hampsten being the only American(so far) to win a Giro.

Individual time trials and the mountain stages generally choose the overall Leader or Winner as we choose to say. In one of the TdF's(1992?) Indurain put ~4 minutes on Chiappucci, El Diablo, in the ITT's and it was over, closed, Finis. But in the early and toughest part of the Mountain Stages, the Yellow Jersey, le malliot jaune, is protected by his best lieutenant, or leftenant the old racers say, the one to the left of or your "right-hand man" as we moderns would say.

Indurain was somewhat criticized by not taking El Toro the Spanish bull, by the horns as the saying goes, and exercising his singular will as Merckx always did. The yellow Overall Leaders jersey, polkadot King of the Mountain climbers jersey, green Points jersey -usually won by sprinter-types, were all won by Merckx in the TdF, along with outright stage wins and time trial wins in Tours, be they TdF, Giro, Swiss, other major extended stage races, One Day Classic Wins, 6-Day Races, One Hour Record, anything else? ....would be the true mark of a dominating Champion in most of our minds.

How does Big Mig stack up on the All-Time-List?
This is the fodder of strong black coffee table discussions and each man should be judged in his own time as Merckx would say. In his day Miguel Indurain dominated the Tours we may all agree.

These are just my thoughts and may be countered with other better ones as is always the case, mind races or bike races, etc. and some of my "facts" may be in error as my road bike view points were come by late starting 1995 by watching all WCP tapes produced up to and thru 1997, riding and setting up the the bike(dt shifters) as i perceived the old tymers to do it and bugging Campy Man endlessly about pro bike racing as he did back in the 50's, reading everything including Cycle Sport before it was readily available as Rudy in LA provided including all the past "collectors" issues including the 1997 March issue devoted to Indurain, etc., etc., etc. And believe me from my viewpoint it is only the tip of the iceberg trying to understand and sort it all out. And last but not least working(!) on my bike novel "Olympia 2025", the future s i see it.

cheers fellow bikers however you may ride.
bgcc
The forgotton great onetommyb
May 25, 2001 1:52 PM
Jean-Francois Bernard did most of the 'first leftenant' work for Indurain.

Amazing when we talk about the 'great ones', we often forget about Joop Zoetemelk. Woulda / coulda / shoulda been the greatest, but had the bad luck of spanning the decades of the Cannibal and the Badger. Sixteen Tour finishes, one first, SIX second places, lowest finish was 30th. A true hero, yet no one knows how to spell his name.
Also, Gerard Rue (nm)zelig1
May 29, 2001 7:46 AM
Manuel Beltran?rollo tommassi
May 25, 2001 2:07 PM
I always expected him to take over as team leader after Mig left, but he never seemed to step up. Then Mapei snapped him up, with their big dreams of winning a major Tour; again, Manuel not taking charge, but he is still one of the top guys.
Pedro DelgatoHap
May 25, 2001 9:14 PM
A tdf winner himself was religated to domestique in the Indurain years.

Hap
MIGbear
May 26, 2001 9:29 AM
why is always genetics!! oh well
re: Just how fit was Miguel Indurain?AD14
May 25, 2001 3:26 PM
My brother in law said in his prime at peak training his resting was as low as 25 beats per minute
WHY RETIRE?bear
May 26, 2001 7:15 PM
ok he wins this year and the next he cant finish,,,was he all over sudden to old? burn out? dint have anyhting to prove?
anyone who can win the tour most have 2 to 3 years left? no?