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Why can't anyone challege Lance?(27 posts)

Why can't anyone challege Lance?soup
Jul 24, 2002 11:52 AM
It absolutely baffles me that no one can/wants to challenge Lance for the overall in the TdF. Sure, it is his sole focus. But others (riders, teams) could follow suit and focus only on the Tour if they wanted. Botero seems to be trying (note his improved time trialing), but still has a long long way to go.

What's the deal?

Someone has to be the best...Wayne
Jul 24, 2002 12:02 PM
and it's not like a one-day race or even a shorter stage race, where chance or tactics or a bad day can significantly affect the outcome. You figure the strongest guy has at least 7 times to show it (5 mountain top finishes and two TT's) if your the fittest you're going to win.
Maybe this sheds some light on it - from the insidemoneyman
Jul 24, 2002 12:25 PM
In a letter from Jonathan Vaughters to Rob at Velonews, he talks about Lance and the Euros:

"The subculture of cycling in the United States is why I love cycling. The eccentric and intelligent people it attracts are where I found my friends, like you. None of that is true in Europe. Eccentricity is not tolerated, and intelligence is seen as a flaw (which, by the way, is why Lance kills everyone over there - he is more intelligent in many, many ways, but they haven't figured that out, yet)."

Until they figure it out, Lance wins.

sounds like vaughters has some sour grapesrufus
Jul 24, 2002 4:30 PM
cause he can't keep up with the dumb euros.
his training scheduleatpjunkie
Jul 24, 2002 6:29 PM
He flat out works harder and prepares better. He never gets out of shape and has to refind his form. (Ullrichs downfall). In May (while an injured Ullrich was taking X), Lance was doing 7 hr. training runs up La Plagne. Over half that time at full effort. He has a wealth of natural talent and trains like no other. Second, he knows pain. Like female marathoners who get better after feeling the pain of childbirth, Lance's experience with cancer leaves him in another realm. While other riders crack and break from the pain of training and racing, I'm sure Lance's mind goes "...this hurts, but chemo hurts worse..." and he pushes on where others can't.
I think you nailed it.spyderman
Jul 25, 2002 3:50 AM
Don't forget his VO2 level is greater than most.

Also, Postal is one of the strongest well-rounded teams on the tour. Rubiera and Heras are carrying his butt up those torturous mountains. Hencapie and Pena are sacrificing their bodies...
What IS his VO2 max, anyway?Humma Hah
Jul 25, 2002 2:59 PM
When I compare rates of climb of the leading TDF riders to me, those suckers climb a hill about 3x as fast as I do. Even assuming I lose the lead-sled and ride a competitive bike and pedal until my face twists up in pain like the stage winner on the final climb, they'd probably still climb twice as fast as I do.

VO2 max has everything to do with that. I'm somewhere in the 50 (mg O2/deciliter?) range, best I can tell, and my understanding is you won't be considered as a domestique for the USPS team at less than 75.
Actually VO2max doesn't have everything...Wayne
Jul 26, 2002 5:00 AM
to do with it, but it's a pretty good indicator of aerobic ability and is well correlated with general endurance performance (but doesn't vary to a great extent with training so is a relatively poor indicator of fitness, and some great endurance athletes have had relatively modest VO2max's). If you look at the top riders I bet it varies a fair amount. The gold standard test teams use or you would probably want to use to measure your fitness is a ramped test where you increase the power output every 2 or 3 minutes by 20-50 watts (Conconi test is one form of these tests) while taking lactate measures to find your power at lactate threshold. I could believe Armstrong doesn't have the highest VO2max in the bunch but I'd be very surprised if his power at LT wasn't one of the highest, and if you factored in weight and calculated a power at LT to weight ratio (or something like that) I'd almost guarantee you his would be the highest!
Ramped output tests ...Humma Hah
Jul 26, 2002 5:36 AM
I tried a series of those over several months on a StairMaster. It generated VO2 max values for me everywhere from 37 to 81. I conclude that the technique is kinda tricky, and some professional help is useful.

On the other hand, getting side by side with another rider at the bottom of a big mountain, and racing to the top, is a pretty useful measure of fitness.

Whatever the combination, Armstrong's got the ... um ... edge ... on me. And you. And evidently the Tdf field. I will certainly not argue that VO2 max is the only factor (there's an interview with Eddie B. on the web which addresses this), but if Lance were born with my VO2 max, he'd not even be IN the TDF.
Actually VO2max doesn't have everything...PEDDLEFOOT
Jul 26, 2002 11:35 AM
And to think that there are still some in the media that disregard cyclsts as atheletes.These guys aren't just atheletes but the most well conditioned atheletes in the entire world!!!!!
Actually VO2max doesn't have everything...atpjunkie
Jul 26, 2002 4:25 PM
They say also that his lungs have more capacity then Indurain's which were noted for their Sherpa like size. The oxygen / CO2 transport on these guys has gotta be unbelievable. Yea, that ahole on MSN should be shot. Cyclists not atheletes and baseball players are? Can anyone say TONY GWYNN?
To answer my own question ...Humma Hah
Jul 25, 2002 3:08 PM
To answer my own question from his website ...

Resting heart rate: 32-34
VO2ml/kg: 83.8
Max power at VO2: 600 watts
Max heart rate: 201
Lactate Threshold HR: 178
Time Trial HR: 188-192
Pedal rpm's during TT: 95-100
Climbing rpm's: 80-85, sometimes faster when attacking
Average HR during endurance rides (4-6 hrs): 124-128
Average watts during endurance rides: 245-280 watts
Training miles/hours, endurance rides: 5- 6 hrs / 100-130miles
what nonsensepukka
Jul 25, 2002 4:25 AM
i hope hes not inclucing himself in that group'cause thats about the dumbest thing i've heard
Why there are tour dominatorsMe Dot Org
Jul 24, 2002 8:18 PM
Take 5 Tours de France: Nearly 5 months of competition stretched across half a decade and over 10,000 miles, hundreds of riders, flats, crashes, not to mention team tactics and the individual ability. It would all seem to conspire against anyone person dominating the event. And yet Armstrong is the only the latest in a series of dominators: Antiquel, Merckx, Hinault, Indurain - each decade in the last half century seems to produce a rider capable of dominating all other riders on the tour. In the 44 years since 1957, the tour has been won 26 times - more than half - by men who have won 3 or more Tours. Twenty times men who have won 5 tours have won it. (If Armstrong were to win this year and next, the tour would have been won 25 times in 46 years by 5 men.)

On the surface, one would think that the distance, sacrifice, and yes, luck, involved in winning the Tour would preclude so many multiple winners.

But if you stand that logic on its head, you see that it is the very nature of the tour, the fact that it is the supreme test not only of cycling ability but perseverance and character, which makes those who are truly great rise to the top time after time.
Why there are tour dominators - Well Said! (NM)JSchneb
Jul 25, 2002 3:53 AM
have to agree, very well said nmyeah right
Jul 25, 2002 7:41 AM
To quote Armstrong...Wayne
Jul 25, 2002 4:41 AM
"it's easy to be motivated when you have good legs". While his determination/character are no doubt important attributes and his attention to details also important, the simple fact is he is the fittest guy in the tour. You don't "will" yourself up a mountain the fastest or to 1st place in a TT, day after day, sure motivation/determination are important and can affect your performance to a greater or lesser degree depending on the situation but when others are going at 100% (or already dropped) Armstrong's only at 95% or whatever, that's why he can attack them and ride away from them. He simply has a better cardiovascular system for delivering oxygen, recovers well enough for the system to work at it's top level day after day, and digests food and drink well enough so that bonking/dehydration aren't usually an issue with him. On top of that he's mentally focused so he conserves and then uses his physical abilities to their maximum. Is this due to harder training? Probably not, but I'm sure smarter training/preparation has something to due with it and genetics. Like almost any human physiologic trait it's a combination of nature and nurture, he's got the raw material and they know how to shape that into the best form in the world for 3 weeks every July. And in GT's almost invariably the strongest rider wins, that's why there's been riders who have dominated it. Take the nature and combine with a person/team that knows how to use it and you get as sure a thing as there is in bike racing.
Agree totally, and learn to use paragraphs ;) nmsprockets2
Jul 25, 2002 8:44 AM
To quote Armstrong...peter1
Jul 25, 2002 9:06 AM
I agree with all of the above...but no doubt his focus (and that he's ALLOWED to have that focus) on winning the TDF lets him operate at 95% when others are going 100%. The top Spanish and Italians ride the Vuelta or the Giro in addition to the TDF. What if Heras was on ONCE, for instance, but he didn't have to ride the Vuelta, and the team only focused on the TDF? Not denigrating LA at all -- he could probably win two grand tours if he wanted to -- but there are circumstances beyond his conditioning and will to win that are the reason he's the tour boss.

I agree, but...DrPete
Jul 25, 2002 6:42 PM
I also agree with the idea, but Lance also has the luxury of training for one race every year. His entire training and racing schedule is set up to prepare him for the tour. That can't hurt, either...
A few things...elviento
Jul 27, 2002 7:16 PM
This is purely a guess, but I guess a few things may have helped him.

1. He is very talented. That's a big thing. Axel has much less talent than Eddy, for example.

2. Lance is super motivated, and once you have won a tour, the value of an extra tour is much more than for a first time winner.

3. Superior/meticulous training; lab, wind tunnel, high tech analysis, track and field type training, way ahead of the Europeans who are still going by mileage.

4. His cancer. People think Lance is a hero because he rides so well "DESPITE" having had cancer, but my guess is he has improved "BECAUSE OF" cancer. Obviously he has lost the weight that's hard to lose with a healthy apetite and metabolism; his mental toughness has improved without a doubt; he used lots of EPO during reatment, although I am not certain about the effect, but you certainly can't rule out the possibility. If not, why has he improved so much since cancer? He was among the best but never THE best.

5. I can't bet on this one, I haven't totally ruled out the possibility that it's doping. But I believe innocence until conviction, and also given the above points, I think the chance he is on dope is very small although existant.

6. He was a top triathlete, and the training in different sports has probably helped him.

7. Heck, his domestique is the Vuelta winner, US Champion (McRae) wasn't even drafted for the tour, Olympic TT champion is merely a marginal domestique.
It's too riskycyclopathic
Jul 28, 2002 10:30 AM
to put all eggs in one basket. Sure Lance is talanted, he has the best dedicated team but he is not unbeatable. Still what are the chances to beat him? pretty slim. Who is willing to bet on racing and loosing one race a year?

It is much safer to "easy" ride tour and gamble on stage win. This year we had only 2 GC, last year 3 (o'k Kivilev and Simone tryed to hang on). The only "real" tour of last years was '00. I'd bet noone will even think to take the risks until Lance retire. To beat him you'd need to TT within 1min and be able to put 1-2min on final climb.

I doubt even the best climbers can best 1-2min on Heras/Lance train. The day you see somebody ride Lance off his wheel on final climb you'll see the new champion, and end of Lance rein.
Beloki, Millar said it bestatpjunkie
Jul 30, 2002 1:35 PM
Millar said to the effect "... until Lance retires the tour is his..."
Beloki said to the effect "...Lance's dominance will make all other riders change the way the train and ride in order to compete with him..." "...we went to the moon (Ventoux) and saw an astronaut (Armstrong)..."
He now has the advantage of having the entire peloton mentally beat before the race begins
maybe some nobodycyclopathic
Jul 30, 2002 7:39 PM
will turn around and do it just like big Mig in '91.
None of current front runners has the drive. 8-(
maybe some nobodyatpjunkie
Jul 31, 2002 2:10 PM
they are all defeated mentally
re: mentallycyclopathic
Jul 31, 2002 8:54 PM
yeah but if have nothing to loose..
I'll bet that's what gonna happen.. we shall see!
re: mentallyatpjunkie
Aug 2, 2002 2:40 PM
unless LA gets lazy (doubtful) no one is going to touch him for 2 years. Lance is good friends w/ Mig and he saw how overconfidence cost Mig his 6th TdF. LA is one disciplined MF'r and I think his eyes are set on 6. Eddy says 7 YIKES!!!