Yet Another Cycling Forum

Off Topic => The Pub => Arts and Entertainment => Topic started by: MSeries on July 06, 2008, 06:30:05 pm

Title: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: MSeries on July 06, 2008, 06:30:05 pm
Tomorrow 20:00 ITV 4 after the Tour de France
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: alan on July 06, 2008, 06:40:41 pm
Thanks for that.It's now programmed into the autoview.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Giropaul on July 07, 2008, 03:47:39 pm
I bet there is no mention of David Walsh's book - L A Confidential!!!!
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: MSeries on July 07, 2008, 03:48:32 pm
I don't think I will get to see this, I am drinking beer and eating curry this evening. Hopefully it'll be on watch again
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: tiermat on July 07, 2008, 03:49:17 pm
I guess it's the Discovery one that's been around for a couple of years, kinda ok, but nothing spectacular.  Expect lots of repetition and exaggeration
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Greenbank on July 07, 2008, 08:21:06 pm
Expect lots of repetition and exaggeration

Yup.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 07, 2008, 10:43:51 pm
Very tiring. And exaggerated.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 07, 2008, 10:45:34 pm
Expect lots of repetition and exaggeration

Yup.

It's a TV program intended for general viewing so it's probably the first insight into the tour that people will get.  Too much whinging about the lack of cycling coverage on this forum to whinge when there is some I reckon.

It may also go someway to describing to non-cyclists just how incredible the fella is.

I didn't notice any exaggeration to be honest.  Here's a guy who was riddled with Cancer, Testicular, Lungs and Brain who came back to win the Tour de France 7 consecutive times.  How do you go about exaggerating something like that?  His true-life story already seems like an exaggeration.

I thought it was a decent enough program about cycling technology and about a living legend.  If it got deep into the advantages of Dura Ace over Campag Record then it would get 10 viewers and not achieve any non-cyclist exposure.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LindaG on July 07, 2008, 10:48:24 pm
It was pretty good.  Quite dated in some ways though, most of the teams are no more, Ulrich and Basso ditto ...
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 07, 2008, 10:51:07 pm
I think the tone and message were hyped. It was tiring after a while. The guy's good; but others were at least as good.

PS Well I'm a fluid mechanicist and that part did look staged. It was informative but did not ring totally real.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: dkahn400 on July 07, 2008, 10:51:31 pm
I didn't notice any exaggeration to be honest.  Here's a guy who was riddled with Cancer, Testicular, Lungs and Brain who came back to win the Tour de France 7 consecutive times.  How do you go about exaggerating something like that?  His true-life story already seems like an exaggeration.

"Quit? You know, once I was thinking of quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and won the Tour de France 5 times in a row."
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 07, 2008, 11:07:06 pm
I think the tone and message were hyped. It was tiring after a while. The guy's good; but others were at least as good.

PS Well I'm a fluid mechanicist and that part did look staged. It was informative but did not ring totally real.

I actually find it a bit insulting to say "The Guy's Good" to be honest.  In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

I struggle to find words to describe what an incredible achievement it was to win 7 Tours.  I wouldn't use "Good" though.  (I'm a good cyclist I think).

Also, I can live with a (possibly) staged fluid dynamics scene, it's not that important.  I'm trying not to use the word Anorak here (and failing).  It looked real enough for my non-Fluid Mechanicist family members to enjoy the program.


Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: border-rider on July 07, 2008, 11:12:29 pm
PS Well I'm a fluid mechanicist and that part did look staged. It was informative but did not ring totally real.

It's a TV show aimed at non-cycling non-engineers.  It's likely as true to technical reality as Star Trek

I was also wondering about the claims that he doesn't produce lactic acid, or need oxygen, like mere mortals.

But overall, it was OK TV and I enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Greenbank on July 07, 2008, 11:23:59 pm
I think the tone and message were hyped. It was tiring after a while. The guy's good; but others were at least as good.

I actually find it a bit insulting to say "The Guy's Good" to be honest.  In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

I think Frenchie's point was to imagine what Indurain/Merckx/Hinault/Anquetil/etc could have been with today's bicycle technology, aerodynamic advances, team tactics, training regimes, nutrition information, etc.

Purely man against man, or another way of leveling the playing field, I still think Armstrong would be in the top 10, just not #1.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: David Martin on July 08, 2008, 12:15:30 am
The program was honest about that. They reckon the advantages of the technology (custom textures on the skin suit etc.) was sufficient to give him a margin equivalent to his tour wins. The preparation etc was meticulous. I liked the clip with lifting the thumb and watching the numbers rise.. OK it was staged and hyped but it was the overall message that was clear.

But yes, tiring towards the end and very leftpondian in approach (with a strange mix of interviews from different times, often after the commentary)

In short, it's not about the bike, but it is about how you sit on it.

..d
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 08, 2008, 08:41:43 am
I think the tone and message were hyped. It was tiring after a while. The guy's good; but others were at least as good.

I actually find it a bit insulting to say "The Guy's Good" to be honest.  In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

I think Frenchie's point was to imagine what Indurain/Merckx/Hinault/Anquetil/etc could have been with today's bicycle technology, aerodynamic advances, team tactics, training regimes, nutrition information, etc.

Purely man against man, or another way of leveling the playing field, I still think Armstrong would be in the top 10, just not #1.

Yes.

Others actually won other big races too, not only the TdF, and they often added classics; when this argument is used, people are quick to point out: "Ah, but it was on another era!"; to which their bikes and science also belonged to. One cannot win, I guess, but it is worth checking the palmares of the Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault and others before using terms such as "the best there has ever been".  Maybe an anorak and a reality check are needed then, but there's no need to feel insulted. ::-)

I see why in a popular science way, they cut corners, but some of the claims were a bit irritating: It felt like Superman science at times and I think it could have been better explained. I think David also conveys why I was getting tired towards the end.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 08, 2008, 09:00:46 am
In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

Look at other riders' records and see if you can honestly say that again.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: MSeries on July 08, 2008, 09:03:17 am
Next week its http://www.itv.com/PressCentre/NoLimitsSeason/ChrisBoardmanTheFinalHour/default.html
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 09:03:45 am
I did qualify my statment about him being the best ever by saying the best ever at winning the Tour.  I never said he was the best ever (that's a pointless discussion).  
I have absolutely no doubt that, if he'd concentrated on other events as much he would not have won 7 Tours.

My main point is that we shouldn't get hung up on a few technicalities here and there when we finally get a few TV programs aired about cycling.

I'm sure that all the Sailor-Sam types whinge about ropes not being tied correctly during Ellen Macarthur documentaries and how she isn't quite as good as she is made out to be.  The point being that documentaries about Dame Ellen Macarthur are made mainly for me, non sailing types, to marvel at her acheivements from my living room.  It's light-entertainment not reference material for some thesis.  

Maybe it just goes to show that all TV documetaries are 'glammed up' and we only notice it when it's about our specialist subject.  Like I say, it's TV, American TV at that, it's just entertainment.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 09:04:40 am
In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

Look at other riders' records and see if you can honestly say that again.

I can't be arsed to be honest, you'll have to tell me who's won it more than that.

Edit.  I was arsed enough to look on Wiki and can't find anyone who won it 7 times or more so I think I can still honestly say (not knowingly lying) that Lance is the best ever at winning Tour de France's.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: MSeries on July 08, 2008, 09:11:39 am
Has anyone seen this show on the Watch Again/Catch Up listings, I can't find it.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 08, 2008, 09:37:44 am
How do you define "the best"? How do you compare?

Look at Anquetil 1961 TdF victory: 21 days in yellow and a victor with a 12'+ margin over the second. When I look at this it tells me a lot about how superior to the competition Anquetil was then. And he had finished second in the Giro that year. Incidentally he won both races in 1964 too. In that context, yes, Armstong is good, but others also were.

For the record, I don't consider myself "good" when I put name in the same parag. as Anquetil or Hinault.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 08, 2008, 09:46:00 am
I think this was a Discovery chanel production, so...... erm, you'd expect it to be the highly polished, slick bullshit that it was.  I can't believe that loads of money was spent developing every single individual molecule of equipment that LA used, that is just the manifestation of the way that cycling changed in the Armstrong era in terms of marketing and the vast wealth that it brought into cycling. 

However, it did remind me just how good Armstrong and his team were compared to its contemporaries.  A dominance of the event for 7 years isn't a fluke.

FWIW I think comparisons with riders of 30 years ago are rather pointless.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 09:55:46 am
How do you define "the best"? How do you compare?

Look at Anquetil 1961 TdF victory: 21 days in yellow and a victor with a 12'+ margin over the second. When I look at this it tells me a lot about how superior to the competition Anquetil was then. And he had finished second in the Giro that year. Incidentally he won both races in 1964 too. In that context, yes, Armstong is good, but others also were.

For the record, I don't consider myself "good" when I put name in the same parag. as Anquetil or Hinault.

Let me clarify what I'm saying about Lance, the TdF and his achievement, I didn't think it would cause confusion.

I know there are/were other GREAT cyclists.

I'm saying that he is clearly the most successful TdF rider ever with 7 wins.  Just Tour de France.  Not Indoor Team Time Trial (although he's a hell  of a TT rider) or any other discipline.
I didn't say anything about the Giro, just about Lance's record of winning the Tour.  He's the most successful Tour de France rider ever.  That's all I'm saying.  7 is a bigger number than 6 and 5 and so on.

It doesn't matter how much you win the Tour de France by, it's totally irrelevant, winning it is the objective.  Usually the Yellow-Jersey won't try and annhialate the opposition every day, rather they'll just make sure the opposition stays comfortably behind.  Winning by 1 second is winning. Possibly Lance could have won by bigger margins but there's simply no point when 1 second is enough.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 08, 2008, 10:05:15 am
You only had to open up a cycling mag during that era to realise why LA targeted the Tour de France. In terms of earning money from advertising (particularly in the USA) every other race is absolutely irrelevant.  How many of you could name this years Giro winner without googling it?
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 08, 2008, 10:36:00 am
It doesn't matter how much you win the Tour de France by, it's totally irrelevant, winning it is the objective.  Usually the Yellow-Jersey won't try and annhialate the opposition every day, rather they'll just make sure the opposition stays comfortably behind.  Winning by 1 second is winning. Possibly Lance could have won by bigger margins but there's simply no point when 1 second is enough.

This is totally contrary to what was said in the documentary about Armstrong's mentality BTW... You didn't pay attention!  ;)

It does matter, as it shows how strong one is compared to one's peers. To me Armstrong is one very good rider; but I still regard others as better because of their overall record and because of their attitude as well. Hinault hated Paris-Roubaix but he didn't like the implications that he was chickening out of it; he went, raced it and won it. Class.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: blackpuddinonnabike on July 08, 2008, 10:41:14 am
It does matter, as it shows how strong one is compared to one's peers. To me Armstrong is one very good rider; but I still regard others as better because of their overall record and because of their attitude as well. Hinault hated Paris-Roubaix but he didn't like the implications that he was chickening out of it; he went, raced it and won it. Class.

I know there are/were other GREAT cyclists.

I'm saying that he is clearly the most successful TdF rider ever with 7 wins.  Just Tour de France.  Not Indoor Team Time Trial (although he's a hell  of a TT rider) or any other discipline.

You're arguing different points....

Greatest ever Tour rider by reason of most wins? Armstrong.
Greatest ever Tour rider taking into account everything else he did in his career? Wide open.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Greenbank on July 08, 2008, 11:12:01 am
It does matter, as it shows how strong one is compared to one's peers. To me Armstrong is one very good rider; but I still regard others as better because of their overall record and because of their attitude as well. Hinault hated Paris-Roubaix but he didn't like the implications that he was chickening out of it; he went, raced it and won it. Class.

I know there are/were other GREAT cyclists.

I'm saying that he is clearly the most successful TdF rider ever with 7 wins.  Just Tour de France.  Not Indoor Team Time Trial (although he's a hell  of a TT rider) or any other discipline.

You're arguing different points....

Greatest ever Tour rider by reason of most wins? Armstrong.
Greatest ever Tour rider taking into account everything else he did in his career? Wide open.

Greatest ever Tour rider by number of stage wins? Merckx.
Greatest ever Tour rider by number of days in Yellow Jersey? Merckx.

See the point yet?
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 11:12:05 am
Frenchie is arguing a different point :-)

I'm only making the one point - Winning the Tour
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Greenbank on July 08, 2008, 11:17:11 am
I'm only making the one point - Winning the Tour

I accept that you think he's the best because of the number of Tours he has won.
I don't think that you accept that other people don't think he's "the best" because it's not all about the tour.

If you see what I mean.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: blackpuddinonnabike on July 08, 2008, 11:23:02 am
It does matter, as it shows how strong one is compared to one's peers. To me Armstrong is one very good rider; but I still regard others as better because of their overall record and because of their attitude as well. Hinault hated Paris-Roubaix but he didn't like the implications that he was chickening out of it; he went, raced it and won it. Class.

I know there are/were other GREAT cyclists.

I'm saying that he is clearly the most successful TdF rider ever with 7 wins.  Just Tour de France.  Not Indoor Team Time Trial (although he's a hell  of a TT rider) or any other discipline.

You're arguing different points....

Greatest ever Tour rider by reason of most wins? Armstrong.
Greatest ever Tour rider taking into account everything else he did in his career? Wide open.

Greatest ever Tour rider by number of stage wins? Merckx.
Greatest ever Tour rider by number of days in Yellow Jersey? Merckx.

See the point yet?

Ouch! Erm, yes, I do, and did....

LEE opened this with greatest Tour rider by Tour wins. AND has admitted that there are clearly other criteria, by which other riders could be considered great/greatest. But by Tour wins Armstrong is best. Number of stages won produces someone different, as you have pointed out, so does number of days in yellow. Number of wins as a percentage of starts?

To be honest, with an opening of Armstrong is the greatest Tour rider by Tour wins, the other stats are irrelevant, and should be subject of another thread of 'Who is the greatest Tour rider?', which should probably be lead into with a thread on 'How do we determine who is the greatest Tour rider?'.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Greenbank on July 08, 2008, 11:24:25 am
Ouch! Erm, yes, I do, and did....

My comments were for LEE not you! :)
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: blackpuddinonnabike on July 08, 2008, 11:28:17 am
Ouch! Erm, yes, I do, and did....

My comments were for LEE not you! :)

Oh.

 :-[

*quickly withdraws to the OP*

I watched the first thirty seconds. It sounded like a movie trailer or a shaving advert. I turned over.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Really Ancien on July 08, 2008, 11:36:39 am
Heather and I lasted less than five minutes into this programme, We've followed every Tour since 1985, ridden PBP, ridden or run a control at two LELs and ridden eight 24 hour time trials between us, so we can claim to be keen on cycling, I'm also keen on film-making, but there was something about the tone that prompted Heather to sort the garden out and me to track some photos down among the terrabyte of hard drives lying about. My favourite current Tour rider is Jens Voigt. I'm interested in the event first, the people who make it work second, and the character of the riders third. I never really took to Lance, he always seemed to be an angry man who would never be satisfied, that made him an insatiable competitor, but I like a bit more grace. I also don't like those little plastic bracelets.

Damon.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 08, 2008, 11:38:11 am
Maybe it's just that he speaks the same language as you.  Hinault was just as much of an arrogant cock.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 08, 2008, 12:03:33 pm
Maybe it's just that he speaks the same language as you.  Hinault was just as much of an arrogant cock.

I speak both French and English; I beg to differ on the second statement. Have a look at Hinault's interviews on YouTube (e.g. YouTube - Bernard Hinault (1/4) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alNJ6pwQrNo)). Anquetil was a difficult character, and no angel; he did have some humour though. I think Damon summarises how I too feel  about Amstrong's attitude, and lack of grace and respect.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: border-rider on July 08, 2008, 12:12:49 pm

I accept that you think he's the best because of the number of Tours he has won.
I don't think that you accept that other people don't think he's "the best" because it's not all about the tour.

If you see what I mean.

Armstrong set out with the deliberate aim of maximum Tour wins - not stage wins or jerseys.  That was his target and he achieved it

I suspect that if (for whatever reason) he'd targetted stage wins he'd have the best record in those too.  I suspect also that if he'd deliberately set out to bag a portfolio of achievements to better Anquetil, Mercx and Hinault he'd have done that too.

I think that Lee's point is that you can only make direct comparisons on the target he set himself.  Conversely, I guess, you can argue that the others didn't set out with that target so that specific comparisons there may be  a little unfair.  Or did they ?



edit

Ant said it better:


To be honest, with an opening of Armstrong is the greatest Tour rider by Tour wins, the other stats are irrelevant, and should be subject of another thread of 'Who is the greatest Tour rider?', which should probably be lead into with a thread on 'How do we determine who is the greatest Tour rider?'.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Really Ancien on July 08, 2008, 12:13:42 pm
Maybe it's just that he speaks the same language as you.  Hinault was just as much of an arrogant cock.
I think you have to be an arrogant cock to win, either that or self deluding and malleable enough to allow the Doctors to 'supercharge' you. But I have done enough cycling to be infected by the joy of the event and to identify with the rictus grin of pain on the face of a domestique on the front of the peleton chasing down a four man break. If I want to idolise winners I will choose them from the amateur ranks where I'm less likely to be disappointed. Jason McIntyre, now there was a rider and sadly missed.

Damon.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 08, 2008, 12:33:21 pm
Maybe it's just that he speaks the same language as you.  Hinault was just as much of an arrogant cock.

I speak both French and English; I beg to differ on the second statement. Have a look at Hinault's interviews on YouTube (e.g. YouTube - Bernard Hinault (1/4) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alNJ6pwQrNo)). Anquetil was a difficult character, and no angel; he did have some humour though. I think Damon summarises how I too feel  about Amstrong's attitude, and lack of grace and respect.

Being British, I suppose I do not have a vested emotional interest in this.  I speak French too and I've always thought of Hinault, and to a degree Fignon, as being pretty arrogant.   Lemond was not at all, by way of contrast.

Armstrong certainly made little attempt to assuage the jealousy of the French at his dominance of their event, nor the fact that the last French .winner was  nearly a quarter of a century ago.

I'd agree with Damon's view on this. These are exceptional people doing exceptional things. You aren't going to get very far in any walk of life without a little bit of ego.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Otto on July 08, 2008, 12:37:47 pm


Being British, I suppose I do not have a vested emotional interest in this.  I speak French too and I've always thought of Hinault, and to a degree Fignon, as being pretty arrogant.   Lemond was not at all, by way of contrast.

Armstrong certainly made little attempt to assuage the jealousy of the French at his dominance of their event, nor the fact that the last French .winner was  nearly a quarter of a century ago.

I'd agree with Damon's view on this. These are exceptional people doing exceptional things. You aren't going to get very far in any walk of life without a little bit of ego.
[/quote]

Fignon was also a little paranoid and delusional...remember when he accused the TV helecopter of deliberatly pushing him back on the time trial..whilst helping Lemond
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 08, 2008, 12:49:36 pm
I don't think it has to do with nationality. Lemond indeed was a top character and much loved in France in fact for example. I genuinely can't think of Hinault as arrogant, nor Fignon. Fignon did have a chip on his shoulder though, this is true.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 08, 2008, 02:09:37 pm
In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

Look at other riders' records and see if you can honestly say that again.

I can't be arsed to be honest, you'll have to tell me who's won it more than that.

Edit.  I was arsed enough to look on Wiki and can't find anyone who won it 7 times or more so I think I can still honestly say (not knowingly lying) that Lance is the best ever at winning Tour de France's.

So winning the Tour de France by huge margins is meaningless in being 'the best ever at winning the Tour' in your opinion?  Being so dominant that you win the yellow, green and polka-dot jersey in the one year (along with the team competition) is also meaningless?
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 02:25:09 pm
I know he has a reputation for being arrogant. I couldn't care less either way, I'm never likely to meet him, but I'm interested why he is seen this way.

Does anyone have any examples of him being arrogant?  

(I don't mean confident, determimed and I don't mean 'not suffering fools gladly', I mean arrogance without any reason).

Most top athletes are confident, determined and don't suffer fools gladly, you can't get to the top unless everything is 100% nowadays.  99% is last place.

My overall impression of him (based entirely on never meeting him of course) is one of sheer bloody-minded determination.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: border-rider on July 08, 2008, 02:30:54 pm
Fignon had a rep as a touchy so-and-so; Hinault was meant to be autocratic etc etc

They're all driven men when on the road.  Maybe in real life they unwind a bit ? I dunno.  Armstrong always seemed to me to be focussed to the point of abruptness rather than deliberately offensive.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 08, 2008, 02:31:31 pm
In fact the guy is the best there has ever been at what he tried to do, that is to win the Tour de France.  Nobody was as good as him at that, certainly none better.

Look at other riders' records and see if you can honestly say that again.

I can't be arsed to be honest, you'll have to tell me who's won it more than that.

Edit.  I was arsed enough to look on Wiki and can't find anyone who won it 7 times or more so I think I can still honestly say (not knowingly lying) that Lance is the best ever at winning Tour de France's.

So winning the Tour de France by huge margins is meaningless in being 'the best ever at winning the Tour' in your opinion?  Being so dominant that you win the yellow, green and polka-dot jersey in the one year (along with the team competition) is also meaningless?

I think I qualified what I meant by best at winning the tour enough times for anyone to understand what I meant but here goes one last time...

MOST TOUR WINS

In that respect every other jersey is irrelevant.

Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Really Ancien on July 08, 2008, 02:40:20 pm
My overall impression of him is of a tightly wound ball of aggression, probably deriving from his having his tetosterone levels adjusted chemically to the highest limit. This having been agreed as part of his medical regime, post cancer, I have no argument with this or the other medical help which he received. I think he made a fantastic testbed for Bristol Myers Squibb YouTube - Lance Armstrong - Bristol Myers (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=GHugRqRBNaY) If this has made life better for cancer sufferers I am delighted. I can understand if other riders saw this differently. Chris Boardman retired when he was told by the TdF organisation that he could not counteract a medical condition which caused a low testosterone level. If this had been the subject of the Science of Lance Armstrong, I'd have watched it.
What I really admired about Lance was his ability in bad weather, he lapped it up, as he seemed to be hard-wired to react to adversity, his problem was that in the abscence of adversity, he had to invent it to motivate himself. I saw this as a character weakness which must make him hell to live with.

Damon.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: mattc on July 08, 2008, 03:08:03 pm

So winning the Tour de France by huge margins is meaningless in being 'the best ever at winning the Tour' in your opinion?  Being so dominant that you win the yellow, green and polka-dot jersey in the one year (along with the team competition) is also meaningless?
I agree with Lee - the Polka dot (etc) is not a measure of winning the Tour, it is a (challenging) sideshow.

However, I'm impressed by any rider that can single-handedly win the team competition! ;)
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 08, 2008, 04:56:28 pm
I don't think it has to do with nationality. ..... I genuinely can't think of Hinault as arrogant, nor Fignon. .

Of course, don't forget that what passes for arrogance in this country is seen as normal in France  ;)
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 09, 2008, 08:47:11 am
I don't think it has to do with nationality. ..... I genuinely can't think of Hinault as arrogant, nor Fignon. .

Of course, don't forget that what passes for arrogance in this country is seen as normal in France  ;)

There may be an element of truth in that. British are usually modest; I certainly don't like brash and Armstrong was all that and more. However check the YouTube link I posted. Do you find Hinault arrogant? He spoke his mind, yes he was confident, but he respected others and was not brash. He doesn't need to tell a story now either; he has already written it when he rode the TdF, the Giro, the Vuelta and many others; and left it at that.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Rob S on July 09, 2008, 11:17:48 am
I'm only making the one point - Winning the Tour

I accept that you think he's the best because of the number of Tours he has won.
I don't think that you accept that other people don't think he's "the best" because it's not all about the tour.

If you see what I mean.

I think this argument is very similar to the one aired about Roger Federer being the greatest grass court player ever....a point made several years ago even though it was 2007 before he 'merely' equalled Borg's 5 in a row Wimbledon titles and Sampras won 7 in total (3 in a row, then another 4 in a row starting in 97) and that completely disregards winners of multiple Grand Slam events prior to 1978 when 3 of the 4 were played on grass.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 09, 2008, 11:39:18 am

MOST TOUR WINS


Think again about quality versus quantity.  Armstrong won the most Tours de France, he wasn't the best at winning them.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 09, 2008, 11:43:30 am

I suspect that if (for whatever reason) he'd targetted stage wins he'd have the best record in those too.  I suspect also that if he'd deliberately set out to bag a portfolio of achievements to better Anquetil, Mercx and Hinault he'd have done that too.


Not so, Armstrong was a decent road sprinter/time trialer who suddenly lost any sprinting ability following cancer treatment and became an excellent TTer and very good hill climber.  Others on your list were all of those things at the same time.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 09, 2008, 11:48:08 am

So winning the Tour de France by huge margins is meaningless in being 'the best ever at winning the Tour' in your opinion?  Being so dominant that you win the yellow, green and polka-dot jersey in the one year (along with the team competition) is also meaningless?
I agree with Lee - the Polka dot (etc) is not a measure of winning the Tour, it is a (challenging) sideshow.


It is a measure of how you win, not just winning a Tour but dominating every aspect of it.  You know that photo they always take of all the jersey winners together on the podium after the final stage.  Merckx would have been the only bloke on the podium.

If we are talking about winning the most Tours, agreed it is Armstrong.  If you are talking about who was the best at winning tours, there are others better than Armstrong.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: border-rider on July 09, 2008, 11:50:07 am

I suspect that if (for whatever reason) he'd targetted stage wins he'd have the best record in those too.  I suspect also that if he'd deliberately set out to bag a portfolio of achievements to better Anquetil, Mercx and Hinault he'd have done that too.


Not so, Armstrong was a decent road sprinter/time trialer who suddenly lost any sprinting ability following cancer treatment and became an excellent TTer and very good hill climber.  Others on your list were all of those things at the same time.

Ok thanks - you know more than I do of this stuff :)

You don't think that was the way he trained himself ? I guess it's hard to train for the mountains and for sprinting.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: mattc on July 09, 2008, 11:52:59 am
I think the "top 10" riders in the world (by whatever your choice of criteria!) are now much closer than the top 10 in 1980, or 1960.

So if Merckx was racing today, yes, he'd probably be the best, but I very much doubt he could win as many races in 1 season.

My guess is that Armstrong is in the same category as the past champions mentioned, but he had to apply a lot more smarts to achieve what he did. One strategy was to target Le Tour exclusively.

It's unfortunate that there was only one DS smart enough to effectively use the "Lance Strategy", as I'm sure Ullrich and a couple of others would have run him much closer, possibly stealing at least 2 of those 7 wins, and making for some much better contests than what we had.
(Keeping Jan off the pies would have been a start ... )
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LEE on July 09, 2008, 11:59:18 am
In this case my particular related example would be that Sampras is the most successful Men's Wimbledon champion because he won it most.  He was the best at winning Wimbledon singles titles.

Whether or not he was better than Perry, Borg, Connors or Federer is irrelevant, you can only beat the guys in front of you.  Of course with todays Racquets and intense training Federer (in his prime) would beat Fred Perry (in his prime) with his wooden raquet, more relaxed attitude to training and wearing the garments of the day but, in 60 years Roger Federer circa 2008 will look fairly pedestrian and amateur.  Sampras never won the French Open Grand Slam, Lendle never won Wimbledon, does this exclude them from being called 'The Greatest' I wonder.  

Lance Armstrong won most tours and, JUST IN MY OPINION, was the best of his generation (a short cycling generation lasting about 10 years).  Lance was official World #1 before he got cancer remember.

MERCKX was the best of another generation, HINAULT another and so on.  All you can do is beat the guys around you at the time.  Of course the moment you are found guilty of doping your name is immediately made ineligible for the list of 'greats'.

If David Millar won the tour this year it wouldn't elevate him to a position any higher than 'Drugs Cheat' in my book.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 09, 2008, 12:12:01 pm

You don't think that was the way he trained himself ? I guess it's hard to train for the mountains and for sprinting.

It was generally thought to be impossible to train for both, before EPO came along.  Suddenly you had muscular sprinter/TTers hanging with climbers.

A very few riders have natural ability at TTing, climbing AND sprinting but they eventually drop one aspect.  Merckx lost his climbing ability along the way but kept his winning sprint.  Hinault lost his sprint but remained a rouleur/climber through his career.  All of the great Tour riders have to be able to TT.

It is very unusual to develop a superb riding ability (TTing, climbing or sprinting) that wasn't obvious all along.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Mr Larrington on July 09, 2008, 01:42:57 pm
You're arguing different points....

Greatest ever Tour rider by reason of most wins? Armstrong.
Greatest ever Tour rider taking into account everything else he did in his career? Wide open.

Wide open?  Feh!  I submit one E. Merckx: 34 stage wins, eight stage wins in a single tour (twice), 96 days in yellow, only rider ever to have won GC, Points and KotM1 in a single tour, might have won in 1973 too had the Organisators not requested he stay away as the French fans were threatening to kick his face off.

And five Giros and a Vuelta...

1 - which he also managed in the 1968 Giro
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: mattc on July 09, 2008, 02:02:26 pm
... and how would the History of the Tour look if the overall winner was based on points, not total time?

...
A very few riders have natural ability at TTing, climbing AND sprinting but they eventually drop one aspect.  Merckx lost his climbing ability along the way but kept his winning sprint.
...
I'd always thought that sprinting was incompatible with the other disciplines due to simple power-weight-endurance considerations i.e. sprinting is an anaerobic activity for guys with a lot of fast twitch muscle mass.

I know Merckx won a lot of classics, but was he any good in a bunch sprint?
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: clarion on July 09, 2008, 02:06:25 pm
Jeannie Longo actually has the best record in Le Grand Boucle.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 09, 2008, 06:12:10 pm

You don't think that was the way he trained himself ? I guess it's hard to train for the mountains and for sprinting.

It was generally thought to be impossible to train for both, before EPO came along.  Suddenly you had muscular sprinter/TTers hanging with climbers.

A very few riders have natural ability at TTing, climbing AND sprinting but they eventually drop one aspect.  Merckx lost his climbing ability along the way but kept his winning sprint.  Hinault lost his sprint but remained a rouleur/climber through his career.  All of the great Tour riders have to be able to TT.

It is very unusual to develop a superb riding ability (TTing, climbing or sprinting) that wasn't obvious all along.

Indurain was an odd one... but let's not get there! 
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 09, 2008, 07:36:18 pm
... and how would the History of the Tour look if the overall winner was based on points, not total time?
<SNIP>
I know Merckx won a lot of classics, but was he any good in a bunch sprint?

Several times before WW2, the winner of the Tour was determined purely on a points basis, not by elapsed time.  The Green Jersey competition did not exist at the time.

Merckx won several Classics and stage race stages in bunch sprints but most of the time he would win from small breakaway groups or solo.  Check out the number of times he beat the leading sprinters of his time when in small breakaways though.  Walter Godefroot was about the only road sprinter that Eddy never really put away.

The only Classics he never won were:
- Paris-Tours (the sprinter's Classic), when he lead out the bunch sprint for his 1968 teammate Guido Reybroeck (his record 3rd win).
- Bordeaux-Paris, the ultra-long paced race.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Pingu on July 10, 2008, 10:59:15 am
I thought the programme was too much soap opera and not enough science.

But then it was designed for the American audience.
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: Frenchie on July 10, 2008, 11:55:07 am
I thought the programme was too much soap opera and not enough science.


 :)
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: hubner on July 13, 2008, 04:29:59 pm

...
Lance Armstrong won most tours and, JUST IN MY OPINION, was the best of his generation (a short cycling generation lasting about 10 years).  Lance was official World #1 before he got cancer remember.

...


He won the World's in 1993 (a 1 day race) but he was never the "official World #1", nor was he ever anywhere near  the "official World #1" before his Tour wins, simply because he has only won or placed in a handful of races, whereas the world's no 1 ranked rider are riders who race, and win and place consistently throughout the whole season.

Indurain, Rominger, Jalabert and Bartoli were the World's no 1 from 92 -99.

Eg UCI  Road / Route - Rankings / Classements 1995 (http://www.uci.ch/english/road/rankings/index_1995.htm)
Title: Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
Post by: MSeries on July 13, 2008, 04:39:04 pm
It has been said that if it hadn't rained in Oslo that day the Armstrong probably wouldn't have won. True the conditions were the same for everyone and he can only been those who turn up but winning the World Championship isn't as prestigious as it should be.