Author Topic: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong  (Read 8025 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #50 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.
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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #51 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.
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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #52 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.
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border-rider

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #53 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.

mattc

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Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #54 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 ... )
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LEE

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #55 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.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #56 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.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #57 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
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mattc

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Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #58 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?
Has never ridden RAAM
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clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2008, 02:06:25 pm »
Jeannie Longo actually has the best record in Le Grand Boucle.
Getting there...

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #60 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! 
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #61 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.
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Pingu

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Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #62 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.

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #63 on: July 10, 2008, 11:55:07 am »
I thought the programme was too much soap opera and not enough science.


 :)
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #64 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

Re: Heads up: The Science of Lance Armstrong
« Reply #65 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.