What made Armstrong so dominant?

First off are you forgetting that Lance was investigated by the French government (who BTW do have Bazillions of dollars err Francs) and after an extensive investigation gave up cause they had nothing. Lance was also given a “random” drug test by the French government the day before the tour this year. I say “random” because out of the entire peleton, he was the only person tested. Yeah that was random.
In his book he mentions about the off-season drug tests. I am sure it was more than 4X a year. I can’t check my copy; it is on loan to a friend with cancer. :frowning:
Getting back to the OP, Lance has some wild numbers when it comes to his heart and lungs. In his book it says that he posted the highest VO2 max that had ever been recorded in one lab where he got tested. In Bob Roll’s book Bobke II he mentions that after he and Lance trained in the mountains for a week, that Lance went to be tested and produced 550 watts of power for over 25 minutes, and the test equipment started to smoke from the load. :smiley:
In a newspaper article after wining the tour this year, they mentioned about when his neurosurgeon went to talk to him after the brain surgery, he asked him his name. The reply was “Lance Armstrong, and I can kick your ass on a bike anytime.” So add confidence to his list of attributes.

Again, gee, that sure is cute, but Rumsas and Frigo are both blatantly obvious examples of EPO users that managed to avoid these new testing procedures. Frankly, I’ve debated this issue to death on this board before, and I’m just not interested in going around again. The UCI, WADA, etc. can claim that they have a great detection system all they want, but many examples exist of how they have failed to even detect EPO which has been available for over 15 years, let alone HGH, IGF-1, and on and on. No matter how many official PR releases you dig up, you can’t the the fact that just two weeks ago a rider’s wife was caught with 10 vials of EPO while the rider had never tested positive.

Also, in the last few months, some major biopharm company got approval for a new form of EPO that leaves your system much faster than previous types of EPO. This has some benefit for cancer patients that I can’t recall at the moment, but it also has some obvious advantages for doping as well. Don’t tell me I know little to nothing about professional racing; I know more than you.

Rick, yes, he got an extra blood-draw from the French police. But, believe it or not, the French police don’t have any particular expertise in tracking down dope, I doubt that their testing protocols are even as sophisticated as WADA which has much more experience in the matter.

Honestly, it’s kind of silly statements like this that make me question the value of all of this meaningless, “did you know?” trivia. When people say that he extracts twice as much oxygen from each breath as a normal human, it doesn’t frankly matter all that much. He doesn’t race against normal humans. He races against highly trained athletes like Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. Compared to them, he obviously is marginally better, but it’s nothing astounding. It’s small percentages. He won in the final TT over Ullrich by a margin of around .49%. He still doesn’t hold the record up Mt. Ventoux. He is human.

I guess if you really want to know why he’s won the Tour seven times, it’s all about consistency. Be just a little bit better and make it stick. He doesn’t crash. He’s an incredibly intelligent, planning, and cunning racer. He takes a .49% or 1% advantage from each GC-relevant stage and holds onto it like a pitbull. And it adds up.

I sincerely doubt that he ever caused “the equipment” to start smoking. 550 watts is a hell of a lot, but it’s not astronomical compared to other efforts that any power-measuring cycling device should be expected to operate in. Alessandro Pettachi can put out around three times that for close to thirty seconds; a huge rider like Magnus Backsted could probably do an identical sustained effort but he’s got an extra 45 pounds of junk in the trunk. Nothing that’s going to totally stress the thermodynamics of the machine.

I’m a definite amateur, and on a really good day I could do around 400 watts over 25 minutes at sea level. My PowerTap hub is nearly 8 years old, and I assure you in excellent health. Probably because it doesn’t smoke. (Oh, I’m sooo witty)

Same deal with VO2 max. Armstrong is around 84. Indurian was 88. Greg LeMond a 92.5. The all time record is close to 94 for a cross-country skier.

As far as the number of OOC tests, this one says he’s undergone six this year.

Oh, here’s another interesting thing. Apparently some of the “random” French blood tests were actually analyzed on the Disco Team bus. I’m just going to assume that Disco hasn’t shelled out for a $6.2 million mass spectrometer for the team bus, so it doesn’t sound that incredibly sophisticated at this point.

A friend of mind (and avid biker) said that Armstrong has an unusually high pain threshold.

Bang Sheryl Crow and win at least two tours.
C’mon, the real reason he wins is he is The Uniball. He’s aerodynamic, man.

I’ll shut up.

Putting the doping questions aside, (and forgive the resurrection of an old thread but I was searching for threads regarding Ivan Basso) purely from a scientific point of view, Armstrong’s success came from the follwing things…
[li]Amazingly low body fat percentage - it’s all about power-to-weight ratio in the alps.[/li][li]A very keen racing brain - this is where the sport is very similar to motor racing.[/li][li]Excellent pedalling cadence - it allowed him to stay aerobic to avoid going lactic.[/li][li]Fantastic Time Trialling ability - and here’s where the Formula One science worked well.[/li][/ul]

Most pundits agree that Ulrich could have beaten Armstrong a number of times if he’d only applied Armstrong’s dedication to weight minimisation. Ulrich’s win in the 2000 Olympic Road Race was just breathtaking - his weight was down low by that point after the TdF - but he was 5 kilos heavier apparently at the start of that year’s Tour.

Interestingly, Armstrong had a shitawful aerodynamic posture - I personally used to call him the Hunchback of Champs d’Elysses. He looked absolutely awful in a Time Trial tuck. Ekimov shat on him (his own teammate) in terms of pure aero, but Armstrong worked on his cadence and wattage to overcome that. His cadence on a climb reminded me of Lucien van Impe.

Armstrong was always capable of great explosiveness - in either a sprint or a sustained break. But you need more than that to win a Grand Tour. You need a team who are prepared to shelter you for hours at a time, and yet, keep you in the top 10 out of 220 riders for thousands of kilometers during the Tour. People often talk about Armstrong’s lack of results in other races, and in my opinion it’s one of the reasons I’ll never rate him THAT highly, but also, Armstrong used to keep 3 or 4 of his trusted lieutenants away from the other Classics and Grand Tours too - and they’d just thousands and thousands of miles of motor pacing instead. Clearly, it helped Armstrong stay at the front out of trouble when it mattered.

But there will always be a cloud over him. Way too many of the guys he beat have since been busted. And also, he had quite an extensive list of prescription exemptions regarding his anti-remission stuff and we’ll we’ll never know what they were. Anyone who says Armstrong WASN’T taking drugs during his TdF winning years is delluded - he was on some cutting edge medical stuff - it’s just not stuff which failed the doping controls in use at that time. I always feel awkward having to point that out to Americans - given how deitified Armstrong was. He was on cancer drugs the whole way through his winning TdF career.