Tour de France 2021 - Speculation and Gossip

What about Aderlass……which also prominently featured Slovenian athletes.

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Taco Bell commercials, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and his presence got the Orange Gabbon to sponsor a major bike race.

Lemond was HUGE.

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Brad wiggins did 450watts for an hour on his record, so pogs 56min at 400-450 is feasable isn’t it??

I watched the Rest Day coverage on ITV4 (UK channel) yesterday and they had a brief snippet of an interview with Cav. We all know that Cav has his opinions and he’s not scared to vocalise them. When asked what advice he’d give to ‘the new riders we’re seeing coming through?’, he just laughed and said ‘what advice can I give them? I’m a fanboy too!

What I found quite telling was the way he said this. He was laughing.

The day prior to this interview, he almost missed the cut off. Even with the help of his teammates he was just about on his knees. Yes, Cav is no mountain man and he said in the ITV4 interview that he hadn’t ridden an Alpine Pass in over two years but, Cav can usually roll his way over. He was more emotional finishing that stage than either of his two wins.

If a rider who’s in the damn race, who’s getting his teeth kicked in, is still able to laugh and say he’s a fan, I should hold fire and see what plays out.


Well, that on its own doesn’t give much insight.
Bradley Wiggins of course had the „disadvantage“ of having to press all of that in a TT position, while Pogacar could do at least some of it standing or road bike position.
That‘s pretty much all I can say in defense of Pogačar on this case.
Brad‘s performance was completely at sea level while Pogacar‘s went from 1000 to 3000 feet. This is by no means massive, but it is a slight factor.

The biggest one however, which also makes it extremely hard to believe he was able to beat Küng without a sip of that Capri Sun, is Pogačars weight.

Küng was around 82kg on the TT day.

Brad Wiggins gained a Good 11.5kg for the effort to be over 83kg:

450W average at 83kg is an absolutely believable 5.4W/kg.
He also did it fresh legged, not at the end of a Grand Tour.
I would however take the relative figure with a grain of salt. It’s not like sub 6 Wkg is always naturally achievable - for a heavy guy, it likely isn’t! A 100kg person will hardly be able to push 580 W for an hour. These figures of what is achievable usually refer to the lightest of climbers, not just anyone.

As for Pogačar, he is officially listed at 66kg and 176cm height. His BMI is not even that low (21) suggesting he could go even lighter without a significant power drop of.

His power for the first 40 minutes has to have been somewhere around 400 to 430W, just because he matched Dumoulin and was faster than Wout on the flat bit, two riders with FTPs DEEP into the 400s!

That is somewhere between 6.06 and 6.51 Wkg for 40 minutes, in a TT position.
What follows is THE FASTEST ASCENT of a >500m climb in the history of the tour, beating out Contadors Verbier climb.
Again, we have no data for this, but all the resources I found suggested north of 450W for those 16:10 min.
If we say it is „just“ 445W for that duration, that’s still over 6.7Wkg (likely closer to 6.8 or 6.9), for almost the duration of an FTP test, AFTER 19 Grand Tour stages, AFTER 40 minutes of over 6Wkg, at an average altitude of 2‘000 feet (which reduces power by around 2% for acclimatized rider compared to sea level).

In the bicycling article posted at the very top of this thread, the expert suggests „6.2 Wkg“ to be the highest natty achievable power to weight for a top tier male athlete. That means at sea level, fresh legged, probably at the lightest weight possible that still allows you to perform.
Pogačar really had non of these factors going for him and really pulled a ~6.5W/kg FTP performance at the end of a Grand Tour.

So back to the question at hand:

No, it’s not.


how I hate seeing that argument.
LA was the best doped rider at the time.
Whether it comes from his ability, or how well his body reacted, no one can tell.
As a result, no one can tell if he’d have been the best clean rider.
That’s the issue with doping, it moves the goalposts.


A little more context:
Lennard Kämna was one of the few riders that day to have posted power numbers. His weight is very similar to that of Pogacar (1kg lighter than Pog).
He was 1:26 slower than Pogacar at 399W average (6.14 W/kg).
That means, he was a good 10% slower at the same weight, at 6.14W/kg…

Also, this post is quite interesting:

Also, there is this quote floating around on the web stating „Fabio Aru breaks the record on Planche des Belles Filles at 16:12“ from 2017… so he was only 2 seconds slower than the man Pogi.
However, he was drafting the team sky train until 2.4k to the top. Also, many claimed he wasn‘t all clean after that performance either… he was an Astana rider after all. This goes back to „I don‘t say Tadej is the only one who is questionable, he is just the most questionable of them all“

So, this is how Tadej Stacks up to the time:

The two closest times are Porte and Wout on that day, with Porte being a good 22 seconds down (on that segment alone). The performance by Porte is in my opinion rather questionable, too, at over 1800 VAM. What he has at least going for him, is he was quoted to be a good 5kg lighter than Pogacar. So if he averaged something crazy like 6.6W/kg, that is 403 Watts or so… which is utter madness… hard to believe to be natural… but then moving on to thinking Tadej was another 2.3% faster than that… I just can‘t even fathom that.


I agree. The pandemic has hit the sports industry. Although there are now a lot more machines for exercising at home, it is easier to maintain nutrition at the same time.

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Just a thought: for all those calculating w/kg, how do you know what the rider’s weight was on the day? are you using what weight their rider profile listed months ago? their ave weight for the year? what they weighed stepping on the scale in the team bus the morning of the stage? what their weight was at km 130? makes a difference. Guys like Pantani and Tyler Hamilton disappointed me in the past, but I’m hoping Pog doesn’t. Willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and that 5 or 6 years from now I can say “yeah, I remember watching all 5/6/7 of his TdF wins, what an icon!”

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The longer periods spend without racing might also have lead to the riders being able to focus more on training and less on a taper-race-recover-repeat Regiment.
However, a longer time without racing might also mean that cyclists (and other athletes) were able to do other stuff uninterrupted for longer than usual…

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Haters gonna hate. Tadej forever yellow!!

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With certain substances shown to cause liver failure, I really hope you are not correct in your statement.

… sorry but I just had to :face_with_hand_over_mouth::man_shrugging:t2:

Agree there is absolutely still doping going on. Aderlass is probably the biggest bust in a while, but it’s still nowhere near the big busts we had through the mid 90s to late 00s. Biggest name rider implicated was Petacchi I think? I’d have to google the rest of the names, nobody particularly well known. Scroll through the GC top 10s in the EPO era and practically every rider there was caught up in some kind of doping bust.

Of course that could just mean that we’re in an era where the dopers are well ahead of the testers and the teams/riders who have the resources to do things properly are doping and getting away with it, while the lower end and older riders without those resources are getting caught up in stuff like Aderlass. Or maybe as posted above the new thing isn’t blood doping but stuff that riders do in their teens before they’re on the testers radar and has a lasting effect. Which might explain the almost unprecedented number of young riders seemingly going straight from junior racing to winning on the WorldTour.

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This was my first impression last spring, when everyone busted out of the gate, but we are over a year on now. These guys have been in a typical training and racing cycle for almost 18 months and there is no sign of slowing, so I don’t think that this theory holds as much water as it did.

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Let’s keep it humble and open to other possibilities. You’ve strung together a hypothesis but you have NOT proved what is naturally possible. A team of sports physiologists given years would struggle to perform experiments and theorize a model that would allow them to state upper limits with the amount of certainty that you are doing after…I don’t know…a few days of googling?

It’s interesting stuff for sure but not good enough to incriminate.


Yup, I doubt any of us have anything like the expertise needed to make our own informed judgement on what is or isn’t naturally possible. So we’re dependent on what the experts tell us, and experts are using models which inevitably are based on some assumptions and will have a margin of error. I’m sure they’re pretty close, but I don’t believe it’s a precise enough science that they can definitively say “anybody above X W/kg is doping”.


I’ve always thought that treatment plant off I95 smelled kinda funny :rofl:

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neither did Lance

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Sorry for the cynicism but if something seems to good to be true then it usually is.


This is a good read: Van der Poel's coach explains what makes him different from the rest of us - CyclingTips

I like this bit:

De Kegel preferred not to divulge too many raw numbers, but he said that Van der Poel set his all-time record for five-minute power en route to victory at Mûr-de-Bretagne on stage 2, holding 551 watts (7.35 W/kg) over five minutes on the punchy climb – after 180 km of racing and having put in a prior attack too.