old tour de france videos on youtube and Lance

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by mrgray


here are some words on old youtube videos. should anyone reply to this bunch of relatively unfocussed comment, pls, let's all take it easy and please let's stick to the past. 1999-2002.

anyway, i've been doing alot of training on kickr and this has led to me watching an enormous number of hours of old bike races on youtube.

currently fascinated by the videos available for tour de france from 1999 thru to ? (up to 2002 so far). format is a whole year is presented via four to five 2 hour videos.

phil liggett and paul sherwen narrate the whole lot (really just a boxed up summary of their tv work). interesting thing is they've touched it up with some hindsight narrative (i.e. post the finish they've added comment) and they totally focus on the mountains. sprint stages are generally given short shrift.

anyway as i watch in 2002 is unfolding and we've just had ventoux and armstrong's second place. 58 mins even though he really only got going after a beloki attack at around chalet reynard.

and phil and paul will not stop banging on about lance's cadence. and they way they describe it, destroying a bunch of spanish climbers is as simple as pedalling faster. they constantly say that lance got the tip from miguel indurain. and that he's practices and practised and tested and tested. and here he is, with his cadence (up to 100 they say), and he is unstoppable (and he really is).

anyway i'm a huge fan of cycling history via the prism of ped's. i enjoy memoir and ped's a key feature of many a memoir. and so initially i was looking at lance (and most of the rest of the field) thinking "wow, EPO is one hell of a drug".

but now of course we have much talk about motors. and the 60 min doco set for jan 28th. and specifically the comment from the guy who allegedly designed/implemented some of first motors that "easy to catch motor doping, look for the high cadence, look for the weird times". i'm unsure as to why this correlation would exist although i imagine it has to do with disguising the motor input. better disguised when you pedal at a high cadence (smoother). (might just be expert trolling though)

i have already heard it insinuated that this doco might imply something about Lance. basis of argument seems to be, why would US show like 60 mins pick up story unless it was about a huge public figure like lance.

but i'm watching these videos, watching lance bang in fastest time ever up mt ventoux in 2002 (58 mins or so (now near 56 by mayo from 2004 is record)), watching him pedalling faster than everyone, listening to paul and phil convince themselves how legit this all is. (he trains for it all year, he lost 20 pounds due to chemo but kept the power etc etc)

when i first started watching the videos i thought "this guy is a champion". "yes he won on ped's, but everyone else was on ped's too". "still a stone cold performer".

but what if he did all of that plus stuck a motor in there? part of me would be like "who cares" but part of me would have my mind blown i think. the thing is, it actually makes more sense, is more likely, than him just being such a fantastic athlete plus ped user.

another comment on twitter (a quote from a cyclist peer of lance's) "he's not that great a climber, he surges with 5 km's to go and then fades in the death". lance himself persists, as he murders all from 1999 to 2002 with saying "oh shucks, i ain't no climber, i just pedal real fast is all". maybe he just couldn't claim it with a straight face. the accolade of being called a climber. but he could somehow justify everything else.

who knows. great videos though. highly recommended for training and entertainment.
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by Mtroadie

I used to love to watch these old Lance tour videos. I'm nursing a rotator cuff surgery rehab now and this is actually what I need to get through the next couple of months on the stationary trainer. Thanks for the reminder!

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by wingguy

The big thing about these allegations is noise. Even today every hidden motor I've seen demonstrated that drives the BB with a worm gear or whatever is really loud. Like, if he was using it, people would have noticed.

The guy coming forward with all the allegations has zero credibility to me either - he says he knows everything, and he can hint at what it is, but there's always a reason why he can't go into any details right now. Like Donald Trump in a policy discussion :lol: I think he's just trying to milk some paid interviews out of the media, tbh.
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by tymon_tm

yeah I don't really hold my breath on those motor allegations too, but given how cyclists (and athletes in general) like to surprise us (take the recent nordic skiing comedy) one can't rule anything out, including alien technology or emdrive. :lol:

but one thing doesn't stick - circa 2000 was the WW time, everyone wanted to get their bikes lighter and they actually weighted them (lots of CN coverage on that for instance - and they DID weight bikes with race numbers on too). remember how Lance opted to go for downtube shifter for L'Alpe ITT? or how they tried taking Madone to whole another level with boron and all... yeah sure it might've been just a distraction (though a serious one) just to hide something in the BB, but it doesn't seem likely.

the cadence - Froome does it too, even in a more awkward way (IMHO Lance really looked like a natural revving up)

uphill times - they don't vary much from what daring boys of today are able to produce

switching bikes (to avoid detection) - Voeckler's done it one year (on 2-3 consecutive mountain stages), Bertie's done it, but not Lance

the cover up and 10 year fee - this is just BS, if the guy invented a working motor he wouldn't just go for - what - a million bucks (?) from USPS (as the allegations insinuate) but go and sell it to everyone else. after all if you invent a method to cheat, you most likely do it to profit, not for some higher ideas

look, Lance was/is a heavily gifted athlete. mix that with the top of the line doping, 'marginal gains' strategy, and you get a seven time Tour winner. who was he against again? Der Jan who couldn't keep his weight? Mayo who couldn't keep his shit together? bunch of one-timers who (most likely) took as much as they could "to win the tour" but didn't have what Lance had - talent, a (proven) strategy and the whole entourage.

as much as Lance was a cheat, he was still an unbelievable athlete, and I'll stick with it untill proven otherwise :wink: it takes so much more than pills or motors to win a bike race, contrary to what some media try to tell us, with their over-simplifications and negligence of some basic facts

sure I'm curious what's the 60 minutes piece is all about, but let's not forget it's just TV - their biggest objective is to sell premium ad time, not fix the world.
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by ultyguy

I think the biggest factor that makes this unlikely is that even though the basic system probably existed back then, it would've been pretty heavy for the juice that it actually gave hence making it costly to drag around the rest of the time esp in a mountain stage. Smaller factor is that the 'inventor' says that the Ferrari was worried in 2010 about his invention because he couldn't understand why his guys were losing w/ the best 'preparation,' that doesn't reconcile w/ Armstrong having it.

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by Butcher

The biggest advantage with Lance was he never really got into trouble. No real accidents, break downs, etc. With 7 winning Tours, that's just simple damn good luck. I really enjoy watching those old videos too. Simply amazing. Everyone was on drugs so I think the odds were all the same with the top contenders.

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by maquisard

Yeah, I think the motor allegations are bullshit. Whilst I think a motor could be used nowadays back in the late 90's early 00's battery technology was the major constraint rather than motor size. Ever for a short boost, Lith-ion battery tech didn't have the energy density that would make it worth while. The earlier Treks Armstrong rode were heavy as it was, making them heavier still would not have been useful. Armstrong doped.

Some of Contador's performances in the '09 Tour made me go hmmm at the time, thinking of Verbier and Annecy TT. However I suspect doping rather than a motor.

Froome in '13 on Ventoux also looks bonkers particularly with the associated SRM and HR data, but again, I still find the idea of a motor hard to entertain.

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by martinko

I was surprised when I first noticed that Lance swapped left STI for just brake lever and shifter on the downtube to make the bike light. It is interesting fact, but is this setup really lighter than a single STI? What was it back then, 7800 or even earlier groupset? If earlier, I doubt it, although I didn't check the weights myself. Or it was for other reason - easier trimming?

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by sanrensho

Lance did the single downtube shifter thing to save weight on climbing stages. I remember it clearly as being reported that way.

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by maquisard

Armstrong won his first Tours on 7700 then onto 7800.

The original OCLV carbon Trek's he rode were really clunkers. Frame weight of around 1.3kg iirc. Normal for the time though

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