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AG

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Re: Sky
« Reply #2040 on: July 29, 2018, 01:40 »
Maybe ... maybe we could have bought Thomas as a Tour winner under some circumstances.

Where everything had fallen into place for him, he made up time on the cobbles, in the wind, on the TTT and the like and just limited his losses elsewhere.  When the other major contenders crashed, lost time or had some other difficulties, where the route suited him by some fluke ...

But winning a Tour the way he did?

Winning 2 mountain stages, never losing a second to Froome or Dumoulin ...  He would have won the TT as well if he hadnt backed off at the end ???

Sky winning 7 times in 8 years, with 3 different riders - all with no grand tour pedigree whatsoever.


I am sorry - I like Thomas ... he is one of the few on Sky that I do like, but there is no chance.  Not a single solitary hope in hell that he is clean.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2041 on: July 29, 2018, 03:48 »
    Wow. Riding 2 Slowly I am not surprised, but you, AG, I am. I had no idea you were thinking so negatively. I appreciate all the negative viewpoints, to a degree, because they act as devil's advocate, and point out the holes in the "sunny world" thinking. As we've seen over the past couple of decades, that can be a useful function.

    However, there are very obvious, and far more simple, explanations as to why Sky can win, 7 times, in 8 years, with 3 different riders. Etc.

    And you know I'm not saying this because I like Sky. Anyone who has read my posts knows I do NOT like Sky. Quite the opposite. However, the Sky dominance can, I think, be 95% explained by three things.
    One: money. They have twice the budget of any other team. We've seen, every year, that they buy the top talent. Landa's performance this year didn't end as well as last year - but he was still at the pointy end. This year, to replace Landa perhaps, Sky introduced Egan Bernal.
    Two: tactics. The Nico Portal interview/article I posted a link to clicked for me. It put validation on something I've been thinking and saying for a few years. Sky's tactics are dramatically better than other teams. SOME other teams have done as well tactically (e.g. AG2R 2016-7), but lack the strength in the team to make the tactic stick.
    Three: attention to detail. The women's squad offers the most dramatic example of this that I know of. They ordered their women to quit shaving their pubic area. Shaving = more saddle sores and problems. The next best example is washing kit. Separate washings for each rider's kit. Why? Because washing the kit in one load spread saddle sore germs or microbes or whatever - but it meant more saddle sores all 'round. So, none of that. I can easily imagine Sky is paying just as much attention to individual rider recovery and training loads.

    If Dumoulin and Sunweb are talking about using ultrasound to judge glycogen recovery, what are Sky doing? Tiny little details can have large impacts.

    You know, I've said, I hope many times, and loudly, that I don't think Froome would be a multiple Tour winner without Team Sky. And I'm convinced it is true. Those things I just put forth - they add up to TEAM Sky. And TEAM Sky has had the strongest team at the Tour, every year, including and since Wiggo's year. Nobody else has been up there. Very few have matched their tactical thinking. They have 2-3 more strong riders every year, than any other team. That's not dopage - that's money buying the talent - and tactical nous putting the talent to work at the right time.

    I think Formigal supports this idea. Because Formigal is what happened when the talent wasn't where it was supposed to be, and when one man - the tactician - got the stage wrong, while someone else got it right. And, you had different teams working together, against Sky, which gave them about an equal footing on overall strength. On other occasions, for year after year we have watched the opposing teams cut off their nose to spite their face. They don't and won't work together. And, in the process Sky can take advantage of that weakness, and they have done. Even at Formigal, Quintana did not work with Contador really. He followed and then took advantage. Goody for him, but bad form, Nairo, bad form. And that bad form has come back to bite Movistar where it counts.

    Geraint has been on the edge of being big for a long time - I've seen it said too many times to think otherwise. Although I don't personally care a pig's whisker one way or the other. How many times has it been said: "If only he could keep it upright!" The Crashing Welshman, right? I have to respect at least some of the people who have offered that opinion in the past - I respect those people, and their opinions, on other matters. So Geraint didn't come out of nowhere, eh?

    Add to that, GT has been content enough to be a successful lieutenant. Compare that to TJ VanGarderen - who has been notably incontent to do anything other than try to win. Until he hit a brick wall enough times to flatten his face into a pancake. He could have been, and may still be, a great lieutenant for a GT. But he isn't a GT winner, no matter how much he wants it. Compare GT to Merckx, The Cannibal; or Hinault, The Badger. What nick will stick thru history like that for TJ? Or GT. GT might have one more GT in his legs. (Fancy play on words, that!) He could get there, with Team Sky to support him. But I think that will be his limit.

    But then, I thought Cadel might get two. And I thought Nibali was only a 3-GT rider.

    Lastly, for the moment, Froome and Dumoulin had the Giro in their legs. I don't think Froome has faced a real GT contender before Dumoulin. Contador was in his twilight. Nibali is better than Aru - but not in quite the same class of strength as Froome. Bardet - love the rider, love the team - but bridesmaids at best. And so forth. A rider like Nibali is at the edge of GT contenders - he can win when the conditions are very good. Dumoulin has demonstrated, pretty vividly, that he has what it takes to win when the cards are against him. And his natural tactics act as a counter to Portal's plans. Contador had the tactical sense - sometimes. But he always seemed to lack the strong team around him that has been Sky's hallmark.

    Back to the point. We don't need to go to the Dark Side to explain Thomas' wins. Stage or Tour. He was strong, prepared for the Tour, and with the best team in the world behind him. Froome and Dumoulin had the Giro in their legs. Nibali crashed out, and he was the only other rider who had any sort of reasonable chance. Everybody else was a dark horse. And, if they rode as history said they would, they would be fighting over the scraps - and that is where they ended up.

    But you only said "no chance . . he is clean". Nothing about all the rest of the junk I just brought up. Strictly addressing the question: "Is GT riding with chemical aids, yes or no?" 

    We do know this. Sky have gotten caught using the TUE system. I would say abusing it. And I think what Froome is doing may be legal, and Froome himself quite likely believes he is "clean". But I don't. And I think Froome is lying about his Salbutamol usage on the test days in question. But, I have no proof, and salbutemol is legal with a TUE, etc. So I give Froome that - what he is doing is legal. What Wiggo did was "legal".

    But is it clean? IF that is the only question before us, then I will agree that Thomas might be just as guilty of using a TUE bend of the rules. TECHNICALLY, that IS "clean". Morally, I have to agree that it is not.

    But I can't agree that there is no hope that Thomas is not at least as clean as Froome. At the moment, I think he is cleaner than Froome by a margin. So I can't agree with your pessimistic conclusion.

    However, your conclusion DOES explain to me why I seem to perceive a change in your attitude this year. I've just talked a whole bunch, so please forgive me if your ear is suffering!

    And if somebody gives me a TLDR, I have another acronym in response! LAZY.

    Cheers;
    H

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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    AG

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2042 on: July 29, 2018, 05:03 »
    actually my attitude hasnt changed much.

    I dont like Froome - never have.  But I am not actually anti-Sky ... I like Thomas, I like Kwiatkowski and a few others ... but I dont think they are clean.  Then again, I dont think Dumoulin, Roglic, Landa, Quintana or Nibali are either so there is that  :D 




    I agree with you, money talks - and Sky have spent theirs well.  BMC and Movistar are 2 other teams with big budgets that dont seem to have got as much bang for their buck.  I dont know that its attention to detail (washing kit and the like) as I think ALL teams do that, though I agree that more money makes that much easier. 

    Those things dont explain Thomas being able to outride Quintana and Landa on a mountain when he in his 12 (??) grand tours beforehand has never been at that level.  He is not a new young talent making his breakthrough ride here ... but someone who has been around a long time, and suddenly discovers that he can outride the best on their specialist terrain.

    Sky should spend less time trying to convince people that they way they wash their kit is what makes a tour winner, and more time explaining that the people and the way they are treated is what makes the difference.  Sky seem to get more out of their domestiques.  Its not as much the very top end of riders that is different but the superdoms.    Castroviejo is a great example - has been around a number of teams who could not seem to find the right fit for him - but he was worth his weight in gold this tour.  Poels, Luke Rowe, Kiwatkowski and quite a few who didnt make the tour team are quite simply superb.  THAT more than anything else was the difference on this tour.  Egan Bernal turning himself inside out to get back up just so that he could drag Froome back to the group ... and Sky are full of these guys.  Guys who on another team could ride for their own chance, but choose instead to ride for another leader.

    Movistar on the other hand have less of these types that are willing to sacrifice everything for someone else.  They came here with a superstrong team ... but didnt work together, tactics were not good and the team wasnt designed well for the parcours.  Sky sent a team that could win time on the TTT, that could deal well with the cobbles and could control the peleton. 

    (BMC sent a good team for their goals but were unlucky with Porte crashing which I think changed the tour a bit.  Still, with the way he rode, I dont think Porte would have beat Thomas.)

    Sky were easily the best team - and that did make a huge difference to the results.

    All of that however does not make someone who was a track rider and classics specialist into someone who can drop climbing specialists on back to back mountain stages ... and then equal the world champion in a time trial.  It doesnt explain turning Froome into a racehorse within a matter of weeks before the '11 Vuelta, and then him being able to hold that form for grand tour after grand tour.

    A lot of it ... a LOT .. is due to weight control and muscle development - which is 100% drug related.  I do not believe that any professional athlete can change their body the way some of these Sky riders do without drugs.  If they could, everyone would do it.  And the 'team support' and 'marginal gains' apply equally as well to drug logistics and management as to other areas.  Money talks.





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  • AG

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2043 on: July 29, 2018, 05:12 »


    But I can't agree that there is no hope that Thomas is not at least as clean as Froome. At the moment, I think he is cleaner than Froome by a margin. So I can't agree with your pessimistic conclusion.



    I never said Thomas was dirtier than Froome.  Froome is your donkey-racehorse pure and simple - Thomas at least had some semblance of raw talent ... he showed something from early on and developing and honing that skill (and staying upright) has obviously played a big part in his success this Tour.

    That being said - being cleaner than Froome is a pretty low bar.


    Again though - Froome, Nibali, Contador, Schleck, Wiggans, Quintana, Evans, Horner, Cobo, Scarponi (just going through recent Grand Tour winners off the top of my head here) ... I cant pick any in the last 10 years that I would put my hand up and suggest they even might be clean.

    There is too much money, too much temptation, too little risk of getting caught and too few consequences for those who do to make it something that anyone who had the determination, fire and straight up will to succeed to say no to.;
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2044 on: July 29, 2018, 09:40 »


    .................A lot of it ... a LOT .. is due to weight control and muscle development - which is 100% drug related.  I do not believe that any professional athlete can change their body the way some of these Sky riders do without drugs.  If they could, everyone would do it.  And the 'team support' and 'marginal gains' apply equally as well to drug logistics and management as to other areas.  Money talks.



    AG your two posts are exactly where I am.  The Thomas win could have been believable but it is the transformations, where Thomas  can out climb the climbers who he never could before and out TT the TTers who he never could before.

    That is three on a row who Sky have been able to trasnsform.  Of them all, Brad's transformation was the slowest and "most believable" and that was because he had changed his attitude after Beijing 2008 when he and Sutton had a heart to heart and he realised Sutton's way was the only way.  for Brad in 2009 it was for Floyd in 2006  - F*** this sport, Lance was so clearly the king of dope and yet in 2009, not content with 7 wins, the guy is allowed back by the sport to come and screw it over again.  As Floyd said - the only view anyone clsoe to the sport could have is that it is a steaming pile of sh*t.  It is easy to see how the return of Armstrong in 2009 changed Brad's attitude to "anything goes, tell me Shane what do I have to do?"

    For Froome the thing that blackened his name right from the get go, because certainly in every single press conference and interview he has cultivated this ridiculous persona of polite deference and humbleness.  Not the guy who as a kid stole the class pets and fed them to his snake (FFS he can get other stuff to feed his snake this is pure black stuff of the type the followers of Freud could have a field day over).  But despite all that, Froome was screwed in the public eye from the moment he stepped into the spotlight.  Vaughters came out and said Sir Dave had been trying to offload him so we all knew his contract with Sky was ending and then there was the totally bogus "I only got good because I eventlually shook off Badzilla" excuse.  He started with the doubters doubting because there were two mutually supporting red flags flying before he got to the end of the Veulta. 

    But for Thomas it is an entirely different story.  This is someone who was working with Sutton from before the age of 16.  He is a lot smarter than Brad and knows the lie of the land.  Brad getting the nod for the 2008 ip over him even though he was faster was a kick in the teeth for Thomas by Sutton, because it was Sutton's call.   But Thomas knew beyond virtually everyone what Sutton could do if you challenged him because he had seen what Sutton could do closer than most.  Thomas chose his pro cycling career rather than shake the tree, trusting his day would come.  Brad would pass.   I have observed Thomas' ability to keep his head down when Froome stepped forward to take the crown from Brad.  I think this is not a measure of Thomas' devotion to the team cause but an huge fear of how the system works.  I still don't see you guys have worked out who informed on Armitstead, which I was flagging up two years ago.  The rest of her career is blighted and all she did before, is now blackened becasue someone needed to get a message to some other people.

    This is a mafia style operation.

    M Gee the media forget quickly.  Froome was not going to ride the Tour.  The "dogs with Asthma" report had been recieved and expert technical and legal advice on it received by the UCI.  Lapartient and the UCI were ready for showdown. but Sir D B is right, Lapartient is a small town Mayor.   Lapartient could not see that he was a busted flush from the moment Froome's Salbutemol case was leaked, becasue of the person who leaked it.   Lapartient was always going to get backed into a corner where his personal career became the issue at stake.  But only the legal guys, the ones with brinkmanship as their stock in trade - how many legal actions get to the eve of court or even into court and initial hearings before the losing side listen to their counsel and thow in the towel and hand over their money and dignity ?  Only the legal guys would have confidence that that would be the way it would go.  I think Froome and Cound did as well but I don't think Sir DB was that confident.  I think his public mauling at Parliament where he couldn't offer a single answer confidently, had ruined his mojo.  Compare his performance with that of Sutton.  Now there was a consumate liar in action, on the prowl, even answering back to the MPs.   

    But when was that denoument with the UCI going to take place?  That is where we have to admire Thomas.  With Sir DB off his game (compare the post Salbutemol Sir DB with the guy running away from interviews and hiding that we had witnessed for the previous 9 months).  Was this the "mastermind" on top of his job?.  No, his eye was off the ball and he would not have been confident that Froome would get off.  So when Thomas said he would prepare superbly for the Tour, Sir DB would have been backing him because it was a multiple win.  If Froome does somehow get allowed to ride the Tour and Thomas' best is still not good enough then Froome gets the very best domestique.  If Froome does not get to ride there is a "clean",  British born winner for the Sky fans to rally around and Chris Froome can be more quickly forgoten.  And of course the other scenario is the one we have witnessed. 


    Sport is all about taking your opportunites when they arrise.  Thomas did that and he is the winner. Thomas upped his game considerably and did it in fairly short time order.  Yes he had a great stroke of luck with Froome losing time early on, but then, by the end he had shown there could only ever have been one winner.  And that winner was a rider we had certainly never seen in the previous 10 years of his career and the perfomrance was every bit as unbelievable as the many we have seen from Froome and Brad before him. 

    But I am not dreaming this is one star who is going to get busted soon.  Thomas will have seen the way Brasilford mishandled Sutton and left Sutton at Manchester.  Keeping Sutton on the Sky books at over £100,000 pa as "an advisor" was no sop to Sutton.  Sutton's pride had been hurt and publicly hurt.  An advisor that no one knows is advising is not what Sutton wanted.  Thomas knows - Sutton is not someone you f*** with no matter how many times he has f***ed with you.  Thomas sees others around him in that mould.  Thomas is going to keep everyone sweet.   Of the three Thomas is the one I would bet my money on will be sitting with a big grin on his face in 30 years time.

    Now Cound....................   There's a different story.  And Brad - well it took one hell of a bender in the boozer in 2008, post Beijing, to make the long term pro realise that riding clean he could beat all them dopers he had previously complained about, he just needed to lay off the nutella.  It started as the haze cleared, it might all finish in the same way.
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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 10:33 by riding too slowly »

    riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2045 on: July 29, 2018, 09:50 »

     ...  He would have won the TT as well if he hadnt backed off at the end ???

    Sky winning 7 times in 8 years, with 3 different riders - all with no grand tour pedigree whatsoever.


    I am sorry - I like Thomas ... he is one of the few on Sky that I do like, but there is no chance.  Not a single solitary hope in hell that he is clean.
    How obvious was this ?  Was it as bad as John Herrety in the British Cycling following car getting on the radio and telling David Millar his lead time (something of the order Van Vleuton stuffed the rest in the Giro a few weeks ago ) and Millar realising he needed to come off the gas at the 2003 World TT champs.  Millar then let himself get overtaken by the guy he had caught for 3 minutes ?  That one had me rocking off my seat in mirth. 

    I didn't watch it becasue I had seen the two stages Thomas had won and there was no doubt in my mind that just as Tinkerbel had granted Froome his transformations so Thomas would not be threatened in the TT.  Do I need to go and watch it?  Do we get team car commentary like we had in 2003 ?
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2046 on: July 29, 2018, 10:04 »
     I'm not going to criticise or try to argue differently.
    Just to say that this is why I've more or less steered clear of the forum for the duration.
     Geraint is a close friend to some of my family, so I find it all too personal.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2047 on: July 29, 2018, 10:07 »
    How scary - no one posting here just as Team Sky are about to put on the top of the podium in Paris their 3rd winner and make that 6 out of the last 7 years -  what an achievement by Sir David and all involved in marginal gains.  Awesome, just plain awesome.

    I've been sort of keeping my powder dry thus far. As I watch this Tour with a sense of bemusement, I've been mentally compiling a few things while (somewhat) patiently waiting for the final chapter to be written. It's not just the action on the road that I've been following, but the reaction by sports commentators, various media, and other riders. I was hoping to assemble a sensible narrative when all was  said and done with this particular race, but I'm not even sure that's possible at this point. But there's one more day left, and with that will be countless more remarks and analysis from all of the above. So I'll wait just a bit longer for some of the smoke to clear, as there will certainly be an abundance of more material to sort through.

    On many levels, this has been the WTF Tour for me. Powerhouses beating climbing specialists; the Giro/Tour double suddenly totally rational; ski-jumper-turned-cyclist who after only six years is vying for the podium against guys who have trained their entire lives...

    Yeah, there are some things to talk about. But there's one more day left, and god-only-knows what other gems this year's edition might offer us before the curtain closes. Maybe Lawson Craddock will win on the Champs-Élysées. Why not?
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2048 on: July 29, 2018, 10:56 »
    I'm not going to criticise or try to argue differently.
    Just to say that this is why I've more or less steered clear of the forum for the duration.
     Geraint is a close friend to some of my family, so I find it all too personal.

    I understand your pain.  I am not sure it is going to get any easier anytime soon

    One of my most enjoyable periods of my life was joining up at the meeting point to go on a winter Sunday clubrun; out all day cycling, long steady miles and talking.  About 15 years ago I realised I could never do this anymore.  I could not meet up with people who found my views so distasteful if I expressed them and being silent whilst they prattled on about going to watch Lance at the Tour and David Millar this and that, was something I could no longer bear. Virtually everyone of them had livestrong bands.  “Why did you buy that ?” was not a good starter.

    One evening, at a social, around a table, the talk was the latest on line craze - "It's Millar time".  Remember this was a time when we all had dial up connections at home so people paid not only the subscription cost to Millar’s site but also by the minute to listen to the lies and crap he spouted from his own commercial website. I listened to these people tell each other what the great man had said.  I then realised this was like one of those southern states, crazy religious cults where the pastor gets everyone to donate to him their savings and has sex with the daughters and a few of the younger wives  before running off with one of them to an exotic island to live on the beach.  I remember that is how I envisaged it as I listened to them analyse what St Millar had told his disciples. 
    I really used to enjoy the event where that social went on.  I have never been back since. 
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2049 on: July 29, 2018, 11:00 »


    ..................On many levels, this has been the WTF Tour for me.

    ...........................But there's one more day left, and god-only-knows what other gems this year's edition might offer us before the curtain closes. Maybe Lawson Craddock will win on the Champs-Élysées. Why not?

    Yes - I am there as well. Looking forward to reading your comments !
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2050 on: July 29, 2018, 14:34 »
    . . . . . .

    Powerhouses beating climbing specialists;  . . .; ski-jumper-turned-cyclist who after only six years is vying for the podium against guys who have trained their entire lives...



    These things I have no problem with, none at all. Back when I raced, I regularly watched triathletes enter the sport with zero previous experience, and mop up the field. With two years of experience, they could be nearly as good (tactically -if they had a brain, and paid attention) as cyclists who were state champion level. They were certainly up there with the power - so TTs and climbing. For Roglic, already an athlete at the highest levels, to convert in 6 years is no wonder story. It's nothing more than color background.

    Powerhouses and mountains. Merckx. Hinault. LeMond. Fignon. Kelly. I won't go with Indurain, because although he fits that mold, he was the start of the EPO era. But if you look back, it wasn't the Eagle of Toledo who won tours.

    I agree about the transformations, but I don't see any evidence of anything more than TUE abuse, to make it happen. And when you've got 45M, and you're sending your boys to summer camp, you can afford that Swedish nanny who won't let them eat any cookies. And makes sure they get their hands slapped if they do try. Anybody who can afford fat camp can lose the weight and transform. You can't do it by yourself, no, not at all. But if you've got a minder sitting on your backside - it's a different story. The people who can afford fat camp run into trouble when they leave, but we aren't talking about serious fatties here - we're talking about athletes at the very highest levels of athleticism. Once the weight is lost, it's pretty easy to keep it off when you are burning that many calories. Unless you are Jan Ullrich, and you take a winter vacay.
    . . .
    I agree with you, money talks - and Sky have spent theirs well.  BMC and Movistar are 2 other teams with big budgets that dont seem to have got as much bang for their buck.  I dont know that its attention to detail (washing kit and the like) as I think ALL teams do that, though I agree that more money makes that much easier. 

     . . .

    BMC come closer but are still well off the Sky mark. Movi are less than half of Sky's budget. Such small things as the warm-downs and the kit washing seem inane. But they ARE Sky developments, which some of those who can, have since copied. Saddle sores have removed more than one rider from the Tour. Budgets: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/tour-de-france/tour-de-france-team-largest-budget-262275

    . . .
     
    Those things dont explain Thomas being able to outride Quintana and Landa on a mountain when he in his 12 (??) grand tours beforehand has never been at that level.  He is not a new young talent making his breakthrough ride here ... but someone who has been around a long time, and suddenly discovers that he can outride the best on their specialist terrain.

     . . .

    I'm not the best person to argue this one, as I've never been a Thomas fan. But I distinctly recall in past years many posters repeatedly saying how far Geraint could go if he could only keep it upright. And, in past years he was always the dom, never the captain. He burnt himself up, not riding for the wins, but riding for someone else to win. "No spotlight for you, boy!" This year his whole prep has been for the Tour. Take that with the team backing him and Froome, and the tactics of Portal, and I have no heartburn at all believing this could happen. It wasn't in my predictions, but he was on the contenders list. And a lot of him not being ranked higher in the predictions is because he never managed to keep it upright before. As for the final TT, even Dumoulin said it wasn't raw TT ability, but the legs at the end of 3 weeks that would make the difference.

    . . .

    Sky should spend less time trying to convince people that they way they wash their kit is what makes a tour winner, and more time explaining that the people and the way they are treated is what makes the difference.  Sky seem to get more out of their domestiques.  Its not as much the very top end of riders that is different but the superdoms.    Castroviejo is a great example - has been around a number of teams who could not seem to find the right fit for him - but he was worth his weight in gold this tour.  Poels, Luke Rowe, Kiwatkowski and quite a few who didnt make the tour team are quite simply superb.  THAT more than anything else was the difference on this tour.  Egan Bernal turning himself inside out to get back up just so that he could drag Froome back to the group ... and Sky are full of these guys.  Guys who on another team could ride for their own chance, but choose instead to ride for another leader.

    Movistar on the other hand have less of these types that are willing to sacrifice everything for someone else.  They came here with a superstrong team ... but didnt work together, tactics were not good and the team wasnt designed well for the parcours.  Sky sent a team that could win time on the TTT, that could deal well with the cobbles and could control the peleton. 

    (BMC sent a good team for their goals but were unlucky with Porte crashing which I think changed the tour a bit.  Still, with the way he rode, I dont think Porte would have beat Thomas.)

    Sky were easily the best team - and that did make a huge difference to the results.

     . . .

    I think one reason Ochowicz dissed Porte is because he has come to the opinion that Porte, at some level, lacks the mental strength winning a GT requires. I don't like Ochowicz, but I can't say he's stupid.

    I, too, think Sky should change their PR tactics. Portal's race tactics may be grandmaster level, but their PR staff is not much better than kiddie pool. And Brailsford should get a muzzle.

    But the reason we see riders doing so well at Sky as superdoms can't be drugs. We've seen them leave and seen their performances decline ever so slightly when they do. What is making those guys superdoms is Portal. He's telling them where to be, and when to be there. Or, if not Portal, somebody. As you pointed out, the overall team composition is also superior. As I pointed out, just a couple of extra riders when they need them, because they can afford to buy them.


    . . .  And the 'team support' and 'marginal gains' apply equally as well to drug logistics and management as to other areas.  Money talks.
    It does. And we also have here another example of how it talks, in order to make a difference on the day, in the race: I think it was the Plateau des Glières stage, but it might have been the Roubaix stage. One of the commentators noted how Sky had over 40 staff at roadside, available for handups or assistance. Movistar had 15.

    I do think Froome has abused the TUE program. I have to think there is a good chance he gets some oxygenation benefit from salbutemol that most users would not. He doesn't use it mid-race to lose weight - although that may be a side-benefit for him (especially given the Sky said he was on a weight-loss program while riding the Vuelta). But low bars? Armstrong was a low bar. Doping-wise, anyway. Although, Froome is, IMHO, likely one of the low bars of today's peloton.

    As for Riding Too Slowly's conspiracy theory - where the results of what happened with the salbutemol case were successfully plotted months in advance? I'm sorry, I can't give much credence to that. RTS, I'm with ya back when the yellow armbands came out, but AFAIC, you are looking in the shadows and coming out with boogeymen. Some parts of what you see have good kernels in them, but the whole picture you then paint is a step too far. Still, having you see what you think are REAL boogeymen is useful. Maybe someday we will learn you were right.

    But I have no problem with "3 in a row". Look at Sky superdoms who were there as competing captains this time. Landa, Porte - they were top-ranked contenders! And they were still up towards the pointy end this time. But they didn't have that team behind them, and they didn't have that tactical captain in their ears.

    It turned out, quietly, that Sunweb also brought a lot of strength to the tour. More did well at the end than I would have thought. But they didn't match Sky's numbers for strength.
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  • « Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 14:45 by M Gee »

    LukasCPH

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2051 on: July 29, 2018, 17:28 »
    Many good points
    This, all of this. :cool

    Geraint Thomas has been a big talent since his junior and U23 days, and when Sky started their project back in 2010, he was one of the possible options for a "British Tour winner within five years".
    In terms of career progression etc., I find Thomas far more believable than Wiggins and Froome combined.

    Did he do it absolutely, completely, objectively, not-a-single-spot-on-his-white-jersey clean?
    Likely not. Sky are well-known for pushing the limits, and then some.
    But I do think that Thomas needed less 'assistance' (one way or another) than Wiggins or Froome to become a Grand Tour contender & winner.
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    LukasCPH

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2052 on: July 29, 2018, 17:30 »
    I agree with you, money talks - and Sky have spent theirs well.  BMC and Movistar are 2 other teams with big budgets that dont seem to have got as much bang for their buck.  I dont know that its attention to detail (washing kit and the like) as I think ALL teams do that, though I agree that more money makes that much easier. 
    You'd be surprised just how amateurish pro cycling, even at the very highest level, sometimes is.
    I know I am.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2053 on: July 29, 2018, 18:53 »
    Sutton is not someone you f*** with no matter how many times he has f***ed with you.  Thomas sees others around him in that mould.
    Which tells me that Shane Sutton - and the others in that mould - are arrogant, egocentrical assholes.
    They shouldn't be anywhere near young, impressionable athletes who will listen to anyone who says they can make them champions.
    Nor should they be anywhere near grown-up athletes, or really in any position of management.

    Their behaviour is a plague on the earth. Not just in sport, everywhere.

    For Roglic, already an athlete at the highest levels, to convert in 6 years is no wonder story. It's nothing more than color background.
    And don't forget that he was runner-up on both mountaintop finishes (Bâlea Lac and Păltiniș), third overall (lost second place to Rebellin in the TTT by six seconds), and winner of the #green mountain jersey in the 2014 Sibiu Tour, in his second year as a bike rider.
    He's been excellent at climbing and TTs from the start, and increased his level every year.

    As for Riding Too Slowly's conspiracy theory - where the results of what happened with the salbutemol case were successfully plotted months in advance? I'm sorry, I can't give much credence to that. RTS, I'm with ya back when the yellow armbands came out, but AFAIC, you are looking in the shadows and coming out with boogeymen. Some parts of what you see have good kernels in them, but the whole picture you then paint is a step too far. Still, having you see what you think are REAL boogeymen is useful. Maybe someday we will learn you were right.
    Yup. :cool
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2054 on: July 29, 2018, 19:33 »
    I was going to start a  2018: The WTF Tour thread anyway, but this Sky thread will have to do.

    That being said, I could've just as easily started a thread outside of the Darkside, because there are plenty of things that are still puzzling to me that don't necessarily have to be nefarious in nature. There's just a lot of odd developments recently that seem to defy over 100 years of tradition, or at least defy some of the firmly-held beliefs of that past 30 years. I understand evolution when it comes to any activity, and some of it may just be that without being dodgy. There's plenty to discuss without having to accuse anyone of anything. But there is also a very long and deep history of cheating in all sports. So how does one square the two?

    That's what I hope to tackle if I have time in the next few days. I'm sure I'll find myself in that weird post-Tour withdrawal phase that usually occurs after three weeks of constant monitoring. I'll try to keep the momentum going, but no promises.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2055 on: July 29, 2018, 20:04 »
    I was going to start a  2018: The WTF Tour thread anyway, but this Sky thread will have to do.

    That being said, I could've just as easily started a thread outside of the Darkside, because there are plenty of things that are still puzzling to me that don't necessarily have to be nefarious in nature. There's just a lot of odd developments recently that seem to defy over 100 years of tradition, or at least defy some of the firmly-held beliefs of that past 30 years. I understand evolution when it comes to any activity, and some of it may just be that without being dodgy. There's plenty to discuss without having to accuse anyone of anything. But there is also a very long and deep history of cheating in all sports. So how does one square the two?

    That's what I hope to tackle if I have time in the next few days. I'm sure I'll find myself in that weird post-Tour withdrawal phase that usually occurs after three weeks of constant monitoring. I'll try to keep the momentum going, but no promises.
    Did you notice my post in Dark Side general news? If not, please read: http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=173.msg2242559#msg2242559

    Item one - they DID have an extra recovery week, and for most humans that would still be somewhat short of enough. But if you have the team doctors and nutritionists watching your recovery, and poaching your eggs in the morning? Maybe?

    But if the medicos actually have a test they can do daily to judge recovery - I just think that's huge. Absolutely huge. That day's recovery activity could be adjusted to improve a specific aspect of recovery. Shoot, in a RACE, you could tailor adjustments to diet and activity to aid recovery. I mean, the body doesn't always respond the same to one sort of nutrition or another. Now, I could not find anything online about this ultrasound thing. Maybe Lukas has a source who could find out more. Or maybe one of us has heard something more.

    And was it you who said they wanted to do a post about the lack of support from the other pros, for Chris Horner, AFTER his Vuelta win? Looking forward to reading what you put up.
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2056 on: July 29, 2018, 21:04 »
    Which tells me that Shane Sutton - and the others in that mould - are arrogant, egocentrical assholes.
    They shouldn't be anywhere near young, impressionable athletes who will listen to anyone who says they can make them champions.
    Nor should they be anywhere near grown-up athletes, or really in any position of management.

    Their behaviour is a plague on the earth. Not just in sport, everywhere.

    You have it entirely correct, I could not agree more.  Geraint was one of those young impressionable riders who worked with Sutton.  Sutton was Welsh National coach up until August 2002 when Brailsford recruited him to Manchester, to a job which did not exist and had not been advertised.  Sutton got Ellingworth to then be the U23 men's coach to work with Cav and Geraint and the others. 


    But you see, what Sutton has told them has come to pass.  They have done what he told them to do and they have become millioinaires.  Becasue Cookson and co did not take the view that you did that allowing someone like Sutton to be National Coach was at all bad thing.  Cookson and King became expert in looking the other way - even when they were asked straight questions like wasn't it strange that someone was appointed to their staff to a job that did not exist or was not advertised and at no notice.

    Why bother answering, after all who held Cookson or King to account ?  Let the medals roll in, CBEs and OBEs for all.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2057 on: July 29, 2018, 21:06 »
    More thoughts to add to the review of this tour - discussion of ketones starting about 12 minutes in. Be forewarned, this is Lance Armstrong's vlog:
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2058 on: July 30, 2018, 22:29 »
    This is a slightly tongue in cheek/arsey comment I'm going to make but one of the things that gets said by some about Thomas is that he's a trackie so shouldn't be able to win on the road. Given his first 2 big wins as a junior were KBK and PR shouldn't people have been saying why is this road rider so good over 4k on the track?
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  • Claudio Cappuccino

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2059 on: July 31, 2018, 17:54 »
    Wow. Riding 2 Slowly I am not surprised, but you, AG, I am. I had no idea you were thinking so negatively. I appreciate all the negative viewpoints, to a degree, because they act as devil's advocate, and point out the holes in the "sunny world" thinking. As we've seen over the past couple of decades, that can be a useful function.

    However, there are very obvious, and far more simple, explanations as to why Sky can win, 7 times, in 8 years, with 3 different riders. Etc.

    The problem isnt how they won, it is WHO won.

    In 2012 it was important HOW they won and HOW they turned Rogers and Porte into the superdoms they became.

    Now they have actually BOUGHT the best doms around.

    Poels.
    Kwiatkovski.
    Bernal.
    Castroviejo.

    They even had the luzury to keep that young Hart at home.

    Back to the WHO has won.

    First, I have no problem with Geraint Thomas whatsoever, lovely fella, open, funny etc etc.

    I just dont buy the lost the baby fat, trained for GC versus trained for spring Classics BS. No one should.

    How did he loose the fat?

    Rice crackers and cheese?

    But its not that.

    What are the odds that in one team there are such major talents, talking about Barloworld here of course, no one in cycling - including Carlo Corti, not a terrible scout one might say - were interested in them when Barloworld folded.

    Thomas has turned in a Robobasso overnight, his dominance was even frightening. When you saw his kick sprint at Alpe d'Hues, man, he had lots left in the tank.

    No one can buy this.

    He really is a talented rider, no doubt about it, 2010 he really was good for instance. But this? Nah.



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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2060 on: July 31, 2018, 23:01 »
    What are the odds that in one team there are such major talents, talking about Barloworld here of course, no one in cycling - including Carlo Corti, not a terrible scout one might say - were interested in them when Barloworld folded.
    Corti isn't a terrible scout - he is, however, not exactly great at getting the talent he's found to fulfil its potential.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2061 on: August 01, 2018, 12:02 »
    ...

    All of that however does not make someone who was a track rider and classics specialist into someone who can drop climbing specialists on back to back mountain stages ... and then equal the world champion in a time trial.  It doesnt explain turning Froome into a racehorse within a matter of weeks before the '11 Vuelta, and then him being able to hold that form for grand tour after grand tour.

    A lot of it ... a LOT .. is due to weight control and muscle development - which is 100% drug related.  I do not believe that any professional athlete can change their body the way some of these Sky riders do without drugs.  If they could, everyone would do it.  And the 'team support' and 'marginal gains' apply equally as well to drug logistics and management as to other areas.  Money talks.

    I tried to find a general response for the thread but, in contrast to the comment above, everything came out glib or banally self-evident. There's not much else I can say that didn't already apply in June. If anything, with a third winner from the same setup, it's perhaps just a little bolder on the page.

    There's a formula at work and this Tour only served to confirm it. Given the history of and players still involved in the sport, the number of external variables at play and the long-term dominance of Sky (after that admittedly laughable start) it seems highly unlikely that this formula consists only of clean factors.
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    M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2062 on: August 01, 2018, 17:55 »
    I tried to find a general response for the thread but, in contrast to the comment above, everything came out glib or banally self-evident. There's not much else I can say that didn't already apply in June. If anything, with a third winner from the same setup, it's perhaps just a little bolder on the page.

    There's a formula at work and this Tour only served to confirm it. Given the history of and players still involved in the sport, the number of external variables at play and the long-term dominance of Sky (after that admittedly laughable start) it seems highly unlikely that this formula consists only of clean factors.

    Totally in agreement that there is a formula at work. I disagree that this necessarily means that Dark Side factors must then be there. Oh, I have no doubt they are using the TUE system, at least Froome and formerly Wiggo. But we've seen too many riders move to other teams. If the dirt was there, they would (or could) carry it with them, and it would have become more obvious. I'll stick with what's been my theme in several of my recent posts here. Sky do have a formula. It consists of enforcement of minor recovery factors, tactical genius, and team discipline. AND a majorly big checkbook to maintain their stockpile of rider strength.

    Would I be surprised if I'm wrong? Not much at all. AMOF, I was surprised the UCI caved so readily on Froome. They really came out of that looking like amateurs and bunglers.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2063 on: August 01, 2018, 22:23 »
    But we've seen too many riders move to other teams. If the dirt was there, they would (or could) carry it with them, and it would have become more obvious.
    Or those teams started doing the same thing, with varying success. :shh
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2064 on: August 02, 2018, 00:27 »
    This is a slightly tongue in cheek/arsey comment I'm going to make but one of the things that gets said by some about Thomas is that he's a trackie so shouldn't be able to win on the road. Given his first 2 big wins as a junior were KBK and PR shouldn't people have been saying why is this road rider so good over 4k on the track?
    Two posts above yours.  Sutton is the answer you are looking for becasue by his time as a Junior he was doing everything Sutton told him to do.  He was totally dedicateed to doing everything he had to do to be a professional rider, as advised by Sutton.

    Sutton had previously placed Millar with his ex team mates in France so Millar would know the score.  Much later Lizzie Armitstead would be placed with an ex team-mate of Sutton's in Belgium so she learned what she needed to do to become a professional rider. 
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2065 on: August 02, 2018, 03:39 »
    Or those teams started doing the same thing, with varying success. :shh

    Yes, that is possible. But is it likely? I would say not. If they were doing the same thing, and it was a critical part of the formula, we would not see a DECREASE in their accomplishments after they move.

    When the secret was EPO, or blood doping, we DID see different teams manage accomplishments. Indurain. Il pirata: Pantani. Riis. Armstrong. Armstrong did so much better because he/they DID also pay attention to details that others didn't, AND he was likely a "responder", where others (Ullrich) were less so.

    Wiggo's win likely hinged on his TUEs. Maybe not, I'd have to go back and look at the race, but history tells us his grasp of that win was not all that powerful. Froome has, IMHO, been a 50/50 case - w/o the TUE chemistry how many wins would he have? Maybe not as many.

    But Thomas? Has scorned TUEs. So that marginal gain - the TUE - is not there. If he's cheating, he's cheating some other way, and that means cheating big time. Either it's micro-dosing, or something else we don't know about yet. But Thomas puts the lie to the idea that the TUE is part of the Sky formula. They will take advantage of it - but it isn't a key component of itself.

    But here is another thought. This year I heard a rumor that Dumoulin is using ultrasound to judge the glycogen recovery in his muscles. If this is true, and if it works, this is HUGE. My guess is it would mean you could manage the performance gains equivalent to micro-dosing - without the micro-dosing. And it might even be better than that. And how many other cutting edge medico procedures are out there that might create benefit?

    If this whole ultrasound thing is real - it is VERY cutting edge. But, who knows, maybe Sky had it two years ago! And maybe they didn't, but you get the point. And, if it DOES work, wanna bet about whether Sky will have it next year?

    No, if Sky were cheating, when those guys leave Sky for other teams - they would carry that cheat with them. And given the inability of those guys and teams to threaten Sky, RATIONALLY I think I have to conclude that cheating is not an essential part of the "Formula". I think it is for Froome - but even Froome is only relying on TUE abuse as a cheat. I don't think Froome's lies are, ipso facto, representative of Sky or Brailsford etc.
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  • t-72

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2066 on: August 02, 2018, 13:50 »
    A meta - debate comment from me, cause I don't have the time to focus on this (it's vacation time for me...):
    I find there is a lot of repeat sections in this thread with the same arguments rolled over again after the next good performance and then once in while some new are added, to be repeated along with the others in the future. We should have a system for voting the individual arguments up and down, maybe even changing your voting over time, instead of re-typing and re-reading them all (with minor rewording and the individual's flavor) after each Sky GC win.

    And then, a comment about ultrasound and glycogen:
    Ultrasound measures physical entities such as the time from a sound wave leaves a transmitter and then how it is returned to a receiver. In its simplest form, it is like shouting in a rocky area and waiting for the echo, measuring how long it takes. More advanced measures are also taken, so not only the time of arrival for the echo is measured, you can also measure how the shape of the soundwave is modified from source to reciever.

    The key to measure anything of interest at all is a property called acoustic impedance of a given material, and more specifically, contrasts in acoustic impedance between two different materials. This may be muscle tissue with a lot of glycogen and muscle tissue depleted in glycogen. The acoustic impedance of a material is the product of its density and the sound velocity in the material. So, in order for glycogen-in-muscle-storage status to be detectable, there must be a relation to a change in muscle density and/or the sound velocity in the muscle tissue as glycogen is added or removed from storage in the muscle, and - this is a major point - other changes in the tissue must not mask this effect. As far as I know there are lots of molecules added here and subtracted there inside a muscle after hard physical stress, and it would surprise me if glycogen was so unique,with respect to acoustic impedance, that a signal like this would be regarded as thrustworthy.

    Unless someone slaps me with a scientific publication on this, I am very tempted to call this snake oil!  :)

    (PS: my experience is not from the medical field, with very small waves, but physically there are a lot of similarities to setting of much bigger waves with a much bigger bang and trying to find out if an underground reservoir where there once was oil is now filled with water - 4D seisimic technology -  that's the experience I have tried to explain here).
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2067 on: August 02, 2018, 14:28 »
    A meta - debate comment from me, cause I don't have the time to focus on this (it's vacation time for me...):
    I find there is a lot of repeat sections in this thread with the same arguments rolled over again after the next good performance and then once in while some new are added, to be repeated along with the others in the future. We should have a system for voting the individual arguments up and down, maybe even changing your voting over time, instead of re-typing and re-reading them all (with minor rewording and the individual's flavor) after each Sky GC win.

    And then, a comment about ultrasound and glycogen:
    Ultrasound measures physical entities such as the time from a sound wave leaves a transmitter and then how it is returned to a receiver. In its simplest form, it is like shouting in a rocky area and waiting for the echo, measuring how long it takes. More advanced measures are also taken, so not only the time of arrival for the echo is measured, you can also measure how the shape of the soundwave is modified from source to reciever.

    The key to measure anything of interest at all is a property called acoustic impedance of a given material, and more specifically, contrasts in acoustic impedance between two different materials. This may be muscle tissue with a lot of glycogen and muscle tissue depleted in glycogen. The acoustic impedance of a material is the product of its density and the sound velocity in the material. So, in order for glycogen-in-muscle-storage status to be detectable, there must be a relation to a change in muscle density and/or the sound velocity in the muscle tissue as glycogen is added or removed from storage in the muscle, and - this is a major point - other changes in the tissue must not mask this effect. As far as I know there are lots of molecules added here and subtracted there inside a muscle after hard physical stress, and it would surprise me if glycogen was so unique,with respect to acoustic impedance, that a signal like this would be regarded as thrustworthy.

    Unless someone slaps me with a scientific publication on this, I am very tempted to call this snake oil!  :)

    (PS: my experience is not from the medical field, with very small waves, but physically there are a lot of similarities to setting of much bigger waves with a much bigger bang and trying to find out if an underground reservoir where there once was oil is now filled with water - 4D seisimic technology -  that's the experience I have tried to explain here).

    I agree with you about the arguments. I KNOW I've been repeating myself, as I often feel like the poster I may be responding to has not read my previous comments. Or that they have discounted them entirely. Although, my outlook has evolved somewhat recently, what with the UCI's recent action re Froome's positive, and the Cossins article on Nicolas Portal.

    Now, as to publications on sonography and glycogen storage, a quick google on "ultrasound glycogen storage" nets me, first 3:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7820397
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26437929
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11745852
    I won't slap you with an LMGTFY this time!   :lol  After all, that search string may not have occurred to you. The 2016 paper (2nd in the list) "Muscle Ultrasound in Patients with Glycogen Storage Disease Types I and III" does have some focus on muscle density examination. Notice the earliest dated paper is 1994 (then 2001, and 2016).

    You will also recall that I called what I heard a rumor - as it was. And those studies are focused on disease issues, not physical performance in healthy individuals. But the same is true for many of the WADA drugs of concern, yes? I got that rumor from one of the vlog commentaries on the race, so I put more credence in the likelihood of validity than if I had heard it on a forum somewhere. But I don't recall which commentary. :fp

    BTW, I thought your monologue on the sonogram thingy was quite good.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2068 on: August 10, 2018, 03:22 »
    Cillian Kelly, aka the Irish Peloton, on why Sky is disliked (interesting, and thoughtful):

    http://www.irishpeloton.com/2018/08/team-sky-biggest-problem/
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: Sky
    « Reply #2069 on: December 24, 2018, 10:32 »
    Read both articles all the way through.  The second one is critical.

    So the question you need to ask yourselves is why would the good doctor tell the GMC that the patches were for Sutton.  Get the answer right and you move to another level.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-6523685/Cycling-doctor-say-testosterone-patches-NCC-staff.html

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cycling/2018/12/23/shane-sutton-denies-claims-among-intended-recipients-testosterone/

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