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masking_agent

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The Super Duo are Not Normal
« on: April 02, 2021, 20:07 »
So we have the super duo of Matieu Vander Poel  and Wout Van Aert who are making the seasoned veterans in the peloton look like amateurs at times. I personally believe their efforts are "not normal” and they are on a some form of undetectable PEDS. I think they are also under a large complex program dosing regiment  being controlled by some maverick team doctor.  Even if they had an abnormally high v02 max (a la Greg LeMond back in the day) I don't think they are "paniagua." I don't believe their  cyclocross racing prepared them for dominating the pro peloton as they are ?  Otherwise  a lot more cyclocross dudes would be doing so. So I  think they have a team doctor using a new dose of drug that is simply undetectable and is working well for both of them. What do you think they are taking ? OV ? Aicar ? Are their hematocrit numbers even useful in today’s world of cycling doping ? 
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  • AG

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #1 on: April 04, 2021, 04:21 »
    hmm

    I actually think much of the peloton is taking a variety of perfermance enhancing substances (legal or not).  It is simply to hard to keep up otherwise.

    Whether MVdP and WVA are on something more or not I dont know, and would not like to cast additional aspersions without anything other than improved performance.

    At least they have talent though.  This is not a case of donkey to racehorse in the way we have been subjected to in the past.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #2 on: April 04, 2021, 08:55 »
    hmm

    I actually think much of the peloton is taking a variety of perfermance enhancing substances (legal or not).  It is simply to hard to keep up otherwise.

    Whether MVdP and WVA are on something more or not I dont know, and would not like to cast additional aspersions without anything other than improved performance.

    At least they have talent though.  This is not a case of donkey to racehorse in the way we have been subjected to in the past.

     I think the point is about doping is that we don't know who is the most talented.
    I would like to think that getting results at a young age is a good sign.
    Conversely, if one were to think cynically for a moment, it could be because at a young age they already knew the "wrong" people.

    I wonder how Roglic fits the theory?
     Seemingly a super talent from the start, yet coming from another professional sport were doping isn't exactly unheard of.
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  • « Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 13:09 by Mellow Velo »
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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #3 on: April 04, 2021, 19:03 »
    I don't think Ski Jumping is particularly prone to doping. But yeah, it seems like the covid break has resulted in a massive (general) boost, and personally I must say I don't feel great with all the old performance records getting broken every other week now.
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Mellow Velo

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #4 on: April 04, 2021, 19:13 »
    I don't think Ski Jumping is particularly prone to doping. But yeah, it seems like the covid break has resulted in a massive (general) boost, and personally I must say I don't feel great with all the old performance records getting broken every other week now.

    Have to say I don't give it a second thought these days, but prefer to take everything on face value.
    If a rider gets popped, then so be it.
    I prefer to leave the speculation to those who seem to appreciate it more than the actual racing. ;)
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  • Echoes

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #5 on: April 04, 2021, 23:29 »
    I was closely watching cyclocross when Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert were dominating it but not racing WT road races yet, so between 2015 and 2017. Back in the days, it was on everyone's lips. These two guys could put the majority of roadies to shame ! Back then they were between 20 to 22 years of age. Now they're 26, so in full bloom. So it shouldn't come as a surprise. I remember Edwig Van Hooydonck lamenting about Mathieu sticking to cyclocross and mountainbike while he had the talent to perform on the road and he asked Adrie about that. Adrie concurred and claim that his son was going to show it is possible to mix both.

    Mathieu van der Poel was dominating the road field as a junior, even as a novice. There was no match on him. World Champion and winner of the Ruebliland GP in 2013 (incl. three of the 4 stages), both races he beat Mads Pedersen #rainbow . In cyclocross, he surprised everyone with his precocity. I still remember that race in Gieten 2014. It was his first ranking cyclocross event (Superprestige that was) with the elite while he was still a U23 rider. He had to come back from far away. Lars van der Haar was on his way to winning it but Mathieu's come back shocked everyone. I do remember Philippe Maertens, commentator for Vier during that race saying something like "in a few years time, we will remember that this is where it all started". We knew he was the up-and-coming talent but that he already could win so soon, we couldn't have predicted. Midst of that season, he opted to race the Worlds in the elite category, that itself was a surprise but then he won mightily, in the lead from first to last lap. He was aged barely 20 and is now the youngest World champion cyclocross in history, younger than Erik De Vlaeminck. He then went on to win the Superprestige overall classification. This to say that cyclocross lovers are now long used to seeing Mathieu van der Poel achieving unbelievable performances.

    Wout van Aert is a little different. Compared to Mathieu, he looks like a late bloomer (not in comparison to many other crossers of course). As a junior, he could not hold a candle to Mathieu and did nothing of note on the road. During that 2015 cross season, he too did some elite races. Mathieu did the Superprestige and Wout did the B-Post (I think that's what you called it back then but I don't know current name). Wout also started dominating experienced pro while still a U23 rider and when he encountered Mathieu whether on elite or on U23 races, he all of a sudden started beating him. Then Mathieu opted for the Worlds in the elite category, thereby putting pressure on Wout, so the latter did likewise but he was dominated. Just did a great come back from faraway because of a mechanical and caught Van der Haar to come second.

    The next two cyclocross seasons were amazing. Those two guys were technically still U23 riders (in 2015-2016 at least). Yet it stood clear they were there to dominate. Sven Nys could still win 2 World Cup events but that's it. When he retired, it was all for Van der Poel and Van Aert of their generation. The former Nys rivals could hardly top10. You would rarely see such a marked "changing of the guard".  I remember an interview of Tom Meeusen in early 2017 who was both depressed and in awe with this new generation. He battled it out with Nys, Stybar, Boom and Albert, could outsprint Nys for the win on several occasions and was never afraid of them but with Van der Poel and Van Aert that was just something different. He would claim that Sven Nys could only race as fast as Van der Poel and Van Aert on but one or two laps but never on a whole cyclocross race (and he didn't think he was less strong than a couple of years before). They put cyclocross to a new level, "physically exceptional riders", he said. Meeusen was also complaining that cyclocross was becoming more a matter of physical strengths and wattage (especially the training at Fidea with Nys as new manager) and that was to his detriment. Meeusen is known as a technical rider with bike-handling skills.

    That year 2016 was also the year Wout Van Aert started performing on the road. He beat Tony Martin at the Tour of Belgium prologue and battled it out with Mathieu at Dwars door het Hageland. Then I remember Wout van Aert winning the 2016 Schaal Sels. The field was not particularly impressive but it was those years that Schaal Sels was raced on dirt road. I remember Frank Hoste - former great sprinter in the eighties - in the commentary box saying "Look at these thigh muscles. These are not cyclocross thighs, these are road thighs". So Van Aert had already evolved physically into a road specialist, which he wasn't in the youth categories. This must have a lot to do with the way he grew. I remember seeing a very short and slim guy in his first U23 year but I think when he was aged 20 he still grew 1 cm. He's now 187 cm/~78 kg. That's perfect to be a Flandrian type but way too heavy and tall - normally - for cyclocross.

    So their performance on the road were really expected by anyone who closely watched them at their debut. Being a cyclocrosser turning to a good roadie is not even unprecedented. Stybar did some nice performances in his first two years for Quick Step in the WT. Of course he had to drop cyclocross but then again, in cyclocross, he was an honourable champion but nothing compared to Van der Poel and Van Aert. He wouldn't have been able to defy them if he had stayed in the fields. Also I guess Lefevere was not interested in investing into cyclocross (while he claimed he loved cross). Niels Albert could've been a great roadie if he had wanted to, he had great ITT skills but he loved cyclocross too much and rather stayed with his own cross team. At that time, Roodhooft was not really keen on investing on the road like today. You needed a multitalent like Van der Poel to do that. What might be surprising is that they can both combine both while Stybar had to drop cyclocross.  It's true that cyclocross is not the best build-up for the classic season. Last year, they each won a major classic, but due to circumstances, those were postponed later that season. Then since it was a shortened season, they could switch to cyclocross quite easily and it was also a shortened cyclocross season. Now their having raced a long cyclocross season plus the classic season, they seem to pay the price for it. They are not superhuman either.

    For sure, neither Van der Poel nor Van Aert will ever drop cyclocross. It's their life, it's the sport they both like best. But then you also have to realise that cyclocross is now a lot more popular and televised than it used to be in the 20th century. Now you can make a lot of money out of cyclocross because pretty much every race are on TV, which by far wasn't the case in the 20th century. Paul Herijgers had to work as a bricklayer after he retired. Roland Liboton was head over heels in debt in his later years and work for the railway after he retired. I'm not sure that Toon Aerts or Michael Vanthourenhout will need to do that.

    So I did not intend to prove that Van der Poel or Van Aert are racing clean. I certainly cannot do that. There were suspicion around Van Aert - bike engine suspicion - when he was mainly a cyclocross rider. But just that the two were expected at this level on the road before they could access the World Tour. Everybody who followed them back in the days, knew it.
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 03:12 »
    I was closely watching cyclocross when Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert were dominating...

    Very thorough analysis, Echoes. Thanks for that. Very enjoyable reading.  :cool

    These days, I wouldn't even try to guess who is riding clean and who isn't. But certainly in the case of MvdP, his pedigree must be taken into account. Coming not just from a "cycling family" but a cycling family with victory in its genes. There's obviously a genetic advantage there that many of his rivals perhaps just don't posses.

    I'm not at all familiar with Wout van Aert's family background though, and a cursory search doesn't provide me with much information.
    Does he come from a family of racers?
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  • Echoes

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 11:04 »
    Very thorough analysis, Echoes. Thanks for that. Very enjoyable reading.  :cool

    These days, I wouldn't even try to guess who is riding clean and who isn't. But certainly in the case of MvdP, his pedigree must be taken into account. Coming not just from a "cycling family" but a cycling family with victory in its genes. There's obviously a genetic advantage there that many of his rivals perhaps just don't posses.

    I'm not at all familiar with Wout van Aert's family background though, and a cursory search doesn't provide me with much information.
    Does he come from a family of racers?

    Thanks Drummer ! Recent discovery for me :

    https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/status/1373201198795395075

    The tweet says that the fathers Evenepoel, Van der Poel and Van Aert were all teammate at Collstrop in 1994. As a matter of fact, this is not Wout van Aert's father. Jos van Aert is Wout van Aert's father's cousin and he happens to be Dutch. Actually, Wout van Aert's grandparents are Dutch. That's why his name reads "Wout van Aert" with a small "v" (that's the Dutch spelling while in Flanders you write it with a capital "V").
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos_van_Aert

    This being said, does genetic always work? I mean, Axel Merckx was not close to having his father's talent.

    Edit : actually, I was wondering how many father-son duos both won classics in cycling history. I can only think of the Émile Masson senior and junior : father won Bordeaux-Paris in 1923 and son won the same race in 1946 plus Paris-Roubaix in 1939. That's a long time ago. I can't really think of another homogenious cycling family. Even in terms of siblings, you have the Pélissier brothers Henri, Francis and Charles but otherwise often one brother is a lot more talented than his other active brothers. So the Adrie-Mathieu father & son relationship is quite outstanding.
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  • « Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 14:03 by Echoes »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 15:32 »
    This being said, does genetic always work? I mean, Axel Merckx was not close to having his father's talent.

    It's interesting to think about on a number of levels.

    I think what often benefits young athletes from a storied background is the experience and knowledge that gets passed down to them. For any sport, I would think that knowledge of training, and proper equipment would be of benefit, and maybe give an advantage in their early years. Not that this would explain the dominance of MvdP or van Aert, but it is interesting.

    I am often reminded of Taylor Phinney, who is a bit unique in that both his parents were accomplished cyclists, and Olympic medalists. Had it not been for his own injuries, Taylor may have gone on to become the most decorated one-day racer from the U.S. And, to a lesser extent, Christian Vande Velde, who's own father was an Olympic cyclist as well.

    In other sports, there is the rare case of NFL quarterback Archie Manning (New Orleans Saints; 1971–1982), who's both sons went on to become multiple Super Bowl champion quarterbacks—Peyton Manning (2006 Indianapolis Colts & 2015 Denver Broncos), and Eli Manning (New York Giants 2007 & 2011).


    It seems that father/son success is even more common in MLB baseball, and NHL hockey.
    Some of the more notable ones...

    MLB:
    Ken Griffey Sr./Ken Griffey Jr.
    Boby Bonds/Barry Bonds
    Bob Boone/Bret Boone/Aaron Boone
    Sandy Alomar/Roberto Alomar
    Felipe Alou/Moises Alou

    NHL:
    Bobby Hull/Brett Hull
    Gordie Howe/Mark Howe

    Car racing has seen family success as well with the names Earnhardt, Petty, Unser, and Andretti (among others).

    It's also interesting to note that the sons often outshine the fathers, except when the father was the very best, as in the case of Eddy Merckx or Gordie Howe.

    I've no doubt that similar lists could be assembled for nearly every sport. Likewise, there are countless great athletes who's offspring never made it to the top-level, in spite of their best intentions. In terms of genetics, obviously both parents will have an effect on their sons and daughters, so there's no guarantee either way. It is a curious topic, though.
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  • AG

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #9 on: April 09, 2021, 13:10 »
    Australian League Football is littered with fathers and sons, with brothers and families.   Having a family history not only gives you early access to higher class racing, inspiration, technieques etc ... it gives you opportunities and access to coaches, teams and races.   

    Teams are much more likely to take up and give an opportunity to a brother or son of a current or former cyclist involved with the team, friends with the team or with a history, than someone they dont know. 

    of course - once they get that opportunity, they then have to do something with it.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: The Super Duo are Not Normal
    « Reply #10 on: April 10, 2021, 11:51 »
    There are/have been a lot of families in cycling as well. I'm not particularly well informed about Australian or American football but in cycling the families are usually the sons outshining the fathers, as DB says. Or sometimes the opposite. Just to give an example :

    André Boonen and Ronald Van Avermaet were really average pro riders in the eighties. You have their palmares here and here. You can guess who both their sons are. This being said, Greg Van Avermaet was born to a good family, a bit like Taylor Phinney because his mother Bernadette Buysse was an athlete specialised in cross country running and 3 000 m and both his grandfathers were cyclists but not much better than his father. Greg Van Avermaet and Tom Boonen outshined their relatives so much that most of us don't even know that they come from a cycling family while they do.

    What is unique about the Van der Poel family is the homogeneity between father's and son's palmares, not to mention the grandfather. Though Mathieu has more raw talent than his father, we cannot be sure his eventual road palmares will be so much richer. But at least both won classics, so did the grandfather/father-in-law.


    By the way, this is a bit off-topic because I'm not suggesting that this uniqueness is in any way doping related. I'm rather admiring.  ;)
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