greg lemond says monitoring power output is the answer


Armstrong used an SRM powermeter during his occasional appearances in the spring classics.

Greg Lemond attended Armstrong’s press conference at the recent Las Vegas show. Naturally the Texan wanted to talk about his come back but LeMonster insisted on asking LA and his anti-doping guru Don Catlin a bunch of tricky questions about their programme.  Greg has queried Catlin and Armstrong’s collaboration to make the results of Armstrong’s blood values and testosterone/epitestosterone ratio public on the internet saying that it is not enough. LeMond wants to see riders’ VO2 Max results; he says power output is a much better gauge of whether a rider is doping. Following the  press conference, where the animosity between the two Tour winners was palpable, LeMond and Catlin got together to continue the debate.

“I just hope that Don will look at that aspect of testing as well as ‘traditional’ testing,” said LeMond. If that could happen, that would be great. I have a lot of respect for Don, and told him that. I am just amazed by the lack of critical thinking from doctors, journalists… If anybody read half of what’s out there about physiology and how you produce power in aerobic sports… It’s very simple”.

“It’s all very well checking blood values,” LeMond continued. “But if you’re a smart doctor, you just always keep your rider’s blood values high. EPO is only detectable within a few days, and that’s why it’s hard to detect it. Autologous blood transfusions, however, are not detectable at all except through a carbon monoxide test.”

LeMond wants to see SRM-type power meters employed to measure riders’ power outputs. “In SRMs, we have a quantitative way to do that, but unfortunately there have only been a few riders who have ever given out that personal information,” bemoans LeMond. “I talked to  ASO boss Patrice Clerc (since sacked) about having everyone on an SRM that is sealed. It would be controlled and calibrated by doctors, the police – but not the teams.

“You’d get a continuous output of power recorded during a Tour stage and then if you found someone who had a VO2 Max of 80 and he was doing 500 watts for 30 minutes, you’d know that that was statistically and mathematically impossible to do. So then he’s positive – boom!, he’s out, that’s doping, that’s it, simple.”

Greg praised the efforts of teams like Garmin-Chipotle, who are employing their own anti-doping medical programme. “Jonathan Vaughters is doing a phenomenal job,” says LeMond. “What they’re doing is good, but really that testing has got to be done by an independent group, and not policed from inside. What good is self-policing? It’s like a wolf guarding a hen house. You’ve got to have a group with no self-interest.”

“It should be up to a group like WADA. The riders just want to know that they can trust the system – that’s all. If a crime’s a crime, you’re going to get busted. Cycling is so black and white when it comes to watts and we can have that data now – it’s not a mystery. Last year there were climbers doing 450 watts but weighing 58-60kg – that’s nearly 8 watts per kilo. That’s impossible – unless we’ve all had some kind of genetic mutation over the past 15 years.

“There are certain physiologists who could blow the sport apart,” says LeMond. “But they all earn their living by the sport, too, so they have something to lose, so there’s this omerta. That’s the thing about cycling, it has its chance to make itself clean, and that is the direction the Tour de France organisation was going in. But with Patrice Clerc, the boss of ASO, having recently been removed from his position, we have just taken a huge step backwards”.

“Armstrong can come back as many times as he wants, I don’t care, said Lemond, but the old management of the Tour was really in the process of changing the sport. And something happened between they day they split with the UCI and now. It’s not just that they thought that Patrice Clerc wasn’t doing a good job. Something else got in between.”Lemond said that he had decided that he was walking away from professional cycling and would no longer be a part of it. “I’m going to still be in the bike business, because I still love cycling, and I’ll still go and do Gran Fondos. To me, cycling needs to be more about the purity and the fun and doing your personal best”.

Greenjersey is always prepared to listen to Lemond but is unsure what to make of his SRM idea.  Is he suggesting that the whole peleton ride SRM cranks at all times? Furthermore Greg believes that every aspect of the current system can be got round so why would his proposal be any different? There seems to be so many aspects to it that there will surely be weak links to be discovered and exploited. Full marks for effort but it could be back to the drawing board on this one Greg.


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2 Comments »

  1. jo king said

    WHAT IF A RIDERS POWER CRANKS PROOVED FAULTY AND GAVE A ‘LEMON(D)’ FALSE ? ?

    CAN THE POWER CRANKS BE FAULTY FOR A SHORT WHILE AND THUS GIVE A HIGHER POWER OUTPUT ?

  2. Rickety said

    The power meters can give false low readings by missing force production, but I doubt they will measure a ton of force that doesnt come from anywhere? My kurt Kinetic trainer is at +- a few pecent.

    Lemond has some good points, and he has clearly been talking with ASO, he was the one that cause ASO and UCI to seperate originally. Listen to the Fora TV interview with Greg.

    Also, the fact the Lemond is allowed into major press conferences without being pushed away, the fact that he is allowed to talk to anti-doping experts and the ASO shows he is credibile and not “crazy” like those in teh Lance camp believe/want to believe.

    I dont consider myself crazy since I am free to roam society and not in a cell or crazy room. But, I would never even come close to being allowed to ask questions at Lance Armstrong’s press conference. You have to be credible; Greg Lemond wouldnt be allowed in if he didnt have anything to contribute.

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