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Old 07-10-12, 10:44 AM   #1
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Wiggin's improved performance

Am I the only one surprised by how much Wiggins has improved compared to 2 years ago - or even 3, when he came 4th in the Tour? This year, he is a TT talent AND a climber. He's sticking with Cadel on the climbs *and* beating Cancellara on a TT.

2 years ago, he was a mid-pack talent. He never was an elite TTer but a second-tier TTer (think Zabriskie or Levi, not Cancellara or Martins) nor was he able to hang with any of the big dogs on the climbs. Nothing in his palmares to date indicates that he'd be able to compete at this level, as opposed to being yet another Gesink or Menchov.

His best stage race so far: 4th in the 2009 TdF. He came in at the same time as Sastre and Frank Schleck on stage 15, 3' behind Nibali and 1'06" behind Contador. On Stage 17, he lost almost a minute to Nibali and 3' to Contador and Frank Schleck. And then he lost 40" to Cancellara on the TT the day after. All of that points to a good rider but not an *elite* rider. Hell, he couldn't beat Froome and Cobo (who? exactly) in the Vuelta last year.

It isn't as if he is a young rider who has gotten stronger as he's matured, either.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:58 AM   #2
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Whether it's cycling, football, baseball, or whatever, I find myself asking questions when someone suddenly becomes a world-beater and they weren't previously. Wiggins went from good to Lance Armstrong world beater and one does have to wonder.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:11 AM   #3
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Am I the only one surprised by how much Wiggins has improved compared to 2 years ago - or even 3, when he came 4th in the Tour? This year, he is a TT talent AND a climber. He's sticking with Cadel on the climbs *and* beating Cancellara on a TT.

2 years ago, he was a mid-pack talent. He never was an elite TTer but a second-tier TTer (think Zabriskie or Levi, not Cancellara or Martins) nor was he able to hang with any of the big dogs on the climbs. Nothing in his palmares to date indicates that he'd be able to compete at this level, as opposed to being yet another Gesink or Menchov.

His best stage race so far: 4th in the 2009 TdF. He came in at the same time as Sastre and Frank Schleck on stage 15, 3' behind Nibali and 1'06" behind Contador. On Stage 17, he lost almost a minute to Nibali and 3' to Contador and Frank Schleck. And then he lost 40" to Cancellara on the TT the day after. All of that points to a good rider but not an *elite* rider. Hell, he couldn't beat Froome and Cobo (who? exactly) in the Vuelta last year.

It isn't as if he is a young rider who has gotten stronger as he's matured, either.
No. Did you watch the 2011 Dauphine? He was flying on the time trial last year. He put 1:09 on Cadel last year in the 42.5km time trial at the Dauphine. On the biggest mountain stage he put 15 seconds on Cadel. Bradley was in better form than Cadel going into the TDF. 3rd in the Vuelta last year coming off a broken collarbone wasn't too shaby. He & Froome had trouble on the really steep gradients. They worked on that after the Vuelta. As a result both of them handled the 22% grade before the finish on Saturday's stage quite well. Sky brought in a trainer that doesn't believe in the traditional cycling training theory of taking time off. I don't believe in it either. They have been working on weeknesses unlike many other cyclists. Think Schleck brothers and time trialing. It has been a long term process not an overnight change. Remember, he's been called the best pursuit rider of all time.

And, actually he's won 4 stage races between this year & last. So 4th would not be his best finish in a stage race.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:11 AM   #4
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British Olympic team and Sky should have serious question marks over those Skins suits. Dodgey.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:15 AM   #5
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take a look at the clinic forum on cyclingnews - you will find much debate regarding wiggins improved stage racing performance.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:30 AM   #6
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I am not sure if the Dauphne is representative, as a lot of serious GT contenders are peaking a few weeks later. Even if you accept the 2011 Dauphne as representative, it is still surprising that he suddenly becomes that good. Even in his best 2009 year, he wasnt that good. I am going by his overall body of work, not just one-off races.

I am keeping an open mind - but regardless of whether it is legal or not, this is an unusually large improvement.

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Old 07-10-12, 11:35 AM   #7
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I think a lot of it has to do with a reduction in weight and a focus on grand tours. Of course the doping questions are going to come up. I think this year has been the perfect storm in the TDF. For instance JVB had a mechanical right before the first big climb of the tour, which pretty much killed him. Ryder, Frank, and Robert were delayed by crash on stage 6. Cadel is so so. He was on good form last year while Andy was on so so form, and Contador was struggling.

What Wiggins has going for him is no one who is near contention is strong enough to crack him on a climb. I thin Andy and Alberto are the only two GT contenders who can do it anyway.
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Old 07-10-12, 11:56 AM   #8
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He always had potential to do a good TT. The real mountains haven't started yet.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:24 PM   #9
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I am personally not a big Wiggo fan but I will give him the benefit of the doubt until something comes up to prove me wrong.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:31 PM   #10
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Or he could have gotten a Biftek recipe from AC.

There I said it.

The real mountain stages should tell if Wiggles has dramatically improved across the board.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:34 PM   #11
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Wiggo never been a bad rider, the op needs to check wiggo's palmares.... a lot of TT and world champion several times. Sure he went to road fro mthe track because there is a lot more money to be made in the road than in the track.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:45 PM   #12
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Wiggins has always been a top time-triallist. He took a long time to adjust to the road from the track (multiple world and Olympic champion in the pursuit) partly because he wasn't seen as a stage racer and was encouraged to just focus on prologues and the shorter TTs. But even then, his climbing was improving. Yes, he lost time to the true climbers in 2009, when he came fourth, but at the time everyone was astonished not at him losing time, but at how well he was climbing. He wasn't supposed to be able to do that.

The big differences have been twofold. First, he has lost a ton of weight - about eight kilos (18lbs) off an Olympic champion's frame. That's going to make a pretty massive difference to his power-weight ratio on the climbs. Second, Sky are ruthlessly scientific about the training, they are far more fanatical about the detail than most of the teams.

Wiggo cruised to victory in the Dauphine last year and would have gone very close to winning the Tour. He almost won the Vuelta less than two months after breaking his collarbone. If you look at his progress over the last four years, it is very impressive but doesn't really show inexplicable sudden jumps.

As for "couldn't beat Froome", it is possible he still can't. Froome's emergence last year came after being diagnosed with, and cured of, Bilharzia - a parasitic tropical disease that he had apparently suffered from without knowing it since 2009. He was always a good climber who could TT. Now it looks as if when in top shape he can climb and TT with the very best. That's a potent combination.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:12 PM   #13
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These questions should have been asked in 2009. Before 2009, he raced 4 grand tours, finishing no higher than ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THIRD! Then in 2009, he's 4th? That's the year I questioned his "dramatic" improvement. You don't go from being 123rd to 4th in a few years normally... His results over the past few years have been consistent, but that jump in 2009 was crazy. And saying "he lost 6 or 7 kilos" and/or "he had to transform himself from a track rider to road racer" doesn't mean you go from pack fodder to Jersey contender. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's one of the most astonishing rises from one disclipine to another.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:16 PM   #14
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Wiggins has always been a top time-triallist. He took a long time to adjust to the road from the track (multiple world and Olympic champion in the pursuit) partly because he wasn't seen as a stage racer and was encouraged to just focus on prologues and the shorter TTs. But even then, his climbing was improving. Yes, he lost time to the true climbers in 2009, when he came fourth, but at the time everyone was astonished not at him losing time, but at how well he was climbing. He wasn't supposed to be able to do that.

The big differences have been twofold. First, he has lost a ton of weight - about eight kilos (18lbs) off an Olympic champion's frame. That's going to make a pretty massive difference to his power-weight ratio on the climbs. Second, Sky are ruthlessly scientific about the training, they are far more fanatical about the detail than most of the teams.
Something quite similar to this could have been posted in 1999 explaining Armstrong. Top triathlete, now focusing on road racing.... Lost a lot of weight.... Fanatical about training, using science (wind tunnels, gear, etc.) Not saying the two are the same, but this is the same kinds of defense Armstrong supporters said back then.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:35 PM   #15
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These questions should have been asked in 2009. Before 2009, he raced 4 grand tours, finishing no higher than ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THIRD! Then in 2009, he's 4th? That's the year I questioned his "dramatic" improvement. You don't go from being 123rd to 4th in a few years normally... His results over the past few years have been consistent, but that jump in 2009 was crazy. And saying "he lost 6 or 7 kilos" and/or "he had to transform himself from a track rider to road racer" doesn't mean you go from pack fodder to Jersey contender. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's one of the most astonishing rises from one disclipine to another.
Nice question, My answer would be 2008 was an Olympic year where he won gold. Before he was a prolog rider like chris boardman and occasionally going for breaks. For some reason (self belief?) he lost 6kg before the 2009 TDF and tried to ride for the overall. He got lucky as the other riders did not try to hard to lose him as he was not a threat main 3 riders, lance, andy or alberto, see the ventoux stage for example of him hanging on right at the back. His training this winter has been extremely hard and scientific, lets see if it works.

To all the forum members who see a rider ride well and think, must be drugs. Stop watching cycling,
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Old 07-10-12, 02:44 PM   #16
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These questions should have been asked in 2009. Before 2009, he raced 4 grand tours, finishing no higher than ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THIRD! Then in 2009, he's 4th? That's the year I questioned his "dramatic" improvement. You don't go from being 123rd to 4th in a few years normally... His results over the past few years have been consistent, but that jump in 2009 was crazy. And saying "he lost 6 or 7 kilos" and/or "he had to transform himself from a track rider to road racer" doesn't mean you go from pack fodder to Jersey contender. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's one of the most astonishing rises from one disclipine to another.
Actually such jumps are rather common. One has to look at details. If he had been riding for his own GC placement then those jumps are huge. But if he was riding to support and for possible stage wins such an 'improvement' is pretty normal.

One version we see and top GC riders fear is when a top climber gets minutes. Suddenly they TT minutes better than before. Why? Becaseu before they never really cared about more than being safe from the time elimination mark.
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Old 07-10-12, 02:48 PM   #17
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These questions should have been asked in 2009. Before 2009, he raced 4 grand tours, finishing no higher than ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THIRD! Then in 2009, he's 4th? That's the year I questioned his "dramatic" improvement. You don't go from being 123rd to 4th in a few years normally... His results over the past few years have been consistent, but that jump in 2009 was crazy. And saying "he lost 6 or 7 kilos" and/or "he had to transform himself from a track rider to road racer" doesn't mean you go from pack fodder to Jersey contender. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's one of the most astonishing rises from one disclipine to another.
Except that before 2009 he never really looked entirely serious about the road. Certainly not about stage racing. Prologues, the odd TT, one crazy and unsuccessful 150km solo break I seem to remember. It wasn't until after the 2008 Olympics that he really put the pursuit second and focussed 100% on his road career.
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Old 07-10-12, 03:43 PM   #18
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He didn't come from nowhere. Wiggins is a worldclass pursuiter and multiple gold medallist. When he switched to the road it would take him some time to convert. However, once his training programme changed his physical makeup to meet the demands of professional road racing, it seems pretty straighforward that he would, probably, rise to the challenge.

Boardman never quite made the switch, remaining a TT and prologue specialist as it was discovered that he had a very low natural testosterone level, which played havoc with his ability to recover in long stage races.

Before jumping to the conclusion that his improvement is suspicious, bear in mind that Sky is, essentially, the team of British Cycling, the national governing body of the sport and therefore represents the UK, regardless of the nationalities of team members. BC now has a track (sic) record of producing extraordinary, Lottery-funded success on the track, a policy chosen deliberately to create the success required by Sport England funding to obtain more success-justified funding. To do this, they took elements of the Australian Institute of Sport's policies, the latest in sports science and a policy of small incremental improvements across all elements of competitive cycling.

Adding to this, Sky's deep pockets and long-term commitment, the team has, at its disposal, exceptional facilities, highly experienced coaches and managers, nutritionists and close control of the rider's programmes. The size of the team enables it to blood newer members in lesser races and rest leading members from race to race, which enables them to switch riders if any of them lose form. At the same time, people like Wiggins have their own coach and, this year, a much reduced racing programme, leaving him much fresher - they learned from the mistakes of the year before last when they got it wrong.

Without the last minute scramble for sponsorship that some other teams have experienced, they have been able to concentrate single-mindedly on their chosen goals, building in blocks of training specifically designed for this one race, to the extent that even Cav's goal has been to try for individual stage wins without in any way impeding the goal of being the team with their rider in yellow on the Champs Elysee and planning, as far as possible, that he will be in the specific shape to attack the Olympic road race course with the support of the British Team, including Wiggins, Froome, Millar, et al.

While we've often been deeply disappointed by our cycling heroes having feet of druggy clay, can you seriously see the UK's cycling governing body being involved in illegal performance-enhancing drug use? There isn't another team which has the full resources of their national federation directly available to them, which has, at their backs, a management/coaching team with the UK's rider development experience and records of almost every rider's performance figures for nearly a decade.

From top to bottom, from internationals to Olympic Academy, to regional development teams, to the Go-Ride youth teams across the country (including my own** - with 7 qualified coaches available to us and 5 most Saturdays), with local and regional youth racing from U8s upwards, there is now a structure and funding to British Cycling it has never had before and which is matched by few, if any, other countries. By the way, how many clubs in the US have children's sections*? Or flourishing race leagues? The foundations are in place for a permanent sea-change in the sport in our country.

But, yeah, it's all down to drugs innit?

*And yes, I am aware of the SOCAL high school mtb series, now spreading out across the country and the fantastic youth participation figures in the Portland cyclo-cross season and that's great, but you've got a long way to go, my friends

**In the last year, as pretty much every year since 1998, our Saturday Bike Club members have competed in TT, circuit race, grass and hard track, cyclo-cross, mtb and hill-climb championships, not to mention winter and summer 'cross leagues, the weekly White Rose Yorkshire region youth circuit race league, the West Riding Grass track league (banked grass track built at the end of the 19th century), family rides (on-road for the 8+ and on a local 7-mile MUP for the nippers), youth hostel weekends and now 2-3 evening rides per week for the teenagers who need to get more miles in their legs.

Of course, it helps that we have a closed 0.5 mile road circuit with 2 rolled ash stuff all-weather pitches and three containers full of pallets, planks, ramps, seesaws, cones, limbo bars, etc., not to mention 25 good quality children's bikes (lottery funded) and that British Cycling is slowly getting clubs to raise the cash for similar circuits across the country.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?

In another decade we'll have sooo many drug-using champion cyclists you won't have enough envy to go round

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Old 07-10-12, 03:57 PM   #19
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Astana?

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He didn't come from nowhere. Wiggins is a worldclass pursuiter and multiple gold medallist. When he switched to the road it would take him some time to convert. However, once his training programme changed his physical makeup to meet the demands of professional road racing, it seems pretty straighforward that he would, probably, rise to the challenge.

Boardman never quite made the switch, remaining a TT and prologue specialist as it was discovered that he had a very low natural testosterone level, which played havoc with his ability to recover in long stage races.

Before jumping to the conclusion that his improvement is suspicious, bear in mind that Sky is, essentially, the team of British Cycling, the national governing body of the sport and therefore represents the UK, regardless of the nationalities of team members. BC now has a track (sic) record of producing extraordinary, Lottery-funded success on the track, a policy chosen deliberately to create the success required by Sport England funding to obtain more success-justified funding. To do this, they took elements of the Australian Institute of Sport's policies, the latest in sports science and a policy of small incremental improvements across all elements of competitive cycling.

Adding to this, Sky's deep pockets and long-term commitment, the team has, at its disposal, exceptional facilities, highly experienced coaches and managers, nutritionists and close control of the rider's programmes. The size of the team enables it to blood newer members in lesser races and rest leading members from race to race, which enables them to switch riders if any of them lose form. At the same time, people like Wiggins have their own coach and, this year, a much reduced racing programme, leaving him much fresher - they learned from the mistakes of the year before last when they got it wrong.

Without the last minute scramble for sponsorship that some other teams have experienced, they have been able to concentrate single-mindedly on their chosen goals, building in blocks of training specifically designed for this one race, to the extent that even Cav's goal has been to try for individual stage wins without in any way impeding the goal of being the team with their rider in yellow on the Champs Elysee and planning, as far as possible, that he will be in the specific shape to attack the Olympic road race course with the support of the British Team, including Wiggins, Froome, Millar, et al.

While we've often been deeply disappointed by our cycling heroes having feet of druggy clay, can you seriously see the UK's cycling governing body being involved in illegal performance-enhancing drug use? There isn't another team which has the full resources of their national federation directly available to them, which has, at their backs, a management/coaching team with the UK's rider development experience and records of almost every rider's performance figures for nearly a decade.

From top to bottom, from internationals to Olympic Academy, to regional development teams, to the Go-Ride youth teams across the country (including my own - with 7 qualified coaches available to us and 5 most Saturdays), with local and regional youth racing from U8s upwards, there is now a structure and funding to British Cycling it has never had before and which is matched by few, if any, other countries. By the way, how many clubs in the US have children's sections*? Or flourishing race leagues? The foundations are in place for a permanent sea-change in the sport in our country.

But, yeah, it's all down to drugs innit?

*And yes, I am aware of the SOCAL high school mtb series, now spreading out across the country and the fantastic youth participation figures in the Portland cyclo-cross season and that's great, but you've got a long way to go, my friends
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Old 07-10-12, 04:03 PM   #20
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Am I disgustingly smug?

'Fraid so
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Old 07-10-12, 04:32 PM   #21
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doping
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Old 07-10-12, 04:40 PM   #22
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dope
Fixed that for you. You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself...
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Old 07-10-12, 05:15 PM   #23
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Fixed that for you. You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself...
I dont dope.

Are you just butt hurt because he is a Brit ?

You guys dont exactly have the best athletes in the world.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:31 PM   #24
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Thing is if Wiggo was doping you'd see more than just the dogged riding style he currently has. If he was on EPO he would have actually attacked Evans on Stage 8. Rather than vice versa. That's what Dopador would have done and did do. Same with Pharmstrong. Wiggins has never really let rip with that sort of droid fueled blitzkrieg the top dopers can pull out when needed. He's just in really really good form in a year in which no one else is, and in which it seems dopers are in a small minority. His TT performances are simply the performances of a man in peak form riding his preferred discipline with the holy grail of cycling to aim for.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:00 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by seanthebear View Post
Thing is if Wiggo was doping you'd see more than just the dogged riding style he currently has. If he was on EPO he would have actually attacked Evans on Stage 8. Rather than vice versa. That's what Dopador would have done and did do. Same with Pharmstrong. Wiggins has never really let rip with that sort of droid fueled blitzkrieg the top dopers can pull out when needed. He's just in really really good form in a year in which no one else is, and in which it seems dopers are in a small minority. His TT performances are simply the performances of a man in peak form riding his preferred discipline with the holy grail of cycling to aim for.
Nope, its the dope. Sad to say but thats pro cycling.
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