June 30, 2005
Inside Armstrong's physiology
PezCycling has an essay by Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D., who takes a look inside numbers from the physiological study of Lance Armstrong that made the news earlier this month.
Cheung examines the tests by Dr. Ed Coyle at UT-Austin, conducted over a 7-year period, but with the same methods and equipment, from the time Armstrong turned 21 until he was 28, or from 1991-1998, bracketing Armstrong's battle with testicular cancer. The lab measured Armstrong's lactate threshold and V02max on 5 different occasions.
As Armstrong matured (and after cancer) his power at a constant oxygen uptake increased by about 30 watts, from 374 to 403, while his weight dropped by 6 kg, or about 13 pounds.
In Lance Armstrong's War, Daniel Coyle quotes Michele Ferrari that shortly before the 2004 Tour, Armstrong was 74 kgs and 493 watts (that's at lactate threshold, which the lab measured at 6.1 liters/minute in 1993). Ferrari told Coyle the “magic number” for Tour contenders is 6.7 watts per kilogram of body weight.
Cheung also speculates about Armstrong's increase in slow-twitch muscle fiber, which Ferrari confirms in the book.
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