Contador Wins Tight Tour de France – but is Doping Down?

As they did with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Sports Scientists covered this year's Tour de France inside-out, with a variety of posts that discussed and analyzed the performances of some of the top cyclists in the world. In the end, Spain’s Alberto Contador captured his third Tour de France title, holding off Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck by just 0:39. There were some questions about sportsmanship after Contador took advantage of Schleck’s chain mishap while leading the Tour in stage 15 (it’s common for cyclists to wait for one another if equipment fails; Contador raced past Schleck to take the lead), but that was all put to rest in stage 19 when Contador had a terrific time trial, his 0:08 lead, ballooning up to 0:39. Also of note was the outstanding performance by Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal. The 29 year-old Victoria, British Columbia native pedaled to a seventh-place finish. Improving on his 47th place effort from last year, Hesjedal called his race “monumental.” It was the best result by a Canadian at the Tour de France since Steve Bauer’s fourth-place performance in 1989. Throughout the event, the Sports Scientists covered issues about endurance, power output and analyzed plenty of data. This year's statistics proved to be of interest because they show that the power output values (watts per kilo) achieved by riders is significantly different than the numbers found in years past – when cycling and doping scandals went hand-in-hand (the World Anti Doping Agency is optimistic that cycling has cleaned up its act on drugs in the sport).    "Of particular interest given the debate before the Tour, is that not a single longer climb hit the power outputs that we've become accustomed to seeing in 90s and 2000s." Whether the numbers are accurate or useless, they raise a wide range of questions about the science of cycling. Check out the details here. Photo: Associated Press

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