June 30, 2010

Any Athlete with a VO2 Max Over 90 ml/kg/min will Be Assumed to be Cheating

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There are new proposals being made to define the maximum human ability of certain characteristics like VO2 max or a cyclists power output and anyone over those limits would be assumed to be a cheater (using performance enhancement)

The highest VO2 max figures on record - around 90 millilitres of oxygen per kilogram per minute - come from cross-country skiers and rowers, who use a high proportion of the muscles in their bodies. Elite cyclists generally score lower because their activity uses a smaller muscle mass

Power output data was used to estimate the VO2 max of several riders on the climb of Alpe d'Huez - one of the longest and steepest on the route - over a number of years. A number of the riders had a VO2 max above 85 ml/kg/min, with some over 90 ml/kg/min.

Tucker estimates that Lance Armstrong, the US rider who has won a record seven Tours, would have produced a VO2 max of between 88 and 97 ml/kg/min when he climbed Alpe d'Huez in 2004. Armstrong has not been found to have used performance-enhancing drugs

Pierre Sallet, a physiologist and athletics coach in Lyon, France, has studied this approach for WADA. When analysing one climb in the Tour, Sallet observed a rider who produced an average power in excess of 480 W for more than 30 minutes, a level which he considers "beyond all norms" and reason to investigate further

These definitions also mean that people with a VO2 max of 91 ml/kg/min or more or have an average power output over 480 Watts for 30 minutes are transhuman or performance enhanced.

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