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[SPORTS] Allen Lim - Ffloyd Landis' (Tour de France Winner) Sports Physiologist

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  • madchinaman
    ALLEN LIM, PH.D. [allen@thrivehfm.com] http://www.thrivehfm.com/allen.asp http://www.bicycling.com/tourdefrance/expert_listing/0,6801,s1-7-123-
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 23, 2006
      ALLEN LIM, PH.D.
      (720) 470-9454 / (303) 642-3776

      Allen received his Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology at the University
      of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to obtaining his doctorate, Allen did
      his undergraduate training in Exercise Science at the University of
      California at Davis and completed his master's degree in Exercise

      Allen's coaching experience is extensive. He guided the UC Davis
      Cycling Team to its first national championship and coached the
      resident national cycling team at the US Olympic Training Center. He
      has also coached numerous amateur, professional, and Olympic
      athletes. He founded and acted as the full-time director of the
      Celestial Seasonings Professional Cycling Team and served as a guest
      director of the 7Up Professional Cycling Team.

      At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Allen in conjunction with
      his peers in the Applied Exercise Science Laboratory completed much
      of the groundbreaking research in the use of power and heart rate
      monitoring in optimizing cycling performance. He continues to be
      actively involved in medical and exercise performance research.

      In addition to working at Thrive HFM, he is currently the Director
      of Development for the Boulder Life Performance Center as well as
      the Director of Education for the Saris Cycling Group, a
      manufacturer of performance training products located in Madison WI.
      Allen is passionate and philosophical about sports training,
      speaking regularly across the country on the topic as an
      enthusiastic and innovative educator.


      Allen Lim, Ph.D. Bio

      Dr. Lim received his Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology at the
      University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to obtaining his doctorate,
      Dr. Lim did his undergraduate training in Exercise Science at the
      University of California at Davis and completed his master's degree
      in Exercise Physiology.

      Dr. Lim has extensive coaching experience. He guided the UC Davis
      Cycling Team to its first national championship and coached the
      resident national cycling team at the US Olympic Training Center. He
      has also coached numerous amateur, professional, and Olympic
      athletes. He founded and acted as the full-time director of the
      Celestial Seasonings Professional Cycling Team and served as a guest
      director of the 7Up Professional Cycling Team.

      At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Lim in conjunction
      with his peers in the Applied Exercise Science Laboratory completed
      much of the groundbreaking research in the user of power and heart
      rate monitoring in optimizing cycling performance. He continues to
      be actively involved in medical and exercise performance research.

      In addition to his role as the Director of Education for the Saris
      Cycling Group, Dr. Lim is also a partner of ThriveHFM, a health and
      fitness management consulting group, as well as the Director of
      Development for the Boulder Life Performance Center. Dr. Lim is
      passionate and philosophical about sports training, speaking
      regularly across the country on the topic as an enthusiastic and
      innovative educator.


      Q&A: Creating America's Next Cycling Icon, with Allen Lim
      An exclusive conversation with Floyd Landis's training adviser
      By Aaron Gulley

      Lance Armstrong's seventh and final triumphant parade down Paris's
      Champs-Élysées last July 24 marked the end of one competition and
      the beginning of a new one: the race to see which American pro
      cyclist will inherit the Texan's mantle. Native Pennsylvanian and
      Mennonite-turned-badass Floyd Landis bolstered his claim to the
      inheritance by racking up some imposing early-season results this
      spring, including two individual time-trial stage wins and first
      overall at three prestigious weeklong stage races: the Tour of
      California, Paris-Nice, and the Tour de Georgia.

      Credit part of Landis's success to Allen Lim, a 33-year-old
      physiology-and-biomechanics Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at
      Boulder who met the cyclist at a training camp in January 2005 and
      immediately took on the role of number cruncher on his training
      team. "Floyd impressed me that week because he didn't have the
      pretense of so many athletes out there," says Lim, whose work with
      Landis and U.S. pro team TIAA-CREF is fast earning him a reputation
      among the cycling elite. "I became really invested in helping him

      AARON GULLEY sat down with Lim to ask him about his power-meter-
      based training methodologies—and why that research might just put
      Floyd Landis in yellow at the finish of the 2006 Tour de France.

      Outside: Floyd has had an impressive spring. Have you been surprised
      by how successful he's been?
      Lim: Not at all. What people don't realize is that these results are
      a product of the intelligent decisions Floyd made last season and
      all the hard work he's done—last year, in the off-season, and over
      the last decade. He pulled out of last year's Vuelta [a España]
      before burying himself, which gave him more time to recover in the
      fall, allowed him to have a productive winter, and has brought him
      some good results this spring.

      I'm sure you hear the inevitable grumble that Floyd is peaking too
      early. How do you respond?
      That's ridiculous. People haven't seen Floyd at even 90 percent yet
      this year. Based on how he feels and the numbers he produces in
      training, Floyd is going to shock everyone when he hits his peak.
      People have no idea what's coming.

      Do you think it's partly a mental thing, a question of momentum—once
      you start winning, you're more likely to win?
      Definitely. Floyd has so much more confidence this year. He's a
      different rider. Like on Brasstown Bald [the decisive climbing stage
      in the Tour de Georgia], you could just see it in his eyes: There
      was no way that Tom [Danielson] was going to drop him. Floyd had
      just decided in his mind that he wouldn't let it happen. And once
      you believe, once you learn to win, you become really hard to beat.

      How are you training Floyd?
      My relationship with Floyd is that of a resource, a training
      adviser. If he has a question about some aspect of his training or
      performance, I'll do the research and hopefully give him a practical
      answer. My primary role right now is to help monitor his pre-Tour
      buildup and his performance at the Tour. A lot of what I do is
      document and evaluate his training and racing numbers. Last year, he
      used a CycleOps PowerTap every time he was on the bike, so we have a
      complete numeric record of everything he did. That creates an
      advantage for the future, because we can look at those results, weed
      out the static, and give him feedback about his specific strengths
      and weaknesses, which helps him optimize his training.

      How do you go about that?
      We evaluated specific stages from the Tour de France last year, like
      Stage 10, where Floyd got dropped by Lance. Since Floyd was riding
      with the power meter, we know his exact output. And using Lance's
      finish time, we can quantify exactly how much more power Floyd would
      have needed to stay with Lance. That differential gives Floyd a
      reference point and specific power goals in his training. As an
      example, in some of the Tour stages, like Stage 10, Floyd needed to
      be able to generate more top-end, anaerobic power. Knowing that, he
      can create workouts to mimic that kind of output.

      On paper, how does Floyd compare with Lance?
      Last year, Lance won the Tour, and Floyd came in ninth—that's the
      only paper that matters. You can only make comparisons relative to
      actual finishing times on specific performances. Let's say Floyd
      went up a hill in 15 minutes, while Lance went up it in 14 minutes.
      After the race, we can watch the tape and figure out how that
      difference occurred by studying the moments when Lance accelerated
      away from Floyd and the rest of the group. If he put, say, 20 meters
      on the field in five seconds, then we could do the math relative to
      what Floyd was producing and calculate that Lance did maybe 300 more
      watts than Floyd during those five seconds. Last year a lot of the
      difference between Floyd and Lance occurred due to those top-end
      accelerations, so Floyd has worked on that.

      Was that ability specific to Lance?
      That top-end power? Based on how he won the last seven Tours, I
      would say so. But Lance had it all: He was a really complete rider
      and a dominant one. If you look at the final time trial of the Tour
      last year [Stage 20, at Saint-Etienne], Lance and Jan [Ullrich] were
      within a percentage of each other, and then there was a
      statistically significant gap (around 3 or 4 percent) to the rest of
      the guys in the top ten. This makes Jan a real threat at this year's
      Tour: If he can put it all together like that this year, he is going
      to be formidable. But even Jan doesn't seem to have Lance's ability
      to accelerate. So who knows what will happen this year—it's wide

      What single aspect of Floyd's new training gives him the biggest
      Floyd has started doing more top-end training in the anaerobic zone.
      He has focused on that a lot, doing five-to-ten-minute intervals on
      really steep stuff, the 18-percent-grade, Brasstown Bald-type
      climbing. And judging by his performance in Georgia, that specific
      training really paid off. Last year Floyd lost over a minute to
      Danielson on that climb; this year Tom couldn't shake him.

      Do you train athletes in breath holding?
      There is some interesting scientific and anecdotal evidence about
      hypoxic interval training—essentially holding your breath or
      limiting oxygen intake while doing an all-out interval. There's
      still a lot of mystery about how the body adapts. Remember, at this
      top level we're often trying novel things. Some will remain
      theories; others might catch on as serious training technique. This
      type of training is definitely dangerous, and nobody should attempt
      it without the supervision of a coach and/or doctor.

      There's research that shows that when an athlete is up close to max,
      near the point when they're about to quit, there's a drop in
      cerebral blood flow. It's like a self-preservation switch: The brain
      forces the body to stop working to preserve blood flow to the brain.
      So the idea behind breath holding is to train your body to maintain
      that cerebral blood flow even when you're not getting enough oxygen.
      Basically, an athlete holds his breath during intervals to become
      accustomed to the mind-popping efforts produced while racing. For
      cycling, a rider would do an all-out effort between 30 seconds and
      two minutes, trying not to take a breath during the interval. It's
      close to impossible, and it will really hurt. If the rider doesn't
      pass out, crash, or kill himself, maybe the training will make him

      Will Floyd use this technique?
      No, probably not. When we're training this spring in Europe, I'll
      suggest it. But he'll probably just look at me like I'm insane.

      Floyd is very open about his power numbers, posting them on the
      Internet for anyone to see. Aren't you worried about giving away his
      strengths or weaknesses?
      Some people were worried that we were giving away too much, but I
      don't think Floyd lost much sleep over it. The numbers are specific
      to Floyd and to a specific ride, including tactics, terrain, and
      weather. Even if [Ivan] Basso looks at these numbers and sees a
      supposed weakness, it doesn't help him. What a lot of people don't
      get is that it's not always the guy who produces the most power that
      wins. If Floyd's competitors are that concerned with matching
      Floyd's numbers, then they're not working on their own weaknesses.
      Ultimately, the performance is the definitive judge. We can study
      the power meter, analyze the numbers, and craft the perfect regimen,
      but at the end of the day the question is where and how you finish a
      race. Your power numbers can look great, but if you finish way back
      in the pack, then we haven't done our job.

      Will you be at the Tour with Floyd?
      Starting in late May, I'll be with him all the way through the end
      of the Tour. That's the critical time. At the race, my specific job
      is to take the computers off the bicycles, download the information,
      and then think about it and give Floyd feedback. It's my job to
      catch the subtle details of his output and give him information
      based on that output. During a race like the Tour, we mainly just
      sit around and talk, but we're talking about one thing: how to win
      the bike race. There's an intangible side, too. Trying to achieve
      something on that level—like winning the Tour—is a lonely and tough
      experience, so having people around for support and motivation is

      Any highlights from the races you've attended?
      The night before Floyd finished the Tour of California, I went out
      with him and Dave Zabriskie [Landis's roommate, who rides for CSC]
      to the In-N-Out Burger right near LAX. It was so funny to be sitting
      there eating burgers and drinking milkshakes with these two skinny,
      scrawny dudes who were number one and two in one of the biggest bike
      races in America. Floyd seemed just as stoked to be eating that
      burger as he was to be winning the Tour of California. And yet that
      afternoon, he had been this vicious competitor, intent on doing
      anything necessary to win that race.

      What motivates Floyd
      I think Floyd is like anyone else: He wants to do his best, wants to
      quiet the critics. Most important, he just wants to take care of his
      family and friends. Also, like most bike racers, he's a survivor. I
      think that's why he's so close to Dave Zabriskie—they both have hard
      backgrounds, and they're both left of center. Floyd was one of those
      guys who didn't quite fit in, like Napoleon Dynamite up there on
      stage dancing to hip-hop. That's funny: Floyd, Napoleon Dynamite-
      turned-bike racer.

      Do you think Floyd will win the Tour de France this year?
      Absolutely. There's nothing else to believe.


      5 minutes with Doc Lim somewhere in France

      How has the first week of the Tour been for Floyd?

      Doc Lim: Physically the first week of the Tour has been easy for
      Floyd, for once he gets to sit in and rest. He's never felt this
      fresh coming into the Tour, for obvious reasons he's always been
      doing alot of work. On the other hand, he is a ways down on
      Discovery, we'd like things to be different, but Floyd like the
      other GC contenders are in the boat they're in.

      What will it take to turn things around?

      Doc Lim: Patience, this is a long bike race. Everything can change
      in a heart beat. Stay focused and positive. There are some hard
      stages up ahead where he can really go for it. He can't let the
      Lance phenomena get in his head. We're racing at a point now where
      there isn't any holding back, that's the way it is in the mountains.
      That's tough too, because we have to pace ourselves. The Tour de
      France isn't won from the front but from the back. It's who has the
      most at the end.

      You"ve said before "that the gloves are off". What does that mean?

      Doc Lim: That's a phrase we've used in Floyd's training and racing
      as well as throughout the Phonak team. You may have noticed the
      little boxing gloves hanging from the rear view mirrors of the
      Phonak cars and bus. It reminds us all of this everyday.


      Tour Tech Talk: Zabriskie's mental prep; Landis's physical prep; and
      why Armstrong unclipped
      By Lennard Zinn
      VeloNews technical writer

      After David Zabriskie's first day in the yellow jersey, I ran into
      Allen Lim, Floyd Landis's personal coach, who described some of
      Zabriskie's mental preparation leading up to the Tour.

      According to Lim, Landis repeatedly told Zabriskie that the yellow
      jersey was his for the taking.

      "Floyd lives with Zabriskie in Girona, and ever since the Giro,
      Floyd's been telling David, `Dude, you've gotta aim for winning that
      prologue at the Tour.' David was nervous about doing the Giro and
      the Tour back to back, but that helped ease his concerns. Floyd told
      him that if he won the prologue and got the yellow jersey, the rest
      of the Tour would be easy."

      Focusing on the first stage rather than the entire three weeks
      helped Zabriskie become less apprehensive and more psyched about the

      As for training, Lim said Zabriskie did the same workouts as Ivan
      Basso at the post-Giro CSC training camp until the last two weeks,
      and then he trained very hard specifically for the time trial.

      The lowdown on Landis
      Lim grabbed Landis's PowerTap computer head right after stage two
      and was very pleased to see that his average power output for the
      stage was 200 watts.

      "Floyd can do six-hour training rides averaging 260 watts, so I'm
      really pleased to see him stay below that for the whole stage," he
      said. "Our goal is to have Floyd do as little work as possible."

      Lim sat down with two separate computers immediately after the stage
      to analyze the data graphically and in table form. He found that
      Landis spent 16 percent of his time in the stage - some 40 minutes -
      not pedaling at all, just coasting! And with only 150 meters of
      elevation gain during the stage, it's not as though there were a
      bunch of descents to freewheel down.

      Landis told Lim that he guessed he had expended 2772 calories during
      the stage. Downloading the PowerTap showed that he actually expended
      2885 calories, indicating that Landis had a good feel for how hard
      his body was working.

      "We take a ratio of what he felt versus what the actual numbers
      show. On a perfect day, the ratio will be 1.0. Today was 0.97;
      yesterday was 1.13. It's important to find out what happened but
      also what the rider felt. So on hard days, the rider will say it was
      a harder effort than it actually was (making the ratio greater than

      It's a bad sign if the rider says it was hard when he actually did
      very little wrk, Lim added. "Then it is showing that perhaps he is
      getting sick or is overtrained. It is a very good sign when he feels
      that he is going just as hard as he actually is, as was the case

      Landis has Zipp 202, 303 and 404 rims laced to extralight PowerTap
      hubs, and all of his bikes are wired for the PowerTap. "The beauty
      of the new BMC road bike is that it is so light that, despite the
      additional 250 grams added for the PowerTap, we are still right on
      the UCI weight limit for the bike," Lim said.

      Before coming to the Tour, Lim built mathematical models of all the
      stages so he could determine what would be demanded of Landis.

      "There are three basic principles of training," he said. One,
      specificity; you have to train for the exact conditions you will be
      racing in. That's why I make those models. Two, individuality;
      everybody is different, and the training has to be tailored to the
      individual. And three, progression; you want to ease into the energy
      demands as slowly as possible.

      "Say he was fourth or fifth the year before, and we know exactly
      what his power demands were. Then we can predict what it would have
      taken to win. So if we know what the demands are going to be in
      July, then we work backward from there and can ease into it slowly
      to lift him to that level."

      For the past few months, Landis has been averaging 80-150 miles per
      day, with 7000-15,000 vertical feet of elevation gain per day. He
      and Lim rented an apartment in the Pyrenees so Landis could focus on
      his climbing and time trailing; he would ride his road bike on the
      ascents and switch to his time-trial bike in the valleys.

      "Some people say you have to train hard, others say you have to
      train long. Floyd's philosophy is to train hard and long," Lim said.

      As for the demands of being a team leader, Lim said that Landis
      feels less pressure than he did as a domestique on U.S. Postal, and
      is getting plenty of support from the team and BMC, his Swiss bike

      "The team and BMC support him so well," Lim said. "He has four bikes
      here, and they supply him with a time-trial bike to train on. He
      asked for that from Postal as well, but they never gave him one."
      Landis brings the time trial bike along on his mountain training
      days and rides it in the valleys between climbs."

      Lim feels that Landis has a real shot at winning the Tour and is not
      disappointed by yesterday's prologue result. "He's like a diesel
      engine, like (Jan) Ullrich, and he can't start out that fast. But in
      the second half of the race, he lost nothing on those guys
      (Armstrong and Zabriskie) and had the same average pace."

      However Landis does in the Tour, it is clear that he is taking it
      seriously and preparing as well as he can. "He is so intense," said
      Lim. "When he is at home with his wife and daughter, he is just with
      them and is not talking about bike racing. But when he is on the
      bike, he is nowhere else; he is just totally focused on riding."

      Other notes
      I spoke with Discovery Team mechanic Alan Buttler about Armstrong's
      brief bobble at the start during the opening time trial, and Buttler
      said simply, "There was nothing wrong - he just has too much power!"

      As I wrote Saturday, the pedal appeared to be tightened down quite
      tightly, since it was with considerable difficulty that Armstrong
      clipped into the left pedal while being held atop the start ramp.

      Buttler confirmed that the pedal was not adjusted too loosely,
      adding that Armstrong uses the Shimano fixed cleats, rather than
      floating cleats, so his shoe cannot "float" a few degrees before
      hitting the pedal release point. This gives the system less
      flexibility to retain the foot under hard, twisting motions.

      When a rider is accelerating in a big gear, as Armstrong was in his
      first few pedal strokes off the starting ramp, the bike rocks back
      and forth more, the front wheel turns back and forth more, and the
      feet twist relative to the pedals more than they would when
      accelerating out of the saddle at higher speeds.

      This could explain why Armstrong unclipped both here and in the
      Dauphiné, and could also explain what happened when he popped out of
      his right pedal chasing the lead group on Luz Ardiden two years ago
      after crashing when he hooked his handlebar on a spectator's musette

      In that case, Iban Mayo crashed into him and broke his right
      chainstay (unbeknownst to anyone until after the end of the stage).
      As Armstrong was accelerating out of the saddle to catch back up,
      the bike was twisting laterally even more than usual under such a
      hard, low-speed effort due to the extra frame flex because of the
      cracked chainstay.


      Radical attack

      Last week, Landis kept talking about "staying conservative" with
      Phonak's team tactics. His plan of action Thursday was anything but
      conservative, as he made a suicidal attack on the first climb of the

      Landis' Phonak team went to the front of the peloton and whipped up
      the pace early in the race to close the gap to an earlier breakaway
      within 8 minutes. Then, as the yellow jersey group reached the first
      climb about 45 miles into the 124-mile Stage 17, Landis attacked,
      taking the race leaders with him.

      They couldn't hang on, though, and Landis charged ahead over the Col
      des Saisies. He had caught the 11-man breakaway by the slopes of the
      next mountain, Col des Aravis. He splintered that group and
      continued up the road, chasing the lone leader with only Patrik
      Sinkewitz of T-Mobile on his wheel, struggling to hang on.

      Although Landis' doctor, Allen Lim, said the cyclist didn't bonk or
      dehydrate on Wednesday, Landis repeatedly took water bottles from
      the team car throughout the race, drinking them and pouring them
      over his head.

      Meanwhile, the group of cyclists with the yellow jersey looked like
      a herd of deer caught in the headlights. They rode slack-jawed as
      Landis kept putting minutes on them; at one point he led the yellow
      jersey by 9 minutes.

      Finally, after Landis had caught all the breakaways, dropped
      Sinkewitz and was the virtual Tour leader, CSC's Jens Voigt and
      Christian Vandevelde took over the pace-setting for Pereiro's Caisse
      d'Epargne team and tried to close the gap.

      On the base of the Col de Joux-Plane, a 7-mile ascent at 8.5%, CSC's
      Carlos Sastre launched an attack to keep himself in contention. He
      got within 5 minutes, but Landis gained time on him again on the
      descent to the finish at Morzine.

      Pereiro survived in a group that finished 7:08 behind Landis. With a
      time bonus for winning, Landis is now 30 seconds behind Pereiro.


      Landis' learning curve takes off
      Success has forced the U.S. cyclist to figure out how to deal with a
      sheltered past, a bad hip and Lance Armstrong
      The Oregonian

      MONTELIMAR, France -- The bright, hot searchlight that tracks the
      Tour de France leader hit Floyd Landis squarely in the face last
      week. He didn't blink, but he has a few other people rubbing their

      Fans and media members here don't quite know what to make of le
      nouveau Americain with the scruffy auburn goatee, the bum hip and
      the Mennonite upbringing. He fielded a range of questions before and
      during his 48 hours in the race leader's yellow jersey, which he
      gave up voluntarily Saturday in a tactical move.

      Why reveal your impending hip replacement surgery in midrace? (He
      thought it was practical, with all the cycling media assembled in
      one place, and he was tired of keeping it secret.) Does your mother
      have a television? Will she watch you? (She doesn't care to have one
      in the house, but he's sure she'll find a way.)

      And always, the endless questions about and comparisons to his
      former mentor, Lance Armstrong. (Landis hopes Armstrong is happy for

      Landis burns visibly on the bike. He's impulsive and occasionally
      irreverant, as evidenced by his encounter with Sen. John Kerry when
      the former Democratic presidential candidate visited the Tour last

      "We've got something in common," Landis informed Kerry. "We both got
      our butts beat by a Texan."

      Yet Landis has been judicious in his public comments during this
      race, exuding the aura of an athlete who has a lot to say but
      doesn't need to say it all at once.

      "I know the truth about myself," he said during a typically brief
      appearance outside the team bus before the start of a Tour stage
      last week. "Now I just have to show it to everyone else."

      He looked around, nodded and smiled.

      "Thanks, guys."

      Landis, 30, was raised in Lancaster County, Pa., in a Mennonite
      community that dictated a non-materialistic lifestyle and
      conservative clothing. He attended public school but grew up without
      a television or radio at home. Because of that background, and
      because he is so plain-spoken, people sometimes mistakenly assume
      that Landis has a simplistic approach to life. Quite the opposite,
      said his trainer, Allen Lim.

      "He realizes how complicated and confusing life can be," said Lim, a
      sports physiologist who has been working with Landis for nearly two
      years. "He grapples with his own beliefs. The hardest thing for
      Floyd as an athlete is to turn his brain off. He's always thinking."

      Landis' rejection of his childhood faith may have been the defining
      act of his life, but he always speaks with respect of and fondness
      for his parents and five siblings.

      He portrays himself as a chronically restless boy unable to accept
      the constraints of his family's religion, but his wanderlust was as
      much mental as physical. Riding a bike offered independence -- "I
      needed it to go to the river to go fishing," he said -- and led to a
      thirst for competition. Landis began entering mountain bike races as
      a young teenager, still wearing the long pants his religion

      At 17, he boarded an airplane for the first time and traveled to
      France for the junior world mountain bike championships. It might as
      well have been an interstellar voyage for the sheltered Landis.

      "I didn't know what was going on," he said in a one-on-one interview
      in 2003. "I couldn't even race. I finished, but barely. I went home
      just traumatized. I didn't ever want to ride a bicycle again."

      Landis soon lowered his stubborn head into the wind again, however.
      At 19, he moved to California and eventually swapped his fat tires
      for a road bike. He joined the U.S. Postal Service squad in 2002 and
      rode on three of Armstrong's Tour-winning teams.

      Unlike most of the other U.S. riders in the European peloton,
      Landis, who is married and has a 9-year-old daughter, keeps his main
      residence in the United States. He lives in Murietta, Calif.,
      outside San Diego, and shares a flat parttime in Girona, Spain, with
      free-spirited time trial specialist David Zabriskie of Team CSC.

      The drive, resolute self-knowledge and natural curiosity that
      enabled Landis to alter his life so radically has helped him in his
      chosen profession.

      "I had to adapt from the way I grew up to living in what you could
      call normal society," Landis said last year. "I think racing in
      Europe was easier for me because I was more adaptable and open-
      minded about things."

      Yet he does retain elements of his upbringing: frugality, a high-rpm
      work ethic and a pointed disregard for status symbols. Landis lives
      in a T-shirt, jeans and worn flip-flops or sneakers, and had to
      borrow the dress shirt and blazer he wore last week when he
      announced he would have potentially career-ending surgery.

      Landis signed with Switzerland-based Phonak in late 2004, triggering
      a spat with Armstrong that only recently gave way to professional
      cordiality, then was abruptly promoted to team leader when Tyler
      Hamilton was busted for a banned blood transfusion.

      The team nearly lost its racing license. At the same time, Landis
      underwent surgery to try to restore the blood flow to the hip he
      broke in early 2003. The pain stabilized for a while but worsened
      again this season.

      Landis' former team director Johan Bruyneel of the Discovery Channel
      team has suggested that the timing of the announcement was bizarre
      and contrived, words that made Phonak director John Lelangue's eyes

      "We didn't need to pull any marketing stunts," Lelangue said. "We
      pulled the best marketing stunt when Floyd finished second in the
      time trial."

      Only a few confidants such as Zabriskie were aware of the extent of
      Landis' degenerative hip condition, which often robs him of sleep
      and makes routine weight-bearing activities difficult. But most of
      the peloton was well aware of his high pain threshold and will to

      "He's a really hard guy," said Christian Vande Velde of Team CSC,
      Landis' friend and former U.S. Postal Service teammate. "Floyd has a
      lot of talent, but he still loves to train 10 hours a day. He grew
      up in a different scenario. He's done everything himself. He's a
      self-made man."


      Interview With Phonak's Floyd Landis
      provided by Allen Lim/www.floydlandis.com

      Currently a professional cyclist with the Phonak Cycling Team, Floyd
      Landis began cycling as a teenager in Pennsylvania. He completed the
      Tour De France three times, contributing significantly to the
      success of Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service Team. Now
      poised to ride for a top finish in this year's Tour, I've come to
      believe that there is no athlete or person more capable. On that
      strong sense of faith and a
      great time earlier in the year at the Power Tap training camp, I
      returned to Marietta, California along with Robbie Ventura of Vision
      Quest to help Floyd organize his pre-Tour Training.

      In only a few days of brainstorming, testing, training diary
      analysis, and planning I've come to realize that there are few
      people who understand the Tour and professional racing like Floyd.
      He has some incredibly innovative ideas about training and the Tour
      that I am certain will bring him to new levels this season.

      (In between all the planning, Floyd's coach, Allen Lim, took some
      time off for this interview with Floyd to talk about life, racing,
      and power.)

      Allen: How did you get into bike racing?

      Floyd: I started mountain biking when I was about 15 years old. A
      friend of mine and I got these mountain bikes just to ride around
      town with go fishing and hang out. Then the bike shop where we
      bought the bikes put on a race called the "Big Timber." So my friend
      and I did the race in our sweat pants, cause it wasn't cool to wear
      spandex in high school. I did the beginner junior race and I won. I
      thought it was the world championships but there were only like 15
      or 16 guys in the race. Anyway, I got hooked. I did maybe 10 races
      the next year and pretty much decided then that I wanted to be a
      professional mountain bike racer. But that didn't really work out.

      Allen: You were still a Mennonite then, right? How did that work
      with racing?

      Floyd: Well, I could only do races on Saturday, until I was 18 and
      then I stopped worrying about missing church and started going to

      Allen: So that was your new religion, bike racing.

      Floyd: Ya, pretty much. At least that's what my parents thought.

      Allen: What did your parents think?

      Floyd: They weren't too happy about it. They weren't too supportive
      of pro sports in general. But after a few years they stopped trying
      to convince me to stop.

      Allen: How did you train back when you were a junior?

      Floyd: I just rode my mountain bike as hard as I could whenever I
      could. Between school, and what my parents wanted me to do, church
      and work, there wasn't a lot of time. So I rode at night a lot
      between 9 pm and 11 pm after I got off work at my job at the grocery
      store. Fortunately I never got hit.

      Allen: So when did you move to California?

      Floyd: When I was 20 I left home and moved to Irvine for a few years
      and lived with some friends who owned a mountain bike company.

      Allen: Did you train full time then?

      Floyd: Ya, [my friends] sponsored me and I trained full time. For 2 -
      3 more years I tried to be a mountain bike racer. Then I moved to
      San Diego when I was 23 and switched to road racing.

      Allen: How did you train when you started road racing?

      Floyd: Ten hours a day or whatever I could handle until I cracked.

      Allen: Really? So how long did it take to crack?

      Floyd: Precisely 2 months.

      Allen: So what did you do after the 2 months?

      Floyd: Quit cycling. I didn't even have a team. This was before
      Mercury picked me up.

      Allen: So you literally didn't have a job or anything going on?

      Floyd: No. I was actually planning on racing mountain bikes again,
      but I did some road races in the spring in Northern California and
      impressed the Mercury team and got picked up.

      Allen: What would you have done if you didn't get picked up?

      Floyd: I really didn't have a plan. That's what I was trying to
      figure out during those 10-hour rides.

      Allen: How was MTB racing different from road racing?

      Floyd: Totally different. In mountain bike racing you have to be
      very good at the start for positioning and then just hold it. Road
      racing starts out hard and ends harder. Road racing is a crescendo.
      Mountain bike racing is more of a decrescendo.

      Allen: When did you start using a power meter?

      Floyd: About three years ago.

      Allen: First impressions?

      Floyd: It took a while to get a reference point so that the
      information was useful. When you first start using it, it's hard to
      know what the numbers mean. For the first six months I was on an SRM
      and then I switched to a Power tap and have been using that

      Allen: Why did you switch?

      Floyd: It was more practical, less expensive, and just as accurate
      and reliable. For the same price I had three power taps.

      Allen: What kind of numbers could you hold say for 30 minutes or for
      an hour three years ago?

      Floyd: For 30 minutes, when I was really fit, somewhere between 390
      to 400 watts. For an hour a little less - maybe 380. But I'd rarely
      do 1-hour efforts.

      Allen: That's interesting that your 30-minute and 1-hour power
      outputs aren't that different.

      Floyd: No they aren't far off. I'm more of an aerobic guy. That's
      why I suffer in short prologues. The fast guys put four or five
      seconds on me at the start with a hard acceleration, and then four
      or five seconds on me at the finish with a strong sprint and that's
      10 seconds I just can't make up. But if it's 45 minutes long I'll
      make it up.

      Allen: What did you look for in the numbers when you first started
      using your Power Tap?

      Floyd: In the beginning I was just trying to figure out what I could
      do. I was just measuring what was happening. And then once I figured
      out what I could do, I just started looking for improvement and ways
      to improve. You really can't ask for more than that.

      Allen: In that way, the tool is just a measuring device for you? A
      way to raise the bar?

      Floyd: Ya. But it's become a measuring device for everyone and it's
      the common language people are using now to compare training and
      performance. It makes sense in any language and it helps you set
      real goals.

      Allen: Did it change the nature of training for you?

      Floyd: Yes it did. Cause now I go less by just feel and more by a
      combination of how I feel and power. Before I just had feel and the
      problem is as you get tired your perception of effort changes for a
      given power. So before I just went hard and over the course of a
      day, or a couple of days, I was doing less work. I can focus more on
      keeping my training load up and knowing when I'm tired.

      Allen: How much will your power drop when you're tired?

      Floyd: That depends on how tired I am. It can drop a lot. I guess,
      it drops to zero when I'm really tired cause I'm not riding. You
      could ride until you couldn't ride anymore - that would be a funny
      test. What if you rode until you couldn't ride anymore? What would
      that graph look like? Let's do that. You can be the subject and I'll
      record. You're allowed to eat and drink but you have to go until the
      power goes to zero.

      Allen: Well, there is actually a type of test called a "Time to
      Exhaustion Test", but they're not really reliable because motivation
      plays a big role. If someone isn't motivated they just quit.

      Floyd: We'll have to think of a bonus system.

      Allen: How much money do you make?

      Floyd: Not enough to do that test. I did do a 24-hour mountain bike
      relay race once, but I wouldn't recommend it.

      Allen: Why?

      Floyd: I felt miserable for about a week after. Not enough time to
      sleep. The breaks are just enough to relax and then you have to get
      back on the bike. Most of it is fun, but between 3 [am] and 7 [am]
      in the morning, it really hurts. Then it gets better again.

      Allen: Speaking of long days, what is your biggest Kjoule day?

      Floyd: On a ride, by myself, I once did 6,000 Kjoules. Not bad for a
      7-hour ride. The 10-hour days weren't much more cause I went a lot

      Allen: How fast would you go for 10 hours?

      Floyd: 14 to 15 mph. That's not many watts - about 150 watts. But I
      don't do any of those rides anymore. That was back when I didn't
      have a job, or a family, or anything else. If you have a family and
      you do ride for 10 hours you won't have one for long.

      Allen: That's like Alex Candelario style 15 mph, 9 to 5, industrial
      strength, trucker speed. He mentioned that slow volume base also. Do
      you think that helps?

      Floyd: It's a different kind of strength. I don't know. I'm guessing
      you become more efficient. I think it's a brain thing. It could just
      be a neural adaptation. The more you do something, the less you have
      to think about it to do it. If you ride that much, it just becomes
      subconscious. Your brain thinks, "this guy is never going to stop
      pedaling" and it figures a way to deal with it. But isn't that what
      some people think? That fatigue is in your brain?

      Allen: I think the distinction is one of peripheral vs. central
      fatigue. There are interesting studies that show that after someone
      has fatigued, skeletal muscle can still produce the same force
      through an external electrical stimulation, showing that the fatigue
      is due to some neural mechanism (i.e., an inability for the nervous
      system to create the contraction) and not a central mechanism (i.e.,
      some inherent problem with the muscle itself such as a lack of fuel
      or build up of harmful metabolites). Certainly, there could be a
      central mechanism within the brain that regulates everything. As an
      example, some researchers down at the University of Colorado Health
      Sciences Center have some data that shows that at VO2 max subjects
      stop exercise after a sudden drop in cerebral blood flow. Anyway, do
      you do that kind of base preparation for the Tour now?

      Floyd: Just long miles? No. It's more like long and hard now. What
      do you think? Do you think I should do more of that mileage? Does it
      have any value? You tell me. I mean we don't do any long slow rides
      in the Tour so there's no sense in training like that is there? I
      guess my reasoning is that if you can do long and hard, why do long
      and easy. There are only so many hours and days for training. And
      sometimes an extra hour riding the bike is one less hour of recovery.

      Allen: I guess specificity rules. But who knows, I'll think about
      it. So are you're saying less is more?

      Floyd: No, I'm just saying training needs to be efficient. At the
      very least I'm not in a position to waste time anymore.

      Allen: What kind of training do you do to prepare for the Tour?

      Floyd: The real hard training is the racing. So it's more about a
      race program now and less about a training program. In training now,
      it's not so much about the high intensity. It's more about the long
      and steady climbs. We get plenty of intensity in the races and often
      in training we have to make up for the lack of time at threshold.

      (Note: This year Floyd's racing preparation for the Tour de France
      included Paris Nice, the Criterium Internationale, the Tour of
      Cataluyna, and the Dauphine)

      Allen: Compared to when you first started using a power meter, what
      kind of
      power output can you produce now? Has it changed much?

      Floyd: It hasn't really changed a whole lot. The difference now, is
      that I can do more time at a given power and do that power more days
      in a row. So before I could only do 400 watts for 30 minutes once,
      and now I can do that four times in a single ride. The difference is
      just how much total work I can do now at higher intensities. My top-
      end or threshold hasn't changed that much. But I guess in the races
      I do, it's the guy who rides the hardest the most who is the best
      bike racer, not the guy who rides the hardest or the most. Riding
      180 hours a month doesn't make you a good bike racer, and riding so
      hard one day so that you lose five training days doesn't work either.

      Allen: Are you surprised by that improvement?

      Floyd: I am surprised, but that was the objective in the first place
      to improve. Improvement is always the goal.

      Allen: Do you use heart rate monitor to train?

      Floyd: No. Never.

      Allen: Why?

      Floyd: Originally, I did when I first started riding but all it did
      was confuse me, so I stopped.

      Allen: Hardest race?

      Floyd: The Tour de France is the hardest race in the world.

      Allen: Most overrated race?

      Floyd: That might offend someone.

      Allen: Most underrated race?

      Floyd: No idea. I don't know how they're rated.

      Allen: How much does altitude change your power?

      Floyd: 5% at 6,000 feet.

      Allen: What do you do to taper into a big race?

      Floyd: I don't do much of that anymore. I guess it depends on the
      race. Before a stage race a week easy is important. Shorter races I
      just train through.

      Allen: What do you eat during a stage in the Tour.

      Floyd: I eat a lot of food. I have no idea how to answer that or
      where to begin. It's just a lot of food.

      Allen: Don't worry, I'll figure it out. Anyway, what would you do if
      weren't a pro cyclist?

      Floyd: I don't know. I guess that makes me pretty lucky or unlucky.

      Allen: Well how about this. What would you do if you knew you could
      not fail?

      Floyd: Succeed? I don't know. What do you mean? You mean anything?
      kind of question is that?

      Allen: I mean create your own reality, your own meaning. If you
      could make it mean anything what would you want it to mean. But I
      guess what I hear you are saying is that it doesn't really mean
      anything anyway, so everything is all kind of arbitrary, including
      this particular question. You know, "Waiting for Godot."

      Floyd: That sounds about right.

      Allen: What is Power?

      Floyd: You mean like Power Tap power or rule the world power? Cause
      they say power is money and money is power. Is that right? I guess
      money is a combination of time and intensity and that equals work,
      so ya power for some is money.

      Allen: What is a Kcal?

      Floyd: The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of water 1

      Allen: Nice. You know how many people don't know that? Specifically,
      a Kcal is a thermal representation of energy and is the amount of
      heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree
      Celsius from 14.5 degrees Celsius to 15.5 degrees Celsius.


      Dede's Diary: Cooling off and a chat with Allen Lim
      By Dede Demet Barry

      Vuelta Stage 7
      The countryside today's stage passed through had long somewhat-
      shallow grade hills with wide-open and windy terrain, much like the
      foothills of Colorado.

      Michael said that the stage started at a quick pace and the field
      immediately splintered. The riders had to climb out of Teruel, which
      is situated in a valley. They raced over a four Category 3 climbs in
      the first 100km of the 200km stage, which some of the guys in the
      bunch said felt like more like Cat. 2's, with some of the guys
      telling Michael that they felt like the Vuelta race organization was
      gypping them with the categorization. There is nothing worse than
      preparing yourself for a fairly easy day and then suffering like a
      dog over climbs for hours on end.

      Discovery was elated with Max Van Heeswijk's stage win today,
      especially considering that he had a flat tire with 15 kilometers to
      go and he started sprinting really early. Michael and Stijn Devolder
      dropped back to help Max back on when he flatted, but at 10
      kilometers to go, when Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) launched his fierce
      attack they were still 150 guys back in the bunch and the chase
      after Paolo was splitting the peloton.

      Max had super legs today, though, and he made it to the front and
      put himself in the wind early to sprint and still held off his
      rivals. It was impressive. The team came here to win stages and
      having one in their pocket will definitely take some of the pressure

      The weather today was a little cooler than it has been all week. In
      fact, the peloton even rode through a 15- or 20-minute rain shower.
      It's still warm, though. The minute the rain stopped, Michael said
      he felt like he was pedaling in a sauna, as it heated right up. Bike
      riders are never happy!

      The first week of the Vuelta is now complete and the heat has taken
      its toll on the field. Today, I had an opportunity to catch up with
      Dr. Allen Lim, an exercise physiologist who has been analyzing power
      data of Floyd Landis and other Phonak Team members at the Tour de
      France and the Vuelta España this season.

      Dr. Lim is an expert on the physiological demands of cycling, so I
      asked him to discuss the impact of the heat on the peloton in the
      first week of the Vuelta and compare the demands of this race to
      those of the Tour de France. Here's what he said.

      Dede Barry: After analyzing power files from first week of the
      Vuelta, how do you think the extreme heat has affected the riders in
      this race?

      Allen Lim: Compared to a typical day of racing the average power
      outputs have been lower here, but the difference isn't significant.
      Over the course of the races, however, the power has been
      significantly steadier and peak power outputs are nowhere near where
      they could be.

      So from the power files, I would say that the heat has had a really
      oppressive effect on at least Floyd if not all the riders,
      especially with respect to their ability or desire to surge,
      accelerate and in general perform above threshold.

      That said, it's important to note that the heat, as an external
      environmental stressor, not only impairs a cyclist's ability to
      produce power but also makes them feel terrible at any given power
      output. So in assessing the impact of the heat on the riders,
      examining how they feel - the signs and symptoms of heat stress - is
      perhaps more important than the power alone. But knowing both is

      For example, we've got a good idea of how much sweat is required to
      keep Floyd cool on a normal day of racing (1 liter per hour for
      every 100 watt average) and in this last week, for the same power,
      he's about 30 percent higher. For nine riders at the Tour, the
      soigneurs would typically prepare 200 to 250 bottles per day. This
      last week, we used between 350-400 bottles in a day.

      DB: After analyzing Floyd Landis' power files from the Tour de
      France and the beginning of the Vuelta Espana, do you see much
      difference in the demands of these two grand tours? Or are they even
      comparable because of the different environmental and tactical

      AL: It's not really possible to compare. Tactics, the course profile
      and the environment play such a big role in what a rider chooses to
      do. At both the Tour and the Vuelta, the choice was to conserve in
      the first week. In terms of the strain on the riders, my observation
      is that the first few days of racing here in Spain have been much
      harder due to the heat than the first week of the Tour de France. On
      the flip side, this race isn't the media circus that the Tour de
      France is and so the psychological stress level has been lower.

      DB: Stage 6 was the first big mountain day, finishing at the
      Valdelinares ski station. Do you think there was any difference in
      power necessary to win on the final climb versus on Courchevel, the
      first mountain top finish in the Tour de France?

      AL: I haven't taken a close look at what Roberto's rate of ascent on
      Valdelinares was, so I can't really say. With the absence of many of
      the top Tour de France contenders - all of whom were peaking at the
      Tour - my guess is that you'd need more power to win on Courchevel
      at the Tour de France. I could be wrong, but Courchevel was longer,
      steeper and it came at the end of a harder day of racing. Plus the
      time differentials on Courchevel were a lot larger. In the end, it's
      not so much about the course or race, it's more about who's there,
      how fit they are, and how motivated they are to put the hurt on
      themselves and each other.

      DB: Was Floyd less powerful here at the Vuelta than he was in the
      Tour or is the competition better?

      AL: Unfortunately, he's less powerful than at the Tour. It's been a
      long season. It's time for some rest.

      Tomorrow should be another day for the sprinters to battle it out,
      as they pedal from Tarragona north to Lloret de Mar. I'll be there,
      too, pushing the pram with my little buddy Liam, waiting for Michael
      to arrive.


      Dr Allen Lim interview

      Backing Floyd in the campaign for yellow
      The saying 'behind every great man there is a great woman,' is well
      known, but when it comes to Tour de France contenders, it's equally
      accurate to say that behind every serious yellow jersey candidate is
      a very important support crew. Dr Allen Lim is one of those who is
      helping Floyd Landis' challenge. The University of Colorado
      Integrative Physiology graduate is acting as a training advisor to
      the Phonak rider. In the first part of a two-part interview
      Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke to Lim in the lead up to the Tour
      and after Saturday's time trial. Lim provides an interesting insight
      into the behind-the-scenes work that helps mount a serious Tour
      challenge, as well as giving a broader understanding of Landis'
      character, qualities and prospects in the race. The second part of
      the interview concerns his work with the up-and -coming TIAA-CREF

      Cyclingnews: Floyd was second in the time trial on Saturday and is
      currently second overall. What is your reaction to that TT

      Allen Lim: Well, he had a little bit of a mishap, breaking his time
      trial bars and having to change his bike, but he is on track. If we
      factor in the time lost in the stop and if we also consider the
      aerodynamic changes that occurred with the bicycles [the angle of
      the bars were required to be set lower by the UCI prior to the TT],
      he is exactly where he should be. In fact, had he not had those
      mishaps, I think he would only have been 22 or 23 seconds down on
      first place. That is, within plus or minus three watts of where we
      thought he should have been, so everything is great.

      That said, it is still bike racing and just because the engine is
      good, everything is good. It doesn't mean that it [winning the Tour]
      is going to be plain sailing. It is going to be very tactical race,
      it is still going to be a lot about luck and consistency. So I guess
      we will just play it day by day.

      CN: He took time out of all the other GC contenders but now another
      rider, Gonchar, is in yellow, with his T-Mobile team having to
      defend that jersey. People don't necessarily see him as a possible
      winner of the Tour, so is it the ideal situation for Floyd?

      AL: Yes. Now that we are sitting in this position, it is a great
      position to be in. You never go into it planning that will happen…
      you don't ever going to a race planning on giving up time. I think
      that if Floyd could have won, he would have gone for the win. But
      this is certainly an excellent scenario.

      CN: Floyd did the Dauphiné as preparation, posting an excellent time
      trial there, but then performing below expectations in the
      mountains. What happened in that race?

      AL: Well, Santiago Botero was originally going to be the team's GC
      guy there. Floyd had been training very hard beforehand and, not
      only that, he was coming out of the mountains and it had been very
      cold up there. He wasn't ready for the heat on Ventoux… it was like
      a furnace there. So rather than just slaughter himself for a top 10,
      he decided to use the rest of the week as training. His legs just
      weren't good in that level of heat so he couldn't perform.

      That is not always good for the head, but I think he did the wise
      thing holding back. I believe he will be good in the mountains in
      the Tour, though.

      CN: You do a lot of work with PowerTap and so are getting continuous
      readings about Floyd's condition. How does his output look compared
      to last year?

      AL: I will say this. It looks very similar to how it looked at the
      Tour of California and Tour de Georgia, the other strong
      performances he has done this year. This time round, it is a little
      better than last year's Tour, but the big caveat is that it is very,
      very hard to say right now, even with the power data, because this
      race has been so easy for the riders this first week. Outside of the
      prologue and the time trial, there really hasn't been any critical
      moments in the race and so the guys are literally sitting in,
      relaxing, trying not to do a lot of work.

      As a result, in the first week we don't necessarily look to see how
      much power he can produce; we are looking to see how little he can
      produce. It is a total shift in mindset there. Based on the time
      trial information and what we modelled for the time trial, he is on
      track, but we are not going to know until after we get out of the

      CN: Who do you see as being the other danger men at this point?

      AL: It is hard to say. You look down the GC and it is like, holy
      cow, this is such a different race. I had expected George [Hincapie]
      and Levi [Leipheimer] to be closer to the front. I think Cadel Evans
      is still right in there still. I guess we will see. I don't know how
      Klöden is going to be climbing, if he has good legs at all… I don't
      think Gonchar is going to do it, I don't know much about Sebastien
      Lang but I don't think he is going to do it and I don't think
      Michael Rogers is going to be climbing. I don't know much about
      Gustav Larsson from Francaise des Jeux.

      I do think T-Mobile is going to be definitely strong. But I don't
      know, it is such a crazy race. It is hard to know where Basso and
      Ullrich would have finished. It is going to be so open in the
      mountains, it is ridiculous.

      Gonchar's ride was amazing, a superb time. It was a real cottage of
      wattage. At best, if Floyd was as fit as he has ever been and
      everything went perfectly, he was perhaps have got a 1.01'40" or a
      1.01'38". So Gonchar's ride [1.01'43"] was pretty cool.

      CN: Floyd and the team had a press conference on Monday's rest day,
      talking about what was to most people a previously unknown hip
      problem. How significant is that issue for him as an athlete?

      AL: It is everything. The hip rules the day. If the hip is good, he
      can go well but if it is not so good, then it affects him. But I
      will say is that he is one tough dude. The one thing that injury has
      given him is a whole lot of mental toughness…the pain of cycling is
      nothing. He is one strong character.

      CN: Will that impact on his chances for the Tour or can he get
      through it ok?

      AL: Yes, he will get through it…he has been through worse. This is

      CN: Does it affect his power output?

      AL: It can affect his power output. If it is not good, then his
      power is not good. But when he fights through it, man, he is so
      strong that it is no problem. I think that he did really smart
      things in the off season in terms of recovering and resting and that
      is a lot of the reason for his success. Nursing it. That is why I
      believe people haven't seen what he is capable of. He has got a lot
      of great people around him, helping him with this problem and I
      think that once he gets it fixed, then holy cow… He will be going so

      CN: Looking at his physiology, how is he different from other

      AL: I don't know if he is that different. There is certainly a point
      in every athlete's career when they hit their peak, their prime. He
      is definitely hitting that point. But when you look at things
      overall, aerobically and anaerobically, he is quite similar to the
      other top athletes. I would say that physiologically speaking, if
      you compare him to Ullrich, Basso, Lance, they are all very close to
      each other on a given day. They are all really the same beast. The
      beauty of the sport is that once you get that engine, once you are
      dealing with physiology at that level, it is really about the
      driver; it is no longer about the car.

      I think it is about the skill of the bike racer, about the tactical
      awareness and the mental strength. Floyd is the kind of guy who is
      razor, razor sharp. He knows everything that is going on around him,
      he is an exceptional bike handler and racer. He is very, very smart…
      he knows what his body can handle and how to dish that out. He is
      good tactically and good day to day, in terms of the living, the
      travelling and the recovery. He is exceptionally good with eating on
      the bicycle… he can take in a lot of food on the bicycle, whereas a
      lot of people may have stomach problems. So one of the differences
      is that he has a rock solid gut. That intake of energy during a long
      stage race is really, really crucial.

      He is exceptionally aerodynamic on his bicycle. He has got a great
      position which optimises his ability to produce power as well as his
      aerodynamic factor. He also has a bit of a survival mentality,
      having done a lot to get to where he is now.

      CN: What did you do in the run up to the Tour, as regards your role
      at the Dauphiné and with his training?

      AL: Well, he had a lot of people around him at the Dauphiné, it was
      largely a team deal. What I was doing was largely related to my work
      with PowerTap… testing things out and making sure that all of the
      equipment was working right. For me and PowerTap, this week was a
      bit of a dress rehearsal for the actual Tour de France.

      After that, the goal was primarily to just check out courses and
      ride bikes. The plan was to check out all the major courses that we
      think will play an important role in this year's Tour, in order to
      have a good idea of what is going on there. It was last-minute
      preparation at that point. There is not so much else you can do in
      the last couple of weeks. You need to take it easy beforehand to
      make sure that you are fresh and healthy. The Tour is such a long
      race that it is not like you want to be going full steam ahead
      heading into it.

      At that point, I think the most important thing for me is just being
      there for morale and support; there is not too much rocket science
      involved. It is really more just about maintaining the belief that
      anything is possible, keeping morale high and going into the race
      with a really positive and enthusiastic attitude.

      CN: Looking at your records of his power output readings, what kind
      of improvement has he made since last year?

      AL: It is so different, it is like night and day. He made huge gains
      over the off-season. I think people don't realise that between 2004
      and 2005, the off-season was a very difficult one for him for a
      number of reasons. He got really, really sick in the 2004 Vuelta and
      that ended up destroying most of his off-season. It took many months
      to recover from that, so he didn't come into the 2005 season with
      the same amount of base or conditioning as before. Then in 2005
      itself he really brought up his training load significantly, and
      that was a big adjustment for his body as a whole.

      But that higher base of training in 2005 ultimately paid off, and so
      too [was] the fact that he dropped out of the Vuelta before he got
      worn out. He had the hindsight that he didn't want to destroy
      himself at the race because it is so hard to recover from that kind
      of effort. He pulled out early from the Vuelta and was able to have
      a very, very consistent off-season.

      That was an off-season where he was able to maintain much of the
      momentum he had created in the 2005 training year. We saw the fruits
      of that labour as a result. If you take the perspective of comparing
      one year to another year, there is a big, big difference in the
      power he can generate. But if you take it day by day and just graph
      it out from 2005 to this point in time, there has been a pretty
      solid incremental progression. The important thing is that that
      those little gains have adopted quite a bit over the course of a
      year or two years.

      CN: You said in the past that perhaps he overcooked it a little bit
      just before last year's Tour…

      AL: Exactly, exactly. But in a sense, that is also what is
      contributing to his good form this year. He did more training last
      year than he had done in the past; undoubted he properly came into
      the Tour a little too hot, but if you look at it, he survived it, he
      got stronger from it and now we are seeing a lot of the benefits
      from perhaps coming into last year's race a little bit cooked.

      That said, in order to really optimise somebody's training, you need
      to experiment with overstepping the boundaries at times and knowing
      exactly what that limit is. His training is definitely not as hard
      as it was last year, but he is in better condition and in better
      shape. For a given duration he is generating a significantly higher
      amount of power. Part of that is down to him not going off and
      demolishing himself in the same way as perhaps he did last year.

      That is not to say that last year is wrong, it is just to say it is
      all part of a long-term process.

      CN: I know they are really different athletes, but if you compare
      Floyd's pre-Tour preparation to Lance Armstrong's, it is clear there
      is a very difference approach. He was going extremely well at the
      start of the year and took victories in three big stage races. Did
      he back off from that and then build back up again?

      AL: Well, I think that winning those early-season races was really
      quite special, and he was quite fortunate to have those
      opportunities. But if you look at those races, he primarily won
      Georgia and California based on his time trial performance, and
      having a strong team. Examining the power outputs he generated in
      those races, for a short period of time he could certainly handle a
      higher intensity than before, which is critical for performances.
      But overall I don't think that the training loads were any more
      difficult than the loads he did in previous years.

      In fact, if anything, the training and the race preparation were
      probably lighter and easier than in past seasons. Just because you
      are winning races, it doesn't mean that your training is all-out at
      the time. And that is what I think a lot of people misread, in terms
      of his performance<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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