biker jk wrote:Nibali's ascent of the Hautacam was the 26th fastest in history. Look at the list of the faster riders all from the EPO era and note that Nibali was quicker than the 2008 ascent of more recent known dopers Piepoli, Cobo and Frank Schleck. To be suspicious of Nibali's performance is understandable.
Alex Simmons has a blog post about the enormous importance of winds when it comes to using times and estimated power outputs as doping telltales. Basically even a wind almost too light to notice (about 6 kmh I think) can make any estimates completely unreliable.
I was trying to estimate the wind on that stage. Based on the way the flags were waving I'd estimate it at around 30kmh at the top, and it was a tailwind. We'd have to take that into account when considering Nib's performance.
I'm quite ready to be suspicious but I thought Nibali's bike handling (over the cobbles for example) has illustrated how much of his advantage is down to good bike riding. If the other aspects of his campaign (ie simple unassisted strength and power) are at that level then his performance is not surprising given the lack of other major contenders, IMHO.