Can Lance supporters explain this please. what Lance Armstrong did was impossible, or so improbable as to be virtually indistinguishable from impossible. Michele Ferrari, Armstrong’s old coach and one of the six defendants in the USADA action, is on the record as talking about the Texan being able to express a sustained power output of 6.7 watts per kilogram of body weight when he was winning the Tour. The late Aldo Sassi, who was respected as one of the best cycling coaches and whose reputation was spotless, concluded that a sustained 6.2 watts per kilo was probably the limit of human achievement under normal physiological conditions. Unpredictable variables, such as length of effort, would skew the numbers a little, but figures above 6 are freakish – the absolute limit of human achievement. 6.0 would win a Grand Tour these days (Sassi was quoted in the New York Times as saying that in the 2009 Giro, only one rider – Denis Menchov – got above six). 6.7 is impossible. It’s over 11 per cent more than 6.0, in an elite area of performance where the margins between riders are impossibly thin. It would be the equivalent of a long jumper jumping 9.93 metres (Mike Powell’s world record is 8.95 metres, and that was a pretty freakish jump). Armstrong rode up Alpe d’Huez in 37-36 in the 2004 Tour de France, one second behind Marco Pantani’s record (although there is debate about the measurements based on where the climb actually starts and finishes). The fastest time last year was 41-21, by Samuel Sanchez. That’s a difference of just under 10 per cent. It makes us feel good to ascribe superhuman abilities to humans, to believe that force of will can drive special individuals to incredible achievements. It’s different this time. Armstrong fed this myth, by claiming to train harder. His fans claimed that his battle with cancer gave him the mental fortitude to ride away from his rivals. But it’s a fairy tale. An individual with the right combination of genetic attributes and physiology might come along with an advantage of one or two per cent over the very best of his rivals. Five per cent? Human beings don’t work like that. 10 per cent or more? Sorry. You’re being lied to. And that brings us back to the telephone call I received in late November, 2008. Because I would like Lance Armstrong to answer his own question. How did he do what he did? The USADA action is important, no matter how many aggressively-worded letters Armstrong’s lawyers send out trying to persuade us of the contrary. The witness testimony may be enough to result in Armstrong being found guilty. But cycling has its first chance in a generation to come to terms with its past, not just brush it under the carpet. How did you do it, Lance?