I agree it was about time but for your last point. Haven't they been reducing the total distance of the TdF for some years now. I mean not in recent editions but it used to be ~4000-4500 kms whilst nowadays it's more like 3500 kms.
it was before Armstrong, I guess, but anyway the measurements Vincayou talked about were made in slopes.
It's possible to measure the amount of energy which was displayed during the slope, there are specialists for that, and it was not normal this year again contrary to last year, even though it was a little bit less than in Armstrong-Pantani's time if I remember correctly.