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Old 11-10-12, 15:14
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Don't be late Pedro Don't be late Pedro is offline
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Originally Posted by Argyle_Fan View Post
2012 relative to the EPO era was what I was originally meaning to ask about.

And more generally just how race tactics have co-evolved with progress in doping/anti-doping - e.g. it might also be interesting to discuss how Amphetamines/Steroids/Cortisone etc. may have affected race tactics before the EPO era. I don't imagine that HGH changes race-tactics much?

Also, is there any difference in race-tactics etc. between the EPO era (pre-2001?) and the Blood Doping era (post-2001?)

- Argyle_Fan
Blood doping was going on before the 'EPO era'.
I was awarded 'Most Aggressive Rider of the Day', generally given to the most spectacular loser of the day.
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Old 11-10-12, 15:22
Argyle_Fan Argyle_Fan is offline
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Originally Posted by fatandfast View Post
SRM data and huge pools of start money have changed bike racing way more than doping.
Doping didn't create all these new revenue streams and ultra knowledgeable cycling fans the internet did, the race tactics have changed dramatically with the number of cycling news outlets, stay on the screen or in the cameras lens for 2 weeks and enjoy possibly years of recognition and revenue afterwards.
That's an interesting angle which I hadn't thought of and can't really comment on with any authority.

I do feel that improving power output by 5-10% with EPO has a bigger difference as to who wins the race than the technical advances above. But in terms of 'racing style'? I don't know. There is always of course the vexed issue of the race radios.

I do think that all the money coming into the sport had a big effect on the doping regimes teams/riders could afford. The women don't get nearly as much money, alas, but it is thought that women's cycling is somewhat cleaner (Genevieve Jeanson et. al. excepted). Anyone know if that's true?

Are there many differences in race style/tactics between men's/women's races - and does this have more to do with doping in the women's peloton being more scaled down, budget differences, physiological differences or (controversially...) psychological/sociological differences?

- Argyle_Fan
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Old 11-10-12, 17:09
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There is a segment of cycling fans that will always say the peloton is all dope and that most are charged so to comment on a change in the race because the riders are going clean is a non starter since it is contrary to their first premiss, That pros dope. To some extent the persistence of these dark outlook types that we have actually made great revelations of sins past and some current.

So except for those people, I think the decline of the last kilometre catch, The end of 6 riders from 1 team still with the leader midway up the ultimate climbs. I think we will see mountain stages that are longer to cover and less dramatic escapes by GC leaders.

The same people that ***** about the doping will be at the forefront of complaining about the boring racing and will blame radios for it.

Some of us will watch every stage and feel the glory of each pedal stroke without the cloud overhead. I think that it will be a lot like the 2012 season.
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Old 11-10-12, 17:24
Dr. Maserati Dr. Maserati is offline
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Tactics and race routines have evolved - but it was not entirely down to PED usage, although it had a role.

While blood doping may have been used pre EPO i believe it would have a somewhat limited value.
Obviously it would give a good hit - but what EPO allowed at the start of the 90s was riders to train at a much harder rate. These guys were then arriving at the traditional training races with thousands of kms in their legs and already at a high level.

Pro racing can often be predictable (some would say boringly so, not me) but that is more to do with Pro teams running a disciplined team with clear roles - and that is more to do with teams having more riders and allowing certain riders focus on certain events.
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Old 11-10-12, 17:26
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Doping + race radios + the success of certain tactics.

As with any sport - generally if one set of tactics or players makes the game unpredictable and open, then you'll find that people will set their minds to working out the best way to neutralise those tactics.

Isn't there a story about Armstrong in the TDF when Pantani went on a solo attack and blew Armstrong away. Armstrong was panicking and in the team car they got Ferrari on the phone. Ferrari then crunched some numbers, concluded that Pantani couldn't stay away and so they didn't chase and let him fry.

The point is that maybe 30 years ago, if someone had gone on such an attack, the rider in Armstrong's position would have had to have made the decision himself on the road about what to do and he might (without Ferrari's advice) have decided to chase down the attack and ended up blowing up himself.

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Old 11-10-12, 18:02
More Strides than Rides More Strides than Rides is offline
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Before we account for doping, its important to think about what affects tactics in the first place.

Depth of quality in the field,
Depth of individual teams, and how teams monopolize talent,
Parcours, including balance of TTing and climbing
Style of riders at the top
(anything else? race radios, and calulations ala Mrs. Murphy)

The deeper the field, meaning the density of quality riders in the top ranks will minimize solo attacks. 2012 giro is a good example, with no standouts to blow it apart. One reason the pre EPO era was characterized by these attacks, is the field was not as deep; the relative fitness from the first to middle to last place finishers was bigger, making it easier to get away. As the sport grows, its talent pool will find more top tier riders, making start lists heavier at the top.

Here's how I see doping affect those factors of racing tactics: Those individuals with access to sophisticated doping stretched the top end of the field. Then teams with sophisticated programs caught up the middle of the pack, so the distribution of quality is the same, minus clean riders way behind. Doping then, is no longer an explicit race tactic.

Now, whether riders are microdosing, or it is a battle of clean and dirty riders doesn't really matter. As teams monopolize talent into super teams, the possibility of any one rider's exclusive ability to shape the race is minimized. As far as exciting racing goes, we should be more concerned with how teams have gotten to the monopoly status they have now
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Old 11-10-12, 18:33
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Originally Posted by Don't be late Pedro View Post
Blood doping was going on before the 'EPO era'.
but it was not pratical for the road, for other reasons than transport logistics. Hitting peak form always required living and breathing and training on 100% RBCs
`I'm Anna, we're the Armstrongs, my husband's Lance, he was just driving maybe too fast around the corner or something,'
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Old 11-10-12, 18:42
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Originally Posted by Mrs John Murphy View Post
As with any sport - generally if one set of tactics or players makes the game unpredictable and open, then you'll find that people will set their minds to working out the best way to neutralise those tactics.
market equilibrium. ITs kinda zero sum. Soon as Armstrong is promoting his breakthroughs and his strategy, other riders would have adopted it and quell any advantage sustained. Like Brad Wiggins and Sky's marginal gains.

True competitive devices and breakthroughs should be IP and protected. Dont let your competitors access that potential.

ephasis: If it is a true breakthrough. Salient qualifier, true.

So we have to think either Wiggins was silly for the first decade of his pro career, before finding certain latent gains, a native potential to be unlocked through cadence, weightloss, nutrition, and dedication. So he is on 5 million pounds now. When he may have had cumulative assets of 500k pounds before his recent contract, and the sky transfer.

Why did he adopt these techniques for gain(s) now? Was he an idiot previously, or is he still an idiot.

Or are you, I, we, ... idiots. I think the idiots are us. Not Wiggins.
`I'm Anna, we're the Armstrongs, my husband's Lance, he was just driving maybe too fast around the corner or something,'
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Old 11-10-12, 23:25
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How have race tactics changed with the decline of doping?

* Are there fewer solo breakaways miles from the end?

On flat stages this has more to do with what the sprinters teams will let happen unless it is a gc contender trying to sneak away. A couple of tours where people have been allowed to get 20min which then came back to haunt the GC contenders means that there is generally more control of breaks now.

* Does it change whether you attack on the final mountain or an earlier one (since EPO aids recovery)?

Riders seem to be more risk adverse and inclined to protect a position rather than risk everything for a death or glory attempt. This is to do with the current point system and fact that a top 10 finish is worth much more now than what it used to be. There is also the Landis and Hamilton effect where even if you can do the big solo it looks a bit sus no?

* Is EPO of much use for sprinters (apart from helping them keep up with the grupetto)? Any differences in usefulness between rouleurs, domestiques, team-leaders, climbers?

It is a benefi in that it allows you to operate aerobically for longer, giving allowing you to be fresher at the sprint and to recover from efforts to find position much better. I have always thought that sprinters coming from way back and bad position was sus. It also helps sprinters get over climbs that might occur in the finale in a good position and hence to be able to contest sprints that they otherwise would have been dropped for.

* Does it change the body type best suited for contesting the climbs? E.g. light Columbian climbers were beaten by Ullrich/Indurain etc. Could Ullrich have won the Tour if everyone were clean (would still have rocked the TTs)?

Eddy M and Berrnie H won 10 tours withour being little climbers. Bernie was little but not in a wimpy way and both could win spints and PR. So pure climbers have more chance of winning if the pace is such that they can attack and use a burst of speed, but bigger riders have always tried to counter this by setting a high constant tempo that is hard to attack off.

* How does it change strategy over the 3 weeks? Why were transfusions generally done on the rest days - more time, more privacy or since they cause an initial decline in performance (see Tyler’s book)?

More fluctuations in performance with no doping by any means, with a greater chance of cumulative fatigue catching up with riders who had been going well. If noone was doped this would not be so noticable as everyone would have a similar response.

* How does it change team tactics - do leaders get more or less support? (I guess this depends on whether the domestiques are doping).

Leaders get less support if their teamates are not juiced USP style. This is why Sky gets the questions. Common sense tells you that at the business end of the equation, the cream should rise to the top so it does not look that credible when one team has six blokes at the front and every other domestique has been dropped. But thats marginal gains for ya. So in theory less support should mean that contenders have to do more work for themselves at the end and it should be exciting, but it seems that it just leads to pretty conservative riding in practive.

* Does doping lead to more attacks with sudden acceleration? (c.f. Contador and Schlecklet in the 2010 Tour).

It did for Lance. The two you mention are more that type of rider by nature say against an Evans, Basso type rider.

* How much does doping affect the general aggressiveness of racing? Who do you think the most aggressive riders are in today's peloton (a rather loaded question, I know...)?

You attack when you can and defend when you must. If you are juiced you are more likely to attack, but also more likely to look like a bit of an idiot - welcome to the stage Riccardo Ricco.

* Is it possible to get a general idea of general levels of doping and/or potentially doped riders from the 'racing style'?

Too many variables, but you can maybe get an idea from the racing style changes of individual riders.

* How do riders/doctors decide when to withdraw blood during the racing schedule? Why was the Dauphine such a popular race to be 'under-prepared' for (c.f. LA)? Is it of fitness/training benefit to race with blood removed (c.f. altitude/hypoxic training)?

You spend a lot of time ****ing about with peoples lives and then after you have nearly killed a few people with your dodgey practices you work out a pretty good idea of what works and when you should do it.

Everyone would have their own "program" I guess based on trial and error.

- Argyle_Fan (moved from JV talks, sort of Thread)

Last edited by fatsprintking; 11-10-12 at 23:29.
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Old 11-10-12, 23:31
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zlev11 zlev11 is offline
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ever see a Vuelta from the late 90's/early 00's? Kelme just sent their whole team up the road on the last climb of every mountain stage. it was awesome.
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