Originally Posted by JimmyFingers
You seem to contradict yourself slightly with the two statements I've highlighted. Personally I would say it's far-fetched to say BC is undertaking Eastern-bloc style doping, meaning an entire generation of British cyclists and cycling staff have taken the moral decision to turn to dope to achieve results. You're are saying hundreds even thousands of people might be complicit in a grand deception. For me that is a bridge to far to even hint at without more concrete information to go on beyond 'convenience'. As I said, it's like saying British cyclists could never be good, so they must dope to achieve results.
Yet the example you cite are JTL and Froome, who aren't part of the 'academy' of BC, but whose talents have developed independently of BC and the suggested doping programme that is being run by them. Are you saying they are the exception that proves the rule?
There is no contradiction. I cite JTL and Froome as examples precisely BECAUSE they aren't part of the academy at BC. Because that's what makes their transformations more suspicious. They are people who just happened to chance upon realising that they're actually massive talents, at the time that the BC program was reaping its rewards.
The BC guys who came from within BC have improved, because they've been developed and nurtured to do so. So I'm not calling those suspicious. It's the way that guys who have nothing to do with the careful nurturing arm of BC have suddenly leapt to the front of the list of priority projects for Sky (and by proxy BC because of the blurry distinction) with sudden and extreme improvements that has raised my interest with regards to the coincidence. It's like Froome suddenly went from a guy who was there because of his passport and to provide support for BC's projects they were developing, to suddenly vaulting ahead of all of them and taking the opportunities that those riders he had been domestiquing for had been groomed for.
From his results as a junior and espoir, Jamie Burrow was a greater talent than Chris Froome and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke... put together
. He was the #1 ranked U23 in the world in 1999. He was arguably the best talent Britain had created since Robert Millar. But for the last six years he's been riding Gran Fondos, because he came about at the wrong time. And at the same time Chris Froome is showing us exactly what happens if Andy Schleck was able to time trial, given his super-peaking and hilarious reinvention. Chris Froome and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke have hit upon their purple patches of form at the right time. But when you throw in the incredible timing of the patches of bilharzia that arrange themselves around contract signings and Grand Tours, it seems like Chris Froome's rejuvenation has had a lot to do with convenient timing. I'm perhaps guilty of over-thinking this because of how suspicious I've found the timing of other things regarding Chris Froome and his miracle development... but I look at him standing on the podium of the Vuelta and the Tour and think... that should have been Burrow. He should've been that guy. He had the results as an espoir that we could point to and say "he always had the talent to make it as a GT contender". We wouldn't be trying to analyse whether winning the Anatomic Jock Race or being in the same break as Johan van Summeren in week 3 of the Tour meant a guy could win a GT.
Regards a guy like JTL... he has good reasons for his surprise late development, and I acknowledge those. But that he happened to have that major improvement when he did - when he could benefit the most from it because of Sky's standing in World Cycling (and hey, hilly Classics has been one area where they hadn't that strong a presence, with Gerrans leaving, though Urán is of course pretty useful in that regard) - is interesting. Possibly coincidental, but it's difficult to avoid being sucked into conspiracy theories with Sky because they seem to be very good at behaving in such a way as to inspire them. All I know is, if a guy like Remmert Wielinga or Kai Reus started wrecking the .1-ranked races next year, it would be a surprise. Both of those guys were supertalents, way above Tiernan-Locke pre-mono, and both have given up cycling and had a year or two of comeback. But it would still be extremely surprising to see them at that level next year, and it would mean that people would question them. With them there would be ample room for a conspiracy theory about convenient timing as well, of course - with the former Rabo team hunting for a sponsor and needing Dutch riders to be at the forefront of people's thinking.