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Why are UK riders now more successful?

The Clinic is the only place on Cyclingnews where you can discuss doping-related issues. Ask questions, discuss positives or improvements to procedures.

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Why are UK riders now more successful?

05 Mar 2012 21:36

Is it because they are superior dopers? Or is it because they have always been cleaner, so a cleaner sport means they are now getting the just rewards for their talent?
Biggut
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05 Mar 2012 21:44

well I think recently sky and the lottery funding has given british cycling a great help. So I think it's just the funding and the recent push from the government to promote cycling..

that and cavendish is riding :S
semi literate sausige
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05 Mar 2012 21:51

Compare ANC Halford's assault on the TdF in 1987 with what Sky are doing now!
Why think when you can post
SirLes
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06 Mar 2012 00:32

SirLes wrote:Compare ANC Halford's assault on the TdF in 1987 with what Sky are doing now!


In fairness, ANC-Halfords were more akin to Endura or Rapha-Condor than SKY, they would never have got near the Tour using the modern requirements.

I think there are a number of reasons why British riders have come to the fore, none of which are to do with the relative cleanliness of the peloton.

1. The sport itself has changed considerably, its way more inernational(look at Aussie, US success also compared to 80s/90s), more accessible(via modern technology, Eurosport, Internet, etc) and more marketable for international companies like SKY, Garmin etc.

2. People miss this but there was a definite knock-on effect from the success of English speaking riders in the 80s/90s which has had an influence on the respect those nations now receive.

3. Definitely, the way GB poured money into track cycling was a big plus, Britain started to develop riders with big engines who could then swich to the road which has proved successful. This is perhaps the biggest factor.

4. Britain now has a few once in a generation type riders, namely Wiggins & Cavendish at the same time. It happens like when Ireland had Kelly and Roche together. Just think in 1987, Ireland was within a few days of winning all 3 GTs and the Worlds, amazing. Colombia with Parra/Herrera. I think these happened more as coincidence than planning.

5. There has been some sudden and unexpected transformations in British riders, Wiggins, Froome and now JTL. Who honestly could have seen Wiggins become the rider he is just a few years ago. The question is why and how these transformations happened? Done cleanly or something more sinister?

I dont think there is anything to suggest British riders have a higher ethical stance on dope free cycling. Robert Millar, Malcolm Elliott and Sean Yates all tested positive during their careers and of course there is David Millar to point the finger at. Maybe people should ask Daryl Webster but I dont see him around here anymore.
pmcg76
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06 Mar 2012 00:41

Don't all the best Brit riders come from the track, (with the exception of the 2 best of the best, Froome and JTL)
The Hitch: Winner 2013 Vuelta cq game. Winner, Velorooms prediction game 2012, 2013. 2nd all time cq rankings.
The Father of Clean Cycling, Christophe Bassons wrote:When I look at cycling today, I get the impression that history is repeating itself: riders who are supposed to be rouleurs are climbing passes at the front of the race, and those who are supposed to be climbers are riding time trials at more than 50 kilometres per hour.

The story is beginning again, just as it did 14 years ago


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06 Mar 2012 08:42

if anyone has seen Bradley up close then you'll realise the transformation. I saw him recently in a music shop in Manchester, in November when he's not at Tour weight, and he is like a stick! I was amazed to see how thin he is, ie narrow in the upper body, not just low fat content. The guys shape changed to become a Tour rider, no question. if anyone has any proof that he dopes then fine, let's see it, otherwise just accept that he made a choice to become a different kind of rider by losing upper body weight. And I'm not a fan boy, just stating the obvious :-)
samerics
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06 Mar 2012 11:58

samerics wrote:if anyone has seen Bradley up close then you'll realise the transformation. I saw him recently in a music shop in Manchester, in November when he's not at Tour weight, and he is like a stick! I was amazed to see how thin he is, ie narrow in the upper body, not just low fat content. The guys shape changed to become a Tour rider, no question. if anyone has any proof that he dopes then fine, let's see it, otherwise just accept that he made a choice to become a different kind of rider by losing upper body weight. And I'm not a fan boy, just stating the obvious :-)


Whilst that is of course valid and plausible, the last well known purveyor of the change in body shape/ weight loss mantra was Lance Armstrong. Not exactly a favourable comparison.

Here is the catch about a lot of what goes on in here, people put forward reasons for improvement in performance and on the surface they seem valid but inevitably for those who have followed the sport long enough, there will be evidence of a known doper having used the exact same lines or excuses in the past. People then expect others to conveniently forget what happened previously and believe 100% in these current athletes or at least not question them.
pmcg76
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06 Mar 2012 12:20

samerics wrote:if anyone has seen Bradley up close then you'll realise the transformation. I saw him recently in a music shop in Manchester, in November when he's not at Tour weight, and he is like a stick! I was amazed to see how thin he is, ie narrow in the upper body, not just low fat content. The guys shape changed to become a Tour rider, no question. if anyone has any proof that he dopes then fine, let's see it, otherwise just accept that he made a choice to become a different kind of rider by losing upper body weight. And I'm not a fan boy, just stating the obvious :-)


Well, in the case of this guy, I believe part of the speculations was that he might have used dope to become so skinny. I have no information or opinion on this guy, but from what I've read (which includes a few research grant proposals) there are fine dopes available that help you become skinny, including reducing muscle mass.
hmronnow
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06 Mar 2012 12:44

Yes, there are drugs that can do this. Some of them are labeled "not for human consumptions" but since when did it stop bike riders

And while it's not about Wiggins in particular, as far as I know he is not the only Sky rider who after a few years of being professional decided to lose weight.

Of course it's possible that it's a question of discipline and better nutrition, but I don't particularly believe in that given drugs that are available.
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06 Mar 2012 12:54

Its not rocket science that if you drop a few pounds you will go up hill faster but that needs to be tempered with the fact that if you dont put enough fuel into your engine you can easily end up depleted. This is a fact that BW has alluded to in the past and to be fair to him striking that balance has paid its rewards as has the altitude training he does.

When you think of the amount of track guys that have transferred to the road - De Wilde, Mc Gee, Ekimov they do have big engines thats for sure.

Until such time as proved otherwise I think you have to give these chaps the benefit of the doubt I dont say this as I am a Brit but I think you have to draw a line in the sand (as the recent thread on Boardman illustrated).
B_Ugli
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06 Mar 2012 13:09

B_Ugli wrote:Its not rocket science that if you drop a few pounds you will go up hill faster but that needs to be tempered with the fact that if you dont put enough fuel into your engine you can easily end up depleted. This is a fact that BW has alluded to in the past and to be fair to him striking that balance has paid its rewards as has the altitude training he does.

When you think of the amount of track guys that have transferred to the road - De Wilde, Mc Gee, Ekimov they do have big engines thats for sure.

Until such time as proved otherwise I think you have to give these chaps the benefit of the doubt I dont say this as I am a Brit but I think you have to draw a line in the sand (as the recent thread on Boardman illustrated).


Yeah, altitude training is the cutting edge in doping masking. It's been done for decades, but since the end of the EPO era, it's actually become effective beyond the placebo effect. Now you only need altitude, not the added EPO or transfusions. If you don't do altitude, you're simply not at the races. Or, you don't have a valid excuse to have sirupy blood.
Cloxxki
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06 Mar 2012 13:11

What does altitude training have to do with it?

It's not like Wiggins has a monopoly on it and it hasn't been done before. Is this one of them you're doing it wrong things where only Sky has a clue?
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06 Mar 2012 13:21

This is the clinic, no lines drawn in the sand and those that do are kidding themselves.
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06 Mar 2012 13:32

B_Ugli wrote:Its not rocket science that if you drop a few pounds you will go up hill faster but that needs to be tempered with the fact that if you dont put enough fuel into your engine you can easily end up depleted. This is a fact that BW has alluded to in the past and to be fair to him striking that balance has paid its rewards as has the altitude training he does.

When you think of the amount of track guys that have transferred to the road - De Wilde, Mc Gee, Ekimov they do have big engines thats for sure.

Until such time as proved otherwise I think you have to give these chaps the benefit of the doubt I dont say this as I am a Brit but I think you have to draw a line in the sand (as the recent thread on Boardman illustrated).


Here is the catch, for anyone who followed the sport pre-Festina, the riders were always given the benefit of the doubt, a lot of guys on here would have loved the EPO 90s as there very few positive tests and very few questions asked and little in the way of suspicion regardless of the sudden transformations and huge jumps in performance which were incredibly common at the time. Average performer turned superstar, no questions asked sir.

As someone who started following cycling in 1989, I can pretty much dismiss everything I witnessed in the 90s as fantasy as none of it was real. The problem is the fantasy didnt stop with Festina, it continued well on into the 00s. Now we are back to the stage where people want fans to give riders the benefit of the doubt again like back in the 90s. Just ignore what happened in the past and take a leap of blind faith for the current generation despite the fact that there are new superdrugs like TG 5000 or whatever now in circulation.

Whilst on one hand I genuinely believe things have improved and I dont believe in tarring everyone, I dont see any reason why anyone should stop questioning sudden transformations or huge jumps in preformance just because it offends a few fanboy posters who are mostly relative newcomers to the sport. The pros can moan all they want but it is themselves, their team-mates, DSs etc who have put themselves in that situation. We are supposed to learn from history and what has the history of cycling taught us?
pmcg76
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06 Mar 2012 15:13

pmcg76 wrote:Here is the catch, for anyone who followed the sport pre-Festina, the riders were always given the benefit of the doubt, a lot of guys on here would have loved the EPO 90s as there very few positive tests and very few questions asked and little in the way of suspicion regardless of the sudden transformations and huge jumps in performance which were incredibly common at the time. Average performer turned superstar, no questions asked sir.

As someone who started following cycling in 1989, I can pretty much dismiss everything I witnessed in the 90s as fantasy as none of it was real. The problem is the fantasy didnt stop with Festina, it continued well on into the 00s. Now we are back to the stage where people want fans to give riders the benefit of the doubt again like back in the 90s. Just ignore what happened in the past and take a leap of blind faith for the current generation despite the fact that there are new superdrugs like TG 5000 or whatever now in circulation.

Whilst on one hand I genuinely believe things have improved and I dont believe in tarring everyone, I dont see any reason why anyone should stop questioning sudden transformations or huge jumps in preformance just because it offends a few fanboy posters who are mostly relative newcomers to the sport. The pros can moan all they want but it is themselves, their team-mates, DSs etc who have put themselves in that situation. We are supposed to learn from history and what has the history of cycling taught us?


So am I a fanboy poster who is a newcomer to the sport or are you saying that my post is politically correct so as to appeal to such individuals? In any event I do agree with your post having followed cycling during the same timeframe as you but I didnt quite get that bit.
B_Ugli
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06 Mar 2012 15:41

I think the two big reasons are:

1) some role models. I became interested in cycling with Boardman and Obree. Since then there has been a steady stream of success first on the track, now finally on the road

2) investment. Lottery funding of British Cycling really has been huge, infrastructure, coaching, getting the systems in place to find and develop young talent. Again initially much more focused on the track, but now includes the road and other discsiplines as well.

The UK has about the same population as France and Italy, and more than Spain, anbd far more than some other "big" cycling nations. The genetic lottery is bound to throw a few execellent indiviuals out there. Find them, develop them in a sport that has a high(er) profile and the results will follow.
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06 Mar 2012 15:44

B_Ugli wrote:Its not rocket science that if you drop a few pounds you will go up hill faster but that needs to be tempered with the fact that if you dont put enough fuel into your engine you can easily end up depleted. This is a fact that BW has alluded to in the past and to be fair to him striking that balance has paid its rewards as has the altitude training he does.

When you think of the amount of track guys that have transferred to the road - De Wilde, Mc Gee, Ekimov they do have big engines thats for sure.

Until such time as proved otherwise I think you have to give these chaps the benefit of the doubt I dont say this as I am a Brit but I think you have to draw a line in the sand (as the recent thread on Boardman illustrated).


Wiggins also improved his time trialing after dropping weight. He obviously wasn't dedicated to the road until after Beijing so it's a bit hard to make comparisons between 09 and after with his earlier "career".

Re: the actual topic, it was inevitable wasn't it? Overdue perhaps. If it is doping it still would have happened without PEDs.
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06 Mar 2012 16:28

B_Ugli wrote:So am I a fanboy poster who is a newcomer to the sport or are you saying that my post is politically correct so as to appeal to such individuals? In any event I do agree with your post having followed cycling during the same timeframe as you but I didnt quite get that bit.


No, it was more of a generalisation as there seems to be quite a few posters who find the idea that we even question certain performances as outrageous behaviour.

It just so happens that 3 of the more obvious transformations Wiggins, Froome & JTL happen to be British. I think quite a few people have come to the sport on the back of the recent upsurge of British success and find the idea that we might even doubt these riders as sacrilege.

Bucketloads of excuses and theories are then wheeled out in an effort to explain these transformations. Better training, recovery from injury, more opportunities, weight loss etc, etc. Back in the 90s, these types of transformations were a dime a dozen and we all know how they were explained, better training, recovery from injury, more opportunities, weight loss etc. Yet, we all know the real reason.

Either these posters dont know the history of our sport or they choose to ignore it. How anyone who knows the history of doping in cycling can expect people to just accept things without questioning seems strange to me unless they are ok with doping in the sport and they dont care anyway.
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06 Mar 2012 16:59

It's an Olympic year. The home country always steps up results in an Olympic year.
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06 Mar 2012 17:04

Just in case it was referring to me, I'm 50 years old and have been watching cycling since LeMond and co, though i have vague memories of Merckx, and I was a keen cyclist through the 90's and 00's. I remember Indurain's first win, watched with genuine disbelief as Riis made every one look like amateurs, wondered why Boardman was so quick and yet he got blitzed in the big Tours. I even applauded Armstrong until Ferrari. In short, I've seen them come and go, I am under no illusion as to the depth of the problem, but I'm not so cynical as to believe that everyone is at it! What kind of life do you have if you believe everyone is bad without using balance and judgement? I've said it before, but this place resembles a Paranoia Convention.
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