a pointless debate???

Jun 26, 2009
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Outsiders speculating on who does or doesnt dope based on current and past performances are wasting their breath. No drug has yet been developed to take the place of ability and hard work. It would be nice to think that doping could somehow be erradicated from all sport but dont hold your breath for it to be achieved anytime soon. If it was removed from pro cycling the only difference you would see is slower average speeds and shorter attacks. An amateur race! The same people would still win the same races.

It is my opinion based on my own racing and doping experience that the problem now is nowhere near what it was 20 years ago, its just that back then testing was poor.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
It is my opinion based on my own racing and doping experience that the problem now is nowhere near what it was 20 years ago, its just that back then testing was poor.
What do you mean by that?
Only because back then everybody (or 90%) did it, doesn't make the situation better nowadys... I'd say fewer rider (maybe 25%-30%) in the Protour peloton do it, but it's become more sophisticated... So the difference between a clean and a jacked rider has become much bigger - at least that's my impression... And that's also what people/friends tell me!

For example three or four years ago a clean rider could easily keep up with dopers for a few days and could even win against them - especially in one day races, if one was well prepared, recovered and in a good shape!

I get the impression that this doesn't work any longer... And then it's an up and down... Cera came on the market, and the gap became bigger... When they got caught, for a few weeks/months it got better (clean TT World Champion in Varese???) and this year it has become even worse!
It also differs from race to race, since there are some "open races" in Italy whithout testing...

But yes, of course this problem will always remain... I just think it puts clean riders totally off, if they can't keep up. But if the UCI/WADA tries to keep the problem smaller (with a lot of testing) and stops excessive doping, clean riders can win a race from time to time...

I still love this sport, for its beauty, its teamwork, its tactics, its fairness (on the bike) and the respect between the riders...
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Rasmussen at the 2007 Tour, Landis in 2006, Basso and Gutierrez at the 2006 Giro, Schumacher and Kohl, Sella and CSF, Rumsas, Perez in the 2004 Vuelta.... People were skeptical of all of those performances before they tested positive. They didn't just dope, they went way over the top. By last year this sort of thing had become so accepted as obvious that Sella and Schumacher were roundly criticized or lampooned by cycling fans. And those were just the ones who tested positive. I remember watching the 2001 Tour Alpe D'Huez stage with a friend who knows very little about cycling or doping. Even he couldn't believe Armstrong sprinting up the mountain.

Of course ability and hard work are supremely important but almost all elite cyclists work hard and the ability gap between the first and second tier is so relatively small that a few percentage points of improvement can really matter. You also have to take into account that some people respond to particular doping practices better and some take nothing at all. The classic example is an assuredly non-doping Moncoutie finishing 13th in the 2002 Tour.

I think doping is still more important than it was 20 years ago because of the rise of blood doping but not what it was 15 years ago.

Hayden made a good point about the difference a top program can make. The more the doping issue is controlled, the more important a quality doping doctor becomes.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Epicycle said:
Rasmussen at the 2007 Tour, Landis in 2006, Basso and Gutierrez at the 2006 Giro, Schumacher and Kohl, Sella and CSF, Rumsas, Perez in the 2004 Vuelta.... People were skeptical of all of those performances before they tested positive. They didn't just dope, they went way over the top. By last year this sort of thing had become so accepted as obvious that Sella and Schumacher were roundly criticized or lampooned by cycling fans. And those were just the ones who tested positive. I remember watching the 2001 Tour Alpe D'Huez stage with a friend who knows very little about cycling or doping. Even he couldn't believe Armstrong sprinting up the mountain.

Of course ability and hard work are supremely important but almost all elite cyclists work hard and the ability gap between the first and second tier is so relatively small that a few percentage points of improvement can really matter. You also have to take into account that some people respond to particular doping practices better and some take nothing at all. The classic example is an assuredly non-doping Moncoutie finishing 13th in the 2002 Tour.

I think doping is still more important than it was 20 years ago because of the rise of blood doping but not what it was 15 years ago.

Hayden made a good point about the difference a top program can make. The more the doping issue is controlled, the more important a quality doping doctor becomes.
thus, we have Saunier Duval getting caught, and SD riders with the Kazakhs, being the scapegoats.

Suits Phil Liggett to promulgate such institutional uderlying bigotry, to intimate swarthy Spaniards and corrupt Kazakhs have no scruples. And then channel talking points playing on base demagogy.

But Phil in his twee British accent commands respect and authority. Risible in the extreme.

Off to the sanitorium for Phil the shill.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Hayden Roulston said:
What do you mean by that?
Only because back then everybody (or 90%) did it, doesn't make the situation better nowadys... I'd say fewer rider (maybe 25%-30%) in the Protour peloton do it, but it's become more sophisticated... So the difference between a clean and a jacked rider has become much bigger - at least that's my impression... And that's also what people/friends tell me!

For example three or four years ago a clean rider could easily keep up with dopers for a few days and could even win against them - especially in one day races, if one was well prepared, recovered and in a good shape!

I get the impression that this doesn't work any longer... And then it's an up and down... Cera came on the market, and the gap became bigger... When they got caught, for a few weeks/months it got better (clean TT World Champion in Varese???) and this year it has become even worse!
It also differs from race to race, since there are some "open races" in Italy whithout testing...

But yes, of course this problem will always remain... I just think it puts clean riders totally off, if they can't keep up. But if the UCI/WADA tries to keep the problem smaller (with a lot of testing) and stops excessive doping, clean riders can win a race from time to time...

I still love this sport, for its beauty, its teamwork, its tactics, its fairness (on the bike) and the respect between the riders...
20 Years ago clean riders could beat doped riders because all dopers doped with was amphetamines, corticoids, and maybe HGH. This doesnt directly increase FTP.

Upon the advent of epo most of the TDF pack was basically JACKED! Clean riders would either be dropped or outside the top 50 for sure! I see a similar situation with autologous blood doping now, except not as many riders can jack their crits like they could when epo was untested for.

I wouldnt think anybody would even be able to finish the TDF totally clean with 40-50 riders at 50% and up with blood doping. Then again at very very best it might be possible to ride in there.
 
beroepsrenner said:
Outsiders speculating on who does or doesnt dope based on current and past performances are wasting their breath. No drug has yet been developed to take the place of ability and hard work. It would be nice to think that doping could somehow be erradicated from all sport but dont hold your breath for it to be achieved anytime soon. If it was removed from pro cycling the only difference you would see is slower average speeds and shorter attacks. An amateur race! The same people would still win the same races.
This statement is not correct. I am not an expert but I know for sure that certain riders respond to doping better than others. Just like any other drug. Besides the Gap between any rider base performance and a top performance is different due to different factors, and physiology is an important one. So that being truth, the drug can close to zero that gap between the riders which is something unfair for a natural gifted athlete.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
It is my opinion based on my own racing and doping experience that the problem now is nowhere near what it was 20 years ago
. Clearly its possible to win the TDF clean, and lance is now clean as he was before. Lemond must have doped tho...that snake!

BigBoat said:
Armstrong is clean and was far faster than Basso and Ullrich who were blood dopers. Chris Horner is a clean rider but he went far faster than the guilty rider Jimmy Casper who finished last place in the Tour de France.

Sastre is clean and he is much faster than Ricco and Schumacher. Lance Armstrong says he knew Kohl doped because Kohl went from a donkey to a racehorse. Bradley Wiggins is a clean rider and he rides faster than Kolom did. Millar is now clean and he solod ahead of the pack at a far greater level than anybody else today. Cavendish is totally clean and is slightly faster sprinter than the previously suspended Pettachi who doped. Zabel used EPO but he was slower than Cippolini who was a clean rider.

Jesus Manzano was not a very good TDF rider, he only could get 40th or so overall. He used over 40 drugs and was still beat by top clean riders like Christian Vande Velde and Zubeldia who are clean.

Matt Decanio's Italian teamate took too much epo and had his hematocrit to high, he had to drain off 300ml of blood into a coke can so he could start a race. Decanio was a clean rider and beat him.

A clean Lance Armstrong dumped the doper Floyd Landis' 800cc blood refill down the toilet in front of Floyd during the 2004 Tour de France because Lance wanted his clean team to stay un-doped and Floyd to stay with Postal instead of Phonak. Floyd rode better the cleaner he got whereas the totally clean Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France 7 times.

Svein Tuft is a clean rider, he beat Schumacher and other dopers in the TT championshift despite finishing 26th years previous. So its possible to gain 20% horsepower clean.

Empirically, If there's no need for doping (this is very obvious based on all the clean champions like Lance Armstrong, Bradley Wiggins, and Christian Vande Velde) then there should be no objection to legalizing doping which does not hurt clean athletes. Dopers are slower than the top clean riders. Clearly doping hadicaps athletes, it is no kind of cheating.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Some interesting reactions to my original thread here. it is now 18 years since my own career ended and I'm still pondering how things may have turned out if doping was not involved. I must say I'm intrigued by why you all still follow the sport if you are so ****ed off by doping. I know for a fact that it prevails in many other sports but in most of them its either not dealt with adequitely or not made public.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
Some interesting reactions to my original thread here. it is now 18 years since my own career ended and I'm still pondering how things may have turned out if doping was not involved. I must say I'm intrigued by why you all still follow the sport if you are so ****ed off by doping. I know for a fact that it prevails in many other sports but in most of them its either not dealt with adequitely or not made public.
I'm not ****ed off about it only interested in what is going on. I'm interested in all the different parts of the sport. And, like you, at an early age I realized that doping and sport went together.

So even though doping is prevalent across all sports cycling has two extra problems.

1. The effect of doping is harder for the average person to determine in ball sports where technique is also very important. Cycling is like running where aerobic ability is by far the most important thing. Cycling adds recovery during stage races which makes it even more obvious.

2. Cycling's biggest scandals have been caused by police actions. The sport can't wait around for another Festina or Puerto.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Hayden Roulston said:
What do you mean by that?
Only because back then everybody (or 90%) did it, doesn't make the situation better nowadys... I'd say fewer rider (maybe 25%-30%) in the Protour peloton do it, but it's become more sophisticated... So the difference between a clean and a jacked rider has become much bigger - at least that's my impression... And that's also what people/friends tell me!

For example three or four years ago a clean rider could easily keep up with dopers for a few days and could even win against them - especially in one day races, if one was well prepared, recovered and in a good shape!

I get the impression that this doesn't work any longer... And then it's an up and down... Cera came on the market, and the gap became bigger... When they got caught, for a few weeks/months it got better (clean TT World Champion in Varese???) and this year it has become even worse!
It also differs from race to race, since there are some "open races" in Italy whithout testing...

But yes, of course this problem will always remain... I just think it puts clean riders totally off, if they can't keep up. But if the UCI/WADA tries to keep the problem smaller (with a lot of testing) and stops excessive doping, clean riders can win a race from time to time...

I still love this sport, for its beauty, its teamwork, its tactics, its fairness (on the bike) and the respect between the riders...
My reasoning behind that statement was because we were using things like steroids and amphetamines without proper medical supervision, usually administered by soigneurs. A number of riders in the 80s died "mysteriously" of heart attacks, something rarely heard of, or at least to my knowledge, now days. There is a lot more money in the sport now and you will always be able to find greedy doctors willing to sell their expertise. Although I'm not directly involved in the sport now myself I still have contacts that are. Its my firm belief that the number of riders doping now is very much in the minority in comparison to earlier years. Its just that the ones that are have become more clever at it. The testing procedures now are way more elaborate than they were in my time. My belief that doping makes very little difference to who gets consistent high results is based on the stuff we were using at the time. I have no personal experience of any form of blood doping but it seems that everyone on this forum are experts on the subject. How is that????
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Epicycle said:
I'm not ****ed off about it only interested in what is going on. I'm interested in all the different parts of the sport. And, like you, at an early age I realized that doping and sport went together.

So even though doping is prevalent across all sports cycling has two extra problems.

1. The effect of doping is harder for the average person to determine in ball sports where technique is also very important. Cycling is like running where aerobic ability is by far the most important thing. Cycling adds recovery during stage races which makes it even more obvious.

2. Cycling's biggest scandals have been caused by police actions. The sport can't wait around for another Festina or Puerto.
valid points!
I just wish cycling could deal with the "positives" in a more concealed way without it being headline news. The constant negative publicity is detrimental to the sport on a number of levels.
The problem I have with all the criticism of todays cyclists is that all they are guilty of is accepting a culture that has probably been around as long as the sport itself simply because, like i did, they want to be professional cyclists.
No one is going to come out and say "yes i dope" and even when they are caught most of them go down kicking and screaming, protesting innocence and asking for their B sample to be tested. That always makes me chuckle
 
beroepsrenner said:
I must say I'm intrigued by why you all still follow the sport if you are so ****ed off by doping.
Following a sport avidly is about more than just the results of competition. It is more like following a soap opera. Fans obsess about everything from race routes to teams' strengths and weaknesses to rider personalities to the governing body and on and on. Doping is just one more element that adds intrigue. It is interesting because for most fans it is alien to their own cycling experience. It also offers the possibility of unexpected and sudden upheaval when a new scandal is uncovered, riders get sidelined, and the predictions about who will win upcoming races are reargued.

We discuss who might be clean(ish) and who might be dirty because although many think that it is probably impossible to place high in a GT without serious doping, there appears to be some patches of daylight here and there, perhaps enough to think that there are riders trying to race clean. The riders themselves won't tell the fans the truth--even if they tried they cannot be trusted--so all the fans have to go on is piecing together scraps of available information into a story that appears to make sense.

Aside from the dope talk, it is not too hard to compartmentalize one's views while watching a race. The racing can still be appreciated even though the viewer, if he stops to think about it, knows in his heart that he is watching a pharmaceutically enhanced result.

I think there is also a hope, probably a forlorn one, that the situation will improve some day.
 
May 11, 2009
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BroDeal said:
Aside from the dope talk, it is not too hard to compartmentalize one's views while watching a race. The racing can still be appreciated even though the viewer, if he stops to think about it, knows in his heart that he is watching a pharmaceutically enhanced result.

I think there is also a hope, probably a forlorn one, that the situation will improve some day.
All this, plus it is not separate from the racing - it's intrinsic to following the racing. You need to have some understanding of the doping to fully speculate on what will happen on the road. Obviously you expect Astana to be weaker in the days running up to next week's rest day and then to get a top-up and be riding tempo over every mountain the whole day next day... so will Saxo or Evans try to ambush them on the day before? Normally you'd expect Contador to smash Armstrong to bits on the Ventoux... but will Bruyneel flush his blood bag to ensure an Armstrong victory? Is Bruyneel black-mailing Contador about his CERA re-tests from last year's Giro to ensure loyalty? Is Menchov having any luck finding a new supplier in time for the third week? Will Cancellara re-transform into a mountain goat and drag the Schlecks up Ventoux at 35kph? How can you speculate on what happens in the Tour without thinking about the doping?
 
Jul 13, 2009
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A frequently occurring reaction from (former) professional riders is discontent with the way doping is publicised. This attitude comes from two misunderstandings. These misunderstandings are:

1. The audience is stupid.

2. Professional cyclists are not responsible for their actions.

1. Contrary to what both reporters and people involved with pro cycling seem to believe, the audience following cycling is not stupid. They know there is doping, and they know there is more than is indicated by the number of positive tests. Because of that, a speech like Lance Armstrong held when he said goodbye to cycling (if only!) is easily dismissed: there is, indeed, no such thing as a miracle. The seas will not part just because you're riding a bike and water will not be turned into wine only based on the colour of one's jersey. In spite of that, cyclists again and again fail to point out these rather obvious conclusions. They seem to believe that their audience will go along with the same 'there is nothing going on' message year after year, just because everyone appears to be enthusiastic about yet another Tour de France.

What they don't realize, however, is that doping has become part of the story. It is an interesting story, and people want to know how it goes. The spectators knows they are being fooled, they just doesn't know by how many and how serious the scam is. Anyone who cannot see that this is irresistable and that there is no way to stop debates about this doesn't know people. There is ofcourse a fairly simple way to stop it: if riders would actually stop doping, the number of positives would drop to zero and there would be nothing to report. The story would come to a halt. Which brings me to the second misunderstanding.

2. Cheating during a race requires is a conscious choice on the part of the person who is cheating. Still, what seems like a devious choice from the outside, might be something of an unstoppable bandwagon from the rider's point of view. Some former riders, like Manzano, have stated that to get to a certain level, you need to use doping. Yet this does not relieve riders from their responsibility: they are the ones perpetuating the situation, and nobody else. If cyclists stopped using doping, the problem would no longer exist. Some scoff at this obvious reality, claiming that it is not so simple, but they should consider very carefully what is keeping them from behaving as ethically aware human beings. The same riders who lambast the audience for being interested in the background of doping - a completely legitimate and understandable interest - can be extremely apologetic for themselves or cyclists in general. They turn the possibility that doping can perhaps not be eradicated into a natural law stating every attempt to reduce it is doomed to fail and does more harm than good. Without ever calling out to their colleagues to do the most obvious thing and *stop doping*, ofcourse, because...well, because that is simply not done. Those three weeks are hard enough as is, and the boys can't be held responsible for what they are doing consciously out of free will anyway, right? Wrong.

Victims. In modern cyling, the riders are suffering from a victim's complex, complaining about being treated as criminals and having to suffer bad press and stringent controls. These are not reasonable complaints - the riders have had the possibility to prevent all those things themselves, yet they chose not to take the necessary steps. And yes, riders can be treated as a group, sharing responsibility, because that is exactly how they behave. It doesn't take much for a peloton to reach consensus on a subject and for the individuals to conform to what the majority wants. Obviously, groups of riders make decisions, have done so in the past, and now they are lamenting the consequences.

Investigative journalism. Added to this is the reluctance by some journalists to actually investigate the problem. In my country, the Netherlands, this is particularly obvious. Co-commentator and former rider Maarten Ducrot said yesterday that he hates speculation and lies from dubious managers (as a response to an interview with Matschiner) and that he is only interested in facts. Facts, as far as Ducrot was concerned, come from legal courts. Investigative journalism is apparently an alien concept for Ducrot. This is not surprising, since his employer, the main Dutch TV channel, has failed to uncover any facts about the case, mostly limiting itself to asking Rabobank for reactions. This attitude feeds speculation. Ofcourse nobody believes Boogerd when he says he never was in Vienna; T. Dekker would have said the same thing and look what happened to him. But because the press fails to do its duty - uncover facts - both cycling and the journalists are made to look stupid because the whole story is left to anyone's imagination. Because of this, too, assertions that 'the debate is pointless' are themselves pointless: the uncertainty will fuel speculation and perpetuates the impression that pro cyclists as a whole are not to be trusted. And they do very little to make the audience believe otherwise.

Calimero. To conclude, the complaints about the continuing attention for doping by riders are nothing but denials of the consequences of their own actions. I don't have sympathy for cyclists' 'calimero complex'.

Thank you,
Jonathan.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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excellent posts from BroDeal and Jonathon!!
I felt it was pointless to speculate on who was and wasnt doping simply by looking at results. The real debate should be about how doping could be eliminated from the sport completely. Im not sure that it can as cheating is human nature.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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^^ Your last line sums it up completely. Where there is money, fame and human beings, there will be cheats.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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At the end of the day we are just professional entertainers. As long as the public are happy with the spectacle life will go on.
You know there are worse things i've seen happen in professional cycling than the doping that occurs now.
Professional wrestling is a total sham but people still pay to watch it dont they.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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unsheath said:
^^ Your last line sums it up completely. Where there is money, fame and human beings, there will be cheats.
History proofs though that money and fame isn't even required:p
Sad but true...

There are "athletes" cheating in races where you get 300 Euros for a victory...
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Jonathan said:
What they don't realize, however, is that doping has become part of the story. It is an interesting story, and people want to know how it goes. The spectators knows they are being fooled, they just doesn't know by how many and how serious the scam is. Anyone who cannot see that this is irresistable and that there is no way to stop debates about this doesn't know people. There is ofcourse a fairly simple way to stop it: if riders would actually stop doping, the number of positives would drop to zero and there would be nothing to report. The story would come to a halt. Which brings me to the second misunderstanding.
I think the problem I have is that the number of positives doesn't correspond to the amount of doping going on. The way tests are necessarily structured to allow for variances in physiology allows riders and their doctors to flirt in the "grey" areas. I know the biological passport is intended to help but from what I've read the "grey" areas are still there.

Part of me would like to see them restructure the doping tests, allowing riders to dope to a precise level to at least be more honest about what is going on. Is there a way to do this? Would the playing field be a little more even? I don't know.
 

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