At what point did cycling become "clean"?

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StyrbjornSterki said:
But that only raises the question of whether all the "piano" in the pre-blood vector doping era was a choice of convenience, or whether it was a necessity driven by the lack of EPO's recuperative magic.
Several factors converged:

1. Shorter stages and ASO adding incentives to get the pace moving early.
2. Testosterone, blood transfusions, and other recovery doping.
3. EPO

No less than Sean Kelly has talked about #1 during the early minutes of TdF stage broadcasts. He called it very different racing.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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My biggest problem with the "clean era" is that I dont understand why the riders suddenly dont want to dope anymore.

Ok, maybe its possible to be competitive without doping. But still I would imagine most would want to pursue any edge they can get and do whatever it takes to win.

The only way I could see people not wanting to dope anymore would be if the risk wouldnt be worth the reward, and that doesnt look to be the case yet.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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StyrbjornSterki said:
By increasing the transport of oxygen.
Not really, no. By increasing the amount of Hgb in your blood.

StyrbjornSterki said:
I have known several people who were prescribed EPO (mostly chemo or renal failure patients), and I don't think it was given any of them to improve their split times. How could recuperation not benefit from increased O2 saturation?
I find it fascinating that you clearly have internet access but do not even try to check your facts.

Here's one: chemo lowers RBC count. EPO increases it. If your acquaintance has chemo, then EPO will help balance the loss of RBCs. Has close to nothing to do with increasing recovery or oxygen transport above baseline and a lot to do with just staying alive.

:confused:
 
Aug 10, 2010
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Dear Wiggo said:
Not really, no. By increasing the amount of Hgb in your blood.



I find it fascinating that you clearly have internet access but do not even try to check your facts.

Here's one: chemo lowers RBC count. EPO increases it. If your acquaintance has chemo, then EPO will help balance the loss of RBCs. Has close to nothing to do with increasing recovery or oxygen transport above baseline and a lot to do with just staying alive.

:confused:
So EPO does not increase the transport of oxygen in the blood? Is that what you're saying?
 
Sep 29, 2012
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MarkvW said:
So EPO does not increase the transport of oxygen in the blood? Is that what you're saying?
Pretty much, yes.

EPO does not carry oxygen. Neither do reticulocytes. Hgb does. Taking EPO does not guarantee Hgb, it only assists in the production of reticulocytes.

Pedantically, EPO triggers increase in reticulocyte production. Whether that increases the transport of oxygen or not is dependent on a number of other factors. ie if the Hgb do not get produced (retics --> Hgb) - for example due to lack of iron - no increase in oxygen transport will take place.

In the cases cited by StyrbjornSterki - ie chemo and renal failure - EPO is being given to increase the Hgb lost due to other factors, bringing it back to baseline. The renal (kidney) failure is an indicator because EPO is made in the kidneys. If your kidney fails, pretty good bet your EPO production is going down, right? Once again, EPO is being provided to bring EPO levels back to baseline, so Hgb production is maintained.

So the patients can live.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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The patients (mentioned above) are not getting increased (from baseline) O2 transport. They are simply attempting to get it back to "normal".

Because here's the thing. Take extra EPO (above your body's natural levels), and your body will stop producing its own.
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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the sceptic said:
My biggest problem with the "clean era" is that I dont understand why the riders suddenly dont want to dope anymore.

Ok, maybe its possible to be competitive without doping. But still I would imagine most would want to pursue any edge they can get and do whatever it takes to win.

The only way I could see people not wanting to dope anymore would be if the risk wouldnt be worth the reward, and that doesnt look to be the case yet.
Sceptic. Let's do a thought experiment.

Let's say you have a rider. You inform each of them that a new, entirely legal piece of equipment has been invented to improve their bikes. One way or another it leads to a small but significant conservation of energy, thus improving performance,and its entirely legal, and that it will given them an advantage over the rest of the peloton.

We know that will improve a rider's chance of winning. What would the uptake be?

Close to 100%, probably. Maybe not 100 - a few will simply not like change, but the vast majority will do so. As they did, eventually with tri-bars, come to think of it

Now let's tell the same rider that we have the ability to take out a contract, Gangster style, on a close rival, and for a small and non-traceable down payment, he;s going over a cliff on the next mountain.

We know that will improve a rider's chance of winning. What would the uptake be?

close to 0%, probably. Maybe not 0%; there's always a psycho willing to do anything, in any sport, but I'd hazard a guess that even among all those alpha makes (and females) most aren't actually murderers. Maybe it's fear of getting caught. maybe it's morality, even in an alpha male.

Certainly there's no trail of murdered cyclists to suggest otherwise.

So can we say with some degree of confidence that riders will do some things, not others, to improve chances of winning? and that the main drivers over what a rider will do are basically fear, or lack of fear, of getting caught(landis) or self harming (Di luca), peer pressure(dombrowski) and moral disagreement with doping(lemond).

I'm not stupid enough to think the peloton is clean. That's an impossiblity in any sport. But if you chance the factors i listed, in any way, you must, realistically change the probability of any particular rider doping - the key then is to come up with enough systems to positively influence those factors.

It may be possible to avoid the tests; but there is a steady trickle of relatively big names, as well as small fry, who don't - and that's not to mention the current 'outings' from the dark ages. Maybe that realistic fear is enough to keep a greater number on the straight and narrow than previously, who knows.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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I agree with your thought experiment in theory Martin.

However, I do think that doping is very close to the tri-bar, and very far away from murdering someone. (except possibly yourself of course). Of course doping isnt legal, however it is part of the game and something that "everyone" does so it hardly even counts as cheating (in the athletes minds).

So can we say with some degree of confidence that riders will do some things, not others, to improve chances of winning? and that the main drivers over what a rider will do are basically fear, or lack of fear, of getting caught(landis) or self harming (Di luca), peer pressure(dombrowski) and moral disagreement with doping(lemond).

I'm not stupid enough to think the peloton is clean. That's an impossiblity in any sport. But if you chance the factors i listed, in any way, you must, realistically change the probability of any particular rider doping - the key then is to come up with enough systems to positively influence those factors
.

I agree with all of this. But as I said I think in the current environment there isnt enough risk to avoid most riders doping. However the 4 year bans, Cookson outsourcing the anti-doping is something. Although for the sport to be 100% clean, there would have to be some sort of permanent monitoring of all pro-tour riders 24 hours a day all year long I think.
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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the sceptic said:
I agree with your thought experiment in theory Martin.

However, I do think that doping is very close to the tri-bar, and very far away from murdering someone. (except possibly yourself of course). Of course doping isnt legal, however it is part of the game and something that "everyone" does so it hardly even counts as cheating (in the athletes minds).

.

I agree with all of this. But as I said I think in the current environment there isnt enough risk to avoid most riders doping. However the 4 year bans, Cookson outsourcing the anti-doping is something. Although for the sport to be 100% clean, there would have to be some sort of permanent monitoring of all pro-tour riders 24 hours a day all year long I think.
I'm not sure we agree here, but we're certainly not very far apart either. I agree doping used to be VERY close to the tribar. Then there was a chance in 99 after Festina, which and his ilk destroyed. Arguably post Landis-Armstrong (and really, the whole period between is one great sore) another chance arises, but with WADA now functioning, etc.

so where it is now, only history will tell, i suspect.

But there's always hope - the blood passport, blunt tool though it is, is a big improvement on it's cousin, the 50% limit. Now we hear of a test that can catch certain drugs up to six months later. If true, in theory, that only needs to be tested maybe two, three times a year then to have some confidence.

Plus, in a world we can all already wear GPS chipped wristbands, it's not beyond human wit in the medium for a system far more comprehensive and difficult to dodge than the one hour window, where a rider is ALWAYS locatable.

p.s. to me doping's nothing close to murder. But it's close kin to high end fraud, drug trafficking, and in some cases witness intimidation, blackmail and assault - that's plenty enough for me!
 
the sceptic said:
. However the 4 year bans, Cookson outsourcing the anti-doping is something. Although for the sport to be 100% clean, there would have to be some sort of permanent monitoring of all pro-tour riders 24 hours a day all year long I think.
Well, the UCI currently claims the ampu is 'independent' of the uci, but we've seen numerous examples where the apmu exec Saugy is going to great lengths to manage doping controversy for the uci.

The four year ban is good, but we have to wait and see what kind of leader Reedie/new IOC leader is. We may see even fewer positives.
 
the sceptic said:
I agree with all of this. But as I said I think in the current environment there isnt enough risk to avoid most riders doping.
I don't think there will ever be enough risk for most riders not to dope. If you caught even 90% of dopers, the 10% who slipped through would be earning far more money than whoever was riding clean. The winner-take-all nature of cycling, and the ultimate power of blood vector doping, means that the money will always flow to those willing to risk cheating. Riders like Cobo come to mind, from invisible domestique to GT winner --- what effect do you think that has on earning potential? Drugs pretty much take you from zero to hero. So the expected value of riding clean is roughly zero, while the expected value of riding dirty is $n * (chance of slipping past the controls). To make it a clean peloton you have to be able to catch literally everybody.
 
proffate said:
I don't think there will ever be enough risk for most riders not to dope. If you caught even 90% of dopers, the 10% who slipped through would be earning far more money than whoever was riding clean.
I actually am a little hopeful here. There are problems not yet solved by the bio-passport. But, what can be managed by the passport can take the ridiculous entertainment out and deliver human drama for some events. Ex. we could see more human-scale one day races.

However, it's the sports federations that do not want the entertainment to stop. Check my thread about the new steroid test, "100 positives.." There's a powerful test that could sanction many current world-ranked athletes, yet unless Bach ends the sport federation shenanigans, we won't see the sanctions.

And, I'd like to point out how effective WADA could be. yet, the bizarre story that NADO's aren't effective remains. They are effective if the federations would process/enforce positives. In other cases, it seems the burden of proof is intentionally high which works out nicely for managing doping controversy.
 
May 26, 2010
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Martin's theory fails.

Why because the culture is to dope and riders are very early sorted from those who are prepared to do what the teams require from those who wont.

Obree is a clear example of a guy who was not wanted because he wouldn't embrace the culture.

There will always be exemptions to the way things are done but the culture must be embraced or you will be excluded.

The culture of doping has not changed no matter how much guys like JV or Sky want us to believe. Too many make a living dealing dope to riders for one. Secondly it has always been the culture and look at who runs the teams, ex dopers, to see what culture they were raised in, how and in what environment they learnt their trade. Doping. We just have to look at the reaction to riders caught, the nice guys that kept quiet are welcomed back, those that shout, scream, rant or rave are rarely let back in and if so at a low level, see Rasmussen and Schumacher.

Till September cycling's anti doping chief of police was McQuaid. That tells us everything we need to know about the doping culture that is pervasive in the sport.

Let us see if Cookson will empower anti doping with the setting up of a properly funded independent anti doping agency that will crack down on doping and force a change, but until i see it happening the culture is to dope.
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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Benotti69 said:
Martin's theory fails.

Why because the culture is to dope and riders are very early sorted from those who are prepared to do what the teams require from those who wont.

Obree is a clear example of a guy who was not wanted because he wouldn't embrace the culture.There will always be exemptions to the way things are done but the culture must be embraced or you will be excluded.
Obree was pushed out in 1996 (according to his L'equipe interview of that year)

1996. 17 years ago.

That's pre Festina, before Armstrong had even come back never mind won. The hight of the EPO years. Before the existence of WADA. Before any EPO test.

To suggest Obree as direct evidence of the current peloton is utterly bonkers. Indeed, it has a strong grasping at straws quality to it.

The culture of doping has not changed no matter how much guys like JV or Sky want us to believe. Too many make a living dealing dope to riders for one.
Too many? How many? You state this as fact, so can we have some figures, please, on the numbers making a living from dealing sports dope?

Secondly it has always been the culture and look at who runs the teams, ex dopers, to see what culture they were raised in, how and in what environment they learnt their trade. Doping. We just have to look at the reaction to riders caught, the nice guys that kept quiet are welcomed back, those that shout, scream, rant or rave are rarely let back in and if so at a low level, see Rasmussen and Schumacher.
But that's not true. Landis toed the line, and they still shat on him. Only after that did he sing. Who gets back and who doesn't is a more complex question than that. Sadly, it still seems to have a lot to do with the culture of your fan base. But culture can change - the french used to be far more laissez faire about doping.

Till September cycling's anti doping chief of police was McQuaid. That tells us everything we need to know about the doping culture that is pervasive in the sport.
Again, that's just not really true. McQuaid was head of the sport, he wasn't chief of police or anything like that. A corrupt little turd, absolutely, but let's try and keep things factual.

Let us see if Cookson will empower anti doping with the setting up of a properly funded independent anti doping agency that will crack down on doping and force a change, but until i see it happening the culture is to dope.
Think back to the 1990's, the height of the EPO years, the year of 60%, Pantani, etc. Pantani being removed from a race for a sky high Haemo was about as bad as it got.

Now think of things, broadly, since Landis. Think Landis himself , Di Luca, Rasmussen, Contador, Valverde, Basso, Ullrich, even, eventually, Armstrong, Hincapie and the lads. All boys from the top end of the sport, all pinged, all banned, many losing big titles, several careers over, several reputations in bits. Unheard of in the '80's or even the '90s.

Contador lost two years and a tour for frankly less than cost Sean Kelly 10 minutes in a race. The idea of the peloton staging strikes AGAINST testing and anti-doping sounds farcical now, but that's exactly what was happening then in the wake of Festina.

Are things perfect? Of course not. If anything, Festina and Puerto proved the need for allowing/promoting police involvement in other countries - 'cos it works. The change from 2 to four years for first offences is long overdue, and it should have been UCI pushing, not IAAF, who now get to look serious without suffering half the pain that cycling has - yet.

But to ignore the reality of change and evolution, and the possibility of more, is not a response to facts, or to the current peloton, flawed as it may be - it's casting the sins of the fathers on the heads of the sons.

So no, my theory doesn't fail.
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
Good answer, 42x16.

We should have a stickied FAQ thread, IMO. And this question can go first.
Agree 100% on both points, guys.

One of the particular unpleasant little careers is the 'sports ethicists' arguing for allowing doping. Makes the blood boil.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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martinvickers said:
...
It may be possible to avoid the tests; but there is a steady trickle of relatively big names, as well as small fry, who don't - and that's not to mention the current 'outings' from the dark ages. Maybe that realistic fear is enough to keep a greater number on the straight and narrow than previously, who knows.
corruption is also exposed once in while. is corruption now decreasing? contrary, mv, contrary.

look at the garmin clan, levi, hincapie, hesjedal, jv, etc. all exposed but nonetheless got rich doping. i see those examples as encouraging rather than decouraging doping.

your thought experiment is characterized by extreme underestimation of both the motives AND the methods to dope.
 
I liked this quote from Velonews.

Despite the disorganisation in cycling and the total lack of leadership when did everyone get together and decide to stop doping?

One must accept that a sport that was rife with doping, cheating, bribing, cutting corners, criminals, junkies, pushers, thugs, and other nefarious characters suddenly and abruptly righted itself.

One must believe that this happened in a span of three, four, five years max.

One must believe this quantum leap has occurred thanks to the biological passport in 2008. That it arose via change from within. That there truly exists an unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” among the teams to race clean.

That riders, sport directors, soigneurs, mechanics, bus drivers, and even journalists, who all lapped up tainted milk from the teat of doping, would and could change their colors in a very narrow span of time, without discussion or agreement, barely even acknowledging the errors of their collective past.

That it just — ping! — happened.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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hrotha said:
That line of reasoning is silly. Doping diminishes when the risk/reward ratio is reduced. Simple as. No morals necessarily involved.
indeed.
and the problem is that there is much much more money being invested in reducing the risks than there is in increasing the risks.
the money available for antidoping is an utter joke. Sportsbodies know this but don't act upon it.
there's so much money involved in topsports, the reward for creating a risk-free program is obvious.
What's the risk for the doctors, the DSs, the dealers?
What's the risk for a brainless cyclist? At worst he stays as poor as he was before. Most of these guys would work as plummers if not for topsport and are more than willing to take the chance.
 
May 26, 2010
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martinvickers said:
Obree was pushed out in 1996 (according to his L'equipe interview of that year)

1996. 17 years ago.

That's pre Festina, before Armstrong had even come back never mind won. The hight of the EPO years. Before the existence of WADA. Before any EPO test.
And nothing has changed. The culture is to dope. EPO test is easily beaten by those with a decent IQ.

martinvickers said:
Stop with this crap line of thought.

martinvickers said:
Too many? How many? You state this as fact, so can we have some figures, please, on the numbers making a living from dealing sports dope?
Show me where they have gone away? BMC soigneur caught with hundreds of vials is proof of the culture. Mantova investigation is proof of the ongoing culture.

martinvickers said:
But that's not true. Landis toed the line, and they still shat on him. Only after that did he sing. Who gets back and who doesn't is a more complex question than that. Sadly, it still seems to have a lot to do with the culture of your fan base. But culture can change - the french used to be far more laissez faire about doping.
Landis didn't toe the line. He screamed and shouted about his positive. If he didn't make such a fuss he would be still in the peloton.

martinvickers said:
Again, that's just not really true. McQuaid was head of the sport, he wasn't chief of police or anything like that. A corrupt little turd, absolutely, but let's try and keep things factual.
Factually UCI are in charge of anti doping. McQuaid failing to release Contador's positive for Clen is proof. If a German jounalist didn't get a leak Contador's clen might never have seen the light of day!


martinvickers said:
Think back to the 1990's, the height of the EPO years, the year of 60%, Pantani, etc. Pantani being removed from a race for a sky high Haemo was about as bad as it got.

Now think of things, broadly, since Landis. Think Landis himself , Di Luca, Rasmussen, Contador, Valverde, Basso, Ullrich, even, eventually, Armstrong, Hincapie and the lads. All boys from the top end of the sport, all pinged, all banned, many losing big titles, several careers over, several reputations in bits. Unheard of in the '80's or even the '90s.

Contador lost two years and a tour for frankly less than cost Sean Kelly 10 minutes in a race. The idea of the peloton staging strikes AGAINST testing and anti-doping sounds farcical now, but that's exactly what was happening then in the wake of Festina.
That is list that is not comparable.

martinvickers said:
Are things perfect? Of course not. If anything, Festina and Puerto proved the need for allowing/promoting police involvement in other countries - 'cos it works. The change from 2 to four years for first offences is long overdue, and it should have been UCI pushing, not IAAF, who now get to look serious without suffering half the pain that cycling has - yet.

But to ignore the reality of change and evolution, and the possibility of more, is not a response to facts, or to the current peloton, flawed as it may be - it's casting the sins of the fathers on the heads of the sons as a matter of puritanical conviction.

So no, my theory doesn't fail..
The culture of doping in the sport has always been miles ahead of the tests.
Your post does nothing to dismiss that.

We have incredibly skinny riders climbing and tting in a way that is not natural nor believable. We have a team claiming to be clean yet not demonstrating any tranparency apart from stupid snippets from a book that is laughable at best about mechanics working in the dry, a nutella ban, no beer on rest days but champagne on race nights yada yada.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Benotti69 said:
Show me where they have gone away? BMC soigneur caught with hundreds of vials is proof of the culture. Mantova investigation is proof of the ongoing culture.
what i find a striking piece of proof of the ongoing doping culture is the fact that the protour teams still don't care a single **** about true transparency.

If there was any such thing as a clean cycling culture, teams, DSs and riders would be fighting for transparency.

Stokes hit the nail on the head pointing out the hollowness of Brailsford's promises wrt transparency.
 
Apr 20, 2012
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sniper said:
Stokes hit the nail on the head pointing out the hollowness of Brailsford's promises wrt transparency.
Transperancy and cycling, big lolz here.

I remember the 1994 Mont Ventoux stage at the Tour where dear Eros Ramozotti, uhhh, Poli crawled to the top of Mont Ventoux. I think at one point he was riding at about six kilometres an hour, perhaps ten. Thirty minutes later the EPO filled pack started the climb to Ventoux, Indurain had already won the Tour by then after his annihillation at Hautacam - EPO POWERRRRRR - and let Pantani have his silly attack. About a kilometre before Chalet Reynard Indurain paced himself and cycled to the top in his own tempo. UCI and the Societe de Tour de France [no ASO back then, not sure about that] thought that year it would be fun to show how fast the cyclists were riding LIVE, well, when Indurain reached chalet Reynard and moved to the moonscape of Ventoux he was riding at the speed of 27k per hour :eek:.

Somehow we never saw that kind of transperancy again...

Here you go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tFM7wcMiPdI#t=3476

The fun in that video starts at minute 58.

Transperancy and UCI, well, never seen that after, lol.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Fearless Greg Lemond said:
Transperancy and cycling, big lolz here.

I remember the 1994 Mont Ventoux stage at the Tour where dear Eros Ramozotti, uhhh, Poli crawled to the top of Mont Ventoux. I think at one point he was riding at about six kilometres an hour, perhaps ten. Thirty minutes later the EPO filled pack started the climb to Ventoux, Indurain had already won the Tour by then after his annihillation at Hautacam - EPO POWERRRRRR - and let Pantani have his silly attack. About a kilometre before Chalet Reynard Indurain paced himself and cycled to the top in his own tempo. UCI and the Societe de Tour de France [no ASO back then, not sure about that] thought that year it would be fun to show how fast the cyclists were riding LIVE, well, when Indurain reached chalet Reynard and moved to the moonscape of Ventoux he was riding at the speed of 27k per hour :eek:.

Somehow we never saw that kind of transperancy again...

Here you go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tFM7wcMiPdI#t=3476

The fun in that video starts at minute 58.

Transperancy and UCI, well, never seen that after, lol.
great memory. excellent point.
have they really stopped showing speeds uphil after that year? i wasn't even aware, but it makes sense.

gotta love the reaction of the commentators
"27 km/h, es enorme, que va!"
 
Apr 20, 2012
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sniper said:
great memory. excellent point.
have they really stopped showing speeds uphil after that year? i wasn't even aware, but it makes sense.

gotta love the reaction of the commentators
"27 km/h, es enorme, que va!"
I cant recall live climbing speeds. I can be mistaken. The closest it comes is in the Vuelta where they show the grade of the climb live.

It would be very interesting though, live speeds, wattages.
Benotti69 said:
After Pantani passes the Tom Simpson monument the camera focuses on the monument. 10 years later Pantani gone!
Yep. L'histoire ce repete.
 
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