Christophe Le Mevel & Sandy Casar: Are we seeing a cleaner Peloton

I am impressed by Christophe Le Mevel. He is now 7th on GC and arrived in the leading group on stage 16. I knew Sandy Casar was very good but he is now feeling more comfortable in the mountains.

I know we still have the Mont Ventoux to go but are we seeing a cleaner (Not Clean) peloton, or the tour route is just too easy. Or maybe there is something about these two riders that we don't know off.

BTW. Look at all the Garmin guys in front. I can accept maybe one guy being on the juice behind the curtains, but three in the leading group is probably a good sign.

I don't want to start a fight here or be bashed for these comments. I just want to hear what other people think about these thoughts.

Thanks.
 
I agree with what you are saying, I would really like to believe we are seeing a cleaner peloton.

However, this Tour has been very easy and why so many are close in the GC. With 5 days left, the top 10 are still all within 5minutes which I dont believe I have ever witnessed before. The route has not been tough enough to spread the field. Tomorrow might change things.

Part of the reason, Le Mevel is in the top 10 is because he gained over 5 minutes in a break but has rode well since, Casar likewise but overall the French have been doing better which I take as a good sign and have posted elsewhere.

As someone who is realistic but optimistic about the doping issue, I would really like to believe the performances of Garmin are clean, Paul Kimmage gave them the seal of approval last year so I tend to believe what he thinks but would be intersted to hear what he thinks on Wiggins. Havent found anything on the internet.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic, Sastres strange comments the other day even made me think he was somehow alluding to doping.
 
pmcg76 said:
As someone who is realistic but optimistic about the doping issue, I would really like to believe the performances of Garmin are clean, Paul Kimmage gave them the seal of approval last year so I tend to believe what he thinks but would be intersted to hear what he thinks on Wiggins. Havent found anything on the internet.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic, Sastres strange comments the other day even made me think he was somehow alluding to doping.
Am a huge fan of Kimmage, and from having read his stuff over the years, I know he is a big fan of Wiggins, both as a cyclist and person. He completey believes in him, and has done for the past few years. However, I am looking forward to what he'll say about Bradley after the Tour. One thing about Bradley, he is always been very anti-doping, which is great to see. But I'll never understand his eagerness to have Lance back from retirement when the news first came out.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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On the surface it appears to be cleaner. Le Mevel did well to rejoin the front group although it was an overly inflated group by the summit. Wiggins looked like he was having a picnic today. Seemed far from his limit, but then again most of the guys weren't pushing it after the initial attacks transpired.
 
pmcg76 said:
I agree with what you are saying, I would really like to believe we are seeing a cleaner peloton.

However, this Tour has been very easy and why so many are close in the GC. With 5 days left, the top 10 are still all within 5minutes which I dont believe I have ever witnessed before. The route has not been tough enough to spread the field. Tomorrow might change things.

Part of the reason, Le Mevel is in the top 10 is because he gained over 5 minutes in a break but has rode well since, Casar likewise but overall the French have been doing better which I take as a good sign and have posted elsewhere.

As someone who is realistic but optimistic about the doping issue, I would really like to believe the performances of Garmin are clean, Paul Kimmage gave them the seal of approval last year so I tend to believe what he thinks but would be intersted to hear what he thinks on Wiggins. Havent found anything on the internet.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic, Sastres strange comments the other day even made me think he was somehow alluding to doping.
Good points:

- Easy Route
- Breakaways

Still hard to understand the conditions of Sastre and Evans who have been struggling in the mountains. Maybe it is just coincidence and they are just in the decline phase of their athlete's lives.

Can you point me to the Sastre's comments?
Thanks.
 
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At least it gives hope. It's a nonsense talk that french riders train less than the others or have old methods. Once the greatest cycling nation would just suddenly forget how to train right? C'mon. They were still good in the 90's and were on the same stuff that everybody else was on. And after the Festina affair they suddenly started to suck.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
Good points:

- Easy Route
- Breakaways

Still hard to understand the conditions of Sastre and Evans who have been struggling in the mountains. Maybe it is just coincidence and they are just in the decline phase of their athlete's lives.

Can you point me to the Sastre's comments?
Thanks.
Could it be that they 'gave up' and make a statement, 'hey we don't stand a chance against any of those, because they are on something and we refuse to play that game'. Evans came in with the main group, around 29m behind, while the TdF is basically the one and only goal in his season. :confused:

I'd like to see Sastre's comments as well. It's interesting to see that he has 'reclaimed' his steady spot as a GC top 10-15 rider the year after he won the TdF. He actually lost time in the mountains, his favourite terrain, and where he should be able to take back time. It's even the third week, normally the week he is at his best...

Kirchen, last year's number 8 is nowhere and Menchov, after his Giro performance, hasn't been of old either. Is that because they got scared and abandoned medical assistance? Or are they throwing in the towl, and refuse to play the game it's played this year?

(or more individually, are some of them afraid, abandon their program, ie Menchov, while Evans throws in the towl refusing to play this game, while Kirchen suffered too much from his early season injury?)

Are the 'new' guys, like Wiggins, Armstrong, Contador, Kloeden so much better than last year's top 10 guys? Are the old guys, like Vandevelde, F and A Schleck, so much better compared to last year. Kreuziger and Nibali, both rookies, lost 13m and 28m respectively last year, while this year they are 11m and 6m behind.

Has Sastre blown his chances by going full out in the Giro?

If this year's race is 'easier', I don't understand how we can see Evans, Sastre, Menchov and Kirchen to lose so much time...
 
All good points, and I tend to surmise the same.

Bala Verde said:
Evans came in with the main group, around 29m behind, while the TdF is basically the one and only goal in his season.
I think you bring up a really good point. Especially as the course should have really suited him with it's gentle mountain stages. Is something wrong with Cadel, as in sickness? Or has he "thrown in the towel" on doping, and riding clean, like Denny Menchov likely is (and 48 minutes back now)?

One great bit of news here is that Marc Sergeant is fully supporting Cadel and his team, and says Lotto as a sponsor is as well. It's great to see a DS like this, and not like Mark Ball of RR who demands results or else. In an era when cleaning up the sport, if mostly from the worst doping - for reputation, is paramount, one way to do this is to support clean riding, even if the riders don't win every time. This alone is worthy of a new thread at some point.

Sastre has a reputation of being one of the cleaner riders in the sport, so I'd like to know his thoughts when this is all over. Though it does look like he peaked his season at Monte Petrano. I'll dig to see if I can find what he said, but it did read like he was implying the sport was cleaner, but some people (as in those ahead of him?) were not playing by those same unwritten rules.
 
Jun 24, 2009
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The point made about demanding wins is an interesting one. The philosophy you advocate, of standing behind riders regardless of results and not demanding wins, is one that I've heard Vaughters mention in many an interview. I know they came in this year with a "time to win" mantra, but I still can't see them abandoning a rider for lack of results e.g. Tom Danielson. So I very much agree with you that team attitude and expectations are as important as internal testing and team history.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
Could it be that they 'gave up' and make a statement, 'hey we don't stand a chance against any of those, because they are on something and we refuse to play that game'. Evans came in with the main group, around 29m behind, while the TdF is basically the one and only goal in his season. :confused:
Indeed. It could be sour grapes and a baseless accusation.

On the other hand, they were probably in the 50 who were targeted for testing, because they're major contenders. Maybe they were "scared straight?" (quoting Alpe d'Huez regarding Menchov in another thread)

I'd like to see Sastre's comments as well. It's interesting to see that he has 'reclaimed' his steady spot as a GC top 10-15 rider the year after he won the TdF. He actually lost time in the mountains, his favourite terrain, and where he should be able to take back time. It's even the third week, normally the week he is at his best...

Kirchen, last year's number 8 is nowhere and Menchov, after his Giro performance, hasn't been of old either. Is that because they got scared and abandoned medical assistance? Or are they throwing in the towl, and refuse to play the game it's played this year?

(or more individually, are some of them afraid, abandon their program, ie Menchov, while Evans throws in the towl refusing to play this game, while Kirchen suffered too much from his early season injury?)
I find it interesting that you're willing to believe that Kirchen and Menchov may have abandoned their hypothetical doping programs... but not willing to believe that Evans and Sastre may have been doped before and are clean now.

Evans raced for Mapei and there may or may not be suspicions of systematic doping... and T-Mobile (organized doping).

Sastre raced for ONCE. Enough said.

Are the 'new' guys, like Wiggins, Armstrong, Contador, Kloeden so much better than last year's top 10 guys? Are the old guys, like Vandevelde, F and A Schleck, so much better compared to last year. Kreuziger and Nibali, both rookies, lost 13m and 28m respectively last year, while this year they are 11m and 6m behind.

Has Sastre blown his chances by going full out in the Giro?

If this year's race is 'easier', I don't understand how we can see Evans, Sastre, Menchov and Kirchen to lose so much time...
Sastre may have blown his chances by riding the Giro all out. Not just all out but with the legs set to "ridiculous speed" on a couple stages... which probably hampered his chances overall in the Giro.

Sastre and Menchov peaked early.

Kirchen... scared straight? I've never really been able to get behind him as a fan.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
One great bit of news here is that Marc Sergeant is fully supporting Cadel and his team, and says Lotto as a sponsor is as well. It's great to see a DS like this, and not like Mark Ball of RR who demands results or else. In an era when cleaning up the sport, if mostly from the worst doping - for reputation, is paramount, one way to do this is to support clean riding, even if the riders don't win every time. This alone is worthy of a new thread at some point.
+2

I don't know if Evans is clean, but maintaining rider support in the face of a bad result is critical in promoting an anti-doping environment.

Sastre has a reputation of being one of the cleaner riders in the sport, so I'd like to know his thoughts when this is all over. Though it does look like he peaked his season at Monte Petrano. I'll dig to see if I can find what he said, but it did read like he was implying the sport was cleaner, but some people (as in those ahead of him?) were not playing by those same unwritten rules.
:confused: Really...? I had no idea that was the case.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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dienekes88 said:
Indeed. It could be sour grapes and a baseless accusation.
I don't think I understand what you are saying in reference to my comment about Evans' performance in this TdF and especially today's stage. I am sour about what and who in particular am I accusing?

To me it just seems strange that both Schlecks, Wiggins (Giro), Armstrong (Giro), Kloeden, Contador and even Nibali and Kreuziger outride a former TdF winner (Sastre) and runner up (Evans) with such 'ease' on their not unfavoured type of terrain - uphill - when it is/was one of their main goals of the season, the parcours is considered 'easier' compared to the Giro's as well as compared to last year's TdF.

On the other hand, they were probably in the 50 who were targeted for testing, because they're major contenders. Maybe they were "scared straight?" (quoting Alpe d'Huez regarding Menchov in another thread)
I mentioned the 'scared straight' argument a couple of posts before as well. If the Giro did Sastre in, why is Evans underperforming. He did not ride the Giro. In this year's Dauphine Contador followed his wheel, but today Evans just let it slip away, as evidenced by the 29m.

I find it interesting that you're willing to believe that Kirchen and Menchov may have abandoned their hypothetical doping programs... but not willing to believe that Evans and Sastre may have been doped before and are clean now.
You are probably misreading or misinterpreting my post. I never implied that Evans and Sastre never doped before. They might as well have decreased their doping efforts, since they were last year's top dogs, and are quite possibly heavily scrutinized.

Re Sastre, many seem to believe he is one of the cleaner riders, that's why I used his performance as a litmus test against which other performances could be measured. It seems odd that last year's TdF winner is unable to hold his former teammates' wheel, and lose so much time in stages that would favour his ability.

Could it be that

A) he was doped last year as much as any other rider - as Kohl implied, the whole top 10 - and based on last year's performance, he is targeted much more, which have limited his ways to use any doping. Hence his performance this year is off due to his inability/fear to dope and/or due to his Giro peak.

B) he was only slightly doped last year (and perhaps in all of his preceding years), and his innate abilities as a cyclist made him surface among cyclists who doped less as well. In other words, last year could have been a cleaner tour and he demonstrated he was the better/best rider when fighting with equal weapons. His lack of performance this year could thus be attributed to his giro peak, and the fact that others have increased their doping efforts, while he had to decrease them or kept them at the same level as last year. Pointing to the fact that this year's TdF is fought with unequal weapons.

That's why I was interested in reading what he had said about this year's TdF, ie that he believes that the ones before him are more heavily doped than last year.

He is 11 minutes behind, and that puts him back in the spot where he always was, top 10-15. Are all of the people before him that much better cyclists? Is he tired from the Giro? Are others doping more and/or is he doping less? Was last year an outlier, or was it a better reflection of cyclists ability than in previous years.

Evans' case is even more intriguing, because he did not ride the Giro, so he could not have suffered from 'overpeaking'. He quite comfortably rode with Contador in the Dauphine. Are the others better cyclists? Are others doping more? Is he doping less? Is he sick? Last year he came in second after he seemingly suffered from a crash, so he must be really sick to forsake a good GC this year...

Menchov battled it out with recent doping violator Di Luca, and won. Last year he came in 4th, right behind convicted doper Kohl. His name was mentioned many times in re Humanplasma. Could that have scared him straight? Based on last year's performance, he rode the Giro in prep to the TdF, how come his performance this year is so completely unlike last year. He won the Giro, but shouldn't he have been closer to a top 15-20 spot this year, given his so called 'ability to grow over 2 tours'? That's what the RAB doctor(s) said when they turned to the strategy of doing the Giro in prep to the Tdf, as they had noticed he had the ability to grow/peak better during the Vuelta after doing a hard race, such as the TdF.

Kirchen, last year he came in 8th. This year he hasn't survived a single mountain stage. Is this due to increased testing as a former top 10 rider. Is it because he was injured early on in the season (and how does that compare to Vandevelde's injury suffered in the Giro).

Granted, the Schlecks, Nibali and Kreuziger did not ride the Giro, so they should be really on form now. Wiggins and Armstrong used the 'Menchov' preparation, and did the Giro to build form for the TdF. They probably never dug too deep, whereas Menchov dug deep a couple of times to secure the win.
 
May 6, 2009
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I don't think Evans was doping at Telekom/T-Mobile, or if he was, it wasn't part of any team organized doping (sort of like Livingston expected when he went to Telekom), since he wasn't from East Germany (like Ullrich, Kloden, Zabel, Kessler I think) or at least German since he was very much the odd man out at Telekom/T-Mobile. Mind you breaking your collarbone 3 times in one season doesn't help you ou.

I'm not sure about Bobby Julich, Santiago Botero (he was named in OP), or Paolo Savoldelli since they were basically in the same boat as Evans (ie they were outsiders).
 
IMHO:

1- Sastre: He is getting old and a little tired from the Giro. He did not have to attack like that at the base of the Rome Mountain. If he had not attacked like that he would probably have fared better towards the end. He is not that young anymore to be doing those attacks, it is hard to recuperate quickly.

2- Menchov. I agree on Bala on this. He is being targeted by the UCI / WADA for his so called involvement with the Human Plasma Ring in Austria. He really eased off (Cut it) on the doping. His past performances don't merit the belief that he is tired from the Giro. Although it could be a possibility, in this case, I don't think so.

3- Evans. Based on his performance I think he is sick or something related with any illness. I don’t see any other reason.

4- Astana, Saxo Bank, Liquigas. Clearly above everybody else’s performances on the tour. What is new with these teams? Nothing. Same old, same old. When it comes to Astana is funny how the love for a rider (Armstrong) can blind people's perception that only one or two riders can be doped but not their favorite rider. In Astana everything seems to be organized and collective, at least the top dogs.

5- Garmin. Benefit of the doubt. The problem is, if I point at the other teams and say they are doping, then I have to ask myself why is Garmin keeping up with all the other teams? So definitely "Doping by Association" is the question to ask. For the moment, we'll see the numbers from them in the TT and Mont Ventoux.

6- What about the French. It is not a good sign when we have to take the reference of the performance of the riders of a Country to gauge the doping practices of the Peloton. But history has shown us that it is a good reference. Again it is a good indication of a cleaner peloton, but we can not conclude more from it. Again, there is a small group of riders clearly superior to everybody else in this tour.


Chao.
 
May 6, 2009
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Ex-Silence Lotto pro Nick Gates was on SBS last night and he said it is near impossible to do the Giro-Tour double (ie win them both). Gates said it was possible to do both if you use the Giro as training. I guess that is why Pellizotti came unstuck when he wanted a high GC place. At this stage I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
 
Here is a related question, in this decade(last 5 yrs in particular) with all the drug problems, positives, busts etc. How many riders from Boguyes Telecom, AG2R or Lfdjeux or Agritubel have ever tested positive or even been related to a scandal like Puerto. I know Cofidis have had their problems but I am struggling to think of anybody from these other teams, can everybody help me on this, please. Surely this is not just a matter of coincidence.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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pmcg76 said:
Here is a related question, in this decade(last 5 yrs in particular) with all the drug problems, positives, busts etc. How many riders from Boguyes Telecom, AG2R or Lfdjeux or Agritubel have ever tested positive or even been related to a scandal like Puerto. I know Cofidis have had their problems but I am struggling to think of anybody from these other teams, can everybody help me on this, please. Surely this is not just a matter of coincidence.
Moreau was targeted last year with Agritubel and so pulled out with a mysterious should injury as he knew they were onto him
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Didn't France have a better anti-doping regulatory framework than most other countries? Does anyone have a chronological overview of what happened after the Tour of 98 in terms of regulations and laws?

I did read that last year (Spring 2008), French legislature furthered their anti-doping efforts, by pushing it into the criminal sphere.

to quote velonews:

Members of Parliament adopted a new law which penalizes the possession and trafficking of doping products in sport with prison sentences and fines. Under the new measures offenders will receive up of five years in jail and a 75,000-euro fine, when it relates to drug trafficking, explained French Minister for Sport Bernard Laporte

The penalty will be increased to seven years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros when the offence is committed as part of an organized group or against a minor.

The sentence will comprise a year in prison and a 3,750-euro fine when the offence is committed by a sports person for his personal use.
Should we start a thread where we collect some info on the anti-doping laws/regulations per country, so as to have a nice point of reference?
 
Jul 19, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
Didn't France have a better anti-doping regulatory framework than most other countries? Does anyone have a chronological overview of what happened after the Tour of 98 in terms of regulations and laws?

I did read that last year (Spring 2008), French legislature furthered their anti-doping efforts, by pushing it into the criminal sphere.
It was already into criminal sphere, it was just a reinforcement of those laws and to increase possibilities of investigation by police in case of doping or doping allegation.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Only one doper this Tour

I love this forum. Finally people who understand (and generally dislike) the fact that there is still dopes in the peloton.

Are we seeing a cleaner peloton?
You betcha.

I'll start with Lance. Some think he's still on the juice, but I disagree. My thought is that he has everything to lose and nothing to gain by doping. Therefore he isn't. Plus I think that he got out of the sport because he was too close to getting caught. More importantly he got back in because he saw that it was now possible to win the Tour without doping.

Contador - Doping. I believe the TT shows that. Lance was wrong.

The Schlecks. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. And their TT performances should be a lot better if they have good drugs.

Sastre - Just possibly might have been the first clean rider to win the Tour since the early 90's.

Evans - If he's doping, he needs a new doctor.

Kloden - Probably. But since Kohl named him, he might be trying to stay clean to throw the hounds off the scent.

Well it's obvious that I rate riders Doper or Not Dopers based on their performance. So what about Bradley Wiggins, Vande Velde, and the entire High Road team then?

I wish I knew. They certainly jump up and down claiming to be drug free a lot. But they're just too good for me. On the other hand, you have to assume that Lance knows who is and who isn't doping. Maybe it was Vande Velde's performance last year that brought him back.
I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if any one of them gets caught then I think I'll give up watching the sport, cause they're all probably guilty.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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i think Evans rapid decline in performance is purely mental. he has focused for the last 2yrs effectively exclusively on the TdF and this year his race was pretty much over after the TTT... i don't think he has been able to accept that.

wiggins i believe is clean. there was an interview on cyclingnews about Wiggins which i thought explained his performance in this years TdF. basically he said in the past he didn't take the TdF seriously because he thought you needed to dope to have a chance...then last year he saw the results of VdV and knowing that VdV is clean he realised it is possible. that's when he started taking the TdF seriously.

sure it's not 'concrete' evidence - but hey it's a good story and i believe in innocent until proven guilty...
 
Ok, the Tour is over now and the French have had a decent race, LeMevel and Casar, Top 15 overall. Boguyes Telecom & Agritubel taking stage wins and AG2R holding the jersey for over a week.

I asked on this thread a few days ago about riders from these teams who have been caught or connected with doping the past 5 years. Apart from Francisco Mancebo, there have been no others which surely suggests that these teams are relatively clean so bravo on the performances in the Tour.

We should give the French more praise in their efforts to race cleanly even if results suffer, it would be really interesting to see how far they could go if everyone was as clean.

People like Hinault and others should stop slating them at every opportunity.
 

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