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Do all of the top riders do drugs or dope?

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Do all the top riders dope/ take drugs?

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Aug 6, 2009
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I Watch Cycling In July said:
The logic you present is quite convincing, but I'm still not quite convinced. I have a few nagging questions as follows:

If we assume the talent level of Kohl, Riis et al was 'pack fodder'
and the doping gains made by them is typical
and all the top riders are on a full program
then Kohl and Riis wouldn't have been able to catch up to the top riders.

So, the Kohl and Riis type examples are evidence that either:
1) there are substantial differences in the quality of program the most talented riders are on or
2) there are substantial differences in the way individuals respond to doping
All the arguments for why 'they're all doing it' presented in this thread, are weakened by one of the above.
That is a legitimate point, but I don't think it weakens the argument all that much. First of all when I say all top riders are doping, I mean all the actual top riders. I'm sure there are people who could have been top riders if they doped, or if no one doped, but aren't top riders because they don't and others do. Honestly I believe there are differences both in the programs used and in the responses, but of cause the guy who would have been number 2 in a clean race needs less gain to win than the guy who would have been number 100. The central question is if we imagine a hypothetical 100% clean race, how many would be within a needle-*** distance of the win? Obviously no definitive answer can be given, but I think the evidence suggests that there are many, and it only takes a few before the clean riders have no chance.

I dug up a reference to the studies I mentioned earlier. One of them showed gain in endurance performance of 9-17%. Now that's a big variance, but it's also some very big gains even in the lower end of the scale.
http://miketnelson.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-epo-enhance-performance.html
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Colm.Murphy said:
If nearly all cyclist are using assistance, to differing degrees of pharm needs and sophistication, then I hardly see it as "fraudulent". It is merely a reshuffle of the deck.

If you define cheating as breaking the rules so as to gain an advantage over other competitors, with the caveat that nearly all are cheating, is it cheating?

Leveling the playing field, zero-ing back to the natural baseline order is what I see. I hold no contempt for racers in this dilemma who choose to zero-out.

On the topic of fixing the issue, I agree 100% with Dr. M, taking the anti-doping away from the gov body is key. Increase the first offense sanction for blood vector doping to 3 years, but reduce to 1 year for hormone manipulation. Education on risks, penalties, better training, nurtition, etc., all will go a long way to limit those looking for the shortcut. UCI have these programs? Nada.

With the bio-passport running, it will get easier to catch those with on the blood programs. Painfully slow, like mapping a newly discovered continent, for each athlete, it is the best tool in place.

Educating the athletes about how easily they will be caught with this mapped bio-blood profile, is a strong deterrent.

There will always be cheating. Cheating is lying. There will always be liars. It is human nature. To me, it is about providing the necessary deterrents, education, re-gauging the scope of certain races, setting penalties that more closely match seriousness of the transgression. Some is being done, mostly at a glacial pace, and some if fully ignored. Keeping in mind this is a business first, sport second, and tied to the Olympic movement, which is a huge mistake, IMHO, which complicated the entire matter by casting the shadow of the most corrupt, fraudulent, and unethical organization anywhere.

1. Break from IOC / or / Create new Cycle Racing Org.

2. Create independent third-party testing/adjudication body. Reset banned substance list, hearing/appeal review, science panel, simplified rules, simplified agreement with athletes. (lots of work here, as WADA is entrenched with the labs)

3. Adopt rational anti-doping measures with focus on bio-passport, deterrence through education and reset penalty structure.

3. Re-scope racing standards, creating more rational distance/duration rules.

With those moves, professional cycling could move forward with a re-birth, and put to plot the "old ways" and "dark times".

Cycling laws state it doping as wrong and so do many of the countries laws. In saying that, the cycling laws say you are not allowed so it is fraudulent if you say you aren't but you are.
 
Cerberus said:
That is a legitimate point, but I don't think it weakens the argument all that much. First of all when I say all top riders are doping, I mean all the actual top riders. I'm sure there are people who could have been top riders if they doped, or if no one doped, but aren't top riders because they don't and others do. Honestly I believe there are differences both in the programs used and in the responses, but of cause the guy who would have been number 2 in a clean race needs less gain to win than the guy who would have been number 100. The central question is if we imagine a hypothetical 100% clean race, how many would be within a needle-*** distance of the win? Obviously no definitive answer can be given, but I think the evidence suggests that there are many, and it only takes a few before the clean riders have no chance.

I dug up a reference to the studies I mentioned earlier. One of them showed gain in endurance performance of 9-17%. Now that's a big variance, but it's also some very big gains even in the lower end of the scale.
http://miketnelson.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-epo-enhance-performance.html
+1.

Here is another link. I thought everybody in this forum had it.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/effect-of-epo-on-performance-who.html
 
Oct 29, 2009
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Cerberus said:
I have actually considered whether those kind of factors could account for it. What I did was to look at every Tour de France winner from WW2 until today. Every one of them showed early promise as a GT contender (meaning top 15 in their first couple of GTs) except for 5. One guy, whose name I've forgotten won in an Oscar Perrioro kind of way gaining lots of time in an early breakaway that people didn't think he'd be able to defend. He got results around number 50 before and after his win, but he doesn't really count for obvious reasons. the 4 remaining were Indurain, Riis, Armstrong and Landis. Riis and Landis we know doped during their win. Armstrong has, to put it mildly, been implicated, I'm not sure if Indurain has been implicated in any way, but he did ride in the EPO era. So pro-Epo no Tour winner made that kind of transformation, post-Epo 4 guys did, 2-3 of which we know for a fact doped during their win, and one who could easily have been doped.

I know Indurain supposedly had some physiological advantages that helped him, but some people use that as a euphamism for "doped to the eyeballs." I haven't seen anything that links him to dope though, not exactly looking either. One rider that came to mind while reading your response was Bradley Wiggins: not a Tour Winner, but a sudden contender. He has really showed no indication of competing for anything but a TT until the 09 Tour. I guess this is my question then: What qualifies a rider as a "top pro?" Is it only podium finishers? Is it top 5? top 10? I'd bet that the percentage of doped finishers decreases as you expand the field. Some hypothetical numbers: 50%of podium finishers doped, whereas only 25 percent of of top 5 finishers doped, and about 10% of top 10 finishers doped. You see what I'm saying?

EDIT: Basically, I don't think all top riders dope, I think some of the already top riders use it to boost themselves over that hump. Maybe that's the thing preventing Cadel Evans, CVDV, and Levi Leipheimer from winning a GT (that and Levi's totaly lack of aggression :rolleyes:)
 
Aug 6, 2009
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ImmaculateKadence said:
I know Indurain supposedly had some physiological advantages that helped him, but some people use that as a euphamism for "doped to the eyeballs." I haven't seen anything that links him to dope though, not exactly looking either.
I haven't seen anything either. I heard something about him being linked to a doping doc, but I searched and couldn't find confirmation. Still I don't think Riis has been linked to doping either until the Telecom scandal broke, excepting of cause his near confessing denial. Not being linked just isn't the same as being innocent. If you could make transformations as Indurains why didn't they happen before EPO became available? I even looked at Kelly and Jalabert despite neither of them winning the Tour, because they're riders who started out as sprinters, and I wondered whether perhaps changing your rider type could account for dramatic improvements. Even they showed better GC results than Riis, Indurain, Armstrong and Landis early. they finished around 30-40 during their first tours.
ImmaculateKadence said:
One rider that came to mind while reading your response was Bradley Wiggins: not a Tour Winner, but a sudden contender. He has really showed no indication of competing for anything but a TT until the 09 Tour.
Wiggins is definitely someone I'm suspicious of (of cause I'm suspicious of nearly everyone so..).
ImmaculateKadence said:
I guess this is my question then: What qualifies a rider as a "top pro?" Is it only podium finishers? Is it top 5? top 10? I'd bet that the percentage of doped finishers decreases as you expand the field. Some hypothetical numbers: 50%of podium finishers doped, whereas only 25 percent of of top 5 finishers doped, and about 10% of top 10 finishers doped. You see what I'm saying?
Your math is hurting my brain :p (50% of 3>25% of 5>10% of 10). Also I realize you say the numbers are hypothetical, but probably more that 10% of the top 10 finishers have been proven to have doped during the specific Tour they top 10 in, so the numbers are definitely way to low. Anaways to me top rider means podiums, minus Oscar Perrioro and similar. That's not saying that top 10 riders don't dope as well though.

ImmaculateKadence said:
EDIT: Basically, I don't think all top riders dope, I think some of the already top riders use it to boost themselves over that hump. Maybe that's the thing preventing Cadel Evans, CVDV, and Levi Leipheimer from winning a GT (that and Levi's totaly lack of aggression :rolleyes:)
Given how large the gains of doping appear to be it's just not plausible that they could come as close to winning as they have if they were clean. Doping is not a matter of seconds in a GT, it's not the difference between 1st and 2nd, it's a matter of 10s of minutes if not hours. It is, at least in some cases the difference between the autobus and the Yellow Jersey. We know that because it has happened. It's also what the laboratory trials tell us, trials in which they used less EPO than professional riders have been known to use without testing positive.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Cycling journalist Benjo Maso has claimed that Indurain did not use as much EPO as, for example, the Gewiss riders or other more fanatical experimenters. Neither did he claim Indurain was truly 100% clean, so I conclude that he took some to keep up with the new speed at which cycling was ridden, perhaps putting him somewhere between Riis and Van Hooydonk. It's just an opinion, but Maso really does know a lot about what goes on in the peloton and reliable facts are not available in these matters.
 
Jonathan said:
Cycling journalist Benjo Maso has claimed that Indurain did not use as much EPO as, for example, the Gewiss riders or other more fanatical experimenters. Neither did he claim Indurain was truly 100% clean, so I conclude that he took some to keep up with the new speed at which cycling was ridden, perhaps putting him somewhere between Riis and Van Hooydonk. It's just an opinion, but Maso really does know a lot about what goes on in the peloton and reliable facts are not available in these matters.

Indurain was a special project of Dr. Conconi. He came to Conconi's attention in the mid-80's at (if I remember right) the Tour de l'Avenir in 1986. Conconi tested him, determined that he could be a TdF winner, and designed a five year "program" to get him there.

There does not seem to be much doubt that Indurain was on the same program as Bugno, Chiappucci, and the others who were in the first wave of EPO users.
 
BroDeal said:
Indurain was a special project of Dr. Conconi. He came to Conconi's attention in the mid-80's at (if I remember right) the Tour de l'Avenir in 1986. Conconi tested him, determined that he could be a TdF winner, and designed a five year "program" to get him there.

There does not seem to be much doubt that Indurain was on the same program as Bugno, Chiappucci, and the others who were in the first wave of EPO users.
Who was the Journalist that saw Indurain exercising at midnight and thought it was weird for an athlete to be doing this at that time of the night?

Then He understood everything when he read "Breaking The Chain" by Willy Voet. It explains why when the blood thickens because of EPO the athletes have to keep the body moving in order to avoid a cardiac failure when sleeping.
 
Escarabajo said:
Who was the Journalist that saw Indurain exercising at midnight and thought it was weird for an athlete to be doing this at that time of the night?

Then He understood everything when he read "Breaking The Chain" by Willy Voet. It explains why when the blood thickens because of EPO the athletes have to keep the body moving in order to avoid a cardiac failure when sleeping.

not denying that-but also the "nocturnal training" with the medical program has to blend with his ridiculous resting heart rate (28 bpm)-otherwise he had to train with the damn whales:)
http://www.fitness-sergeant.com/heart.htm
and knowing his Vo2max, I'd be inclined to believe he wasn't as juiced up as his collegues.
 
hfer07 said:
not denying that-but also the "nocturnal training" with the medical program has to blend with his ridiculous resting heart rate (28 bpm)-otherwise he had to train with the damn whales:)

When your blood has the viscosity of tar on a cold day in the Arctic it carries so much oxygen that you don't need a high heart rate. :)
 
Aug 6, 2009
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hfer07 said:
not denying that-but also the "nocturnal training" with the medical program has to blend with his ridiculous resting heart rate (28 bpm)-otherwise he had to train with the damn whales:)
http://www.fitness-sergeant.com/heart.htm
and knowing his Vo2max, I'd be inclined to believe he wasn't as juiced up as his collegues.

EPO raises your VOmax. Which is nice for Indurain since big people have lower VOmax than small people and Indurain was a big guy.
 
Big people have larger absolute VO2Max values as a general rule.

It is more difficult for them to have as high a litre/minute/kilo values as the lighter riders, so EPO will help larger riders in hilly races.
 
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Animal said:
Big people have larger absolute VO2Max values as a general rule.

It is more difficult for them to have as high a litre/minute/kilo values as the lighter riders, so EPO will help larger riders in hilly races.

True, but it was my impression that the term VO2max generally refers to O2/kilo/minute, not the absolute VO2-max per minute. It's possible I'm wrong though. Anyway oxygen/kilo is the relevant variable for climbing which Indurain was also suspiciously good at. On a related note according to TheScienceOfSports, you really can't determine how good a GT rider a person is by measuring VO-max (by any definition) or any other physiological differences. They obviosuly all have great values, but there's essentially no correlation between how great their values and who wins GTs. http://www.sportsscientists.com/2007/11/scientisits-engineer-lance-armstrong.html
 
Mar 10, 2010
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bit random but ill say it anywayz ,,,if doping authorities found armstrongs samples positive for doping in all his tours ,,i think that because of what hes done to the sport especially the tour de france ie bringing more fans to the sport briinging more money to the sport etc and all the respect from the cancer foundation all the cancer survivivors etc.. i dont think theyd brig it out in the open theyd keep it hush it would ruin a lot of people... especialy the ones that have been sick and found inspiration from armstrong...does anyone else think like that? ...like hes won 7 tours!! seriously not 5 ...seven !!hehe.
it would change the sport forever in such a way that if hes found guilty now of doping then all these people fans etc like the ones that dont know about cycling that much they just know lance armstrong theres millions of them people around the world.
AND IF HE DOES GET ROLLED FOR DOPING ...THEN ITS A DEFINETLY YES EVERYONE WILL think THAT ALL THE PELETON in every race IS DOPED then the sport really is screwed ...like really screwed seriously!!...
so anyways if he is doping hope hes never found guilty for it anywayz....
CAUSE I JUST THINK OF THEM SICK KIDS MOTHERS FATHERS ETC THAT LOOK UP TO HIM .
 
Jul 13, 2009
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luigiV said:
...briinging more money to the sport

Which I think is part of the problem; riders wouldn't work with people like Fuentes if it wasn't worth the money. More money has meant more omerta and professionalization of doping practices.

Cause I just think of them sick kids mothers fathers etc that look up to him.

That's a bad idea. While I agree that exposing Armstrong would cause a lot of trouble, it's every person's own fault if they are hurt because of unrealistic expectations about a public figure. Ofcourse Tiger Woods cheated his wife, ofcourse Armstrong doped and naturally anyone watching their sports shouldn't have looked up to these men so much that it would seriously bother them.
 
Oct 29, 2009
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badboygolf16v said:
This article is the only thing that I've seen.

I'd be very surprised if he wasn't charged, but we don't know.

Thanks for that link. I'm always glad when somebody points out something new. I hadn't heard much of that situation; I guess nothing really came of it. Would like to know more though.

Cerberus said:
I haven't seen anything either. I heard something about him being linked to a doping doc, but I searched and couldn't find confirmation.

Have you heard anything about that link badboygolf provided?

Cerberus said:
Wiggins is definitely someone I'm suspicious of (of cause I'm suspicious of nearly everyone so..).

In the 09 Tour I remember asking myself where he came from. How did he become such a good climber? Then I thought maybe it's one stage and one big effort. What's really keeping him near the top of the GC isn't the climbing, it's the stage 1 TT and the team TT, he'll drop off toward the end, but he was always right there. He finished about a minute back on Ventoux! I never would have seen that coming. He was talking about how he changed his diet to drop weight, but that wouldn't transform your riding style, then I hear about suspicious blood values. That's when I really took notice. I'm not suspicious of everyone (as you admitted), so if I start thinking about it.....:rolleyes:

Cerberus said:
Your math is hurting my brain :p (50% of 3>25% of 5>10% of 10). Also I realize you say the numbers are hypothetical, but probably more that 10% of the top 10 finishers have been proven to have doped during the specific Tour they top 10 in, so the numbers are definitely way to low. Anaways to me top rider means podiums, minus Oscar Perrioro and similar. That's not saying that top 10 riders don't dope as well though.
Math in general hurts my brain. I fully admit to a complete mathematical deficiency and was just throwing numbers out there as an example, hoping to illustrate a point. If top riders means podium finishes, I'm sure the percentage would then increase. I would consider a top pro one that we know will contend, not necessarily win, a grand tour, but will probably win smaller stage races....but then they're still podium finishers right? :confused: Ok now my head is hurting.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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very belated reply

Cerberus said:
...First of all when I say all top riders are doping, I mean all the actual top riders. I'm sure there are people who could have been top riders if they doped, or if no one doped, but aren't top riders because they don't and others do. Honestly I believe there are differences both in the programs used and in the responses, but of cause the guy who would have been number 2 in a clean race needs less gain to win than the guy who would have been number 100...

Agree with all of that. In fact I would go as far as saying that anyone who thinks all pros are on the same program is just plain wrong.

Cerberus said:
The central question is if we imagine a hypothetical 100% clean race, how many would be within a needle-*** distance of the win? Obviously no definitive answer can be given, but I think the evidence suggests that there are many, and it only takes a few before the clean riders have no chance.

Your theory makes perfect sense. My reservation with it is unrelated to the size of the potential performance gains due to doping (of which I'm aware).

No matter how big the performance gains due to doping, if a pro of average talent gets on a full program, it's reasonable to expect that they would still be beaten by pros of greater talent, who are also on a full program. But this doesn't appear to be what happened in Kohl's case. The most obvious explanation is that he was taking more dope than the more talented riders. :eek:

This explanation totally contradicts my preconceived notions that 'they're all taking everything they can to go faster'. However, I simply can't discount the obvious without good reason.

So, I'm interested in hearing anyone's reasons as to how a middle of the peloton pro would beat nearly every more talented rider, without taking more dope than them. Perhaps the answer is that Kohl was really much more talented than middle of the peloton, so a better than average response to dope would do the trick. (Note that I'm deliberately ignoring 'statistical outlier in response to dope' type arguments, because they are too improbably to be worth pondering.)
 
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I say no but I don't really have scientific research to back it up with, I think it's more like my own quixotic, idealistic (naive) view of cycling.

You gotta believe in something, right ?! ;)
 
I Watch Cycling In July said:
Agree with all of that. In fact I would go as far as saying that anyone who thinks all pros are on the same program is just plain wrong.



Your theory makes perfect sense. My reservation with it is unrelated to the size of the potential performance gains due to doping (of which I'm aware).

No matter how big the performance gains due to doping, if a pro of average talent gets on a full program, it's reasonable to expect that they would still be beaten by pros of greater talent, who are also on a full program. But this doesn't appear to be what happened in Kohl's case. The most obvious explanation is that he was taking more dope than the more talented riders. :eek:

This explanation totally contradicts my preconceived notions that 'they're all taking everything they can to go faster'. However, I simply can't discount the obvious without good reason.

So, I'm interested in hearing anyone's reasons as to how a middle of the peloton pro would beat nearly every more talented rider, without taking more dope than them. Perhaps the answer is that Kohl was really much more talented than middle of the peloton, so a better than average response to dope would do the trick. (Note that I'm deliberately ignoring 'statistical outlier in response to dope' type arguments, because they are too improbably to be worth pondering.)

I reckon it gets down to the level they naturally start at, not so much the amount they take. Some people stand to gain a lot more by increasing their HCT levels than others would. For instance, back when Festina were all riding at 49.9 (or thereabouts), it seems logical that someone whose natural level was 39 would gain a much bigger advantage from doping than someone whose natural level was 44 - purely on % increase alone.

This may be rubbish, and I am sure someone will tell me if i am wrong..?
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Nick777 said:
I reckon it gets down to the level they naturally start at, not so much the amount they take. Some people stand to gain a lot more by increasing their HCT levels than others would. For instance, back when Festina were all riding at 49.9 (or thereabouts), it seems logical that someone whose natural level was 39 would gain a much bigger advantage from doping than someone whose natural level was 44 - purely on % increase alone.

This may be rubbish, and I am sure someone will tell me if i am wrong..?

I've also been having heretical thoughts that maybe those with better natural aerobic ability get less benefit from increased oxygen carriers in their blood. Untrained people showed much bigger improvements than trained people in some of the EPO studies. Don't know if the same trend holds true between pros of differing natural ability though, or if it's also relevant to autologous blood doping.....but it could explain everything we've observed.....hmm....
 
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I Watch Cycling In July said:
I've also been having heretical thoughts that maybe those with better natural aerobic ability get less benefit from increased oxygen carriers in their blood. Untrained people showed much bigger improvements than trained people in some of the EPO studies. Don't know if the same trend holds true between pros of differing natural ability though, or if it's also relevant to autologous blood doping.....but it could explain everything we've observed.....hmm....

I heard that in the 90's pro teams were looking for reasonably good juniors and espoir riders with LOW VO2 max scores and LOW haematocrits, the reason being that these guys would get a far greater performance increase from blood boosting, especially with the 50% limit.

If you know the LA "before and after Ferrari" data you'll know about what "good responder" is.
 
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Mongol_Waaijer said:
I heard that in the 90's pro teams were looking for reasonably good juniors and espoir riders with LOW VO2 max scores and LOW haematocrits, the reason being that these guys would get a far greater performance increase from blood boosting, especially with the 50% limit.

If you know the LA "before and after Ferrari" data you'll know about what "good responder" is.
Ya, still is that "vey" to some degree now, just more in secret.

Not all the pros are doped. Some are clean.