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Doping and cycling. How to proof a negative?

We are fans of cycling. I watched in the 90s, the 00s, 10s and now the 20s. Doping was around and possibly is around. Old climbing records are (close to) being broken. On the flats new and better equipment can explain it, on climbing it has less impact but it could explain a part. Given the history and the many disappointments, how to believe?

It's impossible for the cyclists to convince everyone and provide proof they are not doping. You cannot proof a negative. However, we can proof a positive!

While I doubt they will do this... let's theorize. Vingegaard, Pogacar, Evenepoel, Roglic, Ayuso etc. will all state they are not doping. Very well could be true. Better training, better nutrition, etc on top of sheer talent could be their reason for their amazing performance. Former cyclists were able to dope despite all the testing. Several argued the doping tests are not really doping tests but intelligence tests (applies to all sports though). They have been bypassed and methods have been widely publicized. Therefore I propose the following competition. Under supervision of expert doctors they will use doping. They can use whatever but they can't test positive in the doping tests as performed currently. Also followed by journalists for independent checks Then a large event is hosted, a mountain time trial of Alp d'huez, Tourmalet, whatever.

What will happen? Two options. One) They will blow away whatever they were able to in the current tour. They would vastly outperform themselves. To what they put out in this tour for instance or whatever in the last year. Effects of EPO etc were proven in the past and should give them such a boost. Two) they perform roughly on par with now.

What would it tell us? Let's go back to Armstrong for instance or riders earlier in the 90s. They could use amfetamines etc what was heavily used in the 80s. Or they could use EPO. However, they already were on the program so their performance wouldnt be boosted compared to what they were using. Ergo, they must be using. Then hopefully option one. That would show they are not on a big program. As now we know they are using EPO to an extent, bloodbags, whatever they can get away with under current testing regime. Doing that makes them significantly better than now. It shows they are not on such a program. Might still skirt around the edges but nothing major. We are actually watching clean cycling. Yay!

It would be a tangible way to show current cleanliness. Will it ever happen? Unfortunately very unlikely. Which only keeps hurting cycling as doping topic will just pop up continuously. Of course if it's number two - they are on a program already - they will also never do this. While of course it's already implausible they will even under option one.

Question to all posters here: would it help convince you ? Can you be convinced in any way? Personally I'd be convinced that way.
 
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I don't think it would convince me for a variety of reasons... It sounds very entertaining though, not gonna lie 😁 like the cycling version of a drag race or monster truck event. We're probably not there yet for wide acceptance of dubious medical ethics for a network to produce it.

I think there's too many variables that can be manipulated. You can't prove a negative and similarly you can't ensure riders would naturally perform at peak and give an actual comparable baseline.

I don't know how you can really demonstrate and prove you're not doping in a way that would convince skeptics. Maybe morally credible figures vouching for X and Y or a bunch of testimonials that rider Z never doped at any stage of his career... But such witnesses are few and far between for us.
 
Well, they would be motivated to perform at peak. Since if they'd do significantly better than now they'd be proving, or at least suggesting, they were now clean. So they should be hugely motivated and will have to brake for every corner because of their speed. If they don't perform better than now while being on a program... It implies they already are now.

Doctors will supervise the program and journalists embedded to publicize it after the fact. It should hugely help the anti doping effort from a science point of view but also to obtain credibility for the sport. And hugely entertaining indeed. :)
 
Well, they would be motivated to perform at peak. Since if they'd do significantly better than now they'd be proving, or at least suggesting, they were now clean. So they should be hugely motivated and will have to brake for every corner because of their speed. If they don't perform better than now while being on a program... It implies they already are now.

Doctors will supervise the program and journalists embedded to publicize it after the fact. It should hugely help the anti doping effort from a science point of view but also to obtain credibility for the sport. And hugely entertaining indeed. :)
And athletes who work and plan diligently to peak at specific times (like the TdF), should now spend 6 months to peak just for this "test"?
And what if an injury or a simple cold were to mess that up? Start over?

Funny idea maybe, but completely unrealistic - sorry.
 
And athletes who work and plan diligently to peak at specific times (like the TdF), should now spend 6 months to peak just for this "test"?
And what if an injury or a simple cold were to mess that up? Start over?

Funny idea maybe, but completely unrealistic - sorry.
Everything is about ability and willingness. This idea would work, ability is there. Willingness indeed won't be which makes it unrealistic it will happen. Not unrealistic that this could be at least some proof. However main point is that it's impossible for Vingegaard et al to proof they are not doping by pointing at tests and words. Here is just a theorem whereby they could have some scientific proof they are not. Could they? Yes. Will they? Unfortunately not. Could this be made into a large commercial success? Potentially.

Again, if they are indeed doping they would also not sign up for this since they - through a proven doped performance - can't outperform themselves. Which could also impact willingness besides the general lack of willingness. Hence, will this ever happen? That probability would be close to 0.

Any methods any of you see to proof with a reasonable amount of certainty they are not doping? Above is an out of the box way, there should be more. As current ways - given cycling's history - are not working. As clearly represented by the increase in posts here over last month.
 
I think a more realistic approach, perhaps it's been done I'm sure some of our members who are keeping up to date with the actual science know if so, would be to have a group or riders participate in a long term study measuring their performances off and on a medical regimen that would be banned in competition. Perhaps have two groups and one given placebos ?

I would imagine there's difficulties using pro / competing riders there. Maybe some ethics issues too... Was it Conconi who was officially funded by the IOC or the Italian Federation to study PEDs and applying it to doping programs ? Some would perhaps argue this create a public handbook for doping.

I don't think it would be definitive but it could help assessing what sort of range of enhancement we're talking about.
 
I think a more realistic approach, perhaps it's been done I'm sure some of our members who are keeping up to date with the actual science know if so, would be to have a group or riders participate in a long term study measuring their performances off and on a medical regimen that would be banned in competition. Perhaps have two groups and one given placebos ?

I would imagine there's difficulties using pro / competing riders there. Maybe some ethics issues too... Was it Conconi who was officially funded by the IOC or the Italian Federation to study PEDs and applying it to doping programs ? Some would perhaps argue this create a public handbook for doping.

I don't think it would be definitive but it could help assessing what sort of range of enhancement we're talking about.
That would be interesting and scientific as well. Believe it has been done on amateurs but medical supervision was not really up to par and results very mixed. A problem is that we can't assess whether the current crop of riders are performing like they are now in a clean matter or not. Since it's a case of a distribution, they could still be on far right of it in terms of performance. Since no performance has a zero percent probability of being possible. Someone can push 8wkg and it's not a non zero chance someone could do it.
 
Jonas would never do this. He wouldn't take anything that he wouldn't give to his daughter:D
:)

Some argued that at least for GT riders it is healthier with than without EPO. Could have just been a defense of the associated doctors though ! However, that argument makes some sense as a GT is a hit to the body, so medicine that can help with recovery should be healthier.
 
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