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Doping in the American pro peleton.

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Oldman said:
Gotta agree with Hooptie in our neighborhood. Cat 1's are pretty clean here but occassionally one will jump up in class in a way that can't be accounted for. I'll give you 10% for the NW US. Not including Canada; don't know what their up to, if anything.

From what I know they're squeeky clean...oh wait, forgot about Quebec...they're "Euro" in more ways than one, you dig?
 
fatandfast said:
Dear Papp,The point I was unsuccessfully trying to make is that to race your bike for a living is a sh#tload of work and even more sacrifice. Every BB and people that think that drugs will get you there are wrong and misinformed.Talent is needed and a great work ethic on top of some luck...

I agree with this. You can give massive quantities of EPO to someone who is either under-trained or doesn't have the natural talent to get them close to the top level of sport - and it still won't turn them into an Armstrong. If you don't have the natural talent to compete at the international level (be that in Europe, Asia, Latin America, USA) without drugs (and the discipline to develop that talent by training), then the gain from PED's probably isn't going to get you into the elite ranks...

I raced clean from 94-2001 riding events that were then ranked 2.2 on the UCI calendar. I wasn't born with TdF-rider characteristics, and never claimed otherwise, but I always had a level of talent (especially at sprinting) that permitted me to compete internationally.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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runninboy said:
I know a couple of guys who win/place consistently and are not on EPO
maybe others are but these guys are clean & consistent so it is possible
Hmm...I believe (in my opinion as a cat 1, masters 35+ rider) the vast majority of cat 1 guys that see massive improvements are doped.
Hooptie said:
Thats quite an honor. Sorry that sounded a bit harsh, but I was assuming Joe was talking about the UPMC-ACT team...they hardly lit the domestic scene on fire. I respect Joe for coming clean and being so open on this forum.

And ignorant? Ok, how come nobody calls BigBoat ignorant for claiming 90% of domestic Cat 1's are on EPO?

I'm not saying the majority of cat 1 or 2 amateurs are doped either. I dont believe even a fourth of them are. But far less than 1/4th of them win anything serious all year.
BB and people that think that drugs will get you there are wrong and misinformed.
In my original post I said I believe 90% of the Pros are doped, and the majority of top cat 1 riders that are at the top of their game. If you have some talent (and drive) EPO will allow you to ride FAR better than you would clean. In fact, drugs will allow anybody to ride far better than they would clean.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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And no one is there that doesn't already know how to suffer. That's where it gets subjective to judge each rider and how they end up in the gray zone. JP probably knows some riders that killed when they were clean. Once you're a marked winner, it gets alot harder. That seems like when temptation sets in.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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BigBoat said:
Hmm...I believe (in my opinion as a cat 1, masters 35+ rider) the vast majority of cat 1 guys that see massive improvements are doped.

I'm not saying the majority of cat 1 or 2 amateurs are doped either. I dont believe even a fourth of them are. But far less than 1/4th of them win anything serious all year. In my original post I said I believe 90% of the Pros are doped, and the majority of top cat 1 riders that are at the top of their game. If you have some talent (and drive) EPO will allow you to ride FAR better than you would clean. In fact, drugs will allow anybody to ride far better than they would clean.

By & Large i agree.
Before EPO i remember a bunch of us talking about Fignon doping and we were arguing how you could tell. One way was when someone showed vast improvement. Although not scientific, a well respected pro at the time had said something along the lines of if you do everything right a good portion of the peloton is gonna be within 10 percent of each other and probably less. In a 40k tt no matter what your strength climbing, sprinting, tt, most riders will be within 5 minutes of each other.

You can kind of find the mean in a tt, the majority stuck around say 54 minutes the gaps are kind of small at that point, 2 seconds here, 2 riders tied there, But then you have a guy who previously was near the mean and now he is like 4 minutes better. No drafting, all solo, same conditions. no different strategy, etc etc, that is a red flag. Once you have been riding awhile your improvement comes in 1 percent or 2 percent improvements not huge leaps.
These are not hard numbers just a rough illustration of how dopers show themselves. At lower cats there are greater leaps of improvements because your efficiency is not as great, so small changes can make huge differences.
Like a guy going from 1hr & 10 minutes for a 40k tt to 59 minutes. It sounds huge but he could have been going out really fast and dying the second half.
Pros are already good, not much room for improvement
That is why doping can be so effective for Pros.
A cat 4 who dopes maybe could achieve equal results by going on a diet
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
And the basis for this thought is ...???


Do you think someone can kick *** in a grand tour being clean? You don't think the recovery advantages of doping matter enough?

For sure all the doping in the world will not, by itself, make me as fast as these guys. You need everything... natural talent and ability, hard and smart work, strong team, and smart doping.

Hey numbnutt...we are talking about the US peloton...not grand tours in Europe. Dope is not needed here like it is in Europe. That being said...it may be prevalent.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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Ninety5rpm said:
Give me a break. Peloton is not just any word. It's a key word in cycling lingo. You'd think at least the members of this forum would get it right.

What the f..... are you all on about? we speak English and the word is "bunch".
Peloton is francais!!
 
Jun 26, 2009
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joe_papp said:
I agree with this. You can give massive quantities of EPO to someone who is either under-trained or doesn't have the natural talent to get them close to the top level of sport - and it still won't turn them into an Armstrong. If you don't have the natural talent to compete at the international level (be that in Europe, Asia, Latin America, USA) without drugs (and the discipline to develop that talent by training), then the gain from PED's probably isn't going to get you into the elite ranks...

I raced clean from 94-2001 riding events that were then ranked 2.2 on the UCI calendar. I wasn't born with TdF-rider characteristics, and never claimed otherwise, but I always had a level of talent (especially at sprinting) that permitted me to compete internationally.

Absolutely!! I have made similar statements on this forum before and continually get shot down by the biological rocket scientists quoting all manner of theoretical data. I reached a point in my cycling career in the mid 80s where I was quite obviously in over my head as far as winning races was concerned. I resorted to PEDs in a desperate attempt to prolong the time before I had to get a real job. Yes, they may have improved my personal stats and made it a bit easier for me to cope with my job at hand but the bottom line is that they did not transform me from an average performer to a champion. True champions will stand out whether doped or not, its just a matter of by how much.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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The problem is to define the donkeys which have been turned racehorse by EPO.
I would call Riis a donkey by comparaison of Lemond, Hinault or Fignon.
Of course even a clean Riis is a champion by comparaison of average riders.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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poupou said:
The problem is to define the donkeys which have been turned racehorse by EPO.
I would call Riis a donkey by comparaison of Lemond, Hinault or Fignon.
Of course even a clean Riis is a champion by comparaison of average riders.

This is correct. To have reached pro level you are a champion in your own right but once there you are surrounded by champions. it is human nature to seek other ways to gain the extra edge.
The only mistake you have made is to compare those that dont normally win to donkeys. It is ignorant and disrespectful as you obviously have no idea how hard these guys are working but you are forgiven ;)
 
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beroepsrenner said:
This is correct. To have reached pro level you are a champion in your own right but once there you are surrounded by champions. it is human nature to seek other ways to gain the extra edge.
The only mistake you have made is to compare those that dont normally win to donkeys. It is ignorant and disrespectful as you obviously have no idea how hard these guys are working but you are forgiven ;)
hard work? Well, there are perhaps 10,000 cyclists who slave themselves, in the hope to ride the Tour.

But there are indeed donkeys. One ex-USPS rider, is in strong belief Levi Leipheimer is but one example. And Jerome Pineau is assertive that Frank Schleck is also, and he had no results, and would not have got the sport on CSC had his ex-pro father not had connections.

So, yes we have donkeys who have become thoroughbreds. And they do work hard. Rasmussen, even though he won the worlds in the mtb, did not do much at all on the world cup circuit.

And Kohl, circa 2005, the year before he was at T-Mobile, he was at RaboD3, and he was in the autobus in Tour of Austria. Now Tour of Austria, is one of the hilliest one week stage races, outside the Protour. Depending on the year, it is the hilliest non-PT race, with Trentino, Asturias, Brixia, Portugal, (Colombia). It is a very tough race.

Kohl is Austrian, and would have been positioning for a pro contract, altho may have already signed with T-Mob. But he was in the autobus at a grimpeurs Tour. I know there are some riders who rode very high, and won Austria GC, clean. Kohl was about 23, and in the autobus, and a supposed grimpeur.

Ofcourse, Kohl could have been sick, he could have been injured, I do not have a way of putting his results in that race in context unfortunately. But this to me, stood out, donkey thoroughbred.
 
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beroepsrenner said:
This is correct. To have reached pro level you are a champion in your own right but once there you are surrounded by champions. it is human nature to seek other ways to gain the extra edge.
The only mistake you have made is to compare those that dont normally win to donkeys. It is ignorant and disrespectful as you obviously have no idea how hard these guys are working but you are forgiven ;)



+1. and i agree it is highly disrespectful to call a professional a donkey.
I have been involved in other sports and to get to be a pro in any of them you usually were a star since you were young , and kept working.
By the time you are Pro you come to the realization that everyone else that you compete against was also a star their whole lives...:eek:
To call them a donkey is ignorant.
In track we used to call them "journeymen" they had been stars themselves at a young age. in high school, college & beyond but never could quite compete at the highest level. They were the guys who got last minute calls to be pacemakers or to round out a field at an invitational.
They were hanging on in the fringe of the sport they loved, we admired their tenacity but deep down we all feared we would become like them.
To a talented 18 y.o. miler the thought of becoming a 30 year old journeyman
with a 4:00.8 PR was like a fate worse than death.
But the sport would not progress without them. To belittle their contribution & dedication is highly insulting, at least to me.
Thanks for sticking up for them;)
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Sorry, I couldn't resist posting a response to all of this...

First off, for those of you who think doping controls are not prevalent in the US, you are wrong. While they may not be perfect, they definitely test enough to make doping very difficult without a doctor who can help you work around them. For instance, I am tested twice a month, on average, during every month of the year, including the off season. This doesn't count in competition testing. This is significant, as there are much bigger fish to fry than myself, and I am still tested constantly.

Second of all, not all pros can handle their bikes in a crit. Comparing fitness levels using criteriums is a stupid thing to do, and riders drop from crits for any number of reasons that don't involve fitness level. Racing with protour guys in a US crit is usually quite scary, as they aren't willing to risk crashing and would rather brake check everyone through the corners. They usually ride at the back the entire race and use their strength on the straights to stay with the field and then ride through them on the final circuits. Check out the CSC invitiational and you can see it first hand.

Thirdly, yes, doping exists in this country, but I can promise you it is less than 10%. I will be the first one to say that the Protour Americans are suspicious, as I see them do some pretty unreal feats of strength at the races they attend. The domestic riders, however, not only consists of VERY few dopers, but wouldn't have the means to get it if they wanted to. There are obviously some exceptions such as O'Bee and Stevic, but believe me when I say that those guy are very much in the minority. No domestic team has a built in doping program that supplies anything, and none of the riders are making enough money to buy high end drugs such as epo for themselves. I am sure we will continue to see some positive test results for low grade HGH, DHEA, weight loss pills, steroids, and other sorts of boosters, but they will be few and far between.

The doping culture does not exist in the US as it does in Europe, it is only individuals who are buying their own sh*t and eventually becoming outcasts to the majority of US pros who look down on that sort of thing. Practically all the guys I race with want to make it to the big time and get over to Europe, and we are all equally ****ed off because the doping at that level makes it amazingly difficult to do. That's why we are here...

If you want to find someone in the US on drugs it isn't hard. All we do are stupid 10 thousand dollar crits for an hour and a half. The guys taking anything are huge and look like body builders. They body type wont do sh*t in Europe but can win you a lot of money in the States, and can be obtained with relatively inexpensive drugs. It's not hard to figure out who these guys are, open your eyes. And trust me, the rest of the field knows it and f*ckin hates them.

For the rest of the group, we hope you wont lose faith in us, as great achievements can be made in all of the US races while racing on just Pop Tarts and Gatorade!
 
Jul 29, 2009
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LAnce, is that you????

StrungOut said:
Sorry, I couldn't resist posting a response to all of this...

First off, for those of you who think doping controls are not prevalent in the US, you are wrong. While they may not be perfect, they definitely test enough to make doping very difficult without a doctor who can help you work around them. For instance, I am tested twice a month, on average, during every month of the year, including the off season. This doesn't count in competition testing. This is significant, as there are much bigger fish to fry than myself, and I am still tested constantly.

Second of all, not all pros can handle their bikes in a crit. Comparing fitness levels using criteriums is a stupid thing to do, and riders drop from crits for any number of reasons that don't involve fitness level. Racing with protour guys in a US crit is usually quite scary, as they aren't willing to risk crashing and would rather brake check everyone through the corners. They usually ride at the back the entire race and use their strength on the straights to stay with the field and then ride through them on the final circuits. Check out the CSC invitiational and you can see it first hand.

Thirdly, yes, doping exists in this country, but I can promise you it is less than 10%. I will be the first one to say that the Protour Americans are suspicious, as I see them do some pretty unreal feats of strength at the races they attend. The domestic riders, however, not only consists of VERY few dopers, but wouldn't have the means to get it if they wanted to. There are obviously some exceptions such as O'Bee and Stevic, but believe me when I say that those guy are very much in the minority. No domestic team has a built in doping program that supplies anything, and none of the riders are making enough money to buy high end drugs such as epo for themselves. I am sure we will continue to see some positive test results for low grade HGH, DHEA, weight loss pills, steroids, and other sorts of boosters, but they will be few and far between.

The doping culture does not exist in the US as it does in Europe, it is only individuals who are buying their own sh*t and eventually becoming outcasts to the majority of US pros who look down on that sort of thing. Practically all the guys I race with want to make it to the big time and get over to Europe, and we are all equally ****ed off because the doping at that level makes it amazingly difficult to do. That's why we are here...

If you want to find someone in the US on drugs it isn't hard. All we do are stupid 10 thousand dollar crits for an hour and a half. The guys taking anything are huge and look like body builders. They body type wont do sh*t in Europe but can win you a lot of money in the States, and can be obtained with relatively inexpensive drugs. It's not hard to figure out who these guys are, open your eyes. And trust me, the rest of the field knows it and f*ckin hates them.

For the rest of the group, we hope you wont lose faith in us, as great achievements can be made in all of the US races while racing on just Pop Tarts and Gatorade!

I just had to ask, is StrungOut really LA??
Tested as often as you claim, it really does sound like a Lance lament...:p
 
StrungOut said:
Thirdly, yes, doping exists in this country, but I can promise you it is less than 10%. I will be the first one to say that the Protour Americans are suspicious, as I see them do some pretty unreal feats of strength at the races they attend. The domestic riders, however, not only consists of VERY few dopers, but wouldn't have the means to get it if they wanted to.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that only 10% of the domestic pro peloton is doping. That 10% could be viewed as low or high depending on how it is distributed. If half of the top 20% of riders are doping and none of the bottom 80% then that could be viewed as a pretty damning situation. If the 10% were evenly distributed throughout the whole population of riders with little correlation between doping and rider success then that would be a good situation. So which case is the closest to reality?

Being able to ride clean and maintain a pretty crappy pro job as pack fodder does not really mean much if doping is required to get to the level where a decent living is made.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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This has been one of the more interesting (and surprisingly civil) threads I've read in a while. Thanks to all of you former racers of all levels for discussing your experiences with doping. It has made for a very informative read.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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The 90 minute crit drug of choice still has to be amphetamine, right?

Crits and Kermesses here in Europe certainly seemed to be synonymous with the stuff. I do hear less about it nowadays though.

$10,000 prize + no post race doping control. For plenty of guys that's like a red carpet.
 
beroepsrenner said:
I resorted to PEDs in a desperate attempt to prolong the time before I had to get a real job. Yes, they may have improved my personal stats and made it a bit easier for me to cope with my job at hand but the bottom line is that they did not transform me from an average performer to a champion. True champions will stand out whether doped or not, its just a matter of by how much.

While your anecdote is interesting, you are just telling us how your body responded to the PEDs that you took. It is a medical fact that different people can have hugely different reactions to the same drug. Based on statements made by experts and the exceptional improvements made by some riders, I do believe that PED's can turn a middle of the pack rider into a top-5 GT contender (Kohl). Of course, an exceptional athlete that also responds well to PEDs will stand out (Contador?). But a clean champion will not stand out in a heavily doped field (Lemond).

How many GT winners are there that have not tested positive, admitted to doping or where implicated in a doping scandal? Very few. That tells me that doping was/is required to be a champion.
 
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blackcat said:
hard work? Well, there are perhaps 10,000 cyclists who slave themselves, in the hope to ride the Tour.

But there are indeed donkeys. One ex-USPS rider, is in strong belief Levi Leipheimer is but one example. And Jerome Pineau is assertive that Frank Schleck is also, and he had no results, and would not have got the sport on CSC had his ex-pro father not had connections.

So, yes we have donkeys who have become thoroughbreds. And they do work hard. Rasmussen, even though he won the worlds in the mtb, did not do much at all on the world cup circuit.

And Kohl, circa 2005, the year before he was at T-Mobile, he was at RaboD3, and he was in the autobus in Tour of Austria. Now Tour of Austria, is one of the hilliest one week stage races, outside the Protour. Depending on the year, it is the hilliest non-PT race, with Trentino, Asturias, Brixia, Portugal, (Colombia). It is a very tough race.

Kohl is Austrian, and would have been positioning for a pro contract, altho may have already signed with T-Mob. But he was in the autobus at a grimpeurs Tour. I know there are some riders who rode very high, and won Austria GC, clean. Kohl was about 23, and in the autobus, and a supposed grimpeur.

Ofcourse, Kohl could have been sick, he could have been injured, I do not have a way of putting his results in that race in context unfortunately. But this to me, stood out, donkey thoroughbred.

You are not listening man! There are no donkeys in pro cycling, they are all racehorses. Its just that some racehorses are better than others. Its true that sometimes a guy who is out of his depth gets a contract because of the right "connections" and a lot of guys perform a lot better than they would without PEDs but without above average ability they will not last long at the pro level. You appear to be another one who thinks that PEDs are a convenient substitute for natural ability and hard training. Of course there are thousands of cyclists working hard at whatever level they are at but we are talking about the elite level here. You dont just fill out a form to get a pro licence and then just show up on the doorstep of a team and expect to be given a place just because your ego tells you you could do it. It takes years of development and a gradual progression through the catagories to reach that level. The donkeys are the ones that werent good enough for pro racing and then spend the rest of their lives trying to discredit the ones who were.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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nah man, you are not listening. You can name drop riders, but I have a source who is a better commentator than you. And after your era. You came in the 80's and were at Worlds. OK, chapeau.

But you left about the time the 02 delivery techniques and dope, came. They made donkeys into racehorses.
 
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blackcat said:
nah man, you are not listening. You can name drop riders, but I have a source who is a better commentator than you. And after your era. You came in the 80's and were at Worlds. OK, chapeau.

But you left about the time the 02 delivery techniques and dope, came. They made donkeys into racehorses.

I am well aware that blood doping is a much more effective form of doing it than was previously used but I totally object to the term donkeys being used in this context. It makes no difference who you know or who said what. Have some respect. Doping makes a racehorse into a better racehorse but has never made a donkey into a racehorse.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
I am well aware that blood doping is a much more effective form of doing it than was previously used but I totally object to the term donkeys being used in this context. It makes no difference who you know or who said what. Have some respect. Doping makes a racehorse into a better racehorse but has never made a donkey into a racehorse.
nah, you should have some respect.

Comparison: middle distance to long distance runners who have legit aspirations to pro careers, and compete like pros, perhaps 300, including the elite div1 US colleges.

In cycling, there would be near 2000 riders, in the div3 to jnr catchment, with the elite/ams in France and Italy.

If 2000 can compete, and have legs to compete, there will be donkeys. And some of those donkeys, hit the jackpot. They lacked one physiology parameter, most likely their o2 delivery, that restricted their ceiling to an A grade crit. With o2 doping.

Now on the respect front, I appreciate all those who make the Tour roster, have a great work ethic. If you want to criticise someone, because they do not respect a work ethic, perhaps Armstrong is your target, when he asserted he works harder, ergo, those Euros are lazy.