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Geraint Thomas, the next british hope

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Re:

ontheroad said:
I honestly think Thomas is acting as a shield for Froome by taking yellow and stage wins.

Thomas has been booed onto the podium for consecutive days. Imagine the vitriol if Froome was in yellow now.

You can almost write the script. Thomas will have a bad day and Froome will relieve him of yellow in another week. No way will Thomas be allowed deprive Froome of his place in history.

Jumped on the tram to work this morning, opened the paper and there we have G in the sports section (obviously it's the three weeks of the year when the red-tops remember that cycling exists as a sport) saying how Froomey is the leader and 'I could have a bad day and lose ten minutes.'

I just giggled to myself. Shame the reporter didn't ask 'Yeah fair point G. So just out of curiosity, which day is it going to be?' :lol:
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
samhocking said:
Where is the evidence that previous palamares holds any weight to success now? I just don't view it like that. 2-3 years to get from amateur to pro is normal. To get from Dom to GC is really not much of a step. As they say you're only as good as your next race.
Find one clean rider with a career path like Wiggins, Froome or Thomas.

There are none, because that stuff just doesn't happen in the real world. There's no-one out there who focuses on riding a bike their whole like (like Froome, Wiggins and Thomas all did) and then suddenly (after the age of 25 nonetheless) they figure out the big secret and become world beaters over the course of just a couple of years.

Let me correct that. It's not a couple of years. It's months, or even weeks in the case of Froome.

Since it's so normal, all I ask is one other rider that did it to the degree of the British Sky boys. Should be easy if it's so normal.

Casual reminder that samhocking still hasn't responded to this very simple request.

I'm going to guess there'll be complete radio silence from him on this issue at least until I've won the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple in about three years because I've just now decided to go pro on a whim. I'm in my mid-20s, by the way, so now is the perfect time to start.
 
Re:

samhocking said:
Not really, Thomas has targeted one days and not been succesfull with Sky. Not sure why you would not want to win races like Roubaix, Flanders etc against Quickstep?

As has already been said, exposure for the sponsor.

Not having a go at you but you're forgetting that you're looking at this from a cycling fan's perspective. Here's some homework for you; mention Paris-Roubaix, Flanders or La Flèche Wallonne to a few of your non-cycling-fan mates, or maybe try to engage a couple of people on public transport in a conversation about them and see how many even know what sport they're contested in.

Then mention Le Tour; pretty sure they'll have heard of that one. That's exposure.

For example, there's virtually no cycling on free-to-air TV in the UK other than the occasional highlights show, yet the Tour is on ITV4 live for about five hours every day. Sky are getting five hours a day of free advertising on ITV, a rival broadcaster. Try counting how many times you hear the word 'Sky' during those five hours. You can hardly open a sport-related website during the Tour without seeing a picture of the Dawg with SKY emblazoned across his chest.

If G won Flanders it would get a paragraph seven pages into the sports section of the paper, right above a lightweight piece about some bum of the month Tyson Fury might fight in two years if he ever stops shoveling pies and charlie into his big stupid face. G might care about that but Sky (the sponsor, not the team) sure as hell don't. OK I can't really say they don't 'want' to win the one days, I'm sure they'd like to win everything just like most sports teams would, but they certainly aren't any kind of priority.
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
Saint Unix said:
samhocking said:
Where is the evidence that previous palamares holds any weight to success now? I just don't view it like that. 2-3 years to get from amateur to pro is normal. To get from Dom to GC is really not much of a step. As they say you're only as good as your next race.
Find one clean rider with a career path like Wiggins, Froome or Thomas.

There are none, because that stuff just doesn't happen in the real world. There's no-one out there who focuses on riding a bike their whole like (like Froome, Wiggins and Thomas all did) and then suddenly (after the age of 25 nonetheless) they figure out the big secret and become world beaters over the course of just a couple of years.

Let me correct that. It's not a couple of years. It's months, or even weeks in the case of Froome.

Since it's so normal, all I ask is one other rider that did it to the degree of the British Sky boys. Should be easy if it's so normal.

Casual reminder that samhocking still hasn't responded to this very simple request.

I'm going to guess there'll be complete radio silence from him on this issue at least until I've won the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple in about three years because I've just now decided to go pro on a whim. I'm in my mid-20s, by the way, so now is the perfect time to start.

I'll answer on behalf of Sam. The closest I can think of is Mauro Santambrogio.
Both were domestiques, with a mountain bias, on top World Tour teams.
Both were not given leadership roles and had no WT wins.
Both had had a lesser win in their own country but struggled to replicate elsewhere. (Since Froome lived for so long in SA, I will count that)
Both had transformations after the age of 25.
Both became GT contenders.
Both underwent significant changes in physical appearance (Mauro - puffy face ; Froome - stick insect)

Hope that helps and I hope you don't mind, Sam. You seem too busy to answer.
 
Re: Re:

Alpe d'Huez said:
Craigee said:
samhocking said:
You'd think... Sky would be a bit better ...Turns out all of the above gained Thomas 2 seconds yesterday lol!

Gained two seconds? It's actually gained him 4 hours on his first tour ride. Amazing how one can go from a non climber to freaky and better than Nibali, Quintana, Landa. The same happened with Wiggo too of course. Amazing. Well what is amazing is that anyone believes they've done it clean.
It may be the elephant in the room, but let's not forget the transformation of Froome. Just look at his palmares when he was 20-26. He was basically a nobody. Even when he got to Sky, Brailsford's evaluation of his potential was not very high. But then shazam, a few "marginal gains" later, and he's one of the greatest riders in history.

Maybe in a couple years they'll sign Mark Christian, Sam Brand, or Daniel Pearson and they'll win a few GT's as well. (Apologies for dragging those guys names into the Clinic. For sarcastic purposes only).

I reckon the Yates brothers will replace Froomey and G at sky and they'll dominate the same way. At least they're climbers to begin with. Brailsford will do wonders with them especially being British. He'll turn them around in one season. The Breeding in Cyclists must have improved dramatically in Britain to go from nobodies for 100 years to the dominant country on track and road. Wonder where it came from?
 
Re: Re:

wirral said:
I'll answer on behalf of Sam. The closest I can think of is Mauro Santambrogio.
Both were domestiques, with a mountain bias, on top World Tour teams.
Both were not given leadership roles and had no WT wins.
Both had had a lesser win in their own country but struggled to replicate elsewhere. (Since Froome lived for so long in SA, I will count that)
Both had transformations after the age of 25.
Both became GT contenders.
Both underwent significant changes in physical appearance (Mauro - puffy face ; Froome - stick insect)

Hope that helps and I hope you don't mind, Sam. You seem too busy to answer.
"Find one clean rider"

This also disqualifies Riis, Berzin and Chiappucci for those who were thinking of mentioning them.
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
wirral said:
I'll answer on behalf of Sam. The closest I can think of is Mauro Santambrogio.
Both were domestiques, with a mountain bias, on top World Tour teams.
Both were not given leadership roles and had no WT wins.
Both had had a lesser win in their own country but struggled to replicate elsewhere. (Since Froome lived for so long in SA, I will count that)
Both had transformations after the age of 25.
Both became GT contenders.
Both underwent significant changes in physical appearance (Mauro - puffy face ; Froome - stick insect)

Hope that helps and I hope you don't mind, Sam. You seem too busy to answer.
"Find one clean rider"

This also disqualifies Riis, Berzin and Chiappucci for those who were thinking of mentioning them.

Sam's in the toilet right now and can't discuss it.
 
Here's a beauty. Geraint Thomas is the first rider in 40 years to win two mountain stages in a row.

It's one big joke. At least the booing let's them know we the public don't believe they're clean. It's just the people running the sport who let them away with it. Oh and their fanbois who would still deny they doped even if Wiggo, G and Froomey all confessed on Oprah. Sam would still be in denial.
 
Re:

Craigee said:
Here's a beauty. Geraint Thomas is the first rider in 40 years to win two mountain stages in a row.

It's one big joke. At least the booing let's them know we the public don't believe they're clean. It's just the people running the sport who let them away with it. Oh and their fanbois who would still deny they doped even if Wiggo, G and Froomey all confessed on Oprah. Sam would still be in denial.
Irrelevant to the discussion. Many many riders have been the best of the gc contenders in 2 mountain stages in a row.
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
wirral said:
I'll answer on behalf of Sam. The closest I can think of is Mauro Santambrogio.
Both were domestiques, with a mountain bias, on top World Tour teams.
Both were not given leadership roles and had no WT wins.
Both had had a lesser win in their own country but struggled to replicate elsewhere. (Since Froome lived for so long in SA, I will count that)
Both had transformations after the age of 25.
Both became GT contenders.
Both underwent significant changes in physical appearance (Mauro - puffy face ; Froome - stick insect)

Hope that helps and I hope you don't mind, Sam. You seem too busy to answer.
"Find one clean rider"

This also disqualifies Riis, Berzin and Chiappucci for those who were thinking of mentioning them.
How about Alarcón? He just won a stage of the GP Nacional-2 in Portugal by two and a half minutes. He's ready for A Volta. If somebody signs him for the Vuelta as a mercenary, he could be the man you're looking for.

Although, seeing as he's 32 years old and until last season even his own team's profile described him as a rouleur domestique, perhaps he is a better analogue for Thomas than Froome.

Craigee said:
Here's a beauty. Geraint Thomas is the first rider in 40 years to win two mountain stages in a row.

It's one big joke. At least the booing let's them know we the public don't believe they're clean. It's just the people running the sport who let them away with it. Oh and their fanbois who would still deny they doped even if Wiggo, G and Froomey all confessed on Oprah. Sam would still be in denial.
Only because Lance was scratched. In 2004 he won THREE mountain stages in a row - Villard-de-Lans, the Alpe d'Huez ITT and Le Grand Bornand. Lance also won La Mongie and Plateau de Beille back to back in 2002, and Alpe d'Huez and the Chamrousse ITT in 2001.

In recent years at the Tour, the fact that for many years there were no time bonuses meant that you wouldn't find the GC contenders duking out the mountain stages often and the break would usually take it, so people who isolated one or two such stages and won a big mountain stage often sat in the autobus the next day, and you have that era where the most common mountain stage winners are in fact the likes of Pierrick Fédrigo, Cyril Dessel and Sandy Casar. This extended to the Vuelta even when there was time bonuses in recent years, but before that there have been a few others in the Giro and Vuelta who've won back to back mountain stages, though the Vuelta's penchant for the cronoescalada means that many of them are of that nature where one is a key mountain road stage and the other is an ITT, though curiously almost invariably among them the MTT is the second of the stages.

In the last 40 editions of the Giro, in 2015 you had an almost unprecedented double as two riders from the same team both did it, with Mikel Landa winning Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica either side of the second rest day, then Fabio Aru winning Cervinia and Sestriere. Strictly speaking because of the annulment of the Martell stage in 2013 Nibali did it by winning the Polsa MTT and Tre Cime di Lavaredo but there was an annulled stage in between. Emanuele Sella won Alpe di Pampeago and Passo di Fedaia back to back in the 2008 Giro, Iván Parra won Ortisei and Livigno in 2005, Marco Pantani won Merano and Aprica in 1994, then Alpe di Pampeago and Madonna di Campiglio back to back in 1999, and Johan van der Velde won in Sappada and Canazei in 1987.

In the last 40 editions of the Vuelta, Alberto Contador won Anglirú and Fuentes de Invierno back to back in 2008, Santiago Pérez won Granada over Monachil and the Sierra Nevada MTT in 2004, José María Jiménez won Pal and Cerler back to back in 1998, then backed it up three years later by going back to back in Pal and the Arcalis MTT in the 2001 Vuelta, Álvaro Pino won on Pajáres and then the Monte Naranco MTT in 1988, and Pacho Rodríguez won into Andorra la Vella and then the Pal MTT in 1985.

Sure, being in the company of the likes of Santi Pérez, Álvaro Pino, Emanuele Sella and co. leaves its own mark (to say nothing of Pantani and Jiménez), but there have been a few.
 
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
How about Alarcón? He just won a stage of the GP Nacional-2 in Portugal by two and a half minutes. He's ready for A Volta. If somebody signs him for the Vuelta as a mercenary, he could be the man you're looking for.

Although, seeing as he's 32 years old and until last season even his own team's profile described him as a rouleur domestique, perhaps he is a better analogue for Thomas than Froome.
That'd be hilarious.

Of course, winning the GC in Volta a Portugal is as good as a positive test, so there is that tiny issue.
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
Saint Unix said:
samhocking said:
Where is the evidence that previous palamares holds any weight to success now? I just don't view it like that. 2-3 years to get from amateur to pro is normal. To get from Dom to GC is really not much of a step. As they say you're only as good as your next race.
Find one clean rider with a career path like Wiggins, Froome or Thomas.

There are none, because that stuff just doesn't happen in the real world. There's no-one out there who focuses on riding a bike their whole like (like Froome, Wiggins and Thomas all did) and then suddenly (after the age of 25 nonetheless) they figure out the big secret and become world beaters over the course of just a couple of years.

Let me correct that. It's not a couple of years. It's months, or even weeks in the case of Froome.

Since it's so normal, all I ask is one other rider that did it to the degree of the British Sky boys. Should be easy if it's so normal.

Casual reminder that samhocking still hasn't responded to this very simple request.

I'm going to guess there'll be complete radio silence from him on this issue at least until I've won the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple in about three years because I've just now decided to go pro on a whim. I'm in my mid-20s, by the way, so now is the perfect time to start.

Impossible to know who is clean. Everyone claims they are clean then and now. I'm a firm believer bio passport and whereabouts today means then and now are not comparable anyway. I simply go on Brailsford track record since joining BC in mid 90's is he's had 3 generations of riders at the highest level of the sport pass through his leadership without sanctions. Longer than any other team manager that's for sure, nearly 20 years longer.
 
Re: Re:

Singer01 said:
Craigee said:
Here's a beauty. Geraint Thomas is the first rider in 40 years to win two mountain stages in a row.

It's one big joke. At least the booing let's them know we the public don't believe they're clean. It's just the people running the sport who let them away with it. Oh and their fanbois who would still deny they doped even if Wiggo, G and Froomey all confessed on Oprah. Sam would still be in denial.
Irrelevant to the discussion. Many many riders have been the best of the gc contenders in 2 mountain stages in a row.

Why? Is this the Froome thread? Only one has WON two mountain stages in a row in the last 40 years and he's a trackie who finished 4 hours from winner in his first tour and he's riding his 9th tour. Or are the commentators wrong?
 
Re: Re:

samhocking said:
Impossible to know who is clean.
Irrelevant since the only riders with similar career paths to Thomas, Wiggins and Froome have all actually been busted for doping.

That's kind of my point.

Also, it shouldn't be necessary for you to start rugsweeping and deflecting since it's so "normal" to just suddenly turn into a world beating climber according to you.
 
Re: Re:

Saint Unix said:
samhocking said:
Impossible to know who is clean.
Irrelevant since the only riders with similar career paths to Thomas, Wiggins and Froome have all actually been busted for doping.

That's kind of my point.

Not really Indurain has an transformation from GT donkey to GT domination but I'm not sure many class him as a donkey?

1984 Vuelta DNF
1985 Tour DNF
1986 Tour DNF
1987 Vuelta DNF
1987 Tour 97
1988 Vuelta DNF
1988 Tour 47
1989 Vuelta DNF

Then came 5 straight TdF wins. Obviously we know it was doping, but I don't see many claiming Indurain was a donkey, yet his tour palamares is worse than Wiggins, Thomas and Froome so not sure what your point is really?
 
Re: Re:

samhocking said:
Impossible to know who is clean. Everyone claims they are clean then and now. I'm a firm believer bio passport and whereabouts today means then and now are not comparable anyway. I simply go on Brailsford track record since joining BC in mid 90's is he's had 3 generations of riders at the highest level of the sport pass through his leadership without sanctions. Longer than any other team manager that's for sure, nearly 20 years longer.
Well, there's a difference between "without sanctions" and "without offences", of course. Remember Rob Hayles testing 50%+ hct? Presumably like Damiano Cunego and the Colombians it's because of generations of his family in Portsmouth living at high altitude. Brailsford was also there when David Millar was taken away by the gendarmerie of course, but I'm happy to let that slide as Millar was one of the few British continental pros at the time and so wasn't really under Brailsford's tutelage so to speak, just happened to be with him at the time of the raid.

Do you therefore believe in Team Movistar? The last upheld positive they have is Marco Fertonani, back in 2007. Rui Costa's in 2010 was quashed not because of a lack of evidence or a problem with the due process like Kreuziger, or because of a climb-down by the authorities like Froome, but because he actually proved his innocence. They cancelled a contract for Alejandro Marque because of a positive even though it turned out it was a clerical error as he should have had a TUE in force at the time. Their most recent issue has been with Jaime Rosón, but it dates to before he was with the team, and therefore they are not at fault any more than Sky can be considered at fault for Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's being outed on their dime - and unlike Sky who've kept riders under duress on the road, Movistar immediately withdrew Rosón from competition. Even their most notorious rider from this point of view, Alejandro Valverde, was suspended in 2010, but that was due to Operación Puerto which happened in 2006, and his connection to "Bag #18", which dated to 2004, when he was riding for Kelme. There's nothing on Valverde, for the "only evidence that would stand up in a court of law please" school of thought we see commonly when arguing that there's no evidence against Sky, since he started riding for Unzué. The team has a tendency to look internally for its development and produce its own homegrown talent rather than buying big, and rather than go raiding other teams' U23 ranks like Sky has been doing and piggybacking others' development, they tend to go solely through their own trusted local team, Lizarte, which has in recent years produced pretty much all of their neopros, even if they may be a little less elite in their development and the riders require a bit longer to get used to the top level.

So, you know, objectivity and all, Movistar are as clean as they come too.
 
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Saint Unix said:
wirral said:
I'll answer on behalf of Sam. The closest I can think of is Mauro Santambrogio.
Both were domestiques, with a mountain bias, on top World Tour teams.
Both were not given leadership roles and had no WT wins.
Both had had a lesser win in their own country but struggled to replicate elsewhere. (Since Froome lived for so long in SA, I will count that)
Both had transformations after the age of 25.
Both became GT contenders.
Both underwent significant changes in physical appearance (Mauro - puffy face ; Froome - stick insect)

Hope that helps and I hope you don't mind, Sam. You seem too busy to answer.
"Find one clean rider"

This also disqualifies Riis, Berzin and Chiappucci for those who were thinking of mentioning them.
How about Alarcón? He just won a stage of the GP Nacional-2 in Portugal by two and a half minutes. He's ready for A Volta. If somebody signs him for the Vuelta as a mercenary, he could be the man you're looking for.

Although, seeing as he's 32 years old and until last season even his own team's profile described him as a rouleur domestique, perhaps he is a better analogue for Thomas than Froome.

Craigee said:
Here's a beauty. Geraint Thomas is the first rider in 40 years to win two mountain stages in a row.

It's one big joke. At least the booing let's them know we the public don't believe they're clean. It's just the people running the sport who let them away with it. Oh and their fanbois who would still deny they doped even if Wiggo, G and Froomey all confessed on Oprah. Sam would still be in denial.
Only because Lance was scratched. In 2004 he won THREE mountain stages in a row - Villard-de-Lans, the Alpe d'Huez ITT and Le Grand Bornand. Lance also won La Mongie and Plateau de Beille back to back in 2002, and Alpe d'Huez and the Chamrousse ITT in 2001.

In recent years at the Tour, the fact that for many years there were no time bonuses meant that you wouldn't find the GC contenders duking out the mountain stages often and the break would usually take it, so people who isolated one or two such stages and won a big mountain stage often sat in the autobus the next day, and you have that era where the most common mountain stage winners are in fact the likes of Pierrick Fédrigo, Cyril Dessel and Sandy Casar. This extended to the Vuelta even when there was time bonuses in recent years, but before that there have been a few others in the Giro and Vuelta who've won back to back mountain stages, though the Vuelta's penchant for the cronoescalada means that many of them are of that nature where one is a key mountain road stage and the other is an ITT, though curiously almost invariably among them the MTT is the second of the stages.

In the last 40 editions of the Giro, in 2015 you had an almost unprecedented double as two riders from the same team both did it, with Mikel Landa winning Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica either side of the second rest day, then Fabio Aru winning Cervinia and Sestriere. Strictly speaking because of the annulment of the Martell stage in 2013 Nibali did it by winning the Polsa MTT and Tre Cime di Lavaredo but there was an annulled stage in between. Emanuele Sella won Alpe di Pampeago and Passo di Fedaia back to back in the 2008 Giro, Iván Parra won Ortisei and Livigno in 2005, Marco Pantani won Merano and Aprica in 1994, then Alpe di Pampeago and Madonna di Campiglio back to back in 1999, and Johan van der Velde won in Sappada and Canazei in 1987.

In the last 40 editions of the Vuelta, Alberto Contador won Anglirú and Fuentes de Invierno back to back in 2008, Santiago Pérez won Granada over Monachil and the Sierra Nevada MTT in 2004, José María Jiménez won Pal and Cerler back to back in 1998, then backed it up three years later by going back to back in Pal and the Arcalis MTT in the 2001 Vuelta, Álvaro Pino won on Pajáres and then the Monte Naranco MTT in 1988, and Pacho Rodríguez won into Andorra la Vella and then the Pal MTT in 1985.

Sure, being in the company of the likes of Santi Pérez, Álvaro Pino, Emanuele Sella and co. leaves its own mark (to say nothing of Pantani and Jiménez), but there have been a few.

I apologise. I should have said the Tour De France. Can we count Lance? I don't know. Officially we can't.
 
Re: Re:

samhocking said:
Saint Unix said:
samhocking said:
Impossible to know who is clean.
Irrelevant since the only riders with similar career paths to Thomas, Wiggins and Froome have all actually been busted for doping.

That's kind of my point.

Not really Indurain has an transformation from GT donkey to GT domination but I'm not sure many class him as a donkey?

1984 Vuelta DNF
1985 Tour DNF
1986 Tour DNF
1987 Vuelta DNF
1987 Tour 97
1988 Vuelta DNF
1988 Tour 47
1989 Vuelta DNF

Then came 5 straight TdF wins. Obviously we know it was doping, but I don't see many claiming Indurain was a donkey, yet his tour palamares is worse than Wiggins, Thomas and Froome so not sure what your point is really?
Interesting that you omit the most important period. It's almost like you're being disingenuous, but I'm sure it must have been an honest oversight, so I will fill in the blanks for you:
1989 Tour 17
1990 Vuelta 7
1990 Tour 10
1991 Vuelta 2

Let's also remember that Big Mig also rode his first GT at the age of 19. It was the pro-am days and Reynolds (later Banesto, Illes Baleares, Caisse d'Epargne, Movistar) were not the super-deep team they later became; nowadays he probably wouldn't have been going to the Tour until about 1987. He won the Tour de l'Avenir in 1986, the Volta a Catalunya in 1988, Paris-Nice in 1989 and 1990 and had an ok palmarès in hilly one-day races that you wouldn't expect from his size and style back in those days, including winning the Clásica San Sebastián and multiple top 10s in the Ardennes. For his first 3 years his job was basically to see if he could survive the GTs, after that he was domestiquing for Delgado, whereby he inched his way further forward in the mountain train until he was the leader himself.

Now, obviously, the advent of EPO and the way big guys like Miguelón became GT forces in the mountains in the early 90s is a very obvious factor and nobody in here is going to claim that he was clean ("otra pregunta"), but there's no way you can realistically justify saying that Indurain was a donkey turned racehorse to that kind of degree. He was already an unexpectedly good climber for his build before he kicked it on to the next level, that happened from ages 24 to 27, his abject downfall came at a younger age than Geraint Thomas is now ("that" Pamplona stage came the day after his 32nd birthday) and he didn't suddenly flip a switch either. You might be thinking of Melcior Mauri.
 
Re: Re:

samhocking said:
Not really Indurain has an transformation from GT donkey to GT domination but I'm not sure many class him as a donkey?

1984 Vuelta DNF
1985 Tour DNF
1986 Tour DNF
1987 Vuelta DNF
1987 Tour 97
1988 Vuelta DNF
1988 Tour 47
1989 Vuelta DNF

Then came 5 straight TdF wins. Obviously we know it was doping, but I don't see many claiming Indurain was a donkey, yet his tour palamares is worse than Wiggins, Thomas and Froome so not sure what your point is really?
The point is that every donkey to racehorse transformation in the history of cycling up until the point where Wiggins struck gold at Garmin in 2009 has been proven to be fuelled by doping. It's naïve to think that Sky aren't doing exactly the same. It's flat out wrong to say that that sort of improvement is normal.
 
Lance didn't just win three in a row in 2004. He won five out of seven stages on the bounce, although one was a flat TT. It was hilarious. I watched two of those wins live at the side of the road and he was just noticeably different from the others during that ITT up l'Alpe.