History - doping - asterisk performances - have we crossed the line?

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Sep 29, 2012
Vinokourov to Astana mgt.
Stefano Zanini (Gewiss '95-'96 ring a bell?) to Astana DS team.
Zanini will join fellow directeurs Alexandr Vinokurov and Giuseppe Martinelli, who will rely on the Italian's knowledge of the Classics to boost the team's springtime results.
Dark era over?

No way.
Jul 10, 2010
Tinman said:
Hiero I wish I could buy into your end of the dark era. I think it's way premature to call this from your (I am sure many valid) observations.

. . .
Glenn_Wilson said:
So in conclusion are those past performances with an asterisk or not? . . .
sittingbison said:
Hiero2 would like to start afresh from 2009.
. . .
I am saying that this year we have witnessed another 1999 false dawn, so Hiero2 has jumped the gun. Others chime in with the current omertà towards USADA/Armstrong, Hein and Fat Pat corrupting UCI, and Asho suggesting the game has changed but still continues in a new guise all preclude assuming 2009 is a starting point. . . .
If we had a poll, I think most of the people reading this thread would agree the Dark Era is not yet over. Hmmm - ok. I don't agree, but perhaps I have jumped the gun. The possibility certainly exists. But the start, I think we can agree, for now, that everything from 1991 and after gets the asterisk.

However, I would add this - assuming we have sophisticated dopers avoiding the detection that is in place - we can make some corollary conclusions. 1. The expense of such doping will be much higher than it was in the past. More materials are needed, newer drugs, and more logistical support. 2. More people must be involved. More logistics be default means more people. Ditto newer drugs. The eventual fall of Balco and The Clear was too many people involved. The were big enough to get the police attention. Just like Festina. If you don't have more people, you do have more man-hours - and that also has inherent risk.

I think this means that the one-off, the solo actor, is more likely to end up like Ricco. Its too hard to do as a little guy, or alone.

These are not just arguments for the Dark Era having already ended - but I think they will reflect reality on the ground in the team bus.

I also notice that some people say we need to prosecute and catch all the old cheaters, etc, etc. Or that the peloton is not completely clean. I want to remind you that I don't think the peloton will ever be completely clean, and that is not the objective. If a clean rider can compete and win - and the dopers do not dominate as a result of their doping - then afaic, the Dark Era will be over. If somebody is micro-dosing and wins some races, but gets beat sometimes by clean riders, we will probably be doing the best that we can.

One other thing I notice - a lot of ppl are saying we need to get the testing away from the UCI. At this point in time, I have to agree.

The Dark Era 1991-
Jul 10, 2010
The Dark Era: 1991-2010

Tue Oct-16-2012
We see lots of pessimism and skepticism here. I see reasons for optimism, and I think we can label the Dark Era.

Some people think I'm jumping the gun. But we are also seeing a lot of people issuing optimistic statements.

It is no longer single voices crying in the wilderness in protest of deception and doping. Today, Phil Liggett's voice is the one in the wilderness, which is appropriate, given what he is still saying. Voices speaking against UCI corruption and behavior are no longer singing solo. They are a chorus.

Here are some of the reasons for optimism.
"Increased testing, coupled with out-of-competition testing is working. We aren't stating it's 100 percent clean but the signs are more encouraging now than they have been for a number of years. Compare cycling to mainstream sports such as tennis and football and it's clear to see the sport is doing more testing. To a degree cycling has become a scapegoat for other sports who have yet to face up to the reality of doping. The more riders you test, the more you are going to catch - it's simple maths."

More from Bikepure.org
On a brighter note, the sport is cleaning up, it's clear to see and it is a welcome sign. Riders, the new generation, should never have to make unethical decisions like those before them in order to maintain a career in the sport. Young riders should still have that dream to ride the Tour de France and ride it clean and with honour.

The new and next generation have so much to offer the sport of cycling, they hold the key to resist the temptations to dope, say no, put the past behind them. By doing so they send a clear concise message that the sport has turned a corner.

Ride clean, ride with pride

And, at Bikepure, pro riders pledging to ride clean:
I see Froome and Porte are in the list of pro riders taking the Bikepure pledge, so I know the skeptics will be hitting on that - but all the same, this is one voice for optimism.

The voices of realism are not alone anymore. And, they are essential to move forward. So we should be glad to see pragmatic attitudes like this:
"But I'm also somewhat of a cynic and know that people get away with things right underneath your nose or will try and do that. So I wouldn't be dumb enough to say it's not happening, but I would say that there's a better chance of finding it earlier in the campaign. You would think that with things in place now, a whiff of that would come to your notice, whether it's through good investigative journalism, the police, or information and because of the harmonious efforts we make worldwide now you can feed that to people who can make use of it. I don't it would exist for the extent of time that this one did. . . .
The code and the way in which WADA operated didn't start until the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Secondly WADA only came into existence because of a cycling saga in 1998. So there was a culture that was existing in cycling in the 90s that had to be addressed. It took a few years for that to come into being. At the time we had in the anti-doping community almost a situation of chaos where every sport had different rules. What was going on in those times was hardly better than the wild west," he told Cyclingnews.

Again, the voice are no longer in the wilderness. Mike Anderson has now said "I told you so!" and properly so.
But among the murky waters Walsh points to two shining beacons in Emma O'Reilly, a former soigneur on the Postal team, and Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong's former teammate Frankie Andreu. Both collaborated with Walsh during his books and were bastions for clean cycling.

"For me they're the two strongest people in all of this. They've been fantastic throughout of this all this. They've been strong, always standing up for what was right, and standing up for what was right when it hurt them financially, when it hurt them with stress and people persecuting them. If anyone comes out of this as a hero it's Emma and Betsy."
The difference is that, today, instead of most people thinking these are some bitter, fat old harpies, they are lauded as heroes.

This gives me more hope that things can NOT stay the same at the UCI. If they do, McQuaid will likely be out on his 4ss.

People are speaking out. Either we have dishonesty and fraud on a level which dwarfs the Armstrong conspiracy, or some of these people are telling the truth. Given how hard it is to keep a secret, I'm voting that we are hearing truth. At least they are all getting their stories together, eh? We keep hearing the same thing! ;)
The Canadian cites better testing and increasing public opinion against doping as things which have helped clean up the sport. "For six years I have raced clean and performed. Many of my teammates, whom I am confident were also clean, won at the highest level. But there is still work to be done."

Vaughters went on to recount that before the Tour, he wrote five goals on a piece of paper: win the TTT, win the overall team GC, have Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd both win stages, put a rider in the top 10 GC, and hold the yellow jersey for a day. There is no way it will ever work out and it will stretch the team too thin,\u201d Vaughters recalled, scolding himself at the time. "It's just not possible." Vaughters said Vande Velde had told him "You know, you are always just a little too optimistic and positive. We always think you are going to go a little bit crazy for that."

And yet, the team accomplished all these audacious aims, without needles, without blood boosters, without deception. And that success of romantic idealism over lazy cynicism - at the very highest level of the sport, where cycling fans keep telling me it is impossible to find an honest man - suggests there is reason, if not wisdom, in the lion-hearted new standard Vaughters set out to create with his team in 2003.
You know, some people believe that Vaughters is a farce and a liar even today. But in spite of the fact that the Armstrong deception has now been revealed, the author of this article believes Vaughters and Garmin. It becomes increasingly improbable that they are doping, and increasingly probable that they are what they claim to be.

I can't seem to find them - but I know I have read several pro riders holding the victories in the TdF by Evans and Wiggins, and of Ryder in the Giro, as examplars of clean cycling.
However, here is one, even if the speaker is yet "anonymous":
"The riders, we are doing our part. We are racing clean," the anonymous rider told VeloNews. "I believe that (Bradley) Wiggins won the Tour clean. I even believe that (Alexander) Vinokourov won the Olympics clean. We know right away when someone is doping now in the peloton. The reality has changed but no one seems to notice that. We're still talking about what happened 10 years ago."

Geert Leinders didn't get renewed at Sky.
What else do we have on Sky? Nothing except some good performances racing, right? We have one blood test for Wiggo that one person thought MIGHT be suspicious.

From the same article about Sky releasing Leinders, we have this line:
In May of this year, former Rabobank manager Theo De Rooy told Volksrant that doping had been tolerated on the Dutch team up until at least 2007, saying that it was "a deliberate decision of the medical staff."
The way I see it, we had a situation where doping was "tolerated", but now the doc-in-charge of that is out of work. And we didn't have to wait 10 years to see anything happen.

Lemond said this recently:
The riders will play by whatever rules are there. The rules can be improved. Part of that is using science; power outputs, strain gauges. I don't think we need to suspend people for using Rogaine; it's the big, massive oxygen drugs we need to push out of the sport, so people can actually have a chance to win the race without having to dope themselves to the max.
While the fight is far from finished, many riders now believe that it IS now possible to "win the race without having to dope"

I believe optimism is called for. Of course, if Evans or Wiggo get busted, all bets are off. But, in my opinion, I am now labeling

The Dark Era 1991-2010
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