If you believe all top competitive cyclists dope. Will you still watch the Tour?

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Jun 15, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
If I remember correctly, Frigo had a similar case in the Giro de Italia where he was being given some "blank" pills. He was riding strong believing that it was dope.

Remember that? Maybe somebody on this side of the fence can help me with the details.
I didnt know that, but its just another example of how good placebo works. There were two different studies in Sweden and Australia showing HGH dont work (all placebo). There was another study with morphine painkillers and placebos. Both groups of riders had similar results. Meaning even morphine dont work (as far as i understand it, coz i am not a doc). So if there is no Epo and Blood transfusions, i think we would have a pretty level playing field. Only that the "full-loaded" riders shorten their careers and/or have negative influence on their performance because of counter-effects by using too much products. May the doctor in this forum has an opinion (if he read it, may i should open a thred of this issue?).
 
FoxxyBrown1111 said:
I didnt know that, but its just another example of how good placebo works. There were two different studies in Sweden and Australia showing HGH dont work (all placebo). There was another study with morphine painkillers and placebos. Both groups of riders had similar results. Meaning even morphine dont work (as far as i understand it, coz i am not a doc). So if there is no Epo and Blood transfusions, i think we would have a pretty level playing field. Only that the "full-loaded" riders shorten their careers and/or have negative influence on their performance because of counter-effects by using too much products. May the doctor in this forum has an opinion (if he read it, may i should open a thred of this issue?).
I wouldn't go that far. I have seen some of the riders on EPO and they sure look very fast to me: Pantani, Armstrong, Virenque, Rico. And some other heavy ones that could not have a chance without it: Riis, Ullrich
They make it look like it works.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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The placebo effect is a real phenomenon. The percentage of people who show a placebo effect is variable, but usually around 30-40% of the population who will have a positive placebo effect. However, the placebo effect is lost when the patient knows that they are being administered a placebo, because the effect is dependent on expectations.

While the placebo effect is real, this does not negate the performance enhancing effects of doping products. There is one study showing that there is no difference between a placebo and HGH, but there are plenty of objective studies showing a significant difference in performance in athletes who do and do not take HGH. The same is true of EPO and blood transfusions, and many other PEDs.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
I wouldn't go that far. I have seen some of the riders on EPO and they sure look very fast to me: Pantani, Armstrong, Virenque, Rico. And some other heavy ones that could not have a chance without it: Riis, Ullrich
They make it look like it works.
You are right. Thats why i said if there is no Epo/Extra-Blood we would have a level playing field like back in the 80s. All the bad started when Indurain (abandon, 97th, 47th in his 1st three TdF) and Riis came out of nowhere (as Lemond said talent showed early over all decades till the 80s).

I didnt knew about Epo that time, but must have had a feeling coz i stopped watchng cycling after Lemond won his last tour. I started again (of course coz am german) when a young boy at age of 22 finished 2nd in his 1st tour. So maybe Ullrich could have had a chance riding clean and finish in Top10 as Charly Mottet did. He was that good. Its a sad story of how our country destroyed that man, while Epo-Lance is treated as a holier.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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elapid said:
The placebo effect is a real phenomenon. The percentage of people who show a placebo effect is variable, but usually around 30-40% of the population who will have a positive placebo effect. However, the placebo effect is lost when the patient knows that they are being administered a placebo, because the effect is dependent on expectations.

While the placebo effect is real, this does not negate the performance enhancing effects of doping products. There is one study showing that there is no difference between a placebo and HGH, but there are plenty of objective studies showing a significant difference in performance in athletes who do and do not take HGH. The same is true of EPO and blood transfusions, and many other PEDs.
Yes of course, thats what i meant: Give the riders products they THINK its dope. They would have as good results as those "full loaded", only to have longer lives and careers. I dont think thats unethical.

I wish there would be a Epo/Blood study to see if there is an effect and if so, how much.
If there is no effect then all young riders should be shown that they can win clean.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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byu123 said:
If so why?

You are here presumably here because you are a fan of cycling. If you take the position, as many here do, that all top contenders now and in the past were dopers and moreoever anyone who wins in 2009 must surely also be a doper . . . why would you even watch the Tour or any other major race for that matter?
i've been debating with myself whether i would register just to answer your question or not. i decided i would because i think the answers you've gotten so far only illuminate one portion of the group of those of us who are following the tour, but yet still assume, nonetheless, that the riders are all doped.

missing are those like me, who've pretty much walked away from the sport entirely, but who still watch a race now and again with the same sort of half-hearted interest with which we read the titles of the tabloids while waiting in line at the super market. i don't really know what to call it--it's a mixture of boredom, and opportunity, and that odd pleasure we all seem to take in other people's scandals...maybe with also just a little a bit of wistfull yearning for something we once loved...kind of like when you cross paths with a former lover, who broke your heart into a 1000 pieces, but who has since become fat, and old, and ever so boring...

i followed cycling from the early 1980s until 2006. back when i first started following it, i was lucky to see anything more than a 1/2 hour coverage on the tour on tv once a year. in high school, i used to hang-out at the alliance française reading room to read their old l'equipe. but then espn started having more regular coverage (of the tour at least) in the early 1990s and i could watch most of the tour as it happened, and then finally oln started having comprehensive coverage (or what amounts to that for the US at least) (i can't remember if their coverage started before lance's domination or not--it's hard to tell because it was always phil and paul, regardless...).

i still miss all of those old festina adds that featured virenque. i miss the festina kit too...now, with hindsight, i can't help but think, "meh, why did festina have to be destroyed?...what point did that serve except to remove the only classy kit in the peloton?"

anyway, i was so naive when the festina scandal broke in 1998. it had never occurred to me that they were doped before that; and in 1999, i truly hoped and believed that it was going to be a clean tour. but it was obvious from the prologue that it wasn't, that at least one rider was doped to the gills--how else do you explain (rationally and not with magical thinking) how all of a sudden lance had gone from being an also-ran/dnf tour rider to beating some of the best time trialists in the world. that tour was all but over after he took advantage of the crash in the early part of the tour--time zulle never could win back, and the rest as they say is history (everyone these days seems to forget that most of lance's time in that tour was won by his just having been a shear ****, who attacked after a huge crash in the peloton...).

anyway, i kept following the sport--but i was one of those anti-doping loraxes, the kind who kept getting beat up by people like janna and vaughn over at the DP forum, back when it was just a single grey page and you didn't have to join to post

back then, the deniers would always say something like, "it's just the losers who dope--show me one top rider on a top team who dopes and maybe i'll listen to you."(come to think of it, not much has changed really). it's funny how festina and virenque were never considered a top team or a top rider to them--you weren't allowed to cite them as proof!

and even though every year, one top rider after another, like david miller, was getting caught without failing a doping control, and even though riders like manzano were coming forward and exposing the seedy underbelly of the sport, it was always rationalized away as a few, no-talent, bad apples and sour grapes.

at that time, i could still follow it because i saw the riders as victims and thought there was hope--i don't now; now i see them as willing accomplices with absolutely no compunctions about selling out their best friends, so long as they can keep their secrets safe--now they remind me of junkies. and the fans too became too much for me to deal with--too many, the most vocal and the most nasty, are like the worst sort of enablers...

so then operation peurto and landis's wild-ride happened simultaneously in 2006. and that was it for me--the fans didn't care, the riders didn't care, so i walked away. i didn't follow a single race in 2007 or 2008, and only got sucked into the mess again when an annoucer during this year's wimbledon final off-handedly marveled at the fact that "lance armstrong was 4th in this year's opening time trial in the tour de france!"

all i could think was "WTF! you gotta be ****ting me!" i turned on vs and watched the race and then came here to see if anyone was really taking that result seriously or not...but of course people want to believe the most unbelievable things, be it one guy challenging for the podium at 37, after 4 years a way from the sport...or another guy riding away from the peloton solo, gaining time the whole while, after having bonked so hard the day before that his race was effectively over...or that cancer can turn people into supermen....

in a way, i'm glad i did check out these boards, because now i have some possible answers to questions that never made sense to me after Puerto came to light: i was really confused after operation puerto was revealed about how there could have been any perceived advantage in the peloton, let alone real advantage, in everyone using the same damn doctors. all of it seemed so utterly, contemptibly, pointlessly stupid.

it had never even occurred to me that riders don't just dope--my naivety embarrasses me. but after reading these threads over the past week, i see that the riders also probably buy the officials and each other off, flush their teammate's doping products down toilets in fits of pique, and bribe couriers and doctors to tamper with another rider's doping products (which if true goes beyond simply being cheats to being attempted murderers--to purposely give someone tainted blood is to willfully put their life in jeopardy). all the jokes here about the affair du toilet and envelopes being passed around, have given me a hunch as to how lance beat jan all those years. that had never made sense to me before--jan was the natural talent, much more naturally talented than lance--if both were doping, then jan should still have won, unless his care packages weren't as potent as lance's...lucrative business model that dr. fuentes had: take in one small fortune from rider X to help X win and another one from rider Z to help Z win by ensuring X isn't getting his money's worth....

this has been really long, i apologize for that. i guess i just had a lot on my mind. ever since andy schleck reminded me about jan's win on arcalis in 1997--that it had been 12 years since i had truly enjoyed this sport--it just made me so sad and wistful...it made me feel old...and the thing missing from this thread was something representing all of us who don't "follow" the sport "for real" anymore. i think we are a sizable number--i went over to DP forums for the first time in years and saw that there are just a handful of posters there--mostly the same old hardcore, denialist die-hards from when i was there. and look here--the number of regular posters is quite modest. its the same names over and over in every thread--and the same conversations i was having 10 years ago--except now we have 10 years of police raids and confessions...

for those who say, "well, every sport is just as dirty and doped as cycling;" all i can say is that there are only 2 other sports i have ever followed closely, both of which i have followed longer than cycling, and both of which i still follow--horse racing and tennis. doping and match-fixing occurs in both--but the horses don't choose to dope, and the no amount of doping can give some one roger federer's forehand, pete sampras's serve, john macenroe's volleys, or bjorn borg's groundstrokes...all it can give you is nadal's stamina, no small thing to be sure, but a million miles away from being everything....

if i have offended anyone, i apologize, it was not my intent. peace.
 

Dr. Maserati

BANNED
Jun 19, 2009
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spectacle said:
i've been debating with myself whether i would register just to answer your question or not. i decided i would because i think the answers you've gotten so far only illuminate one portion of the group of those of us who are following the tour, but yet still assume, nonetheless, that the riders are all doped.

missing are those like me, who've pretty much walked away from the sport ....

if i have offended anyone, i apologize, it was not my intent. peace.
Firstly I enjoyed your post - and I think most on this side of the forum would empathize on how the sport we followed and loved turned out to be a charade.

Likewise -I had to stop and think as to how to answer Byu123's original question.

Its quite simple though - I love cycling, from the moment I was introduced to it 25 years ago. But I don't follow Pro cycling with any great enthusiasm anymore and certainly don't 'support' particular riders.

If I want to get my fix of cycling then I go to some excellent junior races or low level amateur races. I do watch the Tour but mostly just to follow the polemics. I still believe in cycling - and believe that there are a few that are by in large clean. I guess I don't believe in some of the 'heroic' performances anymore.

So as long is there are kids who race to be first out the school gate I will always love the sport - I just hope they never make it to Pro level.
 
That was a great post, spectacle. Props to you for fighting the good fight on DPF. I used to occasionally read that forum and just laugh and laugh. We made DPF and The Paceline the butt of jokes on other forums.

I think there has been a change after the fallout from first the Hamilton affair and then the FLandis affair. Even on DPF the ones denying the doping problem are now viewed as nutters by the balance of the rational posters. On many forums those who spent years arguing against the evidence of widespread dope use have crawled away in embarrassment. Others have faced up to the fact that they were wrong, and still others have done an about face. Hombre on DPF, for example, still does not have the intellectual integrity to freely admit that Armstrong doped but he regularly accuses just about every other rider of doping.

You might not know it by the surge of three week fans of cycling that have poured into forums like this one, but the truth has, to some degree, won out in the end among serious fans of the sport.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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I love riding a bike and watching the pros race. I am pretty sure most of the peloton is dirty, but I just put it out of my mind while watching.

The race is bigger than the cyclists. It really is just beautiful to watch.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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spectacle said:
1.) i followed cycling from the early 1980s until 2006.....

2.) ..... it had never even occurred to me that riders don't just dope--my naivety embarrasses me. but after reading these threads over the past week, i see that the riders also probably buy the officials and each other off, flush their teammate's doping products down toilets in fits of pique, and bribe couriers and doctors to tamper with another rider's doping products (which if true goes beyond simply being cheats to being attempted murderers--to purposely give someone tainted blood is to willfully put their life in jeopardy). all the jokes here about the affair du toilet and envelopes being passed around, have given me a hunch as to how lance beat jan all those years. that had never made sense to me before--jan was the natural talent, much more naturally talented than lance--if both were doping, then jan should still have won, unless his care packages weren't as potent as lance's...lucrative business model that dr. fuentes had: take in one small fortune from rider X to help X win and another one from rider Z to help Z win by ensuring X isn't getting his money's worth....

3.) ... this has been really long, i apologize for that. i guess i just had a lot on my mind. ever since andy schleck reminded me about jan's win on arcalis in 1997--that it had been 12 years since i had truly enjoyed this sport--it just made me so sad and wistful...it made me feel old...and the thing missing from this thread was something representing all of us who don't "follow" the sport "for real" anymore...

4.) ... i still follow--horse racing and tennis. doping and match-fixing occurs in both--but the horses don't choose to dope, and the no amount of doping can give some one roger federer's forehand, pete sampras's serve, john macenroe's volleys, or bjorn borg's groundstrokes...all it can give you is nadal's stamina, no small thing to be sure, but a million miles away from being everything....
WOW, i tought i am the only one on this planet thinking like this. I FEEL EXACT THE SAME WAY. The only difference is, i can not stay away from cycling. May be i am addicted :)

So i truly like it when fans go away, because there is no other way for those junkies, then to learn who is paying their salary. We, the fans dont like to pay cheaters. One day, cycling will be "dead", there is no more expensive super-doping. It will be a good cure.

1.) Me too i started watching in early 80s. Stopped after Lemonds last win (he was the hero in my youth). I had a "feeling" something is wrong when unknown pipo (Indurain) started to win. I didnt knew epo, but my feeling was right. I came back 1997, after i heared a young german boy finished 2nd at the TdF in his 1st pro year (1996). After Festina, i stopped again, but got fooled like many others, that change is made. So i was back in 2000. All the years till 2005 i (& my friends) had BIG DOUBTS about Epo-Lance (finally he was caught). From 2006 (OP & Landis didnt shock anymore) i just watch because of my "addiction". But no more heroes. Imagine i even told my friends "hopefully Gerdemann has his own secret Blood-Bank to keep up with Epo-Lance", because Ullrich was the scapegoat (all other dopers go on like AC, Piti, Epo-Lance, Basso, Vino etc. etc.), so we german hard-core fans have no other. Is that called cynical? Whenever i have the chance i speak out against Lance, no matter if the pipo wanna hear it or not, because i am deeply hurt.

2.) That is what we think over here, that Ullrich was the true talent and got stolen his career. I quote D`Hont: "In a clean world Ullrich was winning not only once but dominating the peloton for years" (he was a longtime soigneur who wrote a book about the cycling-omerta). I dont know who is more hurt, Ullrich sitting at home wondering why he is the scapegoat, or me, having to watch the TdF with the greatest All-Time-Doper playing his old games?

3.) Imagine, i had the exact same feeling with Andy Schleck. Young, promising, reminds me of Ullrich 1997 too.So he is, next to Gerdemann, my favorite by heart. But no more heroes.

4.) I am not on this (Tennis, Horse-Racing), but have read much about game-fixing. I see no difference between doping and game-fixing (its a real BIG disease, you better dont try to find out, coz if so, you can never watch a game without doubting the outcome). Both goes deep into the integrity of sports. The eye-opener (next to all cycling-scandals) was the book "How organized crime influences pro Football". I can tell you one thing: When you change Horse-Racing, Tennis or whatever Pro-Sports for Cycling, its not worth it. Its like to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Football, Baseball, Soccer, Tennis, Billiards or Cycling: its all spoiled integrity.
I follow some others sports the same way i follow cycling: no more trust. Fixing is as worse as doping. Believe me, because either way you dont get TRUE results. You have two choices: do sports yourself (i cant anymore because of my spoiled disc from baseball), or watch sports at youth amateur-level. There you wont be cheated. You see true human performance. I wish i could go back in time. I would have not care too much of money (job) but train harder in sports. That gives the greatest satisfaction.

P.S.: May someone knows good therapy for herniated disc, then i would start again to play ball at age 36. :)
 
I haven't read the replies to this thread, so please forgive me if I'm being redundant.

To answer the question, it's all about suspension of disbelief. I turn off the reality switch as soon as I see thousands of rabid fans on a mountainside part like the Red Sea mere moments before riders pass through.

To me, it is the ultimate sporting spectacle.

Plus, the doping denials provide never-ending comic relief.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I like many do feel most of the top riders are doping but still watch the tour for many reasons:

1) Regardless of dope they've still got amazing skills. The technical decents are a favourite.
2) Tactics - You've still got to have tactical acumen to win the tour. I'm always learning something new.
3) Tech Junkie - I just love checking out the new kit and drool over the TT machines. Unfortunately there isn't enough technical coverage on the broadcast. A 30 minute report pre race outlining on all the teams bikes and interviews with mechanics would be awesome.
4) Most importantly however is that cycling is just a beautiful sport. Nothing gets to me like the pain and suffering on a HC climb. There is a certain purity* that appeals to my inner psyche.

As has been previously mentioned, I don't follow any teams or individual riders anymore. Doing so just sets you up for disappointment. It's about the sport and not the personality.

*Oh the irony!!
 
Jun 15, 2009
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
So i was back in 2000. All the years till 2005 i (& my friends) had BIG DOUBTS about Epo-Lance (finally he was caught). From 2006 (OP & Landis didnt shock anymore) i just watch because of my "addiction". But no more heroes. Imagine i even told my friends "hopefully Gerdemann has his own secret Blood-Bank to keep up with Epo-Lance", because Ullrich was the scapegoat (all other dopers go on like AC, Piti, Epo-Lance, Basso, Vino etc. etc.), so we german hard-core fans have no other. Is that called cynical? Whenever i have the chance i speak out against Lance, no matter if the pipo wanna hear it or not, because i am deeply hurt.
I have to quote myself because of this;)

http://nyvelocity.com/content/interviews/2009/david-walsh

so you know what it is about. Dont know if you have all read it. Great, much greater then the SI article
 
Will I watch the Tour?

Yes Yes Yes (three times a day)

Why?

The Tour is the greatest race ever conceived - despite everything it still speaks to me of honor, endeavor and heroism. :)
 
Jun 26, 2009
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as I've said before, you do not get to protour level if you are not a top class athlete. Doping has been going on as long as I can remember and has always been accepted by pro riders as part of it. The omerta exists because everyone knows how long and how much you suffer in order to do your job. The peloton is like a big family, once you are established you are brothers in arms so to speak. In some teams it has been systematic in others it was an individual choice. There are always those who choose to race natural ( clean as everyone puts it here ) My biggest concern is the long term health effects of doping. Cycling itself, in my mind, is the ultimate physical and mental contest of man against himself, each other and against the forces of nature.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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SlantParallelogram said:
I agree. It seems like pro cyclists live short lives. That is well known. I am shocked that doesn't discourage people from doping.
Whatever made you think pro cyclists were normal rationally thinking people? If they were they would be working 9 to five in an office or factory or something. I suspect many are bi-polar or tunnel visioned autistics. Of the guys I raced with in 80s, some are now successful business owners but some of the best ones, including 3 world track champions i know, have their lives in complete shambles because they never thought about life beyond cycling.
This is the reason why many pros ignore the dangers, because they dont think about life continuing long after their useby date as a cyclist is reached.
The perfect example is Gary Wiggins (father of Bradley), once a top sixday rider and former European madison champion descended to alchoholism and depression after his career ended. Died in a gutter way too young.
 
Jiminez, Pantani, Hamilton. You could create a big list.

If one reads Willy Voet's book, you get a really good look at how fragile some of these people are.

What you say is true Beroepsrenner, but I think EPO and then other O2 carriers including blood doping, was so much of a game changer, it threw everything in a bit of a spin. The fans saw it, and the sponsors, then teams and riders reacted. No one would have said anything like what Millar, Wiggins and a few others are now saying. There are cracks in the omerta because some people don't want to, or can't afford to, or don't want to risk playing the high stakes game of blood doping in order to equal the high gains made by those that do it.

At least that's what I can discern.

As to health issues, I'm just really hoping that we don't end up with another case like Manzano, only worse. Contaminated, or clotted blood re-infused could lead to more than the reaction he had. Someone could get sepsis, or even die. It's not likely, but still, after hearing about Sinkewitz testimony about some of their re-infusion problems, it's frightening.

No one really knows some of the long term effects of using medicines such as HGH or plasma expanders, etc. which are designed for the infirm and seriously ill people, being used systematically in a healthy person.
 
Jun 26, 2009
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I honestly believe that Brad Wiggins rides natural. Although he didnt have a close relationship with his father I think he is smart enough to realise that doping destroyed his life and he would be determined not to go down the same path. The main reason for his dramatically improved TDF performance this year is because in the past his main focus was on the track. This year he made a concious decision to turn his attention to getting road results rather than use it as training for the track. I dont believe Evans is a doper either which means he is constantly riding defensively and doesnt have the power needed to attack and put big gaps into the other GC contenders.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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beroepsrenner said:
I honestly believe that Brad Wiggins rides natural. Although he didnt have a close relationship with his father I think he is smart enough to realise that doping destroyed his life and he would be determined not to go down the same path. The main reason for his dramatically improved TDF performance this year is because in the past his main focus was on the track. This year he made a concious decision to turn his attention to getting road results rather than use it as training for the track. I dont believe Evans is a doper either which means he is constantly riding defensively and doesnt have the power needed to attack and put big gaps into the other GC contenders.
Good points...thanks! Wiggins does make me think...I just don't know about him. I understand focusing on the road, weight loss, etc. So I guess we will see after the Alps.
 

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