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Is Walsh on the Sky bandwagon?

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Apr 20, 2012
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gooner said:
I remember watching Smith in the Barcelona Olympics and it was as clear as day she didn't have any talent to win at that level or compete even for a medal.

The Smith transformation is not a comparative one. If anyone seen her build in 92 to the one a few years later, she was like a Rugby League player. Erike De Bruijn was her own personal coach who she continually kept working with after her success in winning 2 golds and a silver in the European Championships in 1995. She was 25 then and a year later dominates in Atlanta. Just think about that age in swimming terms for a second. That would be like Froome doing nothing throughout his career and turning up in 2011 at the Vuelta around 35 years old finishing second. It's totally different. Nothing beats that transformation in my time watching sport. This was so evident, Janet Evans pulled no punches in her press conference accusing her.

Remember the association remained with Erik de Bruijn under intense questioning and scrutiny during all this period while Leinders has been ditched. It's a black mark against Sky but you can't keep throwing that link about his success this year.
Replace 1992 with the San Luca climb, de Bruin with Julich/Leinders and Atlanta 1996 with Pena Cabarga 2011.

I think there is a case. A good one even.

And, not talented? Smith? Come on. When one is not talented one does not go to the Olympics.

Transformation?
Froome did the reverse, from 'fattie' to:
http://twitpic.com/czj015

But hey, no comparison there. Loose 5 kiloos and the results will stream in.
http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Chris+Froome/National+Elite+Road+Race+Championships/LrbMnHfCuSe

Looks like he gained a few pounds:
Chris+Froome+UCI+Road+World+Championships+n8iLOBxJSyTl.jpg


13 august 2011:
Chris+Froome+British+Cycling+Portrait+Session+UbCk7bwx2wWl.jpg

whats the deal with those pre - Vuelta - legs?

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Chris+Froome/British+Cycling+Portrait+Session/UbCk7bwx2wW
http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Chris+Froome/Le+Tour+de+France+2012+Previews/po_oyqFvXT4
 
Mar 25, 2013
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Fearless Greg Lemond said:
Replace 1992 with the San Luca climb, de Bruin with Julich/Leinders and Atlanta 1996 with Pena Cabarga 2011.

I think there is a case. A good one even.

And, not talented? Smith? Come on. When one is not talented one does not go to the Olympics.

Transformation?
Froome did the reverse, from 'fattie' to:
http://twitpic.com/czj015

But hey, no comparison there. Loose 5 kiloos and the results will stream in.
http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Chris+Froome/National+Elite+Road+Race+Championships/LrbMnHfCuSe

Looks like he gained a few pounds:
Chris+Froome+UCI+Road+World+Championships+n8iLOBxJSyTl.jpg

This is the famous Sports Illustrated article "Under Suspicion" about her back in 1997.

If all were right, Michelle Smith, the Irish swimmer, would be an athlete of formidable celebrity. At last year's Atlanta Olympics, she powered her way to three gold medals and a bronze. She achieved this astonishing success at an age, 26, when most female swimmers are a half decade beyond their best performances.

Smith had indeed made amazing progress, but over three years, not a few months. She was not ranked among the top 25 female swimmers in the world at any distance in any stroke in 1993. In '94 she was 14th and 17th in two events; by '95 she was second in two events and 10th and 13th in two others; and in "96 she won three Olympic races. Rivals said that such a progression was unheard-of for a swimmer in her 20s.

What age would that be with Froome?

Briefly, they talked about Smith's physique. Since she has known de Bruin, she has become significantly more muscular. (They met in a dining hall at the 1992 Barcelona Games, at which Smith performed without distinction and de Bruin not at all; he pulled out a month beforehand, he said, because of lingering weakness from glandular fever.) Comparing photographs of Smith in Barcelona and Atlanta, one sees that over the four years between those Olympics she lost much of her breast tissue; her arms and shoulders grew substantially more muscled: and her face thinned. She evolved from a "puppy dog," to use her words, to a "mature woman," to use her husband's. Smith says the changes came from following a regimen of weightlifting and an unspecified diet prescribed by de Bruin.

In that photograph, taken in the pool in Atlanta after one of Smith's victories, her flexed left arm looks as if it belongs to a strong man, and her jawline seems to be on loan from Mark Messier, the New York Ranger with the haunting, prehistoric face.

Another truth is that before Smith, no world-class woman swimmer had ever been exceedingly faster at 26 than she was at 22. Smith's improvement in the 400-meter individual medley is remarkable. In 1992 her best time was 4:58.94. In '93 it was 4:57.17. In '94 it was 4:47.89. In '95 it was 4:42.81. In Atlanta, it was 4:39.18. That's an immense, 20-second improvement in four years, nine seconds in '93 and '94 alone. Then there's the 400 freestyle. Smith had never even swum the event in international competition before '96. In Atlanta she swam it in 4:07.25, the ninth best time ever by a woman. But none of this precludes the possibility that Smith found novel but legal training methods that, as scientists say, pushed the envelope.

It's not comparative.

http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1009872/1/index.htm
 
What's to say he wasn't trying in Pologne or doing some sort of "measured" build up. Look at Romandie-Giro and Dauphine/Suisse-Tour, maybe not as dramatic but similar concept (I guess the point with Froome is that it was a career first performance, season first performance so not really the same as say Basso 2010 or Andy's Antics). Froome even did the same in 2012 so to me it's more strategy than anything else. Major benefit of doping is training so if he genuinely was ten minutes behind on the mountain circuit then he wouldn't have been able to close the gap quick enough just by taking EPO for the first time that season.
 
I notice that a major flaw in posts (and articles, interviews etc) that defend sky, visible particularly on this page, is that people often limit the case against sky to one argument, dismiss that one argument and then think that in doing so they have made a persuasive and valid challenge to those who doubt sky.


But brother, if it were just the climbing times. If t were just that froome rode a mountain fast once, then, saying there was wind on it, or arguing that it could be possible due to scientific advancements, could maybe cause sceptics to take a step back and say "perhaps".

But it is not. Aside from froomes super times you have Brailsford very conveniently refusing to release any data on froome or Wiggins, despite boasting of transparency, and whatsmore when he did finally offer some data, it waz behind the scenes and did NOT include any ( surprise surprise) of froomes data from pre transformation.
That stinks to high hell, and no matter how persuasive your argument about fast ascents being possible, is, it does not do anything to adress this cause for concern, which continues to convince people that Sky are dodgy.

Then you have, as the great ls mentioned/wrote thesis on above, the fact that froome was a mediocre rider at best, who's early demonstrations of Vos like talent, shocked even his diehard fans.

Staying with froome, what makes the climbing times more suspicious is that at the same time he also smashed out a tt that fell seconds behind world tt champion tony Martin's effort which ranked as the 3rd or 5th, can't remember, fastest tt in tdf history. More impressively, did it with a poor tt position having little wind tunnel experience, and with perhaps the thinnest look of any person to ever come top top 10 in a tt. And wiggins did the same thing a year earlier.

We also have the length of the peak. He didnt peak for the tour like everyone else who ever set a good time (and if he had I don't doubt we would hear it endlessly as an explanation). He peaked for the whole season. He went on a 6 month long peak, showing total immunity from exhaustion. And wiggins did the same the year before.

Moving onto the teammates, if you want to believe Porte is legit, fair enough, his new found 3rd best climber in the world status certainly surprised most, including Sean Kelly, and less outrageous improvements from others have historically met with raised eyebrows. But if we look at rogers, this is a guy who we know doped yet he achieved better numbers working with sky than on 2 separate doping programmes. that is significant and eats away at the froome ventoux excuse because even if froome is the talent of the century, how can a Ferrari client perform better clean at sky than doped? It raises serious questions.

Then you have lienders, and not only the fact that he worked at sky, but that it directly conflicted with their claim to only hire untarnished staff, and whatsmore, the shady way in which they tried to explain away the situation, with it becoming increasingly clear that they knew who he was, and more importantly, Brailsford promising politico style to "look into it" in July 2012, despite having no intention of doing anything until he found a good spot to bury the story months later.

Then you have, what I call The Original Sin. Bradley Wiggins, and his not to be underestimated campaign to defend and promote the image of his hero lance Armstrong. Which included not only unnecessary moments of support for a man he knew to be a fraud (in interview during Olympics, on the pn podium) but also notoriously his (and was it his wife as well?) bullying of Floyd Landis, a man who he knew was telling the truth, in an attempt to protect lance (the fraud) from the legitimate allegations against him. That's not even taking into account the fact that Wiggins was quite clearly anti doping back when even be didn't believe he could come top 100 in the tour, and then so very conveniently turned into one of the greatest athletes ever lived and the first clean rider that podiumed the tour since lemond, in a dirty tour, just as he became pro dopers. Wow what a coincidence.

And that sky and Wiggins have behaved very dishonestly by since 2012 doing their absolute most to pretend it didn't even happen and even trying to paint Wiggins as someone who was against lance all along.

And we have sky, portraying themselves as UK postal, hiring people like Michael Barry, and rogers who everyone inside cycling knew was doped, but claiming they had no idea while simultaneously presenting an image of themselves the team that leaves no stone unturned (yet they apparently miss info so basic)

The excuse of hiring lienders because of txemas death could also go here, as could a lot of Brailsfords and skys statements (saying he can tell who is doping because of how much talent they showed early in their career. Saying they train 2 hours harder than anyone else, d thsy this has a direct impact. justifying Wiggins by saying he followed wheels then having froome attack miles out)

All these remain pieces of evidence. So when you make an attempt to explain how froome can ride fast up mountains clean, even if it is convincing, (and the fact that they have been used before for riders later found dirty, is not encouraging) and you wonder why people don't accept it as a possibility, it's because there is just so so so much else to the story. All these issues make it less probable that sky are on the level (froomes transformation being legit is more probable than that froome and Wiggins transformations are legit. Add other reasons of doubt and the number only gets smaller) And all these pieces of doubt, combined together make it very very difficult for many to contemplate them being clean.

Because the idea that a rider rode ventoux almost as fast as lance is one thing.the idea that he did it despite being a bottle carrier 2 years earlier, and that he did it in the tts and that he did it for 6 months straight without exhaustion and that his teammate did the exact same thing a year earlier and that Porte and rogers also dominated, is less probable. Add in the dishonesty, well believing sky stumbled across these 2 talents of the century, who just happen to originate from their target country, and that they've repeatedly lied through their teeth about it by accident, believe what you want but for me it's like believing that a gust of wind passing through a scrapyard can assemble a Boeing 747.

Don't pretend it's just the climbing times. They are just the tip of the iceberg.
 
May 28, 2012
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Ferminal said:
What's to say he wasn't trying in Pologne or doing some sort of "measured" build up. Look at Romandie-Giro and Dauphine/Suisse-Tour, maybe not as dramatic but similar concept (I guess the point with Froome is that it was a career first performance, season first performance so not really the same as say Basso 2010 or Andy's Antics). Froome even did the same in 2012 so to me it's more strategy than anything else. Major benefit of doping is training so if he genuinely was ten minutes behind on the mountain circuit then he wouldn't have been able to close the gap quick enough just by taking EPO for the first time that season.

The Tour of Pologne that year certainly didn't suit a Froome in any kind of form, before or after transformation. The weather there was bad and most difficult stages featured lots of twisting and steep roads on circuits. Tirreno and the Worlds this year showed, that even when he has decent form he has trouble following the peloton on these types of parcours. While the Vuelta offers a course and weather conditions Froome likes most; long straight roads, and climbs with a consistent gradient, and mostly high temperatures. Even nowadays Froome's performances greatly depend on the conditions of the race.

This is certainly no defence for Froome's transformation, but there should be some nuance when looking at the difference in results and performance.
 
May 26, 2010
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The Hitch said:
...............

believe what you want but for me it's like believing that a gust of wind passing through a scrapyard can assemble a Boeing 747.

Don't pretend it's just the climbing times. They are just the tip of the iceberg.

Excellent.

10chara.....
 
Ferminal said:
What's to say he wasn't trying in Pologne or doing some sort of "measured" build up. Look at Romandie-Giro and Dauphine/Suisse-Tour, maybe not as dramatic but similar concept (I guess the point with Froome is that it was a career first performance, season first performance so not really the same as say Basso 2010 or Andy's Antics). Froome even did the same in 2012 so to me it's more strategy than anything else. Major benefit of doping is training so if he genuinely was ten minutes behind on the mountain circuit then he wouldn't have been able to close the gap quick enough just by taking EPO for the first time that season.
Again, there are several factors pointing to him trying his best to get a result in Poland:

1) He needed to perform to get a new contract. Even if he somehow "knew" that he'd be great in the Vuelta it'd be absolutely ridiculous not to show his form here (then he'd be unemployed if he should crash out of the Vuelta).

2) GB went "all in" to get WT points with as many british riders as possible, to get Cavendish more helpers. That's why Stannard was suddenly doing bunch sprints, and why they sacrificed Nordhaug's GC chances to lead out Kennaugh in a relatively flat sprint (saying afterwards that they were "very disappointed" that he didn't make the top 5, making it pretty obvious that WT points were their only goal).

Also, I find the claim that the race simply didn't suit him to be quite peculiar (due to the climbs being short and steep) - a few weeks later he won a stage in the Vuelta after one of the most impressive attacks I've ever seen on a relatively short, steep hill. Also on the early stages with the walls in the end, which were very similar to the walls in Poland where he got dropped, he was clearly waiting for Wiggins while finishing around 20th, which is quite an improvement from being dropped from a 80 man peloton...
 
Apr 20, 2012
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Pentacycle said:
The Tour of Pologne that year certainly didn't suit a Froome in any kind of form, before or after transformation. The weather there was bad and most difficult stages featured lots of twisting and steep roads on circuits. Tirreno and the Worlds this year showed, that even when he has decent form he has trouble following the peloton on these types of parcours. While the Vuelta offers a course and weather conditions Froome likes most; long straight roads, and climbs with a consistent gradient, and mostly high temperatures. Even nowadays Froome's performances greatly depend on the conditions of the race.

This is certainly no defence for Froome's transformation, but there should be some nuance when looking at the difference in results and performance.
Correct, thats why he was a domestique for The Great Morris Possoni at the Brixia Tour. Or working for Tha CAVman at Box Hill:
Chris+Froome+LOCOG+Test+Events+London+2012+YOYo3H8r73Dl.jpg


All in prep for that Vuelta.
 
May 26, 2010
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Pentacycle said:
Libertine, why do you feel the need to compare Froome to untalented athletes gone mutant, while Froome's early results indicated that he could have the potential to be a decent domestique for GT's? To say he's currently riding clean goes to far of course, and I'm not doing that, but a clean Froome isn't totally worthless and Sky knew that he had some talent in him. Otherwise you don't get personal training guidance at a team like Sky when your results are crap.

of course they did, that is why they were getting rid of him.
 
Jul 5, 2011
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Yes, a host of suspicious factors.
Its down to the expansion of the Murdoch empire. Sky are as murky and devious as any Wall Street investment bankers. Apparently hiring, or at least covering expenses, for the super sleuth journo to pen the fluffy cover story was a clever stroke.
But they have a loose cannon on board with Wiggo, who has now demonstrated beyond doubt that he and his mouth are capable of any indiscretion conceivable. Awaiting further developments.
 
Apr 20, 2012
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Chapter 8 of the Walsh book:
I like to tell another motorbike story which Froome told me. It goes back to the 2007 Giro delle Reggioni in Italy, an Under-23 race. This was where Rod Ellingworth first spotted Froome. Ellingworth is no mug. Froome wasn’t long out of Africa (two weeks at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle) and admits sheepishly that he didn’t know back then that downhill riding is done 90 per cent on the front brake. He crashed four times on the first stage. Next day was a mountain finish. ‘I’d trained really hard to get ready for it. I actually trained at altitude in Lesotho, which is an “island” entirely inside SA with very high mountains, and in J’burg where I was staying at the time. I got over to the Reggioni and this second stage was the mountain-top finish.
So, before Froome goes to Aigle where the magic numbers are recorded he has an altitude training camp in Lesotho? Also Jo'burg is at altitude.

The Kid from Kenya who didnt have the facilities knew about altitude training?

Must be convenient for them numbers at Aigle. They were huge. Huge.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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gooner said:
Each to their own, not everyone's criteria for saying someone is doping is the same as others and in the case of a situation which isn't a slam dunk one like this, a varying opinion should be more than allowed where both sides can qualify their argument.

And it's not national bias or fanboy either, it's simple, there is a worthwhile discussion to be had.



Fair enough. I don't think anyone accused you of being anti-British.



Strawman. While we're at it, lets call out any rider or sportsperson and not substantiate on the back of it.

I'm not surprised in the slightest. Didn't you come out of nowhere and call out Bale for doping and said he was football's Froome?

I seem to remember you had no problem calling out Horner without "evidence"?
 
gooner said:
I've said my bit on this and am not getting bogged down in this discussion no more and deflecting the thread. I didn't generalise the forum.

No problem. I bring it up because it goes directly to Walsh and questions about why he is not asking any difficult questions and has become a gushing supporter despite criticizing riders for their performances (only) in the past.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Ben Johnson won Commonwealth medals at 21. Bjarne Riis won a stage of the Giro in 1989 and three stages of L'Avenir. Johann Mühlegg was strong enough to be part of a pretty strong German team in three separate Winter Olympics. They all later became very clear chemical creations. Froome was not an untalented cyclist. But he did not show anything prior to La Covatilla in the 2011 Vuelta that suggested that the level he has subsequently achieved was even remotely plausible.

Actually, he sucked out loud in 2012 all the way to the Dauphiné, when once again he could suddenly demolish everything in his path. He hadn't scored a single CQ point until he got one for finishing Romandie.

Riis showed more talent than Froome has to be the joke of the century. Riis was a guy for escapes, nothing more. Never showed anything in the mountains.
Froome in his second GT as a 24 year old finished 34th of the Giro. Which certainly didn't lead anyone to expect to see the Froome we see now, but for GTs that's more talent than Riis showed until he was 29... 34th with 24, as an "exot"? A future top 10 rider definitely possible.
Riis? Never showed any talent for climbing until 93, age 29.

Of course Froome's transformation was huge and not really believable, but to claim Riis was "more believable"....
 
Pentacycle said:
Libertine, why do you feel the need to compare Froome to untalented athletes gone mutant, while Froome's early results indicated that he could have the potential to be a decent domestique for GT's? To say he's currently riding clean goes to far of course, and I'm not doing that, but a clean Froome isn't totally worthless and Sky knew that he had some talent in him. Otherwise you don't get personal training guidance at a team like Sky when your results are crap.

Sky saw Froome as this. He was a guy who would give up his bike to second rate sprinters.

If they knew it was only a matter of time before his GT winning potential came to the fore he wouldn't be pushing Greg Henderson.

10eggpd.jpg
 
thehog said:
Sky saw Froome as this. He was a guy who would give up his bike to second rate sprinters.

If they knew it was only a matter of time before his GT winning potential came to the fore he wouldn't be pushing Greg Henderson.

10eggpd.jpg
Gt winning potential is a bit of an understatement. There ate loads of active riders in the peloton who have won gts, a few more with gt winning potential. None with the possible exception of Alberto Contador has ever come close to the performance froome is smashing out in training races alone.
 
The fridge in the blue trees said:
Riis showed more talent than Froome has to be the joke of the century. Riis was a guy for escapes, nothing more. Never showed anything in the mountains.
Froome in his second GT as a 24 year old finished 34th of the Giro. Which certainly didn't lead anyone to expect to see the Froome we see now, but for GTs that's more talent than Riis showed until he was 29... 34th with 24, as an "exot"? A future top 10 rider definitely possible.
Riis? Never showed any talent for climbing until 93, age 29.

Of course Froome's transformation was huge and not really believable, but to claim Riis was "more believable"....

Where did I say Riis showed more talent than Froome? I used Walsh's own examples of Kelly and Smith to point out how Walsh himself previously differentiated between "good dopers" (talented athletes who were good from the word go, and doped) and "bad dopers" (less talented athletes who doped to turn themselves from also-rans to top stars). I used the somewhat unfair term "untalented" rather than "less talented", which was picked up in the post I was responding to, because they were not happy at considering Froome "untalented".

I personally do not know much about Michelle Smith, unlike David Walsh, so I attempted to explain myself using examples I was more familiar with. I.e. athletes who had been comparatively inauspicious until using doping to turn themselves into chemically created golems. I cheerfully acknowledge that calling Froome "untalented" prior to the 2011 Vuelta is an exaggeration and unfair on him. However, to qualify my point, I wished to demonstrate that that in no way took away from how preposterous his transformation had still been, which I demonstrated by naming three athletes I am more familiar with who had been nowhere before suddenly becoming champions with the benefit of doping - Johnson, Riis and Mühlegg - and explaining how none of those three were "untalented" either.

However Froome from 2009-mid 2011 wasn't really more than breakaway fodder either. His transformation was certainly more ridiculous than Bernhard Kohl, or Mauro Santambrogio, or Ezequiel Mosquera.
 

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