Mark Padun

A brief career history of Ukrainian Marc Padun to show he is a man definitely deserving of scrutiny.

  • some promising performances at age grade demonstrate some ability on a bike
  • rides for Bahrain and at the 2021 Dauphine slams genuine GT contenders who are going at full tilt and wins consecutive mountain stages in arguably about as surprising feat of climbing you are going to see (up there with Froome and Cobo's duet at the Vuelta and arguably with a Rasmussen or Ricco at the TdF).
  • Bahrain don't select him for the subsequent TdF.
  • Bahrain get wins left, right and centre throughout 2021 against riders on teams with larger budgets.
  • Bahrain get raided by police, unexplained chemicals are found in multiple hair samples.
  • Despite his literally world beating success and being a clear and natural successor to the ageing Landa, Padun is dropped by Bahrain and ends up on a team (EF) with a smaller budget - indicating a potential pay drop for him and that teams with huge budgets like TJV and Ineos didn't want to hire a rider that was shown to be able to beat their teams in a straight fight in the mountains.
With an early decent ITT performance for Padun at EF, hopes appear high that he'll show Bahrain (and TJV and Ineos) what a mistake they made letting this confirmed world beater slip through their hands. Will he be rumbled? Will he fade into obscurity, be a low level domestique (my pick) or repeat his Dauphine form to win GT Queens stages, or even a full GT itself? With Padun, everything is possible.

I wish him and his family well off the bike, but surely 2022 on the bike can't match 2021 for inexplicable chaos and inconsistency?

 
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Padun is one of the most talented cyclists in history, who was disrespected by his own team. He made sacrifices (stopped eating mommy's meals) and hit superb form as a result. As a "reward" the team didn't select him for the Tour, which would have been a certain victory ahead of the Slovenian upstart.
 
Reactions: Fergoose
What I don’t understand is why they got rid of him. They clearly are on the shady end of things so wouldn’t he be the perfect guy for them? And other teams didn’t pick him up despite having equally shady members? Doesn’t make sense.
 
  • Despite his literally world beating success and being a clear and natural successor to the ageing Landa, Padun is dropped by Bahrain and ends up on a team (EF) with a smaller budget - indicating a potential pay drop for him and that teams with huge budgets like TJV and Ineos didn't want to hire a rider that was shown to be able to beat their teams in a straight fight in the mountains.
I doubt he took a pay cut when signing for EF. Bahrein has a bigger budget, but that doesn't mean they're giving every young rider or domestique fat contracts just for the sake of it (as sometimes did Sky for instance). Padun wasn't on his rookie contract, but he got a one year extension at the end of 2020, after a disappointing season.

The main issue with Padun has always been consistency. He has a tendency to ride a lot less than most other pros because of injuries or other health problems (which of course could indicate doping issues, but possibly he's just physically frail?).
On top of that he performs at a very high level for short periods of time, or even on occasional days like the Dauphine stages in 2021 or the Giro stage in 2020. Even in his first year as a pro he won a Tour of the Alps stage against elite climbers and almost won a Vuelta stage from the break. Then he's pack fodder for months. Which is a red flag for doping itself, but not dissimilar from what Thomas De Gendt and other prime stage hunters do on a regular basis.

Then of course you have the Vaughters interview where he claims Padun's numbers are possibly the highest he's seen in his whole life. Typical Vaughters publicity stunt? I'd lean yes, but surely at some point such a claim will be debunked by other riders, former coaches, even media who now have access to a lot of data?
His season with EF has been what I expected to be. A rollercoaster with few days of racing, some impressive performances and a few DNFs. That's without considering the war in his country, which I imagine would take a toll on most professional athletes.

All in all, I think he's a very shady rider, but also one who showed some talent from young age. Was that talent always clinic induced? Can't rule it out, but I don't think his Dauphine wins came out of nowhere as most other posters do.
 
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Reactions: topcat
The one thing that he has going for him is that his results in teh u23 ranks didn't stop when he left Locatelli and Palazzago, he actually improved. Sure, that might be natural because he only rode for him as a first year u23 rider, but still.
For what it's worth his former DS Ivan Quaranta has said that he had guys like Ciccone and Masnada hanging on for dear life on their training rides after joining Colpack.
 
Great results coming up through the age ranks. Very inconsistent after turning pro, but shown flashes of talent even before that Dauphine. Contract decision on Bahrain's part might've been taken before that ride. Agree that there are some red flags, but for me they are not of Aru-esque proportions.
 
What I don’t understand is why they got rid of him. They clearly are on the shady end of things so wouldn’t he be the perfect guy for them? And other teams didn’t pick him up despite having equally shady members? Doesn’t make sense.
There could have been a lot of reasons, perhaps he didn't fit in with the culture, or didn't fit a racing need. Or the inconsistent results weren't worth a new contract.

The Clinic possibilité can't be ruled out of course, which is that he was on his own edge of the limits program.
 
One year on from dominating the world on a team subject to a police investigation, Mr Padun gets dropped before sprinters on an unclassified climb riding for a team with relatively few suspicions. What a difference a Dauphine makes.
 
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One year on from dominating the world on a team subject to a police investigation, Mr Padun gets dropped before sprinters on an unclassified climb riding for a team with relatively few suspicions. What a difference a Dauphine makes.
Mark Padun finishes last, 125th position, + 28:58 down on stage winner Jonas Vingegaard, on the mountainous and final stage of the Dauphine to Plateau de Solaison. The time limit for the stage was 15%, or 4:23:44 (+34:24).
 
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Must be off his meds?
Was he nursing an injury, was he ill, did he succumb to the mercy of an unfortunate mechanical issue? If not, and this is the real Mark Padun, I have never witnessed such a significant disparity in results from one year to the next. If doping is the explanation, it's something, which provides an enormous gain in athletic performance, and is difficult to detect.
 
Was he nursing an injury, was he ill, did he succumb to the mercy of an unfortunate mechanical issue? If not, and this is the real Mark Padun, I have never witnessed such a significant disparity in results from one year to the next. If doping is the explanation, it's something, which provides an enormous gain in athletic performance, and is difficult to detect.
He was super shitty most of the times last year as well. And he already had a peak this year too. Padun going to Padun. I just wonder by which system he chooses to turn into a worldbeater. Because its very random so far. But definitely the dodgiest rider I can think off right now (and I actually do find quite some riders dodgy).
 

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