Official Lance Armstrong Thread: Part 4 (Post-Settlement)

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The most disgusting display of his personality is how well he gets to live off the proceeds of his ill-gotten gains, money that he stole from sponsors like Bristol-Myers Squibb, speaking engagements from Livestrong and the Tour itself and he is still nothing but a bratty, entitled schmuck.

Gotta love the way he continues to throw Hincapie under the bus with his comment about him-(paraphrasing)"look at Hincapie...and people still buy his ***". Nice. It's easy to lose respect for Hincapie, another pathetic slug in this sordid drama, who refuses to stand up to this bully because all he is thinking about is how he can continue to cash in on his relationship with Armstrong.
Certainly he was the best of the "bank robbers" of the Tour de Dope era:


"More importantly for Lance Armstrong, during the 7-year window when he won every Tour de France (1999-2005), 87% of the top-10 finishers (61 of 70) were confirmed dopers or suspected of doping."

87%! :eek: Called it Tour de Dope...Tour de Pharmacy...Tour de Cheaters...or whatever. Lol.

I imagine the other top performing dopers of that prevalent doping era also got to keep all of their ill-gotten earnings (Zulle, Ullrich, Basso, Vinokourov, Rumšas, Mayo, etc). If fact, CAS had ruled that Vinokourov didn't owe the UCI a year’s salary, amounting to €1.2 million, dating back to his positive for homologous blood doping during the 07 Tour. Hilarious!...getting rewarding for doping!

LA was the best placing doper for 7 consecutive Tours. So, the question is how? Better doping program/doctor? Higher responder to the various combinations of drugs? Better doped teams? All of the above?

Since the standard doping products that most everyone was using back then was EPO/blood doping, HGH, androgens, corticosteroids- what gave LA such a decisive advantage over the other dopers? And I've noticed that LA never addresses this nor is he ever asked point blank about it in his interviews (though he'd probably be ambiguous. Lol).
 
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LA was the best placing doper for 7 consecutive Tours. So, the question is how? Better doping program/doctor? Higher responder to the various combinations of drugs? Better doped teams? All of the above?
I'd guess all of the above. He had an exclusive contract with Ferrari. Though the number isn't certain, it appears he had a fairly low natural HT, giving him an advantage in EPO/blood transfusions, particularly when the 50% limit was set. Regarding the third, remember, a major innovation of his teams was to have doms good enough to set a very fast pace, and drop all but a handful of rivals when the key MTF began. Doping everyone on the team was critical to that strategy. It also meant focussing totally on LA, with no sprinters or others who might win stages that weren't critical to the GC. Not to mention strong TTers when there was a TTT. Ullrich might have won in 2003 if he hadn't lost significant time in the TTT.

Still another factor was that LA focussed solely on the TDF. Unlike multiple Tour winners preceding him, he never competed in the other GTs during those seven years.
 
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The mean hematocrit of non-doped trained endurance athletes is around 42 %. and Lance's values from the published 2009-2010 data are around that level, so his Hct wasn't at least exceptionally low even if there were a few samples with values slightly below 40 %.

I can recall seeing data that his Vo2Max fell less at altitude indicating that he might've had high lung capacity in relation to body size and therefore his body could've perhaps used the extra RBCs very efficiently.

His lowish(?) natural hematocrit and possible high responsiveness (?) were beyond his control, and one very unpopular view is that his success was caused by him being the best cyclist of the era, be it contrafactual clean against clean peloton or the real one doped against a bunch of dopers.
 
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Can we make an argument that there were riders in the 70s and the 80s - potential champions - who were removed from the board because of the shift to hormone-based doping? Riders who fell foul of 'big gear' injuries and didn't return? Allan Peiper - a lowly domestique but still relevant - in his autobiography certainly suggests that even with testosterone the super responder myth can be applied. This is him talking of being given testosterone by a Peugeot team doctor: "I think that dose made me so strong that my own muscles actually tore the tendon [in my knee]."
 
Argument or not, the winning rider of any generation historically, is always going to be the best rider (with adequate good fortune) most suited to the wider context of cycling of the moment in time, including any doping methods and team structures that apply to its context. If you have a rider taking testosterone, that doesn't tear tendons racing against one that does then clearly the race falls to that rider. If you have a rider with an entire team on their side v one that isn't, chances are obviously against the less structured team.
The whole super-responder myth is just that. To get to a point that some will argue doped donkeys beat doped thoroughbreds is simply a reflection of who you thought deserved to win & nothing else imo. If doping donkeys was the key to winning the sports biggest race, why does every team try and sign the best rider they can afford? Tthey would be better off looking lower down the rankings and save a few $million.
 
Argument or not, the winning rider of any generation historically, is always going to be the best rider (with adequate good fortune) most suited to the wider context of cycling of the moment in time, including any doping methods and team structures that apply to its context. If you have a rider taking testosterone, that doesn't tear tendons racing against one that does then clearly the race falls to that rider. If you have a rider with an entire team on their side v one that isn't, chances are obviously against the less structured team.
The whole super-responder myth is just that. To get to a point that some will argue doped donkeys beat doped thoroughbreds is simply a reflection of who you thought deserved to win & nothing else imo. If doping donkeys was the key to winning the sports biggest race, why does every team try and sign the best rider they can afford? Tthey would be better off looking lower down the rankings and save a few $million.
Well except there are innumerable examples to disprove your claims. Teams sign riders at different levels, they don't sign donkeys hoping they can turn them into stars, sometimes it just happens. You think US Postal signed a 27yo Levi Leipheimer from a US domestic team thinking he would be a potential GT contender? Of course they didn't. Leipheimer was signed primarily for small stage races and the US scene

Or Ariostea signed Bjarne Riis(best GT finish 43rd) thinking after 6 years as a pro, he would somehow be a future Tour winner? Of course not. Riis was signed as a solid rider who could maybe do ok as a stage hunter/ond day rider.

Or Mecair signing a 32yo Piotr Ugrumov(best GT finish 8th) expecting him to be a Tour/Giro Runner-up. Of course not. Mecair were a small team who probably signed Ugrumov on the cheap hoping he could give them a GT presence i.e Top 10 or stage win.

The list could go on and on.

Then on the flip side, you have someone like Beat Zberg, same age as Armstrong, first year as a pro finished 4th Dauphine, 5th Tour de Suisse, 6th Tirreno-Adriatico, wins 2 Italian one day races and Etoile de Besseges. Probably his best season in a 15 year career.

There may be other factors involved, but to say riders dont repsond to doping differently is wide of the mark.
 
Argument or not, the winning rider of any generation historically, is always going to be the best rider (with adequate good fortune) most suited to the wider context of cycling of the moment in time, including any doping methods and team structures that apply to its context. If you have a rider taking testosterone, that doesn't tear tendons racing against one that does then clearly the race falls to that rider. If you have a rider with an entire team on their side v one that isn't, chances are obviously against the less structured team.
The whole super-responder myth is just that. To get to a point that some will argue doped donkeys beat doped thoroughbreds is simply a reflection of who you thought deserved to win & nothing else imo. If doping donkeys was the key to winning the sports biggest race, why does every team try and sign the best rider they can afford? Tthey would be better off looking lower down the rankings and save a few $million.
Not sure how any of that disproves super-responders. Every team tries to sign the best rider / super-responder they can afford

Certainly every team is indeed going to be looking down the rankings to see who they can get on the cheap who is going to be capable of a lot better than they've shown so far. That's the game in any team sport. As far as I can see even the most high-budget cycling teams do that. I wouldn't pretend to know what all teams do when they sign a new rider but I presume they carry out some sort of routine physical and clinical testing. Maybe it is possible to predict how riders might respond from that but obviously there is no way to be sure that they would respond as you hope before you put them on your program. There is also no way to know that they weren't already on the program that you had in mind. Sometimes you might just get lucky and have a rider already on your roster who is showing nothing and you're probably going to get shot of him but then suddenly you / he tries something new and, whoosh, suddenly you have a world-beating Tour de France winner. You try the same thing on other riders and for some it works almost as well and for some it barely works at all. That's pharmaceuticals for you - there is always a range of responses, both positive and negative
 
On the myth of the super responder, some posts from August last year, to save repetition:

What is clear is that he responded well to the prescription given to him by Ferrari. More so than other riders. That doesn't even come close to validating his results if he was clean.
The myth of the super-responder has never been proven, you do know that, don't you? It's the Higgs Constant of anti-doping string theory, an explanation for the inconsistencies elsewhere in the anti-doping argument.
It’s a straightforward medical fact that people respond differently to various drugs. That one rider will respond differently than another is a given. Whether there are “super responders” is unknown as it’s a wholly subjective term.
That different people react differently to different drugs is a known and anyone who denies it is a fool. The notion of a super responder though ... to me it's a fallback argument for when you can't explain something, born of our belief that doping is the explanation for everything. We may be able to find anecdotal evidence that appears to support it but, once interrogated, does that evidence stack up?

We use the super responder myth for LA but once you start looking at it - as we tried to do in August and appear to be doing again - does it really stack up? Was his baseline really so out of whack with his peers that he gained more from EPO than they did? Or is that belief just a myth we deploy to explain it all away?
 
On the myth of the super responder, some posts from August last year, to save repetition:







That different people react differently to different drugs is a known and anyone who denies it is a fool. The notion of a super responder though ... to me it's a fallback argument for when you can't explain something, born of our belief that doping is the explanation for everything. We may be able to find anecdotal evidence that appears to support it but, once interrogated, does that evidence stack up?

We use the super responder myth for LA but once you start looking at it - as we tried to do in August and appear to be doing again - does it really stack up? Was his baseline really so out of whack with his peers that he gained more from EPO than they did? Or is that belief just a myth we deploy to explain it all away?
I'm sure there is more to Armstrong's doping than we know about, especially as Ferrari was involved. Was it really just EPO / Blood Bags and Testosterone?

The one thing you probably could say about him is he certainly showed grit & determination from an early age, and an ability to dig really deep. But you could say that about Tyler and Floyd as well, so its not really anything special.
 
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I wouldn't say the notion of a super-responder is a myth. We know that some athletes improve more from the same training regimen than others, and we know that some people experience a greater benefit from some drug (e.g., a higher HT increase from the same dose of EPO) than others. In baseball, there are definitely some players--Bonds and Sosa come to mind--who benefited more from steroids and other muscle building regimes than others did. There are others, such as ARod, who still couldn't slow their decline while taking everything they could get their hands on.

That said, I don't think there's any hard evidence that LA was a super-responder. But at the least, I don't think anyone else in the peloton responded better (though before he left this forum, Race Radio used to make a super-reponder argument about Ullrich; he insisted that Ulle had a very high density of blood vessels in his muscles that increased the benefit of blood doping). There are a couple of other factors that have been mentioned before, but not in the current discussion. One, LA may have lost significant upper body weight during cancer, which would have improved his power/weight ratio. Second, remember that Ferrari himself always emphasized that the secret to a good doping program is not simply performance enhancement, but ability to avoid detection. LA may have been able to push the envelope more than many of his peers.
 
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Second, remember that Ferrari himself always emphasized that the secret to a good doping program is not simply performance enhancement, but ability to avoid detection. LA may have been able to push the envelope more than many of his peers.
so in retrospect, the most "unequal" thing about Armstrong was the political power and clout he wielded, which kind of makes sense? Anyway, the documentary was less interesting than I thought it would be - would have liked more talk about the past, and not about whatever his current life is like, and what speaking gigs he's getting.

As part of my Corona rewatches, when I got to 2004 I was just agog that I didn't think anything was up when someone won five (???) GC stages in a row. I think the crowd would actually riot if someone did that today. I did like his teammates asking what in god's name he was thinking in going all out to try to crush the field in the final TT, though.
 
As part of my Corona rewatches, when I got to 2004 I was just agog that I didn't think anything was up when someone won five (???) GC stages in a row.
Three. Villard-de-Lans, Alpe d'Huez (ITT), and Le Grand-Bornand. His final tally was five out of seven in eight days, excluding the TTT earlier in the race.

How anyone didn't suspect something was up by then is beyond me, given that was peak Walsh with the release of LA Confidentiel all over the press.
 
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I counted Plateau de Beille and the final ITT with those three, though admittedly those were separated by rest days/sprint days and a stone-cold breakaway stage before the final ITT.

It's by far the most absurd of all his wins. Also if you had a drink every time Paul or Phil said "most gifted/talented" in relation to Ullrich you'd die of liver poisoning some time around Gap 2003.
 
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so in retrospect, the most "unequal" thing about Armstrong was the political power and clout he wielded, which kind of makes sense? Anyway, the documentary was less interesting than I thought it would be - would have liked more talk about the past, and not about whatever his current life is like, and what speaking gigs he's getting.

As part of my Corona rewatches, when I got to 2004 I was just agog that I didn't think anything was up when someone won five (???) GC stages in a row. I think the crowd would actually riot if someone did that today. I did like his teammates asking what in god's name he was thinking in going all out to try to crush the field in the final TT, though.
I've just watched the 1999 coverage - which is the first time I've really seen that Tour (went off cycling for a while back then). Maybe its because we know the truth, but it just looks so obvious. The prologue is one thing, but the Sestriere climb is laughable.
 
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I've just watched the 1999 coverage - which is the first time I've really seen that Tour (went off cycling for a while back then). Maybe its because we know the truth, but it just looks so obvious. The prologue is one thing, but the Sestriere climb is laughable.
I can kind of get 1999- i.e. people thinking that everyone was fine post-Festina, and maybe "ehh, maybe the current riders' form is kind of weird post-98". I think 2000 when he's suddenly hanging with Marco Pantani (post-peak, but remember he rode to form by the end of the Giro) should have been the big red siren, but also I was like eleven years old.

This GLM story (from one of his biographies) is fun, though.


Greg watched the climb on a screen at a nearby hotel, surrounded by shrieking tourists. Only one man remained silent. He was a mechanic who had worked on the disgraced Festina team. According to Greg, the man tapped him on the shoulder, gestured to the soaring Texan, and muttered, “sur le jus.” On the juice.

“What?” Greg replied.

“Sur le jus.”

“How do you know?”

“Look at his eyes,” the mechanic said. “His breathing. There’s no suffering.” 5
 
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One, LA may have lost significant upper body weight during cancer, which would have improved his power/weight ratio. Second, remember that Ferrari himself always emphasized that the secret to a good doping program is not simply performance enhancement, but ability to avoid detection. LA may have been able to push the envelope more than many of his peers.
The first element is pretty much a known. Who counseled LA on his program before must have emphasized the benefit of androgens and GH for recovery. LA trained harder than many of his Motorola teammates and still managed to keep his size or even gain weight pre-cancer.
The second element (Ferrari) was his main advantage and he apparently spent a lot of cash to maintain that relationship. The cash availability would be advantage number 3, the relatively exclusivity of access to Ferrari number 4.
Add the political clout with the UCI provided by Weisel's influence and you have a pretty protected franchise.

Certainly the knowledge of program elements and the dosage timing combined with training would benefit any athlete. It certainly benefitted Armstrong. Were there riders that were as strong or stronger than LA? Yes, and they were clean and on his team. Could they hang with him in the Tour mountains for 3 weeks? No way and we all probably agree that 3 week test is beyond any totally clean rider.
 
I've just watched the 1999 coverage - which is the first time I've really seen that Tour (went off cycling for a while back then). Maybe its because we know the truth, but it just looks so obvious. The prologue is one thing, but the Sestriere climb is laughable.
An equally entertaining display of overall peloton juicing was Levi Leipheimer's 2008 Vuelta. There were stages we now see contested as calculated surges on the steepest of climbs. That Vuelta had a number of guys jumping around like it was a parking lot crit and they all got a shot of meth.
 
I've just watched the 1999 coverage - which is the first time I've really seen that Tour (went off cycling for a while back then). Maybe its because we know the truth, but it just looks so obvious. The prologue is one thing, but the Sestriere climb is laughable.
so now on to the 2000 tour and have just watched the Hautacam stage - what a joke!
 
so in retrospect, the most "unequal" thing about Armstrong was the political power and clout he wielded, which kind of makes sense? Anyway, the documentary was less interesting than I thought it would be - would have liked more talk about the past, and not about whatever his current life is like, and what speaking gigs he's getting.

As part of my Corona rewatches, when I got to 2004 I was just agog that I didn't think anything was up when someone won five (???) GC stages in a row. I think the crowd would actually riot if someone did that today. I did like his teammates asking what in god's name he was thinking in going all out to try to crush the field in the final TT, though.
That was about laying down the law. 2003 scared Lance. Ullrich should have won that Tour and Lance knew it. Mayo, Hamilton and Vino had him worried, they weren't happy sitting behind the train trying to edge him out in a sprint, they were prepared to make the race as chaotic as possible. Then there was the rapidly improving Basso to deal with.
 
Wonderboy gives us all yet ANOTHER reason to despise him. To some here: Here's your Messiah, your Cancer Jesus!

Unbelievable! Wonder how many here will still try to defend him over this.

 
Wonderboy gives us all yet ANOTHER reason to despise him. To some here: Here's your Messiah, your Cancer Jesus!

Unbelievable! Wonder how many here will still try to defend him over this.

Is this in response to accusations police were using bikes as weapons against protesters? If so, there are bigger names that did the same, including the entire Fuji brand.
 
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Unbelievable! Wonder how many here will still try to defend him over this.
If supporting BLM means applauding LA for standing up to the police using bicycles as weapons against innocent civilians then I reckon many here will be able to find it in themselves to grudgingly recognise what the man has done here.

If hating LA means turning your guns on BLM as well just because LA has offered this support, well I think you've got a problem. Anyone who supports fascism in any of its forms needs to take a long look at themselves in the mirror.
 
From CN's report:
This isn't the first time Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop has cut ties due to moral conflict. In 2018, the business dropped cycling brands owned by Vista Outdoors, parent company to various cycling brands due to its ties to gun manufacturing and shooting sports.

Nor is Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop the first business to cut ties with police forces following Black Lives Matter protests. After images emerged online of police using bikes as weapons against protestors, Fuji immediately suspended sales before Trek subsequently issued a statement denouncing the use of its bikes by police as "abhorrent and vastly different from their intended use," and proclaiming its "commitment to a better future".
 
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