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

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dont know if this was posted already
I've read this & it's based on the assumption Armstrong couldn't place such accelerations on the final Cols without a motorized bike. Yet many did before him (Bjarne Riis, Pantani etc.) & many did after him (Contador, Andy Schleck etc.).

So it's really just an informal "I think Armstrong was a bigger cheat than anyone else has revealed" piece of guess work, without actual real evidence.
 
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Also just to expand on this issue, during his real domination years, Armstrong's main rival was a total diesel engine without any real acceleration whatsoever on the climbs (Ullrich, i.e. a guy who at his peak would simply blow his rivals up in his wheel without placing an acceleration). But Pantani in 2000 could compete with the Lance accelerations, as could Mayo in the following Tours & especially Valverde in 2005.

So in this instance, it was really just the particular profile of Armstrong's rivals which made his own "punch" on the cols look more impressive than they were. That's my opinion anyway, because if we take that era's riders in their "ultimate" Dragon Ball Z form, peak Contador would have danced around off his saddle alongside peak Armstrong (throw in peak Riis & peak Pantani as well), so where does that leave the "exclusive Lance" mechanized bike theory?

Lance was simply a punchy fast accelerator - doped up to his eyeballs like many others.
 
I had never heard he voiced a lack of confidence but also can't lay claim to know when, if ever he raced clean. His career started at USA Cycling camps.
He was supposedly doping before the USA Cycling camps. If Jim Ochowicz was involved in any way with those USACC, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he introduced Wonderboy to it so early. Plus, Carmichael was already familiar with doping as he(& many of the other 7 Eleven riders, Minus Hampsten & Phinney) were doping back then too IIRC.

I could swear I read in one of those books about the 7 Eleven team(@ least most of it), were doping back then & Och introduced them all to it. Wish I could remember which book it was, uhh.
 
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He was supposedly doping before the USA Cycling camps. If Jim Ochowicz was involved in any way with those USACC, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he introduced Wonderboy to it so early. Plus, Carmichael was already familiar with doping as he(& many of the other 7 Eleven riders, Minus Hampsten & Phinney) were doping back then too IIRC.

I could swear I read in one of those books about the 7 Eleven team(@ least most of it), were doping back then & Och introduced them all to it. Wish I could remember which book it was, uhh.
Lance kept his own counsel on diet and enhancements at an early age. 7-Eleven and Motorola where later stops on his ambitious plans.
 
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I could swear I read in one of those books about the 7 Eleven team(@ least most of it), were doping back then & Och introduced them all to it.
As some of you may know, I've read a couple or three cycling books over the years. There is, to the best of my knowledge, only one 7-Eleven book, Geoff Drake's Team 7-Eleven. It scrupulously avoids any mention of doping, even managing to get LA84 out of the way in a handful of words (five of the medals were won by 7-Eleven riders).

The next nearest you come to a 7-Eleven book is Davis Phinney's autobiography, The Happiness of Pursuit. Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of doping there. I don't recall Sean Yates having a lot to say about 7-Eleven in his book, It's All About the Bike. I've never had the courage or the access to enough drugs to read Bobke's contributions to the cycling canon.

Both Greg LeMond and David Walsh paint 7-Eleven as a more or less clean team. This is from LA Confidentiel:
"Ochowicz and Neel managed an irreproachable medical program that reflected their conception of the sport. They were strangers to the European culture," Greg LeMond underlines. "You have to understand the psychology of the American cyclist. We didn't know this history of the sport, these traditions. The idea that you had to start taking these things at seventeen or eighteen years old was not part of our cyclist baggage." It's true that there was too little money involved in American cycling for it to succumb to temptation. The only big stakes were the Olympic medals.
On the notion that Och introduced the team to doping - that is complete nonsense. Most of the guys would have been familiar with doping from other teams and from conversations within the peloton. And Och, he's always kept a safe distance between himself and doping. I'm not saying he's clean in any way whatsoever. But he doesn't get his hands dirty.

Here's a quote from Andreu, in both Walsh's LA Confidentiel and Lance to Landis, describing how things were in 7-Eleven's successor, Motorola, before they took the leap to EPO in 1994:
"As a team, we were pretty innocent. That's not to say one or two of our riders weren't doing something off their own bat but as a team, we were pretty clean. Our director sportif Jim Ochowicz and our doctor, Max Testa, didn't want to know about doping. 'Och' didn't want to stay in the room if we were talking about it and Max tried to convince us there was a natural way to ride well. He said we didn't need the *** other teams were using."
All that said, I do recall a comment somewhere about there being something of a pill culture in Motorola (could be in one of the USADA affidavits but don't quote me on that), one rider noting that there was relatively free access to cortisone. This is one of the problems with the reporting. Even for Walsh doping only begins with EPO and all that went before that is overlooked, unless mention of it suits the narrative.
 
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IIRC, Juliet Macur claimed in her Lance bio that Max Testa was slightly more implicated in the doping culture than previously thought. She also has claimed that soigneur Hendershot told him that he carried the team bags of PED and EPO was one of the products as early as in 1993:

View: https://twitter.com/JulietMacur/status/1264737365513338881


My gut feeling is that Hendershot remembered wrong about what products or when he delivered them to the Motorola guys (EPO is more expensive and more difficult to obtain than T or corticoids) particularly when constructing innerly consistent timelines aren't Juliet Macur's special ability (she seems simultaneously to believe that EPO was so prevalent in 1987 that it killed five Dutch cyclists alone that year, became prevalent only in 1991 when it ended LeMond's career but was still a shocking novelty in 1994 at the Fleche-Wallonne)
 
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Max Testa was slightly more implicated in the doping culture than previously thought
I think that's reasonably well understood and if you read Walsh's 2004 and 2007 efforts it was clear that Testsa's definition of doping was not what most others would agree on. Like a lot of doctors he may not have been ideologically in favour of doping but if you were going to do it it's clear he wanted you to do it right. Walsh, of course, fell in love him cause Walsh has a thing for medical men, going back to Terrados and forward to Farrell.

He has a very, very short Clinic thread.
 
I do recall a comment somewhere about there being something of a pill culture in Motorola (could be in one of the USADA affidavits but don't quote me on that)
I've checked the affidavits and it wasn't there. Like the Tweet Aragon posted I think the actual source is Macur, in her 'LA and My Part in His Downfall' book, Cycle of Lies. I'll try dig out the book later and see if I can find the actual quote but here's what I wrote when reviewing the book in 2014:
The man who suffers the most reputational deflation, perhaps, is Max Testa, the former 7-Eleven and Motorola team doctor who, heretofore, has been painted as something of a tainted-hero, the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold who tried to discourage his riders from doping but provided them with information so that if they were going to do it they would at least do it without harming themselves. That view has primarily been promoted by David Walsh in his accounts of Armstrong's path toward doping, accounts in which the use of cortisone and testosterone pre-1995 aren't really considered doping. Macur's not buying that lie and paints a picture of Testa as a man who, while he may not have promoted the use of EPO, certainly had no qualms about handing out other doping products.
 
Macur has a graphic description about what was inside the Motorola's medicine cabinet in 1992 in the opening of one of the early chapters and a reference that Jon Hendershot bought "bags" of PEDs from a pharmacy located in Hultse, his hometown, with faked prescriptions.

In the book she simultaneously seems to believe the existence of widespread EPO and drug culture inside Motorola already in 1992-1993, but doesn't question Armstrong's claim (later in the book) that team-wide EPO use started in 1995 at the Tour du Pont.

My impression is that the timelines aren't her strong point, and her chronology of Ty Hamilton's 2004 positive is misleading and has many errors.
 
In the book she simultaneously seems to believe the existence of widespread EPO and drug culture inside Motorola already in 1992-1993, but doesn't question Armstrong's claim (later in the book) that team-wide EPO use started in 1995 at the Tour du Pont.
As you say, she goes from saying that EPO was in use as early as 1987/1988 yet Gewiss 1994 was still somehow shocking. When no one's willing to talk to Catlin about widespread EPO use in 1988 she thinks omertà when others might think they actually did have nothing to say on the subject. And she says that Motorola was already using EPO in 1993 but when Gewiss 1994 happens she has Armstrong and the others questioning Testa on what EPO is and whether and how they should use it.

WRT Hendershot in general. I dunno, but I just didn't buy much of what Macur said about him. Like a lot of Americans writing about cycling she has a tendency to over-egg the pudding. She doesn't question the mythologising, she joins in (even as she debunks the central myth of LA himself). It's like she has a picture of the sport - romantically rotten to the core - not an understanding of its nuances. Most of what she wrote about Hendershot is online, here's a key bit:
Throughout the 1990s, Neal was Armstrong’s main soigneur at some domestic races and at national team training camps. But in Europe and at the big races, the honor of rubbing down Armstrong went to John Hendershot.

Among soigneurs in the European peloton (another French word, one that refers to professional riders generally as well as the pack during a race), Hendershot was at once the cool kid and the calculating elder. Other soigneurs envied the money he made and the cachet that came with the cash. Wherever he walked — through race crowds or at home in Belgium — people turned to catch a glimpse. Teams wanted him. Armstrong wanted him. Neal said he was “like a god to me” and called him “the best soigneur that ever was.”

Hendershot, an American who lived in Belgium to be closer to the main cycling circuit, was a massage therapist, physical therapist and miracle worker. His laying-on of hands would bring an exhausted, aching rider to life. Eating at Hendershot’s direction, sleeping according to his advice, a rider began each morning reborn. He came with all the secrets of a soigneur and an unexpected skill developed over the years. In Neal’s words, Hendershot took to cycling’s drug culture “like a duck to water.” But his enthusiasm for and skills in chemistry would be remembered as his special talent.

Before speaking to me last year, Hendershot — who had retired from the sport in 1996, shortly after Armstrong’s cancer diagnosis — had never told his story to a reporter. After all the years of silence, he seemed relieved to finally share it.
For most of a decade, in the 1980s and ’90s, Hendershot sat in his makeshift laboratory, preparing for races. There he mixed, matched and mashed up drugs, always with one goal in mind: to make riders go faster.

The mad scientist conjured up what he called “weird concoctions” of substances like ephedrine, nicotine, highly concentrated caffeine, drugs that widen blood vessels, blood thinners and testosterone, often trying to find creative ways to give a rider an extra physical boost during a race. He’d pour the mix into tiny bottles and hand them to riders at the starting line. Other times, he’d inject them with it. He wasn’t alone in this endeavor. Soigneurs all across Europe made homemade blends of potentially dangerous mixes and first drank or injected those potions into themselves. They were their own lab rats.

Hendershot, who had no formal medical or scientific training, knew a concoction was way off when he felt his heart beating so fast and so loud, it sounded like a runaway freight train. That wouldn’t work for riders under extreme physical stress. He wanted “amped up,” but not to the point of a heart attack.
It wasn’t long before Hendershot tried his potions and pills on the riders, including Armstrong. When Armstrong turned professional after the 1992 Olympics, he signed a contract with Motorola, one of the two major American teams. Because Armstrong wanted the best soigneur, he was immediately paired with Hendershot. It was a match made in doping heaven. Both soigneur and rider were willing to go to the brink of danger.

“What we did was tread the fine line of dropping dead on your bike and winning,” Hendershot said.
If you believe Macur Hendershot is Choppy Warburton meets Biagio Cavanna meets Raymond le Bert at a time when swannies were really more like the half-invisible Willy Voet or Jef D’hont.

I do believe what Hendershot says about cortisone and testosterone but then I find it hard to imagine any team (even Köchli 's) in the 1980s and 1990s not having access to cortisone and testosterone. FFS, Swart says even ANC had access to that level of doping and they were riding on pocket money. I don't believe what Hendershot says about EPO.
 
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With Macur-tapes not available, it remains debatable just how well Hendershot remembered/understood the questions/context of what he was answering to when Macur interviewed him. Perhaps he just told her about providing cyclists with products way back in 1992, and answered affirmatively when asked did he provide them with EPO, which he might've done later. And suddenly the two are conflated.

Generally any "revisionist" view diverging from the mainstream view should be treated with suspicion (ie. dismissed) if it doesn't fit the other and more numerous pieces of evidence.

The 1992 EPO claim is not unlike the (alleged) new Armstrong/Ferrari timeline claim by Max Sciandri, who claimed that Lance Armstrong knew Michele Ferrari way back in 1993 and was coached/tested by him then and that he was mysteriously quasi-introduced to him only in 1995, when Ferrari saw his capabilities (he really knew all along).

And don't get me wrong, because I'd just love the cloak-and-dagger scenario of Michael Corleone Eddy Merckx introducing Johnny Ola Michele Ferrari to Fredo Corleone Lance Armstrong in 1995, and after the business the trio ending up into a striptease bar, where Fredo Lance says that "Johnny OlaMichele Ferrari told me about this place", which leads Michael Eddy to realise they had known one other all along.
 
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Ironic comment from someone who jumps into every opportunity to attack the Texan be it his random comments or his son's legal troubles.

The best way to make him irrelevant is to ignore him.
Lol! As long as he's (& his family)talked about here, I will continue talking about him. There are still fanboys here, they keep him relevant.
 
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When no one's willing to talk to Catlin about widespread EPO use in 1988 she thinks omertà when others might think they actually did have nothing to say on the subject...

WRT Hendershot in general. I dunno, but I just didn't buy much of what Macur said about him. Like a lot of Americans writing about cycling she has a tendency to over-egg I do believe what Hendershot says about cortisone and testosterone but then I find it hard to imagine any team (even Köchli 's) in the 1980s and 1990s not having access to cortisone and testosterone...
Her narrative is also very confusing on the 1988 Tour de Europe by Catlin et al, because it reads as if everyone was concerned about the 5 amateur cyclists dying in 1987 very early on and the following visit was related to it even when the Dutch media/local cycling union (KNWU) found out about the five deaths taking place in 1987 during the official inquiry in 1990-1991.

The sloppinesh / inconsistencies can be also that Macur interviewed Hendershot very late on in process, but the publisher wanted the title to be released on a given date before the public got bored by the topic, because this was the fourth "Lance-bio" after books by Hamilton, Walsh and Albergotti & O'Connell.

About the soigneur, Macur writes that Hendershot bought also amphetamine -- one of the most controlled substances ever which is illegal even in medical use in many countries -- from his local pharmacy just with a false prescription. If this "common doping method" ended up in his bag by a narrative error, why not EPO?

It would be interesting to track down the soigneur to find out what he actually told Macur (if he is still alive).
 
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Two possible reason for having amphetamines in the early '90s:

  1. criteriums
  2. weight loss
Problem is, for weight loss I thought riders had switched to testosterone and other products to shed the post-Christmas poundage. And Och can't have known he was personally funding riders' doping for personal appearances at crits if that's the reason for having them.

Of course, the more obvious explanation is that Hendershot has done a Mortal Engines and listed all the products he bought over his career and, like everyone who's read Hoberman, Macur has compressed the list and presented it as if it was all in use all of the time.

I get your generosity to the publishers but if Macur is even last year Tweeting that claim about 1993 EPO use then I think the fault is firmly with her and she hasn't even tried to reconcile that claim with the 1994/95 evidence from multiple sources. I don't know how often she's posted that claim, something I wrote seems to have encouraged her to block me, I've just discovered.
 
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Of course, the more obvious explanation is that Hendershot has done a Mortal Engines and listed all the products he bought over his career and, like everyone who's read Hoberman, Macur has compressed the list and presented it as if it was all in use all of the time.

I get your generosity to the publishers but if Macur is even last year Tweeting that claim about 1993 EPO use then I think the fault is firmly with her and she hasn't even tried to reconcile that claim with the 1994/95 evidence from multiple sources. I don't know how often she's posted that claim, something I wrote seems to have encouraged her to block me, I've just discovered.
I do believe that amphetamine was used by cyclists in the 1990s, I just questioned whether it was available from Hendershot's pharmacy, because it was one of the most illegal narcotic substances since the late 1960s with only minor medical uses available. I think Macur specifically claims that all of Hendershot's numerous PEDs came from his local pharmacy, and if amphetamine was just added to the list (because someone used it somewhere in the "early" 1990s, your scenario about the erroneous list is even more plausible.

My reading is that Juliet Macur indeed currently believes the 1992-93 Lance/EPO claims because she has vouched for the story publicly specifically attacking Lance. It is interesting that if you cut out the Hendershot story from her book, the EPO timeline from Lance's viewpoint makes sense quite well. There are even categorical claims such as "Catlin warned about EPO in 1988. It was seven years before Lance used EPO for the first time" (from the Finnish edition) which makes little sense to write in the first place if she already believed/knew about Hendershot's story.

It is very difficult to understand why the two inconsistent chronologies exist in the book. Is it just sloppiness or something else?

It is interesting that Hendershot's story is perhaps her only truly original finding in the book, so perhaps she wanted to be persuaded by it. Correspondingly she found herself with the dilemma of either having to rewrite a bulk of the early material and acknowledge in every instance that every other of her sources disagree with her timeline or to take the "easy way" and to send the book to the editor with the timeline just making no sense.

Perhaps the worst scenario is that she nor nobody else just spotted the inconsistency in the publishing process.
 
There are even categorical claims such as "Catlin warned about EPO in 1988. It was seven years before Lance used EPO for the first time" (from the Finnish edition) which makes little sense to write in the first place if she already believed/knew about Hendershot's story.
That's also in the original:
Catlin made his pitch in 1988. But the code of silence that had served cycling for so long could not be broken. Seven years later, Lance Armstrong used EPO for the first time.
So that's definitive from her: LA's first use of EPO was 1995.
It is very difficult to understand why the two inconsistent chronologies exist in the book. Is it just sloppiness or something else?
As you said earlier, it's the rush to print. Look at Walsh's book and the tonal shift once Landis blows the whistle. Up to that point the book was light on detail and heavy on atmosphere, after that all the atmosphere is sucked out of it and it's just a data dump. No editor can claim not to have noticed that but getting the book out quick was all that mattered. Had Walsh deferred his victory tour by twelve months he might have written a good book.
Perhaps the worst scenario is that she nor nobody else just spotted the inconsistency in the publishing process.
Editors don't edit. It's as simple as that. There's one recent cycling book I'm aware of that will be half a dozen pages lighter if it ever makes it into paperback, partly because of something a good editor should have had covered.
I do believe that amphetamine was used by cyclists in the 1990s, I just questioned whether it was available from Hendershot's pharmacy, because it was one of the most illegal narcotic substances since the late 1960s with only minor medical uses available.
There are legal amphetamines, it's not all Breaking Bad. Dexys and other stuff would have been available by prescription.

Has anyone ever linked LA to amphetamines? Or how about recreational drugs? I know the puritans are offended he went to a strip joint, surely someone must have him snorting a line or dosing up with some pot Belge
 
It would've been interesting to see how Macur would've reconciled/ rewritten the rest of the book with the one original "gem" about 1992 had she had the time to do so. As in the classic joke about the senior driver, at some point of the journey, it should've been obvious who is driving the motorway the wrong way.

One reason I was (am) somewhat skeptical about amphetamine "leaking" from the pharmacies is that it is one of the drugs which has rarely a brand name attached to it in the post-1970 doping literature after the Pervitin / Benzedrine - period whereas we know the brands of steroids (Winstrol, Stromba, Dianabol), T (Andriol, Sustanon), cortisone (Kenacort) and EPO (Epogen, Eprex) described by the users themselves. This is partly explained by the fact that particularly steroids tend to have only c:a one producer and the molecule is generically the brand name.

It is true that in the 2010s there have been some narcolepcy-medicines abused with the brand names mentioned (particularly relating to e-sport), but Woet, Kimmage et al just tend to traffic / use generic "amphetamine".

About Lance and recreational drugs, I think that Wheelmen has Landis's account of Lance snorting cocaine with two strippers mid night during a training camp in Texas (in Stapleton's office building, IIRC).
 
Also just to expand on this issue, during his real domination years, Armstrong's main rival was a total diesel engine without any real acceleration whatsoever on the climbs (Ullrich, i.e. a guy who at his peak would simply blow his rivals up in his wheel without placing an acceleration). But Pantani in 2000 could compete with the Lance accelerations, as could Mayo in the following Tours & especially Valverde in 2005.

So in this instance, it was really just the particular profile of Armstrong's rivals which made his own "punch" on the cols look more impressive than they were. That's my opinion anyway, because if we take that era's riders in their "ultimate" Dragon Ball Z form, peak Contador would have danced around off his saddle alongside peak Armstrong (throw in peak Riis & peak Pantani as well), so where does that leave the "exclusive Lance" mechanized bike theory?

Lance was simply a punchy fast accelerator - doped up to his eyeballs like many others.
Yea he was had a better acceleration that Ullrich but thats not how he won his races. He usually attacked way down in a climb, then till the finishline he put a good 2 mins or so into everybody else because he was just a lot faster throughout the whole effort, in fact he could have raced just like Ullrich with a steady, even pace and it would have been one nobody could follow. Peak Pantani was putting out similar w/kg, Mayo came in LAs downyear and Valverde outsprinted him one time in 2005. Overall in 2004 and 2005 we didnt see any of those LA attacks, he was pretty much just following his main competitors (mostly Basso) and counted on the time advantage he accumulated in TTs. I dont know if thats cos the others guys were closer to his level uphill or he feel he didnt need to due to them being much inferior timetrailers.
 
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Yea he was had a better acceleration that Ullrich but thats not how he won his races. He usually attacked way down in a climb, then till the finishline he put a good 2 mins or so into everybody else because he was just a lot faster throughout the whole effort, in fact he could have raced just like Ullrich with a steady, even pace and it would have been one nobody could follow. Peak Pantani was putting out similar w/kg, Mayo came in LAs downyear and Valverde outsprinted him one time in 2005. Overall in 2004 and 2005 we didnt see any of those LA attacks, he was pretty much just following his main competitors (mostly Basso) and counted on the time advantage he accumulated in TTs. I dont know if thats cos the others guys were closer to his level uphill or he feel he didnt need to due to them being much inferior timetrailers.
He did attack in 2004 on the first MTF, but Basso was able to follow.
 
He did attack in 2004 on the first MTF, but Basso was able to follow.
Yea, true. Just rewatched the stage, also Kloeden and Mancebo were just seconds behind, nothing like his attacks from 1999 to 2002. That last MTF 2003 was his last real attack which resulted in him gaining significant time on everyone else. If Jan Ullrich just had his 2003-form in 2004 and 2005 it could have been a very close race, considering LA wasnt that much better in the TTs comparing to Ullrich. Unless LA had another gear he wasnt showing.
 
As you say, she goes from saying that EPO was in use as early as 1987/1988 yet Gewiss 1994 was still somehow shocking. When no one's willing to talk to Catlin about widespread EPO use in 1988 she thinks omertà when others might think they actually did have nothing to say on the subject. And she says that Motorola was already using EPO in 1993 but when Gewiss 1994 happens she has Armstrong and the others questioning Testa on what EPO is and whether and how they should use it.

WRT Hendershot in general. I dunno, but I just didn't buy much of what Macur said about him. Like a lot of Americans writing about cycling she has a tendency to over-egg the pudding. She doesn't question the mythologising, she joins in (even as she debunks the central myth of LA himself). It's like she has a picture of the sport - romantically rotten to the core - not an understanding of its nuances. Most of what she wrote about Hendershot is online, here's a key bit:If you believe Macur Hendershot is Choppy Warburton meets Biagio Cavanna meets Raymond le Bert at a time when swannies were really more like the half-invisible Willy Voet or Jef D’hont.

I do believe what Hendershot says about cortisone and testosterone but then I find it hard to imagine any team (even Köchli 's) in the 1980s and 1990s not having access to cortisone and testosterone. FFS, Swart says even ANC had access to that level of doping and they were riding on pocket money. I don't believe what Hendershot says about EPO.
To your point many US Continental riders were very versed in available effective and stupidly ineffective doping products. Hell, any high-school jock that went into a gym could gain the same knowledge. US Riders were not well paid until after the LA games and then only a few. EPO was financially a stretch for most until the 90's. Motorola definitely had info and access after '95 to prep for the Atlanta RR. Before that it would be a guess when it became a team thing.
 
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