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

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He wasn't a dominant rider or even the best Continental rider in the US when he first began his pro career.
Most of his peers speak of him as being one of the stronger riders of his generation. Does he have to "dominate" at twenty-one to prove your point?
It was also certain that he was not clean at that time.
Now you're backtracking, saying he was crap and he doped. So doping didn't make him better when he first began his pro career?
What is clear is that he responded well to the prescription given to him by Ferrari. More so than other riders.
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.
That doesn't even come close to validating his results if he was clean.
So why introduce it?

Look, the guy doped, we all know the guy doped. Whether he would have been as good without dope in a clean peloton is a thought experiment, nothing more. For it to work you have to be logical, you can't Disneyfy the solution by making crap up and offering arguments that have no internal consistency.
 
How could he be dominant as a clean rider in an era when everyone else was doping? Did the doping not work, is that it, clean riders could beat doped riders, it was only marginal gains, EPO wasn't the rocket fuel so many claim it was?
One thing I have been wondering about and probably it has been discussed here but I for sure have missed it ... What do you think, did he use any other drugs the rest of the guys didn't? Tyler Hamilton says there were rumors in the peleton that he did.

Personally, I can't imagine that he had access to anything else, it was an equal field in terms of doping. I mean what is there even available? Doctors involved with doping for sure would have known about any substance available- practicing doping is rather basic compared to other fields medicine, no rocket science for any doctor. So if knowledge of his docs isn't a factor could the price of it be? I also don't think so, drugs don't cost millions and while Lance might have made the most money there were plenty of riders making enough to afford any drug they wanted.
 
Personally, I can't imagine that he had access to anything else, it was an equal field in terms of doping. I mean what is there even available? Doctors involved with doping for sure would have known about any substance available- practicing doping is rather basic compared to other fields medicine, no rocket science for any doctor.
Strongly disagree. The timing, dosage and combinations of drugs requires a lot of knowledge and experience and obviously Ferrari was far ahead of his contemporaries in this regard, able to charge six figure sums for his (successful) doping programs --- clearly, few could afford his expertise. Ricco obviously couldn't. And when LA did slip up, the UCI was happy to stay mum. Not so with, say, Landis.

Re: "rocket science". The kind of medicine most doctors practice is exceedingly basic; they just read textbooks and parrot them back at patients. Which medical school teaches the correct administration of EPO for athletic performance and escaping detection?
 
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Strongly disagree. The timing, dosage and combinations of drugs requires a lot of knowledge and experience and obviously Ferrari was far ahead of his contemporaries in this regard, able to charge six figure sums for his (successful) doping programs --- clearly, few could afford his expertise. Ricco obviously couldn't. And when LA did slip up, the UCI was happy to stay mum. Not so with, say, Landis.

Re: "rocket science". The kind of medicine most doctors practice is exceedingly basic; they just read textbooks and parrot them back at patients. Which medical school teaches the correct administration of EPO for athletic performance and escaping detection?
When it comes to cycling I'm just getting into the doping side of things.
I agree that the most challenging for doctors is the timing and dosage in order to avoid detection as well as ensuring maximum effect at the right time. The drugs itself are actually very basic, the things students learn first during pharmacology class and if they remember again the most basic things from physiology they will already pretty much know how they work as they mimic the bodies own substances. So a student who has never even heard that doping exists will actually be able to figure out by himself what drugs could potentially enhance someones physical performance.

From what I gathered so far is that actually only very few different drugs are used: EPO(Transfusions), Steriods, HCG and Lance also used Actovegin. I have also been looking over the 2019 WADA prohibited list and there are actually not that many substances different and other substances and many of which belong in the same pharmacological groups.

From what I read plenty of riders were working with Ferrari, he was charging a percentage of his salary, it wasn't really only few that could afford him. Which would be in his best interest, the more clients he has the more he will earn.

In fact, doctors do really not learn how to practice medicine from books, it comes from experience and learning from senior colleagues. In that sense, of course, you don't learn how to use EPO on athletes in med school but at the same time, you won't really learn how to do or give anything there. So if you are a doctor interested in the field of sports medicine willing to engage in doping, you will know where to turn to and whom to learn from, you are not coming as an outsider, you are in that medicine bubble and have contacts already to get you where you want to go. And I stand by what I said before, it is really much less complex than any more traditional field of medicine, e.g. diagnostics don't play any part, there are no interventions,...

That all being said I don't believe there are substances that only some doctors know and others don't.

But I do agree that practicing medicine is more basic than many assume, no science or even art at least if you are working as a clinical practitioner.
 
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So if you are a doctor interested in the field of sports medicine willing to engage in doping, you will know where to turn to and whom to learn from, you are not coming as an outsider, you are in that medicine bubble and have contacts already to get you where you want to go.
The doctors involved in sport are not GPs. They have studied sports science. Look at someone like Sabino Padilla, Indurain's doctor, his thesis was on the effects of altitude on exercise. In the era of O2 vector doping, he was not unusual.
 
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The doctors involved in sport are not GPs. They have studied sports science. Look at someone like Sabino Padilla, Indurain's doctor, his thesis was on the effects of altitude on exercise. In the era of O2 vector doping, he was not unusual.
It might be more appropriate to say they have specialized in sports science than having studied it, as their student days are far over by then. Yet in most European countries that specialization still doesn't exist, in some, it is merely subspecialization. So yes they might very well be GPs , Othropedists, Cardiologist, or don't have any specialization. I chose the term "interested (in sports medicine)" for a reason and Sabino Padilla fits exactly there, him having written his dissertation about sports medicine just awards him a doctors degree and doesn't make him a specialist of sports science. Ferrari btw. specialized as a surgeon (maybe Orthopedics since it's the closest to sports??) before turning to sports medicine. I doubt ever made an official specialization in sport science. Making sports medicine an officially recognized field of medicine is a rather new development.
 
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Most of his peers speak of him as being one of the stronger riders of his generation. Does he have to "dominate" at twenty-one to prove your point?

Now you're backtracking, saying he was crap and he doped. So doping didn't make him better when he first began his pro career?

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.

So why introduce it?

Look, the guy doped, we all know the guy doped. Whether he would have been as good without dope in a clean peloton is a thought experiment, nothing more. For it to work you have to be logical, you can't Disneyfy the solution by making crap up and offering arguments that have no internal consistency.
You speak the simple, un-sexy truth, Fmk. You know what you can't know. Yet, it is this thread (along with the Froome and the Sky/Ineos threads) … where the large majority of people … who could never know all the necessary variables in order to infer a credible, convincing, conclusion … have all the answers. Mass for the Shut Ins.
 
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Yet, it is this thread (along with the Froome and the Sky/Ineos threads) … where the large majority of people … who could never know all the necessary variables in order to infer a credible, convincing, conclusion … have all the answers. Mass for the Shut Ins.
People seem to come here to have their convictions reinforced. For some it seems to be essential that LA was a donkey until that evil genius Ferrari turned him into a racehorse. Ullrich, I guess, he must have been being held back by the chiropodist overseeing his doping programme mixing up his hCG and his hGH. I'm guessing that Hamilton was crap after leaving USPS cause his doping doctor was an ear-nose-and-throat specialist. And Mayo really shoulda known he was on to a bad thing when his doping doctor cupped his balls in his hand and asked him to cough before sending him off with a prescription for antibiotics and a bill for fifty quid.
 
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People seem to come here to have their convictions reinforced. For some it seems to be essential that LA was a donkey until that evil genius Ferrari turned him into a racehorse. Ullrich, I guess, he must have been being held back by the chiropodist overseeing his doping programme mixing up his hCG and his hGH. I'm guessing that Hamilton was crap after leaving USPS cause his doping doctor was an ear-nose-and-throat specialist. And Mayo really shoulda known he was on to a bad thing when his doping doctor cupped his balls in his hand and asked him to cough before sending him off with a prescription for antibiotics and a bill for fifty quid.
There is and won't ever be a proof that Lance benefitted more than others from doping, there is actually no point discussing it since it's pure speculation anyway. And even if he was the best responder ever what does it matter, everybody used PEDs, it was part of the competition so having the talent to respond to doping well was just like being talented to climb uphill quickly, regenerate, tolerate pain,...
 
WRT LA's haematocrit levels: anyone got any actual real figures on this? Upthread @Oldermanish said "his hematocrit was in mid-30s as USAC monitored it." Anyone got the back-up for that?

I'm seeing figures of high-thirties to low-forties (38 to 41) cited as his baseline (the population average is high-thirties to mid-forties, Greg LeMond said (in David Walsh and Pierre Ballester's LA Confidentiel) that he himself never went above 45 in the Tour) but without a source, so don't know where they're coming from.

LA Confidentiel has him at 41 in the 1999 Dauphiné.

Ashenden in his SCA deposition puts LA's baseline at about 43.

John Wilockson (in his LA hagiography) has it 39 to 46, but he was so far up LA's bum it's hard to take anything he reported as true.

Ed Coyle (yeah, I know, but let's name even the lousy sources) has it between 42 and 46 in his SCA deposition but didn't actually measure it for his infamous paper.

Daniel Coyle (Lance Armstrong's War) puts it at around 47.

At the 2009 Giro d'Italia it fell from 43.5 to 38.2 over the course of the race. For the Tour that year it started at 43.5, fell to 40.7, rose to 43.1 fell to 41.7 and finished on 43.

Stephen Swart puts LA's haematocrit above 50 at one point during the 1995 Tour de France, a claim challenged by Max Testa.

In the SCA depositions he has scores of 46.7 and 48.8 in June and December of 1991 (yes, 1991 - when he's 19/20), measured at the US Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.

Do we know what his haematocrit figures were during his Tour victories? In his SCA deposition I think LA said his highest recorded score was 46. Were those numbers ever released? They were asked for during the Postal Services trial.

Then, once we've got all of that straight: what were the numbers for his chief rivals, the guys we're comparing him with? What were their natural haematocrit levels, and what did they top out at during Tour time?
 
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I'm seeing figures of high-thirties to low-forties (38 to 41) cited as his baseline (the population average is high-thirties to mid-forties,
(Oh, I like this new quote system).

That sounds about right to me, the values I've seen fall in that range. I would put the lowest natural HT possible for him at 38. Not lower than that, surely.

At the 2009 Giro d'Italia it fell from 43.5 to 38.2 over the course of the race. For the Tour that year it started at 43.5, fell to 40.7, rose to 43.1 fell to 41.7 and finished on 43.
The fall during the Giro would presumably be the result of plasma expansion. Likewise with the TDF, but note that it was reported to rise during the race. That's very suggestive of blood doping.

In the SCA depositions he has scores of 46.7 and 48.8 in June and December of 1991 (yes, 1991 - when he's 19/20), measured at the US Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.
This one puzzles me. Most of his reported high values, to the extent they're reliable, could be due to EPO, or later, transfusions, but he's always said he didn't take EPO at this time. Sure, don't have to take his word, but he's been more forthcoming about taking it a few year later, when the peloton was getting away from him and his team.

One thing is clear: the lower the natural HT, the bigger the potential advantage of blood doping, particularly when the 50% rule came into effect. I've pointed out before that a major effect of that rule, albeit it was for the rider's safety, was to increase the advantage blood doping gave to some riders. Going from 40-50 is a much greater increase than from 48 to 50.

I say potential advantage, though, because even in the early days, when riders could theoretically boost their HT as high as they wanted to or could get away with, there will still be differences in the relationship between HT and V02 max, and between the latter and power (sustainable or otherwise). So even two riders with the same natural HT who raised it to the same level with blood doping could still differ a lot in the increases in performance.

And just to make matters more complicated, I recall--would have to look this up again--there is evidence that higher natural HT tend to be negatively correlated with parameters like V02max. In fact, if this were not the case, you would expect riders with high natural HT generally to be the best clean performers, and this isn't the case--given we aren't really sure what performances are clean. I think I do recall Contador having a reported natural HY > 50, and also Cunego, but many of the best riders have reportedly had much lower HT.
 
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A few points on the issue:

- It has been known for roughly half a century that natural Hct correlates poorly with Vo2Max, and there have been excellent and more mediocre cyclists with high hematocrits, for instance Jonathan Vaughters, Charles Wegelius and Alberto Contador had exemptions from the UCI Medical Commission to go a few points above the 50 Hct limit. Interesting that JV held the Mont Ventoux record if he indeed could boost his Hct only a few points above his natural level of the high 40s.

- Because practically all Armstrong's Hct estimates are above 40 % and the lowest hematocrits of the Conconi clients were the OFFseason figures of Claudio Chiappucci and Ivan Gotti at 35 %, it is unlikely that Armstrong's natural Hct was exceptionally low. This doesn't mean that his body couldn't gain more advantage of the extra RBCs if his diffusion/perfusion could keep his saturation high or his periphery could use more effectively the extra oxygen delivered to the muscles.

- Androgens also tends to elevate hematocrit, which could've contributed to Armstrong's high values from the early 1990s when steroid use was more easy and rampant and the Texan had both of his "pelotas" intact. While he has occasionally claimed having started to take testosterone only in 1995-96, the Don Catlin letter quoted by SI about presumably his T/E-ratios indicates that he tested effectively positive in 1993 and one can only imagine what was his connection to the Strock-Carmichael PED-saga.

- While there is difference in how much one can boost Hct and how well utilize the extra RBCs, the "high responder"-issue isn't only related to blood doping products, but also to testosterone and HGH of which there are variety of opinions about their effectiveness from the junkies. For instance Ty Hamilton hated HGH whereas Landis told it was good stuff. The magnitude of the performance boost with most of these non-blood doping substances is still unquantified.

It is up to everyone to decide whether he or she sees Lance Armstrong's achvievements as the best "proxy" for what a clean peloton results would've looked like or whether he was a "bête noire" who epitomizes the unequal outcome that rampant PED use causes.

Presuming that he used the same products and didn't subvert the anti-doping system to gain advantage, it should still be evident that whatever unfair gain Lance Armstrong had above his competitors because his lowish hematocrit or his being a better "responder" because of genes or physiology was totally beyond his control.
 
This one puzzles me. Most of his reported high values, to the extent they're reliable, could be due to EPO, or later, transfusions, but he's always said he didn't take EPO at this time. Sure, don't have to take his word, but he's been more forthcoming about taking it a few year later, when the peloton was getting away from him and his team.
Should we allow for machine calibration errors? (joke)

FYI, this PDF has the test results in more detail, for those to whom the additional numbers are meaningful.

Androgens also tends to elevate hematocrit, which could've contributed to Armstrong's high values from the early 1990s when steroid use was more easy and rampant and the Texan had both of his "pelotas" intact. While he has occasionally claimed having started to take testosterone only in 1995-96, the Don Catlin letter quoted by SI about presumably his T/E-ratios indicates that he tested effectively positive in 1993 and one can only imagine what was his connection to the Strock-Carmichael PED-saga.
Does being at altitude - Colorado Springs - add much here?

I find it hard to believe that those two 1991 scores could have been EPO or blood bags.

Personally, I've always understood that LA was doped from the early 90s, his triathlon-to-cycling transition period. The Strock story suggests Carmichael had a rudimentary doping programme (how much of it was hand-me-down knowledge he'd picked up as a pro and how much of it was him being "the greatest coach in the whole history of coaching" is for others to decide) while Wenzel was little better than the old school witch doctors Dumas dismissed decades earlier. If the sort of junk in Carmichael's flight case could push up your haematocrit then that feels like a plausible explanation.

I can't really believe he only started on testosterone in 1995 when during his time with Motorola Swart has suggested cortisone was freely available. Cortisone, testosterone, this was basic doping in the early 90s, had been been commonplace in the sport for a long time by then.
 
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Presuming that he used the same products and didn't subvert the anti-doping system to gain advantage, it should still be evident that whatever unfair gain Lance Armstrong had above his competitors because his lowish hematocrit or his being a better "responder" because of genes or physiology was totally beyond his control.
We also need to know how unusual his lowish haematocrit was. Tyler Hamilton, for instance, I think he self-reports his natural haematocrit as 42, which is close enough to the range we seem to be looking at for LA as to be not giving LA a significant advantage.

(The real world linkage between haematocrit and performance I am ignoring. As both you and Merckx Index note, it's not clear one way or the other what it is. In the same vein I am ignoring the possible influence of other products and his responses to them. This is specifically about the belief put forward earlier that Armstrong had an unnaturally low haematocrit - mid-thirties - and this meant he was a donkey when not doped and a thoroughbred when pumped full of EPO/blood bags.)
 
We also need to know how unusual his lowish haematocrit was. Tyler Hamilton, for instance, I think he self-reports his natural haematocrit as 42, which is close enough to the range we seem to be looking at for LA as to be not giving LA a significant advantage.

(The real world linkage between haematocrit and performance I am ignoring. As both you and Merckx Index note, it's not clear one way or the other what it is. In the same vein I am ignoring the possible influence of other products and his responses to them. This is specifically about the belief put forward earlier that Armstrong had an unnaturally low haematocrit - mid-thirties - and this meant he was a donkey when not doped and a thoroughbred when pumped full of EPO/blood bags.)
A Needless discussion really, nobody will ever know how well any of those guys responded to doping.
 
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I can't really believe he only started on testosterone in 1995 when during his time with Motorola Swart has suggested cortisone was freely available. Cortisone, testosterone, this was basic doping in the early 90s, had been been commonplace in the sport for a long time by then.
The blood doping/EPO use very early on is very unlikely based on the recollections of his teammates, but his fellow Motorola-cyclist Stephen Swart told Juliet Macur for her Lance biography that Motorola team "medicine cabinet" containted also illegal products such as cortisone, testosterone and Tylenol already in 1992. The book Wheelmen also claims that Armstrong was using cortisone and testosterone for his preparation for the 1993 World Championships (I have lost my copy of the book and Google.Books doesn't give the actual source). When you add to this the Don Catlin-letter and the Carmichael-connection, the circumstantial case is quite strong that he took testosterone around 1993 if not earlier.

But still the following dialogue took place a few years ago after his confession:
Daniel Benson: What hasn’t been documented is when you first crossed that line. If you even want to call it a line, in terms of being low-octane. Can you say when that was?

Lance Armstrong: That’s the kind of detail… It was before 1995, put it that way.

DB: Before you came to Europe?

LA: No. No. I mean if taking a caffeine pill for a criterium counts.

DB: Nothing like testosterone?

LA: Absolutely not. And that wasn’t even in 1995. [Armstrong confirmed later he took testosterone for the first time in 1996 - ed.] In the affidavits of these guys you can tell when there was a switch. We felt we had no choice. Of course, we had a choice, we could have bailed and gone home, but we felt that to compete at that level we didn’t have a choice.

While it should be evident by now to all CN-readers that I have slightly sympathetic view of Armstrong, I wouldn't take anything he tells about his PED chronology at face value. In fact, had he truly made a full confession to Oprah, the statistical odds would dictate that there should've been at least one or two new items to reveal and he wouldn't just have spent hours confirming what we already pretty much knew.
 
No doubt a sociopath, however he has a much a right to be in cycling as Virunque, Bobby Julich, Riis, or any of the others, like Zabel, or Aldag. You might hate the dude....but all those guys I mentioned are still active, and used.....even Frankie Andrea, and Vaughters.....to me if you cheat, you cheat...no gray area, no as Tygart says most vilanous, evil doping programe of all kind...I would guess other sport are more guilty.....
Andreu
 
How could he be dominant as a clean rider in an era when everyone else was doping? Did the doping not work, is that it, clean riders could beat doped riders, it was only marginal gains, EPO wasn't the rocket fuel so many claim it was?
But, HE became successful BECAUSE of the doping, not before it. His best pre-dope TDF finish IIRC, is 34th? Then he somehow rattles off 7 wins in a row? Lol! To those who believed he was "the cleans" then.

Know what Wonderboy is? A good used car saleman.
 
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The doctors involved in sport are not GPs. They have studied sports science. Look at someone like Sabino Padilla, Indurain's doctor, his thesis was on the effects of altitude on exercise. In the era of O2 vector doping, he was not unusual.
And I'd be willing to wager Big Mig was doped to the gills throughout his 5 Tour wins.
 
Oh, this thread has surpassed itself when the truest of the true cycling fans come in swinging to insist on the difference between the hypothetical existence of a super responder and the admitted proof of any. Keep hope alive.
Lmao! Except there was overwhelming proof that Cancer Jesus doped @ extremely high levels, and that he paid millions to hide all the positives.


IIRC, It was something like 9 positives he had "hidden" from everyone. Don't you remember, he claimed to have been tested something ridiculous like "859 times and not 1 positive"? I do. We all do! He's a good bs'er.

There were SEVERAL opportunities for those Wonderboy ball washers to come out and provide credible/verifiable PROOF he didn't dope and not 1 did, not 1. That tells you all you need to know.
 
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