Not sure that is the real issue. If the early-career high level of doping gives a significant long term peformance advantage, then you would have seen loads more riders of Valverde's generation and age still tearing up the peloton in the past few years. But he's basically the only one.Red Rick said:It depends on your definition of 'best'. Valverde has never dominated GTs in the mountains, nor has he ever had really outstanding climbing displays in the high mountains in the GTs over the years.Angliru said:He has always been either among the best or just below. To say "never among the best" is pretty much just lying. How does a rider get multiple grand tour podiums, including a Tour podium, being mediocre versus the clock, be never among the best in the high mountains? Never is quite broad a brush, maybe not often or seldom would be more accurate from your perspective? How could a rider with such limitations as you mention still reach the podium of the Giro in the latter stage of his career?hrotha said:At some point, the gazillion-year-old doper who was never among the best in the high mountains in the first place should start getting dropped by hypothetical clean contenders.
He's been close in GTs when there was no outstanding climbers, and when there was, Valverde got dropped in the high mountains when those riders brought down the hammer.
But the hypothesis that Valverde at some point should be getting dropped by hypothetical clean riders is true, but it shouldn't apply to a 38 year old by any stretch of the imagination.
The real issue would be that Valverde probably doped a lot harder early in his career than the current younger riders, and there's no way of knowing what the residual effect of that is.