Omerta Beginnings in EPO Era

Aug 19, 2010
62
0
0
After events such as Greg Lemond's decline from winning the 1990 Tour, to 7th in 1991, to DNF in 1992 or Andy Hampsten not even making the 1995 Banesto tour team why didn't such riders publicize the effect EPO was having on the peloton before Omerta was set in concrete? I can't imagine that on Z someone like Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle wouldn't have known what was happening in the peloton and wouldn't have told Lemond. Similarly, I can't imagine anyone on Banesto wouldn't have known about EPO. Given both of their stances on doping why didn't they describe what was happening when they left? I'm not criticizing, just wondering why. EPO was so efficacious that it might not have had any impact, but I like to think that it might have helped change the direction the sport took in the 90s.
 
Sep 29, 2012
12,197
0
0
Autobus said:
After events such as Greg Lemond's decline from winning the 1990 Tour, to 7th in 1991, to DNF in 1992 or Andy Hampsten not even making the 1995 Banesto tour team why didn't such riders publicize the effect EPO was having on the peloton before Omerta was set in concrete? I can't imagine that on Z someone like Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle wouldn't have known what was happening in the peloton and wouldn't have told Lemond. Similarly, I can't imagine anyone on Banesto wouldn't have known about EPO. Given both of their stances on doping why didn't they describe what was happening when they left? I'm not criticizing, just wondering why. EPO was so efficacious that it might not have had any impact, but I like to think that it might have helped change the direction the sport took in the 90s.
No test till Sydney Olympics in 2000?
Bassons precedent?
 
Jun 11, 2012
88
0
0
Just playing devil's advocate for a minute here... but ever thought that some of these guys were just getting old and tired; old and tired both physically and mentally? It happens mate...
 
Aug 19, 2010
62
0
0
Even if they were getting tired, that's no reason not to say something. The question I'm asking is why didn't they talk about what was happeing, not why they retired.
 
Jun 11, 2012
88
0
0
Autobus said:
Even if they were getting tired, that's no reason not to say something. The question I'm asking is why didn't they talk about what was happeing, not why they retired.
Fair question autobus... perhaps they did speak out about it, and perhaps due to the media of the day, nothing was made of it? I can't speak for them, but I certainly made mention of it when I stopped in 92, and 'surprise'... nothing was ever followed up.
 
Jun 19, 2009
13,250
0
0
Autobus said:
Even if they were getting tired, that's no reason not to say something. The question I'm asking is why didn't they talk about what was happeing, not why they retired.
Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping.

Also, you are omitting what actually happened throughout the 90's. Kimmage wrote Rough Ride, Delion spoke out - they were dismissed as bitter or has beens.
LeMond actually spoke out pre Festina - so, it wasn't that people did not speak out, it was no-one was bothered to listen.
 
Sep 29, 2012
12,197
0
0
Autobus said:
Even if they were getting tired, that's no reason not to say something. The question I'm asking is why didn't they talk about what was happeing, not why they retired.
Look at my posts here for an example.

I think something is going on with Wiggins. He's riding out of his skin compared to any other time in his cycling career. It stinks. People point to individual road performances pre-2009 that "prove his pedigree" but they are easily debunked.

So the final counter argument is "where's your proof?".

And in the end, all I have is common sense and critical thinking.

It wasn't just one person beating Lemond or Hampsten, it was all of them. So at face value, it just looks like Lemond and Hampsten are weak, or lazy, or overweight. Anything they say is going to be met with, "where's your proof"?

With no test and not even a 50% Hct rule until 1997, there is no way of proving something happened to the physiology of the entire peloton that doped, compared to the few people who didn't.

So what would you say if you were Lemond?
 
Jun 11, 2012
88
0
0
Dr. Maserati said:
Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping.

Also, you are omitting what actually happened throughout the 90's. Kimmage wrote Rough Ride, Delion spoke out - they were dismissed as bitter or has beens.
LeMond actually spoke out pre Festina - so, it wasn't that people did not speak out, it was no-one was bothered to listen.
Yep, +1 for DR. M

Please believe me when I say that many professionals DID speak out about dodgy practices etc, but the sport back then was not as high profile as it is today, and to be frank, the media were complicit in their silence.
 
Autobus said:
After events such as Greg Lemond's decline from winning the 1990 Tour, to 7th in 1991, to DNF in 1992 or Andy Hampsten not even making the 1995 Banesto tour team why didn't such riders publicize the effect EPO was having on the peloton before Omerta was set in concrete? I can't imagine that on Z someone like Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle wouldn't have known what was happening in the peloton and wouldn't have told Lemond. Similarly, I can't imagine anyone on Banesto wouldn't have known about EPO. Given both of their stances on doping why didn't they describe what was happening when they left? I'm not criticizing, just wondering why. EPO was so efficacious that it might not have had any impact, but I like to think that it might have helped change the direction the sport took in the 90s.
I seem to remember that Van Hooydonck did speak in the early 90's, maybe in a low voice. Probably a few others did as well.

Of course critics would have been pictured as lazy, jealous of others successes, what do you know.

Look how Greg LeMond was portrayed in the US when he started criticizing L.A.'s links with Ferrari.
 
Oct 14, 2012
35
0
0
It's not like Omerta began with the EPO era. The drugs and the silence have been widespread since the beginning of cycling. There have been very few riders who could moan they were being beaten whilst being completely clean themselves. The retirees of 1990ish were hardly likely to kick up a fuss about their drugs no longer cutting the mustard compared to someone else's drugs!

I'd certainly put Duclos in that category. He had a shocking reputation, but seemingly no positives.
 
dear wiggo said:
look at my posts here for an example.

I think something is going on with wiggins. He's riding out of his skin compared to any other time in his cycling career. It stinks. People point to individual road performances pre-2009 that "prove his pedigree" but they are easily debunked.

So the final counter argument is "where's your proof?".

And in the end, all i have is common sense and critical thinking.

It wasn't just one person beating lemond or hampsten, it was all of them. So at face value, it just looks like lemond and hampsten are weak, or lazy, or overweight. Anything they say is going to be met with, "where's your proof"?

With no test and not even a 50% hct rule until 1997, there is no way of proving something happened to the physiology of the entire peloton that doped, compared to the few people who didn't.

So what would you say if you were lemond?
+1

dr. Maserati said:
firstly, until festina no-one was aware of the scale of epo doping.

Also, you are omitting what actually happened throughout the 90's. Kimmage wrote rough ride, delion spoke out - they were dismissed as bitter or has beens.
Lemond actually spoke out pre festina - so, it wasn't that people did not speak out, it was no-one was bothered to listen.
+1

And this.
 
Aug 19, 2010
62
0
0
I agree that the general public didn't know much about EPO before 1998, but by 2001 Lemond should have expected even greater negative reaction, especially in the United States and in the peloton. Here was an American cancer survivor repeatedly winning the Tour and also attacking riders like Bassons who make acqusations. Was having a doped rider equaling his record of three wins more important to him than being no longer able to compete cleanly?
 
Dr. Maserati said:
Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping.

Also, you are omitting what actually happened throughout the 90's. Kimmage wrote Rough Ride, Delion spoke out - they were dismissed as bitter or has beens.
LeMond actually spoke out pre Festina - so, it wasn't that people did not speak out, it was no-one was bothered to listen.
What did Lemond say pre-Festina?
 
Aug 19, 2010
62
0
0
I can't say when omerta started, but it always wasn't that way. When Jacques Anquetil said you couldn't win the Tour on mineral water that was a pretty blatent admission. I'd be curious to know when you think omerta did take hold of the peloton. Before Lemond brought the kinds of money into the sport there wasn't that much at stake. But when Tour leaders are getting caught with bulbs of clean urine strapped to their legs it's kind of hard to say nothing is happening.
 
Jun 19, 2009
13,250
0
0
Autobus said:
I agree that the general public didn't know much about EPO before 1998, but by 2001 Lemond should have expected even greater negative reaction, especially in the United States and in the peloton. Here was an American cancer survivor repeatedly winning the Tour and also attacking riders like Bassons who make acqusations. Was having a doped rider equaling his record of three wins more important to him than being no longer able to compete cleanly?
This appears to be another trojan LeMond thread.

If so, all points have been answered, including to the above .....

the delgados said:
What did Lemond say pre-Festina?
Pretty in-depth interview from 1998.
The talent hasn't changed at all. I do think, however, that the Italians have changed the sport in a really bad way. It has become much more medical. There's no doubt that riders are probably fitter now at the beginning of the season. But that started in the mid '80s.

Bicyclist: Medical?
LeMond: Yes, medical.
Bicyclist: Drugs?
LeMond: [hesitates] I don't know that it's drugs exactly...
Bicyclist: Then let me restate the question. Do you feel that drug use is prevalent in the pro peloton?
LeMond: Well, it's hard to say. I don't know if it's drugs, but there are substances. .......
 
Mar 10, 2009
1,296
0
0
In the days before EPO some of the drugs they took would get you in a jail cell as many of those drugs are illegal all the time and never mind for performance enhancement.
Pot Belge is heroine, coke and Speed or combinations of the above. So riders were quiet just for that reason. Once Oxygen vector cheating became more widespread I am sure the Omertà was to prevent people from knowing why they went from donkeys to race horses or why all of a sudden a domestique was winning or placing well.
I mean if you were taking EPO just to get a pro contract you sure don't want the team to know this is why you measure up. If the team is helping then you don't want the comms to know this is why you are winning. If the entire peloton can chase down breakaways day after day right to the minute and someone blames the radios you sure are not going to claim it is the drugs that made us so strong.
Omerta is just being quiet about your own stuff and possibly the entire team. It is about loyalty albeit misguided. Cycling has been keeping secrets for far too long. I do find some of the outrage amongst reportedly lifelong cycling fans that they are surprised about the whole thing or even offended. The longer you have been a fan the more accepting you must have been of the common belief is that doping and cycling were synonymous. I appreciate the offence of American fans especially since they generally don't know much before Lemond and certainly Lance, post cancer. I don't have a problem with the moral outrage but it does amuse me a little. I must put in a good word for these people as I know I am glad that there are people that want it to stop. I do too but I came to the sport knowing it was airly common. Of course way back then a clean rider could win as often as doped riders since most of the doping back then was beaten by good recovery and rest. Those days the riders had horrible schedules and many more race days than now. Pot belge did not make them faster so much as it made it possible to ride the bike at all.
 
Jun 18, 2009
1,225
0
0
Master50 said:
Those days the riders had horrible schedules and many more race days than now. Pot belge did not make them faster so much as it made it possible to ride the bike at all.
The riders still have awful schedules, that really hasn't changed much. Remember, the race season starts earlier and ends later, and with the UCI point system what use to be blow-off "training races" like TDU and Oman end up actually being hard. Even the marquee guys end up racing 80 times a year, sometimes more.
 
May 11, 2009
117
0
0
131313 said:
The riders still have awful schedules, that really hasn't changed much. Remember, the race season starts earlier and ends later, and with the UCI point system what use to be blow-off "training races" like TDU and Oman end up actually being hard. Even the marquee guys end up racing 80 times a year, sometimes more.
80 racing days a year is now considered a lot for a pro? Wow. Things have changed in the last 20 yrs.

I don't know about the official Omerta but if you were clean no one talked to you about their drugs. I never knew what these guys were taking, how much or who they were going to meet to get their stuff.

When I was 18 I was coached by a 1960s/70s European racer and he told me flat out that: (1) doping works (2) a lot of guys have used, use now, and will continue to use (3) "if you decide to dope, I don't want to know about it". End of doping conversation.

I don't think the silence started in the 90s, it was always there.
 
Jun 18, 2009
1,225
0
0
compete_clean said:
80 racing days a year is now considered a lot for a pro? Wow. Things have changed in the last 20 yrs.
That's nonsense. You'll find that those claims of guys who raced "100 days a year" are right up there with the whole "walking up hill, both ways to school" claims: http://www.cyclingarchives.com/index.php

With the exception of Merckx, who really did race a crazy amount, it's just not true. 80 days in a season is a LOT of racing, and something very few guys did 20 years ago. If you disagree, provide some examples, because I'm not seeing it.

To your other point, I agree. I don't think the silence/omerta thing WRT doping is new, at all.
 
Jul 10, 2010
2,906
0
0
hrotha said:
The omertà predated EPO use, but there WAS lots of talk about it. Particularly around 1993-1994.
racyrichuk said:
It's not like Omerta began with the EPO era. The drugs and the silence have been widespread since the beginning of cycling. There have been very few riders who could moan they were being beaten whilst being completely clean themselves. The retirees of 1990ish were hardly likely to kick up a fuss about their drugs no longer cutting the mustard compared to someone else's drugs!

I'd certainly put Duclos in that category. He had a shocking reputation, but seemingly no positives.
Autobus said:
I can't say when omerta started, but it always wasn't that way. When Jacques Anquetil said you couldn't win the Tour on mineral water that was a pretty blatent admission. I'd be curious to know when you think omerta did take hold of the peloton. Before Lemond brought the kinds of money into the sport there wasn't that much at stake. But when Tour leaders are getting caught with bulbs of clean urine strapped to their legs it's kind of hard to say nothing is happening.
If I'm not mistaken, Anquetil didn't say anything outright when he was riding. Only after. The omerta goes back to when doping was first made against the rules. It developed into a culture, for the reasons that Anquetil claimed - it was a way to make a living at bike racing. And the promoters wanted the guys to race a lot from they way they tell it to us.

As for the early days, word not getting around? Stop and think for a minute - what would you do if you just heard about some miracle drug that could improve your times and power by 10%? Would you go tell everybody in the peloton? Or would you keep it to yourself, so that you could have an advantage over the other guys.

The guys who were the first to dope were not particularly known as sympathetic, empathetic people kind of people. Not the caring and sharing type. The ones I knew were super-compulsive, driven as*****s. I don't think the kind of people to be first adopters for an advantage like that would be real talkative about it. Of course, that's just my theory, based on what I know of people.
 
Jul 10, 2010
2,906
0
0
131313 said:
That's nonsense. You'll find that those claims of guys who raced "100 days a year" are right up there with the whole "walking up hill, both ways to school" claims: http://www.cyclingarchives.com/index.php

With the exception of Merckx, who really did race a crazy amount, it's just not true. 80 days in a season is a LOT of racing, and something very few guys did 20 years ago. If you disagree, provide some examples, because I'm not seeing it.

To your other point, I agree. I don't think the silence/omerta thing WRT doping is new, at all.
I don't know, man - Anquetil claimed to be riding some 200+ days a year. Of course, it could just be part of the internal rationale, but they did make a LOT less money in those days. A lot of those races would have been the small kermess and crits - and then you had the big GTs. Two of those in a year, and you are already at 35 days minimum, some years 45 - not counting the rest days during the GT. It was hard to make a living at bike racing in those days.

BTW - I went to the cycling archives to check Anquetil - and I have to think that most of the races he rode are not listed. Only the ones where he placed. A lot of the crits and whatnot he rode wouldn't be on their either. I think you can get a better idea when you read his description of his life. I forget where I read it, but I remember reading some paragraphs (at least) he wrote about those times. Might have been in some "history of cycling" book. Sorry, I apologize that I don't remember.
 
Jun 18, 2009
1,225
0
0
hiero2 said:
I don't know, man - Anquetil claimed to be riding some 200+ days a year. Of course, it could just be part of the internal rationale, but they did make a LOT less money in those days. A lot of those races would have been the small kermess and crits - and then you had the big GTs. Two of those in a year, and you are already at 35 days minimum, some years 45 - not counting the rest days during the GT. It was hard to make a living at bike racing in those days.

BTW - I went to the cycling archives to check Anquetil - and I have to think that most of the races he rode are not listed. Only the ones where he placed. A lot of the crits and whatnot he rode wouldn't be on their either. I think you can get a better idea when you read his description of his life. I forget where I read it, but I remember reading some paragraphs (at least) he wrote about those times. Might have been in some "history of cycling" book. Sorry, I apologize that I don't remember.
"claimed" being the operative word... Your right, in Anquetil's period, only podiums are listed. Go to Hinault and by then the list all results. The statistics are admittedly spotty (for all generations). Until I see proof of 200 days of racing, I simply don't believe it.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY