Omerta Beginnings in EPO Era

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May 11, 2009
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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 where you are getting your information but I can assure you it is wrong. I don't want to get into a p1ssing match with you over this but do you mind if I ask where you are based (I assume you are currently racing).

I can assure you that many pros did a lot more than 80 days of racing 20+ yrs ago. As an extreme example Marino Lejareta did all three major tours in 1987 - that's 63 days of racing alone.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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131313 said:
"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.
I do remember a piece from Winning magazine from (IIRC) 1985 about Sean Kelly starting his 165th race day at Lombardia.

This has nothing to do with omerta, or even doping per se.
However - it is something that is often overlooked when looking back at how road racing (and doping) has evolved.
The sport went through its biggest changes from the late 80's through the early 90's. It is why Fignons, "we were young and carefree" is so apt.
 
Aug 11, 2012
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People seriously need to stop to use EPO as only argument why LeMond didnt win the TDF of 1991 or why Andy Hampsten didnt get selected for the Tour of 1995.

Of course EPO was there and I also think these guys were pretty clean. Yes, they were competing against riders who doped with EPO. Yet both Hampsten and LeMond were at the end of their careers. Its not like they were still in their primes. Besides with LeMond, there might have been several other causes why he regressed. Hampsten still manage to finish 10th in the Giro of 1994 and had a decent showing @ the Worldchampionships in 1995 in Duitama. All this with a heavily EPO fuelled peloton. If he was capable of this than you have to wonder why he finished 58th the year there after. It wasnt anything better or worse in 1995.

Some here think 1+1=2 and talk about this like romance novels but it's not that simple.

esafosfina said:
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...
Exactly, esafosfina.
 
Aug 11, 2012
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esafosfina said:
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...
Exactly, esafosfina.
 
LeMond likely overtrained himself trying to keep up, but he wasn't past his physical peak. He was 30 at the 1991 Tour. It's not just guys like Hampsten and LeMond, there's others like Lucho Herrera and old-school dopers like Fignon fading big time during the first years of the EPO era.
 
Oct 17, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
, it just looks like Lemond and Hampsten are weak, or lazy, or overweight.
According to Hamilton in his book, Hamspten was measuring power on climbs, and climbed with the same power and power to weight in his final year as when winning grand tour: but the peloton was running away from him to the point the team car containing Weisel - did something unprecedented - it gave up in disgust, overtook him to watch the action ahead. Interesting anecdote from Hamilton.

So it cannot be put down to lazy or fat. If power is the same winning a grand tour one year, and the peloton runs away another.

For all that, Hamspten and Lemond had an easier decision than newcomers: so "being whiter than white" was at least an option for them. They had won grand tours between them and had fulfilled most of their dreams, so when the sport turned sour, they could close the door quietly - there was little point in them "rocking the boat" - getting or giving bad publicity in a sport that they still hoped to earn a living from in other ways than riding.

It seems to me - Guys like hamilton were robbed of a career, just as much of a victim as others . Don't dope, and you cannot compete: dope and you are cheating, and risk what ultimately happened. What kind of decision is that?

Failure to recognise the fact that most of the teams and riders were doping by Heinz ("head in the sand") Verbruggen, and Pat ("blame the latest scapegoat, and sweep the rest under the carpet") Mcquaid and Christian ("this year we are clean!, honest!") Prudhomme, is the essential reason the problem was never treated seriously enough.

I blame the banking regulators for what was allowed to happen to banking on their watch too.
It is an interesting analogy that "Sir Mervyn (fiddled whilst rome burned) King" still has his job at Bank of England despite doing nothing to detect or eradicate the banking abuses which all happened on his watch, including all the big bank scams of the consumer.

When jorg Jaksche says all six teams he was connected with across his career were systematically doping , it puts it all into context. It also makes scapegoating such as Bruyneel a relatively pointless exercise.
 
Mar 19, 2011
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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.
You mean the general public. The cyclists knew exactly what was going on.


Prince de Merode talking about EPO and its use in Calglary in an article in May 1988. Did Delgado win the 88 Tour on EPO? Very plausible.

http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1988/05/04/pagina-42/1171321/pdf.html?search=Eritropoyetina

And the cyclists didn't know anything about it. Please, no Santa Claus again.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Albatros said:
You mean the general public. The cyclists knew exactly what was going on.


Prince de Merode talking about EPO and its use in Calglary in an article in May 1988. Did Delgado win the 88 Tour on EPO? Very plausible.

http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1988/05/04/pagina-42/1171321/pdf.html?search=Eritropoyetina

And the cyclists didn't know anything about it. Please, no Santa Claus again
.
Right, go back and read what I wrote - if there is a big word that you do not understand (like "scale") then look it up.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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mountainrman said:
. . .
When jorg Jaksche says all six teams he was connected with across his career were systematically doping , it puts it all into context. It also makes scapegoating such as Bruyneel a relatively pointless exercise.
Bonny and Clyde weren't the only bank robber out there. Al Capone wasn't the only gangster who had people killed. They were the ones who got press, and who got caught. Does that make them scapegoats?

Judging by past and present behavior, the UCI would LOVE it if we stopped with making LA and Bruyneel scapegoats. Fortunately, a lot of riders, teams, fans, and sponsors seem to be determined that it won't stop with just that this time. I don't think there is any point in going after other old doping cases, though - except like inside the teams we need some honesty and openness. Which is the GOOD side of what Sky has done. I personally prefer JV's answer to that - be open and move forward clean, since the involvement was of such a huge scale.

What's happening to Lance and Bruyneel is not scapegoating. It IS making a stand to stop the scapegoating that has been constant until now. The point had to be made crystal clear that some of us were not going to tolerate ye-old-sweep-it-under-the-rug again. Given the public status of Lance, without bringing him and his program down, no program could ever be seen as credible.
 
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.
That's not true. Every amateur rider in Italy (though I must also presume Europe), knew about EPO at least as early as 95, when I began racing in the Boot.

Omerta, of course, to address the original post (and to which you respond above), did not begin in the EPO era, but at least from the 60's when doping was first made illicit and riders were forced to conceal their dopage. Even before that the peloton wasn't racing on "bread and water" alone (amphetamines largely) and was tacit publicly about certain practices.

What changed was the level of performance enhancement that came with blood doping and what Gianni Bugno has recently stated about EPO: namely, that it created the illusion (though in certain cases also a reality) that doping can make one into a champion. This reinforced the already present code of silence within the sport and led to the arms race we got, as well as the medically assisted (which was euphemistically called "scientific") training regimes, which transformed cycling into a cove of illicitness and corrupted the institutional governance of the sport from within its highest ranking figureheads, but also the team managements. Guys who had every vested interest in not having the dirty laundry of the sport presented in full public view.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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rhubroma said:
That's not true. Every amateur rider in Italy (though I must also presume Europe), knew about EPO at least as early as 95, when I began racing in the Boot.

Omerta, of course, to address the original post (and to which you respond above), did not begin in the EPO era, but at least from the 60's when doping was first made illicit and riders were forced to conceal their dopage. Even before that the peloton wasn't racing on "bread and water" alone (amphetamines largely) and was tacit publicly about certain practices.

What changed was the level of performance enhancement that came with blood doping and what Gianni Bugno has recently stated about EPO: namely, that it created the illusion (though in certain cases also a reality) that doping can make one into a champion. This reinforced the already present code of silence within the sport and led to the arms race we got, as well as the medically assisted (which was euphemistically called "scientific") training regimes, which transformed cycling into a cove of illicitness and corrupted the institutional governance of the sport from within its highest ranking figureheads, but also the team managements. Guys who had every vested interest in not having the dirty laundry of the sport presented in full public view.
Again, I used the scale as a precise meaning and I stick by it.

You were late to the party - I knew about a "new drug" being used in 1990.
It was a short time later that I learned the name of this drug, EPO. I remember one of the people who mentioned the name of that drug to me, I thought it was 90 but in a recent conversation they believe they told me in 1991.
 
Albatros said:
Prince de Merode talking about EPO and its use in Calglary in an article in May 1988. Did Delgado win the 88 Tour on EPO? Very plausible.
"Very plausible". EPO. In 1988. A guy who had been up there since his very first Tour.

"Very plausible" might be hyperbole.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Albatros said:
You mean the general public. The cyclists knew exactly what was going on.


Prince de Merode talking about EPO and its use in Calglary in an article in May 1988. Did Delgado win the 88 Tour on EPO? Very plausible.

http://hemeroteca.mundodeportivo.com/preview/1988/05/04/pagina-42/1171321/pdf.html?search=Eritropoyetina

And the cyclists didn't know anything about it. Please, no Santa Claus again.
When Lemond tells me he didn't know then what was going on, I believe him. I also have to believe he wasn't the only one. Therefore, your insinuation that ALL cyclists knew what was going on fails. SOME would have.

Now, the article. Interesting piece of history that. But Merode doesn't talk about it being used in Calgary at all! Are you trying to pull a fast one on us?

My translation, with Google help.
The question:
Let's talk about the banned products, in particular, of new substances. In Calgary came to public light EPO him, speculated that the drug was used by some athletes. What can you say about it?
His answer:
I believe strongly that it is not currently being used by athletes. The EPO is a natural product of the human body, now in USA, is produced synthetically, so its effects may be slightly different. It can be a wonderful drug for treating renal (sic disease), because it can avoid dialysis in some patients. We have made ​​a very serious request with the three companies that produce EPO in North America and currently there is no possibility of getting this product. Currently it is still in testing phase and there are voluntary patients who accept treatment and are waiting to know the results. Laboratories have requested authorization to place the product on sale, but will have to wait about two years before it is exploited commercially. Ourselves, that is, the IOC Medical Commission, have asked the EPO to test mode and get the result has been invariably negative. (h: I think he is repeating that they have tried to get the drug for testing purposes, and couldn't get it. Nosotros mismos, es decir, la Comision Medica del CIO, hemos pedido Eritropoyetina para comprobar el modo de obtenerla y el resultado ha sido invariablemente negativo.)
So we MAYBE have a rumor - some speculation. At this point in the testing procedure, drugs are in a real lock-down state of security. Companies are worried about FDA approval, but more, they are worried that competitors will get a sample. So your Delgado speculation goes from plausible to only very remotely possible.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Dr. Maserati said:
Again, I used the scale as a precise meaning and I stick by it.

You were late to the party - I knew about a "new drug" being used in 1990.
It was a short time later that I learned the name of this drug, EPO. I remember one of the people who mentioned the name of that drug to me, I thought it was 90 but in a recent conversation they believe they told me in 1991.
Looking backward, I think your use of "scale" in this case is most likely correct. In 1991, it was only a few people who were hearing about it, although more probably heard about it than could realistically access it - just like AICAR today. By '95, I think Rhubroma's picture of fairly widespread knowledge also rings true. But most people didn't know the scale of what was going on. You don't usually KNOW what the other team is doing.

It also stands to reason that different countries had different levels of realization. I don't think most of the US, either riders or fans, had any idea how prevalent doping was in Europe in general. Not just EPO. I think this has, in many way still held true until this year. I know that, until I read "A Dog in a Hat", I tended to discount the anecdotal tales I had heard before then.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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hiero2 said:
Looking backward, I think your use of "scale" in this case is most likely correct. In 1991, it was only a few people who were hearing about it, although more probably heard about it than could realistically access it - just like AICAR today. By '95, I think Rhubroma's picture of fairly widespread knowledge also rings true. But most people didn't know the scale of what was going on. You don't usually KNOW what the other team is doing.

It also stands to reason that different countries had different levels of realization. I don't think most of the US, either riders or fans, had any idea how prevalent doping was in Europe in general. Not just EPO. I think this has, in many way still held true until this year. I know that, until I read "A Dog in a Hat", I tended to discount the anecdotal tales I had heard before then.
You pretty much got my point.
Until Festina no-one knew the scale of the EPO abuse.

We are trying to remember information from the 80's & 90's - and with the slant of hindsight. One thing I can say with conviction is that anyone who was not surprised by Festina is talking out their rear.

I think you have also nailed it with the different levels in different countries.
But even though I got most of my information through 'English speaking' news sources it was certainly discussed after Ferrari's Orange Juice comments exposed EPO in 94.

But at the time it was viewed as primarily as an Italian problem.
 
Dr. Maserati said:
Again, I used the scale as a precise meaning and I stick by it.

You were late to the party - I knew about a "new drug" being used in 1990.
It was a short time later that I learned the name of this drug, EPO. I remember one of the people who mentioned the name of that drug to me, I thought it was 90 but in a recent conversation they believe they told me in 1991.
Well if being late to the party means only really confronting the widespread knowledge of EPO use within the peloton since 95, then I guess so. However, the issue I was addressing was entirely something else: namely, that you said widespread knowledge of EPO was only revealed with the Festina Affair. This is simply not the case, at least not within the circles of greatest cycling concentration, and thus your scale is wrong. Whether you intend to stick by it or not.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Well if being late to the party means only really confronting the widespread knowledge of EPO use within the peloton since 95, then I guess so. However, the issue I was addressing was entirely something else: namely, that you said widespread knowledge of EPO was only revealed with the Festina Affair. This is simply not the case, at least not within the circles of greatest cycling concentration, and thus your scale is wrong. Whether you intend to stick by it or not.
If you misread what I write then I understand why you believe I am wrong.
 
hiero2 said:
Looking backward, I think your use of "scale" in this case is most likely correct. In 1991, it was only a few people who were hearing about it, although more probably heard about it than could realistically access it - just like AICAR today. By '95, I think Rhubroma's picture of fairly widespread knowledge also rings true. But most people didn't know the scale of what was going on. You don't usually KNOW what the other team is doing.

It also stands to reason that different countries had different levels of realization. I don't think most of the US, either riders or fans, had any idea how prevalent doping was in Europe in general. Not just EPO. I think this has, in many way still held true until this year. I know that, until I read "A Dog in a Hat", I tended to discount the anecdotal tales I had heard before then.
Hiero2 every Italian amateur that I came across in 95 knew that EPO was widespread among the pros, that Conconi had been the first to develop it and that his successor Ferrari was now the leading guru of doping in the sport.

Having arrived from the States the common knowledge aspect of the extent of doping, also because many of those amateurs had been aspiring pros or had even ridden as such for a couple of years so had themselves doped and were doped by il medico di squadra as dilettanti, was revealing.

It wasn't surprising that doping was normal practice, so much as how mainstream the knowledge of its commonplace aspect was among all riders (and of course tifosi). So while there was this omerta before the public forum in the mass media, the invested public was not at all ignorant of what was going on.

Thus the last point you make about knowledge being varied from country to country can be partly verified by my own experience (and I was certainly not naive at the time, just underexposed). Yet wasn't this already stated by Bob Role, if I'm not mistaken, when he said the average 7 year-old Belgian kid knows more about how cycling is played than your average American adult?
 
Dr. Maserati said:
If you misread what I write then I understand why you believe I am wrong.

"Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping."


Now I ask you, and I ask myself: how is one to misread what you wrote?

I have a feeling, though, that you will come back with some spurious argument to further contort this debate into a needless polemic. This, however, seems to be your greatest contribution to the forum, as well as modus operandi.

But continue to humor me...
 
Jun 19, 2009
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rhubroma said:

"Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping."


Now I ask you, and I ask myself: how is one to misread what you wrote?

I have a feeling, though, that you will come back with some spurious argument to further contort this debate into a needless polemic. This, however, seems to be your greatest contribution to the forum, as well as modus operandi.

But continue to humor me...
If you didn't want me to continue some 'spurious debate' then you would agree to disagree...... not ask questions.

So let me help you answer your question - "Now I ask you, and I ask myself: how is one to misread what you wrote?"

I wrote - "Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping."

You did misread it as these were your answers ( in 2 different posts)
1 - That's not true. Every amateur rider in Italy (though I must also presume Europe), knew about EPO at least as early as 95, when I began racing in the Boot.

And
2- However, the issue I was addressing was entirely something else: namely, that you said widespread knowledge of EPO was only revealed with the Festina Affair.

Now if I had wrote "Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of EPO doping." - you would be correct.
but as I wrote - "Firstly, until Festina no-one was aware of the scale of EPO doping." -so, you are wrong.
 
According to a recent column by Robert Millar, the riders were fully aware of the scale of EPO doping during the era in question.
If memory serves, he canvassed the peloton during his last Tour. Feeback indicated that everyone either had direct access or knew where to find EPO.
Festina was only an eye-opener for the casual fan.
 
Oct 12, 2012
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Era of EPO doping begins in 1989: EPO was certified as medicine in 1989, but the French newspaper Le Monde reported already at jan.1988, that it was obtainable at the black market as a product in test phase. The Danish physician Søren Kragbak has reported, that in 1989 a Swedish medical company had contacted the Danish Cycling Union, with the request to make a secret EPO test study on selected riders. This was however rejected, since DCU considered it too dangerous. Instead the test programme was allegedly run in collaboration with the Swedish Cross Country team. In 1988-1990 there was reports of 15 cycling riders that have died from improper use of EPO: 9 from Netherland, 5 from Belgium and 1 from Germany. Among those we have the deaths of Gerd Oosterbosch (TVM) in 1989, Patrice Bar (IOC-Tulip) in 1990 and of Johannes Draaijer (PDM) in feb.1990. Few years later, there was all in all registered 20 riders and 7 Swedish orientation runners, who had passed away due to EPO. After the first dangerous years, experience was gained about how to keep EPO consumption at a level that didn’t kill you (and techniques was invented to help dillute your blood).
 
Oct 12, 2012
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IOC banned EPO as an illegal substance in 1990, but since no test existed until 2001, it became VERY FAST the most populair doping product in cycling. PDM affair (1990-1992): First police investigation of a team with systematic doping.
Rumours that PDM in 86-89 used doping from dr. Jansen, was never proofed. But in feb.90 one of their riders on EPO, dies of heart attack, and later in same year 2 riders retire with bad heart. The entire team abandons in Tour De France 1991 with “health problems”, and in 1997 one of these riders admit the abandon was because they all injected EPO that had not been properly cooled. The scandal about the team was uncovered by the police, and became only known by public in Nov.1997. Dr. Wim Sanders gets convicted in civil court for leading a private doping network in 1990-1995.
 
I think all cyclists were aware of the scale of EPO by 94-95. I think the last team's regarded as changing over to EPO were the French teams Castorama and GAN and Motorola. I think maybe all in 94-95.

In terms of general public knowledge, most fans were aware of the usage of EPO from the early 90s and there were many articles on EPO in 95/96 but it was only the Festina affair that really confirmed how bad it was.

It definitely went from individuals riders who didnt know how to use it correctly(the early guys like Draaijer/Bar)to individuals who used doctors to figure it out(Italians) to full teams using it (93/94) to almost everyone using it(96).
 

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