Race Radio said:
Funny, here I am explaining how Pantani, Riis, and Ullrich are chemical inventions, not talking about wonderboy.
What you have explained, at least for Pantani and Riis, is that their success was largely the result of a willingness to jack up their HT higher than most other riders dared to, or perhaps knew how to. I can buy that. As I said before, no one can seriously argue that riders today are raising their HT to anything close to what was possible in the days before the HT limit, let alone before the EPO test and biopassport. The much more interesting and difficult comparison is with the early part of this century, the Armstrong years.
In any case, however, this does not make Pantani and Riis super-responders, nor is it even clear that they needed a special doctor to get these high HTs. Maybe Ferrari told them how to raise their HT to super levels without killing themselves, or maybe he just told them, drink all the orange juice you want, it won't kill you. In that era, any rider willing to take a large enough dose of EPO could have got his HT that high. As Tyler emphasized in his book, one of the main duties of a good doping doc is to show the rider how to dope without getting caught. That wasn't an issue prior to the 50% limit, and not much of an issue until the EPO test.
Of course, we know some other riders did raise their HTs very high, and died, but was that because they lacked Ferrari's special knowledge, or were they just unlucky, perhaps having a physiology that did not permit such high levels? We don't know. It would be very interesting to hear MF comment on those riders who died, why he thinks it happened when Pantani and Riis were getting up to comparable if not greater levels. They might have been super-responders in the limited sense that they had a physiological type that permitted such high levels, but this is speculation.
Wrt, Ulle, though, I haven't seen any evidence of HT in the upper 50s, and of course, much of his career was raced after the limit was in place, anyway. So other than the unsupported dense muscle theory, his main advantage would seem to have been whatever extra benefits he could have obtained from having a naturally low HT. One of the unintended side effects of the 50% limit was that it gave riders with a naturally low HT a greater relative advantage.
As for Moncoutie, the JV quote upthread makes it clear that JV, at least, thinks Moncoutie is clean. JV's point is not that someone everyone thinks is clean is doping, but that someone who really is clean (in his opinion) can have dodgy passport values. Ergo, have to be careful about drawing a connection between those values and doping.