Reducing GT distances to encourage clean riding?

Came up in the rate the TdF route and needs it's own thread to be discussed properly. This is the chart that got me thinking about it:



Now, I'm aware that this tracks back to to a time when doping wasn't prevalent, or if you prefer the game-changing doping didn't exist, and it also tracks across the period where blood doping was rampant and only regulated by how much a rider could take with killing themselves, but it got me thinking that if we want to see serious reductions in doping (or the supposed doping that is discussed in here) we need to see a shift change where races are designed so that clean athletes can compete.

Now, I have to make a lot of assumptions for this so it's more a general discussion, but I think it's fair to assume that there is a point where the top athletes can recover day to day over a GT as well as the doping athletes, or at least much closer to it. I also feel that reducing the distances covered on stages and the elevation changes can contribute to this, although I'm really not sure how much.

So lets discuss it. Am I being naive? Is the current level of doping so much that they will still gain a massive advantage or GTs would have to be cut to 1 MTF and a load of short transfers to level the playing field? Or could it have an effect?
 
King Boonen said:
Came up in the rate the TdF route and needs it's own thread to be discussed properly. This is the chart that got me thinking about it:



Now, I'm aware that this tracks back to to a time when doping wasn't prevalent, or if you prefer the game-changing doping didn't exist, and it also tracks across the period where blood doping was rampant and only regulated by how much a rider could take with killing themselves, but it got me thinking that if we want to see serious reductions in doping (or the supposed doping that is discussed in here) we need to see a shift change where races are designed so that clean athletes can compete.

Now, I have to make a lot of assumptions for this so it's more a general discussion, but I think it's fair to assume that there is a point where the top athletes can recover day to day over a GT as well as the doping athletes, or at least much closer to it. I also feel that reducing the distances covered on stages and the elevation changes can contribute to this, although I'm really not sure how much.

So lets discuss it. Am I being naive? Is the current level of doping so much that they will still gain a massive advantage or GTs would have to be cut to 1 MTF and a load of short transfers to level the playing field? Or could it have an effect?
There is simply no way of cancelling the advantage provided by doping. The less recovery you need, the more power you need, so you just change doping substance. Even ignoring this, no matter how easy a route is, at elite levels any change in recovery ability has an effect. And even if this effect isn't sufficient to turn an average rider into a star, it will be sufficient to turn a top rider into an all-winner.
 
Do you think blood doping would improve your chances in a week long stage race with a time trial and a MTF ?


If yes, then no reduction in distance will eliminate the incentive to blood dope in a Grand tour.
 
Jul 21, 2012
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Catwhoorg said:
Do you think blood doping would improve your chances in a week long stage race with a time trial and a MTF ?


If yes, then no reduction in distance will eliminate the incentive to blood dope in a Grand tour.
Even if you make the tour into 21 short flat stages it would still be dominated by dopers.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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seoul dirtiest race aphorism
ben johnson dirty dirty dirty cnucks fonetic (sic) anagram
 
If they could handle 4000km in the 80's without EPO, they can do the same today too.

When roads, equipment, training etc. become better the same distance will become easier. Distances should increase over time to weigh up for that, not decrease.
 
Netserk said:
If they could handle 4000km in the 80's without EPO, they can do the same today too.

When roads, equipment, training etc. become better the same distance will become easier. Distances should increase over time to weigh up for that, not decrease.
You aren't looking at it like ASO.

The stage length will keep declining because host town revenues will never keep up with the price of worldwide media rights. They need about 1.5 hours of content to sell a 2 hour block of content. So, stage length will continue to decline.

Like other posts, a shorter event won't make doping less prevalent.
 
King Boonen said:
<pic snipped>

Now, I'm aware that this tracks back to to a time when doping wasn't prevalent, or if you prefer the game-changing doping didn't exist, and it also tracks across the period where blood doping was rampant and only regulated by how much a rider could take with killing themselves...
Interesting chart, but these assertions are not well founded.

Doping was prevalent from the earliest days of the Tour.

Unless you had an off-the-charts genetic capability, it was game-changing. Blood vector doping, of course, changed things dramatically.

Blood doping was never rampant, though it was used for singular events (e.g. 1984 Olympics).

Bottom line, the chart is explained by the logistics of the event and the TV coverage as noted above (maximize profit by reducing operational expenses and increasing revenues).

Doping can always make you do better - from a single exertion to a three week Grand Tour.

Otherwise, please explain weight lifting.

Dave.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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It doesn't encourage clean riding. Not even a little bit. The incentive to dope is present as long as doping enhances performance, and it does.

Forget grand tours, doping benefits one day racers. Massively. In fact, doping enhances every athletic pursuit starting with an effort that lasts merely a fraction of a second up to an ultra marathon.

If you can't force athletes to stop doping by catching and punishing them, they always will. You can't change the fact that PEDs make you better at everything that involves strength, speed and endurance.
 
Reducing difficulty to get rid of doping is indeed a naïve argument. No matter how short or easy you make the race, as long as the advantage provided by doping outweighs the likelihood of getting caught (and the effect thereof), people will dope. As noted, the 100m sprint is full of dope cheats, and all that is is running in a straight line for 10 seconds.

The "easier races means it can be done without dope" argument is often trotted out as an excuse for conservative racing (of course people can't attack like Sella in 2008, unless they're full of CERA like he was!) or poor course design (people dope to recover and survive GTs, so we should make them easier so that people don't need to dope to survive them!).

But the former is nonsense (David Moncoutié is widely perceived as clean, Levi Leipheimer is known as dirty, which would you rather watch?), and the latter is also nonsense (it's EPO's effects that led to the MTF craze, and really the biggest problem is that increased professionalism through dope or otherwise has meant that domestiques' levels have improved so the top riders spend less time on their own, so courses that used to be selective are not anymore, meaning that they overcompensate).
 
May 1, 2013
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King Boonen said:
I think it's fair to assume that there is a point where the top athletes can recover day to day over a GT as well as the doping athletes, or at least much closer to it.
I think this point is somewhere between 0 and 1 km per day
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Reducing difficulty to get rid of doping is indeed a naïve argument. No matter how short or easy you make the race, as long as the advantage provided by doping outweighs the likelihood of getting caught (and the effect thereof), people will dope. As noted, the 100m sprint is full of dope cheats, and all that is is running in a straight line for 10 seconds.

The "easier races means it can be done without dope" argument is often trotted out as an excuse for conservative racing (of course people can't attack like Sella in 2008, unless they're full of CERA like he was!) or poor course design (people dope to recover and survive GTs, so we should make them easier so that people don't need to dope to survive them!).

But the former is nonsense (David Moncoutié is widely perceived as clean, Levi Leipheimer is known as dirty, which would you rather watch?), and the latter is also nonsense (it's EPO's effects that led to the MTF craze, and really the biggest problem is that increased professionalism through dope or otherwise has meant that domestiques' levels have improved so the top riders spend less time on their own, so courses that used to be selective are not anymore, meaning that they overcompensate).
Good post as allways.
The thing about Mocontuie is; can we be certain he was clean? No. So using him in a argument like that, is a bit tricky IMO. Otherwise agree.
 
Catwhoorg said:
Do you think blood doping would improve your chances in a week long stage race with a time trial and a MTF ?


If yes, then no reduction in distance will eliminate the incentive to blood dope in a Grand tour.
All you need to do is to look at Thomas Dekker's career to have an answer to that question.
 
Nov 23, 2013
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If it's a race, people will dope. Actually they will dope even if it's not a race. If it's a Grandfondo people will dope. The only reason ASO or any other race organization makes changes is because they believe they can make more money in some other format.
 
King Boonen said:
So lets discuss it. Am I being naive?
Yes. Doping exists as others have pointed out, in events across the intensity-duration spectrum, and in cycling that goes from track match sprinting, through pursuiting to local criteriums to one day road races right through to grand tours and everything in between. Competitive and participative.

The only thing that will reduce doping is a massive increase in the perceived risk of being caught.
 

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