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Remco Evenepoel

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It’s amazing .... all the conspiracy theories.

This kid has been a top endurance athlete since he was a wee lad.

He’s been consistent in his performances and how he rides throughout his cycling career.

Yet there are countless examples of riders who have come out of nowhere and become top riders or completely deviated from their specialty and become top of the line talents in different specialities.

Could he be doping? Who the hell knows. However, the assumption that he is doping simply because he’s shown the same consistency throughout the year while cracking on a few times would lend itself to the idea that maybe just maybe he’s a prodigy and he was born to be a cyclist.

Strange, that Dennis doesn’t have a clinic thread near the top of the forum seeing that he literally disappeared for 2 months.

If you really want to ask the doping question, you should probably start there.
Being a prodigy and being a doper aren't mutually exclusive. In fact I think it's incredibly likely he's both.

It's not like Eddy Merckx was clean. But everyone always conveniently forgets he got popped 3 times.
 
And now for something completely different: Remco's blatant sock doping... totally open, no attempt to do it somehow covertly - says something about the attitude of "the industry" towards the rules, whatever nature they are.

Strangely, it looks like the situation is totally diffent on the upper body (Remco's short sleeves suggest they are not that worried about aero - unlike others).

Did anyone else try something like this (or other rule pushing ideas)?
 
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And now for something completely different: Remco's blatant sock doping... totally open, no attempt to do it somehow covertly - says something about the attitude of "the industry" towards the rules, whatever nature they are.

Strangely, it looks like the situation is totally diffent on the upper body (Remco's short sleeves suggest they are not that worried about aero - unlike others).

Did anyone else try something like this (or other rule pushing ideas)?
I have no idea what you're talking about with sock doping. He's wearing high booties. They (i.e. most everyone) use high aero socks on the track, high aero booties on the road. Thems the rules, although they don't make any sense. Domoulin and Campenaerts push it the farthest imo.

And I see plenty of short sleeves including Dennis, Dowsett, Campanaerts, and others. As long as the sleeves cover the complete upper arm, they're just as aero as full sleeves. The funny textures don't matter for the forearms due to their orientation in the aero bars (i.e. the wind is not slamming into them perpendicularly, unlike the upper arms or shins).
 
And now for something completely different: Remco's blatant sock doping... totally open, no attempt to do it somehow covertly - says something about the attitude of "the industry" towards the rules, whatever nature they are.

Strangely, it looks like the situation is totally diffent on the upper body (Remco's short sleeves suggest they are not that worried about aero - unlike others).

Did anyone else try something like this (or other rule pushing ideas)?
Yes, I was wondering whether Remco was required to lower his socks before the start of the TT and then decided to pull them higher right after the start. I was thinking "will this draw a time penalty?" I guess it was overlooked, or maybe his socks were regulation/OK from the start and he was just tugging at them to find more comfort(?) In any event, there was no penalty.
 
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It’s amazing .... all the conspiracy theories.

This kid has been a top endurance athlete since he was a wee lad.

He’s been consistent in his performances and how he rides throughout his cycling career.

Yet there are countless examples of riders who have come out of nowhere and become top riders or completely deviated from their specialty and become top of the line talents in different specialities.

Could he be doping? Who the hell knows. However, the assumption that he is doping simply because he’s shown the same consistency throughout the year while cracking on a few times would lend itself to the idea that maybe just maybe he’s a prodigy and he was born to be a cyclist.

Strange, that Dennis doesn’t have a clinic thread near the top of the forum seeing that he literally disappeared for 2 months.

If you really want to ask the doping question, you should probably start there.
Well, Dennis has already won a WC ITT. I would assume that the vampires came for him a few times in those two months. Just the fact that he was able to have a quiet training block and dial in his old BMC gear was probably worth a minute or more.

I still believe RE is clean at this point, of course no one here has any idea. My thought process is this: No one is going to pick up cycling and doping at the same time, especially at age 15 or so; he was good right out of the gate; what usually seems to get cyclists on the gear is a lack of results, which he's never yet had. Ergo, no need to dope yet.
 
I still believe RE is clean at this point, of course no one here has any idea. My thought process is this: No one is going to pick up cycling and doping at the same time, especially at age 15 or so; he was good right out of the gate; what usually seems to get cyclists on the gear is a lack of results, which he's never yet had. Ergo, no need to dope yet.
Maybe not back then, but he did have a reason to start doping several months in his pro career. According to a teammate of his (I think it was Lampaert) Remco missed his winning ways a lot (which is more than understandable, of course.)

He almost won his first ITT in January already, but that was against a relatively mediocre Alaphilippe and a lack of other serious ITTists. After that, nothing close to a win for months.

Then he got schooled at Romandie to boot. The first race he raced with a large number of in-form WT riders. I don't think the UAE Tour is raced at the same level.

But you can even ignore Romandie, if you prefer, seeing as he crashed there.. His previous exploits, as impressive as they were, were not enough to compete with, let alone beat, or even embarrass some of the best riders in the world, man to man.

Shortly after those difficult months (difficult for his ego, I mean, his level was obviously more than fine), Evenepoel's level went up an ass load. He went on to a make a mockery of star riders like GVA on hilly terrain, Campenaerts on the flat, Wellens in the Ardennes, etc. Made them look like 3rd rate competition. Yeah, okay, totally expected.

Then followed his seemingly full ret@rd rides in San Sebastian and the European Championships ITT. Nothing to see here, either. A totally normal progression.

And now, a 19 year old kid who isn't built like an ITTist is arguably the third best ITTist in the world. Or second, if Van Aert doesn't fully recover from his crash.

That's a LOT of improvement in one year. Could he be clean? In theory almost anything is possible, I guess, but it's getting harder and harder to believe.
 
Maybe not back then, but he did have a reason to start doping several months in his pro career. According to a teammate of his (I think it was Lampaert) Remco missed his winning ways a lot (which is more than understandable, of course.)

He almost won his first ITT in January already, but that was against a relatively mediocre Alaphilippe and a lack of other serious ITTists. After that, nothing close to a win for months.

Then he got schooled at Romandie to boot. The first race he raced with a large number of in-form WT riders. I don't think the UAE Tour is raced at the same level.

But you can even ignore Romandie, if you prefer, seeing as he crashed there.. His previous exploits, as impressive as they were, were not enough to compete with, let alone beat, or even embarrass some of the best riders in the world, man to man.

Shortly after those difficult months (difficult for his ego, I mean, his level was obviously more than fine), Evenepoel's level went up an ass load. He went on to a make a mockery of star riders like GVA on hilly terrain, Campenaerts on the flat, Wellens in the Ardennes, etc. Made them look like 3rd rate competition. Yeah, okay, totally expected.

Then followed his seemingly full ret@rd rides in San Sebastian and the European Championships ITT. Nothing to see here, either. A totally normal progression.

And now, a 19 year old kid who isn't built like an ITTist is arguably the third best ITTist in the world. Or second, if Van Aert doesn't fully recover from his crash.

That's a LOT of improvement in one year. Could he be clean? In theory almost anything is possible, I guess, but it's getting harder and harder to believe.
That's certainly plausible but my read on his season was that in every race he showed he belonged at the WT level, and he wasn't in all that many races, so the idea that he was moping around for months and decided he needed to hit up the PEDs doesn't quite work for me. It's likely his level was there all along but he needed to get used to longer and faster races.

He did San Juan at the end of January, UAE at end of February, then Turkey the third week of April. After Romandie in early May, he did Norway in early June, then crushed Belgium in mid June. He had some good rides in Turkey, though he was enduring some criticism for positioning and pack skills.

We'll just never know until we know...maybe it just took a few months for the ketone to kick in...:neutral:
 
That's certainly plausible but my read on his season was that in every race he showed he belonged at the WT level, and he wasn't in all that many races, so the idea that he was moping around for months and decided he needed to hit up the PEDs doesn't quite work for me. It's likely his level was there all along but he needed to get used to longer and faster races.

He did San Juan at the end of January, UAE at end of February, then Turkey the third week of April. After Romandie in early May, he did Norway in early June, then crushed Belgium in mid June. He had some good rides in Turkey, though he was enduring some criticism for positioning and pack skills.

We'll just never know until we know...maybe it just took a few months for the ketone to kick in...:neutral:

Strange he started training with a professional team, and had access to customized world class equipment and nutritionists, engineers.

Strange that those things could possibly have an effect.
 
Maybe not back then, but he did have a reason to start doping several months in his pro career. According to a teammate of his (I think it was Lampaert) Remco missed his winning ways a lot (which is more than understandable, of course.)

He almost won his first ITT in January already, but that was against a relatively mediocre Alaphilippe and a lack of other serious ITTists. After that, nothing close to a win for months.

Then he got schooled at Romandie to boot. The first race he raced with a large number of in-form WT riders. I don't think the UAE Tour is raced at the same level.

But you can even ignore Romandie, if you prefer, seeing as he crashed there.. His previous exploits, as impressive as they were, were not enough to compete with, let alone beat, or even embarrass some of the best riders in the world, man to man.

Shortly after those difficult months (difficult for his ego, I mean, his level was obviously more than fine), Evenepoel's level went up an ass load. He went on to a make a mockery of star riders like GVA on hilly terrain, Campenaerts on the flat, Wellens in the Ardennes, etc. Made them look like 3rd rate competition. Yeah, okay, totally expected.

Then followed his seemingly full ret@rd rides in San Sebastian and the European Championships ITT. Nothing to see here, either. A totally normal progression.

And now, a 19 year old kid who isn't built like an ITTist is arguably the third best ITTist in the world. Or second, if Van Aert doesn't fully recover from his crash.

That's a LOT of improvement in one year. Could he be clean? In theory almost anything is possible, I guess, but it's getting harder and harder to believe.
Fair points in this post include:
  • His level seems to have gone up significantly mid-summer
  • He seems to be one of the top TT'ers in the world at this point
Hyperbolic and evidence-free points include:
  • Assumptions about his ego and state of mind
  • Words like "mockery", "3rd rate", "full ret@rd"
  • Assertions of what a time trialist's body must be like, as if lots of power and a low coefficient of drag only manifest in taller riders (or whatever the implied criteria are...).
  • The assumption that anyone who is at another level than anyone else for their entire (short) career means they are almost certainly doping
  • The apparent assumption that huge talent doesn't exist
  • Assumption that an inexperienced rider would not gain significant ability and skills by racing, and that a professional outfit would not have multiple methods of cultivating talent including training, nutrition, support, and yes, doping.
Even for the hype coming in, he's wildly exceeding most expectations. It's surprising. Maybe he's also doping. I just don't see why anyone is surprised at this point that this kid is getting results. That's all he's done. Doping just doesn't seem to be the main explanation for what he's doing.

Consider just enjoying what a real talent looks like. It's not like one can make any rational argument that if he is doping, that he's some kind of doping outlier.

Personally I think the likelihood that he's doping is comparable to the likelihood that he's just uber talented and the peloton has cleaned up a bit in the last year.
 
The good ol' cycling is getting cleaner
Not what I’d call an accurate representation of my comments. That said, this year is the first time I’ve felt that...maybe ever. Nothing to do with Evenepoel. Just that performances across the board this year have seemed more believable.

I have zero hope that if it’s true it will last. And if one has followed my posts over the years, you would know my optimism this year is out of character. But...entirely possible I’m seeing this year through rose-colored glasses.
 
Fair points in this post include:
  • His level seems to have gone up significantly mid-summer
  • He seems to be one of the top TT'ers in the world at this point
Hyperbolic and evidence-free points include:
  • Assumptions about his ego and state of mind
Not much of an assumption at all going by what his teammate said. I can;t find the quote right now, but it was something along the lines of that. Not winning was hard to deal with, after dominating the junior ranks. I didn't think that point would be controversial.
 
Not what I’d call an accurate representation of my comments. That said, this year is the first time I’ve felt that...maybe ever. Nothing to do with Evenepoel. Just that performances across the board this year have seemed more believable.

I have zero hope that if it’s true it will last. And if one has followed my posts over the years, you would know my optimism this year is out of character. But...entirely possible I’m seeing this year through rose-colored glasses.
2018 and 2019 have been a lot more ridiculous in terms of believability than say, 2016/2017

Also climbing times have been very stable, they're not getting slower.
 
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BTW.. I didn't make that assumption at all.

I don't think his performance curve this season looks legit, regardless of his talent, and regardless of his current level.
I think it looks more believable than Pogacars. Evenepoel was the best junior ever by some distance. A year ago, he was already near Mikkel Bjergs time trial abilities (considering the restricted gears) and his performances in the first part of this year were not bad at all. Even in the Romandie time trial, he finished right behind Thomas and beat De Gendt. He climbed well in UAE and Turkey.
He achieved his summer victories mainly through his time trial abilities and they were never up for debate. He hasn't proved anything in a GT.

Compare this to Pogacar who won 3 stages in his first four years, joins the team of the dirtiest man in cycling and suddenly destroys nearly everyone in Algarve, California and Spain with 5 stage wins.
 
2018 and 2019 have been a lot more ridiculous in terms of believability than say, 2016/2017
Curious, on what do you base that assertion? It would seem to contradict in some ways, they following...

Also climbing times have been very stable, they're not getting slower.
Or faster if the above is true?

My view is subjective, would love to see data that shows times as stable through the last few years if you can link to it. Maybe there are specific races with specific climbs that could be compared, but it would have to be quite a few to make a case either way.

I think Classics are harder to measure, with the shorter climbs, the varied tactics, and the wind/weather. This year (I'm making no such assertions about 2018) it seemed to me, subjectively, that the rides in the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta were less mutant than they have been for the last decade. Riders seemed fallible, to have bad days. Longer attacks were possible without teams on the front who could just ride everyone down. Much more open. To me that all seems cleaner.
 
Curious, on what do you base that assertion? It would seem to contradict in some ways, they following...



Or faster if the above is true?

My view is subjective, would love to see data that shows times as stable through the last few years if you can link to it. Maybe there are specific races with specific climbs that could be compared, but it would have to be quite a few to make a case either way.

I think Classics are harder to measure, with the shorter climbs, the varied tactics, and the wind/weather. This year (I'm making no such assertions about 2018) it seemed to me, subjectively, that the rides in the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta were less mutant than they have been for the last decade. Riders seemed fallible, to have bad days. Longer attacks were possible without teams on the front who could just ride everyone down. Much more open. To me that all seems cleaner.
Climbing times vary pretty wildly due to circumstances, but the overall trend is not going down. Zoncolan 2018 was the fastest since 2007 while the Finestre IIRC was the slowest ascent ever. This year they did the San Carlo 2 minutes slower than in 2006 while the Mortirolo was almost as fast as 2006 Robobasso. Most of the variation is simply due to the conditions and the race, but overall climbing times have been very stable roughly in the last 10 years with the occasional outliers. 2018 had the most mutant Giro with super fast climbing times on the Zoncolan before a 90km solo out of the blue. You also had a 32 year old getting his first GT top 14 by winning the Tour in a dominant fashion. Alaphilippe mixing it up in the high mountains is more a thing to be suspicious about than a reason to believe cycling is getting cleaner. Van der Poel's performance in the AGR was the most mutant classics ride I've ever seen.

You get less dominant wins when the best riders in the world crash out before or during GTs or when the top performers are ageing.

I also find it wholly unbelievable cycling would get cleaner without any major busts. When they had a Cera test, a bunch of big names got busted before people probably stopped using it. Nothing of the sort has happened lately. All that happens is small time riders getting popped for EPO or drugs that aren't really revolutional in regards to doping.
 
With so many riders dominating at a strikingly early age, I would posit one non-clinic-related explanation: power meters. They make the identification of talent much easier, and also speed the self-learning process. Before power meters it took years of experience to be able to find and "feel" one's limits, so even a talented rider would take longer to develop. It would be interesting to see a graph of UCI points plotted against rider age to see if the mean or distribution is actually changing over time, or if our perceptions are just being colored by a few notable outliers.
 
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