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Results of clean riders

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USADA officially sanctioned Lance for his alleged 2009-2010 blood doping based on statistical calculations removing his results from those years from the records. I am in a total minority, but I think it was possible that he rode 2009-2010 clean.

Podiuming the Tour at the age of 38 while riding clean? And being Lance Armstrong on top of that? Good one! :tearsofjoy:
Besides, everybody agrees that riding paniagua wasn't the best way to put El Pistolero in his place (and given his nature we know the Texan really wanted to do it).
 
Podiuming the Tour at the age of 38 while riding clean? And being Lance Armstrong on top of that? Good one! :tearsofjoy:
Besides, everybody agrees that riding paniagua wasn't the best way to put El Pistolero in his place (and given his nature we know the Texan really wanted to do it).
The key reasoning was in the few sentences you (conveniently) cut out.

If you weren't (officially) popped but only a subject of a lot of innuendo, when you retired, why to come to race a few years later fully doped to possibly get officially tested positive and to taint your entire career? It is possible that his calculus showed it was worth it, but far from an open-and-shut case.

Interestingly USADA scientists agree unanimously that he rode the 2009 Giro d'Italia non-blood doped. That was his first GT after retirement, he has never cared about Giro d'Italia (was likely truly a domestique to help Leipheimer) and his race form was before the last high intensity fine-tuning and high altitude training for the Tour.

He was still c:a 10th, the results have evolved quite a bit after DSQs.
 
How about Jakob Mørkeberg of Denmark's anti-doping agency? He called him on it it in September of 2009, reported in Cycling News.

And with good reason. In a study of seven riders in the 2007 TdF, both haemoglobin and hematoctrit declined an average of more than 10%. So did Pharmstrong's, at least in the the 2009 Giro. But in the 2009 TdF, on Bastille Day (the day after the first rest day) Cancer Jesus performed still another miracle. His haemoglobin and hematocrit stopped going down, and his ratio of reticulocytes to erythrocytes went up.






(Pharmstrong's 2009 blood values)

Hydration effects both haemoglobin and hct concentrations but not ratio of reticulocytes to erythrocytes. His blood values show exactly the results you'd expect to see if Pharmstrong had administered a blood bag on the rest day.
 
The only panels, who reviewed his data anonymously didn't conclude that he blood doped. For all the other scientists reviewing and making conclusion from his data (particularly the Australians, some paid experts during the SCA hearings), he was "Pharmstrong", and the neutrality of the intrepretation is here-and-there. When discussing about blood doping in skiing, Jakob Mørkeberg has said in a Swedish documentary that it was "impossible" to succeed in the 1990s clean, ie. he also very likely considered the 1999-2005 Armstrong a doper from the get-go.

Blood doping - specialist Rasmus Damsgaard actually said publicly roughly that the 2009 data (taking into account the values and in which conditions they are taken) do not prove that Armstrong blood doped even when they also do not exonerate him either. He particularly warned about drawing much any conclusions about the Mont Ventoux sample showing a jump in Hct at the end of the Tour.

One should remember that all this discussion about his blood data with its flat Hct trends etc is based on the data he voluntarily published for everyone to scrutinize. If you blood dope, why just not to publish your blood data at all or somehow weasel out if you promised to do so.

Again, not claiming that he didn't blood dope, only that the odds of him having not aren't "one in a billion".
 
And it really wasn't that risky. It wasn't his doping after his second comeback that did him in.
In the end, I just read the calculus + motivations for his 2009 comeback differently than either one of you.

And even if blood doping wasn't risky to the level of being officially sanctioned based on blood anomalies, just to publish voluntarily your blood data for everyone to scrutinize is kind of weird if you blood dope. And in addition to this, there was strong speculation (e.g in "Wheelmen" by Albergotti & O'Connell) in 2009 about the plastic bag test being introduced. Had the test been introduced even later, his samples could've been retested. Maybe didn't prevent many blood dopers, but in Armstrong's case, a positive would've tainted totally also his 1999-2005 wins.
 
Wasn't going for the 6th and 7th Tour in 2004 and 2005 also too risky then?

And it's difficult to see the limits to that kind of logic. Surely doping again after his ban was also too risky for Contador? For Valverde?

I think that if you have already raced as a pro and doped, won a lot with doping while getting away with it, it's natural and normal to dope. It's a rather difficult decision to not dope. To then race clean would also be to tell yourself that your previous rides were doped, illegitimate.
 
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Wasn't going for the 6th and 7th Tour in 2004 and 2005 also too risky then?

And it's difficult to see the limits to that kind of logic. Surely doping again after his ban was also too risky for Contador? For Valverde?
Lance Armstrong wanted to be the best ever with his 6th and 7th wins, the stakes were very high. Also there had been essence no major anti-doping innovations, which made 2004-2005 in essence were similar to the preceding TDFs, ie. not making the wins"too risky".

I don't know if I get your latter point. There had been no ban in the case of Armstrong by 2009, therefore he was technically a clean rider and the best TDF rider ever (I think Merckx was the best overall), and (from purely reputational viewpoint of fair-play) he had only to lose had he doped and got caught. The less you have any "officially clean" preceding achievements and accolades, the more risks you are willing to take, ie. the threshold of what is "too risky" is just higher.
 
It's not weird to publish your blood data if you're confident that there's nothing incriminatory in it (and if you have a good program and you know what you're doing then why wouldn't you be). I mean, Horner published his blood data, and while that was mostly out of desperation because he was suspect and couldn't find a contract, and even though the data still raised some eyebrows, no one could actually point at it and say he was definitely 100% a confirmed blood doper.
 
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Yet the risk that did him in was antagonising Landis. And that was evidently a tolerable risk.

Putting the for Armstrong perceived risks associated with his second comeback aside, the main reason I'm dead certain that he was doped then, is the level of his performances in their context and that we know that he doped for his previous attempts to win the Tour.
 
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It's not weird to publish your blood data if you're confident that there's nothing incriminatory in it (and if you have a good program and you know what you're doing then why wouldn't you be). I mean, Horner published his blood data, and while that was mostly out of desperation because he was suspect and couldn't find a contract, and even though the data still raised some eyebrows, no one could actually point at it and say he was definitely 100% a confirmed blood doper.
I 100 % agree with the first sentence up until "good program"-stuff. Because the ret-% is very difficult to fine tune without the risk of glowing because of EPO, there is always some "incriminatory" data here-and-there if one blood dopes.

I fail to see why to put a crosshair into your head if you blood dope by publishing the data even if an anonymous panel finds no smoking gun in it, but all your opponents go through it ad nauseam. You apparently disagree, please feel free to do so by all means.
 
Yet the risk that did him in was antagonising Landis. And that was evidently a tolerable risk.

Putting the for Armstrong perceived risks associated with his second comeback aside, the main reason I'm dead certain that he was doped then, is the level of his performances in their context and that we know that he doped for his previous attempts to win the Tour.
The Landis-case was most acute in early 2010, and the publicity likely affected LA's Tour that year. By the fall of 2008, when Lance announced his comeback, he had had like half-a-dozen former teammates either getting popped or spilling the beans (Landis, Hamilton, Swart, Vaughters, Andreu...) and thus doing what harm to his 1999-2005 reputation they could do. So the risk of making Landis "angry" in 2009 was not that evident. According to the Juliet Macur's bio, LA even seriously considered weaseling out of the TDF comeback in 2008-2009 after Jean-Marie LeBlanc questioned whether it was wise from him to become the target of doping speculations. Had he considered Landis a real danger, an extra reason to do so.

I'll just state that his TDF-fetishism, hunger, "leave no prisoners"-attitude as a super-domestique / leader and results (3rd) of the 2009 Tour is consistent of him learning how to ride bike again as a domestique at the Giro earlier the year and finishing 10th.

Just 100 % my opinion. I think there is very little room left for any serious discussion except just opinions and how to intrepret what motivations etc.
 
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If he thought he could be competitive clean then clearly the most advanced doping program in history was just the most advanced waste of money and scientific resources in history. Seriously, people are willing to be fooled again with this guy? With anybody competitive in this sport?
I don't think anyone has claimed he "could be competitive clean" in the 1990s or early 2000s except fanboys like Phil Liggett a few years ago.

Interesting documented figure to illustrate how much the sport had evolved in only 14 years to the better -- Hct of the 3rd on the podium at the TDF:
1995 -- 56.3 % (Bjarne Riis)
2009 -- 43.0 % (Lance Armstrong)
 
I don't think anyone has claimed he "could be competitive clean" in the 1990s or early 2000s except fanboys like Phil Liggett a few years ago.

Interesting documented figure to illustrate how much the sport had evolved in only 14 years to the better -- Hct of the 3rd on the podium at the TDF:
1995 -- 56.3 % (Bjarne Riis)
2009 -- 43.0 % (Lance Armstrong)
Are you suggesting the sport got cleaner or they found better ways of masking the doping such as saline IV to dilute the bloodstream etc?
 
Are you suggesting the sport got cleaner or they found better ways of masking the doping such as saline IV to dilute the bloodstream etc?
"evolved... to the better" -- I'll give you no more clues.

Or Lance had his Hct really at 55-60 %, but took like half a dozen bags of saline each the six times his blood was tested at the 2009 TDF, a very plausible scenario?
 
Are you suggesting the sport got cleaner or they found better ways of masking the doping such as saline IV to dilute the bloodstream etc?
The sport definitely got cleaner. It's just that it didn't necessarily mean that riders weren't doping, instead the biopassport and the advances in anti-doping made from 2006-2008 (which ended as soon as Lance came back and the UCI took over testing again) had meant that the amount of doping that could be got away with had significantly reduced, such that the amount of doping that was required to be competitive in 2009 was significantly lower than it had been in 1996. This is also why anecdotally considered clean riders like Moncoutié and Fedrigo could be more competitive at the time, but not enough to actually contest GCs or anything.

The fact Lance coming back meant the UCI felt they needed to step in and take over testing again, despite the massive number of successes had by AFLD at rooting out dopers in the three intervening years, as well as ASO delivering a parcours which was clearly intended around keeping Lance competitive as long as possible but designed before his comeback so before there was any indication of how competitive he could be (very few decisive mountain stages until deep into the third week, a long TTT which had not been seen since his retirement), tells me there was a vested interest in his comeback being successful - probably because the loss of his star power plus the consecutive doping scandals to hit the race in the period since his retirement had hit audience figures and revenues, plus ASO needed the Tour to be profitable to prop up their loss-making pet project, the Dakar Rally, at the time (this is also why they have branched out a bit and taken more risks the last couple of years, as the Dakar now has an established and profitable home in Saudi Arabia), meant they felt they needed him. He also promised he would publish his data, and then didn't until pressured into doing so by those who remembered he had said that, possibly thinking that in the drama of the Grand Tours and especially with the internal team arguments at Astana that this would be forgotten about (similar to Brailsford's internal investigation into Leinders, which was promised and then swept under the carpet until Dan Benson asked him about it at the World Championships, causing Brailsford to literally run away from the question) - so non-experts who viewed them were overwhelmingly doing so with a skeptical eye, thinking that as he had promised to post them and then had to be coerced into actually doing so, there must be something to hide. And to the layperson, the way the blood values behave differently from the Giro to the Tour and the way they deteriorate before spiking up on rest days sure as hell looks like we would expect from blood doping.

Not enough to secure a conviction, but then after we learned of Levi's 132,8% off-score not being enough to secure a conviction you have to recognise that the margin for error set is pretty huge, which makes you wonder what exactly people like Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and Jaime Rosón must have been doing to trigger biopass positives. And we've also learned that there are huge gaps in the ability of the biopassport to stand up to lawyering up, with the likes of Roman Kreuziger and Daryl Impey poking huge holes in it, securing exonerations for some pretty damning-looking evidence by being able to theorise possible - no matter how implausible - alternative causes. So just because Lance wasn't caught from his biopassport data did not mean that it wasn't suspicious. Certainly not enough to say in and of itself that something was definitively up - there weren't enough clear data points for the amount of longitudinal data required at the time - but the Occam's Razor explanation was blood bags on the rest day and given everything that happened before and since around Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Yaroslav Popovych (who had a career renaissance after being woeful with Lotto after his running buddy Volodymyr Bileka got busted for EPO), Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, ASO, the UCI and USADA... I don't think there is anything that anybody could say that would convince me that Lance Armstrong rode the 2009 Tour clean or even remotely so. There would have been no reason whatsoever to come back just to be what Chris Froome is to the 2023 péloton, a veteran former champion unable to come close to replicating their past level, waving to the crowd and collecting a paycheck. Lance's ego would not allow for that. If he stood on romance then he'd already had the perfect retirement in 2005, so if he was coming back he was coming back to win, and having done what he had done to do so in the past, and knowing that ASO and UCI likely needed him more than he needed them and had thrown the testing company that had done all that great work over the last few years under the bus...

I honestly think Lance announcing his comeback, and the subsequent (and supposedly connected) UCI wresting control of testing back from AFLD, is probably the worst thing to happen to anti-doping in cycling in the last 20 years. All that progress essentially wiped out overnight.
 
There would have been no reason whatsoever to come back just to be what Chris Froome is to the 2023 péloton, a veteran former champion unable to come close to replicating their past level, waving to the crowd and collecting a paycheck. Lance's ego would not allow for that...
It is unlikely that Lance would've made his 2009 comeback had the prospects been like 100th or even 30th in the GC.

But were his clean prospects such and did he know he had to blood dope and did so?

The assesment by Michele Ferrari was that Lance won in 2005 very easily, almost laughably so (he made a smoking gesture while laughing in Alex Gibney's documentary).

Therefore how about this scenario: Lance's doped overall performance level was significantly better vs. that of his closest competitors in 2005. In the following years, as a training addict / future Ironman Champion-wannabe, his form remained so good that his measured/estimated clean baseline W/kg or other metrics had fallen only slightly if not all by 2008, when he started seriously thinking about his comeback.

Whereas many cyclists were obsessed in keeping their Hct close to the 50 % rule, and the Grand Tours of the EPO era until 2005-2006 were dominated by shady characters linked to doctors such Ferrari and Fuentes, the murky connections of the 2008 winner and second, Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans were at least less clear. The 2008 Alpe d'Huez times also weren't super fast, which might've signaled a cleaner sports.

If the doping benefit was only a fraction of what it had been only a few years earlier, the estimated fairly good clean prospects for him might've convinced him to make his comeback for the 2009 TDF clean.

As Jonathan Vaughters, who believes he rode clean in 2009, said -- Only he knows if he blood doped in 2009. I woudn't be surprised if he did, but would not be if he didn't.
 
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I believe that the 2008 Tour was the cleanest in recent memory. That was part of what encouraged Lance to come back, I agree, especially with most of those who were his rivals or successors having fallen in the intervening few years.

However, if he had returned and performed as he did to a péloton that was continuing to clean up in 2009, then I might give your argument some credence. But he didn't. He returned to a cycling where the UCI wrestled control of anti-doping back, and the only times that anybody of major prominence has been outed ever since then has been when they've kicked their own own goals. All of the progress that had been being made was thrown in the can, and riders who were in with the Lance machine were suddenly turning back the clock. Look at Yaroslav Popovych in 2008 vs. 2009, and then after scoring a 10 on the suspicion index in 2010. Look at Chris Horner's late-career renaissance after he decided to join the Hog Express. They got the band back together for one last ride and, with the UCI run by Pat McQuaid who had been on-board with the Lance PR gravy train before anyway, and ASO desperate for some eyes on the sport with successive scandals in 2006 and 2007 having cost a lot of sponsorships and TV deals, all the incentives were there for them to get Lance back, and they couldn't profit from it if he just came back to be pack fodder, which is why we got the garbage route to try to minimise time gaps until late on and benefit strong teams. Maybe Lance did the Giro clean, his values behave kinda as you might expect there. But the Tour? No, I don't believe that for a second.

Jonathan Vaughters claiming he thinks Lance was clean in 2009? At the Tour de France? I mean, he's a blatant snake oil salesman and he had a huge dog in the fight, having a whole load of old Lance running buddies with doping histories on his team that he needed to protect, I can't say I believe that even he believes it if he said that.