State of Cycling

Mar 26, 2013
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Firstly, I want to make it clear that in my opinion there will never be a time where any sport, let alone cycling, is completely clean. When you actually think about it it's depressing and says a lot about people.

But with that being said, and knowing what we know about the history of cycling (exceptional performances are as good a sign of doping as a positive test), what would make you finally say enough is enough and give up on the sport? That is, not watching or caring at all about professional cycling?

Or is speculating about doping and watching performances simply to guess who is and isn't doping and how they're doing it as entertaining as if you thought everyone was clean?

Or on the other side, what would it take for you to have confidence that cycling is clean (mostly), and that to win a GT or major race you don't have to dope?

Is there anybody out there who currently watches cycling and believes that what they're watching is reality? Or are we all complete skeptics?

Is cycling getting any cleaner post "Armstrong/EPO" era? Or are there just a totally different set of drugs/doping techniques being used?

We all know about the weaknesses in the UCI and testing, and the willingness of teams/riders to push the boundaries. So rather than have a discussion on a specific rider, or something that is largely rumour and innuendo, i want to have a general discussion on how everybody views the cycling world knowing what they do about the state of doping of past/present? riders.
 
Sep 5, 2013
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Long time lurker, first time poster here

I've been thinking about this a lot and i've actually been pretty close to posting a similar thread myself:)

I'm struggling a lot more lately with finding any joy in watching cycling and it used to be one of my favourite sports

I guess i was naive for a long time, then i became skeptic and since Wiggins last year i've been very disillusioned. Froome in this years TDF and now Horner certainly hasn't helped either:eek:

I'm pretty much convinced all the top riders are cheating which is sad. I'm not sure what it will take to get my enthusiasm back
 
Feb 18, 2013
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Netserk said:
I separate the clinic side of cycling from the racing side, and I will always enjoy the racing.
I try to do that as much as possible too, but when you see "ET" performances, I can't help but have it detract from the spectacle for me.

Watching Froome on AX3 was enough for me to stop watching the TdF this year. Seeing Santambrogio in Giro stopped me watching that, and Horner had me give up on the Vuelta. (Please - if you want to address each of these, take them to the appropriate thread - not trying to derail in the slightest - just explaining where I'm coming from - for me, obvious doper is obvious...)

I enjoy watching the racing, but not when it's blatantly obvious the pile of crap I'm being fed.

I've come to the conclusion this year, that I think I'm going to give up watching the GT's for anything other than a travelogue on the country in question, and just so I get to watch the peloton doing it's thing. Try not to give a crap about the "results". I was really hoping that this year might have been amongst the first in a long time where the performances were somewhat believable, but alas it's been the opposite for me.

The classics on the other hand, this year I really enjoyed them without being too upset by clinic aspects.

So I'm not going to lose the faith completely, but it'll take a lot for me to believe anything I see in the GT's...
 
heart_attack_man said:
I try to do that as much as possible too, but when you see "ET" performances, I can't help but have it detract from the spectacle for me.

Watching Froome on AX3 was enough for me to stop watching the TdF this year. Seeing Santambrogio in Giro stopped me watching that, and Horner had me give up on the Vuelta. (Please - if you want to address each of these, take them to the appropriate thread - not trying to derail in the slightest - just explaining where I'm coming from - for me, obvious doper is obvious...)

I enjoy watching the racing, but not when it's blatantly obvious the pile of crap I'm being fed.

I've come to the conclusion this year, that I think I'm going to give up watching the GT's for anything other than a travelogue on the country in question, and just so I get to watch the peloton doing it's thing. Try not to give a crap about the "results". I was really hoping that this year might have been amongst the first in a long time where the performances were somewhat believable, but alas it's been the opposite for me.

The classics on the other hand, this year I really enjoyed them without being too upset by clinic aspects.


So I'm not going to lose the faith completely, but it'll take a lot for me to believe anything I see in the GT's...
Really? :D
 
Second reply, well done guys. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I find it easy to separate the racing and the doping. This is maybe because I don't really follow a particular team or rider, I just like to see good racing, so in the end it doesn't matter a huge deal to me if a doper beats someone who is clean.

For this reason, I'm only likely to stop watching if sponsorship dries up and cycling as a professional sport ends.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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Netserk said:
I separate the clinic side of cycling from the racing side, and I will always enjoy the racing.
Well said - and I would split the racing side again to separate the Professional side of the sport.

The racing, by its unpredictability is always entertaining. But the actual results becomes forgettable quite quickly.
 
May 16, 2012
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I watch the race without trying to find dopers. I still get very skeptical at times, but not as obsessed about it as before where i was more busy yelling "DOPER!" at anything that won. Ive gotten too old and have other battles to fight in my life. I still love cycling, and i watch the races but some of its magic is gone.

IMO the whole Armstrong spectacle have made people more cynical and paranoid. I think the sport have become more predictable and the performances have become more human. Riders get exhausted and fatigued now. But its also in a weird period where a lot of riders that we reckon doped in the past are still in the field and there are many questions not answered.

Im pretty ambivalent about the whole thing I guess. I still ride the bike myself and no doper have taken away that joy.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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Papa Kel said:
Firstly, I want to make it clear that in my opinion there will never be a time where any sport, let alone cycling, is completely clean. When you actually think about it it's depressing and says a lot about people.

But with that being said, and knowing what we know about the history of cycling (exceptional performances are as good a sign of doping as a positive test), what would make you finally say enough is enough and give up on the sport? That is, not watching or caring at all about professional cycling?

Or is speculating about doping and watching performances simply to guess who is and isn't doping and how they're doing it as entertaining as if you thought everyone was clean?

Or on the other side, what would it take for you to have confidence that cycling is clean (mostly), and that to win a GT or major race you don't have to dope?

Is there anybody out there who currently watches cycling and believes that what they're watching is reality? Or are we all complete skeptics?

Is cycling getting any cleaner post "Armstrong/EPO" era? Or are there just a totally different set of drugs/doping techniques being used?

We all know about the weaknesses in the UCI and testing, and the willingness of teams/riders to push the boundaries. So rather than have a discussion on a specific rider, or something that is largely rumour and innuendo, i want to have a general discussion on how everybody views the cycling world knowing what they do about the state of doping of past/present? riders.
To the highlighted - I am actually quite hopeful at the present.

The past is the past, what has happened over the last 12ish months is only confirming what I believed to be the state of the Pro side throughout the 90s & 00's.

For me, for things to change requires:
• The exposing of the Armstrong myth
• Highlighting the inept and corrupt practices of the authorities and enablers.
• Reform/change within the UCI
• The setting up of an independent, well funded and pro-active anti-doping authority.


IMO, we are well on that path.
But until then, there will be little faith in the sport and the tired but valid questions of individuals and trying to second guess the clean/cleaner discussion will continue.
 
Feb 8, 2013
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I also separate clinic and racing issues. Until I watched Horner breezing away from Nibali and J-Rod, that made me feel sick to the core :mad:


heart_attack_man said:
I try to do that as much as possible too, but when you see "ET" performances, I can't help but have it detract from the spectacle for me.

Watching Froome on AX3 was enough for me to stop watching the TdF this year. Seeing Santambrogio in Giro stopped me watching that, and Horner had me give up on the Vuelta. (Please - if you want to address each of these, take them to the appropriate thread - not trying to derail in the slightest - just explaining where I'm coming from - for me, obvious doper is obvious...)

I enjoy watching the racing, but not when it's blatantly obvious the pile of crap I'm being fed.

I've come to the conclusion this year, that I think I'm going to give up watching the GT's for anything other than a travelogue on the country in question, and just so I get to watch the peloton doing it's thing. Try not to give a crap about the "results". I was really hoping that this year might have been amongst the first in a long time where the performances were somewhat believable, but alas it's been the opposite for me.

The classics on the other hand, this year I really enjoyed them without being too upset by clinic aspects.

So I'm not going to lose the faith completely, but it'll take a lot for me to believe anything I see in the GT's...
 
ljpoyz said:
I also separate clinic and racing issues. Until I watched Horner breezing away from Nibali and J-Rod, that made me feel sick to the core :mad:
A Radioshack rider dropping an Astana and a Katusha?

That's like being mad that Bernie Madoff robbed the mob and the Mexican drug cartels.

:)
 
Mar 26, 2013
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heart_attack_man said:
I think it's easier to an extent for me to close my eyes to it when it's not being rubbed in my face every day for 3 weeks.... :rolleyes:
+1.

I haven't watched a grand tour since 2011 without being almost embarrassed. (and that was due to ignorance/hope)
 
When I watch a race, I watch the race without caring about doping. Sure, sometimes *HOST* Sayar *HOST* a performance makes you go "Hmmm..." but mostly I just enjoy the race.

Is cycling cleaner now than it was in the "Armstrong Era"? Yes, I believe so! However, "cleaner" is a sorta relative term... I've come to realize when it comes to the fight against doping in cycling it's a case of Two steps forward, one step back.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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I don't think there's anything that would make me give up on cycling and stop watching it. I enjoy the racing too much for that. Like others here, I just separate the racing from the doping. There was a time (when I was first starting to get into cycling) when I actually thought that peloton was mostly clean. But I've learned better since then, and have just excepted that most riders in peloton is on something.
 
Jan 30, 2011
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Netserk said:
I separate the clinic side of cycling from the racing side, and I will always enjoy the racing.
+1

For me, pro tour cyclists are all Schrodinger's cats. They are in a state of being both clean and dirty at the same time.

If they get caught, they are then clearly dirty.
 
Mar 26, 2013
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I completely agree with the separation of loving bike racing, even though we can assume a lot of it isn't clean. However, surely there comes a time when personalities come into place, and being continually lied to by said personalities turns you off watching a race because they are involved; the Dawg for example.
 
Feb 8, 2013
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Hahahaha you may be right there Moose! More the blatant exhibition, not even a hint of subterfuge!


Moose McKnuckles said:
A Radioshack rider dropping an Astana and a Katusha?

That's like being mad that Bernie Madoff robbed the mob and the Mexican drug cartels.

:)
 
Aug 15, 2013
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I think that is the big problem right now. That the discussion has centered around the notion of things being cleaner or dirtier. It's not supposed to matter. It's clean until proven otherwise.
When you watch a sporting event you have to believe the performances. Then, if there's a positive test, the athlete is punished and his results voided. This is the way it is supposed to work.

But, the USADA/Armstrong case has changed things. It created a new concept that regardless of established testing procedures, certain entities bear the right to prosecute an athlete based on other types of evidence. This concept kills sport. "I have never failed a test", as cynical it might sound, is supposed to prove an athlete is not a doper. Testing agencies are the ones that need to keep improving and closing the web on new practices and making sure doping is kept to an acceptable minimum. It's part of sports and wrongdoers will always be a step ahead. But, athletes should live under the idea that there is a real risk of getting caught and wage if it's something worth taking.

But now, anything goes. Froome, Wiggins, Horner, Nibali? Not normal. Rafa Nadal? Not normal. Barcelona FC? Not normal. Well, guess what, until any of them fail a test they are clean. Are they properly tested? Probably not. Their performances raise suspicions? Sure, but then you have to discredit most Kenyan long distance runners, Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo. Everybody who stands out in sports is now a dirty suspect.

If you don't stick to the innocent until proven guilty concept, you surely won't be able to watch events like a 3 week bike race, a Champions League game, a tennis match, or the Athletics World Championship. Of course it is a farce where you can see a clear dominance of athletes from certain countries in certain events, because their countries do not test them properly, fund their doping efforts directly or indirectly, and cover up any incidents that might arise.

What is frustrating to me is not the fact that some athletes dope, or dope more, or better that others gaining an advantage. It's seeing how international and especially national sports federations protect their athletes, with lenient testing and have them compete with athletes from countries with stiffer rules creating huge gaps in performance. Huge national programs like the ones of Eastern Germany, Spain, Algeria, Greece, Kenya, Jamaica, to name some, really discredit sport.

For things to change, all countries need to have the same standards regarding their athletes, and all local and international competitions need to follow the same procedures. Then results are believable. Then I'll now that regardless of if an athlete dopes or not, he's been subject to the same criteria as anyone else he's competing with.

As a fan, on one hand, I think what Spain did to cycling, athletics, football, and tennis, in the wake of the Barcelona Olympics, is a disgrace, what Kenya did to the long distance running is a disgrace, but on the other hand hey, I still love cycling and most sports, and when I see someone stand out now I just say "look at that doped ******* kicking the **** of other doped *******s, awesome!"
 
Jul 21, 2012
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Well now that Cookson is about to become uci president maybe he will tell those dirty eastern europeans to get their act together
 
the sceptic said:
Well now that Cookson is about to become uci president maybe he will tell those dirty eastern europeans to get their act together
He's not going to tell Wiesel at USA Cycling to clean it up and Astana's money is as good as Makarov's. There's no way the money UCI execs are making under the table gets an airing.

If we're really, really lucky, Cookson delivers on his vague promise that WADA will be able to open cases. Not likely with a new WADA chief coming who is much more IOC friendly.
 
Papa Kel said:
But with that being said, and knowing what we know about the history of cycling (exceptional performances are as good a sign of doping as a positive test),
The history of the sport is much longer than the past 25 or so years. Lots of mostly legitimate champions Lemond's era or before.


Papa Kel said:
Or on the other side, what would it take for you to have confidence that cycling is clean (mostly), and that to win a GT or major race you don't have to dope?
Declines in power in the third week. Declines in approximate average speeds on longer one-day events. Overall, I like the reference to Shroedinger's Cat. For whatever reason, year later the truth comes out. We just have to wait.


Papa Kel said:
Is cycling getting any cleaner post "Armstrong/EPO" era? Or are there just a totally different set of drugs/doping techniques being used?
The latter. Not the same effects as EPO, hence the ring of truthiness with some slower speeds.

Unfortunately, the narrative of the "bad rider" dominates. Remember that USA Cycling and the UCI were both fundamental parts of the myth creation. As long as the UCI is running the sport, the doping, cheating, corruption will continue.
 
Mar 26, 2013
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DirtyWorks said:
The history of the sport is much longer than the past 25 or so years. Lots of mostly legitimate champions Lemond's era or before.
I think you'd be surprised. Blood doping is known to have been started as early as 1970, and prior to that just because the sophistication in doping wasn't the same as say the early 2000's, it doesn't mean it wasn't wide spread. For example, we know that stimulants have been used in cycling for almost 130 years...
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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Dr. Maserati said:
To the highlighted - I am actually quite hopeful at the present.

The past is the past, what has happened over the last 12ish months is only confirming what I believed to be the state of the Pro side throughout the 90s & 00's.

For me, for things to change requires:
• The exposing of the Armstrong myth
• Highlighting the inept and corrupt practices of the authorities and enablers.
• Reform/change within the UCI
• The setting up of an independent, well funded and pro-active anti-doping authority.


IMO, we are well on that path.
But until then, there will be little faith in the sport and the tired but valid questions of individuals and trying to second guess the clean/cleaner discussion will continue.
Yep, that about sums it up.

One thing I would add, with no reference to any one rider, or group of riders, is that one tragedy in sport is that, with a few tiny exceptions (Ben Johnson springs to mind) the faith a sport gets tends to lag behind the faith a sport deserves.

The riders of the present are going to be treated with the lack of belief, lack of respect, and contempt that should have rightly actually attached to riders of the recent past - the "I won't be fooled again" mentality.

I just find it oddly...melancholic....at the idea that it's the worst ever peleton, when you compare, say, Quintana on Semnoz to Pantani on the Hautacam.

Or to put it another way; which is really healthier long term?

Bolt racing 9.5, no doping positives and a complacent JADO and IAAF. Or a series of Jamacian pings, Bolt at about 9.7 and the world on the back of several different ADO's?

Because the latter sure looks worse, media wise. But it may actually be a very small first step back from the brink, no? Gold medal athletes pinging is heartbreaking. but it's also very reassuring...

My impression about the sport of cycling is that it' still in a hole. But it sure ain't the 1998 hole, or even the 2003 one; the numbers don't really lie. And the armstrong debacle opens a door of opportunity to make relatively radical progress. I'm not sure irredemable cynicism helps that possibility, but time will tell, I suspect.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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martinvickers said:
Yep, that about sums it up.

One thing I would add, with no reference to any one rider, or group of riders, is that one tragedy in sport is that, with a few tiny exceptions (Ben Johnson springs to mind) the faith a sport gets tends to lag behind the faith a sport deserves.

The riders of the present are going to be treated with the lack of belief, lack of respect, and contempt that should have rightly actually attached to riders of the recent past - the "I won't be fooled again" mentality.

I just find it oddly...melancholic....at the idea that it's the worst ever peleton, when you compare, say, Quintana on Semnoz to Pantani on the Hautacam.

Or to put it another way; which is really healthier long term?

Bolt racing 9.5, no doping positives and a complacent JADO and IAAF. Or a series of Jamacian pings, Bolt at about 9.7 and the world on the back of several different ADO's?

Because the latter sure looks worse, media wise. But it may actually be a very small first step back from the brink, no? Gold medal athletes pinging is heartbreaking. but it's also very reassuring...

My impression about the sport of cycling is that it' still in a hole. But it sure ain't the 1998 hole, or even the 2003 one; the numbers don't really lie. And the armstrong debacle opens a door of opportunity to make relatively radical progress. I'm not sure irredemable cynicism helps that possibility, but time will tell, I suspect.
You bring up some pertinent points and asked some good questions - you also provided the answer.

You are correct that there is a lag and that current riders are viewed with suspicions of the past.
But i disagree that it is not deserved - the reason being that little has changed.
The Passport is hailed at being a game changer - and it certainly would be effective, but not when the UCI has any say in running it.
We have seen it before, any new test will make things more difficult for the enablers for a short time - usually the way around it is through the apathy and ineptness of the system.

Then before long things slide back the way they were.

The fallout from the Armstrong saga isn't that the controls don't work -but that the UCI had zero interest in acting.
The same people under the much the same protocols are in charge today.
 

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