State of the peloton 2021

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Lappartient:
This year there are more tests than in 2019. There is also a lot more targeting, both in and out of competition. I don't quite have the proportion between the two. But there is still a lot of targeting. Nevertheless, you have to keep your eyes open. There are some rumours coming from the peloton. There were a lot of rumours during the Tour. There are a lot of riders who contact us. [...] About what they hear or what they see. There may be rumours about new techniques. They don't really know. Some riders have the impression that there is a gap. They have questions. We are more at the question phase today.
 
Considering how he seems to struggle; do you guys believe Lopez might be clean? (or at least cleanER?) It would be weird to a have a clean rider ride for Vino though.

With people born at high altitude I tend to think they won't need as much drugs as others to handle altitude, but might be I am merely naive.
 
I think there's a decent chance that one or two of the top Colombians are "clean"; there's definitely a line of reasoning that it would make sense that riders with a natural advantage for eg. climbing races at altitude would do well as a peloton gets "cleaner".

The other side of that argument is that going off-grid to South America for months at a time & then comin' in hot when going back to Europe can be seen as very suspicious. The truth is probably neither scenario and somewhere in the middle.
 
Considering how he seems to struggle; do you guys believe Lopez might be clean? (or at least cleanER?) It would be weird to a have a clean rider ride for Vino though.

With people born at high altitude I tend to think they won't need as much drugs as others to handle altitude, but might be I am merely naive.
On his best days he is one of the best climbers in the world. Maybe even the best.

If he then were to dope, just how much faster do you think he could go?
 
Reactions: Red Rick and noob
An educated guess would say we've returned to the pre-1998 era where doping is controlled & contained by team doctors, i.e. loads of riders used to get popped after Festina precisely because teams got scared & told their riders to go solo with the program, which turned into a bigger disaster with people like Fuentes mucking everything up with recklessness (& the Americans having way too much of a cavalier attitude with dope). So now all the top teams will have their precise programs (& yes, it's totally engrained in pro sport since forever).

With regards to Lopez, you can't turn a donkey into a racehorse so he's clearly a very talented climber but his other glaring weaknesses (namely TT) means he'll struggle to ever win a GT.
 
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Anti-doping is there for the sponsors & TV to sell the "dream".

In reality, riders have used (& still use) all the medical assistance their doctors & performance scientists deem necessary. I think Anquetil should have settled this debate once & for all, i.e. past champions still used to "sell" the dream (including by the UCI) "doped" according to the official rules. In fact the very first time they even introduced anti-doping in the Tour, the peloton went on strike.

So Lappartient is having a bit of a laugh with these bla bla bla comments:

"The systems work. I asked that we go as far as the physical dismantling of the bikes, sometimes. We physically dismantled bicycles as in the Tour de France 2020 on two occasions, in the time trial of the Planche des Belles Filles and the climb of the Col de la Loze. We did this year [too]. We don't forbid ourselves [from doing that]. So far, we haven't found anything.

"One could very well imagine that some systems are triggered remotely, without it being on the bike. Today, there are not especially motors that do not emit magnetic fields. We are essentially in the discovery of these fields. We must always stay awake on these subjects. By nature, man is limitless in the imagination to cheat."
... and they smashed up Primoz Roglic's bike at the Col de la Loze last year & found nothing.

Antidoping (pharmaceutical or mechanical) is all a public relations exercise.
 
Anti-doping is there for the sponsors & TV to sell the "dream".

In reality, riders have used (& still use) all the medical assistance their doctors & performance scientists deem necessary. I think Anquetil should have settled this debate once & for all, i.e. past champions still used to "sell" the dream (including by the UCI) "doped" according to the official rules. In fact the very first time they even introduced anti-doping in the Tour, the peloton went on strike.

So Lappartient is having a bit of a laugh with these bla bla bla comments:



... and they smashed up Primoz Roglic's bike at the Col de la Loze last year & found nothing.

Antidoping (pharmaceutical or mechanical) is all a public relations exercise.
That's quite a cynical point of view, which, although I have no clue and couldn't outright reject, I don't share.
I do think they usually really try to catch the cheaters and cheating methods. I also think that not everybody dopes. And I also think that there are differences between slightly crossing the line and going full nuclear.
It's just really difficult to make any finds bullet-proof in court. A suspicion doesn't really get anti-doping anywhere, how strong it might be.
I still don't believe there is mechanical doping in the WT, I'm totally on the pharmaceutical watch.
I think single finds of big name riders might be covered up and problems be pushed under the carpet, but I don't think anti-doping is all a farce, a show for the public. In the end a clean sport would always be better for a big sports association than journalists detecting big scale doping in a particular sport.
 
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He kind of talks it down, or, let's say he's resignating a bit, but if riders go the UCI talking about feeling there is a gap... well, obviously there is something new, whether some drug or just a method/ approach.
It might help if you actually read what he said, which was posted above.
There are some rumours coming from the peloton. There were a lot of rumours during the Tour. There are a lot of riders who contact us. [...] About what they hear or what they see. There may be rumours about new techniques. They don't really know. Some riders have the impression that there is a gap. They have questions.
The riders are as much in the dark as the Clinic. They think there might be something going on, they don't know. We're all asking questions. None of us know the answers.

It is easy to take Lappartient's comments and spin them with confirmation bias.

Also, a silly question, but what does 'resignating' mean? English is not my first language.
 
I think single finds of big name riders might be covered up and problems be pushed under the carpet, but I don't think anti-doping is all a farce, a show for the public. In the end a clean sport would always be better for a big sports association than journalists detecting big scale doping in a particular sport.
Football shows you the third way.
Also, a silly question, but what does 'resignating' mean? English is not my first language.
Resigning. As from resignation. I'm sure you could figure that out.
 
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Also, a silly question, but what does 'resignating' mean? English is not my first language.
Lol, it's not my first language either and I translated the German word resignieren badly. I think it's actually resign.

It might help if you actually read what he said, which was posted above.The riders are as much in the dark as the Clinic. They think there might be something going on, they don't know. We're all asking questions. None of us know the answers.

It is easy to take Lappartient's comments and spin them with confirmation bias.
I read what he said and don't think I took any of his comments to confirm any bias, I try to understand what's going on, not to defend any fixed position. Since this is an official statement I am of course taking it with a grain of salt, but I don't think I twisted his words. I took the statement he made about riders coming up and stating they felt there was a gap as a clear hint. Not exactly interpreting too much, I'd say.
 
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That's quite a cynical point of view, which, although I have no clue and couldn't outright reject, I don't share.
I do think they usually really try to catch the cheaters and cheating methods. I also think that not everybody dopes. And I also think that there are differences between slightly crossing the line and going full nuclear.
It's just really difficult to make any finds bullet-proof in court. A suspicion doesn't really get anti-doping anywhere, how strong it might be.
I still don't believe there is mechanical doping in the WT, I'm totally on the pharmaceutical watch.
I think single finds of big name riders might be covered up and problems be pushed under the carpet, but I don't think anti-doping is all a farce, a show for the public. In the end a clean sport would always be better for a big sports association than journalists detecting big scale doping in a particular sport.
I'm not as cynical as you might believe, on the contrary, I believe the aura of "doping" being a magical solution like infusing superpowers into bike riders is one of the main problems. Aka it's how the public perceives doping to be the difference between cyclo tourists & professionals climbing the Alpe D'Huez in sub 40 minutes. So some rider gets busted for testosterone (for example)? Bam, in public consciousness he was a piece of sh*t who could only ride fast because of that little testosterone egg he swallowed the night before the race.

I just don't believe in "doping" being an all encompassing magical potion, at all. I believe there's a real meritocracy involved & the "dark arts" of pharmaceuticals are by & large a simple extension of the extreme demands put upon professional cyclists in terms of endurance.

I know where those recent doubts in the Tour de France came from (a handful of riders spreading wild cr*p with talk of "strange sounds from wheels in the peloton") & I know there's always a number of followers ready to label riders they don't like as "pas normal" guys who're only ahead because of the program they're on. In reality we could take the current Tour de France champion as an example: UAE wouldn't pay one guy 6 million a year if they could get the same results from someone on ten times less.

So something real is happening with these performances, no matter the "other clinic stuff" we can only theorize upon.
 
I'm not as cynical as you might believe, on the contrary, I believe the aura of "doping" being a magical solution like infusing superpowers into bike riders is one of the main problems. Aka it's how the public perceives doping to be the difference between cyclo tourists & professionals climbing the Alpe D'Huez in sub 40 minutes. So some rider gets busted for testosterone (for example)? Bam, in public consciousness he was a piece of sh*t who could only ride fast because of that little testosterone egg he swallowed the night before the race.

I just don't believe in "doping" being an all encompassing magical potion, at all. I believe there's a real meritocracy involved & the "dark arts" of pharmaceuticals are by & large a simple extension of the extreme demands put upon professional cyclists in terms of endurance.

I know where those recent doubts in the Tour de France came from (a handful of riders spreading wild cr*p with talk of "strange sounds from wheels in the peloton") & I know there's always a number of followers ready to label riders they don't like as "pas normal" guys who're only ahead because of the program they're on. In reality we could take the current Tour de France champion as an example: UAE wouldn't pay one guy 6 million a year if they could get the same results from someone on ten times less.

So something real is happening with these performances, no matter the "other clinic stuff" we can only theorize upon.
Okay.
I also think the view that you can make anyone a winner if he just takes the magic potion is very misleading, but I don't think that doping is just something that everybody does and if you're in the business you know that and it's just normal.
Surely there are some bitter riders coming up with weird allegations, because they obviously don't have a clue what's really happening either, but the sentiment that there is something different than just "some riders better, some worse" in the past two years is one that doesn't seem taken out of the blue. Some patterns have changed, some performances really seem out of this world, the gap between some top riders and the majority of the peloton seems huge.
 
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Okay.
I also think the view that you can make anyone a winner if he just takes the magic potion is very misleading, but I don't think that doping is just something that everybody does and if you're in the business you know that and it's just normal.
I'll go out on a limb here & say a vast percentage (I have no numbers) don't even see it as doping. In fact, the word "dopage" probably has various shades of grey in the peloton.

I don't believe anyone sits in a team hotel, twirling their moustache whilst laughing maniacally at their subterfuge & doping program. No, to them it's just like water, coke & an energy bar.
 
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Surely there are some bitter riders coming up with weird allegations, because they obviously don't have a clue what's really happening either, but the sentiment that there is something different than just "some riders better, some worse" in the past two years is one that doesn't seem taken out of the blue. Some patterns have changed, some performances really seem out of this world, the gap between some top riders and the majority of the peloton seems huge.
Ok, do this: discuss the legal changes that we have seen in the last couple of seasons and explain what, if any, impact they have.
 
Considering everything; I keep wondering about the risk of having a world champion that eventually will be disohonored (if that's the right word). (I mean stripped of their title. )
 
......don't think it would make much difference.......................given history of doping in cycling...
multi tour winner lance.................................busted!

contador...............................................................busted! and still just as popular

valverde.................................................................busted! and still just as popular

and on.......'n on...etc

Mark L
It compeltely depends on to what extent people "like" a rider specifically because they believe in cleanz, like with Pharmstrong or Phroome.
 
Reactions: noob
If we're talking about the "masses" & they perceive this stuff, I think cycling is a totally niche sport & its fans will to varying degrees all admit they know stuff goes on behind the scenes. When we've been watching for so long, some of us get numb to the whole dark arts pharmaceutical angle & just enjoy the spectacle, drama & yes, performances (who doesn't love a good old fashioned thermonuclear attack?). As long as there isn't a huge dose of hypocrisy & insults to our intelligence afterwards (like Brailsford who once spoke about "human evolution" making a rider in the 2010's go faster than a rider in the 1990's, i.e. a total pisstake of massive proportions).

As for the rest (i.e. casuals who only watch big events because of habit or curiosity), the accepted norm also seems to be "everyone in cycling is doped, it's a sport of drug addicts". So the "faux" outrage at a world champion testing positive (if it happened) would probably mostly be from the media.

I would be "sad" though because another real consequence of drug scandals is of more concern than some angry commentators: loss of sponsorship & money from the sport. That's always dangerous.
 
I would be "sad" though because another real consequence of drug scandals is of more concern than some angry commentators: loss of sponsorship & money from the sport. That's always dangerous.
We've had 20-25 years of 'scandal', we had a whole decade-and-a-half where the scandals were coming pretty much every year (from the run up to Festina through to the fallout from USADA). We really only lost sponsors once, when the Germans exited, and that was not so much cycling's problem as Germany getting to grips with its past and what went on behind the Iron Curtain. That's pretty much the only time doping has looked like seriously undermining sport's financial model and the response to that was the teams coming together and agreeing to tone things down a bit (by agreeing to fund the ABP).

Maybe you'll say what about Puerto and the loss of Liberty Seguros and Würth but what about them? They were replaced lickety- split and that - with the notable exception of the German case - is typically the way it goes, one sponsor gets spooked and another comes in to replace them. Things always go back to the myth about Festina selling more watches in 1998 than they had before.

Now and again you get a sponsor like Rabobank who tries some faux outrage in response to the latest scandal but despite all that they tried to claim everyone knows that the Lance Armstrong revelations were not the cause of their exit, they left because of the skeletons in their own closet. And most people today would see the upside of Rabo flouncing out of men's cycling: Jumbo came in (after the miss-step with Belkin) and the team stepped up a level.

If sponsors can live with whole teams doping it's hard to imagine them getting upset if one rider in a rainbow jersey were to get busted, especially knowing the history of World Champions like Laurent Brochard getting a hall pass when they popped a positive. One rotten apple is a lot easier to live with - to dismiss - than a whole barrel full of them and sponsors have been living with whole barrels full for a long, long time now.

There are bigger dangers to sponsorship today than doping. Not having quality riders from key markets will lose more sponsors than doping. Scandals over tech fraud and athlete welfare will have more impact today than repeats of familiar doping scandals. Doping is increasingly losing its power to cause outrage.
 
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