State of the peloton 2021

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The liege front group today struck me as 3 obvious dopers and 2 guys who I'm not sure if I trust or not. Am I naïve for thinking Gaudu might be clean? Certainly we know the level of the top riders has been ridiculous the last 2 years.
 
The liege front group today struck me as 3 obvious dopers and 2 guys who I'm not sure if I trust or not. Am I naïve for thinking Gaudu might be clean? Certainly we know the level of the top riders has been ridiculous the last 2 years.
Valverde was busted for Puerto.
obvious dopers the others?
and the poor Gaudu from a MPCC team holding to these "obvious?" dopers
the narrative of cycling fans is sometimes out of this world
 
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At this point I'm 100% convinced the peloton is where it was during Lance's era and that everyone in it like then is on something. We're right back in the 2000's again just with something different. There is no one that is clean in the peloton.
 
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At this point I'm 100% convinced the peloton is where it was during Lance's era and that everyone in it like then is on something. We're right back in the 2000's again just with something different. There is no one that is clean in the peloton.
today I had an epiphany (ok, half joking) but I am absolutely not bothered if that´s how you say.
I don´t even wonder if this or that rider could be doping. I don´t watch races wondering or thinking "wtf this guy is on something", I really don´t.
 
Riders never stopped doping. Anytime. They always have doped. What I think is happening is that there is free reign due to the pandemic. And some riders, or many riders, just go overboard or abuse the drugs. In the 90's we know there was free reign. I don't know about the 2000's because authorities were closing in on the tests. We know now that there was free reign for the Texan since he had the UCI in his pocket. So for me the difference is whether you have free reign or not. It usually happens when there is no testing or there is a new drug. For me is the lack of testing. I don't care if people trying to convince me otherwise. I just look around the world and I say there is no way that in these times there is normal testing. No way. Not close. I don't think there is a new drug. In 2007/2008 there was almost a free reign period until the French federation screwed it all up.

Last thing to say, riders respond different to doping. In this case it has benefitted the best responders obviously. There are some theories about how to check for the best responders but I am not an expert and I am not going to go there.
 
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Riders never stopped doping. Anytime. They always have doped. What I think is happening is that there is free reign due to the pandemic. And some riders, or many riders, just go overboard or abuse the drugs. In the 90's we know there was free reign. I don't know about the 2000's because authorities were closing in on the tests. We know now that there was free reign for the Texan since he had the UCI in his pocket. So for me the difference is whether you have free reign or not. It usually happens where there is no testing or there is a new drug. For me is the lack of testing. I don't care if people trying to convince me otherwise. I just look around the world and I say there is no way that in these times there is normal testing. No way. Not close. I don't think there is a new drug. In 2007/2008 there was almost a free reign period until the French federation screwed it all up.

Last thing to say, riders respond different to doping. In this case it has benefitted the best responders obviously. There are some theories about how to check for the best responders but I am not an expert and I am not going to go there.
I think the pandemic just supercharged the trend we were already seeing.
 
Riders never stopped doping. Anytime. They always have doped. What I think is happening is that there is free reign due to the pandemic. And some riders, or many riders, just go overboard or abuse the drugs. In the 90's we know there was free reign. I don't know about the 2000's because authorities were closing in on the tests. We know now that there was free reign for the Texan since he had the UCI in his pocket. So for me the difference is whether you have free reign or not. It usually happens when there is no testing or there is a new drug. For me is the lack of testing. I don't care if people trying to convince me otherwise. I just look around the world and I say there is no way that in these times there is normal testing. No way. Not close. I don't think there is a new drug. In 2007/2008 there was almost a free reign period until the French federation screwed it all up.

Last thing to say, riders respond different to doping. In this case it has benefitted the best responders obviously. There are some theories about how to check for the best responders but I am not an expert and I am not going to go there.
I think there's a morally grey area in the middle where taking a few pills, a couple of injections/transfusions or whatnot could be deemed "acceptable" by the most hardcore cycling fans who know what made Anquetil & co tick. Cycling was made by dopers & its legendary rides were those of dopers. It's ingrained in the sport & it is what it is. I'm certainly not one of those naïve daydreamers who still imagines the champions of their youth were riding on clear water, I don't like hypocrites either (i.e. people who point the finger at one guy whilst claiming another is totally clean) and I have also no respect for the "concern trolling" of Vayer & co who really just want to see the whole sport burn for whatever reasons.

But I have my own Rubicon which shouldn't be crossed. Like for example when Willy Voet after the Festina scandal revealed how they beat urine tests, i.e. by inserting a condom into the rider's backside filled with clean non-doped urine, attaching a rubber tube & disguising it with fake pubic hair so the control guys would never know. That was disgusting. Also I never cared for the fact Lance Armstrong doped (Pantani & co were juicing it like crazy), but I did care about the insinuations he was allowed to dope more after 1999 (with the UCI in his pocket) for financial reasons, i.e. with the people at the top of the sport financially benefitting from his wins. That was also "too much". I also have issues with Sky, Froome & all their cover-ups, lies & the advent of electric bikes (many of Froome's ridiculous rides have motor-doping written all over them, i.e. a guy who looked like he can barely ride a bike placing seated accelerations without his heart rate raising? Yeah no, I don't think so).

But as for now, I seriously doubt Covid is affecting anything. Pogacar was super strong & super improving before Covid in the 2019 Vuelta. Likewise Roglic was super-strong & took two months off racing before that same Vuelta he won, at a time when Covid wasn't around ergo out of race testing was normal. But I am curious about the time trial at the end of the Tour last year, i.e. after the commissaires destroyed Roglic's bike at the Col de la Loze whilst looking for a motor (they found nothing), Pogacar then produced a performance out of nowhere & annihilated the entire field (after he himself had lost time on the same Col de la Loze 3 days earlier).

When a rider who looked on his way "down" suddenly murdered all the specialists (including Roglic), I nope out. Because there's a certain logic which needs to kick in after a while (riders get tired & perform worse as the days go by, i.e. they don't have a slow downwards spiral & then BAM, blow everyone to pieces).
 
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I have been of the belief that the pandemic did play some role in the recent increase in performances across the peloton related to testing. But it is also possible that more riders have come to the realization that the authorities are not really interested in catching dopers so there has been a natural pushing of the limits to see how far you can take it. Then you start to get a domino effect as more riders follow suit. Many of the current top guys had their formative years filled with the top riders of that time being taken down for doping infractions arising from tests or investigations. That has changed in the last 10 years. The fear of touching the hot stove is a lot less once you realize the stove is room temperature and there is no more danger to doing things that were frowned upon. YMMV, but if there was some new drug, the increase in performance would not be so widespread and rapid across the teams. For example, Sky looked lost until the Giro and rebounded in a big way.
 
You did not finish Rackham. So what do you think happened at the end of the Tour? if everyone was doping anyway.
UAE paying someone? (analogy with Armstrong?)

I go to my same theory. Lack of testing and riders responding different to doping.
I could write an entire thesis on the subject (& my post would be ridiculously long), but yeah, I believe something messed-up happened between the Col de la Loze on the Wednesday (with the Roglic non-motor drama) & the Saturday with Pogacar's stratospheric performance out of nowhere in the TT.

I don't even think this stuff is ever hidden particularly well either. Pogacar was very understated with his reactions after his win last year (just my opinion he didn't really display genuine happiness at all, i.e. a fact many noted but brushed off as a form of winner's "shock") & in the world championship one week later did everything for Roglic to win.

Again, I only see what's in front of me. My guess is there's a underlying acceptance in the peloton that "everyone dopes in the World Tour", but every year we get these really wild rides by certain riders & teams who get a pass for xyz reasons. I know Jumbo-Visma's tactics really, really irked a load of people in the Tour last year (the mood then was they were killing the spectacle), ergo the Time Trial reversal of fortunes came at an "opportune moment" for the drama & entertainment value.

This is a massive misconception imo, Bernal and Sivakov were flying just after lockdown, the reasons for their struggles at the Tour were injuries. If Sivakov hadn't crashed and Bernal not damaged his back then Ineos would have been right up there in the podium fight.
Bernal on the second Friday of the Tour 2020 on stage 13 claimed he had the best numbers of his career & the pretty much insinuated the Slovenians were therefor suspect for beating him (that's what the press & commentators relayed). Then on the Sunday at the Grand Colombier, Bernal totally exploded when Jumbo set their tempo (i.e. a stage which Pogacar won from under Roglic's nose). He then abandoned on the following Wednesday.

What should we believe? i.e. if you say it's Bernal's injury which cost him in the Tour, then he was clearly lying after stage 13 (his numbers couldn't be his best if he was indeed injured). These guys can't have it all ways. Again, I only see , read & hear what's on display.
 
I could write an entire thesis on the subject (& my post would be ridiculously long), but yeah, I believe something messed-up happened between the Col de la Loze on the Wednesday (with the Roglic non-motor drama) & the Saturday with Pogacar's stratospheric performance out of nowhere in the TT.

I don't even think this stuff is ever hidden particularly well either. Pogacar was very understated with his reactions after his win last year (just my opinion he didn't really display genuine happiness at all, i.e. a fact many noted but brushed off as a form of winner's "shock") & in the world championship one week later did everything for Roglic to win.

Again, I only see what's in front of me. My guess is there's a underlying acceptance in the peloton that "everyone dopes in the World Tour", but every year we get these really wild rides by certain riders & teams who get a pass for xyz reasons. I know Jumbo-Visma's tactics really, really irked a load of people in the Tour last year (the mood then was they were killing the spectacle), ergo the Time Trial reversal of fortunes came at an "opportune moment" for the drama & entertainment value.



Bernal on the second Friday of the Tour 2020 on stage 13 claimed he had the best numbers of his career & the pretty much insinuated the Slovenians were therefor suspect for beating him (that's what the press & commentators relayed). Then on the Sunday at the Grand Colombier, Bernal totally exploded when Jumbo set their tempo (i.e. a stage which Pogacar won from under Roglic's nose). He then abandoned on the following Wednesday.

What should we believe? i.e. if you say it's Bernal's injury which cost him in the Tour, then he was clearly lying after stage 13 (his numbers couldn't be his best if he was indeed injured). These guys can't have it all ways. Again, I only see , read & hear what's on display.

I would like so much to one day get a better understanding of the internal politics that goes on with the sport (call it omerta or whatever). What goes on when something like PDPF happens?

In the jumbo visma TDF doc the reactions of the riders all pretty much seemed to be 'WTF is pogacar doing to get 90 seconds on us?'. But you can't imagine that one of the strongest and most dedicated GC teams is so naive as to what their rivals are doing. Is it all for the cameras? Are the UCI actively dictating what riders can and can't do to make the sport believable but dramatic? Or is it just that someone like Gianetti has enough money so that Pogacar doesn't have to worry about anything?

As you can tell probably I'm a bit of a noob on the subject.
 
Bernal on the second Friday of the Tour 2020 on stage 13 claimed he had the best numbers of his career & the pretty much insinuated the Slovenians were therefor suspect for beating him (that's what the press & commentators relayed). Then on the Sunday at the Grand Colombier, Bernal totally exploded when Jumbo set their tempo (i.e. a stage which Pogacar won from under Roglic's nose). He then abandoned on the following Wednesday.

What should we believe? i.e. if you say it's Bernal's injury which cost him in the Tour, then he was clearly lying after stage 13 (his numbers couldn't be his best if he was indeed injured). These guys can't have it all ways. Again, I only see , read & hear what's on display.
You have not considered the scenario where on stage 13 his numbers were the best he had done and therefore he is not lying however the increasing pain in the back was limiting him from going even faster.
 
This is a massive misconception imo, Bernal and Sivakov were flying just after lockdown, the reasons for their struggles at the Tour were injuries. If Sivakov hadn't crashed and Bernal not damaged his back then Ineos would have been right up there in the podium fight.
Granted, they did have some moments in 2020, especially right after the restart, but to my eye they were not quite up to the level where they had previously been in the Dauphine and Tour. Whether they fell off a touch, or others improved is a fair question. I lean towards the latter being more determinative to the outcomes, but there are many factors involved in those early races. And obviously, they did catch on pretty quickly.
 
There is no one that is clean in the peloton.
That is a bit too simple. There's about 500 riders in the WT. Many more professionals. We see plenty of riders never getting their second contract after being neo-pros; surely, not every single one of them started doping before turning pro. Even in the EPO era, it seems very plausible that Bassons was clean. And that's with a drug that was easy to get, very efficacious, and without a test for.
 
That is a bit too simple. There's about 500 riders in the WT. Many more professionals. We see plenty of riders never getting their second contract after being neo-pros; surely, not every single one of them started doping before turning pro. Even in the EPO era, it seems very plausible that Bassons was clean. And that's with a drug that was easy to get, very efficacious, and without a test for.
So 99.5 to 99.9% are on doping. Going with all because it's basically what it is.
 
Of the WT riders, I would guess that it's more in the 75 % - 95 % range of them that has broken the WADA code within the last 12 months. But it's not easy to have a very informed opinion about that. Maybe it is more than that. Given the accounts of busted riders over the years, it seems to me that a significant part of the dopers only start doping after turning pro (probably not the most reliable part of their confessions), but I'll give that maybe it's more common now to step up as junior.
 
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Of the WT riders, I would guess that it's more in the 75 % - 95 % range of them that has broken the WADA code within the last 12 months. But it's not easy to have a very informed opinion about that. Maybe it is more than that. Given the accounts of busted riders over the years, it seems to me that a significant part of the dopers only start doping after turning pro (probably not the most reliable part of their confessions), but I'll give that maybe it's more common now to step up as junior.
I would agree that it's very likely after they leave junior ranks and possibly for many after the leave U-23 teams. I'd say there are plenty of Pro Conti riders doping and not just WT riders.
 

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