State of the peloton 2022

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Armstrong won like 4 GC stages in a row in 2004 lol, he didn't need to play it cool and hide his power when he had the press and the authorities on his side
I think van Aert could have won 6 stages this year at least if the whole team had worked for him and he had taken every opportunity, instead of working for others, letting them win and not even competing for the win.

I mean, okay, it was nice to give the others a chance, but also: a green jersey holder who just decides, nah, the sprint on the Champs-Elysée, I can give that away, I don't need that in addition, not worth that much for me? Without any other team mate sprinting for the win?
 
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Armstrong won like 4 GC stages in a row in 2004 lol, he didn't need to play it cool and hide his power when he had the press and the authorities on his side
He didnt attack from a long way outor constantly attack and expend energy on every stage like the top 2 this year. He wasnt a 2008 one-attack Carlos Sastre, but he rode the race entirely differently in terms of energy expenditure to Pog and Vìngegaard, which is why commentators are talking about a 'new style of racing' for the GC with constant aggression (and energy expenditure) rather than team trains to whittle down the field on the last climb and an attack from a few kms from the finish.
 
He didnt attack from a long way outor constantly attack and expend energy on every stage like the top 2 this year. He wasnt a 2008 one-attack Carlos Sastre, but he rode the race entirely differently in terms of energy expenditure to Pog and Vìngegaard, which is why commentators are talking about a 'new style of racing' for the GC with constant aggression (and energy expenditure) rather than team trains to whittle down the field on the last climb and an attack from a few kms from the finish.
And I find it hard to understand people are so enthusiastic about this. I mean, of course you attack all the time if you have unnatural recovery and feel invincible. It might be more boring if riders have to actually feel they have to save some energy, but this only works as long as you are so much better than most people in the race that you can just fool around while others are hanging on for dear life.
 
I am new to this forum, so sorry for stupid questions. But why are you all so convinced that all the top riders / top teams are doping? Is this based on any verifiable and objective facts, or only your gut feeling?
Welcome to the forum. For me it helps to try and find a baseline for comparison. People talk about the clean French (due to the political fallout of hurting the TdF if French disgrace it again), but that is too broad (Voeckler and Penaud being unusual performances since the 2007 explosion of cycling).

The baseline for a new rider in this edition should likely be FDJ (Gaudu, despite limited data on him) who rarely have a performance that raises eyebrows and also Romain Bardet (consistent on multiple teams, used to make a lot of his time up on descents). I also quite like Quintana as a reference point, but others have more suspicion him. It is tricky because as pure climbers at 31 or 32 they are ageing and definitely tailing off. They are also both prone to having a bad day. However, they both looked in good form at the start of the race, both have podiumed Grand Tours and both finished absolutely nowhere on time compared to the top 3 riders in this race.

That's not enough evidence in isolation to assume they are clean and others above them are cheating but when you factor in the time gaps and the fact evenly matched riders like Quintana and Bardet remained evenly matched it does cause suspicion.

There can be no verifiable fact without a positive test or a successful police raid. But in this TdF we saw very high power outputs on climb after climbs, for day after day by the top 2 and WVA in particular. Huge energy expenditure without any slump in form (other than the stage Pog lost time on). Typically 6w/kgs over 40mins is considered a big effort and we saw a whole load of that this past three weeks in a way that we haven't since 2007. This indicates levels of recovery that we haven't seen anything like (in my opinion) since 2007.

A lot of guys assume everyone is at it, and that's fine. But that's definitely not my perspective and I don't even believe everyone on a suspicious team dopes . I think there are a lot of capable athletes who are riding without illegal assistance and that this has been the case since 2008 onwards. If I was a good athlete who had podiumed previously, a climber, who was doping but finishing 15mins down on GC and getting less KotM points than WVA, I'd be wanting a refund.
 
And I find it hard to understand people are so enthusiastic about this. I mean, of course you attack all the time if you have unnatural recovery and feel invincible. It might be more boring if riders have to actually feel they have to save some energy, but this only works as long as you are so much better than most people in the race that you can just fool around while others are hanging on for dear life.
Attacking frequently compared to what, clean rider Lance Armstrong? Clean rider Miguel Indurain?

I don't really think either style of racing grand tours is associated either way with doping and in fact there's anecdotal evidence that the team-train defensive racing is more associated with doping eras.
 
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Armstrong won like 4 GC stages in a row in 2004 lol, he didn't need to play it cool and hide his power when he had the press and the authorities on his side
Yes he did win unnecessarily (beating Klodi in LGB). But he also gifted Ivan Basso a stage because his Mum had Cancer at the time, and USPS gifted Thomas Veockler the yellow jersey for 10 days, which basicly made him a national hero.
 
And I find it hard to understand people are so enthusiastic about this. I mean, of course you attack all the time if you have unnatural recovery and feel invincible. It might be more boring if riders have to actually feel they have to save some energy, but this only works as long as you are so much better than most people in the race that you can just fool around while others are hanging on for dear life.
No correlation between doping and offensive tactics, because at every point you're comparing your recovery and level of tiredness to everyone else's, so the difference exists even if everybody's clean and their recovery isn't enhanced. The mid 90s was the most heavily doped era of all time, but cycling was also noticeably more conservative than in the 80s, never mind the 70s and before.
 
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No correlation between doping and offensive tactics, because at every point you're comparing your recovery and level of tiredness to everyone else's, so the difference exists even if everybody's clean and their recovery isn't enhanced. The mid 90s was the most heavily doped era of all time, but cycling was also noticeably more conservative than in the 80s, never mind the 70s and before.
Depends if the whole peloton is on a kind of level playing field, which I don't think it is now. The offensive tactics before the 90s I think also had something to do with huge difference of quality of the riders, not that much through doping but talent and professionalism I think.
 
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Jns

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Despite advances in training regimes (olistic approaches, hyper-personalized bikes etc..,better physiotherapy and recovery in the course of a season) I think the best achievable human fitness has not changed so much in the last 25 years. Human physiology and metabolism have limits. I never considered nutrition a game-changing factor in regards to maximal performances (while it's important for recovery and endurance)
What I'm saying is that the absurd 90s-00s are still a good measure for "weird" red-zone performances. If we were talking about Binda and Girardengo, then (example) Vingegaard's performances wouldn't look so outrageous because there's almost a century in between.

Let's say the most talented riders of the 90s ( + EPO ) already showed us the absolute limits of the current human body, in my opinion. it follows that everytime some modern rider gets close to that level ..beep beep. It remains to be seen how heavy and how widespread it is.
Fastest TdF ever with the lowest number of finishers in two decades. Nothing to see here at all.
Sport performances move forward over time, not only in cycling. The fact that - on the long term - new performances eventually surpass past performances of the doping era, does not prove that the current riders use doping. There is the impact of training methods, better athlete selection, nutrition, improved technology, more access to data, different strategic approaches to races, etc. There is a certain rate of improvement over time.

To be clear, I agree there is still doping in professional cycling, as well as other sports. However, the scale of the problem is unclear to me, but I see no convincing reason (yet) to believe it is still a common practice among professional teams.
 
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You don't think Gaudu is using blood bags?! Preidler of all people admitted to blood doping whilst on FdJ, but their fastest climbers is not?
When there is a case on a team, is the whole team cheating or it is a rider acting alone on it? Sometimes at least.

Was Preidler a part of the Aderlass-operation?

In some cases think it could be a bigger conspiracy and systematic cheating going on.

I think there could also be individuals taking short cuts to try and stay in the pro peloton to keep make a living. Get a new contract and so on. They get desperate.
 
When there is a case on a team, is the whole team cheating or it is a rider acting alone on it? Sometimes at least.

Was Preidler a part of the Aderlass-operation?

In some cases think it could be a bigger conspiracy and systematic cheating going on.

I think there could also be individuals taking short cuts to try and stay in the pro peloton to keep make a living. Get a new contract and so on. They get desperate.
No. Yes.

I am unsure if FdJ has a (limited) team program, maybe only (health) monitoring. But when a mid-level rider on the team is blood doping, it speaks about the availability of such assistance - even for riders in French teams. His confession seemingly caught his team by surprise, so I don't see them stopping anyone from going full throttle.

He has been steady rather than spectacular in the mountains of this edition, but I'd say that his overall level and his collection of best performances in absolute terms are far too fast to be achieved without blood bags or whatever the next level of doping is.
 
No. Yes.

I am unsure if FdJ has a (limited) team program, maybe only (health) monitoring. But when a mid-level rider on the team is blood doping, it speaks about the availability of such assistance - even for riders in French teams. His confession seemingly caught his team by surprise, so I don't see them stopping anyone from going full throttle.

He has been steady rather than spectacular in the mountains of this edition, but I'd say that his overall level and his collection of best performances in absolute terms are far too fast to be achieved without blood bags or whatever the next level of doping is.
To be honest the FDJ team overall looks pretty strong this season. Pinot isn't really up there, but Gaudu, Madouas, Küng are climbing very, very well. What's the reason for that I don't know, but they are definitely not totally left behind.
 
The peloton now is fast like just before Operation Puerto, and even the teams that were only 2nd tier were balls deep in the magic pot then. No, Mancebo was not an innocent victim then, and I don't think Gaudu is now.
 
Sport performances move forward over time, not only in cycling. The fact that - on the long term - new performances eventually surpass past performances of the doping era, does not prove that the current riders use doping. There is the impact of training methods, better athlete selection, nutrition, improved technology, more access to data, different strategic approaches to races, etc. There is a certain rate of improvement over time.

To be clear, I agree there is still doping in professional cycling, as well as other sports. However, the scale of the problem is unclear to me, but I see no convincing reason (yet) to believe it is still a common practice among professional teams.
well nobody has a convincing reason yet (neither over whom, nor over the degree of commonality in the peloton), otherwise this thread wouldn't be stuck in the "clinic".;) Everything people are saying is highly controversial but interesting (and fun) nonetheless.
Let's say people love to look at "power outputs", W/Kg ratio, VAM, and other stuff over 30-40 minutes efforts.

Of course It could be that WVA is pushing the limits of what a clean cyclist could do eating bananas (like Mondo Duplantis did yesterday or Usain Bolt 14 y. ago), due to all the marginal gains in several disciplines you mentioned in your first paragraph. These are the questions I would ask myself:

why are we all so surprised about these recent exploits? Something clearly caught our attention. Is there a difference with 2012 and the coming of the Skybots in the way we perceive progress?
 
If somebody wanted to and would be able to because it's the truth, they could show us. An expert, maybe a recently retired commentator who was ridden for several teams: How exactly were things done in a very professional team 10 years ago, and how are they done today? What exactly has changed and made a difference in terms of training methods, material, nutrition? Which concrete aspects did teams change because they realized this way is better?
This diffuse "we are working professionally with altitude camps, modern nutrition blabla" is not very convincing when from the outside it's not really recognizable what has changed that could make a big difference.
I understand nobody wants to or is allowed to give away secrets, but it would really help the sport, if something like that was done. I think first of all it isn't done because it's not true.
 
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This situation has been compared to an arms race. Maybe it is, but not a very fair one. One team is allowed to use nuclear weapons. Other teams are still using the old bullets and cannons. The French teams are only using catapults.

"I knew there were going to be knives at this fight, not just fists. I knew there would be knives. I had knives, and then one day, people start showing up with guns. That's when you say, do I either fly back to Plano, Texas, and not know what you're going to do? Or do you walk to the gun store? I walked to the gun store. I didn't want to go home. "
 
Depends if the whole peloton is on a kind of level playing field, which I don't think it is now. The offensive tactics before the 90s I think also had something to do with huge difference of quality of the riders, not that much through doping but talent and professionalism I think.
Defensive tactics are what happens when there isn't a level playing field, which is why the Sky and Postal eras had such boring racing.
 
If somebody wanted to and would be able to because it's the truth, they could show us. An expert, maybe a recently retired commentator who was ridden for several teams: How exactly were things done in a very professional team 10 years ago, and how are they done today? What exactly has changed and made a difference in terms of training methods, material, nutrition? Which concrete aspects did teams change because they realized this way is better?
This diffuse "we are working professionally with altitude camps, modern nutrition blabla" is not very convincing when from the outside it's not really recognizable what has changed that could make a big difference.
I understand nobody wants to or is allowed to give away secrets, but it would really help the sport, if something like that was done. I think first of all it isn't done because it's not true.
I think it's mainly just smoke an mirrors. Back in the day Eastern Block riders were already doing fasted training sessions before breakfast. While powermeters do make it easier to have a train at the right wattages for your team captain nobody has reinvented the wheel when it comes to nutrition and training in this century...
 
Defensive tactics are what happens when there isn't a level playing field, which is why the Sky and Postal eras had such boring racing.
The Postal train was a lot more stop and go because those tempo changes suited Lance and hurt the strong TTers like Ullrich. They knew that Lance would gain minutes on the pure climbers in the TTs, so their train was set up to mainly hurt the other good tters.
 
Don't visit here much because people seem very confused and not very scientific or rational.

Lucky for you, I'm here today for a couple of secs to clear things up, since the forum is a mess of bad info and wrong thinking.

I have done a basic investigation and it seems to me (imho) the most likely situation is as follows:

The main cheating teams are UAE and Jumbo-Visma where almost all riders are juiced. Jumbo started the recent cycle of cheating with Dumoulin at least as far back as his Worlds win, UAE started with uber-alien Pogacar.

Quick Step were cheating with Alaphilippe but not anyone lese.

Sky/Ineos were not quite cheating so badly but unethical use of TUEs, bullying culture and unpleasantly large budget are not a good look (This was all discovered by a UK Government miilion-pounds funded investigation, so you can have good faith in this compared to rumours and conspirarcy theories spread by children all over the place. (and the Salbutamol controversy was solved correctly, with good science (even if it required expensive lawyers))

Bahrain are trying to get big time but have been frustrated by very annoying police raids, so have yet to enter really big league.


That's it really, not much else of note in last decade, apart from the odd Olympic medal or two...

Hope that helps you confused people - you really do deserve the likes of WvA, Pogacar, Vingegaard, Alaphilippe,, enjoy the racing...
Dumoulin didn't ride for Jumbo when he won the TT Worlds.
 
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