Hi Pancakes,pancakes said:Hi Andy, I've read your conversation with Cloxxki and I do see your train of thought.
Your 'Talent comes through regardless' is a something I would politely disagree with. Yes if nobody doped at all then those physically and tactically more able (more talented I suppose) would absolutely rise to the top, I agree.
But that is not how cycling works, sadly.
Cloxxki was talking about GVA and Superprestige cross races which would have had a mix of Elite MC (pro) and Elite ZC (am) riders. Because of my own personal experiences living and racing in Europe I would be totally amazed if those particular races had 100% clean fields (excuse the cross pun).
Your theory of being able to challenge as a clean talent rich amateur works to a point.
If a couple of riders are doping then it would of course be realistic to make the podium.
If seven or eight riders are doping then you could realistically hope/aim to make the top ten.
What happens if 30+ riders are doping? Suddenly you are fighting to scrape a top twenty or thirty. Your 28th place in the newspaper the next day won't include a (c) for clean after your name. Everyone will look and think 'Pffff only 28th, rubbish!'
National Level races may not be as clean as you think.
It's great that Cloxxki wrote about his experiences and I applaud his honesty!
I know how it feels.
I haven't joined in here to pick fights or start slanging matches but it's somewhere I can share what I know and experienced.
So please don't think I am attacking you when I ask did you race and where and what sort of era?
I'm not suggesting that National races are clean, just that the pool of competition is such, that a clean elite level rider will still figure towards the front of the race.
Obviously it is impossible to know how many riders lining up on the start line are doped, but from experience from the early nineties, to the present day, clean elite level riders will not be embarrassed.
In a given race, that rider may well end up in 28th, instead of in the top 10, but over the course of a season, that rider will be in the reckoning enough to notice them.
The discussion really comes from the OP suggesting that a rider being lapped and riding four levels below the leaders, are potentially having their chance of riding as a pro, taken away from them by dopers.
A rider with that potential would not be outclassed to that margin.
My experience? Riding as an elite amateur in the 90s.