Question Tadej Pogacar and Mauro Giannetti

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Im not too much into Clinic. I usually dont want to throw **** without proves. But how many posibilities are that two guys from the same country dominate this way the sport, having into account that it is a country with no cycling tradition?
It was posted in here initially: https://forum.cyclingnews.com/threads/state-of-the-peloton-2021.36806/
Post #10.

It looks like nobody cared that much since people feel like it is a given that they are doped. However there were different questions about the breaking of the records in almost every race in the last year. Sounds like the Slovenians are leading the way of the doped to gills riders among many others.
I've read your post a while back and wrote a very very very long reply, but I didn't finish it so the next day I decided not to bother and deleted it. I'll try again.

What exactly is the premise here? That the Slovenians have something that nobody else has? That's laughable. If they are on something, be sure that all the more powerful nations in cycling have it, too. Why Mohoric, who was btw a junior and U23 World Champion in consecutive years, isn't suddenly a World beater. Why the other Slovenians are nothing more than domestiques in their teams with an occasional stage win here and there? This is more of a trainer issue and team/team doctor issue if there is an issue. My first point.

My second point. The notion that Slovenia has no cycling tradition is false. In my deleted long post, I went more into details, but I'm not going to write it all again. Anyway, even in the former Yugoslavia, Slovenian cycling had the leading positions among Yugoslavian republics in the 70s and 80s. In the 80s and 90s it was closely linked to Italian cycling, meaning almost every cyclist that went Pro, went to an Italian team first. Every decade there were better and better cyclist coming out of Slovenia. From Jure Pavlic, Primoz Cerin (btw a close friend and advisor of Roglic), Gorazd Stangelj, Andrej Hauptman (bronze medalist in 2001 WC RR), Uros Murn, Tadej Valjavec, Jani Brajkovic, Simon Spilak to the ones active today with Matej Mohoric, Pogi and Rogla leading the way. In 2017 there were 13 Slovenian cyclists in the World Tour, the most ever. Today there are 7. It's a small number in absolute terms, but if you consider Slovenia's population, it becomes a big number in relative terms. But the number is still comparable (and doesn't stick out) to the number of Slovenians in top teams in the early 00s for example. It's just that you didn't have the Roglics and Pogacars of this World but the Mohorics, Tratniks, Mezgecs and Boles in the figure of Klemencic, Podgornik, Derganc, Murn, Hauptman, Stangelj etc.

Another couple of things important for the rise of Slovenian cycling are the creation of Tour of Slovenia in the early 90s and the stability of it's most important club Adria Mobil. Almost all the best Slovenian cyclist who became professionals in the last 20 years, went through Adria Mobil and then traded to a WT or ProConti team. Pogacar is a rare exception. He never rode for Adria but went from his team Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum (Rog-Ljubljana) straight to UAE.

There is also a cycling culture in Slovenia. You can see a lot of cyclist on the roads in every part of the country. The roads are mostly good, the terrain is very hilly and mountainous with lots of climbs. Also the amateur scene is pretty strong with lots of amateur races on those climbs. It's been this way for decades now.

If I go back in time again for a decade or so. In the late 00s and early 10s, there were very strong junior and U23 Slovenian national teams, that were comparable to the strongest teams of more traditional cycling nations. Teams when Brajkovic, Spilak, Mohoric all got a medal, Kump got a 6th place and Pibernik got 5th or 6th, Bole was also up there I think. Those were all strong teams in junior and/or U23 WC RR races. It shows solid work in Slovenian clubs' youth cycling movement.

All I've mentioned above of course is not at all comparable to the tradition of cycling nations like Belgium or Italy or France etc. But does this mean that Champions in this sport should come only from countries with big tradition? Why? Cycling has been steadily improving in Slovenia since the 80s. Is 40 years not enough long of a time span to produce a World class rider or two? Is it because there are two of them at the same time? Mind you, they are not the same generation. There is 10 years between them. This could very well be a coincidence. 10 years ago, we already had a similar situation with Brajkovic and Spilak. They weren't top of the top like Pog&Rog are right now. But they both could win a WT stage race at the same time and they did, in 2010. One won Romandie, the other Dauphine.

Another important point...
There is a very big tradition in sports in general in Slovenia. When I think of Slovenia, I think of a sport's nation. If you ask all the inhabitants, they'll probably answer you the same. We are mostly proud of our achievements in sport, and there are more than just few. It's not a coincidence Slovenia is often at the top of the list in medals per capita at almost every Olympics, summer or winter. Traditionally Slovenians are best known for winter sports (alpine skiing, ski jumping) and basketball. But in the last 30 years (since independence) there have been champions in handball, gymnastics, ice hockey, cross country, football, skiing, biathlon, rowing, sailing, volleyball, judo, motocross, athletics, sport climbing and the before mentioned ski jumping, alpine skiing and basketball. In all of those sports and probably some I missed, there was a sportsman/woman or a team from Slovenia that was at the top of the world or very close to it for some period of time in their respective sport or discipline. It was only a matter of time for a cycling champion to appear. And like I explained before. Cycling in Slovenia didn't start with Roglic, but way before.

There you have it. I hope it helps with some answers. I'm not saying they are doping or not doping. I just wanted to point out that it's not such a random occurrence for a top cyclist or two to come from Slovenia as it seems. They both also have had completely different paths to the position they are now. Roglic came from another sport in which he was one of the best prospects in the World, but a heavy crash messed with his plans and he lost motivation because he couldn't achieve his goal of becoming the best. He switched to cycling because he liked it and because at the time he was already winning amateur races. He was 22 at the time and had to learn absolutely everything of the sport. He's been steadily improving since then and is still improving. It's unbelievable but that's true. Every single year of his career he's been better than the previous one. A trajectory as steady as it gets. I challenge you, or anybody, to find and show me a rider (from whatever era) that has made as steady of a progression as Roglic has in the last 9 years.

Pogacar on the other hand has always been a prodigy of the sport. He started training when he was 11 and soon competed with cyclists 2 years older than him, but looked 5 years older than him, yet he was winning races. He went toe to toe with riders like Majka, Visconti and Haig in 2017 Tour of Slovenia when he finished 5th at 18yo. Next year he was 4th and won Tour de l'Avenir among other races. The rest is history.

I remember a press conference in 2018, I think, where Roglic jokingly said out loud: "Pogi you should wait a couple of years before going Pro, because you'll start winning immediately and there will be nothing left for the rest of us." Those words were so true.

Again doping, no doping, I don't know. All I'm sure is, there is no special magic potion that only Roglic and Pogacar use and no one else.
 
My second point. The notion that Slovenia has no cycling tradition is false. In my deleted long post, I went more into details, but I'm not going to write it all again. Anyway, even in the former Yugoslavia, Slovenian cycling had the leading positions among Yugoslavian republics in the 70s and 80s. In the 80s and 90s it was closely linked to Italian cycling
This is my impression as an outsider, for as long as I have followed this sport there's been quality Slovenian cyclists. Also at a time when the entire Great Britain presence was that guy who was third in Paris Roubaix + some Italians. More surprised there's so far (apparently) no strong riders coming around after Pogacar.
 
johnymax I agree with you that Slovenians cannot have something that the others don't have. That is laughable I agree. I don't think that anyone in here was insinuating that. Many people in this forum (not me) think that there is a new drug in the peloton. But the proof is that, not only the Slovenians, but many other cyclists have been breaking records and there have been incredible performances by several riders. Actually, by many riders. But the Slovenians are leading the way unfortunately. It could be a big coincidence, but the issue that the country is small and that there are just a few cyclists being produced by the country makes everyone wonder. I don't think there is a clear explanation.

Thanks for the history of cycling from Slovenia. I just don't agree that it is considered a power house or a country with a big cycling heritage. Sorry.

My opinion about the situation is that the OOC testing has been non-existent or extremely low because of the covid times and that has caused the big spike of performances. Some riders respond better to drugs than others, so the hierarchy of performances changes hands from one year to another. We saw that in the 90's and early 2000's. Additionally there could be several with better access or better support (teammates, coaches, friends, doctors, money, etc.). We will learn more after the covid times, as some have suggested here. It could happen that Roglic and Pogacar are the very best and that what we are seeing is a big coincidence. Time will tell. :)
 
johnymax I agree with you that Slovenians cannot have something that the others don't have. That is laughable I agree. I don't think that anyone in here was insinuating that. Many people in this forum (not me) think that there is a new drug in the peloton. But the proof is that, not only the Slovenians, but many other cyclists have been breaking records and there have been incredible performances by several riders. Actually, by many riders. But the Slovenians are leading the way unfortunately. It could be a big coincidence, but the issue that the country is small and that there are just a few cyclists being produced by the country makes everyone wonder. I don't think there is a clear explanation.

Thanks for the history of cycling from Slovenia. I just don't agree that it is considered a power house or a country with a big cycling heritage. Sorry.

My opinion about the situation is that the OOC testing has been non-existent or extremely low because of the covid times and that has caused the big spike of performances. Some riders respond better to drugs than others, so the hierarchy of performances changes hands from one year to another. We saw that in the 90's and early 2000's. Additionally there could be several with better access or better support (teammates, coaches, friends, doctors, money, etc.). We will learn more after the covid times, as some have suggested here. It could happen that Roglic and Pogacar are the very best and that what we are seeing is a big coincidence. Time will tell. :)
And you think we in Slovenia have all that :) ?, of all the rich cycling nations and we have found a winning doping formula. Also, are we talking here that only Rogla and Pogacar are on this or are 2 entire teams involved which are not slovenian
 
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johnymax I agree with you that Slovenians cannot have something that the others don't have. That is laughable I agree. I don't think that anyone in here was insinuating that. Many people in this forum (not me) think that there is a new drug in the peloton. But the proof is that, not only the Slovenians, but many other cyclists have been breaking records and there have been incredible performances by several riders. Actually, by many riders. But the Slovenians are leading the way unfortunately. It could be a big coincidence, but the issue that the country is small and that there are just a few cyclists being produced by the country makes everyone wonder. I don't think there is a clear explanation.

Thanks for the history of cycling from Slovenia. I just don't agree that it is considered a power house or a country with a big cycling heritage. Sorry.

My opinion about the situation is that the OOC testing has been non-existent or extremely low because of the covid times and that has caused the big spike of performances. Some riders respond better to drugs than others, so the hierarchy of performances changes hands from one year to another. We saw that in the 90's and early 2000's. Additionally there could be several with better access or better support (teammates, coaches, friends, doctors, money, etc.). We will learn more after the covid times, as some have suggested here. It could happen that Roglic and Pogacar are the very best and that what we are seeing is a big coincidence. Time will tell. :)
Yes, it could very well be (to put it mildly) that they are both doping - even on a cutting edge program. Maybe they both have a doping advantage over that of their rivals. But why should it be related? Both Jumbo and UAE have stepped up their performances in recent years, so what would make anyone think that their strength has anything to do with Slovenia and not their respective teams? Maybe - and this is just a fringe possibility - their ascents are unrelated (or in so far as they are related, it doesn't have anything to do with their national background).

When Sagan broke through, was that because he was Slovakian? Seems spurious. Is it really so much more unlikely for Slovenia to have both Pog and Rog than for Slovakia to have Sagan? Was the emergence of Majka and Kwiatkowski also due to a Polish doping advantage?

With the introduction of EPO there clearly was national trends - national causal relations. So I'm not ruling it out. But to me, the differences in speed are more across teams than countries. Afaik, NADOs also play a lesser role today than back then.
 
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I find Johnymax's description convincing - thank you very much for that long post. I wouldn't know the reason for two Slovenians on two different teams being more doped than others, since I don't think of state doping. Still I think the dominance of Roglic and Pogacar in most big stage races they enter cannot be compared to Federer/ Wawrinka or Kwiatkowski/ Majka. Wawrinka is hardly a world beater and Majka even less.
Maybe it is about a sports obsessed country which has other strong sportspersons - but in sports that I don't follow - and a case of small numbers.
 
Feb 27, 2021
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true, you didnt but many are implying; "how can 2 riders from such a small nation be this good"; guess has to be some peds in our milk or something, we did recive a large portion of Chernobyl radiation on our side of the Alps; hm you never know.....
Or maybe dragons blood in your old vein ..what with all the dragons in your culture/folklore
 
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Kreuziger ended up being the fall guy for how much they were flying.
Dunno. IIRC they were already really good in 2013 it was just that Contador was in total shambles that year.

There's short term fluctuations in rider form/results that are quite a bit more mysterious to me than "team x is flying every year" or overall climbing trends going much faster.
 
Dunno. IIRC they were already really good in 2013 it was just that Contador was in total shambles that year.

There's short term fluctuations in rider form/results that are quite a bit more mysterious to me than "team x is flying every year" or overall climbing trends going much faster.
In my opinion they were definitely better in 14, not just counting Contador being better.
Isn't that the year Rodgers won 3 GT stages, Majka was doing his thing in the Giro, Tour, and TdP, and Roche riding well?
 
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Slovenia also has a cycling tradition of producing cyclists who run into doping issues

Positive tests

Nose
Vrecer
Fajt
Brajkovic
Kocjan
Stangelj
Furdi

>50% haematocrit

Hauptman
Golcer
Kerkez
Spilak

Anderlass

Bozic
Koren

Passport

Valjavec

Named in investigation of possession of banned substances

Hvastija
This is true, but my guess is you can say the same for almost every cycling nation in the World.
 
Thanks for the history of cycling from Slovenia. I just don't agree that it is considered a power house or a country with a big cycling heritage. Sorry.
Oh, I agree with you here. I never said they are a power house. I've stated in my post Slovenia can't compare with the tradition of the cycling power houses. I just wanted to say it's wrong to think they have no tradition in cycling at all.
 
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I think Slovenia having 2 of the strongest riders is just coincidence.

Here in Belgium we had 2 strong female tennis players at one time, winning grand slams, but now ot iq back to normal with no great talents.

I see that happening for Slovenia too. Roglic and Pogacar are just an exception.
 
what adds to the mystique of two slovenians is that they are not even the same cycling generation, they are 9 years apart

but there is definitely the sky jumping factor in play, you rarely see an athlete change sports at adult age and then become amazing, under normal circumstances slovenia would only have pogacar, but they also lucked on roglic and his journey ...its like we have two amazing athletes in country of few millions lets put them into one sport, if you count doncic then 3...ha its probably a good thing doncic is too big for cycling :D
 
Yes, it could very well be (to put it mildly) that they are both doping - even on a cutting edge program. Maybe they both have a doping advantage over that of their rivals. But why should it be related? Both Jumbo and UAE have stepped up their performances in recent years, so what would make anyone think that their strength has anything to do with Slovenia and not their respective teams? Maybe - and this is just a fringe possibility - their ascents are unrelated (or in so far as they are related, it doesn't have anything to do with their national background).

When Sagan broke through, was that because he was Slovakian? Seems spurious. Is it really so much more unlikely for Slovenia to have both Pog and Rog than for Slovakia to have Sagan? Was the emergence of Majka and Kwiatkowski also due to a Polish doping advantage?

With the introduction of EPO there clearly was national trends - national causal relations. So I'm not ruling it out. But to me, the differences in speed are more across teams than countries. Afaik, NADOs also play a lesser role today than back then.
Any natinoal connection might be more down to increased doping in the local junior scene or something. But Pogacar never rode for Adria Mobil which most young Slovenians go through.
 

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