Question Tadej Pogacar and Mauro Giannetti

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I'm amazed anyone with knowledge of the sport thinks Pogacar's racing the last three weeks was not suspicious. Too many red flags.
That a rider would be so dominant is suspicious, yes. But there's context to it; he and Roglic were head and shoulders favourites before the race, anyone who might have been a genuine opponent either didn't start, or crashed out of contention. Imagine the 2010 Tour if one of Andy/Contador had crashed out, or just look at 2014 Nibali riding with no Froome/Contador, or Delgado in 88 with Hinault retired, Lemond out of action and Roche injured.

With Armstrong, even with him running supposedly the most sophisticated, omerta doping operation in the sport's history, there was still plumes of smoke emanating, there was a constant stream of hearsay from within the USPS/Disco/Astana camp. As has been said on here, so many dopers these days are caught, not by the testing, but by police, by investigations, by reporting.

If there is something going on at UAE (and for every sign that it is, eg Pogi's form, there's a sign that it isn't eg Hirschi) then sooner or later info about it will start leaking to the public.

Also, don't forget, this is the team that 2 years ago provided their riders with an experimental sports drink that led to them all gaining 2-3kg during the Tour. I'm sure they can do some things well, but running a doping program, that is clearly way above what other teams with more resources can run, and keeping it quiet, is probably very, very hard.
 
That a rider would be so dominant is suspicious, yes. But there's context to it; he and Roglic were head and shoulders favourites before the race, anyone who might have been a genuine opponent either didn't start, or crashed out of contention. Imagine the 2010 Tour if one of Andy/Contador had crashed out, or just look at 2014 Nibali riding with no Froome/Contador, or Delgado in 88 with Hinault retired, Lemond out of action and Roche injured.
Just for the record: Nibali, Contador, the shclecks... are not clean pages.

With Armstrong, even with him running supposedly the most sophisticated, omerta doping operation in the sport's history, there was still plumes of smoke emanating, there was a constant stream of hearsay from within the USPS/Disco/Astana camp. As has been said on here, so many dopers these days are caught, not by the testing, but by police, by investigations, by reporting.
first we need to consider that most of the people caught doping are the low level riders. Those who use dope to barely reach the bar of a subpar domestique for the second 50km.
Hearsay for Armstrong/Telecom/Liberty/ and others didn't come at the start, they came gradually.
It is true that the biggest impact for 'catching' Armstrong was him getting the record of Tour wins. If he stopped at 5 i don't think the french would have kept pushing and pushing like they did. I think most people agree that testing doesn't catch the dopers, because besides a few specific ones, they missed a few very obvious ones..
The police/investigations/reporting are only done if people see the need for it. Again if Armstrong didn't win a 6th tour things would be differently for him.
Remember the Puerto affair? where some famous soccer players/tennis players were supposedly involved as well? think only the cyclist were beaten in that. So again it requires the people who want to disclose it. (barely exist for other sports) and i think it is becoming less and less in cycling as well. I think the people in the sport want to protect the sport from falling of a cliff.

Also, don't forget, this is the team that 2 years ago provided their riders with an experimental sports drink that led to them all gaining 2-3kg during the Tour. I'm sure they can do some things well, but running a doping program, that is clearly way above what other teams with more resources can run, and keeping it quiet, is probably very, very hard.
I'm sorry i haven't heard of this story, but gaining weight in a 3 week effort is BS i think. A body can only process that many calories. The biggest struggle in a tour is for your body to replenish the nutrition. Heck why in the old days you needed to be a bit more bulky so you had some meat to carve from yourself. Being able to gain 2-3kg in a tour smells more like some form of shenanigans than anything else. (Sounds like an overdone recuperation potion made for Obelix & Asterix)

If there is something going on at UAE (and for every sign that it is, eg Pogi's form, there's a sign that it isn't eg Hirschi) then sooner or later info about it will start leaking to the public.
To be fair, even Us Postal had guys not performing better, or widely varying over the years. Telecom the same, and they were also on program. (just like many other teams).
Forms can have many causes. Over training, injury, excessive winter, bored, mentally unfit, .. and many other can cause a rider to perform less. doesn't necessarily have to do with doping
 
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I'm sorry i haven't heard of this story, but gaining weight in a 3 week effort is BS i think. A body can only process that many calories. The biggest struggle in a tour is for your body to replenish the nutrition. Heck why in the old days you needed to be a bit more bulky so you had some meat to carve from yourself. Being able to gain 2-3kg in a tour smells more like some form of shenanigans than anything else. (Sounds like an overdone recuperation potion made for Obelix & Asterix)
 
Just for the record: Nibali, Contador, the shclecks... are not clean pages.



first we need to consider that most of the people caught doping are the low level riders. Those who use dope to barely reach the bar of a subpar domestique for the second 50km.
Hearsay for Armstrong/Telecom/Liberty/ and others didn't come at the start, they came gradually.
It is true that the biggest impact for 'catching' Armstrong was him getting the record of Tour wins. If he stopped at 5 i don't think the french would have kept pushing and pushing like they did. I think most people agree that testing doesn't catch the dopers, because besides a few specific ones, they missed a few very obvious ones..
The police/investigations/reporting are only done if people see the need for it. Again if Armstrong didn't win a 6th tour things would be differently for him.
Remember the Puerto affair? where some famous soccer players/tennis players were supposedly involved as well? think only the cyclist were beaten in that. So again it requires the people who want to disclose it. (barely exist for other sports) and i think it is becoming less and less in cycling as well. I think the people in the sport want to protect the sport from falling of a cliff.



I'm sorry i haven't heard of this story, but gaining weight in a 3 week effort is BS i think. A body can only process that many calories. The biggest struggle in a tour is for your body to replenish the nutrition. Heck why in the old days you needed to be a bit more bulky so you had some meat to carve from yourself. Being able to gain 2-3kg in a tour smells more like some form of shenanigans than anything else. (Sounds like an overdone recuperation potion made for Obelix & Asterix)


To be fair, even Us Postal had guys not performing better, or widely varying over the years. Telecom the same, and they were also on program. (just like many other teams).
Forms can have many causes. Over training, injury, excessive winter, bored, mentally unfit, .. and many other can cause a rider to perform less. doesn't necessarily have to do with doping
I don't disagree with you on most of that, and I'm not going to claim any of the above names (or Delgado and his probenecid test) were squeaky clean. I'm just saying that we shouldn't be surprised, or be too quick to ascribe clinic-related reasons, when a clear favourite for the Tour de France sees his closest competitors eliminated, and goes on to dominate the race. Cav is another case in point; yes he won a lot of stages, but he had the best leadout against a weak sprinting field, so 4 stage wins doesn't automatically mean there was anything out of the normal about his actual performances.
 
Gaining weight durung a gt isn't that weird, if you body is beaten up and can't recover properly you can end up gaini g more water weight because of inflammation.
Anything coming out of the UAE camp at the time made it sound like this was excessive weight, not due to inflammation etc. You had riders like Martin, Kristoff, Costa; experienced Tour campaigners and past stage winners, saying something wasn't right. It was never 100% officially attributed to the sports drink (I guess because, y'know, sponsors) but the extra otherwise-unexplained weight was documented.
 
Anything coming out of the UAE camp at the time made it sound like this was excessive weight, not due to inflammation etc. You had riders like Martin, Kristoff, Costa; experienced Tour campaigners and past stage winners, saying something wasn't right. It was never 100% officially attributed to the sports drink (I guess because, y'know, sponsors) but the extra otherwise-unexplained weight was documented.
Yup, it was well publicized and it was what it was. Who knows what the exact cause was or causes were. That does not make this team in any way less suspicious though. There have been plenty of teams that have done team-wide doping and gotten it wrong :p
 
Yup, it was well publicized and it was what it was. Who knows what the exact cause was or causes were. That does not make this team in any way less suspicious though. There have been plenty of teams that have done team-wide doping and gotten it wrong :p
I'm not saying it proves their innocence, I'm saying a team that if they couldn't get something as basic as hydration right without the world finding out about it, then whatever doping program they may have, probably won't be 100% airtight. Gianetti doesn't have a clean record, but he also has a terrible record for getting away with it, too; Ricco got caught, Piepoli got caught, Mayo got caught, and it may have taken a few years but Cobo got caught too.

To that extent that I'm going to choose not to point fingers at Pogacar until I see some more evidence than just winning bike races; if our starting point for any bike race is "he won the Tour de France, therefore he must be doping," then what's the point of even watching?
 
I'm not saying it proves their innocence, I'm saying a team that if they couldn't get something as basic as hydration right without the world finding out about it, then whatever doping program they may have, probably won't be 100% airtight. Gianetti doesn't have a clean record, but he also has a terrible record for getting away with it, too; Ricco got caught, Piepoli got caught, Mayo got caught, and it may have taken a few years but Cobo got caught too.

To that extent that I'm going to choose not to point fingers at Pogacar until I see some more evidence than just winning bike races; if our starting point for any bike race is "he won the Tour de France, therefore he must be doping," then what's the point of even watching?
Indeed he does seem to have a very consistent thread of being involved with riders who get caught for doping, over many years, and a variety of teams. It really suggests in this instance the cliche of a leopard never changes its spots. It is not a cliche I prefer, because I think you can teach the proverbial old dog new tricks. :)
 
Why are we focusing on a sophisticated team effort though. They don't look impressive as collective. Certainly no Bahrain or Jumbo. They just have an outstanding Pogacar.

And this may have been the actual takeaway from the Armstrong case - team programs are fragile. You only need one weak spot and the thing breaks down. Maybe UAE supports Pogacar in his "needs" but there is no coordinated effort for the whole team.
 
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Why are we focusing on a sophisticated team effort though. They don't look impressive as collective. Certainly no Bahrain or Jumbo. They just have an outstanding Pogacar.

And this may have been the actual takeaway from the Armstrong case - team programs are fragile. You only need one weak spot and the thing breaks down. Maybe UAE supports Pogacar in his "needs" but there is no coordinated effort for the whole team.
Not necessarily the team as in all the riders on UAE. But the team as in the backroom staff, medical nutrition, coaching etc etc.

Just the effort required to keep the one big star clear of the testers will be a major collaboration. To get Pogacar riding at the level he is, and to have him negotiating through all the bio passport, whereabouts, etc etc testing, through the amount of testing that he must have undergone as leader of the Tour de France for more than 2 weeks, you'd need a very sophisticated team of experts monitoring every little microdose that goes into his system extremely carefully, and one little slip-up by one involved party could bust the whole thing.

By contrast, Tyler Hamilton got popped because his doctor got his blood bags mixed up. That's the kind of slip-up UAE, if they're doping, can't afford.
 
Why are we focusing on a sophisticated team effort though. They don't look impressive as collective. Certainly no Bahrain or Jumbo. They just have an outstanding Pogacar.

And this may have been the actual takeaway from the Armstrong case - team programs are fragile. You only need one weak spot and the thing breaks down. Maybe UAE supports Pogacar in his "needs" but there is no coordinated effort for the whole team.
Not necessarily the team as in all the riders on UAE. But the team as in the backroom staff, medical nutrition, coaching etc etc.

Just the effort required to keep the one big star clear of the testers will be a major collaboration. To get Pogacar riding at the level he is, and to have him negotiating through all the bio passport, whereabouts, etc etc testing, through the amount of testing that he must have undergone as leader of the Tour de France for more than 2 weeks, you'd need a very sophisticated team of experts monitoring every little microdose that goes into his system extremely carefully, and one little slip-up by one involved party could bust the whole thing.

By contrast, Tyler Hamilton got popped because his doctor got his blood bags mixed up. That's the kind of slip-up UAE, if they're doping, can't afford.
@ppanther92 I agree, thanks for pointing that out.

If we are talking just TP, then a small set of people are all that's needed. The smaller the better, so less chance of error.

I agree, a teamwide program is more fragile. Hamilton and his teammate got busted by the doping IQ test ... friggin mixed up their blood bags!

Comedy gold would be if Movistar tried a team doping program
 
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@ppanther92 I agree, thanks for pointing that out.

If we are talking just TP, then a small set of people are all that's needed. The smaller the better, so less chance of error.

I agree, a teamwide program is more fragile. Hamilton and his teammate got busted by the doping IQ test ... friggin mixed up their blood bags!

Comedy gold would be if Movistar tried a team doping program

Or they are extremely efficient at it as the team has been around as what is now World Tour since 1980 and thus were around for the EPO era and all the scandals, etc. Of course as they've been around for so long they also appear to know how to avoid that type of scandal as a team.
 
Or they are extremely efficient at it as the team has been around as what is now World Tour since 1980 and thus were around for the EPO era and all the scandals, etc. Of course as they've been around for so long they also appear to know how to avoid that type of scandal as a team.
Think of their documentary when reading my post :) They have some tactical and strategic deployment, ummm, issues. Of course, that does not mean there is not a team approach, but I think there would be room for some comedy.
 
Think of their documentary when reading my post :) They have some tactical and strategic deployment, ummm, issues. Of course, that does not mean there is not a team approach, but I think there would be room for some comedy.
Well tactical/strategic issues likely also go back to giving the riders a lot more freedom than other teams do. I remember Alex Dowsett talking about a major difference between Sky and Movistar. Sky would have your entire day laid out for you and would have the order of the TTT determined the day before, while Movistar would tell you dinner is around a time but not at that time, and they'd still be deciding on the order of the TTT while at the start gate.
 
Well tactical/strategic issues likely also go back to giving the riders a lot more freedom than other teams do. I remember Alex Dowsett talking about a major difference between Sky and Movistar. Sky would have your entire day laid out for you and would have the order of the TTT determined the day before, while Movistar would tell you dinner is around a time but not at that time, and they'd still be deciding on the order of the TTT while at the start gate.
And we see how well that works in a team sport! No doubt that's true about Sky/Ineos as well ... micromanaged to the minute most likely.
 
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And we see how well that works in a team sport! No doubt that's true about Sky/Ineos as well ... micromanaged to the minute most likely.
From the interview with Dowsett that's what it sounded like with Sky. He said basically he went from one extreme the other extreme with those two teams and the rest of the teams are basically somewhere in between the two. The funny part of that interview was Dowsett talking about racing in Great Brittan than going to the US where it was a bit more relaxed, but still similar enough, then back to GB, then to Spain. He said no culture shock going from GB to the US, but major culture shock to the point of wondering if he was still on the same planet forget same continent when he went to the Spain. LOL. I see the idea of both ways, but likely the best option is something in between the two. Everyone is going to need different training, but having the team together for awhile is likely a good idea as well.
 
From the interview with Dowsett that's what it sounded like with Sky. He said basically he went from one extreme the other extreme with those two teams and the rest of the teams are basically somewhere in between the two. The funny part of that interview was Dowsett talking about racing in Great Brittan than going to the US where it was a bit more relaxed, but still similar enough, then back to GB, then to Spain. He said no culture shock going from GB to the US, but major culture shock to the point of wondering if he was still on the same planet forget same continent when he went to the Spain. LOL. I see the idea of both ways, but likely the best option is something in between the two. Everyone is going to need different training, but having the team together for awhile is likely a good idea as well.
Agree.

I could just see Movistar planning out the TTT during the TTT. The drama on the Least Expected Day would be most expected!
 
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