• We hope all of you have a great holiday season and an incredible New Year. Thanks so much for being part of the Cycling News community!

Question Tadej Pogacar and Mauro Giannetti

Page 77 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
It will crack sooner or later. It always does at some point. A big conspiracy simply cannot last. Someone talks sooner or later, some journalist or podcast or whatever starts to dig. It's just inevitable. It's probably not going to be pretty though.

People like myself are going to be curious.
They'll be thinking Froome was never caught (he almost got busted, almost) so they'll be imagining they're fairly safe.

But we've been here before in cycling & it's a sport which doesn't get the support from above (the political classes, mainly) which others do like in football.

Festina 1998 didn't happen in a vacuum, no, it happened because Marie-George Buffet (sports minister at the time) made it a personal crusade to bring the whole house of cards down. Of course once again the ambient hypocrisy (i.e. footballers from Juventus winning the world cup with France when they themselves were involved in a dope scandal in Italy) should be mentioned, but cycling goes through a boom bust cycle where everything looks "safe" for the clinical experts in the peloton & then kaboom, someone gets busted & the entire drama kicks off again.

We haven't had a big bust in a long time. I mean ***, other than Froome getting cleared we also had Lizzie Deignan aka recent winner of the women's Paris-Roubaix miss 3 dope tests in 2016 & even she was obviously cleared of wrongdoing: Lizzie Armitstead cleared for Rio Olympics after UK Anti-Doping charge for missed tests | Cycling Weekly

Huge "shush" on that front as well by most media outlets. Once upon a time Michael Rasmussen literally contemplated suicide after getting kicked out of the 2007 Tour by his team for a similar offense. And I think it's all this hypocrisy, double standards & 'unfairness' in the treatment of dopers over the ages & cyclists in general which probably only further fuels the motivation of teams like UAE to go big & bold.
 
It's just so obvious. Gianetti and the Arab money, not a good combo, so shady.
That's the thing, it does seem so extremely obvious. Crazy performances, targeted with almost surgical precision (at least within a certain degree of reason, considering some races are within close proximity to each other). Massive money behind UAE. Multiple team personnel that is as dodgy as it gets (Gianetti, Maxtin). I mean, Gianetti makes Riis look angelic.

From looking at the professional road race forum, it looks like a lot of folks just put the blinders on and have a love fest over this sort of stuff.
 
To put into perspective what Pogacar has done: the only other rider to have won Liege-Tour-Lomabardia in the same year was Merckx in 71-72, but he was 26-27 years-old.
Not only do I agree, but I would add that it is not like Merckx was this exceptionally clean rider.

Finally, it is interesting in a world where there is now specialization, that Taddy can beat the specialists on the main targets he has
 
Reactions: Ilmaestro99
From looking at the professional road race forum, it looks like a lot of folks just put the blinders on and have a love fest over this sort of stuff.
Yes. Absolutely this. But look back at the archives of the 1997 Tour & the 'famous' Courchevel stage where rocket fuelled Festina & Virenque blew the race to pieces & almost toppled an equally rocket fuelled Ullrich: almost everyone (spectators, journalists, organizers) had stars in their eyes. They loved it. And I'll admit as a kid when I watched, I also loved it.

Look at other sports (football, Olympics, tennis, whatever): people live for the record breaking performances & alien exploits. Cycling as an endurance sport was always like the awkward potentially problematic member of that family (i.e. because spectators do & can see that doping has massive benefits unlike other diciplines which have equally important physical demands but that aspect gets overshadowed versus the skill factor), but once that idea is no longer topical (aka dope, dope & more dope which used to be the main conversation in cycling ten years ago), people once again swallow up the spectacle on offer & want to believe.

So I find the fact Pogacar is doing all of this extraordinary stuff to the sound of collective crickets (a few insinuations here & there, nothing big) all the more wild considering who his team is & who works there. What's that old quote which gets attributed to loads of historical people? "The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it". In this case especially when there's spectacle involved.
 
Reactions: Ilmaestro99
That's the thing, it does seem so extremely obvious. Crazy performances, targeted with almost surgical precision (at least within a certain degree of reason, considering some races are within close proximity to each other). Massive money behind UAE. Multiple team personnel that is as dodgy as it gets (Gianetti, Maxtin). I mean, Gianetti makes Riis look angelic.

From looking at the professional road race forum, it looks like a lot of folks just put the blinders on and have a love fest over this sort of stuff.
I just read the comments under the front page article and find them worse.
 
I would add that it is not like Merckx was this exceptionally clean rider.
Watching Lombardia yesterday on Eurosport UK and Hatch commented that Merckx had been stripped of victory in the race in 1973. Didn't say why. Which was amusing, in its own sad way. But, even some of Merckx's biographers can't bring themselves to confronting the issue (some can: Friebe did a good job of it).

While we still have the Liggetts and the Fotheringhams overall we're in a better position than we were in the 90s. Cycling media is more diverse and, in places, more open. Hell, even the head of the UCI is publicly acknowledging the fact that questions are being asked by talking about testing riders three times in one day and invoking the ghost of 1998 unprompted. Twenty years ago Verbruggen was out and out denying a problem existed.

Personally, I really don't think the finger pointing we do here is going to get anywhere until we start identifying what the doping products are, or are at least likely to be. Throughout the 90s we knew it was EPO changing the sport, it wasn't just some amorphous bogeyman like we have today, a mythical magical potion available only to a few. Robin Parisotto has named a HBOC with ultra-low glow time. In athletics we've seen a spate of recent EPO positives. At the same time, countering that, we've also got the Bakala Academy (funded by Deceuninck – Quick-Step's owner) talking up the powers of Ketones. It's easy to say something's going on, it's not so easy to say what's causing it. Generally, all of us like to take the easy route when we can.
 
Not only do I agree, but I would add that it is not like Merckx was this exceptionally clean rider.

Finally, it is interesting in a world where there is now specialization, that Taddy can beat the specialists on the main targets he has
That Pogacar is doing this today is all the more alarming. The irony is that being Slovenian he came to Italy to race often as an amatuer. So he wasn't on Ineos' radar (or those of other big teams), who already had Bernal ironically through another Italian chanel, but they were only interested in upcoming Columbians. Nobody considered Slovenia seriously, which is odd given Roglic. Then Saronni got word and the deal was done in the most shady of envrionments.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Ripper
While we still have the Liggetts and the Fotheringhams overall we're in a better position than we were in the 90s. Cycling media is more diverse and, in places, more open. Hell, even the head of the UCI is publicly acknowledging the fact that questions are being asked by talking about testing riders three times in one day and invoking the ghost of 1998 unprompted. Twenty years ago Verbruggen was out and out denying a problem existed.
Completely agree.

Personally, I really don't think the finger pointing we do here is going to get anywhere until we start identifying what the doping products are, or are at least likely to be. Throughout the 90s we knew it was EPO changing the sport, it wasn't just some amorphous bogeyman like we have today, a mythical magical potion available only to a few. Robin Parisotto has named a HBOC with ultra-low glow time. In athletics we've seen a spate of recent EPO positives. At the same time, countering that, we've also got the Bakala Academy (funded by Deceuninck – Quick-Step's owner) talking up the powers of Ketones. It's easy to say something's going on, it's not so easy to say what's causing it. Generally, all of us like to take the easy route when we can.
Indeed. I would add that I think for many people, EPO was not immediately appreciated to be the main tool of choice until it was quite endemic. Perhaps I am incorrect on that, but my recollection is that the cheats were way ahead of antidoping at that time.

I'll need to read up on what HBOCs effectiveness window is like. If they have a limited glow time, but are only useful during races, that is one thing (although perhaps it could be taken immediately before a race), but if affects are much longer lasting, that is a different thing.
 
So much drama in this thread. Worse than Lance? Loool. AFAIK Pog won last year's Tour by a minute over Roglic (not by seven minutes) and looking at Roglic's form this year's Tour would have been a very competitive affair (not a demolition). Sure, Pog is way above the rest (but so is Roglic). No reason to dramatize unless Pog crushes Rog in a GT (won't happen as long as Roglic stays in his prime). I'm expecting very competitive races between the duo in the next 2-3 years.
 
So much drama in this thread. Worse than Lance? Loool. AFAIK Pog won last year's Tour by a minute over Roglic (not by seven minutes) and looking at Roglic's form this year's Tour would have been a very competitive affair (not a demolition). Sure, Pog is way above the rest (but so is Roglic). No reason to dramatize unless Pog crushes Rog in a GT (won't happen as long as Roglic stays in his prime). I'm expecting very competitive races between the duo in the next 2-3 years.
I will unironically say I hope so. I mean that. With everything that entails.

My very first posts here all those years ago were rants about Froome. I literally cannot stand bike racing from the moment I feel there's one rider with an unfair advantage - including in clinical matters between riders who also... use clinical techniques. Froome had Sky & they were/are a serious red flag in terms of wielding power behind the scenes which their rivals didn't have.

That was my own takeaway from the Armstrong era, i.e. someone above mentioned Verbruggen? Well we have some pretty interesting evidence from that era which says he knew exactly what was going on & event went so far as to give Lance an advantage (in one anecdote in his book, Tyler Hamilton said he was intimidated by Verbruggen into cutting back on doping at the behest of Lance Armstrong). That's the sort of stuff which made L.A.'s post confession not entirely open & "honest". He hasn't revealed everything, namely pertaining to stories such as this one, i.e. the fact that Thomas Weisel aka owner of US Postal Service managed financial assets for Verbruggen in his investment bank: New Twist in Armstrong Saga - WSJ

With Pogacar, we're therefor left in a sort of "easy to speculate" situation where the United Arab Emirates have the sort of behind the scenes power with Pogacar comparable to what Lance once enjoyed with Verbruggen. And the Lance situation didn't come about as a greater "agenda" or whatnot, no, only purely out of greed of those involved.

And that brings me back to my first point, i.e. as spectators we can only hope we get something comparable to the 2003 Tour when the unofficial narrative within the peloton at the time was about the fact everyone was catching up with Lance & he'd lost his clinic advantage from previous years. Result? It was the best Tour in years & Ullrich almost got him, almost.

But then 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 happened & they were all sh*t Tours for their own reasons.
 
Reactions: noob
We haven't had a big bust in a long time. I mean ***, other than Froome getting cleared we also had Lizzie Deignan aka recent winner of the women's Paris-Roubaix miss 3 dope tests in 2016 & even she was obviously cleared of wrongdoing: Lizzie Armitstead cleared for Rio Olympics after UK Anti-Doping charge for missed tests | Cycling Weekly

Huge "shush" on that front as well by most media outlets. Once upon a time Michael Rasmussen literally contemplated suicide after getting kicked out of the 2007 Tour by his team for a similar offense. And I think it's all this hypocrisy, double standards & 'unfairness' in the treatment of dopers over the ages & cyclists in general which probably only further fuels the motivation of teams like UAE to go big & bold.
Rasmussen is the reason I started watching cycling, the reason I stopped watching cycling, and why I started watching cycling again last year. And why I am on this forum at all. I wanted to figure out if he was telling the truth about having been treated unfairly. (I have come to the conclusion that yes he was treated unfairly, but he did some pretty bad things to other people to get hold of his doping.)
 
Rasmussen is the reason I started watching cycling, the reason I stopped watching cycling, and why I started watching cycling again last year. And why I am on this forum at all. I wanted to figure out if he was telling the truth about having been treated unfairly. (I have come to the conclusion that yes he was treated unfairly, but he did some pretty bad things to other people to get hold of his doping.)
Rasmussen fits the profile of an A-Typical top bike rider of his era: doper, perpetrator of a doping culture (he pursued results via dope & further fuelled the culture of dope), but also a victim & someone who was mistreated by the system. He was also a very normal pro rider in his behavior as a "doper" at the time & the Tour he had taken from him (2007) was handed to another doper under the management of Johan Bruyneel (Contador, who in a strange twist of fate subsequently had the Tour 2010 taken from him... & handed to Schleck aka a highly suspected doper himself).

But it's worth noting all these guys share a common trait: using performance enhancing drugs was like drinking water from a bidon. Business as usual. I still think cycling dodged a bullet that night after he was excluded when Rasmussen failed to find a rope to hang himself with (his words, i.e. he went looking in his hotel but couldn't find one).
 
Reactions: noob
That was my own takeaway from the Armstrong era, i.e. someone above mentioned Verbruggen? Well we have some pretty interesting evidence from that era which says he knew exactly what was going on
Gosh almighty no! You don't think that maybe there was a point in mentioning him, do you?

As for the 2003 Tour - are you really promoting the good dopers versus bad dopers line? Really? Or are you excusing doping so long as the spectacle fits your expectations of what a fair fight looks like?
 
. I wanted to figure out if he was telling the truth about having been treated unfairly. (I have come to the conclusion that yes he was treated unfairly, but he did some pretty bad things to other people to get hold of his doping.)
Møller's Scapegoat was pretty clear on the many ways in which Rasmussen was treated unfairly, from the initial revelations about his whereabouts failures through the manner in which his return from the naughty step was blocked. I think if you go back through the six decades of anti-doping we've had you'll find others who have also been treated unfairly (Delgado, for instance, or Pollentier, all the way back to the first batch of riders to be handed suspensions: anti-doping is an imperfect system and not enough people who are against doping call it out the way they should).

That said, Rasmussen today is a bit of a C*&^and a good example of what is wrong with parts of cycling's media ecosphere: it's still about excusing his doping.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: noob
Gosh almighty no! You don't think that maybe there was a point in mentioning him, do you?
How should I know? I'm not in your head. You only said Verbruggen in his era "denied a problem existed". I think my post went way further, i.e. specifically regarding the Armstrong collusion which was tantamount to a conspiracy to commit fraud (aka a felony).

As for the 2003 Tour - are you really promoting the good dopers versus bad dopers line? Really? Or are you excusing doping so long as the spectacle fits your expectations of what a fair fight looks like?
We have only the sport's history to base our outlook on, i.e. since I was a kid, everyone I watched was pretty much a guaranteed serial "doper" as per the rulebook. What marked them apart is the extent of doping & backing they received. But among the champions who competed at the business end, there's no one "clean". They all raced for teams which partook in organized doping programs under sporting directors who facilitated the doping or even doped themselves when they were riders (also, from what I've read about Jean-Marie Leblanc i.e. Tour director at the time of Lance, he also partook in the same activities as the rest when he was a rider in the late 1960's).

Lance Armstrong wasn't a cheat because he doped (when everyone from top to bottom in his time was neck deep in pharmaceuticals to various extents, it's not "cheating"). He was "bad" because of his behavior & also the power he exerted over the rest of the peloton (via Verbruggen) which pretty much gave him an unfair advantage. It's all the insinuations he had liberty to explore new techniques whilst his rivals still had to worry about keeping their hematocrit below 50 which makes Lance's story different (& worse). Like covering up his Tour of Switzerland EPO positive in 2001 before he obliterated the Tour that year.

I can no longer see cycling from a "only some bad apples dope" perspective, because based on its history & who works in the peloton (& the current performances) the reality says the sport (& all pro sports) is littered from top to bottom with PED's to various levels. The argument has shifted towards a more cynical "who gets to dope more" & I believe that has been the case for 20 years now.
 
Reactions: noob
I'd say it's worse than calling out one rider for doping, cause it naively believes in a level playing field while hypocritically hiding behind the shield of an anti-doping firebrand.
What does a preference for greater equality (or equity) in society naively believe in? Equivalent cases. Even if there will always be inequality, you can still have a preference for the level of that.
 
Watching Lombardia yesterday on Eurosport UK and Hatch commented that Merckx had been stripped of victory in the race in 1973. Didn't say why. Which was amusing, in its own sad way. But, even some of Merckx's biographers can't bring themselves to confronting the issue (some can: Friebe did a good job of it).

While we still have the Liggetts and the Fotheringhams overall we're in a better position than we were in the 90s. Cycling media is more diverse and, in places, more open. Hell, even the head of the UCI is publicly acknowledging the fact that questions are being asked by talking about testing riders three times in one day and invoking the ghost of 1998 unprompted. Twenty years ago Verbruggen was out and out denying a problem existed.

Personally, I really don't think the finger pointing we do here is going to get anywhere until we start identifying what the doping products are, or are at least likely to be. Throughout the 90s we knew it was EPO changing the sport, it wasn't just some amorphous bogeyman like we have today, a mythical magical potion available only to a few. Robin Parisotto has named a HBOC with ultra-low glow time. In athletics we've seen a spate of recent EPO positives. At the same time, countering that, we've also got the Bakala Academy (funded by Deceuninck – Quick-Step's owner) talking up the powers of Ketones. It's easy to say something's going on, it's not so easy to say what's causing it. Generally, all of us like to take the easy route when we can.
If I take all the little hints and reactions and patterns, I conclude this:
  • a form of blood doping
  • in theory detectable, but very short glow time indeed
  • something that, in this form, is new
  • something that's not cheap
  • plus a new masking agent or a new form of administering/ mixing masking agents
I leave it to the experts to say what is actually scientifically possible today. But obviously it's not something every good sports doctor knows about, because there seems to be a bunch of people in the peloton who are ultra-suspicious but have no clue what's actually going on (that's my take from the motor doping accusations).
 
Reactions: noob
Well, from what I recall Rasmussen was just hammered in the press, almost to the point that it seemed like it was at least in part because he was less charismatic. That is just my POV from what I read at the time, so perhaps it is not true. Compare that to, say, the Canadians who have been popped or otherwise outed (e.g. Hesjedal, McGrath, Sheppard), and it seems disproportionate. Like some racers paid a much heavier price for the same offence(s).

It is somewhat of the "so and so is a nice guy" so that makes the doping less of an issue or less likely argument I have heard time and time again. Great, glad someone is nice (beats them being a turd), but that does not make the doping OK.
 
Reactions: noob
What does a preference for greater equality (or equity) in society naively believe in? Equivalent cases. Even if there will always be inequality, you can still have a preference for the level of that.
If you want equity in sport, equity in cycling, demand it, call for financial fair play, call for spending caps. Putting all the focus on doping, the symptom of a problem? That's just pleasuring yourself in public.
 
If you want equity in sport, equity in cycling, demand it, call for financial fair play, call for spending caps. Putting all the focus on doping, the symptom of a problem? That's just pleasuring yourself in public.
So it's all or nothing, there's no space for having a preference for the level of inequality in the opportunity to dope.

And why on Earth must one call for spending caps, if what one has a preference for is the level of inequality in the opportunity to dope? That doesn't follow, at least not in a world with any bit of nuance.

PS: I would still like to hear why having a preference for the level of inequality in society more broadly must naively believe in something.
 
a form of blood doping
Yes, the clue is in the name
in theory detectable, but very short glow time indeed
Which might explain three tests in one day: first thing in the morning, before the start, after the end),
something that, in this form, is new
Not particularly new, Gianetti himself was playing with something similar when he had his 'incident', but sufficiently different to be a potential cause for concern.
something that's not cheap
No idea where you're getting that
plus a new masking agent or a new form of administering/ mixing masking agents
Again, no idea where you're coming from with that.

Two things you've missed: unlike EPO, it works immediately (and so could be administered much closer to race time); and as a form of blood doping you might think it would leave some kind of mark on the ABP, which makes WADA withdrawing athletes' access to their ABP profile another interesting development.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
masking_agent The Clinic 8

ASK THE COMMUNITY