Out of curiosity; how old are you? I was only 10 in 96, but it was not my impression that people were aware of how widespread doping was in sports at the time, but it might have been because I was a kid. I think the general public only realised after the 98 Festina doping scandal. I definitely remember people being surprised by it.
I was a teenager, so I was not fully adult yet (albeit, I fully understood what adults talked about, I was old enough for that)
Back in 96´ we were at vacation in Spain, my father loved cycling (we saw the tour every year, since I could walk) and I remember him saying ie and (I apologies for the harsh words in advance) when Riis was going full blown monster..
"Now these bloody spaniards, get a taste of their own medicine" he then pointed towards a "camping tent" were some people looked rather sad and said "Look at them, they almost have tears in their eyes"
My father told me, that to fight fire, you have to use fire.
Nobody in our family or the friends we knew or even most other Danes (or other nationalities) that we meet on that vacation were in doubt about doping.. like.. Doping was a part of cycling. It was part of all sports, it was just not out in the open and was hard denied by everyone involved (even when it was dead obvious) and even if caught, then there would be a far fetched lie about "how" it could look like doping ,but was innocently something else.
Most people however focus on the good story (Look at Dane is winning the tour, he is a hero) rather than talk about doping and cheating.. albeit. If you went into more private conversations with people and smaller groups, then people would not disagree, they would instead say.. "But atleast its a Dane" or "Who cares, we won" It is a common mentality, that I have as well now and then (we can´t focus on the negative only)
So I dare say, most people knew cheating was involved, it was more of a show, than anything, still is.
With all that being said. While the bikes, equipment and tech involved now a days is better and do yield better performance, we still see numbers, that indicate something is very comparable to 5, 10, 20 and even 30 years ago. If anything, riders today are more superhuman, than back in the 90´s and I really think that.
Pogimon is very comparable with some of the "legends" but what is different here, is his quick transformation and age.. it is just.. unbelievable.. Pogimon will win 10 years stright, if he keeps these numbers, no matter the team he is on. But we all know, that it wont end like that, because other teams will try to "catch up"
Back in the 90´s I know people and have been offered performance enhancements in football, even as a teen. Growth hormone was widespread back then as well, even if you did not need it and again.. I know.. because I was offered it and almost forced to it, to be competitive (despite being the heighest at the team)
The same goes for today, young teens gets various enhancements, anything to enhance their "potential" sometimes it is ofc because there is an actual need (look at Messi, he had growth hormone treatment as well) the same goes for cycling.. filled with enhancements, even at a young age.
I wonder if people back in ancient tour history, talked as widely as we do, about how people used coffee to enhance themselves
(Sorry for the wall of text)