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The Effect of Dope Reduction

Jul 12, 2009
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Without the alien exhibitions how anemic will racing be in 2013 and so on? I suspect you'll see a much higher number of reserved riders within the top tier ranks, with most unwilling to take the big flyers as often as days past. Maybe a lot more huddling for most of the race? Could pro racing become a bit of a snooze fest, or can we adapt and enjoy the nuances over time?
 
Sep 21, 2012
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Pro Peleton new hire

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Sep 29, 2012
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bridgeman said:
Without the alien exhibitions how anemic will racing be in 2013 and so on? I suspect you'll see a much higher number of reserved riders within the top tier ranks, with most unwilling to take the big flyers as often as days past. Maybe a lot more huddling for most of the race? Could pro racing become a bit of a snooze fest, or can we adapt and enjoy the nuances over time?

If anything, doping makes racing predictable. Dope-free sport should be much more random, with people peaking and troughing through the season as they seek to focus on a particular race or stage or jersey in the Tours.

Pro racing was a snooze fest this Tour, and not because it was dope-free, IMO.

The only way you will know they are going slower is because the TV will prompt you with time differences between checkpoints, otherwise you won't be able to tell the difference.
 
bridgeman said:
Without the alien exhibitions how anemic will racing be in 2013 and so on? I suspect you'll see a much higher number of reserved riders within the top tier ranks, with most unwilling to take the big flyers as often as days past. Maybe a lot more huddling for most of the race? Could pro racing become a bit of a snooze fest, or can we adapt and enjoy the nuances over time?

Disagree. A few things going on at once.

Before the final break of the day gets off, I understand the racing to be very hard. We don't ever see it.

Once the break is off though, then the constant telemetry of two-way rider radios and power meters allows the DS to plan the eventual capture to the last 1% of stage distance. Two-way radios with riders play a HUGE role in making modern racing boring.

When one has to plan their attacks because the cost is so high in a less doped peloton, I think you'll actually see better racing. They aren't racing to the oxygen vector dope's strengths.

Well, the way this year's TdF went, I think it's going to be 'game on' for doping because of the way Sky wiped the floor in 2012.
 
bridgeman said:
Without the alien exhibitions how anemic will racing be in 2013 and so on? I suspect you'll see a much higher number of reserved riders within the top tier ranks, with most unwilling to take the big flyers as often as days past. Maybe a lot more huddling for most of the race? Could pro racing become a bit of a snooze fest, or can we adapt and enjoy the nuances over time?

Isn't that exactly the way things have gone SINCE the professionalisation of O2vector doping? Of course that's coincided with the professionalisation of the sport as a whole, but you know Banesto, USPS, Sky, even Liquigas in this year's Giro :yawn:

Truth is none of us knows what non-doped pro cycling looks like. You'd imagine it doesn't look like a whole team leading the peloton up and down every mountain pass in the Tour without a bad day between them and domestiques dropping GC contenders... but we're guessing.
 
Jul 9, 2010
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bridgeman said:
Without the alien exhibitions how anemic will racing be in 2013 and so on? I suspect you'll see a much higher number of reserved riders within the top tier ranks, with most unwilling to take the big flyers as often as days past. Maybe a lot more huddling for most of the race? Could pro racing become a bit of a snooze fest, or can we adapt and enjoy the nuances over time?

You'll see racing much more like it was in the 70ies and 80ies.
 
There is no accurate way of determining to what extent the blood doping era is responsible for altering racing dynamics. Many stage races are now easier. Teams are stronger due to greater depth and specialisation. Maybe even a psychological shift which says leaders have to stay dry until the very end (with rare exceptions in Contador, Cancellara and Boonen).

I think at the top end EPO can make riders perform crazy aggressive feats on rare occasions (see Ricco) but down the order it probably sees the lesser riders being able to perform at a much better level than they would otherwise, making teams far more capable of controlling a race. As the end of the blood doping era is not in sight, if you want to change the racing dynamic you could simply reduce team sizes and improve parcours.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Ferminal said:
There is no accurate way of determining to what extent the blood doping era is responsible for altering racing dynamics. Many stage races are now easier. Teams are stronger due to greater depth and specialisation. Maybe even a psychological shift which says leaders have to stay dry until the very end (with rare exceptions in Contador, Cancellara and Boonen).

I think at the top end EPO can make riders perform crazy aggressive feats on rare occasions (see Ricco) but down the order it probably sees the lesser riders being able to perform at a much better level than they would otherwise, making teams far more capable of controlling a race. As the end of the blood doping era is not in sight, if you want to change the racing dynamic you could simply reduce team sizes and improve parcours.
Ricco was a climber tho.

see Ricco
see Cancellara, Boonen, Cav, Wiggins, Schumacher...

devolder
ballan
kirchen
 
blackcat said:
Ricco was a climber tho.

see Ricco
see Cancellara, Boonen, Cav, Wiggins, Schumacher...

devolder
ballan
kirchen

My implication wasn't that aggressive riders are dopers or conservative riders don't dope.

Ricco IMO had a pharmacological superiority which increased the gap between him and his opponents. I'd say this is more the exception than the rule.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Personally I think what racing will return to is much more of a management of resources game. In the 80's it was not so much the big attack putting time into your opponent. It was more about how to limit your losses when your opponent attacked you.Good days are then followed by bad days. If you push too far into the red on the good day, you might be in danger of dropping out of the Tour on the bad day that was sure to follow such an effort. At a certain point it actually becomes physically dangerous to push through the pain too far to attempt to minimize losses. See Roche on La Plagne in 87 as an example, any further effort would have probably cost him his life. A race without any form of oxygen enhancement becomes an exercise into how far each rider can push himself and still recover the next day to race. You used to be able to pick riders who would go for stage wins as the previous day they would lose alot of time conserving resources. There was also an element of losing time to not be a threat, but usually when you are 20 minutes down it does no good to lose another 15 minutes. If you saw good quality riders back in the laughing group, you knew in a day or two they would be driving a breakaway going for a stage win.

It will be nice to see the absence of non climbing domestiques leading the peloton up col after col and instead see a greater number of team leaders at the head of the bunch in the crucial moments of a stage race.