Timing of EPO in early 90's that doesn't add up..

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While I understand the “He got 10 minutes in a break” argument regarding Chiappucci, I don’t find it as compelling as others might. Chiappucci rode an incredibly strong race the entire way. He placed highly in the stage 7 time trial, finishing top 15 if I recall correctly. Close to that anyway. He finished top 10 in the MTT the day after the stage to Alpe d’Huez to take yellow.

I don’t know if y’all are old enough to have watched that race as adults, but I was in Belgium that summer. Chiappucci was absolutely shocking holding on to that lead as long as he did. In the Alps, he rode with the favorites, sprinted for KOM points, and even led chases, dropping Bauer who was a much more highly regarded rider. Remember Bauer was in yellow and was in the same break as Chiappucci, but he couldn’t hold on. When Chiappucci did lose time, he didn’t lose much. He was riding so strongly in the mountains he attacked the leaders in the Pyrenees before he finally cracked, and even when he did, he still only lost a minute or two, and remained in yellow going into the final TT. He didn’t ride with aero bars in the last TT. You also have to recall that he had no team, and when he did get in trouble he was totally isolated, a big factor on stages where he lost chunks of that lead. The biggest chunk he lost was on a transitional stage where he got isolated.

I‘m not sure I can adequately characterize how stunning his ride was at the time. Every day the news reports were asking how this guy was doing it, how could he be hanging on. People in the sport were incredulous.

None of that proves he was on EPO at the time, maybe we just saw the emergence of an outstanding rider. Personally I don’t buy it for a second, but it’s possible. Regardless, dismissing his performance in ‘90 because of the 10 minute lead is in my view a mischaracterization of a tremendous and shocking performance.
 
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None of that proves he was on EPO at the time, maybe we just saw the emergence of an outstanding rider.
It ain't binary. It ain't EPO or natural talent. There are many possible explanations, if you believe it really needs explaining.

The point I have made, here and throughout this thread, is there is a difficulty in saying performances in 1988, 1989, 1990 - even in 1991 when the Blessèd Greg tells us EPO was emerging - were definitively EPO, not given what we now know with more certainty was happening with blood bags.

Performance on its own in those years is not an indicator of EPO. Of doping, it could be, but to go from 'doping' to 'doping with X' is too big a leap to be able to make with any degree of certainty.

I am not arguing against EPO having been used by someone in cycling in 1991, in 1990, in 1989, not even in 1988. I think it's more likely that it was than that it wasn't. But finding the evidence making the case that this was so ... as Aragon says, there's a ton of evidence from 1993 onwards, and as most of us know the general consensus even in the pro ranks is that folk - Indurain and Chiappucci particularly - were on it in 1992. But the critical 1988-1991 period, we don't have the evidence. We have chatter in the press, we have gossip among athletes, we have boffins writing papers, and perhaps most crucially we have the fear that drove Randy Eichner into the arms of the NYT and popularised the myth of bodies piling up on mortuary slabs. But we need stronger than gossip and fear.
 
It ain't binary. It ain't EPO or natural talent. There are many possible explanations, if you believe it really needs explaining.

The point I have made, here and throughout this thread, is there is a difficulty in saying performances in 1988, 1989, 1990 - even in 1991 when the Blessèd Greg tells us EPO was emerging - were definitively EPO, not given what we now know with more certainty was happening with blood bags.

Performance on its own in those years is not an indicator of EPO. Of doping, it could be, but to go from 'doping' to 'doping with X' is too big a leap to be able to make with any degree of certainty.

I am not arguing against EPO having been used by someone in cycling in 1991, in 1990, in 1989, not even in 1988. I think it's more likely that it was than that it wasn't. But finding the evidence making the case that this was so ... as Aragon says, there's a ton of evidence from 1993 onwards, and as most of us know the general consensus even in the pro ranks is that folk - Indurain and Chiappucci particularly - were on it in 1992. But the critical 1988-1991 period, we don't have the evidence. We have chatter in the press, we have gossip among athletes, we have boffins writing papers, and perhaps most crucially we have the fear that drove Randy Eichner into the arms of the NYT and popularised the myth of bodies piling up on mortuary slabs. But we need stronger than gossip and fear.
I tend to agree with you. Except the fear bit, that’s just odd, but yeah, providing some kind of airtight case that Chiappucci was on EPO was not the point of my thread, it was simply to add another perspective to the specifics of Chiappuccit’s 1990 ride. His performance, in my view was absolutely consistent with someone on EPO. Not proof or overwhelming evidence.

Personally I have little doubt that he was on EPO then, as I was active as a fan then and he just never made any sense, but I have no issue with anyone who isn’t convinced or doesn’t buy it.

I am not trying to address the larger discussion in the thread. You may be reading more into my comments than they intended.
 
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What in his performance screams EPO and not blood bags?
[/QUOTE

But if everyone had access to blood bags and knowledge of how best to use them, wouldn’t you surmise that one riders sudden improvement compared to the rest of the peloton must have been due to something other than blood bags—something other riders weren’t using or didn’t yet have access to?
Doesn’t prove that it was EPO, but suggests it was something beyond what other riders were doing at the time.
 
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Oh God, not that excuse. Really? It doesn't work like that and you know it doesn't work like that.
What excuse? It’s a question—did you miss the question mark? Or do you assume every question is an assault on your ideas? I don’t have answers, I find this to be one of the more interesting threads because it includes (sometimes) science and issue of sequence/probability.

Perhaps you’re annoyed because you feel you covered this terrain before ad infinitum. You can simply ignore it or say “we’ve covered this before.”
 
I don't know why but I've always understood the 20+ subjects was 1992. This will have probably come about through reporting relating to Roche. Also, I think Rendell's Pantani book - one of the few English language books to actually look at those files - clearly places them in 1992 and onwards.
The bulk of the material was evidently from 1992 because there is even a part in the paper in which a rHuEPO-treated athlete was followed for 100 days after the treatment had ended + the 45 days of the treatment (presuming the Ferrara folks didn't just make up all the data). Still Matt Rendell's view was that Pantani was treated only from spring 1993 onwards, and the standard view about Conconi puts very much emphasis on the year 1993.

Willy Voet mentions in his memoirs that when took his job at the Festina in winter 1992-1993, the former PDM doctor Erik Rijkaert mentioned vaguely that some riders had used rHuEPO the previous year. Too bad that the details of the Sanders-PDM-tax trial are quite scarce in the English language even when the somewhat vague claim made in 1997 that some rHuEPO was obtained in 1990 by the PDM-related person can't just be dismissed altogether.
 
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You've basically said it was a level playing field - the greatest myth there is.
Nothing in life or sport is a level playing field. Sometimes certain folks get “ahead of the curve” for a time because they have access to new information, live in the right place, or were willing to try something different. This is most often true with equipment but also would be true with medical knowledge and chemicals. Why does that strike you as an insulting or annoying suggestion?
 
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So now you're contradicting yourself, saying it wasn't a level playing field, saying they didn't all have access to blood bags and knowledge of how best to use them. Consistency really is overrated.
I always thought the Forum should have an auto-override that temporarily shuts down back-and-forth exchanges between two posters that stop adding to the movement of a discussion and derail threads. I see that I’m in one of those now so I will stop myself.
 
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You've basically said it was a level playing field - the greatest myth there is.
And a myth some continue to promote for their history re-writes. Allan Peiper who was notoriously clean and outspoken recalled a mid race encounter with Claudio. Allan was under pressure mid-stage and Chiappucci, who was comfortably alongside gestured to his computer noting his pulse rate and smiled. Piper looked at Claudio's at somewhere in the 120 bpm range while his was near 170. If true it wasn't a closely held secret within the peloton.
 
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And a myth some continue to promote for their history re-writes. Allan Peiper who was notoriously clean and outspoken recalled a mid race encounter with Claudio. Allan was under pressure mid-stage and Chiappucci, who was comfortably alongside gestured to his computer noting his pulse rate and smiled. Piper looked at Claudio's at somewhere in the 120 bpm range while his was near 170. If true it wasn't a closely held secret within the peloton.
So this brings us back to the original discussion, which was what accounts for for that physical disparity displayed by Chiapucci, on the climbs and on his pulse monitor. More sophisticated use of blood bags, early EPO experimentation, something else?
 
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What in his performance screams EPO and not blood bags?
Did I say “screams”? Feels more like looking for an argument than my opinion, but I’ll bite one more time.

Timing, logistics, possible access to certain doctors, and it being the simplest answer. Not sure I see Carrera as likely to have been running a blood bag program and he looks like the only one on the team performing out of his head.

Blood bags? Anything is possible but it doesn’t add up to me and I see no evidence for it. If you think so, great, I didn’t bring them up. No one knows but him and who ever he might have been working with.
 
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Allan Peiper who was notoriously clean and outspoken recalled a mid race encounter with Claudio. Allan was under pressure mid-stage and Chiappucci, who was comfortably alongside gestured to his computer noting his pulse rate and smiled. Piper looked at Claudio's at somewhere in the 120 bpm range while his was near 170.
Right, so a humourous anecdote from 1992 is now being used to bolster claims about 1990. I give up, this is just nonsense. Some folk simply have no shame.

As for claiming Allan Peiper was notoriously clean - say the feck what? Even he doesn't say he was clean, let alone notoriously so.
So this brings us back to the original discussion, which was what accounts for for that physical disparity displayed by Chiapucci, on the climbs and on his pulse monitor. More sophisticated use of blood bags, early EPO experimentation, something else?
Time travel, apparently.
 
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I'd go with the latter. The Italian peloton seemed to take a step up all at once.
The first ones who suddenly took a step up in 1990 weren't huge winners before that. It makes sense that does who are already at the top aren't as willing to experiment with new stuff before others. Other guys who raced on the same teams as Bugno and El Diablo didn't turn into gc riders with 80ies blood transfusions, only after they tried EPO.
The obvious example would be Rominger. A great one day racer and stage hunter in the late 80ies, when the Ferrara clique had already a ton of experience with transfusions, but only durning the 90ies he became a gc rider. My speculation is that he was already a big name and not that willing to experiment with new stuff, but after seeing how well it worked for his teammate Bugno and others he also started using it.
 
Right, so a humourous anecdote from 1992 is now being used to bolster claims about 1990. I give up, this is just nonsense. Some folk simply have no shame.
The obvious example would be Rominger. A great one day racer and stage hunter in the late 80ies, when the Ferrara clique had already a ton of experience with transfusions, but only durning the 90ies he became a gc rider. My speculation is that he was already a big name and not that willing to experiment with new stuff, but after seeing how well it worked for his teammate Bugno and others he also started using it.

Everyone knows that Rominger finally got a grip on his seasonal allergies. His manager told us so.

tut...tut....tut... you're so right. Some folk simply have no shame.
 
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Funny, but I have been looking at some stats from the 1990s and it is pretty clear how amazing the rise in Italian cycling had been. I think there is little doubt where EPO usage was strongest.

In the end of season UCI(FICP) ranking for 1989, there were 4 Italians in the Top 50, Fondriest, Bugno, Baffi and Chiappucci, plus 3 Non-Italians on Italian teams, Rominger, Sorensen and DaSilva.

There were 3 Italian teams in the Top 20 teams, Chateau d'Ax and Ariostea were in the Top 10 mainly due to the points of Rominger and Sorensen respectively, who were in the Top 10 on individual rankings.

In the end of season rankings for 1995, there were 22 Italians in the Top 50, plus 11 Non-Italians on Italian teams. 7 of the Top 10 teams were Italian with 10 in the Top 20.

So by 1996, some 66% of riders in the Top 50 on UCI Rankings were on Italian teams and 50% of the Top 20 teams were Italian. I have more stats on other parameters, but one thing at a time.
 
I'm not sure there's anyone disputes the Italians led the pharmaceutical race in the 1990s, with the Spanish in second. It does speak to later in the 1990s though, more than earlier.

Of more interest, I think, is why the Italians fell behind in the first place, given that, medically speaking, they'd seemed to be ahead of the curve from the 60s onwards.
 
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Funny, but I have been looking at some stats from the 1990s and it is pretty clear how amazing the rise in Italian cycling had been. I think there is little doubt where EPO usage was strongest.

In the end of season UCI(FICP) ranking for 1989, there were 4 Italians in the Top 50, Fondriest, Bugno, Baffi and Chiappucci, plus 3 Non-Italians on Italian teams, Rominger, Sorensen and DaSilva.

There were 3 Italian teams in the Top 20 teams, Chateau d'Ax and Ariostea were in the Top 10 mainly due to the points of Rominger and Sorensen respectively, who were in the Top 10 on individual rankings.

In the end of season rankings for 1995, there were 22 Italians in the Top 50, plus 11 Non-Italians on Italian teams. 7 of the Top 10 teams were Italian with 10 in the Top 20.

So by 1996, some 66% of riders in the Top 50 on UCI Rankings were on Italian teams and 50% of the Top 20 teams were Italian. I have more stats on other parameters, but one thing at a time.
It does sound like a whole lot of ducks quacking, doesn't it. Not to mention several races where the top 3 places were taken out by a single team.
Then a Texan ruined the whole show.
 
It does sound like a whole lot of ducks quacking, doesn't it. Not to mention several races where the top 3 places were taken out by a single team.
Then a Texan ruined the whole show.
Is there any chance we could stick to the topic, which is the timing of EPO's arrival, and save all the other tired old crap for elsewhwere? By 1994 we know EPO is in the peloton, so Flèche 94 adds nothing to this discussion. LA adds even less.
 
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Is there any chance we could stick to the topic, which is the timing of EPO's arrival, and save all the other tired old crap for elsewhwere? By 1994 we know EPO is in the peloton, so Flèche 94 adds nothing to this discussion. LA adds even less.
The point was to follow the teams...GEWISS, Ariostea. I never mentioned Fleche and whatever part of this speculative discussion is defined by a start/end date and participants?
 
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