You make some interesting points, no doubt, and I agree with some of your take.pmcg76 said:Whose reality is that though? Does anyone know what the reality is?
Remember DiLuca saying doping had gone very private so it was hard to know who was doing what, but that 90% of the Giro peloton were doping.
That is DiLuca's reality even though he doesn't actaully know and is randomly throwing out figures. Is that the reality or is DiLuca just trying to shift the blame for his own actions?
Lets take another example, Dan Martin is a guy with quite a few people including Vayer/Kimmage who have a bit of faith in him being clean. Maybe he is/maybe he isn't, but the clean option is simply dismissed by some around here.
But what if the reality is Martin is actually clean. What if young athletes believe Martin is clean and thus believe it is possible to reach that level clean. Will they be as quick to reach for the dope? Maybe if they can't reach that level they will just accept they don't have the talent and find another lower role within the sport instead of choosing to dope. What % of young athletes would be happy with a career like Martin's if they knew they could do it cleanly?
However if they are constantly told that is impossible to do what Dan Martin does clean, then they will most likely believe him to be a doper and will accept it is not possible to reach that level without doping therefore making the choice to dope easier to justify in their minds. The everyone is doping/Dan Martin is doping attitude might make then accept that is the reality and they are then faced with the choice even though that might not be the reality.
I am sure Phil Gaimon thought he knew what the reality was before he joined Garmin. Danielson was just another evil doper stealing wins from clean guys but now Gaimon is best buds with Danielson and see's a different side of the story one would imagine. A side that see's Gaimon give his all to help Danielson win those race he previoulsy believed he was cheating to win. I am sure there will be those who say Gaimon has been corrupted or fooled but that is for Gaimon to know. Gaimon was far more outspoken than Matt Cooke, thats for sure. From hating all those evil Euro dopers a few years back, Gaimon now believes himself to be a ProTour level rider capable of competing with those so called Euro dopers.
There is a segment in Tyler Hamiltons book about L-B-L in 97. He talked about how he knew that when a certain team-mate finished ahead of him at that race, this was proof positive of the difference EPO could make.
Turned out that the rider in question(Jemison??) who admitted to doping with EPO said he hadn't prepared with EPO for that race and just had a very good day. So in part Hamiltons decision to use EPO was based on a falsehood created by negative re-inforcement. He would probably still have faced that decision anyway but still interesting to note how he got it wrong.
How many riders have justified their decision to dope based on the everyone is doping attitude. Most I would say so it becomes a sort of self-fullfilling prophecy.
I agree that parents may be reluctant to get their kids into cycling, due to the bad image/reputation of the sport.
But once the kid is in cycling (and kids know everything ), it's not about what others say. It's about what they see.
As a Junior 1 in the late 80's, I never won a race, but I had some solid finishes, enough to dream. At the time, there wasn't much talk about doping. Starting the Junior 2 season, some guys had packed up serious muscles in their legs and acne on their faces. Only the best of us "regular guys" could beat them...long story short, I quit competitive cycling. I saw. I knew.
I agree some riders may blame lack of success on "they all dope", or rationalize their use by "they all dope".
I also agree that some clean riders may not be given the credit they deserve for being clean. I believe we had at least one clean guy in the top-10 of the TdF this year. Maybe more. So there's hope.
At the end of the day, we should blame the culture of cycling today, the lack of actions from the powers-that-be, that have perpetuated the sport's bad reputation. We should blame the sobs who cultivate the omerta, when clean riders don't even dare speaking up. I don't think that if we stop talking about doping here or anywhere else, it will go away.