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Vuelta 2011 – The Race Within The Race

Vuelta 2011 – The Race Within The Race

Part of the enjoyment I get from cycling is watching those riders who haven’t tested positive, haven’t been subject to overwhelming circumstantial evidence/testimony and who ride in a more convincingly “human” manner (e.g. Sastre, Wiggins, Evans) managing to thwart riders who we can historically have less confidence in (e.g. Vino, Contador, Armstrong, Millar). I’ll take the most wheel sucking, defensive, socially awkward, boring ‘clean’ rider over the most bombastic, colourful, courageous, attacking ‘dirty’ rider any day of the week.

But I’m new to the Vuelta and there are a fair few riders who haven’t really featured in the more publicised Tour de France. I don’t know them or their history well and so I’m having difficulty separating the wheat from the cheat.

In terms of the prediction thread below,

http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=14920

is it fair to say the only names in the poll that fit into the second category above is Scarponi (Cobo & Kaschekin also get honourable mentions in the thread and I’d put them in the same camp). I’ve googled them all before posting here and they are the only ones I could unearth with particularly dodgy histories.

I’m not really interested in getting bogged down in arguments about “well the whole field likely dopes to a lesser extent so what is the point of making the distinction”. Not here anyway. It would just really improve my enjoyment of the race if I knew who to boo at when they appear on the telly. Thanks for any assistance.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Fergoose said:
Part of the enjoyment I get from cycling is watching those riders who haven’t tested positive, haven’t been subject to overwhelming circumstantial evidence/testimony and who ride in a more convincingly “human” manner (e.g. Sastre, Wiggins, Evans) managing to thwart riders who we can historically have less confidence in (e.g. Vino, Contador, Armstrong, Millar). I’ll take the most wheel sucking, defensive, socially awkward, boring ‘clean’ rider over the most bombastic, colourful, courageous, attacking ‘dirty’ rider any day of the week.

But I’m new to the Vuelta and there are a fair few riders who haven’t really featured in the more publicised Tour de France. I don’t know them or their history well and so I’m having difficulty separating the wheat from the cheat.

In terms of the prediction thread below,

http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=14920

is it fair to say the only names in the poll that fit into the second category above is Scarponi (Cobo & Kaschekin also get honourable mentions in the thread and I’d put them in the same camp). I’ve googled them all before posting here and they are the only ones I could unearth with particularly dodgy histories.

I’m not really interested in getting bogged down in arguments about “well the whole field likely dopes to a lesser extent so what is the point of making the distinction”. Not here anyway. It would just really improve my enjoyment of the race if I knew who to boo at when they appear on the telly. Thanks for any assistance.
If you go looking for dirt, you will find it. Why not just enjoy the sport for what it is?

I challenge you to find a single rider who hasn't either doped, "sold" a stage/race, helped an opponent to work over another etc.
 
Mar 8, 2010
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dude, go out, sit down on a nice green, and watch the flowers grow.
I think you are too good to follow cycling. Cycling is like the dark side of the force, you know.

oh wait a moment...."Yes, master?" ?
Ok, i have to go now. Someone is calling for me. :mad:
 
Thanks for the tips lads, but I'm doing alright and my mammy signed a note saying it was okay for me to attend here. I'm reckoning if its such a dirty and dark sport you'll be able to add to my list easily enough. At the moment, despite my best efforts, its still only Scarponi on that poll who has been exposed via positive results or under oath testimony.

ultimobici said:
Why not just enjoy the sport for what it is?
You mean enjoy it as a clash between atheletes who are prepared to endure day after day of physical hardship and suffering comparable to no other sport on the planet whilst conjuring up memorable moments of sporting courage amongst some of the finest scenery the planet has to offer? I do so, very much thanks. Its just a shame that after locating some of the rotten apples we shoot ourselves in the foot and throw them back into the barrel of heroism.

I was warned about the Clinic. So far today I've seen someone call for Sastre to quit because he is routinely demonstrating what a clean living top flight athelete can achieve in this sport in the twilight of their career through honest endeavour (i.e. not a lot). This is at the same time as folk painting someone of a similar age who is proven to have had a masking agent in their system (Mosquera) to be some poor sweet victim of the greatest miscarriage of justice since the Birmingham 6. I love it! This is funnier than Contador punching the air in triumph in the TdF whilst crossing the line second!
 
Fergoose said:
Part of the enjoyment I get from cycling is watching those riders who haven’t tested positive, haven’t been subject to overwhelming circumstantial evidence/testimony and who ride in a more convincingly “human” manner (e.g. Sastre, Wiggins, Evans) managing to thwart riders who we can historically have less confidence in (e.g. Vino, Contador, Armstrong, Millar). I’ll take the most wheel sucking, defensive, socially awkward, boring ‘clean’ rider over the most bombastic, colourful, courageous, attacking ‘dirty’ rider any day of the week.

But I’m new to the Vuelta and there are a fair few riders who haven’t really featured in the more publicised Tour de France. I don’t know them or their history well and so I’m having difficulty separating the wheat from the cheat.

In terms of the prediction thread below,

http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=14920

is it fair to say the only names in the poll that fit into the second category above is Scarponi (Cobo & Kaschekin also get honourable mentions in the thread and I’d put them in the same camp). I’ve googled them all before posting here and they are the only ones I could unearth with particularly dodgy histories.

I’m not really interested in getting bogged down in arguments about “well the whole field likely dopes to a lesser extent so what is the point of making the distinction”. Not here anyway. It would just really improve my enjoyment of the race if I knew who to boo at when they appear on the telly. Thanks for any assistance.
There's been some pretty serious allegations against menchov and klöden, at least (freiburg). And someone claims to have seen nibali with the good doctor ferrari. Mumbling about van den broeck and wiggins also, i seem to recall, but nothing concrete as far as i know. Sastre, known as Mr Clean: team history. Can't recall anything against anton or rodriguez, but I'm sure there are rumours.
 
Fergoose said:
Part of the enjoyment I get from cycling is watching those riders who haven’t tested positive, haven’t been subject to overwhelming circumstantial evidence/testimony and who ride in a more convincingly “human” manner (e.g. Sastre, Wiggins, Evans) managing to thwart riders who we can historically have less confidence in (e.g. Vino, Contador, Armstrong, Millar). I’ll take the most wheel sucking, defensive, socially awkward, boring ‘clean’ rider over the most bombastic, colourful, courageous, attacking ‘dirty’ rider any day of the week.

But I’m new to the Vuelta and there are a fair few riders who haven’t really featured in the more publicised Tour de France. I don’t know them or their history well and so I’m having difficulty separating the wheat from the cheat.

In terms of the prediction thread below,

http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=14920

is it fair to say the only names in the poll that fit into the second category above is Scarponi (Cobo & Kaschekin also get honourable mentions in the thread and I’d put them in the same camp). I’ve googled them all before posting here and they are the only ones I could unearth with particularly dodgy histories.

I’m not really interested in getting bogged down in arguments about “well the whole field likely dopes to a lesser extent so what is the point of making the distinction”. Not here anyway. It would just really improve my enjoyment of the race if I knew who to boo at when they appear on the telly. Thanks for any assistance.
Millar

Whats wrong with him?
 
Fergoose said:
I’ll take the most wheel sucking, defensive, socially awkward, boring ‘clean’ rider over the most bombastic, colourful, courageous, attacking ‘dirty’ rider any day of the week.

snip

I’m not really interested in getting bogged down in arguments about “well the whole field likely dopes to a lesser extent so what is the point of making the distinction”. Not here anyway. It would just really improve my enjoyment of the race if I knew who to boo at when they appear on the telly. Thanks for any assistance.
Well if you want to boo the attacking riders then get your Vuvuzuela out for Igor Anton and Joaquim Rodriguez.

Scarponi who you mention is actually more the defensive type, as are Nibali and Menchov though all are known to attack at times.

One must also point out that Evans isnt completely free of trouble. There are Evans threads where you can find out much more but his team had a doping scandal right before the Tour.

His ds appears as a background character in many of the "when i was young" tales told by riders admitting to past doping.

And of course him and Sastre raise suspicion for regularly beating with ease heavily charged rivals in quite a dirty period though obviously that doesnt prove either one is dirty.

Just some points to consider.
 
Aug 15, 2011
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zapata said:
Sastre, known as Mr Clean: team history
Funny that You should mention that. I talked directly to a team mate (Cervelo Test Team) of his (sastre's) in 2009 and the impression I got from him was that Lemond was the last cyclist to win the tour clean in 1990. Well that was his opinion anyhow........And I know many of You won't believe what I am posting is the truth.....I can't prove it. But You have My word. It's the absolute truth. I will not mention any names. And will not for obvious reason's. That is what he said. I can absolutely guarantee that much. And I am sure that for many of You it won't come as a surprise to hear this. But that was his private opinion. Whether it was just an opinion or some insider knowledge I don't know because he did not elaborate on the subject. That is all I am going to post about this matter.
 
Jun 27, 2009
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I'm going to agree with everyone else that this thread is a bad idea.

From what I know about the recent history of this sport and the continued pervasiveness of omerta attitudes, there isn't alot of evidence to suggest that the guys who haven't yet tested positive are necessarily more deserving of support then the dudes who have. Think of the many riders involved in Operation Puerto who had never tested positive or been involved in a doping scandal.

If there are essentially no 'reliably' clean teams, then it's an even bigger stretch to latch onto individual "clean riders" buried among dirty teams.

And finally the best reason to not make threads like this is it tends to reinforce naive views among the fanboys of riders like Evans and Sastre. Which leads to alot of nastiness later on. Journalists who write about doping and make up fake heroes and fake villains do almost as much harm to the sport as the dopers themselves.

So have fun but imo there is little or no basis for distinguishing 'clean' from 'dirty' riders as if there were 'good' and 'bad' riders.
 
zapata said:
There's been some pretty serious allegations against menchov and klöden, at least (freiburg). And someone claims to have seen nibali with the good doctor ferrari. Mumbling about van den broeck and wiggins also, i seem to recall, but nothing concrete as far as i know. Sastre, known as Mr Clean: team history. Can't recall anything against anton or rodriguez, but I'm sure there are rumours.
Thank you good sir. I’ll look into Menchov a bit – I know he got score like a 9/10 “risk” during the TdF one year from leaked papers but that alone is far from conclusive. I’m not generally bothered about lower level gossip and whispers or simple team history – you have to draw the line somewhere.

To the rest: I can understand why the forum doesn’t allow discussion of doping in the main section, but if it aids my enjoyment to try and identify who I definitely won’t be supporting, then where is the harm? Taking part in a section of a forum where folk seem capable of being happy to cheer on the likes of Landis & Ricco if they pulled up for stage 4 on Tuesday might prove an acquired taste, particularly if you are not permitted to ask such a person “what planet are you from?”. Be glad that you have the entire main part of the forum all cornered for yourselves for such discussions.

If others here don’t wish to make any distinction between those who have been rumbled and those for whom the presumption of innocence must stand then fair enough. I don’t think I’m alone though after all the emails and texts ITV4 got when Vinokourov failed to win that stage in this years TdF. I also think you are off your trolley if you think every single rider in a 198 rider 2011 TdF peloton has taken illegal performance enhancing substances/measures and that we should just tar them all with the same brush.

As for my earlier statement about exciting ‘dirty’ riders and defensive ‘clean’ riders, the emphasis was on dirty (proven guilty or substantial corroborated pieces of evidence to that effect) and clean (still credibly holding onto an assumption of innocence) rather than on the attacking and defensive. A ‘clean’ attacking rider (e.g. Sastre 2008 TdF) can be the greatest thing to behold, even if they fail (e.g. Sastre 2009 TdF). I’ll certainly be on the edge of my seat if Anton or Rodriguez launch a daring attack. I was merely meaning I’d find it difficult to support even the most “exciting” or charismatic rider if they’d tested positive for masking agents or performance enhancers. I wasn’t suggesting a “defensive” rider with a strong time trial was any less likely to cheat.

And “what’s wrong with Millar!?” Sorry but my chain remains unyanked. You are probably trying to get me in the sights of the auther of that “Dave Millar Doping Hero” thread I was chortling away at earlier – I had to read it from first post to last just to work out if it was a sp.oof! You’d have had more chance tripping me up if you weren’t apparently affiliating yourself with Peter Hitchen’s brother – it made me stop and think. And apparently my status is “Editor in Chief” after five posts? Hooray for me!

Edit: Aww. I'm back to Junior.
 
Fergoose said:
Thank you good sir. I’ll look into Menchov a bit – I know he got score like a 9/10 “risk” during the TdF one year from leaked papers but that alone is far from conclusive. I’m not generally bothered about lower level gossip and whispers or simple team history – you have to draw the line somewhere.

To the rest: I can understand why the forum doesn’t allow discussion of doping in the main section, but if it aids my enjoyment to try and identify who I definitely won’t be supporting, then where is the harm? Taking part in a section of a forum where folk seem capable of being happy to cheer on the likes of Landis & Ricco if they pulled up for stage 4 on Tuesday might prove an acquired taste, particularly if you are not permitted to ask such a person “what planet are you from?”. Be glad that you have the entire main part of the forum all cornered for yourselves for such discussions.

And “what’s wrong with Millar!?” Sorry but my chain remains unyanked. You are probably trying to get me in the sights of the auther of that “Dave Millar Doping Hero” thread I was chortling away at earlier
Edit: Aww. I'm back to Junior.
Well considering the other 3 muskateers in your list of riders to hate on was Vino Contador and Armstrong - superstrong grand tour winners, I suspected you were reffering to Robert Millar who won the Vuelta (in our revisionist eyes) podiumed the Giro and came 4th at the Tour, rather than David Millar who is a totaly different type of rider, and certainatly not in that league.

I really wasnt sure which one you were talking about though I agree I should have phrased my comment differently, sorry.


If others here don’t wish to make any distinction between those who have been rumbled and those for whom the presumption of innocence must stand then fair enough. I don’t think I’m alone though after all the emails and texts ITV4 got when Vinokourov failed to win that stage in this years TdF. I also think you are off your trolley if you think every single rider in a 198 rider 2011 TdF peloton has taken illegal performance enhancing substances/measures and that we should just tar them all with the same brush.

As for my earlier statement about exciting ‘dirty’ riders and defensive ‘clean’ riders, the emphasis was on dirty (proven guilty or substantial corroborated pieces of evidence to that effect) and clean (still credibly holding onto an assumption of innocence) rather than on the attacking and defensive. A ‘clean’ attacking rider (e.g. Sastre 2008 TdF) can be the greatest thing to behold, even if they fail (e.g. Sastre 2009 TdF). I’ll certainly be on the edge of my seat if Anton or Rodriguez launch a daring attack. I was merely meaning I’d find it difficult to support even the most “exciting” or charismatic rider if they’d tested positive for masking agents or performance enhancers. I wasn’t suggesting a “defensive” rider with a strong time trial was any less likely to cheat.
Well you have humbly admitted that your knowledge of cycling outside of the TDF is still developing, so I will make the point that those of us who believe riders shouldnt be labelled clean just like that, are influenced by several comments and inputs that have come from the world of cycling.

First of all no one is suggesting all 199 cyclists dope as you have claimed. Its only the top riders that get put under a deeper cloud of suspicion than newcommers tend to expect.

The reasons for this are that first of all several turncoats ( Kohl and Landis most notably) have gone to great lenghs in their revelations as to how doping is practised, how it is evaded. Their contributions demonstrate just how easy it is to get away with doping in cycling. Their own careers demonstrate it too. Both have admited to have been doping for years, and years before getting caught.
Another cyclist Alexander Frei (on Evans team by the way) calmly told journalists after getting caught that he had forgotten to drink enough water the last time he took epo otherwise he never would have got caught.

Second of all, they paint a picture of very rife doping during the 2000's in cycling. Hamilton's evidence, together with that of Landis and others suggest that pretty much everyone on US Postal was doped during that period.

Philippe Gaumont who rode for Cofidis for many years wrote a book in which he claimed he had seen all but 2 riders (one of them David Moncoutie) dope during his time at the team.

Theres also the fact that many scientific publications into doping suggest the practise is rife in sport. Sciense of sport had tests which showed that EPO would increase performance by 30% among amateurs. Its believed to be smaller among pros but still, if its even as low as 10 or even 5% that is a huge boost that is perhaps, enough to eliminate any clean riders from competing (considering the differneces among top athletes are usually closer to 1%). Theres also several athletes, like Kohl in cycling, Chambers in athletics, who strongly argue that competing at that level is simply impossible without doping.

Theres also the fact that many managers still in cycling are notorious for doping and helping dopers. Sastre won the Tour under Bjarne Riis who admitted to winning his Tour doped, is known as "mr 60%" and who raised among others Ivan Basso and Frank Schleck and now defends Contador. Sastre's (and Menchov's) current manager is Gianneti who was the DS of the infamous Saunier Duval team. Cadels manager is Andy Rhis who manged Landis to TDF victory in 2006. Landis claims Rhis was complicit in it all. And some soigneur on BMC has also strongly been linked with it.

And thats not even looking at things like Puerto which only unmasked one doctor and yet the list of culprits was in the thirties.

No one is saying every cyclist is a doper. You cant prove someone dopes if they havent been caught yet, though you can suspect. I even believe cycling to be one of the cleanest sports due to its rigorous testing compared to sports like football that dont do it.

But given the the large amount of evidence that points to the fact that most dopers never got caught, that it would require superhuman strength to compete at the level Cadel and Sastre did in that period, that the old guard continues to run cycling (it sure as hell runs the teams of Sastre and Evans) that getting away with doping is easy, etc etc I hope you can see why some of us are reluctant to label cyclists as "clean".

Because at the end of the day Valverde, Di Luca, Basso, Armstrong, Contador, Vino etc etc, all of them represented the good clean cycling at one stage or another as well.
 
The Hitch said:
...
Another cyclist Alexander Frei (on Evans team by the way) calmly told journalists after getting caught that he had forgotten to drink enough water the last time he took epo otherwise he never would have got caught...
Just a minor correction, it was Thomas Frei of BMC, Cadel's roommate then, who tested positive for EPO. He's a nice kid, but like anyone might, was tempted/seduced by more speed and more money!

I think this thread is stupid though because there are no definitively clean riders such that they merit any more dedicated cheering than suspected or proven dopers. This has been the most corrupt sport in the world - enjoy it as such.
 
Feb 16, 2011
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Alexander Frei is the captain of the Suisse futbol team, which is to say, as a European footballer, he's a big-time charger (and I don't mean on to the ball.)
 
I've still only got Scarponi!

To “The Hitch”. Well if its Robert Millar, then there is an abundance of non-PC replies to the question “What’s wrong with him?”. I’ll sit that one out though as I don’t want to be nasty. Sorry for being paranoid back there, but my forum status said “editor in chief”, the posts here had been predictably unsympathetic, I’m a new guy and there had just been a prominent thread about “David Millar Anti Doping Hero!”

I said in my first post I wasn’t really looking to engage in debate with folk that assume that the entire peloton (or to expand, that all GC contenders) are actively doping. But it would be rude to ignore such a thorough post and you did bring up Sastre (who is a name in the poll in the link in the original post). I doubt my arguments will be anything new here.

Firstly, the term ‘clean’ is a loaded term and therefore not ideal, but its difficult to think of an alternative – so that is why I use it. The best alternative I can come up with is “No Case To Answer” (NCTA), so I’ll try that one out for size. I’m open to any suggestions for better terms.

Secondly, there are only a couple of dozen professional cycling teams at any one time that contest a Grand Tour. Usually barely a dozen of these will have any meaningful GC ambitions in a grand tour with the rest focussing on sprints, breakaways or seemingly nothing (Radioshack!). In such circumstances, being associated with various employees of dubious character is sadly unavoidable if you want to be a GC contendor. If a rider trying to be on the straight and narrow resolves to only signing for a team with no bad history, no riders exposed as cheats and no cheat as sporting director, then they are rapidly going to find themselves without a contract.

As for the specific insinuations about Sastre, look at the top ten the year he won the TdF. The field was very weak. There’s nobody there who was a top contendor AND a confirmed doper. Valverde has never threatened the TdF podium, Kohl wasn’t a top athelete with a proven track record and allegations and mutterings against Frank Schleck & Menchov are just that, allegations – these are not “proven dopers” as you suggest. In the years prior to 2008, Sastre was a very consistent top performer in the TdF (9th, 8th, 3rd, 4th, 1st). In 2008 itself Sastre expended an absolute minimum of energy until the Queens stage. On that stage, he attacked at the very bottom of the climb and very gradually eeked out a lead against a field of rather average climbers. Had he gained such a time gap with an attack later on the climb, it may have been suspicious. But it appeared to be earned by hard graft and a slightly higher tempo over many kilometres. His victory was consolidated by a thoroughly ordinary Individual Time Trial on the penultimate stage (he came in 12th). In short, I’ve no worries about putting Sastre in the NCTA category (although I would be delighted to be referred to a “Is Sastre Doping?” thread, or any such thread for any of the other men listed in the poll of 2011 Vuelta contenders.

On the 5% boost issue. I think percentages can be misleading – what does 5% increased performance mean in competition. Does 5% on a 30 minute climb equate to being 90 seconds quicker? Why can a clearly doping climber (Kohl 2008) not even compete with fairly average riders with little to ride for in an individual team time trial, if, as you say, the difference between top atheletes is nearer 1% ? Surely he is within 5% of the ability of such equivalent riders even on a Time Trial and yet he barely scraped inside the top 10 in 2008 against a field of knackered riders with little to ride for? I know other factors are at play, but I think using the 5% argument doesn’t help with identifying who may or may not be cheating.

On a side note I just noticed Evans bet Samuel Sanchez by 5'27" back in 2008 and 4'55" this year. Reassuring consistency.

I’m delighted to listen and read any first hand testimony Landis & Chambers have about cheating in their respective sports. As soon as they start speculating on what people they have little dealings with are up to, I completely lose interest. They’ve no more knowledge than you or I about what such folk are up to.

no one is suggesting all 199 cyclists dope as you have claimed. Its only the top riders that get put under a deeper cloud of suspicion than newcommers tend to expect.
On the contrary, that is just about what every response to this thread has claimed – that every rider is a cheat, so why differntiate? I am glad that another beacon of common sense has shone on this thread! Playing Devils Advocate, at this years TdF a non-top rider tested positive. You shouldn’t be so quick to close your mind to them all (including humble water carriers) still being cheats despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary! EPO and its ilk are so cheap that even the big rollers of professional, er, cross country skiing can splash out on it. Its well within financial reach of even the lowliest grand tour rider.

Because at the end of the day Valverde, Di Luca, Basso, Armstrong, Contador, Vino etc etc, all of them represented the good clean cycling at one stage or another as well.
Yes. But all the above named also gave performances that you can point to that, frankly, defied belief and were too good to be true (with the possible exception of Basso because of his riding style (i.e. being defensive (in the TdF at least) made his cheating less obvious)). Of course we only catch a tiny fraction of the instances of cheating, as Vinokourov’s incredible performances in the past 2 years show more clearly than ever. But I’d challenge anyone to put a Sastre performance under my nose that was clearly beyond belief or inexplicable. Heck, I’d wager you’d struggle to produce one that was mildly eyebrow raising. That’s the good thing about Youtube and its ilk though. You can call up an example quickly and make me eat my words. Or you can look at Sastre’s timings on the final climb of a mountain stage and compare it to historic cheats. I don’t have those figures, but I’d wager he’ll be considerably slower, even in his glory year of 2008.

I’d also say I like to see people, in this sub-forum of all places, denounce this thread as a “stupid” one! I was getting a belly ache in the David Millar and Philip Gilbert threads! If people who would even now treat Ricco & Landis as equally deserving of our support as Sastre & Geraint Thomas regard this thread as “stupid” then it suggests the opposite is true.
 
to fregoose

whilst i admit to being not 100% confident about robert millar's current 'status'........

there's nothing 'wrong' with him other than that he has chosen to live his life the way he wants

i would suggest you live yours in more forgiving manner of the frailties of the human condition

bet he could still drop you as well.....:)
 
To Fergoose,

I would also like to point out that Senor Sastre has the remarkable distinction of riding for Manolo Saiz's ONCE team for 4 years. You might remember Saiz being caught with a suitcase full of courage, I mean cash, as part of Operacion Puerto.

Need thick skin in The Clinic™
 
May 26, 2010
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Schleck? nothing proven???Apart from paying thousands to a doping doctor??

The UCI may not have to decided to go after Frank Schleck but their can be only 1 reason to pay thousands of euros to Fuentes. Doping.
 
Fergoose said:
I’m delighted to listen and read any first hand testimony Landis & Chambers have about cheating in their respective sports. As soon as they start speculating on what people they have little dealings with are up to, I completely lose interest. They’ve no more knowledge than you or I about what such folk are up to.



On the contrary, that is just about what every response to this thread has claimed – that every rider is a cheat, so why differntiate? I am glad that another beacon of common sense has shone on this thread!
I think there's a distinction between your last statement ('every rider is a cheat so why differentiate') and the attitude I see being expressed here, and that I support. I could maybe best sum that up by saying that cycling's history is rife with doping, and we don't know really at all what any rider might be doing, so it's dangerous to parse riders into 'dirty' and 'clean' and then cheer for them. Do you see the difference? It's not just saying 'every rider is guilty' and writing them off without giving it any thought, it's rather the opposite - after many years following cycling and attaching my belief in being 'clean' to certain cyclists, I have been disappointed too many times to enjoy the sport if I keep caring too much about whether riders are clean or not. I hope that they aren't and I hope the culture of doping is slowly eroding, but mostly I love the sport - I love the tactics, the challenge, the scenery, the bike itself. That's more important to me than attaching my moral hopes to an individual and their sporting achievements. So I get excited by exciting riders, brave rides, like riders who seem to have a good attitude and personality, dislike those who don't. But I don't think it's a primary concern of mine whether or not someone is 'clean', when choosing to cheer for them.

Perhaps why you're feeling so opposed to the viewpoint here isn't so much that everyone here thinks everyone dopes, but rather that the air is of a presumption of possible guilt, rather than the presumption of innocence that you have professed to have. As cynicism makes it easy to call people down for believing in things (because you can't really be proven wrong for doubting), you might have a few shots come your way. But mostly I think the responses in this thread have been pretty respectful.

As for the first comment that I quoted - I wonder what you mean. I would certainly agree that Landis shouldn't be speculating on, say, Contador and wouldn't really care about what he had to say about him. But if you mean that if he didn't actually see a person inject drugs you're not interested in what he has to say, I'd disagree. The picture he painted was pretty vivid, and described a culture where doping was not only rife but also attitudes were very cavalier. I saw value in it other than finger-pointing, and the picture he put together makes it easy to doubt that things have changed so much in 6 years. I found what he had to say much more valuable than, say Kohl, who just tarred everyone with the same brush and gave sensationalist statements like it's impossible to finish in the top 50 of the TdF without doping.

Anyway, while I used to share your interest in getting to the bottom of things, figuring out who's doping and who's not and cheering for people accordingly, I've been disappointed too many times and have learned too much about cycling culture to feel comfortable with that point of view. I think alot of people in this forum have had similar experiences. So yeah, you're not going to get a warm reception if you come in and ask 'hey can you tell me who's doping so I know who to cheer for?' But that certainly doesn't mean that everyone here is a bunch of idiots and you should be proud to be disagreed with by them.
 
Fergoose said:
I said in my first post I wasn’t really looking to engage in debate with folk that assume that the entire peloton (or to expand, that all GC contenders) are actively doping. But it would be rude to ignore such a thorough post and you did bring up Sastre (who is a name in the poll in the link in the original post). I doubt my arguments will be anything new here.
I dont assume, i suspect.


As for the specific insinuations about Sastre, look at the top ten the year he won the TdF. The field was very weak. There’s nobody there who was a top contendor AND a confirmed doper. Valverde has never threatened the TdF podium, Kohl wasn’t a top athelete with a proven track record and allegations and mutterings against Frank Schleck & Menchov are just that, allegations – these are not “proven dopers” as you suggest.

Theres Ricco

And Frank Shleck got caught making payments to a doping doctor. If he isnt a proven doper then neither are Valverde or Basso.

And Sastre has podiumed 6 gts, so it wasnt just the Tour 08. If you look at his career he has been beating dopers left right and centre.

On a side note I just noticed Evans bet Samuel Sanchez by 5'27" back in 2008 and 4'55" this year. Reassuring consistency.
Not really. This year Evans started with a 2 and a half minute head start over Sanchez due to crashes and a ttt Samu could do nothing about.

One can very reasonably push the argument forward that Sanchez lost the rest ( stage 18) due to the fact that he spent every mountain stage up to that point killing himself in risky attacks in attempts to get back the unfairly lost time in the first place.

Yes. But all the above named also gave performances that you can point to that, frankly, defied belief and were too good to be true (with the possible exception of Basso because of his riding style (i.e. being defensive (in the TdF at least) made his cheating less obvious)).
Bassos cheating was most obvious. He won the 2006 Giro by 10 minutes winning 3 stages. He was also quite young when he broke out to challenge Armstrong at the Tour, beating him on mountain stages.

Im not so sure what is so suspicious about Vino and Valverde.

Of course we only catch a tiny fraction of the instances of cheating, as Vinokourov’s incredible performances in the past 2 years show more clearly than ever. But I’d challenge anyone to put a Sastre performance under my nose that was clearly beyond belief or inexplicable. Heck, I’d wager you’d struggle to produce one that was mildly eyebrow raising. That’s the good thing about Youtube and its ilk though. You can call up an example quickly and make me eat my words. Or you can look at Sastre’s timings on the final climb of a mountain stage and compare it to historic cheats. I don’t have those figures, but I’d wager he’ll be considerably slower, even in his glory year of 2008.
Well after winning the Tour Sastre went to Beijing to ride the olympics, then 2 weeks later was at the startline in Spain and got a podium the Vuelta.

A pretty long and impressive peak.
 
Skidmark. I fully appreciate we may all have certain levels of cynicism. To reiterate, if you want to stand up and applaud Ricco on his competitive return, go for it. Some of us, like yourself in the past, try to be more discerning and are eager for the authorities to be more vigilant in turning the screw as we suspect the technology is there for cutting edge science to outfox a dodgy doctor with a blood bag. Shrugging your shoulders with indifference to cheating isn't the way to encourage the authorities to get their act together.

This is the section of the forum to discuss such matters and having seen historic posts its not just me who has enhanced enjoyment of the sport from being better placed to differentiate between a cheat and someone with No Case To Answer. If a thread or post causes anyone discomfort, report it.

On Landis. No, I am not saying he has to have seen an injection first hand necessarily (although his testimony did allude to some eyewitness stuff I believe). More that I am utterly disinterested in his views in riders past and present that he wasn’t in the same team as. It is far easier on the ego and self esteem to say “everybody is doing it”. Far harder to look in the mirror and say, “I chose to do it as I’m just not a good enough athelete”. I’m puzzled that you denounce Kohl’s testimony when it echoes many of the posts in this thread and The Clinic in general.

On my reception in the thread. I don’t think if you read my first post you’ll think I was overly concerned about what responses I might get – apologies if I’ve given the impression I am unsettled. I am fully aware of what I am doing and what the likely response might be from most folk. I don't care as I’ve had useful assistance in the goal of this thread (i.e. help me identify who to give the benefit of the doubt to).

Hitch. You posted yesterday that you didn’t think everyone doped in the TdF peloton and now you are saying you “suspect” they do. I’m not trying to score points, being 100% consistent in forum posts is damn near impossible, it’ll just help me work out how sensible or not you are.

Thanks for the info on Frank Schleck, I’ll certainly look more closely into that the next time he crops up in a race I watch. I’d still say him being beaten by Sastre is in no way suspicious for Carlos. Frank was a special case because he was Sastre’s teammate, thereby reducing his ability to actively challenge Sastre in 2008. As for Sastre beating Ricco. In no way does Ricco meet the criteria of a genuine podium contender who also doped so as I said in my earlier post, that doesn’t give me grounds for suspicion (it has to be both a major contendor AND a confirmed doper to get my spider senses tingling). Ricco wasn’t on course for the podium when he was rumbled, I think he’d dropped well down the order.

On the Evans/Sanchez comparison, thank you for the correction.. So yes, then Evans, winning this year, actually did considerably worse relative to Sanchez than he did back in 2008. You’d agree that that is even less suspicious for Evans then in respect of his performance this year.

On Vino. Vino can on consecutive days in consecutive TdFs (last two years) run off the front of the peloton in the closing kilometres of a stage and hold them off while the front end is doing god knows what speed. Doing that effort on one stage, fair enough. But back to back, methinks a little too brazen. His performance in winning a One Day Classic this year or last year was similarly ridiculous and reminiscent of the nonsensical performances he was putting in during the TdF that he was rumbled in. It demonstrates to me that, unlike others who have been once bitten twice shy, he’s kept going full tilt with PEDs to keep his ageing body competitive. Actually, I’m annoyed I even just typed that about Vinokourov as he isn’t at this (or likely any other) Vuelta. I might starting dipping into the individual rider threads here, its probably best to reserve debate around individual riders with me for those threads - unless they are on the list of contendors for this year's Vuelta.

On Sastre. Well, its reasonable for a TdF winner to be able to podium in the less competitive Vuelta surely, even in the same year? A fine achievement but nothing outrageous. The fact he could only manage third in the Vuelta is because he was likely slightly fatigued from his TdF (which as I stated was sensationally leisurely, with him only making an all out effort on two days in three weeks). That doesn’t give me the slightest suspicion. And I don’t think he exactly peaked in Peking (sorry, couldn’t resist) – unless he has a medal I’m unaware of. What rider would turn down the chance of performing at the Olympics even if your focus is really on the grand tours either side of it? You’d be better served with a clip of Sastre decimating the opposition or eyebrow raising time comparisons. But I’m not holding my breath.

GeneralThis thread is a couple of days old and we've still only had, to my mind, an understandably flimsy case against Sastre thrown in and a recommendation to look into Menchov's potentially murky past. Is this the best you can do? There are 8 riders plus Scarponi listed as leading contenders for the 2011 Vuelta in that poll for you to have a pop at. I’ve mastered the search function and saw only one thread in here on Nibali (such a limp wristed effort) and you don't even have one for Anton. Pull your fingers out!

You have to bring Nibali down, or he’ll become the new Sastre – your next bogeyman. A rider with No Case To Answer who, by winning competitions and otherwise generally being competitive, gives a strong indication that the use and potency of Performance Enhancing Drugs is probably lower in the late 00s onwards than it was previously. Go out there and get slinging that mud – the very future of this subsection of the forum depends on you!
 
May 26, 2010
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Fergoose said:
<ssnip>

On Sastre. Well, its reasonable for a TdF winner to be able to podium in the less competitive Vuelta surely, even in the same year? A fine achievement but nothing outrageous. The fact he could only manage third in the Vuelta is because he was likely slightly fatigued from his TdF (which as I stated was sensationally leisurely, with him only making an all out effort on two days in three weeks). That doesn’t give me the slightest suspicion. And I don’t think he exactly peaked in Peking (sorry, couldn’t resist) – unless he has a medal I’m unaware of. What rider would turn down the chance of performing at the Olympics even if your focus is really on the grand tours either side of it? You’d be better served with a clip of Sastre decimating the opposition or eyebrow raising time comparisons. But I’m not holding my breath.

<snip>
So you dont believe that Sastre riding for Saiz for 4 years stinks? Then riding for Riis and now for a guy like Gianetti has any doping connotations to it?
 
Fergoose said:
Hitch. You posted yesterday that you didn’t think everyone doped in the TdF peloton and now you are saying you “suspect” they do. I’m not trying to score points, being 100% consistent in forum posts is damn near impossible, it’ll just help me work out how sensible or not you are.

Im not being inconsistent.

Observe.

Fergoose said:
I said in my first post I wasn’t really looking to engage in debate with folk that assume that the entire peloton (or to expand, that all GC contenders) are actively doping. .
The Hitch said:
I dont assume, i suspect.
Im replying to the bit where you say "all gc contenders" not the bit where you say "entire peloton".
 
Benotti69 said:
So you dont believe that Sastre riding for Saiz for 4 years stinks? Then riding for Riis and now for a guy like Gianetti has any doping connotations to it?
Me said.

there are only a couple of dozen professional cycling teams at any one time that contest a Grand Tour. Usually barely a dozen of these will have any meaningful GC ambitions in a grand tour with the rest focussing on sprints, breakaways or seemingly nothing (Radioshack!). In such circumstances, being associated with various employees of dubious character is sadly unavoidable if you want to be a GC contendor. If a rider trying to be on the straight and narrow resolves to only signing for a team with no bad history, no riders exposed as cheats and no cheat as sporting director, then they are rapidly going to find themselves without a contract.
Having to carve out a career against the backdrop of cycling teams' chequered pasts is no grounds for firm suspicion. You'll probably know better than me, but what career paths could Sastre have taken in the late 90s and the 2000s to avoid rubbing shoulders with such questionable individuals? Other than quitting cycling and becoming a plumber or something.

Hitch. Fair enough if you suspect the GC contenders we are watching just now in the Vuelta, particularly if you think that some of the domestiques could be running unaided. Nothing wrong with some healthy suspicion. I look forward to the rationale behind the suspicions in any forthcoming threads on the likes of Anton & Nibali.
 
May 26, 2010
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Fergoose said:
Me said.



Having to carve out a career against the backdrop of cycling teams' chequered pasts is no grounds for firm suspicion. You'll probably know better than me, but what career paths could Sastre have taken in the late 90s and the 2000s to avoid rubbing shoulders with such questionable individuals? Other than quitting cycling and becoming a plumber or something.

Hitch. Fair enough if you suspect the GC contenders we are watching just now in the Vuelta, particularly if you think that some of the domestiques could be running unaided. Nothing wrong with some healthy suspicion. I look forward to the rationale behind the suspicions in any forthcoming threads on the likes of Anton & Nibali.
Plumbing is an honourable occupation unlike cheating athletes. Winning a TdF under the Director sportif of a former doper is not a positive test but it sure isn''t a negative either. Joining a DS like Gianetti does not point in the direction of non doping either.
 
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