What if? A butterfly flaps its wings

May 3, 2010
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Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?

ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?

iii) The Puerto files and material evidence had been made fully available in 2006?

If anyone has any other 'moments of critical juncture' where the sport might have taken a different road then lets here them.
 
Sep 13, 2010
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What if differentchromosomes were at play when Lance was conceived and he was a female?

Do we really need to go down these roads?

Isn't there enough confusion working through Lance's versions of reality?
 
May 3, 2010
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We keep hearing how cycling is 'different now' - the question is - would it have been any different if previous opportunities had not been missed.

Landis is hailed as a hero for blowing the whistle, but would he have blown the whistle if he'd got that job he was angling for?

What if Armstrong had been popped in 1999 and Zulle had won, would a doping arms race have still kicked off, would Ferrari have just found another 'good responder'?

It's a good chance to think about other missed opportunities, and also to consider to what extent the crisis in cycling is driven by individual actors or to what extent it is much more systemic. If it hadn't been Armstrong it would have been Ullrich and the only difference would be that the scandal would have broken 7 years ago instead of now.

This is of course the clinic which is home to baseless speculation, conjecture, fantasy and delusion, so a thread thinking about an alternate view of what might have been would I think fit right in.
 
1) Zülle couldn't have been the patron, he was too old. In all probability, Ullrich would have been it. Less toxic? Probably, in the short term. But many of the same people would still have been involved. It would have escalated.

2) Probably not in another ~5 years. But I think he would have, eventually.

3) A massive tsunami would have destroyed a significant part of Spanish sport (not just cycling). Manzano claimed Kelme and US Postal got advance warning of surprise tests through Walter Virú, so it's possible (but unlikely) this would have implicated the UCI somehow. Spain would probably have become something like what France was in the 00s.
 
Jan 14, 2011
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new forum needed

sorry mate, but this thread belongs in a "Fantasy" forum which does not exist.

You might *** well ask "What if the Dirty Dutchman hadn't taken over the UCI?"
or
"What if the bicycle had never been invented?"

interesting speculation, but shear fantasy.
 
I like to think Landis was trying to delay his destiny. He'd not have been happy riding for Lance another couple of seasons. And he'd not be treated well anyways. Lance would rub in the loss of one TdF vs keeping 7 at every opportunity. It would have delayed today's reality, not really alterated it. Heck, it could have accellerated it. Imagine Floyd taking pictures, wearing wires. In the later "clean" days of Lance.

The UCI really started it all covering that positive. They might even have done it many times for other in the year leading up to this one, but that doesn't make it right.

And yes, The Spanish did their part. Had the UCI done theirs in 1999 though, there's be less peer pressure at least on other pro cyclists to be permanently admitted to clinic Fuentes.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?
Can't see Zulle in an Armstrongesque role. Plus a positive so soon after Festina might have been enough to pry the lid off the whole sorry mess.

ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?
Hmmm.... That's the big question, I suspect it would have gone sour anyway, just maybe a little later.

iii) The Puerto files and material evidence had been made fully available in 2006?
That would have blown things wide open, especially if it had been full disclosure of all sports. But we'll never know...
 
May 26, 2010
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Mrs John Murphy said:
This is of course the clinic which is home to baseless speculation, conjecture, fantasy and delusion, so a thread thinking about an alternate view of what might have been would I think fit right in.
rickshaw said:
sorry mate, but this thread belongs in a "Fantasy" forum which does not exist.

You might *** well ask "What if the Dirty Dutchman hadn't taken over the UCI?"
or
"What if the bicycle had never been invented?"

interesting speculation, but shear fantasy.
The fantasy that the doping course of the sport may have been changed might be of interest to some. It is doping related and belongs in the clinic.

Plenty had fantasy speculations about Schlecks chain coming off.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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UCI wanted to globalize (thus: anglo-americanize) cycling at all costs.
There was no way they were gonna throw Lance out in 1999 over cortisone.

A more realistic scenario would have been that Lance had simply not returned to cycling post-cancer.
In that case, UCI would have been forced to go look for another anglo-american to become their poster boy.
Who'd qualify? Somebody with a bit of a big mouth and a polarizing character, and with the talent to win Tours.
Landis?
 
Jun 12, 2012
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?

ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?

iii) The Puerto files and material evidence had been made fully available in 2006?

If anyone has any other 'moments of critical juncture' where the sport might have taken a different road then lets here them.
i) I might still take cycling seriously.
ii) Probably not, but too late for me.
iii) Ditto.

I cycle lots, commuter & touring. I raced a bit in my high school days and I used to be an avid follower of the sport. I fell in love with the romantic aspects and the history. I liked Mercx, Anquetil and Big Mig. I became disillusioned late 1990s, early 2000s, when I became aware of the extent to which doping perverted outcomes. Since then I've only watched it as a train-wreck from afar. When I read the cycling press, it's only to see the latest doping news. I couldn't give a toss about any of the riders. I have no sympathy with any of them, since they seemingly don't care about their own sport.
 
Jul 3, 2009
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The question we need to ask is if there was no EPO in the peloton when Amrstrong was in it, would he have cheated? and the answer is yes because he has stated that he "wanted to win at all costs", so it's irreelavant that the others doped because if the peloton was clean and Armstrong wasnt winning he would have doped.
 
Lance was in a place where he would have found it hard to take Landis on anyhow, because in 2008-9 Landis' public image was toxic. Maybe not as toxic as Lance's is now by a long shot, but enough for Lance to be concerned about the effect it would have on his public image to pick Floyd up. Maybe he didn't believe Landis would scorch the earth, or considered him peripheral enough by that point that he'd be able to be smeared as a bitter crazy and that would be enough. I don't see why he couldn't have pulled some strings, even indirectly, to get Landis a contract somewhere though, like when Gilberto Simoni was going around team owners trying to persuade them to give Filippo Simeoni a ride. Because of Lance, I might add.

Some more what ifs:

1) What if Rasmussen had won the Tour before the publicisation of the whereabouts issues?
2) What if Klöden hadn't paid for the Freiburg investigation to go away?
3) What if the Astana investigation in 2009 had been conclusive? They said there was the DNA of 7 of the team members on paraphernalia they'd got hold of. Who were the exceptions? Lance and Alberto, doing their own things? Lance and Levi, Lance doing his own thing and Levi having crashed out? Alberto and Levi, likewise?
4) Roberto Heras' positive in 2005 had been overturned at the time? Heras has been one of the most blacklisted of all, and it is widely thought that he talked - where would cycling have been (especially in Spain) without this testimony?
 

martinvickers

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Oct 15, 2012
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?
The patron would, almost certainly have been Ullrich. Zulle was too old - he's ahave been a classic transitional champion.

At the extreme risk of godwinism.

An argument is made in counterhistorical circles "what if Hitler had died?" - either in WWI, or alternatively as a result of the the v Stauffenberg plot. The easy answer is of course, it would be great for the world.

but some historians think rather differently - that the catalysts for the rise of the German far right were there in the 1930's after the hyperinflation, regardless of Adolph, and that in fact, oddly, Hitler, with his innate flaws and inevitable self-destruction, was a preferable foe to some others, Himmler in particular, since his extreme anti-semitism left Germany limited scientifically and militarilty - instead theat scientific expertise was in the Us working on the Manhatten project.

So, what if armstrong wasn't there? Well, Ferrari and Bruyneel were still there - Fuentes was still there - what if the 'top responder' had been well-liked party dude Ullrich, who ****ed off hardly anyone, and knew how to show gratitude? Would we have had Betsy and Frankie and Emma and Tyler and Walsh and Landis and the whole list of people Lance screwed to elave a trail behind?

Actually I would argue we already know the answer -what if the dominant patron/top responder had been cautious, well-liked and humble guy who happened to cheat rather than a functioning sociopath?

His names Indurain.


ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?
Landis was the straw that broke the camels back - but Hamilton was already out there - there were simply too may witnesses.
 
I don't see i as such a big deal. We wouldn't have had armstrong but we would still have mass doping throughout the era.. The winners list would look different at the tour. All the other winners lists and the people behind the scenes would have been the same.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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The Hitch said:
I don't see i as such a big deal. We wouldn't have had armstrong but we would still have mass doping throughout the era.. The winners list would look different at the tour. All the other winners lists and the people behind the scenes would have been the same.
I don't think so. Had Armstrong simply not targeted the Tour perhaps, but a scandal that soon after Festina could have blown things sky high.
 
ultimobici said:
I don't think so. Had Armstrong simply not targeted the Tour perhaps, but a scandal that soon after Festina could have blown things sky high.
There was still no test for epo. So long as dopers have ways to beat the testers.doping will exist. Maybe it would have brought the getting cleaner process forward a little bit but so long as anti doping are behind the sports scientists, doping prevails. Early 2000's anti doping just did not have the methods.
 
May 19, 2012
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Was it even Lance not picking Floyd up for Astana? Didn't he prevent Ouch from riding the ToC?

LA could have sweet talked Floyd and made some very small, compared to what he's looking at now, payoffs.

But he really went after people. Despite everyone knowing the "Cancer had returned" in late 2008, LA still was able to seduce the media and the people who were marginalized were still on the fringes.

He couldn't stop himself from being completely vicious..
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?
Assuming a 2 year suspension, LA would have been limited to 5 TdF yellows. The "comeback" would have increased US audiences sufficiently to cover the coverage slump from the 2 year absence. No change.
ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?
Landis would NOT have blown the whistle. He isn't that independent a thinker. Imo, this one item is the BIGGEST mistake LA ever made. Landis desperately wanted back in, and to be accepted. It was Landis hitting rock bottom, and finding that it wasn't rocks, but mud so deep he would die in it, that brought Landis around. We would still be fighting Lance-lovers in the forum, and we would basically still be considered rather extreme nut-cases by most of the public.

iii) The Puerto files and material evidence had been made fully available in 2006?

If anyone has any other 'moments of critical juncture' where the sport might have taken a different road then lets here them.
Meh, this would have lost some sponsors in Europe. Germany would have declared cycling persona-non-grata, just as they did. Rabo would still have pulled out, just as they did. It would not have impacted the US/Oz markets that much, except that pro cycling would be regarded with a more jaded eye, perhaps as MMA is.

Mrs John Murphy said:
We keep hearing how cycling is 'different now' - the question is - would it have been any different if previous opportunities had not been missed.

Landis is hailed as a hero for blowing the whistle, but would he have blown the whistle if he'd got that job he was angling for?

What if Armstrong had been popped in 1999 and Zulle had won, would a doping arms race have still kicked off, would Ferrari have just found another 'good responder'?

It's a good chance to think about other missed opportunities, and also to consider to what extent the crisis in cycling is driven by individual actors or to what extent it is much more systemic. If it hadn't been Armstrong it would have been Ullrich and the only difference would be that the scandal would have broken 7 years ago instead of now.
Ullrich would have won, for sure, but it wouldn't have been the big scandal we have now. Not at all. See above.

What would have changed things would have been if Lance somehow did NOT win at least 5 tours. (Six and seven were overkill, imo.) Armstrong, as much as I don't like it, re-invigorated the US market, and probably the Oz market, as well. Would Julich have actually won a TdF? Huh - I don't think so. Might LeMond have won a 4th tour if EPO wasn't there? Maybe - but the EPO was systemic, and not an "individual actor". Regardless, Julich wouldn't have done as good a job as LA in focusing American attention. Lemond, even if he had been able to keep it going a couple more years, would not have carried the US market share for another 10 years.

What would have changed with no Lance? We would never have had the USADA decision. Cycling would have remained big in the EU, and minor in the US. Doping would have still been there, but hidden by omerta. Frankly, I think a big part of what we are seeing today is the final battle between the US cycling culture vs the Euro cycling culture. The Euro cycling culture would be more permissive of dopage, but it would be less pervasively used. In other words, every one of those TdF would still have been won by a doper, but they would not have doped as regularly. Pretty much like what we saw amongst the peloton WITH Lance. Ricco would still have gotten busted. Pantani MIGHT still be alive, but I doubt it. I don't think that Lance changed the history of doping that much - until today - when he is utterly busted. But I DO think he changed the history of pro cycling and its evolution. I think that many of the US riders riding today are there because of the publicity of Lance's tours for cycling. I'm NOT saying this is necessarily a good thing. Obviously, 7/11 happened without Lance.

Now, THERE's a what-if! What if Heiden had been able to translate his skating dominance into cycling wins! 7/11 got a lot of press - and they were all heroes to me - but they lacked star power - and Heiden was only a pack cyclist who could occasionally win. Hampsten? Julich? Neh. I don't know exactly why - but they lacked whatever it is that breaks that final level to stardom. But, neh, back then, you had to win the TdF to be a star. No other race meant much. Today, that is no longer true in the US, but then it was.

This is of course the clinic which is home to baseless speculation, conjecture, fantasy and delusion, so a thread thinking about an alternate view of what might have been would I think fit right in.
This? From you, Mrs JM? Well, then, if you say so!

This is fantasy, but it is still a fun idea for a thread. Thanks for the entertainment.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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martinvickers said:
The patron would, almost certainly have been Ullrich. Zulle was too old - he's ahave been a classic transitional champion.

At the extreme risk of godwinism.

. . .<snipped> . . .
So, what if armstrong wasn't there? Well, Ferrari and Bruyneel were still there - Fuentes was still there - what if the 'top responder' had been well-liked party dude Ullrich, who ****ed off hardly anyone, and knew how to show gratitude? Would we have had Betsy and Frankie and Emma and Tyler and Walsh and Landis and the whole list of people Lance screwed to elave a trail behind?

Actually I would argue we already know the answer -what if the dominant patron/top responder had been cautious, well-liked and humble guy who happened to cheat rather than a functioning sociopath?

His names Indurain.

Landis was the straw that broke the camels back - but Hamilton was already out there - there were simply too may witnesses.
It might technically be in accord with Godwin's Rule, but I think it is an excellent example in this discussion. Well said.

You make an excellent point, and I agree with you about the "what if" history of doping in cycling.
 
Jun 12, 2012
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Mrs John Murphy said:
Three historical counter-factuals to muse upon where we might be if :

i) The UCI had busted Armstrong in 1999 for the cortisoid? Would the peloton have been less toxic if Alex Zulle had become the patron?

ii) Armstrong had invited Landis to join Radioshack/Astana in 2008/9? Would Landis have blown the whistle if he'd had that contract offer?

iii) The Puerto files and material evidence had been made fully available in 2006?

If anyone has any other 'moments of critical juncture' where the sport might have taken a different road then lets here them.
Sorry, took this too literally last time ;-)

i) I think EPO would've still been an issue, but quiesent, and maybe not as dominant in determining outcomes. A series of Ulrich/Pattani victories?

ii) This late, I think everything that we see today was more or less inevitable. At any rate, total disbelief had set in amongst everyone I knew with an interest in cycling - we were only waiting for the downfall (& still are!).

iii) Hard to say. OP should've sent a shock wave through cycling (&other sports) that never happened. Earlier release would've impacted some cyclists, but not the shape of pro-cycling.
 
May 3, 2010
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If not Landis then who would have been the one to drop the bomb on Armstrong? Hamilton? Vaughters?

With Armstrong one gets the sense that the UCI felt that he was too big and important to fall. They could throw Pantani, Ullrich etc under the bus, but they had too much invested in Armstrong to allow him to go to the wolves.

My view, Ullrich and Pantani would have been busted but it would have been sooner. I think you'd have seen 'Omerta with a human face' if the patron had been Ullrich.

Structurally, Ferrari, was still around. Riis never went away, the UCI was still the UCI, the media was still the media.

Another question - what if there had been no corruption in the vote for the UCI Presidency and Schenk had beaten McQuaid. Would she have been able to clean up the sport or would she have been easily defeated by entrenched attitudes and interests within the sport.

I think the thing is - I dislike the argument that says 'well it would have been like this anyway' because it denies any agency over the process.

I think that Puerto is one of the greatest missed opportunities in sport because its reach went far beyond one sport or one country.
 

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