Who have been the clean winners over the years?

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Apr 12, 2009
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hulkgogan said:
What's telling is out of the hundreds if not thousands of pros that rode in the 90s, you can count on one hand the number of guys who you're confident in saying were clean.
It really is interesting how the whole 80s generation of Tour contenders got bumped down a notch in 1991. Lemond and Fignon both rode a great Tour in 1991, but could only manage 7th and 6th, respectively. I suspect that if those early 90s Tours had been clean, Mottet would have won in 91 and Hampsten in 92 -- both were vocally committed to clean cycling, and both finished 4th after classy stage wins.

More should be said about Mottet these days. He was "notoriously" clean, long before it was popular, and racked up a track record of great wins through sheer class.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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BigBoat said:
Mottet was 49th in 1990, a whopping 1 hour 6 minutes and 57'' down on LeMond.

But "Ve have Vays" to improve.
Mottet was actually outspoken about clean cycling. And he'd finished 4th in the Tour before: 1987. 1990 was just an off year for him.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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yetanothergreenworld said:
Mottet was actually outspoken about clean cycling. And he'd finished 4th in the Tour before: 1987. 1990 was just an off year for him.
Fair point man, no doubt he was good but I find it hard he beats LeMond and Fingon after they dominated the year before; 1990. I find a lot of the clean riders hard to believe but I know there's been quite a few solid pros in the United States that have ridden without red cell harvesting or epo so its possible he was another freak like Le-Mond and Fingon.

LeMond says he came into that Tour much stronger than 1990. He says in 90 he didnt have top form >>but he went into 1991 and told his wife nobody had a chance in hell against him. But as the race went on the overall pace felt insane and "I dont know, I'm not feeling so good." The type of thing someone starting to get the stomach flu would say.

Now LeMond has basically hinted that most guys not on epo that year had to drop out of the race because the pace was so incredibly high. The next year LeMond dropped out after finishing 52 minutes behind on the stage 13 to Sestriere. So I think by 1992 every rider at the top was on epo.

LeMond didnt get into the Worlds in 1993 I dont believe he didnt ride the Tour.

In 1994 LeMond tried to ride the Tour again and dropped out on the 270 km stage 6 after being dropped by the whole pack apparently.

To me it seems the field got more and more "jacked" as the early 90s went by, and it became less and less possible to even ride in the pack let alone finish a major race. So who was even available to do the top races was determined by drugs/ red blood cell harvesting.

Now, I dont believe that EPO started in earnest at 1994 like David Walsh says. If I helped write that book I would have gotten deep into everybody being on epo in 92. Clearly the fact that LeMond disentigrated in such a manner suggests everybody was doing it at that point.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Voet declares categorically that Mottet was clean, a view supported by the peloton at the time.

There's a great story that, when Mottet won the 1988 Tour of Lombardy after a 150 km lone breakaway (he won by 5 minutes), Gino Bartali got off his sickbed and drove to the race finish to congratulate him, telling him that was how they used to win in the old days.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Lemond clean?

krebs303 said:
Greg LeMond? A time trail record that stands for 25 years against advances in equipment, areodynamics and training. not to mention all the dopers. it does not add up.
Many former teammates as well as both Guimard and Koechli have stated Lemond was clean. In fact you'll find absolutely no one in pro racing circles who says anything else.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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im not so sure about sastre i like him as a rider but he was on csc with hamilton and basso and he was with lance and basso on alp d huez attacking lance so im not saying he doped but you cant be sure
 
Apr 12, 2009
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BigBoat said:
LeMond says he came into that Tour much stronger than 1990. He says in 90 he didnt have top form >>but he went into 1991 and told his wife nobody had a chance in hell against him. But as the race went on the overall pace felt insane and "I dont know, I'm not feeling so good." The type of thing someone starting to get the stomach flu would say.


I take your point about the drastic raising of the bar in the early 90s, but the external evidence would suggest that Mottet himself was not one of the bad guys, and indeed his palmares have the depth (from the Dauphine Libere to Six-Days to the Tour of Lombardy) to back this up. The fact is that he had the hit-or-miss track record characteristic of someone not relying on blood boosters: he went back and forth between good Tour performances (1987, 1989, 1991) and poor ones (1988, 1990).

From a New Yorker article on drugs and cycling a few years back: "Voet cites the case of Charly Mottet, a top French rider of the eighties and nineties, who came to the RMO team, where amazement was expressed that “the bloke was clean.' Mottet had, in many people’s view, the talent to win the Tour, but Voet recognized that he lacked 'the wherewithal to make it happen.' In other words, he refused the tempting pharmacopoeia. Mottet was known for his weakness over the final third of the Tour, and the soigneur’s conclusion is as sad as it is hypocritical: 'Yes indeed, Charly never had the career that he deserved.'"
 
Apr 9, 2009
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BroDeal said:
Indurain is what first clued me into that something was seriously wrong with pro cycling. I had never even heard of EPO at the time. The exact moment was that time trial where he beat all the other contenders by four minutes. The closest was Armand de las Cuevas at three minutes. That combined with his climbing and with some other anomalies like Chiapucci made me realize that something was rotten.
Agreed, Indurain was a dirty as anyone in the '90s. Rode after the advent of epo, and before even the hematocrit limit was started. Client of Conconi (mentor to Ferrari). Tested positive for salbutamol in 1994 (before it was banned).

Interesting quotes from a 2000 article:

"Spanish newspaper, Marca, published a story today reacting strongly against the accusations/insinuations of former Banesto rider, Thomas Davy, against five-time Tour de France winner, Miguel Indurain. They called it a "personal revenge campaign" after Davy had said that systematic doping was common in the Banesto team in 1995 and 1996 (when he was there), and Miguel Indurain could not be excluded.

"Without proof, no-one may touch Miguel Indurain," said the article. "He undertook a hundred doping controls throughout his career that showed him to be clean." However as has been pointed out previously, there were no reliable EPO tests at that time so the posturing is false, whether Indurain took EPO or not.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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As much as I am a fan of Indurain's, I agree that he most probably took dope. (I think Delgado also admitted to it). His response to Thomas Davy wasn't one of denial or acceptance. But rather said that it is possible to win the TdF with out drugs.

I remember Lemond saying that EPO really helped the bigger riders like , Indurain, etc more so than the smaller ones. Has there been large 70+ kg riders who have won the tour prior to 1990?

Would Indurain taken drugs after 1998 if he was around, I'm not sure, but there is a big difference between the likes of Indurain (where doping was part of the culture back then) and someone like Armstrong. I don't recall Indurain ever persecuting and making someone's life hell for speaking out about doping in the peleton. Also Indurain didn't try and dominate and win every stage like Armstrong. I was interested however in his response to when Riis admitted to doping. I guess Riis was trapped and had to, but Indurain basically said that it served no useful purpose to speak out after all these years. Only harm can come from it. I think one day he will admit to it though. I think he's conscience will get the better of him.

But I really admire someone like Mottet who didn't do it regardless.
 
Thanks Big Boat; good posts and stats on Lemond 's fall.

I too remember 1991 and a week into the Tour after Greg had attacked with Abdu, Kelly and Breukink on stage 1 in a beautifully timed win, he seemed unbeatable. When he lost the first ITT to Indurain it seemed strange, but it didn't seem to matter. Greg was going to win his 4th Tour. After LeBlanc won the stage to Jaca, and then Greg completely faltered on the stage to Val Loran losing by over 7 minutes, and afterward had no explanation for his poor performance, it seemed unreal. Now, eighteen years later, we know why.

1992 was even more telling, as Big Boat's numbers showed.

The other rider who might have been clean during most of that time was Erik Breukink. He was someone who was challenging Greg, sometimes beating him in the TT's, and close to hanging with him in the climbs. He looked like 1991 or 1992 would have been his year. But in 92 he was over 18 minutes back, didn't finish in 1993, and in 1994 was an hour behind. 29 years old and his career was essentially over.

By all accounts Mottet was clean. Had everyone been clean, he, Hampsten, and Delion (maybe Breukink too) would have been the ones giving Greg a run for his money in 1991-1993. Indurain would have been very good too, but it seems much more logical he'd be riding about as well, or a little better than he did in 1990, not leaps and bounds better.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Sorry to say it, but I don't think Breukink was clean. Remember in the 90's when the whole PDM team dropped out (Kelly, Alcala, Breukink, etc) due to some food poisoning and stomach bug. Well, we found out later that it was due to a bad batch of blood that was injected into them. Wasn't cared for properly. Can't remember the sources but it was well known.

But hey, doping doesn't mean your a bad person. When the whole peleton was basicallly doing it, it is really a culture, much like social drinking I guess. But, if you didn't do it, then that makes you an incredible person. A person that tries to cheat in football without the ref seeing it to gain a penalty kick, or doesn't walk when they knick the ball in cricket to the wicketkeeper, etc is just as bad as those that doped back then.
 
I think it's really telling though that at at the time Greg looked at himself for the problem, not the peloton. Remember all the tests he went through at the time and finally came up with (extremely rare and since disowned) mitochondrial myopathy? As highly improbable as it seems, was Greg Lemond unaware of the EPO revolution?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Indurain said:
Sorry to say it, but I don't think Breukink was clean. Remember in the 90's when the whole PDM team dropped out (Kelly, Alcala, Breukink, etc) due to some food poisoning and stomach bug. Well, we found out later that it was due to a bad batch of blood that was injected into them. Wasn't cared for properly. Can't remember the sources but it was well known.
Was it actually blood? I seem to recall they were using an intravenous lipid solution for recovery, and that is what went bad. Was that a cover story for use of something else?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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hulkgogan said:
I think it's really telling though that at at the time Greg looked at himself for the problem, not the peloton. Remember all the tests he went through at the time and finally came up with (extremely rare and since disowned) mitochondrial myopathy? As highly improbable as it seems, was Greg Lemond unaware of the EPO revolution?
That is one thing that bothers me about Lemond. I do think he probably raced clean. At the same he appears to have spent his career hopelessly naive compared to someone like Kimmage. It makes me wonder if he was truly that far out of the loop or if he does not want to go down the road of implicating teammates.
 
Mar 20, 2009
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I heard Eric Caritoux won the Vuelta clean in '84. Speaking of '84, I worked the TDF that year and befriended the assistant DS for the Columbia team who told me during the race that there had been positive tests but no sanctions were carried out or announced. It was pretty common inside knowledge during those years that an Italian would not be found positive in Italy, a Frenchman in France or a Spaniard in Spain etc.

I think I remember reading that after the Festina affair, the French sports minister pushed a law through that made it a criminal offense to defraud a sporting event, and that French national riders had to submit to monthly "health" testing to retain their racing licenses. Anyone have more info on that?

Touching on the criminality of doping in France, wasn't there an exodus of non-French pros that resided in France to Spain at about that time? Post '98? And didn't Ricco only confess to doping after he returned to Italy last year? Was there criminal-legal risk to confess while in France?
 
Apr 1, 2009
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hulkgogan said:
I think it's really telling though that at at the time Greg looked at himself for the problem, not the peloton. Remember all the tests he went through at the time and finally came up with (extremely rare and since disowned) mitochondrial myopathy? As highly improbable as it seems, was Greg Lemond unaware of the EPO revolution?
Possibly he was clueless.
Actually, a year or two ago, LeMond said he believed he never had myopathy.
Instead, he says, he was overtrained.
 
grimpeur said:
Speaking of '84, I worked the TDF that year and befriended the assistant DS for the Columbia team who told me during the race that there had been positive tests but no sanctions were carried out or announced. It was pretty common inside knowledge during those years that an Italian would not be found positive in Italy, a Frenchman in France or a Spaniard in Spain etc.
That reminds me of a story by a swedish runner. I believe it was Maria Akraka, an 800m runner in the 90s but not 100% sure it was her it could have been Malin Everlöf as well. Anyway the atlete won a race out in europe somewhere, I don't remember the country. She was set to take a doping test when the officials asked her if she needed to skip the test of if she was "ok to take it" i.e. clean.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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grimpeur said:
And didn't Ricco only confess to doping after he returned to Italy last year? Was there criminal-legal risk to confess while in France?
A mere confession of using a banned substance is too simple for a conviction. David Millar was absolved of any criminal activity as they could not confirm he had taken EPO in France. I think with Ricco using CERA it was unlikely that he would've taken the drug itself in France due to the longevity of the product.
 
I think Mottet was definitely clean, any rider Willy Voet said was clean must have been. Likewise Gilles Delion was always anti-doping. Voet said Eric Caritoux was clean in 84 but not necessarily afterward. Lets make it clear again that there was no comparison between the drugs taken before the arrival of EPO.

On LeMond, I think his decline was mixture of the arrival of EPO and his own physical decline for whatever reasons. Lets not forget Andy Hampsten was still finishing high up the Tour GC 91-93 when EPO was widespread and he was supposedly clean.

On that 89 final TT, I agree with all other points made before in LeMonds defence plus it was one of the shortest final time trials ever 25km, so naturally it was faster, lets not forget Thierry Marie wasnt that far behind him in 2nd & Fignon had a bad day. LeMond was always a top, top Time triallist unlike a fellow countryman. How come the French never did anything dodgy against LeMond, strange that!!

I think the arrival of EPO finished the careers of Mottet and Laurent Fignon although I dont think Fignon was necessarily clean, he just didnt want to take EPO, Mottet retired at 31, a relatively young age to retire. Why?

As for these people who believe no positive tests means you are clean. One rider should end this ridiculous notion, Bjarne Riis, never ever tested positive or had a high haematrocit test despite his alleged Mr.Sixty per cent nickname.

For current riders, I have my own beliefs on who is clean or not and that is not based on any drug test results. Lets put it like this, I would never back any rider 100% to be clean, like certain people on here do, but I look at peoples attitudes, their teams attitudes etc and their training patterns, as well as results and they form an opinion without backing them completely.

Finally, everyone on here is entitled to their opinion on any subject but there is a certain person with a certain rider in their name, always on the forums defending said rider, again entitled to their opinion, but seriously, how old are you, 5/6, al least thats the impression I anyway.
 
At the same Greg appears to have spent his career hopelessly naive
That's certainly the case in 1986. He had to have been the only person in France who didn't quickly realize that Hinault was going to go for it and push him to the end.

My guess is that Greg had heard of EPO, but didn't think it would do much more than corticoids or uppers had in the past, or that it would be as widespread as it was. He also likely didn't want to spit in the soup by making accusations that he had no way to prove, and get himself blackballed.
 
Definately naive, as late as 98 he's still discounting the efficacy of EPO:

Bicyclist: Then let me restate the question. Do you feel that drug use is prevalent in the pro peloton?

LeMond: Well, it's hard to say. I don't know if it's drugs, but there are substances. I don't know that I buy the excuse by people who say they didn't perform well in a one-day race because the winners were on drugs. In a one-day race, there's no reason you cannot perform as well as someone taking drugs. EPO (Erythropoeitin, a naturally-ocurring and synthesized hormone that increases red blood cell count) just increases your red blood cells. Here in America you can train at altitude any time you want and get the same benefit from altitude as from EPO. Steroids, on the other hand, accelerate recovery. I went steroid free throughout my whole career. There were always rumors of guys taking stuff, but more than steroids it was the cortisone, the catabolic, not the anabolic. Of course there were tests, and people have been caught with testosterone. The Italians, somewhere in the '80s, figured out how to take small amounts to be on the legal side of it, which does help recovery and would help tremendously in a three week race. I've heard two sides of the drug issue. First of all, you have to understand the doping mentality. I don't think there's a rider in the peloton that prefers to take drugs. It's simply what doing to keep up with competition, and if they think everyone's getting away with it, they feel like they need to use it, too. Half of these guys haven't finished high school, have a wife and three kids at home, and if they don't perform, they won't get paid. The problem with Americans is that our ethics are sometimes a bit nave-don't get me wrong, the American ethic is really good, I like the American attitude, but it doesn't really bite into the reality of situation. I know my old teammate, Eric Boyer, retired because he didn't want to touch the stuff, and I know many other people who made it through clean, such as Andy Hampsten and Steve Bauer. Every rider on La Vie Claire was clean, that was Paul Keochli's big deal to make sure he had a clean team. But I do know in the early '90s there was a huge movement in Italy. Riders that had been racing for six or seven years were suddenly riding really well. To me, that looks a little suspicious. The drug issue is something I often thought about during my career. Toward the end, I always wondered, 'Is everyone taking drugs, while I stay clean, causing me to perform so poorly?' But there wasn't a drug in the world that would've helped me. One thing I do know is that a teammate of mine went to an Italian team and he died of a heart attack a year later. It was a little disappointing. I do think the riders are trying to say, 'Hey, we're for control testing.' The riders are the ones who pushed for the haematocrit level tests, so people would stay within the limits.
 
Good detective work there Hulk. Though I think a lot of people in the general public felt the same way Greg did.

It's been said that somewhere around that time Greg started making some connections and was getting tipped off to the effects of EPO (HGH and others) by some in the cycling world inside. I guess that would stand to reason to thus think Greg put his thinking cap on, did his homework, and realized that what some of these riders were doing were way beyond what you could achieve sleeping in a cabin at altitude.

Interestingly enough, though I think it's all but completely certain Tony Rominger doped, one of his first techniques revealed when he went from being pretty good, to really good was spending June in first Indian Springs, then Leadville, Colorado, riding the roads, and up Mt. Evans about every other day to increase his hemoglobin to prepare for the Tour. So it stands to reason why Greg may have said what he did at that time as well.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Ultimately, as Lemond stated in hulkgogan's post, a rider has to come to terms with his knowledge, skills, and abilities to cope as a rider and as a person. The rider has to be smart enough to say: " 'Is everyone taking drugs, while I stay clean, causing me to perform so poorly?' But there wasn't a drug in the world that would've helped me."

Ultimately a rider has to face up to his or her level of competitiveness, level of commitment to the sport and their family, level of talent, and how low he or she is willing to stoop to get a win.

Once you start down the road of performance enhancement, it's difficult to turn back without losing your self respect and looking the fool.

But, better to turn back, than to proceed down the performance enhancement route and never admit at all - and there are probably MANY riders who are in this category.
 

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