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Who Wins With An Even Playing Field?

In relation to the whole Armstrong affair (and other GT's that people want to discuss), just who would have won those TDF's with the peleton having an even playing field? Such discussion includes a lot of speculation, but these Armstrong years disappoint fans more than the '90's - not just because many don't like Lance - because of the feeling of an unfair playing field. Before '99 everyone was doped to the gills. It is easier to see those Tours as fairer, even though given that some react better to doping products than others, the results could very much be thrown upside down if EPO had never been realised in the early '90's (guys as heavy as Indurain and Ullrich never used to be able to climb like that). Given an even playing field with free doping, we know that LA was still one of the best climbers; only Pantani and Ullrich (and maybe Veronque?) went faster up Alp duez. But given that Jan went faster, and that he was a better ITT than climber, it's fair to say that the Lance Tours may have been different if everyone else didn't back off after the '98 scandal.

99 - Minimal competition for LA, given the 6 minute advantage he got in the first week on rivals. And Zulle never rode times as good as LA on climbs, dope or no dope, so he still wins there.

00 - For some reason Jan didn't look 100% fit in that edition. Given that he had returned to win the Vuelta in '99 I think that was strange. So I think LA still wins here. 3rd placed Beloki was a pretty free wheeling doper right? ONCE hehe.

01 - Ulle wins this one. He looked super fit in this edition, and with the high hemocrit levels of the '90's could have at least gone with LA on the climbs and then defeated him against the clock.

02 - Lance vs. Joseba. Was Armstrong getting an unfair advantage over Beloki? Would like to hear opinions on this.

03 - Ullrich to take this one. How freely was Vino allowed to dope here? And Mayo etc?

04 - LA easily.

05 - Same I think.

Does anyone feel that there was a top ten rider in any of these Tours that was relatively cleanish and therefore deserved a better placing?

I think that Lance's greatest achievement was to return to the sport on '09 and make the podium. No matter what the doping - and we know that the performance of AC on Verbier was VERY good - I am not sure that many other cyclists ever could have achieved that.

All that said, it's great that the authorities have finally caught up with Armstrong. The strong implications of cover ups and protection from the UCI are a disgrace, and need to be highlighted as much as possible.
 

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gregrowlerson said:
In relation to the whole Armstrong affair (and other GT's that people want to discuss), just who would have won those TDF's with the peleton having an even playing field? Such discussion includes a lot of speculation, but these Armstrong years disappoint fans more than the '90's - not just because many don't like Lance - because of the feeling of an unfair playing field. Before '99 everyone was doped to the gills. It is easier to see those Tours as fairer, even though given that some react better to doping products than others, the results could very much be thrown upside down if EPO had never been realised in the early '90's (guys as heavy as Indurain and Ullrich never used to be able to climb like that). Given an even playing field with free doping, we know that LA was still one of the best climbers; only Pantani and Ullrich (and maybe Veronque?) went faster up Alp duez. But given that Jan went faster, and that he was a better ITT than climber, it's fair to say that the Lance Tours may have been different if everyone else didn't back off after the '98 scandal.

99 - Minimal competition for LA, given the 6 minute advantage he got in the first week on rivals. And Zulle never rode times as good as LA on climbs, dope or no dope, so he still wins there.

00 - For some reason Jan didn't look 100% fit in that edition. Given that he had returned to win the Vuelta in '99 I think that was strange. So I think LA still wins here. 3rd placed Beloki was a pretty free wheeling doper right? ONCE hehe.

01 - Ulle wins this one. He looked super fit in this edition, and with the high hemocrit levels of the '90's could have at least gone with LA on the climbs and then defeated him against the clock.

02 - Lance vs. Joseba. Was Armstrong getting an unfair advantage over Beloki? Would like to hear opinions on this.

03 - Ullrich to take this one. How freely was Vino allowed to dope here? And Mayo etc?

04 - LA easily.

05 - Same I think.

Does anyone feel that there was a top ten rider in any of these Tours that was relatively cleanish and therefore deserved a better placing?

I think that Lance's greatest achievement was to return to the sport on '09 and make the podium. No matter what the doping - and we know that the performance of AC on Verbier was VERY good - I am not sure that many other cyclists ever could have achieved that.

All that said, it's great that the authorities have finally caught up with Armstrong. The strong implications of cover ups and protection from the UCI are a disgrace, and need to be highlighted as much as possible.

Have you read the FFC press release? This has already been settled.
 
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gregrowlerson said:
\Given an even playing field with free doping, we know that LA was still one of the best climbers;

Without a sophisticated doping program, Lance Armstrong was neither a good climber nor a good time trialist. Prior to this program, Armstrong completed one only one of four Tours entered and that was a 36th place finish.

Thus, your notion that doping "levels the playing field" is groundless. It does not. It merely rewards cyclists willing to take the greatest risks with their health, with a program monitored by the best doctors who know what they are doing.

Moreover, in the case of Armstrong, it is easy to take risks with your health when you have no fear of being caught.
 
It's really impossible to say. There could have been guys (Bassons etc.) who finished well down in the GC but weren't doping at all; with a level playing field they would surely be right up there. Maybe even riders who didn't make pro because they were beaten by doped riders at important regional amateur events could even have been in contention.

Regarding Armstrong, I think he released his own haemocrit data a couple of years ago, saying he was at 38-40%. Obviously it's not wise to really trust anything he says - but if that is true, it might suggest that he was a hyper-responder to EPO and, therefore, doping boosted his performances much more than others.

Riders like Ullrich and Beloki could well have been doping since they were about 16; so it's impossible to judge their 'clean' level.
 
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Cycle Fiesta said:
Regarding Armstrong, I think he released his own haemocrit data a couple of years ago, saying he was at 38-40%. Obviously it's not wise to really trust anything he says - but if that is true, it might suggest that he was a hyper-responder to EPO and, therefore, doping boosted his performances much more than others.

There is more to increasing performance than merely increasing Hematocrit -- plasma volume expansion is critical.
 
sport

it's sport ....the idea of a level playing field is another myth used to excuse lance

cycling is aiming to create a sport where natural ability prevails

remember a chemically charged lance nailing the prologue .......hammering the opposition in long time trials then storming ahead on high climbs?

that's what cycling needs like a hole in the head
 
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gregrowlerson said:
In relation to the whole Armstrong affair (and other GT's that people want to discuss), just who would have won those TDF's with the peleton having an even playing field? Such discussion includes a lot of speculation, but these Armstrong years disappoint fans more than the '90's - not just because many don't like Lance - because of the feeling of an unfair playing field. Before '99 everyone was doped to the gills. It is easier to see those Tours as fairer, even though given that some react better to doping products than others, the results could very much be thrown upside down if EPO had never been realised in the early '90's (guys as heavy as Indurain and Ullrich never used to be able to climb like that). Given an even playing field with free doping, we know that LA was still one of the best climbers; only Pantani and Ullrich (and maybe Veronque?) went faster up Alp duez. But given that Jan went faster, and that he was a better ITT than climber, it's fair to say that the Lance Tours may have been different if everyone else didn't back off after the '98 scandal.

Your premisses are totaly non sense.

Not everyone was doped to the gills, some riders were on the first speed only, that is enough to drop your rant.

And we all known that Lance would have been racing with gruppetto on a leveled playing field !

By his doping, cheating and corruption, we can only see him for the worst he has done.
 
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gregrowlerson said:
99 - Minimal competition for LA, given the 6 minute advantage he got in the first week on rivals. And Zulle never rode times as good as LA on climbs, dope or no dope, so he still wins there.
So where did the hour and a half that separated Armstrong from Zulle in 1995 come from?

Zulle had won two Grand Tours before Armstrong managed to get into the top 5. Whether he was doped or not, he was quicker up the climbs then. His major problem was going downhill, not uphill!
 
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Race Radio has said Ullrich could not climb at Deutsche Telekom before they had him on epo, said by Udo Bolts.

this question cannot be answered. All these athletes have talent, even said "donkeys" and I am one who buys into the theory of donkey to racehorse, which is contradictory to my point, on "pure talent" in this post.
 
I'm not sure I understand the OP, is he saying how would they go with unlimited PEDS, or how would they go clean?

So who is a responder, who a super responder, who was a racehorse regardless?

Given Armstrong was an ok classics ON DRUGS, but couldn't climb or TT until Ferrari, the whole thread appears pointless. Because except for 1999 when the theory is the peloton backed off post Festina but USPS ramped it up, they were ALL juiced to the gills. So the results as they stand answer what appears to be the question.

Best rider? Who would have won clean? It looks like Sastre and Evans with 5 and 3 TdFs total including 2006 (pereiro cheating) is likely that answer.
 
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sittingbison said:
I'm not sure I understand the OP, is he saying how would they go with unlimited PEDS, or how would they go clean?

So who is a responder, who a super responder, who was a racehorse regardless?

Given Armstrong was an ok classics ON DRUGS, but couldn't climb or TT until Ferrari, the whole thread appears pointless. Because except for 1999 when the theory is the peloton backed off post Festina but USPS ramped it up, they were ALL juiced to the gills. So the results as they stand answer what appears to be the question.

Best rider? Who would have won clean? It looks like Sastre and Evans with 5 and 3 TdFs total including 2006 (pereiro cheating) is likely that answer.
risible to think sastre raced on bread and water
 
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iZnoGouD said:
Armstrong would never have won a Tour

It's a difficult one. Jonathan Vaughter's appeared to imply to cycling news that he and other riders from the period still view Armstrong as the real winner of those tours even doped.

“It depends who you’re talking to but of course there certainly is respect. At the end of the day, Armstrong was a talented athlete. While what USADA is doing now is certainly necessary, his group of peers from the Tour de France at the time, myself included…. Look of course I’ve admitted to doping but nowhere in my mind do I feel that I would have been a better bike rider if I’d doped more. There was no amount of doping that was going to get me to win a Tour so for that generation of athletes there’s certainly going to be people that hold a certain amount of respect for him.”

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/the-united-states-of-omerta
 
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It's a tough pick to say how and who would have been up in the top 10 during those pre 2005 Tours if there was no doping.

I'd hazard to say the results would have been vastly different and perhaps only a couple of guys might have still featured in the top 10 if they were clean.
 
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I think this is completely impossible to say. That's probably the great tragedy of cycling in the 90's and 00's. We simply don't know who was the most talented. We know of some people who were clean, and probably the most deserving of our respect, but there's no way to say if on a level playing field they would be the best. We simply have to little information to reasonably speculate about the answer to this question.
 
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Lanark said:
I think this is completely impossible to say. That's probably the great tragedy of cycling in the 90's and 00's. We simply don't know who was the most talented. We know of some people who were clean, and probably the most deserving of our respect, but there's no way to say if on a level playing field they would be the best. We simply have to little information to reasonably speculate about the answer to this question.

A lot of riders seem to come back from bans and still be up there, so maybe it wouldn't be that different. I'm thinking of Valverde, Basso, Contador. Doping seems to be a kind of nuclear arms race where everyone had to do it for it to balance out.
 
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TheSecretForum said:
A lot of riders seem to come back from bans and still there be up there, so maybe it wouldn't be that different. I'm thinking of Valverde, Basso, Contador. Doping seems to be a kind of nuclear arms race where everyone had to do it for it to balance out.

Sure they came back from bans at a somewhat similar level, but unless you think they came back clean that proves nothing, and I can't see any reason why you'd think that.
 
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Cerberus said:
Sure they came back from bans at a somewhat similar level, but unless you think they came back clean that proves nothing, and I can't see any reason why you'd think that.

I am assuming that after a ban there is more focus on them, they understand the stakes a lot clearer, and the testing regime has moved on so it's harder to dope.

My impression is that without doping the pool of people that can potentially win a GT widens, but the same suspects are still in the mix as before. So we have Contador and Velverde still fighting for top places, for instance, yet the likes of Ryder Hesjedal and maybe Wiggins also get to compete.
 
Cadel Evans should have won in 2005

04 - LA easily.

05 - Same I think.

Does anyone feel that there was a top ten rider in any of these Tours that was relatively cleanish and therefore deserved a better placing?

Cadel Evans came 8th and I suspect he was the only clean rider in the top 10. Then at his physical peak I think Cadel would have won that year if all the other's hadn't been doped to the gills.
 
Comebacks at different levels

Cerberus said:
Sure they came back from bans at a somewhat similar level, but unless you think they came back clean that proves nothing, and I can't see any reason why you'd think that.

Well most people seem to agree that Contador is an exceptionally talented cyclist and I think should be able to win GTs clean in the relatively cleaner era of 2012. That's why it's so tragic he chose to dope in the first place.
Basso has never reached anything like his pre-bust form so you have to think he's either clean now or has a useless doctor. Valverde may have tried to ride the 2012 TdF clean but after his relatively p*ss-poor performance there reached straight for the medecine cabinet and is back close to his drugged best at the Vuelta.