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Who Wins With An Even Playing Field?

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
The tragedy is we'll never know for sure who would win without dope.

However, I don't believe there has been a level playing field with doping - even when doping was rife in the 90's. For this reason I will never agree with those who say doping should be allowed.

Seemingly every rider who rode for USPS / Discovery / Astana was better than they were before or after. Three examples, Popovich, Horner and Heras. More recently Gilbert's failure to meet his lofty 2011 standards leaves me sceptical.

Popovich was brought to Lotto in 2008 to support Cadel. For Discovery Popovich was driving at the head of the race up climbs dropping big name GC riders from rival teams. At Lotto he was hopeless - half the rider.

Then we have Horner. Yes he could climb but in 2007 - at 35 years of age - I distinctly recall him barely being able to hold Cadel's wheel much less provide any meaningful support on MTFs. Then at Astana - at 36 or 37 years of age he develops into the '2nd best climber in the world'.

Heras was never the rider he was when riding for Lance at USPS.

Gilbert, initially I gave him the benefit of the doubt on his inability to replicate his 2011 OPL form at BMC. But I strongly suspect his super 2011 was due to a superior program. BMC it seems were naive.

But to answer the OPs question, I have no idea.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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Completely useless speculation.

It's possible Armstrong would have never made it onto a GT podium. Great GT champions like Anquetil, Bobet and Fignon exploded onto the scene right out of their teens. Armstrong showed no such GT promise. There might have been names we never heard of in the podium finishes.

Pro cycling in the 90's was like WWF Wrestling - strictly entertainment, not sporting competition.
 
blackcat said:
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.

This needs to be corected.
Ullrich was an climber in his junior/amateur days.
On hills he was among the abo****e elite in those years.
Concerning high mountains it is a bit hard to tell as they were hardly ever used in his junior and amateur days.
What is true is that in his first pro year in 1995 Ullrich struggled a bit in the mountains.
Given the fact the he had hardly raced or trained in high mountains up to 1995 this is not a suprise, though.
Also, please keep in mind that in 195 EPO was at it's peak and Ullrich did not use Epo in 1995. (D'Hont said Ullrich started to use it in early 1996.
I think even the bigest talent can't be excpected to fly up the high mountains at age 21 given those circumstnces.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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benlondon said:
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.

Basso did win a Giro post-ban and he's getting old now. He didn't return to his old form, but he didn't become horribly bad.

Also, it seems to me, you're saying two thing here that indirectly contradict each other. If Contador might win clean that means that the gains of doping are minor - small enough that a talented clean rider can beat a slightly less talented doped rider. If on the other hand the difference between Valverdes Tour and his Vuelta is due to doping, that implies the gains due to doping are still quite large. Well beyond the level where a clean rider could realistically beat doped competitors.
 
The Hitch said:
Bassons should be in there no? Moncoutie ? Kimmage keeps talking up this.scanlon lad.

In recent years contador.

I'm always amazed to find the name Moncoutie high among the other notorious ones during the hey-days. Really makes me wonder what could have been. Like during Jonathan's 1999 record setting ride:

1. Jonathan Vaughters (USA) US Postal Service 56.50.9
2. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Casino 42.7
3. Wladimir Belli (Ita) Festina-Lotus 43.8
4. Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa) Euskatel-Euskadi 51.84
5. Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 1.01.2
6. Kevin Livingston (USA) US Postal Service 1.25.5
7. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis 1.40.6
8. Unaï Osa (Spa) Banesto 2.01.1
9. Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal Service 2.18.1
10. Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskatel-Euskadi 2.18.2

Very poor company to be in other than on the results page.

I was wondering if anyone could translate the following from Bassons regarding this topic, I found google translate horrid:

Que répondez-vous à ceux qui défendent Armstrong en disant que tous les cyclistes sont dopés et donc qu'il reste un grand champion, meilleur que les autres ?

Je peux faire appel à mon expérience personnelle. A Festina, en hiver, je distançais Virenque dans les côtes, j'avais de meilleurs tests que Zülle (champion du monde de contre-la-montre, deux fois deuxième du Tour). Puis, dès que le système se mettait en place, je rétrogradais dans la hiérarchie de l'équipe. Il ne faut pas se voiler la face : un coureur qui carbure à l'EPO se donne l'avantage d'un véritable turbo. Je pense qu'entre un mec clean qui termine dans les quatre-vingts premiers à Paris et le vainqueur qui se charge, il n'y a pas d'écart. Si tu les places sur un pied d'égalité, le quatre-vingtième termine peut-être devant le maillot jaune. Un grand champion n'est de toute façon jamais un sportif qui se dope. Pour l'être, il faut être irréprochable mentalement, physiquement et socialement.
 
Mar 23, 2010
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Fatclimber said:
Que répondez-vous à ceux qui défendent Armstrong en disant que tous les cyclistes sont dopés et donc qu'il reste un grand champion, meilleur que les autres ?

Je peux faire appel à mon expérience personnelle. A Festina, en hiver, je distançais Virenque dans les côtes, j'avais de meilleurs tests que Zülle (champion du monde de contre-la-montre, deux fois deuxième du Tour). Puis, dès que le système se mettait en place, je rétrogradais dans la hiérarchie de l'équipe. Il ne faut pas se voiler la face : un coureur qui carbure à l'EPO se donne l'avantage d'un véritable turbo. Je pense qu'entre un mec clean qui termine dans les quatre-vingts premiers à Paris et le vainqueur qui se charge, il n'y a pas d'écart. Si tu les places sur un pied d'égalité, le quatre-vingtième termine peut-être devant le maillot jaune. Un grand champion n'est de toute façon jamais un sportif qui se dope. Pour l'être, il faut être irréprochable mentalement, physiquement et socialement.

How do you respond to those who defend Armstrong by saying that all cyclists are doped and therefore that he remains a great champion, better than the others?

I can refer to my personal experience. On Festina, in the winter, I distanced Virenque on the climbs, I had better tests then Zulle (TT world champion, twice second in the Tour). Then, as soon as the system was put in place, I fell in the team hierarchy. One shouldn't hide one's eyes: a rider fueled by EPO gives himself a real turbo advantage. I think that between a clear guy who finished in the top 80 in Paris and the doped winner, there's no difference. If you put them on equal footing, the 80th finishes maybe in front of the yellow jersey. A great champion in any case is never a doping athlete. To be a champion, one must be irreproachable mentally, physically and socially.
 
Mstumpf77 said:
How do you respond to those who defend Armstrong by saying that all cyclists are doped and therefore that he remains a great champion, better than the others?

I can refer to my personal experience. On Festina, in the winter, I distanced Virenque on the climbs, I had better tests then Zulle (TT world champion, twice second in the Tour). Then, as soon as the system was put in place, I fell in the team hierarchy. One shouldn't hide one's eyes: a rider fueled by EPO gives himself a real turbo advantage. I think that between a clear guy who finished in the top 80 in Paris and the doped winner, there's no difference. If you put them on equal footing, the 80th finishes maybe in front of the yellow jersey. A great champion in any case is never a doping athlete. To be a champion, one must be irreproachable mentally, physically and socially.

Thanks. To me this a reflection of the tragedy of the era, and the tragedy of professional sports. Sports discussions and hypothesizing are supposed to be fun and interesting, but when it's in regards to cheating it's just sad. The relevance compounds the sadness. Lately, Gooner's previous quote from Scanlon:

'When you see donkeys performing like racehorses and knowing they're drugged you realise it's all a waste of time.'

pretty much sums up my sentiments. This camel's back has now been broken, the last 2 straws were Liggett's asinine remarks and the recent reminder of riders being spat on by the peloton for speaking the truth against the Omerta. People can sympathize with these young riders all they want, but the courageous ones are never able to entertain us as they should. That's what sports are for isn't it? How can I really watch and cheer for the real heroes like Moncoutie when he finishes in the pack on the stages he should be competing in? How exciting is that? The fact that threads like this exist points to the absurdity of the situation. Hopefully this changes but I don't see it happening.
 
May 14, 2010
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Answer: none of them. In a totally clean race, that is.

In a totally clean race, Bassons* maybe would have been up there, and as for the rest of the top ten and other winners, those would be names most of us barely recognize, or, better still, names we don't know: racers who never made it into the pro peloton because they weren't doping, or those who chose not to go pro because they refused to dope!

Most of these doping bozos couldn't hang with real men, let's face it.

EDIT: * And Moncoutie.
 
Cerberus said:
Basso did win a Giro post-ban and he's getting old now. He didn't return to his old form, but he didn't become horribly bad.

Also, it seems to me, you're saying two thing here that indirectly contradict each other. If Contador might win clean that means that the gains of doping are minor - small enough that a talented clean rider can beat a slightly less talented doped rider. If on the other hand the difference between Valverdes Tour and his Vuelta is due to doping, that implies the gains due to doping are still quite large. Well beyond the level where a clean rider could realistically beat doped competitors.

I think the gains of doping in 2012 are relatively minor (compared with the days of Riis when a very ordinary domestique could be changed into a tour winner). But even when Berty's career started there were bigger gains to had from doping. I'm 99 percent sure Wiggins and Hesjedal won their GTs this year clean, which suggests that the gains from doping, until the next wonder product comes along, are relatively minor.
Unfortunately the Vuelta is making me less comfortable. When a convicted, unrepentant doper like Valverde suddenly makes a big improvement you have to be suspicious. And a 3 or 4 percent improvement is probably all Valverde needed to take him from Tour stage winner to GC contendor.
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Moose McKnuckles said:
This. +1

I do think on an even playing field, we'd be talking about 7 tours for Ullrich.
I think Iban Mayo may have done something special as well.

When you say even playing field do you mean no doping (or EPO) or equalized doping?
 
Jul 18, 2010
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Cerberus said:
Also, it seems to me, you're saying two thing here that indirectly contradict each other. If Contador might win clean that means that the gains of doping are minor - small enough that a talented clean rider can beat a slightly less talented doped rider. If on the other hand the difference between Valverdes Tour and his Vuelta is due to doping, that implies the gains due to doping are still quite large.


All the above.

The doses and the effects are not what they were in the 90's so maybe today a clean cyclist might occasionally beat the dopers. In the 90's when the dopers where on rocket fuel, no chance. Doesn't mean doping isn't still rampant.

Also the degree of improvement is all over the map. Riders have to be cautious. If you start putting in one performance after another that looks like something out of the 90's you are inviting to much attention and are more likely to get caught.
 
Jul 10, 2012
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Turner29 said:
Prior to this program, Armstrong completed one only one of four Tours entered and that was a 36th place finish.

So what you are saying is that Lance finished 36th in 1995 without doping and perhaps early stages of cancer? How early does cancer show up, because by October 2006 it had spread everywhere.

How many of those guys in the top 35 would have been ahead of Lance if they weren't using drugs, and if Lance had been completely free of cancer? I guess that would be more of a worthy comparison.

Could Lance with early cancer have cracked the top 25 in 1995 if everyone had been clean? Based on this, where would he have finished in 1999-2005 when he was free of cancer if everyone had been clean? Based on his age, would he have been more at his prime in the late 1990s/early 2000s? Has there ever been a clean rider who finished about 25th and then a few years later won the Tour as they hit their peak years?
 
People saying Bassons or someone way down on classement would win, I dunno. There would have to be guys ahead that would still be a bit ahead if you took drugs away.

If everyone who took drugs was DQed then Bassons would win.

Anyway, this hypothesising is crazy because we could say just about anyone and nobody would be able to prove/disprove them.
 
babastooey said:
So what you are saying is that Lance finished 36th in 1995 without doping and perhaps early stages of cancer?...

Lance was doped to the eyeballs in 1995. He had already failed numerous T/E and HcG tests (three still extant?), and if you had paid attention for the past six years Betsy and Frankie made sworn depositions in 2006 to him admitting taking every substance known to doping - Testosterone, EPO, Steroids, Insulin etc.

Even juiced to the gills he came in 1hr 28min 6sec behind Big Mig. He was in good company though, Bruyneel came 31st at 1hr 18min 14sec behind. the next three behind him were Georg Totschnig, Udo Bölts and Andrea Tafi lol
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Mstumpf77 said:
How do you respond to those who defend Armstrong by saying that all cyclists are doped and therefore that he remains a great champion, better than the others?

I can refer to my personal experience. On Festina, in the winter, I distanced Virenque on the climbs, I had better tests then Zulle (TT world champion, twice second in the Tour). Then, as soon as the system was put in place, I fell in the team hierarchy. One shouldn't hide one's eyes: a rider fueled by EPO gives himself a real turbo advantage. I think that between a clear guy who finished in the top 80 in Paris and the doped winner, there's no difference. If you put them on equal footing, the 80th finishes maybe in front of the yellow jersey. A great champion in any case is never a doping athlete. To be a champion, one must be irreproachable mentally, physically and socially.
thankyou Mstumpf77
 
Aug 25, 2012
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Bicycle said:
Impossible to judge. We've really no way of assessing how well the dopers would perform when clean.

Agreed! Even if we knew who was clean and who wasn't it would be hard to know. Maybe we need a list of clean riders to choose from. Good luck with that!
 
Jul 19, 2009
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sittingbison said:
Lance was doped to the eyeballs in 1995. He had already failed numerous T/E and HcG tests (three still extant?), and if you had paid attention for the past six years Betsy and Frankie made sworn depositions in 2006 to him admitting taking every substance known to doping - Testosterone, EPO, Steroids, Insulin etc.

Even juiced to the gills he came in 1hr 28min 6sec behind Big Mig. He was in good company though, Bruyneel came 31st at 1hr 18min 14sec behind. the next three behind him were Georg Totschnig, Udo Bölts and Andrea Tafi lol

And what about that?
Bishop raced with Lance Armstrong on a professional team from 1991-1993 and for the cyclist who says he's spent his entire career without doping it was frustrating to watch Armstrong and other athletes reap the benefits of an illegal performance enhancing drug called EPO.

"Ultimately I did not get along with Lance on them team and that mentality of win at all costs," Bishop said.

But for this father of two to see Armstrong's titles stripped does give him hope for a better future in the sport.


http://www.fox44abc22yourvoice.com/...=default&clipId=7651832#.UDgQcpZiHfI.facebook
Did Bishop see Lance on EPO since 1993?
 
Jul 10, 2012
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sittingbison said:
Lance was doped to the eyeballs in 1995.

Watch out there, comrade, if USADA says Lance wasn't doped in 1995, then I guess he wasn't?

I mean, they voided his results back to 1998, and I know they weren't able to retest vials from 1998, because vials from that far back aren't kept. Why didn't they void his results back to 1992??
 
babastooey said:
Watch out there, comrade, if USADA says Lance wasn't doped in 1995, then I guess he wasn't?

I mean, they voided his results back to 1998, and I know they weren't able to retest vials from 1998, because vials from that far back aren't kept. Why didn't they void his results back to 1992??
Because they need evidence of conspiracy to waive the SOL, I'd wager.
 
May 26, 2010
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babastooey said:
Watch out there, comrade, if USADA says Lance wasn't doped in 1995, then I guess he wasn't?

I mean, they voided his results back to 1998, and I know they weren't able to retest vials from 1998, because vials from that far back aren't kept. Why didn't they void his results back to 1992??

New Zealander Stephen Swart was doping with Armstrong on Motorola.