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Who Wins With An Even Playing Field?

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Oct 30, 2010
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Who wins with an even playing field?

If there had been no EPO or blood manipulation of any kind, strong testing plus a culture of keeping the sport clean from within – then we would have seen a very different sport. The tactics would have been different, riders would have cracked, possibly there would have been more opportunity to make big gains on one stage. All in all, it would have been very different from the 250cc GP we saw back then.

Maybe even the sport itself would have been different with shorter stages and fewer hilltop finishes. Maybe the sport would have overall been more popular and the three tours would have an equal footing. But all of this is something we don’t know, and will never know. Some people may look at what’s happening at the Vuelta this week and think that’s great sport. I don’t.

The only thing I can say with any certainty is that Armstrong would not have won the TdF, not once. And that Marco Pantani, Frank Vandenbroucke and others might be alive today, enjoying their bikes.
 
Jul 10, 2012
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Benotti69 said:
New Zealander Stephen Swart was doping with Armstrong on Motorola.

Why didn't USADA interview Swart, and then void Lance's results back to 1992? After all, Lance can still claim he's a world champion and a Tour stage winner. Why allow that? It doesn't seem very thorough.
 

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babastooey said:
Why didn't USADA interview Swart, and then void Lance's results back to 1992? After all, Lance can still claim he's a world champion and a Tour stage winner. Why allow that? It doesn't seem very thorough.

Certainly the USADA had it within its power to go further back. I suspect one reason may have been Lance's cancer in 1996. This would be sensitive for the general public. A second reason could be just costs. It would be terribly expensive to go back and do all the research and witness interviewing.

Also, keep in mind that your position is easy to see now. Six weeks ago it would have been a much harder sell for the USADA.

Frankly, it is the TdF wins that really count for the general public. As these are gone, so is his reputation. And few people will ever mention his World Champion trophy without feeling embarrassed.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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benlondon said:
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.

Certainly the gains from doping aren't what they were, and certainly if Hesjedal and Wiggins are clean then that indicates that they're now minor, but I think that's a very big if. I'm more inclined to think like you seem to for Valverde: That the gains are significantly smaller than in the past, but still very significant, which of cause by extension makes it unlikely that either Wiggins or Hesjedal are in fact clean.
 
A

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Hats off to Vuelta trio

I was exhausted just watching today's stage. Lets' hope against hope all three leaders are squeaky clean.
 
Apr 20, 2012
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Markyboyzx6r said:
Who wins with an even playing field?

If there had been no EPO or blood manipulation of any kind, strong testing plus a culture of keeping the sport clean from within – then we would have seen a very different sport. The tactics would have been different, riders would have cracked, possibly there would have been more opportunity to make big gains on one stage. All in all, it would have been very different from the 250cc GP we saw back then.

Maybe even the sport itself would have been different with shorter stages and fewer hilltop finishes. Maybe the sport would have overall been more popular and the three tours would have an equal footing. But all of this is something we don’t know, and will never know. Some people may look at what’s happening at the Vuelta this week and think that’s great sport. I don’t.

The only thing I can say with any certainty is that Armstrong would not have won the TdF, not once. And that Marco Pantani, Frank Vandenbroucke and others might be alive today, enjoying their bikes.
Couldn't agree more.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Cycle Fiesta said:
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.
Yeah... I think Bassons had a slightly higher V02 max than Lance but it wasn't that much better.

Probably some guys who are near the top today would be in contention for the win with a clean Tour. Basso probably would have benefited the most from having a clean TDF although maybe some others we dont know as well....... I truly dont believe Lance the way he is in an undoped state could do better than win some one day classics on a perfectly level field. His 02 per kilo is too low for long climbs.

Now Vaughters said he had "upper 80s" and that his natural crit is 53.....dont know about that one. :)
 
BigBoat said:
... Now Vaughters said he had "upper 80s" and that his natural crit is 53.....dont know about that one. :)

BB are you talking about Lance in this bit? Because its complete rubbish. Lance himself (a veritable paragon of virtue) has stated his VO2max was about 80 (when it was last measured age 16 lol), and his crit levels fluctuated from 39 to 45 (he said he started 2003 TdF at 39). Then we get the figures from his biopassport results 2009 and 2010 - low 40s?

A natural crit of 53 would require an exemption like AC has, which Lance does not have.
 

the big ring

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sittingbison said:
BB are you talking about Lance in this bit? Because its complete rubbish. Lance himself (a veritable paragon of virtue) has stated his VO2max was about 80 (when it was last measured age 16 lol), and his crit levels fluctuated from 39 to 45 (he said he started 2003 TdF at 39). Then we get the figures from his biopassport results 2009 and 2010 - low 40s?

A natural crit of 53 would require an exemption like AC has, which Lance does not have.

Pretty sure Ed Coyle measured LA's VO2 and acoggan reckons LA got tested ... lemme find the post.

acoggan said:
Prior to the 1996 Olympics, Armstrong's VO2max was reported by the head exercise physiologist at the US Olympic Training Center to be 84 mL/min/kg when measured in Colorado Springs, CO, i.e., at 1800-1900 m. If you *** u me that he experienced the 5-10% reduction typical at that altitude, then his sea level VO2max at the time would have been 88-93 mL/min/kg.

This flies in the face of the VO2 measured by Ed Coyle (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15774697) at 71.5 in November 1999 - a scant 4 months after LA won his first TdF. He apparently weighed 79.7kg at the time. Porky beggar, wasn't he? :eek:

4 months later he started the 2000 season.
 
and from the horses mouth in 2008:

"What’s your VO2 Max?
Today? I’ve no idea.

What was it?
I don’t know.

You don’t know?
I did some tests back when I was 16.

You don’t know your VO2 Max?
I haven’t done a test in a long time.

What was it?
The best I can remember, the low 80s.

I saw some recent pictures of you cycling, Your upper body looks much bigger than when you were winning the Tour.
I’m 170 pounds (77kg), which is very light for me at this time of year. And there’s not a lot of fat. I usually start the season at 180 (82kg), I’m 170 now. At the Tour, I’m 164 (74kg).

Your training plans used to be done by Ferrari.
And Chris Carmichael.

Who does them now?
Chris is still heavily involved...

What’s the highest haematocrit you ever registered?
Er…I don’t know. Maybe… 45, 46. Haematocrit is a tricky number. In 2003 I started the Tour at 39. It varies greatly depending on effort the day before, dehydration, altitude. In the last couple of years I’ve been 47 48. It doesn't mean I’ve been out taking illegal drugs. I think starting the Tour at 39, that’s a compelling number. "


http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/345599/lance-armstrong-exclusive-interview.html

Several funny things even in this snip of the interview (which is now very revealing with hindsight):
1) Carmichael is amped up over Ferrari (contrary to Tylers new book)
2) Compare LA weight with wiggo/vroome lol
3) his estimate of VO2max
4) his lack of memory of testing - what those docos with him hooked up to machines that go ping, wind tunnels etc. I thought USPS was at the forefront of the scientific approach (a bit like a precursor to Sky lol).
5) hematocrit of 39 at 2003 TdF. And look at the inconsistency in the max figures lol
 

the big ring

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164lbs - which is what I guess he said, is in fact 74.5kg.

Which makes his 79.7kg weight in November 1999 much more believable (VO2 max @ 71ml/m/kg).

And means his VO2 max would have been 76.5ml/m/kg @ 74.5kg.

acoggan reckons it was 84 at altitude. And therefore 88-92 at sea level.

A change of 8 out of 84 is 9.5%
12 out of 88 is 13.6%
16 out of 92 is 17%

All of which are >= 10% - clearly. Which is a massive drop in 4 months for someone not training, let alone someone who just won the Tour de France.

<southern drawl>
I ain't buyin' the stink they sellin'.
</southern drawl>

el oh el.

For a perfectionist who prided himself on meticulous organization

Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/lance-armstrong-strikes-back-20120824#ixzz25T1mcYin

but couldn't remember diddly squat about his numbers, his weight, or whether he did in fact own shares in Tailwind. :rolleyes:
 

the big ring

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sittingbison said:
dont forget Ashenden emphatically suggests that Ed Coyle was a fraud and shyster in the interview on Lances 2005 EPO tests on 1999 samples, and that much of the physiological data was rigged including height and weight.

The chamois sniffing exercise labeled a "study" by Ed Coyle and accepted as such by JAP was a travesty that acoggan supports to this day. It is revolting.

There's more flowery innuendo and extrapolation in that study than a Mills&Boon novel.

I love this bit:
The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.
 
Mar 26, 2009
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the big ring said:
The chamois sniffing exercise labeled a "study" by Ed Coyle and accepted as such by JAP was a travesty that acoggan supports to this day. It is revolting.

There's more flowery innuendo and extrapolation in that study than a Mills&Boon novel.

I love this bit:

Quote:
The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact


Not sure what journal this particular paper was published in, but to be fair, it is common practice for scientific journals to charge the authors of the articles page charges. This allows the journals to be kept ad free but still pay for the publication.
 
"If everybody was clean, Jan Ullrich would have won the Tour 10 times"
" I don't think Ullrich ever wanted to cheat, but as everybody did it back then Ullrich did what was necessary"

Jef D'H'Ont

Think about the guy what you want, but there's hardly anyone who knew the peleton and clinic issues better then this guy

memoires-van-een-wielerzorger.jpg
 
Mar 13, 2009
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sittingbison said:
What’s the highest haematocrit you ever registered?
Er…I don’t know. Maybe… 45, 46. Haematocrit is a tricky number. In 2003 I started the Tour at 39. It varies greatly depending on effort the day before, dehydration, altitude. In the last couple of years I’ve been 47 48. It doesn't mean I’ve been out taking illegal drugs. I think starting the Tour at 39, that’s a compelling number. "[/I]

well, that compelling number could be compared to his other start numbers at the Tour's health checks pre-race. 39 compared to his other race starts, where he cannot invoke specious justifications of the blood manipulation.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Bavarianrider said:
"If everybody was clean, Jan Ullrich would have won the Tour 10 times"
" I don't think Ullrich ever wanted to cheat, but as everybody did it back then Ullrich did what was necessary"

Jef D'H'Ont

Think about the guy what you want, but there's hardly anyone who knew the peleton and clinic issues better then this guy

but Udo Bolts has said that Ullrich could not climb at Telekom before they gave him epo. Dont think you can with the Tour if you cant climb.
 
Jan did win the 1993 World's as an amateur. Maybe he couldn't climb big mountains when young, and we know Telekom and T-Mobile had a systematic doping program, but you also need to look back at the PM's between JV and Frankie where KL noted that Jan's hemocratic was 38, implying they weren't doped to the gills unlike USPS and LA.

Here's some blind guessing on my part. After about 1994 when EPO hit the peloton full force, it very well may have been a rider we have never heard of. This was the case all the way through about 2006 I'd guess.

1991 - LeMond or Mottet
1992 - LeMond or Hampsten
1993 - Indurain or Hampsten
1994 - Indurain or Giles Delion
1995 - Delion
1996 - Delion
1997 - Ullrich
1998 - Ullrich
1999 - Bassons
2000 - Bassons
2001-2006 - Possibly Moncoutié, maybe Jan if fit. Probably riders we've never heard of.

You also have to look at some of the courses of those years. Part of the reason Indurain won five Tours was EPO, part of it was natural talent, part of it was a great team, and a real part of it was very long ITT distances that suited him very well.

No way a clean Armstrong would have beaten a clean field. I think he would have done better than he did in 1995, but winning the Tour? No, I don't see it. I'd argue Bobby Julich would have had a better career. He was tapped to be a GT talent when young.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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to be fair to old lance I think he would have beaten ullrich more often than he would lose to him if they were both 100% clean, although I am not sure either would have won the tour... lance was far too professional and jan far too unprofessional
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Ferrari: Champions are naturally selected as those guys who have high parameters. You will not find endurance champions with a natural hematocrit of 38. It cannot be! And paradoxically, in this age, are favourites the less naturally strong guys, because if you are naturally low you can benefit...
Coyle: You can benefit greatly!
Ferrari: greatly...
Coyle: And if you're naturally high you can't benefit.
Ferrari: Yes.

http://soundcloud.com/djcoyle/ferrari-clip-4-you-have-to-be
 
Aug 1, 2009
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From Hamilton's book, I got a couple things. The first was that it seems like you can't necessarily tell how much someone will benefit from doping. Some of this is simply due to the 50% hematocrit limit (riders who are naturally lower can use more EPO) and some of it seems unpredictable for other reasons. I think Vaughters may have also said this in his infamous thread. Plus you have the fact that people were doing different amounts of doping, and I think it becomes very tough to know.

The other thing is that Hamilton's description of Ullrich (as a physical specimen) makes Hamilton seem pretty much in awe of Ullrich. Lance in particular used to make it a point to call Ullrich the most talented rider out there. This could have been a mind game on Lance's part (since Ullrich does seem like the type that mind games would work on) or Ullrich might have been the once-in-a-generation talent that everyone thought Lance was.
 
All this bigging up of what Ullrich could have acheived is rubbish: he was a product of the east german sports doping programme than began with him as a child (the same type of programme as the Italian system which doped Pantani as a teenager, according to Rendell). The doping wasn't epo but mainly steroids, but that gave him/them their incredibly powerful bodies/legs. If Ullrich took epo later than others, so what?
And, incidentally, Ullrichs main problems were mental, intimidated by Lance, and not even able to control his calorie input.