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Why LA is not a doper (seriously)

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Dr. Maserati

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ThisFrenchGuy said:
..... However, if we believe the riders are partly victims of the system, we should grant him the same pity. He probably engaged in doping for the same reason than most riders: it was being clean or being competitive.

IMO- I have no problem saying that Armstrong is an excellent athlete - he was winning in Europe at age 19.
However being an excellent responder helped transform him from being a very good Classic rider in to a TdF phenomenon.

Also - the reason he is not granted the same pity is because he is not just a participant of doping - he is an avid enforcer of the Omerta.
 
gree0232:

Then the answer is that he most probably did, considering the 2005 results of the 99 samples coupled with all the other elements that have surfaced and the other suspicions.

You can choose to believe, like for Zabel, part or all of his accomplishments were clean. It is an act of faith from your part, that many cannot do anymore, as riders have abused the trust of the fans many times over since 98 and before.

Drugs alone cannot turn you into a grand tour winner, nor indeed can they keep you there for a sustained period of time alone. The steady deterioration of Ullrich is a case in point.

5 or 6 podiums is deterioration? I would say on the contrary they are excellent longevity, especially considering his "life hygiene" did not seem very strict compared to a lot of riders.
Do drugs makes you a GT winner? Not if you are an average joe, sure. But to comment on what part of the performance is dependant on PED seems very foolhardy to me. Modern PED have a huge impact on performance. It can certainly give you the edge to go from "good GC position" to "top GC contender".
 
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ThisFrenchGuy said:
Can't do, because we all know that doping is uneven, in its results or the access to drugs. We all know "they all dope, so it doesn't change anything except the speed" is not true. Admitting to that means that you cast into jeopardy all his achievements.

You would also admit he is a liar, a massive one as he was adamant and very talkative on this issue.

Armstrong himself will never admit. He is now cornered on the matter. It would shatter his image, it would taint his caritative effort, and I believe he would be lynched in the US media, to the extent he was idealized. I don't like the guy, but if I was in his shoes I reckon I would probably play the comedy to the bitter end. Then again with his comeback, he is taking a lot of risks.

I guess I could be labeled as being part of the "Armstrong express-hate-train", since the 2000 Hautacam climb. I agree he probably did a lot of harm on the anti-doping issues and to the sport. However, if we believe the riders are partly victims of the system, we should grant him the same pity. He probably engaged in doping for the same reason than most riders: it was being clean or being competitive.

You speak as if he is already convicted. I will grant you that alone does not make you a Lance-Hater, but it does seem a bit pre-mature. It is true that Lance dropped nearly everyone on Hautacam, including Zulle, Pentani, and Ullrich, all of whom are acknowledged dopers.

A couple of facts:

1. Ullrich was just getting back to the Tour after missing the previous year. He also famously struggled with his weight that year.

2. Marco Pentani was also coming off a lengthy abscence, and his prowess in both the Tour and the Giro that year were yo-yo-ish to be accurate. Hautacam was the first real climb in that year's Tour, and, just like the Giro, Pentani struggled up the climb -- in sharp contrast to Ventoux.

3. Zulle was on the tail end of his career and was clearly not at his best that year.

4. Conversely, Lance Arsmrtong had revolutionized Training. He trained for fitness, rather raced into fitness like many riders of the day. His training regimen was notoriously grueling, and, now, unlike then, is now the training standard for cycling.

What Hautacam proves is that discipline coupled with targetted training and hard work will allow you to beat comparatively lazy dopers.

Again, the fact that Lance beat dopers is not, in and of itself, and anti-doping violation.

I will grant that there is suspicion of it, and if proof of doping is found, I will follow the preponderance of the evidence and change my opinion.

To date, despite all the suspicions, every body capable of rendering a decision has exonerated Lance. There are no anti-doping convictions despite nearly a decade of trying to convict him.

That is as strong a proof of innocence as our system (The Western system) allows, and I will remind you that the burden of proof must be 50.1% in order turn suspicion into guilt.
 
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gree0232 said:
What Hautacam proves is that discipline coupled with targetted training and hard work will allow you to beat comparatively lazy dopers.

You honestly think Zulle, Pantani and Ullrich were lazy compared to Armstrong?

The 'dopers are lazy' story is the biggest misconception about doping that there is.
 
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ThisFrenchGuy said:
gree0232:

Then the answer is that he most probably did, considering the 2005 results of the 99 samples coupled with all the other elements that have surfaced and the other suspicions.

You can choose to believe, like for Zabel, part or all of his accomplishments were clean. It is an act of faith from your part, that many cannot do anymore, as riders have abused the trust of the fans many times over since 98 and before.



5 or 6 podium is deterioration? I would say on the contrary they are excellent longevity.
Do drugs makes you a GT winner? Not if you are an average joe, sure. But to comment on what part of the performance is dependant on PED seems very foolhardy to me. Modern PED have a huge impact on performance. It can certainly give you the edge to go from "good GC position" to "top GC contender".

I woudl ask that you go back and read my fuller report on page three of this thread. The 99 samples are a joke and a travesty of anti-doping action. If they are as clear cut as you say, in 2005 they were within the anti-doping window and Lance could have, and should have, been suspended as a result. The SCA case should have been won by SCA and not Lance.

They were not.

Again, simply because PED 'can' do something does not mean that it did. After all, when teh cameras are away I could simply have tied a rope around Lance's bike and pulled him up the mountain on a motor bike. That also 'could have happened'. I give you my word though that no such action took place involving myself however :D

Good results are not in and of themselves proof of doping, for if they are, then Contador and AAndy Schleck are also dopers using PED's. After all, Contador's first victory was within a few seconds of his nearest rivals. Now, he has trouced them all by a wide margin, including one Cadel Evans.

Suspicion, possibility alone, does not equate to a doping violation. If it leads to something testable, wonderful, we can answer this zero sum question. If not? It is pure speculation and must be treated as such.
 
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boalio said:
You honestly think Zulle, Pantani and Ullrich were lazy compared to Armstrong?

The 'dopers are lazy' story is the biggest misconception about doping that there is.

Yeah, I do. Having watched Ullrich, whom I like despite his doping, famously struggled with his weight. Obviously, Armstrong did not.

Pantani was all over the place, he was up and down like no other rider I haveever seen.

Zulle, at his height was not Zulle just before he left.

Trying to wrap a conspiracy around generalized riders completely ignores that the riders are humans, not clones, and it clearly ignores demonstrated behavior.

Again, a conspiracy theory based on generalization is not an anti-doping violation.
 

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gree0232 said:
.....That is as strong a proof of innocence as our system (The Western system) allows, and I will remind you that the burden of proof must be 50.1% in order turn suspicion into guilt.
This is not a court of Law - it is a cycling forum!! If I had to use a 50.1% presumption of innocence on everything I do on a daily basis I would stay in bed.

Also you mentioned Alex Zulle and Marco Pantani - and you have drawn an assumption on their guilt of doping despite the fact that neither ever failed a drug test?
 
gree:

You took time to give your account of Hautacam, so I'll give you props on that, but Hautacam is not my end-all "evidence". Since then, many other more tangible elements have appeared (because I'll admit that in itself, the performance on that day is not a proof of doping or not). It was just to date back the moment when I definitely jumped the fence.

As I said in my previous post, if the question is "did he or not" then the answer is almost a definitive yes. He did in 1999. I seriously do not plan to convince you on this, since I was not convinced by your post on the matter, so we'll just agree to disagree, I guess.

I see this issue of "innocent until proven guilty" and "was not suspended" and it is nice and well, but I do not need to have an official decision to form on opinion on such a matter.

Again, simply because PED 'can' do something does not mean that it did.

No, but your original statement was

Drugs alone cannot turn you into a grand tour winner

So can they or cannot they? I do not claim to know how much PED did in the case of Armstrong, and that was my point.

EDIT:
Didn't Pantani failed a test, because his hematocrit was above 50%? Wiki thinks so.
 
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Dr. Maserati said:
This is not a court of Law - it is a cycling forum!! If I had to use a 50.1% presumption of innocence on everything I do on a daily basis I would stay in bed.

Also you mentioned Alex Zulle and Marco Pantani - and you have drawn an assumption on their guilt of doping despite the fact that neither ever failed a drug test?

Zulle admitted he dis whiel riding for Festina, and Pantani failed the hemocrit test and was ejected from the Giro.

Both are anti-doping violations.
 

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gree0232 said:
Zulle admitted he dis whiel riding for Festina, and Pantani failed the hemocrit test and was ejected from the Giro.

Both are anti-doping violations.

No - Pantani had an 'elevated crit level' just above the UCI level of 50% - he was withdrawn from the Giro "for the safety of his health".

Zulle admitted his doping to LA Gendarme - he was never caught by the UCI - it was only because of this he had got a doping violation.
 
gree0232 said:
The fact of the matter is that lots of riders having doped does not mean that Lance doped. It certainly raises suspicions, but it should also lead to a testable method that can answer what is essentially a aero sum question. Either Lance did, or he did not. It cannot be both ways.

Let me give you just one name in response: Erik Zabel.

......
Good points.
For me the difference between Zabel and Armstrong is that Zabel was beatable, where Armstrong simply wasn't. Cippolini, Petachi, McEwen, Steels, Nazon, Kirsipuu all beat him in the Tour on multiple occasions when Zabel was in his prime. Cippolini and Petacchi also have similar career results.

Armstrong on the other hand i can only think of maybe 2 or 3 stages where LA was clearly in trouble on his terrain (climbs/individual time trial). +- 6 stages to his liking each year (4 climbs, 2 time trials/prologues) with 7 wins = +- 42 stages and only maybe 2 or 3 stages where he was in trouble.

That isn't being the best, but that is total domination. Something Zabel didn't do (again he found his equal in Cipo and Ale-jet). For me that is a important distinction. I agree with what you say that even though others doped that does not mean LA doped, it's just really suspicious.


I'm no expert on epo/blood doping, but could it also be that it won't improve your sprint speed, meaning there was less impact for sprinters on a flat course? No statement, just a question. The number of GC riders found positive for blood doping compared to sprinters also suggests there might be something in this.
 
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Roninho said:
Good points.
For me the difference between Zabel and Armstrong is that Zabel was beatable, where Armstrong simply wasn't. Cippolini, Petachi, McEwen, Steels, Nazon, Kirsipuu all beat him in the Tour on multiple occasions when Zabel was in his prime. Cippolini and Petacchi also have similar career results.

Armstrong on the other hand i can only think of maybe 2 or 3 stages where LA was clearly in trouble on his terrain (climbs/individual time trial). +- 6 stages to his liking each year (4 climbs, 2 time trials/prologues) with 7 wins = +- 42 stages and only maybe 2 or 3 stages where he was in trouble.

That isn't being the best, but that is total domination. Something Zabel didn't do (again he found his equal in Cipo and Ale-jet). For me that is a important distinction. I agree with what you say that even though others doped that does not mean LA doped, it's just really suspicious.


I'm no expert on epo/blood doping, but could it also be that it won't improve your sprint speed, meaning there was less impact for sprinters on a flat course? No statement, just a question. The number of GC riders found positive for blood doping compared to sprinters also suggests there might be something in this.

The other point is that Zabel was a sprinter. Does EPO/blood doping have any real affect on top end speed?
 
Dr. Maserati said:
Zulle admitted his doping to LA Gendarme - he was never caught by the UCI - it was only because of this he had got a doping violation.
Seems to me Gree0232 wasn't assuming Zulle doped, Zulle even admitted it himself as you say yourself....
 

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Roninho said:
Seems to me Gree0232 wasn't assuming Zulle doped, Zulle even admitted it himself as you say yourself....

Gree0232 arguement earlier was that WE should all give Lance the presumption of innocence (50.1%) because he has not failed a dope test.

My point isn't whether Zulle or Pantani doped or not - it is that Gree did not apply the same formula to them as he he applies to Lance - which was a pretty big part of his arguement.
 
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ThisFrenchGuy said:
gree:

You took time to give your account of Hautacam, so I'll give you props on that, but Hautacam is not my end-all "evidence". Since then, many other more tangible elements have appeared (because I'll admit that in itself, the performance on that day is not a proof of doping or not). It was just to date back the moment when I definitely jumped the fence.

As I said in my previous post, if the question is "did he or not" then the answer is almost a definitive yes. He did in 1999. I seriously do not plan to convince you on this, since I was not convinced by your post on the matter, so we'll just agree to disagree, I guess.

I see this issue of "innocent until proven guilty" and "was not suspended" and it is nice and well, but I do not need to have an official decision to form on opinion on such a matter.



No, but your original statement was



So can they or cannot they? I do not claim to know how much PED did in the case of Armstrong, and that was my point.

EDIT:
Didn't Pantani failed a test, because his hematocrit was above 50%? Wiki thinks so.

I am perfectly willing to call Lance Armstrong a doper, pendng one hurdle: He must have testably and verifiably have committed an anti-doping violation. Three times his alleged activity has been brought before some sort of authority that could have sanctioned him for his actions, and three times he has been exonerated. That is pretty strong evidence.

I will also share with you why a put so much emphasis on evidence rather than suspicion and rumor.

I was embedded with and worked for a very senior Iraqi General. He is literally one of the most honorable men I have ever met, and I watched him deliberately purge his forces of suspect influence in one of the gutsiest things I have ever seen done. Rumors in the Middle East are a world onto themselves. Anybody who was successful in that environment is immediately questioned, suspicions are raised, and rumors are spread.

The Iraqi general was adament about requiring evidence to accompany rumors and had a very strong and independant section that answered only to him to investigate rumors. If he found proof, the subordinate was relieved on the spot and quite possibly jailed. If he found no proof, the subordinate remained at his post and he publically praised the subordinate to indicate that any further rumors would be directly challenging his honor. There were a few times when unsubstantiated rumors went over his head and his hand was forced, but he handled those whom were removed as a result in a very different manner.

Those who were under different commanders did not fair so well against the rumor machine. Simply put, I have seen rumors spawned of jealousy alone destroy very good men and women, in a place that was desperate for good people.

That does not mean that everyone who has doubts about Armstrong is guilty of maliciously spreading rumors, I too harbor doubts after all. However, those who have initiated these rumors from the comfort of anonimity and failed to back up their claims with solid evidence are the worst kind of cowards.

The 1999 'positives' are a case in point. None of the proper procedures were followed that could have resulted in a conviction. Some of the most petty bureaucratic infighting I have ever seen are present in this case, and I have seen my fair share of bureaucratic pettiness. That these results were release, leaked actually, as positives at all, when they met no standards to be considered positive was an afront to sound anti-doping.

It undercut WADA and LNDD's legitimate and sound anti-doping efforts. I will credit **** Pound with using his influence and abilities to create WADA, a very important step forward in cleaning up all sports. However, that episode and a few others that relied on innuendo rather than solid, science based evidence delayed the clean up that we are now belatedly seeing in cycling. I do fault Pound for that.

In fact, I think it was the Landis case that finally cleaned it up, the case where WADA finally realized that publicity could bite both ways and that has straightened them up and lead to the professional, sound system of anti-doping that is catching those who are cheating.

As the system gets better, as the positives come forward, we can say with definity who is and who is not a doper based on a sound system rather than on suspicion and rumor alone.

The abscence of standards is a poison that taints all results and is worse than actual doping. Destroying the reputations of good men and women, riders, in a quest to allay rumors is wrong -- at least in my opinion (and being a stubborn Irishman, I do have them:D)
 
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Roninho said:
Good points.
For me the difference between Zabel and Armstrong is that Zabel was beatable, where Armstrong simply wasn't. Cippolini, Petachi, McEwen, Steels, Nazon, Kirsipuu all beat him in the Tour on multiple occasions when Zabel was in his prime. Cippolini and Petacchi also have similar career results.

Armstrong on the other hand i can only think of maybe 2 or 3 stages where LA was clearly in trouble on his terrain (climbs/individual time trial). +- 6 stages to his liking each year (4 climbs, 2 time trials/prologues) with 7 wins = +- 42 stages and only maybe 2 or 3 stages where he was in trouble.

That isn't being the best, but that is total domination. Something Zabel didn't do (again he found his equal in Cipo and Ale-jet). For me that is a important distinction. I agree with what you say that even though others doped that does not mean LA doped, it's just really suspicious.


I'm no expert on epo/blood doping, but could it also be that it won't improve your sprint speed, meaning there was less impact for sprinters on a flat course? No statement, just a question. The number of GC riders found positive for blood doping compared to sprinters also suggests there might be something in this.

Please bear in mind only one thing, he dominated only one race and it was a race that rewarded consistancy over three weeks. Solid training can result in consistancy over three weeks, I am, honestly, not sure that doping can.

However, please bear in mind that Armstrong was soundly beaten in many of the other races he rode leading up to the Tour's he dominated.

Also, the Green Jersey proves the point. Zabel was beaten on individual stages, as was Armstrong, but for six years he was the most consistant of riders, even while lined up against dopers. Zabels' training regimen is also famously tough, and the consistancy was the reward for that effort.
 
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gree0232 said:
Please bear in mind only one thing, he dominated only one race and it was a race that rewarded consistancy over three weeks. Solid training can result in consistancy over three weeks, I am, honestly, not sure that doping can.

However, please bear in mind that Armstrong was soundly beaten in many of the other races he rode leading up to the Tour's he dominated.

Again... you are assuming that dopers aren't training hard...........
 

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gree0232 said:
I am perfectly willing to call Lance Armstrong a doper, pendng one hurdle: He must have testably and verifiably have committed an anti-doping violation. Three times his alleged activity has been brought before some sort of authority that could have sanctioned him for his actions, and three times he has been exonerated. That is pretty strong evidence....

So far you have mentioned the names of Zulle, Pantani, Zabel and Ullrich - and have accepted that they all doped.

One thing all these riders have in common is that none of them ever produced a positive.
Zulle - confessed.
Pantani - withdrawn from Giro for 'health' reasons for exceeding 50%
Zabel - confessed.
Ullrich - Operation Puerto, snared by Spainish Police.

Armstrong - 6 samples of urine (b sample) contain EPO.
 
gree0232 said:
I am perfectly willing to call Lance Armstrong a doper, pendng one hurdle: He must have testably and verifiably have committed an anti-doping violation. Three times his alleged activity has been brought before some sort of authority that could have sanctioned him for his actions, and three times he has been exonerated. That is pretty strong evidence.

The SCA trial - SCA were notified six months prior to the case that they would lose, because whether they proved Lance doped or not, it didn't matter how he won, so they would have had to pay, even if he was seen with EPO coming out of a needle in his arm.

Secondly - the UCI...A little story:
**** Pound said: "I can remember long before I was involved in anti-doping, discussing cycling's problems with Hein Verbruggen, when he was president of the UCI before the Festina affair. I was saying, 'Hein, you have got a real problem in your sport and you don't seem able to deal with it'.

"He said, 'If people don't mind the Tour de France at 25 kilometres per hour, the riders don't have to prepare. But if they want it at 42kph then, I'm sorry, the riders can't do it without preparation', as he called it."
 
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Cobber said:
Again... you are assuming that dopers aren't training hard...........

I will grant you that it is also not sound proof.

However, his main competitor for years was Jan Ullrich, and Armstrong clearly trained harder than he did. There is also indications that Armstrong's grueling training regimen was indeed harder than most riders of the era.

It is not a definitive answer. It does however answer the question about how Armstrong achieved his results without relying on doping products.

Given that the suspicions that he has doped have on at least three occassions been taken before a body that could have confirmed those sspicions and instead exonerated him, we have an indication of teh veracity of the rumors.

Simply put, if we eliminate doping as a suspicion, whatever is left, however improbable, must therefore be the better answer.

I will grant that nothing is defnitive where Lance, or any other rider, is concerned, only that the preponderance of the available evidence more strongly supports the conclusion that Lance did not dope.

Again, Lance may very well have doped, but before we can say that, we must also be able to prove it. To date, we cannot. Ergo, the benefit of teh doubt must be given to Lance.

Hardly definitive, hardly satisfying, it is nevertheless the answer our systems of judgement have made regarding Lance.
 
Also to the person who says that dopers don't train hard....90% of the time, the athletes dope for that reason, it allows them to train harder than clean athletes. It helps them recover. Victor Conte was a big advocate of doping, because it allowed for bigger training loads.
 
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Digger said:
The SCA trial - SCA were notified six months prior to the case that they would lose, because whether they proved Lance doped or not, it didn't matter how he won, so they would have had to pay, even if he was seen with EPO coming out of a needle in his arm.

Secondly - the UCI...A little story:
**** Pound said: "I can remember long before I was involved in anti-doping, discussing cycling's problems with Hein Verbruggen, when he was president of the UCI before the Festina affair. I was saying, 'Hein, you have got a real problem in your sport and you don't seem able to deal with it'.

"He said, 'If people don't mind the Tour de France at 25 kilometres per hour, the riders don't have to prepare. But if they want it at 42kph then, I'm sorry, the riders can't do it without preparation', as he called it."

The first, I would love to see a reliable source. When lawyers lose, they make excuses, I know because I have beaten a few of them (not literally mind you).

The second is not proof that Lance doped. If true, then the entire peloton from that period must be found to have committed doping violations and sanctioned as a result. That would include riders that we KNOW were riding clean at those speeds, even if they were not at the front of the pack of dopers.
 
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Digger said:
Also to the person who says that dopers don't train hard....90% of the time, the athletes dope for that reason, it allows them to train harder than clean athletes. It helps them recover. Victor Conte was a big advocate of doping, because it allowed for bigger training loads.

And Victor won how many Grand Tours?
 
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Dr. Maserati said:
Gree0232 arguement earlier was that WE should all give Lance the presumption of innocence (50.1%) because he has not failed a dope test.

My point isn't whether Zulle or Pantani doped or not - it is that Gree did not apply the same formula to them as he he applies to Lance - which was a pretty big part of his arguement.

I did, all three have been convicted of some sort of doping violation, and Lance trounced them all.

Those names were part of my arguement for that exact reason. Well, that and they were on Hautacam.
 

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