While I agree with what you are saying, ruthlessness began at the team owner, Wiesel. I would argue the combination of ruthlessness was vital to the domination.python said:agree with you observations including the 'ruthlessness' comment...but what does the ruthlessness mean in light of those other teams failing to match the performance of the armstrong phenomena and his teams ?
the answer (imo) is : (in addition to the cogent observation by blackcat about the resources), i would plainly add the amount and the mode of doping that the other riders/teams, unlike armstrong's, felt was too risky for both their health and the chances of passing a test...
simply put, a tdf transfusion schedule of 3 units in stead of 2 (as tyler has hinted at) was risky, no doubt, but was well worth it given the uci attitude and the performance benefits.
this is what i believe the armstrong/bruyneel secret was - dope to the max and let the chips fall where they may - except we count it wont be our heads...
Also, IMHO, there's an assumption in some of the replies that the testing process was meaningful and somehow legitimate. It was not for Grand Tour winners. At least for Wonderboy and Contador.
Finally, the other hidden assumption with many of the comments is the scandal was generated at the team level. We know Hein played a substantial role in making the 7x myth a reality.
Part of the story needs to be emphasized is that the UCI was deeply involved in making the myth. That *still* has not quite made it into the larger narrative.