Are there clean cyclists in the peleton ?

Discussion in 'Doping in Cycling' started by limerickman, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    The recent exchange of views between Dick Pound of WADA and
    Lance Armstrong is very interesting.

    Whether one agrees or disagrees with Pound's view, he does reflect, at least in my experience, the perception of the general public, when it comes to the sport of cycling, that cycling is premised upon the use of drugs and that the peleton is, in parts, fuelled by drugs.

    Perhaps this perception is created because 'the average joe' can't comprehend how cyclists can cycle thousands and thousands of mile each year.

    I would be a very rich man if I got a euro (dollar !) for every time,
    I have heard the response "sure they must be taking something"
    - when I mention my interest in cycling to people who have no knowledge of our sport.

    The questions that I would like to pose to the Forum is this -
    Do the posters here think that there are any clean cyclists in the peleton ?
    Are we, as cyclists, deluding ourselves to the extent of cheating in our sport ?
    Does Dick Pound have a valid point, given the continous controveries that beset our sport ?
     
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  2. SLS

    SLS New Member

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    Sorry I didn't see or hear of the exchange your talking about, if you have a link that would be great.

    For your questions, yes I believe their are plenty of riders in the pelotons that are "clean". Am I deluding myself, that's a possibility but I would say that cyclists on average (pro & amateur) equal out with the so called " norms" say 20% using, etc... (Not sure on what the norm is considered now a days).

    Cycling has a pretty intensive testing system in place which nails most known drugs out there. Yes there will always be some new & undetectable drug out there because some feel the need to cheat / win at any cost. Personanly some of the so called drugs need to be taken off the list, i.e. ones for allergies etc...

    As I said I didn't see or hear the excahange but it seems to fall into what I call the 1% sysndrome. 1% give the sport a bad name, or most laws are made to stop the 1% from doing this or that, etc... If that doesn't work make some more. The next part is news coverage, you don't make money praising something, better to lump the few busted for doping with those thugs in the NFL, & now Baseball. Besides says the newsman no one can be that good just by training & doing it. Of course, not everyone can be an ignorant reporter & get paid for it either. I am generalizing as there are some good reporters out there, but they seem to be getting fewer & fewer. Just my .02.
    Thanks
     
  3. JuneBug

    JuneBug New Member

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    I am wondering if you could also pose a question that better asks: Do you as a cyclist, believe that there are indeed some men who are genetically gifted riders. Talented Riders who could in fact acheive such incredible feats and efforts with just hardwork, intelligent training and 'legal' dietary fuels?
    you know......tweaking.

    Its not illegal to get a hypoxic trainer. I hear they have payment plans. :eek:

    sorry limerickman. I just want to believe that the seasoned pros are clean. I have to believe that they are clean at least for the most part. If they get caught they get busted and the career is over. It just doesnt seem worth it. If they are doing performance enhancing drugs, it will be revealed one day. But until it is revealed, I just have to keep believing.
    Faith in the Human Endeavor.
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    No problem - please feel free to expand my original question.

    Your view is very interesting : I did have the same opinion as you at one time.
    In very simplistic terms, I used to believe that all cyclists were just naturally gifted people.
    I believed that because these cyclists were gifted anyway, the only thing that separated those who succeed from those who don’t succeed (in a relative terms), was dependent upon the level of hardwork applied by each of them and the level of sacrifice.
    (natural talent + X-Hardwork + X-sacrifice = finishing spot in the peleton).

    My cycling hero is Sean Kelly.
    I knew that Sean was not as talented as Bernard Hinault, for example.
    I hoped that if Sean worked really hard and made all the sacrifices, that this just might make up the difference between him and Hinault, if Hinault’s training or sacrifice didn’t match Sean’s.
    (I used to think that perhaps Hinault, for whatever reason, may not be as motivated
    to succeed in a particular race and that perhaps Sean would have a chance to beat him).
    Invariably, Hinault had more success against Sean, than vice versa.
    No matter how hard a cyclist appeared to work – it appeared to me at that time, that the more talented one came out on top (I’m sure Hinault trained very hard as well – but you get the point that I am trying to make).

    The question is, is what we see from the peleton the product of talent plus hardwork plus sacrifice ?
    Or is it talent plus drugs plus hardwork ?
    And if drugs are in the equation, how many cyclists do we think are using the stuff ?

    My own view is that when I see a cyclist on top of the podium, I do tend to think “is he or isn’t he, doping ?”.
    I look at the persons palmares and I then try to evaluate the likelihood of his taking stuff.
    Unscientific ? Yes !
    When I see a sprinter like Cippo winning a sprint, I know that he has been a top sprinter since he debuted.
    When I see Ullrich winning, I know that he was a winner as soon as he turned pro.
    An unscientific way to evaluate drug use ? Yes !
    But how are else can we try to discern who is and who isn't doing stuff ?

    I am sad to say this but I do think that perhaps only a few cyclists
    are clean.

    I'm convinced that those who have been consistent throughout their careers are least likely to have used stuff - but again it depends on the cyclist (ie Virenque has been a consistent KOM winner but let's face it how many of his jerseys are genuine ?).

    I do feel that Ullrich is a genuine talent as you suggest and that his palmares has been consistent throughout.
    But like everything else in the sport of cycling - I cannot definitively prove or disprove the fact that he is clean.
     
  5. hemplands

    hemplands New Member

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    I used to think that there wasn't a problem within the sport, but when the Festina affair exploded my faith disappeared.

    Since this problem blew up I have been rewatching videos of the police raids, more to refresh my memory than anything else, but its made my blood boil again how the purportraitors are still in the sport. Surely they should be banned for life, not just a short while. Virenque who admitted what he'd done has been taken back into the fold, and now since the retirement of Jalabert seems to be the French darling again. Why? I for one don't know.

    I'm very cynical now, I even seem to be looking back at older riders and wondering whether they were 'clean'. Willy Voet was in the sport for a long time and had many stars under him so how many of them were included with his dirty dealings.

    Limerick, answering your first question yes I think there are. As you say some have had outstanding results since they've moved up. Question 2 yes we are. Final question, begrudgingly I think he has raised some good points.

    The only worry I seem to have now is why aren't there more cyclists coming out of the woodwork and agreeing with LA. It seems very strange.
     
  6. JuneBug

    JuneBug New Member

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    well

    I have been told more often than naught that I am nieive.
    :p

    Remember the classic photos of the riders smoking away while they ride? They would do this to 'open up' the lungs with cigarrettes. yeah I guess there is always a desire to increase performance with drugs or medicines. even by our old grandpa's !!! ha.

    It is my understanding that the bans are not just to keep the playing field 'level', but that they are also made to protect the health and well being of the athelete!!. No one wants to see a famous rider collapse to their death after a brutal ride!!
    At least for now, its kept in the dark background and we dont have to hear the gorey details.

    besides...isn't it true, then, if everyone is taking them, then the playing field is still 'level' ??


    If all the bans were lifted on all atheletes, I wonder what sports would become like? Would hard-working 'clean' athletes start including those previously banned drugs into their regimen? Would amateurs and kids start taking them too?
    I wonder what drugs would be used?
     
  7. JuneBug

    JuneBug New Member

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  8. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    Did you notice the photo of Jan Ullrich immediately beneath this article you have linked about the Armstrong/Pound exchange? Has Jan's gut always looked so enormous? I wonder when this photo was taken because if it's current, he's going to need to shed a few pounds before the TdF. He won't win tugging that spare tire around.
     
  9. Beastt

    Beastt New Member

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    From what I've seen; absolutely not a clean one in the bunch. Maybe at the start of the stage they're all clean, but by the end they're all smelly, sweaty, salty disgusting swine.

    ^----- Joke *wink* *wink* ;)

    Doping? Well, I don't have any first-hand knowledge so anything is merely guess work. I have to believe that there are those who wish to keep the sport clean and those who are paid to do what they can to assure that the riders arent some sort of cyborg or chemo-borg. The riders know they have a great likelihood of being tested and that a positive test will make all of their training pointless. Still, some do try to play the odds against getting caught and some lose the bet.

    I tend to believe that overall, the majority... even the vast majority of riders are clean. I don't believe that doping can put a mediocre rider in contention to win against the best clean athletes in the sport. Virenque is perhaps a good example of that. I must assume that his performance in the '03 Tour de France was clean. Was he substantially less capable than he was in 1998 and before? I don't see a great deal of difference. Doping doesn't make people super-human. At best it gives them an edge over what they can do without the chemicals. Surely on a series of hor category climbs that can make up significant time but when you see Armstrong or anyone else drop the top contenders and leave 6-minutes between them and himself, it's a pretty safe bet that the 6-minutes wasn't due to drugs. Drugs might create a gap but not of that proportion... just my opinion.
     
  10. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    In case you haven't heard, the official results of the autopsy on Pantani came out yesterday. He died of a cocaine overdose.
     
  11. leif_ericson

    leif_ericson New Member

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    There is no way he would have finished 2nd in one of the TT's like he did in the past :)
    But I know, there isn't a huge difference. If a rider can finish on the TDF podium on drugs, then I think they definetly have the ability to win the KOM competition (and a stage or two) without drugs.
     
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