Getting to the truth about dopers/Clean riders who dare to win

by bikeboy76   May 24, 2013  

Okay so Nibali is going to win the Giro by minutes without much of a challenge. He has been lucky enough to see some of his rivals missing, sick and/or crash or just plain out of form or even too old. The weather has prevented anyone really attacking him in the last few days. I think it fair to say this is as easy a Grand Tour victory as he could have expected. However, despite these obvious factors the minutes and lack of competition make it look 'too easy.' I hear people muttering, well he does ride for Astana and you know what they are like. Despite having just moved there this year.

It makes you think that maybe no one can win by too large a margin or it will look suspicious. What if Chris Froome storms to a brilliant victory at the Tour? If he wins one of these uphill timetrials which would seem to suit him so well, will we start to think he should hold back or start mumbling about him being too good as well.

When we are talking about a so called new generation of clean riders there still seems to be an element of doubt, that they need to be seen to struggle or not dare to beat the competition by too great a margin lest we think they might be cheats. Yet some of them must be tested round the clock and with the blood passport historically compared to watch for suspicious improvements.

The doping story will rumble on for the foreseeable future with Lance tweeting out from under the woodwork and bags of frozen Spanish blood to be argued over. On the day that Di Luca was caught and labelled as one less of the old generation makes you wonder how many more cases are still to come out; each one a setback to reforming the sport. How deep is the barrel and are we anywhere near the bottom? Just how long we will have to live with reports like this and how many years of clean winners we will have to have before we can wonder and marvel again at a triumphant win and not doubt it immediately.

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I think there's a lot more than mumbling going on about Froome already!

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
24th May 2013 - 23:15

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You only have to read about Lance to realise that doping and catching dopers are complicated sciences. The catchers are always going to be one step behind. Human nature and the desire for fame and fortune dictates that there will always be someone who will risk it. To me this means that more money in the sport = more cheating. If the rewards are great enough then you can afford to both cheat and pay a Scientist/Doctor/Professor to cover your actions up...
Otherwise you cheat and hope for the best... Ricardo style

posted by SideBurn [799 posts]
25th May 2013 - 9:32

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There is no such thing as a 'new generation' of clean riders when you have people in the peleton still doping and getting caught.

It'll take a long period -perhaps years - of concerted efforts by the testers with consistent clean results before people even start to believe that there is a 'new generation'

Even then they'll still be doubters, and understandably so.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
29th May 2013 - 12:48

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But you know what will help.... The teams and authorities coming down hard on all competitors caught doping. And by hard I mean Lance -style bans.

I hope the apply this to Di Luca to start getting the message out now.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
29th May 2013 - 12:50

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700c wrote:
There is no such thing as a 'new generation' of clean riders when you have people in the peleton still doping and getting caught.

It'll take a long period -perhaps years - of concerted efforts by the testers with consistent clean results before people even start to believe that there is a 'new generation'

Even then they'll still be doubters, and understandably so.

Don't think I can agree with this - no matter how clean the sport gets there will always be a minority of idiots, just as there are in any walk of life. What would it take for you to believe the majority of riders were clean? Surely you can't expect the sport to simply have no idiots?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3116 posts]
29th May 2013 - 13:21

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There's too much money to be gained by winning for the sport - or any sport - to be 100% clean. That, and the will to win at all costs mentality.

But there's no doubt cycling is a huge amount better now than it was even 5 years ago, and that it's probably a lot cleaner than most of the big sports around the world.
It's just that the gains from doping are so much more tangible in a (almost) purely endurance-based sport like cycling.

posted by bashthebox [640 posts]
29th May 2013 - 14:21

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@notfastenough, I quite agree. I was more referring to public perception and acceptance rather than my own view.

I genuinely believe the British guys who have come up through British cycling share none of the doping culture.

The 'new generation of clean riders', as a concept, does not exist yet with the British public at large. Cycling will have extra work to do, compared to other sports, to convince people of it's cleanliness, even though other sports such as tennis, football are likely to now have dopers at the very top levels.

I think more scandals are waiting to break, just hope they don't hit cycling

posted by 700c [556 posts]
29th May 2013 - 15:03

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Tennis has gone to great lengths to keep its own scandals from coming out. I don't doubt that football is much the same - just look at the amount of running players do now, and how physically big they are. Rugby too.

posted by bashthebox [640 posts]
29th May 2013 - 15:23

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Yes, I sort of feel that the winners are likely to be the best dopers if you see what I mean (the most effective and careful at not getting caught).

It's a problem endemic in many sports. The pandora's box has been opened and there is no way of shutting the lid. The only way you can really affect this is by anti-doping vigilance, and punishing the athletes heavily. Although there is the problem that occasionally the testers get it wrong too.

If they are able to catch the main beneficiaries of cheating (i.e. the winners of big prize money), it will mean that athletes will be circumspect about cheating because they gain nothing. In the case of Lance Armstrong they are undertaking this process, but it is about ten years to late.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1120 posts]
29th May 2013 - 15:32

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I recently read 'Inside the Peleton' by Nicolas Roche in which he takes a strong anti doping line and suggests that Contador should have been banned for a minimum of 4 years and preferably life.

A couple of seasons on and who is he riding with?

This suggests lip service only at the top of the sport.

Crosshouses's picture

posted by Crosshouses [185 posts]
29th May 2013 - 19:57

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700c wrote:
@notfastenough, I quite agree. I was more referring to public perception and acceptance rather than my own view.

I genuinely believe the British guys who have come up through British cycling share none of the doping culture.

The 'new generation of clean riders', as a concept, does not exist yet with the British public at large. Cycling will have extra work to do, compared to other sports, to convince people of it's cleanliness, even though other sports such as tennis, football are likely to now have dopers at the very top levels.

I think more scandals are waiting to break, just hope they don't hit cycling

Hmmm, you might be right, although I think Wiggo's press conference outburst at the TdF last year did seep into Joe Public's mindset.

I think in many regards the problem is that, as it turns out, coaching in cycling really hasn't been that advanced. There are numerous accounts from the guys in BC/Team Sky that some of the gains to be made from effective training can't even be considered 'marginal' - the gap between effective training and just riding a bike every day then turning up to a race and seeing your DS for the first time in couple of weeks is potentially much more substantial. Thus, the peloton is essentially made up of three groups. Those just riding a bike every day and hoping that pummelling themselves on a regular basis will make them better riders, those who are doping, and those on the more closely-managed teams like Garmin and Sky where effective training is the order of the day and where, hopefully, doping isn't an issue.

Ultimately, USPS won everything it wanted to because it was doing both the scientific training and the doping.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3116 posts]
30th May 2013 - 11:27

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I didn't even realise Roche had written an anti-doping book. I wonder what Dad thinks about it.

posted by bashthebox [640 posts]
30th May 2013 - 16:48

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Also, did you know that the man who introduced Armstrong to Michele Ferrari was a chap called Eddy Merckx? Must have been a different Eddy Merckx. I'm sure the greatest cyclist of all time wouldn't have anything to do with a doping doctor. Or have pushed his own son to see this doctor.

posted by bashthebox [640 posts]
30th May 2013 - 16:50

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