Lance Armstrong confession… Wiggins and Cav have their say (or don't)

Bradley Wiggins under Twitter attack after references to 1990s and Paul Kimmage, while Mark Cavendish goes off the deep end in Belgium

by Simon_MacMichael   January 16, 2013  

Team Sky Arc de Triomphe

Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have both been in the spotlight after being asked their reactions to Lance Armstrong’s confession in doping to Oprah Winfrey, part one of which is due to be aired on Friday morning in the UK on, of all places, the Discovery Channel. It will also be streamed live.

Wiggins, speaking to Sky News from Team Sky’s training camp in Mallorca, Wiggins said that the team wasn’t too concerned because they were concentrating on the season ahead.

He went on: But you’ve seen the reaction to it the last few months and there’s a lot of angry people about that are taking their frustrations and venting their anger in all different directions.

“But they need that closure in their life because they've been battling for so long for this.

"It will be a great day for a lot of people and quite a sad day for the sport in some ways," he said of Armstrong’s reported confession.

"But I think it has been a sad couple of months for the sport in that sense,” he added. “The 90s are pretty much a write-off now."

While that decade had been blighted by doping with use of EPO widespread in the peloton well before the Festina scandal of 1998, Wiggins’ remarks provoked widespread criticism on Twitter.

Several users pointed out that the first of Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins that he has now been stripped of only happened in the final year of the decade.

Wiggins himself has been elevated to third in the 2009 Tour de France after Armstrong was stripped of all results dating back to August 1998.

Twitter users also focused on comments that Wiggins made about Paul Kimmage, although his remarks about the Irish former pro cyclist turned journalist are not in an edited version of the interview posted to the Sky News website.

However, that segment was included in audio of the interview included in Irish radio station Newstalk.ie’s Off The Ball show.

Earlier this month, in an interview published in German on newspaper Frankurter Allgemeine's website, FAZ.net, Kimmage said: "I don't know anyone who could say that the last Tour de France was totally convincing. If you apply the same standards to Bradley Wiggins as to Lance Armstrong, there are alarming similarties."

He went on: "Look how their teams are dominant. There are four, five riders who ride very strongly for three weeks without a bad day. The question is, is that logical?'

Referring to that interview, Wiggins said yesterday: “We saw last week with Paul Kimmage with me and the team, he’s just eaten up with it, and I think to people like that it’s just going to mean a hell of a lot. What they do with their lives after he does admit it is anyone’s guess."

After playing the interview, the Irish radio show’s presenters criticised Wiggins for having singled out Kimmage and, in their words – not his, as has been said – describing him as “bitter.” They also said that given his status in the sport, Wiggins should be much more forthright about his views of Armstrong and should be hailing a great day for the sport.

“What it has to do with Paul Kimmage and how bitter Paul Kimmage is, is an eye-opener for me,” said one.

In a series of tweets today, Kimmage said: “Interesting that Bradley Wiggins is still following the Lance Armstrong blueprint for success:

"1 Ignore the message 2 Attack the messenger

“If I still had a job [he was made redundant by The Sunday Times a year ago tomorrow], I'd be camped outside the Sky training camp in Majorca and would not go away until Wiggins adressed the message... the hiring of Gert Leinders, and the sacking of four key members of staff since he won the Tour.

Kimmage concluded: “Oh, last thing Bradley, if you would like to address those issues in an interview, I'd be more than happy to sit down with you.”

Even before he won the Tour in July, Wiggins learnt that being favourite for the race meant that his performance would be scrutinised from all angles and that questions would be asked about how he achieved it.

That’s unsurprising given the history of some of the men who have stood on top of the podium over the last couple of decades.

Until he and Team Sky manage to satisfy some of their more vocal critics, the hard questions will continue to be asked – and Kimmage will be foremost among those who want to ask them.

Meanwhile Cavendish turned the air blue at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step presentation in Ghent last night when he was repeatedly asked his opinion regarding Lance Armstrong’s reported confession.

His frustration is perhaps understandable – he was there after all to be officially presented to the public alongside his new team mates including Tom Boonen – and it’s also one that won’t surprise seasoned Cav-watchers.

According to ITV Sport, the former world champion had in fact already replied to two questions put to him on the subject.

http://www.itv.com/news/2013-01-15/cyclist-mark-cavendishs-frustration-b...

“There's been reports that he's confessed to doping but I haven't seen any interviews yet, so until then I can't really comment," he said in reply to the first.

Then, when asked if he would be watching the interview, he explained he wouldn’t, since he’d be travelling to Argentina where he is riding the Tour de San Luis, which starts next week.

ITV Sport says Cavendish then took a member of team staff to task, saying, “Why was I left alone there with that guy asking about Lance? One of you should have been around then.”

Despite that, it seems no-one thought to forewarn reporters taking part in a subsequent round of interviews, and when he was again asked his opinion Cavendish, whose autobiography Boy Racer, carries the two word quote “Cool Kid” from Armstrong on the cover of the paperback version, really blew his stack.

"**** off, seriously **** off if you're asking about this," he is reported to have said, before asking one of the team’s staff, “Can you get him away please. Please get this guy away. He just wants to talk about Lance, **** off.”

[We have a hunch the words asterisked by ITV all started with 'F' - ed]

72 user comments

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dullard wrote:
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Reading these comments, you'd think it was Kimmage who'd been defrauding the sporting world and global institutions and denying good men and women the chance to prove themselves in the sport they love. No, he's the one who's been taking a stand, along with the marvelous Betsy Andreus and David Walsh's of the world, at huge personal expense, abuse and ridicule, against the shitbags like Armstrong, Verbruggen, McQuaid and Bruyneel who've been taking us all for a ride for the last couple of decades. He has simply pointed out that the style of Sky's victory in last year's Tour was very similar to USPS and Discovery (which it was), that Sky hired a doctor known to be dodgy (they did) and that the team's much-heralded policy of hiring only clean personnel has been shot to bits with the departure of Yates, Rogers, Barry etc (it has). And Sir BW and Cavendish can say it's time to move on all they want, but their sport that they earn millions out of because of us, the fans, has been a total effing lie for probably as long as many of us have been watching it: last clean winner was probably LeMond? So to accept now that it's all fine, they're all clean (Contador? Yeah, right) is not going to happen. Kimmage isn't a martyr. He's a tough little f#cker who's been through the mill and who was right all along.

I agree.

Given the history - surely we should be taking Kimmage's side first off and waiting to see if the riders can prove their innocence?

I mean come on - we've heard all this before, verbatim. And it turns out Kimmage was right. Spot on in fact.

Surely it's only fair to give the guy the benefit of the doubt this time around. He's proved his point - and his worth - once already.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
17th January 2013 - 14:52

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What am I missing? Surely there are no technological improvements in bikes and equipment (or for that matter training and nutrition) that can account for a clean rider performing at the same level as the doping king? Not in just 5 years...

Different route profiles, I suspect. Last year was certainly a lot flatter, fewer uphill finishes etc. The key thing to look at, instead of average speed for the whole thing, is to look at the time it takes to do the big climbs.... and generally, those times have dropped by around 5-10%.

posted by bashthebox [600 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:17

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Lacticlegs wrote:
Someone please help me out here.

Let me preface this by saying - i'm serious, I really would like to borrow some of your knowledge.

I love cycling - always have, and I desperately want to be a believer. But I'm having some trouble and here's why:

It is generally agreed that EPO and similar blood boosters can improve performance by as much as 15% - hence why it was a game changer from the early 90's onward.

If the peloton is really clean (or at least cleaner) then surely we should be seeing a drop-off in the average speeds for the TdF now, no?

But we haven't. Cadel's winning average speed in 2011 was 39.79kmh.

Brad's in 2012 was 39.83kmh.

These are pretty much the same speeds that Lance Armstrong was posting in his reign - faster than the year 2000 in fact, and fractionally slower than the other years.

Please help me here - I so don't want to believe that Brad et al are also doping...but Kimmage has a point (however unpleasantly he makes it).

What am I missing? Surely there are no technological improvements in bikes and equipment (or for that matter training and nutrition) that can account for a clean rider performing at the same level as the doping king? Not in just 5 years...

Anyone?

You will find in all sports that as training methods, nutrition and general lifestyle of athletes gets better so do their times etc etc.

Look at runners, constantly breaking records and getting faster, swimmers, footballers playing longer despite playing more games, rugby players fitter than ever. The list goes on and you could say some will have cheated through drugs but a very small %. The same goes for cyclists, they are getting fitter, better prepared, better kit and other team members virtually killing themselves on climbs to make it easier for the likes of Brad and Froome, hence quicker times. Remember as well this years Tour had 2 long time trials which Brad excels at and this would increase his overall speed rather than having say another mountain top finish.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2664 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:18

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Nice use of rhetoric lactic legs.

These are the questions which have not been answered and actually I think we know the answers. But I should point out that while EPO can boost your hematocrit it is possible to boost it naturally (by altitude training/oxygen tents) or you may have a naturally high level - this is why the limit is set at 50%, because is very very unlikely to occur naturally. The highest natural count recorded appears to be around 47%.

Ultimately it's very hard to reach the 40s naturally though. It is said that when Jonathan Vaughters went to Johan Bruyneel with details of a contract he was offered by another team he laughed at him because JV's natural figures were so high that EPO offered him little improvement.

It's an interesting argument about the speed too. The speed increases from Merkyx to Lemond are not massive (1982 was about the time blood doping came in). And there were radical changes in the technology - aluminium frames and carbon frames, skin tight suits etc. I don't think you can put much down to that nowadays (i.e. between the 1990s and now).

I think the problem for me is that Wiggins and co. had no bad days. It would also be interesting to see their training laid bare, as well as blood results publicly reported. My girlfriend is reading about Pantani and how there were clear issues with some of the blood sampling, but no one took clear action. Unfortunately the authorities do not do enough to expose this as they all have vested interests.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:22

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stumps wrote:

You will find in all sports that as training methods, nutrition and general lifestyle of athletes gets better so do their times etc etc.

Look at runners, constantly breaking records and getting faster, swimmers, footballers playing longer despite playing more games, rugby players fitter than ever. The list goes on and you could say some will have cheated through drugs but a very small %. The same goes for cyclists, they are getting fitter, better prepared, better kit and other team members virtually killing themselves on climbs to make it easier for the likes of Brad and Froome, hence quicker times. Remember as well this years Tour had 2 long time trials which Brad excels at and this would increase his overall speed rather than having say another mountain top finish.

It's naive to think that other athletes don't use the same freely available drugs when competing. There are numerous cases of athletes from all sports abusing drugs. Football even has a problem. I don't know if you remember Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids receiving suspensions. Unfortunately drug testing is very unfashionable and not particularly reliable. Who wants to defrock a national champion idolised by a nation?

Don't believe the old routine of better training. If that was the case you'd have trickle down from the pros sooner or later. Better training is the smoke and mirrors of our age. More telemetry helps, but the gains you talk of are not substantial. If you followed the whole Armstrong affair he ran the 'marginal' gains racket that Sky now do, claiming the best equipment. It's a marketing mans dream and lines the pockets of the stars and the manufacturer.

I like to believe this stuff, but it doesn't mean I'm not sceptical too.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:33

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bashthebox, stumpy and colin - many thanks.

bashthebox - I agree the route profile makes a difference - but it should still average out methinks - i'll see how the speeds develop over the next few tours i guess.

Stumpy - the long time trials are definitely a good point and as Brad's speciality they should improve the overall speed. Don't think I agree with advances in training/equipment/nutrition though - it just hasn't been a long enough timescale and there have been no dramatic advancements that I'm aware of in those fields.

colin - sadly another good point. No bad days etc does smell a bit and makes an uncomfortable mirror to the US postal days...

I honestly am undecided...I really want to believe in SKY and Brad, just not sure the figures back them up...and I've been stung before - we all have!

Also really not helped by the comments Brad and Cav are making in the press, I understand they must be frustrated, but surely - for pity's sake - they can't honestly expect not to have to deal with this stuff...I'd have expected a different reaction from them to be honest Sad

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:49

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hi colin - yes that was my thought too.

Problem is that the better training mantra was exactly what Armstrong was saying all that time too.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:51

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Lacticlegs, Brad did have a bad day at the office on the stage that Valverde won. Froome was urging him on to catch Valverde and win the stage but he had nothing left.

Its the old saying "one swallow does not a summer make" but it shows he was out on his feet.

The decision is yours to make and until a result shows any of the Sky team cheated then you will always get buffoons like Kimmage pointing fingers.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2664 posts]
17th January 2013 - 15:57

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I agree with stumpy Couldn't believe Kimmage had a pop at wiggins and sky He just comes across as angry with cyclists who have success

Lee

posted by fatrunner [1 posts]
17th January 2013 - 16:08

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stumps wrote:
Lacticlegs, Brad did have a bad day at the office on the stage that Valverde won. Froome was urging him on to catch Valverde and win the stage but he had nothing left.

Its the old saying "one swallow does not a summer make" but it shows he was out on his feet.

The decision is yours to make and until a result shows any of the Sky team cheated then you will always get buffoons like Kimmage pointing fingers.

Hi Stumpy - and Lee (post just below yours),

That's true of course and despite my scepticism I want to believe so will try to 'suspend disbelief' until further evidence arises...

I can't reasonably wait for a positive result to prove the case though - 'you know who' never got tired of saying he never tested positive (dubious Swiss tour cover-ups notwithstanding), and if you've read Hamilton's book then faith in the testing and testers would be...misplaced at the least.

Kimmage is an unfortunately uncharismatic individual which doesn't help him, and a few years ago I'd have dismissed him completely. But - he has earned the right to say what he is saying, and despite the rough-and-ready packaging, what he is saying has some merit I think - or at least deserves a considered response from the riders rather than a put-down or belittlement.

He got that last time. But he was right. Seems a bit harsh to accuse him of being bitter - I'm pretty sure I would be too. Guy lost his job, got sued, slated in the press from all angles...and yet he was right.

Sigh. Oh for the days of innocence.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
17th January 2013 - 16:30

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God help us all if the current batch of cyclist aren't open to scrutiny. This is the climate, bolstered by the UCI, that nurtured the Armstrong era.

I'm afraid I'm not buying it. If I see a superhuman performance (Riis, Pantani, Armstrong, Contador etc etc) I just don't believe it anymore. If I see a GC rider not having a bad day in a GT - I don't believe it anymore.

Kimmage is duty bound as a journalist (and ex professional cyclist) to question Sky's result, given their "100% transparency" stance, the staff they employed and the result at the Tour.
I assume he just asked too many questions while 'embedded' and pissed the staff off.
What do you/Sky expect from someone who has dedicated half a lifetime to this?

I heard David Walsh a few weeks ago speaking on-line. A press car dumped him at the side of the road during the "05 Tour because they didn't want to be seen associating with him - "they might have lost their jobs". Shame - not the sort of journalism I'll read.

I'm not questioning Wiggins - but I feel we're all in danger of swapping the Livestrong Wristband for the Brad Sideburns.
If fans and journalists can't stand up and question results then we're heading back down the same old cul-de-sac we've been in for 25 years.

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posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
17th January 2013 - 18:27

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Wiggo didn't do anything superhuman though, did he? He diesel'd his way up the climbs, and arrowed through the TTs - we know he's an incredible TTer because he's beaten everyone at several Olympic games. Remember the reason he started out on the track was because road racing was too dirty when he was stating out in the late 90s/early 2000s. Sky only came about when the doping had died down. I really, really hope I'm not proved wrong, but Brailsford seems genuine in his anti-doping stance - he's done things wrong, hired the wrong people, but I honestly don't think he'd conscience doping on any level. As Wiggo pointed out in July, there's just too much to lose, especially when taken in the context of the LA era.

Fans and journos are allowed to ask the difficult questions, of course - but the cyclists have answered them, time and again, for years. They want to concentrate on the season ahead, it's perfectly understandable. And it's impossible for them to give the 'right' or satisfactory answer.

They don't want to talk about LA, because he's fucked the sport up.

posted by bashthebox [600 posts]
17th January 2013 - 20:38

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bashthebox wrote:
Wiggo didn't do anything superhuman though, did he?

No he didn't - as I said above - I'm not questioning him personally. It bordered on boring - which is why the comparisons are being drawn with USPS.

The Vuelta - exciting as it was - was unbelievable at times. I just don't believe Contador - there you go - my opinion. I don't believe Riis should be involved in professional cycling - at any level.
I was encouraged when Rodriguez had a bad day as I was when Evans struggled at the Tour but finished.

The big problem is the lens we're viewing cycling through i.e. 25 years of superhuman, unbelievable performances. The sport needs re-calibrated where the norm isn't CGI special effects and fireworks - I feel it's slowly getting back to gritty realism, which is much more exciting.

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posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
17th January 2013 - 21:21

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Wiggins who loved Lance has a lot to answer in my book.

In 2006 he said any one with 1% suspicion of working with a doping doctor shouldn't be let anywhere near the TdF, the works with Leinders.

Wiggins appears to have fallen to the allure of riches that comes with winning, which means doping to win.

Kimmage called Armstrong out in 1999

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

Wiggins should show more respect. If Wiggins wanted to end all the doping speculation, all he has to do is sit down with Kimmage. That will be the end of it.

That he wont and calls Kimmage names is so Armstrong like.

Kimmage loves the sport.

That he wont makes it all the

posted by Decster [246 posts]
17th January 2013 - 22:19

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I think Wiggo feels that he can't give the 'right' answers to Kimmage, and lacks media savvy so might get misinterpreted to his cost.

As for having a bad day, I knew Paul Sherwens coach for a while as a kid, and he said you won by not having bad days. There isn't the chance to recover between stages so once your body started going downhill, that was it, and that the guys who had a great day after a bad day were among the most suspect. (remember floyds bad day?)

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
17th January 2013 - 22:37

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Lacticlegs wrote:
hi colin - yes that was my thought too.

Problem is that the better training mantra was exactly what Armstrong was saying all that time too.

Things cannot be dismissed out of hand because Armstrong said x or y, or USPS did x or y. This would mean that the entire sport has to find a whole new lexicon of words. What, it means that the following factors have to be dismissed (not exhaustive)?:

strong team support
domestiques setting a hard pace to whittle down the front group
different approach to training
etc

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 0:18

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Lacticlegs wrote:
dullard wrote:
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Reading these comments, you'd think it was Kimmage who'd been defrauding the sporting world and global institutions and denying good men and women the chance to prove themselves in the sport they love. No, he's the one who's been taking a stand, along with the marvelous Betsy Andreus and David Walsh's of the world, at huge personal expense, abuse and ridicule, against the shitbags like Armstrong, Verbruggen, McQuaid and Bruyneel who've been taking us all for a ride for the last couple of decades. He has simply pointed out that the style of Sky's victory in last year's Tour was very similar to USPS and Discovery (which it was), that Sky hired a doctor known to be dodgy (they did) and that the team's much-heralded policy of hiring only clean personnel has been shot to bits with the departure of Yates, Rogers, Barry etc (it has). And Sir BW and Cavendish can say it's time to move on all they want, but their sport that they earn millions out of because of us, the fans, has been a total effing lie for probably as long as many of us have been watching it: last clean winner was probably LeMond? So to accept now that it's all fine, they're all clean (Contador? Yeah, right) is not going to happen. Kimmage isn't a martyr. He's a tough little f#cker who's been through the mill and who was right all along.

I agree.

Given the history - surely we should be taking Kimmage's side first off and waiting to see if the riders can prove their innocence?

I mean come on - we've heard all this before, verbatim. And it turns out Kimmage was right. Spot on in fact.

Surely it's only fair to give the guy the benefit of the doubt this time around. He's proved his point - and his worth - once already.

No, I'm sorry: your suggestion is that a journalist's word is taken as gospel, the rider is treated as guilty until and only IF they prove their innocence.

Jesus Christ, what kind of trial by journalism and mob are you suggesting?

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 0:21

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Decster wrote:
Wiggins who loved Lance has a lot to answer in my book.

In 2006 he said any one with 1% suspicion of working with a doping doctor shouldn't be let anywhere near the TdF, the works with Leinders.

Wiggins appears to have fallen to the allure of riches that comes with winning, which means doping to win.

Kimmage called Armstrong out in 1999

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

Wiggins should show more respect. If Wiggins wanted to end all the doping speculation, all he has to do is sit down with Kimmage. That will be the end of it.

That he wont and calls Kimmage names is so Armstrong like.

Kimmage loves the sport.

That he wont makes it all the

As you say that Wiggins doped to win, I hope that you've taken your evidence to UKAD?

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 0:23

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Incidentally, anyone know where I can see the ascent times for 2012 tour and others?

Average speeds pretty easy to google - not having so much luck with the climbs...

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
18th January 2013 - 1:01

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Personally, there is only one rider I am 100% sure doesn't deliberately dope, and it is me. I am pretty sure about my better mates, but there is always that tiny chance. Wiggins could sit down with Kimmage for an hour or a month, and I still wouldn't be sure of him. I spoke with Froome a few times in Spain in 2012 and he seems a nice bloke, but I would want to live with him for six months before being reasonably confident he is clean.

And it isn't just Sky riders, I feel exactly the same about Garikoitz Bravo. If you don't know who he is, well, it is hardly surprising, according to the Fantasy Cycling stats (where I got his name by picking the first guy I had never heard of) he hasn't really won much lately and is ranked 899th in the game. So why do I suspect he dopes? I don't. There are a few guys I have relatively unfounded suspicions about, but I am hopeful that most of the peleton is clean. Unfortunately after decades of cheats, I just don't know it for any of them. Until me or one of those better mates wins the TdF (which, I have to admit, seems pretty unlikely at this stage) I won't have any real confidence it was a clean win. And I suspect that there will always be cheats. I applaude Kimmage for sticking to his guns re Armstrong in the face of overwhelming "evidence" to the contrary, I am happy for him to keep doing so for Wiggins and everyone else he suspects. I don't think Wiggins is dirty just because Kimmage draws some comparisons, and don't think he is dirty just because he has won some bike races. I've beaten people I knew to be cheats, and done it clean, so it can happen. But I won't buy any team kit (the last I bought was a pair of Festina gloves, in early 1998...), unless I am on the team.

The problem is, you can be proven dirty, but you can never be proven clean. And all those guys who are making millions of euro from cycling have to live with that, and the subsequent knowledge that there will always be people who doubt them, while they make their money.

In the case where they are later found to be cheats, then I applaude hunting the b******s down and extracting every cent, every jersey, every ribbon and every OBE they ever made from that cheating. Before then they can deal with it any way they want, and hopefully they will be smart enough to know what effect it will have on their futures. I am glad that there was a reporter pushing the point at the presentation of the new star rider for OPQS, I if it had been me being presented then I would have told that reporter to f*** off as well.

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

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posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
18th January 2013 - 13:30

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Lacticlegs wrote:
Someone please help me out here.

Let me preface this by saying - i'm serious, I really would like to borrow some of your knowledge.

I love cycling - always have, and I desperately want to be a believer. But I'm having some trouble and here's why:

It is generally agreed that EPO and similar blood boosters can improve performance by as much as 15% - hence why it was a game changer from the early 90's onward.

If the peloton is really clean (or at least cleaner) then surely we should be seeing a drop-off in the average speeds for the TdF now, no?

But we haven't. Cadel's winning average speed in 2011 was 39.79kmh.

Brad's in 2012 was 39.83kmh.

These are pretty much the same speeds that Lance Armstrong was posting in his reign - faster than the year 2000 in fact, and fractionally slower than the other years.

Please help me here - I so don't want to believe that Brad et al are also doping...but Kimmage has a point (however unpleasantly he makes it).

What am I missing? Surely there are no technological improvements in bikes and equipment (or for that matter training and nutrition) that can account for a clean rider performing at the same level as the doping king? Not in just 5 years...

Anyone?

Its not at all useful or pertinent to compare overall avg speeds for a GT, there are just too many variables. And they dont even out in the end, that's not the case.

Eg:

parcours
how many kms TT (or TTT) vs mountain stages vs flat vs rolling etc
weather can have an effect
just how hard the race is ridden by the field
strength of the field

Comparing a climb has some more pertinence.

There are some stats knocking around for the Peyragudes climb. Stage 17 of the Tour last year, Wiggins and Froome climbed it at something like 1m 30s slower than Pantani in 98 and with considerable lower watts and VAM stats

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 19:44

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Lacticlegs wrote:
Incidentally, anyone know where I can see the ascent times for 2012 tour and others?

Average speeds pretty easy to google - not having so much luck with the climbs...

The Science of Sport website has very good analysis and commentary across various sports including cycling.

This is particularly interesting reading - power of output when the Tour hit the mountains.

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/07/tour-in-mountains-analysis-discu...

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 19:45

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posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:06

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:
stumps wrote:

You will find in all sports that as training methods, nutrition and general lifestyle of athletes gets better so do their times etc etc.

Look at runners, constantly breaking records and getting faster, swimmers, footballers playing longer despite playing more games, rugby players fitter than ever. The list goes on and you could say some will have cheated through drugs but a very small %. The same goes for cyclists, they are getting fitter, better prepared, better kit and other team members virtually killing themselves on climbs to make it easier for the likes of Brad and Froome, hence quicker times. Remember as well this years Tour had 2 long time trials which Brad excels at and this would increase his overall speed rather than having say another mountain top finish.

It's naive to think that other athletes don't use the same freely available drugs when competing. There are numerous cases of athletes from all sports abusing drugs. Football even has a problem. I don't know if you remember Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids receiving suspensions. Unfortunately drug testing is very unfashionable and not particularly reliable. Who wants to defrock a national champion idolised by a nation?

Don't believe the old routine of better training. If that was the case you'd have trickle down from the pros sooner or later. Better training is the smoke and mirrors of our age. More telemetry helps, but the gains you talk of are not substantial. If you followed the whole Armstrong affair he ran the 'marginal' gains racket that Sky now do, claiming the best equipment. It's a marketing mans dream and lines the pockets of the stars and the manufacturer.

I like to believe this stuff, but it doesn't mean I'm not sceptical too.

Colin, I'll give you an example of one of the things that Sky do in the way of training that many teams cant or dont mirror.

Sky are able to take several of their top riders out of race programmes during the season for multiple training blocks together - like Wiggins, Froome, Porte, Rogers, Pate, Suitsou. Thanks to the depth of their squad, they're able to do this and still field decent teams for the races in the meantime. They provide them on these blocks with full on back up and support staff - soigner(s), mechanics, DS, coach, driver, even chef. They can fork out for the flights and hotel accommodation for all for these training blocks during the season. They can fund taking this approach. Other teams either cant afford to do this kind of thing, or see no reason to change they way they've always changed, or choose to spend most of their money in other ways (other wealthy teams eg BMC spend more of their budget on riders than Sky does, actually - Sky spends more than teams on support and coaching staff).

To illustrate: one journo who was with some of the Sky tour team for a particular training block in France/ Spain in 2010/11 tells the story of the Sky guys training on the same roads and at the same time as Contador - he was riding on his own and just had one back up car with him, whereas they had a number of team riders and a strong support and backroom team.

There are different ways of evolving the way that a team trains.

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
18th January 2013 - 20:07

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Sam1, you sound exactly like Bob Stapleton, Bruyneel and Armstrong when they tried to explain how Armstrong was able to win his tours.

Sorry not buying it.

posted by Decster [246 posts]
18th January 2013 - 22:04

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Sir Sideburns (unfortunately for him) has a responsibility as the foremost rider of his generation to do what it takes not just to win clean, but to be seen to win clean.

If that means sharing a room with Kimmage through the training and racing for a year, why not? If Kimmage came out and said "Yep, I take it back - Brad and the gang are clean as a whistle" it would be a huge step forward not just for Sir Sideburns and Sky, but all cyclists and the sport itself.

Then we just need to unload the w*nkers at the UCI. Maybe then we can open up the engineering side of cycling some.

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [57 posts]
18th January 2013 - 22:34

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Decster wrote:
Sam1, you sound exactly like Bob Stapleton, Bruyneel and Armstrong when they tried to explain how Armstrong was able to win his tours.

Sorry not buying it.

I was responding to the nonsensical post that there are no gains to be made from applyng different training methods. No skin off my nose whether 'you 'buy' what I was saying in that post, or whether you refuse to believe evidence to the contrary that things are evolving and that some teams are leading that. Keep on distrusting every winning performance you see over the coming years, irrespective of lack of evidence to prove a team is dirty. Not much of a way to follow pro cycling, but, hey, your choice.

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
19th January 2013 - 13:28

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Well done Cav and Wiggo there are those in the media that feel that they can run round throwing accusations around and receive no flack. If Kimmage wants to stick his head above the parapet and level these accusations at Sky then show us your proof, instead of trying to make a name by being controversial veiled statements.
It is time the media started concentrating on the accomplishments of the present and stopped dredging up the dross from the past.

posted by martib [33 posts]
20th January 2013 - 10:43

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It is a shame that Froome was not allowed to 'race' properly.
I watched the entire Vuelta when Froome came second and he was so much stronger than Wiggins in most areas even beating Wiggins in a TT.
If you watch the TDF 12 it is obvious that Froome was stronger than Wiggins and could have won the race on the climbs. Wiggins and Nabili would not not have been able to stay with Froome.
A case of the stronger man not winning.

posted by harry01 [15 posts]
28th January 2013 - 11:30

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It might have been more of a dilemma had Froome not lost that time on Stage 1, but fact is Wiggins would still have taken chunks out of him in the time trials.

There is also the issue of what Contador once described as the race being won in the hotel - for two weeks after getting the maillot jaune, it was Wiggins, not Froome, who had to spend time dealing with the post-race protocols including testing and press conferences, rather than getting straight back for a massage, food, rest etc.

His earlier experience in taking race lead at Paris-Nice, the Dauphine and Romandie meant it was second nature by the time the Tour came around, so less of a disruption/distraction, and I'd expect Sky to aim to do the same with Froome in his pre-Tour programme.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7893 posts]
28th January 2013 - 12:03

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