One of the truest things to have come out of Armstrong's mouth in recent weeks is the accepted fact that generations of riders have doped while riding the TdF.

He also said on Oprah that as far as he was concerned he couldn't win the TdF without doping.

Now, we all know that in the early days of the Tour the riders took anything they could get their hands on just to get through the bloody thing. But as the sport progressed, doping became an accepted, albeit unspoken, aspect of bike racing, particularly for riders who were competing for 300 days of the year.

So the question is: with all the (legal) advancements in training, preparation, nutrition, recovery, technology and strategy we have today is it really possible for a rider to not only race the Tour competitively, but actually win it?

And if it is, when did that happen? At which point in history can we draw the line and say this is when it became possible to compete clean?

I'm not attacking Sky or Wiggo here. I'm just curious


Gkam84 [9118 posts] 5 years ago

Yes, its fully possible, but it takes a super human clean rider to beat the dopers. I'm also not attacking Wiggo, I think he did it clean.

But him and Froome are what I would call machines in human form, they have been taken up through the system to be perfect cyclists, from weight, muscle build....etc all the marginal gains  3

So yes its possible, but until EVERYONE is clean, its alot harder.

It will also not be as quick as it used to be in the past, particularly big mountain stages

Simon E [3349 posts] 5 years ago

At which point in history can we draw the line and say this is when it became possible to compete clean?

It has always been possible to compete clean.

Carlos Sastre has never been linked to any doping scandals or rumours, so maybe 2008? If you believe the ex-Postal riders who confessed earlier this year, they all suddenly quit doping after 2005.

I believe that the effect of PEDs was not as significant before EPO and other blood-boosters so you could say that the gains were somewhat smaller before the early 1990s. Also, some of the products riders may have used in the days of 'witchcraft' (particularly the 50s and 60s) may even not be beneficial. Allen Lim and others have talked about the placebo effect, the possibility that the product may actually have a detrimental effect or of athletes taking a lax attitude to training due to taking the PED. And BTW the whole "levelling the playing field" line re. EPO is a myth.

But does it really matter? Sport can be a metaphor for life, but for the vast majority of us it's only entertainment.

bashthebox [752 posts] 5 years ago

Lemond was clean - logic would dictate that he wouldn't have fucked up his bike business attacking Armstrong back in the early to mid 2000s were it not for his moral high ground.
Fignon claims to be clean, but was caught and admitted to taking amphetamines in a small race. Again, logic suggests that if he was prepared to dope in a small race, then why wouldn't he when the stakes were highest?
There's all sorts of allusions to doping with Mercx, Anquetil and Hinault using ampetamines - and let's not forget Merxc and Hinault standing up for Armstrong until there were no legs left to stand on.

But from the 90s onwards was undoubtedly a different era of cheating. EPO and transfusions make SUCH a difference to the racing. There's cheating, and then there's cheating.