I just finished reading the book by Juliet Macur "Cycle of Lies - The Fall of Lance Armstrong".
As a Texan being full of pride as Texans are, hearing about the Texan that beat cancer to come back and win the 99 TdF I was an instant fan.
I remained hopeful that Lance raced clean up till the point that it was beyond reason to hold such a view and then I was embarrassed to have been a fan. I have read or heard about cheating starting as far back as the first races, be it in the rural Pennsylvania countryside early in the 20th century or the first occurrences of the TdF. I have read about drug use among racers. Still I had not realized that doping was so deeply intertwined in the history of the sport.
After reading this book I realize how naive I had been all along, not just about Lance but about pro cycling as a whole. Some of that ignorance was willful but I now feel that I have to wonder if anyone is racing clean or if it is possible to race clean.
If there are some who are racing clean now, I wonder if it is an explanation for riders who seem to fallen short of their potential in recent years. Perhaps they had been doping but was then scared into racing clean.
David Zabriskie, Tyler Farrar, the Schleck Brothers and even Mark Cavendish comes to mind. For each it seems that their best years are behind them.
Watching riders sprint up mountains that average riders would struggle to simply ascend on a bike, leaving other racers behind almost as if they were standing still, it seems unrealistic that they are racing clean. As unlikely as a clenbuteral laced steak resulting in a 'false' positive.
I would like to think that Johnathan Vaughters has helped to usher in a time of clean-top-level racing but that seems naive. It seems that if there was a sudden wave of clean racing that there would be a corresponding drop in average speed of the peloton.
I am curious what others think, particularly if you have read the book, what are your thoughts about the veracity or completeness of the book.