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What Has Changed?

Old 07-18-23, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Watching today's TT. My suspicions are through the roof.
Vingegaard addressed doping speculation yesterday.

He's clean - cough cough - and all of the ascent records and insane TT's are because of training. Oh, and food. I guess he just has better taco's in the team truck.
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Old 07-18-23, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Watching today's TT. My suspicions are through the roof.
It’s just such an outsized victory it does make you wonder!
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Old 07-18-23, 02:29 PM
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I'm late to this thread, but the suspicions around Lance Armstrong were so strong because they were fueled by very specific accusations from people within the sport. While most accusations weren't publicly made until later in LA's career, they were well known within the sport from the beginning. He was working with Michael Ferrari who openly advocated for the use of EPO in the 1990's while working as a team doctor, and by 1999 had a pretty well earned reputation for facilitating doping through his private practice. There were also soigneurs, former teammates, former friends, trainers, etc that were all talking to the media and others about what they saw going on. Lance also had a positive test in 1999 that his team wiggled their way out of by producing a prescription for a banned substance (that later was revealed to have been forged). Floyd Landis was LA's teammate on USPS, so of course the suspicions were there from the beginning (and they were correct, as history now shows) when he started replicating those superhuman efforts the moment Lance "retired".

For those that don't remember - Floyd Landis had a very bad day on Stage 16 in the 2006 TdF. He got dropped on the final climb and lost 8 minutes (and the yellow jersey). Then miraculously they very next day he rode solo off the front of the peloton - not an attack... just a tempo that no one else could hold - with 120k to go. He single handedly closed a 6 minute gap to a10 person breakway group, then towed those who could hold on to his wheel up to a 9 minute lead before going solo to the line. After starting the day in 11th place, over 8 minutes down, he finished in 3rd place overall just 30 seconds out of yellow. Landis went on to easily beat the yellow jersey by 1:30 in the TT a few days later to seal the deal.

This is a lot different than anything we've seen Jonas Vingegaard do, and to my knowledge there are not a bunch of whispers/rumors or flat out accusations against Vingegaard. I'm not saying Vingegaard is clean, but claiming that his performances alone should result in the same level of suspicions that surrounded Lance Armstrong is silly.
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Old 07-18-23, 06:13 PM
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very suspicious results. post race they even mentioned super human effort, same words were used for Lance and his team. Van Aert great tt and he was destroyed. i still will watch but the op asked what has changed, probably not much.
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Old 07-18-23, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
I'm late to this thread, but the suspicions around Lance Armstrong were so strong because they were fueled by very specific accusations from people within the sport. While most accusations weren't publicly made until later in LA's career, they were well known within the sport from the beginning. He was working with Michael Ferrari who openly advocated for the use of EPO in the 1990's while working as a team doctor, and by 1999 had a pretty well earned reputation for facilitating doping through his private practice. There were also soigneurs, former teammates, former friends, trainers, etc that were all talking to the media and others about what they saw going on. Lance also had a positive test in 1999 that his team wiggled their way out of by producing a prescription for a banned substance (that later was revealed to have been forged). Floyd Landis was LA's teammate on USPS, so of course the suspicions were there from the beginning (and they were correct, as history now shows) when he started replicating those superhuman efforts the moment Lance "retired".

For those that don't remember - Floyd Landis had a very bad day on Stage 16 in the 2006 TdF. He got dropped on the final climb and lost 8 minutes (and the yellow jersey). Then miraculously they very next day he rode solo off the front of the peloton - not an attack... just a tempo that no one else could hold - with 120k to go. He single handedly closed a 6 minute gap to a10 person breakway group, then towed those who could hold on to his wheel up to a 9 minute lead before going solo to the line. After starting the day in 11th place, over 8 minutes down, he finished in 3rd place overall just 30 seconds out of yellow. Landis went on to easily beat the yellow jersey by 1:30 in the TT a few days later to seal the deal.

This is a lot different than anything we've seen Jonas Vingegaard do, and to my knowledge there are not a bunch of whispers/rumors or flat out accusations against Vingegaard. I'm not saying Vingegaard is clean, but claiming that his performances alone should result in the same level of suspicions that surrounded Lance Armstrong is silly.
I'm trying to look at the big picture. Remember last week when Vingegaard confidently stated that the Tour wouldn't be won by four seconds - like he knew he had some trick up his sleeve ... and today, Wout saying that he rode faster than the normal people? I was highly suspicious of Froome's emergence from seemingly nowhere - and he's been sanctioned for one incident, and may well have been a part of the Jiffy bag kerfuffle, but they couldn't get anyone to come clean on that. Jonas - like Froome (and Roglic - though I haven't seen superhuman efforts from him) came out of nowhere. Like with Sky, good riders would go there and within a season become supermen. TJV seems to have a similar magical effect. Part of it may be training, but riders are not merely breaking through personal barriers, they are pushing hard up against the outer limits of metabolic performance. With Jonas, I've tried really hard to believe... he showed excellent sportsmanship last year... but today is just too much for me. I'm not accusing him, but I am back to doubting the sport has turned that corner.

and back to Floyd in 2006. He got very far down to Periera because his stupid DS let the breakaway get wayyyy too far ahead on stage 13. Had a sane person not given that breakaway 29 minutes,.. and that race was where Rasmussen first showed his tainted mug. Curious that the people who got busted were folks that weren't liked.
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Old 07-18-23, 06:53 PM
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equipment
nutrition
training
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Old 07-18-23, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi
equipment
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training
which they all share.


Wout put up a blistering pace.

Got trounced by Pogs, who was tearing it up.

Pogs then got destroyed by a 135# guy in a TT. Got destroyed on the flats and the climb…

A 135# climber flat destroyed the big strong men on the flats, destroyed Wout - who may be one of the biggest engines we’ve seen in racing.

The final TT in last years tour smelled rotten, so does this one.
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Old 07-18-23, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
which they all share.


Wout put up a blistering pace.

Got trounced by Pogs, who was tearing it up.

Pogs then got destroyed by a 135# guy in a TT. Got destroyed on the flats and the climb…

A 135# climber flat destroyed the big strong men on the flats, destroyed Wout - who may be one of the biggest engines we’ve seen in racing.

The final TT in last years tour smelled rotten, so does this one.
Only 5K was flat and only about 2 of that 5k flat was straight....
so over 2k climbing in 13.x miles..

The first bump had many climbs in double digit gradient and lots of switchbacks. That down hill was also not straight, lots of technical sections. Then the flat started and they are some tight corners and 1 basically 180. Then the last 2k of the 5k flat was pretty straight. This was the only area WVA really had an advantage if any. Ofcourse the rest of the TT was very uphill with the cat2 climb which also had tons of curves.

If you watched the entire race you would have seen people like JV and Bilbao rail the corners while still in the aerobars. Especially JV.. he was flying in these corners. I personally dont think Pog is a great descender compared to some peers, so even less so on a TT bike,
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Old 07-19-23, 09:57 AM
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Wout is great and has a history of doing amazing things, but it seems crazy to expect him to beat two of the best climbers in the world on an uphill TT (that saw people doing bike swaps) in a situation where those two were emptying the tanks to try to secure an overall TdF victory.

Maybe they're doping, and maybe they aren't, but I don't see how anyone can really point to yesterday's ride as evidence.
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Old 07-19-23, 12:52 PM
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If they are doping, they have advanced beyond science to hide it. Nowadays with all the scandal about doping,and particularly the saga with Lance and his US Postal teamates, there is only so much you can do to avoid detection . I volunteer for major endurance events, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers are immediately chapaproned by an official to submit a urine sample. I can't say for sure this occurs at the TDF, but I assume it does. So unless they have some new sh...t, that is undetectable, most likely they are clean.
My beflief is that training, nutrition, and all the other metrics that go into performance are creating better outcomes, and Team Jumbo Visma is simply the best at it.
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Old 07-19-23, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hrdknox1
If they are doping, they have advanced beyond science to hide it. . . . So unless they have some new sh...t, that is undetectable, most likely they are clean.
Bingo.

Per this Reuters article, the TdF overall leader is tested daily (dunno if that includes on rest days or not) - as is every stage winner. That means Vinegaard has been tested after each stage since stage 6. He was also tested before today's stage.

Pretty sure we'd have heard of a positive test by now if there was one, barring one for which results aren't yet in (and my understanding is results are available fairly quickly these days).

IMO that strongly suggests that either (a) he's clean, or (b) there's something new, very effective - and currently undetectable - in use. Hope it's (a), but I guess only time will tell.
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Old 07-19-23, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
Bingo.

Per this Reuters article, the TdF overall leader is tested daily (dunno if that includes on rest days or not) - as is every stage winner. That means Vinegaard has been tested after each stage since stage 6. He was also tested before today's stage.

Pretty sure we'd have heard of a positive test by now if there was one, barring one for which results aren't yet in (and my understanding is results are available fairly quickly these days).

IMO that strongly suggests that either (a) he's clean, or (b) there's something new, very effective - and currently undetectable - in use. Hope it's (a), but I guess only time will tell.
Testing daily sounds good, but ONLY if the tests are capable of detecting whatever the doping substances are. In the Armstrong era, the test for EPO was hematocrit level, not actually detecting the substance itself. As long at the rider didn't cross the 50 threshold, they were not "positive". The doping method was to run hematocrit as close to 50 as possible without going over. If the rider crossed that line, there were counter-measures that could be done to bring the number down below 50.

As someone who has loved the sport for a very long time, I hope that riders are actually racing clean now. However, history tends to favor the cheaters, with detection methods lagging behind doping methods.
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Old 07-19-23, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Testing daily sounds good, but ONLY if the tests are capable of detecting whatever the doping substances are. . . . However, history tends to favor the cheaters, with detection methods lagging behind doping methods.
Agreed - hence my alternative about something currently undetectable being used.

Time will tell.
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Old 07-19-23, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
Agreed - hence my alternative about something currently undetectable being used.

Time will tell.
If it’s just food like Vingo claims…


I need some of those recipes… and a Colnago while we’re at it.
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Old 07-19-23, 09:56 PM
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Hypothetically, if there is some new magic undetectable dope, it is not only the dope itself that has to be undetectable, but also the effect on the spectrum of metabolites monitored in the biologic passport must also be undetectable. And yet, this dope must have some beneficial effect on performance.

Not impossible, but strikes me as unlikely.
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Old 07-20-23, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
Hypothetically, if there is some new magic undetectable dope, it is not only the dope itself that has to be undetectable, but also the effect on the spectrum of metabolites monitored i n the biologic passport must also be undetectable. And yet, this dope must have some beneficial effect on performance.

Not impossible, but strikes me as unlikely.
Unlikely? Possibly, but maybe not given the rewards for doing so to both the developer and user.

As I recall, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG, AKA BALCO's "the clear") was undetectable for quite a while initially. It was developed in secret by an organic chemist, Patric Arnold, as a performance enhancing drug. In fact, outside the select group dealing and using it the drug was not known to exist until after a sample (syringe containing traces) was provided to the USADA in 2003 by an athletic coach. Afterwards, it was identified and a test for use of the drug devised. It had been in use for several years at that point.

As I said previously: I don't know one way or another, and I certainly hope the latest group of TdF cyclists are clean. But only time - and future retroactive testing of stored samples, unfortunately - will tell for sure.

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Old 07-20-23, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
Unlikely? Possibly, but maybe not given the rewards for doing so to both the developer and user.

As I recall, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG, AKA BALCO's "the clear") was undetectable for quite a while initially. It was developed in secret by an organic chemist, Patric Arnold, as a performance enhancing drug. In fact, outside the select group dealing and using it the drug was not known to exist until after a sample (syringe containing traces) was provided to the USADA in 2003 by an athletic coach. Afterwards, it was identified and a test for use of the drug devised. It had been in use for several years at that point.

As I said previously: I don't know one way or another, and I certainly hope the latest group of TdF cyclists are clean. But only time - and future retroactive testing of stored samples, unfortunately - will tell for sure.
2003 is before the biological passport. THG was an anabolic steroid, and would likely be detectable indirectly through changes in urine chemistry.
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Old 07-20-23, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan
2003 is before the biological passport. THG was an anabolic steroid, and would likely be detectable indirectly through changes in urine chemistry.
Yes, THG is detectable today. My point was that a new drug might not be readily detectable if it (like THG) was developed secretly and unknown outside a small supplier/user community.

As I understand it, you have to understand the chemistry of the drug being used first in order to know what metabolites or blood changes to look for as markers of use. For a secretly-developed new drug, that's sometimes problematic without being provided a sample - as my example from the past (THG) shows. It was in use for several years before it was even known to exist by testing labs, and the only known indicator of possible use during that period of several was observed "unusually exceptional" athletic performance by those using it.

I hope we don't have a similar case here, and I'm not saying that's what's going on. But the possibility can't be completely ruled out.
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Old 07-20-23, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6
Yes, THG is detectable today. My point was that a new drug might not be readily detectable if it (like THG) was developed secretly and unknown outside a small supplier/user community.

As I understand it, you have to understand the chemistry of the drug being used first in order to know what metabolites or blood changes to look for as markers of use. For a secretly-developed new drug, that's sometimes problematic without being provided a sample - as my example from the past (THG) shows. It was in use for several years before it was even known to exist by testing labs, and the only known indicator of possible use during that period of several was observed "unusually exceptional" athletic performance by those using it.

I hope we don't have a similar case here, and I'm not saying that's what's going on. But the possibility can't be completely ruled out.

But the point is that the performance benefit of steroids is partly from increased production of red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, etc. To be undetectable by the biological passport, the new drug would have to enhance performance by some novel mechanism without affecting these very detectable parameters.
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Old 07-20-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Watching today's TT. My suspicions are through the roof.
They shouldn't be. It's not 1998.

Back then, riders and teams and sponsors and fans largely turned a blind eye to doping. Back in '98, the pro peloton staged multiple protests when Festina got caught transporting tons of PEDs in a team car; in 2006, Floyd Landis had tons of fan support when he got busted for doping. But after years of high-profile dopers dragging sponsor's names into the dirt, as well as law enforcement actions turning over lots of rocks, it seems like they got sick of it, and told the teams to clean up their act or they'd quit the sport. (E.g. Rabobank completely exiting sponsorship when Rasmussen got nailed.) Once the sponsors cracked down, the teams had to crack down, or at least stop supporting dopers. Fans also tired of it and lost tolerance for it; consider how basically no one defended Quintana when he got busted for Tramadol last year.

As to how riders are faster? Tech, training and nutrition. Aero everything (frames, rims, helmets, skinsuits, socks...). Bikes are lighter, stiffer, and more comfortable. Just switching to tubeless resulted in a huge jump in performance. On the training and nutrition side, this is constantly improving. E.g. riders these days know exactly when to refuel, and how much. They're even using continuous glucose monitors during training. Even tactics may be influencing overall speeds.
https://velo.outsideonline.com/road/...investigation/

Nor do I see anything hinky about the ITT. Top GC guys have dominated TTs for decades, it's pretty much a required skill. Pogi also threw away at least 20 seconds (if not more) with a totally unnecessary bike change. Neither of their performances were unusual for them.

So what's the cause for suspicion? Is it just that a rider won the ITT? That seems like a rather unworkable method of detecting doping....
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Old 07-20-23, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Testing daily sounds good, but ONLY if the tests are capable of detecting whatever the doping substances are. In the Armstrong era, the test for EPO was hematocrit level, not actually detecting the substance itself. As long at the rider didn't cross the 50 threshold, they were not "positive". The doping method was to run hematocrit as close to 50 as possible without going over. If the rider crossed that line, there were counter-measures that could be done to bring the number down below 50.
That's where the biological passport comes in. Those guys would need to perfectly tune their doping to believable levels year-round -- without anyone noticing the presence of hinky doctors, or police finding syringes in their luggage when they cross borders, or anyone leaking to the press / social media -- or dope in such small amounts that it'd barely be noticeable.

And don't forget, it isn't just the dopers who can do things in secret. E.g. WADA developed and started using a test for CERA (an EPO variant) without notifying anyone. The test was revealed when it popped 3 riders at the TdF.
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Old 07-20-23, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
That's where the biological passport comes in. Those guys would need to perfectly tune their doping to believable levels year-round -- without anyone noticing the presence of hinky doctors, or police finding syringes in their luggage when they cross borders, or anyone leaking to the press / social media -- or dope in such small amounts that it'd barely be noticeable.

And don't forget, it isn't just the dopers who can do things in secret. E.g. WADA developed and started using a test for CERA (an EPO variant) without notifying anyone. The test was revealed when it popped 3 riders at the TdF.
I understand that testing has changed/evolved. The biological passport was certainly a big step forward. Doping methods evolve, too. I want the sport to be clean, but I don't have a lot of confidence that it is, at this point.
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Old 07-20-23, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
They shouldn't be. It's not 1998.

Back then, riders and teams and sponsors and fans largely turned a blind eye to doping. Back in '98, the pro peloton staged multiple protests when Festina got caught transporting tons of PEDs in a team car; in 2006, Floyd Landis had tons of fan support when he got busted for doping. But after years of high-profile dopers dragging sponsor's names into the dirt, as well as law enforcement actions turning over lots of rocks, it seems like they got sick of it, and told the teams to clean up their act or they'd quit the sport. (E.g. Rabobank completely exiting sponsorship when Rasmussen got nailed.) Once the sponsors cracked down, the teams had to crack down, or at least stop supporting dopers. Fans also tired of it and lost tolerance for it; consider how basically no one defended Quintana when he got busted for Tramadol last year.

As to how riders are faster? Tech, training and nutrition. Aero everything (frames, rims, helmets, skinsuits, socks...). Bikes are lighter, stiffer, and more comfortable. Just switching to tubeless resulted in a huge jump in performance. On the training and nutrition side, this is constantly improving. E.g. riders these days know exactly when to refuel, and how much. They're even using continuous glucose monitors during training. Even tactics may be influencing overall speeds.
https://velo.outsideonline.com/road/...investigation/

Nor do I see anything hinky about the ITT. Top GC guys have dominated TTs for decades, it's pretty much a required skill. Pogi also threw away at least 20 seconds (if not more) with a totally unnecessary bike change. Neither of their performances were unusual for them.

So what's the cause for suspicion? Is it just that a rider won the ITT? That seems like a rather unworkable method of detecting doping....
If the Sky incident with the Jiffy bags and their numerous abused TUEs hadn't happened, I'd quite possibly believe that UCI and WADA had a firm handle on things. What that showed me is that there are still ways to defeat testing. I still have great difficulty believing that the incredible transformations of Wiggins and Froome into TdF winners happened without bending (a certainty) or breaking (conjecture) some of the rules... and if they could do it 8-10 years ago, how can one feel confident that it isn't still the case? Watching Jonas is like watching Froome 2.0
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Old 07-20-23, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Watching Jonas is like watching Froome 2.0
Vingagaard could never be as boring as Froome.
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Old 07-20-23, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
If the Sky incident with the Jiffy bags and their numerous abused TUEs hadn't happened, I'd quite possibly believe that UCI and WADA had a firm handle on things. What that showed me is that there are still ways to defeat testing.
What the what? Wiggins had a TUE for asthma medications. That's not doping, that is literally following the rules. UCI wasn't directly involved in the package investigation (that was the UK government's job). Nor do I see freaking out over a single package as much more than the British media doing its usual scandal-hype thing.


I still have great difficulty believing that the incredible transformations of Wiggins and Froome into TdF winners happened without bending (a certainty) or breaking (conjecture) some of the rules... and if they could do it 8-10 years ago, how can one feel confident that it isn't still the case? Watching Jonas is like watching Froome 2.0
Oh, good grief. Neither of them "came out of nowhere." Wiggins was a pro for years before came in 4th in the TdF in 2009, 3rd in 2012, and won a bunch of races that year. Froome's early career performances were hobbled by schistosomiasis, so his "sudden" improvement was because he received better treatment.

And notice how Sky went from kicking everyone's ass to... not? Does that mean an international telecom corporation required its cycling team to dope, and they stopped when the sponsor changed? Even though Brailsford has remained GM? Why isn't Ineos telling riders to juice?

The problem here is that you could interpret any result, whether it be victory or loss, as "proof" of doping. Suddenly blows rival out of the water? He's doping. Consistently trouncing everyone? He's doping. Recovered quickly from a bad day? Doping. Top 10 GC for years, then wins? Doping. Not in the top 10 GC for years, then wins? Doping. No matter what happens, if you aren't requiring proof, you can easily insist that someone is doping.

To wit: Is Pogacar doping? He rode Vingegaard off his wheel twice last week, and ruined everyone in the ITT except Vingegaard. Yet he got shelled the next day. Are these results proof that he was doping, or nah?

That's why we really need to stick to actual evidence. If you aren't able to do that, then why would you bother to follow the sport?
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