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The Official Cycling Thread

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

So, tomorrow is the second time-trial. Had it been after the mountains, I had thought that Evans still has got the victory in his pocket, because he is better than Wiggins at mountains and would be better fit for the time-trial, and eventually beat everybody in it. Now that it is before the mountains, I think Wiggins will actually wider the gap.

The good work done in Great Britain on cycling is getting them results. It is not only Wiggins and Cavendish, but that the Sky team is the new "US Postal" going with one top rider and a band of other good ones to set the pace for him. I doubt them being good enough for really doing it all the mountains, like US Postal did: Froome and Porte are not that top. Froome right now did something quite unexpected when he first paced Wiggins for the climb at stage 7, then rode to take the stage and then paced Wiggins again to the end the next day. He is doing immensely a lot of work, much more than Wiggins, and if he continues to survive that at mountains, I'm getting extremely suspicious. Aside from him, Wiggins also has Rogers, Boesson Hagen and Porte to pace him. That is quite good arsenal, but I just doubt it being as top as the US Postal arsenal was. That was like 4 or 5 guys able to compete for the Maillot Jaune themselves there just helping Armstrong. Wiggins has 0 of them. I think even at the minimum Armstrong had 2 of that level guys, and the others were top 10 quality. That and their cunning tactics made them practically impossible to win.

Still, Sky has a tough team and when this kind of team gets the lead, it is hard to get it back. They are setting the pace at the end of each stage and nobody seems able to attack. Evans should attack, but his team really is not good enough to help him against Sky. However, what I meant with my point on mountains and US Postal's ability of taking them due to having a bunch of top 10 riders, is that obviously Sky's competitors, the many challengers of Wiggins from diverse teams, can join their forcer to drop Wiggins' friends - and eventually Wiggins. Evans can attack with other top guys, say Nibali, Zubeldia, Monfort, perhaps some like Sorensen, Van den Broeck, Rolland, Schleck, Basso and Popovych in the group, group filled with some changing outsiders gambling for stage or mountains victory, say likes of Vanendert, Taaramae, Roy and Peraud. If Schleck, Nibali and Evans escape at a big climb, I doubt Wiggins' friends coping it, and in fact Wiggins himself will have trouble. Or will not, we'll see.

Anyway, 11th July, the first HC climb will start the Maillot à Pois competition for real. The current top five has nothing to do with that competition. I predict Schelck, at least, escaping there. I have a hunch that Rolland will be in the group. Maybe Vanendert involved, and Monfort. It will certainly be a climbers' breakaway. You get the sense that Evans and Nibali should certainly be there, but the thing is that this might not be so decisive for the winning of the competition, but more so for who takes the lead on mountains. Nibali might actually try the mountains. He is hasty to go. So, in the end, he probably tries to escape there.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I watched the current GC riders last year and I don't believe they do dope' date='I remember the stage last year when Voeckler was in yellow and he absouletely destroyed himself just to keep it for a day,Schleck destroyed himself trying to get a gap to Evans for the upcoming time trial,and Evans destroyed himself trying to claw back as much time as he could,I may be proven wrong but they clearly looked like they wasn't doping to me,it's three men pushing themselves to the absoulete limit and achieve the goal of winning the yellow jersey,I've watched Landis and Contador do similar climbs and hardly even look tired afterwards,it was just cleared they doped to me,I don't sense or see that with the current GC riders in this Tour if I'm honest.[/quote']

Yeah, I have sort of same feelings. That's why I deleted the harshest part of my post. Last year's tour was one of the best, it really did seem not doped, you got these comments from everywhere. I think it was the image of Voeckler killing himself on the climbs to hang with Evans, Contador and Schlecks that made it. He was clearly sticking there with pure will. Voeckler has ever been kind of symbolic for this thing, because he is clearly a tough rider who can do a good day of work, but has not been able to compete with this unbelievable recovery of the extreme top riders. Then, during the last decade, it was revealed that practically every single top competitor had been doped. Basically only Evans and Schlecks were left. And Voeckler was able to hang in their group. And even they looked like dying at the end of 19th stage. I think that made it.

And yet, the pace of the winner is still extremely high. Still things like Contador's wonder come back last year happen. I think we still have reason to be suspicious and cycling union should accept WADA to take the tests and lead the investigation.

Edit: so, what I wanted to say, I didn't want to make such a sure statement about the top riders being all doped now.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

A great victory for Pinot today. Youngest rider of the Tour, just 22-year-old, and won from an escape despite being seriously chased by the group of Evans and Wiggins who tried to top each other.

I particularly love the story that he was told to stick in the group in the first place and not given permission to escape, but was so stubborn that he decided that it is "now or never" and went on to win it. Something that reminds me of Voeckler, of the reason why we love Voeckler and why he finally rarely wins anything (because he does stupid decisions and doesn't stick to tactics).

Fantastic, I hope more of good is coming. I have to say, although Pinot seemed as stubborn as Voeckler, he was more tactically apt and although he claimed he didn't feel his legs in the end, I think he finished a very hard ride with a relative ease (and by relative I mean that he was expected to be caught by the leaders). He is very young, on his first Tour de France, and probably quite exhausted after escaping alone against strong wind, so I don't expect too much from him for now, but the signs are good and he certainly is one to watch now. He also survived pretty well before and lost only 24 seconds to Cancellara in the time trial. And thus only 17 to Wiggins. He will have a tough day tomorrow, not as tough as Kessiakoff who lost to him in the end, though. Fortunately to him, if he can survive tomorrow, then there is one day of rest before the mountains. He is a climber and can make some new surprises there. In fact, he just could be a surprise name in the Evans breakaway groups. Still, I think the betting agencies are overreacting, bringing his odds to win the mountains very low.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Just watched some of the race today,I feel sorry for Froome today,his been the best rider in this Tour for me and is unfortunate to be in the same team as Wiggins,he has to move from Sky at the end of this tour,I really think next year he could go to another team and be a GC contender,his the main reason I'm pretty sure Wiggins will win the tour as he has a team mate who could win the GC himself if he wanted too.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Just watched some of the race today' date='I feel sorry for Froome today,his been the best rider in this Tour for me and is unfortunate to be in the same team as Wiggins,he has to move from Sky at the end of this tour,I really think next year he could go to another team and be a GC contender,his the main reason I'm pretty sure Wiggins will win the tour as he has a team mate who could win the GC himself if he wanted too.[/quote']

Seems to me both BMC and Sky have got their team leaders wrong. The 2 time trials aside Froome has out ridden Wiggins on pretty much every stage and worked hard to set the pace. The way Froom was riding I wouldn't have put it past him to actually go on and take the yellow jersey. And going by the commentary he missed out winning the Tour of Spain due to Wiggins being the team leader. Same with Evans as well, if Van Garden had wanted to he could've got away from the peloton on the 2nd climb when they attacked Sky but had to hold back 'cos Evans couldn't keep up.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

So in what will probably be the greatest day in Britain's cycling history,Wiggins and Froome got a 1-2 and Cavendish won the stage :D,Wiggins and Froome were simply superior to everyone else in this tour and by a long way as well,I could be wrong here but I don't see Froome leaving sky I'd imagine it'd be a situation like on BMC this year with Van Garderen and Evans where in the end they switched team leader through the tour,so for example if Wiggins got dropped on a mountain stage next year they'd just leave him and let Froome fight it out up top.

I'd imagine next year depending on the route could be a Schleck vs Froome battle with Nibali and Wiggins maybe been in contention as well,I'd imagine it'd be a better tour than this year's version though which was dominated by Sky from start to finish.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

So in what will probably be the greatest day in Britain's cycling history' date='Wiggins and Froome got a 1-2 and Cavendish won the stage :D,Wiggins and Froome were simply superior to everyone else in this tour and by a long way as well,I could be wrong here but I don't see Froome leaving sky I'd imagine it'd be a situation like on BMC this year with Van Garderen and Evans where in the end they switched team leader through the tour,so for example if Wiggins got dropped on a mountain stage next year they'd just leave him and let Froome fight it out up top.

I'd imagine next year depending on the route could be a Schleck vs Froome battle with Nibali and Wiggins maybe been in contention as well,I'd imagine it'd be a better tour than this year's version though which was dominated by Sky from start to finish.[/quote']

Well done though this year's Tour wasn't as competitive as other years. But you could say that this year some of the less known got their chance to show themselves making next year even more interesting (really, really can't wait tbh). The 100th Tour probably with the Mont Ventoux and more special places while hopefully all this year's big names will be there (Sagan, Wiggins, Froome, Nibali, Van Den Broeck) to compete with missing big guns Contador and Andy Schleck, should be an amazing 100th edition.

And btw, Cavendish was amazing in his last 2 wins. If there's racers I got real respect for, Cavendish is absolutely among them. Twice from far away, twice basically on his own (when you look at the distance), wow!

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

About time! :rolleyes:

Winning Le Tour 7 times without doing dope while so many others were doing dope' date=' yeah right..[/quote']

This is precisely why I also believe he indeed did use doping. Everybody who ever was able to even nearly challenge him, from Ullrich and Mayo to Valverde and Basso, has been caught doping. And he was by far superior to them. When Basso was the second best cyclist in the world, Armstrong ridiculed him - and Basso was bloody doped! I just don't believe anybody is that superhuman. If something, or somebody, is too good to be true, that usually is because it is not true - or that he is cheating.

Now, my main problem with stripping him his victories is that the second best have been caught cheating s well. I think it should be announced that there were no winners of Tour de France those years. I'm not 100% sure, but wasn't Beloki doped too? If not, then by all means, give him his victories.

Moreover, these "I almost died for a crazy disease, but came straight back to win the hardest sport competition in world" -stories are just such a bull sh... Please, take a look at the riders who have missed two seasons for having been caught doping. They come back as clean as ever, because after that, they are under special supervision. And what happens? Despite having two good years for practising, they are shadows of themselves. Look at Kloden, Basso, Vinokurov, Valverde. Who would believe now that Valverde once was the only rider able to boss Armstrong - although for just a short while before an injury, or was it a disease?

But look at these near-death experience guys, Contador and Armstrong. It just so happened that during a year when everybody else who was at the top was caught doping, first Armstrong and then Contador was having a lethal disease and was not even practising, thus not tested, not to mention having something to do with the teams that were caught. Then they come back, and are better than before the disease. What the f...?! Better? They have been bloody sick, they have not been able to have a full season for practice. And now, they come back better than ever and are clean? Please.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I'm probably in a minority of one in here but I fully believe the case against Armstrong at least on the surface seemed absouletely pathetic,using ten eye witness accounts from the likes of Landis,Hamilton etc,they lied about doping themselves,how can these guys now be called credible witnesses in a law of court when they lied so vigorously beforehand,you can't say these guys are credible in the least with regards to Lance,they'll get money for selling there story and there is public interest with regards to whether Lance doped or not,also you have to say most of the evidence seemed to be fairly old and dismissed or discredited beforehand,also you have to consider that USADA don't have a trial like a normal person would,whilst not knowing the supposed new evidence that USADA apparentely had it's impossible to say whether that would make a difference or not unless the documents they were going to persecute Lance with is made public,I highly doubt that would happen.

As for him giving up what's the point of him fighting on?,the chances of him winning this case was absouletely zero,simply because USADA could present a case against him whereby they had enough witnesses and circumstincial evidence against him for the arbitration of sport to concieve he is guilty of doping.

Still here's where I differ from everyone else,having said all of the above I still believe he doped,as Didi explained there's simply no way you can beat the guys like Ullrich,Pantani etc on a consistent basis without doping if they were doping as well,it's simply not logical,sometimes he'd race up mountains without looking like he put in half the effort of Ullrich etc and they were on drugs as well,simply put though whilst I do believe he done drugs at some point in his career.I don't believe his guilty of the charges brought against him from USADA.

Oh and if anyone calls me a Lance fan/fanboy,I think he's a horrible person in all honesty,but I still think despite doping he was the best rider in the Peloton in those seven years and the work his livestrong foundation has done for cancer is fantastic.

I see no reason to be annoyed/angered he cheated to get to the top,everyone did during that era and he was no different,it'd have been nice if he admitted it and not lived a lie for all of these years,but then again the likes of Contador,Landis etc have done similar so I can understand why Lance is no different in that regard.

As for Beloki Didi:

In 2006 he was among those implicated in Operación Puerto and was withdrawn from the Tour de France. However, on 26 July he was cleared by Spanish officials of any wrongdoing.

The same Spanish officials that cleared Contador from doping :rolleyes:,I think it'd be best if all of the results were simply void to be honest,just be glad that the rampant EPO and drug use of back then simply isn't as prevelant today in the sport of Cycling and the likes of Evans,Wiggins,Schleck,Froome etc are flag bearers for our sport,still gutted Contador's back,but hopefully his performances will just fall away like it did in the Tour of 2011 where he looked like a shadow of the rider he was when doping.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his 7 tour titles. Cheating swine.

I would not go so far to call him a cheating swine..I personnaly was ands still is of the opinion that he did use EPO or other doping techniques' date=' however that remains just my opinion.

As far as I am aware his "guilt" has been ascertained after he failed or more rightly refused to challenge the USADA drugs charges, saying he is tired of fighting the allegations.

On Monday, he failed in his attempt to block the charges in a US federal court. He claimed USADA was acting beyond its remit and had offered "corrupt inducements" to other riders to testify against him.

"If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA's process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and - once and for all - put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance," said Armstrong

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19369375

Therefore he was proven guilty by his refusal to participate in the USADA's process which he deemed as being corrupt.

Btw the court judgement was:

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit as speculative.

"With respect to Armstrong's due process challenges, the court agrees they are without merit," Sparks wrote in a 30-page order. "Alternatively, even if the court has jurisdiction over Armstrong's remaining claims, the court finds they are best resolved through the well-established system of international arbitration, by those with expertise in the field, rather than by the unilateral edict of a single nation's courts." http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/8285172/judge-dismisses-lance-armstrong-lawsuit-vs-us-anti-doping-agency

and it goes further to impute concerns about the process used by USADA.

So while he may be guilty -in this instance I cannot agree that not fighting a charge by a tainted USADA process amounts to beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Texan had claimed that the agency was acting beyond its remit and had offered "corrupt inducements" to other riders to testify against him.

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said in the statement.

"I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt.

"The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense."

That sounds like a reasonable, rational man-Make of it what you will

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I want to return to this Cavendish statement, that cycling is the cleanest sport in the world. More I think of it, less I can be diplomatic about it: it is rubbish and he must know it is rubbish. Riders left and right of him have been caught for doping, everybody who has challenged for the GC in Tour de France for 15 years have been caught doping. And, this is important: only a handful of them have been caught in tests.

Almost all of the doped riders have been caught in police investigation. In Festina's case, the team doctor who had the dopes in his car didn't pass the customs, wasn't it? None of the riders was caught in tests, many of them denied knowing about doping, but all were doped. Likewise, in Operation Puerto it was revealed that almost all the Spanish riders and a good bunch of others were doped. None or very few of them were actually caught in tests. This year, Schleck was caugh in tests, but Di Gregorio was not: he was tracked down by the French police who were following illegal drug dealing.

Now, let me translate this to you, it means that almost everybody at the very top is doping, yet not caught by the anti-doping, but only by the police. It is known for sure that these riders were doped, yet the testing gives nothing.

Then, let me remind you that cycling union does not collaborate with WADA. It has its own anti-doping organisations that have proven to be slow and inefficient. In the sports controlled by WADA the athletes are caught in tests rather than by police. Indeed, once again, in the Olympic Games there were quite a few caught doping, yet I don't remember hearing anything about any police investigation.

It must be known by all the cyclists that the doping control is insufficient, that it would be necessary to allow WADA do the control to get rid of doping. And yet, there is a quite interesting division in reactions to this obvious situation. The farther the riders are from the top of the competition, the more they seem annoyed by doping, the more they beg for better doping control, the more positively they think about testing and the more they crave for WADA to take over. The closer they are to the top, the more annoyed they are about tests and the more they keep on repeating how clean this sport is. Why do they repeat that cycling is clean, when they must know that it is not? Why do they resist tighter doping control? Think about it. I cannot help it that every time that a cyclist say that cycling is clean, or every time a cyclist comes to the defence of another cyclist caught doping, assuring his cleanness, I start to wonder what are his interests in the case.

This is also one reason I found Armstrong rather suspicious: he was always fighting against doping control, he defended the likes of Landis, who was dead sure doping.

Now, mistake not, I think Armstrong is one of the best riders of all time and it is sad that he will be stripped that honour. Maybe he could not have competed with the other doped riders had he not doped himself, but had no one doped, he could have been the best. Not that good, however, it was superhuman, it was ridiculous sometimes, not the supremacy, but the consistency of that mind blowing supremacy. However, he was a top rider already when young, a clear talent. Probably doped already then, but nevertheless always a big promise already before his titles. He would have probably won Tour a few times if it was completely clean, he would be amongst the great ones (who were not caught doping, yet very likely were doping), something he now will not be. In any event, he was really good, so good that it would have been much easier to believe that he was not doped, than believe the clean supremacy of any of the current riders.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I

Now' date=' mistake not, I think Armstrong is one of the best riders of all time and it is sad that he will be stripped that honour. Maybe he could not have competed with the other doped riders had he not doped himself, but had no one doped, he could have been the best. Not that good, however, it was superhuman, it was ridiculous sometimes, not the supremacy, but the consistency of that mind blowing supremacy. However, he was a top rider already when young, a clear talent. Probably doped already then, but nevertheless always a big promise already before his titles. He would have probably won Tour a few times if it was completely clean, he would be amongst the great ones (who were not caught doping, yet very likely were doping), something he now will not be. In any event, he was really good, so good that it would have been much easier to believe that he was not doped, than believe the clean supremacy of any of the current riders.[/quote']

I agree-even when he was not the best rider he and his team were the best tacticians as regards the tour de France.

Still waiting for the Cycling Federation to issue a statement.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Point is the USADA did need a scapegoat to end the whole thing as there were still too many who didn't believe Armstrong was clean. Especially after Landis' conviction and confessions it was clear that they wanted to get Armstrong too so they could finish the whole thing.

In the last few years cycling has become so much cleaner which you can imo see in much better competition, the big three have become so much more interesting in the last few years as every year there's at least a few who can win it instead of 1 who just dominates everyone. Contador was a bit bad luck imo, yes he probably did dope but then again I very much doubt it really helped him all that much but again I guess he needed to be a scapegoat. But he's very talented nonetheless which will imo show in the Vuelta currently going on.

And what you also see, is more young folkes coming through (Sagan obviously, but also Van Garderen and Pinot to mention a few from Le Tour).

To finish things, I think the conviction of Armstrong is fair though the USADA were clearly doing anything to get him convicted. But for me it marks the end of a time where many used dope and marks the start of a new era where people won't dominate but will have to fight for their victories. Now its just up to the teams not to hoard too many big riders and keep things interesting (not like HTC Highroad with Cav, though Mark is awesome, but that was too predictable :P). For example Froome needs to leave Sky, Sagan should be the main man at Liquigas (likely, with Nibali at Astana now) etc etc.

Looking forward to the future :D (and the 100th Tour!)

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Point is the USADA did need a scapegoat to end the whole thing as there were still too many who didn't believe Armstrong was clean.

To finish things' date=' I think the conviction of Armstrong is [i']fair[/i] though the USADA were clearly doing anything to get him convicted.

Can't see how you indicate that the USADA needed a scapegoat and doing anything to get it and yet believe the conviction of being fair?

While I believe he did do it-I can't on the evidence of a biased process say he was convicted legitimately.

Is cycling cleaner? That's a matter of opinion.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Btw the court judgement was:

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit as speculative.

"With respect to Armstrong's due process challenges' date=' the court agrees they are without merit," Sparks wrote in a 30-page order. "Alternatively, even if the court has jurisdiction over Armstrong's remaining claims, the court finds they are best resolved through the well-established system of international arbitration, by those with expertise in the field, rather than by the unilateral edict of a single nation's courts." [url']http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/8285172/judge-dismisses-lance-armstrong-lawsuit-vs-us-anti-doping-agency[/url]

and it goes further to impute concerns about the process used by USADA.

I'm sorry, but I find it hard to understand what you mean. What Sparks says here is that Armstrong's claims of not being given due process are without merit, but if there still, after his considerations, would be something left in Armstrong's claims, that should be left for the arbitration of the cycling institutions, not for the court (i.e. not to be resolved by Sparks himself). So, by the law, there is nothing wrong with USADA's process, and thus Sparks leaves the case to the established institutions of the sport itself (there would have been arbitration coming)

He says that USADA's process in some ways seems not to be interested in fighting doping, for example because of giving lighter sentences to the riders testifying against others. However, that is nothing but plea bargain, which is a totally normal part of the legal process in the States in many other fields, so why not in doping? It is not as if Landis and fellows had killed someone. Sparks also was troubled about the disputes between USADA and cyclists' union, but that again does not change that he also stated that the process is lawful and case robust.

About the UCI-USADA dispute, USADA is part of WADA, isn't it? To my mind, it is a more reliable in anti-doping cases than UCI that is kind of a joke. That UCI does not find sufficient proofs of doping in their tests surprises no one.

My mind was further made by the fact that Armstrong let it go at this point. This late, after coming this far in the battle, he didn't want it to go to arbitration. I can't for my life see any other reason to that decision than that he wanted to avoid losing his case clearly by the lawful decision of a third party, rather he gave it away so that there remains a sort of ambiguity about what the case was. But that is just the unsportsmanlike move to stop playing when you know that you lose, give up the argument when you know you are wrong and claim that you are just tired of arguing.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I'm sorry' date=' but I find it hard to understand what you mean. What Sparks says here is that Armstrong's claims of not being given due process are without merit, but if there still, after his considerations, would be something left in Armstrong's claims, that should be left for the arbitration of the cycling institutions, not for the court (i.e. not to be resolved by Sparks himself). So, by the law, there is nothing wrong with USADA's process, and thus Sparks leaves the case to the established institutions of the sport itself (there would have been arbitration coming)

My mind was further made by the fact that Armstrong let it go at this point. This late, after coming this far in the battle, he didn't want it to go to arbitration. I can't for my life see any other reason to that decision than that he wanted to avoid losing his case clearly by the lawful decision of a third party, rather he gave it away so that there remains a sort of ambiguity about what the case was. But that is just the unsportsmanlike move to stop playing when you know that you lose, give up the argument when you know you are wrong and claim that you are just tired of arguing.[/quote']

Taken from bloomberg:

If true, “it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that USADA is motivated more by politics and a desire for media attention than faithful adherence to its obligations” to international cycling rules, Sparks said.

Yet courts shouldn’t get involved in the matter, Sparks said, ruling that the arbitration panel should sort out which cycling federation has ultimate authority over the doping allegations.

Not sure about his giving up on the process. Maybe it's frustration at the "witch hunt". I like to make up my mind on positive proof where untainted evidence is provided rather than a result due to his withdrawal (like Marion Jones).

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I agree-even when he was not the best rider he and his team were the best tacticians as regards the tour de France.

Still waiting for the Cycling Federation to issue a statement.

It is true that his success was for a large part due to having a team better than others, and good tactics. Tactics is an interesting side of cycling, and I would voluntarily discuss them lengthily, but let us just fast note that the tactics of Armstrong were largely based on him having like 4 or 5 top 10 riders in his team. It would not have worked out otherwise. Now, weren't they all, or almost all, doped too? Probably top riders anyway, but still.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Not sure about his giving up on the process. Maybe it's frustration at the "witch hunt". I like to make up my mind on positive proof where untainted evidence is provided rather than a result due to his withdrawal (like Marion Jones).

What I mean, why him giving up the process for getting tired with it just now sounds like a false reason to me, is that it is not as if it was going on endlessly. On the contrary, the whole process would have been just about to get to the end, he would have his arbitration, guilty or not guilty. After fighting this seemingly endless battle for years without any notion of "oh, too much of this fighting", suddenly when the process closes to its end, to be terminated for good, he gives it up. To me, that is a clear signal of guilt. The results are there, convincing enough, and it is only because of his withdrawal that it now seems like he is judged on that basis - which to me appears to be the reason why he withdrew at this point. So to taint the evidence. What I've understood, the evidence implies, aside from witness testimonies, also laboratory data that should prove that he has been involved in doping.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

If Armstrong was innocent, he'd have fought tooth and nail to prove it. Giving it up is a plain admission of guilt IMO. There's no way anybody would lose their legacy and titles that define his career just because they were tired. The evidence is stacked up pretty high as well. He's failed tests and eye witnesses have seen him taking banned substances.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I'm probably in a minority of one in here but I fully believe the case against Armstrong at least on the surface seemed absouletely pathetic' date='using ten eye witness accounts from the likes of Landis,Hamilton etc,they lied about doping themselves,how can these guys now be called credible witnesses in a law of court when they lied so vigorously beforehand,you can't say these guys are credible[/quote']

This is actually a very normal procedure. Almost no big league criminal's would ever get caught if the other criminal' would not be accepted as witnesses. It is a well accepted principle that if a witness deceives us sometime does not mean that he would always deceive us. Their credibility depends on their possibility of knowing about things and the credibility of the testimony itself.

in the least with regards to Lance,they'll get money for selling there story and there is public interest with regards to whether Lance doped or not,also you have to say most of the evidence seemed to be fairly old and dismissed or discredited beforehand,also you have to consider that USADA don't have a trial like a normal person would,whilst not knowing the supposed new evidence that USADA apparentely had it's impossible to say whether that would make a difference or not unless the documents they were going to persecute Lance with is made public,I highly doubt that would happen.

The fact that these guys used doping systematically while riding with Armstrong makes them top witnesses concerning Armstrong's drug using, just like criminal partner's testimony is valuable in criminal law cases. It is unlikely that 1) Armstrong would not have known that they doped, 2) that Armstrong would not have doped too when his team was systematically doping, and that 3) the guys around Armstrong would not have known about what Armstrong is doing.

You should pay attention to that the data was before examined by highly inefficient and unreliable UCI. USADA is an actual anti-doping organisation, working with WADA, and I see another clear reason for their urge to go back 14 years with these charges than just seek of media coverage, which is that UCI has been so lousy in its doping control that it has practically fully allowed systematic doping. So they feel an urge to look this back a long time to correct the wrong.

As for him giving up what's the point of him fighting on?,the chances of him winning this case was absouletely zero,simply because USADA could present a case against him whereby they had enough witnesses and circumstincial evidence against him for the arbitration of sport to concieve he is guilty of doping.

If he has zero chances of winning the case because there is so good evidence, then the case is precisely that he is very likely to be guilty. When you look at national anti-doping organisations, they actually have no interest in hurting the athletes of their own country. The reason they win pretty much always is that the athletes are guilty.

Still here's where I differ from everyone else,having said all of the above I still believe he doped,as Didi explained there's simply no way you can beat the guys like Ullrich,Pantani etc on a consistent basis without doping if they were doping as well,it's simply not logical,sometimes he'd race up mountains without looking like he put in half the effort of Ullrich etc and they were on drugs as well,simply put though whilst I do believe he done drugs at some point in his career.I don't believe his guilty of the charges brought against him from USADA.

I believe that he is guilty to all charges. Nobody is that much above others, day-in day-out. I remember him losing to a direct competitor only twice: once to Mayo, at the first days at the mountains, and another year to Valverde, again at first mountains. Both of them were the top ranked riders of their time, and by now we have come to know that these two fantastic cyclists also used doping. We don't know if they would have been better than Armstrong, as they had to withdraw from the race. One particular event that hits me is the one year when they rode the time trial completely uphill, a killing effort, a mountain race as a time trial. And Armstrong won it with an amazing time, catching up the second placed Basso very soon. Now, we all know it: Basso was doped back then. So...

Oh and if anyone calls me a Lance fan/fanboy,I think he's a horrible person in all honesty,but I still think despite doping he was the best rider in the Peloton in those seven years and the work his livestrong foundation has done for cancer is fantastic.

Well, I'd say that Valverde might have been better, and Mayo, but we never know. I might have been a Mayo fan, so I'm biased about this. i am no longer, it was the biggest moment of disillusion when I heard that the great Basque hero, the lonely wolf who trained alone at the Pyrénées, used doping. Well, by then I was no longer so surprised about anything, as it was after Puerto.

I see no reason to be annoyed/angered he cheated to get to the top,everyone did during that era and he was no different,it'd have been nice if he admitted it and not lived a lie for all of these years,but then again the likes of Contador,Landis etc have done similar so I can understand why Lance is no different in that regard.

Fully agree.

As for Beloki Didi:

In 2006 he was among those implicated in Operación Puerto and was withdrawn from the Tour de France. However, on 26 July he was cleared by Spanish officials of any wrongdoing.

The same Spanish officials that cleared Contador from doping :rolleyes:,I think it'd be best if all of the results were simply void to be honest

Probably doped in that case. I fully agree that no GC winners should be for that time. I'm not sure about points, youth and mountains competitions though. It doesn't take that much, because it is only a few days that you must succeed and many of the best riders don't even try to compete with you if you only go for points or mountains - and there are much less of caught riders in those competitions, I think mostly just Rasmussen and Virenque, of whom the latter suffered his ban.

,just be glad that the rampant EPO and drug use of back then simply isn't as prevelant today in the sport of Cycling and the likes of Evans,Wiggins,Schleck,Froome etc are flag bearers for our sport,still gutted Contador's back,but hopefully his performances will just fall away like it did in the Tour of 2011 where he looked like a shadow of the rider he was when doping.

Not at all sure about this. In fact, I believe Contador is one of the cleanest riders now. The riders who have been caught are under special control and you see it each time in a drop of form: when they return after the ban, they are no longer able to compete with the top. Instead, I'm sorry, but I tend to believe that if Schleck was caught in control, that is because he was doped. I also have my doubts about Froome. I don't want to bring you down, but many failed to notice how sovereignly he dominated the whole Tour this year. He barely lost to Wiggins in time trials, but he was Wiggins' main helper, setting the pace for the highest and hardest mountains, and even after that he still was fit to beat Wiggins and who knows, maybe anybody - and recovered to take the second place in the time trial the day after.

Now, there is something you should know about cycling. The wind breaking can make more than 70% of the energy loss, and by drafting another rider one can save 10-30% of energy (can't find the article now, but I read it once that over 70% of energy loss can go to breaking wind, but even smaller percentages would be important, and the 10-30% saving by drafting is a commonplace, and a huge matter if you think how much you lose energy in a 40km climb with 1500m ascent). The one who does most work during a race is not the winner who beats the others, but the guy who set the pace for him, because he did most of the work uphill for this guy. Go on and try, it is much harder to ride fast alone than if you have a friend or two with whom you can set the pace for each other. I started feel bad about Froome somewhere around the day 7 or 8 when he recovered so superbly after setting the pace to Wiggins and went on to beat likes of Martin and Cancellara in the time trial. Those guys had relaxed the mountain day. Froome had set the pace for the top groups in the toughest hill. Even Armstrong's US Postal team mates collapsed after having done the biggest work for him one day. And many of those were guys who could have challenged for the tour themselves before joining Armstrong's team.

Now, Froome has been nowhere near the top before this, and there he comes, almost out of the blue, to dominate the whole show. I found it much easier to believe in Armstrong's wonders than I find it to believe in Froome's, because Armstrong was phenomenal already as a kid. He was always going to be one of the best riders. Froome was, what, 26 when he was first noticed. And still, doing well in Vuelta is not that hard, because it is the third in the rank and the top non-Spanish riders don't do it.

When I see these ex-top of the world riders like Vinokourov and Valverde who have returned after a doping ban and are now struggling in the pace of the new top, I must ask myself: "why are these new guys so much faster than Valverde and fellows?" And why in the Olympics, where the control is much tighter, Vinokourov and fellows suddenly won Froome and guys again? Timing of the fitness peak? Yes, that may be and probably is a factor, but Vinokourov did a hard tour as well, and it can't be that big a factor, especially as Froome is now competing in Vuelta and it looks like he has another "peak" already. The thing is that Froome beats Vinokourov anywhere else but in the Olympics, any day, but loses to him in the Olympics. And by coincidence, the Olympic games is the only cycling event where cyclists are controlled by WADA.

When Voeckler went alone to win a mountain stage, his performance was counted to be at the limits of where it is said that you must use doping to get there. Well, it didn't cross the limit and there was nothing in the doping control, but there never is, so it hardly proves him clean. But it was just one day, not producing it constantly, and although that is still suspicious, I am even more, much more, worried about Froome, who recovered so fast from almost as tough performances, being in a constant top form during whole Tour, no matter how much he worked.

So, I'm not buying that "new cleaner cycling" mantra at all. The current winners are as doped as the former.

It is also common knowledge that cycling has been a doping sport always. However, so were other sports until 80's. Everybody doped and anti-doping work was kind of small. Nowadays the effort is to the direction that sport would be clean. It is likely that other sports are not clean either. Carl Lewis said that there's no regular doping control in Jamaica. It is not that Bolt and fellows would be doped in the Olympics, but are they during their training season? Much possible. Nonetheless, in all the other sports the direction at least is to the cleaner sport. The control is growing and tough. Cycling is one of the few that resist the whole idea of doping control. The doping control is so lousy it can be called fake control, simple bluff for the world around cycling. Maybe cycling world should finally accept a drop in performances, a lack of miracles, for a clean sport, because the miracles come by injections.

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

Can't see how you indicate that the USADA needed a scapegoat and doing anything to get it and yet believe the conviction of being fair?

While I believe he did do it-I can't on the evidence of a biased process say he was convicted legitimately.

Is cycling cleaner? That's a matter of opinion.

I think you don't understand me ;)

I do believe his conviction is fair, but the way the USADA handled it they did a lot to get him convicted (letting some riders go free in exchange for a confession on Armstrong). The way they acted could be seen as overkill ;)

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Re: The Official Cycling Thread

I think you don't understand me ;)

I do believe his conviction is fair' date=' but the way the USADA handled it they did a lot to get him convicted (letting some riders go free in exchange for a confession on Armstrong).[/quote']

They weren't set free though, were they? And it is not aas if Armstrong was the sole target of the process, other riders were banned for life before him. He was just the one to have won so much. Anyway I fully agree that this goes a bit both ways: the process has some lacks, some exaggerations; yet, mostly it is based on formerly disregarded evidence that sufficiently proves him being guilty and on that basis I think any man would be convicted for any crime. It is quite rare that a minor lacks in the process actually suffice to release a person who as a result of the process has been found guilty. Especially when the sentence is not something like death penalty or even jail, but simply that he is stripped of his titles that he has won with fraud (be it that his competitors doped probably just as much).

The way they acted could be seen as overkill ;)

Maybe so.

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