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Now that cycling is clean

Old 07-06-21, 10:19 PM
  #26  
canklecat
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Interesting back story, but I don't see any evidence that it applies to the peloton at present. If current cyclists are taking thyroid meds, they surely have to have TUEs. And no "oops" is going to help them if excesses are detected. "Oops" certainly didn't work for Contador. Unless there's an argument that they can be taking thyroid meds or other PEDs in ways that aren't detected by the blood tests and the biological passports, then this is a non-story.
As of the 2016 or 2017 WADA publication I read awhile back, there's no TUE needed for thyroid meds. I'm not sure they'd even be able to test for it, as long as the athlete's lab work was within normal limits.

If WADA rules haven't changed, an athlete could take a small dose of levothyroxine (or other med), maybe 25 mcg, boost their levels from low-normal or mid-normal to high-normal and basically be undetectable.

And anyone who thinks that isn't an advantage hasn't suffered from a thyroid deficiency. That stupid little gland in the throat can make or break the entire endocrine system and metabolism in ways I wasn't even aware of when I was first diagnosed around 20 years ago. My first doctors never mentioned anything. Just "Here, take this pill daily." I had to experience a serious deficiency, pore over the studies on PubMed and elsewhere, and finally find an endocrinologist and GP who were patient enough to discuss this in full. Fortunately my last GP had the same problem -- thyroid cancer -- so she knew the drill.

Even if taking a medically unnecessary thyroid medication offers 1% of an advantage, that's still significant at the elite level of competition. And as far as I can see from WADA and other rules, there's no practical way to know for certain who's doing it.

Even when Landis claimed in 2006 that he was taking a small dose of thyroid meds, we don't know for certain that he *was* taking any thyroid meds. At that time, summer 2006, by Floyd's own later accounts, he was terrified, overwhelmed and grasping at straws to explain the anomalies in his labs -- including blaming Jack Daniels. Much later, he definitely admitted to blood doping, and could only surmise that he'd received an infusion of his own blood drawn earlier when he *was* using testosterone (patch or injection, I don't remember). But by the time he gave that extensive admission around 2010 or 2011, he had no reason to withhold any info. So when he said he doesn't recall taking testosterone during the 2006 TdF, I have no reason to doubt him. And he didn't mention the thyroid thing again after around 2006-2007, so I'm assuming that was an attempt to deflect.

***

Note added after first save: BTW, some folks might recall the fairly recent cycling press stories mentioning the seemingly unusual escalation in fractures among pro cyclists. This led to some speculation about whether extensive cycling alone could lead to serious bone density loss. But later studies found no definitive evidence that extensive cycling at the pro or amateur level results in sufficient loss of bone density to account for the increased reports of fractures.

But ya know what *can* lead to loss of bone density and increased risk of fractures? Hyperthyroidism and taking too much thyroid medication.

That's why my docs are extremely cautious about increasing my meds. And they would not authorize the testosterone patch, even briefly, when my levels were low a couple of years ago. They wanted to give the levothyroxine time to work, followed up by frequent lab tests, bone density studies, etc., which I just had repeated this spring.

Last edited by canklecat; 07-06-21 at 10:25 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old 07-07-21, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
if you don't believe every professional athlete in every professional sport isn't looking for an edge for that minuscule improvement that puts them over the top,
you're kidding yourself. i'll give you one guess where that improvement is coming from. hints...it's not better coaching, improved nutrition, devoted resting
or targeted training...

and yah...pogacar is making it look like basso did in the "extraterrestrial" 2006 giro. we all know how that ended...
I don't believe every professional athlete is willing to cheat in order to win. I'm sure there are clean athletes in the peloton.
But I do believe enough of them are willing to cheat that winning clean is very unlikely. To win clean you'd have to be better than:
1. Every other clean athlete
2. Every cheating athlete + the benefit they get from cheating
#2 just seems very improbable to me.
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Old 07-08-21, 12:28 PM
  #28  
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I feel guilty now after my stage 8 post, Pogs performance was jaw dropping. I was reading r e d d i t and a user posted this comment, which I agree with. I'm very mercurial when it comes to Pog, I really like him as a rider. It's just that in both tours so far there has been a moment of incredible, out of this world performance. LBL was good, but not "reel back a five minute deficit good". Same at least year's final TT. Not only me, but Tom Dom and Wout just staring at the timing.

So yeah, um, back to racing and enough from me about this eh?

User "numberonealcove" posted:
Honestly, what do cycling journalists and cycling fans want from the guy, other than to be less good than he is? His life would be easier if he wasn't so excellent — if he was shittier at riding bikes fast. If he denies doping, well that's what Armstrong used to say too. If he points to the number of times he's been tested, that's a lame dodge, and again, Armstrong. If he recognizes — rightly — that there is no way for him to win these rhetorical games and refuses to answer questions, then he's truculent, defensive, and is clearly hiding something. In other words: Armstrong. These are the options available to him. Each worse than the last. The way out of this cesspool of a situation, it seems to me, is for journos and fans to recognize there is a testing regime and therapeutic use exemption rules in place. As long as a rider stays on the right side of those rules, shut up about doping. If you believe the rules are too lax, then advocate to strengthen the rules. All other issues besides are essentially unknowable. And therefore we should pass over them in silence, as we are speaking from ignorance. Don't **** on this kid from a height because you have a vague feeling in your bones that the sport is unfair. It's so hard to love this sport at times. Cycling fandom primes you to prefer mediocrity over excellence. We love to scrunch up our faces and wag our fingers at wrong-doers, like common scolds. That's the really sport for many of us — competitive moral superiority.
Honestly what's the difference between Ineos huge money and buying out the competition vs ... ?
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Old 07-08-21, 11:08 PM
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Over the years as doping scandals have come and gone I have thought that maybe there should be a distinct class in professional sports. I don't know, call it something like 'The Ghoul Games' where all the participants and all the spectators know that the athletes are doping as much as they want. We might see some impressive performances but we would know why and we would also have serious cautionary tales from seeing the wreckage caused, health problems, shortened careers, etc. In the TdF maybe have special jerseys for the dopers or a separate race. There are still are athletes throughout all sports that care about ethics and integrity. They would consent to being poked and probed and sampled endlessly but we would hopefully have some athletes for a while we could believe, or believe in, until the challenge to trick that system got too tempting and blew it again.
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Old 07-09-21, 04:40 AM
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So much hand wringing.

So little pragmatism.

Name one sport that tests even nearly as much.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
Over the years as doping scandals have come and gone I have thought that maybe there should be a distinct class in professional sports. I don't know, call it something like 'The Ghoul Games' where all the participants and all the spectators know that the athletes are doping as much as they want. We might see some impressive performances but we would know why and we would also have serious cautionary tales from seeing the wreckage caused, health problems, shortened careers, etc. In the TdF maybe have special jerseys for the dopers or a separate race. There are still are athletes throughout all sports that care about ethics and integrity. They would consent to being poked and probed and sampled endlessly but we would hopefully have some athletes for a while we could believe, or believe in, until the challenge to trick that system got too tempting and blew it again.
Tom Simpsons all over the place.
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Old 07-09-21, 03:16 PM
  #32  
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As usual, IMO. I only drive cars that have never been driven uphill or against the wind and were pre-owned by little old ladies. I know nothing of Tom Simpsons. Now, if we all held hands, closed our eyes and wished real hard.....
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Old 07-09-21, 03:26 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
Over the years as doping scandals have come and gone I have thought that maybe there should be a distinct class in professional sports. I don't know, call it something like 'The Ghoul Games' where all the participants and all the spectators know that the athletes are doping as much as they want. We might see some impressive performances but we would know why and we would also have serious cautionary tales from seeing the wreckage caused, health problems, shortened careers, etc. In the TdF maybe have special jerseys for the dopers or a separate race. There are still are athletes throughout all sports that care about ethics and integrity. They would consent to being poked and probed and sampled endlessly but we would hopefully have some athletes for a while we could believe, or believe in, until the challenge to trick that system got too tempting and blew it again.
Super Modified Division - Must cross the finish line alive. Prize money will be forwarded to the next of kin.
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Old 07-09-21, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
I have thought that maybe there should be a distinct class in professional sports. I don't know, call it something like 'The Ghoul Games' where all the participants and all the spectators know that the athletes are doping as much as they want.
This looks tempting on the first thought but it wouldn't work, surely you are not the first to suggest this and won't be the last.

I seriously doubt such open, anything goes class would attract enough racers to hold worthwhile races, at most you could have a bit relaxed doping rules. The whole point of doping is to be a wolf among sheep or at least one of the wolves in a sheep pack, not one of the wolves in a wolf pack.

I think you could have racing class where your bike could be as light as you can make it as well as it having any shape, and where racing rules would be very relaxed, nobody would tell you anything about socks or what you put on if anything, shave and cover yourself in a jelly or slide into a preservative and ride downhill on the top tube, if your bike has any such tube that is

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Old 07-09-21, 09:11 PM
  #35  
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It's a ridiculous idea, though maybe good after a few bong hits.

Consider that racing doesn't enrich the racers unless there are sponsors.
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Old 07-09-21, 09:59 PM
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One of the things The Most Interesting Man in the World said was "Cheating is only in good taste when it involves Death". And then the actor playing him lost the job because of his own scandal. And now mechanical doping?
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Old 07-10-21, 10:18 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
At 112.5 mcg (yeah, they really do come in increments that fine)
lol, so true — the dosing sensitivity is crazy. My doctor had me at 100 and my numbers were low, so she upped rmy dose to 112.5 in March. My numbers were too high at the April follow up, so now I take 100 MWF and 112.5 TThSSu. This is the 2nd time I’ve been on a split dose.

sorry to hijack. Back to the thread…
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Old 07-10-21, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by njlonghorn View Post
lol, so true — the dosing sensitivity is crazy. My doctor had me at 100 and my numbers were low, so she upped rmy dose to 112.5 in March. My numbers were too high at the April follow up, so now I take 100 MWF and 112.5 TThSSu. This is the 2nd time I’ve been on a split dose.

sorry to hijack. Back to the thread…
Yup, folks who haven't experienced thyroid problems have no idea what it's like. I didn't. It was years before I got a correct diagnosis, because even other doctors overlooked a relatively simple test.

And after years with hypothyroidism -- yet exercising anyway, even though I felt like a zombie some days -- getting up to the correct dosage kinda feels like taking PEDs. Within a couple of weeks my average speed went from slogging around at 12 mph back to 17 mph. Still not all that fast by the standards of other guys my age, judging from local Strava logs on routes we all ride. But a lot better than the past year. I might even join a few group rides again.

I stopped most group rides back in autumn 2019 because I couldn't seem to keep up anymore with the same folks I'd ridden with before, same pace, same routes and conditions. I'd get dropped on the first little rollers and never could seem to get warmed up and catch up. Then the pandemic put a damper on most group rides anyway, but even after most of us were vaccinated and ready to go again I still couldn't keep up.

The past week or so I've even had enough energy to jog and ride later in the same day. That was unthinkable most of last year. I could handle one activity and flop on the sofa for a nap as soon as I got home.

If it'll do that for a very middle-of-the-pack 60something dude, I can imagine the effects on a younger prime athlete, even micro-dosing various PEDs to stay within the un-doped baseline limits to avoid failing a test.
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Old 07-10-21, 09:31 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
Over the years as doping scandals have come and gone I have thought that maybe there should be a distinct class in professional sports. I don't know, call it something like 'The Ghoul Games' where all the participants and all the spectators know that the athletes are doping as much as they want. We might see some impressive performances but we would know why and we would also have serious cautionary tales from seeing the wreckage caused, health problems, shortened careers, etc. In the TdF maybe have special jerseys for the dopers or a separate race. There are still are athletes throughout all sports that care about ethics and integrity. They would consent to being poked and probed and sampled endlessly but we would hopefully have some athletes for a while we could believe, or believe in, until the challenge to trick that system got too tempting and blew it again.
TBH, that makes sense. Especially in an era with blurred boundaries between traditional perceptions of gender. It might make better sense to categorize competitions by a combination of hormone levels and demonstrated ability in competition. Sort of comparable to golfing handicaps and seeding in tennis. Forget about sexual identity.

I'd like to see everyone get a chance to participate in athletic activities and compete wherever possible. But it might make better sense and be fairer to classify bike racers according to, maybe, testosterone level and power/weight ratio in tests.

On a somewhat related note, I just watched the documentary "Chris Boardman: The Final Hour," about his 2000 attempt to break Eddy Merckx' one-hour record on comparable equipment. I had no idea before that, by then, Boardman was experiencing osteoporosis (his skeleton was compared to that of a 70 year old woman's) and depleted testosterone, apparently due to years of training and competition. And he was in a quandary over whether to continue as-is, doing the best he could, or request an exemption from the regulatory organizations and risk tainting his one-hour record attempt with accusations of doping, even if it was approved within prescribed limits.

At 60 I was diagnosed with osteopenia, not osteoporosis, just an early warning indicator. But with a family history of osteoporosis, and old healed fractures that I wasn't aware of (per various full body scans), and a wonky thyroid, my endocrinologists were extremely cautious in prescribing thyroid meds -- they took about three years to gradually increase my dosage, during which time I sometimes felt like a zombie from hypothyroidism. And they wouldn't prescribe a testosterone patch for my low t level, because they considered the thyroid and bone health more important. But I can't imagine going through that mess in my 30s, as Boardman was when he was training for the one-hour record. The guy is even tougher than I'd realized.

It also featured behind-the-scenes footage of Merckx in training, that I'd never seen before, including training with an oxygen mask supplying depleted oxygen so Merckx could train while attempting to recreate the expected conditions in Mexico City. Boardman used the same technique, using a spare bedroom in his home with all crevices sealed to create an oxygen depleted atmosphere for training.
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Old 07-11-21, 06:37 PM
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EPO was a huge buff to performance in cycling. Unless they found ways to do it again that can't be detected yet (microdosing?) or he has a new thing, the gear Pogacar is on is not the same level as Armstrong et al. Most of his key rivals are not there or in poor form, the field is weak, making him look even stronger. These new kids already trained with power meters, optimal nutrition and training, and support. You cannot discount those things.

Anyway, I am all for pro riders having to publish power data along with bio passport. Makes everything more transparent.
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Old 07-12-21, 02:13 PM
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Old 07-12-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Medium Size Dog View Post
She's probably on absinthe
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Old 07-12-21, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
She's probably on absinthe
Absinthe makes the heart grow fondo.
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Old 07-14-21, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
EPO was a huge buff to performance in cycling. Unless they found ways to do it again that can't be detected yet (microdosing?) or he has a new thing, the gear Pogacar is on is not the same level as Armstrong et al. Most of his key rivals are not there or in poor form, the field is weak, making him look even stronger. These new kids already trained with power meters, optimal nutrition and training, and support. You cannot discount those things.

Anyway, I am all for pro riders having to publish power data along with bio passport. Makes everything more transparent.
The point that the field is weak is a good one. 2 of the top 3 rivals to Pogacar are not even the initial leaders on their team. The other, Uran, is good, but not a serious contender to win. No Roglic, no Bernal, no (on form) Yates, Porte and Thomas both lost time early and are in the twilight of their careers. This is likely the weakest GC field that we'll see for the next decade.
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Old 07-14-21, 09:07 AM
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Whether or not Pog is doping, there is a definite trend towards younger riders at the top of the pile. I read somewhere that all the detailed computer monitoring and scientific coaching has allowed young riders to quickly get to a level that took many years of experience for the old-school pros. They also made the point that the greater number of wrecks may also be related to this - you can hone your power, pedal stroke, pacing, diet, etc all you want and you still won't know diddle about maneuvering in a crowded pack. You can only get that with lots and lots of experience.

Anyway it could be the youth factor is the overriding thing now, not the EPO or testosterone or whatever -- recall that peak fitness is at 20. It would not be difficult to get some hard data on this, something like median age of the top-10 finishers of the TDF for the history of the race. My impression is it will be decreasing in more recent times.
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Old 07-14-21, 09:29 AM
  #46  
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The deal with doping back in the day was that if you had the best program, the best science, you could have an edge over people who just took whatever, whenever ...

Nowadays doping has been so thoroughly investigated everyone knows how to use all the latest techniques, masking chemicals, microdoses ..... how to dope for superior training as much as for racing ..... so it is more of a level playing field, I think.

Minus Seven was an incredible specimen, but he also had by far the most sophisticated doping program. Nowadays I doubt any team has a real advantage in doping quality ..... I also assume they are really careful to do just enough and not too much ..... and to avoid that nasty sudden-onset asthma that some riders seem to acquire. TUE or not, that stuff just looks bad.

And I think the UCI will let pretty much whatever get by them so long as people don't get crazy ... as in, no stages where a rider suddenly gains a huge amount of speed, smashes records up a climb or beats the TT field by a minute or more. After all, if people just Think the sport is still drug-riddled, but no one can prove it ... then it is as clean as any other sport.
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Old 07-14-21, 04:26 PM
  #47  
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^ I'm not all unicorns and rainbows here, but that rational commentary hints at a particularly dark, Mel Gibson with scotch tape on the eyeballs, depressing underlying take on things.
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Old 07-15-21, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
as in, no stages where a rider suddenly gains a huge amount of speed, smashes records up a climb or beats the TT field by a minute or more.
That makes sense, but isn't that just what is happening in the Tour right now?
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Old 07-16-21, 10:02 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
That makes sense, but isn't that just what is happening in the Tour right now?
And aren't people asking about whether Pogacar is taking drugs ..... isn't that what this thread is about? (See post #16)
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Old 07-16-21, 10:50 AM
  #50  
Maelochs
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Anyway, as has been mentioned elsewhere, Pogacar is riding against the second- or sometimes fourth-string riders on the various teams. And he hasn't really dramatically wiped out the filed in a single, suspicious effort --- he has made strong moves late in a stage, but he is also one of the few who has not hit the deck or gotten sick (thinking of FDJ's David Gaudu.)
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