Tour de France 2021 - Speculation and Gossip

Again, I never said that so thanks for putting words in my mouth. Saying I don’t want to discuss because I disagree with you will just create an echo chamber. You have your thoughts I have mine. There’s just not a lot to argue about when proving a negative. He’s never tested positive , that’s about it. So I go off the science.

You are still saying „I don‘t want to discuss properly“ - you are just phrasing it differently.
You are only talking about me, never about the topic. Write a DM if you want to criticize. Otherwise I am all for talking about TdF 2021, which is the topic at hand.

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No, I’m saying sports have never fit nicely with comparisons like that. There are outliers, always will be. That’s what makes sport great. Every now and then we get to experience greatness. I’m also saying it’s a lot harder to prove a negative in this instance. So I can’t pull up research proving he’s clean other than the hundreds and hundreds of negative tests.

Doping in pro sports (and amateur sport for that matter) is a given. Will always happen to a greater or lesser extent depending on just how far the dopers are ahead of the testers at any given time. I don’t think anybody here is claiming that there’s no doping in cycling.

Identifying individual dopers is more of a crapshoot though, as is assessing the level of doping in the peloton. In the 90s and early 00s we at least had a pretty good idea what was happening - it was known that EPO offered a huge advantage and that there was no test for it until 2000. There were riders on a regular basis failing tests, getting caught with drugs, having extremely suspicious haematocrit levels, or actually dying in hotels. And quite a few people in and around the sport talking about it.

I have no doubt there’s doping still going on, but I’m not at all sure what it is, how big an advantage it offers or how extensive it is. I was always cynical about Armstrong because it seemed obvious at the time that there was an enormous amount of doping going on that offered a very significant advantage, and it never seemed plausible that a clean rider could win against those odds. Right now I don’t have that same level of scepticism because there have been much lower levels of prove doping in the peloton in the last decade or so, so I’m prepared to give the benefit of the doubt that what I’m watching is clean or at least cleanish. While never discounting the possibility that I’m wrong! And if I am wrong then I have no doubt it will all come to light at some point.

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I find it both amusing and a little scary that you seem to be reading my words completely wrong. And apparently gloss over my argument to the point. I have given you my reasons to say why I think he is clean, but if you want to completely miss them that’s on you.

If your point is „I believe Pogacar is clean, because he never tested positive and outliers like that happen from time to time“ that is completely fair.
I can‘t say it convinces me, but I won‘t start reasoning against it either.

Without feeling like I am being mocked, I tend to like reading these comments much better.

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That’s fine. I can tell neither of us is getting anywhere with our arguments. Cheers.

Early career[edit]

Pogačar is coached by Road World Championship medallist Andrej Hauptman, who is also head coach and head of selectors for the Slovenian national cycling team. Hauptman first saw Pogačar race in 2011 where he witnessed him pursuing a group of much older teenagers from 100 metres behind. Thinking that Pogačar was struggling to keep up with the older riders, he told the race organisers that they should provide some assistance to Pogačar: the organisers explained that the younger rider was in fact about to lap the group he was chasing.[13]

When you read comments like the above you can see that even from a VERY young age he is likely to have been strong (appreciate freak results can happen). I think young riders coming into the sport now are coming in without feeling they might have to make some tough decisions if they are to keep up in stage races.

Looking at this years TDF, he has come out an said he thrives in the cold conditions, whereas it can break others, he’s said he is more worried about the heat! Interesting to see how that plays out if the mercury rises and he’s being attacked from all sides. Although I fear the other teams might just settle for podiums or top 10’s.


I really very much hope his performances are a result of individual talent and excellence combining in a perfect storm for this race.

I chose to believe this, mostly because he has not been found guilty of anything and also in part my (perhaps naive) sense of trust and idealism about great sporting endeavours.

I completely understand that given the awfully murky history of professional cycling, that many people would have a hard time believing such great performances weren’t doped.

I do struggle with (but again do understand) the constant speculation that arises every time a rider has a stand out performance or performances on the world stage.

The aspect I struggle with is that the human tendency to speculative negativity, whilst understandable, is quite sad, albeit I cannot argue that this is (in the case of professional cycling) anything other than an inevitable product of the legacy of poor historic activity.

If he’s clean then it’s an awful shame for him to have his performances doubted.

On a different note I read somewhere else (written by some big guy named Chad?) that his performances were almost entirely attributed to doing all of his training in the sweet spot zone? :joy:


I really hope that is true. If there was a way of proving Tadej never doped, I‘d be much happier than finding out he did. He is a humble guy, a fantastic talent, and definitely someone I would like to see succeed.

However, I have yet to see a single sport, where I believe, that they reliably try their very most to keep the sport clean.

There are never (almost) positive tests in professional football (pick if its American or Soccer), and just looking at the physique of some of these guys alone, makes this basically impossible.
Eg. Adana Traoré, playing in the premier league. Also read the text below the image:

Usain Bolt never tested positive but everyone around him did.

Even people at the Mr Olympia claim natural and there has never been a positive drug test to proof otherwise. (6 or 7 times winner Phil Heathe claims natty. Few people openly admit to it, in order not to lose sponsorship deals - that’s fine. But claiming it‘s all genetics is a p!ss take)

My point remains, I don‘t think the biggest issue is the tests not being good enough, but the testers not being motivated enough, to really bust the best of the best. In many many sports, I am sure there is cover up. I don‘t think this tin foil hat theorizing, with documentaries like Icarus etc having shown it happens.
For the 501st time, this proves nothing about Tadej, but maybe puts into perspective how much „a clean test“ is worth.


The last statement above contradicts the first.

Heart rate and more. A lot of tracking data.

You’re wrong about this … there are positive tests in American Football all the time — literally multiple suspensions a year. For your first violation you get suspended 4 games.

For whatever reason the public in general doesn’t care as much about football as it does about doping in baseball, or perhaps cycling … which America has largely written off since Lance.

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I don’t agree with this. How many people are on a football team? Conservatively assuming 70% of them are taking some form of drug (just look at their bodies and the beatings they endure), having one or two guys per team test positive is not at all what I would expect from a proactive and evolving testing platform.

Agree re Bolt, would love him to be clean but any objective look at the history of 100m and the guys he was beating leads to the conclusion that it’s extremely unlikely. Same as Armstrong - no way was it plausible that a clean rider could be winning those Tours when practically every other top 10 rider was caught doping or strongly implicated in doping.

It’s why I’ll give Pogacar the benefit of the doubt for now. There haven’t been many doping busts in the last decade, and almost no big name riders that I can think of. The riders with the best chance of challenging him have all either crashed, aren’t in great form, aren’t there at all (Bernal), or have wasted matches (Carapaz). I understand the concerns about the history of his team management (and the sponsor for that matter - using sport to promote national interests has frequently been linked with doping) but his team haven’t gone through the sort of performance transformation that we’ve seen with organised team doping in the past. And there’s very little in the way of solid evidence that there is a new doping method in the peloton. There’s speculation about gene doping but no proven cases so far (doesn’t mean there won’t be at some point). There’s speculation about mechanical doping but the evidence at the moment is limited to one proven case in an U23 cyclocross race and a few grainy Youtube videos of wheels spinning after a crash or riders accelerating suspiciously smoothly. Definitely can’t say “I believe he’s clean” but for now I’ll settle on “I don’t have enough evidence to believe he’s not clean”.


I am really not that active in American Football as in actual football (the one that is actually played with the foot). How many of the ones testing positive a pro bowl/ MVP etc. (I am seriously asking)?
Richard Sherman was one of the very few stars I was able to find, while apparently half of the MLB got caught at some point.

Speaking of Football as in Soccer, I don‘t know a single current super star who was busted for PEDs ever. It happens once every few months among thousands of players and it never concerns the big guns. Maradona was busted for Cocaine, but apparently no steroids. Hard to believe, when everyone knows it happens in amateur and youth leagues everywhere….

Thanks for starting this thread.

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I understand the people who want to have hope and believe the achievements they see are clean. I just don’t understand the vehement aggression so many take in the “you can’t speak about these things until there is 100% proof, and even then you can’t because their are appeals and lord knows people drug their food to make them look guilty, so you have no right to question their performance” argument.

My heart wants to believe that eating cleaner, not smoking and drinking, getting more sleep, etc. makes all the difference, but my brain has seen this argument over and over for decades, and it never plays out, so I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to be skeptical. What I think is unreasonable is the attacks on people for voicing that concern.


Probably a way of putting it, no one can really disagree with.

I really hope doping has become less since Lance, and not just talked about less.
With Chris Froome, the greatest active cyclist has been caught, and others have been accused but never caught (Nibali springs to mind).

I don’t think that’s because of doping though. America didn’t have much interest in cycling before Lance (even Lemond wasn’t that big a deal). Combination of Lance’s dominance, personality and cancer story got them interested. Now he’s gone and there’s no other Americans really close to doing what he did, they’ve just reverted to the indifference they had before.