OK, I need to rename my book Run, Swim, Throw, CYCLE Cheat. For those of us in the field have a lot of homework to do - 1,000 pages of documentation from USADA that illustrates the widespread nature of Lance Armstrong’s doping . So as I said in a previous blog, beyond the sheer volume of incriminating evidence, what is new, at least to a scientist? I can’t claim to have read more than a few extracts yet (I have a life and my own teaching and research to do after all). But what I have read seems to support one of contentions from an earlier blog - Armstrong was better as he was doping more smartly and/or taking more risks. Certainly in 1999 when he won his first Tour he was using EPO throughout the event, whereas others probably stopped once the race began. Given that there was no validated EPO test in 1999 this is perhaps a little surprising – although it agrees with Michael Ashenden’s interpretation of the later analysis of Tour samples .
The alternative view is that Armstrong always had the capability of being the top cyclist, but he was held back by a lower ability to deliver oxygen than his rivals. Once he could equalize this by taking EPO and blood doping, he was able to outperform them in the mountains and win consistently. In this model all Armstrong’s US postal had to do was dope as well as the other teams. How to choose between these two theories? Was Armstrong the best doper or the best cyclist once everyone was doping? What we scientists really need is a side-by-side comparison of all the team’s doping strategies from 1999-2006. That’s not too much to ask surely…….