This originally started as me sharing my personal experience and feelings on Lance Armstrong but the deeper I looked, the more I read going all the way back to my racing days I saw that an honest and clean rider NEVER had a chance. In a way I feel cheated and a little bitter which I denied in earlier posts until I learned more about it.
There was a clique within the USCF in the post Eddie B era in which juniors received special attention from the coaches. It appears now that it was all based on a 'code of silence' surrounding the use of illegal substances and procedures.
Let's just assume for a moment that Lance is the greatest un-doped cyclist in the peloton. He would then ride better than all of the other un-doped cyclists.
The problem is that at this level of selection, ie these are the cr�me of the cr�me (the elite of the elite) it only takes an incredibly small percentage gain to go from 5th place to 1st. We know this from empirical information.
A LARGE percentage gain would be made from just a single doping substance or procedure, (illegal or not). We know this from empirical information as well.
Since we know cyclists are still getting caught and we know the dishonest almost always work around new detection methods (in any endeavour, look at music piracy as an example) then it is not a far leap that in order to beat a doped peloton a rider must dope.
The finishing order quite possibly remains the same but at risk to the athlete because an administrative and ruling body that fails to care, and a fan base that is uniformed or in denial of the facts, despite that it is quite possible to do anything about it. As I wrote before, sequestering the riders from all outside influences would be the only way and that is highly impractical.
Why are so many Lance fans afraid to even examine the evidence and recognize the possibility, which after a rudimentary investigation becomes a more than likely probability? If you really cared about Lance, any other cyclist or a level playing field for yourself without an unknown risk then you would want to see a real and substantial change in the standards and testing put forth by the UCI.