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If everyone dopes, how come so few top riders have gotten 8 year / perma-bans from 2nd offenses? Were they just careless the first time around? Is being careless the only way to get caught?

And how the hell did Basso win the Giro if he doped before but is "clean" now?
 

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To answer your first question I refer to Victor Conte of BALCO quote that in competition testing in not a drug test, but an IQ test.

Plus there are no tests for autologous blood transfusions or micro-dosing EPO.

C&P from Victor Conte interview. He refers to steroids specifically, but it could be any PED:

Ducking and diving defined:

This business of “ducking and diving” is where Conte believes the system is beatable. “I don’t consider in-competition testing to even be dope-testing,” he said. “I call that IQ-testing. If you are dumb enough to be caught in a competition, then you are mentally retarded. It’s during the off-season that athletes do their real weight training. That’s where the doping problem has always been.”

In the off-season, athletes have to provide “whereabouts” information and it is here, Conte said, that they play the system. “If you say you’re going to be training in Ohio, for instance, but you’re really in Florida and they [the drugs-testers] show up – and the odds are not very good of that – you get a ‘missed test’. The upside of that is you’ve also got a cycle of steroids under your belt. And you’re getting more steroids in on the other times when you are not being caught.

“But if you are caught a second time, you’ve got another missed test, but you’ve also had another cycle of steroids under your belt. The rule is three strikes and out. And it’s a moving timeframe of 18 months, so you show up at the World Championships or the Olympics, win a gold and soak up the endorsements until one of those missed tests drops off. Then you are in a position to duck and dive again because the consequence is nothing more than a missed test. That’s how athletes do it. The authorities say that they test more and do target-testing, but you can still duck and dive.”



Michael Rasmussen was ducking and diving and got caught because someone saw him on another continent during a "missed test".
 

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HikenBike said:
This business of “ducking and diving” is where Conte believes the system is beatable. “I don’t consider in-competition testing to even be dope-testing,” he said. “I call that IQ-testing. If you are dumb enough to be caught in a competition, then you are mentally retarded. It’s during the off-season that athletes do their real weight training. That’s where the doping problem has always been.”.

While Victor Conte has great insights to doping (and I've quoted him b/4). Cycling is different in that in competition doping (particular in GTs) can considerable increase the athlete's ability to recover day to day and increase increase the athlete's ability to make repeat hard efforts in, for instance, high altitude climbs.
 

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AJL said:
While Victor Conte has great insights to doping (and I've quoted him b/4). Cycling is different in that in competition doping (particular in GTs) can considerable increase the athlete's ability to recover day to day and increase increase the athlete's ability to make repeat hard efforts in, for instance, high altitude climbs.
Very true. Hence the use of the nut patch :D . After Landis was busted I heard theories that he passed out with the patches still on.

I just found this 2006 CyclingNews article that talks about recovery in GTs:
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Jaksche's doctor: drug use common

German doctor Kurt Moosburger, who has looked after Jörg Jaksche (among others) for the past two years, has told dpa that he believes that performance enhancing drugs are "indispensable" for high level cycling

In a frank interview, Moosburger pointed to the average speeds of modern professional races, especially hard tours. "The average in last year's Tour was 41 kilometres per hour - that is incredible. You can do a hard Alpine stage without doping. But after that, the muscles are exhausted. You need - depending on your training conditions - up to three days in order to regenerate."

To help recover, testosterone and human growth hormone can be used. "Both are made by the body and are therefore natural substances," he said. "They help to build muscle as well as in muscle recovery."

Dr Moosburger explained how it was done. "You put a standard testosterone patch that is used for male hormone replacement therapy on your scrotum and leave it there for about six hours. The small dose is not sufficient to produce a positive urine result in the doping test, but the body actually recovers faster."

Dr Moosburger went onto explain that, "The supply of oxygen to the blood decides what the body is capable of in terms of fat- and carbohydrate metabolism. This capacity is mostly genetically determined.The muscles of athletes who are able to reach the top level of sport can carry about 60 millilitres per kilo per minute in an untrained condition. That of an average person is only about 40 millilitres per kilo. In order to be able to keep up with the world's best, it must be 85 to 90 millilitres.

EPO helps oxygen carrying capacity, and has long been the performance enhancing drug of choice in endurance sports. "It enables you to hold the haematocrit of the blood in the upper level of what's allowed for the whole season. Before the EPO test, for example, athletes injected 4000 units three times per week. Now they inject a small dose almost daily."

Finally, in the opinion of Dr Moosburger, blood doping via transfusion would give an athlete a five percent boost for two to three weeks. "And therefore can last for a grand tour."

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2006/jul06/jul07news3
 

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from the RudyP article

"I want to make it clear that at the time, I never had the feeling that I was doing anything wrong. I knew a lot of Fuentes clients, including some good riders who rode the Tour in 2006. Everyone knew. It was a normal thing to do."
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pevenage-confesses-to-operacion-puerto-involvement-1

Doping is so tied to the sport that those on the inside forget it's "wrong". The dirty little secret that is not really a secret. Keep the show looking clean for the kids and the public is part of it. But if you pay attention, all the signs are there. (not enough to convict someone in a court of law, but enough to realize what happens)

Maybe there are a lot of clean riders in the pro peloton now. But to think that everyone is clean now...or that the heads of state for the last 10 years were clean, well, that's pretty naive.

When there is a special word for it, this is not a new thing. It is an accepted culture that has existed for generations. Omerta
 

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mmoose said:
When there is a special word for it, this is not a new thing. It is an accepted culture that has existed for generations. Omerta
The special word is not cycling specific, and has been around for hundreds of years. It means "code of silence" or "code of honor", and is usually applied to members of the mafia not ratting each other out.
 
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