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I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance...

My favorite article on this subject:

Armstrong, who - while capable of winning a stage in 1993 during his first crack at the Tour - was anonymous as a GC hopeful. Armstrong's own teammate, Phil Anderson (himself no slouch as a pro - 5th in the '82 Tour at age 24 and 5th again in '85), is on record saying, "He was a one-day rider. I thought he could never, ever, win the Tour de France. Even he wouldn't have thought he could have won the Tour. He couldn't climb and he couldn't time trial, two things you have to do to win the Tour."

In an EPO/blood-transfusion-free-world, you're born capable of winning the Tour, or you're not. L.A. was not. But he was born to be a great pro. Just not a GT contender.

http://joepapp.blogspot.com/2010/04/lemond-was-clean-maybe-ullrich-could.html

He was a young, raw rider then, and heavier than he needed to be. Great riders takes several seasons to develop.

Prove or disprove he doped, and do it by the prevailing standards of the sport itself. But the attitude that he had to have doped, well, because, doesn't cut it with me.

Despite what Joe Papp says Phil Anderson said, Anderson now says Lance is innocent:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/opinion/lance-armstrongs-pursuers-rake-barren-ground/story-e6frg7t6-1226395922400

@oboe - see Thor Hushovd. From a pure sprinter to a guy capable of winning mid-mountain stages of the Tour. Cyclists do evolve in their careers.

For me the biggest question is if he was dirty, why come back? By the time he came back for his last two Tours he was already heavily suspected and with little chance of winning.

If cheating was the only thing that put him in contention, then you have to believe he cheated in his first comeback season when he came in third. And why do that? He had to know he'd be tested like crazy with newer technology. Why put his legacy at risk? If so, that guy has got some massive balls (I know, I know).

I think you've answered your own question there, WC. :)

The interesting thing about most experienced dopers is that they're usually caught because of some stupid slip-up. Something that, if you've been getting away with it for years, you never imagine you'll make such a stupid mistake.

For those on the outside, the risks seem outsized because they assume the doping controls are effective, and so there's a good likelihood of being caught. In fact, if you have expert guidance, getting caught is very unlikely.

Which is why a Dr Ferrari gets paid the big bucks.

More good stuff here:
http://cozybeehive.blogspot.com/search/label/Doping

"it means one would be able to bike from DC to Hagerstown on trails."

That is a long, rough ride, though

Opinions are like...

:^)

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