Merckx v Armstrong

Martinsnos

Well-Known Member
I don’t know much on cycling history, so I was really surprised to read that Eddy Merckx is recognised as having used performance enhancing drugs. Merckx is mentioned often in commentary but I don’t recall his drug use being mentioned.
I am not a fan of Lance Armstrong but it seems an interesting contrast and in the Merckx case ‘conveniently’ forgotten.
Happy to be told the reasons/difference etc.
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
In my opinion Merckx was less of an peanut about it and did not set out to ruin so many people's careers. However, you are right, Mercx seems to be a saint in comparison. In both their eras most of the riders were doped up to the eyeballs.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I think Baron Merckx probably experimented with doping and/or his team experimented on him, but early doping was less effective and less consistent (edit:smile: so he gained less from it and disrupted the "true" results less.

Also, he has claimed that some of his doping penalties were basically political but the punishments were so light that it wasn't worth contesting because he would have lost more time, money and reputation trying (now called the Streisand effect). He's also sought to excuse some because products were banned after he was taking them, which is arguable because today's coffee extract is tomorrow's banned stimulant. He's interesting in that he seems to recognise it as a mistake but also a fact of the time. There's a little on http://www.cyclisme-dopage.com/aveux.htm#Merckx and a bit more in Friebe's book on him.

Armstrong on the other hand was doing loads of shoot that was clearly banned the entire time he did it, recruited others to join him in it, plus was the enforcer of a large conspiracy covering it up. Different scale. The Texan did stuff much bigger.
 
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OP
M

Martinsnos

Well-Known Member
Thanks all.
It seems ‘selective’ re the performance enhancement but as others have said, my bigger issue with Armstrong is how he behaved towards others.
 

T.M.H.N.E.T

Disc brakes - Stopping things since 1902
Location
Northern Ireland
Yep the big difference is in how Lance handled it in the peloton, on the team bus and after.. He was long gone and in the clear until he returned to Astana in 2009 and thus back into the pool for testing.

Compare and contrast two more modern riders, David Millar and maybe, Alberto Contador. The former held his hands up mea culpa style, took his ban then returned clean and won stages, the latter dragged out the appeals process and still lost.. Contaminated beef :laugh:
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Did the Armstrong affair kill Team Discovery (run by Tailwind)? Did it help make other sponsors (Nissan? Rabobank? Vacansoleil?) quit the sport? Armstrong and Puerto was a double-whammy.

Did Merckx's doping do anywhere near that much damage?
 
Over the years doping has been used by many but not all riders. Even the legendary Fausto used them. He was interviewed and asked did he use them and he said yes. He was then asked when and he said all the time.
I think today the sport is reasonably clean and all the better for it.
 

T.M.H.N.E.T

Disc brakes - Stopping things since 1902
Location
Northern Ireland
There will still be occasional outliers getting caught across antidoping agencies in all sports, but long gone are the days of the majority of a given peloton being at it, definitely not in a systematic calculated way as with USPS/Discovery Channel, motoman, Michele Ferrari etc
 
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cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
I think Baron Merckx probably experimented with doping and/or his team experimented on him, but early doping was less effective and less consistent (edit:smile: so he gained less from it and disrupted the "true" results less.

Also, he has claimed that some of his doping penalties were basically political but the punishments were so light that it wasn't worth contesting because he would have lost more time, money and reputation trying (now called the Streisand effect). He's also sought to excuse some because products were banned after he was taking them, which is arguable because today's coffee extract is tomorrow's banned stimulant. He's interesting in that he seems to recognise it as a mistake but also a fact of the time. There's a little on http://www.cyclisme-dopage.com/aveux.htm#Merckx and a bit more in Friebe's book on him.

Armstrong on the other hand was doing loads of shoot that was clearly banned the entire time he did it, recruited others to join him in it, plus was the enforcer of a large conspiracy covering it up. Different scale. The Texan did stuff much bigger.
indeed prior to the 90s the doping culture although it was widespread it was never going to turn a donkey into a racehorse , when EPO came into widespread use then it could make so much difference that fignon climbed off as he had enough of getting dropped by people who shouldnt have been able to even hold his wheel.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
Everyone was on the stuff, you had to be if you didn't want to be left behind. in that respect Armstrong is no worse than Merckx, Coppi, Anquetil, Simpson, Pantani, Riis, Virenque, etc etc ad nauseam.
Armstrong was just a dick about it for way too long, insisting that he was clean long after it had been proven... his threatening of others was particularly distasteful.
 

T.M.H.N.E.T

Disc brakes - Stopping things since 1902
Location
Northern Ireland
indeed prior to the 90s the doping culture although it was widespread it was never going to turn a donkey into a racehorse , when EPO came into widespread use then it could make so much difference that fignon climbed off as he had enough of getting dropped by people who shouldnt have been able to even hold his wheel.
This is often the point were people say "but they were all at it so it was all fair" and that's a resounding no.
 
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