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The benefits gained from EPO and other oxygen-based doping meant that guys who once finished 30 minutes behind the leaders could now keep up and push the pace.

This is a bold statement to make because, let's face it, it's not something that's exactly open to study. It's an assumption based on the hypothesis that low oxygen availability is a performance limiter (and there's significant challenge to that idea....)

Armstrong was a perfect candidate for EPO and oxygen-vector doping because his natural hematocrit level was fairly low. He was supposedly able to increase the oxygen carrying capability of his blood by upwards of 15%. In an endurance sport where the differences between winning and losing is less than 1% that's a pretty big advantage....

Isn't that argument a bit reminiscent of Ed Coyle's contention that Armstrong was able to to perform the way he did because of some superhuman, never-before-reported increase in cycling efficiency and change in muscle fibre type due to training (when I first smelt fish, BTW) The data for claims like this need to be very robust. They weren't with Coyle.

He's a jerk.

Indeed he is. One of the reasons I've never cared for him that much (and quite possible why I was willing to label him a doper so quickly back when he was everyone' hero) Not at all a graceous person. Hugely selective with his races also, come to that.....unlike The Canniball who chased down everything he could (or so mythology goes....). But he still won......and he won convincingly against other competitors who were doping. Not a vindication for doping so much as a ferocious attitude to training (which is something that most folk can't hack with or without juice)
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