Allen Lim: The Clean Perspective

Thu, 09/10/2009 - 11:34am by Andy Shen

 I called Allen Lim up to get his assessment of Garmin's Tour de France performance, and we had a pleasant, if not scintillating talk. At one point Lim used the 'You can't turn a donkey into a racehorse' line, and afterwards I kicked myself for not calling him on it. Later that night Lim called back to make a clarification, and I took the opportunity to debate him. We had a long discussion that, for me, got to the essence of the Garmin mission and the mentality of the clean racer. We agreed to scrap the initial interview and have the second debate again, this time with the recorder on.

Andy Shen: So we're going to pick up on this 'You can't turn a donkey into a racehorse' line. That line really bugs me, 'cause it's a doper’s defense (I’m a racehorse, ergo, I’m clean), and I think it's a logical fallacy. You’re not trying to turn a donkey into a racehorse, you're trying to turn a racehorse into a better racehorse.

Allen Lim: Yeah, yeah, exactly. A racehorse into a better racehorse.

AS: We're talking about turning domestiques into winners and winners into dominant winners.

AL: In science, we talk about this idea of falsifiability, that something is only potentially true if you have a way to prove it false. The thing about competitive cycling or any real world environment is that you don't necessarily have those opportunities. You don't have the opportunity to ask yourself, "How much would their performance have improved if a known doper had chosen to use clean and ethical alternatives". Would they have reached the same performance goals? So I think there's a lot of fear and ignorance associated with doping, because people aren't necessarily trying, or ignorant of, or aware of what those alternatives might be.

It ends up being more of a philosophical argument because there's no real way to prove one side of the issue right or wrong in practice, so it becomes what you choose to believe. Ultimately, everyone on our team chooses to believe that by riding clean, riding ethically, you can achieve the same performances. And if anything, more importantly, it's the way we want to live. Certainly, there's a chance - AND we can't necessarily prove it - that we're not winning races that we should or could be winning. But we are sleeping well at night.

AS: I guess I should clarify, you believe that doping simply helps the rider achieve his true potential, and that true potential is also achievable with ethical methods.

AL: That would be a fair point, except I would also say that doping is very destructive in that it can actually harm athletes much more. What people always forget is how many risks are associated with all these pharmacological agents. Those agents can actually impair performance. I also believe that doping deters performance, the culture of doping is quite an ironic one. I'll bring a couple of points to the table.

One is the psychological aspect. If someone is motivated with that kind of fear, ignorance, greed, there's no way they're sleeping well at night. I think the psychological burden of being a cheat takes away from being a true athlete. Some people can handle that pressure, but I think most people can’t. There's enough pressure as there is in the sport and life in general.

Two, let's talk about all the health risks associated. With EPO, there's certainly been instances where athletes have had irregular health problems or even death, that's a clear case of doping having a negative impact on performance! I think that nobody's intelligent enough to understand how all these different medications interact with someone's physiology, with different bottlenecks that might regulate performance, and in the end, it's not like there are certain on/off switches you can turn on in a human body. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different genes, different cells, factors that might impact someone's performance on a daily basis. Thinking that one or two or three types of different illicit substances, drugs with known risk factors, can help, is as ignorant or naive as the initial blanket statement of saying, "You can't win clean."

AS: The counter argument is a pretty simple one. Speeds went up during the EPO era, obviously there are health risks, but speed did go up. Some people believe that you can't win a grand tour clean.

AL: The counter argument would also be that speeds would've gone up anyways, right? Bicycle technology went up, tires got better, frames got better, aerodynamics improved, nutrition improved, all those factors improved. To say that that one factor was responsible for all of that, would be as ignorant and naive. For example, when Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, guess what? Everyone started breaking the 4 minute mile barrier. Was that because everyone found a new drug? Did Bannister take an illicit drug that all of a sudden everyone else found, and everyone else since has been taking? It's an interesting issue. It's not that the speed has subsided since then.

So how's it possible that our team are able to sustain those velocities when someone like LeMond was complaining about the increase in speed at the time? I think there are many other factors that impact velocity, and only one of those being the athlete's ability to produce power.

But yeah, I'm not going to say that these things can't impact human performance, I'm just saying that it's wrong and we don't believe in it as a method for enhancing performance. I guess that's the bigger point, the bigger issue.

AS: I think people have this idea of cheaters as lazy people who take shortcuts, but there are also dopers who do everything else possible, maybe even do more than everybody else, and then get that extra boost.

AL: Sure, that's a perfect reflection of cheaters in mainstream society as well. It's a function of greed, and it's a shame that it exists. There may not be anything we can do to stop that, except to make our own choice about how we decide to interact with the sport, whether or not we can live with ourselves at the end of the day.

AS: I don't completely agree with you, that doping can't make you better than your physiological limit. I do think it can make you better than you're supposed to be. But is your philosophy, the fact that you tell your riders it's possible to compete with dopers, is that a motivational tool?

AL: First, you have to ask yourself what's 'better'? If 'better' is winning races, and I think there are clear examples where we win races, and we have to make the assumption that there was someone cheating in that peloton that we just beat, then our belief system, our techniques work. If we get a higher placing than someone who was thrown out of the race for cheating, that's another proof of concept. So while I do agree with your point that a person can be better than they should be, it depends on what 'better' is. 'Better' isn't always reflected in winning bike races. That's ultimately the end game, winning races, not to generate more power, or to look more ripped, or to have a bigger Vo2max.

AS: So you're saying that every time you have a good result, it builds on the philosophy?

AL: Absolutely. I think that people often think of bike racing too much in this black and white way, you have to have this power to weight ratio, x physiological profile, to be a good racer. One thing we clearly know in terms of physiologies of cyclists, there's a wide variability in the physiologies of cyclists, from sprinters to grand tour riders to classics riders to domestiques to climbing specialists. They all have very unique morphologies and physiologies, so I think it's that diversity that makes cycling interesting. To say that there's a particular recipe that all these athletes have to be, that's hard to justify.

Regarding using our belief system as a motivational tool, absolutely it's a motivational tool, because I think the bottom line is that we've all grown up to be inspired by sport, to want to believe that sport brings out the best of who we are, who we are naturally. So for our guys to win races, to know the work they've put in, to know that they can do it without cheating, it's a very very powerful tool. It inspires us to continue doing what we do.

AS: You also talked about David Millar being a guy who can speak to the riders. He actually thinks he was worse with EPO. He got his big wins clean, but when he actually used EPO it didn't help him that much.

AL: Yeah, we're really lucky to have him to bring that perspective to the table. It's interesting, because I think David is one of these people with a strong sense of self and conscience, and when he was cheating he wasn't really being an athlete, he wasn't being true to himself. That can deter performance as much as anything.

AS: To be an absolute cynic for a moment, or maybe some would say realist, a lot of riders, when they confess to doping, they say, "All my wins were clean. It wasn't 'til I got older or desperate that I used drugs." You hear that quite a bit. Is there any chance that Millar's doing the same thing?

AL: Certainly, yeah, but we all trust him and have a lot of faith in him. We're certainly not cynical about his perspective, but I can't stop people from being cynical about it. What I can do is trust myself and my belief in him. That's what we've all got on this squad. To have that belief system is very very powerful. And ultimately, this whole thing is about quelling cynics and about keeping people from being negative. Ultimately, I think that people who do dope are the ones who are most cynical, the most negative, the ones who can't take that leap of faith, can't trust themselves to do the right thing. That's going to exist no matter what part of the world you live in, no matter what you do. There's certainly plenty of plagiarism in journalism, right? There's cheating in all walks of life.

Millar's someone who has really considered what he's done and what's happened, and the role and the behavior he now wants to bring to the table. I think it's all about behavior, all about what you do at the end of the day, not what you say. So, bottom line, it doesn't matter what I think or what I say or what I believe, the only thing that matters is what I do at the end of the day. As long as I can help to convince every athlete that I work with to do the right thing, the world will be ok regardless of what we're arguing about.

AS: Your riders always talk very positively about the competition. It's something that's puzzled me, 'cause if it was me, I'd be very angry knowing that there's likely someone who's cheating in every single race I'm in. But you say it's important for them to stay positive.

AL: Here's the cut to the chase. We're certainly not going to make or force everyone to drink our Kool-Aid, but that doesn't mean we're going to drink their Hatorade. In the past, you can see how all that negativity about being beaten by cheaters creates a self fulfilling prophecy – you can't win. I believe that the reason why cycling is such a beautiful sport is that there are so many examples where you have mind over body situations. Hopefully your will can allow you to succeed. The past, when athletes got really negative about being beaten by cheaters, a couple of things would occur.

One, is you get this negative cycle where you're defeated every time you get to the start line. The odds of winning are so low anyways, that to have a built in excuse not to win is only going to set you back even more. It creates bitterness, resentment, it's just not a very peaceful way of living. You lose focus on your training, you start doing everything in a way that's driven by anger and negativity rather than by anything positive. In the short term, that might be able to sustain you, but in the long term, a lot of energy ends up being wasted.

The other side of it is that people have often used that as an excuse to cheat themselves, and that can be even more disastrous. I've seen a transition occur with my guys, and it hasn't been something that we've provoked. It's something that they've come to, where they realize that they're proud and happy to be where they are in the sport, to make a salary in the sport, to buy their first home, to support their families, to do things right. That satisfaction allows them to perform at a high level, and one day come to grips with letting go of that anger and resentment and just focus on themselves, rather than the external world. They actually start to improve, not just as athletes, but as people.

We're not going to go out there and slam people because they're cheating, we have to assume that everyone wants the same thing, everyone's driven by the same essential goals. After all, in sport we're privileged to live in our own bubble where certain ideals are held to a higher level. While sport might just be a microcosm of normal society, we all like to believe that sport, just like the church or other institutions, are bigger than that. But in any big institution there's plenty of corruption. I think that's why people get so cynical about this issue, losing your faith in sport is the same as losing your faith in your god, whoever he or she may be, you know?

AS: Well, how do you find the balance between doing it right and getting wins? At the Tour and before, Bob Stapleton was practically rubbing your noses in it, he kept citing the number of wins they had compared to you...

AL: That's fantastic, actually, because we believe their team is clean. So, for us, it just makes us even more motivated to keep working harder. It doesn't make us want to cheat.

AS: I'm not saying you want to cheat, I'm asking where's the tipping point between "As long as we try hard and we do it clean it's ok" versus winning.

AL: I think you misunderstand us, you misunderstand who we are. Certainly the anger motivates us to win more. It's not like we ever say it's ok to lose. We never say it's ok because we're clean, it's never been an excuse, it's never even come up in conversation once within our organization. We speak positively about our competition and believe in our competition. We are motivated to do everything we can to win, we get pretty upset with ourselves when we don't. I think that people don't realize that there's still that same drive and intensity for perfection. When our competitors stick our noses in it, we get mad, we want to do everything we can to come back and kick some butt.

If you look at the distinction between Columbia and our team, they certainly have a lot of guys that are proven race winners, who have been at it for a while, who come from a really strong background starting from their development on T-Mobile through what Bob has done. So hats off to them, they're the winningest team in the sport right now. That's something that we strive to achieve as well.

There's never a situation where we use our clean ethos as an excuse for not winning. If we don't win, it's because we don't win and we suck.

AS: I've heard two things from you. One, 'you can't do something in a race you can't do in training', which is a way of saying the numbers don't lie. You're not going to produce a certain watts/kg in a race just because you're motivated, you can’t ‘give 110%’. But just now you also said that motivation and will is also a component of racing.

AL: It's a component of training as well. The guys have to bring that same desire to training as racing. There are so many times when guys want to give up in training, but the bottom line is when you give up in training you also give up in racing. Giving up in training isn't just about whether or not you do that extra interval on the road, it's also about the whole lifestyle you maintain to garner that performance. And it's a hard lifestyle to maintain, the care you have to take in terms of your sleep, your rest, your nutrition, your equipment... It's an extraordinary amount of work.

AS: My question is, Columbia is a clean team, and they're the winningest team in cycling. But you could say that one day races and sprints, that's where there's more of a lottery. In a sprint, motivation and tactics are more in play. And Columbia isn't winning grand tours, which is where the numbers come to the fore. Is that evidence for saying you can win one day races clean, but if you're doing a series of climbs on a series of days, the doping advantage comes to the fore?

AL: I don't know. I think that it's more of a case of the type of athletes you have, and the style of racing that your team is accustomed to. If you're a team like Columbia, you just haven't hired those GC riders, so I don't think it's a drug issue. It's a cop out to say that it is. It's more about the composition of the team, who you hire. The guys that are winning these one day races, the sprinters, are different types of animals. A Cavendish, a Farrar, is never going to be a GC rider, there's no drug you can give them to make them a GC contender.

AS: Teams like yours and Columbia, when you want to sign someone, you review their blood work. The cynic would say that Columbia reviewed the blood work of GC riders on the market, and there isn't one clean enough to hire. And that is why that team is composed the way they are.

AL: We haven't looked at every GC contender on the market, we don't know IF that's true or not. That's an extremely cynical tone to take. I can't justify or condone the cynicism. I live in an environment where I don't feel that, as true as that may or may not be. It comes back down to 'why worry about things you can't prove or disprove?' These are all assumptions. If there's one way to improve life it's to not make assumptions. All that cynicism involved, it comes down to assumptions, and it all comes down to looking at the illicit means. And once people start to focus on that, they don't focus on the big picture, and there's a lot more to the big picture than cheating.

It also leads back to the whole idea that just because it's illegal it must be better. Why do people always assume that? Just because something is illicit it must work better? There's plenty of drugs on the banned list aren't performance enhancing, they're there because they're dangerous. So maybe the assumption should be made that they're illegal because they're detrimental to one's well being.

Are you really that cynical?

AS: Not really, but there's just too much history of dopers succeeding.

AL: There's also a history of non dopers succeeding, so maybe one outweighs the other.

AS: That's why I'm so interested when you say it's possible to win clean, and that your riders believe it.

AL: I don't think they'd be on our squad if they didn't. And if they didn't, they'd probably be on another team shooting up. Maybe that's the only thing that distinguishes our guys from those who don't, they just believe.

AS: It makes me wonder, because I assume there are riders on your team who have first hand knowledge of riders who have cheated and benefited from it.

AL: Or vice versa. They maybe have known riders who have tried to cheat and totally failed. How much did ___ (Lim mentions a 2nd tier pro busted for doping) actually accomplish in the sport?

AS: Yeah, but that might actually be a case of starting out as a donkey, right? He wasn't that good to begin with... BUT, you have to say, doping has ruined his life.

AL: Yeah, right? It's a sad sad situation. You don't want that to play out for anybody. We're driven driven people, it goes without saying that we work very hard and sacrifice a lot, often to the detriment of our own selves and our relationships, that's the other side that people don't often understand. So our drive to win is definitely there. But what distinguishes our riders is that they really are well balanced people, they have the big picture in mind and they're intelligent people. Jonathan always envisioned this team as a group of guys that have those common traits, so as much as you want to pick a team based on palmares, we also want to assemble a team based on character. I think that's where Jonathan has done a great job.

Being an American team, we're very lucky in that we've always had a very privileged interaction with the sport. Most Americans ride because they choose to ride, not because they have to ride. I think that makes a big difference as well. That's also what makes us more cynical about cheating in the sport. But I'm just as cynical about cheating in other walks of life. When I used to teach at the university, I used to catch kids cheating all the time. It's like, 'What the hell, man? If you could do anything to get a good grade, why not just do the obvious and study?"

Have you seen the Italian placebo morphine study? What the scientists did, they gave morphine to athletes out of competition, and they saw a major increase in performance. Morphine is illegal in competition, but it's not illegal out of competition. So you can take it for an injury out of competition. So after familiarizing these athletes with morphine and its performance gains, I think it was just two bouts of activity, on the day of competition, they did a sham where they told the athletes they were getting morphine, but gave them a placebo instead. Those athletes' performances went up to the same level as when they actually got the morphine.

AS: Yeah, you've said that since you can't go back and run these races again as a control, the EPO era, all those performances could've been from a placebo effect, or it could've had a placebo component.

AL: Absolutely, especially in the short term. This study actually proves that point. If an athlete thinks they're getting something that they have been conditioned to believe improves their performance, it actually does improve their performance. It's a very powerful thing. Think about it this way: why do drugs work? Drugs work because we can synthetically make compounds that fit in receptor sites that activate certain cellular functions. The reason why drugs work is because there is a lock for every one of these sites in our body. But why do those receptor sites exist?

AS: Because there's something naturally in your body that goes in there.

AL: Right. There's something your brain and your body can make. As big as the pharmaceutical industry is, it hasn't even come close to making all the substances in our own body that unlocks those doors. The only reason why those receptors exist is that our bodies are the biggest pharmacies on the planet. Finding the key to open those locks pharmaceutically is a bit of a crapshoot. Adaptation is the name of the game, training is the name of the game. The morphine study is real interesting, and worth looking into as a direct contrast to this doping era. For me, this study is a way for me to be cynical about doping not working, about it all being this one big placebo effect.

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From one point to another we
By: Yann Cage
Sun, 02/22/2015 - 2:36pm

From one point to another we could also be doing which are also one of the many ways for us to be grateful about all those things. - Nova Science Publishers

Let me try to understand this
By: Thibault Bottle
Thu, 08/05/2010 - 8:51pm

Interesting to go back and read this with today's information... So, with the new allegations from Levi Leipheimer's own Gerolsteiner DS that Levi manipulated his blood (i.e. transfusion) for the 2005 Tour de France:


along with Floyd Landis' claim that Leipheimer and Landis were both given transfusions during the same 2005 TdF by Allen Lim, it seems obvious Paul Kimmage was right in suspecting that Lim is not to be believed regarding his role with Landis in 2006? At the time of this interview, Lim was playing the clean-as-a-whistle role with Garmin but then along came an attractive offer to go over to Radioshack, Leipheimer, Armstrong and all the others. Well, he was not unfamiliar with them or their past practices and, after all, they are all nice guys and it is not his place to judge them, right? Subpoena, anyone?

so last year the Spaniards
By: Luchino Rivnut
Tue, 07/20/2010 - 2:29am

so last year the Spaniards attacked Cadel with a flat last year at the Vuelta.... and now I watched Contador attack Schleck with a mechanical (chain drop)...I am beyond anger. Alberto's ideal teamate should be named "Span". "blank and Span" there I said it! scumbags.

Allen Lim
By: Mathys Liner
Fri, 06/11/2010 - 12:40pm

This guy shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a sportsman!

jv is officially a confirmed
By: Bastien Clamp
Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:13pm

jv is officially a confirmed directosexual.


By: Sacha
Tue, 09/15/2009 - 9:36pm

OK, one more thing- that was pretty good!

By: Reid Rothchild
Tue, 09/15/2009 - 4:17am

Dear Allen,

Lance just put in an amazing performance in the last Brock Landers film. He is playing Chest Rockwell's brother, who steals the girl.

For good endurance Lance took a 10 mg Cialis 2 hours before the shoot, then a 50mg Viagara 1 hour prior. He wanted some r Epo but we have a connection which could get him Cera.

After the shoot we understood why he need the doping products. He had a 5 and a half hour erection that necessitated a trip to the ER. After patiently signing autographs, ER doctors drained his penis with a syringe, they took out about 4 vials of blood, which Lance immediately reinfused so he could perform at a party later that night. He didn't want to waste the packed cells and the Cera. He wore out 7 actresses and was going for 8 but the pain in his schwantz forced him to stop. I was disappointed he gave up, as there were a couple more "ladies" waiting to be serviced.



By: Reid Rothchild
Tue, 09/15/2009 - 4:08am

I've been taking these drugs, they're called PLACEBOS. If you ever get a chance try these drugs.....


Evidently Lim has been taking this $hit @ dusk, boatloads of it.

Oh, BTW, Lance loves another drug that only has a placebo effect.


Wake the fcuk up Lim.

By: Sacha
Mon, 09/14/2009 - 8:49pm

Much more of a scientist than that. That is why I know Ashendon interview was crap. Once again, no evidence about LA except heresay and vague hand waving science.

I know what has happened in cycling the last 30 years or more- probably forever. See Tommy Simpson (by the way, what a joke LeMond at the site to honor a doper). BUT, it doesn't mean there is proof LA cheated. Neither does the fact that he beat dopers. I will stop writing about this because everyone has their opinion already made. Mine is only based on real evidence (or lack thereof), so insult me as you like, I know what I know or don't know.

By: West Coast Reader
Mon, 09/14/2009 - 5:25am

First with the interview, good one.

A few issues (most already posted on it):
1. AL says EPO is bad and people died (had issues) with it, yet states no one or one issue. (I know there is but if he's going to say there's issues at least ref. one of them)
2. Equipment aided speed, does he even know what aided speed and when? (on a side note the haters from the Zipp interview, in yo face!)
3. Donkey's vs Race Horse's, there was no conclusion to that, only interlude and debate, I guess as there should be, but we all (also a few other posters) know there have been many a donkey converted to race horse, Aitor Gonzales, Casagrande (caught twice mind you), Tyler Hamilton, just to name a few. So that is enough to prove doping works/worked/will work.
4. High horse, AL is living on the high horse, he knows first hand that doping works and how it works, not only through the Floyd incident but since we're assuming he's in some form of science, right?
5. The dopers who used drugs and it didn't work for them never became a race horse or died/got sick/quit. The dopers who used drugs and it worked for them used it to win, stay on a team, get PAID! Everyone forgets they get paid to race, even lose, unlike us who get a hand shake for a good race and possibly a trophy or two tickets to a local restaurant, it won't pay the rent. Don't get me started on having to buy new stuff due to getting crashed out and breaking parts or a bike!


JFT? Who ever that is if they can't put up with a comment on here I don't think he can handle much else in this world. Still haven't read the crash link, but I know for a fact its the same people who crash, cause crashes and its the same people who crash with them that still ride next/near them knowing this. I see the crasher and either go as fast as I can to get a way or drop back to form a good buffer zone. Then report to the race officials how much of a as... problem he is to the race, maybe after X complaints he'll be banned from racing or at least get a reprimand (I know deaf ears but still, somebody has to say something).

As for LA, one more year and we'll never see him in a race again! I'm counting the days! Hoping he doesn't pull a Farve and re-sign with Cofidis. HA!

I think Lim was wearing his Ice Vest for the interview to keep cool, that's what I know Lim for.

they fart so bad in full
By: Dirk Diggler
Sun, 09/13/2009 - 8:25pm

they fart so bad in full sprint, due to chipotle burritos the night prior, that nobody wants to come around. that's how they win.

Garmin's "Kool-Aid"
By: Eric Faber
Sun, 09/13/2009 - 3:11pm

sounds delicious and refreshing. Keep up the positivity Allen. How can one really enjoy say... The Vuelta and a stage win like Ryder's and prefer to think that what you saw was done by a bunched of doped up "Circus Monkeys" who just perform for our amusement. It's better for sport to choose to believe we are watching professionals who love their job, do the right thing. Work hard, eat right, train right and think right then the alternative right?

bork bork bork...
By: Dirk Diggler
Sun, 09/13/2009 - 7:25am

bork bork bork...

Sacha... Have you read the
By: Enzo Brifter
Sun, 09/13/2009 - 6:27am


Have you read the Michael Ashenden interview?
Have you been aware of what's happening in cycling for the last 15 years?
Are you aware of the respected scientific and medical view of blood level degredation during a three week tour?
Are you really a scientist....or did you pass an 'ology at school?
Is your head stuck up your arse?

The only people who can't see what's been going on are the rampant sychophantic muppets who worship at the feet of St Lance.

JV is a star, best thing to happen to the sport in years. Let's not tar Allen Lim solely with the cop out roid win to Morzine, the guy is doing wonders at Garmin

You misunderstand me. I'm not
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 09/12/2009 - 11:55pm

You misunderstand me. I'm not saying JV was clean, I'm doubting the part about 'throughout his career'. In that very same IM he said he was clean with Credit Agricole, basically saying Armstrong conned him into believing everyone was doing it. His 'no comments' are basically tacit admissions.

Don't be naive
By: Matteo Lorica
Sat, 09/12/2009 - 11:46pm

Cyclevaughters: anyhow, i never can quite figure out why i don't just play along with the lance crowd - i mean shit it would make my life easier, eh? it's not like i never played with hotsauce, eh?

FDREU: I know, but in the end i don't think it comes back to bite you


As I've stated below, I
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 09/12/2009 - 11:27pm

As I've stated below, I confronted Lim about Floyd the first time I interviewed him. You can decide for yourself if he's being completely forthcoming.

I'm not aware that JV has admitted doping throughout his career, in fact, he's pretty much given a 'no comment' whenever asked. You can read this interview Schmalz did with him and make your own conclusions. The relevant part come about halfway through.


allen lim was floyds
By: Martin Helmet
Sat, 09/12/2009 - 10:45pm

allen lim was floyds physiologist and was aware of everything floyd was doing to enhance his tour chances... jv has admitted to using epo throughout his career including his mt ventoux win... i am happy that garmin races clean ... but they have no place carrying the clean racing torch... dont believe me ask them in your next in depth interview...

math geeking
By: Amerigo Wave Ring
Sat, 09/12/2009 - 12:45am

probably not interesting to too many, but would have been interested in the response to the "physiologically impossible climbing numbers" argument put forth during the tour. especially with a few different ways to calculate your way back-ass-wards into the numbers.
regardless of what he might say, lim reminds of a guy who would do his own calc's on it just cause he could.
enjoyed the interview fo sho

Whatever 10:44
By: Maxime Bottle
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:31pm

Whatever 10:44. Saw AL come and talk. The guy didn't help anyone dope. He is about as genius as they come.

i'll remember allen lim for
By: Florian Seattube
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 3:24pm

i'll remember allen lim for rice cakes.


Shame Allen Lim will be
By: Dillon
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:44pm

Shame Allen Lim will be remembered more for helping Floyd win the Tour doped!

peace today
By: Evan Rubber Hood
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:57pm

peace today

Whatever; he isn't on
By: Jurassic Park
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:42pm

Whatever; he isn't on Rushmore. Any wisdom he had was seriously outweighed by the crazy. Guy got off on being a contrarian, making nonsensical arguments with other kooks. Don't miss it one bit.

Disagree @ 3:15 pm. LA 95'
By: wellscuker
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:39pm

Disagree @ 3:15 pm.

LA 95' was nowhere close to LA 99'. Classics to climber huh?

nothing cool about
By: Wheellsucker
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:00pm

nothing cool about disrespecting your elders. sucker.

Um, I strongly disagree about
By: Alexandre Topcap
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 2:51am

Um, I strongly disagree about JFT. Not reading his contrarian helmet BS this summer made me feel 20 years younger. And 10 times less stupid.

Whats with LA and AL having
By: Socrates
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:37am

Whats with LA and AL having opposites initials??? That proves one is clean and the other is dirty!

Marius, Did you read what I
By: Sacha
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 1:11am


Did you read what I wrote. There is no evidence that LA cheated and I am not a fanboy- I could care less. I am a scientist and innuendo does not prove anything. That is one thing AL implies in this article- there are somethings you can't control or know. One of these is what LA was doing with Ferrari. Or all the other things I listed. Sorry, he hasn't been "caught" and if you think that means he cheats but hasn't been caught, that is up to you. I think it means he has not tested positive, period.

One thing I got from the AL interview is that while there may be clinical data that shows in a lab that EPO or other drugs can help performance, it is way more difficult to prove it in the pro peloton because there are so many other factors- team tactics, weather, mindset, course profile etc. When you get to that level, you are already in the 99th percentile, so while a higher h/h might help you be in 99.9th percentile, so could lots of other things. I think that is the difference between these people who are discussing some local guy who dopes. Of course he gets way better, because everyone starts at a way lower level and a small improvement leads to a relatively larger increase over the rest of the bunch.

Sacha - you still didn't explain whay Lance worked with Ferrari?
By: Marius Butyl
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:46am

Sacha - you still didn't explain whay Lance worked with Ferrari? The fact is there is no other explanation. He is hematologist!!! Banned from the sport.

Sorry, mountain of evidence says he doped his way to his TDF wins. Read up and try not to let your fan-boy-ness get in the way of your logical thought.

perfect example of the troll
By: Polly Bollywogg
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:18am

perfect example of the troll that i (5:30) was talking about


5:30: Hi JFT!!
By: mellowyello
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 12:17am

5:30: Hi JFT!!

show tune
By: Mehdi Ergopower
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 10:59pm

the one about "falling head over heals" ?

just before i crash i start
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 10:52pm

just before i crash i start singing show tunes. listen for me at the next crca race in central park.

By: Mehdi Ergopower
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 10:46pm

a thread worthy topic

here's the jft article i was
By: Wheellsucker
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 9:30pm

here's the jft article i was thinking about. required reading for newbies (actually some not-so-newbies, too):


his view on crashing (i.e., go into every race knowing that you alone control whether you crash) and lim's view on doping (i.e., go into every race knowing that dopers have absolutely no advantage on you) are eerily similar. a good mental perspectives - use your perception of reality to effect that reality.

on another random note, i miss that guy around here. if you trolls stopped baiting him and actually read what the dude wrote, you could learn a lot.

4:26 et al.
By: Wheelsukcer
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 9:12pm

jesus you guys are being obtuse. of course lim's knows doping works. his point is more subtle and complex. there are things you cannot control (or prove) in life. best to ignore those, never use them as a crutch, be positive and focus your energy on what you can control ... and believe you can control it.

interestingly, it's actually very similar to JFT's view on crashing. when you race, you need to assume that which is not true. you have to go into every race knowing - absolutely knowing - that you are in control of your destiny. you and you alone control whether you crash. making yourself believe this will reduce your crashes. making yourself believe doping is inconsequential/harmful will make you a stronger racer.

fascinating interview, andrew

Not defending Lim, but I
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 8:52pm

Not defending Lim, but I think you guys are reading it wrong. What I think he's saying is:

1: You can get as good training clean as you can with dope.

2: Dope can make you faster, but it's unclear how much of it is due to the placebo effect. And if it is due to the placebo effect, why not induce that effect legally.

Of course, you might still think that's BS.

dr. lim
By: shane derailleurhanger
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 8:26pm

dopers win, look at results from pulla and other local posers. placebo talk is big BS. blood doping rules, followed by steroids. either way, 'You can turn a donkey into a racehorse'with proper madical attention

So dope doesn't work eh?
By: Vegas
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 8:13pm

So dope doesn't work eh? Nice try.

Why was synthetic
By: Wheelsukcer
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:22pm

Why was synthetic testosterone get in?
How do I shot web?
What game play?

All this reading makes me
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:21pm

All this reading makes me want some Alan Lim rice cakes.

Are you sure it is less than
By: Sacha
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:15pm

Are you sure it is less than 1%? I mean just because he worked with Ferrari, I think it should be 100%. I think that since he beat guys that were doping, that really proves it. I know that there was a text that proved it and didn't the wife of some guy hear LA admit taking EPO? I know LA browbeat everyone else in the world, even his doctors, to lie. Didn't they get some garbage that had needles in it- that proves it too. Oh yeah, they tested his blood years later and it was positive too. And now his H/H didn't go down during the tour and there is a paper with a total of 7 riders blood levels that "proves" this must mean he is doping. I mean the scientific evidence is solid. And the final straw, Greg Lemond thinks so too.

I don't know if he doped or not and while I hope not, nothing would surprise me. However, there is no proof that it happened.

Paul Fork- Transfusions.
By: El boozo
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:05pm

Transfusions are not risk free- Especially if guys are freezing their blood prior to putting it back into their system. Ask any of the guys and gals from the 1984 US olympic cycling team if it was risk free and I am sure 100% that they would say that there are some dangerous side effects.

read the piece again- Good stuff Andy.

Lim, why was synthetic
By: Vegas
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:56pm

Lim, why was synthetic testosterone get in Floyd's body in 2006 at the TdF?

really? i'd say:
By: Wheelsukcer
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:55pm

In other words, "Sucks he cheated, I thought the training program was working, bummer he lied, glad I wasn't involved as co-conspirator."

That link has a great
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:47pm

That link has a great quote:

"AS: To this day, do you have an opinion on what the truth is, on that day?

AL: It's hard, you know? Basically, I...that's a funny way to phrase the question, 'the truth of that day', I don't know what the truth is, frankly. It's still as much of a mystery to me as anyone. That being said, Floyd is a great guy, he's a dear friend, and I only wish the best for him. And I think what happened with Floyd, my experience with him, it really inspired a lot of what we do with this program, so I hope that we can put it behind us and look forward to real positive things in the future and use it as an example for good things to come."

In other words, "Sucks he got caught, I thought the program would work, bummer it didn't, glad I didn't get busted as co-conspirator."

By: Matteo Bottle
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:41pm


All this pseudo-scientific blood and physiology is mostly drivel. The only numbers Andy should be posting are those of the podium babes at the Vuelta. Now, that'd pump your blood levels. Venga!

i don't ride or race clean.
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:31pm

i don't ride or race clean. in fact, i ride and race dirty. saves me a ton of money on laundry.

the rest of you can be snuggly soft for all i care.

Lim was Landis's "doctor"
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:27pm

Lim was Landis's "doctor" back in his '06 TDF "victory?"

Didn't know that. Actually, don't care either. But interesting side note either way. Thanks for the history lesson.

Lim is full of shit. EPO and
By: BS'er
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:10pm

Lim is full of shit. EPO and T during training allow you to train with more intensity and recover faster. Auto during a race is undetectable. (Or a least they don't do the test that detects it). Juiced training will always provide a higher level, faster, than clean. Auto during a stage race will always give an advantage over clean.

Floyd Landis in '06 = Racehorse - with Lim
Floyd Landis in '09 = Donkey - without Lim

If dope didn't work, no one would bother with it.

Wiggins' numbers did decline.
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 6:05pm

Wiggins' numbers did decline. What Moerkeberg found suspicious is a spike in the middle. Armstrong's numbers had spikes as well, but didn't decline from beginning to end.

Wiggins data here: http://www.velonews.com/media/BradWigginsBloodProfile.pdf

drugs vs "doping"
By: Paul Fork
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 5:53pm

Lim mentions EPO and the risks of EPO and drugs. But he doesn't address classic blood doping/packing --- re-injection of your own blood/hemoglobin, which is probably what guys are doing. This has no negative side effects, and is undetectable to physical testing. But it is detectable using statistical measurement. Why doesn't UCI/WADA test the whole peloton throughout the next Giro and TdF and get a bigger profile of how blood values change from the three weeks of exertion? Then, when you see no change in hemoglobin, like Lance and Wiggins, you have a much bigger sample as a baseline.

Sacha - why did LA work with Ferrari?
By: Stevie tube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 5:49pm

Sacha - time to open your eyes! There is not even a 1% chance LA raced clean. Why did LA work with Michele Ferrari exactly? "EPO is not more dangerous than orange juice" - now why would he say that?

Great interview but I would still bet my money that Ferrari or Conconi could dope someone to more performance increases than any special training program.

By: Douchebaggio
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 4:49pm

Plenty of dopers sleep well at night. Sociopaths seldom have a problem sleeping.

can you ask him if jv will be
By: Florian Seattube
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 4:45pm

can you ask him if jv will be rocking a raplha neck scarf anytime soon?

I don't claim to be
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 2:21pm

I don't claim to be objective. My bias is pretty obvious, and I think most of this site's readers are aware of it and are smart enough to filter what they read and reach their own conclusions.

And I'm interviewing Allen, which means I'm asking his opinion, which is by definition biased.

Andy and Alan have too much
By: clit twit
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 2:11pm

Andy and Alan have too much emotion invested to be OBJECTIVE!

false positives
By: Socrates
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 2:02pm

As Floyd's coach, what can AL say about Floyd's case? and other "false positives", http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/astarloza-maintains-total-innocence, given that the Blood Passport should provide proof of "cleanliness"???

please! I don't know who to "believe"???

Refreshing Interview for the Jaded Cycling Fan
By: Bartolo Compliant
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:52pm

It is refreshing to hear Allen's views about the current state of cycling. It is reassuring to hear that there are efforts to field teams of clean cyclists such as Garmin and Columbia. Many cycling fans (including myself) are very skeptical about how clean the sport really is even with the biological passport. An effective method for detecting blood doping is the one factor that really gives me strong doubts about eliminating the cheaters from cycling.

While reading the interview, I thought about Danilo DiLuca. He has most likely made his career out of doping. I wonder if he falls under the category of the racehorse or the donkey. It would be interesting to see how many of his wins were complemented by his doping program.

"At one point Lim used the
By: Sacha
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:52pm

"At one point Lim used the 'You can't turn a donkey into a racehorse' line"

Part of the original conversation, right?

Wow. Great interview, and
By: Wheelsukcer
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:48pm

Wow. Great interview, and great philosophy. Allen Lim created his own reality; he took the world and re-shaped it into the one he wanted to live in.

thanks andy
By: drone
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:39pm

andy, thanks, i think you are asking the right questions and pushing AL on the less-than-satisfying responses without being, y'know, all "Greg Lemond" about it.

i'm not satisfied, though... feel like there's a certain dismissive, "boy, i'm sick of this" sort of attitude in AL's approach. you have to understand that dope is practically all we hear about, and as far as we can tell, DOPERS WIN, and so you can't get pissy when we want to ask you about it and nag you about it and hear about what you're doing to fight it.

i still take serious issue with AL's attempt to say that dope doesn't work. i appreciate the fact that you're training a team and not running an anti-drug campaign, so you want to win and not foster an attitude of "racing clean and trying hard is good enough." and i know you can't prove a negative, and so to some extent, you're limited to saying that you choose not to dope and stand up for that approach, and that's all you really CAN do... but that doesn't make drugs ineffective. the fact that garmin has a great team that is vocal about being clean (and hopefully really IS clean) and wins some races is fantastic. but waving at the fact that there are factors that go into winning aside than sheer power is utterly unsatisfying, and does NOTHING to prove the argument that dope doesn't work because of some kind of adverse psychological effect.

let's leave aside the notion that there are health implications to dope -- EPO helps you deliver oxygen and improves performance, period, and i'm not listening to an attempt to say that it doesn't, so please stop it. the guys who aren't stupid enough to dose themselves to death seem to win more than they should. as for the psychology, as a non-doper, i can't really say for sure, but i imagine that there are unrepentant dopers who sleep just FINE. there are people who THRIVE off of greed and anger and fear. lance armstrong has, in his own words, said that he's motivated more by fear of failure than anything else (i.e., not the satisfying fuzzy feeling of providing for his kids).

again, i appreciate what you are doing here, andy -- nice job of bringing up the important issues. and to allen, i *think* i support what you're doing... i *want to* believe you. i understand it's an impossible task to prove that you aren't cheating. but some of the things you say come across as more of a dodge than an honest attempt to deal with the problem -- i think it would be more honest to say, simply, we can't control what others do, we choose to be clean, we can win that way but maybe less often and we will have to work harder and smarter than the cheaters. acknowledge the problem, don't dismiss it, and more of us will be on-board with you.

Once again, read. First
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:33pm

Once again, read. First interview was an assessment of Garmin's Tour. Totally different topic.

I don't think all winners cheat. I agree with Lim for the most part, but had to take a contrary view since I was debating him.

Read the opening line on
By: Sacha
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:25pm

Read the opening line on front page. I just didn't read intro- only interview. So you are right, but I would like to see boring interview since I would guess AL just uses more data to prove that there is no way to prove cheating helps and that unless you are caught redhanded (or blooded!), it is impossible to prove.

While you don't state that all winners cheat, you certainly imply it over and over again in this interview.

I agree with him so much that
By: Thomas A. Fine
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:20pm

I agree with him so much that I think Allen Lim stole all his best ideas from me. This is the best expression of Garmin's philosophy that I've seen, and it sounds refreshingly less condescending or smug than other takes.

Good question on laziness. I've said before that some dopers get a double placebo effect. Normal psychological boost. But also they're just training better - "all this money and risk, I better not waste it". Maybe the most interesting part there is how dependent that reaction has to be on individual psychology. And hence, how doping affects you may largely be a function of your mindset.

I love what he said about a built-in excuse. There's a subset of cyclists that I like to refer to as the whiners that do this and I hate it. EFTMID - Everyone Faster Than Me Is Doping. It's absurd.

I still worry a little that they might be overselling. I applaud the extra effort of teams like Garmin, but it's never a guarantee. First of all, it's possible to get some cocky rider in that thinks he can cheat his own team, and second of all there's my general mistrust of the system WADA has set up, in terms of false positives. So one way or another, it seems likely to me that we're going to find a big ugly newsworthy positive on one of these "clean" teams. What happens then?


tier two rider
By: Hugo Seatpost
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:03pm

How come the tier two rider isn't mentioned. its public anyway- papp?

lim is way too cerebral for me. i need to go read some comic books to get myself right again.

good interview. thanks for transcribing it.

Sacha, you need to work on
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:58pm

Sacha, you need to work on your reading comprehension. The un-scintillating interview was scrapped in favor of this one. And nowhere do I say all winners cheat.

By: Leon Tank
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:55pm


Well, try as hard as you
By: Sacha Ceramic
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:52pm

Well, try as hard as you wanted to, AL could not agree with you that all winners cheat. He actually thinks scientifically, not with anger, jealousy and resentment -like some who accuse despite the facts. Maybe LA is just better than everyone else, which would really make evryone mad.

This is one of the best interviews yet, however, clear-headed reality-based responses leaves you feeling bored? ("not scintillating")

great interview
By: Locknut
Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:45pm

but come on!! it is so hard not to be cynical about ones chances when they have been riding behind a doped up rider. just look at Joe Papp, if you raced against him before and after he took his drugs you know what i am writing about

doped up he was so fast it was crazy, off the drugs he sucked, the same has been ture of other locals who got busted.

The drugs can make a donkey into an elite pro. i have seen junkeys do it and return to donkeyness after they clean up. but to his point i do not think everyone responds phisically and menatlly the same way to drugs. (your results may vary)

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