This archival study (N = 100) compared Lance Armstrong’s time trial wins to victories demonstrated by all former multiple Grand Tour winners (1949–1995; Coppi, Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Indurain) and by riders who won similar races in the three major European Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España) from 2006 to 2013, who were either involved in doping affairs or not. Regression analyses yielded a non–significant M = 142 seconds difference between Armstrong vs. the aggregated other riders (ΔR2 = .001, p = .20). The effect emerged after controlling for the influence of competition year (b = -12.23 s per year, ΔR2 = .045, p ≤ .001) and trial distances (b = 84.64 s per kilometer trial distance, ΔR2 = .933, p ≤ .001) on the variation in riders’ speed. Furthermore, Armstrong along with other riders who were suspended for doping use or who acknowledged having used doping in the 2006–2013 periods did not outperform riders who were not involved in doping affairs during the same years (M = -68 s, ΔR2 = .01, p = .35). Findings disprove the argument from ignorance, a false logic which refers to the often heard opinion that cyclists’ performances over time (including Armstrong’s wins) are mainly determined by their use of increasingly potent doping aids. However, in contrast to this logic, the distances of the time trials constitute the main determinant of riders’ performances rather than the year in which they competed, and riders engaged in doping affairs did not significantly outperform riders who were not.
- professional cycling
- time trial performance