A well-considered response and by and large, I agree.
Certainly, unless a rider or team publishes their power data, deriving that is based on a host of assumptions. Even if we (arbitrarily) say that >6.5 for >40 minutes clearly indicates doping, but (say) 6.3 for that time is just about feasible, the range and number of assumptions likely creates an error margin wider than the under/over line.
Having said that, doping with PFCs or synthetic blood products would not, AFAIK, show up in a blood passport. Moreover, they’re not (again AFAIK) routinely tested for.
Next, the aero advantages that are now so prevalent are at their least meaningful up long, steep climbs, and the bikes aren’t any lighter (in many cases, they’re heavier).
Finally, I am also very sceptical about a number of individual performances, which I won’t name, but anyone who watched the TdF can work out which ones I mean. It is unprecedented for a domestique to beat times which, let’s be clear, have stood for several decades now.
It’s an interesting analogy that many of the world best performances for women’s athletics that were set by heavily-doped Soviet or DDR athletes in the 70-80s are now accepted as being essentially unbeatable by clean participants, even though athletics training has also moved on since then. Perhaps tech has more of a role in cycling, and yes, it is harder to compare like with like, but we are essentially seeing supposedly impossible numbers being produced by riders without a history of that kind of achievement. In athletics, that would be greeted with deep suspicion. In cycling, it’s explained away.
I’ll finish a longwinded comment with a story I’ve told on here before. Our rowing coach at university was from the former DDR. He was fairly open about the doping protocols that went on over there, as they were state enforced. However, he was utterly adamant that clean elite sport was a myth, and that (by and large) dope tests caught only the unlucky, the stupid, or the under-resourced. Indeed, when one of the squad commented that they would love to watch an ‘untested’ 100m sprint final, ‘just to see what was actually possible’, this coach replied ‘you can watch that race every 4 years and have done so already’.
I’m sorry if this is all a bit cynical, and I wholly understand if people disagree.