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Letters to Cyclingnews - July 6, 2007
Here's your chance to get more involved with Cyclingnews. Comments and criticism on current stories, races, coverage and anything cycling related are welcomed, even pictures if you wish. Letters should be brief (less than 300 words), with the sender clearly identified. They may be edited for space and clarity; please stick to one topic per letter. We will normally include your name and place of residence, but not your email address unless you specify in the message.
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Tour de France boring!
This race is plain exciting. It’s exciting because McEwen stands a chance to win the green jersey again against the best sprinters in the world; Cadel Evans has a realistic chance to win the yellow jersey and kiwi Julian Dean will be in there too. With the possibility of two Australians winning (green and yellow of course) as well as the win Australia had with Stuart O’Grady in Paris Roubaix earlier this year, it brings cycling even closer to us here down under and makes our sport a truly global sport.
If the tour is boring then how did the prediction of Armstrong being a likely winner for six consecutive years sound to you? Year after year the prediction was always the same, who will this year people would ask? Oh that’s easy, Lance, again, he won it by that much last year the others don’t stand a chance!!
If you do switch off at half time, watch the rugby.
This Tour will be worth watching into the early hours.
Tour de France, boring!
After reading the letter about Vino it makes me wonder, just where were you doing all of the tours of late? How many times did Vino attack in the mountains in order to force a response from Lance? He did all of this for whom, Jan Ullrich perhaps? Do you not remember how frustrated he said he was in the days with T-Mobile because he wasn’t allowed to win stages or contend for the GC.
He would attack and be away just to have the Team Director call him back because he was gaining to much time over Ullrich, the supposed team leader. Why do you think he left T-Mobile? Had Vino not been there to put the heat on Lance, Jan would have finished even lower than where he did.
To Jeffrey Jones - saying about Lance: "he was little more than flashy pack fill" shows ignorance of what Armstrong was and did in cycling.
Yes, he did focus on one, and only one, major race every year (after he recovered from near death, life threatening cancer). But, that is exactly what his sponsors wanted him to do. I won't argue about his palmares (check them out - not too bad for "flashy pack fill"), but he focused and succeeded in what he desired to achieve.
That success brought him, his team and sponsors wealth and fame. It would be ignorant to try and denigrate his accomplishments.
I love the sport of cycling. I loved it before Armstrong. I loved it before LeMond. I believe that Merckx is the all time greatest rider ever, but I am sick and tired of people trying to tear down L.A.
You also wrote: "Armstrong was only interesting to real gear heads in the Tour de France". I'm curious if you even ride, because that statement is totally asinine and ludicrous.
The letter by Ian Farquharson is right on the money about Greame Obree's book. I picked up "The Flying Scotsman" while on vacation in England three years ago. I couldn't put it down. It is a riveting tale.
Obree's accomplishments on the bike are more than amazing given the context of his life and unusual training methods. I hope the movie opens soon in my town. I will be the first one in line for tickets.
The Flying Scotsman
Yet to see the movie, I concur the Book is riveting. To publicly open the door on ones own psychological problems is a brave thing to do. Graeme is honest and non-blaming in his book. A fantastic real life story by a man who is obviously so much more than a cyclist but just needs to find this out for himself. We can all only wish for the lungs of Obree and a wife like his.
The Flying Scotsman
I’ve read the book and agree it is brilliant. As a serious cyclist one can relate to his stories about training rides in terrible weather etc and laugh about it, whilst the general public can relate his personal problems and struggles. I wish him all the very best, as he certainly deserves it!
Can’t wait to see the film. The reviews have been very good.
I read with amusement about riders who claim that signing the UCI's anti doping pledge is against their rights. Would you give me a break, cycling has been infiltrated with these things for years and it’s taken a serious toll on our sport. Now that someone might be required to put his name on the line and forfeit pay, they are outraged.
I myself had to sign such a paper at my postal job and I am not being paid to be an athlete, just a mere mailman. Should I be caught using drugs, my mailman career is over. How many people in the working class are forced to sign such things via any job, jobs that don't pay anywhere near what these guys make? Sign the damn thing, if you're clean you have nothing to worry about, if you're not, get out of bike racing.
As for rights, quit crying like overpaid children and welcome to the real world. I don't like it either and neither do millions of other of my working class fellows, but give me a break, sign it, race clean and shut up.
There is no Zabriskie for the Tour for many reasons: Cancellara is more likely to win a TT than DZ, and DZ is from the wrong continent. And as far as Stijn Devolder not in the tour, beats me, I figured after a 3rd place in Switzerland that would clinch a spot for him. Ill just chalk these two athletes as ‘maybe they spent themselves too much in the past few weeks’.
After reading the latest news story on your site featuring Greg Lemond and his recent revelations regarding his story of sexual abuse as a child, I found the current quote further on regarding doping and the end of his career a bit odd:
"By 1993 I was just so fatigued and I don't know if it was because everybody was on EPO, I really don't, but I was checked out for every possible problem there could be health-wise.
"I went to see a sports doctor and he said, 'Greg, there is nothing wrong with you;".
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m no cycling historian when it comes to Lemond, but I seem to recall the reason he himself announced at a press conference sometime in 1994, and this was also featured in an in depth look at his problems in a commemorative issue of Velonews dedicated to Lemond after his announcement, was due to his contracting or being found to have been suffering from, something called mitochondria myopathy, a muscular disease I wont even begin to try and explain, as I am no Doctor!
It seems every time he is interviewed we are presented with a new version of his own story, as I recall him saying that from 1990 onwards he was no longer competitive! I wouldn’t call winning the Tour, getting second in the Championship of Zurich and 4th at the worlds in 1990 non-competitive! If every interview he gives now will have a focus on pinpointing just when widespread EPO use became fact, then maybe someone should ask him, or any other significant "clean" sporting figures or race organisers or administrators from that era why hardly any of them ever made statements that could’ve effectively changed the face of the sport at a time when their actions could’ve made a difference (I remember Winning magazine, Tour issue 1990 having an article from their resident Medical expert, Dr. Edmund Burke, that ended something akin to "EPO, remember the name, you are going to be hearing allot about it in the years to come", This was in 1990!!!!!), as opposed to now when they increasingly sound bitter and overly general to the point of being meaningless.
Eric Zabel noted that he decided to dope after he and a group of riders were dropped on a long climb. Everybody knows that sprinters can't climb, and vice versa. However, climbers are rarely delimited on time on flat stages. The time elimination on mountain stages ensures that the non-climbers will always be at risk, which is an incentive to dope. Eliminating the time limit will eliminate that incentive.
I read the complaints about bike options for tall riders and I want to say I share your pain but from the opposite perspective. I am the average height of a US woman and yet there are fewer options than ever for me also. My new Trek Madone's top tube is so wide my thighs rub every pedal stroke. The top tube flares out even more towards the steering tube so standing up on a climb is especially annoying. The top tube width is not proportionalized for smaller sizes. So many manufacturers are going to this extreme top tube width.
I guess it will be custom for me from here on out for a road bike.
I wasn't going to weigh in but you may not be aware of Viner bicycles. I have a former Cat.1 friend who is 6"3", 220 pounds and is currently riding three of their frames (2 full aluminium and 1 full carbon). All are compact (although they also make the same frames in "standard" - level TT- geometry in his/your size), but only 2-3 degree slope, and the tubes in all cases are spec'd for his size - also custom geometry. He notes no problem with flex, and weight is certainly not an issue (all are around 18pounds with no special equipment).
He also notes they are among the best bikes he's ever ridden and he's ridden just about all of the major US and Euro brands. While not readily available in the US -except for some older models- (makes for the exclusive/unique factor) I am aware of a source for their latest.
I too am riding three of their frames (2 full aluminium and 1 carbon/ti combo) and while only 5"9", 165 pounds I also find them to be among the best riding bikes I've had in my 40+ years of riding/racing. Build quality is superior, and they have sponsored high level pro teams in the past and currently sponsor some smaller continental level teams, so pedigree is certainly there. Price is right too. Just a consideration.
I'm surprised that this has not already been mentioned, but since it hasn't...
If you are unhappy with the available production bicycles, Madone’s or otherwise, because you are exceptionally tall, or short, or of very long leg, or whatever, you can have a bike made just for you.
Believe it or not, this used to be common. There are still hundreds of builders worldwide, from one-man shops to the "giants" of this admittedly small industry, Seven Cycles and Independent Fabrications, who will be happy to make a bike frame to your exact desired dimensions.
Most will help you figure out what those ideal dimensions are. And best of all, they will make you a lovely steel frame that will last for the rest of your life, usually for no more money than the plastic-fantastic sloping top tube job in the major-brand bike shop that you found so displeasing.
OK. I got to bite. I don't know who/what country is the biggest doper. However, like all of us, I am sure it isn’t mine.
But Laurent of France implies that one could not win the Tour 7 times without doping. Perhaps we could now use this as a new test. The only question is, how many times can a rider win before we assume he is a doper? 7? 5? Oops! Five? No. That would include Hinault and other legends.
I still like the dope test in which you assume that if a rider beat a guy who is known to have doped, it proves he's a doper too. Why do we need all these blood and urine tests and such nonsense? All the answers lie in the letters section.
I once read that writing letters to the editor was a sign of the beginnings of insanity. Reading them contributes too.
Anti Doping Charter
What I find very interesting is the fact that so many US fans are very quick to dispute the procedure used by the French lab when they return a "non-negative" result but happily accept the result when the lab returns a negative result.
Guys, get a back-bone and accept the results regardless of whether the results support your point of view/chosen hero or not. How about we dispute all the previous results and go back and re-test all of the samples, it might make for interesting reading
Edits to UCI Agreement
As I watch the riders, presumably without benefit of counsel, sign the UCI's "agreement," I am struck by its one-sided nature and the implied absolution of the UCI, ASO and WADA from doping issues and other problems confronting pro cycling. My free advice to the riders: when the UCI sends you the agreement, send them back the following rider:
Notwithstanding the foregoing declarations and commitments, my agreement to pay the UCI an amount equal to my 2007 Salary is subject to and conditioned upon the following agreements of the UCI, ASO, and WADA:
- there shall be no further leaks from any WADA-sanctioned laboratories of any private medical information of any professional rider; if such leaks should occur, in addition to any civil and criminal penalties, each member of the UCI Management Committee shall donate an amount equal to his or her 2007 total income to a professional riders' legal defence fund to be established (the "Riders' Legal Defence Fund").
- each team that is a member of the ProTour or any successor organisation shall be permitted to race in any ProTour race; if any team is barred from racing for any reason related to the identity of that team's sponsors, each director of Philippe Amaury Publications and each director of the Amaury Sport Organisation shall contribute an amount equal to his or her 2007 total income to the Riders' Legal Defence Fund.
- WADA laboratories shall comply completely with established testing protocols; if any WADA lab fails to comply with established protocols, each member of the WADA Foundation Board shall contribute an amount equal to his or her 2007 total income to the Riders' Legal Defence Fund.
- all UCI, ASO and WADA officials and representatives shall refrain from making any public comment on any doping case while it is pending; if any UCI, ASO or WADA official or representative violates this agreement, each party identified above shall contribute an amount equal to his or her 2007 total income to the Riders' Legal Defence Fund.
Well, I suppose it had to happen and I fully understand the reasoning, so well argued in your ‘sale’ announcement. But, it’s hard for an Aussie living in London to accept that some little part of home has been sold to the Poms.
Perhaps the team who ‘puts in the hard yards’ don’t appreciate the culture that oozes from the screen – no one in the world but an Aussie would understand ‘the Milky Bars are on me’. So often it’s that famous Australian laconic style that makes reading CN reports that more interesting than the dry and humourless ‘sprays’ of other websites. Just as Malvern Star and Speedwell disappeared into the hands of foreigners then today we have to accept that in these times of globalisation nothing is sacred.
Thank you for taking Bill Mitchell’s creation and building one of the truly magnificent information gold mines. Good luck to all who sail in the good ship CN (and I think Evans will do it too in the tour – go you good thing!!!).
Sale of cyclingnews
I want to thank you for having the best cycling sports information site on the Internet. Your ease of use, race coverage, photos and stories are very fresh, and have perfect brevity.
I wish you the best with Future – And please don’t change the format too much – truly your the most informative and user friendly sports site!!!
Sale of cyclingnews
I have just read the news about the sale of the site to Future, and just want to thank you for being honest and open about it to the readers, and thank you for building such a wonderful site. Thank you to all the contributors for their efforts, they do a great job. Here's to the future of the site. Good luck!
Lindsay (Aussie cycling fan located in Belgium!!) Belgium Wednesday July 4 2007
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