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Letters to Cyclingnews - February 1, 2008
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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This letter is in response to the article on the UCI vs. Grand Tour war spills over to European federations.
I am writing to express my severe frustration with the UCI and its unrelenting efforts to establish itself as the supreme ruling power in professional cycling. Pat McQuaid's latest rift with the cycling federations of Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Luxembourg is utterly offensive and demonstrates an unmistakable lapse of judgment.
Rather than leaving the dispute between the GT organizers and the UCI where it should be, namely in the realm of professional cycling, Mr. McQuaid has threatened the citizens of those six countries with the exclusion of their best cyclists from an event associated with their senses of national pride; that is, of course, unless the cycling federations of their respective countries help Mr. McQuaid establish power over the GT organizers. In my honest opinion, the Olympics are of secondary importance to the races that the GT organizers promote, and I am sick and tired of hearing Mr. McQuaid argue that the spectacle of the Olympics - which is an event that occurs only once every four years and that in years past was an international exhibition of amateur athletes - somehow empowers the UCI to exert control over professional cycling, which has only an indirect role in determining who will compete in the Olympics.
It would be ideal for the GT organizers and the UCI to work out their differences, but in the absence an agreement between those parties I will put my support behind the people who put on the races that I read about on CyclingNews.com. I would encourage my fellow readers to do the same.
Philip W. Moore, Jr.
UCI vs. Grand Tour war #2
Given that there seems to be an attitude on the part of UCI that rulership is their God given right, I suppose the thought of solving this problem between them and the event organizers is folly. It seems to me that the GT and Classics probably don't need UCI very much. I wager a guess that the later will form its own alliance and award their own World Championship in the near future. As for the Olympics, who really cares anymore? It has become a platform for unabashed nationalism and so far away from the amateur sporting ideal and more about making money that I could care less.
ML Baseball doesn't need a world body to govern it; neither does NFL, or NHL. F-1 only listens to FIA when convenient. They know that they can exist without it. Same with the TDF. It doesn't need UCI and the riders will not stand for being told they can't take part in the race. Neither will the team sponsors. How many riders do you think really care about the Olympics in the grand scheme of things? They certainly won't put major races at risk just to ride in them.
Too much is at stake now days. I think the only way out of this is to have a strong rider's union and let them deal with the race organizers over scheduling, etc. The race organizers and riders can likely figure out what works for both parties. It really doesn't make sense for UCI, which doesn't have a financial risk to have so much power. Maybe they should stick to keeping track of points and handing out the awards at seasons end.
On behalf of her many, many fans and attendees the LA World Cup, please do whatever you can to relay our best wishes to Anna Meares for a speedy recovery and return to the track.
To say I was shocked by the footage of Matt Hayman going down in the closing stages of yesterday's sprint at the TDU is an understatement. Was it just a head butt gone wrong or more? Did something lead to it or was it an unplanned aggressive manoeuvre?
I'm glad he was kicked off the race but a fine of 200 Swiss Franks? How paltry when a rider's health is endangered and potential earnings for himself and his team could be much, much more. A 12 month suspension would be more appropriate.
PS reminded me a little of that scene in Breaking Away when "they" put their pump through the neophyte's wheel causing a crash.
Thank you for your contribution Mr. Hubbell. I can't agree with your assessment of the Starbucks encounter though. I think the fact that this t-shirt supporter bought the shirt before he checked out the racing team says it all right there. Why would you support something you don't even understand? Mr. Ball is selling t-shirts not winning converts to cycling.
If you're new friend had said I checked out some bicycle racing after hearing of the rock racing crew and I was really excited, so much so I purchased this boss t-shirt. I can't wait for the Tour of France! That would have impressed me and supported your claims. That did not happen by your own account. The reality seems to be he went for the flashy graphic.
Cycling is not a passing fashion or fad. Like Mr. Ball's tacky trust fund wear.
Bring it... No doubt I will buy a pair of the jeans soon.
In a sport where we throw ourselves to the asphalt for $20 primes..... I was impressed in Las Vegas at Interbike when Rock Racing opened their wallet and gave away some great CASH in the CRIT. $300 for a pair of jeans is a great deal. They will last longer than my iPod and iPhone. I just bought my first Festina watch in Belgium last week. I bought it because it was a Festina, and for no other reason.
I remember the Scandal, but it didn't stop me from wanting one of there watches. Some day I will buy a Phonak hearing aid...after my ears are destroyed by my iPod. Speaking of Apple why don't they throw some money at this silly sport. 99% of cyclists own one. I bet the exposure would be incredible. Last week in Belgium almost every paper had articles about Rock Racing and Chipo. Some were full page!!!!! I hope they stick with cycling and keep the sport exciting. I will come to California just to see Chipo race. I might even be wearing a new pair of jeans.
Let's stop slamming Michael Ball and let's see where this train takes us. We've lost Postal/Disco, we almost lost the Tour of Georgia last year. We are kind of at that nexus where you either drop the ball and loose the momentum of the last 10+ years or rock on. Although Ball's approach is left of centre, and although he may not have the business model down pat, let him run and hopefully after a few months or even a year or two they'll dial it in.
As for signing supposed dope users? Let it happen. Let all teams hire who they want. Just make sure they have some protocols and are under the eyes of UCI - It's the UCI's job to pass judgment with WADA, not ours to crucify our own racing. The arguments are like a bunch of school kids. Yeah, sure some guys popped hot and are unethical as can be. They got caught and they've served or are serving their time or are going to get flushed soon. And do you think some guy is going to sign some dudes who are about to get flushed? Will there always be cheat, yes, you bet. Will some always get away with it, yep, that's life. But we need not automatically say a team is screwed up and a bunch of drug users or are just bad cash in the field.
Let's let Rock Racing rock on and see what they bring us. After all, the guy has a whole lot of learning to do on running a team but it's his cash, his time, his reputation. Let him rock and just maybe we'll have a new American team that will continue to push forward American racing.
To Mr. Aas, who is aghast that convicted doper Floyd Landis would be allowed to race, anywhere: Some of us believe it has been proven that the verdict is what was dirty, and not his win. Sorry you don't agree, but if whatever rules govern mountain bike racing allow him to race, then obviously he may. I hope you are never in a situation where a poorly investigated and adjudicated complaint against you ends your career, as WADA and USADA have decided it should in Landis's case. Even if CAS decides differently, attitudes such as yours will undoubtedly limit his future involvement in the sport to which he has, so far, dedicated his life.
Landis in NUE #2
I am absolutely appalled that someone with whom I share the same interests, although on the road and not to the same level, as I am 70 this year, is trying to do everything he can to further damage Floyd Landis. This nasty vindictive letter would be bad enough had Landis lost the CAS arbitration. Given the split decision from the USADA hearing and the fact it is under appeal, it is unconscionable. He obviously knows nothing about the case except the headlines.
If precedent is followed as it should be in law, Landis would win the arbitration before the CAS. Given the spirit of the times and the embarrassment that would be caused to WADA, UCI and ASO if he does, I am sure behind the scenes, enormous pressure will be brought to bear upon the arbiters, and I am not as confident. It worked well enough to convince the two Canadians on the original panel to "do the right thing".
Landis is whole heartedly supported by the vast majority of cyclists both road and mountain who have followed the case. If this individual is as mean spirited as he appears to be from his letter, I can assure him that his presence will not be missed in 2009.
William S. Kinkead
Tim you are a bloody legend. Trust and Aussie to say it straight up like it is....
Have a look at the stats on climbing of LA compared to other dopers and then it just confirms exactly what you have said.
Yeah at the beginning he may have out trained, dieted and used training zones better than his competitors but to say he was invincible by the end of his 'reign' is I believe a little naive. Further he was a bit of a one trick pony for some time. Nothing like the overall legends he supposedly surpassed. He effectively trained and raced for just the TdF and I can only imagine what someone like Cadel could do if to chose to follow this route.
Alberto may be set to follow on this great line at Astana under JB, but he also is not beyond reproach. He has had some very dodgy connections and this I feel has often been glossed over in the search for the next future champion. I am biased I admit, but Cadel has physical measures, unaided by drugs or doping that were tested at the Australian Institute of Sport the likes of which the sports scientists had never seen before and have not seen since.
Long live this beautiful sport and keep it clean and fresh.
Lance is the best of all time #2
Jacob, are YOU serious? "The second and third place riders, who admitted to being on dope couldn't beat Lance...", so that means he obviously was doping? That's the most ridiculous "logic" I've ever heard. I hope you never serve on a jury. It is common knowledge that Lance was tested probably more than anyone in the history of cycling, and probably in the history of sports.
Lance was a freak of nature - he had the perfect engine for endurance sports and his battle with cancer made him lighter - drastically improving his power to weight ratio. Combine that with an incredible mental focus, will to win and tactical savvy, and you have the "perfect storm". Jacob, let it go - Lance was simply better than everyone else. And he was clean. If you or anyone else can prove otherwise, I'll change my mind.
Lance is the best of all time #3
I will probably be disparaged for this but I had to say something. Mr. Burby seems to think that because so many have been caught cheating from the Armstrong era, that that somehow make Lance himself guilty. #1 I don't know whether Lance took anything or not but he hasn't been caught so drop it. The problem with cycling right now is its going through a witch-hunt of sorts. It seems we are looking to convict everyone no matter how shady the process or investigation. Other sports handle these issues so much better than cycling does. It's very annoying. In any case, if we are going to make Armstrong guilty by association lets just go for the gusto - let's go for Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil. There is much more evidence that they took performance enhancing drugs. Jacque had even made remarks supporting the practice.
#2 I don't really care about the past at this point lets just look to the future. If Lance cheated, they were all cheating so I really don't care. Let me just say this also. When I watch the 2001 Tour de France and see the incredible performances put forth that year (especially by Lance) I don't care. There I said it! It gives me goose-bumps when I see Armstrong give "the look" or see Ullrich pounding up mountains in ridiculously big gears. I love it all, and you know what? The Tour has been down right boring the past few years so let me keep my memories of the exciting ones.
Lance is the best of all time #4
"How ultimately naive does one have to be?" Naive enough to believe that the cyclists will cheat to make money, but the anti-doping people and the officials won't. Anyone who believes a word of what comes out of LNDD would have to be ultimately naive, if you ask me (all right, so you didn't ask me!).
Professional sports exist to make money for corporations and gamblers. Are we naive enough to believe that gamblers and multinationals are inherently more honest than the athletes that they pay to make them money?
Someone's leaking results out of these labs. Why would they do that, when, if the athlete is truly guilty, all they have to do is follow the rules and the rider will be sanctioned? Why do they need the advantage of crucifying the rider in the press before the matter has been settled through the proper channels?
Has anyone even investigated this? Naw, why bother, when we can demonize the riders some more! This is like the immunity that rulers have from prosecution when war crimes are committed under their direction. Just punish the soldiers and we can all go home and tell ourselves that we've cleaned everything up.
This is certainly not to say that the riders are clean, or that Lance was clean. The real question is: when is someone going to look into the shady activities that we're all well aware of? Want to find out what's really going on in cycling? Find out who's leaking lab results and who put them up to it. Good luck.
Patrik Sinkewitz concluded, "If Jaksche and I don't get contracts, then nobody will ever open up again."
Sinkewitz logic could be applied slightly differently and interpreted as -If Jaksche and I don't get contracts, then nobody will Dope again.
Christian Prudhomme's comments about Astana at the Tour of Qatar are telling: "Today I am not going to say whether or not Astana will be at the start of the 2008 Tour, but if there is one thing that is true it's that this team has damaged the image of the Tour." (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2008/jan08/jan29news)
Might I remind Mr. Prudhomme that Festina started the 1999 Tour? And that Cofidis also turned up a positive test during the Tour last year? If Mr. Prudhomme is going to exclude teams in the name of a fair sport, it's rather hypocritical of him to target some teams and not others. As it's been said many, many times, those opposed to doping need to be fair if they're going to have any credibility at all, and being fair means treating French and non-French teams equally.
Scott James Pendleton
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