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Letters to Cyclingnews - March 27, 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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Riccardo's manner of professionalism
I must say I laughed when I saw pictures of Riccardo Ricco tossing his $11,000 bike through the air at the end of Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. If he was trying to make a statement, he certainly did. But not, in my opinion, a statement of how he "...would have won.", or how bad his mechanic must be for not having the skill to adjust his bike well enough the morning of the stage to have it still working perfectly after a crash.
He made a clear statement that he's a sore loser, and a little whiney baby. So he had a moment of anger. How many professionals have you seen tossing their bikes across the line? Okay maybe a few, but if that happened every time someone had a mechanical, there would be cyclists dodging air born bikes every race on the calendar year. As they say, "that's racin".
Rock Racing rip off
I have to voice my opinion regarding the Tour of Georgia and Tour of California decisions with Rock Racing. Whatever the reasons and public explanations, it sends a very negative statement about a top level Domestic team with top level athletes. I also see it as a personal attack on specific individuals.
If Promoters want races attended by US teams and loyal US spectators, and they wish to be respected as the premiere races in the US, then their actions towards cyclists and the sport have to go beyond what's erroneously seen as politically correct thinking.
Assume the fellows on Rock Racing are guilty; they served their sentence and the promoters are punishing a unique exciting team, and individuals arbitrarily.
Assume Tyler is not guilty as he has stated....Promoters look and act as if they have a personal axe to grind. By being way off base and too politically correct, they are playing with someone's professional and personal life as judge, jury, and executioner. All this to a team and individuals who have already paid their dues and may in fact be innocent.
David Miller and others who professed guilt will race. They're allowing them and their teams to race. To me, this is hypocrisy in its purist form.
I for one think this stinks, and I think the act of not allowing a top level domestic team to race in a domestic race is crap. It sends a bad message to existing and potential sponsors about our messy world of cycling these days.
I will be happy to tell my cycling friends all this, and to ask them to ride their own bike during the televised spots in protest. I will also make sure that I attempt to contact promoter sponsors and let them know what I, and many others think of these obnoxious, capricious, and arbitrary decisions.
Chavanel's Paris - Nice shoes
Ah yes these are a special pair for Chavanel. It's the S-Works shoe he's run for a couple years but he wanted a little extra inspiration.; apparently it worked.
Sylvain isn't afraid of taking footwear risks - if you've watched closely he ran a crazy red pair last year.
To those talking bad about Cadel Evans' win in Paris - Nice; are you kidding me?
It is called tactics people. There is no shame in sitting on someone else's wheel, if they are willing to keep doing the work. It's Gesink's fault that he got pipped at the line for not making Evans do the work. And also, it's called racing. A win is a win. Doesn't matter really what kind of tactics made it come about.
I'm sure that there are a lot of people decrying Cadel's win, and they are probably the same people who were decrying him winning the ProTour overall last year because he never won a race. It's racing folks, you're supposed to win.
Cadel Evans #2
Oh no, no fans for Cadel! Cadel gets paid to win races, not obtain fans. He clearly is racing with both his legs and brain. Maybe other riders should take note if they want to win more races. I'm a fan; I admire his athletic ability and his ability to race smart which allows him to minimize his limitations.
Cadel Evans #3
Geez do you Cadel Evans critics know anything about cycling?
It had been clearly stated that he would be riding for his team-mate, Popovych in the GC. He accelerated to break the bunch up and Gesink counter attacked. At that point Cadel took his wheel to protect his team-mate. That's what professional cyclists should do. If Gesink had of been nowhere on the GC, then I am sure Cadel would have worked with him as hard as he could and potentially gifted him the stage. But he was protecting a team-mates position whom was still a chance to win and Gesink was his main competition - Why would he work with him?
As soon as Gesink realised that he and Cadel were away, he knew the score. Either he works for the lead and second on the stage, or he refuses to work and the chasers catch up and he takes his chances, potentially loosing the stage and the GC.
If Cadel had done something wrong then he would deserve the negative comments - but to get into him for being a good professional and doing his job?
Cadel Evans #4
I read with interest the continued criticism of Cadel Evans, this time his win on the Mont Ventoux in Stage 4 of Paris-Nice. Evans wasn't the GC rider for Silence-Lotto, that job was assigned to Popovych. In Evans own words at the completion of the race:
"It's a good win but my goal was to put Popovych in the best possible position in the overall standings"
So when Gesink launched his attack and Popovych couldn't go with the attack, was Evans supposed to pull turns with Gesink and put time into Popovych? So he rode the race that I'm sure his DS would have expected him to ride by sitting on Gesink's wheel and then taking the time bonus over the line. It was a solid, intelligent team ride. Maybe it didn't set your 'panache-o-meter' alight, but then again it's highly unlikely it was supposed to.
Cadel Evans at Paris - Nice
Stephan and Ian - before you start knocking Cadel Evans' stage win at Paris-Nice, you may want to consider the bigger picture and look at the team tactics for the stage.
Evans stated before the start of the race that he was riding to help Popovych get a high GC result. Before the stage to Ventoux, Popovych was 19 seconds off the race lead and Gesink was a further 2 seconds back. From the Cyclingnews race report, both Evans and Popovych were in the leading group when Gesink attacked with 3km to go (having already made the initial acceleration in pursuit of Voigt) and only Evans was able to follow.
Why would Evans work with Gesink in the break to the detriment of his own team-mate? Gesink knew the score - if he wanted the lead then he was going to have to earn it himself, he certainly wasn't going to get any assistance in doing so from a team mate of one of his main rivals! Gesink is not an unknown anymore, he has proven his credentials as an excellent climber and combined with his high overall placing was a major threat to the GC plans of Silence-Lotto. If the roles were reversed I'm sure Gesink would have expected his team to ride the same way.
By coming around to win the sprint, Evans wasn't "weak" or un-gentlemanly, he merely did what he is paid the big bucks to do - win races and get publicity for his sponsor! Certainly there are times when the "right thing" is to allow the major contributor in a break to take the win and enjoy the moment. In this case, I would argue that the right thing was to be a team player by not assisting Gesink to take time out of Popovych and by taking a win which gained valuable exposure for the sponsor. It wasn't a case of being weak or not showing respect to his fellow riders, it was simply a case of doing the right thing by the team and the sponsors.
Ian, it can't be disputed that panache and style are hallmarks of great riders. By the same token however, great riders are consistent, dogged, committed to their team and professional. Evans deserves respect for all of these traits and for being one of the few GC contenders of recent years who races to win throughout the whole season.
Personally (and this is definitely national bias!) I hope Cadel races the Tour with as much or as little panache as he needs in order to get the job done and make it to Paris in the yellow jersey!
Cadel Evans at Paris - Nice #2
What short memories Mr Andranian and Mr Franklin must have! Or are they just selective memories?
When George Hincapie sat on Oscar Pereiro's wheel during Stage 15 of the 2005 TdF, did they write to cyclingnews.com? When that happened, there was enormous praise for George as Discovery's next Tour hopeful and surely he would take over from Armstrong in 2006. They said he rode a tactically astute race in support of his team leader. I can't repeat in public what Oscar said......
How come when the American does it, he's smart, tactical and riding for the team, but when Evans does it, he's boring, weak and 'lacks panache'.
Come off it! Evans was in Paris-Nice to support Popovych and to train for mid season objectives. He rode intelligently, got himself into a winning position (no-one dragged him to Gesink's wheel) and he took some glory for his team and got his sponsors a lot of coverage. He did what he is paid to do. If Gesink was better than Evans, he would have taken the stage.
I'm all for supporting your favourite riders, but don't bag the others.
It's time to pay some respect to Cadel Evans. He works extremely hard, makes consistent improvements every year (no sudden 'explosions' of talent) and when you watch him climb a mountain in the Tour, you can see he is at the limit. I'm sure if he could attack he would but when you're at the limit, what can you do?
I wish Leipheimer were at the Tour this year. He is another cyclist that is consistent and would be a great challenger for the yellow jersey.
Let VDB ride?
I love all the "Let VDB ride" letters. This is of course presuming he wants to ride. I personally think he's got a pretty good racket going jumping from team to team all the while 'delaying' the start of his season. When is the cycling press going to stop covering this guy? He is not a bike rider.
ASO vs. Astana
Regardless of the sides in the ASO / UCI squabble, we are the losers alongside the riders. We won't see the best riders in the world competing for what has until now been the greatest race (we will however see them all at this year's greatest race, the Olympic road race!).
If Evans wins or Menchov or Valverde (my top 3 but who knows what order), the question will always be - would he have beaten Contador, Klöden, and Leipheimer, who between them have been on all 3 podium steps.
I will be a the Tour for a few days, but I will also be at the Dauphine, and the Tour of the Basque country, and the Vuelta, and in all the last 3, as well as the Olympics and World Championships, I hope Astana riders triumph - and no I'm not American, and my favourite rider is Valverde, so this is a neutral view.
ASO vs. UCI help me with my memory
Hip Hip Hooray - A voice of sanity!! Make that a voice of exactly, I'm with you on this one Doug.
ASO vs. UCI help me with my memory #2
Doug, your memory is definitely faulty. A look and the UCI and ASO's home pages will reveal that the UCI was founded on 14 April 1900, whereas ASO was created in September 1992. The Tour de France was first run in 1903. So the UCI predates both ASO and the Tour.
As you say, an international governing body is needed for cycling, as is the case with other sports - no argument there at all. It just so happens that the UCI is that body, and has been for almost 108 years. So all participants in the sport of cycling need to abide by the UCI rules - that includes the organisers as well as the cyclists and teams. ASO is surely killing the sport by its anarchy.
Definitely, respect needs to be brought into the equation, but the ASO needs to respect the UCI rules, the fans, the teams and the cyclists. The way they are thumbing their noses at all and sundry is the cause of this conflict. To omit two of last years Tour de France podium finishers simply because they don't like the name of the team is the ultimate in disrespect. So now we are going to be treated to a 2nd best field this year.
The only people who can bring this to a head are the riders. I can understand they just want to ride, but this issue will fester until it is resolved. The most effective way is for the riders and teams to support each other and let ASO know that they won't be made the scapegoat for the ASO's "flavour of the month" issue they seem to have going with the UCI. To do this they need to make a stand and boycott ASO races until they fall back into line and abide by the rules - including allowing all ProTour teams to compete. Unibet last year, Astana this year, so which team will suffer at their hands next year?
I've had enough of ASO's bullying. I'll ride my bike instead of watching their races.
Astana vs. Rabobank vs. Slipstream Chipotle
I am extremely excited to see Slipstream in the Tour. Vaughters has done an amazing job putting together a clean dynamic team that is exciting to watch. With the mixture of young guys and veterans it is very refreshing to be able to watch them race. My big question is how does ASO leave out Astana and not Rabobank? I know the rules of being involved in an investigation and all that, but to me Rabobank is just as bad as the OLD Astana team. They should be out also. Maybe bring in another Continental team with some hungry riders!
Police kill cyclists
Sorry Phil Jonas-- when a driver falls asleep at the wheel and kills two passersby on the road the driver is criminally negligent. The driver's behaviour represents a gross deviation from the norms of conduct and obviously results in an unacceptable risk to other road users.
When the driver is an on duty peace officer, driving an official vehicle, in his/her official capacity, the breach of trust by that peace officer is greater if the same act were committed by a random individual. We can and do hold people performing official functions to higher standards. This is not because we dislike police officers. This is because we hold the officers and their position in such high esteem.
"PRO" cycling teams
I have never written in or responded to a letter before, as I usually prefer to keep my opinion to myself, or at least not shout it out on a world-wide scale; but being a cyclist who resides in Richmond, VA and competes at the regional and national level, I would like to give my two cents on this whole "PRO" issue. For a little background, I have competed with/against most of the riders currently on Richmond Pro Cycling f/b Natures Path for the past few years, and consider myself to be a friend and acquaintance of most of them. That being said, I don't necessarily agree with the word "PRO" being in the team name, but then I also find it somewhat unnecessary when attached to a UCI registered team name as well. Why feel the need to say it? Just bring it...
But as Matt M. said, "the riders are being paid a salary to race bicycles - therefore by definition making them "professionals" ". This is true. And in fact the team has better compensation, support, and, I might add, better riders even than some of the UCI registered U.S. Continental teams that I can think of and currently compete against.
Honestly, I saw this backlash coming, and I believe others did as well. I see both sides, and I believe they both have valid arguments. But what kind of person do you have to be to actually take time out of your day to call up a team's sponsor just to stir the pot of negativity? It's not the riders' fault that their team name misrepresents (maybe, maybe not) their status. These guys just want to race their bikes, and are obviously good enough at it that various companies and individuals have committed to supporting them in doing so. It's unfortunate, especially for the riders of the team, that there could be such negative correlation with a perceived misnomer.
Just let it be. Just let these guys ride their bikes and have their results speak for themselves, good or bad. Chris, you obviously have a ton of free time; maybe if you spent it riding your bike instead of calling the sponsors of other riders, some team, UCI registered or not, might want to pay you to race.
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