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Letters to Cyclingnews - April 3, 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.

Please email your correspondence to

Pat McQuaid
April fools
Carbon Wrap-It System
Sylvain Chavanel
Astana vs. Rabobank vs. Slipstream Chipotle
Cadel Evans
Clever tactics by McQuaid expose ASO
Let VDB ride?
Race radios
Rock Racing rip off

Pat McQuaid

I just read the article about Pat McQuaid's warnings of ASO setting up a rival federation. It's long past time for him to step aside, as he continues to drag the UCI down the road to irrelevance. He continues to preach about respecting the rules, but let's look at the UCI's record over the last year or so. Did the UCI respect the rules when it allowed women drug testers in the showers at the ToC? Did it respect the rules when it failed to take action against Michael Rasmussen last summer for violating it whereabouts rules?

Does the UCI respect the rules when it announces drug testing results in the media instead of through the proper channels? Or when it continues to bar riders from racing even after they have served their suspensions? I think it's time for everyone to take a deep breath, and for Mr. McQuaid to step aside.

Mark Scholefield
Richmond, VA
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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April fools

Édition Avril Imbécile

Great articles, I reckon the way cycling is going weird at the moment that any of those articles could easily come to life; in a drug induced bureaucratic haze of carbon nano fibres.

[Ed note - this special edition of April 1 Cycling News was purely fictional and in the spirit of fun for April Fools day.]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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Carbon Wrap-It System

Lighten your frame? Make it stiffer? Aesthetically more appealing? I was all ready to order this stuff and wrap my girlfriend in it, that is until I realized the date. Nice work work guys, April Fool's indeed.

[Ed note - this special tech review from April 1 was purely fictional and in the spirit of fun for April Fools day.]

Los Angeles USA
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

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Sylvain Chavanel

It was a very nice and pleasant surprise to see what Sylvain Chavanel had to say about his career and his recent performances. The impression you would tend to get, following him in the races and following the coverage, is that he was an ambitious character who was never quite able to live up to his early promise. Who knew that the poster boy of French cycling doesn't intend to win the Tour de France? Who would have thought, as famous as he is, that he would be as modest about his winning abilities as the domestique who takes a rare win out of a lucky break? Chapeau, Sylvain, and best of luck in de Ronde!

Jeffrey Jones
South San Francisco, CA, USA
Saturday, March 29, 2008

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Astana vs. Rabobank vs. Slipstream Chipotle

What basis are you using for comparing Astana to Rabobank? ASO made the call on Rabobank in last years Tour when Rasmussen was ousted. A late decision by the team managers at the time was paid for with the dismissal of Theo de Rooij.

Astana has had how many positive tests from its riders? Was it three or four? Rabobank to the best of my knowledge had and still has zero. Whether ASO or the UCI or regional or national organizations make the decisions involved with doping or invites to races is up to them and their perceptions of the riders and teams.

It may not be right or just, but until they all get on the same page, this is the way the sport will continue to operate.

Timothy Dorau
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Monday, March 31, 2008

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Cadel Evans

Exactly! How many classics and Tours did Jacky Durand win with all his wild escapes and efforts? I admired Durand for his heroics, but not his smarts

Jeff Dwyer
Victoria, BC, Canada
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Cadel Evans at Paris - Nice #2

Actually Mr.Ashton, many, many people did write in complaining about the lack of panache when Hincapie sat on Oscar Pereiro's wheel and won the queen stage of the 2005 TdF. Yes, the idea of racing is to win, but a win with style will always be better than a win after wheel-sucking.

That too, is a fact of racing, and one of the reasons people loved Merckx so much. I also found it ironic that somebody defended Evans' ProTour win because "winning is all that matters", yet of course, Evans didn't win a single race last year. That he got the ProTour jersey anyway shows that winning is not all that counts.

Rob Found
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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Clever tactics by McQuaid expose ASO

Congratulations to Hedwig Kröner on a very cleverly written article that is well articulated and easily understood. What I particularly enjoyed was reading between the lines to see how Mr McQuaid has used rhetoric to expose ASO's tactics and their motivations. It is also clear that Patrice Clerc is not very skilled in this form of argument and has contradicted himself many times throughout your article (thanks to well constructed questions).

I would like to offer an hypothesis for how this will play out - for 2008 and beyond ASO will run their races independently of the sanctioning body of cycling (i.e. the UCI), meanwhile at some stage during the Tour de France this year (timing will be everything) the UCI will announce new rules for the Pro Tour and all other races on the UCI calendar that commence from 2009. These new explicit rules will state that any teams or riders participating in non-UCI sanctioned events will not be eligible to race in UCI sanctioned events - EVER!

This provides the teams and their sponsors with two clear choices;

* Participate in a small number of races all based in France, OR
* Race in dozens of races all over the world (including the Giro and Vuelta).

It's not hard to work out where the Italian, Belgian, German, Dutch, English, South African, and Spanish teams will race; it's also just as easy to work out where the French teams will race. The only question mark remains around the American teams.

This will also provide the riders with a clear choice;

* Race with an ASO aligned team for the duration of your contract with that team and when you get the axe your career is over, plus no world championships and no Olympics, OR
* Race with a UCI aligned team, enjoy racing all over the world (except France) and when your retire from the team you can continue to enjoy beating up all those pathetic weekend warriors like me!

To continue the hypothesis - as time goes by the ASO will run out of money due to lack on international sponsorship money and ultimately go broke, before this happens the Giro, Vuelta, and other Classics will grow in stature to rival the Tour de France. The ProTour will probably/hopefully change shape into an independently run series similar to the World Cups in many other sports (Triathlon, Surfing, Tennis).

If my hypothesis is correct;

* The UCI is holding a stacked deck, and just waiting for the right moment to land the sucker punch on the jaw of the ASO.
* Ultimately it will be sponsors and/or team owners that will decide the outcome of this battle (as it should be).
* The riders will get clarity and certainty, and also have the power to decide their fate.

Thanks for your coverage of this situation, it is having a very serious impact on the world of cycling, but just like the Landis and Rasmussen incidents it will make the sport we all love and passionately follow stronger, more visible, and the better for the experience.

Stephen Bridges
Melbourne, Australia
Thursday, April 3, 2008

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Colavita/Sutter Home wins two more races this weekend over full teams from Rock, Type 1, Toyota, Bissel etc. How many is that now this season? I must be the only one watching.

Rock, Type 1, Toyota etc, have to be thrilled that Colavita will not be at The Tour of Georgia.

Roger Bowersock
Greenville Ohio
Monday, March 31, 2008

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Let VDB ride?

What are you talking about, VDB not a bike rider? He has won some pretty serious races. And don't come back and say he only won because of dope! I presume VDB was not the only one doping during his heyday! He has a professional contract which by definition makes him a professional!! Let the guy ride without all the bullshit he unfairly contents with and he might come back and surprise everyone!!!

Tom Ahlrichs
Boise, Idaho
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Race radios

It is interesting to hear the commentary of a proponent for the race radios speak. Patrick Lefevere, wishes to keep the radios, but read his comment:

"...But races are still decided on the road and not the radio. You can have ten theories, but if there is a crash, your theory is gone. It's the riders who make the race."

Or how about this:

"Even without intercepting another team's frequency he acknowledged everybody knows, more or less, what the tactic will be. There are no secrets. Listening in would only be helpful to anticipate an attack," Lefevere concluded with a smile "The racing is very simple. You have to make sure that the others are racing behind you and not vice versa."

So, if one of the biggest supporters says it is up to the racers, then....why not just let them race?

Michel van M
Buford, GA, USA
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off

Mr. Dunlop contends, "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."

No. If promoters want races attended by US teams and spectators, they simply have to put on good races. ASO has chosen to go their own way, and despite threats from the UCI, the teams and riders have shown up, as have the fans. The absence of the five simpleminded fans that still believe Tyler will go unnoticed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off #2

In response to Jim's letter,

One of the reasons those races let the Millar's ride is BECAUSE he admitted to it. Millar admitted his wrongdoing and is now a part owner of a team that is doing everything they can to stop doping in the sport. Tyler has not admitted to his wrongdoing which he is most likely guilty of, yet Millar has told the world what he has done and now is trying to reconcile his past. At least he is sending the right message to the sport. Everyone deserves a second chance, but some are doing a better job of others of utilizing it.

Jonathan (Yoni) Reinfeld
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off #3

The promoters of events should hold the right to invite anyone they choose. This is the primary conflict between ASO and the UCI. The riders are wrong if they think they are entitled to perform in these events despite there previous actions and associations. This concept is ridiculous to me.

As long as the ASO and the Tour of Georgia promote events cyclists will compete in them and a winner will be determined and remembered. It is much better to limit the selection of rider who will potentially damage the sport we love by winning such event and then later being disqualified. Floyd Landis is a perfect example. The potential damage to the sport exceeds the individuals right to compete.

Tyler Hamilton is free to race at races he is invited. Unfortunately he is now racing in the Denver City Park Criterium instead of the Tour de France. I guess the promoters of the City Park Criterium are not so concerned about his image and he is not banned from racing by the USCF. But second place in City Park is no Tour de France.

The cycling community should take a stand against riders who damage the sport and bankrupt it with legal actions. David Miller is a perfect example of a rider who realizes what is important and that is the health and lives of the athletes and future athletes. As Jonathan Vaughters said it is important to be able to tell our children cycling is a sport we think they should be involved.

Clayton Coffelt
Denver CO, USA
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off #4

"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 couldn't agree more. Rock Racing is bringing a great deal of excitement to an already action-packed sport. The guys in question have served their time, and yet are still being punished for something they potentially didn't even do. I have personally raced in Europe and have seen how easily samples could get contaminated. Something needs to be done not only for Rock Racing, but the legitimacy of Anti-Doping Agencies worldwide. Just my two cents.

Ryan Phelps
Orlando, FL, USA
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off #5

I agree with a fellow reader of regarding the harsh treatment of Rock Racing. It was a shame that the ToC didn't let the three guys from Rock to race based on either past problems or rumours of guilt or association to guilty parties. Nothing like innocent until proven guilty eh!!

And now the Tour of Georgia won't allow the team to race because they feel that Rock will upstage the race with their personnel, i.e. the models they have at the races. Well, if memory serves correct, United also has some lovely ladies in tight outfits at their team cars too!!

Not that they wear tight jeans like the Rock girls, they wear tight skinsuits with zippers unzipped just enough in the front. So who's upstaging who here? If the promoter has a problem with Michael Ball, then say so. But don't punish the riders. How can you leave a guy like Fast Freddie out of the race? And in his own country!?!?

Doesn't look to me like the promoters care if they get any kind of fan attendance. I think Rock Racing is what's needed right now in US domestic racing. Ball has attitude, he's got some good racers and I love the bike/uniform kits! Hey ToG organizers... wake up and go with the flow!!

Steve Campanaro
Bradford, MA USA
Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Rock Racing rip off #6

I agree that Rock Racing should be included in the Tour of Georgia, but I can see both sides of this drama. From the tour organizer's perspective, if they invite a "controversial" team, then they have an increased rick of a disastrous doping scandal, and fear losing their own sponsors. On the other hand, this is going to turn away a lot of potential team sponsors like Mr.Ball. Love him or hate him, he's poured a ton of money and effort in assembling a strong team, and I think he genuinely cares about improving the sport.

I can't speak for public opinion, but whenever one of these doping stories comes up, I blame no one but the rider who doped. I'll still watch the races as long as all of the best athletes are included. Hopefully that's what other people think, and the tour sponsors and organizers will realize this and not actively turn away good teams and great sponsors. This also turns away fans, because we really do want these teams to compete. Do you think many people would watch the super bowl if they didn't allow the patriots or colts to play in the playoffs? And would the victory be as sweet for anyone if the best competition wasn't there?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2008

  • April 3: Pat McQuaid, April fools, Carbon Wrap-It System, Sylvain Chavanel, Astana vs. Rabobank vs. Slipstream Chipotle, Cadel Evans, Clever tactics by McQuaid expose ASO, Colavita, Let VDB ride?, Race radios, Rock Racing rip off
  • March 27: Riccardo's manner of professionalism, Rock Racing rip off, Chavanel's Paris - Nice shoes, Cadel Evans, Cadel Evans at Paris - Nice, Let VDB ride?, ASO vs. Astana, ASO vs. UCI help me with my memory, Astana vs. Rabobank vs. Slipstream Chipotle, Police kill cyclists, "PRO" cycling teams
  • March 20: "Pro" Cycling Teams, AIGCP does have a choice, ASO vs UCI help me with my memory, ASO vs. Astana, Chavanel's Paris - Nice shoes, Kevin van Impe's doping control, Cadel Evans at Paris - Nice, Hamilton, Operacion Puerto, and the ToCA, Paris - Nice: What it could have been, Police kill cyclists, The Astana affair, UCI hypocrisy
  • March 13: "Pro" Cycling Teams, ASO vs. Astana, ASO vs. UCI, ASOh well, UCI'll see you later, Cycling fans must let their voices be heard, Denounce ASO's actions for what they are, Hamilton, Operacion Puerto, and the ToCA, Knife between the ribs?, Paris Nice, Police kill cyclists, British track sprinters' helmets?, Rock Racing and Michael Ball, The Astana affair, The real ASO problem, Tour and ASO, UCI - very bad poker players, UCI hypocrisy.
  • March 6: Zirbel and the "ride of his life", British track sprinters' helmets, Hamilton, Operacion Puerto and the ToCA, Three grand tours or five monuments?, Rock Racing and Michael Ball, Pro cycling is dead, Paris - Nice, Knife between the ribs?, Doping and the Tour, Astana, the ASO and the UCI, ASO vs. Astana, The Astana affair, ASO vs. UCI vs. AIGCP vs. the non existent riders, The real ASO problem, Denounce ASO's actions for what they are, Sponsorship code of ethics, Where are the other ProTour teams?, ProTour vs. ASO
  • February 28: ASO vs. Astana, Passion and sponsorship, Crash or crash through, Pro cycling is dead, Why we must have the ProTour, Rock Racing and Michael Ball, ToC and Rock, The hidden message behind banning Astana, ASO is killing cycling, ASO could be right, The real ASO problem, UCI - draw a line in the sand, ASO has lost the plot, The Astana affair, Astana and ASO/RCS, the Astana decision, Operacion Puerto, Old rider classification
  • February 15: Doping controls, Tour of California moving up!, Why I love the Tour of California, Operation Puerto, Astana rejected by ASO, Boycott ASO, ASO - stop the madness, Tour de France, ASO is wrong to exclude Astana, Astana, ASO, and the NFL, Tour de Farce, The hidden message behind banning Astana, Astana exclusion, ASO is killing cycling, Astana out of Tour, ASO has lost the plot
  • February 8: Lampre doping controls, Grand Tour Monopoly?, Giro selections, Slipstream Qatar, Allan Davis, Sheldon Brown, Dick Pound to head CAS?, Find out who's leaking lab results, Rock racing
  • February 1: UCI vs. Grand Tour war, Best wishes to Anna, The incident, Rock racing & Starbucks, Rock racing Rocks, Rock racing, Landis in NUE, Lance is the best of all time, Sinkewitz logic, Astana for 08 Tour?
  • January 25: Rock racing, Time to draw a line in the sand, ASO vs. UCI ProTour, UCI vs. Grand Tour war spills over to European federations, Readers' poll stage races 2007, Cyclist of the year, Team High Road's black kit, Lance is the best of all time, Landis in NUE, Toyota-United abusing USAC team rules?
  • January 18: Cadel Evans - returns to training, Cyclist of the Year, DOPING - time to draw a line in the sand, Hincapie in T-Mobile kit, Lance is the best of all time, Readers poll: best stage races 2007, Rock racing, Speaking about Lance, Toyota-United abusing USAC team rules?
  • January 11: Armstrong on Landis, Cadel Evans - returns to training, Hincapie in T-Mobile kit, Ivan Basso - why no tough questions?, Reader Poll, Rock & burn racing, Speaking about Lance, Sydor's consistency, The 'Bruyneel philosophy', Toyota-United abusing USAC team rules?
  • January 5: Great day for cycling, Sydor's consistency, Hincapie in T-Mobile kit, CA awards misses national series, Thank you, Ivan Basso - why no tough questions?, Cadel Evans - returns to training, Helmets belong on heads, Armstrong on Landis, Will there be a Tour of Missouri?, Roberto Heras, Speaking about Lance, Mayo's B Sample

Letters 2007

  • December 27: CA awards misses national series, Armstrong on Landis, Vinokourov's sentence, Vinokourov, Cadel Evans - returns to training, Mayo's B sample to get B test
  • December 14: Sydor's consistency, George Hincapie, Helmet straps must be cinched a bit too tight, Will there soon be a sample"C"test?, ProTour, Vino's joke of a suspension, Mafioso McQuaid, Obee and Health Net, Mayo's B sample to get B test, Campagnolo offers its own 'red' shifter, T-Mobile's withdrawal a blow to Jaksche
  • December 6: Tschüss T-Mobile, Anquetil, Mayo's B sample to get B test, T-Mobile drop out, Obee and Health Net, Stefano Zanini
  • November 30: Anquetil,Mayo's B sample to get B test, Stefano Zanini, Rider's passport, Betting, Jonathan Page, Wake up!!, T-Mobile drop out, Bike design originality
  • November 23: Remembering Jacques Anquetil, Done looking back, Mayo's B sample to get B test, Cross crank, Rider's passport, Blood passports and humanity, Fothen's comments on Bettini, Nathan O'Neill , Sinkewitz, Rasmussen blood values, Sponsorship strangeness, Dick Pound better understood, Bike design originality,
  • November 16: Nathan O'Neill, Rasmussen blood values, The Crocodile Trophy, Sinkewitz, Drug testing procedures, Rider's passport, The drug issue, Bike design originality , Sponsorship strangeness, Selfishness will ruin cycling
  • November 9: The Crocodile Trophy, A little bit of bias here?, Rider's passport, Kasheckin, Positive tests, Drug testing procedures, Marco Pinotti: Engineering a new path, Bike design originality
  • November 2: What does this mean?, Le Tour 08, Mayo's B sample, Bike design originality, Trimble, UCI says Mayo case not closed, Drug testing procedures ... and false positives, Kashechkin: controls violate human rights, Drug testing procedures, Mayo, UCI, Kashechkin, et al... Great, now it's coming from both ends, Positive tests, Why even bother with B samples then?, Mayo's positive EPO test, Falling barriers
  • October 26: Rider passports & Cadel Evans, Drug testing procedures ... and false positives, Iban Mayo's false positive, Iban Mayo and Landis, Armstrong on Landis, Mayo's B sample, UCI turns Mayo's case into a debaucle, they hand pick the results, No justice for Mayo, UCI says Mayo case not closed, Bike design originality, 2006 Tour de France, A bad week for cycling, A fitting end to the season
  • October 19: 2006 Grand Tour trifecta!, 2006 Tour de France, A fitting end to the season, Armstrong on Landis, Bike design originality, doping in cycling, Doping numbers, Paris-Tours testing mishap, UCI and the lack of testing!, Vino's other Tour stage win, The absolute best?
  • October 12: Armstrong on Landis, Bike design originality, Cycling drama, Doping is unfair; but so is discrimination, It’s not doping that's..., Landis case - everyone's a loser, Length and cost of the Landis case, R & R, The Landis decision, Tour of America
  • October 5: Cycle drama, It's not doping that's"killing"the sport, Why is VAM a benchmark, Tour of America, The Landis decision, DYNEPO, Worlds, Rock & Republic's CEO Michael Ball, Please explain, Giuseppe Guerini, FICP
  • September 28: Tour of America, World champion zany-ness, The Landis decision, ASO v UCI, McQuaid vs ASO vs the riders, Please explain, Why is VAM a benchmark, Giuseppe Guerini, Menchov felt betrayed by Rasmussen, ProTour and Le Tour, Where is the due process
  • September 21: Astana's future and Bruyneel, Bruyneel's afterlife, Floyd Landis decision, Why is VAM a benchmark, Lifetime bans, Menchov felt betrayed by Rasmussen, Ungrateful Levi, Spanish cycling, Where is the due process
  • September 14: Astana & Bruyneel, Cycling vs. soccer, Cycling will survive, Floyd Landis decision, LeMond's comments, Menchov felt betrayed by Rasmussen, Ungrateful Levi, Why is VAM a benchmark?
  • September 7: Cycling vs. soccer, Floyd Landis decision, UCI, ASO, LeMond, et al who cares? Riders, Lawyers in the Landis case, LeMond's comments, Riders taking the fall?, US Postal/Discovery R.I.P.

The complete Cyclingnews letters archive