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Letters to Cyclingnews - April 3, 2008
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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.
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.]
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.]
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Rock Racing rip off #5
I agree with a fellow reader of cyclingnews.com 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!!
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?
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