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Letters to Cyclingnews - May 15, 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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Sydney road rage incident
I was saddened to hear of the cyclists injured in the road rage incident near the Sydney Airport. I have family in Sydney and visit often - I always bring my road bike with me to enjoy some off season training. As an outsider it has always been surprising to me that a country that has produced so many top level cyclists is so difficult and dangerous to ride in.
The conduct of Australian motorists toward cyclists, particularly around Sydney, is very poor. The media coverage the incident received in the SMH further indicates a pervasive bias against cyclists. The comments, as reported, from Anne Morphett of the NRMA are tantamount to blaming the cyclists for the assault. She should be held accountable for these statements. I hope that the driver is prosecuted to the full extent. It is fortunate the injuries were not more significant.
Sydney road rage incident #2
I am astounded. I believe that the driver who caused the horrific mass crash in Sydney should be charged with nothing less than attempted murder. I am anxiously awaiting the news that will say police have captured the driver.
Sydney road rage incident #3
How many cyclist injuries and deaths due to the ignorance of motorists will it take before we really get seriously organized and demand change. If every cycling enthusiast (racers included, from bottom cat to pros), as well as every employee of businesses that sell product or services to cyclists (Trek, Orbea, Shimano, etc.) joined forces to consistently lobby government representatives, things would definitely change.
Yet, over and over, we continue to bitch about the dangerous environment, and only a minority of heroes attempt to effect changes. Its time that cyclists, around the globe, consistently write and call upon their government officials on a daily basis to demand safety for cyclists on the road, and extreme punishment for motorists that do not respect the safety of cyclists. Only our collective critical mass of opinion will result in a force to effect real change. The archaic old status quo of bike advocacy, such as bike to work month, sporadic critical mass rides, and safe riding education in schools will never make a significant improvement in our safety. Beyond intense organization in significant numbers, what alternative is there? Maybe vigilante justice is a plausible option? Cyclists packing concealed firearms may give insensitive motorists pause to consider the ramifications of their actions.
Steegmans has got it right. It appears that a number of, dare I say, journalists prize their instantaneous by-lines more than they value journalistic integrity. If their careers and reputations could be as easily trashed as the pro cyclists, they might think twice about printing 'shady whispers and innuendo' leaked by 'anonymous sources.'
The riders do their homework, and so should the writers. When I see articles like the one Steegmans is railing about, I note the by-line, and instinctively question future dispatches from that writer. When that writer or publication continues in such a "tabloid-esqe" style, I write him/them off for good. I guess it is possible to trash a writer's reputation after all. I suppose I could write his publisher and let him know I'll not be buying their rag anymore.
Just doing my own due diligence.
I've been an avid reader of the form and fitness section for years and have appreciated your insights and knowledge. I'm a physiotherapist in the U.S. and specialize in cycling related pathologies. Your recent article regarding fit is very much appreciated. Thanks for the time and patience so evident in your responses. Keep up the good work.
Dave Taggart, P.T.
The start list includes 158 starters but the race photos show a rider with plate 161 at the front during the start. Also if you look at the race photos this rider is at or near the front throughout the race. #1 how does someone with plate #161 get a front row starting position? World cup numbers are usually in given based on your current world cup standing and you are lined up that way.
Can someone let me know what is wrong with Horner?
Not racing anywhere after Georgia, I can't find any news, is he hurt? Not in the Giro line-up? I thought he would be a shoe in for the Giro. No racing in Dunkirk either, please help me with his current situation. Thanks,
After stage 5 of the Giro, Slipstream is ranking 20 and 21 out of 22 in the two team's competitions. Enough about Slipstream having earned a Tour invite. Keep them if you want, but also invite Astana. It's time to take decision making out of the hands of a bunch of jaded, fat, old men and make the sensible choices. There are no dopers on Astana. If you want to kick out another team, make it CSC. Their manager, by his own admission, won the Tour by doping.
Pavel Brutt was amazing today! His grit at the end of the uphill finish was fantastic. I know Millar's mechanical "helped," but Pavel really ground it out for the win. I love the Tinkoff team and enjoy watching them mature into a major force in cycling.
Oleg Tinkoff - Thank you for your vision of the team and your dedication to the sport of cycling.
Giro stage 5! #2
Oh dear, Millar "nearly gets a stage" and then snaps his chain, I think I believe in Kharma!
Dave Zabriske is the reigning US Pro Time Trial Champ, yet Levi was also wearing a red, white and blue skin suit in the TTT today. How does that work? Either way congrats to Slipstream on an amazing performance! Has a minor league team ever pulled off a victory like that before in a GT? Not that I can remember.
I absolutely agree David Millar is a disgrace to the sport, the fact he is allowed to wear the British national champion's jerseys for both road and time trials really sticks in my throat. The guy puts himself on a pedestal making out he is some goody two shoes reformed druggie and thinks it's acceptable. Worst still English speaking magazine hold the bloke up as some kind of doping 'guru' and allow him endless pages of preaching. Well let's remind everybody..... A leopard never changes the colour of its spots!!
As for Liquigas, obviously a case of contractual suicide here once the ball gathers pace are their sponsors going to stay? As for tearing up the ethical code, can't see ASO accepting this one come Tour time. What are their management thinking? Or is it a short cut for Liquigas to leave the sport?
It appears to me cycling has its head in sand and loves making a fool of itself.
Race Radios are part of modern day racing and there are reasons for taking them away and keeping them; I am for keeping them in the sport mainly because if you take them away, the sport will result in being nothing but a parade of 180 plus riders (albeit at 25MPH +) for the length of the course.
If radios are taken away, the peloton will not allow anyone to get away because there will be no way of knowing their lead.
Race radios #2
Referring to the letter from Thomas Brown:
He suggests that riders in the pro peloton are incapable of judging for themselves whether to let a break get away. These riders compete in races year round and know each other's abilities. Also they can look at the current placing after each stage to know who are their real rivals. Race radios are a fairly recent phenomenon.
I remember Deutch Telekom started with tiny mobile phones, which were banned because they interfered with race radio. Race radio (e.g. radio tour) is the communication from the officials' cars. It broadcasts the number of a rider who punctures, crashes, requests assistance, etc. Team cars are thus informed if one of their riders is in trouble. But car-to-rider communication is something different, and it takes the intelligence out of racing. Isn't it boring to watch some remote-controlled robot obeying the voice in his ear? Let them compete on their own merits.
Race radios #3
So, I wondered, will this put the chalk board guy from and the moto rider out of a job? If the riders in the peloton can't know what's happening with the riders in the break, can the riders in the break get to know if they are increasing or decreasing their lead and by how much? Will the teams position someone alongside the road with their own radios and chalkboards to let the riders know what's going on? Will chalkboards become equivalent to doping? How about hand signs? Flags?
Will the law of unintended consequences hold if the ban on radios goes through?
Never let it be said that any bureaucracy kept up with technology or allowed anyone else to either.
I can only subscribe to the other readers' opinions. It is like stating that a woman is half-pregnant... Indeed, there's no such thing. One is 100% guilty or not guilty at all.
If the latter is the case, and CAS confirmed explicitly that Alessandro Petacchi didn't and wouldn't cheat, he should go free. If he would have been found guilty of a doping offence, he should have been received the full treatment and he should have been sacked by his team in the meantime.
Also odd (and no longer acceptable) is the fact that some UCI member countries (Monaco in this case) apply other standard. A rider caught with higher level of Salbutamol and also "caught" during the same Giro, is left alone and allowed to continue racing just because he happens to have a license of a more lenient federation. That's absolutely crazy and typically, UCI or WADA apparently see no harm in these double standards.
Finally, even when one could live with the fact that Petacchi forfeits his Giro wins and final points classification, this issue has nothing to do with the other races he took part in since and the wins he's racked up, and therefore he should be allowed to keep these victories on his palmares. I would be very disappointed that Team Milram would decide to fire this rider just because of the witch-hunt-like atmosphere currently all too present in professional cycling.
Why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?
Tyler Hamilton never once suggested that he had a chimera, this is a myth propagated by the lazier sort of tabloid journalist. Chimera was one of a list of things that may cause a false positive which was stated as a reason why a proper false positive study should be done on the homogenous blood doping test. It amazes me that any such test could ever stand without such a study taking place.
I don't know whether Tyler Hamilton doped or not but I'm sure that the tests he 'failed' don't conclusively prove his guilt.
I recently found your site and would like to add my 2 bobs worth. I am 54 years old and around about my 50th birthday I was introduced to cycling and was hooked. However, I found myself being the number one hill slug; everyone would have to wait at the top of the hill for me. I search the net and asked questions, enrolled in a gym and did lots of leg presses. But it didn't seem to make that much difference. What could I do?
In my previous life I was a runner and part of my training was wearing a weighted harness. I did enjoy success with this type of training. So where was my harness? After some searching I found it covered in dust in the back of the garage. Because it was made out of leather and in a bad state I had new one made this time in seat belt material.
To shorten the story I now carry approx 36kg of extra weight on the bike. All of my training rides are conducted with the weights. Earlier this year I took the weights off to join the Sunday morning bunch ride. The first part of the ride was nice and sedate then on the return trip home the boys where getting restless. All of a sudden it was on; break aways etc. Normally I play no part in this as I get spat out the back and have to limb home. But I did notice something different and I quickly found out. I hit the pedals and I simply could not believe the power I had. I caught the break away and went pass them, powered up the hills and then it was just me and another rider who was some 20 yrs younger slugging it out for the sheep station.
None of the others could match me on the hills in fact I was asked to provide a urine sample!
I arrived home with a grin from ear to ear and I knew it was the weights.
Most of my riding mates know that I train with the weights and they think I am mad. Yes out on the country roads in the dark is not easy on your own but I now know the advantage of the weight work. I gues my biggest trouble is that I still think I am about 25 and trying to ride lance Armstrong of my wheel.
Well that is my experience with the weights and I love it.
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