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Letters for October 19-25, 2000

Vainsteins' worthy #1

In regard to the letter sent by Mr.Zeh (see October 13-18 Letters). First of all it is a disappointment that Mr Zeh does not give the credit to Romans Vainsteins well deserves for winning the 2000 World Road Championships in fashionable style. Last year Mr. Zeh was probably saying who the hell is Oscar Freire and in 1998 was probably saying "who the hell" was Oscar Camenzind?

Similarly each of these riders has gone on to do great things in the following season. Whether it was winning Tour of Lombardy immediately after the 1998 World RR Championships as was the case in 1998 with Camenzind, or with Oscar Freire's win in Trofeo Luis Puig in 2000 and with his 3rd at Milan San Remo and his continuing with it in the 2000 Vuelta.

Mr Zeh is clearly one of the people rooting for the incumbent riders, but was he hoping that Tchmil would win the '94 Paris Roubaix or was he busily preparing a congratulatory letter to Franco Ballerini?

Its a shame that people often overlook that fact that to simply secure a place on a World Championship team is an arduous task and deserves credit. Romans Vainsteins deserves credit for defeating the formidable Italian team with Bettini and Bartoli at the helm with the help of only a couple teammates. Mark Zeh should stick to watching arena football.

Sincerely
Remington Donovan

Vainsteins' worthy #2

In response to Mark Zeh's comments on the World's I must ask if he thinks Armstrong is a worthy winner of TDF? Ullrich and Pantani were clearly not in form. (And Ullrich in form beat Lance twice in Olympics).

Steels and Wust have been off since long due to injuries, Zabel got sick just before and who knows if they even would been in the final sprint? In fact very few of the "one-day-specialists" were missing, actually IMO there was only one "big hitter" not showing up, Andrea Tafi.

Vainsteins has showed many times this season to be one of the best in one-day-racing. Look at the WC standing!

And yes, I think Armstrong is a true TDF-champ, he delivered in time.

Mats Fagerkull
Sweden

Vainsteins' worthy #3

I think Romans Vainsteins is a worthy World Championship winner! Sure, he may not have the overall class of Bartoli or Tchmil, but he is always there and has consistently won many races throughout the year.

It's pointless to argue when the World Championships should be held. There are so many big races on the UCI calendar that it would be impossible to peak for all of them. As such, trade teams and their riders cannot hope to compete in all of the events and must select races where they think they have the best chance, or biggest publicity exposure, whatever the time of year.

The fact is that the best rider in the World Championships is simply the best on the day, that's all it is, and if you are going to argue that it should be based on other criteria then you may as well declare Frank Vandenbrouke (who did S.F.A this year apart from prove what an arrogant upstart he is) the winner based on the superior sports testing results he has achieved.

I think the World's are good and it pleased me greatly that Oscar Freire (unknown beforehand) won last year and silenced his critics by doing damn well the following year. Maybe the focus of the World's is wrong, but I don't think it is pointless, It can be a race to showcase upcoming talent, riders who have suffered injury or poor form at other times in the year (ala Jan Ullrich in 1999) or Riders who have chosen not to stake their all on a good TDF or World Cup performance.

Anything that makes the cycling season longer and more exciting is all right by me and personally I think it would be better for lesser known riders to win the World's than for bigger names to extend their seasons by doping or other means.

Conor Cairns,
Western Australia

Vainsteins worthy #4

It's hard to believe Mark Zeh's reaction on Vainsteins' win.

Ullrich would have appeared if he didn't fall 4 DAYS before the TT, and the numbers 2 to 7 of the final World Cup-rankings did race. I think it's fair to say that 6 out of the 7 best one-day riders of this season were in Plouay.

Tchmil, Casagrande (UCI - no.1!), Bettini, Rebellin, Freire and Vainsteins were all in great form on the day, as they all were in front of the pack at one or more moments in the race (Vainsteins being the smartest).

yours sincerely

Bart Broex

Onya Scott!

Is there any way to contact Scott to offer congratulations? There was NO mention of his magnificent ride in any of the Melbourne papers - an ABSOLUTE disgrace!!!

If ever there has been a sporting story of sheer guts and determination, Scott's efforts, after the few years he's had recently embodies it. What a sensational ride - I hope he'll be out here for the Melbourne - Sorrento and the Tour Down Under: hopefully I can catch him in person!

David Baxter

Scott's Storey

I thought I would "pen" a response to the entry by Neil Storey, regarding Scott Sunderland's brilliant ride in the worlds. Being an avid fan of your website, and enjoying immensely, the opportunity to get an insight as to what pain these guys and gals put their minds and bodies through, has made me admire Scott's ability to come back to the highest level, and be competitive.

I have had the opportunity to ride with Scott, on one occasion and he was the complete professional, to say the least, chatting easily-as only these guys can, climbing with ease, and generally making the whole thing look "easy". Anyway back to the reason as to why I "penned" this E-mail, the report was without doubt a journey through the race itself, you could almost feel the tension build as you were reading the text, and virtually experiencing everything that Scott felt.

Even the introduction to the hotel, and the informal way in which everything was handled, and ever so casual meeting in the lobby with one "Stuey O'Grady" and Jay Sweet- ah only at the World's...I felt the pain when Scott responded, via a letter that was again posted on your website, and could feel the anger,the total lack of disrespect that I felt was justified (not wanting to say in the least that the Aussie team was in any way weaker).

Well Scott you showed 'em, I congratulate you on the mental battle, you have had to wage, the long torturous rides in the bloody Belgian weather, and not forgetting the strong emotional, and mental support you have gotten from your wife, Sabine, and the immense sense of pride your son Saen felt.

Well that should do it, I am still on a high from reading that report. Once again Scott, I feel an immense sense of pride for what you have achieved, and you have done us Aussies proud, (even though I am an adopted one!) take a bow Scotty...

Matthew McGoon
Brisbane, Australia.

Junior Men's RR Comment

I watched the World Junior road race on TV: a great race and New Zealand's first ever World Champion(?) Jeremy Yates. What a wily old fox as he outwitted two Russians, two Italians and a Belgian in the final selection. The commentator remarked that the Russian and Belgian probably thought it was a joke when they saw the NZ colours - they obviously hadn't heard of the likes of Miller, Fowler, Dahlberg, Swart etc.!

Unfortunately there was a bitter taste left in the mouths of the watching public when the silver medallist Russian Vladimir Goussev was stripped of his medal when his bike failed the UCI's illogical bicycle design criteria. The bike was a beautiful Basso of a couple of years back: profiled carbon tubing but the problem was that the tubing in the rear triangle exceeded the 8cm depth rule and that it entered the seat tube too low! It just goes to show how incompetent the UCI and their officials are, not only did they make a bad call which could end the career of an up and coming rider but they knew of this bike well before the finish! Even given that the bike was a spare only used in the last four laps, considering how quickly they could strip him of the medal why did it take them until the euphoria of the finish to disqualify the guy? This was not a time-trial and they could have pulled him out of the race before he instigated the final break and caused the break to stay away ...effecting the whole outcome of the race.

These events today show what happens when you let an individual with a background in football take control of our governing body for the past decade. All I can hope for is that Cinelli sue the pants off them re the Spinacci problems just to make them see some sense. I think too much champagne and oysters is affecting their judgment!

I look forward to some feedback as I am sure I am not the only one who feels the same way.

Steve Lack,
Czech Republic
andynad@volny.cz

Wilson's Hour

Beautiful coverage - the video was spectacular. Truly using the 'net for all its worth. I had shivers going down my spine as the clock ticked down on that last lap - the announcer says eight second left in the hour - the clock beeps as three, two, one, and bang! The ride is over!

But, I have to give my two bits (though I know I am preaching to the choir):

The bike HAD to be steel? That is absurd! The UCI have their collective heads so far up their collective rear ends that they can't see the light of day. What is this, retro class racing? Were Anna's handlebars drilled out too? I mean, I am all for parity, but this is a joke.

And even worse, that poor Russian kid, DQ'ed because he bottom bracket was too thick. That is a load of horse-s**t. The kid rocked the course and deserved what he earned. This ridiculous technical limitation will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to resolve the problem that "Hein-ey" said were the genesis for the limits. Primarily, the cost and accessibility of the bikes. Where before, the bikes were super expensive, and designed to push the design envelope, the bike are now super-expensive and crafted with equally absurd amounts of labor to fit within the existing design limits.

Hein-ey, Lance's TT bike? Available to that Kenyan fellow who showed up for the worlds TT? Umm, I don't think so. That puppy costs over $30,000. How's that for making bikes less expensive?

In ridiculing these limits, people often laugh, and wonder when Hein-ey is going to make everyone ride fixed gear bikes, carry their own tubulars wrapped around their shoulders, and, in the event of frame breakage, weld the damn thing back together themselves. They suggest this laughingly, but given the limits on Anna's bike, and the farcical DQ of the super Russian boy, they really don't seem too far fetched. Next thing you know, Hein-ey is going to be up on the Tourmalet with a pick-axe, tearing up the pavement so that today's riders face the same limits they faced "back in the good old days." Thanks, but no thanks Hein-ey. You can take the new tech rule and shove it!

Justin Lucke

Bike rules

The UCI has certainly revived interest in the Hour Record by rolling back the standard to the equipment that Merckx used in 1972. But wasn't the bike that Merckx used only 14.9 lbs? Is the UCI going to allow bikes that light or just the currently accepted 15.14 lbs?

All that this is going to really do is to drive manufacturers to make super light/super expensive/super aero parts that the rest of us can't get and/or can't afford, and the technology race that the UCI is trying to stop will be back on, shutting out smaller/poorer countries from the Hour Record and top level cycling.

Cycling is an expensive sport and the countries that appreciate the subtleties and beauty of the sport will always support it. Belgium is not the wealthiest country in the world, but I was stunned at the enthusiasm the populace showed for cycling during my 4 years there. Merckx used the most technologically advanced equipment available to him, as every Hour Record Holder before him did. Why shouldn't Rominger, Indurain, Boardman, et al do the same? I don't remember everyone running out to get Boardman's bike that he did 56+ km on, so what's the big deal?

The UCI should manage the sport, not control and stifle it. More people ride bikes now because they're lighter, stronger and more reliable as a result of technological innovation, much of it derived from Hour attempts and time trials. The UCI, as usual, is out of touch and should just leave this one alone.

Just ranting
Jon Gallagher
Park City, UT
USA

Calendar put to good use

After many attempts to find dates of events on the Aust. Cycling websites ( ie National and state) I find a couple of them listed on your new UCI calendar!Bloody marvelous! This leads me to ask if you have any information on the dates of the 2001 Tour of Canberra.

Many thanks,
Warwick Hutchinson

Index to previous letters

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