Letters to Cyclingnews – November 22, 2001

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. 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 letters@cyclingnews.com.

Recent letters

Transfer News
Great coverage
NESP better than EPO
Recovery of back surgery
I'm better in the mountains than Lance Armstrong
Indoor Trainer
Running red Lights
Castellano's Dope Farce
Ride of the year
Tour is boring
Skilled Bay Classic
Grand Tours duration
Cadel Evans

What is Possum?
Results of the Sports Medicine Congress
Madison and Six Day Races
Wheel Regulation
Julian Winn

Transfer News #1

Last I heard, Rebellin was headed to the German team, Gerolsteiner, along with a few other Liquigas teammates.

Julie Davis
Friday, November 16 2001

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Transfer News #2

Troy has a point. How is the average cyclist supposed to keep up with their favorite Pro's during the off season transfers? I would love to have one place, preferably a page on your Web site, that tracks who is moving where.

That said, I'm very impressed with your Web site. Awesome news about cycling around the world!

Chris Bondurant
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Transfer News #3

I agree on a special section on riders transfers where they are listed together. That would be most helpful. Instead of searching all over the Web to find out who went where.

Glenn Bastian
Lebanon, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Transfer News #4

Well, we Krauts are proud tell that Rebellin is going to the German team Gerolsteiner, former division two, which becomes division one in 2002. By the way: surely www.cyclingnews.com is the best cycling-site on the Web.

Kai Naumann
Thursday, November 22 2001

Thanks for great coverage again

Hi guys,

Just wanted say thanks for the words and pics from the Tour du Faso. Apart from being a cycling nut, I have been to Burkina Faso a couple of times, and have long been interested by the race. I'd be very glad if the SDTF can keep it going.

David Haye
Friday, November 16 2001

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NESP better than EPO?

Listen, The Bosses of the Peloton talk about testing. Notice that you always hear "test me," or "I have never turned in a positive", rather than saying "I don't take anything that could be considered performance enhancing".

NESP among several other detectable drugs is in use and due potential multi million dollar legal action by the teams and riders, none of these drugs can be reported as positive unless they are specifically named as banned, and there is an approved test. That's tough do when some of the stuff is either experimental or not yet legal or approved for use in humans.

Until the UCI and Olympic committees ban a description of a substance (i.e.; any substance found increase oxygen holding capacity of the blood...) the cheats will always win. And until the UCI has the ability hold samples and to test a couple of years later and strip titles, we won't be in step. I know that once a rider gets a title that stripping him of that does nothing help the rightful winner feel the glory, but you to have start somewhere...

SINCE DRUG COMPANIES SPEND BILLIONS EACH YEAR TO PRODUCE NEW DRUGS and we spend hardly a few million on testing and prevention, who the hell do you think will stay ahead.

Phoenix, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Recovery of back surgery

Hi, Eric Kevitt here again .I posted a letter on 21st. of May about surgery I had on my back L-4 L-5 S-1 laminectomies and fusions. Well, ALL is GREAT now I'm back on the bike again and training .I'm at about 20 miles a day now. Its only been two weeks back on the bike, so the mileage will go up in time. I just don't want overdo it! I figure by next spring I'll be fit to race.

Talked to the surgeons about what if I crashed and they said I'd have a stronger back than normal, as long as I strengthen the muscle group above the surgery. I'll keep you posted as I race, because as the famous line goes "I'LL BE BACK."

Eric Kevitt
Ponca City, USA
Saturday, November 10 2001

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I'm better in the mountains than Lance Armstrong #1

This was certainly one of the more entertaining letters for my reading pleasure.Well, except for Podium Girl material.
Thank you

Saturday, November 17 2001

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I'm better in the mountains than Lance Armstrong #2

Unlike most people, Scott Goldstein probably DOES have a chance of beating Lance Armstrong in the mountains. All he has do is ride alongside Lance, start quoting some of the statistics he seems be obsessed with and Lance may get off his bike & into the team car.
I found his letter to be quite disrespectful of Ullrich and Simoni. Does he expect cyclists to say "I cannot beat Lance, so why even try"? Surely a positive mind is the first step in achieving a goal. I doubt if Jan Ullrich considers it 'Silliness" to think positively before undertaking the world's most difficult race, and I bet Armstrong agrees.

Nicholas Boyden
Monday, November 19 2001


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I'm better in the mountains than Lance Armstrong #3

Bravo Scott Goldstein for his "new season" resolution to be "better than Lance". Good on ya mate, have a bloody go! I guess that you're an American, and people say that Americans have no sense of humour. Clearly not the case. I'd become at bit bored with all the writers to Cycling News who take themselves so seriously.

Thursday, November 22 2001


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Indoor trainer #1

Hi all... talking of indoor trainers, I was wondering how many of you out there use a Travel Trac 2000 from Performance Bikes (USA only I guess). It's smooth, really quiet and works great... right up until you're doing the final sprint set of your Spinerval workout. Then it just gives out and starts to seize up. Turn off the gas for a while and all is fine again. I swapped the fluid unit for a replacement (no questions... almost too easy I thought) and wouldn't you know it, gives out even sooner. As my buddy has gotten stronger and is doing the same workouts, it's now happening to his too. We resort to a fan for the fluid unit as well as one for ourselves... which helps, but adds a real hassle setting up.

I know... take it back and buy a different one (I will), but I'm really curious see if anyone else experiences the same thing. When you're right at the end of your workout, beetroot red and dripping sweat and the last set calls for all you've got left... Coach Troy screaming "PUSH PUSH!!!" and all you get is a sound like the Enterprise coming out of warp... well I can't repeat what comes out of my mouth at that point :)
So what's a great fluid trainer then? Christmas is coming!

And Virenque... after hearing about Paris Tour and then finally seeing it on OLN, the guy is awesome! Read Willy Voets book. I hate drugs more than anyone, but he was just one of SO many, it seems it was the norm. Hopefully things are a lot cleaner now and I for one think we need people with at least some character at the top level. Cipo, Virenque and the few like them have a spark the others don't. Lance is great, but like the podium girls said... in a sexy French accent "Trez serious". Vuelta for me too by the way... those girls win hands down.

Des Minnion
San Diego, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Indoor trainer #2

There is also the Spanish CARDGIRUS - which only needs be hooked into a PC or laptop - and has multiple programmes for any level of cycling including "real" climbs and TTs in the TdF, Giro and Vuelta, as well as weekly fitness levels and memory storage.

John Andrews
Monday, November 19 2001

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Indoor trainer #3

I don't know much about the Computrainer except that it is pricey. However, I did try the Tacx iMagic and am now in the unfortunate position of desperately wanting one. I saw it in my local bike shop on display with a bike sitting on it, so I hopped on for a quick go. Some quick go! I ended up working up quite a sweat in my jeans and jumper having climbed a couple of hills and then pounded down the descents.

This really is an amazing bit of kit, especially with the steerer unit which allows you to make your own way round the circuits and explore. I even ducked as I went under a tree branch! It's reasonably priced and very addictive. Winter sessions are never going to be the same again - they'll actually be fun.

Graham Springett
Wednesday, November 21 2001

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Running red lights #1

Hey I totally agree with Ted's comments on red lights - the only frustration I have with lights in Sydney, that even if I stop at the light, I'm often not heavy enough to trigger the "on demand" lights early on Sunday mornings. So I have to either wait for a car to pull up for the lights change or roll through the red light - so I roll through.

Not every set of traffic lights in Sydney is like this - but around 50% require a greater mass than my bike and I have to trigger them.

Sarah Potter
Sydney, Australia
Monday, November 19 2001

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Castellano's Dope fighting Farce

Does Castellano and the Giro decide to finally penalise teams by sending the team home (why not send a team home, it is a team sport and drafting a few Doped team mates is as bad as doping yourself) and skipping them for two years if any of their riders are caught doping ( while under the watchful eye of Team Doctors who could not possibly be that Blind)?


Will the Giro take a step like the tour did and ask Teams Caught Doping not to try and ask for a space?


(That is in no way a suggestion that the Tour selection process is good by the way, and the only asked teams and riders not come in 99, only to have Richard "WHO ME" V. be forced on them)

Will The Giro suggest that should a Rider be caught positive, that they will never be allowed race it again (Sorry Mr. Frigo, I meant to say "redeem themselves")?


What the Giro will do is take a tremendous step in the fight against doping! by giving the riders three books on Eating Training and Proper use of the bike!

THAT'S IT! In the last few hundred years, it turns out that the riders didn't know how use the bike right!

I can see it all now; "Right then Lads, those pedals work much better if you clip them in the top rather than leaving the shoe and cleat slide around the wrong side of the pedal! And don't forget, if you squeeze those levers on the front there the whole race, it makes the brakes work and that will slow you down! And mind you, Face in the direction of the handle bars when you mount the bike, that's the front and facing the other way makes steering pretty difficult, not mention the seat may not be in the best position for your private parts, anatomical cut out or not!"

Well then, This whole doping thing is over! What a relief!

Charles M.
Phoenix, USA
Monday, November 19 2001

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Ride of the year - "Gobsmackingliy Brilliant"

By this time last year I followed with great interest letters to cyclingnews named "Gobsmackingliy Brilliant" . I have not seen them this year yet although I eagerly wait for them show up.

For me the greatest moments of racing this year was:
1. Virenque's return and victory at Paris - Tours
2. Rik Verbrugge in La Flèche Wallonne
3. Armstrong and Ullrich in the mountains

Henrik Edvardsson
Karlstad , Sweden
Sunday 19 November


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The Tour is boring

Is it just me, or is the Tour boring and formulaic? Every year it's the same thing, an opening time trial, which is just a formality, then a week in the flats where every stage is won by Zabel or Cippolini. After that we have a week in the mountains where some super climber (i.e. Armstrong, Pantani, Ullrich) blows everyone away, and then another week in the flats where nothing happens. It should be a sign to the organisers when Ullrich concedes Armstrong at the end of the last stage in the Pyrenees, with a week go! The Tour should take a lesson from the Vuelta, which was a much more exciting race, with the hardest mountain stage on the second last day and a time trial on the last day, which saw every position in the top five change. The most exciting Tour ever was in 1989, which ended with the famous time trial where LeMond beat Fignon to win the Tour by eight seconds. Give up the ceremonial ride through Paris and end the Tour with some excitement for a change!

Santa Fe, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Skilled Bay Cycling Classic

Can anyone tell me if the Skilled Bay Cycling Classic is going ahead this year? I have been searching the Web for 2002 details with no luck. I presently reside in Europe, but will be returning to Oz in December and was hoping to catch some serious racing in the New Year. Also, does anyone have any tips for catching the Tour Down Under, I probably won't have a car by then, so will have rely on public transport (from Victoria) and my bike.

Lesley Clark
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Grand Tours Duration

Reducing the length of a Grand Tour will not dissuade cyclists from doping, but will just refocus their attention other drugs of more use in shorter events. Since when have a 100m sprinter not doped? - and that lasts 10 seconds. Point is the duration makes no difference to doping.

R Sattlegger
South Africa
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Cadel Evans

Cadel Evans is to concentrate on road cycling next year. An Australian Tour de France winner at last?

Perth, WA, Australia
Sunday, November 18 2001

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What is Possum?

2001 Tour de France Fantasy
"Possum? What is Possum?" Heard at the Telekom dinner table as Kevin Livingston tries to explain what happened earlier in the day at L'Alpe du Huez: Rudy Pevenage saw Lance Armstrong grimacing and pedaling squares on the climb up the Glandon.

"He's starting to crack"! Pevenage barked on the transmitter to his riders. "Step up the pace! Put your legs into it"! Team Telekom, riding like robots, followed Pevenage's orders. But Armstrong managed to hang onto the tail of the train. Despite that, Pevenage continued the punishing pace, convinced that when they started the climb L'Alpe du Huez, Armstrong would crack.

That morning, Armstrong woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He had been trying put on his "game face" all week and finally succeeded. He was surly at the sign in. Suddenly he asked Hincapie "Did that Telekom guy smirk at me"? Hincapie, seeing his leader getting psyched up replied "Yes he did AND he shook his culo at you"!

"He did? I'll make him pay"!!

Later, going up the Glandon, Armstrong rode from one teammate to the next, asking "Did any of you guys see the Telekom riders smirking at me?" As his teammates said "Yes, those Telekom guys are showing great disrespect for you, Lance", Armstrong would glower and bare his teeth with rage.

Armstrong drops back to the team car and says to Bruyneel "Are any of those Telekom boys smirking at me?" which Bruyneel replies, "They're laughing out loud at you, Lance! They're saying you should get a malpractice lawyer to sue your barber! Ha, ha, ha!"

"Is that what's on their mind?" sputtered a beside-himself Armstrong, practically apoplectic with anger.

At that moment a motorbike with a TV cameraman gets close-ups of Armstrong's grimacing face, converts it to digital signals, beams the encoded bits to the satellite 134 miles above the earth, which relays the data to the TV station on the ground, which converts it to UHF and broadcasts it across Europe. In the Telekom car, the images of Armstrong appear in sharp detail. Pevenage gets excited and tells his boys Armstrong is in trouble, and drives up his riders with the TV monitor in his hand to show them he's not kidding.

The riders look at the pictures. They get excited! They're accomplishing their mission. One of them smirks as a motorbike with a cameraman goes by. "I knew they were smirking!!" says Armstrong as he watches Bruyneel's TV. "They wanna smirk, huh?"

Telekom delivered Ullrich the foot of the Alpe as planned and the peloton exploded in Ullrich's wake. Telekom's plan was working.Ullrich was riding like the powerful rider he is: sitting on his saddle, powerful legs churning a big gear, propelling him upward at a torrid pace. Suddenly, a rider in blue shoots ahead on the left side, it was The Rider With Two Bad Knees,"Chechu" Rubiera. And on his wheel, standing on his pedals, turning a high rpm on a short gear, is Armstrong! Ullrich has no choice and goes into the Red Zone.

As Rubiera pulls over, Armstrong turns to look over his left shoulder at Ullrich and says "Ya wanna smirk? Smirk at this"!!! He then goes into overdrive towards his third Tour victory.

.After dinner, Pevenage reviewed his notes and said "This possum is strange animal".

The Flyin' Hawaiian
San Francisco, USA

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Results of Sports Medicine Congress

Are the defensive comments of Nicolas Terrados on doping really the most interesting thing come out of the second International Congress on Sports Medicine attended by 700 people from 30 different countries? Sports medicine is important to cyclists. Maybe you could have sent Tim Maloney to Oviedo instead of to Milan (the Giro d'Italia has already been leaked by Tuttosport and the presentation will be on TV tomorrow). In any case, some comment on what emerged during the congress would be much appreciated.

Brian Tomlin
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Hi I am one of those coaches who coach for the sheer pleasure giving back from the athlete. Sure there are times when I could do with some cash, (I am not a monied man) and struggle to make ends meet, and attend meets to advise on the spot. However, having coached a young lad, who stayed with us during his last 2-3 school years. Getting him to national level, and later after he had moved on and joined the national team, and on a Pro contract last year (he won 16 or 17 races in first year Pro in USA and Europe) and now has signed with another team. I feel that really all I did was point him in the right direction and his own talent done the rest. But it is great when contact is made regularly and at times for advice, there is no more reward that I could wish for.

I wont give my name, but wish BC all the best.

Friday, November 16 2001

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Madison & Six Day Races

Thank you to both people who responded to my question about six day & Madison races.

Your answers were informative and very helpful.

Best Regards

Jim Brooke
Sunday, November 18 2001

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Wheel regulations

I mostly agree with everything you say concerning wheels, I have used Jobst's "bible" for many years (it is literally falling apart from the many times I and others have gone through it).

The only suggestion you make that I have even the slightest disagreement with, is on #9 where you recommend best Shimano hubs you can afford for "....compatibility, durability, and performance...". While I agree on the "compatibility" issue (especially in races with neutral support), I still feel that Campagnolo hubs of comparable ranges Shimano "perform" better and as for durability there is no contest.

Campagnolo hubs are fully re-buildable (including replaceable races) with parts that are widely available and very inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing a hub, and should be the choice for anyone concerned with durability.

(PS the same goes for Ergopower vs. STI levers, where the "throw away" Shimano stuff is far outpaced by the durable, easily re-buildable Campag equipment)

Steve Farris
New Mexico, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001


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One thing that seems weird to me, is that certain times when someone tests positive for drug use, it is well publicised, they are quickly penalised. But with others this is not the case at all.

I had heard that Vassili Davidenko had tested positive about two weeks after the BMC Boston race, but nothing was done and he wasn't penalised until the end of the season. He even kept racing in the mean-time. I'm not saying that he is guilty or innocent, because I have no knowledge of that, but it seems strange how different situations are handled in an inconsistent manner.

Is there any standard protocol for dealing with drug abuse in the peloton?

Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, November 17 2001

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NORBA National Schedule

A good question, where does the money go? Having been involved in a lot of race promotions, I know that it is far more difficult and expensive put on a road race than an MTB race. Also while you may be planning on staying strictly road this year, it appears that thanks to the "rider friendly" upper echelons at USA Cycling, you will have pay for a "combined" Road/Mt. license, whether or not you want race or even own a MTB. Hope see you here for Tour of the Gila again this year.

Steve Farris
New Mexico, USA
Saturday, November 17 2001

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Julian Winn #1

Julian Winn knew what substances were banned before he started the race. They are clearly listed in the BCF handbook. If he takes the sport seriously then he should make sure that he should have not taken any banned substances. Why did he want take slimming pills in the first place, he is not fat?

I think that the BCF should make it more clearly what substances are banned and what are not, and in what products they would more likely be found in. How many of us read the ingredients of tablets etc before we take them. The drug that he was tested positively against can be found in a headache/flu tablet.

There has be zero tolerance against taking drugs in sports, but you must draw the line somewhere. The press are making cycling look like a drug sport, and most people now think that most cyclists are on some sort of drugs, as we know it is not true. Drugs taking is going on in all sports, but is not tested as often in other sports.

I would not have thought that Winn would have taken these drugs deliberately, but were only unaware that they were banned due to the complications in the BCF Rules. The BCF are not the best of people to help race organisers with the sport. They also seem to have a lack of communication within its structure.

Hywel Evans, Race Organiser
(The one Winn was tested in)
Monday, November 19 2001

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Julian Winn #2

It seems to me that there is one rule for some riders and another rule for other riders.

If Julian was a nobody he would of been given a ban ...but because he is flying the flag for Britain he will get away with it. A rider like Julian Winn knows exactly what he is taking ! How long do we have listen these pathetic excuses ?

Gert Rooks
Thursday, November 22 2001


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The last month's letters

  • November 16 - Transfer News, NESP,Tour du Faso, Better than Lance Armstrong, Indoor Trainers, Running Red Lights, Golden Age, Tour Duration
  • November 12 - Virenque, Indoor Trainers, Running Red Lights, UCI Points, Golden age, Worlds Format, Coaches,Tour Duration, Delatour
  • November 1 - Virenque, Golden age, Worlds Format, Coaches,Tour Duration, Ullrich
  • October 25 - Virenque, Pietrzak, Ullrich Worlds TT, Coaches Wheel Regulations, Support Vehicles
  • October 17 - Virenque, EPO Testing, Ullrich Worlds TT, Millar's TT helmet, Wheel Regulations, Support Vehicles
  • October 11 - Tribute song to Lance Armstrong, Podium Girls, High blood pressure, Saddle Hieghts, Santiago Botero
  • October 2 - High Blood pressure, Saddle hieght, Podium Girls, Vuelta, cycle bashing, Oscar Egg
  • September 20 - Vuelta, cycle bashing, Oscar Egg, Bupropion, climbing times
  • September 11 - Altitude tents, high BP, attacks, Oscar Egg, Bupropion
  • September 5 - Mckenzie & Vaughters respond, climbing times, anti-doping, 1989, Pantani
  • August 29 - Pantani, Vaughters, Where's Cipo?, McKenzie, Velodromes, 1989, Armstrong
  • August 23 - Vuelta, Mercury, Ullrich, Soviets, 1989 again
  • August 17 - Doping, Armstrong, LeMond and The Devil
  • August 14 - Tour, Armstrong, Chemo, Vuelta, Doping, Rooting, & more
  • August 8, part 2 - More about the Tour, and more
  • August 8, part 1 - Tour reflections, chemotherapy, commentary, commercials
  • July 31 - Armstrong, Ullrich, Rous, Hamilton, Drugs, Canada
  • July 18 - Armstrong on l'Alpe, Cycling Manager, food, 35 minutes, commentary, Men's World Cup, Schmoo, van Vliet
  • Letters Index - The complete index to every letters page on cyclingnews.com