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Letters to Cyclingnews – October 11, 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

Virenque
EPO testing
Vuelta at record speed
Wheel Regulation
Transcontinental US Record Attempt
Support Vehicles
Santiago Botero's changing abilities
Saddle Heights
High blood pressure and cycling
Podium Girls
Tribute song to Lance Armstrong

Virenque #1

Well what can we say about Richard Virenque's performance in the recent Paris - Tours? Even the most hardened ' Virenque Bagger ' must give the man credit for what he has done this season. Who would have expected Virenque to win Paris - Tours? No one, that's why this victory is such a milestone in Virenque's career, not just a mountain stage from some stage race, but a classic.

Riders and Fans alike often wonder and get extremely jealous because of Richard's popularity. It's obvious why Virenque has such a strong following from many cycling fans, to sum it up in one word, its all about the man's courage. Being humiliated by the French press and the drug ban were all meant to kill off Richard, but the only thing it made him do was become stronger. Congratulations Richard on your superb pursuit to hold off the main field last Sunday, congratulations you are the Lion Heart and my hero. ALLEZ RICHARD!!

Martin Jarrett
Maitland, Australia
Wednesday, October 10 2001

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Virenque #2

If Richard Virenque wins the pro world's road race championships, I will no longer be able to continue following professional road racing.

This man has no shame: He foisted 'His Truth' upon us, only to finally recant it, and admit what we all knew, under oath in French court. I'm incredibly disappointed that he's been allowed to continue as a pro road racer and really disheartened that he's won a major classic. He adamantly denied all of the well-founded allegations against him, in the Festina doping affair, casting the reputations of many honest people into jeopardy. Finally, he was served up a suspension that's piddling, in comparison to the shame and pall of cynicism he's cast upon his profession.

I cannot believe that anyone could continue to be a fan of this man. He's a bulwark against change in the attitudes of the sport and represents all of its most cynical aspects.

Mark Zeh
Mountain View, USA
Wednesday, October 10 2001

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Virenque #3

I am sitting down to a big plate of crow, and find that I am in good company. Richard Virenque, I apologize for all the rude remarks I have made about you. Although I will not go so far as to suggest you have class, you have something far more important in bicycle racing, guts. And there is no deodorant like success. I take my hat off to you. Thank you for a great win.

Jay Dwight
Cummington,USA
Thursday, October 11 2001

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EPO Testing #1

I agree with the comments that random testing is the only way to combat EPO. In Canada all athletes that are Nationally funded are informed that random testing will take place and sign a contract that they are subject to random testing at any time. With harsh penalities for a postitive test and random testing this could easily eliminate the problem and protect the sport of cycling.

The will must come from the international cycling federation.

Bruce Goldsmid
Wednesday, October 3 2001

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EPO Testing #2

I've received EPO during chemo treatments and it kept my red cell counts up for three weeks per shot. Granted I don't know the dosage they gave me, but I'm sure it was right in line with what they take illegally.

Did I notice a difference? Hell yes I did. It is what kept me cycling in between chemo treatments, although rather slow cycling at that. I was amazed at how quickly the results came out once blood is drawn. Once the vial of blood was on the machine, the results came in within a minute. The machine itself can measure every factor of blood content.

Why would it be so difficult to detect a cheater is beyond me, that is of course if they have access to this type of machine? Hospital blood computers can detect every aspect of one's blood. Does the UCI have such a machine?

Steve Doo
Gilroy, California, USA
Saturday, October 6, 2001

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Vuelta at record speed

The reason for the extremely high speed would be the strong tail winds that always occur in the Vuelta. I think in the 2000 Vuelta the O.N.C.E team used 56 x 12 for some stages to take advantage of this. Drugs are always going to be a problem in all sports, unfortunately cycling has become the scapegoat for most other professional sports. But after seeing how many riders were totally drained at this years Tour de France, it is obvious that quite a large percentage were riding clean.

Jon
Australia
Sunday, October 7 2001

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Wheel regulations

What's this I hear about new UCI wheel regulations? An American pro entered the bike shop where I wrench and described new regulations limiting rim depth, weight, etc. Is this for real? Does the UCI really believe that it is working in the best interest of cycling as sport and industry? Any news would be greatly appreciated.

Nicholas Legan
Thursday, October 11 2001

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Transcontinental US Record Attempt #1

In April 1990, Michael Secrest rode his bike 1216.8 miles in twenty-four hours. That's an average of 50.7 miles per hour. It was paced, of course, and I believe it was on a track. If he could sustain that speed for forty-eight hours, he'd cover 2433.6 miles. If he could increase the speed, he might get across the country in that time. I don't know of anyone who could do this *except* Michael Secrest.

Keith Burgess-Jackson
Fort Worth, Texas

Wednesday, October 3 2001

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Transcontinental US Record Attempt #2

Amidst all of the letters decrying the dangers of drug use in the peleton (I personally don't worry about it - they'll all do what they want despite my concerns), we have this letter about a guy wanting to ride 300 miles drafting behind an 18 wheeler across the USA! Talk about dangerous, this guy would risk significant disaster much more than the drug users do. And lets talk downhill next. The drug issue is one of ethics, not safety, there are a myriad of drugs that can be safely used to enhance performance.

Raymond Martin
Thursday, October 4 2001

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Transcontinental US Record Attempt #3

If Secrest could get trucks to pace him with road closures/clearance, I'd put my money on the guy. Even if he did it in 72 hours, that would be quite outstanding (41.6 mph average). I think he might be able to get between those two extremes. The chances of his getting the road closures?

Brian Lafferty
Thursday, October 4, 2001

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Support Vehicles

After watching all three tours on OLN (excellent job guys--you have earned a loyal viewer), there was something that came to my attention and bothers me. I was wondering who makes the frames for the support vehicles for both Shimano and Mavic. Obviously they carry different sizes for different riders, but who makes the actual frames? I am sure your crack staff or some astute readers will be able to answer that. Simoni, Armstrong and Casero--thanks for a great tour season.

S R Jones
Saturday, October 6 2001

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Santiago Botero's changing abilities

One year (TdF '00) Santiago Botero is putting the wood to the peloton in the mountains (KOM jersey, mountain stage wins) and turning in mediocre ITT's (losing 1 minute to Millar in the prologue). The next year (Vuelta '01), he's winning multiple time trials, but getting dropped by the lead group on the big climbs.

Can anyone explain what is going on, perhaps with reference to what the differences in his training have been?

Nathan Drake
USA

Thursday, October 4 2001

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Saddle Heights #1

In response to the letter from "Russell" who stated that he did not want to give up the leverage that additional saddle height provides on the downstroke, I thought I would express something that most readers already know: you generate more power concentrating on applying force throughout the pedal stroke than you do when you focus on the downstroke. This is true for everyone, not just pros.

I'm a Category 5 racer, and I also happen to have 20 pounds I'd like to get rid of. On a Levee road I ride frequently, I find myself suffering to maintain 18mph into a head wind. At those times, I force myself to pedal circles, not squares, to apply force throughout the pedal stroke. By doing this, I can lift my speed to 20+ mph and at the same time, reduce the amount of pain I suffer.

If I want to go to the same level of pain I experience when I'm over-emphasizing the downstroke, I find I can lift my speed by about 5mph. My point is that giving up something on the downstroke doesn't mean you suffer more. And by forcing yourself to pull through that stroke in bigger gears, you will gain a lot of strength in muscles like glutes and hamstrings quickly.

Tripp Goldsberry
Sacramento, USA
Thursday, October 4 2001

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Saddle Heights #2

I remember reading in either Bicycling or Lemond's book that it would also depend on the percentage of your upper leg length versus your lower leg. That would give the cyclist with a shorter lower leg a lower perceived angle when looking at the position of his thigh versus one with a longer, lower leg length. That given, wouldn't both have the same saddle height?

Steve Doo
Gilroy, California, USA
Saturday, October 6, 2001

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High blood pressure and cycling #1

Re Alex's recommendation of drastic reduction in sodium intake, ie salt, 'this is probably the biggest single thing you can do to lower your blood pressure without resorting to drugs.'

I am in no position to say Alex is wrong in this, but recently, I fleetingly read a newspaper article, the gist of which was that a group of medics had done some research and concluded that the role of salt intake in causing high blood pressure had been over exaggerated.

I dare say in the near future, another learned group will publicise a contrary statement. Being safe rather than sorry is always wise, and as so much ready prepared food comes already dosed with salt, a wise precaution is not to add any more. Until that is, another learned group declare that salt is good for you.

Reg Oakley
Wednesday, October 10 2001

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High blood pressure and cycling #2

Nathan Pritikin started researching low fat lifestyles after he was diagnosed with heart disease in the 1970's. He found that with a low fat diet (no more than 10% fats and no added sugar or salt),blocking of the arteries could be reversed and heart related conditions such as high blood pressure could be eliminated.

Check out your local library - you should find three or four books written by Pritikin. You should also find several others such as The Health Revolution by Ross Horne and Fit for Life by M Diamond.

If you do decide to follow this lifestyle make sure your intake consists of more fruit and vegetables than grains. Too many grains can lead to arthritis in some people because of greater acidity in the system.

David McNaughton
Australia
Wednesday, October 10 2001

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Podium Girls #1

Was that a banana in David Millar's shorts or was he just happy to be on the podium with two Spanish girls!

I agree with Bicycle Bill, more pics of the podium girls.

Mark Flatley
South Saint Paul, USA
Wednesday, October 3 2001

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Podium Girls #2

I must concur with Bicycle Bill, after having seen all three Grand Tours on OLN this year and checking out all pictures in Mr Watson's web site that would relate to this matter. Spain definitely gave us the finest looking podium girls of the year. Obviously the Giro was a little while back and the memory could have faded a bit, but I do seem to recall too much makeup a few times.

I know I saw too much makeup on Le Tour's podium girls. Honorable mention must go out to the GP Zurich, as there were another fine couple of ladies framing Mr. Bettini. I found it rather curious that Mr. Watson's Web site had no picture of the podium girls in Italy and I think only one in France. I recall several (four or five) from the Vuelta and all so very nice to see.

But the girls are there now and guys will be guys. I've not met too many men who didn't appreciate seeing a beautiful woman and we don't mind letting others know how we feel about it. Maybe it's unfortunate that we're wired that way, but it seems to be the way things have been, are, and will be.

Now where did I leave the November issue of Playboy...

Barry Whitesides
Statesville
Wedensday, October 3 2001


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Podium Girls #3

Thank you, Bicycle Bill. Those girl are indeed beautiful; it must be drugs!! The idea of podium girls is so politically incorrect, but no one cares. I hope they are with us forever..

Russ Davis
Rochester, USA
Thursday, October 4 2001

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Podium Girls #4

Cycling News is the best precisely because it does not dedicate its resources to providing "Bicycle Bill" and his kind with pictures of pretty podium girls. There are plenty of Web sites with plenty of pictures of beautiful women, if that is what one is seeking. There are very few sites that provide the kind of quality coverage of sport without the gratuitous eye candy I find at Cycling News.

While I certainly appreciate the beauty of the female form, I come to Cycling News to learn of athletic performances, not aesthetic ones. I, for one, hope strongly that Cycling News keeps its focus on the racing, as it has done so very, very well up to now.

Perhaps Mr. Bill could start his own Web site, at www.podiumgirls.com....

Gerry Hunter
McMinnville, USA
Friday, 5 October 2001

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Tribute song to Lance Armstrong

Hi, I just finished recording a song about Lance's TDF victory. I submitted it to him and he liked it enough to put it on the front page of Lance's site. Check it out at either www.lancearmstrong.com or at www.mp3.com/finn. The song is called TDF 2001. Enjoy!

Corbett Mortensen
Tuesday, October 9 2001


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The last month's letters

  • 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