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Letters to Cyclingnews –April 12 2002

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

Cipollini
Paris-Roubaix shown around the world?
Armstrong's tax problem
Love the new site design!!!!
Lieswyn a class act
Tour of Flanders
Agilis Test
Flanders/Hincapie
Question Regarding knee patches

Cipollini #1

To say that it was disappointing that Cipo won Milan San Remo is a bit rude, in my opinion. I too do not care for a bunch sprint at the end of a great race either, but to say that it was disappointing and try to degrade his victory simply because you felt that someone who broke away should have won is ridiculous.

I felt he deserved the win because of the way he would lose to Zabel, praise the man, and then talk about his chances for the next year in an optimistic tone. He was passionate about wanting to win the race and that in itself makes him worthy of the win.

In light of your comment on sprint finishes; that's how most of the races in the U.S. are contested, most major races in the US are street criteriums that end in bunch sprints. I also think that it is not really racing when one sits on his team mate's wheel and then sprints for the win. I would much rather hear about Scott Moninger winning a mountain top finish in the Tour Of Willamette (which was canceled this year) than hear about Gord Fraser winning another bunch sprint in an industrial park parking lot criterium. I could go on about how lame I think criteriums are and how the Domestic racing scene, unfortunately, revolves around them.

But that's not necessary, deep down we know what real racing consists of. (Read full report)

Andrew Guzman
Lancaster, USA
Friday, April 05, 2002

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Cipollini #2

Dear Sir,

I agree totally with what Steve Farris says about Cipollini. He is a true champion - maybe not in the sense of winning major stage races, but in the sense that all true champions ooze class. Lance oozes class, so does Ullrich and Zabel, and if there was anybody saying that Cipo was just a playboy I can't hear them anymore.

Simoni may have won the Giro, and while I don't dislike the guy, and he's a top rider - millions of times better than myself, he's not a true champion, and neither are the other riders like Pantani that just go around spouting their mouths off about how they will beat somebody in races.

I might be wrong, as I can not clearly remember back to Cipo's early years at GB-MG racing against Abdujaparov, but the Cipo I know has never slagged another rider off after a race. Several years ago, the Tour de France fined Cipollini for wearing matching kits to go with jerseys and special kits- something that nearly everyone does now - and Cipo's detractors criticised him. He's full of hype and image, but over the year's this has been backed up by results. He is a true champ.

Ed Alexander
Atworth, England
Sunday, April 07, 2002

Editior's note: No argument at all about the true champ. Regarding your comment about how he has never slagged another rider off after a race: Remember the 2000 Vuelta, where he gave Cerezo a black eye and was subsequently ejected from the race and suspended by his team?

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Cipollini #3

Cipo finished ninth in Vlaanderen Pretty good for a guy who "doesn´t know how to suffer." He´s gonna finish very high in Paris-Roubaix, HEW-Classic and Paris-Tours, and he´s gonna win the bloody World Cup. Respect is due.

Bjarne Olsen
Denmark
Monday, April 08, 2002

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Cipollini #4

By the time this is printed, some will no doubt have letters in about how one race means nothing, and Cipo's winning San Remo is already enough to have people moan (see David Watson's letter).

But here it is, another classic type World Cup race with 16 "Bergs and Muurs" in the bag and Cipo brings in the bunch ahead of a host of "Real Cyclists", including 85 non-finishers, and without a leadout man within 50 places (or a Saeco replacement rider with 20...)

Good on ya Cipo.

C Manantan
USA
Monday, April 08, 2002

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Cipollini #5

Let's let Cipollini enjoy the victory. He's getting on in years, but remains one of the most entertaining reasons to watch a bike race. And I don't think that even the most inveterate Cipo-basher will deny the man's talent. He's not Merckx, but nobody ever will be again. I personally preferred Indurain's style and personality to Armstrong's, but that does not diminish my admiration for Lance as an athlete. This is sport we're talking about here....

Raymond F Martin
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

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Paris-Roubaix shown around the world?

Good day.

In your Friday April 5 news you mentioned that Paris-Roubaix will be shown by French channel TV5, everywhere but North America, where other stations own the rights. Could you advise, or suggest where one might find out whom owns the rights to Paris-Roubaix in Canada?

OLN has the broadcast rights in the USA, but as far as I know no one will be airing Paris-Roubaix in Canada (No doubt to free up time for some precious fishing show telecasts).

Thanks for your ongoing good work!

Christopher McCart
Canada
Friday, April 05, 2002

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Love the new site design !!!

Hi all,

Just wanted to say the new site looks awesome. I live in the USA (last five years) but am an Australian who used to attend Newcastle University back in 1994. I never knew Bill, but it is so cool that the site started there and is Australian based. This site is the best for cycling information and pictures and all my friends and team mates come here for the latest.

I am really proud to tell them that it is an Australian site and the Aussies rock!!! I always point out to them the Australian's results in the races, we've been kicking some butt lately, it's fantastic. Keep up the great work, both you guys and our riders.

Brendan
Hamilton, USA
Friday, April 05, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems

Being a resident of France, I was more than slightly amused by a statement by Lance Armstrong in the interview posted recently in cyclingnews.com. where he complained about the tax bill he had received from French tax authorities for the prize money for the Tour de France. I began to think about all the athletes who maintain residences elsewhere because of tax benefits.

Can anyone enlighten me (us) as to the tax procedures in various countries where an athlete who is not a resident of the country, but who wins a considerable sum of money, say in a tennis tournament or a World Cup football match?

Is he or she liable for taxes in that country or are they to be paid in the country of residence? Such information would be helpful in determining whether the French fiscal authorities have singled out Armstrong, as he seemed to suggest in the interview, or whether this is just standard procedure.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Roger Stevenson
Lyon, France
Saturday, April 06, 2002

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Lieswyn a Class Act

I had been a frequent reader of John Lieswyn's diary on cyclingnews.com, when I learned that he would be moving close by last year. I didn't expect much other than to be able to claim that he would be living in my home state, but I have been quite surprised. In addition to racing well at national events (the details of which we devour from his diary) he has went out of his way to attend local 'club' events throughout his new 'home' area. Keep in mind that these are small events where at best he can recoup his entry fee at the end of the day and the intensity must be much like a recovery ride for him.

I saw him at a number of events earlier in the year and after reading in his latest diary entry about the few days he would be spending at home I saw him again this weekend at a local event. He spent his precious time offering encouragement to other riders and sharing racing tales, and once the race started he even went out of his way to keep the pack together, rather than immediately blowing the race apart as he surely could have.

In the end he made all of us look like the club riders that we are, but his presence at one of our little local events made it seem a bit more important. Its great to see a professional rider support a local race, some local (and hopefully up and coming) riders and his sponsors: Cannondale and 7up/Nutrafig.

Lee Venteicher
Iowa City, USA
Sunday, April 07, 2002

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Tour of Flanders

Excellent coverage. Very exciting narrative. The excitement of the race was apparent through the words of your observers.

Mo Joyce
Monday, April 08, 2002

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Agilis Test

Anthony Tan,

It was great reading about your ascent of Bumble Hill during your test of the Merlin Agilis. Though I have never ridden that climb, it did bring to mind another legendary feared climb I have ridden with the same emotions. As a collegiate cyclist (Michigan State University) on spring break, I went with some team mates to Boone, North Carolina to ride the roads covered in the Tour DuPont of years past. One of the climbs we hit on two occasions was the dreaded ascent of Beech Mountain, where Lance Armstrong set his mark upon the 1995-96 Tours DuPont. This 6km climb was ridiculously difficult (7-14%) and I spent the whole thing in my 39x23 out of the saddle just grinding to keep moving. It was killer, but reaching the top at 5505 feet was pretty sweet, and the descent was rewarding indeed. Fittingly, one of my team mates who accompanied me last year was riding an Agilis as well!

Drew Hall
USA
Monday, April 08, 2002

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Flanders/Hincapie

Bravo Tafi! A great win for a good guy. I remember some comments by Frankie Andreu about Tafi's "stupid attacks" that never go anywhere. Well, Frankie, who's got the classic wins, usually in solo breakaways? And speaking of American classic wins, what is it about Hincapie? Every year he has "great legs" in Flanders or Roubaix, makes the key break-then seems to sit there and wait for something to happen. The other riders all say they were worried about him, but he never attacks.

I just got the '99 Roubaix video and late in the race when he is in the group chasing Tafi (surprise), he makes a couple of short jumps, but looks over his shoulder the whole time! Even Paul Sherwen was saying "stop looking back George, just go!"

So what if the rider ahead has team mates in the chase group. Go after him, make them work for it. Second is better than fourth. And all this talk about him looking good in a sprint with a small group doesn't make any sense when he always comes in third or fourth in such a group. He destroyed the break in San Fran, what holds him back in Europe? He's obviously as strong as the others.

I can't remember who it was, but some rider from the 80's said something to effect that "I attacked and I was hurting, but at least I knew the others were hurting too."

Go after it George.

Steve F
Denver, USA
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

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Atrial Fibrillation #1

Eric, I read your letter and was compelled to respond. I am a (very) amateur cyclist and a general internist. The biggest problem I see for you, is the drop in cardiac output (litres/minute of blood pumped by the heart). The heart is a series of pumps, and the filling of the bottom chamber (the ventricle) is assisted by the synchronized contraction of the atria (the top chamber). When everything is working right, this may be responsible for up to 25% of your cardiac output. When your heart beat is irregular, your maximal cardiac output, and hence oxygen delivery may fall by 25%.

There are medications that can help maintain a regular rhythm, but there are side effects and they're not for everyone.

Dan Barry
Colorado Springs, USA
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

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Atrial Fibrillation #2

I am responding to Eric Leese's questions about atrial fibrillation and cycling from personal experience. I am 32, and was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation at 22. I can say that for me Atrial Fibrillation has had a serious impact on my ability to cycle at a "high level". I too am on Sotolol, but at a much higher dose, 120mg twice a day, the properties of the medicine that make it work well at controlling Atrial Fibrillation also work against allowing for maximum athletic performance.

I was a fairly decent Cross-Country runner in high school and an "above average" cyclist in my late teens and early 20's. When I was first diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation I did very well for a couple of years on Tenormen(sp) a "mild" drug commonly used for treating high blood pressure as well as Atrial Fibrillation.

In 1995 I broke through into sustained Atrial Fibrillation for about two weeks and was switched to Sotolol at 40mg twice a day. I noticed an immediate decline in my anaerobic threshold. I simply could not reach a very high heart rate. The medicine made me max out at about 160-170 bpm. I was still fine at long steady riding, but could get dropped easily on the hills or when I was in a chasing situation for too long, or when the pace heated up just too much.

Frustrating as it was, I was able to hang with the fastest group of local riders most of the time if I rode "smart" (and it helped that I was 15-20 years younger than most of guys I rode with!)...I was not competitive in the least with my fit peers if things really got going. When riding amongst guys my age I was always out the back in no time flat!

Over the years I have had to gradually increase my daily dosage and now, at the level I'm at, I really can't ride for any duration (more than 30-40 miles) at a pace higher than 22-23 mph in a group or my heart starts to flippity flop and I just have to ease up a bit.

I have found quite a bit of info on the Web about Atrial Fibrillation and my cardiologist has been very helpful at making me understand that the physical limitations that I now experience are more a result of the medicine doing its job than of anything else.

It's a trade off, and I'll take a nice sinus heart rhythm any day, at the expense of being competitive in the saddle, to being in Atrial Fibrillation for a week! (Sustained AF makes you feel really crumby after about 4 days...washed out and just drained!) I have not noticed any weight problems (heck I'm 5'10" and 137lbs!...I'd be an excellent climber if it wasn't for the meds!) I doubt it is the medicine slowing your metabolic rate, maybe just plain, natural aging happening.

One other thing, my doctor has NEVER told me to take it easy. He has encouraged me to be as active as I want to be and to NOT let Atrial Fibrillation affect the way I live my life. (I even spent the '97/'98 ski season living at 10,000 feet in Breckenridge working as a ski instructor for Vail Resorts.) In short, outside of cycling (or any other endurance sport) my body has adjusted well to the medicine...I don't really notice it anymore. But when it comes to riding I have had to learn to enjoy "long and steady" and to let guys go off the front when the pace picks up. And you know what? I've found that I often end up in much prettier company on rides now...I let the guys go off on their testosterone jags and hang back with all the women!

Travis Hartman
Michigan, USA
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

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Question Regarding knee patches

I believe these knee pads have been medically treated with antiflammatory type creams, which cut down on knee problems such as tendonitis etc.

Lou frankel
New Jersey, USA
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

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