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Letters to Cyclingnews –April 19 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
30's Classics Club
Eurosport
Paris Roubaix - a touch of sanity
Love the new site design!!!!
Armstrong's tax problem
Freddie's "Quiet" Classics Campaign
Sports Crimes
Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw
Hincapie

Cipollini #1

What a disappointment to hear that Super Mario has pulled out of the Paris-Roubaix. His top ten finish in the Tour of Flanders, which has its share of cobbles, was a treat to watch and many of his fans were looking forward to seeing him defend his World Cup lead this weekend. It seems strange that he was prepared to ride but, as soon as his team is accepted under the special circumstances, he decides to pull out. I feel the organisers were quite correct in their decision to withdraw their invitation to Acqua e Sapone.

Tommy Lamb
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Monday, April 15, 2002

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Cipollini #2

Dear Sir,

In your editor's note to Ed Alexander you point out that Cipo hit Cerezo, implying that he was a bad sport or that it was cycling-related, however, I recall that fight involving a comment Cipo thought Cerezo made about his mother (or maybe his wife?)...either way, that incident had nothing to do with bicycle racing, other than the fact that it happened to occur at one. I could be wrong though.

Henry Corley
USA
Friday, April 19, 2002

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Cipollini #3

Having read the many comments regarding Cipollini, I would just like to make two observations:

1) It was not so long ago that Tennis broadcasters and viewers were complaining about how boring tennis was to watch because of the bland characters that dominated the results once the big "personalities" retired. Cipollini gives bike racing a level of spectacle and excitement that few could match - and we should be thankful. Golfers are grateful for Tiger Woods, tennis is grateful of Leyton Hewitt, F1 for the Schumachers, 500cc for Rossi and Biaggi , and so on it goes.

I remember the excitement and pitched frenzy that the crowd would experience in Nikki Lauder's last appearance in Monaco. Every lap was an event as his McLaren shot past. And so too was the experience of watching the Saeco "red train" snake its way through the peloton in the final kilometers of a stage in the TdF, then firing Cipo off the front. It's a true spectacle which remains with you forever - and thank goodness he had the character and charisma to ice the cake in the ensuing hysteria and celebration.

2) And finally, I wonder what kind of cyclist would slag off at sprinters and bunch sprints? We acknowledge that there are time trialists, climbers, sprinters, and iron men that can make a lone breakaway stick - but to pass off one as inferior to the other is ridiculous and shallow. I suspect none of them are sprinters themselves.

Road racing is different to XC and ITT insofar as the benefit of"sitting in" and drafting is concerned. But you just have to remember that we all have to race over the same course. None of the other"specialists" could match a sprinter - even with fresh legs. Then stop to consider that these sprinters have to not only negotiate a race which spits world class athletes off the back mercilessly, but position themselves up the pointy end and then call on their legs to perform super-human feats at the end of 250+kms! Get serious guys! The only reason no solo breaks succeeded is that their adversaries rode them all down. So give Cipo, Zabel, Steels, McEwen & co the credit they deserve when they bust their ass to stay in touch with the field over all the hills and attacks, and still manage to pull a big one out at the end and leave us with thrilling memories that live on in our minds for years to come, and help inspire us to crawl out of our beds and mash the pedals on those mornings we need that extra motivation.

David Ewins
Sydney, Australia
Monday, April 15, 2002

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30's Classics Club

After 35 your competitive cycling career is long gone, right ?

I'm 35 and am often left asking myself, for how many more years I can continue pushing myself to limits? I should have quit thinking about it. So this year, just to prove all theories wrong, ALL the World Cup races to date have been won by riders aged 35 years or older: MSR - Mario Cipollini (35); RVV - Andrea Tafi (35); P-R - Juhan Museeuw (36).

Keep going, guys. Your performances are my motivation. With your experience and dedication, why should you quit your careers? I hope you will keep the 30's flag flying throughout the season and into the next - can't wait to see you defending your titles next season.

Miguel Ferreira.
Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Tuesday, April 16, 2002

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Eurosport

OK, I know that Eurosport is our only source of televised races, but having just had another taste of David Duffield my blood runs cold at the thought of another Tour De France with him as the main commentator. I was even beginning to give him the benefit of the doubt, he seemed a tad more mellow after his "waterworks" troubles in Bath general Hospital, but it wasn't long before he was off on one of his rants and referring to "the ladies" who, he thinks, prefer his comments on wine and cheese while "hubbie" goes for the technical stuff. Enough already! We all know that there are better cycling commentators out there, not least the ex-Channel Four boys, so please could they be got ready in time for the Tour?

John Griffiths
Beckenham, Kent.
Tuesday, April 02, 2002

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Paris Roubaix - a touch of sanity

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for Jeff Jones' article about riding the Forest of Arunberg (April 14th).

At last, a proper accurate description of this famous track. I rode it (and the rest of the parcours) with my brother in April 2001 and I can confirm the accuracy of Jeff's report.

We had ridden about 60 miles on the course before reaching the forest and found the cobbles there by far the worst. The style of the Arunberg stones is different from the other sections - being bigger and more uneven. The bike has to be forced across them. It is without doubt the most dangerous section and is perhaps a little too dangerous for such highly paid athletes!

Thank you Jeff. I find Paris Roubaix is still my favourite race of the season but I get irritated when the media try to portray it as far worse than it really is.

The comments by Jean Stablinski (April 13) are typical of this. He says ' every section constitutes a trench,' 'riders may encounter wild boar.' Utter nonsense. Riders may encounter Taliban warlords but I doubt it!
The Arunberg is not cordoned off at all - it is closed to motor vehicles. It is and remains a recreational area for the public.


Yours faithfully,

Simon Barnes
Scarborough, England
Sunday, April 14, 2002

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Love the new site design !!!

Whilst the actual article pages are easier to read, the Home page is just too busy.

Half or one third sentences per line and narrow columns is nothing like as clear the original page where at a glance one could see what was available for that day's reading.

The other annoying feature is having the photos on the same page as the article. I look at one photo, click back and then instead of going to a "Photo Page" I end up back in the article and have to scroll down again to the next photo.

Still better than anything else, of course.

John Andrews
Singapore
Monday, April 15, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems

Here in the US, professional athletes get tax in each state in which they play during their season, and in some cases (New York City) they even get taxed by cities. It's criminal.

Dan Orr
Coronado USA
Saturday, April 13, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems

The point of Mr. Armstrong's comments does not appear be whether the tax in question is applied differently in other countries. His point is that tradition dictates that the winner of the Tour de France gives his prize money in equal shares to his team mates and that he does not benefit from the
money in question. It is unclear whether French tax authorities have historically chosen not to pursue the taxes that might be due on these winnings, but as Lance has won three years running, one is led to believe that this is the first time that they have chosen to pursue the tax bill. If this is a sudden change in policy it is odd timing. I would certainly like to know if this tax has been required of previous winners and if not, why now?

Vince Smith
USA
Sunday, April 14, 2002

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Freddie's "Quiet" Classics Campaign

It hit me this AM, as I was looking through the Milan-San Remo results - Freddie Rodriguez is mounting a "quiet" campaign to give Mario Cippolini a run at the World Cup this year. Freddie's having an incredible early season, with two second place Classics' finishes (both behind the Lion King). It seems like this is Freddie's breakout year, launching him into cycling's elite. Two back-to-back Star-and Stripes jerseys, some great Tour de France performances for his team, now followed by some amazing rides (and placings) of his own!

Way to go, Freddie - and keep it up! Your years of hard work and suffering are now reaping bennies. You ROCK!!

Pete Weber
Malden, USA
Saturday, April 13, 2002

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"Sports Crimes"

I am writing to see if anyone has any ideas on the following topic of "Sports Crimes" that they could share with me.

I am currently preparing a criminology course I teach here at FSU-Panama. I figure that to make the course a little more interesting for both the students and myself I should liven up the case studies of crimes that we consider and include something more than just homicide, robbery, white collar crime etc.

A part of the course deals with definitions crime and deviance, what are crimes and how are they defined and viewed by different societies, academic disciplines etc. Then we move on to the various criminological theories expounded over the years. The last part is the case studies of examples of crime as mentioned above.

I have thought about the subject of "sports crimes" quite a bit - how did doping become a crime, how is it viewed by spectators, participants, officials, sponsors, governments etc. etc. How much is it a product or professionalism and commercilaisation of sport.

I have thought about the problem of match fixing in other sports (for example cricket) and its apparent criminalisation. In contrast cycling sometimes approaches "match fixing" as a legitimate post-TDF August exercise to say the least. Anyway, I obviously have some materials on this and I intend to get my students to apply the theories they study to an analysis of a particular area of "crime". A net search reveals lots of news and anecdotes, but has anyone out their considered or come across any considerations of the issues in a way that transcends the anecdotes and the news reports?

If so I would love to hear from you. Also if you wish to donate a perspective, personal or otherwise, I would like that as well. Given the issues I am happy to adopt a system whereby your identity is kept strictly confidential. As we say its for academic purposes only.

Please write me at auskadi@cwpanam.net if you think you have something to offer and thank for taking the time to think about this.

Martin Hardie
Adjunct Professor - Florida State University - Panama
Sunday, April 14, 2002

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Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw

A friend and I have been scratching our heads over a rather technical fact regarding the 2002 Paris - Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw.

Could someone please clear up just which 10 Victories in the World Cup Johan Museeuw is referring to with his waving hand gesture.

Working through his Bio/Palmares on Cycling News Web site we can only identify nine victories in World Cup events.

The one we think he may be referring to is Het Volk but this is not a counting race in the World Cup calendar is it?

Regards

Richard Hill
Monday, April 15, 2002

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Atrial Fibrillation #1

Atrial fibrillation is not as big a problem for your sporting career as you might imagine.

In rowing, Rob Waddell won the 2000 Olympic Games in the Single Scull (rowing's toughest event) as well as being world champion and world record holder.

He struggled previously before he had it treated by medication.

Several other elite Olympic level athletes have successfully managed to compete at the highest levels and win with correct medical management of their condition. Getting defibrillated can be done in substitution for medicine.

Hope this helps

Nick White
Bath, England
Monday, April 15, 2002

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Atrial Fibrillation #2

Hi Eric
Here's another a-fib experience. Mine started when I was about 47. I had been racing masters and open citizens races for about nine years and doing OK. I started blowing up in races and it turned out it was atrial fib. I controlled it for about another year or two and continued to race, but it got worse. I would have episodes where I would totally melt down. Kind of grey out and get neck pain and have to quit. It got so bad I couldn't really ride or go on ski trips. I couldn't even climb a flight of stairs when it hit. I wore a Holter monitor riding and had an episode and it turned out it was initially a-fib, but was converting to flutter with a 1:1 conduction with a rate of 300. I had a catheter ablation four years ago and it worked great! I can now control the fib most of the time with Rythmol and can do fitness riding, sit in on training rides, ski, and be a normal recreational athlete without much problem. (I'm now 58). I will occasional go into fib if I forget to take my medication. Figuring out that flutter was the really disabling aspect of the condition and having the ablation really turned things around. I can no longer compete, but it's great to just be able to get on the road.

Terry Kennedy
Alexandria, USA
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

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Hincapie

It seems that if you are always the third best climber, and the third best sprinter, you will never win. Hincapie can't seem to win the final sprint of any sized group, and can't seem to get away on the climbs before the finish. He must be getting very frustrated with his results this season. He has been one of the strongest riders in each classic, but can't seem to seal the deal. He always gets fourth or third! In fact, at Paris-Roubaix, he finished third in the group that was sprinting for fourth!

Part of his problem is tactical, as he will admit. But he also needs to be more specialized. Perhaps he should work on getting his sprint back to the level where it was in 1998,1999. He has become too much of an all-rounder now. Zabel is a great all-rounder, but still specializes in the sprint. Cipo has proven the same. Hincapie has to change something if he wants to be remembered as anything besides second (or third or fourth) best.

Tyler
Princeton, USA
Monday, April 15, 2002

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Hincapie

I totally agree with Steve about Hincapie's lack of aggressiveness when it counts in races. I think Hincapie is a fantastic rider, full of promise, but it is becoming obvious that he lacks a bit of confidence when it really counts - in the last kilometers of a race.

I wonder, is this a product of being a domestique for so long? Is it difficult to change roles and become the aggressor?

I believe that George will gain the confidence he needs to start attacking like Tafi or Museeuw - he certainly has the strength to do so. I look forward to seeing it happen!

Christina Meyer
Columbia, USA
Friday, April 19, 2002

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