Letters to Cyclingnews –April 26 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

Podium Girl
Marco Absentani
Armstrong's tax problem
Shelby Crit
Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw

Eurosport #1

As an American fan, I agree that David D. needs work, but for different reasons. We in the US get the "opportunity" to hear David on occasions for several races during the season and I for one have not noticed his "rants". I believe that People in the UK (at least the ones I have met) seem far more refined and laid back (meaning that you have not had your senses dulled by all the overpowering Hype that we have to deal with in the US). So much so, that you are all actually able to remain at attention and are still awake through David's monotone commentary.

I am a huge cycling fan, and can watch and listen to Phil and Paul for four hours and stay glued to the TV. Unfortunately Mr. Duffield has me sleeping inside 30 minutes and I continually miss the end of our one hour versions of races shown on OLN...

I would love to hear one of David's Rants, as long as it involved some mild form of voice inflection...

Charles Manantan
Phoenix, USA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Eurosport #2

John Griffiths is, of course, entitled to his opinion, but I much prefer Duffield to "the ex-Channel Four boys." I will happily listen to Duffield for 6+ hours, given the chance, but five minutes of Liggett is about my limit. He mangles foreign names and his overt partiality towards all and any English-speaking riders really annoys me.

However, one person who should never be allowed near a microphone is Russell Williams - he tries to monopolise the proceedings and his output is restricted to "I mean," "yerknow," "Hay," "obviously" and other verbal padding. When he is on, I re-tune my satellite and listen to the really excellent Uli Jansch (with perhaps Tony Rominger as a bonus).

Bob Martin
Portsmouth, UK
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Eurosport #3

Dear John,
Phil Liggett and David together would be a great combination, wouldn't it? Don't knock Mr Duffield, PLEASE.
Sheer bloody enthusiasm counts for a lot in my book.

David Lewis,
Rhodes, Greece
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Eurosport #4

Well yes, Duffers talks some right old tripe sometimes, although he is usually balanced by Sean Kelly or Chris Boardman or someone who knows what they are talking about. The fact is that to commentate, live for up to four hours is hard work and will invariably involve some waffle. I wince sometimes at David and his 'Duffieldballs,' but he does a better job than I, or I suspect, you could. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were great though, but half an hour of coverage, compared to the whole race live, well I'll take the latter.

Sean Lally
Beckenham, Kent.
Tuesday, April 02, 2002

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Cipollini #1

I suspect not only are they not sprinters I can't really believe they are bike racers. No one who has really raced a bike or been involved in a field sprint could possibly "slag off" the skills it takes to succeed at this art form.

Steve Farris
New Mexico, USA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Cipollini #2

Dear Sir,

The situation that led Cipo to punch Cerezo was the following: Apparently in on of the stages of the Vuelta, Cerezo has blocked Cipo on his way to the

Cipo complained to Cerezo without any effect. In the arguments they exchanged Cerezo called Cipo (hijo de puta), which in Spanish means son of ab...Cipo took that offense literally and call Cerezo to resolve the issue in the alley (like a man).

So, it was a one on one fight and Cipo got the better of Cerezo as he would have done in a sprint! I don't think Cipo was a bad sporting person, but one that defended his honor. Even after the Vuelta organisers expelled Cipo from the race, Cipo was a gentleman enough to go to Cerezo and apologise. I found Cerezo the bad type, not Cipo.

Jairo Santana
Mount Rainier, USA
22 April, 2002

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Cipollini #3

From the reports, it looks like Super Mario punched Cerezo because the Spanish rider called Cipo, "Un Hijo de Puta."

This very common problem is caused, because phrases frequently used in one ethnic lexicon, often literally translate very poorly to other cultures and languages. Many times, the original words have also lost a lot of their sting through time and over exposure, making them an even harsher impact when used on other nationals.

"H.d.P." means you are the "Son of a Whore," and is in the same league as the Middle-Eastern term, "You are the son of a thousand fathers." The "P" word is basically the same in Italian, so Cipo did not have to wait for a translation.

In most Spanish speaking countries today, while generally not said to one's face or hearing distance, it's meaning is more akin to "Son of a Bitch," or, "not a very nice person who has done something to your disliking," and not the degrading fighting words of old.

One great example that I know personally, is when Hispanics first arrived in America and heard for the first time the use of "Mother F----R" from blacks, it caused all kinds of confrontations because Hispanics literally took "M.F." to mean they as Hispanics engaged in a vile form of incest.

Senior Cerezo was likely complaining about Cipo having cut him off or such, and, was not intended to suggest that Mamma Cipollini turned tricks.

Sal Garcia
Seattle, U.S.A.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

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Podium Girl

Hi there,

I am trying to find out how you get to be a podium girl?

Lisa Joaquim
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

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Marco Absentani

I noticed that the greatest cyclist alive today, Marco Pantani, was not listed in the results of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Surely this must be a mistake, as I am sure Marco must have finished, and likely very high in the G.C. at that. Could you please contact Jean-Marie LeBlanc and have him correct the error as soon as possible? I would hate to see Mr. Pantani miss the Tour de France yet again, simply due to a clerical error.

Matthew Mizenko
Murray Hill, USA
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems #1


Being a diligent American tax lawyer, I never travel without a complete set of American tax treaties; thus, the fact that I am home does not prevent me from slipping the right CD into the laptop and firing away.

The matter appears governed by Article 17 of the France-United States Convention, effective as of December 30, 1995. That article applies to "artistes and sportsmen", and one senses that the English translation lost touch with vernacular English, at least as used in this corner of the world. That deficiency characterizes most tax laws, forms, and other documents, and that hardly comes as a surprise. The article provides that if an American "artiste or sportsman" earns income in France, it becomes subject to French taxation. To prevent double taxation, the American receives a credit for the French taxes against his American income tax bill. This represents the norm in American tax treaties with most countries.

This does not settle the matter. The difficult question is who earned the income. As I understand it, prizes are divided among the team members, either by contract or custom. Judging by the interview and USPS statements, no formal agreement exists, but there is at least an oral partnership entering the Tour, all of the members agreeing beforehand to share in any prize money. Cedric Vasseur having signed a UCI form, this confirms the existence of some pre-existing agreement.

The France-United States Convention recognizes that the "sportsman" may earn his income for the benefit of others, and they would be taxable unless their share of the income amounted to less than $10,000 or its equivalent in francs. Assuming that this matter of who earned the income is governed by American law, the team being American, if I were representing Mr. Armstrong, I would argue that the Tour de France income should be split among the nine members of the U.S. Postal squad or just eight, if he gave it all to his comrades, and other staff who shared in the pot. I would expect to find that USPS reports income for US purposes to all of its paid staff based on such an allocation, that this is respected for American tax purposes (as it should be), and the same principle ought to apply for French tax law purposes. France ought to be pursuing all of the beneficiaries of the prize, not just Lance Armstrong, if they chase anyone at all.

The only other results seem absurd, namely that Lance Armstrong did earn all of the money and either gave it to his team, with further gift tax complications under the Internal Revenue Code, or that he employed the other USPS staff during the Tour and paid them when it was over. As to the payments being gifts, that ignores the services rendered, some of which we see on television; as to USPS being his subcontractors, that means tearing up the contracts and agreements that all of those people have with USPS and pretending that they never existed. It also ignores the fact that USPS is paying the mechanics, other riders, and the rest of team members during the Tour, irrespective of results. USPS is clearly the employer of everyone on the team, including Lance Armstrong.

The Republic of France ought to have better things to do than harass Mr. Armstrong, and he should not have to incur professional fees to defend himself from what appears, from the United States viewpoint certainly, a baseless tax claim. Unfortunately, as I know from long experience, that hope does not represent the reality of how tax bureaucracies work in any country. However, if the French government realizes that they have to pursue a myriad of USPS employees, some of whom are citizens of countries other than the United States, one likes to think that cost-benefit analysis would stop this nuttiness cold. If Lance Armstrong is being singled out, a whole lot of other arguments on discrimination against citizens of the United States come into play, and the game cannot be worth the chandelier.

That is the pedantic answer to a simple question.

Irving S. Schloss
New Haven, USA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems #2

Tax Authorities worldwide are not considered "generous" by anyone !!

Lance is a high profile professional athlete, and should know that these "people" are never going to give him an easy ride....(pun intended).

As for giving away the race winnings amongst his team mates, and personnel, well, I'm sure his lawyers, and accountants, would advise him on the correct way to do that, and avoid tax !! That's why you supposedly pay them !

Has France got it "in" for Lance Armstrong ? Nah, I doubt it, just Lance whingeing about paying tax, which we all do!

PDM Sports
East Sussex. UK
Monday, April 22, 2002

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Armstrong's tax problems #3

Dan Orr....is it criminal that athletes get taxed at all or is it criminal that they get taxed in the different states they play (actually work)? As a traveling consultant, I file tax returns for the states where I have earned income. If I am obligated to do so, then so are athletes.

Colorado, USA
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

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Shelby Crit

Just wanted you to know how much I depend on Cyclingnews for precise up-to-date news on cycling world wide. But even more for events close at hand, I live in Marion, USA, about 40 miles west of Shelby. This Shelby Crit is such a beautiful and fast race and with the addition of the Womens pro race ( which should be an NRC race ) it is even better this year. To have pro teams this close is a blessing and hopefully more and more people will come to appreciate bike racing as the purest form of racing, period! Thanks for a job well done.

Joe Cowan
Marion, USA
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

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Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw

I believe the ten you are looking for are:
3 Tours of Flanders '93, '95, '98
3 Paris-Roubaix '96, '00,'02
2 GP of Zurich ?
1 Amstel Gold Race '93 or '94?
1 Paris-Tours '92?
I am not sure about all the dates.
Steve F
Denver US
Saturday, April 20, 2002

Steve F
Denver, USA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw

Johan's 10 WC wins?

91 Zurich
93 Flanders / Paris-Tours
94 Amstel
95 Flanders / Zurich
96 Paris-Roubaix
98 Flanders
00 Paris-Roubaix
02 Paris-Roubaix
more to come.....

Isn't that 10 WC wins?

Walter Poly
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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Editor's note: There were a lot of responses to this one, all saying essentially the same thing. Johan has definitely won 10 World Cups.


I for one thing believe that as long as Hincapie remains with US postal, he'll have a hard time winning a classic. He should move to a team dedicated only to the classics where he could play a role as a team leader, not somebody who dedicates entirely to work for Lance Armstrong to win the Tour de France. If he stays with US postal, 10 years down the road everybody will remember Lance for winning three or more TdF, but nobody will remember the guys who help to make it possible. I believe Hincapie has a chance a winning P-R among others if he moves to Belgium and trains with the masters. Look at Freddy Rodriguez, his results has been outstanding this year in the spring classics. The reason? He lives near Museeuw and trains with him and he is with the strongest team for the classics (needless to say).

Jairo Santana
Monday, 22 April, 2002

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