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Letters to Cyclingnews – February 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

Valley of the Sun Stage Race
Langkawi
Pantani on Armstrong
US Postal investigation
NTL Ireland and Eurosport
Rest heart rates
Trash talking
Where's Greg?
Pics of Obree
Domestiques rule
Unusual ad
800.com eBay sale
Hernias from cycling?
Cyclo-cross Olympics
Nicknames?
Worst team kit
Road rage
Cross worlds TV
Odessa

Valley of the Sun Stage Race

I was one of many cyclists who were disqualified in the road race stage for having crossed over the yellow line. I have been competing at this race for four years now, and this year they decided that we would be warned on the start line that anyone crossing the yellow line would be disqualified. In years past, there would be time penalties, but not this year. I was disqualified for having crossed the line with the entire field, despite having tried to stay on the right side of the road during a heavy surge in speed. The wind prevented myself and others from riding out of the pack, so we all rode into the field for protection. When I moved over to the field, that is when they took my number down, and I was informed the next morning that I could not continue in the race. I was outraged, but I was a lone ride there, and would not have any way of pleading my case.

I talked to the professional teams who were there and they said they were all protesting the actions of the officials in the road race. I would hope that the organization that I have been a member of for 10 years now (USA Cycling, Inc.), would be able to take some kind of action on the race organization that puts on the Valley of the Sun stage race. It was unfair for them to disqualify us for having followed the field. They should have just cancelled our race if they were that serious about the yellow line. I truly hope that the other teams there, such as Mercury, Saturn, Prime Alliance, etc. will write USA Cycling, Inc. and USPRO expressing there concerns about this past weekend, so that something can be done to prevent this kind of treatment from happening again. I thank you for your time.

Chris McDonald
Tuesday, February 19

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Langkawi

First, I would like to commend Cyclingnews.com for the superlative coverage of TDL this year and the exposure you are providing for Asian riders. I have had the privilege of racing with many of the Malaysian, Japanese, and Indonesian riders and I think they are under rated by the cycling world and are disciplined, dedicated, and very very talented.

To compare, how many amateur riders in the US would finish on the podium of a UCI 2.3 race ? Ton Ton and Wong Kam Po have both done so on the toughest, and then longest climb in any race in the world (Genting and Cameron with Wong actually winning a stage) v. the strongest teams in the world. Given that support is minimal and Ton Ton in particular is a true amateur (he literally has to buy his own cycling shoes, a massive expense in a country where they cost the equivalent of 2.5 months wages) their results are extraordinary. I hope they kick tail on Genting and we see an Asian atop the podium.

I notice that in the US even amateur teams have multiple product sponsors, I only hope that globalisation has a benign side and cycling manufacturers will start providing support to the global community instead of concentrating on Cat 3 riders in the US. Most cycling apparel is manufactured in Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand but the companies provide literally no support to riders in those countries... they exploit the cheap labour but provide nothing to the local cycling scene.

On a different note, I am very disappointed that two US teams declined invitations to TDL. I have been racing in Malaysia and Indonesia for years and have never had any negative encounters with locals, race officials, or even racers for that matter. This stands in marked contrast to the US where everyone's pastime is swearing, haphazard riding, and boastful post race talk. In fact I have raced in both Surabaya and Perlis, two Muslim dominated provinces in Asia and found the people to be gracious, accommodating, and true cycling fans (1000 people lined the streets in Surabaya to cheer on a criterium, and they provided immeasurable psychological support for this Bule racer).

If one looks at the situation rationally at all it becomes apparent that instead of avoiding TDL because of 'terrorist activity' and perceived danger the sporting community should embrace racing in Muslim countries thereby generating contact with our Asian neighbors.

Unfortunately the US has a long history of isolationism in times of conflict, one which will exacerbate current stereotypes of the 'Western' world instead of breaking them down.

I say the US teams are misinformed. Do they really think they will be a target of terrorists in Malaysia? Give me a break. The race has the explicit backing of P.M. Mahathir, a man who has been trying to moderate the Muslim extremists for twenty years. The race is loved by all of Malaysia, the public would not tolerate any shenanigans by extremists, and a Division 2 pro team from the US isn't exactly a high profile target.

The only risk to Saturn et al is angry ass from eating too much chili. I laud all the Canadians for competing. I love the fact that Mapei has gone out of their way to be diplomats for the sport in Malaysia.

I am embarrassed by my fellow countrymen for their precipitous judgement, lack of foresight, and cowardice. There are estimated to be over 7,000 terrorists in America (the continent, not the country). Why not pull out of the Core States, NRC, et al if you are truly afraid of the risks ? Missing an opportunity to show Malaysians that Americans are good sportsmen, work hard, and consummate professionals is a shame and indicative of narrow, paranoid thinking. For the record- The most dangerous aspect of racing in Asia is the wayward wildlife (boas, cobras, cows, and goats on the road) not extremists.

Be Nagela
Friday, February 8

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Pantani on Armstrong #1

Elephantino has begun his campaign for his team's inclusion in the 2002 Tour de France. Unfortunately, he has already accepted his team's dismal prospects in terms of results and his own inability to regain the heights of his former years. Instead, he has instigated a rivalry of words, as his deeds are too insufficient to offer a worthy challenge. Like a boxer trying to talk his way into a championship bout, Pantani is attempting to talk his way into the Tour de France.

We would all love to see Elephantino vs. Armstrong. Pantani should have gone the most obvious route, he should have founded a Division 2 team in France. However, with the state of his driving skills, I would imagine navigation is one of his short falls as well.

Jason Darden
Raleigh, North Carolina
Monday, February 18

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Pantani on Armstrong #2

Elephantino is sure to have been suffering from his latest auto crash concussion when he degraded Mr. Armstrong this last week. Lance has the utmost respect of the pro peloton and is considered a leader and great champion, among most except Pantani I assume. Show us what kind of Campanissimo you are Marco, this July.

Barry Johnson
Salt lake City, USA
Sunday, February 17

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Pantani on Armstrong #3

Is Marco Pantani on crack? Seriously, is he? I can think of no other way to explain his outlandish views. The selection controversy aside, Marco was so awful last year that he had no chance of helping Mercatone Uno make the cut. Period, end of story. And now, once again, we have him talking trash about Lance and how Lance is not a great rider. Marco, give us a break and shut your mouth. It is interesting how when Lance has a bad day, Lance will usually tell you it's Lance's fault. Yet, when Marco has a bad day it's "Oh... the management is against me" or "The tour organizers hate me" or one of several other excuses, all of which have just become tired. Now you have your own team, with everything handpicked to your own specs and satisfaction. So put up or shut up - we're all getting pretty sick of it.

Matt Mizenko
Murray Hill, NJ, USA
Monday, February 18

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Pantani on Armstrong #4

I agree that Armstrong, when compared to greats like Eddy Merckx, may not be one of the great champions. Mainly because he has concentrated only on the Tour these last few years, but he is still a cut above the rest. How can Pantani say these things about Armstrong when he does the same thing and focuses on only the major tours. How can he consider himself a great champion with more than one positive drug test and his racing record these last 2 years?

Lance came back from person tragedy much better than Pantani did and presents himself as a true class act instead of making excuses and withdrawing into his own private world when things go wrong.

Dave Schindehette
Monday, February 18

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US Postal investigation #1

At the risk of sounding, curt and rude, I have decided to pen a "truly American" response to the recent withdrawal of US Postal cooperation with the French Investigation.

Once again, there appears to be some SOUR GRAPES about the French and
the TDF. Folks, lets get some details straight here:

1) I am American

2) I follow cycling's major events, TDF, TDS, the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta, Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris Nice etc etc

3) I like many cyclists of different nations, Eddy Merckx is my hero as is Fausto, as is Big Mig as is Lance. NO, they are not the same level of rider. I just admire them.

4) I bitterly resent the implications of some of the press in regards to Lance Armstrong's victories.

I do not follow rainbows (except on my bike) and sing camp fire songs thinking cycling is a pristine sport. We know its not. However, with the utter lack of proof and evidence, and a proceeding of some nebulous sort, what's the aim of this investigation? The answer of course is to protect our fine sport.

Well lets take a look. It appears that there have been several defections of late on non-American soil as to drug usage. We have folks who wish to hug the stuffing out of Virenque and think Marco Pantani is an Italian God, but heaven forbid, they cant nab Lance. He drops the juicers and hence, he must juice, right folks? Such an argument would have to create self admission and GASP, taking responsibility for your actions. IF you don't like the fact that your investigations have nabbed more euros than Americans, don't complain to the cycling community. Instead, here's a unique idea:

CLEAN UP YOUR TEAMS.

Mark Combs
Tuesday, February 12

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US Postal investigation #2

Having just read the article on the USPS investigation, one word comes to mind - Dumbass!

Dumbass as reference to the fools (nationalities notwithstanding) who persist in baseless, by their own account, hounding of the US Postal Service team (in general), and Lance Armstrong (specifically). In the French "investigators" zeal to prove Lance doped himself to three Tour victories, they apparently have lost sight of fact that doing so would be directly at expense of the Tour itself. Never mind (much emphasis here), that the investigation has produced no basis in fact of illegal activity, or use of illegal substances, by Lance or any other US Postal Tour rider.

Dumbass as reference to the fact that the "Tour" (no thanks to the "investigation") is no longer thought of as a "four letter word". While I recognize neither Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc, or the Tour organization is responsible for instigation of, or continued fuelling of the "investigation"; do they not recall the Tour's sullied reputation post 1998 edition. Seems the Tour bosses would shout "enough", as "Lance" is synonymous with the Tour three years running now.

Dumbass as reference to the fact the Postal Service team and Lance effectively provided legitimate interest and positive publicity in service of the Tour's resurrection, the timing of which could not have been better for the Tour. Further, neither the French people or the Tour society could have bought such positive publicity, had it been available for that purpose. Riders such as Lance, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi (you get the picture) are the Tour.

The "Investigation" begs a question: If investigators feel the interests of the Tour, and pro cycling in France are best served in this manner, why no "investigation" of the following: - Did Eddy dope himself to five Tour victories? - How and when did Tommy Simpson access the dope he used to kill himself? - Why was 1975 Tour winner, and Frenchman, Bernard Thevenet effectively disowned by pro cycling when he disclosed his doping history in attempt to alert other riders of liver damage, as he had experienced?

I guess I just don't get it. I don't get it with Disney world in France, or Jerry Lewis either, for that matter!

Craig Knight
Texas, USA
Tuesday, February 12

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NTL Ireland and Eurosport

Cycling fans in Ireland need help! Our local TV cable company, NTL Ireland, have removed Eurosport, the ONLY dedicated sports channel on their basic package. Eurosport shows all the major European tours live. Removing it is like cutting off our legs!

We need NTL customers all over the world to call their NTL office and ask them to find out why NTL Ireland have removed Eurosport. We think it's to force us to pay extra for other sports channels (none of which cover cycling anyway).

We need help! Visit www.BringBackEurosport.com and leave a message of support.

Barry Redmond (Administrator, BringBackEurosport.com)
Ireland
Monday, February 18

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Rest heart rates

I have been intrigued with the correlation of resting heart rate as a direct indicator of my health and conditioning. Let me tell you a few things about myself then I'll make a couple of observations and ask some questions. I will be 60 on 24th March, 69", 154lbs and have been riding almost 20 years. I'll characterize my riding as "aggressive recreational". As an indicator, last summer my son and I and some friends spectated the last ten days of the TdF starting with a difficult, wet windy 83 mile ride from Carcassone to the mountain top finish at Aix le Themes. On the heels of this we crossed such climbs as the Aspin and Tourmalet using a 39x23 (wished for a 25 cog going through La Mongie)..then the daily rides all the way to Paris...

Anyway that's an indicator of my cycling condition. Ten years ago my summer resting HR was 42 BPM gradually working up to 48 in the off season, or after a difficult ride (take the day off) and occasionally if sickly (never missed a day of work in over 20 years). Gradually I have seen my resting HR rise so that this last summer it was never below 45 but what "concerns" me now is that this winter, even vacationing in Hawaii for 12 days 2 weeks ago it was 50-52. I am a Financial Consultant for a Wall Street company. The stresses of the last 2 years have been very difficult and I was wondering if the rising HR is a function of ageing or me finally succumbing to daily gyrations of the market.... i.e. stress!!!! My wife has been sick with the flu for the last couple of days, yet although I feel great and unaffected I was showing a resting HR of 54 BPM this am!!!!

My wife would fume if she saw this letter as she tells me these little changes are meaningless and 95% of the world operates with numbers significantly above what I have quoted.

Anyway just as the bike is an integral part of my life and a wonderful release and conditioning agent.... my trusty finger mounted HR monitor lives under my pillow awaiting for the daily am test session.

Anyone else pre-occupied with resting HR? What do you exercise physiologists have to say??

Barry Whitworth
Roseburg Oregon USA
Saturday, February 9

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Trash talking

I have noticed something odd--at least I think it's odd--about the otherwise usual off season banter among the Grand Tour contenders. Simoni and Pantani both talk about "beating" Armstrong at the TdSuisse and the TdF. I understand how this sort of talk is received in Lance-is-god America, but how do other less single-minded cycling constituencies relate to Pantani characterizing a couple of stage wins and an abandon as "beating" the eventual winner of the whole race? Or Simoni's selective memory that allows him to bask in the glory of putting Armstrong in difficulty once, ignoring that he was flogged by Armstrong only days later to the tune of one minute in the mountain time trial (hm, I seem to have exposed my own biases). From an American perspective, this seems like Allen Iverson revelling in the few times he scored on Kobe Bryant and ignoring the fact that the Lakers won the championship. In other words, it's something that's just not done--and Americans talk a lot of trash. It seems to me that there is some difference in sporting culture at work here.

Andrew Karre
Wisconsin, USA
Monday, February 11

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Where's Greg?

Go to PowerCranks.com to track down your prize. The guy seemed quite pleased with the promo when I visited his booth at an expo in Florida last November.

Martin McEwen
Montreal, QC
Monday, February 11

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Pics of Obree

Any chance of publishing a photo of Graeme Obree's 'Superman' bike? With or without him on it. I've just been reading about the man and the bike and I'd be interested to see what all the fuss was about. And did the Superman bike also have the close-together pedals? Be interesting to see that too.

Martin Mullin
Australia
Wednesday, February 13

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How about these, Martin, from AFP:

Domestiques rule

To provide some perspective opposite the recent trend towards discussing "kings of the road".....

I would love to say thanks to the role the domestiques out there play. I personally draw much satisfaction from the selfless efforts they produce on behalf of their team and team leaders. Many of these men spend a long time coming out from under the shadow of such a enforced hierarchy. Bjarne Riis is a good example of this. Even Miguel Indurain was a domestique for Pedro Delgado...

Every member of a team has to play a subordinate role at some point (well, maybe not Greg) and the fact that almost all the riders in the peloton at any given race are simply there to support their team.

These are the greatest heroes of cycling to me, and enable the Lances, Gregs, and Eddy's of the world to do what they do. No man is an island, especially on a pro bike race. Three cheers for domestiques!

Can any of you associate the "big-names" that they ride/rode for?

Roberto Conti
Paul Sherwen
Sean Yates
Ron Kiefel
Gerard Rue
Eros Poli
Jacky Durand- he once claimed he could hold I think it was like over 20 water bottles in his jersey at once- forget Hautacam mountain stage victories- can Lance do this? And also then deliver them all at speed?
Bart Leysen
Jens Voight
Mark Wauters
Alexandre Vinokurov
Johan Lammerts
Eddy Shepers
Guido Van Calster
Allan Peiper
Nikki Ruettimann
The Madiot Brothers
Marc Sergeant
Henk Lubberding
Jaques Hannegraf
Johan De Muynck

I am sure there are many others I cannot remember, as well.

Regis Chapman
Friday, February 8

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Unusual ad

I was wondering whether I was the only person who saw the TV ad for Procrit directly after the Olympic speed skating competition on late night American coverage Monday night. The ad's pitch was that older folks who got tired easily due to serious medical conditions should ask their doctor about it, but I found it interesting that it was shown during the Olympics (after a sport which tests for it no less) while I have never seen an ad for such at any other time. I found it humorous anyway.

'Il Duce'
Wednesday, February 13

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800.com eBay sale

My intentions with the sale were only for the good of the team and with the riders' knowledge.

There are a few items I wish to clarify:

Mr. Kukula did not put an end to the EBay sale of the team, as it had run its maximum 10 day course (Jan 27-Feb 6) and I had already received a notice of renewal.

Secondly, I was not laid off by Mr. Kukula, not only did I not receive any written, verbal or other communication regarding this (other than the article in cyclingnews.com), and there was no position to be laid off from.

Thirdly, the team sale was never listed as the former 800.com team nor was Northwest Pro Cycling ever mentioned.

Lastly, it is unfortunate that Mr. Kukula chose this route to air private team business, as in the end it really only hurts the riders. We had received a great deal of very positive press and encouragement from the sale, including a few solid leads, and I truly hope that this has not shed a very negative light on what could continue to be a strong force on the women's cycling scene.

Jeremy Storie

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Hernias from cycling?

I recently had a hernia operation and have had to stay off the bike. When it was first diagnosed it was suggested by someone that it could have been caused from cycling one - two hours a day. The fact that I do up to eight hours of manual labour a day was trying to be over looked. Being that I only ride for pleasure and fitness not competition does this sound like a possible cause? I'm 5' 8" and ride a 56cm road bike about 40 - 50km up to 5 times a week. An informed opinion would be great, not armchair opinions.

Mark

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Cyclo-cross Olympics

I have often wondered why there is no Cyclo-cross in the winter Olympics. There are easily enough countries to supply the competition. I must admit I do like to see "Curling" on the tele, but it can't possibly be globally more popular than Cyclo-cross. The luge and bobsledding courses cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build just for a two week stint. How much can it cost to mark a Cyclo-cross Course? A couple hundred bucks?

Gary Hanson
Southern California
Monday, February 18 2002

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Nicknames?

Now, here's a silly subject- I am hoping not for just a response to from the Cyclingnews readership, but also maybe from Scott Sunderland or other pros who read Cyclingnews. It's about nicknames. I know a lot of guys have them. It would be interesting to have a list of them somewhere. I know this is quite trivial, but many times a nickname is a bit of an honorific or tease about something. It'd be funny to find out about pros who got a nickname like "Crash" or something and it stuck.

Has anyone noticed the tendency to give Spanish riders nicknames? I mean, what is it about the Spanish guys anyway? I mean here we have the few I know:

1) Chepe (Gonzalez)
2) Paco (Cabello)
3) Hugo (Pena)- yeah, I know it's part of his real name....
4) Laurent "Jaja" Jalabert- too many years on a Spanish team, I guess

It used to be the Belgians with all the nicknames, back in the day:

1) Eddy "The Cannibal" Merckx
2) Walter "The Bulldog of Flanders" Goodefroot

I know there are many more that I can't think of off the top of my head right now.

I mean, there are many people I would like to give nicknames to, for various silly reasons:

Regis Chapman
California USA
Thursday, February 7

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Worst team kit #1

I agree with some of the teams already nominated in this category, but I think there's been a couple of potential winners of this argument left out so far. Doesn't anyone remember the blue and white striped kit of the Atala team, Gianni Bugno's first team? Or how about the early 90's Super Club/Lotto gear? As for this years teams, I'd say Acqua E Sapone takes the prize, even Cipollini can't make that stuff look good, I don't care how much he wins...

Brad Smith
Plymouth, IN USA
Friday, February 8

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Worst team kit #2

I don't know about the worst team kit (Team GB's lurid green springs to mind, though), but I for one was pleased that the great ONCE machine revived their Tour pink last year, after a couple of years in that non-descript black. I actually own an ONCE pink t-shirt, but I haven't the bottle to wear it out often!!! Why don't more pro teams make leisure clothing available? After all, we all have our favourites - perhaps the profits could go to a fund of some sort?

Rob
Somerset, UK
Thursday, February 7

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Worst team kit #3

nothing personal Stephen Roche, but three of the nastiest kits I recall are:

1) Fagor '88
2) Tonton Tapis '89 or '90?
3) Carrera (with the "denim look")

Craig K.
Texas, USA
Monday, February 11

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Worst team kit #4

Let's change the focus of the debate to which teams had or have the best uniforms. In my humble opinion, you have to look to the mid 90s, with team kits of MG Technogym, Motorola, Rabobank (when they still had the sundial on the jersey), ONCE (before Deutsche Bank came in and messed it up), and even Festina, absent the EPO needles. Another great jersey was the Greg Lemond-era "Z" team, and finally Nike got it right with the USPS kit for 2001.

On another note, Mapei, for whatever you might think of their uniforms, has at least dared in push the envelope on color and design. From the first Mapei-Clas year (alright, it was boring... moving on), to the Mapei-GB days (Johan going up the Bosberg comes to mind), to the Two-Face Mapei-Bricobi/Quick Step era (Bartoli flying up the Muur d'Huy in a snowstorm), to the slightly retro 2001 design, to finally the Explosion of Color of this year, Mapei has always given cycling fans something to interesting to look at and to talk about. Given them credit for that.

M Whitler
Thursday, February 14

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Worst team kit #5

I will place the last Gan kit as the all time awful, the shorts in particular gave the impression that they had been used to wipe the floor of a room that had just had its wallpaper stripped. All time bests, early 60s St Rafael Gitane, followed by PDM, Motorola and Rabobank

Reg Oakley
UK
Sunday, February 17

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Worst kit = best kit?

On the subject of worst kit, as an advertising medium perhaps the 'best' kit is the most loud and noticeable (and discussed), the 'worst' being the most tasteful and restrained. I would guess though that most people would rather wear a replica kit that didn't look like an accident in a paint shop!

SiMonday, VC Etoile, UK
Monday, February 11

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Road rage #1

You might be interested to know that matters differ very little in South Africa - on Sunday the Cycle Lab/City Cycling club (about 40 riders) were hit twice by a hit-and-run driver while they were out on a training ride in Milnerton, Cape Town.

16 riders were injured, as yet unknown numbers of bikes wrecked, and the driver drove off. Luckily his number-plate was dislodged in the melee and the police were able to trace the driver - 27 years old and drunk at 08h00 on a Sunday morning. Many of the riders are uninsured and have little prospect of pursuing civil claims against the driver.

Mark Williams
Thursday, February 7

Previous 'Road rage' letters

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Road rage #2

Its a joke that the motorist was bailed for $85 and charged with reckless driving. Obviously the first incident could be considered reckless, but to do it again shows premeditation. This should at least attract a charge of assault.

Its a pity the police didn't see it that way.

In Queensland, Australia we have just had a summit with motoring associations, state government, police and cycling bodies. It was called in response to some sorrowful incidents on the Gold Coast that included the death of one of Australia's premier triathletes. It looks like outside of Europe motorists have more rights than cyclists because they just take them. Might rules. Its a pitiful situation.

The summit I mentioned above did examine the European idea of giving cyclists more rights than motorists. I hope that this idea finds favour with our law makers.

Scott Buckby
Brisbane, Queensland Australia
Monday, February 11

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Road rage #3

Wouldn't it be nice if we could have bad motorists prosecuted before they cause death or injury? Anyone know what level of evidence would be required in the UK to allow the police to prosecute any of the dickheads who relish cutting cyclists up or coming too close? I have considered carrying a bar mounted digital camera, but would that be enough? A few well publicised court cases would help. I believe that if you go to the police station and make an official complaint then the police MUST follow it up and investigate. If you do that too often without evidence you risk a prosecution yourself for wasting police time, but if you can provide evidence than they cannot prosecute you.

Andrew Torrance
Wales, UK
Monday, February 11

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Road rage #4

I live in the US (New Jersey - talk about road rage!) and I get my share of A**holes every time I ride. One thing we should all keep in mind: know the rules that YOU must abide by wherever you live and follow them. I have friends who ride their bikes as if they're invulnerable. This is not a defence of auto drivers- it's a reminder of what we must do when we ride- obey the rules ourselves and keep our own safety in mind. It really doesn't matter if you're right when lying in a hospital bed. Better to be safe than right. Ride smart, try not to let the morons get you down.

Raymond F. Martin
Tuesday, February 12

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Road rage #5

A few other points about road rage:

1) The vast majority of drivers respect cyclists as their neighbors.

2) Some well intentioned drivers aren't sure what to do when they see a cyclist; suddenly there's less room on the road, they feel pressured by the drivers behind them, so they end up passing the cyclists awkwardly.

3) We can wish, but we certainly can't expect aggressive drivers to be any more respectful of cyclists than they are of other drivers, to whom they are often fatally indifferent.

4) Just like society in general, there are individuals teetering on the edge of self control. It doesn't take much to push them over the edge. Just get in their way, rudely, and watch them explode.

5) Just like society in general, there are violent individuals in jail, and violent individuals not quite in jail. It's best to stay completely out of their way.

It may seem that this is a thinly veiled attempt to blame the victims of road rage. Not at all (I've been riding for enough years to be a multiple victim of road rage myself). Instead, this a bald attempt to:

1) Shine some light on those few cyclists that give us a bad name.

2) Remind cyclists that when we ignore the reality that drivers are human beings, good and bad (just like cyclists), we increase the danger to all cyclists.

Jocelyn Siplon
Tuesday, February 12

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Cross worlds TV

The world championship cyclo-cross was covered on Belgian public TV, and you can probably download it from their website at www.canvas.be. There's even a small chance you might be able to receive CANVAS on your TV if you live in the Dover area.

Dries Goutsmit
Gistel, Belgium
Thursday, February 7

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Odessa

Thank you Odessa Gunn for reconnecting and bringing us the Odessa Files again. I have missed it over the past several months. I like your style and attitude. I like the insights you give us amateurs about the world of pro cycling. I am sure Levi looks good in orange.

Eric Snider (50% Dutch, from my mother's side)
Toledo, OH
Thursday, February 14

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The last month's letters