Letters to Cyclingnews – January 31, 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

Vasectomy and cycling
Road rage rampage
The Reader Poll
To edit or not to edit
More interviews
Colnago paint problems
Team listings
Simoni vs Armstrong
Who's the best climber?
Armstrong classics
Better than Lance?
Garth Vs America
Canadian 'cross selection
Italian cross selection
TV Coverage of Worlds 'cross championships
UCI classifications of events
Tour Down Under TV
Sunderland's injuries
Broken hips
Magnifico Mapei
Wanted: Track videos
Worst team kit
Russian Team jersey
Tour de France qualification

Vasectomy and cycling

As an avid Cyclingnews reader (especially Letters), I have come to appreciate the way this "community" answers each other's medical questions in a supportive way. So here goes:

My wife and I just had our second child. We don't want more children and so it's time for (dramatic music): The Vasectomy!

I'm an avid road cyclist working on upgrading to Cat 4. I know I'm opening Pandora's box here, but I would appreciate some advice. According to my research, doctors typically order two to three weeks of no strenuous sports activity after the procedure. Can anyone out there who has had a vasectomy tell me how long it kept you off the bike? Obviously, I would prefer to do this during the off season (so it will probably have to wait until next winter), but how much will my activity be limited? Can I run? Lift weights? I have also read about a "scalpel-free" procedure, and am wondering if this affords faster recovery. Anyone know what the pros do? Probably wait until they retire, huh?

Are there risks of permanent discomfort? For example, I've read that a vasectomy can cause incidents of epidydimits (inflamation/infection of the epidydimus, which has been an occasional problem for me- and I'm sure other cyclist - in the past) long after the procedure is over.

While I appreciate humor as much as the next guy, please sprinkle your jokes with a little sincere advice. Thanks in advance,

Duncan Granger
Lancaster, PA (USA)
Monday, January 28, 2002

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Road rage rampage

I have to admit, I'm really shocked and disturbed by the news reports coming out of Australia about cyclists being killed by cars or attacked by angry drivers. The death of Luke Harrop is particularly sad. The recent gang-bashing of Darren Carson is utterly scary. And even though Javier Otxoa's accident happened in Spain, I follow Cyclingnews for any news of him.

The situation is similarly frightening here in the States, as many cyclists I know of (including me) have been spat at, yelled at, "buzzed" by cars, or much worse. The San Francisco Bay Area, where I live and ride, is a great place to enjoy cycling - but many drivers don't seem to be aware that I'm there. Nor are they aware that the legal code which stipulates that I am a vehicle entitled to the road. Lately, I often pass memorial spots where cyclists have been killed.

I appreciate the publicity you have been giving to these incidents of road rage. I think it is important for all cyclists, from us weekend hacks to top pros, to speak out publicly about this situation so that we can all share the road peacefully.

Mountain View, CA.
Friday, January 25, 2002

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The Reader Poll #1

Looks like American (and American) bashing is in fashion on this site. I wonder if all these people whining about the bias of the poll are not just upset because their favorite rider did not win. Yes, there were other good rides by other riders this past year but the simple fact of the matter is that a poll is SUBJECTIVE. One man's best ride might just be your OK ride. Get over it people--the US is highly wired and the cycling fans here are very online savvy and it showed. Instead of complaining about American bias, get some of your cycling friends in other countries to get off their butts, hop online and vote for your favorite rider. Yes, I am an American and the biggest cheers I gave this year were for JaJa's incredible ride in the tour and for RV's comeback at Paris-Tours.

Superior, WI
Friday, January 25, 2002

The Reader Poll #2

The reader poll is simply nothing more than a tool for the cyclingnews.com people to better understand the demographics of its users and to use the information to sell shit. Why should we care so much about that? Plus, like Bruce Lee said, polls by their very nature are popularity contests.

Thor Bakke
Polebridge, MT USA
Monday, January 26, 2002

Cyclingnews.com publisher Gerard Knapp replies:

The reader poll was not an exercise in generating demographic data - it was an opportunity for our global readership to have their say and vote for riders, races and products. A perusal of the entry form would show that we requested no data of a demographic nature, except for location so we could determine what country voters lived in.

The reason for requesting identification was to prevent duplicate voting and individuals stacking the votes in any particular category. This did allow us to remove a few hundred duplicate votes, but it didn't prevent people from voting for their favourite riders. The results of the poll will reflect where people live and perhaps above all, who inspires them to get out and ride. And isn't that what it's all about?

The Reader Poll #3


Has it occurred to you that Australians are biased toward Australian riders, the French are biased towards riders from France, the Italians are biased towards Italians, Canadians are biased towards Canadians - and that it is natural and arguably healthy?

Gain some perspective, mate! All the poll proves, is that a large percentage of the readers are American. Nothing else. By the way Christopher, the side of my family not in the USA settled in Sydney. I fear that has caused me to be biased towards Stuart O'Grady. Guess what? That's why I wanted him to win the green jersey this year.

Definitely Biased
Michael Sylvan
Seattle, Washington, USA
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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To edit or not to edit

A strange thing has happened to Cyclingnews.com's Letters page since some guy named Lance started winning that bike race over in France.

Suddenly, most of the letters are from Americans wanting to make a point about Lance Armstrong, or replying to other people's view of him.

Now, I'm not saying that Americans writing letters to Cyclingnews are a bad thing, far from it. But it's a little sad that the same debate can continue for months just because some guy said something about Lance Armstrong, or Richard Virenque, or Marco Pantani, and another guy disagreed.

I certainly don't mean to criticise the great and hard-working Cyclingnews editors (really, I don't!), but maybe it is about time that they started editing a little bit more harshly, saying "okay, every possible point of view concerning Cipollini's hair (or whatever) has been covered now and we're not going to accept any more letters about whether he should have bleached it or not!"

That would stop guys like me from writing three boring letters saying essentially the same thing (in the strange English of a Danish school teacher), just because another guy has had the nerve to oppose my view of something.

I'll probably be accused of being against freedom of speech or something, but come on! There are so many more interesting subjects than whether or not Gilberto Simoni is a bad, bad man who should be imprisoned in Cuba because he believes he can beat Lance Armstrong.

How about those spring classics, huh? Eh?

Anders P. Jensen
Korsør, Denmark
Friday, January 25, 2002

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More interviews

Dear Cycling News,

I am an avid reader of your rider interview sections, as they always prove interesting and provide a good insight. The only request I would like to make is whether you can include more interviews with the people behind the riders - such as physiotherapists and mechanics - as they also have interesting roles to play in the racing season.

Howard Landseer
Monday, January 28, 2002

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Colnago paint problems

I have a 2001 Colnago Dream Plus that had the paint bubble and peel around where the cable brackets were riveted to the frame. I sent it back under warranty to get repainted. After three months, when it finally made it back to my local shop, they had done a poor job and had left many places with bubbles in the paint.

I am trying to find out if other people have had the same problem with the paint on the Dream Plus frame set and whether Colnago did a good job of repainting. Somehow, I think that it is not just my bike that is having this problem.

I wonder if the folks at Colnago really stand by their products, because I am not satisfied. If any of the readers have had similar problems please email me djchristnsn@aol.com, so I can learn if this is a widespread problem.

Dale Christensen
North Carolina, USA
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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Team listings

I have enjoyed your site and all of the features that you provide. This is a fantastic service and one that I could not live without. I particularly fancy the team reports at the beginning of each season. It gives me up to date stats on all of the latest transfers, their sponsors and what the team objectives are. So far the Aqua Sapone is my favorite. Lately, however, I have noticed that you are listing right alongside Domo, Telekom, ibanesto, etc. some very small local and regional clubs with cat 4/5 level riders. Is this really the place to put these non-UCI registered teams? To put a cat 4 rider who has never ridden a race but whose team gets listed on your site a few lines below the likes of Bartoli or Jalabert does not seem right.

I live in the states where our own Velonews does not place these clubs with D3 teams. I feel a team should at least be a UCI D3 team to be listed on such a prestigious site as yours. I am all for having those small clubs recognized as I am on one myself. I am very competitive and have raced many years and I don't feel my team or my name has any business being mentioned along with the greats of cycling. If this is going to be your practice next you may find the roster of the local charity ride club on your desk and not be aware that that is what they are. At least if the club is registered then you know that is a serious organization and not some dog and pony show.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

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Simoni vs Armstrong #1

C'mon guys, let's look at the Simoni/Armstrong debate in its true colors: Simoni is desperately trying to get in the tour and all of his ridiculous boasting is merely grandstanding to try and create public interest to further his cause.

Apparently it's working! Looks pretty similiar to Mike Tyson's recent escapades at his press conference with Lenox Lewis. Nothing but hype and propaganda. So please, if Simoni does make it into the Tour, let's let Lance take care of him in the most deserving fashion - by crushing him both physically and mentally!

Tyler Kuebler
Alexandria, VA
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Simoni vs Armstrong #2

Scott, I think you're missing the point of Simoni's broadcast. His team, Saeco, is not guaranteed a start in the Tour de France.

This is obviously not a good thing for all sponsors concerned and so I'm sure that Simoni was only trying to help the cause by creating some rivalry. I know it didn't help Pantani last year (his team still not getting selected) but I think Simoni or his management have been very shrewd with their tactics.

Don't worry, I personally don't believe he poses a serious threat to your man. More's the pity from a sporting point of view!

Tim David
Henley on Thames, UK
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Simoni's not too bad

It seems Gilberto's explanation of his comments about being better than Armstrong needed explaining and he's done a pretty good job.

Gibi says of Armstrong: " He needs to be the boss of the race and keep things under control. But once in a while (referring to himself), one needs the courage to try and take away that mask, on certain days to have the guts to attack him. And maybe that will be a mistake; maybe he'll leave you there. OK, but you never know what will happen . . .one day or the other. "

That is spoken like a confident athlete that hopes to win, rather than what seemed to be silly boasting from someone who had no place.

But, it is probably (and unfortunately) wishful thinking by Gibi to ask that Lance "start our challenge in the Giro and continue at the Tour".

I just don't buy into the argument that a "true champion" do more than one Mmjor, but three cheers for Gibi for trying! I would love it if the UCI mandated that the major contenders had to start at least two of three Grand Tours. The UCI seem to have a thing for trying to prevent evolution (frames, wheels etc), so why not force the champions to go back to the old days?

Good job Gibi, thanks for clearing things up on being "better than Lance". Now get rid of the Goon squad and I'll pull for you in the Giro!

Charles M
Phoenix AZ USA.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Simoni vs Armstrong #3


You know who Simoni reminds me of? Lance Armstrong at the same age. By his own admission, he was talking smack with the best of them until his battle with cancer. By the way, I want Lance to crush him and everyone else as well, but I still think Simoni is going to kick ass and has a chance at second or third.

Michael Sylvan
Seattle, Washington, USA
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Simoni vs Armstrong #4

I guess there are many different ways to interpret what people say (Simoni is at it again, Scott Goldstein). I just finished reading the interview with Simoni and his comments regarding Lance seemed quite respectful.

Publicly hoping to top Lance based on performances in a stage race in which neither rider was in top shape doesn't strike me as a crime. I, for one, wouldn't enjoy a sport in which all riders admitted defeat to the patron before the race was begun.

Kevin Watson
Toronto, Ontario
January 29, 2002


Simoni vs Armstrong #5

Scott, grow up. I think you are missing the point if you haven't noticed Simoni seems to be improving and he certainly feels he is a contender for the Tour de France GC this year. Well good luck to him. He has won a major tour and done very well in others, I know I'm certainly sick of Lance Armstrong wining the tour. It's like watch F1 and Schumacher driving around a race track, winning everything.

Maybe one day LA might actually be a bit more adventurous and ride the Giro or the Vuelta, as the other great riders do. Before LA can become a legend such as Eddy Merckx, he'll have to start winning other races other than the Tour de France and very small stage races.

Andrew Stevenson
Sydney, Australia
Friday, January 25, 2002

Simoni vs Armstrong #6

Scott, I feel ya bro, but I gotta let Simoni away with his comments this time!

At least he's responding to Armstrong calling him a contender. While it doesn't excuse his first comments, there's nothing wrong with being excited about the boss calling you a legitimate contender.

I notice that Lance didn't mention you! It is a pity because your argument that you, too, could beat Lance is still fresh in my mind (and almost as valid as Gilberto's and if I can find and beat you, THEN I WOULD BE BETTER THAN LANCE!!! Note that I (along with half of Arizona) tried to beat Lance into and then climbing out of Bartlett Lake a few weeks ago and couldn't catch on to the group, so my ability to claim superiority through direct success has come and gone, so I am forced to use your method of deciding who is better.

That being said, when the chips are down and it really counts, I will be shocked if Simoni is anywhere near Ullrich or Beloki on a critical or decisive mountain stage and they probably won't be near Lance. But I hope they are. It will add to the mix.

There are pure climbers and pure time trialists and in my opinion, Simoni gets his own category as a "pure follower". But time will tell.

The most dangerous part about Simoni so far are his brute squad (he has some great fans to be sure, but the ones who cost other riders their safety are not among them.

Phoenix AZ
Friday, January 25, 2002

Simoni vs Armstrong #7

I had the impression that only French cycling enthusiasts were blindfolded by chauvinism, but it appears that also American cycling fans suffer from these defects. Rightfully, Scott Goldstein is a proud defender of Lance in the discussion of Simoni and puts together a nice technical analysis to support his case.

But let's not forget this one very big merit that Simoni has earned last year when he won the Giro d'Italia, during the stage to Arona. Simoni saved the face of our beloved sport in front of millions of cycling fans, who all felt betrayed and deceived by the doping scandal which suffocated not only the Giro but again the whole sport of cycling.

Just three days after the dreadful razzia of the Italian carabinieri in San Remo, Simoni attacked on the steepest part of the killing 14 km Mottarone climb and stayed ahead of his followers in a 53km solo ride to the finish line in Arona, under constant heavy rainfall. Simoni, with this fantastic action showed us, the cycling fans, again what this sport is all about: Braveness and perseverance. He made us forget the difficult moments that cycling had lived in the days before.

Of course, the bookmakers will put their money on Armstrong for the Tour de France 2002, but betting on who will win is one thing - showing respect to riders who have contributed to the greatness of cycling is another.

Not even American chauvinism can dilute an heroic challenger of the majestic Armstrong.

Jeroen Neuhof
Vice-president, SC Albonese MAPEI amateur cycling team
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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Who's the best climber?

Garth has obviously spent a great deal of time listening to journalists and TV commentators over his many years of following cycling. He has been following the sport for longer than I have, but I think I have paid closer attention.

Of course Armstrong is the best climber at the Tour. Roberto Heras thinks so (from an interview in Procycling magazine) and so should anyone who is paying attention. Garth notes that, "for the last two years he has been a better climber than Ullrich, which is all he has had to be. (I think there are many riders who may be better climbers than Armstrong - look at how Jiminez destroyed the field in four mountain finishes in the Vuelta.)"

Sure, many "may be". But none actually are. Jiminez dominated last year's Vuelta mountain finishes. Big whoop, Lance wasn't there. Look at how much time EVERYONE ELSE in the Tour de France last year lost to Lance in the mountains. When Lance dropped the hammer, EVERYONE was dropped as well.

Garth states: "There is a competition for the rider who is "consistently strong on each and every climb; it's called the King of the Mountains and Armstrong has never won it. Neither has Ullrich".

That is actually not true at all. The King of the Mountains competition is about scoring points by crossing mountain summits in high positions. Sure, you have to be a strong climber to get those points, but the competition is most definitely not about determining who is the strongest (or even the most consistent) climber.

Was Laurent Jalabert the strongest climber in the 2001 Tour? Certainly not. Was he a worthy winner of a difficult competition at a Grand Tour? Most definitely. Did you note which riders (without even sprinting for mountain summits) were in second and third place in the KOM as the 2001 Tour left the Pyrenees? That's right - Lance and Jan.

Richard Virenque is the epitome of the Tour de France KOM. Is he a great climber? Of course. Is he the best climber? No. Look at how much time he lost to Indurain in 1994 and 1995 in the mountains. Again he LOST time to Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich in the mountains in 1996 and 1997. Most would say Pantani was a better climber than Richard. However, has Richard been the best at scoring points on mountain summits in the Tour de France? Most definitely.

I agree with Garth that the winner of the Tour doesn't have to be the best climber. He usually is, however. Garth says, "Virenque, Pantani, Simoni and Jiminez are equally good in the mountains". Equally good? Opinions are fun, but look at the facts: In the 2000 Tour, Garth's faves LOST the following to Lance in the mountains:

Virenque: A total of two minutes (second best of any rider in the 2000 Tour vs Lance);
Pantani: A total of 15:55 down (up one day, down the next, like always);
Jiminez: A total of 26 minutes (even more so); and the best (other than Lance, of course)
Roberto Heras: At a mere 34 seconds behind Lance. I wonder why Lance hired him?

I join Garth in hoping that Leblanc invites Mercatone-Uno and Saeco to the Tour so we can see who gets to the top of Ventoux first - Armstrong, Simoni, Pantani, Virenque or Ullrich. If all are on their best form AND it is important to the race (which it probably will be) Lance will smoke them all. Was Garth watching in 2000? All save Simoni were there and Lance smoked 'em. Sure, Pantani won the stage. But I was there and we all saw Lance wait for Pantani when Lance gapped him. Don't forget that Pantani was dropped by Kevin Livignston's pacemaking earlier on the climb and only came back on after Kevin peeled off.

It promises to be fun. Now, if only Leblanc would pitch in and do his part.

Scott Goldstein
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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Armstrong classics

I agree very strongly regarding Ullrich. I also agree to a degree regarding Armstrong. I too, don't hate him and at times have been thoroughly impressed with his achievements.

Granted, he was a young cocky jerk at one time, let's face it he is an American, it is their birthright. He had zero respect for the sport and the European code, he was brash but good. It took a bout with cancer to bring him down to earth and help to teach him to respect others, life and cycling.

He does remain very focussed on the Tour and little else. What I dislike, however, is the American way of "wagon jumping" . On the wagon with Lemond 15 years ago, forget about cycling entirely for 10 years and then back on with Armstrong. It really bugs me. I bet that there have been more broken legs from jumping on and off of wagons. Soccer and cycling are the driving forces for this fine art in the USA.

If they (the US) would take one tenth of one per cent of their Defense budget and invest it in creating proper programs for cycling and soccer then they would not have to put all their hopes on one superstar every 10 or 15 years.

Frank Fortunato
Markham, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Better than Lance? #1

Wooaah there Scott, slow down! Your criticism of Simoni is a bit too over the top. Let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

For an athlete to win an event, he/she has to BELIEVE that they CAN win.

If a rider takes the view and believes, that they aren't as good as Armstrong, then they have lost the Tour de France before they even start it.

I like to watch a good race, with plenty of attacks by the leading contenders trying to out-distance their rivals. The opposite of this is the "follow the leader" mentality where the contenders follow the main man around, waiting for him to make a mistake/crack - very negative racing and not entertaining to watch. We saw plenty of this type of racing during Indurain's domination of the Tour de France. Very few of his rivals believed that he could be beaten, so they let him/Banesto dictate the race tactics.

He "controlled" his rivals in the mountains and dominated the time trials - frankly very boring (but not undeserved) victories.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Armstrong has ridden in a far more exciting way than Indurain ever did. He stamps his authority on the race and isn't afraid to attack. However, this year it will be interesting to see whether the other riders resign themselves to the fact that the TdF will be the "Lance Armstrong show", and not even believe they can beat him for GC.

So, for an exciting race, we need to have more than just Ullrich who believes that he can take on Armstrong. We need to have five or six guys who have the Ullrich and Simoni attitude - guys who truly believe they can win GC. This would make for an open and exciting race.

So, please don't "slag off" these riders. Let's be happy with their belief and commitment and look forward to a great race.

You're an Armstrong fan Scott, so am I. With everyone at the top of their form (physical and mental) I still believe that Armstrong will win - but don't belittle the competition.

Patrick Douglas
Leeds, England
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Better than Lance #2

Vuelta? Giro? Now I know that Giro makes helmets, so I've heard of them, but what does Vuelta make again?

Seriously, many, many rabid cyclists have never heard of the roadie races of odd countries on another continent. For a huge number of people, the most important race in Spain this year will be held in Madrid in May and by far the most interesting cycling vacation to France would involve a weekend in September at Les Gets. Remember, this is cycling news; there's a lot more to off-road riding than an occasional cyclo-cross event.

Paul Spencer
Grass Valley, California, USA
Monday, January 28, 2002


I think there must be something wrong with my server. Every time I log into cyclingnews.com's Letters, it seems to hook up to a site called "one-eyed supporters of Lance for President.com", or something similar. Hey, Easter is coming up, maybe he can do something to top rising from the dead?

Give me a break! The guy rides a bike and rides it well, as countless others have done. This is not aimed at Armstrong per se, but all those sycophantic, whining supporters out there. It's great to support your favourite rider, but can we please stop bickering over who's best, who's quickest and how we qualify that. My favourite guys are Pantani and Botero, but if they get beat, they get beat, it doesn't make them any less popular with me.

I used to race motorcycles and Americans have some great champions in Mamola, Spencer, Rainey, Russell and Lawson. But in their heyday, they were relatively unknown outside Europe. They came over and took on the best Europe had to offer, and beat them at their own game. But I do not recall 1000's of letters in magazines disputing this or that. The championship, however, could not be won with one or two important races. It lasted eight months and still does.

Maybe I have more perspective, as being English I'm pretty used to losing at sports! But can we just appreciate the efforts of the men and women in the great sport of cycling, which we all love, without the arguments. Not too much to ask is it?

Ian Loxton
Sydney, Australia
Friday, January 25, 2002

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Garth Vs America


No back pedaling here. You don't make your point valid by starting your letter with, "I am a Lance fan", only to end it with all the current cyclists who are, in your opinion, better climbers, etc. You are right in that Lance still has work to do to be an Hinault or Big Mig and Nobody is Eddy!

But! The Polka dot jersey is "mountain sprinters" jersey, not the best climber. Ja Ja wasn't the best climber, he just took off on a wild break in one stage and hit the marks right, only to be dusted by guess-who. The polka dots go for placement, not time and you can pick your spots then drop to nowhere.

Scott G. is pretty much on the money and you go on to disagree with him, but do so by restating HIS "pure climber" and pure "time trialist" argument, only proving him right.

By the way, as an American who has to deal with a few Euro (add UK and Aussie) friends trying as hard as they can to justify feeling superior (with good humor mind you) in ability, knowledge and everything else cycling, I am used to the condescending tone regarding American knowledge (or lack of) of cycling (along with everything else).

Americans don't need it from other Americans. I would guess with a name (or pen name) like Garth, you are a Yank too, so just because you can put up a few stats and know how to pronounce a few names, doesn't mean you get to speak for all US cycling fans' knowledge. I have plenty of European friends who know nothing of the sport, just like there are people here who know nothing of baseball (like me!) There is a difference between Americans and American cycling fans.

You don't get to make general statements like (and these are your words) - "the only race Americans know is the Tour", "the problem with so many Lance fans is that they view bicycle racing from an American perspective", "he could win 10 Giros in a row and no one in the States would know who he is" - and not get a smackdown for it.

I hope that I speak for the huge number of Yanks that frequent this site by using a very American phrase - Blow me! Don't make statements for me or America, make them for yourself.

I believe you (notice I don't say "Americans") may suffer from the Eurowannabe disease. It affects many of us cyclists here in the States, but is curable. A few more US wins, Tour or otherwise and you may be able to admit that Americans (you included) may be fully capable of having a valid opinion.

Friday, January 26, 2002

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Canadian 'cross selection #1

Although I would love to see Lynn Bessette go to the world cyclo-cross campionships, everyone involved in elite level cycling in Canada knows of the Canadian requirement - which is, to be eligible for selection, you must ride the nationals.

I do not believe this policy varies far from the norm with other nations around the world. I commend the CCA for sticking to their policy and proving to their membership that they are indeed organization of their word.

Of this whole affair, I think the only unfortunate turn is the fact that Lynn's decision to ride World's occurred after she had missed Nationals. I think it is pretty obvious she surprised herself with her cyclocross results -- great job Lynn! Hopefully next year everyone will be on the same page.

Paul Skafel
Toronto, Ontario, CanadaThursday, January 24, 2002

Canadian 'cross selection #2

Disregarding Lynne Bessett for the worlds cyclo-cross is a shame but oh-so-typical for the Canadian Cycle Association.

It is obviously not enough to be competitive with the world's best, only with Canadians at Canadian events. In order for Canadians to get the type of completion that is required to be competitive with the world class, they must leave Canada.

We just do not have the events or depth to really provide world class competition at home. But you have to ride in the Canadian selection races to get picked. No wonder we do so poorly at the worlds in most events. Lynne would have rocked the world she is a world class cyclist but we won't get to see it. Too bad.

Peter Leiss
Toronto, Ontario
Saturday, January 26, 2002

Canadian 'cross selection #3

It is so typical of Canada of doing this. The sporting and governmental authorities just don't get it! In Canada, a star can't shine too much.

If Lyne Bessette lived in Europe or even in the States, this wouldn't have happen, period. Canada is a poor country because it has very stupid people in high places - and that's that. PERIOD.

Pierre Beaudoin
(from Canada, unfortunately)
Brossard, Québec
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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Italian cross selection

Charles, maybe Pontoni is "under the gun" because he seems to like a little coke "under the nose". He tested positive for cocaine a couple years ago at either a World Cup or the World Championships, I can't remember. Did you forget Italy is trying to at least appear as if they are doing something about doping?

Imagine how bad it would be for an Italian to get caught doping at worlds, after the Giro this year. Maybe the Italian Federation doesn't want to take a chance on him.

Albuquerque, NM
Friday, January 25, 2002

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TV Coverage of Worlds 'cross championships

Are there any European satellite TV stations like DSF covering the World Cyclo-Cross Championships this weekend in Belgium? British Eurosport printed schedules show zero cycling coverage, live or re-live!

Peter Witting
United Kingdom
Friday, January 25, 2002

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UCI classifications of events

As a century rider/commuter, I don't get a lot of exposure to the fine points of bicycle racing. One question that confuses me is how does the UCI classify races 1.2, 2.3, HC, etc? What goes into the classification and what is the ramifications for a licensed racer? Does the rider get more points in tougher races etc? BTW what was the San Fran GP's number?

Or to put it another way, Is there a bicycle racing 101 type of link available? I have tried to get through the UCI regulations, but the time was better spent training for the next century.

Monday, January 28, 2002

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Worst team kit #1

Without any doubt, the ugliest team kit was from Ton-Ton-Tapis in 1988. The sick parrot kit that Polti modeled on Abdoujaparov and his chums was vibrant and recognisable in the warm Spanish races, giving his team a real feel-good mood. Ton-Ton-Tapis had black, white and red with a man holding some carpet. It was dire! The other one that sticks in my mind as being really bad was the Panaria kit of the late 90's.

They forced the world to look at it, by being invited to Le Tour with class riders like Jan Svorada and then embarrassed them by making them sport a lurid salmon colour with dark purple. The new Lampre kit is its latest relative and that is nice, but this Panaria kit was the pits.

Ed Alexander
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Worst team kit #2

Polti was, I think anyway, a quite nice kit. Only my wife-imposed economic limitations prevented me owning some. If you want bad kit, how about the awful Tonton Tapis stuff worn by none other than Stephen Roche.

I bet he was glad he had a year of injuries so he wasn't seen in it!

John L Strachan
Market Rasen
Lincs, England
Sunday, January 27, 2002

Worst team kit #3

In response to recent letters debating the "worst-looking" team kit for 2002 - why limit it to the professionals who at least get paid to wear an ugly team kit?

The kit adopted by the amateur team for which I ride is absolutely hideous, as the attached jpg file clearly shows. In fact, why don't we have a poll to see whom among the non-professionals has the ugliest team kit? Maybe Castelli or some other clothing manufacturer will feel sorry enough for what we have to ride in that they will donate a kit that doesn't embarrass one.

Brian Abery,
Thursday, January 24, 2002

Worst team kit #4

If you put your nose to the screen, stare towards infinity and slowly move back, you'll see it actually forms a 3D picture of a dolphin jumping through a hoop. Typical commercial tackiness.

Geraldton, Australia.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Worst team kit #5

No way, Tonton Tapis had the ugliest by far! Team Tulip is a close second!!

Eric M. Schram
Tuesday, January 29 , 2002

Worst team kit #6

Have you seen Aqua Sapone's new team kit?

Although it might be perfect for Mario, it's got to be the ug-li-est for 2002.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

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Tour Down Under TV #1

Robert, Channel 7 will have a HUGE 1 1/2 hours of coverage of the Tour Down Under on February 2.

I was in Adelaide for the race and I agree with other readers comments that the TV coverage was disappointing. At least I got to experience the racing first hand.

Hopefully the highlights package will have less ads and more cycling than the 1/2 hour coverage did.

Sarah Potter
Saturday, January 26, 2002

Tour Down Under TV #2

As a keen cycling fan who traveled to Adelaide to watch the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under and saw the 30 minute coverage by Channel Seven each night, I too was disappointed by the small amount of actual racing shown. I also understand that there was no coverage on free-to-air TV outside South Australia. By the way, there was also very little coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald.

But Andre (letter, January 18) I had the benefit of hearing the perspective of a non-cycling fan (my mother) who lives in SA and who also watched the coverage each night (as well as going out to see the race go through Middleton - stage four).

She felt that the TV coverage was really good because it helped explain lots of the cycling terminology and team strategies to people like her who had no idea. She also felt that is was really good to have it explained by Stuart O'Grady, who, like it or not, is a big hero of the South Australian public and to date, one of the reasons why the TDU has been so successful in drawing the general public along.

So, I guess that if we want cycling to have a bigger profile in the general public's eye and thus get more coverage in the media, then we need to tolerate attempts by commercial media to 'popularise' the sport.

By the way, Ben (letter, January 21), I managed to wear my iteamNova jersey along to watch each of the first four stages and saw at least one other person each day who was either wearing the jersey or was a signed-up member.

David West
Sydney, Australia
25 January 2002

Tour Down Under TV #3

At least you were able to get 10 minutes coverage. In the eastern states we were given maybe 30 seconds during the news broadcast. And the TDU management claim they took it from SBS so that the message would be spread wider. It beggars belief.

David McNaughton
Melbourne Australia
Monday, January 28, 2002

Tour Down Under TV # 4

I think it's strange that an Australian sporting event (Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under) can get up to 80,000 spectators a day and yet only be on free-to-air television in one state, where the event was held, i.e. South Australia. Even then, it was only highlights and the people with pay-TV only got highlights as well!

Apparently Channel 7 was the official TV station of the JCTDU but it hardly covered it in the Queensland news. I think that the organisers should give SBS the coverage even if they couldn't afford to pay as much as Channel 7 might. I think SBS would be willing to broadcast at least highlights nationwide, maybe even full coverage.

I would also like to say thanks to cyclingnews.com for providing the only decent coverage of the JCTDU in Australia.

Graeme Wallace
Thursday,January 31, 2002

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Wanted: Track videos

Hi, I'm sending this letter to ask for some help. Here in Brazil we have no track cycling coverage and I would like to ask if anybody knows where the hell I can find videos from the world champs (since 1998) or the Olympics.

I'm specially looking for videos of keirin and kilo races. Does anybody have, or know where I can find such videos? Please send me an email. aar_pereira@yahoo.com

AndrÈ Pereira
Campinas, Brazil
Sunday, January 27, 2002

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Sunderland's injuries #1

Yeah what a bummer for a guy that has just got back into the peloton. I wish him a speedy recovery and return to the top.

Portsmouth, UK
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Sunderland's injuries #2


Surely Scott must be the Job of pro cycling................

Regis Chapman
Monday, January 28, 2002

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Broken hips #1

Thanks for all the help in the Letters - they were of great encouragement to me and I feel I am now on the road to recovery. After four weeks, I have started some turbo work and am starting to get there.

Mark Harris
Blackwood Gwent Wales
Friday, January 25, 2002

Broken hips #2

Wow, I though I was out here suffering all by myself. I'm surprised how many other people have had a broken hip. Mine occurred on August 21, 2001, a result of pulling a stupid stunt through a drainage ditch on a road bike. By the way, in the summer, Algae gets really slick. And don't ask what I was doing in a drainage ditch on a road bike. DUMB!

I have a plate with four screws and a pin inserted to hold the femur head together. Things are going well now, but still experience tenderness in the joint itself when I walk and run. Not sure if it's the actual joint, or some small muscle or ligaments causing the discomfort. I also experience tenderness in the ileotibial band after periods of sitting, which to be honest has been the worst of it. During the surgery to insert the hardware, they made an incision of about six inches long.

I, too, was on the bike after about four weeks. I pretty much got on the trainer as soon as I was able to rotate the pedals in a full circle and after about two weeks of that, I was able to roll around on the paths around town, much all my friends and families dismay. The general concern was that if you fall off, you could possibly re-injure yourself. I remained on crutches until about six weeks, then transition to a cane for about two to three weeks. I'm up to about 85 percent on the bike now, again, if I grind a big gears the joint tells me to back off a little.

I saw the response on having the hardware removed and have been debating on when to have mine taken out. Originally I was planning on getting the hardware taken out early March thinking that would allow me time to recover for the remaining summer racing season. Now with all the pain I've suffered from the IT band incision, I'm thinking about postponing until late fall to use the winter to recover. My thinking is that the tendon being cut seems to have the long period of recovery. I'm curious if anyone else has had the hardware taken out, or would know if my experience with the IT band discomfort is out of the ordinary? What should I expect if I have the hardware taken out?

Good Luck Mark, and think of this period on crutches as a way to work those shoulder muscles you've been ignoring riding your bike all the time. You'll get so you can do amazing things with them and impress all your friends.

Lincoln NE.
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

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Magnifico Mapei

Responding to Chris from Albuquerque, I think Mapei's new jersey for 2002 is brilliant. I mean, it's colourful, pleasant, different and it catches the eye, plus it gives the sponser excellent exposure.

Everyone has the right to an opinion, but I'll never complain about a team that brings colour to the peleton. Plain colours are usual and can get boring and annoying - eg grey-Domo, Surley, Acqua e Sapone - is the least appealing to fans who want exciting, colourful teams and riders. Mr Cippolini IS colourful, but as for his jersey, it's pretty bland. Hooray for Mapei!

Naz Sullivan
Co. Kildare, Rep. of Ireland
Friday, January 25, 2002

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Tom Patten, thanks for biting - your letter had me in stitches(and I'm not being sarcastic). After looking back , I must concede that my original letter was very poorly constructed. My initial reason for writing was merely to draw a little more attention to Jan Ullrich's ride in the 2001 Tour de France. I really did think it was the ride of the year. Australian Ironic Missionaries - mmmm I wonder how that would look on a jersey. Look out for team A.I.M!

Anthony (all my shorts cover my knees) Pike
Melbourne , Australia.
Friday, January 25, 2002

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Russian Team jersey

I am trying to acquire/purchase a Russian national team jersey and was told by Castelli in Europe that I had to go through Russia - either the Russian team office, a federation that governs, or a retail outlet that represents the National team merchandise etc . . . basically. . . good luck !

Can you provide me with addresses, contacts, e-mail source for contacting someone or organization inside Russia?

The jersey has been pictured in Cycle Sport several times and it was clearly a Castelli manufactured jersey. Any leads or help would be greatly appreciated.

Terry Friedlander
e-mail. btheuur@earthlink.net
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

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Tour de France qualification

As I look into my crystal ball, it is painfully apparent that only one French team has qualified for this year's Le Tour. And as such, I would like to make a suggestion to the remaining foreign teams in division I - Saeco-Longoni Sport, Team Coast, Mercatone Uno, Gerolsteiner, Phonak, Milaneza-MSS. Boys, start making vacation plans for July because you ain't riding in this year's tour.

All of the foreign teams must be quaking in their cleats when my good buddy Jean-Marie spoke these ominous words: "French cycling will be suitably represented in July." He added that the qualification for the Tour "is not a reward - it is deserved."

Please, please Jean-Marie I beg of you don't placate the pundits by using frivolous means in the selection process. Results and UCI points have no place when determining Le Tour's wild card selections. You need to make sure that only the best French um . . . er . . . I mean professional cycling teams are chosen.

If you will, let's all take a moment from our hectic daily lives and harken back to last year's race and analyze one of Jean-Marie Wild Card selections.

As we all remember, one of last year's most "deserving" teams was the cycling juggernaut Big Mat Auber 93.

Ah yes, who of us could forget their stirring performance in last year's tour? My fingers and toes tingled as I watched the raw horsepower of Big Mat dominate the team time trial with a spectacular ninth place finish. OH BABY! Who let the dogs out?

But their "impressive results" didn't end there. Heck, no! I'm sure we all remember with fondness and pride when Stephane Heulot solidified himself as a French icon with his remarkable sixth place finish in stage 16. (Big Mat's highest stage placing in the race).

Of course, I could be selfish and list their many top 50 placings but that would be piling on. I think their accomplishments speak for themselves, don't you?

I know. I know. I'm gushing like a schoolgirl. Please forgive me. I've tried to be objective, but can you blame me for beating the drum of such cycling superstars? Jean-Marie, why wait for the wild card selection process to play itself out. Let's just end the suspense and pencil in Big Mat as a tour team.

Everybody, say it with me now,

Big Maca is Automatica! Holding back the tears of joy,

Joe Coldebella
New York City, USA
Tuesday, January 29, 2002

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The last month's letters

  • January 24 – Worlds selections, Simoni vs Armstrong, ugly kit, reader poll
  • January 18 – About the poll, Acqua&Sapone, Canadian athlete of the year, Lance & the Spring Classics, Mystery Aussies, Broken Hips
  • January 10- Best Cyclist, Virenque, Lance to enter Spring Classics, I'm better than Lance Armstrong, A poem for Pro Cyclists, Starting Grid, Coastal Post
  • January 03- iTeamnova, Virenque, Lance to enter Spring Classics, Boring Tour, I'm better than Lance Armstrong, VDB, Respect, Starting Grid, Coastal Post
  • December 20 – iteamNova, Lance to enter Spring Classics, Boring Tour, I'm better than Lance Armstrong, VDB, Respect, Starting Grid, Coastal Post
  • December 13 – VDB, Lance to enter Spring Classics, Eurosport Cyclo-cross coverage, Boring Tour, I'm better than Lance Armstrong, Coastal Post
  • December 10 – VDB, Lance in the classics, Coastal Post, Racing in China, Better than Lance Armstrong, Derny Races, Running Red Lights
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on cyclingnews.com