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Letters to Cyclingnews – March 14, 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

VDB
Vasseur comments
Sponsored teams
Paris-Roubaix tips
Superstar Simoni
Race Categories
Thanks for the thrill
What happened to Matt Kelly?
Hernias
David McCann
Lieswyn diary on Valley of the Sun
Michael Howarth crash
Malaysia, politics and the TdL
05 Orbitel should be out
Bruno Saulet
Winter-summer crossover

VDB and doping

Whilst I think that the fight against drug must still go on and preferably with more vigour, I do think we need to be careful before rushing to judgement.

Today we have news that Mr Sainz has been freed and that the drugs found on him may not be blood doping products after all. The more news that filters out, it appears that VDB isn't as 'bang to rights' as first thought.

I'm sure some readers will point to the fact that there were so many substances as being some proof of guilt. To which I reply that you should think carefully about leftover legitimate drugs someone could find in your own bathroom cabinet and then extend that thought to a professional athlete who has a history of injury and physiological problems.

Personally the thought of needles always seem to arouse suspicion on my part. Even that can be legal for rehydration for instance. I saw recently that the latest list of riders still under suspicion from the GIRO grows ever shorter and that most of the riders still left on the list (Kelme riders) have to explain nothing more sinister than caffeine tablets. All this leaves me wondering what is legitimate and where doping begins and ends.

I agree doping is bad for sport but I believe that doping in cycling may be no worse than other sports, its just looks worse because we are looking harder. That's sports such as football don't look. Martin Pipe the leading British horse trainer 'raided' recently in an EPO investigation wanted prior knowledge of the tests!

Finally I'd like to point out that Diane Modal case proves that mistakes do happen and that it is the athlete who loses out. She lost 2-3 years of her career and still faces huge legal bills whilst the governing body has avoided its moral and financial responsibility to put matter right by going into liquidation and reforming.

Martyn Heritage-Owen
Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain
Saturday, March 9, 2002

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VDB

I was aghast to read that the two Belgian Div II teams would consider taking on Frank Vandenbroucke so long as his drug tests were negative.

What sort of attitude is that?

I thought cycling was trying to clean up its act and get rid of doping. The attitude shown by these two teams comes across as doping is ok, just don't get caught.

If VDB was in possession of EPO, and other substances, what did he intend to do with them? I doubt that he bought them to feed to the cat! Even if his urine test is negative, possession of these illegal substances indicates a clear intention to cheat.

Sean Bolton
Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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VDB

It seems obvious that VDB should have signed up with Team Pantani where he would have really been at home. I wonder how long it will take before a division 1 team picks him up??

Paul Denman
Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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VDB

I think that VDB deserves (yet) another chance if the investigation reveals that he is indeed innocent although he probably didn't make the best choice concerning the drugs found in his home.

What angers me most of all is the way the Belgian press jumped on the case, as if he is the next Osama Bin Laden. On Thursday the news on the Belgian public channel reported that he did have a good (and legal) reason for the two of the three substances, and that the investigation concerning the possession of EPO wasn't yet fully finished. So if it turns out that he didn't break the law, then were does that leave him? I think that the media (as well as other people) should use their common sense (if they have any) instead if nailing someone to the cross without a good reason.

Driesfield
Belgium
Friday, March 8, 2002

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VDB and doping

The prisons of the USA (and the UK) are full of drug users because they mug, burgle and take your car to fund their nasty habits. Yet apparently you'd decriminalise them. Meanwhile you want to threaten cyclists with jail for trying to ride a bit faster than others with a little help. I don't know what it's like where you live, but when I walk home late at night I don't worry that the winner of this weekend's race might have had a little 'help'. I worry if I'll get home at all.

VDB has not tested positive for anything. Jailing people for what's in their house, or worse still their doctor's car, is ludicrous. Doping cyclists are not a threat to society, and keeping them in jail is not how I want my taxes spent.

Richard Hare
Essex, UK
Friday, March 8, 2002

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VDB and doping

In response to the letter by Mr. Campbell: Isn't your attitude regarding drug use a little ambiguous?

We live in a society now where salesmen are given Prozac etc to lessen their inhibition on the sales floor. Need to quit smoking- here try some Zyban. Recreational drugs are fine, yeah I can just see that - bunch of guys up the mountain during a ride puffing away going on about how bad the drug problem is in pro sports. Or the armchair racer sipping on his quadruple shot latte going on about the moral-less athlete (while having enough caffeine in his system to set off a fire alarm).

Drug use goes on in ALL aspects of the modern westernized man's life, period. Heck, by the very definition of a drug is "a substance that alters the physiology of the body but is not a food or a nutrient" (McKim. 2000 Drugs an Behavior). Anything that falls outside this is a drug. Got a headache, take a pill. No erection, well we have a pill for that too. Can't sleep, no problem we've got you covered. Even, according to you, street drugs should be allowed in (as they are in some parts of Europe), but God forbid that an athlete has an extra shot of espresso in his Starbucks!

"Athletes and their handlers believe they are above the law that governs the common people".. I think not.

Jan Ullrich gets hauled before CONI for what (anaesthetics, corticosteroids and stimulants) sitting in his room taking an aspirin, having a coffee and making sure his asthma is in check... well that's worth an investigation. Come on!

You say that "criminalizing small time users and dealers with jail time is NOT the solution to ending drug abuse" but yet an athlete caught with banned substances "should be put in jail with the "common" criminals". Didn't you just say that we should release them all anyway? Point is, athletes are PART of society. Drug use, both 'banned' and prescription, to over the counter sports supplements (that you could well test positive for!) is widespread in our, and many other, cultures.

In the US right NOW you can go into your local GNC and buy all kinds of prohormones, stimulants and enough pills and powders to hop up a small central American country. God forbid the police search your house.... do you really think that that cold medication (ephedrine), a few expired Tylenol 3's (codeine), and a stash of "health food supplements" would go unnoticed by the doping gestapo? OK the EPO thing is a little hard to swallow - but man you should see how far his dog can run!, can't get that at your local GNC... yet.

Matt
Friday, March 8, 2002

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VDB and doping

I think Kevin Schaeffer is making light of a very serious issue.

Certainly, upon hearing of the unfortunate news of the recent Frank Vandenbroucke episode, I had feelings of despair. But as the story unfolded, my disgust turned to relief when the truth came out. All too often when all the facts have yet to be released, we as the uninformed public make a beeline to incorrect assumptions. I was ecstatic to learn that the drugs that were found in Frankís possession werenít for illegitimate use. They were for his dog.

OH NO, I can already hear your skepticism. But hear me out. When you rationally think about it - it all makes perfect sense. You see, Frank is a world class cyclist. And as such he exercises a great deal. And during the off-season Iím sure Frank did some cross training. Jaunts up hills. Frolicking through the countryside. Well, as we all know, this training can be incredibly lonely at times. Frank needed a companion. He could have asked a team-mate but obviously Frank thought better of it.

So he brought along his dog. I mean, havenít we all taken our dogs for a walk? But unfortunately for Frank, a world class athlete, his little tail-wagger couldnít keep up. What to do? What to do? Most of us would have thrown in the towel on this furry little friend. But not Frank. He consulted his friend and "former horse breeder" Bernard Sainz. After much deliberation, Bernie must have suggested EPO. The conversation might have gone something like this:

"Hey Bernie?"

"Yeah, Frank."

"My dog is having a rough time keeping up with me when I train. "

"Um, Frank, donít lesser cyclists take drugs to keep up with you? "

"Why yes, Bernie old chum."

"Well, I was thinkingÖ"

"Bernie, stop right there! Thatís great idea! "

And thatís how we arrived at misunderstanding. Frank isnít guilty of anything but the love. Love of an animal. Love of a best friend. I for one as a dog lover and cycling fan, appreciate Frankís unwavering and fierce loyalty to his pooch. Letís end this witch-hunt and get Frank back on the road where he belongs.

Joe Coldebella
New York City, USA
Friday, March 8, 2002

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VDB - Apologies?

I was explaining to my wife what the found in VDB 's house, and of course, this being the USA, she responded:

"I don't know who the hell VDB is, but have you checked our medicine cabinet and seen what our dog's rash pills are? Good thing the US has different rule in case they check you out. People can make anything sound bad enough if they want to".

Turns out, Our medicine chest would have the following; Steroids, Corticoids, Blood doping agents, Morphine and Codeine. And I know I am clean...

I have two Morphine derivatives for old injuries (Collar bone and Shoulder breaks) and My wife's Blood pressure and heart medications (blood thinners etc) would raise eyebrows. And the last bit is for my dog! Yes that's right, for a hip injury she got a steroid and for rashes, my dog has an equivalent to Clenbuterol. I would bet most of you have a similar mix...

Not saying Frank is an angel, but lets look at the blood test and have them positively ID the EPO before we hang him.

Just a thought, but how long do you think doping would be around if teams were suspended along with riders. The doctors would then be in charge of keeping a team clean and healthy instead of just "testable"...

Charles Manantan
Phoenix AZ, USA.
Sunday, March 10, 2002

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Vasseur comments

One can hardly blame Cedric for his displeasure at his non selection for the USPS tour team last year. It seems that Cedric was riding quite well going into the Tour and was stronger than some of the selected members. The team was structured for its overall climbing strength which may have diminished Cedric's value.

It seems that the non-selection has more to do with the political climate surrounding the USPS team. They were experiencing considerable controversy regarding the alleged use of suspicious products from a previous Tour. Many USPS team members who had lived in France moved to other countries. Overall the decision may have been determined due to the fact that Cedric is a French national and the USPS simply did not have confidence in his commitment to the team.

This selection criteria, while arbitrary, may make the difference between winning grand tours or not.

Ken Fouts
Richland, Michigan USA
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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Vasseur and Armstrong

Despite being a climber, Vasseur lost 6 minutes to Armstrong and 5 minutes to Tyler Hamilton in the 2001 Tour de Swiss ITT, and at the end of the entire race was only 3 minutes faster than non-climber Hincapie. With climbers Heras, Rubiera and Hamilton going to the Tour, it's not surprising the team really had no room to take Cedric also.

That being said, Armstrong does have a history of inappropriately favoring his buddies over sometimes more deserving riders for important races. The most blatant example was leaving Frank McCormack off the '96 USA Olympic Road team in favor of Lance's buddies on Motorola -- Hincapie and Frankie Andreu.

Frank McCormack was the best rider based in the USA then, was also the USA's best field sprinter, performed extremely well in the Olympic selection trials, and the flat Olympic course suited him perfectly. In fact he should have been the supported rider in that flat race -- not Lance. Instead McCormack wasn't even on the team.

Sure enough the USA did not come close to medalling although Andreu soloed in for 4th after the peloton let him go off the front near the end (anyway that's how it looked to me....).

One other thing -- which the media seems to have a hard time comprehending with many great athletes -- Armstrong is not here to assuage our delicate feelings and sensibilities nor to make sure he places well in popularity contests. He was born to ride, and he's doing a rather good job of that. When he is through winning his 6 or 7 consecutive Tours he will be remembered and revered as clearly one the greatest riders in history.

Jay Gehrig
USA
Wednesday, March 13, 2002

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Vasseur - Sour Grapes

It sounds to me like Cedric Vasseur has quite the case of sour grapes. I was always under the impression that the team took its most in-form riders to the Tour, not its most French riders.

Erik Borling
Flagstaff, Arizona
Friday, March 8, 2002

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Vasseur speaks his mind

In your interview with Cedric Vasseur he is quoted as saying:

"Finally, last Wednesday, after trying to contact Lance for a year, I had an e-mail from him where he said he had heard about my comments (in France Cyclisme article) and he told me that the reason I wasn't selected was because I didn't ride well in the ('01) Tour de Suisse. But there was no explanation before; nothing...no one ever told me anything."

Immediately following the interview is a stage-by-stage account by Jeff Jones of Vasseur's ride at the 2001 Tour de Suisse. I don't know for sure what Lance meant by his statement but it seems as though Cedric was in a support role for Lance and (it sounds) Tyler. If that's the case, what does it matter how he finished? Ekimov finished in 76th some 51 minutes down... but maybe that's because he gave everything he had on the road to help Lance win.

Now, I'm not saying that Cedric didn't give his all for Lance - I have no idea if he did or didn't - I'm just saying that to "ride well" in a support role doesn't always coincide with a high place on the GC. Jeff seems to be trying to make some kind of connection that I don't think exists.

Scott Washburn
USA
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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Sponsored teams

As a long time reader of Cyclingnews I am always impressed with the number of teams that seem to be appearing in the United States. I have raced for sponsors in the past and then later sought sponsors for other teams. I can't help but to be amazed at the number of teams that are managing to acquire sponsors.

Could someone tell me how this works? Are they real sponsors supplying gear and/or money for racing, or are they 'Australian sponsors' -- "we will let you buy our product at a discount."?

I don't want to sound like sour grapes but if all these people are really getting stuff for free doesn't that mean the rest of the world's cyclist are paying for it?

How do you guys present yourselves as value for money? Hints appreciated. In the end, I believe if you have the events the sponsors will follow. In Australia we would be better served by creating and supporting good events and race promoters (take a bow, Lawrie Cranley). Then we might get someone else to help us look like pseudo pros.

John Caskey
Brisbane, Australia
Sunday, March 3, 2002

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Paris-Roubaix tips

In answer of the Paris-Roubaix questions the following:

"1) Where can we find a 2002 course map? We're going to rent a car (or, if humanly possible, a couple of motorcycles)"

Try this link: http://www.letour.fr/stf/roubaix/, and for sure try to rent the motorcycles, they are the
easiest to move around with!

"2) Where's the best place to go after the race? Post-podium is there an ideal pub/restaurant/other place where fans/teams might mix? "

Not that I know of, but many people do stay hanging around the velodrome to see the riders and teams leave cleanly washed...

"3) How can we get tickets for the track at Roubaix?"

Last year we arrived really late and covered with mud at the velodrome, climbed our way up behind the stands and had a great overall view for free.

As for other tips, on the day before the race there is a team presentation in Compeigne, at the same place where on Sunday the start will be. For the cobblestones, especially the part 11 and 12 (if they have not changed anything) are to be recommended.

Anita van Crey
Netherlands
Monday, March 11, 2002

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Superstar Simoni...

From the news today:

"Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni will not be riding Tirreno-Adriatico, explained team manager Claudio Corti: 'It would have been nice if he could have ridden but his current form means he wouldn't be as competitive as people would expect of him in such an important race like Tirreno. It's nothing to worry about; Gilberto's major objectives are later on in the season.' "

Yes indeed, they are. From the start of Tirreno-Adriatico to the start of the Giro is 58 days. More than enough time to get into shape. I wonder what Lance will be up to 58 days before the Tour de France! If the last few years are any indication, sixty nine days before the Tour, Lance will be tearing up and possibly WINNING a World Cup Race (Amstel Gold). Hmmmmmm

So far, Simoni looks to be following the "Superstar Training Plan" This plan usually includes lots of references to how much time is left before the Big Race and lots of talk from managers about how everything is going fine. The Plan then usually features a bout or two of mysterious illnesses like "Superstar Knee Pain" and "Superstar Bronchitis". The Plan then usually culminates in a sub-par performance or an abandon when the Big Race arrives. Garzelli and Gotti are two excellent examples of how the "Superstar Training Plan" is used effectively. Perhaps Simoni will learn from their errors.

In any big race, any one of several top riders can win. Races must be won by somebody... and Simoni won the Giro last year. What makes a real champion is winning more than once. Anybody remember the last rider to repeat as Giro Champion? If memory serves, it was Miguel Indurain in 1993. That was a long time ago, folks. Simoni has been a very consistent finisher at the Giro in recent years (3rd, 3rd, 1st). I am curious to see if he can really rise above the rest and repeat as champion.

I really enjoyed watching Simoni in the Giro last year. He really was great. However, in the months following the Giro, his success has so ballooned his head, that he really is making a fool of himself. Let's just wait and see if Gibi can win the Giro again. I will go out on a limb today and say he won't.

Scott Goldstein
USA
Monday, March 11, 2002

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Race Categories

Hi all. Checking the 2002 UCI Road Calendar I see the race category besides each of them. I'm getting confused with all the numbers and I would like to ask for your help as to what exactly they mean.

Is a 2.3 Category Race more important than a 1.3? What about a 1.9.2 Category Race?

And a 2.HC compared to a 1.HC?

Thanks for your help and info.

Fernando Perez-Maldonado.
Monterrey, Mexico.
Tuesday, March 5, 2002

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We're aware that we need a FAQ that covers things like this, but in brief: The first number in a UCI road race category indicates whether it's a one day race or a multi-day. 2.3 is a stage race, 1.3 is just one day. The second part indicates the race's importance in terms of how many UCI points riders can earn. The scale goes from X.HC at the top down to X.6. X.9.X races are women's races and follow the same rules for the numbers either side of the 9.

Thanks for the thrill

Letter of Thanks to the world of pro cycling

Thanks for turning a blind eye to known doping offenders and letting them compete

Thanks for letting unwelcome riders ride

Thanks for letting others countries judicial systems vulgarize and subvert any concept of fair play and justice

Thanks for not enforcing the spirit of the regulations you so joyously espouse

Thanks for draining the life out of our sport

Thanks for destroying the innocence of folks who actually thought you can compete and not dope

Thanks for making it impossible for me to take pride in telling people I ride in a sport that has stringent penalties for known dopers

Thanks for embarrassing me every time I tell people I love to cycle and then get asked what I take

Thanks for convincing me that it would be a cold day in hell before I even thought of letting my child ride a bike competitively

Thanks to the riders for the show of solidarity and outing those who dope.

Thanks for casting doubt on all the accomplishments of clean riders

Thanks for everything.

Mark Combs
Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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What happen to Matt Kelly?

I been carefully keeping an eye open for the name Matt Kelly. The former World Junior Cyclocross Champion, the NORBA pro, the part time roadie with the world in front of him.

I noticed he is no longer part of the TREK-VW team. Gentlemen, I figure if anyone knows you do. I know his close friend Jess Swiggers has signed with the Mercury road team. I hope Matt's outlook on life is still as inspiring as his riding.

Glenn Masuda
Long Beach, CA
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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Hernias

There has been one study done measuring EMG (electrical activity of nerve into muscle) of trunk, pelvic and leg muscles while road cycling, in the saddle. Main finding of interest to you would be that the abdominal muscles are hardly recruited at all, meaning that cycling would be very unlikely to have caused your hernia. I am assuming you have an inguinal hernia (at the lower abdomen/upper groin junction), which is caused by a congenital weakness in children or acquired through overuse or acute injury (heavy lifting/straining/sprinting/kicking). Heavy labouring fits the bill perfectly as the most likely culprit in your case. Hard bunch sprints would put more strain through this area, but that doesn't fit with your level of riding. From my professional experience, inguinal hernia repairs do very well, returning to full activity at around 6 weeks for sports like soccer, Rugby etc so cycling should present no problems for you.

Matt McEwan, Sports Physiotherapist
Sydney, Australia
Thursday, March 7, 2002

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David McCann

I should think that David is looked after by Frank Quinn who used to have SeŠn Kelly in his "stable".

Frank can be found in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

Wm D. James
France
Friday, March 8, 2002

Lieswyn diary on valley of the Sun

I just finished reading John Lieswyn's diary article on the Valley of the Sun stage race. The overall impression is that John doesn't care too much for this race, suggesting that it's only a matter of time before someone gets killed participating in it. And the prize list is poor, too.

The United States is an interesting place to hold a stage race. Our streets and highways are not designed for bicycle racing, and our motorists are not inclined to share the road. Which means that anyone in the U.S. trying to promote a stage race faces an enormous task. And, based upon John's comments, a thankless task at that.

If the Valley of the Sun promoters read John's comments, they might invite him not to come back. They might even invite the entire event not to come back. For a guy who wants to make a living riding a bicycle, John should be more diplomatic about disparaging the folks who are trying to provide him with a place to work. If he thinks the race isn't safe, maybe John should put on a coat and tie and go visit the folks who have the authority to actually close down a highway. Explain to them what they have to gain by stopping traffic for a bicycle race. If he thinks the race doesn't pay well enough, maybe John should take a turn at explaining to sponsors what they have to gain by putting up a prize list. He may just find that what he does for a living is pretty much irrelevant to the vast majority of people.

Bottom line: wake up and appreciate your place in American society, John. You get to ride a bike for a living, and no one owes you a wage or a place to do it. If Valley of the Sun isn't to your liking, then go work some place else. But don't criticize the guy who built the factory for offering jobs that are beneath your dignity. Just be glad someone cares about you having a job at all. You could just as easily be freezing your ass off ducking bullets in Afghanistan. Then you'd really have something to complain about.

Rob Ransom
Columbia, SC, USA
Sunday, March 10, 2002

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Michael Howarth crash

I would like to make comment on the recent "accident" of Michael Howarth on Sydney's M2 motorway. Firstly I would like to express my sincere sympathy with his family for this tragic event. I have only known Michael recently following meeting him on a regular Saturday morning bunch ride out of Parramatta. He was a quiet spoken person but one who mixed with all the people riding.

Secondly there can be absolutely NO excuse for someone to deliberately hit someone and then not stop for any reasons. I cannot believe that the police have not charged anyone with this absolute tragedy and put them in gaol. I saw the damage done to the vehicle on a television report as well as that of Michael's bike and it would not be possible for the driver to not have known that they had hit someone. So why are the NSW Police doing nothing about it? This is nothing short of murder on our roads and we should not stand idly by and let this go before there are not more.

In fact there seems to have been a rash of these incident with the Luke Harrop death in Queensland and a little further back a female triathlete in Castle Hill. In both of these incidents (if you can call them that) the offenders got off in my view too lightly. So how many more does it take for the message to get out there that we have a right to use the roads without abuse and death.

Doug St George
Sydney, Australia
Sunday, March 10, 2002

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Malaysia, politics and the TdL

Firstly, I would say that I wish that other counties would run races that touch an entire nation like the TdL! I certainly mean Malaysia and the wonderful people that run the TdL nothing but good will. Unfortunately Mr. B Nagela's reply to the people that disagreed with him that American teams that missed the TdL were narrow minded cowards was pretty much wrong.

I believe that most people realize that Malaysia and Iraq are not the same country. But Mr. Negala's equating his own safety as "an American" as proof that things in Malaysia were fine is off base. Firstly, it's doubtful that a terrorist group would expose themselves in order to injure or negatively effect an individual that is not in the public eye, nor of any public value or part of a world or American agency (sorry B). The same can't be said for a higher profile American professional team or US pro athletes in general. I am probably not alone in saying that I had never heard of B. Negala till his letter surfaced, roundly criticizing American teams for not making the TdL

Secondly Mr. Negala's saying "I doubt there will be any attacks planned there..." and the amazingly incorrect statement that "Terrorists apparently vacation in Malaysia, they plan and execute in the countries in which their attacks take place" is absolute rubbish.

Maybe the 13 Muslim extremists arrested in Malaysia a couple of weeks before the TdL and still being held in direct connection with KMM (Malaysian Mujahideen linked to Al Qaeda) and Zacarias Moussaoui for planning the World Trade Center attacks must have slipped his mind. These were high profile arrests and made the world news, but apparently missed the attention of Mr. Nagela. That in and of itself makes me wonder why he questions the judgment of others.

I am not saying that Malaysia is a bad place in general, nor are Malaysians bad people in general. I marvel at the beauty of the country and the goodness of it's people in general, and hope to get there next year for the TdL and to find some early season heat and form. I also have nothing against the people in that part of the world, as I am half Filipino. But I am not so rounded at the free end as to ignore current events and conditions in a region, or to think that I, as an individual, am as highly valued a target as an American based professional team, or because I share the road with pros on occasion, that I can speak for them. I also recognize that while large mobs across a country are breaking things, lighting fires and chanting "death to America" I may chose a different place, during that particular time, to visit. I don't think that makes me, Saturn, US Postal, Navigators or anyone else of any National origin anything other than rightly cautious.

Charles Manantan
USA
Thursday, March 7, 2002

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Malaysia, politics and the TdL

B. Nagela is seriously overreacting. He seems to think I'm singling out Malaysia and its citizens, which is absolutely not true. I was merely pointing out that Malaysia is one of many countries the US state department has mentioned as places where Al Qaeda cells are know to exist. Based on the last several months, it's known that law enforcement in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Philippines, etc. have arrested alleged Al Qaeda members. If you still doubt the "thoughtfulness" or accuracy of my statements, consult the State Department.

Spencer Dech
USA
Monday, March 11, 2002

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05 Orbitel should be out

Not that any of us are happy about not having another pro cycling team, especially in the Western Hemisphere, but thanks go to the UCI for holding to the rules.

I'm sure that it would have been good for cycling and great for Colombian cycling to have 05 Orbitel among the TT 2 teams. Maybe it could have generated enough publicity to have the worlds there again at altitude to show a strong world champion rather than the roll of the dice it is every year. But it will do no good and in fact do harm to cycling and Colombian pro cycling should people who are not financially ready be given exception.

It will be better for Orbitel and Mr. Mesa to be known as a great team who succeeded after struggling for another year to get proper financing together than be known as the latest Linda Mc et al...

It would be better still for the UCI to explain the situation and if possible do something to help 05 out if they were as close as Mr. Mesa would like us to think. It may not be bad for the UCI to help get people over the hump and do something to promote expansion of the sport. Nobody wants riders with make believe payroll, but we do want more of the sport.

Charles Manantan
Phoenix AZ USA
Monday, March 11, 2002

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Bruno Saulet

I invite readers of cyclingnews.com to visit Bruno Saulet's website (in French). He is currently in Tasmania as part of his 18,000km trip through Australia on his mountain bike.

Bruno is a swimming instructor/lifeguard who has competed successfully at the international level in triathlon and at the regional level in road cycling (besides skiing and foot racing). Kids in some local French schools here, at the foot of the Jura mountains, learn about geography by following his adventures on the web and the local paper.

Have a look at the pictures, so if you happen to meet him, you will know who he is.

FranÁois Siohan, fellow member of the Union cycliste gessienne.
Switzerland
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

I just found out that yet another Canadian athlete has cumulated participation in both winter and summer Olympics...

Salt Lake City Paralympics: Canada's flag bearer Mark Ludbrook will compete (downhill) in his third winter games -- he is already a bronze medallist.

He also competed (swimming) in New York (1984), Seoul (1988), and Barcelona (1992) and got himself a total of three medals.

Sebastien Lamarre
Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

Chris Witty has been a very successful crossover from speedskating to track cycling. Her times on skates are better than many track riders riding bikes!

Also Carl Swenson is a pro mountain biker, and represented the US in XC skiing at the 2002 Olympics. And Davis Phinney used to place well in the Birkebeiner XC ski race in Wisconsin every year.

I'm sure there are many more crossover athletes, especially in years past.

Chris Echelmeier
Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.
Wednesday, March 6, 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

Look how damn skinny XC skiers are. Cycling, running, skiing--gotta be the thinnest athletes out there. And besides, a little added upper body strength can greatly help your climbing and sprinting. Skiing rules!

Drew Hall
USA
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

Jeannie Longo is a former skier!

Wm. David James
France
Friday, 8 Mar 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

Everyone seems to have overlooked two-time Olympic MTB gold medallist Paola Pezzo - no less than Italian XC ski team member before crossing over to MTB. I don't know if she represented Italy in the Winter Olympics or not, but she was on the Italian squad in the 90's

David Ewins.
Sydney, Australia
Monday, March 11, 2002

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Winter-summer crossover

XC skiing is the best winter cross-training, bar none, especially skate skiing. It works the muscles in a very similar fashion to cycling and provides a great full-body workout. It doesn't put on any upper body bulk (look how thin champion skiers are) and can only serve to make someone a more complete athlete. Look at Carl Swenson and Travis Brown -- both are/were top US skiers and have also enjoyed highly successful mountain bike racing careers.

Drew Hall
USA
Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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