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Letters to Cyclingnews - December 5, 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

Recent letters

'Cross in the USA
Tainted supplements
Tom Boonen
The media in cycling
Scott Moninger
Back surgery
Climbers versus sprinters
Cows biggest threat to overseas riders in Asian races
Nancy L. Contreras Reyes 33.605s
Original Tour du Pont
Peugeot Jerseys
Stolen bike

'Cross in the USA #1

I'd like to address Isaac St. Martin's inquiry concerning cyclo-cross entry fees. He writes "I am not a promoter and I do not know where the money goes". I am a promoter (American Express Financial Advisors Cyclo-Cross (Verge #6/Finale) on 12/8/2002) and I'll share with everyone exactly where the money goes.

Sponsorship total:   $1,750
Entry fees (budget): $4,500
           Subtotal: $6,250
Signs/advertising:   $(  500)
Course materials:    $(  350) (includes stake rentals, tape, snow fence, 
                               grade stakes, snow melter, etc., replacement
                               costs from previous year's lost/broken/damaged
Series Fee (Verge):  $(  150)
UCI Fee:             $(  165)
USA Cycling Fee:     $(   50)
Park Rental Fee:     $(  180)
Announcers:          $(  350)
Insurance ($2/rider) $(  500)
Officials (incl UCI) $(  600)
Medals:              $(  100)
Food (staff)         $(  150)
         Subtotal:   $(3,095)
Prize List:          $(3,500)
Expense Subtotal:    $(6,595)
NET:                 $(  345)

So as currently planned, the race will lose about $300-$400 dollars.

If the weather is nice then we don't have to add for snow removal crew, and more riders will come. Unfortunately, there is a UCI cat 3 race in Napa on the same date, so a lot of the elite riders (not that they contribute that much of the entry fees -- they don't) will already be in Napa, and won't be paying the entry fees.

Isaac also writes "Keeping entry fees between $10-15 bucks (equivalent to what a lot of people make for an hour of work) could possibly make participation more appealing to those who just want to come out and have a good time racing." If you want a $10-$15 race, then do the B or the Masters race. They have lower (or no) cash prizes, and thus the entry fee is less. The elite races are just that - elite races.

They have entry fees commensurate to their prize lists.

As for the $10-$15 per hour that "a lot of people make", if everyone who helped out (preparation, setup, registration, tear down, clean up, course repair, sponsorship beggers, town meeting attendees, etc.) were to earn what "a lot of people make", then the hourly wages would more then equal the $3,500 prize list.

Hope this helps, or at least you find it interesting. And, we hope to see you in Merrimack, NH on December 8th. If you want to help out, then come on by on December 7 and help pound stakes and string up tape.

Tim Lucia
Saturday, November 30, 2002

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'Cross in the USA #2

It is awesome, and only getting better. I think 'cross is going to do for cycling in the USA what mountain biking did.

Friday, November 29, 2002

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Tainted supplements #1

[Read feature]

I thought it was very interesting that someone felt that it was important enough to simply categorize the data by country - implying that national standards are the problem?

Is the list of failed supplements public? Without specific data how can one determine what is acceptable, otherwise, what is the message here? Avoid buying supplements in XYZ?

Doug Brown
Saturday, November 30, 2002

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Tainted supplements #2

The author hits the nail on the head by saying the line between sports supplements and drugs is blurry. Unfortunately, sports governing bodies require exactly such a line to enforce rules. This is not a problem unique to sport - rules governing the production of food products face the same problem... ever had a throat lozenge that claims to soothe a sore throat? Is it a lolly (little regulation) or a therapeutic product (much more regulation)?

Ritchard Longmire
Sunday, December 1, 2002

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Tainted supplements #3

I think it should be no surprise that small supplement companies would have insufficient quality control of their operations to guarantee that one batch of chemicals - supplements - are not mixed with the remains of the previous chemicals that have gone through the capsuling or bottling machines.

This also implies that every other company, including the majority that tested clean, is at risk of showing contamination as well. It is only a matter of the order in which these chemicals go through the machines that determines what contaminates any specific supplement.

There is no quality research that shows that supplements offer any benefits beyond what a well balanced diet can provide. Moreover, bicyclists eat much larger amounts of food than the average person, who is usually the target for such research, and hence find it a lot easier to obtain all of the vitamins and minerals that are required for a healthy body.

I find it unfortunate that a rider like Scott Moninger should be caught in such a pitfall but there is great difficulty in determining the source of detected drugs in an athlete's system and the only way to limit the impact of drugs on the results is to be hard headed about applying the rules.

The only answer to this question is that professional athletes should never use supplements of any kind and sports doctors should inform those athletes, who are their patients, of the facts whenever possible.

I would urge Scott Moninger, with the evidence that he presently has, to pursue legal actions against the supplement company with great vigor. His reputation has been sullied and his career is likely ended. That is strong grounds for action.

Tom Kunich
Monday, December 2, 2002

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Tom Boonen

So, he leaves a team that has one of the better Classics riders of our generation in Hincapie, to ride a one spring season with Johan who is retiring in May? Makes no sense. Without a doubt, this is the most ridiculous move a rider could ever make. Leaving a team who is as financially sound as USPS, for a new team that just started just because Johan is there and Patrick Lefevere. USPS is one of the stronger classic teams, and their DSes are some of the best classics directors of our generation. Boonen is a classic example of a rider having a lucky finish in one race, and then turn and leave the team and coaches that gave him his start. I understand the cycling world, and sponsors come and go and riders go from team to team to maintain a great income, but for Boonen to leave after one good race, to ride under the best classics rider of all time, for just one spring campaign is insanity. George would have helped him along for sure. Boonen may have been riding for George at USPS, but he will do the same for Johan in the spring, then Johan will be gone, and then it will be up to him to prove to all that he is the next Johan. Too much pressure at such a young age.

Matthew Riggs
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Tuesday, December 3, 2002

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The media in cycling #1

If Mike Gates doesn't believe what he reads, why read it? But then if you are not buying papers and only read the web how do you know that what reporters are writing about in the papers is all a beat up? It was, by the way, made clear in reports that McEwen later denied saying the "fist" comments - and in Australia Robbie got quoted a hell of a lot and at the end of the day it was his green jersey exploits that were best remembered - and deservedly. It is also fact that the two riders (he and Lance) were not best of mates and shared a few testy words. But, as in life, not everyone in the peloton gets on. That is why the Tour is in many ways a mirror of life. If you think journalists are just beat up merchants then who are you to believe? Perhaps it is not the media who are cynics here?

I agree Mike that the media is not to be protected from criticism. And, as I said, nor is it never at fault. Hey, I have made mistakes. I only asked that people don't ASSUME we are misquoting or are deliberately depicting the wrong story for an extra buck. If you feel that then I am sorry you are so cynical about the media ... but I can tell you are judging a lot of people unfairly here. And believe it or not, you may be judging people who love cycling and do a lot to get it in the mainstream media. That I can tell is not an easy feat. But that's another story. I won't beat that one up.

Mike, I hope we cross paths one day. Maybe over a beer or two we can discus this further and realise we are all involved in this sport because we love it.

Rupert Guinness
"The Australian", Sydney, Australia
Friday, November 29, 2002

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The media in cycling #2

Reading the thread on the media in cycling I thought it interesting that no one brought up what to me is the salient point, cycling is a sport that was literally created by the media. Any thoughts on that?

Steve Farris
Friday, November 29, 2002

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The media in cycling #3

It's early Saturday morning in Panama. I need another coffee and a ride but as a contributor to Cyclingnews, someone who has never spoken to Rupert Guinness but has spoken to Robbie McEwen I just want to say what nonsense it is to say "without the media cycling is nothing".

I presume that Rupert means media with a capital "M", i.e. the broadcast media. It is like saying none of us exist or have any worth or meaning unless the "media" i.e. the mainstream broadcast media believes we (bikes, cyclists, our cycling culture) are newsworthy. One of the important and innovative things about cycling and its relationship with information technology (I mean the net) is that we are going beyond the "media". Our news and sport is not dependent on them but on us.

We can cooperate across a whole range of activities, places, times and spaces without the need for the "Media". Cyclists are producing everyday their own cooperative communications media - a network of sites, forums, emails not dependent on the "Media". If anything the "Media" is dependent on cyclists and their creative potential realised via the net.

So please don't fall for that crap - it is not the "media" that creates cycling or cycling news (rather news about cycling) it is all of us (dare I say the) the cycling multitude that creates and reproduces itself. If cycling was so dependent on the "media" why do we creates sites, forums, email lists, live broadcasts and communicate cooperatively rather than sitting back and waiting for CNN, ESPN, or The Australian to tell us what to think and who to be interested in.

The media (i.e the "Cycling Media") would be nothing without cyclists and their creative cooperation through the net. If we continue to develop our networks, if teams like Marco Polo, iTeamNova and Euskaltel continue to grow (i.e. based upon community support) I think the sport and our culture will leave them all behind along with the corruption they bring to our sport.

Martin Hardie
Saturday, November 30, 2002

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Scott Moninger #1

With regards to the open letter from Scott Moninger, I have the following to say: Why would any professional athlete suddenly deviate from taking their "normal supplements" and change to taking new ones (without knowing what is actually in them - as tests conducted on these supplemental products have later proven…) all before an important race?

Now I am not defending anyone in this issue (I have never even personally met Scott) but I would be more inclined to be extra careful in this day and age when purchasing "supplements" (many of which are banned outside the US). It is extremely regretful that Scott later tested positive by consuming something he was not aware of. I can only hope that this does not end his great cycling career. Wishing him the best of luck.

Francis Kelsey

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Friday, November 29, 2002

Scott Moninger #2

I want to believe Mr. Moninger's story, I truly do. The last thing that American cycling needs is another doping dilemma, on the heals of Kirk Obee's positive test. Ever since then, The Navigators team has been mediocre at best. The most frustrating part for me is that every time someone gets caught with something foreign in their blood, they always have some kind of excuse. That they are not responsible for the enhancement to be in their blood stream. It makes no sense to me that someone at his caliber of racing doesn't know what they are putting in their bodies, or doesn't know or think to ask their team doctor about a specific supplement that they may take, especially when it is a supplement that they have never taken before. All pro cycling athletes know, and are under stress all of the time concerning doping controls. I guess if I was in this position, I would be contacting the team doctor about anything and everything that I may take just to be sure all is ok. But, then again, I am a clean rider, who does not believe in any form of supplement other than a multi vitamin. If you eat correctly, train correctly, and race correctly, all the energy you need it right at your finger tips at the local grocery store. You want more endurance, train smarter and harder, you want to sprint better, work at it, you want to climb better, loose weight (smartly), increase your power. Supplements are not a magic pill, and as we have seen here, they have about ruined a riders clean and very worthy career.

Matthew Charles Riggs
Tuesday, December 3, 2002

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Back surgery #1

In response to Philip Louw's letter regarding back surgery, I had my fusion and lamenectomy done in 1986, also L4-L5, and have been able to continue with my cycling (veterans racing) after 12 months of physio etc. I must be honest and say that I still experience pain in my lower back, and suffer sciatica nerve entrapment constantly, but its important to be as flexible as you possibly can be, but, also understand with that type of operation you will lose a major portion of the ability to be as flexible as you were before the operation.

Beware as you recover along the way, that pain will always be a part of your everyday activity, but you will learn to live with it, as your operation is a very major one, and your spine has undertaken a major trauma, so take it easy, and get on with riding again ASAP, but forget running my friend.

Daryl Annells
Melbourne, Australia
Friday, November 29, 2002

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Back surgery #2

I had my back operated on (2nd time) in end of March 2002 and feeling very good now. I did not need the fusion, just a revision (or in lay terms another decompression of the disc that was hampering the nerve at L5, S1) riding upwards of 60 miles/wk on the road and feeling much better. And yes, through proper physical therapy and getting your back stronger and not pushing it too hard the first year and post-surgery, you can achieve good health and fitness.

There is life after surgery.

Lou Frankel
Atlantic City, New Jersey/USA
Friday, November 29, 2002

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Back surgery #3

I truly am sorry to hear of Philip's injury. Although I was not injured as severely (I merely suffered a herniated disc, L4-L5), my advice should apply to you: LET IT HEAL, AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY MORE CAREFULLY AND THOROUGHLY THAN YOU HAVE BEFORE. I tried to resume training too early, and finally, after the third time my back went out, I realized I need to start slowly, and resist the urge to think that "I'm back to normal again"--because I'm NOT. Good luck.

Kim West
Des Moines, Iowa
Friday, November 29, 2002

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EPO #1

Several observations: First, "doping" of the sort that Scott M was caught with probably did relatively little to enhance his performance, although it might have helped.

Second, this case illustrates that the controls have had a significant effect because the implications of doping on the sport are a matter of degree. If doping could be done on a large scale without being detected, and if such doping changed the athletic performance by a very large degree, then mediocre athletes could dope and beat the best ones. This does not happen because both the detection is better and the effectiveness of not-so-easily detected levels is modest. It is still the case that only the very best athletes are going to win the TdF because doping tests are good enough that only a modest amount can be used and the increment in performance, while important, is not too large.

Third, in regards to the breeding comment, in horse racing, selective scientific breeding has been taking place for many, many generations. One result of this selection can be seen in the fact that the best horses have not gotten significantly faster over the last three, four, or five decades, even with the improvements in medicine and diet for these athletes (although the fields have gotten "deeper", with more very good horses). From this, I draw the conclusion that genetic adjustments in humans will not radically alter the landscape in sports at a very rapid pace. Sports have had a minor degree of selective "breeding," with talented athletes marrying other talented athletes. The progeny tend to be good athletes, but there is substantial "regression to the mean."

However, I always remember the comment of Frank Shorter (former U.S. Olympic marathon champion and number one rated marathoner for several years) that to be an Olympic champion, one had to pick one's parents carefully. Good genetics is a necessary but not sufficient condition for athletic excellence.

David Glyer
Madison, Wisconsin
Saturday, November 30, 2002

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EPO #2

Your article mentions sub-groups for Eprex, the European, and presumably more dangerous forms of artificial EPO. If you look at the Internet, there are other labels found for artificial EPO, including Eritrina and Eritropoetina. Are these similar to Epogen and/or Procrit or Eprex?

Also, out of curiosity, what is the difference between subcutaneous and intravenous administration of the drug?

Evelyn Whitworth
Saturday, November 30, 2002

Anthony Tan replies:

It is true that there are many other labels used to brand artificial erythropoietin (EPO). Not only that, but the generic term "erythropoietin" is often spelt differently depending on the country that the product is sold in; for example, erythropoietin is spelled as "eritropoetina" in Spain. Also within medical and scientific circles, artificial EPO is referred to recombinant EPO, or r-HuEPO.

The market for protein therapeutics, including EPO, is worth over US$20 billion globally, so it is not surprising to see a new sub-brand of EPO released by the same manufacturer every few years, claiming to be a new, improved version of the drug. With only a handful of players able to afford the research and development costs, it is very much an oligopoly, and the biotechnology firms that produce EPO have sought and obtained patent protection covering many of the genetic engineering techniques they use.

The techniques used to develop the various brands of EPO are all quite similar, however, they all have their slight differences in their manufacturing processes - which may be a reason why Amgen has only experienced two reported cases of Pure Red-Cell Aplasia (PRCA) in the last 12 years and Johnson & Johnson is responsible for 141 cases of PRCA.

Regarding differences in the administration of EPO, subcutaneous (SC) administration refers to injection of EPO beneath the skin, as opposed to intravenous (IV) administration, where the drug is administered slowly into a blood vessel. Within hospitals, the intravenous method of administering EPO is more commonly used. For athletes that choose to abuse the drug, EPO administration via intravenous administration is the most common.

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Climbers versus sprinters

My apologies to anyone offended by my comments on sprinting being less taxing than climbing. I did not say specifically that it was easy like several folks interpreted the letter as saying. But I will defend the position of climbers vs sprinters with one observation. Mind you I am only referencing one particular event but I am confident the results of my findings will typically be the same in other events.

In the 2002 TdF the three top sprinters were over 2 hours behind the winner in the GC. The winner of the green jersey was over 3 hours behind in the GC. Is this because they are so powerful? But once again I may be comparing apples to oranges.

Lets completely forget climbing versus sprinting and look at each riders individual time trial efforts. The ITT is probably the only real measure of racer against racer in road cycling. Don't take my word for it. Check it out for yourselves. Of course we could argue points all day long therefore this is a very subjective discussion. Thanks and best wishes to all.

Sammy Johnson
Atlanta, Georgia
Friday, November 29, 2002

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Cows biggest threat to overseas riders in Asian races

I would just like to point out that my assertion that the local wildlife in Asian has proven to be far more dangerous to cyclists than extremist groups in Asia has thus far been accurate. I participated in this year's Tour of Thailand and the toll was:

2 dogs run over
1 water buffalo collision
0 threats from local malcontents

I must say I was shocked when I saw Neal from SIS laying on the side of the road and later found out he had T-boned a water buffalo while in a 2 man breakaway attempt. I offer this as a respite of levity in a corner of the world which has seen more than its share of tragedy. Please remember that there is a deep passion for cycling in South East Asia and I personally hope the local races (TDL, Eagle Tour, Jelajah Malaysia, Perlis Open, Tour of Thailand) continue to grow and prosper while remaining some of the most fun races on the calendar.

Bradley E. Nagela
Friday, November 29, 2002

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Nancy L. Contreras Reyes 33.605s

I just read on the website about the unofficial world record in women's 500m. Quite curious about the whole situation I earlier did a little research of my own on the internet with the help of the unequalled search engine Google and found the offical website of the Games. Apparently it all has to do with the repair and the adaptation of the 200m high speed roller skating track that only recently must have been completed. Well enjoy my e-mail underneath.

The velodrome el polvorin (200m track) must be situated at an altitude of about 682 meters (still quite favourable for cycling). The event must have taken place at about 11.30 hours altitude with a favourable temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and an air pressure of around 1016 hPa. Summing it all up: excellent conditions. Must I presume that the UCI didn't certify the velodrome because it has to be repaired and adapted considering the fact that it was and maybe still is a concrete high speed roller skating track? At your website is stated that the project run from September 2001 up to May 19, when 98% activities have been taken place. The real question is: was the performance of Nancy L. Contreras Reyes (Mexico) apart from the fact that the track wasn't officially certified by the UCI a valid (world best) performance?

Frans Rutten
The Netherlands
Monday, December 2, 2002

In fact it was Frans who drew our attention to the fact that Nancy's ride broke the previous record. - Ed

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Original Tour du Pont

The Tour de Trump began in Albany, NY in 1989. The race you are thinking of was the Citibank CitiTour. Held in September of 1986, it began in Goshen, then went through Woodsbury Common, West Point, crossed the Bear Mountain Bridge, through Tarrytown, and finished in front of the UN building in New York. If you want the exact route, contact Dr. Art Donohue. He actually rode the route in '86 and wrote a great story about it. Phil Anderson won the race solo. Winning Magazine had a really cool picture of Phil with his head down crossing a bridge into New York City. LeMond, Anderson, and the entire 7Eleven team were there, as well as the sparse domestic pro ensemble. It was held to do what the New York Criterium Championship did in 2002, showcase America's Tour de France champion, but it was never held again.

If you need any additional information, I'll dig up the old Winning Magazine that featured the race and help the best I can.

Jason Darden
Raleigh, NC
Tuesday, December 3, 2002

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Peugeot Jerseys

Vintage Velos makes a repro classic Peugeot Cycling Jersey.

Alex Bialy
St. Remy, NY
Saturday, November 30, 2002

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Trackie's road bike stolen

Click for larger image

I was just wondering if you could run a notice for me in regard to my daughter's* road bike. It was stolen out of her car from Glendalough Train Station in Western Australia about two months ago. So far we have not had any luck in locating it. Although she is a track rider, most cyclists know that you have to do road k's as well.

Thankfully, her coach has been letting her use his road bike for training over the last two months when he has not been using it. Unfortunately we are pensioners and cannot replace the bike, and since it has not turned up in the West I was wondering if maybe anyone in the East may have seen it?

(*Kristine Bayley is the younger sister of 2001 world keirin champion Ryan Bayley and one of Australia's most promising young track cyclists - Ed.)

Bike details

Fondriest Molven
Blue / Silver
Campagnolo, Daytona groupset
Carbon forks
Carbon seat post
Ambrosio Excellence wheels
Blue & Black tyres
Blue bar tape
Wellgo pedals
Forgie stem
Vitesse, fi'zi:k - seat
small frame, 48/51cm 
Only bike of this model in this size & colour in Australia.

if found please call Kristine Bayley:
0402 236 347 
(08) 9343 2477

Lola Bayley
Western Australia

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Recent letters pages

  • November 29 - Scott Moninger, Climbers vs Sprinters, Atrial fibrillation, EPO, 'Cross in the USA, Back surgery, Keirin, The media in cycling, Tom Boonen, Tyler Hamilton, Original Tour du Pont, Doping
  • November 21 - Robbie McEwen & the media, Tom Boonen, Bas Van Dooren, Cyclo-cross USA, DynEPO, John Lieswyn's Diaries, Saeco and Cannondale, TdF 2003, Atrial fibrillation, Cyclo-Sportifs, Joseba Beloki,, Tyler Hamilton, Cipo, 'Ferrari' people mover
  • November 18 - Bas Van Dooren, Tom Boonen, Cyclo-cross USA, Atrial Fibrillation among the pros, Cipo, TdF 2003, DynEPO, Saeco and Cannondale, Living in Europe, Soren Lilholt, VDB, Where's Tom Leaper?, Cyclo-Sportifs, Amstel Gold Race
  • November 8 - Botero's contract, Atrial Fibrillation among the pros?, Tour de France 2003 Presentation & Sean Kelly's jersey, TdF 2003, What about Tyler?, Graeme Obree film, Horner/Trenti, Jan Ullrich, Amstel Gold Race, Big Mat/Gitane, Boxless bicycling, Cipo, VDB, Living in Europe, Lisa Mathison, Mass start event safety issues, Podium Boyz Pic, Raul Alcala, Shaving, 19th Century 24 hour racing
  • October 31 - A House Divided..., Robbie McEwen, Botero, Real inclines, Lance's seat post, Chris Horner, Cipo, Namibia, Numb data, Pics of Bauer's chopper, Shaving, What about Tyler?, Jan Ullrich, Jan Ullrich's knee pads, Women's race length
  • October 25 - Robbie McEwen defends himself, Cipo, The Worlds Sprint, Chris Horner, Cipo and Pantani, Tour selection, Namibia, I had that Brad McGee in my store once, What about Tyler?, Botero, Lance in good company, Lance's seat post, Numbed by the data, Real inclines, World Masters Games in Oz, Young champions, Shaving
  • October 18 - The World's, What is up with Robbie McEwen?, Cipo and Pantani, Botero, Lieswyn and Australian races, Namibia?, Numbed by the data, Shaving, Tour de France, Only in Cycling..., World Masters Games, Youngest world pro champion?, What A Goose
  • October 11 - Why Botero is a Champion, It Could Only Happen in Cycling!, UCI change, Climbing Weight, Delgado, Language, Lieswyn and Australian races, Shaving, Univest GP, Triple Bypass Ride, Around Oz racing
  • October 4 - Univest GP, Vicente Belda, Kelme, the little team?, Pedro Delgado is nuts, Aussie track team, Box or not?, Climbing weight, Guido Trenti, John Lieswyn, Regularity, Triple Bypass Ride, ag2r, Advice on shaving
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on