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Letters to Cyclingnews - June 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

Saeco rejection
Giro coverage
Bob Roll
What to about DOMS
Drinking Games
House swap
Get your skates on
Andrei Tchmil

Saeco rejection #1

Simoni failed two dope tests. Okay, exclude the team. But Jean Delatour? Excuse me, but Coast has some very solid names (Zülle, Escartin, Casero, Carmendia, Beltran) who could mount a reasonable challenge to Lance Armstrong. And Aqua & Sapone could really add some spice to the sprints (Cipo vs. Zabel).

What exactly can Jean Delatour offer? Nothing in my opinion, they are just filler. French filler.

Tony Cravero
Gothenburg, Sweden
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Saeco rejection #2

Obviously, the TdF organizers just want an excuse to get rid of Saeco now that Simoni won't be on the line. That's why they are claiming it's because of 'Le scandal.' If that were truly the case they need to be fair and apply that criteria across the board and dismiss Mapei as well based on Garzelli's problems.

Jonathan Dughi
Tuesday, June 04 2002

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Saeco rejection #3

Anyone want to explain why Saeco is out but Mapei is still in the Tour?

And really, how can you try to justify putting most of those French teams in before Accua-e-Saponi because A&S is not a balanced team? The French teams don't really have an overall contender between them, and at least Mario can be counted on the win a stage or two.

Why not just cut the rhetoric and come out and say you are going to favour the French teams after you have kept the main sponsors happy. Perhaps Mr Leblanc should consider his responsibility to the sport as a whole, and not continue to play last minute musical chairs with the teams.

Kim Shearer
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Saeco rejection #4

I am extremely disappointed at M. LeBlanc's decision not to invite Team COAST to the Tour de France again this year.

Fernando Escartin placed in the Top 10 in the Giro (7th), Alex Zulle won two stages in the Tour of Romandie (including Time Trial) and last year's Vuelta winner, Angel Casero, was added to the team - as was a French sponsor (Renault)- to bolster its ranks.

I simply must state my dissatisfaction to people who at least objectively look at competitive cycling (i.e. fans) and hope that enough people realize that the team was shafted yet again so that when it's yet another boring Tour, they'll understand why.

John Kurth
Milwaukee, USA
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Saeco rejection #5

Jean Delatour in the Tour de France that is just spectacular! JD is such a classy team, unlike Team Coast, or Saeco - JD has riders of world class worthy of the TdF.

With Brochard and Halgand, Lance will face a double threat on any stage. Zulle and Di Luca are strong riders but honestly, they cannot be compared to Brochard and Hagland.

And what is all this focus on Cipollini? Where is the excitement in seeing Cipo and Zabel go head-to-head in the sprints in some sort of Milan-San Remo rematch?

I personally find it much more exciting to see if the sprinters can make the time cut on the climbing stages. That is what defines a great sprinter and that is why Cipo should not be allowed to take part in the Tour. He might be fast on the flats but really he is not that strong of a climber compared to Zabel and O'Grady.

I can't wait for the TdF to finally get to see the best riders compete. Thank you Leblanc for ensuring the quality of the TdF.

Mikael Eliasson
Boston, USA
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Saeco rejection #5

All this year I was peeved by Saeco not sticking by Cipo, knowing full well that they have had more publicity (and still get more) from Cipo than from the rest of the team. I was also a little put off by the tossing of "The Falcon" as it seemed he too was a pretty solid rider and unbelievable to watch come down a mountain.

Yahoo to both for the best performance year of their careers! Milan San Remo, Ghent, toss in a few other wins by Cipo and Lombardi, pound out stage wins out the wazzooo in the Giro and cap it with the GC win.

Congrats on Saeco for moving up a notch on the "worst team moves of all time" list! But look on the bright side, people will continue to mention the team, albeit in the same sentence as words like "stupid, foolish" and er "snort".

Well done!

Phoenix, USA
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Saeco rejection #6

While I was very disappointed with the drug scandals that once again plagued the Giro d'Italia, I thought that the incident involving Simoni might inject some life into what should be a mundane tour.

Allow me to explain: once Simoni tested non-negative for cocaine a second time, it seemed to me to be a forgone conclusion that he and Saeco would be excluded from the Tour.

Last year, there were many complaints about Jean-Marie Leblanc's French wild card selections. With a foreign team, Saeco, out of the picture, I had hoped that Mr. Leblanc would replace them with another foreign team. Two teams immediately come to mind, Acqua e Sapone and Team Coast. With Mario snubbing the Tour organization in Paris-Roubaix, Coast seemed like an excellent choice. With Alex Zulle displaying some of his best form in recent years, along with riders like Escartin and Angel Casero they seem like a logical choice.

I should have known better. Jean delatour? Laurent Brouchard and company? A decent team, but more worthy of selection than Coast. Give me a break. That's not to say that Alex would have challenged Lance, but the possibility of a podium spot couldn't be excluded given the less than stellar field this year.

Ken Bellone
New York, USA
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Doping #1

The Giro is over but I keep thinking of what Daniel Baal said during the height of the TdF EPO scandal to the effect that it was unnatural to see riders climbing with little or no apparent suffering in the high mountains.

Fast forward to the pain on the faces Tonkov, Evans, Hamilton and dozens of other riders as they climbed after Tonkov and Sal. Interesting that our Giro winner had such a seemingly non-difficult ride to the pink summit.

Interesting also that this Giro had more than its share of non-negatives and scandal yet again. A clean win? Perhaps. A stained win? Very much so.

What to do? Lifetime bans from the sport would certainly have an impact, as at least one CyclingNews reader has pointed out. But that still leaves us with the inherent problem of the cheaters always being ahead of the tester.

Better to let them use any drugs they want providing the rider signs an informed medical consent and provisions are made for widows and orphans when the rider dies prematurely.

Brian Lafferty
Longmeadow, USA
Monday, June 3, 2002

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Doping #2

I can feel the same way as Sean Jones very quickly about losing faith in bicycle racers. But I think for every rider found to be taking drugs there are many who aren't.

This sport will continue to attract young racers and some may be our sons and daughters. As spectators, we should make it abundantly clear that we do not support a team that employs drug-users. In fact, we love teams that expel them.

For every bike racer caught using drugs I'll bet we can find dozens more who are just as fast but clean.

Keith Whelpley, Las Cruces, USA
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Giro coverage #1

You may be aware that in the UK, one of the companies who provide Eurosport called ITV Digital went bust recently. When I came back from holiday, I found all the channels apart from the most basic ones had been blacked out.

I have relied upon CyclingNews to provide up to date and accurate coverage of the Giro. Coverage of cycling in the UK press is pathetic (apart from the idiots who seek to enhance their performance).

Please keep it up, it's dead easy to hide the live reports on your desktop at work!

Tim Slaughter
Carlisle, UK
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Giro coverage #2

Queridos Amigos! I am writing from Mexico City.

Even with Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio winning two stages and the mountain jersey the coverage of the Giro in local papers was very deficient. Your timely and complete coverage of the event allowed me to enjoy it very much.

I appreciate and thank your work and effort.

Luis Felipe Trigo Boix
Tuesday, June 04, 2002

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Giro coverage #3

So far as I could find, your advertised coverage did not have a start or estimated finish time. The live coverage itself did but there was no way of knowing when it would commence which was an hour after the commencement of the race sometimes.

I assume you did not advertise a commencement time because you yourself did not know when the live coverage would commence.

Your coverage at the exiting times of the races was good - every three minutes at times.

Joseph Kilby
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Giro coverage #4

I'd like to propose a new unofficial award for the Giro. There is already "The Kangaroo" for the rider that jumps up the most places on GC in a single stage, and "The Shrimp" for the rider that sinks the most places overnight.

I propose "The Slug", for the rider with the most potential who puts in the most incredibly useless performance in the
Giro. I have two nominees for this year:

1) Marco Pantani
2) Ivan Quaranta

Although at opposite ends of the rider spectrum (climber and sprinter) they both should have been challenging the best in their respective specialties, however they truly made a mockery of their talents by sleepwalking through the Giro before finally doing their teammates a favor and quitting.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

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Bob Roll

I did not find Bob's comments rude or unprofessional. They are true at this point in Pantani's career and Mr. Roll's comments are right on and humorous. I would like more comments like things and more editorials from the men who are so close to the sport. Comments like these enlighten rather than distract so keep up the comments.

R. Pagel
Springfield, USA
Sunday, June 02, 2002

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Can anyone tell me why the CSC-Tiscali team shorts display no sponsors?

Jeff Bauer
Boulder, USA
Monday, June 03, 2002

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What to about DOMS

My perspective on DOMS is that it is typically the result of micro-tearing to the muscle fibers. This tearing, like other injuries to the body, evokes an inflammatory response.

So, in dealing with DOMS, you can treat it like any other inflammatory process: over-the-counter medication, elevation (above the heart), massage, ice application/ice bath or any combination of those.

Incorporating stretching into post-exercise can help as well. The natural bodily response to this micro-tearing will be "guarding" in which the surrounding tissue will tighten in an attempt to protect what it deems an injury.

Your next bout will be hindered by restrictive tissue and leave said tissue more susceptible to further injury, particularly during those eccentric contractions.

Saturday, June 1, 2002

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I just want to offer my congratulations to Cadel for a fabulous ride at the Giro. His performances on the bike - and cheery, friendly demeanor off the bike - has made all us Aussie cyclists really proud.

You live and you learn and I'm sure we'll see many more great things from him in the next few years.

His achievements on the bike are well documented but one thing that did surprise me was that he couldn't speak Italian before he joined the team. In a few short months, he is handling the Italian media with aplomb and conversing with the DS over 2 way radio in the very same language!

To me, that shows he is a fast learner with a good head on his shoulders. He can only get much, much better.

Lance Armstrong - look out!

Carlos Remedios
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Drinking Games #1

Drink every time Paul says, "he's pushing a huge gear".

Drink every time Paul refers to someone as a, "fantastic bike rider".

Drink when Bobke's run-on sentences reaches 100 words (we love Bobke!)

DON'T drink anytime Paul pronounces "bike rider" sounding more like "bite rider" or you'll end up with alcohol poisoning!

God bless those boys - they're wonderful!

Stephen Brown
Sunday, June 02, 2002

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Joan's comments regarding osteoporosis are quite interesting and I was thinking of doing a study for a Public Health course which compared bone densities in cyclists (XC and road) against "normal" physical activities such as running.

The premise of this study was that those that suffer osteoporosis were shown to increase their bone density when exposed to vibration i.e. a session on a vibrating table/chair set-up.

I was hoping to show that the effect would be quite apparent in cyclists, especially comparing XC-cyclists who are exposed to more vibratory input than road-riders for example.

Unfortunately I decided to focus my energies somewhere else until this thread arose - any further comments from people in the field? Does bone mass rely on weight-bearing to increase its density or is it the exposure to vibrations causing micro-fractures that strengthen the bones?

Andre Duszynski
Adelaide, Australia
Monday, June 03, 2002

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I don't think I have read an answer to Ed Tarwinski's question about the little white pieces of cloth seen dangling from the rear of many Giro riders' saddles.

I was also curious until the French announcer for Eurosport, Patrick Chassé, explained on air that a humanitarian organization in Italy that campaigned against anti-personnel landmines had asked Italian cyclists in the Giro for a sign of solidarity with their campaign.

I was impressed with just how many of these little white saddle tags were seen and became the focus of TV cameras throughout the race.

While it doesn't quite compare in terms of publicity and flamboyance with Cipollini's admirable six stage wins, it was, nevertheless, reassuring to see such a positive move from the Italian peloton.

And while we are on the subject of Eurosport announcers, I must agree with the several David Duffield detractors who have expressed their opinions in the letters column. While I agree that it can be difficult to fill a two or three hour time slot with intelligent commentary, I was totally put off by his all-too-frequent and lengthy digressions that had nothing to do with the race.

On the other hand, I thoroughly delight in the French Eurosport cycling announcer, Chassé, who is joined by Jean-Francois Bernard, Eric Boyer or Laurent Fignon. He is articulate, interesting, always well informed and a treat to listen to.

Roger Stevenson
Lyon, France
Monday, June 03, 2002

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House swap

My son is an amateur rider from Australia who is presently in London. He is looking for somewhere preferably in the North of Spain to find suitable lodgings and to race amateur races. To stay with another bike riding family would be great.

I would be pleased to hear from any of your readers who would be interested in helping a young rider (26) to ride in Europe.

Of course we would be prepared to reciprocate (in Australia) for a European rider who wished to train in Australia in the European winter.

Replies by email would be OK

Paul Nightingale
Brisbane Australia
Sunday, June 02, 2002

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Get your skates on

I am a keen track cyclist and am looking into having a go at speed skating. I am sure I am not the only cyclist to consider this as a fun way to cross-train or even compete in the off-season. I would appreciate any information on the whereabouts of the nearest facilities for such an activity, or the authorities for the sport in Australia. I am from NSW in Australia.

Andrew Carter

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Andrei Tchmil

Just a word of thanks to Andrei Tchmil for all he has contributed to pro-racing over the years. His win in Paris Roubaix is one of my all-time favorite moments in cycling and his longevity at the sport's highest levels is truly an inspiration. The spring classics won't be the same without him.
Thanks Andrei!

Tom Kamber
Brooklyn, USA
Monday, June 03, 2002

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Recent letters pages

  • May 31 - More on Le Tour, Lieswyn, Giro, doping, drinking games
  • May 29 part 2 - Tour de France, Drinking games, Lieswyn, Osteoporosis
  • May 29 - more on the Giro & doping
  • May 24 - Pantani, Probenecid, LeBlanc, Bob Roll, Garzelli, Simoni, Giro, McEwen
  • May 17 - Eurosport, Worst Tour in 20 years, Who now for second place, Radios, Coming to NY, Saddle tags
  • May 13 - Eurosport, Worst Tour in 20 years, Who now for second place, Radios, Coming to NY
  • May 6- Eurosport, Live coverage, RAI for free, Amstel Gold, Bike Tech a waste of time?, Radios, Hincapie
  • April 26 - Eurosport, Armstrong's tax problem, Johan Museeuw, Shelby Crit, Podium Girl
  • April 19 - Cipollini, 30's Classics Club, Eurosport, Paris Roubaix - a touch of sanity, new site design, Armstrong's tax problem, Freddie's "Quiet" Classics Campaign, Sports Crimes, Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw, Hincapie
  • April 12 - Cipollini, Armstrong's Tax problem, Love the new site design, Lieswyn a class act, Tour of Flanders, Agilis test, Atrial Fibrilation
  • April 4 - Cipollini and Paris-Roubaix, Milano-San Remo Live, To the top of the Mont Ventoux, Lance Armstrong Article, Cyclists as second class citizens, Marcel Wust, Atrial Fibrilation, Raybestos Brakes Advertisement , Question Regarding knee patches, Roland Green winning the Canadian Athlete of the year , Lieswyn diary on Valley of the Sun
  • March 28 – Cipollini, Milano-San Remo Live, 50km Madison Championship, Cyclists as second class citizens, Motorcycle/cameraman, 96 Atlanta Road Team, Baby Boomer, Raybestos Brakes Advertisement, Tour De France , Lieswyn diary on Valley of the Sun, Milano-San Remo Live, Marcel Wust
  • March 23 -Vasseur comments, Motorcycle/cameraman, Sponsored teams, 96 Atlanta Road Team, Insurance and police costs
  • March 14 -VDB, Vasseur comments, Cross-over champs, Langkawi, Hernias, Paris-Roubaix
  • March 7 - Cross-over champs, Press to blame?, VDB & doping, Langkawi, Hernias, Paris-Roubaix
  • February 28 - Tour de Langkawi, Olympic cyclo-cross, rest heart rates, domestiques
  • Valley of the Sun special edition, part 2
  • Valley of the Sun special edition, part 1
  • February 19 Tour de Langkawi, Olympic cyclo-cross, rest heart rates, domestiques.
  • February 8 - Where's Greg?, Road rage rampage, Team listings, Who's the best climber? Canadian 'cross selection, TV Coverage of Worlds 'cross championships, Worst Team Kit
  • January 31 – Vasectomy and cycling, Road rage rampage, To edit or not to edit, Worlds selections, Simoni vs Armstrong, ugly kit, reader poll
  • 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
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on