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Letters to Cyclingnews - May 13 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.

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Recent letters

Potentially the worst tour in 20 years?
Tour de France
Who now for second place?
2002 tour selection
Coming to NY
Harsh words about Gila

Potentially the worst tour in 20 years?

No Jan, No Marco (form or not), NO MARIO (an absolute crock) and what's left? The sprinters' competition is geared toward climbers rather than sprinters this year, so we may not even get to see Stu and Eric have a go at each other. As for the rest of the sprints, no Zebra train means every whacked-out no-hoper Frenchman and his brother will tear-ass around, potentially creating the only threat to Lance this year in the form of crashes...

Kirsipuu over Cipo? That's crap. As is rewarding Simoni for a big mouth and no legs this year as the red team's replacements did absolutely nothing, while Cipo was winning... Give the French their teams, but damn, don't just replace a Big Mat with a Door Mat at the expense of Coast...

Our only comfort will be in seeing the Kelme guys ride their guts out trying for a new sponsor and hoping that Simoni comes to the tour with something other than excuses about his bad spring. Not forgetting The former Postal guys, but come on...

This year, I long for the Vuelta

Phoenix, Arizona
Tuesday, May 07, 2002

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Tour de France

Depressing - we might as well not go to France this July as I can only see one person winning and he is the defending champion. I wasn't totally convinced that Ullrich would beat him - now I know the ex-wunderkind can't this year.

I hated it when Big Mig was big, but Armstrong is just too strong for anyone. There is always a new kid on the block for 2003 - I suppose.

On a cheerier note (as in Hollywood ending) hooray for the Duffield devotees. Finally someone has come out and defended the man, who for all his faults at least can speak for eight hours across scenery often more interesting than the action and for someone who recognises just about that English-speaking cyclists are not the only ones in the peloton. (Read about Ullrich's knee)

Michael Underwood
South West London, UK
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Tour de France

With no Ullrich in the Tour and if Armstrong is his usual overpowering self this might be the most one-sided Tour in a long time. As the colorful characters Cipo, Pantani and several of possible tour contenders are not invited (Team Coast primarily) I am more excited by the Giro and the Vuelta this year. I hope the organisers will seriously consider inviting either Team Coast, Aqua Sapone or Mercatone Uno (if Pantani shows any kind of form in the Giro)
(Read Ullrich news)

Mikael Eliasson
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Tour de France

No doubt we are still reeling from the shock news that Jan Ullrich won't be contesting the Tour de France this coming July. But what does it mean for the other riders and the public (the fans), maybe it's a chance for someone new to take on the Armstrong challenge, if it's possible. What about Beloki or Simoni? Are they capable?

Anyway what about poor Jan isn't it about time he adopted a new word into his vocabulary, CADENCE! We all realise that he is the strongest man in the peloton, but the big gears are only hurting him now (after hurting so many others), so just imagine what a powerhouse he would be if he learnt to spin.

Good luck for your recovery Jan, the cycling world and the tour are pretty boring without you mate. (Read latest Ullrich news)

M. Tirabassi
Mt.Gambier, Australia
Thursday, May 09, 2002

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Who now for second place?

Having just read, not surprisingly, the announcement of Jan Ullrich's withdrawal from the 2002 TdF, who now will step up to the second spot on the podium?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Jan. However, judging from last year's results, even when he's on his best form, there's really sparse chance that he would've squeezed Lance off of the top spot this year. Still, though, it certainly made last year's edition exciting to watch. Who will rise to the occasion now?

Though he's been reproached in this column for his bravado, it appears that Gilberto Simoni will have to provide the fireworks now. I'd like to consider him a favorite, albeit a long shot as he'll have spent a lot of effort at the Giro.

Maybe, as has been suggested in these pages previously, the organisers of the TdF should consider allowing another team into the mix. Alex Zuelle seems to be riding exceptionally well this spring and would bring with him a very experienced team. Remember, take away stage two from the '99 race and he's closer to Armstrong than anyone else has managed recently. Pantani? Some of us can't forget the performances he's made in the past, so the hope that he's got one more to offer makes him still an intriguing candidate.

Oh yeah, one more comes to mind. Here's hoping Tyler Hamilton's new bosses at CSC allow him a free ride. His time trialing almost matches that of his former team captain. If he's still in with a chance midway through the race I bet we'd see from him some inspired riding in the mountains.

Here's hoping someone, anyone, in the peloton steps it up a notch in July so we can avoid a simple three week procession to win number four for you-know-who. (Read TdF preview)

Andy Stokes
Colorado, USA
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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2002 tour selection

Once again the Tour De France has made mistakes in their selection process. Gerolsteiner deserved to be selected for the Tour. Davide Rebellin and his team-mates are both exciting and talented.

On another note, your site is fantastic. Keep up the good work!!

Take care (Read news story)

Friday, May 03, 2002

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Eurosport #1

I agree with Bob Martin. Why is Russell Williams commentating? He just seems to look for every opportunity to plug track racing during ROAD events. (read original letter)

Mike McGarry
Saturday, May 04, 2002

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Eurosport #2

Here's an example of David Duffield's incompetence - get him off the air.

I was watching a stage of the Vuelta last year when, predictably, Duffield starting ranting about some obscure topic. Whilst he travelled down memory lane (Was it "Duffield's History of the Derailleur" or "My Life in the Sausage Industry" ...) he seemed to forget that a race was taking place. In a fifteen minute period the winning break formed, which contained none other than David Millar (who went on to win the stage), surely of some interest to the largely British audience! Not once did Duffield comment on the race in that period, no joke. I timed him because I needed evidence to send to Eurosport to get him sacked. (Read original letter)

Antony Hubbard
Swindon, UK
Monday, May 06, 2002

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Eurosport #3

Why is everyone complaining so much about the Eurosport cycling coverage? Be thankful that you get coverage of cycling at all. If the commentators are so bad, turn the sound off! Most of us in the states get a few hours of the Tour (maybe a bit more with OLN, but the availability is limited) and nothing more-I don't count BMX stunt riding in the X games as cycling. Even the Tour coverage is often suspect. One year ABC (I think) spent a half hour of an hour program on Greg LeMond - and he was home sick in Minnesota and not participating. We get Phil and Paul, but we also get people who normally do golf or figure skating. Now we are treated to an overdose of Lance and his "miracle" comeback, with lots of puff pieces with nifty lighting and sombre piano to set the appropriate mood. I'll take live coverage or even day-old race footage with boring or rambling commentators any day. (Read last week's letters)

Steve F
Denver, USA
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Coming to NY


Rough translation:

I am a rider that is coming to NY, I need to train somewhere(?). Could someone let me know where to race and train. Please inform me by the end of May.

Perla Santos
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Harsh words about Gila

Dear Cyclingnews,

I enjoy reading John Lieswyn's stories on your site, but sometimes he over steps the mark .... Like his latest story from Gila. Where, by the way, there was no limit of riders per team.

If he is hacked off with Mercury for giving him what he deserved for attacking when a rider punctured and you print it, so all can read, this is not fair to one and all.

If he is the sort of rider that wants to win by attacking when someone crashes or flats what sort of rider is he? I have been riding for many years.... maybe too many... and there is an unwritten law in the peloton not to do this if you want respect. He has none and that is why Saturn and Mercury expressed, OK maybe a little to harshly, there opinion on the matter. Also most riders have radio's now and know what is going on when it happens. 7-UP does.

I was one of the lucky Mercury riders sent back for Scott Moninger that day alone with three others of my Team mates.

When 7-UP attacked I could not believe my eyes.

Could you please refrain from printing such rubbish on your Web page, as this is just one man's opinion of how real racing should be. This annoys not only me, but a lot of riders who raced hard in Gila. When you publish this to the whole world and we do not have the right or place to correct matters things are out of line.

Either get him to write what happens without bias or not write at all. (Read John's diary)

Graeme Miller, Mercury Cycling Team
Wednesday, May 08, 2002

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Radios #1

I find radio isn't so important and does not give you information. I believe the radio is often used for the manager of the team to control the team, trying to make them win. Like for example Lance Armstrong at the climb in 2001 Tour de France. He was listening, then the next minute he attacked after his boss's (manager). because being as a manager use Plan, Organize, Lead and Control. That's why they use radio for the team.

Also you may be aware myself as a Australia Deaflympic Cyclist representatives does not require to have one. Because we make decisions for ourselves and we look, we follow and get victory. So that means we don't have information -- why should we? (Read Radio feature)

Reece-Emerson van Beek
Melbourne, Australia
Thursday, May 02, 2002

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Radios #2

Radios are here to stay. Having said that... although Ann Milward is the pro and I watch pros, I would have to disagree with her that race radios don't effect the outcome of the race. She cited using them to notify another Saturn rider to ease the pace when she was bridging up. If her rider in the break did not know this, the bridge up might not meet with success... certainly not as quickly. That changes the effectiveness of tactics, the use of energy and the team co-ordination.

I remember tour stages in which a crash by a team leader was difficult to communicate to team-mates up the road. Or when the form that riders in a break had on a given day was not known to the leaders back in the peloton. Meanwhile, Directors Sportif are watching TV in their cars and relaying what they see back to other parts of the race.

The value of intuition has been degraded. The role of decision making under race pressure in the selection of the winner has been forever altered.

Love your site,

Mike Melita
Albany, New York
Friday, May 03, 2002

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Radios #3

Radio's! By all means -- Bring 'em on!

Greatest time saving, information gathering device I have in the 'box' as it were..

It takes the guess work out of having to yell the information to our riders having them get the information rather than the competition. A great tool to say the least!

We use Kenwood's system (as it is one of our sponsors) and we have to thank them 100 times over for the advantage of having a radio to chat with and have our riders chat with us and the other team members.... A superior advantage to those that do not have this great assistance.....

Bob Dixon, Assistant
Team D.A.R.E.
Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 04, 2002

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Radios #4

Race radios have become an important factor in racing, and are unlikely to be banned. However, another force needs to be considered. My early years of watching the Tour, I was always amazed how often the peloton could catch the break away in the last 5km.

It all becomes clear with the help of two-way communication and a laptop computer. With an inflow of information on where the leaders are, it is quite easy to tell the bunch the exact speed they should be doing to catch the break at any particular point near the finish.

Not enough riders are rewarded for their bravado in going away early, just to be caught by a spreadsheet at the 3km mark.

Warwick McAlpine
Sydney, Australia
Sunday, May 05, 2002

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Radios #5

Radios certainly help a team co-ordinate its tactics, but seeing all teams use them doesn't give any unfair advantage. A radio certainly can’t tell your legs to hang in when all you feel is pain. A big plus for radios is the safety aspect where team mates and managers can warn each other of possible danger. I have heard of commissar asking a team manager to tell a team member that something is not allowed, or watch out for something. It all helps even the playing field and is technology being put to good use.

Francois Ashton
South Africa
Thursday, May 09, 2002

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Radios #6

What an excellent article. Keep up the great work!

(Read what Brad McGee thinks)

Eric Eppinger
Thursday, May 09, 2002

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Radios #7

Everyone who is complaining about radios needs to relax a bit. For myself and my riders they are simply a technological advancement in the workplace. We aren't coming into your office and saying you should give back your fax and PC. Radios make our job a little easier so we take advantage of this.

Race fans need to keep in mind a few key points. A manager in a team car can't see everything that is happening. In fact the view from a team car is often very limited. Often I rely on my riders to tell me what is going on up front. If the official running the race radio doesn't give quick and accurate information to the caravan then the team managers can't make split decisions. By the time an attacking rider is identified and mentioned on the race radio and this information is then relayed by managers to riders it is already too late. Riders still need to make those split-second decisions to follow a move or let it go. Even if a manager has a TV in the car (as we have seen some European teams do lately ) he still can't see everything. TV will not always be showing the shot that interests you at the moment that it's happening.

Another point that American race fans need to know is that in the States we have dozens of big races that don't allow race caravans. These include Tour of the Gila, Cascade Classic, Redland's Sunset Loop, and several others, especially circuits of three to nine miles. In these races the riders have to follow the team plan and think on the road. Yes, they can communicate with each other via radio in these events, but they aren't getting information from the team car. Ask the riders what the difference is between these events and events with race caravans and they will probably say information, NOT TACTICS, but information. The tactics don't really change much because of radios, just the speed at which they are carried out.

At the end of the day I don't believe that radios hinder a rider's tactical development. I think they actually help teach tactics. Riders remember the situations and tactics that occurred over the radio and then use this experience when they need to make their own decisions. Thanks to seeing races on TV and video, and the use of radios I think today's racers are better informed and more tactically astute then their predecessors.

(Read what the riders have to say)

Jeff Corbett
7UP/Nutra Fig
Friday, May 10, 2002

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Recent letters pages

  • May 06- 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