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Letters to Cyclingnews - October 18, 2002
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The World's - rider comments
The World Championship Road Race has come and gone and the Road Race was a big success in that it allowed the World to see a Champion doing what he does so well. I thought there were several very interesting comments made during the week that really showed who had class and who did not. Here's a few of my favorites:
Johan Museeuw: "Cipollini was the top favourite for this race and he filled in the expectations. There is nothing to be said which could degrade his performance" A class statement from a class rider.
Erik Zabel: "Mario Cipollini won because he simply is the fastest man in the World; I myself have no problem with that" Same story: gracious in defeat.
Robbie McEwen: One thing I'll say for Robbie: the guy is honest. I never cease to be amazed by how McEwen will be so upfront about violating rules in the sprint. It's actually fairly refreshing to listen to a guy say that he put another sprinter into the barriers in a sprint, or that his opponent was too far out into the center of the road to be able to put him into the barriers without getting relegated (as Robbie said this year). Most would dodge the issue or make no comment, but good ol' Robbie will just come right on out with it. More honesty from the World's with some real classics:
"We didn't quite have a boxing match, but that's the way you have to go about preparing a sprint. It's the world championship sprint and it was nothing. I've been involved in a lot worse than that in the past."
"It's tough and so I ended up spending a lot of time out in the wind (fighting for position with Zabel) instead of on (Cipo's) wheel. That cost me a lot today; I'm not going to say that it cost me the win, but there could have been more."
Basically, Robbie is making excuses for losing when what he should have said was the truth: "Cipollini was too fast for me to get by in the sprint"
Chris Horner: Wow! could Chris Horner have made a bigger ass of himself with his comments and performance? Let's see... "I'm out to win," he said.
"If you'd told be I'd be top 10 I wouldn't have even got on the plane. I really wanted a top 3" OK, you need confidence to compete at the highest level, but please Chris, let's be reasonable. At some point you are being disrespectful of your opposition with such boasting. Sometimes it's best to keep your confident comments in confidence.
Then we have Chris's comments about Guido Trenti (from CN October 11 interview): "One man Horner isn't looking to for assistance is teammate Guido Trenti, who is a member of Cipollini's Acqua e Sapone team but says that he will be riding for the USA on Sunday. 'I can't imagine that he wouldn't work for Cipo,' said Horner frankly." Wow what an ass. Let's give Mr. Trenti the benefit of the doubt before we slam him! How did things turn out? Well Horner was just nipped for a medal in the Time Trial by a slender two minutes and thirty five seconds which slipped him down a few spots to 37th place. I don't know exactly what happened to Chris in the road race (no mention of him in the live report) with no details provided beyond "DNF". Meanwhile sounds like Mr. Trenti worked his ass off for Fred Rodriguez all day and ended up 16th!
Not too bad, eh Chris?
Cipollini: Nothing more needs to be said about Mario. Thanks the team, thanks Italy, thanks Ballerini, thanks everybody... He basically sounded like he was under orders from God to finish off the race with a win for Italy and thus was just doing his job and following divine orders. I for one, can't wait to see him tearing up the first week of the Centennial Tour de France wearing the Rainbow Jersey.
Take nothing away from a massive talent in Robbie Mc, but I could be so much more a fan of the man who stands to be in green for a few more years and who is a super sprinter, if he would just stop pissing and moaning at every given opportunity. (Yes, I am sure this will cause a scrum)
His legs in the Giro this year were indicative of what would likely happen at the World's (having a 1 in 6 chance of beating Cipo), and his mouth was a clear indicator of his personal make up, as he told others that his aggressiveness and bullying were just a part of sprinting and they should stop complaining, only to then cry to the ref's during the Giro about the tactics of others... He then goes about roughing up anyone he can get close to at the Tour (I wish I had his nerve by the way) and complaining about US postal helping Telekom (then telling Lance he would punch him because he had the nerve to respond to Robbie's crying), while he clearly had the help of a couple of FDJ (asking for help to sweep his wheel clean all the way up to the last day) and Credit Agricole riders in taking the green. He then complains that Cipo's hand shake and kind words in the race lead up didn't have the right tone (true or not, at least he made an effort) and then goes about saying that Zabel didn't have the right to be on Cipo's wheel and admittedly caused an on bike scrum that probably cost them both a realistic chance (not that Robbie has had the legs at virtually any time this year to beat Cipo any way).
Admire the legs, speed and style but scoff at the man. I would be a pure fan if Robbie would either complain about everything while riding clean, or better yet, just shut his trap while riding aggressively (in a fashion that I admire thoroughly). Doing both (riding aggressively while complaining about others that do) takes away from his successes, as does his opinion that nobody else should have anything to say, despite the fact that he always seems to. Saying that Robbie's words and actions are due to that fact that he is a Queenslander isn't fair to Queenslanders. There is a difference between being, as CN put it, "honest, direct, straight talking, no-BS-kind-of-people." and acting like a spoiled child.
The World's - Robbie McEwen #2
At a time when top sprinters are a bit thinner on the ground than in recent years the emergence of Robbie McEwen is to be welcomed. However his reported spat with Lance Armstrong at this years Tour sounded a faint warning bell. Come Sunday he was an obvious front runner if it came to a bunch sprint and his view that the key was to be on Cipo's wheel was obviously right. Unsurprisingly Eric Zabel had come to the same conclusion and moreover had got there first. McEwen's response in trying to barge him out of the way was quite unacceptable and he should have been disqualified....as many lesser offenders have been in the past.His post race comments that had Zabel got out of the way he might have won were somewhat fatuous seeing the speed by which Cipo distanced himself at the line. I have no doubt that Robbie will join the ranks of the all time great sprinters but I hope he adopts a more sporting attitude in the years to come.
What was Robbie McEwen whinging about? He can't get onto Cipo's wheel because Zabel is there? Well tough luck, go round the outside if you are good enough. I think he should have been disqualified, or demoted to last.
In the final sprint for the line in the World's, Robbie McEwen commented that he had trouble finding Cipo's wheel and hence the confrontation with Zabel and what McEwen described as too much time in the headwind.
Would it not have been possible, with both Stuey O'Grady and Baden Cooke in the final bunch of twenty-five, for the Australians to have organized their own lead out and matched the pace of Lombardi and Petacchi? This would have then saved McEwen some vital energy he would have needed in that final 100m.
Just a thought.
The coverage of the World's was fantastic, thanks so much. And how great was it for Cipo to win. He has completed his palmares and is now the undisputed champion of champions with so much character and panache. The man has style, it is that simple, and it is something that so many other riders lack. People see Lance as the Patron of cycling today, but I think we now would say that the most outstanding talent of his generation is Cipo. He started the trend of matching shorts! Jokes aside, the guy is not just mouth, he backs it up with talent, and he has had his best season ever. Saeco thought he was past it? Is he? What do you think?
Lets just say well done Mario, and tanks for letting us watch your brilliance. You promised that you would win, and you didn't look like letting us down.
Some press highlights of 2002:
First it's "Shut your mouth or I will fill it with my fist"
Then, two days later it is reported that "The new wearer of the green jersey (on equal points with Zabel), Robbie McEwen, now denied saying that he told Lance Armstrong the other day to 'Shut your mouth or I will fill it with my fist'." (Somehow, this never got the exposure that the earlier quote did.)
Then earlier this week, we get an odd little quote from him: "Cipollini does congratulate me after a win; but I've got the impression it's not honest. He addressed me when he heard I was going home during the Giro, because of my wife and child. 'Something you need to do' he said, but on a very flat tone."
What is up with this guy? Is he really an ass? Trying to motivate himself psychologically? Or is it a case of his mouth being even faster than his sprint? The thing I remember is the press ignored the "retraction" during the Tour. Cyclingnews was the only one I remember even reporting it. Once. We've been reminded periodically here and elsewhere the "shut your mouth" quote. Is McEwen the kind of guy that provides great quotes? I can see the reporters now "Just let him talk. He'll give us something great sooner or later." I guess he won't have to worry about anyone filling his mouth with their fist. His foot seems to already be there.
His results this season have been fantastic. Too bad that when I think of him, what I remember are the quotes.
In regards to the news of the arguably most popular Italian cyclists, Marco Pantani and Mario Cipollini possibly creating a team together, I was astounded!
Not only has Pantani not gotten any real results for the last couple of years, his reputation has been tarnished by all the doping scandals and his infamous prima donna behavior. It surprises me that Mario Cipollini, who has worked very hard to regain a clean image and prove his credibility, would choose to go into a potential team with someone like Pantani who might possibly cause Cipollini to loose all his credibility that he has recently proved to be solid by winning the World Championships in Zolder.
Maybe I am the only one with this opinion, but I sure hope that Cipo and Pantani do not come together to create a team. I would like to see Cipo go out on top and I just don't see that as a possibility if Pantani is in his near future.
Cipo and Pantani #2
I can see Cipo and Pantani as a Dream Team for the Italian tifosi - but cannot see the TdF organisation looking too kindly on the combination.
Cipo might well get his TdF ride again being World Champion but not with the possible slur of Pantani attached - unless he wins Paris-Nice or does something special in the first few months of next season.
I am glad someone else has noticed this. I have been following Botero for the last couple of years, and I really like him because he does not quit.
I also think that if he were racing for another team he would have a much better chance of winning the big races. unfortunately he races for Kelme where he is the only foreigner, and regardless of how talented, or how well he is doing in a race, he does not get help from his mates (as seen in the Tour de France this year) as Sevilla does.
Oh please! It's bad enough with the 'USA! USA!' letters - we don't need the same mindless nationalism from the Aussies. But then watching David Millar come a lowly 6th in the TT may help an appropriate sense of humility!
By the way It was great hearing Jeff Jones on British Eurosport - having just as much trouble coping with the Duffield circumlocutions as everybody else. Is it me, or is he getting worse?
Lieswyn and Australian races #2
If any of you critics of JL's work raced at a top level yourself (or actually knew the guy) you'd know that he's a top bloke, and he says what he thinks. If you don't like what he writes then don't bloody read the stuff! Stop hassling the guy for giving you something to asspire to do.
JL keep up the good work, and hope to see you back in the sun tour in 2003
This is a sort of general question aimed at the editors and at knowledgeable fellow fans. I noticed that several riders in the World Championships hail from "Nam" -- by which I am to understand Namibia? If so, are these white riders or in fact black Africans? It would be really great if the latter were the case. Have any black Africans -- or non-Caucasian riders -- ever competed in Europe? I know that there was a Japanese rider in the '96 Tour, but that's all I can think of.
Should men be concerned or not? I saw another news story about a new study showing that cycling can compromise a man's sexual function. They reported that male bicycle police report having fewer erections than police who drive cars. They also reported that most male cyclists have experienced 'numbness' in their genital region. A doctor on the show stated that there's no way that compressing the arteries that supply blood to any appendage can be good! The only counter argument was from the National Association of Bicycle Dealers... who may have obvious interests in down-playing any possible health risks. There never seems to be conclusive evidence to indicate that we should be very concerned or not concerned at all. What's the consensus? Does anyone know whether there are any studies done in professional cyclists?
My response to P Higgs letter ref shaving, sure why not wax?!
It might be painful but in my [limited] experience it's well worth it. Have it done first thing in the season or before training camp, I'm not slow in growing new leg beard and it lasts me almost a month before having to shave 'em again.
Oh, just one thing, don't do it yourself, get it done professionally, The professional doing it for you might just be 19, female and cute!
Othie, a couple of comments. You need to shave really close - your legs should feel completely smooth when you are finished. From experience (on my husband not myself), buy a packet of good quality disposable razors and expect to use 3-4 for each leg the first time, and one on each leg the second time. Use warm water (or have a bath first) as this opens your pores and reduces the likelihood of shaving rash, and makes it easier to shave.
Next use a shaving foam or gel, lots of lather on your leg and shave against the growth of hair, rinse the razor after every stroke and you will have no problems. When you are finished you should be nicely shiny and very, very smooth. Non allergenic sorbolene or another neutral moisturiser should stop any irritation afterwards. My other comment was about putting on your shorts. Do you just pull them up by the waist? I have found that doing that had ruined a couple of pairs of knicks for me, as they started to pull around the stitching line on the chamois and developed holes.
I find it best to put my legs in my knicks to about my knees, then grab the bottom of the shorts, position it on my tan lines then pull the rest of the way up - no velcro feeling on 3 day old stubble and no chance of ripping my shorts at the seam lines.
As for where to stop shaving - the joys of being a girl, you can shave to just above the tan lines and don't worry about the rest, the hair is usually so fine it doesn't really matter. Observing my male friends they seem to fall into 2 categories for height of shaving - one group shave to the bikini line, the others to about 5cm above the shorts line. Both look completely ridiculous in swimmers (unless you go the board short option) but considering the tan lines - does it really matter? Oh and try and avoid the look of butt hair sticking through your knicks, especially if the hair is dark and the knicks are not!!!
The main drawback with not shaving high enough is that you get renegade hairs that hang down out of your knicks - sort of like extra long pubic hairs! On the waxing issue - looks great, feels fantastic, takes a while to grow back, and you usually grow back less hairy. The bad points are expensive and can hurt like hell. Like Mel Gibson said in "What Women Want" - why would anyone do the other leg.
I have shaved several times before but I was concerned about the long term effects of that in regard to the thickness of regrowth. So, before the Mont 24 hour race in Canberra I waxed. I can tell you it was quite painful but the long term effects are clearly advantageous. It does give a better finsih and lasts about a month. It did hurt but I will continue to wax for the time being as for 1 hour of pain, the results are tolerable. How high up? well as a rule I go about 2/3 of the way up my thighs but I guess you could get away with just enough to cover you knicks. Definitely not the arse mate, no way!
Although some of the last four Tours' results may have been easily predicted (Go Lance), the next two should prove to me more exciting, as:
#1 competition is getting keener/sharper to Lance and USPS Training Methods.
I personally can't wait till July 5th, 2003, when we start the beginning of the 100th anniversary of the TDF. Go Lance!!
Mr. Frost uses comedy relief to highlight a well founded criticism of a World's organizing committee foul-up that left the course for the jr. TT 25% shorter than advertised.
I have seen this sort of thing before in the US so I'm not surprised that it can happen.
Organizing committees aren't prophetic and they can't tell every problem that is going to come up. Stuff happens and it is the committee who are responsible for handling it in a manner which retains the spirit of the competition.
But, you know, one would think that there would be UCI representatives whose sole job would be to inspect the courses and the program to make sure that they meet the stated agenda. Someone that would act in an advisory role, to be sure, but at least someone who was completely versed in the problems that can arise.
You would also think that national bodies would have select personnel whose job is to help facilitate any problems with local governments. This seems to be something else that is missing.
Everyone in the governing bodies seems to think that they can fob everything off on professional organizers, local clubs and organizing committees and have miracles occur every time. Surprisingly enough, most of the time, miracles are pulled off, but occasionally, as at the World's, there is a flub. This might not have occurred if there was a technical advisor from the UCI who had visited and measured the course himself and a consultant from the national body who might have smoothed over any political problems with the locals that were preventing a proper locale for the jr. TT.
I understand that the organizing committee had informed the UCI of problems before the race, however the resolution did leave something to criticize regardless they tried their best.
So, while it was the responsibility of the organizing committee to present the race they were claiming there is plenty of blame to go around. Hopefully in the future the UCI will put together just such a group that will oversee international event. And then maybe the USCF can take a few lessons from them to learn how to put on national races themselves.
Poor old dears having to race a tortuous 34 kilometers after traveling across the country / various parts of the world for the World Masters Games in Melbourne. I presume all men under 69 years are just physically able to 'handle' extra kilometers than women over the feeble age of 30?
I was shocked and saddened that a decision to reduce the length of women's races was made at such a laughable distance of 34 kilometers. I mean really, most people would have done a warm up at that distance! It's a demeaning and pathetic reflection on the attitude held by organisers, et al that would allow this retro-eighties attitude back in the door. With this kind of spirit and approach, is it any wonder women continue to drop from the racing scene? Been there, done that...
Janelle (Parks) Graham
I have just finished reading Lance Armstrong's book and was interested to read that he considers himself to be the youngest ever winner of a professional world championship - by this does he mean on the road only or track/other disciplines? I remember reading that Eddy Merckx won at a very young age, and a few of my riding partners were saying that they remember a British rider [Sturgess - ADR] winning the professional pursuit in the late eighties when only 20 - can anyone add to this? We'd like to know.
Thanks to Paul Mirtschin for the "what a goose" award in your article on the MONT 24 Hour. All a part of team tactics to get us all out on an even number of laps. On the side I won a bet on the number of laps we could do and the guy who wanted to get out and do a lap after me simply for the love of mountain bike riding was happy too.
Mark "The Irish Goose" Barry
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