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Letters to Cyclingnews - January 27, 2003
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a travesty that the Italian Police and Media were so quick to assume that Denis Zanette's death was due to doping and immediately launch an investigation before the body was examined. This sensationalist theme that the headline grabbing police officials and drooling dog media of Italy and France is the main reason why the sport of cycling is being tarnished.
Riders are having a tough time getting good contracts as a direct result.
Our sport is more strict when it comes to drug control than any other. We need to get it across to the politicians in Europe that it is killing the sport, and that their short term political gains are not worth the damage that is being done by them. When they are wrong, as in this case, we need to put the names of these Judges, local politicians and police officials as the pariahs they are, and defame them as they try to do the same to the riders.
Brian C. McEvilly, D.C.
E. Gribbell mentions that Lance Armstrong is in the top 10 all time for points in World Cup events for active riders. I'm quite interested to see this list, and also a list of all time points earned in UCI events, as these would be useful tools in comparing cyclists careers. Where are these lists?
I too discovered Dr Srrno's book after spending two years dealing with back pain that could not be cured by any of the health care professionals I saw.
During this two year period I tried everything - Chiropractors, stretching, Yoga, strengthening, PT, changing my position on the bike, etc. Being skeptical by nature, and one who has always been locked into the Western notion of focusing on a physical problem to explain all pain, I was sure that Dr Sarno's book was pure fantasy. However, after reading the book a few times, reading everything I could fine on the web about Sarno's work, and completing the 30-day journal, I have been pain free! I am now riding, lifting, and bending without any pain or restrictions and have been for more than a year now.
If you had told me three years ago that Dr Sarno's would be my cure I would have told you you were crazy - yet it worked for me.
Back surgery #2
Back surgery to say the least is not something that you should tread into lightly. There are several different options available to individuals who suffer from lower back problems---some of which can be corrected without surgical intervention, and, some which leave you no other choice.
If you suffer from lower back problems, the best thing to do is seek out a doctor that can correctly diagnose your problem and if necessary either recommend surgery or some other alternative such as physical rehab and core muscle strengthening, cortisone shots...and as a last resort, surgery. You may start with a General Practitioner but your road to recovery will probably lead to an Orthopedic Specialist.
I sustained a back injury from a parachute accident more than ten years ago. The injury at the time, although intimidating, did not really seem to pose any long term problem or so I thought. Ten plus years later and much to my bewilderment, I started having knee problems that I associated as a possible knee injury. After weeks off and on the bike and continued running I found that the pain did not stay in one localized area but traveled around the knee and leg. Gradually, the nerve on the back of my leg starts to go numb and burn with occasional leg spasms-that is when I realized I am in some dire straights.
The doctor ordered a set of x rays revealing problems and consequently referred me to a specialists who initially had me work the core muscles to improve strength. These sessions produced some of the most profound pain that I would experience as part of the process. While the rehab may work for some, it was not cutting it for me. With additional tests, (MRI and CAT) it was determined that I had disks that had severely degenerated as a result of the earlier injury. Even with the diagnosis of severely degenerated disks we tried cortisone injections and even the use of very strong anti-inflammatories with only temporary relief.
Ultimately I decided to opt for the surgery after having tried other options with little success. What made my decision easier was the fact (or realization) that my disks would not recover from their degenerative state and that the longer I waited, the longer I would remain in pain...with a body that would not get any younger to endure the procedure or more capable to heal...time is not our friend.
It has been almost a year now since my L4/L5/S1 PLIF and I can say that I do not reach anywhere near the highs in pain that I had prior to surgery. While I am not pain free as of now, I have been able to get back on the bike and ride. To a great extent my focus has been on working areas of my cycling that had previously suffered. While I may not get out of the saddle to win the sprint or be first atop the hill I am a far better a roller and can push others who rely only on one aspect of their skills.
I feel far better now than a year ago, and better than six months ago or even three months ago for that matter. I was told it would take a couple of years to heal and I have committed to that-and for good reason-I want a decent quality of life now but know it will be even more important in the years to come.
Both men are great cyclists, maybe some of the best we have ever seen but, I do recall Cipo throwing a little temper tantrum last July. I lost a lot of respect for the man because of that type of behavior. As for Armstrong, I don't recall him ever doing something along those lines. For me, the signs of a true champion depends on how they conduct themselves both on and off the bike. I think Armstrong's accomplishment's speaks volumes, both on and off the bike.
CN Top 10 - Cipollini over Armstrong? #2
Come on guys, find yourselves and balance in life. Why can't you just enjoy the beauty of action and thrill these super cyclists provide us with. Take a word from a Finn (tho' cycling is not the sport of our national price) - you can't compare WRC Rally Champions with Formula 1 Champs. Sure both speed on four wheels, but that's about is with similarities. Mario vs. Lance is the same thing. Fantastic performers both, and true personalities as well.
Thanks Cyclingnews for great virtual road & race experiences - my bike has been parked for weeks as it's been 20 - 30 centigrade below zero outside.
CN Top 10 - Cipollini over Armstrong? #3
Come on Chris, you've got to be kidding.
Plainly, this year's great riders were Mario Cipollini and Lance Armstrong. Mario for his Milan-San Remo, Gent and World Championship rides as well as his spectacular sprint wins in the Giro and Vuelta - and for just being his own smiling, flashy and humorous self.
Lance obviously because he is one of the very few elite riders in history to win four Tours de France in succession and his overall wins in the Dauphine Libere and the Midi-Libre. How many riders in history have done that triple? Merckx? Who else?
The nod was given to given to Mario but it had to be a close decision. To suggest that Armstrong isn't in the top ten present day racers is laughable. And to say that he isn't "worthy" is going more than too far.
CN Top 10 - Cipollini over Armstrong? #4
Compare Armstrong and Cipollini? I don't WANT to compare them. I just want to enjoy them. Try it - you'll like it.
Readers Seamus Weber and Eric van Bommel seem to have missed a major point. Lance Armstrong had a few good wins under his pedals before he got cancer. Add a World Road Championship, Fleche Wallone, San Sebastian, two second places in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, second in Zurich and Paris-Nice, not to mention his other post-cancer wins such as Midi-Libre and Dauphine-Libere and his multiple near-victories in the Amstel Gold, and his palmares look a lot more like those of the all-round Champion you want him to be. Lots of Champions from all sports evolve their strengths over their careers - look at Jalabert! Lance has just done this in the most dramatic fashion possible. He may not be the greatest ever, but no-one can say he's not great...
I have watched Lance's domination of the last four Tours with admiration and look forward to cheering him on to a fifth victory next year. However, I think it would be the mark of a true champion if he refused to pursue a record sixth win and instead honored the racers of the past by establishing a "Five Tours is enough" precedent. I am not suggesting he retire! I would rather see Lance and future five-Tour champions spend the remainder of their careers rounding out their palmares and helping their hard-working teammates to achieve victories of their own. Lance can apply his Tour-winning formula to the other Grand Tours, the Spring races, and to working for a Tour win for Roberto Heras.
Some may say it is un-sportsmanlike for an athlete not to work their hardest to set new goals and records, but honoring and respecting the achievements of those who came before and laid the groundwork for bicycle racing today would add yet another layer of class and polish to our wonderful sport.
Lance Armstrong #3
I don't understand the argument that Lance is a one-dimensional rider who concentrates exclusively on the Tour and is not is the same league as the acknowledged great champions of the past. Lance has been world champion, he has won a classic, he has won a number of the smaller stage races, and last year he was very active in the early season classics. I think he compares very favorably with Indurain. His palmares may never stack up numerically to those of Merckx, Coppi, or Anquetil but they were of a different era when the depth of competition was far less. Furthermore, I believe the radio communication used today makes it much harder to surprise one's rival with an unexpected attack - especially for a marked man such as Armstrong. Fans will always have a fond place in their hearts for the champions of yore, but that should not cloud their reason with respect to the champion of today.
In response to Mr. Sawyer's letter regarding Lance finishing the season too early and questioning whether any Tour contenders rode a tough, full season in the last 15 years. Miguel Indurain. Won the Giro, won the Tour, raced the Worlds and made the podium behind none other than Armstrong.
Pretty full wouldn't you say?
In response to Scott, Lance will not be voted the best cyclist of all time, that accolade belongs firmly on the shoulders of Eddie Merckx, who not only won the TdF five times, but also the Giro five times, as well as numerous other classics and one day events. In his day, had there been a World Cup, he would have won that about seven times.
Sure, Lance is great at one event, but can he do what Merckx has done, or for that matter Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi etc, etc., and I haven't even mentioned the pre WWII riders.
Sorry Scott, cycling did not start and end with Lance, but began on the muddy roads of Europe at the turn of the last century.
UCI unlikely to allow use of tricycles in TDF time trials.
Elvis still dead.
North Korea not in negotiations to place 5 McDonalds outlets in Pyongyang.
Equestrian statue of Hein Verbruggen not to be constructed of lime Jell-O.
Eric Zabel continues not to grow third arm out the middle of his forehead (actually, this might come in useful in final-meter sprint dustups with McEwen).
All the non-news that's just too weird to imagine.
Did I fall asleep for 30 years and wake up to headlines about Armstrong's and Ullrich's children, or are we currently living in the midst of an old 'Twilight Zone' episode?
Jim Hubbman, even more unlikely to join Armstrong at USPS
Thanks, E. Ciganovich and Andy Ferrand! It's great to see, at last, letters from people who understand that it's often cyclists disobeying the law who incite "road rage." I've gotten fed up with reading letters that assume angry drivers are some kind of wild-eyed, homicidal demons who go berserk for no good reason.
As a cyclist who regularly rides near my house in a densely-populated suburban area, I have a fairly good understanding of the difficulties riders face in using local roads. But even I get ticked off at many of the cyclists around here. I'd say that at least half of the cyclists who use the main through-road near my house break the law each time they ride it. This is particularly true of groups, but individuals do it too. Virginia's laws (State Code 46.2-905) are much like Wisconsin's: "Any person operating a bicycle...shall ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway" except when "passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction," "preparing for a left turn ," or avoiding "fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians," etc. And that doesn't mean two abreast, either! "Persons riding bicycles...on a highway shall not ride two or more abreast except on paths or parts of highways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles...." (In case you see a loophole here, note that Virginia defines pretty much every type of road as a "highway"--State Code 46.2-100). The law does not permit the road-blocking recreational pelotons I see in warm weather, nor the singletons who think they have the right to an entire lane. It's "Share the Road" guys, not block it!
Don't get me wrong here: I'm not saying it's OK for drivers to act out their rage, and I'm not trying to excuse any driver who's caused, or tried to cause, injury. There's no excuse for that. And I recognize that competitive cycling clubs need to train. But please understand why motorists get angry. The next time somebody beeps or yells or fingers you off--especially those of you playing peloton without proper permits and escorts--check yourself out. And save the socializing for the parking lot, coffee shop, bar, or wherever you congregate before and after the ride.
My wife is now handicapped and we would like to again take up cycling as a hobby/exercise. I am looking for an adult tricycle capable of holding 350lbs with some extras, such as multiple gears & a larger seat. A tandem tricycle would also be considered since it would allow us to cycle together since I prefer to cycle at a higher pace than she does. Can you give me any information on manufactures/distributors in the Chicago, IL area that can accommodate her/us. I have searched the internet with limited ,and unsatisfactory, results. EBAY had a tandem tricycle (used) but no information about the manufacturer was available so I could not contact them regarding the cycle specs.
I couldn't agree more with Alain Bondue's reaction to Dave Millar's comments. More than a few of us here in the UK think he ought to stop moaning and produce the goods. Likes the pay but not the work it seems from various article in cycling Weekly etc. Let him earn the respect of his team mates and they might just work for him. Will he get a shock when it come to finding another team? Lets hope so as that is likely to make him get to grips with life as a pro or quit, either way the bleating will stop!
There has never been a grand tour slam (that is, a rider winning all 3 grand tours in a calendar year) although Eddy Merckx (Giro '72, TDF '72, Vuelta '73) and Bernard Hinault (Giro '82, TDF '82, Vuelta '83), both completed a grand tour slam within 12 months. (The Vuelta was held April-May until 1995.)
Alfredo Binda was the only rider that could not have competed in the Vuelta as his wins came before the Vuelta's inception in 1935. He is the only rider to have won five or more grand tours who won all his grand tours in one event (the Giro).
If Lance Armstrong wins the TDF this year he will join a select group. I hope though that before he retires he tries to win one of the other grand tours. If he was to ride the TDF and Vuelta this year and won both he could then try to win the Giro in 2004 and complete a grand tour slam in 12 months.
From the above information I have some questions.
There aren't that many riders who have done all 3 grand tours in a calendar year, but without seeing complete finishing lists for the grand tours I don't know which rider has performed best in a calendar year eg. there may be a rider who has had a top 10 finish in all 3 grand tours in a calendar year. Perhaps another reader knows?
Is it likely that a rider will ever complete a grand tour slam in a calendar year? Would even someone of Armstrong's ability be able to achieve this?
Can any of the of you Cyclingnews readers recommend a store or website anywhere in the world where I can buy one of the old style leather hair net type helmets?
I have to say that having read the Top Ten Personalities I was a little annoyed at seeing Cipo behind McEwen (I am NOT a fan of McEwen) but despite my dislike for his tactics concerning Zabel and comments about other great riders (Lance Cipo etc) I thought that the justification for the placement was fair and accurate. Cipo has been doing the same things for a while (though Ghent was one heck of a story), and Robbie did mix it up more this season. Good job, though it may not be surprising that CN has had deeper insight than I, they did Reverse my mind on that score. Also I would thank the attention given to Ullrich in the top news stories and personalities.
Truly I think he is the most talented (though not the most driven, focused or successful) rider in the world and have missed him greatly from the Tour. I admit I became a Ullrich fan first as I was fed up with the American media, well just Karsten at the time, and the initial gushing over Lance in true, if more justified than usual, homer fashion. In their tour battle, (lances third), I came to appreciate Ullrich because he has been the only person to stand up to Lance in a serious matter, and continue to battle hard after the Tour in the WC and Olympics, his resiliency inspired me. This year it was deeply saddening to watch Ullrich self destruct and finally collapse under the pressure. The possible contract with CSC had my hopes renewed but alas it seem Ullrich isn't out of the rabbit hole yet.
It is the tragedy of Lance (though he more than makes up for it) that we see exceptional performances like Ullrich's in 2001, or Jaja's in this years prologue, get swept away behind the inevitable steamroller that is Lance Armstrong's success. Though he has done so much for the sport and for cancer and all for people, I wonder what other amazing performances we may have missed while we were watching this great cyclist?
I've looked on various cycling sites regarding Bettini: they are laced with great coverage and photos (of which this site, of course, is best), but I've seen not one whit of information regarding his stupendous sprint blitz. Can anyone, anyone please give me an overview of his style and/or strategy? Thanks in advance!
Yes, Paul Tracy does get paid to race -- in part by a cigarette company. Cigarettes cause cancer. If he really wanted to send a message and wanted to "put his money where his mouth is," he should find a new sponsor. The reason companies sponsor athletes (and events) is to increase brand awareness. For cigarette companies, "increase brand awareness" means getting more people smoking -- and if they keep smoking, many of these new customers will get cancer.
(They certainly won't be racing bikes; at least Lance is sponsored by a bike company.) So again, for Paul Tracy, who is sponsored in part by a cigarette company, to give money to a cancer support group strikes me as a little odd, to say the least.
Second, the "symbolism it generates" is that a cigarette company really cares about preventing cancer, and it's bullshit. Have you ever seen those ads for Chevron with all the pretty nature scenes, the happy bears, the playful egrets, and the slogan that says something like, "Chevron. We're good for bears!"? Bullshit.
And third, even though it has little to do with the above argument and is pretty petty for you to ask -- I gave exactly zero dollars to the LAF last year. I prefer that my money goes to organizations that don't have extremely high profile spokespeople to draw in the millions, i.e., those that might need me more. Dollar-for-dollar breakdown available upon request. (PS - There's a cat shelter in Queens that could really use your help.)
Don't get me wrong. I think it's great that the LAF has a lot of money coming in and a superb athlete raising awareness about cancer and survival. I think it's great that Paul Tracy wants to give something as well -- I just think it's the wrong thing.
Regarding the letter from Pete Lester who found the Trek to feel "dead, dead, dead," preferring instead the "lively" feel of Italian bikes: Now, I've been riding and racing for over 30 years, mostly on Italian frames (mostly Masi) as well as aluminum (SR, Alan, Felt), titanium, and carbon (Trek 5x00 series), and I'd sure like to know what is meant by "lively." I'm currently racing a Trek 5200 in the summer and riding a steel Canadian-built Cyclops road bike with fixed gear in the winter. I really can't say that one frame is "livelier" than another. In fact, I would say that you can obtain a greater degree of difference in handling and feel just by moving the brake levers one centimeter up the bars on the same bike than you could detect between most two bikes on the market. I think most bicycle "road tests" are absolute crocks. Having said that, I must admit that I was really surprised with the ride of the Trek 5x00 series. It must be the geometry, but after riding skittish Italian-style frames most of my cycling life, I was absolutely amazed at how stable the Trek handles in the corners. It's the first bike I've ever ridden where I've been able to detect a significant difference in handling. (I've never ridden a steel frame built on the "Gregg Lemond long top-tube" formula, though. I've previously only ridden Italian-style short top-tube frames.)
But I think this whole notion of "liveliness" is just plain silly. My Trek feels "livelier" every time I replace the chain. I normally pump the tires on my Felt track bike to 130 pounds. At Masters Worlds in Manchester, I had them up to 180. That felt a little "livelier." But, the frame can make the whole bike feel "lively?" Nonsense. I sure can't tell the difference; I think the emperor has no clothes.
I have a question for anyone out there who knows anything about Stuart O'Grady's injuries in 2001 / 2002.
I am a keen cyclist and have a few problems of my own (don't we all?) I seem to remember some surgery Stuart O'Grady had on his leg some time ago and keep remembering the phrase "now he can cycle with two legs instead of one". Can you guys remember what was wrong with his leg? I think it was a circulation problem or something like that?
I have a 'numbness' in my left leg, and seem to fatigue very quickly in that leg, getting pain high inside my groin and hip - and am wondering if they are related?
Anyway, hope you can help or put me in the right direction.
Just read about the TDS Telecom Women's Professional Cycling Team, and I have to ask: are they actually professionals? Is the team registered with the UCI as a Women's Trade Team? Are the riders drawing salaries and making their living in the sport? This may seem like nitpicking, but the term 'professional' is so overused that it's lost any real meaning and makes the sport look rinky-dink- everyone's a 'professional', but hardly anyone makes a living at racing. For a men's team to refer to itself as 'professional', it must at least be registered as a Trade Team with the UCI. Shouldn't there be a similar rule of thumb for women's teams as well?
I am studying at UCC for the semester and I am looking for people to train with (road cycling). I live in the city centre. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
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