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Letters to Cyclingnews - May 23, 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.
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More Tour wildcard letters are over here.
Mario getting the record
Fabulous, magnificent. I could go on and on, but watching Cipo get his record is just plain wonderful. Watching a great cyclist, who also happens to be and old dude like me (and many others out there) get the better of the young guns in an admittedly young mans game (sprint finishes) raises a smile to my face. He just gets better with age.
Duh, I'm no rocket surgeon, but instead of just leaving Coast, maybe Jan should consider dumping Rudy and Wolfy. I mean, all of us CyclingNews.com readers knew that Coast was in dire straights, but Jan's paying these two big money to advise him on these types of things. If these two didn't see this coming, then what exactly do they bring to the table?
I want to draw attention to the disqualification of Nauduzs after stage 9 of the Giro. Punching another rider is indefensible and demands some form of punishment. However, it begs the question why Petacchi hasn't received the same punishment as Nauduzs. Watching Eurosport's coverage of the stage, it is clear to me that Petacchi punched Nauduzs in the face. Your reporter has suggested that Petacchi threw a punch but missed. That might be the case, but it doesn't alter the fact that Petacchi deliberately threw a punch at another rider. The fact that Petacchi struck first before Nauduzs retaliated is also irrelevant as regards intent. Petacchi has been punished with race penalties and so why not the same punishment for Nauduzs? I don't want to unfairly accuse the race jury of prejudicing a relatively unknown foreign rider in favour of a high profile home rider, but unless the jury can justify the disqualification of Nauduzs, it's difficult to avoid such suspicions.
Nauduzs/Petacchi incident #2
I am totally appalled that the Giro organization didn't give Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) the exact same penalty as Audris Nauduzs (CCC-Polsat) for their little fisticuffs incident in yesterday's stage. I was watching a video tape of the stage, and it clearly shows that Petacchi smacked Nauduzs first during their position battle. The Giro organization stated that Petacchi's blow came "earlier in the stage" and had little effect. I would agree that neither blow had any effect on any riders, but I wouldn't say that the timing was that important. During the stage I watched, the two punches were thrown within 20 seconds of each other. What stage was the jury watching? As it stands now, this jury made a stupid ruling, and they should be totally embarrassed to be such fools. They can throw riders out for punching (and they should), but the same penalty should have been levied against both riders.
Keep up the great coverage of the daily stages!
Nauduzs/Petacchi incident #3
Looks like there is a double standards in the Giro as well. Italians are complaining that Leblanc put French teams first before Cipollini and his Domina Vacanze-Elitron team in their Tour de France selection. But they have the same double standards by throwing Andris Nauduzs out of Giro and not doing the same with Petacchi who was only penalised a minute of his GC time and 25 points. Petacchi was the main culprit by hitting Nauduzs first and the later just retaliated. Funny how it works. Non Italian victim is out of the race and Italian hero/offender stays. There is your justice - Italian style.
Shame on you race jury/organizers
Gary Sullivan raises some interesting points on the issue of track cycling and increasing its appeal. I think you need the derny in the keirin, I have seen the pace bike races in Japan and it looks a bit silly. Personally I love to see the derny races themselves where you have multiple dernies with riders in tow. Any first timer to the track would have to been blown away with the speed and control shown. Having said this you are right in saying the program needs to be adopted to suit the audience. There is nothing more boring than a 20k scratch race. The whole thing needs to take on a production theme with loud music, a light show and audience participation. The audience part being the hardest thing to organise. Give the tickets you can't sell away to schools, a charity, social clubs anyone that will come. If you impress them they will come back with their friends and pay. Better to have 3000 at 1/3 the price than 1000 at full price! I come from a town of 80,000 in central Victoria called Bendigo, home of the Bendigo Madison. Between 8,000 and 12,000 people go to watch because it is an institution. As a local kid growing up your family take you to three things, The Easter Fair, The Bendigo Show and the Madison. We need outsiders to come and see what goes on. You won't get the support from cyclists themselves, so don't promote to cyclists. Track cycling and swimming are the first events to sell out at the Olympics. That kind of momentum needs to be exploited. Take the sport to the public, entertain them, make it affordable and invite them back.
Also Karen Foreman the writer of the original article and a great cycling journalist has been seriously ill in hospital for the last three weeks as a result of her work overseas with an international charity. I am sure all of you who enjoy her work at cyclingnews.com will join me in wishing her a speedy recovery.
I would like to respond to Doug Addy's letter concerning drug usage in cycling and to address the other letters sent in by readers concerning drug abuse in cycling, recently.
I think all sports need to seriously look at cost/benefit of drug abuse in sport. Put simply, cycling needs to take it's lead from the sport of rowing. If a rower is found guilty of taking a banned substance, that rower is banned from competitive rowing, for life. The sport of cycling has made drug testing mandatory and it has been more proactive than a lot of other sports in trying to tackle the drug problem. However, drug abuse will remain unless and until more drastic penalties are imposed on those found guilty.
The sport of cycling needs to adopt the same rules as the sport of rowing. The imposition of a life ban on professional cyclists found guilty of taking drugs would most definitively prohibit any sane professional cyclist from taking such a risk. The fact that professional cyclists who have been found guilty of drug abuse are still allowed to compete in our sport sends out the wrong message completely. I know that a lot of cycling fans would say that other sports have more culpable offenders. Well, I can only speak as a cycling fan - what other sports do regarding the breakage of their own rules is up to them. As a cyclist (and I'm not a very good one) I want our sport to be clean.
This may seem naive but anyone interested in the health and wellbeing of competitive cyclists and competitive cycling would want our sport to be clean.
I think that it is incumbent on the UCI to adopt the measure of life bans for those cyclists caught using banned drugs.
I find the Giro riders complaints about corners in the final meters (and their inability to get around them) rather amusing. They should come to the US where 8 corner crit circuits of less than 1.5km are quite common. Over here if you don't possess a super jump and willingness to endanger yourself and everyone around you, you just won't win races.
Firstly, doping is not 'pandemic in all sports'. Some sports - such as rowing - have lifetime bans for cheating - you get caught, you're out forever - which means it's not worth doping.
Secondly, just because the top guys in a sport perform at levels most people
can't match doesn't mean they have to take drugs to do it.
Fourthly, when I'm out training, I like to be able to look at what I'm doing, and know that there are people out there who can go so much faster than me, and push myself to try to get up closer to them. I don't want to be thinking 'I can never improve past here without doping', I want to be able to think 'so-and-so is faster than this, he's clean, it is possible'.
Finally, taking drugs does not 'enable' a rider to complete a race like the Tour, it makes them go faster. It ought to be the policy that nobody gets away with doping, and the fastest person wins, not that the cheats with the most money for quality drugs win.
Perhaps someone already answered this question, but if not here's the thing: you only wear World Champ stripes in the events for which you won, i.e. former TT champs (like Jan) can wear them only for TTs and former road champs wear stripes for road races.
I am quite interested in readers' experiences with the Cardgirus trainer. It seems to offer a realistic simulation (as much as you can indoors, anyway) for those of us who would someday like to ride stretches of European tours or even to focus on weak spots. I am presently using a LifeCycle in the gym, which simulates basically nothing and even has springs under the seat! The Cardgirus is pretty expensive but the one review in English I have found on the Internet (at www.cyclingnews.com of course!) seems quite positive.
I am trying to find the history of Andy Llewellyn, a British amateur cyclist who rode for Great Britain in about 1977-1984 inclding riding in the 1979 Peace Race. He raced for Peugeot and the St Hilaire cycling club in France and for Gloucester England UK. He won many times in very many races always in top riders rode with Mark... rode for welsh teams too. has been featured in CYCLING in 1979 and local papers and many magazines. any articles or pictures etc would be great. thanks in hope
Can we put the arguments about Robbie McEwen being a dirty sprinter to bed. If anyone can name a top sprinter who HASN'T been disqualified for 'incorrect' behaviour in the last 200m I'd be surprised. Cipollini, Zabel (yes, Zabel, on the same day as the infamous Tom Steels bottle chucking incident), Steels, Moncassin, Baffi, Petacchi and Abdoujaparov have all had disqualifications in recent memory. It's the nature of the beast.
I think that in the US fans think a sprint should be a drag race. In Europe and Australia a bit of elbowing and shouldering is acceptable. Don't get me wrong, I thought Robbie should have been relegated in the Giro, but he is not the only recent offender. As for his comments, they keep the punters entertained.
In defense of Robbie McEwen #2
I may not be Robbie McEwen's biggest fan, but I don't think I would stoop so low as to call him an "arrogant thug with no respect for his betters". What he is, in fact, is a colorful character whose "arrogance" is borne of a will to win. It is like the boxers who square up before the fight. If he were to ride and act like a gentleman he quite simply would not be one of the fastest sprinters in the world. Just imagine the grief he would get if he sat up 30 meters from the line just because Fabio Baldato and 179 other riders wanted to get past.
Just one more question: who is better than Robbie McEwen at the big bunch sprint?
Nice sprinters finish last.
I am not a lawyer, but I thought Texas already had laws against leaving the scene of an accident (aka "hit and run"), vehicular manslaughter, etc. The laws are there, but running over cyclists is not (apparently) taken seriously by law enforcement. The attitude (apparent) seems to be that cyclists shouldn't be there in the first place, so if they get hit, they just got what they deserved. Being charged with "Failure to stop and render aid" when someone DIES is a bad joke. There are already laws in place that COULD be applied. It is hard to see how new laws would change the attitude of drivers and law enforcement.
Working with advocacy groups is a worthy effort, but at some point law enforcement needs to realize that it is sending a message when it files charges in this kind of incident. It's essentially the same as if somebody was driving down the road shooting a gun at speed limit signs and accidentally shot and killed someone riding a bike then drove on off to grab some lunch. In that version, a charge of failure to stop and render aid would be ridiculous. I think it's ridiculous in this case as well. Someone driving a bus that hits and kills a cyclist (as in this case) and then "fails to stop and render aid" (translated "drove on off as if nothing happened") is surely deserving of a charge that carries a little more weight. If working with advocacy groups can make that happen, then go for it.
I must admit from the start that I am fairly new to watching the grand tours. I've watched the last two Tours de France and last year's Vuelta. This is my first year watching the Giro. After watching today's stage 12 up Monte Zoncolan, it seemed that something, or should I say someone, was missing. I think it would be great if US Postal would ride the Giro. Not so much for Lance Armstrong, but wouldn't you like to see little Roberto Heras climb up some of these mountains? Especially after his mountain stage wins in last year's Vuelta? I don't know if he ever was in the Giro when riding for Kelme, but it seems to be a good course for him.
I would like to thank Cycling News for providing race coverage.
Elaine C Sewell
I, too, suffered from epididymitis just over 2 years ago. After evaluating all possible causes, I guessed that it was brought on by too much trainer riding -- staying in one position for long stretches, day after day in the cold Midwest winter.
After undergoing antibiotic treatment and about 2 weeks of reduced riding, I began riding again -- but by this time, it was spring, and I was out on the road more often. With its constant movement, riding on the road does not aggravate sensitive areas in that way, and it seemed to be OK. I've since had some minor irritation late in the winter for the past 2 years, but as road season begins and trainer time tapers off, it has cleared up very quickly.
Epididymitis and cycling #2
I had the same problem compounded by flare ups of a prostate infection. Two things, guided by knowledgeable doctors and cyclists, have minimized the problem and kept me riding (subsequent to the medication). First, I switched to one of those "cut out" saddles. Second, I never ride twice in the same pair of shorts without washing them. I previously wore shorts several times during the indoor trainer months before washing. I made both changes at the same time, so I can't tell you which one (or both) made the biggest difference. Regardless, the infections are gone.
Epididymitis and cycling #3
I have had the pleasure of epididymitis twice in the last six years. This last time I went to the doctor, actually nurse practitioner, and got on three weeks of cipro within a few days of onset. Between that and ibuprofen the inflammation went down pretty quickly and I was able to race in a 24 hour race (team) five days later with little to no discomfort. However, at the end of the cipro treatment discomfort resumed. It wasn't nearly as painful as it was in the beginning. I just did road rides under 1.5 hours for my commute twice a week and the mountain bike on weekends. I didn't do any ibuprofen during this time as I'm afraid I could easily abuse it. It seems like after cipro treatment for both bouts, it still took a good three weeks for the tenderness to go away.
The 'hide the finger' specialist I saw for the first bout said that once you have it there is a good chance it will return. It did.
Epididymitis and cycling #4
I was also recently diagnosed with epididymitis and the doctor did not prohibit riding. I took the prescribed anti-inflammatories religiously, lowered my saddle a bit, and in two weeks I was back to normal. That said, if it happens again (and according to the doctor there is a good chance that it will), I will probably stop all activity until I am better. It is not worth the discomfort and risk of doing further harm. Take time off, your body will thank you.
Juan Blazquez Ancin
Epididymitis and cycling #5
1. Try getting more room down there by wearing old stretched out shorts or not wearing cycling shorts. The boys need to be prevented from being crammed against the body.
2. Try adjusting your saddle so the boys are somewhat supported by the saddle. You need to try to keep them from moving every pedal stroke. But if the nose is too high, your shorts will be pulled onto the area when your leg reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke. Again it helps if you use some shorts will a little more room, possibly buy some that are larger than you typically wear. You may need to get a saddle with a wider nose.
3. Avoid any type of tights with windproof (non-flexible) fronts.
4. Run the tires a little soft to prevent saddle vibration from causing inflammation.
The only way I could ride was on the trainer until the inflammation cleared up, you have to spend a lot of time adjusting things while riding, too distracting for being out on the road.
Epididymitis and cycling #6
I can say I feel your pain. I dealt with epididymitis for about a year. It was a real trying time finding a way to get rid of it. I was even more frustrated that the symptoms came about during a month when I wasn't even riding. I went through one doctor that put me on antibiotics and some anti-inflammatories for about eight months with no real success. I was also drinking gallons of cranberry juice.
I switched doctors and finally had some luck. He just had me take naproxin (sp?) which is the prescription brand of Aleve. You can just take two Aleve instead of one naproxin. It seemed that a steady dose of these for about two months cleared my problems up and now I'm riding again with no symptoms. I think anti-inflammatories are a big help. All the research I did on this aliment seemed to say that doctors don't know exactly why it happens or the best way to get rid of it.
As for your question of how long off the bike, it may be awhile. Even after my symptoms cleared up I stayed on the Aleve for another few weeks since I had a few reoccurrence when I tried to get back on the bike to soon. I actually went out and bought a recumbent because I was off the bicycle for so long. Now it's for sale on bentrideronline.com. I'm hoping I won't have to deal with epididymitis again. Once you find out what works for you, post it. I'm sure we're not the only ones who have had to deal with this.
Epididymitis and cycling #7
I put an old 1983 Specialized Stumpjumper on a trainer and found that being in an upright position did not cause further irritation. I was able to get back on my road bike in a few weeks. You might also try lowering the height of your saddle and switching to one with a cutout.
Epididymitis and cycling #8
Had this about a year ago (in winter). Went on antibiotics. Was off the bike for no more than 4-5 days. Hasn't recurred since.
Epididymitis and cycling #9
I have had many incidences of epididymitis over the last 8 years or basically when I started bike riding. Problems usually occurring within the first month of riding for each new year. What helped to reduce the incidences of this was a good seat and good quality shorts. My bike is equipped with the Specialized Body Geometry seat (split type) and I wear Assos shorts. This worked to help curb my problems.
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