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Letters to Cyclingnews - July 23, 2004

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; please stick to one topic per letter. We will normally include your name and place of residence, but not your email address unless you specify in the message.

Each week's best letter gets our 'letter of the week' award. We look for for letters that contain strong, well-presented opinions; humour; useful information or unusual levels of sheer helpfulness.

Please email your correspondence to

Here's the second of this week's letters pages. We also got a few letters about the Tour de France.

Recent letters

Greg LeMond's comments
Christophe Brandt
Drugs in cycling
Local Report of the Year
David Millar
Museeuw and getting doored
Hardie articles

Greg LeMond's comments #1

I agree with this authorís comments. Iíve read up a bit on the doping practices of LeMond's days and there was an awful lot of doping then, as well. To suggest that Lance could not win over and over without performance-enhancing drugs is quite suspicious, really. Usually, the one who sniffs the scent and recognizes it has been there before. In this case, I donít think that LeMond has any idea of what Armstrong is about. I have gone through cancer, and what Lance says about ďnot wanting any chemicals in my bodyĒ is a common reaction to having cancer and/or surviving it. My Mom died of cancer and when she found out about having it, she quit smoking. Almost all cancer patients go through this. LeMond and all the others who have made accusations, and even books, are not only cynical but suspect in their timing. Why didnít LeMond make accusations 3 years ago? Why didnít that British journalist write his book after the 4th win? Why? Itís so obviousÖ and itís shameful.

Molly LaCombe
Sparks, Nevada
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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Greg LeMond's comments #

Isn't LeMond Bicycles ultimately owned by Trek? I wonder what they think about LeMond trashing the individual in whom they have invested so many sponsorship dollars?

Brendan Moylan
Friday, July 16, 2004

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Greg LeMond's comments #

I was surprised by the virulence of the comments to Greg LeMond's interview with the French newspaper, there definitely seems to be little love for LeMond around Armstrong supporters... but I think one has to see some of the reasoning of his comments. Before his shooting, no one could touch him, he won possibly the most punishing Tour ever, against Hinault (1986),and after his shooting he basically had to start from square one and he languished and suffered for over two years before he came back with a truly remarkable Tour win in 1989 (possibly the best Tour for 20 years) and continued to win the Tour once more before his health really suffered from the stress of his shooting and the pressure he put on his body over the years.

My question is, why shouldn't Greg speak out? He has been through he wringer, full of lead, nearly died and found the courage to get back on the bike. His suggestion of someone who was in as bad or worse situation as he was recover quicker and be far stronger than the old Armstrong, who may not have been a good rider but not a multi Tour winner, is valid...what Greg does have to understand though, is his comments may come back to haunt him if the next book on uncovering doping casts suggestions his way or old team mates start blabbing. Lastly, I had the privilege of a hour's lunch with Greg at a trade show in Toronto a few year's ago, and he is a genuine and honest sort, even a touch humble ( I thought).I believe he was aware of who he was, his accomplishments and how lucky he was to even be here. If he has anything to say, I reckon he has as much right as anyone, he's been there, done that.

Steve Stewart-Sturges
White Rock B.C., Canada
Thursday, July 15, 2004

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Christophe Brandt

Brandt sounds to me like he is grabbing at straws, and that would be what I would de if I was innocence and couldn't find an explanation.

Hey, I get really tired of hearing about some poor guy that has his career ruined because he has an infinitesimal amount of some naughty chemical in his blood. And half the time it is not even "performance enhancing". The poor guy, who is just trying to do his job by riding his bike, finds out about what he is accused of first through the media. OK, some guys cheat. I'd probably test positive for caffeine, too, but I take it because it helps me focus on my job.

David Millar is not whom I talking about here. But Methadone? Probenicid? Nannitol?? Gimme a break!

Why are cyclists always the media target for these BIG scandals? Hockey fans! How many NHL players do you know that have been in coke rehab?? What about 'roids?? Speed?? Doping in other sports is so common it is not even an issue, most of the time (except at the Olympics) For criminality, check out what some of things Canada's "national heroes", the pea-brained, bull-necked over-paid darlings of our national sport have been up To:

Cycling may have a culture of doping, but at least it doesn't have a culture of violence, which, during the game is often condoned by the public. Why are cyclists expected to be as pure as the driven snow?? Cycling does not necessary equal doping, but that is all the public hears about. Is there some kind of mystical innocence attached to cycling, because we all learned to ride a children, or what?

Cyclists are not automatically thugs because they inadvertently (or otherwise) swallow something they shouldn't. How many products are out there (dietary or otherwise), that MAY contain a banned substance? I would hate to be a cyclist. To me, it is an inexhaustible world of liability. Heck, I'd be afraid to take anything that came it pill form, or maybe even eat. I'd get a degree in chemistry first so I could at least understand what they were busting me for.

Sure, punish the cheaters, but then lets get on with the race.

Colin Williams
Victoria, BC, Canada
Friday, July 16, 2004

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Drugs in cycling #1

Yes, taking EPO will give you the same results as training at altitude; however training at altitude is just that- its training Ė which for the sake of this discussion Iíll define as the act of forcing a physiological response from your body as it attempts to respond to a stimulus or the environment. Taking EPO is artificially creating that response with out the stimulus, thatís why itís DOPING.

Also, I donít think that training at altitude has all the negative side effects normally associated with taking EPO, such as cardiac arrest or the dramatic drop in red blood cell count when the athlete ďgoes cleanĒ.

For these two reasons Iím sure that no one would argue that sleeping in an altitude tent isnít any different that taking EPO and vice versa.

Sean Melchionda
Friday, July 16, 2004

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Drugs in cycling #2

Someone recently insinuated that the use of an altitude tent, altitude training, or injected vitamins are equivalent to the use of EPO. While EPO occurs naturally in the body as a hormone to increase red blood cell count, sleeping on top of Mt. Everest will only stimulate so much EPO creation in your body. Physiologically your body will not take your blood level up to 60% hematocrit, it stops EPO production before your blood becomes dangerously thick.

When EPO use is combined with altitude training methods it can create catastrophically high red blood cell counts, which are incredibly dangerous to a rider's health. Remember, we're not trying to stop the riders from maximizing their ability, we're trying to stop them from damaging their bodies or even killing themselves to pick up some KOM points and some prize money.

Silas Loudon
Newport, RI, USA
Sunday, July 18, 2004

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Drugs in cycling #3

This is a response to Pedaling Pete's letter regarding David Millar. A cyclist who trains at altitude for several weeks is not a cheat. A cyclist who sleeps in an altitude tent is not a cheat. A cyclist who uses a needle to inject a legal substance is not a cheat. Why? Because those are all legal methods of training and preparing for a race. Using EPO is not. David Millar is not a cheat because he used a needle. He is a cheat because he used a banned substance. He is not a cheat because he raised the oxygen-carrying capacity of his blood. He is a cheat because he used a banned substance to raise the oxygen-carrying capacity of his blood.

This is not a simplistic tabloid knee-jerk reaction. You have to follow the rules. You certainly have the right to disagree with the rule banning EPO. But just because you disagree with a rule doesn't mean that you don't have to follow it. Let's apply your logic to another situation. Assume a rider uses a bike that is five pounds lighter than regulations to win a mountain stage. Is he a cheat? After all, isn't he trying to get to the finish line first, just like all of the other riders on legal bikes?

Kevin Newport
Orlando, FL
Sunday, July 18, 2004

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Local Report of the Year

Any one who has kept an eye on the Mildura cycling scene via the race reports posted in will be well aware of scribe Peter Winton's ability to put the reader into a virtual Sunraysia experience. His descriptions have long been vivid, often humorous and always honest. However Pete's description of Saturday's Merbein Race (17th July) is a masterpiece even by his lofty standards. The report that will no doubt become known as the "4 Riders of the Apocalypse" report, is a must read. I've had the pleasure of racing against the Mildura boys and girls, Peter's ability to turn them into glamour adventure story characters is even more amazing considering that in reality they are a motley looking crew, at best!

Well done Pete, please continue to provide us Cyclingnews scanners with a heap of enjoyment each week.

David Tozer
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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David Millar

Thanks David, for the massive kick to the guts you delivered with your admissions. As someone who had also grown up in Hong Kong and had never really touched a bicycle until my teenage years, I thought I could identify with your rise through the ranks to become a top-level pro, or was that a top-level cheat? Maybe I ought to go home and tear up all those photos I took of you wearing the rainbow jersey at the Hong Kong Classic earlier this year.

I was at the Worlds in Hamilton last year, on the climb watching you win, cheered loudly along with the crowd when you put on that rainbow jersey. The kick is especially painful for me, as one of the very few Aussies lining the course that week, to miss out on witnessing what should have been a great moment for Australian cycling, Mick Rogersí finest moment, and to sing along to our national anthem. Thanks a lot David.

Surely the UCI should immediately give Mick Rogers the rainbow jersey. At least there will be some comfort watching him in the Tour time trial this Saturday resplendent in the rainbow colours he fully deserves.

Thanks for publishing this rant. And keep up the great work guys!

Kin-Yat Lo
Sydney, Australia
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

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Museeuw and getting doored

Serge wrote: "I should add that I have found that politely asserting my right to the lane safely outside of the door zone gets me more respect from car drivers than does cowering from intimidation in the danger of the door zone."

I have observed exactly the same thing! At first it did seem counter-intuitive, but I have found over time that riding in the middle of the lane results in getting a wider berth when the faster moving vehicles pass me. When I'm riding on the white line, many of them pass me as if I weren't there at all -- much too close for comfort.

It also seems to help if I try to keep my speed up. A cyclist doing 25 mph in a 30 zone is much less of a nuisance to vehicular traffic than a cyclist doing 15 mph.

Bob Smith
Catskill Mountains, New York
Monday, July 19, 2004

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Hardie articles

I want to say thanks to Martin Hardie for the last two articles on Euskaltel (Victory of another kind; Orange tide). I have been eager to learn how the cycling-mad Basques are reacting to their less than stellar Tour they so looked forward to. I was not having any luck with OLN or the other websites. Martin's articles not only gave me the answer, they were artistically done.

Bill Forbes
Sunday, July 18, 2004

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Recent letters pages

  • July 23 Tour letters - Most inspiring ride of the Tour, Fan behaviour, Le Grand Bornard, The power of a team, Scott's diary, Sandbagging, A sad day for Hamilton, CSC tactics, Rabobank tactics, Mountains, TdF blood bath, Ullrich and T-Mobile, LAF Bands, Virenque's nationalism, Robbie McEwen and sprinters
  • July 16 Tour letters - The TdF saved my life, A sad day for Hamilton, T-Mobile's choices, LAF Bands, Mario Cipollini vs. Jaan Kirsipuu, Playing by the rules of the game, Robbie McEwen and sprinters, Ullrich v. Riis, Stage 3, Stage 4 TTT, Stage 5 - 12 minutes?
  • July 16 letters - Greg LeMond's comments, Drugs in cycling, Museeuw and getting doored, Human evolution and cycling, David Millar, The French affair, Why thank Lance?, Canadian TV
  • July 9 letters - Drugs in cycling, David Millar, Cadel Evans, John Lieswyn, Human evolution and cycling, Museeuw and traffic, Canadian TV
  • July 9 Tour letters - Stage 5 - 12 minutes?, Stage 4 - The team time trial & those rules..., Stage 3 - Should the leaders have waited?, Jan Ullrich / Lance Armstrong
  • June 25 letters - Chris Horner & US Olympic Trial, The French affair, Cadel Evans, The battle for the commentary podium, Tour contenders, Will stage four decide the Tour, A thank you letter for USCF, USADA, AAA/CAS, Museeuw doored - his fault?, Beloki's allergy medication, Discovery Channel kit, Green jersey dog fight, Iban Mayo's uphill TT bike, LA Confidential, Tour-Giro double, Why thank Lance?, Searching for Bill Clawson
  • June 18 letters - A thank you letter for USCF, USADA, AAA/CAS, LA Confidential, Green jersey dog fight, Iban Mayo's uphill TT bike, Museeuw doored - his fault?, Why thank Lance?, Will stage four decide the Tour?, Beloki's allergy medication, Discovery Channel kit, Does Zabel go?, Jan Ullrich / Lance Armstrong, Rochelle Gilmore, Tour-Giro double, Cycling and hip replacement
  • June 11 letters - Will stage four decide the Tour?, How Ulle will win this year's TdF, Climbers' Jersey, Rochelle Gilmore, Simoni and "the impossible", Cycling among top five tested sports, Rousseau's au revoir, Jan Ullrich / Lance Armstrong, Giro, Does Zabel go?, Days of racing needed to prepare, Cunego's Giro victory, Chris Horner, Robbie McEwen, Cycling and hip replacement
  • June 4 letters - Giro, Cunego's Giro victory, Damiano Cunego, Cunego in stage 18, Team tactics at the Giro, Simoni trying the impossible?, Robbie McEwen, Pavel Tonkov, Jan Ullrich, Chris Horner, Cycling among top five tested sports, Cycling and hip replacement
  • May 31 letters - Au revoir Lance, Cunego's Giro victory, Pavel Tonkov, Serguei Gontchar, Dr Ferrari's Giro stage 13 analysis, When the boss has to go..., US Postal makes waves?, Robbie McEwen, US Postal stops sponsorship, US Postal sponsorship replacements, Jan Ullrich, Iban Mayo & the Tour, Tour de Georgia, Chris Horner, Orbea Orca
  • May 21 letters - US Postal sponsorship replacements, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez - persistence pays, Donuts. Is there anything they can't do? , McEwen's sprint, US Postal stops sponsorship, Soooper Mario, Jesus Manzano, Jan Ullrich, Orbea Orca, Trying to contact John Auer
  • May 14 letters - Tour de Georgia, Chris Horner, McEwen's sprint, US Postal stops sponsorship, Seating requirements, Aero Helmets, A different Wheaties box, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Skip Spangenburg, Cycling and hip replacement, Afscheids Criterium Johan Museeuw, indeed, Timing, Davide Rebellin's remarkable feat, Orbea Orca
  • May 7 letters - A different Wheaties box?, Afscheids Criterium Johan Museeuw, Jan Ullrich, George Hincapie, Doping and team doctors, Davide Rebellin's remarkable feat, US Postal stops sponsorship, Top 5 at TdF 2004 - not Mercado!, Two Men and a Dog, UCI Pro Tour, Cycling and hip replacement, Timing
  • April 30 letters - Doping and team doctors, Davide Rebellin's remarkable feat, Spring Classics slam, Mercado - the time is now, USPS stops sponsorship, UCI Pro Tour, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Jan Ullrich, Harmonic motion, Tour de Georgia, Cycling and hip replacement, Timing
  • April 23 letters - The rainbow curse, Verbruggen is the problem, Gilberto Simoni, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Questions on doping, The doom of doping, Floyd the future of USPS?, Dope testing, Magnus Backstedt, Roger Hammond, Gear ratio chart
  • April 16 letters - Floyd the future of USPS?, Magnus Backstedt, Jan Ullrich, David get outta there!, Cofidis and the Tour, Michelin Tubeless at Roubaix, Manzano, Vale Muur van Geraardsbergen, The Doom of doping, Hincapie, Javier Oxtoa, U.S. Excitement, Radios, Roger Hammond, England or Wales?
  • April 9 letters - Vale Muur van Geraardsbergen, Manzano, The Doom of doping, Amore e Vita, Boonen, Two Speed Cycling?, A welcome end to pro cycling?, Stripes, Karma, Wesemann's setup, Roger Hammond, USPS sponsorship, Javier Oxtoa, April Fool's, UK to Geneva route?
  • April 2 letters - A welcome end to pro cycling?, Manzano & doping, Finding the right team?, USPS sponsorship, WADA and Armstrong, Karma, Bjarne Riis, Is Tobias Steinhauser a real person?, Javier Oxtoa, Max number of champions in a TdF, Radios, Stripes, Chamois: real or synthetic?
  • March 26 letters - A cycling fan's prayer, Manzano, USPS serendipity, UCI statement post Jesus Manzano, Jonathan Vaughters doping response, Moser comments about "updating" the MSR, WADA and Armstrong, Parsimony, Drugs, Genes, US MTB racing, Bjarne Riis, Iban Mayo, O'Grady & Milan Sanremo, The 'World' Cycling Series, Javier Oxtoa, Max number of champions in a TDF, Radios, Sean Kelly and the 1992 Milan-San Remo, We're not sprinters, Is Tobias Steinhauser a real person?, An old cycling top
  • March 21 letters - Bjarne Riis, Radios, US MTB racing, WADA and Armstrong, The "World" Cycling Series, Doping, Iban Mayo, Armstrong's brakes, Fixing Cipo's problem, Max number of champions in a TDF?, Sean Kelly and the 1992 Milan-San Remo, The most fashionable men of the peloton, We're not sprinters, Jame's Diarrhea, Bobby Julich Interview
  • March 12 letters - Radios, WADA and Mr Armstrong, Speculation about Genevieve, Doping, Aero helmets, Brad McGee, Chubby Lance?, How many more have to die?, Iban Mayo, Lance's Performance, Marco Pantani - who is guilty?, Rabobank and U. S. Postal, There's more to life than sprinting, Tour without Kelme?
  • March 5 letters - Speculation about Genevieve, Brad McGee, Doping, How many more have to die?, Tour without Kelme?, Aero helmets, Chubby Lance?, Climbers and sprinters, Fixed gear, Mt Wallace climb, Stage 3 of di Lucca, TdF04 travel itinerary?, Tour de France 2004
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on