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Letters to Cyclingnews - January 7, 2005
I have read some of the Ullrich interview, and it strikes me as rather a defeatist attitude to say he is going to beat Armstrong this year. What happens if the man only finishes sixth and Ullrich does beat him, meaning he only comes fifth. If you were setting goals for the coming season surely you say winning the Tour, a gold medal in the Worlds and cleaning up at the Commonwealth Games. Aussie riders such as Cadel, Stuey O’Grady or Mick Rogers are in this boat and look at the way they perform. Need we say more?
Ian M Smith
Lance Armstrong as Rider of the Year? Wouldn't Rider of the Month be more appropriate?
We haven't seen Lance race since the end of July. And he didn't ride in any of the Classics, Giro, Vuelta, World Championships or Olympics!!
I am a 6 foot 3 inch rider who rides mostly road and commuting. I weigh between 225 and 250 depending on the year and how many miles I get in up here in Canada. I want to buy a pair of aero wheels that are fast, but tough enough to train on. I can't afford a pair of wheels that sit in the garage. What are some of the options for high quality wheels that can handle a heavy rider? I train mostly for time trials but I also train on hills, so I don't want heavy tank wheels if I can avoid it. Most bike shops I've talked to were dealers for one brand or another and seemed very biased to their products. Have you heard of heavy riders using Mavic or Zipp Clydesdales, or any similar wheel sets with success? Thanks for sharing your wisdom with a big rider with dreams of going faster.
I am writing this to Eddy Merckx. Eddy you were recently quoted as saying that Lance Armstrong is better than you. Come on now! Lance, while a great rider and a legend in his own right cannot hold a candle to you. Lance has dominated the Tour in a manner never seen before but that is all he has dominated. You, my friend, were the all conquering great. Let's look at the facts:
Lance Armstrong's significant wins:
6 Tours De France
That's about it. Take away the Tour and it doesn't look like much, does it?
Eddy Merckx’s significant wins:
5 Tours de France
Not to mention that he is one of only two people ever to win cycling's ‘Triple Crown’ (Tour de France, Giro and World Championship all in the same year - Stephen Roche is the other).
Even without his five Tours de France he still looks like one of the best of all time. With the five Tours, well come on now!
I know that I may have missed a few of Lance's other wins, but how can anyone say Lance even holds a candle to Eddy? Different eras or not, Eddy dominated cycling like no one else ever has or ever will again. It is like those that compare Tiger Woods to Jack Nicholas; there is no comparison in either case. Until both Lance and Tiger put up a significant number of extra major wins you cannot compare. The greats are still the greats!
Lance is great, just not in Eddy's league!
Do my eyes deceive me? In your "Legends of Cycling" feature, you call Richard Virenque the "most charismatic" cyclist? Well, Richard is a handsome guy, but as long as Mario Cipollini lives and breathes, Richard Virenque is NOT the most charismatic.
Could someone explain the difference between downhill racing on a bike as opposed to skis, other than wheels versus boards? Why all the fuss? And as far as danger, you should check out the sport that has skiers picking their own route down snow dusted cliffs, being judged not only on speed but on the risk factor of the route taken! Pushing to find the limits of the human spirit, mind and body has always been a challenge to those who are gifted, and a thrill to the fan who wishes they were so blessed. The minute we give up the search for the outer limits we will become as Panda bears browsing on bamboo. God bless the athletes, artists, scientists and engineers who dare to break the rules set by the mediocre.
Stephen Roche won a downhill time trial in the Giro d'Italia en route to his 1987 victory, although in typical flamboyant Roche style he spoke out against it later. To quote a news report from the May 24, 1987 issue of the "The Irish Emigrant":
"On Friday Stephen Roche won the 8 kilometre downhill time trial in the Tour of Italy. Afterwards he said that it was madness to ask cyclists to compete in such events. Three riders have died in Italy this year on downhill time trials." (http://www.emigrant.ie/article.asp?iCategoryID=200&iArticleID=4049)
However I have not heard of any such events at professional level since. Some time trials include significant downhills, but their effect is minimised when set against the relatively short time spent on them and the dangers involved. I guess the real problem of downhill only time trials is that there is little other opportunity in which to make up for time lost, increasing risk.
When I was quite young, I loved all the high tech gadgets that were coming out (bullhorn bars, hidden cables, bladed spokes, and those big, long aero helmets). But there was no greater satisfaction in my career than beating a top European pro on his super expensive track bike while on my training road bike (a Cannondale, yes, the one with the super-thick downtube). He was so mad, so humiliated…I realized I beat him with my legs, not my wallet. And my road bike had brakes, loose cables, even a water bottle. His big-ticket bike and arrogance gave me even more incentive to smoke him in front of his friends.
This is in regards to Brian's letter about when to change his Specialized all-condition tires. I put about 4000 miles (about 6500 KM) over a year and never saw any appreciable tread wear with ZERO flats. I finally replaced them when I noticed the sidewalls starting to deteriorate.
Also, I've used Spin Skins (a kevlar tire liner) with a wide variety of tires and never had a flat - I started using them when I was commuting and getting a flat a week. They add a minimum of weight, but are a royal pain in the @#$ to install, and expensive, but work like nothing else.
No flat tyres #2
I also put the Specialized Armadillo tires on my road bike, and have not had a single flat for more than 15,000 miles. I have 700 x 23's, which I keep at 120-125 psi. The down side is that they are relatively heavy and extremely sluggish. When I first put them on the bike, it felt like I was riding on a flat tire because they were so unresponsive. I recommend them for winter recreational riding because of the puncture resistance, but I plan to put something lighter on in the summer.
No flat tyres #3
Here’s the word - Panaracer Paselas with Tourguard are the goods. I used an MTB version on my old courier hack for two years with no real puncture problems to speak of. They roll fast, they're light (265g folding tyres, an unheard of weight for MTB tyres) and they stick like sh*t to a blanket. Go and get 'em if you can find 'em
This guy and his offer are not to be ignored! I had the pleasure (?) of riding the Koppenberg a few years back and without a local to guide you around it was a bit difficult to find. If you have never been to or ridden in Flanders, GO! It's beautiful and the roads are generally good. Plus, you never know who you may end riding with, I mean, trying to keep up with!
Looks like a Velodyne trainer. http://www.velodynesports.com/
Bettini's trainer #2
I believe it is the Avantronic II. You can use your own bike on it and it's also used in the exercise physiology and biomechanics Laboratory of Kuleuven, the place where the quick-step riders are testing.
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