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Letters to Cyclingnews - January 14, 2005
What has happened? I am sick, tired, and totally bored with cycling. I remember when OLN first covered the Tour and I could not breath because I was so excited. Now I can barely watch. I remember when the Tour and other races were exciting, now I find the whole concept of a race ridiculous (King of the Mountains, sprinters that drop out, team time trials, a six hour flat stage, a 45-second insurmountable lead, a guy getting hero worship for wearing yellow with no actual chance of winning - spare me). Now I couldn’t care less if I never watch another day of Tour coverage. I remember when it was exciting that Armstrong won a few tours; now I find him and his boorish personality totally draining. I remember when I could not get enough of reading about cycling, spending lots of cash on magazines and, of course, on-line news. Now I can barely open a page or a link. I find myself loving to ride but hating the riders. Does any one else feel the same way. What happened?
I’m a cycle racer from England and am looking for some exciting foreign stage
races to ride this year. In the past I have ridden the FBD Milk Ras in Ireland
(UCI 2.5), GP Ringerike (Tour of Norway - UCI 2.5) and the Giro di Eritrea and
I am looking for races of a similar (or slightly lower) standard to ride anywhere
in the world.
Scott Wilcox produced a wonderfully accurate letter except that Eddy did not win any races after beating testicular cancer that metastasized to his brain, let alone six consecutive Tours. In this respect, Lance has won the greatest race of all. It's called life.
Forget the accusation that over the last half decade ASO and the Tour organizers have tried to Lance-proof the race. Might be true, might not be. But what is true is that every year to some extent they try to shake it up a little - add the TTT, change the rules for the TTT, spread out the mountains, uphill TT, no prologue, whatever.
And this year, should he race it, the Tour doesn't look 100% suited to Lance's strengths, at least as measured by his ability to dominate a three week race. To do that he needs long TTs, maybe a TTT, and lots of significant mountain-top finishes. Or at least, that's the conventional wisdom.
But I'm thinking that, more than any particular rider's individual strengths, this Tour is setting up to reward the strongest team. And that doesn't mean the team with the most stars, but the strongest team. For example, Jose Azevedo and Jose Luis Rubiera aren't generally placed at the very top of the climbers list (near the top, but not THE top), but over the last couple of years, who controlled the tempo in the mountains? Taking it a step further, USPS lost Heras but lost nothing in terms of controlling the mountain stages. The stars get the glory for hitching a ride to the last climb, but it's these strong team players that really make the difference. So a team is not merely the sum of the UCI points of it’s riders, it's how the team works and gels and synergizes.
Along that tangent, having a great sprinter is actually a hindrance for a Grand Tour team, as the sprinter never works for the team and takes two or three guys along to keep him near the front. You need good climbers, even if they're not the best of the best, and you need good strongmen, even if they're not breakaway specialists with a bunch of stage wins in the resume. But the key is that everyone has a purpose.
So with that thinking, ‘Lance-proofed’ or not, this year's Tour looks ripe for the picking. And for that reason, the early nod has to go to Discovery or CSC.
I agree one hundred per cent, as do many of my friends. Sure, Lance dominates the Tour, but cycling is SO much more than just the Tour! And believe it or not, there are races that aren't just run in July. He needs to win at least one other Grand Tour and a few Spring Classics to become a true legend in my mind, at least.
Personally, I think it is somewhat of a disgrace that Lance doesn't represent his country in the World Championships. The Tour de France Champion SHOULD be at the World Championships, period! When he won the Worlds in 93, he was a ‘nobody’ who broke away from a group of ‘name’ riders. They all waited for one of the others in the group to chase him down. Nobody figured that he was a threat, since he was, at the time, just a domestic US pro. Sure, it was a good move for him to go when he did and they goofed for letting him go, but it was also a lucky break that nobody thought was serious. He needs to win the World's again to prove it wasn't just a ‘fluke.’ But we'll never see him at the Worlds again, since they aren't in July.
Mr. Svenson is looking for a strong bike. I'm 6'4" and generally weigh around 200 lbs with (hopefully) brief excursions up to 210 lbs in particularly good eating holiday seasons. I'm also a bike collector of sorts. I've ridden for the last 16 years or so on perhaps 30 different bikes. I had decided that all bikes are alike until I got what I presently have.
First, let me say that a big guy that isn't racing should have no use for expensive aero wheels. God made box section rims for a good reason - so that heavy riders could go several seasons on a set of wheels without breaking or bending too-stiff aero rims. The compromise is that they have to be straightened more often. And as you develop a distaste for straightening wheels, you also develop a more careful eye and dodge the potholes. So, you see, box rims are good for you. My favourite rims though were the old Mavic Open 4 CDs. Campagnolo made a similar outline.
But as for bikes: there are two frame makers which make bikes that feel better
than anything else I've use - Eddy Merckx and Basso. I suspect that because
Eddy is a big man and Axel even bigger that they've worked out the subtleties
nicely. As for Basso, I don't know where his expertise in larger bikes comes
from but surely the oversized tubing bikes of his really shine.
Thomas H. Kunich
I am a 200 lb cyclist from the Toronto area, and bought a pair of Corima Aero wheels. My riding consists mostly of 60-80 km rides on Ontario's rolling hills with winter worn roads. I have found the wheels to be plenty strong, and when you start hammering, you can feel the aero performance of the wheel carrying more speed. They're very light as well, which is noticeable when trying to get my bulk up the hills, or accelerating from Stop signs.
One note, the ride does suffer with carbon aero wheels relative to my Mavic Open Pros. Also, even with Corima specified brake pads, braking is not as good as on the Mavics.
If I were to do it again, I'd also look at Reynolds or the Zipp Clydesdales. Good Luck!
I weigh around the same weight as you and am having great success on a pair of current Ksyrium SL's. Apart from one spoke that kept coming loose on longer riders (fixed with loctite) they have stayed true for the near 12 months that I have owned them. I think many bike shops recommend these for larger riders as well. I don't know if the cheaper versions of these wheels are just as strong but would assume so.
Having just finished reading the report on the launch of the 2005 QuickStep team I was amazed to discover that they use 7,000 helmets in a season. With 26 riders on their roster this works out to be just over 269 helmets per rider! Do they really throw them away after just one use? If for any reason they don't get round to using all 7,000 I would willingly take one off their hands.
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