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Letters to Cyclingnews - February 11, 2005

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

Recent letters

One Reason I Love Cycling
Francisco Cuevas
F-One - Come down to earth Lance!
Armstrong and the Hour
Can't get enough!
Greatest of all time


Letter of the week

The very bright Cateye SL-LD100 safety light is on it's way to David.

One Reason I Love Cycling

Yesterday I was at my local bike store and I ran into Levi Leipheimer and Roland Greene. My jaw hit the floor, crashed through it and landed in the basement! After composing myself, I strolled over and introduced myself. They were both very happy to see me, and very welcoming. Actually, I don't know who was happier Ė me, or those guys, because I recognized them!

One reason that I love cycling is that it is so much more accessible than other sports. I've had the chance to meet several pros. And, without exception, they are fantastic mates. Guys like Neil Stephens, Matt White, Alejandro Valverde and Marcel Wust just love to talk about cycling. I have never met a pro that has been anything less then very friendly and welcoming. And every one has been more than happy to share his leg-shaving secrets with me.

I'm happy that I am a cycling fan. But, it is sad that more cyclists are not role models.

Instead, kids are emulating guys like Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neil. (And don't get me started about the National Football League.) I hope my kids find their heroes in cycling.

And if Levi reads this, I hope your ride up Pine Flat was great!

David C. Brayton

Santa Rosa, CA

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

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Francisco Cuevas

I am saddened to hear of the death on January 28th of Francisco Cuevas. I first met him at Mike Fraysse's frame shop in 1977 when I was racing as a junior competitor. As a young and impressionable rider, I was immediately taken by his genuine excitement, passion, and enthusiasm for cycling and the frames that he built. In an era that saw less than 10,000 licensed racers in the US, he was the window to the world for many young riders as well as seasoned veterans. I remember spending hours in the small frame shop with my teammates just watching, listening, and learning about cycling from him as he meticulously prepared, built and finished each frame.

Although a quiet man, the passion in his eyes and in his heart was contagious. On the weekly group rides, he was always there to teach and guide us, always with a smile, a wave and his sparkling eyes. It was men like Francisco and Vic Fraysse that helped to form the budding careers of many racers in the NY area. Each time I look at the bike that he built for me in 1978, I will remember him and the passion for cycling that he instilled in many of us. My condolences to the entire Cuevas family.

Ray Cipollini

Monday, February 7, 2005

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F-One - Come down to earth Lance! #1

The idea about Lance beating Boardman's record in Manchester has some logic, but then again why did Boardman do it there - to be in front of his fans at home.

Lance can't win the Tour de France stateside, but the hour record may provide him the chance to do something special in front of the millions of people that support him in his home country. The building a temporary velodrome sounds a bit excessive to me too, but then again there are not a lot of velodromes to choose from in the States.

Me, I'd just wish he'd taken that incredible form he had in last year's Tour and come over here to see if he could have doubled in the Vuelta. That would have gone a long way towards quieting many of his detractors. And then the fans Stateside may have gotten real coverage of the Vuelta on OLN as well.

Jack Tolbert

Madrid, Spain

Friday, February 4, 2005

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F-One - Come down to earth Lance! #2

To say Armstrong should attempt the record at the same track as Boardman or Obree is just plain stupid. Itís a world record attempt, not a Hollywood movie.

If you are going to try and break a world record then you want to make everything right for the attempt, and not making the most of the facilities available would be bad preparation in the least. Would you go for a long ride without tools or a spare tube? I don't think so.
Maybe the argument for using these tracks might be based on the hope that he will 'fail' at these tracks and some people out there want him to fail. Its about a cyclist versus the clock, not Armstrong versus the clock.

Andrew Smith

Sunday, February 6, 2005

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F-One - Come down to earth Lance! #3

I agree with the last writer. A special velodrome can only taint the event. Go for the sea level record. Perhaps a resurfacing of the track to smooth out the bumps would be acceptable. The main problem I see is that Lance has spent so much time and training on his position, that he can't undo that. He has the body machine tuned for the aero posture.
Perhaps it's not that important, but a sore back (from a [new] retro position) could kill an effort like this. Maybe a dual rider, pursuit-style hour attempt with Ullrich would provide motivation.

Richard T Edwards

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

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Armstrong and the Hour

Like a lot of people, I'd love to see Armstrong attack both the UCI and absolute hour records; on the subject of the absolute record, it's intimidating to recall that Lance averaged 57+ km/h for most of the final TT in the 2003 Tour - only slowing toward the end where the road got technical, and after Ullrich fell. Remembering too, that this was in the wind and rain. My prediction - Lance goes over the 59 km mark if he tries for the absolute, which I hope he'll do in Manchester.

Tim Heffernan


Friday, February 4, 2005

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Can't get enough!

I totally agree with comments about Vuelta coverage on American TV. I was very disappointed in the lack of Vuelta coverage on OLN. They aired Tour coverage four times a day, but couldn't manage even an early morning time slot for people to tape and watch the Vuelta at a later time. It seems the only thing that will tell them they need broader cycling coverage are more emails and messages telling them that they are alienating a very loyal group of viewers.
Like Mr Lester, I shudder to think of what will happen to OLN's coverage once Lance retires. I'll watch anything they show, but I fear we'll be in for even more of other classic outdoor sports like bull riding and infomercials.

George Henze

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

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Greatest of all time

Ok. If anyone wants to talk about the greatest cyclist of all time then there can be only one way to sum it up. Mercx is, and will always be, the greatest cyclist of all time. No one can discount that.

Even though cycling was a different world back then, Eddy still raced from January to December. Spending 96 days in the tour leaders yellow jersey says it all - he dominated every race he was in. He earned respect and had a reputation - everyone feared him. They knew that if Eddy showed up, most of the time they would be racing for second place.

But who is below him as number two? Everyone has an opinion. But there is never any discussion on who can be ranked close to Eddy; thatís how good he was. In a time when records are being talked about, his overall record will never be beaten.

Shaun Keenan

Friday, February 4, 2005

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2005

  • February 4: F-One - Come down to earth Lance! Armstrong and the Hour Armstrong and Simeoni Can't get enough! Help Greatest of all time Eddy is King, but who is second best?
  • January 28: "I am the greatest of all time", Armstrong and the Hour Record, F-One - Come down to earth Lance!, Lance Drug Probe, Armstrong and Simeoni, Canít get enough!, Help, NBC's 2004 RAAM Coverage, Doping, Crash distance from 1km to 3km, Eddy is King, but who is second best?
  • January 21: Professional Cyclists, Der Kaiser's Goals, Jan Ullrich's problem = Lance, Rider of the Year, Crash distance from 1km to 3km, Help, Lance vs. Eddy
  • January 14: Der Kaiser's goals, Help, Foreign stage races, Lance vs. Eddy, Tour '05, Rider of the Year, Best bikes for heavy riders, Quick Step helmets
  • January 7: Death of Dmitri Neliubin, Der Kaiserís goals, Rider of the Year, Best bikes for heavy riders, Who's Greater? Come on now!, Virenque "most charismatic"?, Downhilling, Downhill time trial, Trendy cyclists, No flat tyres, Spring classics trip advice, Bettini's trainer
  • January 3: Spring classics trip advice, Big Bear ends downhilling, Armstrong and Simeoni, Holding teams accountable, Downhill time trial, Trendy cyclists, Bettini's trainer, No flat tyres

Letters 2004

  • December 24 letters - Why are cyclists so trendy?, Business and cycling, Big Bear ends downhilling, Off-bike weight gain, No flat tires, Armstrong and Simeoni
  • December 17 letters - Business and cycling, Tom versus Axel , Big Bear ends downhilling, Shane Perkins, Spring classics trip advice, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Mark Webber interview, Armstrong and Simeoni, Injured and missing it: an update, Clyde Sefton
  • December 10 letters - Why are cyclists so trendy?, Big Bear ends downhilling, Floyd's choices?, Merckx, fit and trim, Pound must go, Spring classics trip advice, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Punishment: Vandenbroucke vs Hamilton, Prosthetic hip, Armstrong and Simeoni, Dave Fuentes, Homeopathy, Jeremy Yates, TDF coverage for Australia, Weight limits and maintenance, Mark Webber interview
  • December 3 letters - Domestiques vs Lieutenants, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Dave Fuentes, Santa vs Hairy Guy, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Mark French and homeopathy, Shane Perkins, Jeremy Yates, Weight limits and maintenance, UCI regulations, Armstrong and Simeoni, Prosthetic hip
  • November 26 letters - Mark French and homeopathy, Two big guns in one team, Tyler Hamilton case, Bartoli's retirement, Dave Fuentes, Shane Perkins, Merckx and Armstrong, Training like Lance, Lance Armstrong, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Phonak gets what it deserves, Armstrong and Simeoni, Bike weight, Spouseless riders, Mary McConneloug, Adam Craig, Mark Webber interview, Santa vs Hairy Guy
  • November 19 letters - Tyler Hamilton case, Phonak gets what it deserves, Are you there Mr Coates?, Bike Weight, Merckx and Maertens make up, Heart troubles, Where to find cycling spouses, Mark Webber interview, Lance Armstrong, Where's Greg?, What ever happened to..., Why are cyclists so trendy?, Armstrong and Simeoni, l'Etape du Tour registration, Still Laughing
  • November 12 letters - Why Armstrong will ride the 2005 Tour, Scott Sunderland, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Armstrong and Simeoni, Where to find cycling spouses, Lance on Italian selection, Heart troubles, l'Etape du Tour registration, Tour 2005 team time trial, What ever happened to..., Love and a yellow bike
  • November 5 letters - Love and a yellow bike, Tour 2005, Where to find cycling spouses, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Lance on Italian selection, Armstrong and Simeoni, Tour of Southland, Construction technique for veloway, Heart troubles, l'Etape du Tour registration, Rahsaan Bahati
  • October 29 letters - Armstrong and Simeoni, Lance on Italian selection, Armstrong and Tour 2005, Lance to Tour Down Under?, Davis on Lance, Bike Shows, 2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year, Cycling and hip replacement, Doping - Enough drama!, Doping redefined, Injured and missing it, Heart troubles, Interbike, l'Etape du Tour registration, Whatever happened to...
  • October 22 letters - 2004 Cycling Spouse of the Year, Doping , Floyd Landis, Armstrong and Tour 2005, Interbike, Armstrong and Simeoni, l'Etape du Tour registration, The new blood test, Injured and missing it, What ever happened to..., World time trial champion, Cycling and hip replacement, $125,000 criterium in Charlotte
  • October 15 letters - Is the Pro Tour a good idea?, Cycling is bigger than doping, Doping, Floyd Landis, Museeuw is too nice to be guilty, Pound must go, Armstrong and Simeoni, Blood doping, Peers and Planckaert, Doping and nationality, The new blood test, Tyler Hamilton, World Championships, World Time Trial Champion, Erik Zabel Interview
  • October 8 letters - Pound must go, USA World's Team Selection, World Championships, Armstrong and Simeoni, Filip Meirhaeghe, Say it ain't so, Dario!, Baby names, Blood doping, The new blood test, World Time Trial Champion, Tyler Hamilton, Doping and nationality, Erik Zabel Interview
  • October 1 letters - Baby names, World Time Trial Champion, USA worlds selection, Tyler Hamilton, The new blood test, Rider of the Year, Tyler, USPS and Bruyneel, Alternative criterium formats
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on