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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Letters to Cyclingnews - March 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 letters@cyclingnews.com.

Recent letters

Blood testing issues and Hamilton
Cycling on TV
In Defence of UCI president Hein Verbruggen
Defending the Pro Tour?
Is Lance getting soft?
Lance has lost the "eye of the tiger"

 

Letter of the week

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

Blood testing issues and Hamilton

In addition to the very interesting issues raised by John Winnie Jr, and to the many other question marks brought up previously in the Hamilton case, I have a couple of other questions (just to add to the confusion).

1) Santiago Perez gave a positive test for the same blood-transfusion method as Hamilton is accused of having used, at the Vuelta. If I am correctly informed, Perez gave his positive test during a race that took place after the Vuelta had finished. I assume that Perez was tested at least as frequently as Hamilton during the Vuelta - after all, he was a major contender during the whole race and did not pull out half-way like Hamilton. Bearing in mind Perez's very strong performance in Spain, with stage wins and second overall, I find it very strange that he should start to "tamper" with his blood after the race had finished and his season was virtually over (i.e. big risk - "no" gain, where is the logic?). If he decided to cheat, why didn't he cheat at the Vuelta instead, where he actually had a lot to gain? And even more puzzling, if he could perform as strongly as he did during the Vuelta without the help of blood transfusions (remember, he even outperformed an in-form Roberto Heras towards the end of the race), why did he all of a sudden decide that he needed to resort to artificial means to be competitive?

In short:

(a) Did Perez start to use blood transfusions only after the Vuelta had finished, and if so, why on earth did he do that?
(b) If he used blood transfusions during or before the Vuelta (as would be the logical thing to do if he decided to cheat), why did he not give a positive test like Hamilton?

If the new blood test is as secure as its developers and backers claim (i.e. foolproof), I find it surprising that Tyler Hamilton - of all people - was the only athlete giving a positive A test during the Athens Olympics. If this actually is the case, it must be good news for all the endurance sports represented in the Olympics, including cycling.

Of course, these points are no evidence that Hamilton and Perez are not guilty. However, in combination with all the other question marks related to the case, they do make me wonder about the validity of the new blood testing method. At least it prompts me to ask: Where is the convincing scientific evidence?

Kai Larsen

Oslo, Norway

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

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Cycling on TV

I guess one more season of "Lance TV" on OLN is a good thing. It's just that every year it seems more difficult for the Outdoor Life Network to find its way out of the rodeo ring or away from whispering hunters in a blind. Never mind that Hincapie seems to have good form early on, or that Landis or Leipheimer might bring good news later this year…there continues to be the notion that there is only one American on a bike.

Certainly when Lance is gone, OLN will find it even more difficult to find the European peloton. Having said that, I can now look forward to the hard swallows among OLN executives this season as Lance crosses the line first and smartly straightens his Discovery Channel kit for all to see - Oops!

Chris Stemper

Milwaukee

Saturday, March 5, 2005

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In Defence of UCI president Hein Verbruggen

In Defence of UCI president Hein Verbruggen.

I completely support the opinion of David Thomas and allegorize in protection of UCI president Hein Verbruggen. Consider that he, in his time in command of the UCI, has done very little to negatively affect cycling, and now he announces the Pro Tour.

Consider also that in European pro cycling, there is probably too much bureaucracy - that's not always good for conducting the business of sport.

Consider that financial relations between the UCI and organizers of the TDF, Vuelta and Giro in relation to advertising and the ethical code have been taken into account when organizing the Pro Tour, which is good for the cycling community.

I think that it is necessary to give a year or two to Mr Verbruggen to sort out decisions in relation to these matters. If there aren't definitive answers by early next year, then maybe Hein Verbruggen should consider tendering a resignation; but we'll see how it all goes.

Vadim A. Dmitriev

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Saturday, March 5, 2005

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Defending the Pro Tour?

RTVE , the Spanish state TV company now no longer shows live cycling; the head of sports broadcasting has said that from April only a few races will be shown - ie - pro tour races, and these will not be shown live (they have shown one stage of Paris-Nice - at 4:35 am).

Now all the small races in Spain are without coverage and (probably) sponsors as well - they have no time to rearrange things. How is eliminating so many races going to help cycling? If the same thing happens in Portugal, Italy, France, etc then where will the riders of tomorrow come from?

Barry R Taylor

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

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Is Lance getting soft?

What's going on! I realise that Armstrong doesn't ride many early season races or many races besides the Tour, but come on, talk about weak! Jetlag - come on, are you kidding me? Lance travels so much he probably has perpetual lag - it doesn't stop him during July.

I'm really getting tired of him just showing up in July, is it just me or does anyone care if he wins the Tour, again? You would think he'd get a little tired of being so predictable. I used to think that he was one of the tough riders, and maybe one of the greats, but he's definitely been disappointing me as of the past two or three years.

I know he's always done things his way, but you would think he wouldn't want to be so one dimensional! I do give him credit for trying, but it never seemed like he was really at Paris-Nice. Was he just making an appearance for the sake of it? It would be great if he could win a couple of spring classics, and then contest the Tour. Now that would be exciting!

J Kilmer

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

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Lance has lost the "eye of the tiger"

I believe that what we have seen in Paris-Nice possibly foreshadows what we could see from Lance in the Tour de France. I have never wavered in my confidence in Lance's ability to win cycling's crowning achievement until this past year. His trademark intensity and singular focus are absent. His somewhat laissez-faire attitude is quite uncharacteristic. He has had difficulty even deciding whether to pursue a 7th Tour title.

Furthermore, we have seen him attending the Grammys and Academy Awards in the States well into the European cycling season. Appearances on TV shows such as Oprah, etc were very limited at this time in past years. There's nothing wrong with enjoying the spoils of victory - he deserves everything that he has achieved and has garnered to this point. Nonetheless, those that are anticipating fireworks this July between Lance and the many potential heirs to his throne may be disappointed. I predict a quiet exit for one of cycling's legends.

Donald Blades

New York, NY

Thursday, March 10, 2005

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2005

  • March 4: In Defence of the Pro-Tour, Grand Tours back down...for now, Armstrong and Simeoni,Help - what’s on the TV?, Cycling on TV, Lance Defends His Title!, Hamilton movie role downplayed, Blood testing issues and Hamilton, I really don't know when it happened
  • February 25: Lance Defends His Title!, Build it and tear it down?, Build, dismantle and donate!, Lance's Hour Record attempt, I really don't know when it happened, Can't get enough!, Dream on
  • February 18: Build it and tear it down?, Remember Marco, One Reason I Love Cycling, The ongoing Hour Record Saga, Lance’s Hour Record attempt, Can't get enough!
  • February 11: 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
  • 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, Can’t 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 Kaiser’s 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 cyclingnews.com