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Letters to Cyclingnews - May 13, 2005
I feel that the crash is all of Cookes fault. From what I have seen, it's the rider behind (Cooke) that's responsible for deciding which way to pass the front rider. Cooke decided to take the short side. If it were me in Bettini's position I would have protected my left side. Cooke had the whole right side to make his pass. He chose the wrong side, and Bettini should have won the stage.
Patrick J. Buchanan
Penticton B.C. Canada
I think Bettini made a fair sprint and did not erratically and deliberately swerve into the line of the sprinting Aussie Baden Cooke in today's Giro de Italia stage. I guess the judges disagreed; perhaps they were influenced by Cooke's deliberate march up to the Commissionaires to protest. Perhaps the judge's interpreted nice guy Bettini's reaching out to talk to Cooke as an admission of guilt...
Just study footage of the flailing DiLuca in the uphill finish earlier in this year's Giro. He cuts off Cunego when he first attempts to come by on the right by boxing him swiftly into the barracades. DiLuca cuts the corner, changing his line in relation to the road, and thus the barrier contour, and, not yet having position, Cunego wisely backs off.
In today's Bettini - Cooke showdown, Bettini was accelerating and moving to the right. He says his chain slipped, but he looked like he just dug in really hard and was throwing his bike side to side. There are radical swerves in many sprints as athletes throw down every last effort. Cooke clearly saw that his line was less and less available, but he never stopped accelerating steadily into a gap that wasn't there. Bettini cooked him and Cooke took a meaningless dive.
I was a huge fan of Paolo Bettini's. I love the way he races and I thought he was great guy. I was cheering for him when he won at Athens even though I am not Italian.
However, he has let himself and his fans down with his petulant behaviour following the incident with Baden Cooke. Whatever the reason for his move towards the barrier, it caused Cooke to crash at full speed. Cooke was lucky to walk away from such a crash. It is widely accepted from the overhead shots that Cooke was flying past and would have won. That is beside the point though.
It is the refusal of Paolo and his team to accept that what he did caused Cooke to fall and to graciously accept the decision of the judges that has surprised and disappointed me. And his behaviour at the pink jersey ceremony was childish; that is being kind.
I am a Bettini fan no longer as many of the reasons I supported him have vanished. Ciao Paolo.
I'm sure I watched the footage of yesterday's sprint as much as anyone else and I have to say that I am not only dismayed with the call made by race officials but also by the behavior of seemingly EVERY Aussie rider in the race. I like Cooke...I would have loved to see him take a stage but not only did he not have the legs to come around Bettini but he dove for the boards when he had the whole road to the right. He even admitted that he took his right hand off the bar to push against Bettini thereby sending himself into the boards.
So when it's all said and done Bettini is relegated. I guess that's bike racing. What really got me is that every Australian rider in the race came out talking about how Cooke was so wronged. He made a stupid move! Anyone watching that tape could see that. And then of all people I read that Robbie McEwen has the gall to chime in? You have got to be kidding me. THE Robbie McEwen who has given us such choice quotes as: "One last thing to clarify. I never used my hands in the battle for Cipo's wheel. Elbows and head yes - hands no". Good way to look like the patch of thugs the rest of the world tries to paint you as. Way to go, guys.
I was a big fan of Bettini until last night. There is no excuse for forcing a rider into the barriers. You risk his life and his career. But what made it worse for me was his petulant attitude after he was disqualified. You thought only of yourself Bettini, not your fans or sponsors.
I dread to think of the thousands of impressionable young minds who witnessed what you did and who will now feel justified in behaving the same way themselves. You should have been chucked out of the Giro. I will not support you again.
Adelaide, South Australia
So after Petacchi complains about "Aussie rules" sprinting in Stage Two of this year's Giro, Baden Cooke says, "You're joking. That's bull****. He's getting paranoid. After Robbie went to the left and I went to the right, we actually came together against Petacchi and I thought he would have been whinging after the finish that Robbie and I were working against him. But that's bike racing and that's what happens in a rough sprint."
So when Petacchi's countryman Paolo Bettini (58 kg) dishes out a little grief in Stage 4, Cookie (73 kg) is changing his tune? Suddenly "everybody can see what happened..."
Rough sprints are fine until you're on the receiving end, I guess.
Thanks so much for the recent interview with Jens Voigt. I've been following his exploits with increasing awe for several years, and consider him just about the best all-rounders on two wheels right now. He seems to be equal parts talent, work ethic, and positive attitude; a consummate team player in a profession where the prima donnas seem to get the media attention and big bucks.
Anyone who calls him "Germany's Jacky Durand" is surely damning him with faint praise; Durand was routinely allowed huge gaps, and his breakaway efforts were usually reeled in quite matter-of-factly by the peloton. When Voigt gets a gap, everyone works to keep it small, and there's genuine suffering going on behind him - the sprinters' teams must hate this guy! Then when the roles are reversed, it's tough luck for would-be breakaways like Ullrich (TDF '04) or Valverde (Paris-Nice '05) if Voigt's riding to protect Basso or Julich as a leader. Durand was a wrench; Voigt's the whole toolbox.
His contributions are a big part of why CSC can dictate the tactics in so many big races. Great teams in any sport always seem to have a catalyst that does whatever needs doing, and I think Voigt is currently the best in the business at this. Keep hammering, Jens!
I just finished reading the quick snip of Jens Voigt riding tandem with a blind fan just to make his birthday. I'm sure that Voigt is not looking for praise for this act since he was a touch weary about having to 'save the world' after doing this, but I can't help it Jens. You've got my praise. Bravo, what a class act!
Whilst out training last week we were clipped from behind quite heavily by a passing motorist. Fortunately, we didn't come down but the result could have been much different. The response from the motorist wasn't to check and see that we were uninjured but instead to accelerate away as fast as possible.
When we pulled alongside the motorist at the next red signal he refused to acknowledge our presence. I decided to report the incident to police; after all it was leaving the scene of an accident (all be it a minor accident). When I went to the police station I was informed by the officer that "I'm busy at the moment and don't have time to take the report" and that "you could come back tomorrow".
It seems that in South Australia the court has decided it's appropriate to leave the scene of an accident, particularly if it involves a cyclist, and that this message has been adopted by the motor vehicle drivers and the officers of the police force.
Adelaide, South Australia
Liberty Seguros management at times appears to lack some sense and professionalism; not only they have booted out Nuno Ribeiro from the team before getting his blood test results back from the UCI but now Sérgio Paulinho, the Olympic silver medallist was not allowed to start the time trial in Alcobendas because he didn't have his national champion's jersey, which is supposed to be supplied by the team.
A few weeks ago Paulinho was advised in Romandie he would be refused to start in his next time trial if didn't wear the National time trial jersey.
Martinho da Glória
I could not have said it better myself! Ironically, just a few days prior to his accident, I had the good fortune to obtain Eki's (and Chechu's) autograph on my US Postal cycling cap. I was absolutely thrilled to have the "John Hancock" of this legend of cycling and to see him in action at the Tour de Georgia. I was looking forward to donning the cap while on the roads of France when I returned there this summer to cheer Eki and his fellow teammates onto another victory. Eki, you will be sorely missed and impossible to replace! Here's a message for you:
Slava, get well soon!
I too am deeply distressed with the news that Eki suffered a significant injury while training in Texas. As an aging one time Cat III I have been cheering for this pillar of cycling for quite some time. I just saw him on the podium in Georgia with a strong performance in support of team Discovery. Eki, we are all cheering for you to return in the Fall. I am still confident that you will break the Tour record.
Australia is the leading nation in the women's World Cup with the reigning women's World Cup and Olympic champions, third in the men's road standings for number of wins and rapidly on the rise as a force in men's road cycling. Add to this the fact it was by some margin the best country on the track in Athens, can you think of a reason why Australia should not be considered the strongest country in world cycling?
Which other country has such all round strength of results on road and track?
It appears Lance Armstrong's announcement that this is his last Tour de France has made the 2005 edition irresistible to Damian Cunego. (Some of us have known of Armstrong's retirement for months, but most people only found out before the Tour of Georgia. The funny thing, nobody would believe me). It seems Cunego is willing to support Simoni in the Giro, so that he can race his first Tour de France head-to-head against Lance (that is if he can somehow prevent himself from leaving everyone in the dust during the Giro). This is a huge task.
This plan could also benefit Ullrich. T-Mobile will have a lot of helpers in attacking Armstrong. Landis, Leipheimer and perhaps Mayo and Valverde will be poised to square off against the six-time Superman who will be missing the Russian missile, Ekimov. (On the bright side, Discovery may have a chance to win the Vuelta behind Eki). Ullrich now has more desire to beat Armstrong in 2005 than to win in 2006 without Lance. It looks like Vino can really help this year. As for Kloeden, no one seems to know for sure. Besides, the Giro is too exciting to concentrate on July just yet.
The UCI should get rid of the weight ruling altogether; "run what you brung" as some outlaw racers used to say. The point is that, regulation tends to stymie advancement, much like the current ruling by NHRA that fuel dragsters are limited to 500 cubic inches. Could we have faster quarter mile times, you bet. Could we have faster Tour de France times, you bet. Could we have quicker Kona Ironman times, you bet. I have always felt that we need at least one catagory that is as unregulated as possible, and then "just go for it".
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