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Letters to Cyclingnews - March 31, 2006

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'. 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

Discovery’s American riders
Photo of the year
Commonwealth Games time trial
Edwig van Hooydonk


Discovery’s American riders


The reasons for supporting a particular team are many. I pull for the American riders regardless of what team they're riding on. Personally, I have been a fan of Phonak for some time now, even before Floyd Landis.

My family is from Switzerland so naturally, Phonak is the team. There are only a few Swiss riders on Phonak, but so what, they're still my team.

I had the awesome opportunity at the Tour of California to actually speak to Martin Elminger and Alexandre Moos before the start of the Friday stage! I was a few feet from Floyd Landis! We are fans of the team we identify with and the riders, wherever they are from, is ok with us.

The purpose of a professional cycling team is to win and create exposure for the sponsors. In order to do that, you hire the best riders. If those riders are from other countries, so be it. Enjoy the beauty of the sport and don't get caught up in the" America versus the world” game.

Fabian Cancellara, (Ticino), kind of rolls off the tongue!

Bob Leoni
Friday, March 24, 2006

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Discovery's American riders #2

Any "racer" as Mr. Abrams claims to be will:

1) Have a greater appreciation for talent beyond US soil,
2) Actually WELCOME foreign talent,
3) Not call "domestiques" - "domestics"
4) Not make any reference to "America's Team" at all.

If ignorance is bliss, the enlightened Mr. Abrams can continue to "race" in the heartland of America in those fine flat Citizen Crits. Remember, put it in the big ring Mr. Abrams and take off your saddle bag for that citizen’s race!

Thomas Eng

Vancouver, BC
Thursday, March 30, 2006

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Discovery's American riders #3

At the risk of piling on Mr. Abrams...I believe the reason we don't see more American domestiques in the Pro Tour has more to do with personal economics than it does Discovery hiring a bunch of guys with funny names.

Most American pros that do Europe maintain a home base in Europe as well as back in the States. I haven't done the research, but I suspect that costs a fair bit of cash. Toss in a few trans-Atlantic flights and one's day-to-day living expenses start piling up quickly. The salary of a Pro Tour domestique is pretty meagre. It'd be pretty tough to maintain two households on a domestique's pay. Add in the personal sacrifice of leaving family and friends behind, slaving away at the back of pack, etc. and it's not too attractive.

For the guys that have the talent to become more than a grunt, the sacrifice is short-term and leads to something bigger and better. For the guys that would forever be somebody else's Pro Tour lackey, the sacrifice would last an eternity. Given a choice of staying in the States, getting decent results, hanging out with family and friends, and scraping out a liveable wage (barely) versus obscurity, homesickness, and poverty, I can't see a whole bunch of domestique wannabes lining up at Disco's doorstep looking for a job.

Jon Hobbs
Sunday, March 26, 2006

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Discovery’s American riders #4

I have strong mixed feelings about this topic. On one hand, America prides itself on being a melting pot, and on the other hand we (some Americans) feel strongly about our American pride, and rooting for our home team.

I actually think the US lacks in national pride, and I like to see some people taking note. Is it really that threatening to want an American team to have more national then international talent? Most of the other teams do, in Europe and around the world!

There is a lot of talent from the US, but it seems that the European teams (Phonak, CSC, Gerolsteiner, etc), are the only ones that realise it. I think it’s very reasonable to have around half of the riders on an American team, to be American. The whole argument about other American sports, like baseball being so international is not a good analogy. If someone wants to play baseball at the highest level, the US is the only place to go. Kind of like Europe being the cycling capital of the world. And the point about all the Australian riders on European teams, is also equally as faulty. Does Australia have a Pro Tour Team? No, but I bet if they did that most of the riders would be Australians. And what's wrong with that? Name another Pro Tour Team that has the same ratio of nationals to internationals as does Discovery. Don't get me wrong, I believe in, and love our global community (I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Europe, and Africa) but I think having some national pride is healthy for us as Americans, and every other country in the world! In my opinion, international sports (not like American football) are for instilling national unity, international competition, and global friendships.

Jason Kilmer
Thursday, March 30, 2006

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Photo of the year

I know it's only March, but that shot of Tom Boonen, the reigning world champion and the leader of Quick step, cheering the win of a teammate even though it cost him third place in Milan-San Remo is simply fabulous. It’s everything that sportsmanship can be.

John Spevacek

White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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Commonwealth Games time trial

Ratna Rueban's letter about Commonwealth games time trial equipment had me looking more closely at the photographs when I noticed something peculiar.

Peter Latham of New Zealand started the race using a BT track bike with fixed wheel, not so unusual I hear you say. The thing is, he is running just one brake on the front, while UCI rules clearly state that a bike used in road events must have two brakes, one on each wheel, and no, having a fixed wheel does not count as a brake.

The commissaires should never have allowed him to start on that bike.

This is my interpretation of the rules, however I am open to being corrected, as I too like to use a fixed wheel bike in flat time trials and my new track bike has no facility for a rear brake.

Gary Jackson

Bairnsdale, Australia
Saturday, March 25, 2006

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Edwig van Hooydonk

Can anyone tell me what ever became of the Great Belgian classic winner Edwig van Hooydonk. I have just been watching some old tapes of the 1991 Tour of Flanders which he won from a solo break as he did also in 1989. He also took 3rd in the Hell of The North in 1990. After 1991 I never heard of him again. A great rider one day, and then…

Tony McDonald

Sydney Australia
Friday, March 24, 2006

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2006

  • February 24: Tyler Hamilton, Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras, Sanctions for doping, Drug testing, Doping, Culture of denial, Tour 2006, Ullrich and the 2006 tour, T-Mobile, Ullrich and Godefroot, Davitamon-Lotto outfits, Pantani
  • February 17: Tyler Hamilton, Hamilton's decision, Culture of denial, Drug testing, Pantani, Support for Mark French, Heras' positive doping results, EPO, Bergman, Sanctions for doping, Ben Kersten, Hour record, Davitamon circus clowns, Team CSC at Solvang, Ullrich and the 2006 Tour, Confused about doping
  • February 10: Ullrich and the 2006 Tour, Too early to call the Tour, AIS crash verdict, Punishment for the death of Amy Gillett, Women's cycling, Support for Mark French, Michael Rassmussen, More Kilo and 500m TT argument, Liberty Seguros at Tour Down Under, Hour record, Sanctions for doping
  • February 3: International teams, Liberty Seguros at Tour Down Under, Anti-doping tactics, Ullrich and the 2006 Tour, Too early to call the Tour, Tour of California, Phonak training camp feature, Aussie national champs, More Kilo and 500m TT argument, McQuaid and the UCI, Australian championships, Support for Mark French, Sanctions for doping, Women's cycling, Team strip
  • January 24: Future of Spanish cycling, Australian championships, Aussie national champs - a deserved winner, Aussie nationals, World champion kit, Ullrich and the 2006 Tour, With Lance gone, Some observations on Oz, PCA suing Dick Pound, International teams
  • January 17: EGO Mania, Basso: seeing double, Aussie nationals, Australian championships, Russell Mockridge, PCA suing Dick Pound, USA cycling, World champion kit, The future, Some observations on Oz
  • January 6: The Tour hypocrisy, Pat McQuaid, McQuaid, Bart Wellens, Urine testing, Dope so you can
  • January 3: That damn Lance, Bart Wellens, Cyclists in South Australia, EGO Mania, King Pound, Urine testing for rEPO, The Tour hypocrisy, Dope so you can, Give McQuaid a chance, Elimination Tour de France