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Letters to Cyclingnews - March 31, 2006
Any "racer" as Mr. Abrams claims to be will:
1) Have a greater appreciation for talent beyond US soil,
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!
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.
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.
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.
White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
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.
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…
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