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Letters to Cyclingnews - April 7, 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 letters@cyclingnews.com.

Recent letters

Hang in there, Saul
De Ronde parcours
Edwig van Hooydonk
Discoveryís American riders
Tom Boonen
April fools
Hair care product line
Brave new world
Commonwealth Games time trial
Photo of the year

 

Hang in there, Saul

I was distressed to read about Saul Raisin's crash and his drug-induced coma. I remember racing in Union City, Georgia several years ago. It was a split day: a morning time trial and an evening criterium. After the criterium (which was held in a shopping mall parking lot) there was this kid riding around and around the 1 mile shopping mall access road. He was there after all the races were over, and he was still doing laps around the mall after the race-sponsored pasta dinner (we are talking four or so hours of riding in circles, folks). I remember walking out of the mall after dinner as the sun was dipping in the sky, and I saw the SAME KID - still cranking around. I thought, "Who is this kid? That is some dedication."

It turns out that was a young Saul Raisin who needed to get in some extra training miles, and the mall road was the only place to do it in an urban, traffic-clogged setting. He didnít use the unfriendly cycling terrain as an excuse to dodge training. There was work to be done, so he did it. I saw him the next morning in the race hotel and overheard some other guys asking him why he rode so long around the mall. A simple "I needed to get in the miles" was his reply. What a professional.

Steve Prefontaine said that "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Saul's dedication that day demonstrates that he too must live by that motto. I often think of him that day when I struggle in my own training, and his example still gives me an extra boost of motivation.

Hang in there, Saul.

John Hart

Knoxville, TN
Thursday, April 6, 2006

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De Ronde parcours

Jeff Jonesí description of this Sunday's Ronde Van Vlaanderen is a masterpiece of suspense. One can almost feel the bumps of the cobblestones along the race course.

Cycling in the USA is just as exciting as European racing. But the pubic is generally ignorant about the excitement of the sport. American fans need better reporting about racing competition. We need more Cyclingnews.com.

Mo Joyce

Sarasota, FL, USA
Friday, March 31, 2006

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Edwig van Hooydonk

Hi!

From what Iíve heard, Edwig van Hooydonk can serve as a great example why doping should be fought even more. He was a very strong and successful rider with his best years yet to come, especially for a classics rider.

Since the early Ď90s marked the beginning of the EPO decade you could suddenly see other names in the big races, and consequently some others dropped out. Unfortunately Edwig van Hooydonk (two-time winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen - 1989,91) was one of them. Eddy Bouwmans (best young rider in the Tour, 1992) and Gilles Delion (winner of the Tour of Lombardy, 1990) belong in the same category.

Martin Thinius
Saturday, April 01, 2006

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Edwig van Hooydonk #2

My mates and I saw Edwig on top of Alpe d'Huez back in July 2003. He was there with his family in a pizzeria we were eating at, and he was smoking a fair bit. He popularised the 3/4 length tights for the spring weather - a lot of people still call them 'Van Hooydonks'. I'm sure other readers can tell you more, though!

Les Kennedy

Birkenhead North End CC, UK
Sunday, April 2, 2006

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Edwig van Hooydonk #3

Dear Tony,

Edwig Van Hooydonk was a professional cyclist until 1996. After his victory in 1991 in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) he didn't reach his former shape anymore. He did win the Brabantse Pijl twice (1993 & 1995), a stage in the Vuelta (1992) and a stage in the Tour of Romandie (1993). In 1996 he quit pro cycling because he didn't want to risk his health. At that time EPO was introduced in the peloton. Some say that's the reason why he didn't reach his former shape anymore.

Stefan Van Cauwenbergh

Diest, Belgium
Sunday, April 2, 2006

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Discoveryís American riders

Why doesn't Discovery have more American riders? Could it be that talented Americans ready and able to do well in Pro Tour events might want to ride on a team promising a bit more freedom?

Things could be different now with the retirement of Lance Armstrong, but since Lance became the focus of the USPS/Discovery team, anyone hired on was there to work for Lance to win LeTour.

Any other ambitions these riders might have dreamed of seemed to be tolerated at best, and then only if they in no way jeopardized the riderís value to the team come July in France.

Why else would so many of the talented American riders have departed USPS for other teams over the years? These guys put up with the "all for Lance" programme just long enough to get established in the pro peloton, then they left to explore opportunities for team leadership and race wins elsewhere.

I believe the folks who run this team (including Lance) have the same two objectives as any other

1. Sporting success - race wins and high placings
2. Commercial success - providing a good return on investment for their sponsors.

They'll hire the riders who they believe will best help them achieve their goals, no matter what it says on their passport. Should they also be spending some of their money on a lower level development team similar to what Mapei has done for many years? Should they try to hire Americans for this? Of course they should! But THAT is another matter entirely.

Larry Theobald

Sioux City, IA, USA
Friday, March 31, 2006

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Discovery's American riders #2

I am pretty sure that I had read an article indicating that Discovery Channel WANTED international riders as part of its marketing strategy. I presume this means that Discovery Channel has broadcasts in Europe, if true. If it is true, there is nothing more American than a savvy marketing strategy.

Rick Bose
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

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Tom Boonen

A question for readers who follow the sport more closely than me - where would Tom Boonen be as a cyclist today if he had stayed with US Postal/Discovery? Would he be a world champion superstar, a frustrated domestique, or somewhere in between?

Geoff Frost - an interested Aussie
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

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April fools

Dear Cyclingnews,

Every year I seem to read your April foolís news first thing; I don't realise it's April foolís (well I figured it out this year, once I hit the coriolis article), get excited about the news, go tell someone about it, subsequently realise what day it is and feel like some naive Bambi again. Good job - I love the cast iron wheels.

Chad Yurich
Saturday, April 1, 2006

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Hair care product line

You did forget one interesting follow on to the Cipo/Hondo hair care line story that I read in the European press. It seems that Stefano Garzelli and Yank Chris Horner are both spokespersons for the Cipo/Hondo line.

Steve OíDell

PS: I'm also follicly-challenged, by the way. but like my bald grandpappy always said, you only have so many male hormones, and if you want to waste yours growing hair on the top of your head, that's your business.)

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Brave new world

First of all, thank you Cyclingnews for your continuous coverage. Forget all the doping pre-season garbage talk, I look forward to this yearís Giro and Tour - a new era without Lance indeed, and by the way, did anybody noticed last yearís final time trial and the exactly same one eight years ago won by a young German star? Compare this result and this one. Incredible, to say the least.

Pedro Murteira

Berkeley, CA
Saturday, April 1, 2006

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Commonwealth Games time trial

In response to Gary's letter regarding the track bike Peter Latham used for the Commonwealth Games time trial, it appears that he did not start on the track bike but was required to swap the bike due to mechanical problems. This link shows the bike Peter started on and swapped for the track bike.

I canít imagine teams bringing two time trial bikes for each participant for the event. The commissaires obviously didnít check the spare bike and given the nature of the wind and course it was certainly to his disadvantage to have a fixed gear and I believe this was highlighted by his time.

It would have been against the spirit of the games to disqualify him for a mechnical. If he had of beaten an Aussie then perhaps we could have had Jana Pittman lodge a complaint.

Steve Brooks

Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Monday, April 3, 2006

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Photo of the year

I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with John Spevacek - Tom Boonenís reaction to Pozatto shows not just his sportsmanship but the sheer delight that a teammate has won a major race.

Maybe this, Lance's reaction to Big George winning in the Tour last year and one or two other events like this show that our top cyclists really are human after all.

Donald Young

Stonehaven, Scotland
Friday, March 31, 2006

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Photo of the year #2

Hello,

Hereís my comment about your letter: Zabel and Petacchi have done the same earlier this year (Tirreno-Adriatico) and we have seen this more and more often in the last three years or so. I think itís just an effect of the growing professionalism Ė an attempt to show as much as possible sponsor names to the press photographers behind the finish line.

Mario Quante
Friday, March 31, 2006

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2006

  • March 31: Discoveryís American riders, Photo of the year, Commonwealth Games time trial, Edwig van Hooydonk
  • March 24: Discoveryís American riders, Samantha Hellyer, Commonwealth Games time trial, UCI needs to grow up, Licensed riders in non-sanctioned events, Strong for the Tour, Electronic shifting
  • March 17: Guess who I am, Floyd Landis, The next Lance, The race I'm watching, EPO test and credibility, Blood doping detection and altitude training, Electronic shifting, Electronic Dura Ace, Discoveryís American riders, Petacchi - Shiva
  • March 13: The race I'm watching, Tour of California, Floyd Landis, Rory Sutherland and clomiphene, Rory Sutherland, Tyler Hamilton, Effect of doping on young cyclists, EPO test and credibility, Winter Olympics and Cyclocross, Cyclocross in the winter Olympics, Electronic Dura Ace, Big Jan Ullrich
  • March 3: Tour of California, Sanctions for doping, UCI/WADA, Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras, Tyler Hamilton, Hamilton and testing, Blood doping detection and altitude training, Serrano, Drug testing, Tour of California, Laurie Schmidtke, Our wonderful sport!, Leave Jan alone, T-Mobile and Ullrich, Tour 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