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Letters to Cyclingnews - July 14, 2006, part 1
I read Dr. Lim's article about Floyd's recent time trial. I was a bit amused by the article's title "UCI aero rule cost Landis time". As a big fan of personal accountability, I'd like to point out a few details. Looking at pictures of Floyd's time trial position on his bike over the last year or so, his handlebars have slowly risen to where they were positioned when he started Stage 7 of this year's Tour. The UCI regulations restricting the hand support position to no higher than the saddle has not changed for many years. Regardless if his position was illegal at any event previous to this stage, Floyd and his team have the sole responsibility for his loss of time, not the regulations or their enforcement.
I understand and sympathize with Dr. Lim's comment in the context of a regulation not allowing a specific rider the most comfortable or personally optimum aerodynamic position. The fact that Floyd had changed his position contrary to the regulations and the fact that his mechanics didn't properly fit/install/check the handlebars that broke, means that Floyd lost time based on his and his entire team's actions. After all, the headline for the Prologue was not "Tyre Manufacturer Delay's Landis Prologue Start".
Landis' aero bars #3
Does anyone have the exact rule that applied to Floyd lowering his bars? Did they (UCI) have a team of their lawyers combing thru the rules to find a way to slow down the crafty American? Why did it take them so long... ARGHHH!!!
That should have been Floyds day, even if not getting the green, then at least getting significant time on the real competition.
As a loyal follower to the sport, I am deeply gratified that you have included some of my writing in the letters segment on your website. I live in the Bay Area in California, and would love to be a contributing writer. If there are any holes in your west coast coverage, I would be more than happy to fill them. Once again, thank you for the great coverage. That said, here are my predictions for the last two weeks of Le Tour.
Well well well, here comes the real tour!!! Now that the GC has been slightly shaken up, it is time to see who the real gunners are for the final podium in Paris. One schlug's predictions:
This former mountain biker looks like the real deal heading into the final two weeks of the tour. He limited his losses well in the time trial, and is in a perfect position to assume the lead in the steep mountains. With the staunch support of Chris Horner, Evans should be able to set himself up to have a chance to win in the time trial, the penultimate stage of the tour.
This guy looks better and better as the year goes on. Behind a strong veteran team, Floyd has stayed at the front of the peloton and out of the wind in the first week, and despite some bad luck (flat tires in both time trials) he is still the best placed of the GC contenders on time. Assuming that he can do another excellent time trial in stage 19, he only has to ride defensively in the mountains to secure yellow. A podium spot seems all but a given.
Menchov came in as a relatively unknown rider despite his grand tour win last year in Spain. A decent time trialist and good climber, if Menchov finds one good day in the hills he could assume the lead and limit his losses in the time trial. His team is still intact, so he should be able to count on some great support from pro tour stalwarts Boogard and Dekker. Plus, the defending KOM Rasmussen should be around to cover attacks as well.
Kloden came to the tour to support team mate and good friend Jan Ullrich. Now team leadership is up for grabs. Assuming that T-Mobile dosen't implode like last year, Kloden should have a great chance at the podium. The boys in magenta are perhaps the strongest team in the tour, behind mountain goats like Guerini and Mazzoleni, and roulers like Rogers and Gonchar. If Kloden can put in one or two good attacks when the mountains come, he could have the necessary confidence to hold his own in the final time trial.
For defending champ Discovery, several of thier rider's could come good in the final weeks. Hincapie is still within striking distace, but needs to develop the killer instinct required of a champion. Salvodelli, while downplaying his chances, has hung around and could ride into form by the time the final race against the clock comes around. And Azevedo is always dangerous when the road turns up. Carlos Sastre, the last big man standing for CSC, will need luck but could still do damage in the high mountains. And Levi Leipheimer could win if everyone else gets sick or tests positive for EPO. Those are my thoughts, and I'm sticking to em'.
My Final Podium: Evans, Landis, Menchov
Im Zac Lake a junior rider for the Hincapie Sportswear/Bianchi/Dasani team, and the US Junior National team. I recently went to the national championships in Seven Springs, PA where I was very disappointed. I found out in April, 3 months before the race, that I was too late to register for any event but the road race because the 125 rider field limit had been reached. That was my first disappointment.
Only 125 riders for the national championship, what is that? In Europe you race against 200 people, how do they expect for us to know how to race in a race that big if they only let us race against fields half the size?
Also, it is first come first serve, so unless you registered in the 4 days that it was open, too bad, no chance to win the national championship. Plus this was my last year as a junior, so I had to put all of my luck into the time trial.
Immediately upon driving the course I knew that it was going to be impossible to win. Switchbacks, 1km climbs, 15% climbs, all in a time trial. If you ask me, if you have to put up hay bails for a time trial, you might want to reconsider the course. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems as though USA Cycling is more focused on who can offer more money, and who can do the most for them, not how quality the race is seeing that for the last two years were at 10,000 FEET!
I see Cipo was at stage 10 today. Could have been the first time he got over the mountains in the Tour.
Why I think Floyd Landis will win the Tour de France!
Because Greek Tragedies come in threes. If an American has either won or going for the Yellow Jersey they are doomed to experience a major medical illness. First, Greg Le Mond, then Lance Armstrong and now, Landis (pending total hip surgery). In this Greek Trilogy we are summoned by the before, during and after series of events.
Before: Lance recovers from cancer and wins the Tour.
No other country competing in the Tour has suffered the same coincidence (or is it?). The ancient Greeks would say, "That fate will guide those who will and drag those who won't." Each day we ask the question, are we being guided or dragged to our fate.
Marc De Falco
Can we expect to see the contest for the Mountains Jersey to be interesting this year, or will it just be plain BORING like every other year. Will anyone challenge Rasmussen?? At more than 7 mins down he will be allowed to get away and accumulate points (like last year), but will anyone mark his wheel & challenge him!! Come on guys lets make this category interesting. Personally I would like to see either Simoni, Garzelli or even Cunego challenge for the spots. This is the perfect time for the climbers to show their stuff, particularly those lower down on GC.
Please, PLEASE although I fear it's too late, let's not let this name get too out of control. Every time I hear it I can't help but think of white polyester TT suits, with wide black collared shirt underneath. The more I think of it I then begin to envision platform cleats, perfectly slicked hair so no aero helmets are necessary. I implore you, please... how about DC boys if you just want to keep it short? Nobody ever shortens Davitamon-Lotto or come on, Caisse d' Epargne-Illes Balears?
Anyway, like I said, I may be too late. Today (Stage 6) I could have sworn, I saw Bruyneel driving around with a miniature disco ball hanging from the rear view mirror of the team car.
I hate Lance.
Am I un-American?
Does that make me a bad guy?
Am I turning... French?
He is now retired. Let me repeat this as it seams no-one really knows, LANCE IS RETIRED!
Okay, got it? Good, we can proceed.
So, if he is retired, why is it that on every preview of the stages on Cyclingnews there is an image of Lance? Why is his image all over the place for this tour on Cyclingnews and OLN? Why does OLN (overly Lance network) have segments everyday with Lance in them? Why is there a constant comparison to what Lance did or would do?
I am sick of Lance. There are 180 riders on 20 teams working there skinny little butts off and we get to watch repeats from all of Lances tour wins.
If your going to show history of the tour why not mix it up. Maybe having a segment on Coppi? Anquetil? Zoetemelk? Who? You know, the guy that came in second to Merckx and Hinault 6 times, finally winning once. The Ullrich of the 70's.
Nope, we need to watch Lances handlebar get pulled out from him 50 times by a mussette.
The medias single focus on Lance has forced me into hating the guy. Not because of any other reason than over exposure.
Okay, him being a cocky texan doesn't help, but I can get over that, for a minute.
Stop with the Lance-O-Rama.
Discovery Channel says it is a U.S. based team, but it has few American riders. I count three and one Canadian. The U.S. Postal team that preceded it had about twenty Americans and two Canadians over its time period. It seems as if Discovery picks up Europeans now. I wonder if it really looks for U.S. riders. Is it possible that there are no riders on the U.S. teams that are Pro Tour caliber? It would be nice to have a U.S. team of mostly American riders go to Europe and show that we can ride as well as they do. Then we would really have a team we can cheer for.
Kloden is the only rider left who has ever even finished on the podium in Paris.
With the honorable exception of Armstrong in 1999, has any rider ever won the tour without previously having a podium spot? I know that a few win on their first try (Fignon, Hinault), but in my recollection everyone (who has a Tour in their legs already), gets on the podium first, and then goes on to win it.
I've long thought that aero bars are effective primarily because they improve relaxation rather than aerodynamics.
Many years ago a certain Miguel Indurain bolted on some tri-bars and thrashed the pants off all and sundry. A few years later his sponsors and managers tried to make him more aerodynamic by narrowing his tribars (they also put him aboard a monocoque bike - which should have helped him to go faster). He looked much less comfortable, less relaxed, less powerful and struggled to maintain his superiority (Seraing - 1995). When he reverted to his previous set up (final time trial, Lac de Vassiviere, same tour) he won by a more typical margin. (I watched the video of that event time and time again because Indurain's arms were so relaxed that his biceps & triceps were flapping.)
The 'gurus' at Scott made a great fuss of putting David Millar through a wind tunnel and honing his position for maximum aerodynamics. Oh dear. Does he look relaxed?
Now look at any picture of Millar from his previous incarnation. Like this one. Does he look relaxed?
I cannot be the only fan struck by the image of Floyd Landis on the winner's podium as being, on a purely aesthetic level, well, not quite what we are accustomed to, or indeed might hope for. I mean to say that the man is a superb athlete - a leader on all professional counts - but as the face of cycling he leaves something in arrears.
Would fellow readers care to suggest company for Mr. Landis in the category of Photogenically Challenged Champions? - all in good fun, naturally.
Michael McGrath argues that the solution to cyclist and pedestrian casualties on the road is to segregate them from motorised traffic.
There is ample evidence which proves that segregating cyclists and pedestrians from motorised traffic often increases casualties, in some cases by a factor of twelve. The Wikipedia entry on Segregated cycle facilities http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities is a good treatise on the subject.
Segregated have their place; main arterial roads with few intersections, driveways etc. would certainly benefit; however there is no place for segregated facilities in an urban environment.
What's needed is for all road users to be held accountable in a meaningful manner for the consequences of their actions. The current penalties for causing death or injury are ludicrously lenient; only when there is a price to be paid which cannot be mitigated by personal insurance and other blame shifting mechanisms will we see improvement in attitudes amongst all road users.
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