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Letters to Cyclingnews - April 15, 2005

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' award. 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

Glenn Wilkinson
USADA and Hamilton
Bergman; so sad
ProTour leader's jersey
That's a Jersey?
Too many chiefs?
Track World Championships
What do you think?


Letter of the week

Glenn Wilkinson

I was shocked to hear of the passing of the supremely talented Glenn Wilkinson. I only had the pleasure of meeting Glenn and editing his consistently excellent images during this years Tour Down Under.

It's inconceivable that in the prime of his life he could suddenly pass away. Though like many cammos he may have secretly envisaged a slightly more exciting ending; Betacam in hand, careering down a French mountain pass…

Cycling and television will miss him and his work immensely.

Joe Ward

Brookvale, NSW, Australia
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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USADA and Hamilton

Listening to sports radio about steroids in baseball, you would think these people are completely unaware that other sports are light years ahead of baseball in controlling doping. USADA looks like a miracle worker compared to MLB. On the other hand, what is going on in the Hamilton case? I like him as a rider and a person, but if there's a preponderance of evidence against him then out with it!

The USADA owes Hamilton and us an explanation of their delay in rendering a judgment. This is not December or even March. The cycling season is in full swing and if they deem him innocent, then they are treading into the territory of damaging his reputation and ability to earn a living with each day that goes by. There's a reason why they have to hand down a judgment 10 days following the conclusion of hearings - to prevent this kind of abuse. But...they haven't closed the hearing yet!

If they are waiting for some scientific report to add to the body of information on the case, then they need to produce a short news release explaining that and when it is expected. Am I right in thinking that all of us who buy USCF racing licenses are supporting the USADA? If so, then we are stakeholders in the system and USADA is accountable to the racing public. Doping control has to be a transparent process or it should not have our support. Right now it appears to be run like the Spanish Inquisition.

Greg Root

Worcester, MA
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

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Bergman; so sad

"...Additionally, Bergman forfeits all competitive results and winnings since April 6, 2004, the date of the test..."

And what of the competitive results and winnings prior to April 6, 2004? Are we to assume that he was innocent until busted, er, proven guilty?

Does forfeiting results mean repaying those individuals he's bumped down the results page since he began dabbling with dope? If so, I've got a nice photo of Bergman, myself, and three other individuals on the podium at Elite Nationals, 2003. Please tell Mr Bergman that I'm anxious to see how he crops out his face and edits my head onto the next tier up. That was his last race as an amateur, if I am not mistaken. Doping pays, apparently, since not even Voight (the overall Elite National Champion) scored a comparable professional contract.

Hopefully this points out the disrepute and shame that doping caries. Like the recently convicted Lion of Belgium, we now attribute every result Bergman ever popped off to a well-calculated popping of pills and syringes. It doesn't pay in the long run, however.

Calvin Allan
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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ProTour leader's jersey

Though I appear to be one of the few cycling fans who support the new ProTour setup, it hasn't escaped my notice that the white leader's jersey has become somewhat of a farce. After seven rounds of the new competition we've only seen the jersey once, and even then Freire (understandably) voiced discontent at it taking precedence over his world champ's jersey. Petacchi took the jersey in San Remo and then declined to compete in any of the next four races until Boonen seized it in Roubaix; and, guess what - he's now taking a break!

They say the rainbow jersey is cursed, well perhaps the curse of the white jersey is it makes you not want to ride if you have to wear it! So perhaps Tom will keep the lead all the way until that race in July, when, after overall victory and 20 stage wins Lance amasses 160 ProTour points, hangs up his bike and you'll not get to see that white jersey for the rest of the year!

Chris Williams,

Thursday, April 14, 2005

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That's a Jersey?

What happened to the days when racing teams would engage the services of a commercial design firm to come up with a spiffy jersey design?

The spectacular jersey designs of La Vie Claire, Ariostea, Mapei or even Aqua Sapone have given way to a peloton full of boring blue jerseys that make discerning one team from another nearly impossible.

Do you suppose that this is the uncouth work of the UCI? Maybe that's
why they fined Andrea Tafi in Paris-Roubaix. I can see it now, the
report states "had the nerve to be plainly identifiable as
Saunier-Duval. If we allow this where will it all end?" I guess that was fair warning to Davitamon-Lotto.

Tom Kunich

San Leandro, CA, USA
Monday, April 11, 2005

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Too many chiefs?

Having recently looked at T-Mobile's possible lineup for the Tour I asked myself; are there too many chiefs and not enough Indians? With the team most likely to be built around getting Jan up, one has to ponder what the ambitions of the other team members are. For the past two tours we have seen two champions rise to the top in Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Kloeden.

Both of these guys have shown that they are genuine contenders to Armstrong. Knowing that they are both genuinely able to keep up with Lance poses the question: Will there be a mutiny at T-Mobile this July where two genuine talents attack their own team leader in an attempt to fulfill there own ambitions? For Ullrich to win this year teamwork is a must, as it is extremely difficult to knock off the Discovery train all by yourself!

Phil Byrne

Essendon, Victoria, Australia
Thursday, April 14, 2005

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Track World Championships

Good things will be happening in the next few years for the USA track team. Contrary to what has been reported, the Keirin did not go an extra lap - the motor pulled off with 3.5 laps to go instead of 2.5 laps to go, I have seen the tape. The USA doesn't lack four great team pursuit riders; they are pros racing in Europe, like most of the other world class team pursuit teams - ours just won't race a team pursuit without some huge amount of money.

All of the powerhouse teams in track cycling are corporately funded, and I am sure there are plans in the works for USAC to find another EDS. USA Track cycling is in a transition now. With Pat McDonough taking over as the head of Track cycling and the hiring of Gary West as the Elite track coach things should pickup over the next few years.

Dave Hansen

Torrance, CA
Saturday, April 9, 2005

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What do you think?

Lance's two year contract states he must ride TDF one time for team Discovery Channel. This was because of indecisions at the time of signing. At first he thought he might skip TDF this year and do some of the classics and the Giro, and then go back to the Tour de France in '06. But with all the legal problems, accusations, comittments, and still finding time for quality training, and of course the children, it is the right time for Superman to retire.

That's why the schedule was altered; now there can be a Tour de Georgia farewell to US fans and a TDF farewell where with this announcement will draw a record crowd and viewing audience; maybe it will garner a bit more respect while riding and perhaps winning his seventh straight, and farewell tour.

Thom Heffner

Friday, April 8, 2005

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Recent letters pages

Letters 2005

  • April 8: The New Dynamic Duo, Boonen's Hairdo, Viral infections and antibiotics, George Hincapie, What do you think?, Track World Championships, VDB?, A little bit more about blood doping, Blood testing issues
  • April 1: Well done Ale-jet, Eyes of tigers..., Viral infections and antibiotics, Let's talk about cycling…, What's worth talking about in cycling?, First Ride of the season, The New Dynamic Duo, Blood testing issues, Sydney Thousand, UCI Pro Tour Grand Theft, not Grand Tour
  • March 18: The Forgotten Hero!, Way to go Bobby, Bobby J, Lance has lost the ‘Eye of the tiger’, Blood testing issues and Hamilton, With all Due Respect, All this Lance Talk..., Is Lance getting soft?
  • March 11: Blood testing issues and Hamilton, Cycling on TV, In Defence of UCI president Hein Verbruggen, Defending the Pro Tour?, Is Lance getting soft?, Lance has lost the "eye of the tiger"
  • March 4: In Defence of the Pro-Tour, Grand Tours back down...for now, Armstrong and Simeoni,Help - what’s on the TV?, Cycling on TV, Lance Defends His Title!, Hamilton movie role downplayed, Blood testing issues and Hamilton, I really don't know when it happened
  • February 25: Lance Defends His Title!, Build it and tear it down?, Build, dismantle and donate!, Lance's Hour Record attempt, I really don't know when it happened, Can't get enough!, Dream on
  • February 18: Build it and tear it down?, Remember Marco, One Reason I Love Cycling, The ongoing Hour Record Saga, Lance’s Hour Record attempt, Can't get enough!
  • February 11: One Reason I Love Cycling, Francisco Cuevas, F-One - Come down to earth Lance!, Armstrong and the Hour, Can't get enough!, Greatest of all time
  • February 4: F-One - Come down to earth Lance!, Armstrong and the Hour, Armstrong and Simeoni, Can't get enough!, Help, Greatest of all time Eddy is King, but who is second best?
  • January 28: "I am the greatest of all time", Armstrong and the Hour Record, F-One - Come down to earth Lance!, Lance Drug Probe, Armstrong and Simeoni, Can’t get enough!, Help, NBC's 2004 RAAM Coverage, Doping, Crash distance from 1km to 3km, Eddy is King, but who is second best?
  • January 21: Professional Cyclists, Der Kaiser's Goals, Jan Ullrich's problem = Lance, Rider of the Year, Crash distance from 1km to 3km, Help, Lance vs. Eddy
  • January 14: Der Kaiser's goals, Help, Foreign stage races, Lance vs. Eddy, Tour '05, Rider of the Year, Best bikes for heavy riders, Quick Step helmets
  • January 7: Death of Dmitri Neliubin, Der Kaiser’s goals, Rider of the Year, Best bikes for heavy riders, Who's Greater? Come on now!, Virenque "most charismatic"?, Downhilling, Downhill time trial, Trendy cyclists, No flat tyres, Spring classics trip advice, Bettini's trainer
  • January 3: Spring classics trip advice, Big Bear ends downhilling, Armstrong and Simeoni, Holding teams accountable, Downhill time trial, Trendy cyclists, Bettini's trainer, No flat tyres

Letters 2004

  • December 24 letters - Why are cyclists so trendy?, Business and cycling, Big Bear ends downhilling, Off-bike weight gain, No flat tires, Armstrong and Simeoni
  • December 17 letters - Business and cycling, Tom versus Axel , Big Bear ends downhilling, Shane Perkins, Spring classics trip advice, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Mark Webber interview, Armstrong and Simeoni, Injured and missing it: an update, Clyde Sefton
  • December 10 letters - Why are cyclists so trendy?, Big Bear ends downhilling, Floyd's choices?, Merckx, fit and trim, Pound must go, Spring classics trip advice, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Punishment: Vandenbroucke vs Hamilton, Prosthetic hip, Armstrong and Simeoni, Dave Fuentes, Homeopathy, Jeremy Yates, TDF coverage for Australia, Weight limits and maintenance, Mark Webber interview
  • December 3 letters - Domestiques vs Lieutenants, Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI, Dave Fuentes, Santa vs Hairy Guy, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Mark French and homeopathy, Shane Perkins, Jeremy Yates, Weight limits and maintenance, UCI regulations, Armstrong and Simeoni, Prosthetic hip
  • November 26 letters - Mark French and homeopathy, Two big guns in one team, Tyler Hamilton case, Bartoli's retirement, Dave Fuentes, Shane Perkins, Merckx and Armstrong, Training like Lance, Lance Armstrong, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Phonak gets what it deserves, Armstrong and Simeoni, Bike weight, Spouseless riders, Mary McConneloug, Adam Craig, Mark Webber interview, Santa vs Hairy Guy
  • November 19 letters - Tyler Hamilton case, Phonak gets what it deserves, Are you there Mr Coates?, Bike Weight, Merckx and Maertens make up, Heart troubles, Where to find cycling spouses, Mark Webber interview, Lance Armstrong, Where's Greg?, What ever happened to..., Why are cyclists so trendy?, Armstrong and Simeoni, l'Etape du Tour registration, Still Laughing
  • November 12 letters - Why Armstrong will ride the 2005 Tour, Scott Sunderland, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Armstrong and Simeoni, Where to find cycling spouses, Lance on Italian selection, Heart troubles, l'Etape du Tour registration, Tour 2005 team time trial, What ever happened to..., Love and a yellow bike
  • November 5 letters - Love and a yellow bike, Tour 2005, Where to find cycling spouses, Why are cyclists so trendy?, Lance on Italian selection, Armstrong and Simeoni, Tour of Southland, Construction technique for veloway, Heart troubles, l'Etape du Tour registration, Rahsaan Bahati
  • Letters Index – The complete index to every letters page on