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Friday’s mail bag: Gen’ and Maynard, Cipo’ and Robbie, and our new look

Memo to: Maynard HershonFrom: Geneviève JeansonSubject: “The New Cannibal” Hi, Maynard! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re about as shy as I am. Otherwise you’d have come up to me and at least said hello at some point. It would have been great to chew the fat and clear a few things up. As things stand now we’ve never even exchanged the time of day, which is kind of a shame, I think. I mean, it must make it real tough for you to write a whole page about me without ever having said boo, even once. In light of what you wrote about me (see "The New Cannibal," by Maynard Hershon, in

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Memo to: Maynard Hershon
From: Geneviève Jeanson
Subject: “The New Cannibal”

Hi, Maynard!

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re about as shy as I am. Otherwise you’d have come up to me and at least said hello at some point. It would have been great to chew the fat and clear a few things up. As things stand now we’ve never even exchanged the time of day, which is kind of a shame, I think. I mean, it must make it real tough for you to write a whole page about me without ever having said boo, even once.

In light of what you wrote about me (see “The New Cannibal,” by Maynard Hershon, in the May 19 edition of VeloNews), I thought that pointing out a few facts would be appropriate.

Fact 1: I do talk. I’ll never be the small-talk champion of the free world, I know, but I do talk to real people. Like my teammates, for example. I talk to them all the time and really value the relationship I have with them. I also talk to other girls in the peloton, and I talk to people who cover the races on site. I also make a few calls to the media back home after every race. And I just love talking to fans. I mean, to fans who actually talk to me, especially kids. Thing is, they have to talk to me first. Just the way I was brought up, I guess. Fact is, the real reason I go to the races is to race. That takes up a big part of my focus, I’m sorry to say. I actually thought that ability to focus was why I was winning races. But, heh … I could be wrong there.

Fact 2: My overall lead at Redlands was less than that of the three Saturn guys in the men’s race. Do you ever wonder about the “voices” they hear? Is cannibalism OK for guys and not OK for us girls? Am I missing something?

Fact 3: I’m 21 and will be the first to admit I still have a lot to learn. Like “banging elbows” with other riders in a sprint. That’s why I sometimes – just sometimes, mind you – really pour it on during sprints. Not to add a few seconds to my lead, but because I really do have to improve my skills. You didn’t think I learned to climb by watching the hills go by, did you? And you can ask my teammates what they think about my winning sprints. The RONA/Esker Team is just like any other. We all share in the prize money.

Fact 4: I’m not “done for the season” in June. Two years ago, I did suffer an injury during the Grand Prix Féminin International in late August, just a couple of weeks after winning at ‘Toona. And last year injury struck again in late June, actually on the seventh stage of the HP Women’s Classic. I chose to finish stages 7, 8 and 9 for my teammates who had worked for me since the beginning, even though I knew continuing could compromise my participation to the Commonwealth Games … and it did. But it seems you missed a few of the races I did compete in and complete in August and September – including the Canadian Championships, the Mount Washington Hill Climb (not recommended for injured cyclists) and the Green Mountain Stage Race. Fact 5: Fact 5 is that you don’t have any real facts about my injuries or what might have caused them. But still you write your own “overuse” diagnosis. I know, I know, rumor has it that I train more than Lance, Cipo’ and the whole pro-men peloton combined. Others say that I should enter more races. Go figure. Anyway, what facts do you really know about my “overuse?” Do you know how many kilometers I ride every year? Do you know how many hours I spend in the gym each week? Do you know if I go to the gym at all? Do you know how many rest days I have in a month, in a year? Did you ever even talk to anybody who does know? I’m heading back East now so we’re not likely to see each other – or even have our first conversation – until next year. I do hope you will come and talk to me in 2004. And in the meantime, don’t believe everything you hear!

Sincerely,

Gen

McEwen didn’t trip Cipo’ up
Editor:
While I agree McEwen is equally at fault as Cipo’ in using a grand tour as a training race and just to pick up the easy wins while they’re there, Frank Fortunato’s claim that McEwen somehow contributed to Cipollini’s crash is deeply flawed. In the footage of the stage, it was quite clear McEwen had the perfect line around the corner, Cipo’ was on his wheel (though he left a little margin of safety, probably more than in the dry), and it was Galvez who tried to cut Cipo’ up on the inside that caused the crash. If his pushing the pace was so suicidal, why didn’t he also go down? Perhaps we should have speed limits on corners in bike races in order to curb such “reckless abandon.”

Sam Alison

Cipo’ should have hit the binders
Editor:
Everyone knows that McEwen has been “himself” during this race with or without having the Tour in mind, but blaming him for Cipollini’s fall is not right. Cipo’ simply could have slowed down and he would not have gone down.

Jaime F Lopez
New York, NY

How’s Marco like his skid lid now?
Editor:
One wonders what Pantani’s helmet looked like after his spill today.

Stephen Hill
Atlanta, GA

Regarding the web-site redesign:
Compatibility problems with old MacNetscape

Editor:
You probably already know this, but your new website design is having some compatibility issues with Netscape 4.77 for Macintosh. The homepage seems to work fine but when you click on a link the page opens without any story text – just the headline appears. Also, clicking on links in the homepage has been generating a lot of Type 2 errors that cause Netscape to crash.

On the whole, it looks good, though.

Perry Brown
Salt Lake City, UT
Perry, our IT whiz-kids tell us that if we were to design the site to accommodate your elderly browser – even staff curmudgeon Patrick O’Grady is more up to date with Netscape 4.79 – it would load about as quickly as our favorite drunken Mick thinks. Sorry, but we recommend that you upgrade or switch to Internet Explorer. – Editor

Old design was easier to use
Editor:
I appreciate that the new design is more orderly – however, what I really liked about the previous design was that new content simply appeared in the order that it was ready.

Speaking as a print subscriber, I thought the old way fit perfectly with how I liked to use the site – I would check in for a few minutes to see the latest news and columns. With everything in chronological order, this was a simple-enough process, since I could just look above whatever I had read last (or start at the top and work down). The new design is structured more like the publication, but that does not get my vote. Now I have to check through each section for the latest datelines.

Jeff Muscatine

No, the new site offers easier navigation
Editor:
I like the new design. It seems to have easier navigation options.

Walter Averett
New Orleans, LA

Maybe so, but it’s unreadable
Editor:
The new web design, although ultra cool and slick, is unreadable. Please give me some more choices or I will have to get cycling news from thatotherwebsitesucks bigfatrocks-dot-com.

Brad Fierke

No, it’s not, it’s beautiful
Editor:
Just wanted to drop a quick line and tell you folks that I really like the new website format. It’s aesthetically pleasing, the quality of graphics and thoughtfulness of the layout speak to the high standard we’ve come to expect from the VeloNews print publication, and it’s easy to navigate and find my favorite columns. Good work.

Scott Wiebe
Winnipeg, Canada

The old one was a classic
Editor:
I like the old one better. The new one looks like it could be any of the other cycle web pages design. The old one had a nice classic look to it, like a newspaper.

Also, the new one doesn’t quite fit properly on my screen without me having to center it. I can’t stand having to do that for web pages. I think the new one is different just for the sake of being something new and fresh; not because it is actually better in any way.

I guess I’ll just have to adapt to the new one … bummer, man.

Matthew Spence

This guy’s already adapted
Editor:
More compact, easier to quickly scan story titles; I like it!

Steve Braddock

And this guy hasn’t – but he still likes the content
Editor:
Oh, man, is that an ugly website. Uh, I guess you could say I don’t particularly like the redesign. Just way too much going on with colors and links. Maybe I am just stupid but I had a hell of a time figuring out how to get to the second page of the front-page articles (kinda liked the little “more” thingy to click on). Still love the content. Given what I am paying for velonews.com, I guess I shouldn’t complain, but hey, you asked. Thanks for providing the live coverage of the Euro races. Fred Merry

C’mon, Chris, don’t sugarcoat it

Editor:
Absolutely horrible, very cluttered. Change is not always good.

Chris Barth
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Who cares what it looks like? Make it fast
Editor:
I appreciate your new web look although it makes my dial-up connection go even slower in connecting to your page. I must confess that I really don’t care all that much what your web page looks like as long as it loads fast. I’m one of these people who thinks that all the current bells and whistles are secondary to the content. Your content is why I subscribe to the print mag and haunt your site on a daily basis, seeking every last word of your excellent Giro coverage. You folks do a great job and I appreciate your coverage.

Gil Gilmore

Who cares if it’s fast? Hide the winners
Editor:
Is there anyway you could mask who wins the day’s stage in the Giro, Tour, and Vuelta? All us bike nuts want it to fold out on the TV (OLN) and I read your stories that night for added insight into the stage. When I find out who wins the day doesn’t make it fun to watch. Please help.

Darren Biggs
Arlington, VA
Sorry, Darren, but not everybody has OLN. And since news is supposed to be timely, especially on the Internet, we have to keep telling the unplugged what’s going on if we’re gonna stay in business. Maybe you could browse us after the show? – Editor

Regarding O’Grady: Unpaid, right?
Editor:
Patrick O’Grady gets paid for this stuff? (See “Dog breath: Making ‘em up”)

Dan Shiels
Southport, NC
Were he real, we would of course pay him. But the column is “penned” by a random word generator we like to call the “Millionth Monkey.” Based on the theory that if you gave enough typewriters to enough monkeys one of them would eventually produce something worthy of Shakespeare … well, now through the magic of computers, we have proven the theory wrong, because all we ever get these virtual monkeys to produce is the dribble we drop into O’Grady’s column. Instead of paying “him” we donate the funds to a rest home for exhausted masters racers. Thank you so much for asking, though. – Editor

The scriptwriters are botching this one
Editor:
Dog breath, your point is well taken. I always knew the whole deal was a cover-up. Watching the Giro today proves your take. The writers have really screwed up with this year’s Giro coverage. Phil keeps saying “miles to go” instead of “kilometers to go” – what’s up with this “Americanizing” of a sport always controlled by the metric system?

I think Bobke has finally taken over OLN … or as he said today, “It’s a whole different bowl of chili now.” Where in the hell did that one come from?

Whatever happened to Andy Hampsten? I think he looks a lot like Brett Favre. I always knew that Kevin Costner was really a baseball player in Iowa. That whole “American Flyers” thing was a baaaaaddd dream.

Thanks for the good laugh.

T.J. O’Brien

But the cartoons are a nice touch
Editor:
You failed to mention the unsuccessful attempt at replacing “real” bike racers with talented cartoon characters, most notably evidenced by your scripting of the infamous Bob Roll personality in some of the Tour “dee” France episodes of the 1980’s.

While “Bob Roll” was wildly popular with the youth and yahoos of the era, the censorship movement obviously had no tolerance for nudity in the peloton. It’s amusing to see, however, that his nostalgic character has been written into the recent installments of the “Entertainment Tonight” of the cycling world, OLN.

Nate Johnson
Boulder, CO

Ah, but did he like the column?
Editor:
Liked the premise. We need more humor in our daily bread.

Raymond Martin