Friday’s mail bag: Song sung blue and all’s fair

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.April's greatest hitsDear VeloNews,The broken record spins again, and once more the tune is "George Hincapiedoesn't get enough support from Postal" (see "Monday'smail bag" and "Wednesday'smail bag"). It hits the Top-Ten every April. C'mon

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


April’s greatest hits
Dear VeloNews,
The broken record spins again, and once more the tune is “George Hincapiedoesn’t get enough support from Postal” (see “Monday’smail bag” and “Wednesday’smail bag“).

It hits the Top-Ten every April. C’mon guys and girls, look who won:a guy who was out there with no team members around! Hell, Alessio onlystarted the race with six riders. George got dropped fair and squaredespite having made the move into the key selection in the Arenberg andthen wisely holding Museeuw’s wheel for a good while thereafter. Backstedtand Co had the juice on the day and Museeuw and Van Petegem had some badluck with punctures.

This whole “George doesn’t get a fair deal” rap is just a left-handedform of Lance-bashing. USPS pays George very well for his peerless supportriding at the Tour, the classics are a bonus and that’s the way it willstay. He is a grown up and must have long ago reviewed the options anddecided who he would ride for.

He’s content with it, why can’t you ‘fans’ be?
Wally James
Penticton, British Columbia

Good break, bad timing?
VeloNewsers,
In response to Hincapie’s performance at P-R, I thought I’d share someopinions coursing through my synapses making their way towards light. It doesn’t happen often so I’ll make the best of it.  I’ll prefacemy thoughts knowing that my information is sourced from the online livecoverage and OLN’s coverage only, which unfortunately isn’t extended livecoverage anymore.  What’s up with that?  But I digress.

With about 20k to go George joined an attack by Boonen and Flecha andthat attack was again joined by Hoste after he tangled with the flag. Think about that: 20k to go and you have Quick Step’s best sprinter andLotto’s Flanders runner-up.  That’s not too shabby.

Given typical team tactics (simplified for my own understanding) thatseems like the best break for anyone to be in.  The two bigclassics teams wouldn’t have incentive to chase.  Here’s where itgets a little odd and there seems to be some gaps in the coverage, butfrom what I read/saw, it was Museeuw who did the most work to bring backthat break.  That is surprising given the fact that Boonen was there.

Under normal circumstances George was probably in the winning break andheaded for the podium and possibly the win, but with the Lion retiring,odds of a break lasting without him in it were slim. Timing is everything.
Dave Newell
Albuquerque, New Mexico

A metaphor for life
Editors,
I thought Neal’s article was right on (see “Mr.Rogers’ neighborhood: Fair? Not even close“). Life ain’tfair. And bike racing is a metaphor for life. But actually, it’s a metaphoron a speed-ball. The highs are higher, the lows lower. There is ultimatetruth, and there can be ultimate consequences. And that’s why we love it.If only the rest of life was like that.

Mr. Rogers has skills. Mr. Rogers has insight. That is a rare combinationin writers. You guys should give him a raise before Sports Illustratedfinds out.
Jamie Paolinetti
Los Angeles, California

Actually, it isn’t the money that has Neal looking for a gig at SI,it’s the fact that VeloNews management still refuses to do a swimsuit issue. – Editor

It could be worse… a lot worse
Editors,
On the topic of fairness, quite frankly, I think of all the “droopyeyed truckers” who have passed me on the twisty roads of Deer Creek Canyonat 40-plus mph and think that I must be the lucky one. I’m writing thise-mail, aren’t I?

Really friend, next time you think your unlucky, take a minute and thinkof all of the memorial races that we do out here in Colorado.  Itmight make you remember how lucky some of us are.
Josh Stoll
Denver, Colorado

It isn’t always “just bike racin'”
VN,
I was just reading Roger’s monologue about fairness in sport. As faras bicycle racing goes, either at the amateur or the elite level, I wouldhope that the saying “that’s bike racing” eventually is not clichéwhen discussing crashes.

If I came to work (and I work in a manufacturing company) and said inresponse to someone getting injured…”that’s just what happens when yourmanufacture with dangerous substances and machines,” I would likely getthe evil eye from everyone around me. Why does it have to be unsafe?

At an early season race this year there was a first time racer who wentdown (because of someone else) and broke his pelvis. Someone else wentdown with a concussion. These things also occur with more “experienced”riders, including pros. They’re not happening because of inexperience.They are either happening because of bad circumstance or, more likely,because of unnecessary risk. I can just imagine saying to that first timeracer “that just happens in bike racing.”

The guy is out here just to have fun and now he has a broken pelvis.I think until people start thinking about being safe and not taking chancesthat risk the health and welfare of themselves or others it will “justbe what happens in bike racing.” I would just like to see that the attitudebe that we can race safely, rather than “crashes just happen.” Noone wants to be laying on the couch for a month because someone took themout at the weekend race.
John Parker

“Survivor” on two wheels
Editor
With all the latest rumors flying around about who is taking drugsand who is not. It is a wonder that the greatest sport in the world inturning into a poorly scripted “reality series,” with villains, heroesand even village idiots.

Is it any wonder why sponsors are not lining up to sponsor major cyclingteams or events? So we will continue to be torn emotionally as we try toguess who is taking drugs and who is not. We now know that cheating cyclistscan pass drug tests, but unfortunately they forget to hide the evidence.Maybe one day there will be a accurate test that can detect all ofthe latest performance enhancing drugs, and also find those pesky WMD’s(Weaponsof Mass Destruction). Hmmmm.
Steve Duffy
Chandler, Arizona

Is it always that bad there?
Dear Velo News,
An additional note to the “quality” of European Health care. How manyof us remember Johan Museeuw’s crash in the Forest of Arenberg a few yearsago. He split his leg open on the sharp cobbles as well as breaking hisknee cap. So, what did French medical personnel do? They cast the leg overwithout even cleaning the wound!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I do know that open wounds andmud don’t mix. The result was Gangrene, and the Lion of Flanders just missedhaving the leg amputated. If Jordan or Gretzky or Bonds had a similar injury,don’t you think that every precaution would be taken to get them back intoperfect condition?
Alec Simpson
Burlingame, California

Before all of the plaintiffs’ attorneys who read VN write in, wewant to let you know that we understand that medical incompetence can transcendinternational borders. – Editor


The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.