Friday’s mail: Readers respond to Blackwelder and cheer on Tyler

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in thepages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com thatcauses you to want to write us, dropus a line. Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter. Test results aside, thank you, Brooke Dear VeloNews, This is in response to Brooke Blackwelder's email (see "Blackwelderresponds to USADA suspension"). I was sorry to hear about her positive test -- I wish there were morepressure on the supplement industry to fully disclose

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in thepages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com thatcauses you to want to write us, dropus a line.

Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter. Test results aside, thank you, Brooke

Dear VeloNews,

This is in response to Brooke Blackwelder’s email (see “Blackwelderresponds to USADA suspension“).

I was sorry to hear about her positive test — I wish there were morepressure on the supplement industry to fully disclose what they put intheir
products. It’s a very frustrating situation. But I won’tget started on that, it’s not why I’m writing.

I mostly want to say that I think what Brooke has done for women’s cyclingis awesome. My parents live in Boise, and the presence of a stronglocal team like Goldy’s in the HP Women’s Challenge has given my parentsand many other Boise residents someone to cheer for in the Women’s Challenge.

It raises the whole race’s prominence in the local news. The morelocals follow the Women’s Challenge, the more likely it will continue tohave local support and keep running year after year. I consider theGoldy’s team to be a great model from which to build other women’s teams,because it seems to be a well-run team that has brought quite a few ridersup to the national level. It also is one of the few sponsorship arrangementsI’m aware of in cycling where I truly think the sponsor is getting theirmoney’s worth in terms of coverage during the Women’s Challenge. It gives us all hope! So thanks for all your hard work, Brooke –it really does get noticed.

Good luck to your team in June!

Judy Hay
Redwood City, CA

During her appeal to the USADA, Blackwelder did not suggest that her positive was the result of an improperly labeled supplement. She did say that theelevated metabolite levels were the result of dehydration and a medicalcondition that contributed to unusually high levels. — Editor

Shampoo

Does this mean that she can’t do anymore Prell commercials?

I don’t think Ms. Blackwelder is as concerned with her cycling careeras she is being in the limelight.

Lights out, Brooke

JAJ
Ann Arbor, MI

Go Brooke

To Brooke Blackwelder: Great letter, great cyclist, great human — threeaccolades listed in reverse order of importance.

Good luck to her in all that’s important — to her.

Tim Vitale
Logan, Utah

Brooke Go

What a pile of shit, Brooke!

Don’t get all emotional and act like a victim. The test is positive.Quit trying to find something to blame. Look in the mirror-you did it.Just like Garzelli. You play the game for cycling success– pay the consequences and face reality, you are a cheater.Karen Zoller

It’s the vultures that are ruining the sport

First I want to send some support to Brooke Blackwelder – all of uswho have been out scrounging to keep cycling alive and well feel your frustration.

Both the news media as well as our governing body are such a negativeforce in our sport, it amazes me the USA races at all. The media (includingVeloNews) will quickly jump on the tired, thoughtless excuse that”we just report the news…drug use is news”.

So it is, but HOW they report, and how much time they kick the deadhorse is not news – its hype. It’s like the cheesy local news reportingon some city worker they caught asleep on the job – BIG HEADLINES, littlesubstance.

Dear cycling media, our sport (as well as all other pro sports…andthe country as well) has a drug problem, report if you must but move on!Why didn’t you ever report on Brooke’s team, or any other group out therebusting ass to make things better?

And USA Cycling…please. What exactly do they do? Do they even puton a race in their home state (Colorado)?

This years masters track nationals has to be moved…nobody can comeup with the $30000 the leaches at USAC require (guess those national champjerseys are expensive). And what do you get in return for your 30g’s? Letme know if you find out. The feds don’t lead – as Brooke said, they followthe little guy and are quick to jump out to slam someone, or grab a spotlight.There’s not a racer in America who doesn’t have USAC horror stories, heyUSAC – Lead, Follow, or get the Hell outta the Way.

Look I have no idea if Brooke is doping, or this is just like the Olympicgymnast who took some cold medicine. But the vultures circling overheadare more of a drain on the sport than this drug test. If you’re not partof the solution, you’re part of the problem. So enough of the negativeBS, how about helping out.

Chad Latta
Denver, CO

Call off the lynch mob!

Everyone wants cycling to be a clean sport, but testing positive isnot necessarily the result of “doping.”

It has been shown that up to 25 percent of over the counter sports “nutrition”products DO contain traces of banned substances.

Cocaine products ARE used as anesthetics (I was given on myself once,although I did get a note put in my medical record in case I was drug tested).

Finally, erythropoietin IS widely used to treat kidney disease in dogsso VdB could actually have been telling the truth about that.

Bottom line is, we should let the system work and not overreact to everyincident. Consistent abusers like Pantani and VdB will be caught eventually.

So lets assume Garzelli and Simoni are innocent until proven guilty.Even then, testing positive is not necessarily the result of “doping.”

Let’s not to shoot first and ask questions later.

That’s not to say O’Grady should mellow out on the Rants! You go boy!!!

Tony Page

The system is flawed

Unconnected as Brooke Blackwelder and Garzelli and Simoni may be, theypoint to a woeful inadequacy of the current anti-doping “work.” Brooketested “positive” last June, and she’s finding out now, and being sanctionednow?

Is she suing for lack of due process yet? How slow is drug testing?Garzelli tested “positive” on day two of the Giro, and his result is knowna week later?

How slow is their testing? Pony express delivery to Lausanne doesn’tseem to be giving the current testing much credence: “This testing is urgent,begin the slow, low-priority processing!”

Why is the first test result released if it’s un-official until thesecond test is made? Oh, so we can get attention in the media? So we canslur the rider for a few days in the press? For what other end is thisdone?

And finally to Simoni. Gilberto completes his “piss of truth” and amonth later the results come out? When he’s finally racing in a front-page-of-the-newspapersevent? The timing of Simoni’s results point to the “dope testing folks”being more focused on a media event and their own agenda and outcomes thataren’t focused on cleaning up the sport as much as embarrassing the sport.I don’t think anyone
doesn’t want cycling to be cleaner and healthier to protect the sport,but if that means is being achieved by purposefully dragging thesport through the dirt instead of standing on outcomes, then we shouldquestion why we’re allowing someone to “sh– where we eat.” If no one isquestioning the delivery, accountability, credibility and outcomes of thecurrent doping process, the process will continue to
contribute to a culture of deceit, distrust and disservice to cycling.

Mark Adams
Denver

This just isn’t fun anymore

Dear VeloNews:
I’m sorry to admit it, but I’m getting to that stage where I’m actuallyhesitating to read VeloNews’ continuing articles about the current drugmess… I’m really afraid the whole house of cards is going
to collapse any minute now. You’d think that since the Festina Affairin 1998, riders would have learned something, but apparently many haven’t.

As a lifelong cyclist, who’s avidly followed and supported “clean” professionalcycling for over a quarter century, I’m really chagrined by the continuingdegree of ignorance and evident absence of integrity of
some of today’s supposed “professional” riders. What ever happenedto “old-fashioned” codes of honor, dignity, sportsmanship and ethics?

Thank the creator that most riders probably do still follow these codes,but increasingly, we see proof that many don’t have a clue (and don’t care)about these crucial personal standards. Summing up what Bjarne Riis saidthe other day, not only do these reprobates risk personal ruin, they alsojeopardize the entire base of this sport… i.e., business sponsorships,fan and public support, and the structure that competitive sports are builtupon… honesty.

If riders knowingly cheat and dishonor their sport, they must be suspended…this should be non-negotiable. For riders who act in ignorance (judgingthis can be tricky), they should both be disciplined by their teams andobligated to study the medications, supplements, and nutritional productsthat effect their performance. Chief authority for overseeing personaluse of these substances/supplements/medications needs to be given to teamdoctors and managers. If doctors need more knowledge about which substancesproduce illegal metabolites/by-products/after-effects, this should be madeavailable to them by the UCI… give all team doctors, managers, and ridersa medical control department that they can consult with before takingsubstances, one that will have this information available and ready toprovide authoritative answers.

Make all doctors, managers, and riders sign written agreements thatthey will follow these guidelines, or risk suspension. Our sportis in danger, and we need to get serious… excuses will no longer be tolerated.

Let’s clean up our acts.

Another dedicated cyclist,
Steve Marvin

Senator McCarthy would be right at home

Editor,
Why you feel the need to print letters than seem to be written outof ignorance is beyond me. The letter from the person who said “…Simonitesting positive for crack…”is one example. Unless you’re involved atthe highest level of cycling, none of us REALLY know what’s going on withthese drug tests. What gets me the most is some of these people are rippingthe riders for “doping”, then go off and drink a beer. This completelyinvalidates their argument.

Beer, or alcohol in general, may be ” legal”, and it’s sure not a performanceenhancer, but it’s still a DRUG. The riders out there are human, some aredorks, most are not. But all the riders are doing their best to cope withextreme pressure to perform and deal with being caught up the current timein cycling which seems, at times, a lot like the communist witch huntsof the 50’s.

Patrick Caselli
San Jose, CA

Mitigating circumstances don’t count

If she’s not arguing the positive test what’s she whining about? I guess it’s great that (according to her) she’s a model citizen but thisis beside the point and that she asks to be excused for this is pitiful.

“Yes Officer, I just shot my wife but I helped an old lady across astreet once”

Sorry Brooke, maybe you’re a great person but you tested positive fora banned substance – end of story.

Don Pollari

PR Advice

With all due respect to Brooke Blackwelder, I think she is very wrongin one respect.

Despite her and many others’s prodigious efforts, cycling remains afringe sport. As all bike racers know, you must win the Tour De Franceor an Olympic medal to receive much North American media attention. And,because it is a fringe sport that most journalists do not understand, adoping scandal is the first exposure for the public and the reporting mediato the alleged offender. It is a very frustrating situation; the generalpublic cares first about Mark McGuire’s home run count and looks at hissupplement use as an afterthought. Brooke Blackwelder, as she so correctlypoints out, gets little or no recognition for her accomplishments and becomesa bit less obscure only when a supposed supplement is involved.

So, the record she is justifiably proud of is a mystery to most people.And, rather than stand on this, why not just say; “I did not knowinglytake nandrolone?”

Lance Armstrong is not my favorite rider by a long shot. But, he isone of the few guys who do not talk around the subject when interviewed.He looks the interviewer or the camera in the eye and says he is not takingdope. Cynics will say he is a master of public relations. True believerswill say he is the second coming of John Wayne. Whichever it is, I havealways thought highly of him for realizing almost everyone talks arounda simple yes or no and delivers his no, specific to the question beingasked.

Brooke may be secure in the support of her family and friends. But,to put cycling in the most positive light, perhaps she should considerjust stating her case. Don’t let the record speak for itself because mostof the people calling you don’t know the record and won’t take the timeto look it up.

All the best to her and her cycling community.

Barry White
Lisle, IL

The sport is doomed

Our sport is doomed.

Case in point: Virenque gets busted. Virenque lies. Virenque repents.Virenque is suspended. Virenque returns. Virenque is signed to Domo/FarmFrites. Virenque wins a classic. Virenque wins back the fans hearts.

What will the saga of Dario Frigo be? Can Garzelli and Simoni top themall?

I’d rather watch a Mike Tyson news conference. At least we all knowhe is crazy.

Face it, we treat dopers with nothing more than lip service. Our sportis doomed until we treat criminals as criminals and stop rewarding theirillegal actions.

Joe Gentile
Wildwood, MO

Now if we could just apply our standards to other sports

Editor;

The number of banned substances in cycling is staggering, and testingis relentless, especially when compared to other professional sports. Imaginea professional athlete in hockey or football or basketball or baseballor soccer or even golf getting kicked out of the game for havingmore than 12 micrograms per milliliter of caffeine found in his/her urine!

The following is from the USADA Web site under “Prohibited Substances”:”If you take nutritional supplements you may test positive for a prohibitedsubstance, which is not disclosed on the product label. If you do testpositive you could face a suspension up to two years.”

If the nutritional supplements you innocently took gave you a positiveresult, would that constitute doping, and would it be just to issue a twoyear suspension?

Just how many other products that we use daily contain prohibited substancesthat we don’t know about, but will produce a positive test result?

I think there should be some common sense when dealing with doping issues.Garzelli’s case, and especially Simoni’s case, should be dealt with onan individual basis before they are spread all over the doping-crazed media.

Why would Garzelli take a product that would give him absolutely noadvantage, and in such small quantities? Why can’t Simoni be given somethingto ease the pain of a trip to the dentist? Simoni’s test was done out ofcompetition, no less.

Cyclists who are legitimately found to be taking banned substances toenhance performance should be banned from cycling altogether. But get thefacts straight, and get the whole truth before permanently tarnishing acyclist’s reputation.

Eric E. Collander
Oberlin, OH

Forza Tyler

Forza Tyler !!

We have a saying in my house: “Just do what you can do.”

He can still take the time out of them in the other stages, especiallythe TT’s.

BKeele

Humility counts for a lot

Tyler,

I’ve been a fan of yours ever since I first started watching the Tourde France about four years ago.

What has always impressed me about you is your humility. You are sucha great cyclist, you work so hard, and every comment I’ve ever heard youmake in an interview has always been positive.

I really enjoy reading your personal diary entries on VeloNews.com.We are rooting for you here in the Catskills of NY. You are a terrificrole
model.

Forza!
Bob Smith

Tyler’s worst day would be a great day for most of us

Tyler,

Even on your worse day in the saddle, you are better than most! Hang in there.

R.J.King
Citrus Valley Velo
Redlands, Calif.

Go Tyler!

Tyler, I’m a good friend of LA’s in Austin and just wanted to say thatmy wife and I are pulling for ya! It’s your turn to shine! Go man Go!

The steeper the better!

Derek Russey

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in thepages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com thatcauses you to want to write us, dropus a line.

Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.