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Friday’s mailbag: Live Updates, Freddy in Athens, TTT tires, Voeckler’s lead, Tugboat and Delgado’s comeback

The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.Who needs cable with Live Updates?Editor:Aha! I knew I was on to something when I canceled my cable two months ago! (see Thursday's mailbag, "Enough about OLN, already.") I'm saving $55 per month and loving every new bike-bit minute

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The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.


Who needs cable with Live Updates?
Editor:
Aha! I knew I was on to something when I canceled my cable two months ago! (see Thursday’s mailbag, “Enough about OLN, already.”) I’m saving $55 per month and loving every new bike-bit minute of it. Now all I have to do is crash a couple of times without my helmet on and I’m in.

Live commentary of the Tour ain’t easy, and OLN’s team is doing just fine, I’m sure (based on previous viewing experience, of course).

Thanks for getting back to race coverage and all things bicycling. Keep up the good work on Live Updates.

Ed Ellinger
Evergreen, Colorado

Will Freddy replace Lance?
Editor:
Okay, with Lance bowing out of the Olympics, will we get Fast Freddy in as his replacement? Seems like an obvious choice to send the USPRO champ. I think his chances would be excellent with the leadout train he has in the other riders.

Mark Kennedy
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Track tire an odd pick for a wet-road TTT
Editor:
I am a self-confessed Tyler Hamilton and Continental fan, so it was with great interest that I see the pic of what appears to be Tyler’s front TTT wheel with a Conti Tempo 19 and the caption, “Phonak had five flats (in the team time trial)….”

Conti themselves list the Tempo 19 as a “sophisticated track tire”…”designed primarily for training and entry-level competition.” Hmm. Doesn’t sound like something that would be my first choice for a 40-odd-mile time trial on wet roads. I hope that the tire choice was not responsible for Phonak’s “bad luck,” because I certainly hope to see him excel in the remaining TT’s.

Raymond Gage
Chico, California

Did Postal give Voeckler too much time?
Editor:
Examining race leader Thomas Voeckler’s profile, I would assume that with almost 10 minutes on hand over Lance, U.S. Postal might have miscalculated and given him too much room. Do you think its a fatal mistake on the part of U.S. Postal?

Eddy Ng
Singapore

You should pardon the expression, Eddy, but only time will tell. Johan Bruyneel says he’s not worried, and Voeckler seems to feel that he’s a renter, not an owner, of the maillot jaune. He told Reuters: “I have no illusions, I know that when the strong guys will start to move, they’ll be in another league. I’m not at their level, and I’m not a threat for the overall standings. I’m not a loser, I will give it my best shot to keep it as long as I can but I know very well that one day or another, one of the favorites will take it back.” — Editor

Get-well wishes for Tugboat and concern for cyclists’ dogs
Editor:
As an avid cyclist and dog lover I was very touched by Tyler Hamilton’s concern for his loyal dog Tugboat, who was very sick when Tyler left for the Tour. We wish Tugboat a speedy recovery.

I remember how Tugboat helped Tyler endure his broken collarbone on the Tour last year. Man’s best friend can and does imbue us with so many fine qualities, most of all loyalty, endurance and courage — which brings me to a genuine concern and pet peeve.

I often see cyclists who exercise their dogs by running them along on a bike ride. Your dog will gladly endure it, but this practice is not good for them. Their foot pads wear out, they overheat and dehydrate. This is almost certainly the result of good intentions, but the hard road is harmful to your loyal companion.

Roger Bach
Santa Cruz, California

Delgado had to mount a big comeback, tooo
Editor:
The example of Fausto Coppi’s 1949 Tour is an interesting one in interpreting Iban Mayo’s present chances; another that is more contemporary (and perhaps more accurate) is that of another Spaniard, Pedro Delgado, in the 1989 Tour, as he made up time on (once again) an American, Greg LeMond.

Delgado’s early deficit of nearly eight minutes, of course, was due to missing his start in the prologue and getting dropped in the TTT a couple days later (rather than a crash), but he went from last on GC to third, and just 2:28 down, before LeMond’s last-day TT heroics.The Passage du Gois episode from ’99 is another tempting example, but it should be pointed out that the yellow jersey at the time (Lance himself) was not involved in the crash that doomed, among others, Mr. Zulle.

Charles Howe
Olmsted Falls, Ohio
P.S.: Hey, Bartali’s 1948 comeback was in the same league as Coppi’s, no?


The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.