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Mail for the week of April 8, 2002

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something inthe pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.comthat causes you to want to write us, drop us a line at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to thisaddress, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.Zebra in waitingOn the cover of your most recent issue you show a jubilant Cipolliniwinning at San Remo.His jersey interests me and I wondered if you might know where ( andif) anyone offers it for sale? All of the places I know only offer onlythe old Acqua &

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VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something inthe pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.comthat causes you to want to write us, drop us a line at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to thisaddress, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.Zebra in waitingOn the cover of your most recent issue you show a jubilant Cipolliniwinning at San Remo.His jersey interests me and I wondered if you might know where ( andif) anyone offers it for sale? All of the places I know only offer onlythe old Acqua & Sapone jersey.ThanksBrad HammerWe’re sure it will be available soon. The problem is, you haveto wear the shorts if you buy the jersey. — EditorO’Grady is full of somethingI have heard some high horse crap before (See “Puttingthe ‘loon’ in ‘Walloon.'”), but this is classic. I am not one to giveVDB the benefit of the doubt, but have you checked your own Med Cabinet?And my dog is on the same crap VDB’s was…If your goal was to below so loud people might think you were more importantthan you are, it didn’t work. I don’t like VDB and think there is no placein the sport for him or his boss at Domo and think that if we suspendedteams along with riders the doc’s would really watch them instead of justmaking them “testable.”That doesn’t remove the fact that your Pontification didn’t just makeyou sound like an ass…Get a grip, and find something that isn’t old news to bitch about.Charles Manantan
Phoenix AZU zin frites daarmee?Patrick,I believe the Flemish (Vlaams) for, “You want fries (frites over there)with that,” is: “u zin frites daarmee?” Since the Wallon ballon (that’swhat they call him after a few week at a fast food joint) comes from Wallonia,the French speaking part of the Belgium, I think he would ask: “vous vouloirfrit à cette?”It’d be pretty funny see him all greasy like the kid on the Simpsonsafter La Tour d’ McDonald’s.Nicholàs Atkins
Harrisonburg, VANo frites for this guyDear Mr. O’Grady;Well for the first time, not only can I understand what you are saying,but I agree with you.I want to express a few other points regarding the use of drugs amongstpro cyclists. In the NBA, where no matter how much pot you smoke or linesof cocaine you snort, it won’t make the ball go into the basket with anygreater amount of accuracy.The reasons for an NBA player taking drugs, are obviously differentfrom a cyclist for taking illegal substances. A cyclist realizes greatbenefits from the affects, namely climbing a mountain faster, less timeto complete a time trial. I think the continued light sentences of cyclistswho are caught cheating and the more sophisticated manager/rider/doctorrelationship versus the organizations created to test for performance enhancingdrugs will perpetuate the drug problem.In all honesty I doubt illegal drugs would never have taken seriouslyif the police in France and Italy hadn’t stepped in. The next step wouldbe for the consumer to make their voices heard. By refusing to purchaseproducts of the sponsoring companies of the riders caught using drugs.This is not a likely scenario since the affects of drugs on a riders healthare not a consideration any more than having a race won by someone who’sbeen turned into a superman, if only for a day.Sincerely,Paul Weeks
Santa Rosa, CARighteous rantVeloNews,Thanks so much for Friday’s Foaming Rant (4/12) by Patrick O’Grady.I had a terrible day at work today, and reading Patrick’s “Rant” wasthe first time I laughed all day.Thanks so much! I wish I could write that well…and that “yo quiero”picture was too much.Best regards,North Krimsly
In rainy OregonOpen the medicine cabinetAs a long-time admirer of Saint Patrick (my confirmation name is Pat)I have the greatest respect for hyperbole.However, one must consider that VDB’s steroids could have been for hisdog (my veterinary wife has a supply in the cupboard for our bowsers),the morphine could have been for last year’s broken wrist (I still havethat vicodan from my pelvic fracture four years ago) and the EPO couldwell be stale leftovers from a prior sporting life (maybe it was left thereby Dickey V. while visiting) as his beautiful Italian wife has claimed.Who are we to doubt this Goddess?Rather than turn the channel to a made for TV, 15 second action sport,perhaps we should simply declare professional cycling “open” and allowany and all doping, provided that all professionals sign health waiversand agree to place part of their earnings in a fund for widows and orphansin the likely even of early death.Think how exciting the sport will become as race speeds dramaticallyincrease, mountains are climbed with no discernible effort or appearanceof suffering, and the successors to Super Mario demand 12 speed blockswith eight and nine tooth cogs.As Dupont might have said while a cycle racing sponsor……”Betterracing through chemistry.”
Brian LaffertySpeaking of advances through chemistryTime for cycling to copy the NFL drug policy!Better sports through biochemistry would take a lot of the geneticsout of sports.Taking EPO only helps the less than genetically gifted competitor.If all the competitors had the same hematocrit, let’s say 50, who wouldwin? Not being genetically gifted physiologically (legs like a stork andblood like water—hematocrit 38), I see a need for performance enhancingdrugs just to level the playing field. If I chose to race cars, I couldbuy a competitive vehicle. Why not allow me (and the other skinny guys)to buy a competitive vehicle to power the bikes being ridden?In the professional arena, performance enhancing drugs make the sportsmore commercially successful.Gary GrometAccuracy would be nice, tooNice! That was funny too. Finally VeloNews is growing a pair.Now if they could just get thier race reporting more accurate we’d be inbusiness.
Sincerely,Anthony StephensThat’s a scary thoughtA Hunter S. Thompson golf course?  I’d be far more afraid of aBob Roll-designed course!Kevin Kinnear
Boulder, COIt could be for the dog, reallyPat,Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!It’s sad that humor is the only way to publish the true word as it shouldbe spoken! Who is this guy?A side-bar though, I work in the pharma industry and had occasion toask a veterinarian about the “EPO for my dog” excuse. Seems it’s actuallyvery common because dogs can’t take dialysis for bad kidneys. Who wouldhave thought. Can’t blame anyone for assuming it was just another stupidlie…Tony Page
So CalShort and to the pointGreat article, it was hilarious.Dan Davis
Austin, TXPerfect rantPat O’Grady,Within the boundaries of the literary world there are rarely perfectlyformed pieces. This article is the perfect rant, worthy of a latenight Dennis Miller award for use of linguistic sarcasm! You have hit themark. If all athletes (and even we mortals) would just attempt to be honestabout our errors there wouldn’t be the resentment.Mr. O’Grady … cool article, look forward to more.Tom ByrneScore three for the DogPatrick O’Grady is a grumpy old man with a perverse view of the worldand a mean streak.Not everyone can hit that trifecta, so you should give him a raise.Keep up the good work.Bret Wade
Boulder, COWhat a wasteNice Blast dude. It sometimes seems like such a waste.Guy’s with so much talent, making tons of money, and the IQ of a rock.Do they really think we really believe that they tested positive from secondhand smoke. (Darryl Russell former Oakland Raider) Or better yet did notknow their medication was not approved. Duh. If I had that ability andwas competing on a professional level, myself and everyone around me wouldknow the rule book forwards and back.Take care, back to work for me.David Cummings
 Where was the link?!?!?!Regarding Friday’s foaming rant, “Putting the ‘loon’ in ‘Walloon'”,is there supposed to be a hotlink attached to: “midgets wrestling Tasmaniandevils in a swimming pool full of broken glass”?That would be cool.BrettWhat does this guy do for a living?Oh God O’Grady, please don’t ever give up your day job. I’m assumingthis is it.Great stuff !!ThanksAnother side splitter. Keep them coming!Adam
Springfield, MO.Keep him aroundLoved it!  Make it a weekly special.Terry Hong,
San Francisco
 


Mail from the rest of the week:
 A few thoughts after Ghent-Wevelgem

I have just finished reading the “live” updates of today’s Ghent Wevelgemrace, and have come up with a few thoughts.  First, and foremost,let’s give it up for the United States best classics man, Fred Rodriguez. Man, has this guy arrived.  Second across the line in San Remo, andsecond across the line in Wevelgem, and let’s not forget his top 20 placingin the Ronde while working for Museuw.

Hincapie is great and all, but perhaps it’s time to shine the VeloNewsspotlight away from the USPS team for a bit.  It is safe to say thatthe U.S. has TWO world cup contenders. I do not recall ever being ableto make such a claim.

Second, anyone has has been criticizing Cipollini has got to stop itright now.  It has been speculated that Mario would not be as effectivethis season without his fabled “Red Train.”   In his 14th seasonas a pro the man finally got his win in San Remo, and today marks his 10thanniversary of his last Ghent Wevelgem victory.  There’s also histop ten placing in the Ronde- the freakin Ronde.  So much for himbeing a fair-weather sprinter.

Third, the live coverage of today’s Ghent Wevelgem was great. I hope to see some more of the same for this weekend’s Paris-Rubaix. I only wish VeloNews could provide more live coverage of the world cupsand classics (even the ones where USPS doesn’t have a chance of a goodplacing).

Keep up the good work!

Joe. Ajello
Falls Church, Virginia

We haven’t actually ignored Rodriguez and his three VeloNews covers will attest to that. Thanks for the kudos on the web coverage. We hope to do more and will most certainly continue it through the remaining Spring Classics. Be sure to “tune in” on Sunday. — Editor.

Beloki lets his legs do the talking

While other riders (e.g. Simoni, Botero and Pantani) say Armstrong hasthis weakness, he can be beat, he’s not all that, blah, blah, blah, I wasimpressed with Joseba Beloki’s comments in  Andrew Hood’s Euro-file.

Instead of bashing Armstrong, he (Beloki), looks at his own strengthsand preparation and has no illusions or rather delusions of grandeur. It’sfunny how other riders say they’re gonna beat up on Armstrong in July andhere, a guy who’s beat up on them over the past couple of years, showssome respect… way to go Joseba, go get ’em!

Jeff Landauer,
Roseville, CA.

George will be on top of the podium on Sunday

Not so fast Postal nay Sayers. My money is on George this Sunday. Heis in great form and to use his own words there’ll be no “what ifs” thisSunday.

Attitude goes along way and George wants PR more than anybody at thistime. Mark it down. George Hincapie 1st American to win PR.

David Quinn
Charlotte, NC

The Lion has not left the building…yet

Regardless whether he truly has retired or not after failing to winde Ronde von Vlaanderen for a fourth time on Sunday, one can only see JohanMuseeuw as the best one-day racer in the world–for ten years!  Hisno-nonsense personality, monk-like work ethic, and unwaning tenacity inthe grueling spring races has made him the epitome of the Flemish hardman.

Many cyclists would’ve hung up their wheels long before the age of 37or at least eased off, but he continues to capture victories and be a forceon the narrow, winding cobbles. And all this is after nearly dying in ’98when, after shattering his kneecap in Paris-Roubaix, gangrene set in.

Rather than fearing a return to the Arenberg Forest, he chose to return–andwin–the race again. Johan, if you do decide to forego Ghent-Wevelgem onWednesday and retire to your home and children in Gistel, please know thatyou will surely be missed.

Drew Hall

And as it turns out, Museeuw showed up on Wednesday. We wonder whathis plans are for this Sunday. — Editor


Tuesday’s Letters

Once and future king or Master of the Universe?

I recently saw a news flash on the web that Sean Kelly was competing in a 3 day stage race in Ireland! Any news on the outcome from King Kelly?

Anon.

Yup, you’re right! We had to dig around a little, but it turns outKelly took part in The Gorey Three Day, over Easter weekend, his first race since he retired seven years ago (Has it really been that long?). Kelly rode it “for fun,” and we don’t have precise results, though we do know that he did not win a stage. Still, if he gets serious again, it will be enough to send masters racers all over the globe to shaking in their Carnacs. — Editor

By the numbers

Facts are facts.

#1 is that George, while having an excellent sprint,did garner onlythird (in the sprint) the Flanders race (to take fourth for the day). He has also not maximized his sprint potential in other races, such asin last year’s Roubaix where he was beaten by Vainsteins. Both ofthese were for podium spots.

It also alludes to #2, which is that USPS is best Tour team inthe world (three and counting) but does not adequately protect andsupport George in these classics. Domo, Mapei, Lampre, Lotto, andTelekom seem to always have more than 1 rider in the mix.

Mapei obviously had numbers at Flanders, with Domo also having Cassinifor help towards the end. Had an evidently in-form Armstrong beenin the mix, then maybe results would have been different, but they weren’t. George again didn’t have someone
in the mix at crunch time.

Either George needs to move to a Domo or Lotto with the idea of fullsupport, or USPS needs to truly support him by signing a few Belgian riderswho will truly be there at the end.

Those are facts; numbers are numbers.

Tim Smith
Louisville, Ky
Enough already!

Editor;

Bitching about USA Cycling seems to be the thing to do the lastfew years. Well I for one am getting a little tired of it. Shut up already!

If you don’t like it, change it. Put your name on the ballot. Betteryet try returning your annual ballot for once. Go to the USA Cycling websiteand apply for the CEO job. Do something to better the sport.

I agree the federation has some problems, but take some personal responsibility. It is our federation and our sport. Therefore, it’s our job to make it better. The task placed before the federation is very difficult. They are charged with growing and promoting the top end of the sport ( pro and Olympicathletes and events) while at the same time developing grassroots programsand bringing new people into the sport. Few sports organizations have suchan ambitious agenda. The NFL, MLB, and Nascar for example only have tofocus on the professional end of their respective sports.

While other federations charged with tasks similar to USA Cycling’s, like soccer for example, haven’t faired much better. Yes, soccer is verystrong at the grassroots level but the professional end of the sport isn’tmuch better off than American cycling, and the soccer federation has yetto develop a World Cup wining national team (at least on the men’s side).And what about some other USOC sports like cross country skiing or gymnastics?
 

Take a look at the big picture. Twenty years ago the USA had hardlyany world or Olympic medals to its name, no professional teams, no Tourwins, no world class events and a pretty sparse calendar of amateur events.

Today we have won nearly every medal on the world scene, won five Tours,and some World Cups. In addition we have hosted world class events likeDuPont, Philly, and the World Championships. We also have nearly ten UCI registered professional teams, almost 50 events on the NRC and this spring most of the amateur categories were filling up at the early season races in California. I realize that a lot of this success is due to some veryspecial individuals like Chauner, Ochowicz, Wiesel, LeMond and Plant. Theydeserve our respect and thanks. However, the federation has helped alongthe way.

Before you bitch next time you may also want to examine cycling federationsin other countries. Most of the European countries for example hardly evenrecognize masters racing or amateur racing for that matter. They spendmoney on juniors, elite level amateurs, and pros. If you haven’t made itto the upper ranks by the time your 23 you generally are limited to racinga few local races (where the winner gets a sausage) or doing tourist events.There are no 32 year old cat. 3’s on club teams asking where’s my freebike and kit, and why don’t we have a cat. 3 national championship. Thingsare even worse in federations in Asia and South and Central America. Weare a wealthy nation and can generally afford to do better than many ofthese countries, but we have a huge array of participants and events tomanage.
 
Like I said earlier, the federation does have problems. But we needto focus on fixing these problems and not complaining about them. Runningoff and starting new organizations like ACA isn’t going to fix anything.Sure these organizations can work for awhile, because they are small. Ifthey ever grew to the size of USA Cycling and became the UCI recognizedgoverning body of the sport they would have the same problems that USACycling has now. Don’t take your ball and go start a new game, fix thegame we have now. These new organizations were suppose to offer low costgrassroots racing for all. Well the $30 entries charged at last weekendsACA races in Boulder hardly seem like low cost racing for all. Want todo a second race, another $30 please.

While I don’t always agree with everything that Mr. Earnest and Mr.O’Grady have to say. I am willing to listen when these type of individualshave complaints. They have both tried to change things at the federation.While they may not have been successful at least they tried. If more ofus tried or supported them things might change. One last bit of ranting………becareful what you wish for.
 
Jeff Corbett

Enough? He wants more

Editor:

I certainly hope the Rant continues. The belly laughs are secondto none.

Although I am unfamiliar with USA Cycling politics (and I intend tostay that way), it was interesting and it certainly makes me thankful thatalternative organizations like ACA exist!

Duke Matthews

So that’s what they mean by an acid wit?

Editor;

I like reading Bob Roll, especially when he writes humorous articleslike his “Day at the Races” back in the 90’s. His latest (see”Eurotrash and the Texas Tornado” VeloNews, March 18, 2002, page106) makes me think he has lost it completely.

What words can I use to describe it? How about disjointed, insider,incoherent, incomprehensible, uninteresting, unfunny blabber? Nevermind the foul language and references, which I’m sure will create a barrageof letters for you guys, this thing was over-the-top and total nonsense.

Come on, Bob, you’re the riding man’s writer.

Get off the acid and get back your good writer’s form.

Fred Crane


Monday’s mail
Did George have the team?Andrea Tafi wins the Ronde!!!(see “Tourof Flanders: Tafi scores another for the veterans; Hincapie 4th“)Holy Italian cycling mafia, Batman.What can you say but a great race won by a deserving champion? OK maybe I should wait until next Sunday to lay the accolades onTafi, but what the heck, I’ll jump on this bandwagon BEFORE it leaves thestation.But what about George?  He had the team.  He had the bike. He had the strength.  So why third in a five-man sprint?  Whatis up with that?  Maybe he is saving himself for next Sunday? Or maybe a repeat performance in Ghent?  Or maybe the weakness ofthe U.S. Postal Service teams mission is showing its weakness.It is nice to win the Tour and all, but one three week race does notmake a great team.  See Mapei or Rabobank or Telekom or Domo or Saturnor .Maybe the lack of finishing touches on U.S. Postal in this particularrace will show the powers that be within the squad that their power isin fielding a strong team that can work together to get their man to thefinish fresh and ready to duke it out.  See Telekom or Mapei or Domoor even the Cipo-led Saeco squad of old.  It really makes George looklike a racer that should be on another squad that will work for him. That will sacrifice for him.  That will win for him.  He is atwo-time U.S. champion for chrissakes!  (Unofficially of course). Heck even Domo works for Freddy once in awhile.  It appears that U.S.Postal worked hard for George up until 50kms to go and then just packsit as a team.A memo to George: “Look around for a team that will work for you. You are a great classics racer and you can win many more.  But onlyif you have a team committed to that goal.”OK so maybe my “foaming screed” will hit a few people off base sinceit is based solely upon my opinion that certain American riders have noheart.But then again it is MY opinion and not theirs, so there.  ButI ask all the die-hard USPS fans to look at ‘their’ team for what it is. They work for one goal and that is all.  Need further proof? Thencheck out the Nike-sponsored docudrama titles “Road to Paris.”  Itmight as well be called “Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France Training Diary2001.”Great coverage of Mr. Armstrong and what he did last spring, but noreal coverage of ‘his’ team.  Maybe that is why all Lance’s homiesleft for greener pastures.  Do ya think?Of course I could be wrong.  But I am not.  Look at Postalsresults post-Tour for the last three seasons.  See those wins andhigh placings by riders racing for USPS.  Where are they now? Answer: not racing for Lance.Except for Lance’s token appearance at the San Francisco Grand Prixlast year for George what has Postal done (in its current lineup) afterAugust 1st during the past three seasons?  Not much, right? Maybe there is a problem there.  Or maybe not.  But my opinionis that a great racer is made in great races and that George will (hopefully)someday take his place next to Lance, Greg and the other great Americanracers.James Darlow
Sacramento, CAOur Help Wanted adRegarding O’Grady’s Rant (see “Friday’sFoaming Rant: O CEO, CEO! Wherefore art thou, CEO?”)Loved it.Wide ranging in allusions . Lots of good candidates listed so no onecan accuse author of just griping without offering a solution.Excellent image to accompany ad description of qualities needed.Michael OrendorffIs that too much to ask?A CEO? I’d just like them to hire somebody who will answer my e-mailedquestion!For $45 you’d think they could throw me a damn bone like that.Here in Georgia we have a 13-race series not affiliated with those extortionistsat USA Cycling so maybe I should just race in-state and say “@#%& ’em.”Danny LankfordYou might laugh, but….Is it something in the water in NM? I am laughing heartily at O’Grady’slatest.I thought I was the only one (besides an ex-promoter friend of minefrom Boulder) who felt this harshly about Lisa V and her reign at USAC.Thankfully now all I do is ride my bike. I quit racing, officiating, wrenching,and promoting several years ago, after too much Lisa V, so none of the170K per year wasted on the next CEO will come out of my pocket.As for the rest of you, you may laugh at O’Grady, but someone at USACis laughing all the way to the bank with your money.Steve Farris
Silver City, NMAll we can do is laughTell O’Grady thanks for the biggest laughs coming out of the cyclingpress in years. Sadly, all that we can do at this point is laugh.What a joke USA Cycling has become.Allen Pritchard


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