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Mailbag: Tour unplugged, si; Quick Step suit, no

Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of VeloNews.com? Here's how: Keep it short. And remember that we reserve the right to edit for grammar, length and clarity. Include your full name, hometown and state or nation. Send it to webletters@insideinc.com. Do touch that dial (and turn it off) Editor:

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Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of VeloNews.com? Here’s how:

  • Keep it short. And remember that we reserve the right to edit for grammar, length and clarity.
  • Include your full name, hometown and state or nation.
  • Send it to webletters@insideinc.com.

Do touch that dial (and turn it off)

Editor:
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have read the Tour de France’s decision to ban radios on Stages 10 and 13. I hope it produces the type of racing that encourages more events to follow suit.

The loss of radios during Stage 2 of the Tour of California provided great action … well, when they could get a picture because of the weather. Nothing would make me happier than to see Jens Voigt on one of his classic breakaways that doesn’t get reeled in.

Vive le Tour.

Larry Buttrey
Long Beach, California

Radio decision puts race in the riders’ hands

Editor:
The best move the organizers of the Tour have made in years! I predict these will be the best two stages of the Tour this year. Not only will this move force team tactical meetings but every team leader will have to have faith in his domestique and every domestique will have to be dedicated to the team.

Mangai HoSang
Chesapeake, Virginia

Every man for himself

Editor:
I see that there will be two stages in this year’s Tour without radios. I was thinking on exactly this topic on my ride today (until my cleat broke, and then I thought about that).

I have followed the grand tours for years, and have even slogged up some of the climbs, and I have the greatest respect for all the riders who finish these events, not just the big names. But it seems to me that the tours are no longer exactly races.

Events, yes. Spectacles, yes. Athletic achievements, yes. But races, with everyone doing his own thing, without radios and TV monitors, without teams delivering their sprinters to the last 200 meters, without teams protecting their main man while five brave souls try to gut it out to the end of the stage? No.

What kind of a “race” is it when after 2,500 miles two minutes is a big lead? I’d like to see every man for himself, the whole way.

Bill Wolfson
Huntington Beach, California

Forward into the past

Editor:
I just read that the Tour will ban radios for two stages. I will be watching your coverage closely to see if there are any positive or negative outcomes of this. I am one of those “old school” folks that think that the rider ought to know how to race by himself and that a well-oiled team will be able to function without constant chatter and encouragement from the team car.

On the local team I raced on a few years back we were able to work together without ratios and we actually won some races!

Hopefully things will go well and we will begin to see organizers return to true bicycle racing, the way is was in the past!

Bill Levey
Reisterstown, Maryland

Racing is a privilege, not a right

Editor:
A month ago, Quick Step management came out and said that while they supported Tom Boonen, they definitely wouldn’t be asking the Tour officials to give him a hall pass.

Now, they’ve changed their tune and are threatening legal action against the Tour, because of what they refer to as “potential lost revenue for their sponsors.”

This is ridiculous. If they want to recoup all of that potential lost revenue, then they should take it out of Boonen’s hyde, not Amaury Sport Organization. What about all the damage his drug use has done to those same sponsors? And why the sudden flip-flopping of their stance on the issue?

Riding in any race isn’t a right for an athlete, it’s a privilege. Screwing up has consequences in any walk of life. Maybe some people need to be reminded of this.

John Clark
Bethesda, Maryland