Monday’s mail bag: A random act of kindness; The Lance letters; Tyler’s stability

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.Kids these days! Hello VeloNews, I just thought that I should tell you about something that happened today that normally would not happen to a cyclist. I live and train in Colorado Springs and I was coming back from a long four-hour Sunday

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.


Kids these days!
Hello VeloNews,
I just thought that I should tell you about something that happened today that normally would not happen to a cyclist. I live and train in Colorado Springs and I was coming back from a long four-hour Sunday training ride.

It was sunny and hot and I was coming back into the wind to make matters even better. I had made it into town when I was approaching a large full size Bronco with the top off. There must have been 9 teenagers in this thing and they were picking a couple of their friends up for some fun (in the middle of the street). Usually this means some upcoming harassment for a cyclist.

After about five minutes the Bronco approached from the rear and pulled up next to me at 20mph. I looked at the passenger and some high school boy is leaned out the window to hand me a Popsicle!

It was hot, I was tired and I gladly took it. I said “that’s exactly what I want!” and they drove off waving and smiling!

I have been riding and racing for a long time (21 years) and I have seen a lot of things but not this! I have been chased by dogs, cars, had things thrown at me, doors opened on me. But nothing like this. I want to say thank you to those kids in the Bronco! For that short time that Popsicle made me forget about everything and I was 15 again and not 37.

That was the BEST Popsicle ever!

Sincerely,

Scott Mares
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Why this? Why now?
VeloNews,
I find the timing of this release to be highly suspect (see “Upcoming book alleges Armstrong involved in doping“). I think that this is a pathetic attempt to break the concentration or shine a less than favorable light on the 5x champion.

Bill Bolton
Laurel, Maryland

If they’re all on drugs…
VeloNews,
Lets face it! It may take a bit of outside help to push a 55X12 for over an hour.

If Lance is doping, he’s only trying to put himself on a level playing field with the other riders. If no rider were using drugs, the same people would win because everything is equal. Just as all is equal if everyone is using drugs. The only difference would be the average speeds in races. Obviously, Lance has everything to lose if found with performance enhancing drugs – so why risk it? The answer is simple! To put himself on a level playing field with the top European riders in the peloton.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could win any grand Tour with Vitamin C and protein shakes for recovery. A basketball series yes! Not a grand Tour. Drive on Lance! See you in Paris.

Manny Cocurull
Orlando, Florida

What about the tests?
Dear Velo,
The proof is there for all to see. Lance Armstrong has never failed a dope test, and has been a consistent performer for nearly 10 years.

It is becoming clear that Mr. Walsh has some sort of personal vendetta and that he is reaching for anything he can to try and implicate Lance in a doping scandal. How can he refute the evidence that is there for all to see? Until Lance fails the whiz quiz he has to be presumed innocent right? Innocent until found guilty? Ainslie MacEachran
Fort Collins, Colorado

Tell it to the judge, Pierre
VeloNews,
If the book by Mr. Walsh and Mr. Ballester accuses Armstrong of past doping and there’s no evidence beyond “he said,” “she said,” Armstrong should sue them and L’Express into bankruptcy.

I fully support the uncovering and prosecution of dopers, but people need to be reminded of the difference between slander and reporting.

Mike Ingram
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Why post it?
“Editors,”
I don’t think you should even print this kind of crap until there is definite proof that he did use EPO, and it makes you no better than this Walsh character, who has an obvious hard on for Mr. Armstrong.

This is not news, it’s gossip. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Brent W. Stuckert
Petaluma, California

Ignorance is bliss
Editors,
I know that no human being can ride 100+ miles per day at high speed for three weeks without some chemical help. It’s sad to see our sport getting constantly ripped, so we should follow the examples of Major League Baseball’s and the NFL and just brush it under the rug.

David Baker
Bend, Oregon

The most tested athlete
Editors,
Of course when you’re the fastest, people want to think you’re a doper. I’ve got to believe though that because Lance is the best cyclist on the planet at the moment that he’s also the most tested cyclist as well.

As a quick recap…all tests on Lance Armstrong have come back negative. The French investigation turned up nothing even though they desperately wanted to find some dirt on Lance. I’m sure that Pierre Ballester, is probably still upset the investigation turned up nothing.

Are we just going to take someone’s word that Lance Armstrong has been involved with doping just because a couple of writers know that they will sell a ton of books by even suggesting it?

It’s pretty common knowledge (at least I thought it was) that cyclists use a lot of syringes, IV’s, supplements, vitamins, etc. in order to be able to withstand the rigors of pro racing. Show me one team whose team physician doesn’t discard syringes and vials of various (unbanned) substances.

To me, a book publisher’s equivalent to doping is to publish something that’s untrue all in the name of the mighty dollar. If I were Lance I’d turn this over to a champ lawyer, give him a 50 percent bounty on any monies extracted from the authors and publishing company, have him sue them for libel, and then just forget about it and keep winning.

Meanwhile we’ll be watching for David Walsh’s and Pierre Ballester’s next articles where they belong…right next to the cash register at the grocery store.

Corbett Mortensen
Omaha, Nebraska

Time will clear up any doubts
Editors,
Lance is still racing and has so much to lose. Give him 10 to 20 year after he has retired and the truth will come out.

As for me, I hope the truth is that no drugs were used.

Khristopher Martin
Buffalo, New York

Well duh…
VeloNews,
Doping at the highest level in cycling? How can this surprise anyone these days?

Me, I’m more concerned with the doping going on in the 40+ Masters races in the USCF.

Michael Neal
Palm Desert, California

We’re with ya Lance
Editors,
Timing is everything and this is an obvious attempt to psychologically derail Lance and prevent a record breaking sixth Le Tour triumph. He has said at least once that he is probably the most tested rider in the peloton. Really it appears to be a rather pathetic attempt by his enemies to smear negativity all over his remarkable performances. Obviously Lance has his work cut out for him this year and like many others I believe his odds of being victorious are less favorable than in the past, which should make this an interesting race. However, after viewing this “breaking news”, I hope Lance and Co. absolutely crush the competition and turn this year’s Tour into a complete yawner.

Mike McCabe
Bridgewater, Massachusetts

So where’s the proof, Mr. Walsh?
Dear Velo,
Lance Armstrong’s stunning tour victory in 1999 was so unbelievable to so many people that it had the effect of casting doubt on whether it could have been a legitimate performance. Some raised this doubt loud and clear and accused him at that time of using all kinds of banned substances, especially those that have been associated with the treatment of cancer patients, (EPO,etc).

Winning every Tour since, and many other shorter stage races, has had the effect of making him and his USPS teammates the most tested and scrutinized riders on the planet. If abuse of the type, frequency, and scale these people say has occurred, then where are the positive tests? Surely some scrap of real evidence would have turned up, some misstep been made with discarded paraphernalia… something.

Meanwhile, the list of riders that have failed drug tests, had substances found in their possession, etc., continues to grow. Many of these guys are riding in the peloton having served their suspensions.

Unfortunately there seems to be more money in accusing a rider of Armstrong’s stature than writing about some of these proven cheaters. Talk is cheap, but the printed word sells. I personally am not interested in buying rubbish.

John Lambert
Lyman, Maine

They all do it
VeloNews,
I’d be more surprised to learn that no one took performance enhancing drugs.

It’s just the life of the pack and a part of professional cycling. If people reject that, they are naive and not realistic. All of the top pros have taken, and will continue to take, performance-enhancing drugs.

Rojer Markesen
Reno, Nevada

So what?
Editor,
Enough is enough. We need to stop focusing on whether Lance takes drugs or doesn’t take drugs. Will all the people who live with their “utopian ideals” please remove their heads from their asses?

We know that athletes from baseball, football, WWF, hockey, track & field (especially sprinters), basketball, and sometimes the occasional bull-rider (sorry OLN, but take that crap off the air!) claim not to take drugs, but in reality they do take performance enhancing drugs.

So lets all accept that drugs are actually a part of the history of sports, and stop this witch hunt. I don’t know whether Lance does or does not. But who cares?

If he does, then he is the best rider on drugs and if not then he is still the best Tour rider not on drugs. There are other more meaningful things in life to focus our time and energy on like cancer research, stem cell research, alcoholism, teen suicide and why 33,000 children worldwide continue to die each day because of lack of medicine and food!

I seriously believe that there are more important things in life than arguing about issues in sports.

Steve Duffy
Chandler, Arizona

Keep the rubber side down, Tyler
Dear Editor,
Funny how I was just talking to my dad about how Tyler Hamilton is a real contender for this year’s Tour and saying, “Yea, he just needs to not crash,” then I read on the website that, sure enough, he’s crashed! I swear, this guy falls down more often than an NBA player during playoff season. Somebody should tell him that a cyclist can’t draw a foul from hitting the tarmac during competition.

I’m as big a fan of Tyler as anybody, but come on! I’m beginning to think his misfortune is far too much of his own making.

Or perhaps it is a medical condition. I remember reading in your fine publication many years ago how a big-named cyclist (Gianni Bugno, was it?) had an inner ear problem resulting in balance issues and he was prescribed a regular dose of classical music to help heal himself and improve his balance while descending. Perhaps the author of Tyler’s Tunes should reload his MP3 player with something other than (I’m guessing here) headbanger music.
Regards,

Mike Spangler
San Marcos, California


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.