Monday’s mail bag: George’s solo trip to Roubaix, Cofidis, nationalism and a wave

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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Almost there… yet againDear VN.com,Poor George Hincapie. If only U.S. Postal would give the classics teamequal priority as its Tour de France team. It seems that every year Georgerides great at Paris-Roubaix, only to find himself all alone at

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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Almost there… yet again
Dear VN.com,
Poor George Hincapie. If only U.S. Postal would give the classics teamequal priority as its Tour de France team. It seems that every year Georgerides great at Paris-Roubaix, only to find himself all alone at themost critical moments. He needs a stronger team. I was disappointed tosee him have yet another fruitless race.

Who knows how many he’d have won by now if he had Lotto or Quick Stepsupporting him? I understand U.S. Postal’s priority is the Tour, but c’mon.
Corin Meehan
Portland, Maine

Tom sure made the right move
Editors,
Watching Tom Boonen reap the rewards of transferring to a team that gives the Classics the respect they deserve has me wondering: what if George Hincapie had done the same?Although it’s tempting to think Hincapie lacks the killer instinct to win races. Sure, he may have won DePanne overall, but no stages. I suspectthe missing element may in fact be the opportunity to focus solely on histalents. With Postal’s overwhelming emphasis on the TDF, Hincapie appearsto have sacrificed his finishing speed for the type of climbing power neededfor a grand tour.

As long as he is expected to serve as Armstrong’s whipping boy comeJuly, one doubts he will ever realize his true potential.

Come on, George – take the plunge, move out on your own, and show uswhat you can do!
Peter Nicholson
Petaluma, California

Right guy. Wrong team?
Editors,
I am afraid that “Big Georgie” Hincapie will never win the big raceas a member of U.S. Postal Service. Once again, by the halfway point ofthe race, he was all alone and marked by all the teams of the major players.Until they (Postal) bring in a couple of Super Domestiques to carry himearly on and be there until the end, there is no way that he will everbe able to compete on the level of those riders with a strong
supporting casts – like Lotto-Domo and Quick Step.

It’s frustrating as a fan of his to see year-in-and-year-out the samestory: The could’ves, should’ves and would’vesthat come with finishing outside of the podium. I am not superior judgeof talent in any arena, but it is clear to me and even the casual observerthat George will win once given the support a rider of his talent deserves.

I think that he is yet another victim of the “all Tour de France,” allor nothing mentality of Postal, and will not really blossom until he isplucked from the clutches of Postal, whether through transfer, or throughthe possible demise of the sponsorship. Perhaps that will be a blessingin disguise for him. I just hope he recognizes it and makes a move beforeit’s too late and the well has dried up, so to speak.

Until then, I will agonizingly watch and cuss at the TV, just like anyother fan, when the all important break is missed or the last teammateis dropped when there are still 100km to go.
Thanks.
Tim McDonald
Richmond, Virginia

It could be the jersey
Dear Velo,
I do have to say that I am extremely surprised by the Cofidis responseto last week’s coverage in L’Equipe (see “Cofidisslams brakes on team amid fresh doping charges“).

Taking the whole team out of any competition. The biggest bummer isof course, Matt White, Stuart O’Grady, and Igor Astarloza not being ableto compete. None of these individuals were even on the team last year.

So you could say they just got caught up in storm that has been unleashed.Wrong place, wrong time.

Is this a continuation of the “curse” of the rainbow jersey?
Peter Rhodes
Concord, New Hampshire

A question of balance
Dear VeloNews,
In response to, “Two-wheeled nationalism” in Friday’smail bag, I, too, was deeply saddened by the death of Marco Pantaniand it was sad that some people decided to forget his tremendous accomplishmentsand write some negative things about his current lifestyle before he passed.However, I have always found VeloNews to offer a balanced opinionof how it’s readers were responding about certain issues and sometimesI think to offer this balanced opinion you have to print the good alongwith the bad.

What I found surprising is that this particular reader decided to offerhis very negative opinion about Lance Armstrong, stating that, ‘Lance justhasn’t been busted and never will be because of the wealth generated bythe bike industry in his name.’

This is absolute garbage and true babble from someone who has no respectfor the sport or it’s athletes. This type of argument is just as hurtful,maybe even more so, than the people who wrote in their dirty letters aboutMarco because it is all based on some meaningless idea flopping aroundin some persons mind who obviously has no idea what they are talking about.

Hopefully this reader will see the light and realize that just becausesome other cyclists dope it does not mean that the currently top stageracer in the world has to as well.
Almon Watson Poole
Florence, Alabama
A question of betrayal
VeloNews,
What the former reader from Ames, Iowa fails to realize is that Marco betrayed his fans.I, too, loved watching Marco climb, he was great and I was a huge fan of his. I liked Marco more back then, then I ever did Lance, but now I feel betrayed.

Marco died from guilt, not from the press, UCI, team doctors or anyoneelse. Everyone must take the blame and punishment for their own actions.

Give it up Mike from Iowa
Steve Gerard
Wall, New JerseyNo pleasantries in the zone
Sirs,
I’m guilty. Years back I was loading my bike after a training ride when a guy comes up and calls me a bunch of names (I can only repeat “elitist,” because the rest can’t be printed) and then goes on to berate me for “not even noticing him.”I had been doing intervals, counting cadence, watching my pulse, and trying to keep good form. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the Swedish Bikini Team had pedaled by sans suits. Are other endurance athletes like runners, swimmers, and rowers expected to interrupt their training to exchange pleasantries with every one they meet? If someone is in a “zone” it’s their business or their problem.
Ben Porterfield
Anchorage, AlaskaOur very last “wave” letter
Editors,
Apparently, even the recreational mountain bikers, riding on roads are doping. What else could explain the ‘roid rage it must take to turn around, chase down and confront a non-waving cyclist and insist on some sort of greeting (see “Aggressively polite” in Friday’smail bag). Amazing.

Is it really surprising Mark Salmon’s behavior embarrasses his wife?He’s acknowledging picking fights with cyclists on his bike rides. DoesVeloNews condone this? C’mon.
Fred Hinsley
Omaha, NebraskaNope. We don’t condone it. Nor do we condone allowing a single topic to drag on for this long. – Editor


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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.