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Monday’s mailbag: Doping, Trautwig, McEwen’s Bug-hat, Saiz, socialism and velo noir

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.Contrition only when caughtEditor:Why is it that all of the riders caught doping now want to stop “living the lie” and come clean? Don’t you think it has more to do with getting caught than living a lie? David Millar just couldn’t live with

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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.


Contrition only when caught
Editor:
Why is it that all of the riders caught doping now want to stop “living the lie” and come clean? Don’t you think it has more to do with getting caught than living a lie? David Millar just couldn’t live with the lie, but it sure didn’t stop him from injecting himself multiple times in his career. Sure, David, I believe you (wink, wink). How stupid does he think the fans are? Ban them for life. It’s the only way.

Jan Brueggemann
Irvine, California

We don’t know doping’s cost or cure
Editor:
I’d like to reiterate Matthew Woody’s point that regardless of one’s stance on the doping issue, it should be acknowledged that doping, essentially, is slow suicide.

In my view, there is little information readily available that explains the effects of long-term doping on an athlete’s body. What about the fact that chronically elevated plasma cortisol levels have been linked to causing damage to the brain, which has been linked to the onset of depression? And heart attacks at 23?

Too, it appears that an accusation of doping is more about destroying a career than saving a life or lives while giving the governing bodies, federations and agencies a chance to look busy in the glare of a cynical public. The timing of the recent allegations is just a little too coincidental to me. And making examples of people doesn’t seem to have dampened the prevalence of drugs in cycling. Perhaps the chances of being caught are so slim it’s worth the risk — especially if you don’t really know the real consequences of what you’re doing.

I don’t know what the answer to cleaning up the sport is, but it seems to me that this approach is not really working. Any suggestions?

Amy Lindh
Nottingham, United Kingdom

Sport requires risk — and maybe dope
Editor:
Just an observation from an outsider; what’s all the beef about doping anyway? Megavitamins are okay, but EPO crosses the line; flying downhill at 50mph is okay, but all drugs are dangerous?

Elite sport requires sacrifices and personal risk from the training, the competition, and yes … sometimes from the “supplements.” Most elite athletes in any sport pay heavily in their dotage for the glory of their youth, and whether the abuse is physical or chemical, it still takes its toll. And now with the new rules, careers can be ended by innuendo or by overly enthusiastic officials and investigators.

Frankly, I hope someone is cleaning Lance’s hotel rooms before he occupies them; it would be too easy to drop a vial of EPO behind the nightstand and then drop a euro to the local constabulary. I really think it’s time to lighten up on the crime and the punishment.

Spencer Benedict
Ames, Iowa

Why all the fuss about doping? We’d like to think it’s because doping is against the rules. But what do we know? If we were smart, we’d be working for Sports Illustrated and covering Wimbledon, where the athletes are easier on the eyes. — Editor

Pull Al’s plug, please
Will someone please tell Al Trautwig to shut up!

Steve Bailey
Boulder, Colorado

Okay. Al, stuff a sock in it, can’t you? You’re giving Steve a headache. And us, too, come to think of it. — Editor

Brain-bucket or Bug?
Editor:
The picture on my TV wasn’t very good, but was Robbie McEwen wearing a Volkswagen on his head in the prologue?

Kirk Springer
Aurora, Nebraska

It’s all the rage this season, Kirk. Jan Ullrich was wearing a capsized boat not long ago, as frequent readers of the letters column will recall. —Editor

Saiz it ain’t so . . .
Editor:
How about a big shout-out to Manolo Saiz for proving that arrogant generalizations aren’t the exclusive domain of American talk radio?

“Merckx gave everything he had to the sport. The whole season. That’s what separates the European idea of cycling from the American idea.”

Hey Manolo, thanks for clearing that up. Your ability to leap from the particular to the general is truly Limbaugh-like.

Mac Ehrhardt
Albert Lea, Minnesota

Yeah, but can Rush drive while leaning out the window shouting, “Venga! Venga! Venga!” — Editor

TTT, time losses and socialism
Editor:
The new rules governing the TdF’s team time trial is befitting France’s socialist tendencies. While one might argue that limiting losses is analogous to awarding time bonuses, there is a huge difference. Time bonuses are awarded to those riders who make the extraordinary efforts to cross the finish (and sprint) lines first. Conversely, limiting time losses in the TTT benefits riders who won’t, or can’t make that effort – in effect, it rewards mediocrity.

Imagine the stink if Lance, Jan, or Tyler drops a spot to Iban or Roberto, or CSC loses the overall team rank because of this rule change. Hopefully this will not happen; hopefully Liberty Seguros and Euskaltel (and all others) ride hard and finish well in the TTT. Yet I wonder if LeBlanc’s boneheadedness will mar what should be a magnificent race.

Roy Townsley
Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Comrade, it’s not about winning, it’s about participation. Everybody is a winner. Yellow jerseys for everyone! And a group hug, too. — Editor

O’Grady good as usual
Editor:
Mr. O’Grady: As usual, nice work (See “Friday’s foaming rant: Trouble is my business”).

Tim Harrigan
West Newbury, Massachusetts

Humor, a point, and pretty close to the truth
Editor:
This is the very best piece that I have read – humor and the ability to get your point across, too. Mr. V and his hired help – very, very funny. You know, you’re not that far away from the truth – my people tell me that something big is about to be exposed at Le Tour. Millar is the tip of the iceberg. Watch this space.

Seamus Weber
Dublin, Ireland


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.