Parasites and popinjays

Our readers speak out on Ben Day's tapeworm and Mark Cavendish's brash nature.

Get access to everything we publish when you join VeloNews or Outside+.

Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of 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

Tales from the crapped


Thank you so much for the excruciating detail in Neal Rogers’ story about Ben Day. It made me wonder, though — does the UCI not ban tapeworms? After all, there was a time when people would ingest them on purpose as a way to lose weight and we know those stage racers like to be lighter for the tough climbs. Perhaps it is just that no one wants to do the doping control for that one.

Seriously, though, my heart goes out to Ben Day. What a horrific experience and hopefully he doesn’t have PTSD. Hats off to a guy who can lead the NRC and try to ride a race despite this. Perhaps he’ll make the jump to a ProTour team now that he has that monkey off his backside.

Nathaniel Hopkins

Lexington, Kentucky

Cav’s ‘salute’ showed lack of style


I’m always amazed at how important professional athletes think what 
they do is or how important they are to their sport. How many times 
have we seen stars on baseball or football fields, who believed they 
were irreplaceable, be replaced and with someone of equal or greater talent?

The same is true for cycling. When Mr. Cavendish salutes, it should be with respect and gratitude 
for everyone who allows him to do what he does for a living. He 
should know that it is less his unique talent that puts him where he 
is and more a confluence of opportunities, teammates and mentors.

fact, I would venture to say riders like him are a dime a dozen. The cycling world is filled with talented, hungry riders who could do 
exactly with Mr. Cavendish does if given the same opportunities, 
teammates and mentors. They might even be better. Certainly they 
would have more style.

Keith Whelpley

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cav’ is compelling, even when being inappropriate


While I agree that Cav’s gesture at Stage 2 of the Tour of Romandie was inappropriate, I think those who characterize the act in such grave terms as “shameful” and “disrespectful” are overreacting. I think it’s Cav’s willingness to play the role of the bad guy every now and then, coupled with the fact that he can back his words up on the bike, that make him such a compelling person to watch.

While it ultimately comes down to the race itself, the underlying personal stories and melodrama surrounding the athletes do add an element of intrigue and fun to the sport (even if it ruffles a few feathers). Can you imagine if Alexander Vinokourov had made that salute upon winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège?

Charley Meyer

Chicago, Illinois