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Saturday’s mailbag: Tour etiquette, fashion and hazards, plus the ever-popular Horner

The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.What goes around, comes aroundEditor:Recent letter writers have expressed confusion and/or disapproval regarding Iban Mayo and company finding themselves left behind in Tuesday's stage following a crash, while on Thursday U.S. Postal

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If Joan Rivers was a bike racer, would she give Lance's black socks a big thumb's down?

If Joan Rivers was a bike racer, would she give Lance’s black socks a big thumb’s down?

Photo: Graham Watson (file photo)

The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.


What goes around, comes around
Editor:
Recent letter writers have expressed confusion and/or disapproval regarding Iban Mayo and company finding themselves left behind in Tuesday’s stage following a crash, while on Thursday U.S. Postal killed the pace to wait for the crash victims early in that stage. The criticism has been, “Why didn’t everyone follow the custom of waiting for crash victims to rejoin on Tuesday, when they waited for Posties and others on Thursday?”

I believe that what we saw on Tuesday may have been retribution for Mayo’s treatment of Jan Ullrich in last year’s Tour. Remember last year how Ullrich pulled Mayo and a teammate up, up, and up, needing the time bonus to narrow Armstrong’s lead, only to have Mayo and his teammate pass Ullrich just meters from the line, thus robbing Ullrich of the time bonus he duly earned? Such things are not forgotten and do not go unpunished in the world of the pro peloton.

Tuesday’s stage was simply a case of “what goes around, comes around.” His greed for a few bonus seconds last year may have cost him minutes, and possibly the Tour, this year.

Cleve Johnson
Pasco, Washington

Ullrich towed Mayo, teammate Haimar Zubeldia and Fassa Bortolo’s Ivan Basso up stage 15’s 13.7km Luz-Ardiden ascent in pursuit of Lance Armstrong, only to see Mayo (but no one else) skip around him at the line to finish second to Armstrong and collect a 12-second time bonus. We’re not ordinarily a fan of conspiracy theories; still, we do understand and appreciate the concept of payback.— Editor

Smart tactics by Postal, tough luck for Mayo
Editor:
How is possible that people are questioning Johan and Lance’s tactics in giving up the yellow jersey? Given the weather conditions and crashes these past few days, it was a brilliant tactic. Need I remind everyone a few years ago, Lance entered the mountains 37 minutes behind the yellow jersey – and who won the Tour?

And let’s stop the whining about the poor sportsmanship of Lance, Jan and Tyler for not waiting for Mayo on stage 3. Every team was trying the same tactic – get to the cobbles before everyone else. Euskatel was running just as hard for Mayo when it happened. Imagine the carnage had USPS, T-Mobile and Phonak hit the brakes to wait for Mayo? While it was unfortunate for him, that is an inherent risk of the Tour.

I can hardly wait for the mountains, when Lance will make his move!

Sheila Murphy
Arvada, Colorado

Black socks: Eeeeyewww
Editor:
It may have happened before, and I have seen no comments on this subject, but Lance was wearing black socks in the Dauphiné Libéré and has continued to do the same during the Tour.

At first I thought it may have been in response to the death of former President Reagan. It’s bad enough to see him wear white socks halfway up his calf, but to wear black socks in the Tour No way.

Barry Whitworth
Roseburg Oregon

We could see a black armband for a dead president. Black socks, however, are worn only when a famous podiatrist passes on. — Editor

Black is beautiful
Editor:
I’m puzzled here; help me out. What’s the hoo-hah about black socks? And who’s the authority on what is and is not a fashion faux pasin the cycling world? I like my black socks. Short, cycling-specific black socks. Apparently others like their black socks as well.

I did a little five-minute “market research” project in my loo, wherein reside two of the most popular mail-order catalogs catering to those of us who purchase all things high-end bicycle. One offered seven and the other 13 (my count) different “flavors” of black socks.

So, if Lance, the patron, likes to wear black socks on occasion – get over it.

T.J. Bernick
Boise, Idaho

Mr. Blackwell … paging Mr. Blackwell…. — Editor

All hail the Live Update guru
Editor:
Congrats to the astute VN Live Update guru for stage 6. When the crash in the final kilometer happened, VN’s Live Update was the first web site to instantly analyze the situation as having happened inside the 1 km to go mark. The Live Update mentioned this even as the crash was reported, which was awesome. Even the TdF’s official web page had to issue a correction 15 minutes later to disregard the staggered times they gave the riders after the race judges essentially corroborated what the VN Live Update guru said about the riders not being penalized due the 1km to go crash rule in effect.

Excellent online scoop – makes the Live Update Guru as the best in his class.

Veer Dhandapani
Austin, Texas

There are other websites doing this, too?!?!? – Editor

Who’s more dangerous, Haselbacher or dope?
Editor:
Funny thing, my 8-year-old didn’t want to go to bed last night and expended considerable energy trying to find an excuse to put off shut-eye for “10 more minutes.” When he slid an old Tour videotape into the VCR and pushed “play,” well – he got to stay up. To my surprise, today’s velonews.com account of Rene Haselbacher causing a crash in the finishing sprint was a replay of a similar incident on the tape my son played.

So I ask, with the integrity of the Tour in mind, and hoping that the best riders rise to the top: Which is more dangerous for the peloton, Rene Haselbacher or EPO? Just curious.

Peter B. Erdmann
West Palm Beach, Florida

We know which hazard Robbie McEwen would point to, Peter. The mercurial Aussie pocket rocket, who has called Haselbacher a “kamikaze,” blames him not only for Friday’s pileup, which left McEwen missing a few bucks’ worth of ground round off his left butt cheek, but also for a stage-3 mishap last year that put Haselbacher on the tarmac and McEwen and Baden Cooke out of contention for the stage win.— Editor

Nuts to Horner, cheers to McCartney
Editor:
I just read Horner’s comments in the July 26 VeloNews regarding the Olympic selection road race, and I have never been less impressed by a Euro-wanna-be in my life.

Like David Zabriskie said, “If you’re so strong, you should win regardless of who rides against you.” No one gives you that much credit for the entire break to race against you.

Meanwhile, congrats to Jason McCartney and John Lieswyn for perfect team racing, and let’s hope Armstrong’s spot goes to a worthy candidate.

Trey Smith
Armuchee, Georgia

For the one or two of you who don’t subscribe to our fine print magazine, the always-blunt Horner really let fly after finishing 11th at the Team USA Selection Race June 19 in Redlands, California. “Everybody raced against me,” he said. “I can’t race 20 guys on my own. I’ve never seen so many women in my life.” — Editor


The Mail Bag is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday feature on VeloNews.com, but will appear daily during the Tour. 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.