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Sunday’s mailbag: Negative letters; praise for Voeckler; Lance misquoted about ‘gift’ to Basso?

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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Less gossip, more racing discussion, pleaseEditor:With cycling enjoying a rare renaissance in America, an American team doing well, exceptional racing and coverage (and VeloNews

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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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Less gossip, more racing discussion, please
Editor:
With cycling enjoying a rare renaissance in America, an American team doing well, exceptional racing and coverage (and VeloNews ad revenues up), surely you must be receiving more positive letters than the negative, gossipy rants and personal attacks you’ve been publishing? Lance, et al., a jerk, a messiah, on drugs, “Spittin mad,” “This is classic USAC bullshit,” etc. Please, more letters about the positive side of the fantastic racing we’ve been watching. Leave the gossip for Cosmo ladies.

By the way, the TdF preview magazine you sent was the best!

Patrick Morris
San Francisco, California

Ad revenues up? Nobody told us. We want a raise. But to get back to your question, Patrick, during our long years in journalism we have noticed that readers tend to write to the editor when they wish to bury something (or someone) rather than praise it. Even you — you’re irked about all these cranky letters we’ve been running. Still, you raise a valid point, and so in an attempt to balance the ledger a bit, we present the next letter. – Editor

An open letter to Thomas Voeckler
Thomas,
Thank you for today reminding us what makes us all turn our eyes to France each July. While Armstrong won today, you reminded us of the courage and heart of true champions. You reminded us of the importance of sport. In a time of great turmoil, we look to you for inspiration. And today, we have found it again. We all have our Plateau de Beille; watching you fight back after every hill today does remind us that we can climb ours.

It was a ride in a great tradition. Armstrong may make history this year. You will have made it a race worth watching, and worth remembering.

Marcus Collins
Ithaca, New York

Could Armstrong have been misquoted about ‘gift?’
Dick Howard’s letter (see “Saturday’s mailbag: If it was gift, why say so?”) criticizing Lance Armstrong for saying that he had given Ivan Basso a gift in stage 13 at La Mongie is based on what may be a misquote from the French wire service Agence France Presse (and what a shock it would be if the French misquoted Armstrong, huh?).

AFP has Armstrong saying “It was a pleasure to let him (Basso) win. He was super strong.” Reuters quotes Armstrong as follows: “Ivan deserved to win the stage. He’s a hell of a good guy and was super strong on the final climb. He and I have been friends for a long time. Now off the bike we’re working on his mum’s situation to see if she can win the fight against cancer. It was special for me to be out there with him.”

Spoken quickly, that sounds an awful lot like, “It was a pleasure for me to let him win.” The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported that Armstrong had expressly denied “a gift.” They had him saying: “Ivan was the strongest today. I didn’t give it to him,” said Armstrong, who won at La Mongie two years ago.

Any of the VeloNews reporters there to settle the debate?

Tom Koegel
Mill Valley, California

Ever had a debate with your wife about just who said what at the family picnic last week, Tom? Amazing, isn’t it – how two different people can come away with wildly divergent recollections as to what drunk Uncle Fergus said to stodgy Cousin Philomena? Happily, when the speaker is a Tour de France champion who has been known to tape his own interviews with the press, the press often brings along their mini-recorders, too. And our reporters have Lance on tape saying the following: “It was a pleasure for me to let him win. Ivan deserved it. Perhaps I pulled a little more but he is in super form. Off the bike, we’re working a little bit with the situation and trying to see if she can win her fight against cancer. We don’t talk about the race but we talk about his mom…. It was pretty special for me to be out there with him.” — 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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.