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The letters page: This morning’s mail and a flood of responses

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in thepages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com thatcauses you to want to write us, dropus a line. Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter. Rider diariesI miss the rider diaries. That was the best part of your coverage.Corey Barton We would miss them too, if we didn't have them. Rest assured, wedo. Jonathan Vaughters and Tyler Hamilton are sending in regular reportsfrom the peloton. You can always check the

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Photo: Charles Pelkey

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in thepages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com thatcauses you to want to write us, dropus a line.

Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.


Rider diaries
I miss the rider diaries. That was the best part of your coverage.
Corey Barton

We would miss them too, if we didn’t have them. Rest assured, wedo. Jonathan Vaughters and Tyler Hamilton are sending in regular reportsfrom the peloton. You can always check the “Riders’Diaries” link for a complete list.

Sexist Crap?
I could barely believe my eyes, but there it was – VeloNews runninga podium girls gallery from the TDF (see “ADay at the Races — A Casey Gibson Photo Galery – Stage 1“).

Come on boys, it’s 2002. Do we really have to put up with this sexistcrap from a magazine that usually deserves credit for its coverage of women’s racing? I don’t care what your reader demographics are or who thought the gallery was a good idea. If it isn’t canned, I will never buy another VN again. For god’s sake, stick to what gives you credibility and female readers.

Resist the urge to slum and get back to the things worth covering. I’msure all the 18-30 year-old males can handle it.

FYI: I intend to rally all the intelligent, talented women Iknow and the whole lot of us are going to stop buying VN if the galleryisn’t pulled. There are too many alternatives out there to have to putup with this stuff.
Most sincerely,
Sandra Bender

Well, you got us. We did run a picture of one of the podium girls.We were kind of hoping to do the same at least once every day, though wenever intended it to be ‘sexist crap,’ but rather just example of what folks who are actually there see everyday at the Tour.

We were hoping to be balanced and provide a non-sexist representation of the European podium, but this shot from the the 1998 Women’s Giro d’Italia (where organizers provided these two male models to serve as ‘podium boys’ for the entire race) was the best we could do. – Editor


The afternoon mailbag
(proving beyond a doubt that the old line “a picture is worth athousand words” is a gross underestimation).

Of babes and bathwater
God, it’s been a while since I’ve lived in North America. I forgothow competely f—ing P.C. everyone is.

Christ, Sandra, get over yourself. Ban VeloNews because of onephoto of a fully clothed pretty girl? It’s so throwing out the baby withthe bathwater. I know that there is too much sex in the media and thatwomen are far too often objectified, but can’t we also have a sense ofproportion? What an obsessive, s—-y and unhappy world you must live in.

Vive la différence.
Matt Brown
Lausanne, Switzerland

Hammer time
Please continue with the pictures of the TdF podium girls! I completelydisagree with that letter from Sandra Bender. It was only one picture outof several photos on that page. Plus, it is a very popular part of thedaily TdF awards presentation and deserves to be a part of your TdF coverage. I already subscribe to VN, but I would be happy to buy a second copy to offset Ms. Bender’s cancellation.

By the way, I am older than the 18-30 demographic that Ms. Bender targetedwith her letter.
Chris Hammer
Woodridge, IL

This just in: Guys like girls
Yes, it’s 2002, and guys, including bike racers, still like girls!Whoever thinks that will ever change is nuts. And it shouldn’t change.Period. Yes, we’re still looking at girls after all these years!
Dave Kerlin
Sacramento, CA

For sexist fluff, read Sports Illustrated
Right on, Sandra. You might not have intended your “podium girls series”to be sexist crap, but trust me, the idea is about as boneheaded as SportsIllustrated’s swimsuit issue. Because they’ve already succeeded in attractinga substantial chunk of the male population (those men who enjoy their sportswhilst reclining on the couch with a mouthful of chips), SI can affordto alienate potential women readers.

Based on the fast-growing number of women cyclists, you guys can’t andshouldn’t.

If you want your podium girl, or someone like her, go read SportsIllustrated.
Cara Viggiano

Wherever you go from here, Gen, avoid that SI site
Like Sandra, I, too, was disappointed to be presented with an imageof a podium girl” upon browsing Casey Gibson’s Tour de France photo galleryat VeloNews.com. Your feeble editorial explanation of your intent to “bebalanced and provide a non-sexist representation of the European podium”is laughable beside the caption, “our first entry in our daily podium girlseries.”

A podium-girl series is hardly a non-sexist representation. I will certainlybe seeking Tour de France updates and information from more credible sources.
Gen Lamorie
Ottawa, Canada

As the author of that feeble editorial explanation, I just wantedto suggest that I had my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, which doesn’talways come across when you’re pounding on a keyboard. — Editor

And now, the other side (geographically and philosophically)
Please keep the sexist crap coming! I for one have blood in my veinsand enjoy seeing pretty European girls mixed in with the action shots.Why should the Tour coverage not include images of events surrounding therace? I am sure all the 18-30 year old females can handle it!
Rich McMullan
Vancouver, BC

Here’s one female who can
Is it really “sexist” for men to enjoy pictures of pretty podium girls,or is it just human nature? After all, we girls get to enjoy looking atpictures of all the cute racers in skintight Lycra (though we all missMario, heaven knows). Is showing a picture of the podium girls really somuch different? One girl’s opinion.
Mimi Sheean
Los Angeles, California

Ignore that other girl’s opinion
I truly hope you do not intend to change your plans for the Photo Gallerybased on the letter you published on line today. Just what we need, anothertotally self-absorbed censor that threatens boycotts and book burningsjust because your publication does not live up to their particular viewof societal decorum. I really like your photos – I think they give a well-balancedview of the sights and sounds of Le Tour.
My advice – ignore it.
Terry Brownell
Corrales, New Mexico

Bad word, worse idea
I could barely believe my eyes, but there it was – VeloNewsrunning a letter from a reader with a bad word in the title on the TdFletters page: “Diary entries and sexist crap.”

Come on! This is ridiculous. Quit your crying and spend your energieson the bike. Please, stop buying VeloNews – go buy Cosmoor something! The intelligent, talented women I know (a) have a sense ofhumor, and (b) have better things to do with their time (like train) thanwhine about photos.

I don’t always like every photo or article in VeloNews, nor shouldI. We should all be glad to have such a great magazine in the U.S. coveringcycling. Where else would we turn? To that horrible rag produced by USACycling? No, thank you. I like to get cycling news in timely fashion andinternational in flavor.

Take the good with the bad. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s life.
Brad Ford
Boonton, NJ

On a Bender, and harder than O’Grady
I certainly hope you don’t pull the Podium Gallery because of one iratewoman who’s on a Bender.

Casey’s gallery had several pictures (and will continue to do so) ofsuperfit guys in tight Lycra. Every woman and gay man I’ve ever taken toa bike race has told me that’s a real turn on for them. And then there’sone picture of an attractive woman, fully and decently clothed and it’s”sexist crap” and “slumming.” C’mon, Sandra. It is 2002, and the angry,”every man who looks at a woman is a sexist pig” aspect of the women’smovement died a long time ago.

Please continue to show us all of the happenings at the Tour, from thespectators to the racers to the beautiful scenery (the countryside, buildings,etc.) and yes, the podium girls – and boys.
Oh, and by the way, I’m 51, not an 18-30-year-old, just to furtherdestroy your stereotyping.
David Robinson

P.S.: Maybe Sandra could do “Monday’s Foaming Rant” now thatO’Grady’s softening up.

The letters page: This morning's mail and a flood of responses

The letters page: This morning’s mail and a flood of responses

Photo:

Yeah, he’s softening up, all right
I could barely believe my eyes, but there it was – VeloNews runninga contest urging its readers to find the portly bald cycling journalistin the Tour photo (see “A Day at the Races – A Casey Gibson Photo Gallery- Stage 1”).

As a follicularly challenged, gravity-impaired velo-scribe, I insistthat you resist the urge to slum and get back to the things worth covering.Like podium chicks. Seen any bald ones? Bald chicks are hot.

Patrick O’Grady
Sinéad O’Connor Memorial No-Hair Club for Men
Westcliffe, CO

Because then, the terrorists win
Please don’t succumb to the humorless, politically correct, confrontationaltactics of Ms. Bender. There was nothing exploitive about the picture fromStage 1. If Ms. Bender can’t take a joke; or some race ambience; in additionto your fine coverage, that is her loss.

Don’t make it everyone’s loss.
Tom Vitt
Myrtle Beach, SC

More, more, more
First, regarding the podium girls: Sarah Bender really needs to lightenup. The podium girls are one of the most distinctive parts of Le Tour.They’re all turned out immaculately and conduct themselves with class.My 74-year-old mother thinks they’re wonderful. Ms. Bender must have someserious “issues” to be offended.

Second, any idea why Bob Roll was dropped from OLN’s coverage? He maybe nutty as a fruitcake, but he’s fun and he knows his stuff.

And third, your Tour de France “Tech Talk” section is da bomb. I’m aracer and a gearhead with a garage full of bikes, so I soak that stuffup. Give us more, more, more.
James Broder
Maui, HI, and Juno Beach, FL

Lighten up? No, listen up
Consider yourselves lucky, VeloNews, to be the news source ofchoice for consumers like Ms. Sanders. Had I seen the podium girl photoprior to the prompt of Ms. Sanders’ response, I would have thought, “Huh?”been put off by the same ol’ tired sexist taint just below consciousness,and moved on.

Decades of podiums have inured most of us to the objectifying of womenas marketing tools or symbolic spoils of war. Be assured that rating podiumgirls alienates your “intelligent, talented” American readers whose sisters, girlfriends and wives have had to overcome “sexist crap” in more than just competitive cycling.

Y’all along with myself are served well in being reminded of how VeloNewshas earned its credibility. Yours is a news service that celebrateswomen excelling, challenging themselves and our culture in this sport weall love. Podium boys? Lame. But I understand your attempt at recoveryafter the fact. Just say, “Thanks for the feedback, we see your point”and earn even more credibility for the great coverage.
Michael Juras
Columbia, SC

Let’s see the girls … and everyone else, too
After reading the letters and looking at the pictures, I think thatSandra has a point that is reinforced by the ‘98 women’s Giro picture.The Giro picture is of the entire podium, race-winner and non-race folks(podium men?) while the picture in the Stage 1 Tour gallery is of a woman,seemingly singled out for display because of her appearance, who may ormay not even be on a podium.

While the gallery is supposed to show what folks “see every day at theTour” I imagine that they see the entire podium. How about podium picturesthat show the stage winner, yellow-jersey holder, etc. from a perspectivethat encompasses the entire podium?
Nathan Finch
Boston, MA

Great idea. We will forward it to Casey.

She’s got the guys … give us the girls
Am I missing something here? When I look at VeloNews’ Tour page-and the whole magazine, for that matter – I see photos all over the placeof sleek, shaven, taut legs . . . tight, body-hugging clothing . . . sinewy, lean arms. And unless I need new glasses, most of them are male. You have plenty to look at here, Sandra. Why can’t we guys have something to lookat, too?

Compared to other cycling magazines I read on a regular basis, VeloNewsdoes an exemplary job of covering women’s racing, given the very real factthat the women’s race scene is smaller, with less prize money (yes, I know- that is sexist, but that’s a different discussion.) VN seems to treat women racers as the serious athletes they are, with a sense of respect and dignity for the training, sweating, and suffering they do to earn their achievements in racing.

Keep the podium-girls shots, add a guy shot for the ladies every day,and shut down this indignant whining.
Dave Kraus
Schenectady, NY

What’s the problem with a pretty girl?
I wouldn’t be too concerned about Ms. Sandra Bender’s comments regardingthis aspect of your daily TdF coverage. The picture of the podium girlis fine by me and I would guess it’s OK with 99.999 percent of all (maleand female) VN readers. It’s not lewd, crude or at all inappropriate. Apretty girl with a nice smile.
I can’t imagine what Ms. Bender’s problem could be with that, but itis her problem.
Joe Dowell

Can’t we all just get along?
I am not 18 to 30 and could care less about the podium girls, but theP.C. crap is getting a bit much. Guys and girls of cycling, let’s get togetherand support the sport that we give a lot of our lives to. Enjoy the greatestcycling event in the world, since it may be years before we get anythingresembling even a lesser stage race in Europe.

Keep up the great work, VN. I will buy two copies to make up for your loss.
Raymond Davis
North Carolina

And now, for something completely different
It’s nice to have the live update, but isn’t there a standings rosterwhere we can quickly check out the individual and team standings? The siteis good, but not the easiest around which to navigate.
David R. Figgat
San Diego, CA

They’re there… but to help we will regularly insert a link to theprevious day’s standings during our live updates to make things easier.Thanks for the suggestion — Editor

Where was Moreau’s team?
I understand the lamenting about the plight of talented ChristopheMoreau, crashing twice in one stage. But why didn’t the team expend theirenergy keeping their potential GC top three star at the front and out oftrouble?
David Phillips
Warrenton, VA

Funny you should ask. Jonathan Vaughters offered up an explanantionto that very question in his diary entry today. See “Vaughters’views: derrieredu peloton” — Editor

All that glitters is not good
So Lance is buying into a gold mine. My wife works for Mineral PolicyCenter, which shares a floor with the League of American Bicyclists herein D.C. Check out MineralPolicy.org to see what a shitty investment forthe environment it is, especially in Africa. I thought Lance would caremore.
John Dinn
Kensington, MD

Lance is great, but no Intimidator
I think Lance is great, the cat’s meow, man, I mean this dude kicksmajor ass. And that picture portrays him perfectly.

And now to my problem – as dumb as this may seem, I would like to remindyou there was already an Intimidator … Dale Earnhardt earned that nameby riding an opponent’s bumper at 180 mph. That was his way of saying moveor be moved. And this wasn’t just any NASCAR driver – he’s thought of asthe best ever. Whether you loved him or hated him, you always knew wherehe was on that track.

You wouldn’t use the name Cannibal, for instance — my gosh, you wouldhave so many letters your server would shut down. My guess is, you probablythought, “Who’s going to notice?” Well, I did. Road racing, primarily thebig tours, and NASCAR are my two favorite sports to watch.
Brian Buchanan
Peru, IL.

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