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Thursday’s mail bag: A ‘cross conspiracy????

VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in the pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com that causes you to want to write us, drop us 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. The truth is out thereEditor'Cross as a winter Olympic sport? (see Monday's Mail bag "Why not?")hmmmmm.....Why were the 2000 'cross nationals held on the frozen Kansas tundra back in2000? Then why was Lisa Voight released from her CEO position, but still takes home

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VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in the pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com that causes you to want to write us, drop us 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.


The truth is out there
Editor
‘Cross as a winter Olympic sport? (see Monday’s Mail bag “Why not?”)

hmmmmm…..

Why were the 2000 ‘cross nationals held on the frozen Kansas tundra back in2000?

Then why was Lisa Voight released from her CEO position, but still takes home buckets of our money? Now she’s getting something like $100k each year to be “special liaison to the Olympic something or other.” (see“ USAC cuts management staff”) It all must be part of a secret plan to make ‘cross an Olympic sport in 2006.Tom McDaniel
Wilmington, DE

Would the Olympics ruin the character of ‘cross?

Editor (and Cross lovers everywhere);
Cyclo-cross and the Olympics could be a fascinating combination.I can only remind folks that the sport has been around since the 30’s in Europe in organized form, with its first world’s in the 50’s. It really doesn’t matter, since it must be approved by the UCI and pushed by big money (read sales).

However, mountain biking made it into the Olympics without being a demonstration sport first, and certainly not meeting the 75 nations/four continents requirement. This would be a question to pose to the UCI, how could ‘cross follow the MTB example?

At the end of the day, would Cyclo-Cross lose its unique crazy, special place in cycling if it went “mainstream?” As long as the sport does survive, and the UCI does not take away five dismounts (read barriers) per lap, I will be happy.

Like Patrick O’Grady (see Friday’s foaming rant:”Losin’ my religion“), I too would be scared what Olympic influence would do to the sport.

Old mud Plugger/Retro Rutledge
Alias-Tim Rutledge

Just a thought
Editor;
A barrier-free cyclo-cross isn’t always a dismount-free cyclo-cross

Justin Morgan

In praise of barriers

Editor
I like artificial barriers (planks) and natural barriers.

I remember a race in California where a natural barrier was a fallen tree that stood almost waist high. It wasn’t very fair to the shorter people in the race I’ll tell you. You had to huck your bike over the tree and then climb over after it.

I watched ‘cross nationals in Baltimore last winter (and participated in the Master’s). I had mixed feelings about the agile bunny hoppers that were able to gain time by bunny-hopping. In the past, I always figured they would lose all their time back as soon as they inevitably crashed. But some of them are so good these days that they don’t crash!

If I were designing a course, I would space a few barriers far enough apart so that the bunny hoppers could do their thing, which is always an audience pleaser. But I would also put some barriers real close together– about the distance between the front and rear wheel of a ‘cross bike– so that they would be impossible to bunny hop. That way everybody has to do some traditional barrier mounts and dismounts.One last thought– I’ve been on fast, Euro-style courses that suit ‘cross bikes, and also used to do the Santa Cruz Surf City series in the early days when it was more like a single-track MTB course.

Promoters seem to have improved course design in recent years so that a ‘cross bike is actually an advantage over an MTB. They are also providing wide, fast sections where it is convenient to pass each other. Proper course design is crucial– we need ‘cross to stay ‘cross, not become an MTB race!

Just my $0.02

Chris Mobley

Did Postal deliver for Roberto?

Editor
I’m very surprised not to have seen some criticism directed at the U.S. Postal team organization for their seeming lack of support when it comes to Roberto Heras.

This is the one area, in my opinion, in which they have failed to hold up their responsibility to someone who has been a tremendous help to the team. Granted, there were some significant mishaps early in the Vuelta that caused USPS to lose guys, thus weakening the team’s ability to control the peloton from then on. It would seem, though, that there has not been even a small percentage of the Tour de France level of commitment to helping Heras be successful at the Vuelta, and it seems that the Vuelta is really ripe for his taking.It really seemed that Heras only had one teammate who contributed in a major way with consistency (Christian Vande Velde), and one other who was willing even if not in good form (Rubiera).With regard to the loss of teammates, how is it that the TDF team can consistently finish at, or very near, full strength while the Vuelta team gets decimated? Is it truly just bad luck for the Vuelta team?When Lance was going through the Tour there were updates constantly on the Postal site. There were all of four updates for the Vuelta following the announcement of the team members. That further shows a lack of real interest from the team organization.Honestly, I am extremely thankful that there is a USPS team and I love to follow it, but I truly feel there is a debt owed to Heras for his contributions. “We’re” likely to lose him. There must be numerous other teams that would love to have him and would make a bigger commitment to helping him post wins, especially given how well he performed at the Tour and now at the Vuelta (as nearly a one-man show).

Chris Hart,
Milwaukee, WI

Great riding doesn’t always mean exciting racing
Editor;
I have to say that Steve Duffy (see Tuesday’s mail bag: “Another Tour de… yawnnnnn?“) brought up a key point — one that seemed to be quickly missed by all the defenders and champions of Lance Armstrong.The point is, that the excitement of any competition is ultimately who crosses the line first. That’s the primal essence of competitiveness that we all enjoy!

If that were not the case, who would be interested in watching or even competing in most sports? Would a basketball game be exciting if we all knew that the team with the most points at half-time was almost ensured the complete victory? A downhill ski event won by the guy who passed only the first two gates with the fastest time? Of course not! We like to see victory achieved in the final minute, final hour, or in this case, the last day of competition. That’s what excites us most, and it makes it memorable!Steve was exactly right when he said he enjoyed the Vuelta this year more because the outcome was made in the last day, not a week prior. I did, too, and so did many of my cycling friends.Now don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy the Tour de France, but there is something to be said for a tour to come down to the wire instead of the last mountain stage. Quite frankly, and generally speaking (I know there are some exceptions so save yourself the time to write about them!) after the last mountain stage, unless something crazy happens (which usually doesn’t’), we amateurs, as well as sports writers, can write the end of the tour without much thought. As for this year’s Vuelta, I was sorry that Heras did not win but I gloried in the final outcome because it was exciting! It was agony and ecstasy! It was a great and memorable race! Not that the TDF was not a great race, it just won’t be as memorable as this year’s “Vuelta”.

Also, as a point regarding LA, I can appreciate his dominance, his dedication, his team and his lack of doping, and I sincerely hope that he makes history with number six. If it ever comes out that he did, in fact, use an “illegal” substance, I will mourn that day! Athleticism is greatest and should only be praised when it is natural. Athletes otherwise don’t deserve respect regardless of excuse (everyone else does it… the only way to stay competitive etc).So far, to my knowledge, LA has the mental and physical edge of his competitors and along with a training regime and team that back that up, my hat goes off to him and any athlete like him! May there be more!Rex Engelking
Hong Kong

Mind over what matters
Editor;
This is for Steve; I can understand your point of view. It’s very hard to imagine that Armstrong wins so much without dope, but you have to realize that maybe the mind is stronger than the body. Armstrong has tapped into something that maybe some of us cannot understand. He has amazing abilities to block pain. Now, mix this combination with superb athleticism and you have a five-time Tour de France champion. Let’s not forget Indurain who had the same qualities. I guess most people have trouble believing the impossible. Dom Scali
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

What? Is this just another RBR?
Editor
In response to Steve Duffy’s email and his responders, I would like to ask the following question: Is VeloNews.com a chat room or a professional, cycling news based website?I was on several list severs for my local USCF racing district, and I removed myself from those lists to get away from these public attacks. Some of the comments and remarks from the Lance Armstrong topic I feel were not appropriate for print. Why not create a separate chat room for people to vent their feelings?As for the Lance doping… Why would someone who was on the brink of death take potentially harmful performance drugs so he can win a race? That person’s ego would have to be much bigger than their appreciation for the second chance they were given.Steve Bickling
Baltimore, MD


VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something in the pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.com that causes you to want to write us, drop us 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, though submission is not a guarantee of publication.