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Of Sandbaggers and Cherry Pickers
I was fortunate to witness this year’s little Indy 500 in BloomingtonIN.
The controversy surrounding Josh Weirs eligibility (see “Finishline: April 22“) was well known by every person I spoke with in thecommunity. After all – it was front page Headline News!
I’ve been involved with bike racing for over 20 years and reached CatII in my younger years. I introduced my son to the sport who is currentlya pro. I coached him till he became a cat II. I’ve attended racessuch as the World Road Racing Championships and the U.S. Road nationalchampionships every year for the last five.
My conclusion; Any rider entering the little Indy this year andwas truly a Cat III didn’t last three laps before getting dropped. Thetop teams and riders in that race may call themselves Cat III butwho are they trying to fool? Not me! Where I come from they call them “CherryPickers.”
Oh well – at least they ain’t cheaters, right?
Just wanted to say that your L-B-L coverage was a pleasure to read,but I was hoping you would have included a list of the winners year byyear. Could you email that to me?
Sure, and for the rest of you, hereit is — Editor
Quibbles and bits
Love what you are doing, sorry to say but it’s better than the mag (exceptfor maybe the pictures) but how did Paris-Roubaix lose it’s title (100editions in the books right?) to Liege-Bastogne-Liege as the oldest ofthe classics?
“This victory is for the whole team,” said Bettini, who repeated hiswin of two years ago at Liege, the oldest of the spring classics, now inits 88th edition.
Quibbles aside keep it up, a lot has changed, almost all for the bettersince the days of Winning etc.
The answer to your question is that Liege-Bastogne-Liege began earlier(1892 versus 1896). it’s just that Paris-Roubaix suffered fewer interruptions.-Editor
Enough ranting about rants
To all of you who complain about the Rants: Don’t read it!
I think it’s funny how many of you people hate O’Grady’s rants, yetyou obviously continue to read it. Is it just to have something to complainabout? If so, get a hobby, or better yet, get on your bike.
Postal delivers Johan
Not sure if anyone else noted this one for the trivia library. In 2000and 2002 who were the last riders to bid Johann ‘bon voyage’ as he departedon his triumphant rides into Roubaix?
The answer of course is that both times U.S. Postal riders were thevery last riders to stay in contact until Johann decided to go it alone.In 2000 it was Frankie Andreu and this year it was George and Tom.
Graham Jones (the first!)
Earlier mail Where’s Marco?
I was going down the finishlist of Liege-Bastogne-Liege and was a bit surprised to see that onlyone rider finished from the Mercatone Uno squad!, Luca Mazzanti at 21,one spot after Hincapie.
If Pantani is hoping to get on the Societie’s favorite side 2 weeksbefore they announce their final selection for the Tour, I would say dreamon. I wonder how many teams finished LBL with only one rider? Certainlynot a lot of the wild card selection hopefuls.
VN on track
I just want to send you a huge Thank You!! — for covering theTrack World Cup in Monterrey Mexico, especially since I could not evenget results from the UCI webpage. I could not find coverage anywherethis weekend! I hope you will continue this excellent coveragefor all the upcoming track World Cup events.
Anyway, I do thank you for the coverage you did have and it was veryinformative and well-written. thank you so much.
Last week’s rantwas great!
It cracks me up when people offer opinions on sarcasm and commentarywith the definition of “whining” or “complaining”. Think of the absurdity:trying to take the high road against complaints and whining by complainingand whining. That has to be the ultimate dichotomy! By thelooks of the addresses, it appears to be an American phenomenon.
As far as one person charging that the VDB “bashing” is too old to commenton, I would offer that if Frank and his agents would drop the situation,it would probably go away. Everytime Frank whines in the press abouthis meds for his “uber-pooch” (great line, even better visual, I almostwet myself laughing) it makes him look ridiculous and invites commentary. Frank should get the “just shut up” award. He has talent most ofus can only dream of, yet he squandered it because of his immaturity.
Keep the rants coming, I don’t like all of them, but I surely won’twrite you claiming they are “humor impaired”. It seems to me thatpeople who claim that no one else is funny, are usually the most humorlessand colorless souls you could ever hope to avoid.
La Crosse, WI
Do not try this at home!
Wow…people really dislike Roll and O’Grady?
Just as an experiment, I ripped out every article that expressed anopinion or an original thought, and magically my VeloNews turnedinto the USA Cycling magazine.
Probably shouldn’t try this at home, either
Patrick, Patrick, Patrick,
Keep the faith my man. Writing like Maynard after he’d been floatingface-down in a vat of meth and acid is not necessarily bad.
You’re walking on the razor’s edge and it’s fun and exciting as a readerto watch you negotiate this literary blade without emasculating yourself.
Idaho Falls, ID
On Posties and ranting Irishmen
Reading your letters column amazes me! a few days ago I read itand was moved to write a response to all those who were bitchin’ aboutthe way Postal (Bruyneel/Hincapie/Boonen) rode at P-R. The foamingrant mellowed me out so much I deleted it without sending it, but readingtoday’s letters so “harshed my mellow” that I thought I had to writesomething.
First, U.S. Postal rode a great race at Paris-Roubaix, Hincapie dida good ride but didn’t have super legs that day, that’s bike racing. 4 placings in the top 6 ain’t bad, and I for damn sure know it’s a lotbetter than all the people whining about it are ever gonna do. Georgejust has to do what most P-R winners do, pick himself up, keep hammeringand hope that luck breaks his way. It worked for Duclos who won onhis 13th attempt. Bruyneel would have been crazy to tell Boonen towait for George and possibly jeopardize any podium spot at all! Boonenrode his heart out for the team and when it became apparent that therewas no chance for the win he deserved his shot and got it.
Second, To all you peoples whining about the foaming rant, can youseriously believe they are going to cancel it because of your uptight moaning? It gets more response than anything else they do, sort of like poking agila monster with a stick, it’s always going to get a predictably nastyresponse.
Third, To Mike Creed in Belgium, hey man how’s it goin? Hopeto see you at Gila.
Silver City, NM
Saturday’s foaming rant
Well, at least Pat decided to go after topics that are more timely thanbashing VDB so long after the news broke that it was almost last season(see “Friday’s foamingrant: You can’t get there from here…“
Maybe after crying about the world we all love (and he gets paid tobe in…) he can sit back and do Cycling and the people around him a favorand ACTUALLY SUGGEST A SOLUTION TO ANYTHING HE WHINES ABOUT!
Your job sucks, USA Cycling sucks, The Mag Sucks, The people you workwith are pee-ons (interns,Pixel twidlers and old men).
Man, do us all a favor and go back to barber college and finish thistime! Get good enough at something so that, rather than being theguy who knows just enough to piss and moan but not enough to make a difference,when you are put in a position of influence you actually have enough brainpower to apply it in a way that could make things better.
One great point though, the “pixel twiddlers and Interns” that getto work under you, will have a great reference point! They can sayto themselves, ” what ever I do, I need to have my crap straight enoughso that I don’t wind up a bitter wind bag”.
Bitter wind bag… that’s Patrick’s most endearing quality, isn’tit? — Editor
Regarding the rants…
I vote for more
Speaking of that masthead
In your rant you mentioned the list of people on the back page who workat VeloNews. I’ve always wondered, did Mary Campagnolo even haveto interview for her job or did someone see her name and say, “You haveto work here!”.
I mean what are the chances, that’s not a common name here in the USand she works at a cycling magazine.
Thanks for the great work at VN and VN.com
Well, when our last credit manager, Billy-Bob Mavic, left the company,we had to replace him with someone. — Editor
O’Grady appeals only to the humor-impaired
This O’Grady guy is pathetic, its gets worse and worse.
Can someone fire him and leave him to small runs of pamphlets to cyclocrossand singlespeed nerds-Please!
MTBing is doing just fine, I don’t know what is up this guy’s ass, butVelonews really should screen him. His shock-value is so lame, and thedozen or so people that think he is “funny” must be the same people thatliked Alf when it was on.
Craig “Stikman” Glaspell
Team GT Pitboss
All that and no decoder ring
Your FOAMING RANTS are awsome, and you don’t need a Bob Roll decoderring (although he’s cool too).
Walla Walla, WA
To whom it may concern,
Your rant article is a refreshing addition to largely banal and textbookwriting by overfed fishheads and penjockeys who couldn’t find a bearingrace in the manual and decided to write about it instead.
I gave up hope long ago that cycling might retain some dignity or honestybut I now realize how worthless these virtues are. A hung over Steven Rocheat the Tour Village slapping Gert-Jan Theunisse around for drug money maybe the high point of my Tour experience. Jean Marie Leblanc is so crookedthey screw his pants on every morning. Lance Armstrong has taught me thevalue of PR, high level political connections, the use of bodyguards, andthe art of tax write offs. I now have my own foundation (Society for ThoseRecovering From Hoof Surgery), own several firearms, write letters to everygoddamn
public servant, and have plans to mace every start line of cyclingworld cups the world over.
Anyway, before I implicate myself any further, please continue withThe Rant. The Loon in Walloon line was excellent…
When it is finally pulled, I will know John Wilcockson has brought godto your puritan mag and is the same swine who shunted me out of his presscar in Paris 2000. Both he and Virenque have problems staring themselvesin the mirron every morning. They are the goat!
All those in need of my Society for Those Recovering from Hoof Surgerymust contact Amgen USA. Ask for Doctor Feel Good…who looks more and morelike an overpaid pimp every day.
Shoot it in the mainline, son. You can smell it going in.
We didn’t let you in our car in 2000?!?! Really? Nahhh… Wow. Iwonder why. — Editor
Loved the rant
Subject: Love your stuff!
I already said it once.
Somewhere in Belgium
But where are those letters?
Okay, guys, WTFO? (Think about it; shouldn’t take long.) There’s talk about online letters, and there’s talk about how popular thesection is, and those Friday Foamin’ Rants are just freakin’ wonderful.
I wanna participate! Although I’m slow, fat, decrepit, and findingthat I’m growing hair in places that just aint right for that sort of thing,I can still type. So bring it on! But–ahem–where the hellare they? It’s hard to enjoy ’em when you can’t find ’em. AndI don’t know if I can beat ’em, but I sure as hell can’t join ’em ’causeI can’t even find ’em. ‘Course, I haven’t looked in all the variousbody cavities yet, and I sure as Missy Giove naked makes Wilcockson pukedon’t wanna go there.
So please, just tell.
The rant proves that VeloNews is the best written and insightfulpublication around. Keep up the good work.
Oh and if your mag staff is thinking of getting actual paychecks theyare in the wrong sport. We are all volunteers right? We do this for thejoy of cycling and get food by showing up at friend’s houses at dinnertime.
By the way I must be a diehard ’cause I do follow the Giro and findit to be a better race than the Tour.
Keep up the good work but don’t revisit that concept of a Missy centerfold.
Its not about the hype
How about going to the roots of cycling supporters.
What about posting race results and reports from regional races? Try and avoid the Rodale thing, I just ended all my subscriptions to theMags they put out as they no longer appeal to me with the “Best ride Yet” “ride Even Stronger” “Sprint even Faster than last issue”, ” Geteven more expensive, longer travel freeride bikes for your same old XCtrails”.
Its not about the hype and product. We read because we get ampedon the race reports, we identify with the agony of defeat and the tasteof victory. We ride for many reasons and we read for many reasons. I personally like the foaming rants and Bob Rolls roaming commentary…Keepem coming.
First, “the Rodale thing” was a joke and second, we are hoping formore local and regional results. Promoters and participants can sendthose results to POgrady@7Dogs.comWe will try to have those up by Monday afternoon. — Editor
We’re doing it for the R-E-S-P-E-C-T
I look forward to your Friday rants and hope you keep it up!
For all those folks who don’t understand, tell them to put VeloNewsdown, turn on the TV and watch WWF and/or NASCAR. By definition, cyclistshave to have a sense of humour and have to be able to take a jibe hereand there. We shave our freakin legs for cyring out loud; we are used tobeing made fun of! I say turn it up a notch!
I have more respect for VeloNews since you have started the Fridayrants and have subsequently renewed my subscription.
Was Boonen a team player?
My letter is a question. After watching a tape of Paris-Roubaix,it seemed pretty clear that Tom Boonen rode away from his leader afterthe leader crashed and the two of them together could certainly made abetter showing for the team, 2 posties on the podium without jeopardizingtheir virtually guaranteed one podium spot.
Not having raced anything other than a few mtn bike races I’d like toknow, am I off base here?
Mail from the rest of the week
Lance was exactly where he shoulda been
Mr. Foran, (in reference to “Lance Shoulda been there” — Tuesday’sletters below)
Lance was riding. He was here in Austin, Texas for the Ride for theRoses. This year this event raised over 2 million dollars for cancer researchand a cure. For the past five years, Lance has committed his
time to the foundation that bears his name and provides personal inspirationand leadership here in Austin for this event.
His commitment to the Lance Armstrong Foundation means he may miss aEuropean event that conflicts with the the Ride. This year, it happenedto be Paris-Roubaix. I’m sorry, but I do not find your comments appropriate.
I’m just a bit curious. Did Paul Johnson (in referenceto “Bruyneel misdirected” — Tuesday’s letters below) even read thelive updates from Paris Roubaix before blaming Bruyneel and Boonen forHincapie’s non-podium finish?
Uh, Paul, Boonen was riding George off of his wheel before thefall. Hincapie had popped. He couldn’t even hold onto Wesemann’swheel when he went past. Bruyneel made the correct decision, andcut Boonen loose to race for himself. Hincapie would have slowedhim down and cost Postal their only shot at the podium. And let’sface it, NOBODY was going to catch Museeuw on Sunday.
As it is, Postal rode a damned fine race. They had Boonen in theearly break if it happened to stay away. They had Cruz and Landissetting a high tempo to prevent constant attacks from trying to bridgeup. When the decisive attack came after Arenberg, Hincapie was init, and he still had Boonen up front. When Museeuw attacked at 40k,it was Hincapie and Boonen who set off after him. If it wasn’t forHincapie’s fall, Postal probably would have ended up 2-3. In theend, however, it looks like George was having an average kind of day andit simply wasn’t enough. The big question is if Postal will be ableto keep Boonen from going to Domo at the end of the year.
And now for Ed Foran’s letter. Besides being Paris-Roubaix weekend,this was also ‘Ride for the Roses’ weekend. Lance’s personal fund-raisingevent. There’s never been any question as to where he would be onApril 14. And besides which, it is certainly not worth the risk of injuryfor Lance to race P-R. Or don’t you remember last year when Cofidislost their leader with a broken femur. Let’s not forget Dekker goingdown a few weeks ago either. Paris Roubaix is a dangerous race whereanything can happen. You simply don’t take those kinds of chanceswith the ‘franchise’ rider. So yeah, Lance will support George inmost of the classics. But P-R will NOT be on Lance’s schedule untilhe has hung up his Tour ambitions.
Enough complaining already
I want to disagree with the letters complaining about the way that USPSsupported Hincapie in Paris-Roubaix.
Once again DOMO rode an incredible race, but this year Postal came aclose second. First Boonen makes the inevitable early Domo break. Then USPS controls the peloton and brings George into the Arenberg freshand in excellent position. Yes, Museeuw got a free ride up to thebreak, but then again, once they hit the cobbles I think George likes tobe at the front anyway.
After Johan made his move it really seemed to me that Boonen was considerablystronger than George. When Tom was pulling, George was behind himstill hammering and whenever George pulled it seemed like Tom much moreeasily stayed with him. And both George and Tom admitted after therace that Tom was stronger on Sunday than George. I’m sure Bruyneelknew what he was doing when he let Boonen ride for himself. And I’mpretty sure George had a say in it too. He knew he wasn’t havinga great day. He couldn’t even stay with Wesseman. I will saythat I am a huge Hincapie fan. I was 5 feet from him when he madehis winning move in the SF Grand Prix.
But an area I’d like to see him improve is in not letting himself getdejected if he misses what he thinks is the winning move. He seemedto give up both in Flanders and PR. I’d like to see him really contestthe final sprints even if they are for 4th place like Sunday. Guyslike Zabel contest and win the sprints even for 10th. I’d love tosee George have the same attitude. What seems so strange about itto me is that for the first 95% of every race that he is motivated to win,he is unstoppable. It’s just in the last bit where he seems to letup. Go USPS in LBL. We’ll be rooting for you George.
San Francisco, CA
Coulda, woulda, shoulda…
I’ve been reading the predictable post-race letters: the usual moaningand groaning (in reference to most of Tuesday’s letters below).
Here are some observations based on the OLN coverage:
1. Boonen was much more motivated and focused than Hincapie. If you don’t believe me, check out the pre-race interviews. Hincapiesounds tentative and worried; Boonen sounds and looks like he’s about readyto do some major damage.
2. Hincapie rode like Ludo Diercksens–almost right, strong, makingpeople hurt, but not getting the attacking right. Why is this a problem? Because even though he did weed out a slew of riders with his
pulls, they kept setting up Museeuw’s counters. So, when Museeuwdropped the big one, George couldn’t respond in time because he was friedfrom having been on the front Re-watch the race: from Arenberg on,Museeuw’s paying attention to one rider: Hincapie.
3. So, for me, all the griping about Bruyneel and the shouldasetc. fails to recognize that USPS has a team responsibility to go withthe best rider in a given situation. Last Sunday George wasn’t thebest.
Enjoy Paris-Roubaix for what it was: A great race
James, (in reference to James Darlow’s letter “George’s problem ishis team” — Tuesday letters below)
Postal had Museeuw right where they wanted him. I’m sure George wouldtake that same situation (him & Boon) again. 9 out of 10 timesthe Postal boys come out on Top. The only “problem” is that ran into aMAN that would not be denied. Museeuw is one the best Classic rider’s ever.What he did in the 40k was awesome! I’m disappointed as anyone thatGeorge couldn’t win this year, but was not for lack of TEAM work. Takea step back and appreciate what THE LION of FLANDERS did. It will go downas an all time Classic ride!
As for letting Boonen go for the podium. At that point in the race Paulwith about 20k left and Museeuw putting time on George & Boonen every2 to 3 kilometers (they where already well over a minute down). I’m sureGeorge would tell you that he was toast, especially after a big fall likehe had. To quote Museeuw, ” All that I can say is that this is a race thatyou don’t win just through the power of your legs. There is equally a smallluck factor involved.” Luck did not go George’s way Sunday. Like I saidAppreciate the race for what it was an all time Classic!!!
You gotta admit, that was a great race the other day — Editor
I would like to see you folks add the page numbers to the related storieson the Hot / Not listing
But then the list would begin to make sense and that would ruin theeffect. — Editor
Hot-Not…not funny this time
You’re a great mag, and I have always liked your coverage of women’scycling and your articles spotlighting women’s teams, usually penned byBryan Jew.
I look forward to the “Hot/Not” list and usually find it funny and clever.However, this month’s list made me a bit upset due to the negativity ofthe “not” list. I am non-professional racing cyclist, and I havefriends who race on trade teams that do not begin with the letter “S”.
I can only imagine how tough it is to race professionally. I doknow how the funding for women’s trade teams has all but dried up thisyear. However, thanks to few very energetic and motivated people,we have team Diet Rite, Talgo, a new women’s national team sponsored byCannondale and T-Mobile, Helens, and Los GatosBC.
I know that Saturn is pretty awesome and their women are cleaning upin all the races. I think they have a budget perhaps twice as largeas the teams I have previously mentioned. I would expect that thattype of financial backing should produce some results. Regardless,the other teams are having some good results too.
I know that Diet Rite won one of the first big Spring Races in NorthernCalifornia, and they also have had some podium finishes. Rona haswon races also. So before we put all the other non “S” teams or U.S.women not wearing Saturn jerseys on the “not” list, let’s examine why thelesser funded teams may not be able to compete with the women of Saturnin every single race or stage race.
Live updates were appreciated
I just wanted to tell how fantastic your “live” coverage of Paris-Roubaixwas. I visit your website quite frequently, but happened to stumbleupon Sunday’s race coverage. I was totally hooked! I kept checkingback and refreshing my screen for updates every 10 minutes. It wasbetter than listening on the radio (not that there’s U.S. radio coverage,but you know what I mean…)The brief descriptions truly captured the excitementof the race.
Thanks so much for a terrific website and the best damn Euro coverageI’ve seen in a long time. Please keep those “live” race updates coming!
We will be doing them again this week on Wednesday morning for Fleche-Wallonneand again on Sunday for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, though on Wednesday, it maybe an hour into the race (which starts at 11:00 a.m.) before we kick inwith our reports — Editor
George’s problem is his team
OK the results are in and what can I say?
Hincapie rode a great race and almost pulled it out. But alashis teammates let him down again!!! Tom Boonen’s ride was fantasticbut if this was George’s race to win, why was he going backwards in thefinal 20kms faster than he was going foewards? Mechanical? Weather? Lack of teamwork? What was it Hincapie-supporters??
Now don’t get me wrong. I like George. He is a class act,but as I wrote last week: he needs a team to work for him. One rider(Boonen) does not an effective team make.
USPS supporters and gurus need to realize this or maybe George willtake his workhorse attitude somewhere else. He has the strength towin many Paris-Roubaix races. Hell, he has the class to win all ofthe spring Classics, but the only way that he is
going to be able to achieve this is with the support of his teammates.
Notice that there is no “I” in “T-E-A-M” and that is never truer inbicycle racing than at Paris-Roubaix.
You need the support of your team to get you to the front of the crucialcobble sections. You need your team to get you back into a chasegroup after a puncture. You need a team to ride a steady tempo sothat you can save yourself for the Arenberg. Heck, you need a teamto sacrifice for your glory. Look at Domo this year. They sacrificedto get their man Johan to the front by the Arenberg. They kept himthere. They forced USPS to chase back onto the break. Domo,in essence, had their way with the whole peloton. And that is howit has to be in The Hell of the North.
But enough about the problems inherent in USPS. What about Museeuw? He won it in 1996 (the race’s 100th anniversary) and he wins it in 2002(the race’s 100th running)! He is the Flemish King and the CobbleKing. Now the question is: is he going to retire?
Please Johan don’t! Wait until Zolder at least. You haveit in you to win another great classic race. But if you do decideto hang up the cleats. Thanks for the awesome spectacles in Paris-Roubaix. Your smooth style over the Hell’s cobbles inspired a whole generation ofclassic racers. Pass the torch to another great Belgian who can dominatethe spring Classics as well.
Finally, I want to say that George will win Paris-Roubaix someday butonly when he has the team to work for him. Finishing off the podiumthis year has got to be a major disappointment. But he will be back. And when he returns it will be onto the podium!
Lance shoulda been there
How come (VeloNews editorial director John) Wilcockson said nary a wordabout Lance Armstrong’s no show at Paris-Roubaix after a very visible pressrelease a while back where he vowed to pay back George for all hishard work in the Tour?
Come on guys, we all love Lance but this is lame. George and Boonencould have used his help. Cruz and Landis while solid riders were in overtheir heads in PR.
This is now the second time Johan Bruyneel has blown-it as team director.First time was in the Vuelta when he let Leipheimer ride instead of 100percent protecting and working for Heras. I guarantee if that was Lanceinstead of Heras, Leipheimer would have been ordered to wait no matterwhat. Remember the comment by Marty Jemmison a few years ago, “I’d liketo maybe get a stage?”
Secondly, the debacle of Paris-Robiaux on Sunday when George went into the ditch, boon (who by the way is belgian) like Bruyneel and Museuw wasok to take off on George.. What’s up with this guy! Again, guarantee itif it was Lance, no way he’d be able to ride!!
Outlasting Bostick? Never
Yea, kent Bostick the grand old man wins another one! the “Patriot’sTrail” road race in a little place called Brattonsville, South Carolina. You know, the place where the movie, “The Patriot” was filmed. 110 miles to be exact. Three laps of 37 miles. Scotty Weiss was second , 25 seconds back. Just thought you might want to know since he is in your latest poll.