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Tuesday’s mailbag: Jose’s name, Tour design, Lance’s rainbow and socks, and 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’s in a name?Editor:I wish all of the television commentators would learn to correctly pronounce Jose Azevedo's name. Portuguese does not have a silent “j.” It is pronounced as in French – not "Ho-say," but more like "Zhose"

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The missing rainbow

The missing rainbow

Photo: Graham Watson

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’s in a name?
Editor:
I wish all of the television commentators would learn to correctly pronounce Jose Azevedo’s name. Portuguese does not have a silent “j.” It is pronounced as in French – not “Ho-say,” but more like “Zhose” Think “soup du jour,” or “Jean Delatour,” or “Fdjeux.com.”

I know this is minor but it really drives me nuts as I am sure it drives any Portuguese speaker, not to mention Jose Azevedo himself, a little crazy. Maybe you guys can put the word out.

Dennis Bird
Orem, Utah

No problemo.— Editor

TTT bigger threat than flat, fast stages
Editor:
A few letter-writers have asked whether the Tour organizers have designed a race that will cause Lance Armstrong problems. Most have mentioned the flat sections in the first week creating a situation where there is the possibility of a major contender crashing out. They failed, however, to say anything about the changes in the Tour time trials.

The new rule limiting the amount of time that can be lost in the team time trial has had a major effect on the amount of time someone like Lance Armstrong (or any GC contender) can pick up in this event. One look at the dominant teams will tell you that this new rule definitely cost USPS some major time gaps.

In addition, changing one of the individual time trials to a mountain climb brings some of the climbers who are not good time trialists back into the mix. Someone like Roberto Heras would much rather climb a time trial than grind one out on the flats.

I’m sure it’s not the intention of the race organizers to make things tough for an American, but in a race filled with Europeans and run in Europe, I’m sure they would like to see someone from that continent win the GC. Lance’s dominance can’t be good for ratings.

David Anderson
Hannibal, Missouri

Stupid, paranoid, anti-French . . .
Editor:
The second letter to the editor in Sunday’s mailbag is insane, and your answer does not go far enough to rebuke this American paranoia: that this course was set up to cause Armstrong to crash and get injured.

How could the Tour organizers possibly design a course to endanger only Armstrong? Is he riding a different course than everyone else? Why would they purposefully increase the odds of Ullrich, Hamilton or any other GC challenger getting hurt? Wouldn’t this help ensure another Armstrong victory?

This is a huge-money professional sport, Armstrong brings in the cash, and the Tour organizers would want that much more than any upset in the standings. Would Major League Baseball purposefully harm the New York Yankees? Not on your life! This was a stupid, paranoid, prejudiced, anti-French question, and your answer should have said so more clearly.

Peter Wright
Akron, Ohio

The Yankees don’t need MLB to cause them harm. They have George Steinbrenner. — Editor

Somewhere, the rainbow?
Editor:
Am I missing something, or have the rainbow stripes disappeared from Lance’s new USPS kit? He doesn’t seem to have the stripes anywhere on his outfit – maybe on his collar sometimes, which are hard to see, but I’ve yet to spot them on his sleeves. What gives? He should steal the ones from Not-So-Super Mario, as he certainly never used them much.

Adam D. Switzer
Richmond, Virginia

Adam, VeloNews technical writer Lennard Zinn asked USPS communications director Dan Osipow about this very issue, figuring that with all the new duds Nike was preparing for Armstrong, the rainbow stripes may have simply gotten overlooked. But according to Zinn, Osipow said skipping the stripes was “a conscious choice,” and that was all he would say on the matter. But Lennard has managed to find the rainbow, if not the pot of gold underneath it, thanks to a vigilant reader from Pennsylvania, whose letter to Zinn follows below.— Editor

Dear Lennard,
Following on Chris’ not-so-technical question about Lance’s missing rainbow, have you seen the picture of Lance’s left sock and shoe as depicted in Saturday’s Mailbag? Check out the Velcro strap. Isn’t that a rainbow I see?

Achille Riviello
New Hope, Pennsylvania

The former SockGuy speaks up
Editor:
As the founder and recent former owner of SockGuy, I would like to comment on Lance’s socks, as I know them all too well.

My former company made and still makes the team-issue Nike socks for Trek/Nike, and I approached them two years ago about a dark sock for the classics, as the guys I knew on the team who knew that I in fact made them had requested them. Seems white socks tend to get dirty in the spring and were lasting only one race, or one training session, before turning black with dirt and grime. Lance was wearing them last year in the classics as well. It just took a week of rain to bring them out in full force during the Tour.

And as far as the cuff height goes, the answer is that we only supply one size, and that’s large, to U.S. Postal. Some of the guys, especially Tyler when he was still on the squad, looked like they were wearing socks with six-inch cuffs.

Andrew Block
Beaker Concepts

Horner’s a friendly guy, and a great racer
Editor:
I have known Chris Horner since he was 16 years old, and I am amazed at all of the negative e-mails regarding his attitude. He is one of the friendliest guys you will ever meet. He tells it like it is.

He was on a European team (a French one). Has any American done well on a French team? Seems to me that it was a French team that canceled Lance Armstrong’s contract.

As for the Olympic selection races, I believe if you remember four years ago, Horner won the first selection race and then was shadowed by at least four or more U.S. Postal riders throughout the rest of the trials. To make matters worse, he was the highest non-automatic selection but was passed over for two Postal riders. What happened at the Olympics? Oh, yeah – they didn’t notice that Ullrich and his two teammates had slipped away! So maybe he has a reason to dislike U.S. Postal.

As for the whiners who are tired of his candor and truthfulness, suck it up and go race against him! It isn’t bragging if you do what you say you are going to do. Keep it up, Chris.

Mike Jennings
San Diego, California

We can think of a couple of Americans who had a pretty fair ride with a French squad, Mike: Bobby Julich, who finished third in the 1998 Tour while racing for Cofidis – the very same outfit with which Mr. Armstrong had his difficulties. And then there was that Greg LeMond character, who had some moderate success riding for La Vie Claire and Z (‘course, that name sounds kinda French). And don’t forget Andy Hampsten, who was the best young rider at Le Tour in 1986 whilst riding for La Vie Claire, and … and. . . . — 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.