Wednesday’s mail bag: Second-guessing the second-guessers

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Monday, Monday....To Editor and the Monday Bunch:I refer to the "Monday Bunch" as the group so quick to complain aboutGeorge Hincapie’s lack of support in exchange for Tour success.I'm pretty sure that had George won or placed and one of those

The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Monday, Monday….
To Editor and the Monday Bunch:
I refer to the “Monday Bunch” as the group so quick to complain aboutGeorge Hincapie’s lack of support in exchange for Tour success.I’m pretty sure that had George won or placed and one of those (non)superdomestiques like Max Van Heeswijk, Floyd Landis or Stijn Devolder had lastedlong enough to satisfy the superb race analysis of those whose understandingof Paris-Roubaix comes solely from OLN, the Monday Bunch would be singingthe praises of Postal’s transfers and their long overdue commitment toGeorge’s Classics efforts.Other than Quick-Step and Tom Boonen what other so-called dedicatedclassics squad has such lousy domestiques that have won major races thisyear? Come to think of it, weren’t there were a couple Postal domestiqueson the podium of Roubaix in 2002 and 2003. If I remember correctly thebrass at Postal went out and hired them. Just like they hired Van Heeswijkwho was never even considered for the Tour and probably cost a little caketo contract.I also remember four years ago when one of George’s unsuper-domestiquescreated the winning break. The only problem was that break consisted ofonly Frankie Andreau and a certain Johan Museeuw who then rode away alone.As I read the live race on my computer I, too, was disappointed thatHincapie was alone. I thought he’d pulled of the coup of the year whenhe got away with Boonen. I don’t think a teammate or two would have hurtbut I don’t think it would have made that much difference.Correct me if I’m wrong, but there weren’t too many Alessio or Chocolade Jacques jerseys around and those two teams made the podium.
Keith Snyder
New York, New YorkHe can motor
Dear Editors,
I like Hincapie as much as the next guy and would love to see him finallywin a World Cup classic, but I don’t think that its his team’s fault that he keepscoming up short.Magnus Backstedt just won it without support. Plus, twice George hascome up short and his supporting cast has beaten him (Eki and Boonen).If consistency counts for anything he’s one tough guy since he has been’almost there’ for a lot of years now.He may be one of the best Tour support riders ever, though He can motor.
Justin Maines
Boise, IdahoBut can Quick Step win a Tour?
Dear Editors:
While I join the many readers who are disappointed that George Hincapiedid not win Paris-Roubaix, we must also take a look at the larger picture.What is George’s role on the Postal team? Boonen and company have a solitaryfunction and that is to win classics. Recall that in recent years, Virenquewas the only hope for Quick Step in the grand tours. The Postal team receivesfunding based primarily on their ability to shine in the Tour. Simple.Every other accomplishment is a bonus, but not primary in the team’s seasongoals.That said, we must also recall that George Hincapie has developed intoone of the premiere domestiques in the professional ranks, regardless ofterrain. This is not a small accomplishment. I can only imagine that hisrespect in the peloton is immense. He has helped marshal Lance to fiveTour wins. Name another rider you would rather have on your team time trialsquad? George’s performance in the mountains last year left a greater impacton me than would a classics win. Seeing Big George setting a torrid pacethrough the Alps was awe inspiring. The “climbers” looked to be in spotsof bother. What other classics rider could inflict such torture on themountain goats?George epitomizes the spirit of a true teammate as he puts aside personalambition for the greater good of the squad. George remains, since the retirementof Sean Yates, my favorite rider, with or without a cobble in his trophycase.As an aside, for the last several summers, I have taught the childrenat the residential psychiatric treatment center where I work about thevalues that George displays: sportsmanship, teammwork, physical effort,tenacity and an unwavering commitment. Each July, the children view tapedsegments of the Tour and cheer Lance, but their “man” is George.
Frank Selden
Lynchburg, VirginiaThe winners did it alone, too
Dear VeloNews,
In response to all those who feel Hincapie doesn’t have a good enoughteam or is left alone too often at critical moments. Were you even watchingthe race? Did you see the finish? Backstedt, Hoffman, Hammond and Cancelleracame into the velodrome together. Not one of them had seen a teammate overthe previous 50km. None of them is on a team that is built for the classics.True the Postal team is built around Tour aspirations (and quite successfully,I might add) but I applaud the efforts of Johann and the boys they aregetting closer year by year. To get a marked man such as George in thetop–10 as they did is an accomplishment.George will get his day but it is unfair to blame the team because hedidn’t stay out of the wind as well as the eventual winner did.
Seth Lieberman
St.Loius USABetter safe than sorry
VN Crew:
 Thanks for including the dramatic post-crash image publishedonline in today’s Eurofile. It frightens me to see the shot of Paolo Savoldellisitting upright with blood on his face and an IV in his arm after whatmust have been a horrible crash in the Rund um Köln in Germany. (see”Tuesday’sEuroFile“)Given the mechanism of injury (high-speed crash) and his resulting injuries,I’m aghast that he’s not pictured strapped tightly to a backboard wearinga cervical collar. I know they’re fast and loose in Europe but I guaranteethat a racer in his condition would be treated by emergency medical professionalshere in the U.S. with much more precaution for possible c-spine injuries.Good thing for all of us to remember when witness to a fast racing or trainingcrash. Better to wait for an X-ray to clear a fallen racer than rely onguess work in the field. I hope he has a speedy recovery.
Len Zanni
Carbondale, ColoradoWe’ll not second-guess the quality of emergency medical care in Köln,but it is clear from that photo, as well as others from the scene, thatSavoldelli should be big fan of the UCI’s mandatory helmet rule. We cannot imagine how he might have fared without that little bit of styrofoamon his head. – EditorSeparated at birth?
Editors,
Regarding Wednesday’s EuroFile,what the heck is Herve Villachez doing testifying on behalf of VicenteBelda? 
Chris McCart
BurlingtonWe’re not too sure what you’re talking about. We’d like to do a photocomparison, but we are kind of busy right now, because the plane is coming,the plane is coming… the plane, the plane, the plane! – Editor


The Mail Bag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com, appearing each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 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@7Dogs.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.