Wednesday’s mailbag: Doping, Dekker, Dunlap and online registration

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@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Drugs driving this fan away from sportEditor:I'm a long-time Canadian athlete who competed in triathlons for over 10 years before switching to cycling. It's the most exciting sport I've ever done, and I've turned into a huge fan. Over the past

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@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Drugs driving this fan away from sport
Editor:
I’m a long-time Canadian athlete who competed in triathlons for over 10 years before switching to cycling. It’s the most exciting sport I’ve ever done, and I’ve turned into a huge fan. Over the past few years I’ve defended the sport and even written angry letters to the World Anti-Doping Agency criticizing them for their hypocrisy.

That said, I’m just about reaching the point where I’ve had enough. I understand that doping goes on in every sport. My cousin competed in several Olympics in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I was also close enough to several sports to be very aware that doping was rampant both in Canada and elsewhere. If I knew about it, I find it very hard to believe that the Canadian Olympic Association and other international organizations didn’t know about what was going on. My cousin’s results are evidence enough that he didn’t participate.

I used to shrug at this behavior and rationalize it in my mind. But no more. The arrogance and stupidity shown by the athletes, organizers and sponsors is evident. It’s pretty much the same we see in the corporate world – anything is justifiable to make money. Well, it’s not. In the United States, senior corporate executives are now finally being held accountable for literally ruining the lives of thousands of people. While I don’t think athletes’ behavior has the same impact, it reflects the same mindset.

I now am suspicious of all cyclists at this level, including Lance Armstrong. I congratulate the French and Italian authorities for pursuing these criminals and prosecuting to the full extent of the law. They should also go after team management and sponsors. Maybe some time behind bars will discourage others from following their path and ruining a beautiful sport for fans like me.

Kim Feraday
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Why is it always a French squad in trouble?
Editor:
We have all heard the recent allegations surrounding the Cofidis team. This certainly sounds familiar … Festina, anyone? Granted, Festina was busted in a raid, but the whole gang went down. From this seat it appears that the same thing is happening to the Cofidis ship.

I realize that the French “justice system” is hardly either of these things, but assuming there is some truth to these stories, what’s with the French teams? Is it the pressure from their countrymen that drives them to dope? After all, they are in a real Tour-victory drought. Granted, there are lots of allegations flying around, but it’s interesting that another top French team is in the middle of these stories.

Brad Dutton
Boston, Massachusetts

Ban dopers from sport for life
Editor:
It doesn’t surprise me that David Millar is said to have confessed to taking banned substances. He always seemed to be a lazy, whining underachiever, and just the sort to resort to dope to replace hard work and dedication to gain success.

I think anyone found guilty of doping should be banned for life from cycling (or any other sport for that matter), and their achievements should have an asterisk in the record books, if not erased completely. If they can’t handle the rigors of the sport while staying clean, they shouldn’t be in it in the first place.

Eric E. Collander
Oberlin, Ohio

Dekker’s back, and he’ll win a Tour stage
Editor:
If Theo de Rooij, Rabobank’s sport director, isn’t kicking himself already, I’d be happy to fly over and help him out. Eric Dekker’s win in the Netherlands national championship confirms both that he’s back and that Rabobank should have launched him, rather than Michael Boogerd, for the final breaks in Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Nothing against Boogerd, but you can take it to the bank that Dekker wouldn’t have dragged Rebellin to the finish only to be pipped on the line in both races.

And here’s something else to take to the bank: Dekker’s new national-champion jersey will be first across the line in at least one Tour stage this year. You read it here first.

Alex Ward
Washington, D.C>

Send the best, console the rest
Editor:
I’ve got a better way to pick the sole Olympic spot for the women’s MTB race – choose the best competitor in recent World Cup races. Who cares how someone placed last season? Recent performance seems to be a better way to judge who has the best chance to medal, and it doesn’t appear to me to be Alison Dunlap. It may not be the current points leader or runner-up, either.

The whole jet-setting fiasco that was touched off by the incompetence of the U.S. officials has likely been detrimental to our athletes and their chances at reaching Athens in top form. Let’s send our best, and console the rest.

Eric Butler
Boulder, Colorado

Lance, Schmance: Gimme Greg, Tyler or Bobby any day
Editor:
VeloNews is letting us down. In the latest issue Lance is mentioned or alluded to, by my count, in only seven articles and three ads. This does not count the numerous mentions of “The Lance Chronicles” on the Outlandish Lance Network. Or is it the calm before the storm?

I have followed Lance’s exploits for years, beginning with his riding in the K mart Classic here in West Virginia, elsewhere in the States, following the Tour in the old days of ESPN/ESPN2 at 2 a.m., his days of guest announcing, his five years of triumph at the Tour and the constant worshiping at Lance’s feet by the writers and editors of VeloNews. Of the many things missing in the constant exposure of Lance’s life is a sense of decency.

Call me old-fashioned, but give me LeMond, Tyler or Bobby J. any day. They are individuals that make me feel good about being a cyclist. If Lance were walking down my street I would cross over to the other side.

Amos W. Perrine
Charleston, West Virginia

About those online-registration surcharges …
Editor:
I don’t understand how a promoter can get by with online registration. Essentially I am paying a surcharge to do the work of the promoter.

Remember, back in the day, when the promoter had to enter your info into a database? Now you do that for them, you reduce the paperwork, you increase the efficiency of the race. But do you see a return? Nope. You pay more for the dis-service. Promoters should pay me to enter online, not the other way around. Did I mention I hate online-registration surcharges?

Managing a team this year, I have spent more time entering rider bios into online forms than all other tasks combined (or so it seems). What can you do? Send in your registration snail mail with a standard athlete’s release. You can call a promoter and get a real address. I have some friends that work in the online-registration business (or race on an associated team), and I feel bad for bashing the business plan, but this is not a service, it’s a rip-off.

Jed Schneider
Athens, Georgia

Okay, Jed, gotcha. We only have one question: How do you feel about online registration? — 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@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.