Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Wednesday’s mailbag: No. 6 (and No. 7?); Basso’s ‘gift’; CSC and T-Mobile tactics; plus homers, hosiery and Haywood

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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Meanwhile, regarding the 2005 Tour . . .Editor:So when do we start talking about No. 7? Sig AndersonDes Moines, Iowa After he wins No. 6? – Editor Forget No. 7 – how big will

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


Meanwhile, regarding the 2005 Tour . . .
Editor:
So when do we start talking about No. 7?

Sig Anderson
Des Moines, Iowa

After he wins No. 6? – Editor

Forget No. 7 – how big will No. 6 be?
Editor:
Lance would not admit it, but it is now safe to say the sixth is in the bag. The race for the second and third spots on the podium will be interesting.

In the meantime, there is another unanswered question: How large will the margin of victory be? We remember the slim 1:01 of 2003, but what were the margins in Armstrong’s other four wins? Any predictions whether No. 6 will be the largest so far?

Marc E. Hawley
Mt. Vernon, Indiana

Marc, Armstrong’s winning margins have been as follows: 1999, 7:37 over Alex Zülle; 2000, 6:02 over Jan Ullrich; 2001, 6:44 over Ullrich; 2002, 7:17 over Joseba Beloki; and as you mentioned, 2003, 1:01 over Ullrich again. He has a 3:48 cushion over Ivan Basso going into Thursday’s 204.5km stage, with five mountain passes and 16,827 feet of total climbing, which is probably the last real chance for Basso to take back any time if he’s so inclined – some folks think he’s already racing for second. And given his ride on Wednesday, it seems likely that Basso will concede still more time to Armstrong in Saturday’s 55km ITT. How much is anybody’s guess … but it’s gonna be tough to top 1999. – Editor

Big Tex ungracious and arrogant
Editor:
Thank you for setting the record straight on the kind of champion that Lance Armstrong is. Whatever he may claim about the results at La Mongie, the record will not include any asterisks after the name of the winner- Ivan Basso.

Also, cyclingnews.com didn’t even risk delving into the possibility that their obviously most favored rider in the world, Big Tex, could have made such an ungracious and arrogant non-congratulation to a talented young rider who beat him fair and square.

Jeremy McHugh
Westport, Massachusetts

Why didn’t Ullrich and Klöden work together?
Editor:
If Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden were just going to ride it out to see who would take control as leader of the team, why didn’t they do themselves and their team a favor and at least work together against the rest of the competition on stage 15?

With Ullrich leading a surprising breakaway, methodically picking off the lead riders, Klöden could have tried to join him. The U.S. Postal and CSC teams would have either had to work that much harder to rein in two strong riders immediately or else risk losing a lot of ground to T- Mobile. What do you think? Did this cost both Klöden and Ullrich possible podium finishes?

Christopher Keczkemethy
Brooklyn, New York

CSC guards second instead of racing for the win
Editor:
On Tuesday’s stage 15, when Jan Ullrich attacked, Bjarne Riis had Jens Voigt drop back to lead the chase for CSC. To me this means that protecting second place was the order of the day rather than letting U.S. Postal do the chase, then launching an attack of your own once they were softened up.

I have huge respect for Riis as probably the best coaching sporting director there is. And his tactical skills are also phenomenal, possibly second only to USPS. And he had data available to him that I didn’t, not the least of which was Basso’s confidence and exertion levels. But I was yelling at my TV (as though Riis would hear) because I saw it as a chicken-shit tactic to race for second instead of challenging for the lead.

Pat Jesson
Tustin, California

Tolerating homers and hoping for Ullrich
Editor:
For me, the only great thing about Lance Armstrong winning the Tour again is the fact that OLN will continue to cover the Tour de France.

I have been an Ullrich fan since ’96, so I have learned to live with heartache. What I can’t get used to is the people OLN hires as the studio hosts. Al Trautwig is weak, Kirsten Gum is worse. I can handle listening to Bob Roll because he is funny.

I can almost take the “homer” announcers because it is an American broadcast. OLN always hires studio announcers who act like the only race is the Tour de France. Listening to OLN for Paris-Nice, La Vuelta, Giro, Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, etc., is so much more enjoyable! Only Phil Liggett, Bob Roll, and Paul Sherwin. Until they can find a better studio host, let it go!

Pete Samples
Bakersfield, California

What’s wrong with black socks?
Editor:
What’s with the fashion commentary? Black socks look fine to me. Why can’t Lance shake things up a bit?

Frank H. Hwang
Burlington, Vermont

We couldn’t agree more, Frank. Our own Patrick O’Grady favors all-yellow kit, including socks; he says this has spared him many an embarrassing explanation after watering himself in terror on a fast, technical descent. – Editor

Haywood’s been had
Editor:
Lets see, Sue Haywood rides a hard race at Sandpoint and wins her points, and due to a UCI bureaucratic snafu, points are not recorded. Sue is told at some point they will be added and then later it takes a week to do the math. She is told she is going to the Olympics. Sounds fair and square? No, it’s appealed! A week later, she gets the decision she has lost her spot.

This whole points race and having these athletes run ragged around the world has been a fiasco. What a complete and total disgrace that Sue had to suffer through this mess.

Sue Haywood always shows a lot of class and will probably accept this graciously, but she was robbed.

Patty Snow
Leesburg, Virginia


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, HOMETOWN and STATE, or NATION if you live outside the United States. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.