Readers chime in on Hamilton, O’Grady and Horner

Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of Here's how:Keep it short. And remember that we reserve the right to edit for grammar, length and clarity.Include your full name, hometown and state or nation.Send it to’s a real guy in that jersey Dear VeloNews,

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Do you want to contribute to Mailbag, a regular feature of Here’s how:

  • Keep it short. And remember that we reserve the right to edit for grammar, length and clarity.

  • Include your full name, hometown and state or nation.

  • Send it to

There’s a real guy in that jersey
Dear VeloNews,
On a recent visit to Boulder we were driving up Magnolia Road, a road of unparalleled steepness. It’s almost comical how steep it is.

Anyhow, as we were going down, one lone bike rider was coming up. It was Tyler Hamilton in his Rock Racing kit and his foam trucker’s cap he seems quite fond of these days.

I can’t fault him for no helmet, really, there is no one up there who isn’t creeping along and even he is going so slow that a fall would be painful but certainly not fatal, (unless you happened to roll off the road surface and down the hundreds of feet to the river below, in which case you’d die with your helmet on which would only serve to help them see your carcass bouncing through the rapids, maybe give them something to grab onto with the grappling hook to get you out)… but I digress.

I had, prior to this moment, been a Tyler fan converted to Tyler critic. I didn’t buy his story, flat out. Maybe I still don’t. But my point is that when confronted with a situation of close proximity, my instinct was to cheer, get a photo and tell him I love him. It’s so easy to be an armchair critic and forget that real people have to experience the impact of the statements of others.

There’s no real consequence to me for saying he’s whiner and a punk, which many others have done in print. But to consider I would never actually say it to his face, which I realized after I saw him, is to realize there’s no point in forcing such an opinion in the first place. He was out there, alone, as I’m sure most of his time is spent, pushing himself and doing his job.

I’m back on his side and in his corner. I don’t care if he lied really because I know we all lie at some time for some reasons that others can’t
know or judge accurately. I’m so impressed by his comeback, and his championship win. It’s a powerful new page and image for cycling.

Doubting someone means you want them to fail. And even if and when they do fail, the right thing to do as a good person is to help and forgive. I can live with the consequences of those sentiments.
Whit Faulconer

There’s a bad guy in that jersey
Dear VeloNews,
It was with much disgust to log on to tonight and see that Tyler Hamilton had won the U.S. champion’s jersey. I am an ex-University of Colorado racer from 20 years ago and for many years was proud to say that Tyler was a CU racer also.

I work in the medical field and understand clearly the issues for which he was suspended after the Olympics of 2004. For Tyler to blood dope with someone else’s blood is not only dangerous but completely ignorant. I lost all respect for him as a role model and a fellow cyclist. In an age of cycling needing to clean up its image worldwide, I was not happy to see him re-signed to a pro team this last year, based solely on his past suspensions and his less than stellar performance during his arbitration hearings in 2005. He even claimed a dead brother in his body causing the second blood line….please!!! He insulted all of us with that stupid excuse.

Why did he not just ‘buck’ up and admit he doped? I would have much more respect for him today and would not be writing this letter. I am proud to be an American and love to see our athletes wear the stars and stripes. This is a sad day in American cycling to have someone of Tyler Hamilton’s integrity wearing such a coveted symbol of our country. This is a step back in my opinion for U.S. cycling.
Matt Newport
Aurora, Colorado

O’Grady is hilarious, but…
Dear Velo,
Regarding O’Grady’s latest, as usual, I love it…

I have one point, though: How can you not mention Michael Zanoli punching Davis Phinney in the face during at the Tour DuPont?
Spencer Dech
Lansdale, Pennsylvania

One for the Horner critics
Chris Horner has always had a frank answer to any question posed to him over the course of his career.  Though his comments may not always mirror those of the majority of pro cyclists, his candid and fresh remarks have been a bright spot in a sport historically associated with duplicity by Machiavellian drug-addled competitors.

Talk on Chris Horner and for those of you who say that Chris has never won a grand tour, as if that has anything to do with his qualifications to comment as a pro cyclist, shut up until you can beat Chris.
Scott Williams
Gunnison, Colorado

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.