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VeloNews.com welcomes your letters. If you run across something inthe pages of VeloNews magazine or see something on VeloNews.comthat causes you to want to write us, drop us a line at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to thisaddress, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.A question of balanceEditor;I would like to respond to the remarks made by Gianna Roberge of Saturnin the Thursday piece about the Solano Bicycle Classic Women’s race (See”Who else?Horner and Bessette atop podium at Solano.”)Gianna claims that my actions in protesting Jessica Phillips participation were not in the spirit of women’s racing and told me I was hurting women’s racing. Drat! I’ve been foiled!That was my plan to kill off U.S. women’s racing with my short sightedness. That’s why I run a women’s team, that’s why I ran one last season for free. Gimmie a break! I want women’s racing to succeed as much as Gianna does. I don’t need a women’s team. I have plenty to keep me busy running 7UP/Nutra Fig, but I like working with the women and I want to see the sport grow.That being said, Gianna and I have talked and I do not fault her forher decision to race Jessica on another team. Actually, the fault lieswith the organizers. Their on line registration form were wrong in severalcases. The forms Gianna had allowed for women’s teams of six, so Giannaentered six. The actual number allowed was five, but when the organizersreceived Saturn’s entry of six women did they say anything? No. Theycould have called Gianna and said “you entered one too many,”
They choseto wait until Saturn had paid to get all six girls here and then tell them at registration. Then to cover their asses they decided to break the rules and let Jessica race on another team. When I confronted the officials about Saturn having six riders they never mentioned the incorrect forms or Saturn’s innocence in the matter. Did they want me to believe Gianna was trying to pull a fast one? Who knows?
Had I known all this I’m confident Gianna and I could have reached an agreement that would have allowed Jessica to race. The whole situation is unfortunate.A similar situation occured with the men’s entry forms where some teams(7UP/Nutra Fig among them) had entry forms that allowed only seven riders.When we arrived at registration we found that men’s team could actuallyhave eight riders, but by then it was too late to get another riderto the race.As I said, these are unfortunate situations, but they can be handledby the managers, officials, and organizers. They do not need to be airedin the media and I wish the managers and official would have talk beforeGianna wrote to VeloNews and prompted my reply. I honestly have better things to do than write to you guys (although I like you guys and yourstill invited to my annual 4th of July party).
I also want everyone to know that Solano is an awesome race, the courses are some of the best and these few problems should not stop the organizers from try to continue this event or racers from attending.Thanks,
Manger – Diet Rite Women’s CyclingSuper Solano reportCheers to Neal Rogers for an excellent article on the Solano Stage Race!His March 28th story is better than all the coverage of Sea Otter andRedlands combined! I liked all the rider interviews and the detaileddescriptions of both men’s and women’s races. VN online needs morearticles like this if you want to compete with foriegn sites that coverAmerican races.
San Diego, CAMarco’s perspectiveAfter reading the NewsBriefs: Pantani and Armstrong to face off, I’m convinced by “elephantos”remarks that all the doping has caused irreversible brain damage… whata sore loser!Jeff Landauer
Roseville, CA.Going Gonzo in ParisEditors,Please tell me where I can get a copy of “Fear and Loathing on the Champs-Elysees,”by Bobke S. Thompson.River Woodberg
Jackson, WYRest assured that if it ever does come out, we’ll make buying itquite easy for you. — Editor
Was someone left out?Editor;I think you missed one of the most winning riders with not even a mentionin last March 18, 2002 issue of VeloNews titled “Then and Now:”Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli.Am I mistaken or not?Christopher CaldwellNo, you are not mistaken. We also didn’t include riders like JonathanBoyer, Alexi Grewal and Steve Bauer, let alone a detailed look at the careersof ‘King’ Kelly and Bernard Hinault. It proves that you can’t really compress30 years of cycling — especially these last 30 years — into a singleissue. Fortunately, the ‘Then and Now’ series will continue both on theweb and in the pages of VeloNews. — EditorThanks for the memoriesVeloNews,Your last issue was the best. It was so cool to reminisce aboutthe last 30 years of cycling. How sweet are the memories of woolshorts, toe clips and straps, long hair, clunkers and all.Your article on Steve Tilford was superb. I always wondered whathis background was. You did forget that he was written up years ago forbeing an expert at sewing up his wounds fromcrashing. I think hewas quote as saying he could stitch himself below the neck as goodas any ER doc.It’s great to be reminded of the rich history of cycling in these turbulenttimes of scandals and who’s doping or not.Thanks for the memories and keep up the good work.Still wearing wool socks and a wool jersey.Jody Hutchinson
Seaside, CA.Technology is not always a solutionCan somebody please explain to (Sea Otter race director) Rick Suttonthat relying on technology to work perfectly is a recipe for disaster. We all read last week that there were problems with the final results dueto the sensor chips not being read at the finish line. This delayedthe posting of the results, which left teams, and fans, wondering whatin the heck happened.Now they may have improved after the first couple of days, but it seemsthe improvement was only for the Pro’s. I have a dozen or so friendsthat went down to Monterey and raced. Of these, 2 results were lostdue to the same errors. Two friends finished second in the tandemclass (defending champions), but they’re official ‘non-finisher’ becausethe chip didn’t record them at the line. Another lost an 8th placefinish due to the same problem. I simply cannot fathom how a spotterwas unable to record the second tandem crossing the line. They’rejust not that hard to miss.Rick, you put on a huge festival. Yeah, it’s great that you fixedthe scoring problems for the Pro’s. But c’mon, it’s the amateursthat are footing the lion’s share of the bill for your party. Thefirst two days clearly showed the problem. It was obvious that thefinish line required spotters to act as back-ups to the technology. But somebody made the decision to rely on the (faulty) technology, andthe amateurs got screwed. Hopefully, you’ve learned from this littleexperiment, but I know a few racers that won’t be going back next yearto see if you make the appropriate changes.Scott
Oakland, CAP.S. And I simply have to say that your idea of a 24-hour ‘crossrace at Nationals this year is ridiculous and dumb. (see the latest issueof Bike magazine) I haven’t talked to a single ‘cross racerthat would even consider doing it. Do us all a favor, if you wantto do something ‘different’, simply for the sake of being different…don’t. What’s next, stage racing on BMX bikes? Gimme a break.
What about basic liberties?Editor;For all you who thought the recents actions in Italy were justifiedas far as cleaning up cycling, wake up.Having your house searched by the police simply because you are a procyclist is about the same as your local police busting into your housebecause someone said they thought they saw you smoking a joint at a party.This sport has more controls than almost any other sport. They pee in acup, they get blood tests, for winning, for almost winning, for a strongride and not mention random checks while their at it. I personaly feelthis is probably the cleanest sport in the world, and all other pro sportscould take some lessons here.That said, I just want to add, Bob Roll and O’Grady rock. Not all ofus are prissy, overly sensitive, self rightous, hypocritical geeks. I forone love hear from those hard cores who have been in the trenches.Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!Brian Buchanan.
Peru, IL.A candidate for ‘At the Back?’With phrases such as “epistle tartar”, Mike Boeder(see Monday’s Letters, below) is next in line for the last-page rant column.Sign him UP!Barry Johnson
Monday’s LettersThe road to San RemoAwesome baby.After all the years I’ve had to listen to the blah-blah about what aposer Mario Cipollini is, it’s great to see him pull off a great win inLa Primavera, in his home country.What a way to celebrate your 35th birthday. I can only imaginewhat kind of raucous behavior San Remo will be subjected to tonight.The nay sayers may say he got lucky, or that his team did most of thework. Lest we forget, cycling, especially at this level is a teamsport. Any pro will also tell you there is always a little luck involvedwith any classic win.If I remember correctly, Mario is working in some capacity to halt druguse in cycling. I hope this is true.Way to go Mario.Scott ToepferRecreational enhancement is all American sports try to stopWake up and smell the coffee Patrick! (see Wednesday’s Letters “Cyclingcan clean up like football and baseball did“). Your letter besidesbeing naive shows a complete lack of the understanding of the structureof pro cycling and pro cycling teams, where there really is no team “ownership”as there is in pro baseball and football. The sponsor’s and the owner’sare one and the same, (i.e. no sponsor, no team). The idea that the teamsshould take the lead in “policing” themselves is laughable.Even more laughable is the idea that pro football and baseball are “clean”.What planet are you from? Pro football, basketball, and baseball playersare taking hundreds, if not thousands of drugs which would get them a heftysuspension if they were cyclists. Not only are they not tested for thosedrugs, most of these drugs aren’t banned by their governing bodies. Theonly organized drug testing going on in U.S. Pro sports is for recreationaldrugs. U.S. professional sports has no problem with athlete’s taking almostany kind of performance enhancing drug, but if they should take anythingto alter their mood, then watch out!You are holding up as an example athletes that openly take all sortsof substances which would get a pro cyclist suspended. The doping controlsin pro cycling are so strict that if the truth be told a large percentageof the U.S. population would be suspended and branded dopers just becausethey drink a couple of cups of strong coffee in the morning.Laughing again I look at your use of Sacchi as an example of how cyclist’sare still doping and their teams don’t test them.A) Saeco does test their riders for banned substances and Sacchihas always tested clean.
B) Sacchi did not test positive for any drugs, including thosefound in his home.
C) If you had bothered to read a little further you would havefound that the “doping products” found in Sacchi’s home were fertilitydrugs prescribed for his wife as they were having difficulty starting afamily.
D) The witch hunt for dopers in professional cycling is completelydriven by tabloid style journalism who like to print screaming headlinesabout “doping products”, and “banned substances”, if most of the peoplereading this went to their medicine cabinet right now they would probablyfind multiple products which could be so described.If the drug police raided your house tomorrow there would be bold faceheadlines about the aspirin, ointments, cold remedies, and possibly outof date prescriptions, found in your medicine cabinet. In your kitchenwho knows how many “banned substances” might be found? Dietary supplements,herbal teas, coffee?I for one am glad the UCI doesn’t follow the route of U.S. pro sportswhere anything goes in the name of victory.Steve Farris
Silver City, NM
In praise of the epistle tartarEditor,Three cheers for Bob, purveyor of caustic truths and lactate daydreams,and calamitous applause for his epistle tartar At the Back (see “Eurotrashand the Texas Tornado,” VeloNews, March 18, 2002, page 106).Let his be-chopped visage gleam deservedly forever from the Elvis magnetsof our icebox so that we may regard it with reverence over a glass of ginwetted with a breath of Extran.Mike Boeder
Jackson, WYFar more than a paperweightEditor,With reference to Maynard Hershon’s memories of and evaluation of the’70s vintage Berthet Lyotard platform pedal (see “Lyotard Mod. 23s:Nice paperweights,” VeloNews, March 18, 2002, page 106): Asusual, Maynard gets it mostly wrong!Actually, far from being laughable as he suggests, this Lyotard pedalwas in the 70s a usefully progressive, medium-quality alternative to Campagnolo,whose extravagant cost not every young cyclist could afford.The Lyotard had several positive aspects: considerable weight-savingwith the elimination of 50 percent of the pedal framework – the advancedidea of a platform rather than a cage-type pedal; sturdy construction witha high-quality chrome finish and the useful novelty of the ‘tongue’ atthe back of the platform to help insertion of the tip of the toe into thetoeclip.Its main, obvious disadvantages were the tendency of the platform toloosen from the axle barrel, and the narrowness, which caused the toe-strapto press in on the side of the foot. A wide, big foot was accommodatedmuch better by a Campagnolo, and the Lyotard was much better for a size6/7 than for a 10/11. But it was progressive design-wise, and in the evolutionof pedal design through the 1980s, isn’t it true that both Campagnolo andDura-Ace went on to copy the Lyotard platform idea, and that it can, therefore,be said to have played a significant role in the evolution of the cliplesspedal?It’s much more appropriate and interesting to look at the technologicaland historical role of this Lyotard pedal than to make fun of it.Keep trying, Maynard!Yours,Andrew Ritchie
El Cerrito, CaliforniaP.S. – What the hell was Bob Roll’s “Eurotrash and the Texas Tornado”all about?? After five readings, I could hardly make sense of a singleword of it!!!! Was there something there that I missed?Obviously you did miss something there, Andrew. Like MikeBoeder said, it was all about caustic truth, lactate daydreams, andcalamitous applause for his epistle tartar. — Editor
Archived Letters:Last week’s mailMarch 11-16, 2002March 4 – 9,2002Friday — March1, 2002Thursday — February28, 2002February 26 -27, 2002Monday, February25February 21 – 22,2002February 13 – 20,2002February 8 -12, 2002