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Mailbag: VeloNews readers contribute pithy observations and querulous questions.

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Feb. 17, 2009
  • Updated Feb. 19, 2009 at 8:12 PM EDT
We get it: It rains in California in February.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

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Rainy California
With the second year in a row of nasty weather at the Tour of California, I have to think that something has got to give.

I see one of three scenarios:

1. The organizers move the event from its current February time slot to March or April when the weather in Northern California is much warmer and dryer.

2. The organizers schedule more days in Southern California (where the weather tends to be much better) or

3. The racers realize that not all of California is quite as sunny as Hollywood has lead them to believe and start skipping the race altogether.
Ashton Rogers
Washington, DC

No radios equals better racing?
Editor,

The deluge of stage 1 in California provided for some dramatic racing, but not only for the obvious reasons. Yes, the cold and wet sapped the strength of the world’s best to pinch the biggest names to actually show themselves, the tire spray and contorted faces provided for some memorable images, and such pounding rain and pools on the road effectively made the course uphill all the way, defying the sprinters.

But what seemed to really blow the hackneyed plot line of an early breakaway reeled in by a long, calculated catch — and then the race begins in the last five K — was not just racing in the rain, but its happy byproduct: radios were knocked out.

It was because of a lack of radio omniscience that we got to see a frenzied chase by none other than Armstrong, Horner, Chechu, and Leipheimer, who said he had no idea that the gaps between his group and Mancebo were so big.

And so it was that a wispy Mancebo — not a Voigt or some other powerful breakaway specialist — was able to sneak attack and create an entirely different storyline. Is this what racing used to be like before radios? Exciting?
Drew Marvin
Fairfax, Virginia

Jokes from the wheel guy
Editor,

The local rumor is that California meteorologists are adding the dates of the Tour of California to their forecast database. The Sea Otter was added years ago based on its unwavering ability to forecast the worst possible weather but the AToC seems to be building a stronger state wide reputation for doing the same.
John Neugent,
San Luis Obispo California

LeMond ad
Editor,

Maybe it’s just me, but does anybody else find it a little bit funny that on Velonews.TV, there is a Greg LeMond/Tour de Cure ad that plays automatically just before Armstrong’s stinging (yet very appropriate) response to Paul Krimmage’s questions at the ToC press conference?

Nothing like good timing …
Chris Setter,
Waukesha, Wisconsin

Props to Karla Kingsley
Editor,

Thanks for at least covering the women’s event. Somehow you managed to completely exclude fourth place finisher, and bay area local, Karla Kingsley (Los Gatos Bike Racing Club) from the commentary entirely.

Considering she has a win in last year’s Superweek on her palmares one would think you’d pay some attention. On the other hand, Karla will probably keep adding to her race resume` under the Velonews radar … so be it. Karla’s got huge upside as a racer (and person), and I expect you’ll take
notice … eventually.
Tom Carpenter

Winkler’s loving it
Editor,

Rain, wind, flu … not to mention stolen bikes! What a bad thing! What kind of a person would do something like that?

The race is on and fabulous reporting, thank you very much. LOVE the play by play reporting and
just makes me smile that the ‘season’ is on big time again. YES!!! On the downside, I’ll miss my favorite pro rider, Fabian Cancellara and hope he’s feeling better. He’s my fav now that Zabel is gone.

But Stuart O’Grady is up there. Insert smile here. And Floyd Landis….YES! What a race! DZ…LA…wow
Nolan Winkler,
Hillsboro, New Mexico

Takes offense
Editor,

I read Patrick O’Grady’s on-line article, unfortunately.

Was this called for?

“The others, belonging to Janez Brajkovic, Steve Morabito and Yaroslav
Popovych, are indistinguishable from the jillions of other Madone 6.9 Pros
ridden to mid-pack finishes in industrial-park crits worldwide by
potbellied masters racers. “

Sure, we may have never been god-like pros, but describing what is probably the MAJORITY OF YOUR RACING SUBSCRIBERS as “potbellied” was inaccurate, unnecessary and demeaning.

This subscriber would suggest that you choose your words a bit better.
John Strasser

What’s the deal?
Editor,

What is the deal with the TT bikes Rock Racing was on during the prologue of the Tour of California? They were beautiful looking machines, but I noticed they were all black frames, no decals of any
kind.

I know Rock has been shifting frame suppliers around recently, but surely any company that supplied the frames would insist on having their name on the frame for such a highly viewed race. How hard can it be to print and slap a decal on there?
Brad Sohner

Editor’s Note: Brad, I think Zack Vestal answered your questions in his story Monday.

Another question answered
Editor,

Where do teams offload there gear from prior years? Is some of it sent back to sponsors or does the team auction it off or some other sale at used depreciated value or some other strange algorithm.
JC,
Santa Rosa, California

Editor’s Note: JC, the quick answer is: it depends. Some riders get to keep at least some of their bikes, which they often sell. Other teams own the bikes, and they either re-use or sell them. Fred Dreier wrote an interesting article in the new VeloNews Buyer’s Guide (available on a newstand near you) on a new company called The Pro’s Closet that sells former pro gear.

Re: The Armstrong/Kimmage exchange
Editor,

Speaking for myself as one of the many “around the world affected by (cancer),” (In my childhood, cancer claimed my father, and later on, my sister as well.) I hold nothing against Mr. Kimmage for his recent characterization of Mr. Armstrong, and I surely do not appreciate Mr. Armstrong assuming the authority to speak for me — especially with such intolerant, hateful words telling someone that they are “not worth the chair they are sitting on.”

Indeed, if even half of what has legitimately been alleged about Armstrong is true — the numerous firsthand accounts and sworn testimony of former teammates and associates, the undisputed test results, his conduct towards those who have spoken out about doping within cycling — then Kimmage’s metaphor (and that’s what it was, not any sort of insult to those affected by cancer) is appropriate, perhaps even understated.

Armstrong has never credibly addressed these charges, choosing instead to respond with public displays of hostility that have now descended to the level naked aggression with his brutal verbal assault on the very worth on another human being. However unwittingly, Armstrong makes Kimmage look like a prophet in alleging revenge as the motive for his comeback, since we have just seen the first score being settled.

At least in his exchange with Greg LeMond last September, Armstrong insisted that the press conference would not “go negative” since he meant to “talk about the global cancer campaign, the comeback to cycling, and the credibility in and around that.” At that point, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but any “credibility” he could have commanded is now gone, not only as a result of his treatment of Mr. Kimmage, but also his having reneged on a public promise to subject himself to “the most advanced anti-doping program in the world,” which would be conducted in a “completely independent” manner because “ultimately…we as fans must get back to enjoying the race and respecting the riders and their performances.” (Perhaps the drama of Armstrong’s press-conference “performance” is intended for the public’s viewing enjoyment.)

This time, he did not even try to conceal his contempt, which he had the gall to wrap in self-righteous outrage on behalf of those he professes to represent and care about, but whom he is all too willing to exploit for advantage in his personal feuds. Such conduct is beyond the pale from a public spokesperson (even a self-appointed one) for any sort of worthy cause, and it lays bare the dark forces at work in this man – forces that may now be said to constitute an ugly blight not just upon cycling, but the fight against cancer itself.
Charles Howe,
Olmsted Falls, Ohio

More on Armstrong/Kimmage
Editor,

I was very disappointed in your slanted reporting of the Armstrong / Kimmage exchange. Yours was the only premium cycling specific site that didn’t include the rest of exchange:

Kimmage got Thursday’s last word in what will be an ongoing battle.

“You don’t have a patent on cancer. I’m interested in the cancer of doping in cycling. That has been my life’s work! I raced as a professional and I exposed it. Then you come along and the problem disappears.”

Ciaran Long,
California & Ireland

Editor’s Note: Ciaran, we’ve asked, and our video people in California tell us that they did not capture the audio of Kimmage’s response because he was not using a microphone. Our reporters at the news conference also were out of ear shot. We are confident that Mr. Kimmage’s views will be heard through his columns for the (London) Sunday Times.

Props to Tuft and the NYT
Editor,

The New York Times article about this amazing cyclist, Svein Tuft, is fascinating.

I don’t know if it is kosher for you to just send people to the Times web site to read this article but everyone on VeloNews and beyond needs to know about this guy. He is definitely a breath of fresh air. He seems to be more interested in having a personality than be one. Give him his props.
Brent Curtis,
Durham, North Carolina

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