Sunday, August 30, 2009

Leadville Lancy Panky

I heard that Lance entered a "closed out" mountain bike race, also got his support team in, then took first place and set a new course record. I know nothing about mountain biking, and don't know if this was like Barry Bonds showing up in an "A" softball league with two other ex pro teammates and then killing the record for home runs in the softball league--but I did find it strange that Lance has a love for riding "off road" considering his records of helping his team in Paris Roubaix where he could race against his peers.

My friend, Dr. Dave, who knows about mountain bike racing sent the following letter to Velo News, mildly critical of the great Lance. Dave's letter seems eminently reasonable and anti inflammatory, but I told him that the Lance sycophants would be shooting back.

The 800-pound gorilla

Dear VeloNews,

Lance Armstrong knows how to prepare for an event like nobody else, but did Lance Armstrong win Leadville, or did his unlimited resources win it? We'll never know. It is one thing for a high-profile rider to try his hand at a low-profile event because he respects the challenge.

It's another thing for him to arrive with his full entourage of big-dollar resources, including team riders to serve as rabbits, and pick off those with less access to Pro Tour style support. Dave Wiens was gracious in defeat, but he got run over by the Lance Machine.

Hollow victory, Lance.

Dave D.-Walnut Creek, California

Next edition had two letters, one that reacted to to anyone criticizing hero Lance in general and one taking particular aim at Dr. Dave.

In particular I want to object to those who feel Lance's win and subsequent record are not valid, or are in some way diminished because of the use of pacers, crew and sponsor clout. -Rob B.-British Columbia

Regarding Dave D’s letter about Armstrong at Leadville in the
August 21 edition of Mailbag : I, too, have a lot of respect for Dave Weins, but do you actually believe that Weins would have won had Armstrong not brought his domestiques to the race? ...You may dislike Armstrong; that’s fine and it’s your right as a fan. It’s part of what makes sports fun. But don’t allow emotion to cloud judgment. ...He deserves credit for his achievements, even from those who root against him. -Paul D.-San Rafael

So Dave is now a certified Lance hater, as published Velonews, the racing newspaper of record.

I've been so unfair to Lance I sent in a letter of support--

Some readers are being unfair to Lance. Obviously he loves racing "off road," after winning and/or helping his team win Paris Roubaix so many times, only Leadville was left for him. Now if we can only get slackers like Servais Knaven of "Mapei" to do the same. Funny--it doesn't look like Servais is wearing a Mapei jersey when he wins Paris Roubaix when his team attacks and attacks the isolated George Hincapie--where was George's teammate Lance who loves off road racing??? If VeloNews can revise history and put Servais on Mapei, they probably can further revise history, add to the legend of Lance, and place Lance at Paris Roubaix. (BBC & Graham Watson photos)

--unfortunately my letter went unpublished by Velonews but what do you expect--the same week the cycling newspaper of record had Servais Knaven, who actually won Paris Roubaix, on the wrong team.

Knaven re-ups for 2010
Published: Aug. 19, 2009

Dutch classics rider Servais Knaven isn’t done yet. The 38-year-old signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him in a Milram jersey through the 2010 season.

“I am looking forward to the coming year. I thank the Team Milram and manager Gerry Van Gerwen for the trust they have in me,” said Knaven. “I enjoy riding on this team. You can feel the great (talent) and I want to do my part to contribute to the team’s success.”

Knaven is best-known for his victory at the 2001 Paris-Roubaix, when Mapei stacked the race with four riders in the decisive, six-man final breakaway. Knaven attacked late and rode away with the Hell of the North.

Servais is an absolute model pro,” Van Gerwen said. “He can look back an unequaled career and is a major asset to any team. He brings enormous experience and knowledge of the courses of the spring classics.”

The German-sponsored team is also reportedly in talks with Geert Steegmans and Karsten Kroon to bolster its classics squad for next season.


Anonymous said...

Lance bashing? Lance had no minions. Matt Shriver worked with Lance, but Dave Wiens could have "sucked wheel" if he had the strength to keep up. Lance rode the last 60 miles of the 100 mile race solo. Lance won because he was the best/strongest rider in the race.

PS What does Paris Roubaix have to do with mountain biking?

Jay said...

1) As I indicate I know nothing about mountain bike racing. I'd love to hear 4-5 folks that are knowledgeable with different viewpoints talk about the event so I could learn about what went on. It may be equally true that Lance was by far the strongest rider and didn't need and shouldn't have used a team.
2) Re Paris Roubaix, yes its a stretch, but it is ironic that if Lance wants to play in the mud and dirt--why has he never done this race? Every year Hincapie would get trashed and Liggett/ Sherwin would indicate that poor George didn't have a strong team around him--while the great Lance stayed away. Lance demanding total team loyalty for the Tour de France, but not doing anything to help his team in the biggest single day race. -j

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