What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ MailBag: The Sack Spilleth Over!

Ahh the MailBag – just because we’re ‘tкte deep’ in le Tour, doesn’t mean we don’t read the mail! Besides, the build-up of interesting epistles should make an excellent diversion from things like ‘work’ – so grab a coffee and click on in…

Dear Pez, In your Eurotrash column of July 4, 2006 you write the following about Danilo Hondo: “Maybe if they do it right, they can end up doing to Gonzalez and Landaluze what they did to Hondo. Suspended, nope just kidding, re-suspended, un-suspended, re-suspended.”

I know you wrote this tongue-in cheek, but you should know that in fact after the suspension handed down by the cycling authorities he appealed to the civil courts who ruled that he could return to racing while waiting for his case to be heard in the civil courts. Then the civil courts ruled that they would not hear his case which meant that effectively his original ban came back into effect. He was never un-suspended and re-suspended as your readers might believe.

Now that it is clear that doping is indeed prevalent in the pro ranks, I think it is time for Pez to abandon its apologist stance regarding doping and acknowledge that doping does indeed exist and that many of those who insist on their innocence are lying. I know your friend Lance won’t like this and will probably cut off all contact if you dare to admit that doping exists but isn’t it better to participate in the cleaning up of this sport that we all love.
– Douglas Fry

I have been a huge fan of Pez for years and at the current age of 44 have been cycling since I was a small lad. But one item that de-motivates me is drugs/ doping that has gone on in the sport, probably for my entire life.

I have read enough and thought enough about it to where I could probably argue several sides, from wide open, no holds barred take what you want do what you need to win at all cost, to a middle ground where some things should be allowed, to the tightest policy of each day the rider gives blood and pee’s in the cup and if anything is found then you are out. There are of course practical limits to all of this, athletes dieing on the road or at a minimum very young, to the costs involved in doing the monitoring.

This is just a bit of history to get to where I am today and that is that I have no faith that the sport is honest. I hate to paint everyone with one brush but until the athletes, managers, doctors, team owners, sponsors, UCI, USA Cycling, WADA and anyone else you care to name come to a complete agreement and have implemented it for a few years and convinced the audience interested in the sport that is in fact clean then the sport will erode, money will go elsewhere, coaches and athletes will stop entering the sport and the sport will fall to a minor league.

What made me the maddest is the Dick Pound/Lance Armstrong exchange. When are these guys going to realize that if they do not get on the same page they both look like fools. I know Mr. Pound has a job to do and is trying to do it with only token approval from most sporting governing bodies to say the least the UCI. And Lance, well he is trying to protect his reputation and legacy. But the UCI and USA cycling and the Pro tour and the big 3 races need to impose more dramatic steps.

Maybe this needs to happen, but alas it never will, too much invested, to much at stake in the short term, paychecks mostly to those in charge of these organizations. But in the long run the sport will suffer, fans will stop paying attention, sponsorship dollars and euros will drop off and they will lose the paycheck any way.

For myself, I will continue to ride but I will not be following the racing as I once did, I cannot support something that has no integrity from top to bottom. My subscriptions have lapsed and I will not follow online as I have and the cycling coverage that has improved so much in recent years will not get my attention.

Just one point of view.
– Mike Wilson

Pez Sez: The current doping allegations trouble me as much as anyone, and just because we don’t write long winded rants taking one side or the other does not mean we don’t care, nor that we might have an ‘apologist stance’. Over the years we’ve stated in no uncertain terms that the dopers should be dealt with swiftly and harshly. I also think the same treatment should be given the media who unfairly swing public opinion by running half-baked stories under sensational headlines, based on little or no factual evidence.

For our part, we won’t waste reader’s time with an article that’s already been written on 20 other sites unless we have something new to add, nor will we hand out a sentence without first knowing and seeing the proof. The guys at Operation Puerto haven’t called me up with any proof yet, nor have I seen it published anywhere…, and all we know is that the Spanish authorities claim to have it, and used what they have to convince the ASO and team managers that several riders are in fact implicated in the investigation, resulting in their expulsion from Le Tour. Our source on this? – other media!

Personally, I think doping in all sports, including cycling, is likely more widespread than we really know. We should all applaud the efforts our sport is making to clean itself up, but reserve judgement until we know the convincing evidence.

Hey Pez People,

I’ve been reading Pez for a little over 6 months and I really enjoy your coverage. I like that you include many first person experiences along w/ standard race reports. I also find the training tips and product reviews useful and entertaining.

But every time I log on there is something that just doesn’t sit well with me and that is your “Daily Distractions” segment. I must admit that I have spent considerable time trying to figure out why it pisses me off. In a nutshell, I find it kinda offensive. As a hetro guy this may be surprising and while this may not make perfectly clear sense, I feel like I need to try to explain why I have trouble supporting Pez.

I have no problem w/ wanting to look at pictures of hot women. The problem lies in how you present and title the images. Essentially women are nothing more than “Daily Distractions” for your readers. When I hear the word ‘distraction’ I think of an inconvenience or annoyance-something that gets in the way of ‘important stuff’. The Daily Distractions format implies that women are merely ‘distractions’ in our lives. Likening this term to an entire group
of people seems pretty dismissive and insulting. It would be one thing if Pez regularly covered women’s racing (and by doing so you would be presenting more than a single, highly sexualized representation of women) but you don’t.

So in essence, virtually the only images of women on your site are highly sexualized pictures of women watching bike races. I am not insinuating that Pez should or has any obligation to cover women’s racing but I do think that as editors you have an obligation to consider how your content can be interpreted (particularly by avid readers). I recognize that you have had two great women rider diaries but their writings easily get lost in constantly updated, front page, sea of Daily Distractions.

I know that it’s usually boyfriends who usually sent in the pics and I’m sure many of the women are fine with having there picture displayed on Pez. I don’t begrudge anyone for feeling this way. It just seems to me that posting pictures of women that really have nothing at all to do with the actual activity of cycling just further reinforces the sexist, male stereotypes found in many current American sports. You know, I really like Pez and I want to continue supporting the site but I think this issue needs to be addressed. I’d like to hear your thoughts.
– Ophir Sefiha

Pez Sez: Of the 4 emails we’ve ever received dissing the DDs (seriously – the vast amount of email generated by this topic is favorable), you’re the first male. The first response that popped into my head was that quote from the Bill Murray movie Stripes: “Lighten up, Francis”. The Daily Distractions are presented respectfully and in good natured fun. Most people can appreciate the natural rush that occurs when seeing a person they find appealing. It’s ‘distracting’.

But in fairness, every coin has two sides and I’ve always said we’re not for everyone. I started PEZCycling because no one else was presenting the package of pro cycling the way I experienced it at races, or in a manner that was anywhere near as entertaining as the actual races. Pez has never been about creating a product to please the masses, it’s always been about publishing, reporting, and commenting on the cycling stuff I (and the PEZ Crew) think is cool, and if anyone else digs it – so be it. Turns out about 200,000 of you each month like what we’re doing.

We didn’t create the phenomenon of checking out hot babes, (women or men) – I believe this was going on long before PEZ. Beautiful women are everywhere – not just in cycling – and we simply choose to observe and share their beauty with an appreciative audience.

For women’s racing – we offer a lot more coverage than you give us credit for. Our biggest challenge is finding writers who want to submit reports on the women’s scene. In many cases the stories that we published are there because someone took the initiative to pitch us an idea and then produce the goods. I receive very little interest from fans wanting to support women’s racing, but welcome the stories when good ones arrive.

Getting sponsors and teams together has gone from the backroom to the boardroom.

Tour Bikes & Sponsorship
I watch the tour on OLN and visit your site to get the inside scoop. Question number 1…how do I find out what teams ride what bikes??? It does not seem to be as obvious as in days gone by or maybe I am just slow or slower. Secondly – what is involved in a team deciding on a certain bike…it can’t all be about money???
– Rob Dunn

PEZ Sez: Good questions Rob – First – see today’s EuroTrash for the answer to #1. For your second question, I called Scott Montgomery of Scott Bikes for some scoop here. Scott has ‘some’ experience in this area – being involved in putting together Scott’s bike sponsorship of Saunier Duval-Prodir, and a few years back the Saeco-Cannondale deal. The whole process is not as simple as one might think, and he told me: “Relationships are huge, forged on past experience, credibility of the product, the bike company’s integrity’. Sounds like big business to me…

The Pro Tour has increased competition among athletes and teams, leading to increased competition amongst bike companies to be part of it, and also the price of a sponsorship deal has increased.

It’s safe to say that all bike sponsorships of Pro Teams consist of a combination of money and product. With team budgets now in $5- 10 million range, the team owners are looking for money from all avenues to pay the bills, and the exposure a team can offer can be in the millions when you work in television, magazine and internet coverage of the sport.

Historically, the last time a sponsorship deal was done with just bike was the early 1990’s. In fact even before then, it was not uncommon for a ds to tell a team owner he ‘needed’ a specific bike brand for his riders, and then pocket some cash on the side from said bike company. But those days of deals being done over some pizza and vino are long gone, and when I asked Scott what the ball park cost of a bike sponsorship is today, all he’d say was “a LOT of money”.

What’s up with the Bettini short jokes? Beating Rujano in a basketball game? Show the guy some respect – like the other pro riders do! Stand next to Lance if you feel too short to deal. Always remember that a bike, like a very big bank account, is a great equalizer.
– Short guy from Miami

PEZ Sez: Actually, I’m 5’8”, so Lance is a good inch or two taller than me…

Dig me on The Gavia in the full Pez Kit – and Pez-Clusive custom musette.

Thanks for your coverage of groups like Team Type 1. With a number of friends who are diabetics, I am glad tosee the Team out doing RAAM.

I one of your articles there was pic of a rider in full PezCycling gear. Do you have any plans to sell more than just the jersey, socks and T? If the price is reasonable, I would be interested.
– Ken Nawyn

PEZ Sez: For now the PEZ kit budget goes only far enough to cloak the valiant PEZ-Crew from head-to-toe, and when testing the waters with Pez Kit for sale, I fgured we’d play it safe and start with just jerseys, socks, and caps. But interest is growing in the full kit – to include shorts and arm warmers, so if we get enough reader repsonce, we might do some for sale this Fall. The bib-shorts are top line from Bergamo, featuring a 4-density foam chamois that is second to none – likely priced around US$150.00, Arm warmers around $40.00

Pez- in this story:
Motirolo PEZ: Extreme Situation! – you are using some kind of over-the-shoulder bag. I’m going to be riding in France for three weeks
(semi-supported) at the end of August and will need to carry more than the usual stuff – additional food, a camera, etc., was the type bag you used in that story something you’d recommend?
– Art Oliver

PEZ Sez: Art! Unlike other things I’ve done, I actually DO recommend that musette bag – it rocks. But like all ‘most excellent’ items, there’s a catch. The bag is a custom creation, designed by me, and sewn by the mulit-talented Mrs. Pez. It’s cordura, and in addition to the large main pocket, we added two slim pockets inside, and two on the outside to increase and organize storage. It holds a lot, but is super light. I don’t like stuffing my jersey pockets with stuff so I put it all in the bag – pump, tubes, tools, bars, gels, two cameras (digital and dvd), plus clothing like a est, rain jacket, arm- & leg-warmers, booties if needed. The strap system clamps to itself so the bag does not slip out of place. And an added bonus – it makes a pretty good “man-bag” for tooling around foreign cities.

Gotta Comment?
If you’ve got a comment or opinion you’d like to share, send us an email and we might just publish you in glorious pixelated black & white! Letters may be edited for grammar, spelling, length or just to make ‘em better.

Send your comments to:[email protected]

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.