Report Variation in Murica, A New Type of "Unfit"

Mar 1 2006

It’s like there are two sides to every story, or something. Check out VeloNews’ write-up of Stage 1 of the Tour of Murica -“his native Australia”- then have a look at the Cyclingnews results – “1 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner”. Turns out both are right, as the kid left the Land of Oz for Deutschland to be a bike pro (not sure why you’d do that, with McGee, McEwen, Evans, Cooke, O’Grady, White, and now William Walker (scroll down), among others, in the pro peloton – probably he just got sick of choosing between VB and Tooheys New). Anyway, later in the articles, VN says Valverde just “seemed content to watch the others”, while CN points out that he won the first intermediate sprint, as well as taking the third behind the break in the second one. No real impact on the major points of the story, but still, the Tour de France was once settled by a mere eight seconds; the little things do matter from time to time. So, to keep truly abreast of the cycling world, best to read around (or let someone else – like me – read around for you).

Meanwhile, the alloy resurgence continues, as domestic squad Nerac/ will be on scandium Pegorettis this season, though I hear that the legendary frame builder has somehow run out of drop-outs, so it might be a while before the riders actually get their machines. There’s an interview with Saul Raisin (without copy and paste replies) as Paris-Nice looms on the horizon. A good preview of the “Race to the Sun” can be had here; I am especially excited to see what Ivan Parra, the aggressive South American from last year’s Giro not currently enmired in a contract dispute (scroll down), will do in the later hilly stages. And just below that PN preview is something really interesting: Ricardo Serrano has apparently been declared “inapt” to start because his stimulation index (SI) was above 133 (search “stimulation”). If you’ve got lots of hemoglobin, and not a correspondingly large number of baby red-blood cells, your SI will be quite high, basically showing that the extra hemoglobin you’ve got came from sources other than your body. I like this arbitrary limit better than the more well-known ones, as it more closely represents the natural function of the human body, but I don’t see why it doesn’t link reticulocytes to an RBC count instead of hemoglobin; after all, reticulocytes develop into RBCs, not hemoglobin. And how is % reticulocytes caluculated? By mass? Volume? Cell count?

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