Archive | December, 2005

Pro Cycling News – Worst Readers' Poll Ever, Assorted News

31 Dec

What the…? Where am I? Oh yeah, I run a cycling blog, that’s right. I’m supposed to update it every day…yeah, it’s coming back to me now. Well, before I get too hammered, I better get on an update, right? Let’s start with how friggin’ idiotic Cyclingnews’ readers are. Why even have this category? Last year, everyone was like “Tour blah blah blah record-setting 6th win blah blah”, now it’s “Tour blah blah blah Lance’s last race blah blah blah”. Too bad the racing’s been “blah blah blah” as well. Why reward the sunburnt Texans who think Team Discovery’s controlling the race and then launching Lance is mindblowing cycling strategy? God, look at these comments from last year’s poll: “The Tour is the benchmark of cycling. The Olympics means next to nothing compared to it for heavens [sic] sake”. What eludes you about the meaning of 2004 in “2004 Reader Poll Results?” Only on Judgement Day, when Cyclingnews will conduct its “Best of Worldly Existence Poll” would that be an acceptable statement.

No doubt the same dullards are responsible for choosing Hincapie’s win as the best moment of 2005. Wow, man, he got in a break, took a few pulls, sat on and then sprinted by a guy who weighs 20 pounds less than he and had been off the front since about a week into the race. I bet this is what you clowns consider “tactics”, isn’t it? It amazes me that you can watching nothing but the Tour, yet miss the fact that the last week of a dead GC race is always a desperate parade of second-tier riders striking out for a shot at first-tier glory. It is especially infuriating, considering the quality of this year’s Giro finale. I can hear you investment banking, corporate lawyering cycling bourgouise now, telling your trophy wives you know all about the Giro; it’s Lance’s helmet sponsor. Thank God The Texan’s quit the sport – you won’t be far behind. The advertizers might miss you, but I sure as hell won’t.

Ok, ok, sorry. I know, this isn’t a rant, it’s a news update. I also know that lots of corporate lawyers and investment bankers don’t have trophy wives and really do like cycling as something other than an excuse to vacation to France each July. If this weren’t so, how could webpages make money running stories on how Tom Boonen (who might still get better (scroll down)) was really the best rider of the year? And this Cipo story? Lance Fans sneeze on mere spinters. And the guys giving these awards to Armstrong, long after the fairweather fans have hung up their Madones for the winter, must be getting significant readership of their stories from somewhere to keep picking him year after year. So for those of you who take a shine to cycling beyond the single-minded aspirations of a one-nutted American, I hope to continue bringing you the best in day-old news stories (like Beloki’s drive to regain form) and sophomoric commentary (see first two paragraphs of this post or the rants section) for as long as humanly possible (or until I get a real job).

The Worst of Cycling 2005

27 Dec

OK, so you got Christmas, the first night of Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa off. Break’s over kiddies, and school’s back in session. First item of business is a late Festivus, beginning with the traditional Airing of Grievances, otherwise known as the Worst of Cycling. Unit of measure for worstness is one Pavel, defined as the amount of frustration required to raise my systolic blood pressure 10mm of mercury. So, in no particular order, here is an abbreviated list (otherwise, we’d be here ’til Groundhog’s Day) of the Worst of the 2005 Pro Cycling season.

Dick Pound

I’ve spent more time over the past 365 days wondering what the hell this guy’s problem is than I have thinking about sex. Well, ok, maybe not more than sex, but certainly more than beer, pizza and football combined. How can a man charged with bringing fairness to sport constantly spout off about how everyone is cheating and not get fired? “Drug use…within entire teams continues unabated”, “a third” of all hockey players are on steroids. Listening to the guy is like reading the headlines as you pass the Price Chopper checkout; I keep waiting for him to sound off on Keira Knightly’s plummeting weight. This tendency to accusation without merit is something problematic for all of…

The Anti-Doping “Movement”

What’s the deal guys? What do you want? Ok, I get it. You think dopers suck. But why haven’t you had anything meaningful to say about the Heras positive? The first winner of a Grand Tour, the highest form of road cycling, loses his title to a dope positive, and you guys just run him out of town on a rail. No “good to see the system works”, no “this is a step in the right direction”, just a “yeah, I always knew that guy was on drugs” and on to next victim. You guys don’t want to clean up the sport, you just like being loud and dissenting. But saying all cyclists are on drugs is a dull cliche, almost as dull as the…

The 2005 Tour de France

Yeah, sure, it had a few good moments: Vino’s win on the last day, Savoldelli’s tactical clinic on Stage 17, but for the most part it was dull, boring trash. Lance caught Jan on the first day and pretty much the GC race was over. When Disco didn’t hold the race together, T-Mobile, for no apparent reason, did. Rasmussen crashed all over himself in the final TT but still got to stand on the podium because of two good days in the Alps, and the Green Jersey competition was decided by a relatively innocuous headbutt three days into the race. Not exactly enough to get a cycling fan’s nipples hard, unless you’re…

Elisa Basso

Look, I know it’s hot in July in France and all, but for crying out loud, woman, put on a brassiere if you’re gonna wear a white shirt. Save it for Eddy Mazzolini. The Tour is hard enough on the riders without you snapping their necks around, like…

Paolo Bettini

I’m all for being a wily trickster of a rider. As Fausto Coppi said, “Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill.” But Paolo, man, when you get blatant about it and caught in the act, it’s poor form not to admit it. It is especially poor form to try and apologize for not doing anything, and extremely poor form to throw a prissy temper tantrum because you only get to make one podium appearance that day. If you’d been having a lousy Giro, it would almost be ok. But you had taken a brilliant win on Stage 1 and were the current race leader at the time of the incident; there’s no excuse for such jackassery, especially if you’re racing in…

The UCI ProTour

I never really got the ProTour. Apparently, it was designed to get the best riders together more often, though Cycle Sport made an argument that it was just to classify one “best” rider for a given season. I think it’s pretty fair to say it failed in both those regards, (certainly Eurosport agrees with me on this) and I’d be way more upset about it, but it looks like the ProTour will be severely reduced, if not dead, come the ’06 season.

Product Reviews & Product Ads

I skipped the segue this time to really drive home the point here. Ads are annoying. No one debates this. But I think people tend to overlook that this is how most cycling webpages and magazines pay the bills. Do you really think you can trust a product review when the product’s manufacturer is paying the reviewer’s rent? Certainly, Cyclingnews’ reluctance to get back to me on why a Zipp dealer employee wrote a review of a Zipp product (all they said was his name was left off the byline by mistake) is not encouraging. And CN is among the least blantant offenders. If you’ve ever been subjected to the limp-wristed trash that passes for product evaluation in Bicycling magazine, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Of course, some of you are bound to disagree, and you’ll probably do so by leaving…

Anonymous Comments

Now, it’s not the smack talk I’m decrying, here; I’ll admit right off that I’m the Chad Johnson of cycling news. But each time I run my yap, I leave myself open to criticism, and I’ve had to stand behind my accusations on a few occasions. But honestly, the problem isn’t so much accountability as confusion. I hate seeing like 50 different anonymous comments on a single post. Phil McCracken, Hugh Jass, Rodney Cockwell, Dick Pound; the world is full of humorous fake names you could use to differentiate yourself from the other three “anonymous” dudes posting on the site. This would allow me to address your concerns directly, rather than flailing about like King Kong on the Empire State Building. Of course, if you really want to express your discontent, swing by my house next Festivus, and we’ll settle the issue in the Feats of Strength.

Pro Cycling News – Zabel, Chavanel, Zabriskie

24 Dec

Ah, Erik Zabel. Despite being among the oldest and most accomplished riders in the peloton, the guy is still a breath of fresh air. This report (scroll to “Zabel”) shows the 35-year-old’s more sensitive side, revealing that he rode his own personal Tour de France after being left of T-Mobile’s squad (fat lot of good it did them) and that the most difficult good-bye for him was T-Mobile’s team massuer, with whom Zabel has a touching scene in Hell on Wheels. Despite the growing age gap between most riders and the former East German (yeah, remember there used to be two Germanies?), Zabel says he doesn’t feel old because “just like my colleagues, I’m interested in DVDs, I-Pods [sic], ring tones and such things.” I hope when I’m 35 I’m still this awesome. And able to lay down 1400 watts after 200k of racing.

Cyclingnews (which apprently is fighting back against the War on Christmas) spoke with another rider recently as well, France’s Sylvain Chavanel. In stark contrast to the straightforward Zabel, Chavanel’s interview is full of nebulous statements and veiled suggestions. Phrases like “Dreams are something that we can’t really imagine; something inaccessible” make me wonder if the recent dearth of successful French cyclists isn’t due so much to a “peloton at two speeds” as a “peloton operating on two starkly different philosophical levels”. Still, the young Frenchman has been at the head of the race in some of the Classics and a few TdF stages, and might well breakthrough next season.

Because it’s Christmas (Eve) and no one else has anything to say (except this interview with Pat McQuaid at VeloNews, which is too long winded for me to read, and let’s keep in mind, I enjoyed The Education of Henry Adams), I’ve got one last Cyclingnews bit for you. Never one to tend to the pleonastic, CSC’s Dave Zabriskie recently announced he was being sponsored by First Endurance energy foods. Why mention this? Well, here is what the company alleges he said:

“I started taking Optygen four years ago and felt a noticeable change in my breathing and how my muscles fatigued. Combine Optygen with Multi-V and you’re good to go train hard. Multi-V is the only vitamin that has helped with my performance. I love its comprehensive approach to enhancing endurance. Not only does it have important vitamins and minerals, but its enzyme formula give me everything I need to train hard and its antioxidant formula keeps me healthy so I can keep training hard.”

And that might be more words than I’ve ever seen DaveZ say at a single time, ever. You’d think after dropping a few dollars to get the sponsorship, the company might have taken 15 minutes to at least try and imitate Zabriskie’s voice.

Pro Cycling News – Ullrich's Weight, VeloNews Slacks Off

23 Dec

According to the T-Mobile webpage, the “christmas goose is getting fat”. The Magenta Train is also reporting that Big Jan has already slimmed down to his ideal race weight (76kg). But have a look-see at this pic from T-Mobile’s recent South African training camp. Ullrich, the curly-haired chap on the left, does seem a bit pudgy, no? Especially when compared to this shot from a Floyd Landis interview at Daily Peloton. Obviously, a weeks or two of Tour de France will slim you down like no other, but still, I feel like that shot from camp looks a little rotund for 76kg (Not that I think Jan is fat or anything. Point of the story is that T-Mobile is lying. I’m probably tipping the scales at around 76kg right now and I’m 5’8″/173cm). And where are your helmets, boys? Do you want all the little German Fahrradkinder to think not wearing a helmet is cool?

Meanwhile, VeloNews has been running this series of “in case you forgot” stories, like this AFP piece and today’s Top 15 retirements of 2005 (ps – fire your online copy editor). It kinda makes me wonder where the hustle is from those guys. Where are my EuroFile stories telling me that CSC has already named its ’06 Giro squad or that Christophe Moreau is raring to go with Ag2r next season? (It seems he wasn’t coddled enough at Credit Agricole, but he is excited to work with Mancebo and the Tour still gives him shivers). Sure, it’s tough to get Danilo DiLuca interviews (apparently winning Fleche-Wallone was “easy”…) or to sample different riders’ favorite trainer music (the best is saved for last). I mean, even ProCycling (not that they’re bad; they just tend not to update their webpage so often) has got news coming out its ears, about Dick Pound’s Ahabian quest to bring down one of the biggest names in sport and Johan Bruyneel’s assertion that the White Whale could still win another Tour (or two).

Pro Cycling News – Riding in the Snow, Essays, Estrogen

22 Dec

Don’t listen to Chris Horner. Yeah, sure, he’s a successful cyclist and gets all these interviews, but the man does not like riding in the snow, and it’s well known that riding in the snow makes you a better person. In fact, it seems he doesn’t like anything that isn’t dry pavement. See what I mean? (ps – Chris, if you’re reading this, there’s something out there called a ‘cross bike – see if you can spot the differences between this and a regular road bike. Yeah, they’re different sports, too. How about that?) OK, I’m sorry, that was mean. But, and this is not a knock on the guy’s intellect, I just don’t feel he’s a good role model for the little kids. Why? Because unlike Christian Vande Velde or Michael Berry, he doesn’t write frequently. And, as Levi Leipheimer has decided, essay writing ought to be the greatest factor in bike racing success. I mean, think about it: Oscar Freire, currently still laid up with a bad sit bone, could write you 500 of the tightest words you ever read (in Spanish) about how if he hadn’t won the 1999 World Title, he’d be working in a factory right now. That would probably smoke any of the “bike racer vs. investment banker” polemics the Montanan is likely to receive.

In other news, Ivan Basso is down for next season’s Milan-San Remo, a race he claims to be attempting to win. It’s also Tom Boonen’s (who, BTW, won another award this week) first goal for ’06, and the new course should test both of them rather nicely. Even with the changes, MSR seems an unlikely title for Gibo Simoni, but yesterday, during study hall, between the Top 10 Hottest Freshman Girls and the Top 10 Thrash Metal Bands of All Time, the two-time Giro champ did crank out a list of his Giro Dream Team Teammates. #1 was Ivan Basso (OMG!) and #2 was Eddy Mazzolini, probably because he’s dating Ivan’s Hot Sister (2nd from left). And now, for something completely different, Rory Sutherland, and Australian riding for Rabobank, has been suspended for 15 months after testing positive for clomiphene during the Tour of Germany. No big deal, right? Well, kinda. See, clomiphere has no real performance enhancing effect (it “might” reduce muscle damage), and is primarily “designed to help women get pregnant” by reducing estrogen levels. Real good to hear that one’s on the WADA banned list; lord knows what would happen to the sport if pro cyclists started turning up preggers mid-season.

Pro Cycling News – The Holiday Spirit, Landaluze Positive?

21 Dec

Hey, did you guys know it was the holiday season? No sh!t, man, I’m serious. It almost slipped by me this year because, being as into cycling as we all are, we never get bombarded with all those Christmas, Kwanza and holiday ads (I’ve yet to see a Hannukkah ad, strangely enough, though I may just be watching the wrong TV channels…). Anyway, I suppose it’s nice to not be buried with the soulless “buy-me” holiday ethos, but still, without mainstream ads, how will we know what to buy? Oh well, our confusion is just part of being in a fringe sport, I guess. At least we know what type of car to drive, and how to tighten a fµ¢&ing quick release and how to wear a helmet, and, oh yeah, not to blame evil, faceless corporations for our own failures as parents (and one last hug to the “journalists” at ABC News for using the term “tire” where they clearly meant “wheel”).

Returning to news related to pro cycling, it appears Euskatel’s Inigo Landaluze, a surprise winner at this year’s Dauphine Libere, has turned up a wee bit too much testosterone from a control in that race. Don’t know why this news was so long in coming, but the result is now that the Orangemen’s two ProTour wins from last season (the other being Tour de Suisse) have turned up positive dope tests. Landaluze, for his part, claims the problem isn’t drugs but his own two nuts, which have been cranking out too much testosterone since he was 16. This makes me wonder why he hadn’t told anyone about it between then and now, and seems a strange coincedence, as the second place finisher at Dauphine this year (Santiago Botero) has the same problem.

Pro Cycling News – Astarloa to Barloworld, Boonen Better, CSC Camp

20 Dec

Ho ho ho! I’ve got a lovely bag of Euro news for you this glorious winter morn. Leading off will be the latest and hopefully final episode in the Igor Astarloa saga (for this season, at least). After fairly reasonable rumors of a move to Lampre (one of his former teams), then talk of him switching to Liquigas, the Basque and ’03 World Road Race Champ has decided to remain with his current squad, the South African Barloworld outfit, for 2006. This means he’ll have to rely on wild card entries to get into the season’s biggest events, but with the partial dissolution of the ProTour last week, this seems like much less of issue than before. In other transfer news, former Disco rider Hayden Roulston, known well as a street fightin’ man (search “drunken brawl”) has moved to another American squad, HealthNet, probably because the medical coverage was better (yuk, yuk).

Meanwhile, Tom Boonen says he’s already better than last year, bucking the current trend among athletes of waiting until the next year actually begins before comparing it the current one. Maybe that’s why he’s so good, people: he thinks outside the box. Or maybe it’s because he’s from Belgium, land of “cycling, beer and chocolate”, as this report from Germany, land of efficiency and stereotypes, explains. Another man known to think out the box is Team CSC director Bjarne Riis, who began his paramilitary-style team-building camp with a rousing bowling match. The only reported casualty was a young girl, reduced to tears after finding that the lithe-wristed cyclists had stolen all the six-pound children’s balls. Never one to court bad press, Riis immediately cancelled the event and gave his athletes 20 minutes to gather their things and hit the woods (or in this case, a boat). I wonder if he told “the vampires” where they were going…

Pro Cycling News – A Very Short Post

19 Dec

Geez, did I miss another day? Could that be because there is almost nothing to report? Not like much has changed today, but Belgian ‘cross star Bart Wellens did somehow manage to kick an abusive fan while riding away to victory (and, see for yourself, it was some Matrix-style sh!t). Cyclingnews reports here that the Race Jury was “appauled”, but upheld the Belgian’s victory nonetheless. I for one welcome this decision – so long as racers don’t go charging out into the crowds Ron Artest style, they ought to be able to defend themselves against unruly spectators who violate the course, either bodily or via projectile, as was the case for Wellens. They could call it “Wladimir’s Law,” after the luckless Italian, who was disqualified from the 2001 Giro for punching a fan. Sure, riders like Richard Virenque, Marco Pantani and Andy Hampsten have been punching fans for years, but Belli had the misfortune to sock Simoni’s l’il nephew (who’s also related to Francesco Moser).

Pro Cycling News – Silent Protest, Manolo and Lance skipping of '06 Tour?

17 Dec

You may have noticed I did not post yesterday. This was to protest the alleged “news” proferred to you readers by the mainstream cycling media. “Millar confirms with Saunier-Duval.” Pffft. That’s months old. Sure, I guess it wasn’t official yet, but with the amount of press given it, including an interview with Millar himself in this month’s ProCycling, I’d say it was pretty much a given. And “Petacchi in Doubt for Giro,” honestly, people, do you think everyone has forgotten the contentious ’06 Giro Route announcement? Or the running “How will Milram work out the Zabel/Petacchi situation?” Add that to US ‘cross nats retrospectives, interviews with formerly relevant GC racers and reader mail, and it makes for some decidedly bland stew. I won’t insult you by providing links to these stories; if they interest you, you’re as good at using Google as I am.

Since yesterday, a few bits of news have accumulated. I got an email alerting me to this Dutch story, which seems to say Manolo Saiz may skip next year’s Tour. Babelfish isn’t much help, but “wil Tour de France boycotten” seems pretty intuitive to me. Armstrong has two stories, each orginally Dutch/Flemish as well, in which he claims (shocker) that the French are pursuing him unfairly and his response will be (shocker) simply to ignore it. Johan Bruyneel weighs in here on the ProTour/Grand Tours debate, but hold onto a bit of that trademark poker face, coming out diplomatically but firmly in favor of the ProTour. And finally, there’s this story, kind of human interest and generally outside the scope of what I cover, but still, marking the return of the only American MTB/’cross racer of any consequence in the last decade or so. Welcome back and best of luck, Mr. Kelly.

No Radio – Rant

15 Dec

merckx_74It’s not that I’m an unsentimental guy. I love wool jerseys, lugged steel, and wild, untamed sideburns flowing down from scraggly, unhelmeted mats of hair. These things are all great images of what was a golden age for cycling, between the true professionalization of the sport in the late 60’s, and doping specter of the 1990’s.

But that era of cycling is gone. Gone like 30-cents-a-gallon gasoline, slide rules and Jim Crow laws. Yet for some reason, there are large groups of people out there who not only think we should try to bring it all back, but that doing something as simple banning radios would be the fastest way to achieve this. I gotta say, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Where should I begin?

Let’s start by addressing the radio issue. Does the anti-radio contingent have no sense of history? Do they not know that riders have been communicating with coaches and directors for as long racing has existed? Did not having a radio prevent Greg Lemond from being held back on Luz-Ardiden so Bernard Hinault could win the 1985 Tour?

Conversely, did radio communication prevent Erik Dekker from ignoring his director and continuing to pull through as he and Armstrong broke away in the ’01 Amstel Gold race? Of course not. A DS can be as brilliant as he wants, but ordering riders around isn’t like moving chess pieces.

If a rider has ridden foolishly and burnt all his matches, or is out of position, or is simply just not paying attention, at the critical moment all the designs of the most brilliant tactician will crumble in an instant. People who think radios make the riders into mindless automaton, powered by some puppeteer driving a festively-painted Skoda half-a-mile down the road need to spend more time racing and less time watching it on TV.

big_migIf you’re still convinced that radios brought about today’s “boring” racing, how do you explain the fact that “boring” riders have long been dominant in professional cycling? It’s been stated many times (I think that Lance even mentions it in one of his books) that Johan Bruyneel wasn’t the first DS to try and use radios, he was just the first one to make them actually work. This would mean that Miguel Indurain rolled all over the Tour de France (and a couple Giros and Vueltas besides) with a style at least as dull as The Texan’s, and without the aid of a radio.

And Jacques Anquetil, who won 5 Tours de France in his day, never needed a radio to keep tabs on his opponents in the hills before summarily dissecting them in the time trials. At the time, many found Anquetil’s generally dry dominance as dull as today’s viewers find Armstrong’s. Now consider that little battle on Puy de Dome between Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor; it’s a classic moment of cycling history, right? But was that really any different than Armstrong’s marking Pantani on the climb to Ventoux in 2001?

Which brings me to my second point: honestly, I just don’t think today’s racing is all that boring. I dunno, maybe everyone who disagrees was busy taking a dump or something during year’s (2005) Giro, but it wasn’t exactly a snoozer. And while the Tour GC has been duller than stale pancakes for almost a decade now, its points competition and individual stages are as hotly contested as ever. This year’s Gent-Wevelgem, the ’04 Paris-Roubaix, and the ’03 San Remo (to name a few) were all memorable and exciting races, even with the radios going full blast.

In fact, if you really want to see what happens when you take the radios out of the modern peloton, check out this year’s Amstel Gold Race. Fog kept the helicopters (and thus the TV cameras and radio repeaters) out of action, and the race unfolded as dull and predictable as any Cat 4/5 road race with a hilltop finish. I mean, maybe you think watching a yellow-clad Eddy Merckx put six minutes in to the field by attacking on the second col of the day is more thrilling than watching Lance wait until the final climb to pad his lead, but honestly, I don’t see much of a difference.

“Oh, come on,” you tell me. “I just watched this old race on DVD, and racing used to be way more aggressive way back when.” Have you not seen SportsCenter? Are you unfamiliar with the concept of the highlight reel? In 2003, the eccentric father of a friend of mine taped every second of OLN’s Vuelta coverage. It took four, six-hour VHS tapes. And keep in mind, that’s just the TV footage; most stages run hours longer than they’re televised for.

VueltaDVD2003However, when you buy the ’03 Vuelta DVD from World Cycling Productions, those 24 hours have been chopped down to 4.5. The ’89 Tour, like many of the older videos at WCP, runs a mere 90 minutes. All respect due to Lemond and Fignon’s epic duel, but hell, with only 90 minutes to fill, you could make the ’04 TdF, one of the most lopsided, pointless blowouts in the history of sport, into a nail-biter. Of course, since you remember getting up at 6:30 each morning to be bored to death by the 24-hour cut, the ’04 Tour will never seem as exciting as better-edited-but-similarly-mismatched contests from the past.

But whether today’s racing is actually less exciting or not, saying that banning radios will improve modern cycling makes as about much sense as saying that deporting immigrants will cure America’s problems. I mean, it appeals to the dumbest, most basic human logic; you think back to the the “good old days,” then see all the “bad” things in the world in the present, and think to yourself “what’s changed?” It’s hard to miss all those brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking folks down at the City Market, and they didn’t used to be here, so you conclude “it was those danged Mexicans that screwed everything up!” Simple, right? Yes, and completely wrong.

It’s easy to see the changes in bike racing between the Merckx and Armstrong eras, just as it’s easy to see the changes in pretty much anything between 1970 and now. And though these newfangled radios are easy targets to blame for those changes, they’re just one of a myriad of contributing factors, including lighter bikes, more advanced equipment, more sponsor support, a narrower range of talent, increasing professionalization, internationalization, better roads, more TV coverage, drugs, drug testing, a longer season, better training and nutrition, more rider specialization and God knows what else.

So unless you plan to get rid of all these other “vices” (also referred to “improvements”, “advances” and “breakthroughs”—with a few exceptions) it really doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense to get rid of radios, does it? In all honestly, the only thing banning radios would change is the minds of the people who wanted them banned in the first place.