Great Minds

I'm an infantry section commander serving out with the Royal Marines in Sangin, Helmand Province.

I currently live in a tent with no power, haven't seen a flushing toilet in nearly three months, a shower is a bag oveT a hole and the Internet is something I left back in England, sadly with my bike.

I thought I'd write a Cycle Sport 'greatness' letter with a difference. I have a copy of May's edition, now very thumbed, which is keeping me sane, seeing as I've missed all the Classics, will miss the Giro and the Tour.

I love the pro bike section — it gives me ideas on what to spend my hard-earned cash on when I get home — and Classic races too. I've only been cycling for two years so I'm still learning about our great sport.

So, CS, thank you for keeping a cycling soldier sane out here in Afghanistan. I'm thinking of starting the Helmand Province Tour — think I'd get it on the ProTour?

Neil Buckley, Afghanistan wasted resources that should have gone into supporting new talent and current highlights.

Valverde has ridden the past four years in the wake of Operación Puerto, making a ridicule of the modem legal system, competitors and even his team-mates and sponsors.

I keep questioning why other teams, would-be-clean riders and organisers accept a race with and against a rider, with an unfinished sentence on his name. The possible answer to that question scares me even more than the situation itself, and I will leave it up to your faith to evaluate.

Regardless of the current state, a compromise must be reached between past sins and current achievements, so that the chapter may be closed, vigilance relieved and efforts focused elsewhere.

Strip Valverde of his winnings in the period of 2006 up to and including 2008, require Caisse d'Epargne return the winnings to the respective race organisers and let recent years' vigilance act as a witness to clear Valverde's current efforts.

And for the love of cycling, let's get on with what really matters: sports!

Kenny Traving, Denmark CS: Done, and done! Well, apart from the money.

Yanking chains

You guys just could not help yourselves!

I know you featured Bradley Wiggins again just to gig us Americans and laugh at the emails!

Chris Urban. Franklin, TN CS: Would we?

Above Roger Hammond stays sane In Paris-Roubaix

Right Valverde gets on with it and wins stage five of the Tour of Romandy

Flanders 40th

I just received my July issue of Cycle Sport and thoroughly enjoyed reading the article 'Inside the cobbled classics'. What made it more enjoyable was the fact that I was able to attend the Tour of Flanders for my birthday.

Last fall, when my wife asked me what I wanted to do for my 40th at the end of March, 1 told her I'd really like to go to Europe to see a spring Classic, not just any, but the Tour of Flanders.

I've been a subscriber to your magazine for over 10 years and one of the features I enjoy is when you detail where to go and what to see while at the race. Needless to say, we pulled out my old copies of Cycle Sport to find things to do and which beers to drink. We attended the race with Q-cycling.com and watched the race at the Kwaremont, and it was more impressive than I would have imagined. I was able to get right there on the cobbled climb, get a little Flanders mud on me and see the pelotonflyby.

Later in our week stay in Belgium, we visited Freddy Maertens at the Tour of Flanders museum, which I read about in your mag as well. That museum should be on every cyclist's bucket list.

So thank you for your part in making my 40th birthday a blast. Now, I wonder what I'll get to do on my 50th.

Brent Dakin, Middle ton, Wisconsin

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