The imperialism of the Engl. language: yes, this IS bike related

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Anonymous's picture

Milram is a new team formed by the merger of an Italian team, Domina Vacanza, with a German underwriter, a dairy producer. It features Zabel and Petacchi. The team is comprised of 15 Italians, 10 Germans and five riders from other nations. The team's language? English. Yeah, that figures.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

Judging solely from the facts you presented, my interpretation is that Milram made the decision to favour the use of English.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
The leader of the pelotongue


You're being too sensitive here in, I think, attaching geopolitical overtones to my having used the word ""imperialism."" Think domination beyond one's borders. Think ""expansion.""

Once again we, in America, find ourselves a favored, lucky nation. Isn't it, what?, ironic that Americans, who are less schooled in foreign languages than are the people of any other of the world's so-called great nations—and very likely speak English more poorly than many in many of them—come out top dog again--almost being rewarded for our ignorance?

Yeah, yeah, the U.S. is the center of the world's commerce (time to learn Chinese), and some say, science and technology. I know, I know: that is likely the root of it, surely the former more than the latter.

But let's keep in mind this is a cycling forum. Do you find no interest in the fact a German-Italian team will use English? That's the only, granted minor, point I sought to make.

Yours for even-tempered dialogue in matters of U.S. expansionism.


Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Sir Lance-a-lot

"Maybe they are referring to that other most favoured, imperialist nation - the United Kingdom of England. I'm only commenting on what I've read here - not extrapolating by any means.

Learning a foreign language is a compulsory requirement for a New York State (Regents) high school diploma. While learning French in high school was a nice experience for me, I don't recall the last time I spoke, ""Parlez-vous Anglais?"" other than when I visited France a few years ago.

If 1/2 the team is very fluent in their native language, and the same is true for the other half, then using a 3rd language maybe a good compromise. I really don't know what their decision making was, so of course I'm speculating.

Here's another speculation: it's the Lance effect. Pedal, on!"

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)
Germany uber what!?!

Linguistics aside, what the heck is Milran thinking? Remember in 2005, T-Mobile (Germany) had Ullrich and Vino on its TdF team. Both capable of overall victory and both somewhat at odds with each other. No unified captain. Add Kloden and Sevilla – what do you have? Good side men or more “captains”?

Now, Milran (Germany) has Jet Petacchi AND Zabel????? Zer can be only ein Fuhrer!!!! Ja!!

BTW, English is, along with French, the language of international law and treaties. English is also the language of air pilots. Boogies at 11'o'clock!! Roger roger. I'm going in. Over and out.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
a Win-Win scenario for Petacchi and Zabel?

"I can see how Petacchi and Zabel racing together is very plausible, even beneficial to each. Petacchi goes for stage wins and Zabel, who finishes stage races, goes for the green jersey.

While Petacchi is resting, Zabel is going all-out for the intermediate green jersey points along with Petacchi's stage win rivals which should soften their legs for the day's final sprint. Any green jersey points won by Petacchi early on ""crowd out"" those of by Zabel's competitors to gain big points. When Petacchi eventually drops out, those green jersey points are forgone and Zabel can then contest the sprints later in the tour.

Late in the tour, with alot of race miles in their legs, an older rider like Zabel, perhaps his sprint tactics experience and endurance have greater value relative to youthful speed at such time making him a viable candidate to win a stage in addition to the green jersey. Mordecai, what do you think?"

Anonymous's picture
Cordula (not verified)
I like it!

it could work

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Petacchi and Zabel

"Interesting idea, Peter. But Petacchi does finish stage races too, and even wins stages on final days. He finished more stage races in 2005 than Armstrong or Ullrich. He won the last stage of the Giro (Zabel was second). He won the last stage of the Vuelta (Zabel was again second). It's only the Tour de France that he doesn't finish. He has other races to think about besides the Tour, and doesn't make finishing it and winning the green jersey a priority.

I confess, I don't understand why Zabel would join Petacchi on one team. Zabel may not be as fast a finisher as Petacchi when the latter is at his best, but he's still a very strong rival.

What has Zabel been doing lately? He won Paris-Tours on October 9th. More recently, he's won the Dortmund Six-Day race (with Rolf Aldag) and the Munich Six-Day (with Robert Bartko). Nice pics here: and PezCycling News. His career is not close to over.

Zabel is a pro's pro, and one of the best for the sport; a year-round rider, not just a one-race wonder like Ullrich. Leaving him off the Tour squad last year was a disgrace to T-Mobile."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)

Zabel finishing more tours than Ullrich or Armstrong is a non-sequitur. He's not racing to be on the GC podium and if he was a serious threat, there's no way he'd be racing 3 grand tours (competitively) a year.

As for Petacchi, you are absolutely correct. I stand corrected. I was thinking too narrowly about the Tour de France. JP commented about Ullrich, Kloden, Sevilla and Vino racing together. They did that together at last year's TdF, but no the Giro or Vuelta. Petacchi hadn't finished the last two Tour de Frances.

Anonymous's picture
ale-nyet (not verified)

germans can't speak italian, italians can't speak german, but they can both speak a little english.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
The English and foreign languages

I'm not sure the Americans are any worse at learning foreign languages than the English. There was a time when the English used to believe and practice that if you shouted loudly enough at somebody who didn't speak English, they would soon understand.

Of course, as a matter of pure arrogance, there are plenty of English people who can speak French but choose not to in France, just to get up their noses. But the French frequently respond with poor service in restaurants and over-charging or short changing you and, probably worse. And in Paris, they sometimes refuse to serve you if you don't make the effort to speak some French.

Not sure if this is an American versus English thing, but as we are talking about the English language, it is much better grammar to say 'the team comprises 15 Italians, 10 Germans' etc, rather than ' the team is comprised of' etc. We were always taught that 'comprised of' was absolutely wrong. Sorry to be perdantic.

Anyway, if it was a team with French and riders from another nationality, I can't imagine they would choose English.

Interestingly, though, English is the international language of navigation, both aviation and marine and, perhaps now, cycling too. If you listen to the tapes between the air traffic controller at Charles de Gaualle Airport and the ill-fated Air France Concorde captain, both of whom were French nationals, all of the conversations were in English.

And even with multi-national crews aboard international flag ships, they all do speak English, even if it is not their first language. The problem arises when there is an accident or incident on board. Everyone panics in their native language.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
The names for syphllis in France and in England

Anthony may be able to confirm this. I understand, historically, in France syphillis was called The English Disease; and in England syphillis was called The French Disease.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Not heard that one before

I haven't heard that one before about syphillis. However, for some bizarre reason, people of my parents' and grandparents' generation in England referred to condoms as 'French letters'. I have absolutely no idea why. Soldiers in the Army were issued with reuseable condoms that they had to wash out. And I am sure that is more detail than anyone required.

But at least we managed to export our mad cow problem to France and to most of the rest of the world too. Of course I blame the Thatcher government for that one. And she was the madest cow of them all!

And now, in true NYCC Message Board tradition, we are completely off subject at this stage, in terms of relevance to cycling.

Oh, wait a minute... I can get us back onto cycling again. In 1946 or 1947, my father, as a 16 or 17-year old, went on a cycling holiday in France with a school buddy. He was welcomed with open arms by people who put him and his friend up and fed and watered them. He said he hardly spent any money while he was over there. I can't see that happening now somehow.

cycling trips