Monday, June 30, 2008
Normann Stadler, winner of two Ironman World Championships in Hawaii (2004 and 2006), has joined the Scott International Team. The 35 year-old top athlete and captain of team Dresdner-Kleinwort feels confident and happy about his relationship with Scott: “The new partnership and collaboration with Scott was an important move and will be a huge motivation for the upcoming season,” said Stadler.
Scott will be able to support Stadler in the best way regarding products and communication. In setting itself apart from Stadler’s existing partners, Scott stands by its main philosophy of Innovation-Technology-Design, which translates to hi-end products and a professional image.
After launching the new Plasma2 to the media two weeks ago, Scott is proud that they will see competitor Normann Stadler on the new bike in the near future. The sport’s most aerodynamic bike will work in tandem with Normann’s incredible cycling skills. Still the holder of the fastest bike split in Hawaii (recorded in 2006), he’s looking forward to going for a new record on the Plasma2 this year.
Michael Ball, owner of the Rock Racing team, says he and his companies will contribute "hundreds of thousands" of dollars to launch a fund to help elite racers who seriously injured while racing.
"Let's do the right thing for these guys," Ball said.
Ball urged other teams and bicycle industry members to contribute to the Professional Cycling Catastrophic Injury Fund, which will be managed by an independent board. The team will contribute 10 percent of the sales of Rock Racing merchandise to the fund. The entire proceeds from sales of several new items — to be sold on the team's Web site and at events — will go to the fund.
Ball said he was inspired to launch the fund by the plight of Mexican racer Fausto Esparza, who was partially paralyzed after a downhill crash at New Mexico's Tour of the Gila this spring.
"That's what really made me think about this," he said. "Here's a perfect example of a guy who has dedicated his life to the sport and now he's in a tough spot," he said.
Esparza, who spent several weeks at the hospital in El Paso, Texas, following the crash, has been moved to a facility in Mexico City, according to a source familiar with his situation. A call to a family member on Sunday was not immediately returned.
Ball said his goal is to raise $20 million over the next two years. The initial donation will come from the team, his Rock & Republic clothing company and himself personally. He said the fund will make donations to elite amateurs and professionals who are injured during a race. The fund's board of directors will decide on a case-by-case basis who qualifies and how much support should be given.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Mario Cipollini continues to race. After appearing in the Tour of California in February, where he finished third in the second stage, the 41 year-old will also ride the Nacht von Hannover on August 1. The race organisers announced on Thursday that Cipollini, local rider Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Steffen Wesemann (Cycle Collstrop), Andre Greipel (High Road) and Erik Zabel (Milram) will all appear in the race.
Cipollini came out of retirement to ride for American team Rock Racing in California. Shortly after the event, their collaboration came to an end. Now, the 'Lion King' will come out of retirement again to ride in Hannover for the fourth time. He won the race in 1999.
Friday, June 27, 2008
By: Kevin Mackinnon
Many describe Ned Overend as a living legend. The first ever world mountain bike champion dominated his sport in its fledgling years. Like the man who dominated Ironman through its early days, Dave Scott, Overend remained incredibly competitive up through his 40s - well, actually, anyone who's had to race against Overend recently will probably tell you that he remains competitive now, just a few months shy of his 53rd birthday.
So why should us Ironman folks care? Well, Ned Overend, the man who claimed the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in 1990, the man who won the NORBA Mountain Bike Championship in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992, the man who missed the Olympic team at 40 thanks to a couple of mis-timed flat tires, the man who retired from mountain bike racing at 41 and promptly dominated XTERRA racing (he won that world championship in 1998 and 1999), that guy also happens to be a two-time Ironman.
And we can thank Ironman Hall of Fame member Bob Babbitt for that.
“I was a runner in high school,” says Overend. “I was Bob Babbitt’s room mate. I met Bob on a rock climbing trip in Baja Mexico. I was working at San Diego Suzuki, he was a schoolteacher. We decided to rent a place together on Pacific Beach. We used to do events likes Tug’s Pier Swim. Then, one day, Bob saw the article in Sports Illustrated about Tom Warren winning the Ironman. Tom used to own Tug’s Tavern, so he said, let’s do this. I thought it was absurd, but I’d never been to Hawaii.”
It is ironic that the man responsible for many of mountain biking’s most incredible innovations arrived in Honolulu for his first Ironman in 1980 … well, let’s say without the best equipment.
“Bob was off the deep end,” Overend laughs. “He had a radio taped to his handlebars. I was wearing Jack Purcell tennis shoes. Since I thought those black shorts were kind of funky looking, I wore khaki stretch shorts with pockets.”
Things didn’t exactly go smoothly for Overend through the bike, either.
“My wife, she was my girlfriend at the time, she was my support staff. Somehow we got disconnected. I ended up doing the first 75 miles of the bike without support. I was stopping on the side of the road and filling my water bottle with people’s garden hoses.”
Despite his running background (Overend had run a 2:28 marathon before heading to Hawaii), the swim and the bike in the Ironman turned Overend “from a runner to a walker” but, despite his trials and tribulations, he would eventually finish 24th.
Overend would compete in one more Ironman, that on the big Island in 1981. After that he moved to Durango, Colorado, and got into trail running, continued to compete in triathlone and eventually turned to cycling. The rest has become a very storied history.
“It’s come a long way,” Overend says of Ironman. I would say so has Overend, but since he’s threatening to get back into triathlon racing again at some point, I’m guessing that there will be more to be written of this legend at some point. Just two years ago Overend won the prestigious Mount Evans Hill Climb – no matter what he might try to tell you about it getting harder to be in shape at his age, don’t believe a word of it.
Despite his success, despite the fact that people can’t help but clamor around him, desperate for a picture or an autograph, Overend remains one of the most modest and understated people on the planet. He represents himself and his sport(s) in a way that we all can learn from. On top of that, like his old room mate Bob Babbitt, he’s an incredibly nice guy.
Sorry to all of you in the 50-54 age group – I’m going to keep working on getting him to try and qualify for Clearwater!
You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vladimir Gusev of Team Astana won the 39-kilometre Russian time trial, his third time to take a gold medal in the event. Second and third went to Timofey Kritskiy (Katyusha) and Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne).
"I am very glad with this victory," the 25 year-old said in a team press release. "It is always an honour to wear the national jersey. I want to thank my team director and former Olympic Time Trial Champion Viatcheslav Ekimov for his advice today."
He know aims for the road race on Sunday. "I hope that we can return on Sunday from Russia with two national jerseys." (GB)
1 Vladimir Gusev (Astana) 54.58
2 Timofey Kritskiy (Katyusha) 1.30
3 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) 2.00
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Interbike International Bicycle Expo will remain in Las Vegas, its management today announced. An agreement with the Sands Expo and Convention Center to host the industry's show for a minimum of three more years, beginning with the 2010 show, is currently being finalised.
"The decision to keep the Interbike show in Vegas comes after years of research and communication with our retailer attendees, exhibiting manufacturers and important industry partners," said Lance Camisasca, Interbike's industry consultant. "The data and communication we have collected, along with industry recommendations from organisations like the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) and Bikes Belong, confirm our decision to keep the show in Las Vegas."
Keeping Las Vegas as the host city for the Interbike trade show came into question two years ago in preparation to renew the show's contract with the Sands Convention Center, which expires with the 2009 show. Among other things, members of the industry were interested in seeing the show support a more cycling-friendly city, while maintaining the best return on investment for exhibitors and retail buyers.
"While no one city is a completely perfect fit for the show, we are confident that Las Vegas continues to be the city of choice for the majority of our members," said Fred Clements, executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. "After numerous communications with our members and board and reviewing the annual survey results, the proof is in the numbers. In addition to what shop owners and managers say to us and what they put in a survey, retailers' loudest vote has been with their feet by attending the show."
The 2008 Interbike trade-only events begin with OutDoor Demo (September 22-23, 2008 in Boulder City), followed by the Interbike Expo, September 24-26 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, and OutDoor Demo East, October 21-22 at Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This year’s Tour de France should be a little more interesting following news Tuesday that outspoken Italian rider Riccardo Riccò will take the July 5 start in Brest.
Riccò ─ whose verbal outbursts are almost as lethal as his accelerations in the mountains ─ will take aim at the best young rider’s white jersey during his second Tour appearance.
The 24-year-old Riccò, seen by many in Italy as the heir to deceased Giro and Tour winner Marco Pantani, is considered a longshot for the Tour's yellow jersey.
On his race debut in 2006, working for Italian climber Gilberto Simoni, Riccò finished in 98th position overall. Riccò, second to Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia, replaces the sidelined José Ángel Gómez Marchante, out with health problems, as Saunier Duval-Scott revealed its nine-man Tour squad.
Also getting a nod is Italian climbing specialist Leonardo Piepoli, who crashed out of the Giro in the Dolomites with three broken ribs and various fractures in his left hand.
Juan José Cobo, 20th overall last year, will be taking aim for the top 10 in his second Tour ride.
“I’ll take aim for the top 10 in the Tour. Last year I was 20th in my first crack at it, so this year, I’m sure things will go even better,” said Cobo, who won the 2007 Vuelta al País Vasco. “I wish there were more climbs in this year’s Tour, but we’ll have to do the best we can. At least there are less time trial kilometers, too.”
Four riders ─ Josep Jufre, Litu Gómez, Jesús del Nero and Alberto Fernández de la Puebla ─ will be making their Tour debut.
Saunier Duval-Scott for Tour de France
Juan José Cobo (Sp)
Jesus del Nero (Sp)
Alberto Fernandez de la Puebla (Sp)
David de la Fuente (Sp)
Angel Litu Gomez (Sp)
Josep Jufre (Sp)
Leonardo Piepoli (I)
Riccardo Riccò (I)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Czech rider Roman Kreuziger of the Liquigas team won the 72nd Tour of Switzerland in Berne on Sunday, despite losing out to Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara in the ninth and final stage.
The 22-year-old - the youngest winner of the Swiss tour - earned his first Pro Tour victory after an impressive showing, which included seizing the yellow jersey from Kim Kirchen during Saturday's 25km time-trial. Kreuziger finished 49 seconds in front of Andreas Klöden, of the Astana team, and nearly two minutes ahead Spanish climber Igor Anton, of Euskaltel.
"I have the feeling that this the beginning of my professional career. It is by far the most important success since my junior world champion road title in 2004," said the Czech. "My goal was to get to the Tour de France in good shape, but during the Tour of Switzerland I felt that I was already in good form. Perhaps I'm a little bit in advance of myself.
"I'm going (on the Tour de France) to really learn. I'm going to France to see what happens and get the experience."
It was a case of role-reversal for the first two over the line, after the young Czech finished behind Klöden in the Tour of Romandy earlier this year. But the German - today celebrating his 33rd birthday - was happy with his second placing, praising the quality of Kreuziger over the nine difficult stages.
"After my illness in the Giro d'Italia, I started this race without real preparation. The bad weather in the first days did not help me, but I survived," said Klöden, who placed third in the 2006 Tour de France. "Twice I lost about twenty seconds. It could have made the difference, but I won't complain. Kreuziger is a big talent."
Berne-born Cancellara won his second stage of the Tour, after taking Friday's Lyss stage, and the Swiss star was content with his performance.
"I have not taken a decision over dropping out of the Tour (de France) to better prepare for the Olympic Games. I will take it day by day. Anyway, I'm happy with my performance," he said.
The stage was lit up by a 130km breakaway by five riders, including Spain's Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Holland's Maarten Tjallingii (Silence), but Cancellara's climbing skills ensured he finished first.
Spain's Alberto Contador, who is looking to win the Tour of Spain in September to add to victories in the Tour of Italy and Tour de France, said Monday that winning the world's three main cycling races would be better than winning an Olympic medal.
"I want to do well at the Tour of Spain even if that means that in order to prepare myself better for it I am not at 100 percent for the Games," he told reporters in Madrid.
"I have won the Tour de France and the Giro and if I achieved a triple it would be more historical than getting an Olympic medal," he added.
The 25-year-old won the 2007 Tour de France and earlier this month he became the first non-Italian to ride to victory in the Giro d'Italia since 1996.
Last week he said he would like to take part in the road race and time trial at the Beijing Olympics in China.
Contador will not be able to defend his Tour de France title this year because his Astana side were not invited by the race organizers due to a series of high profile drugs scandals involving team members before his arrival.
He said he will try to watch as much of the race as possible.
"I am not going to be jealous in any way because the year is very much on track and with the Olympics and the Tour of Spain it could be a historic year," he said.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The final U.S. Olympic triathlon spot for Beijing in August was a battle between two-time Olympiam Hunter Kemper and 2004 Olympian Andy Potts. If either man was the top American across the line, he would get the final the spot for Beijing.
As in the women's race, a Speedo-sponsored $5,000 bonus went to the first athlete out of the water, and like the women's race, the prime went to a former NCAA All-American swimmer: Potts, who exited the Blue Heron Lake ahead of the field but had fellow Americans Kemper and Brian Fleischmann close behind.
The small group began the 40-kilometer bike course together but wasn't able to get away and was soon pulled back into the first chase group, forming a 21-man front pack. On the third of eight laps the chase group caught up to the leaders.
On the sixth lap, American Tim O'Donnell broke away and rode solo into T2 but was overtaken quickly in the run. A distinct lead group of five men emerged containing Henning, Whitfield, Docherty, Greg Bennett and 2002 world champion Ivan Rana of Spain -- a group that owns a staggering total of 28 world cup titles and seven Olympic appearances.
Nearing the midway mark of the run, Henning began to break away, leaving the other four to battle for the final spots on the podium. Henning was victorious in Des Moines again with a time of 1 hour, 54 minutes and 21 seconds - and he took home $200,000.
Docherty took silver and $40,000 for the second straight year, while Bennett settled for the bronze, his first world cup podium since 2003.
In the battle for Beijing, Kemper finished in sixth place, 30 seconds ahead of Potts, ensuring his third trip to the Olympics.
One year after failing to finish the race in Des Moines, Iowa, Australian Emma Snowsill roared back this season, convincingly winning today's Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon World Cup. Snowsill not only claims her third world cup title of the year, she also takes home $200,000 (all funds USD). Fellow Aussie Emma Moffatt finished second and picks up $40,000. Great Britain's Helen Tucker took bronze, continuing a remarkable four weeks of racing in which she took silver in Madrid and gold at the world championships in Vancouver, Canada, two weeks ago.
Due to the disastrous floods that have hit Iowa, the course had to be reconfigured and moved to West Des Moines nine days before the race.
The final U.S. Olympic spot was on the line in this race, and it was a duel between Sarah Groff and world-championship silver medalist Sarah Haskins. Groff needed to be the top American across the line, otherwise the spot would go to Haskins.
A hefty $5,000 bonus sponsored by Speedo went to swimming powerhouse Sara McLarty, who easily exited the Blue Heron Lake first, holding a sizeable lead on the rest of the field.
McLarty cycled on her own for the first lap and a half before she was reeled in by the strong chase group that included some of the sport's heavy hitters: Snowsill, Laura Bennett, Moffatt, Julie Ertel and world champion Tucker. Ten women rode in the lead pack together, adding time to its lead. The chase pack that included Hollie Avil, Jasmine Oeinck and Felicity Abram was down by about 90 seconds early in the bike and found themselves trailing by more than two minutes as they took the bell lap.
As the women headed out onto the 10-kilometer run course, Snowsill immediately surged to the front, establishing a 19-second lead. Moffatt was in second place with Bennett a further six seconds behind her. Tucker, Haskins and Liz Blatchford were not far behind as four women were battling for the final spot on the podium. But no one was going to catch Snowsill as the three-time world champion cruised to the finish line, celebrating the ninth world cup title of her career. Moffatt wasn't challenged as she easily finished second. In the third of four laps, Tucker passed Bennett and held on for the bronze. Haskins was sixth, but more importantly she claimed the final spot on the U.S. Olympic team, joining Ertel and Bennett.
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
1. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 02:03:15
2. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 02:04:35
3. Helen Tucker (GBR) 02:05:21
4. Laura Bennett (USA) 02:05:30
5. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 02:05:41
6. Sarah Haskins (USA) 02:05:45
7. Julie Ertel (USA) 02:07:12
8. Becky Lavelle (USA) 02:07:44
9. Sarah Groff (USA) 02:08:57
10. Erin Densham (AUS) 02:08:59
MOVING FAST Lance Armstrong, with Kate Hudson on the handlebars, and, from left, Tory Burch, Ashley Olsen and Sheryl Crow.
By ALLEN SALKIN
The first, Lance Armstrong the bicycle champion and anticancer campaigner, was making television appearances to promote a new Web venture, livestrong.com, devoted to healthy living.
On Monday, Mr. Armstrong, 36, tan and fit, conversed studiously across the table from Charlie Rose about health care policy. The next day, he chatted on “The View” about a cancer summit in Ohio next month, and later that evening, he was ribbed by David Letterman about a luxurious photo spread of his Austin, Tex., home in Architectural Digest.
But there was also plenty of publicity unauthorized by Mr. Armstrong, including three days of coverage in The New York Post, a string of articles on Us Magazine’s Web site and an article in Life & Style entitled “How Lance Stole Kate From Owen,” all chronicling Mr. Armstrong’s relationship with the actress and tabloid darling Kate Hudson.
This is the second Lance, the one people.com called a “notorious Texas playboy.”
Friends confirmed reports that Mr. Armstrong and Ms. Hudson had kindled their relationship in the Bahamas in May, after she broke up with the actor Owen Wilson. Last week, the couple spent Father’s Day in Brooklyn, attended an Iron Maiden concert at Madison Square Garden and stopped in at her West Village town house. “Kate’s date,” The Post called Mr. Armstrong in a headline, reducing the seven-time Tour de France champion to the role of a star’s suitor.
Advocates of cancer research say Mr. Armstrong’s impact since retiring from cycling in 2005 has been nothing short of remarkable: 70 million yellow Livestrong bracelets have been sold to raise money for cancer causes. He has testified before Congress and has inspired legions with his own story of overcoming testicular cancer.
“I don’t have the bike anymore,” he says in a video on the Web site of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which was founded in 1997 to empower people affected by cancer, a nonprofit related to the new, commercial livestrong.com. “This is the new fight. This is what I live for.”
But increasingly, it is not what he is becoming known for. Ask Larry Wallach what is the first thing that pops to mind when he hears Mr. Armstrong’s name, and Mr. Wallach, a salesman at Sid’s Bikes on West 19th Street in Manhattan, replies, “How he spent Father’s Day with his new girlfriend.”
Ask others in the shop, or read the comments on the Web under news items about Mr. Armstrong. Many people seem to mention his two-year relationship with the singer Sheryl Crow, his romance with the fashion designer Tory Burch and his canoodling last year in a New York nightclub with Ashley Olsen, rather than his serious pursuits.
“This guy has had more woman on his lap than a napkin,” wrote a typical commenter on ABC News’s Web site under a story entitled “Kate Hudson hops on the Tour de Lance.” “He is a serial dater and I’ve lost respect for him.”
Those glamorous high-profile women can be a lot of weight to carry around. Some experts in philanthropy say Mr. Armstrong risks detracting from his heroic image, and damaging his effectiveness as an anticancer advocate.
“He should be concerned about the impact of how he dates on the seriousness of his legacy,” said Claire L. Gaudiani, a professor of philanthropy and fund-raising at New York University, who has followed Mr. Armstrong’s work and his image. “He’s got a great role to play, but it doesn’t have to be in bars or on red carpets with lovely young people. That will ruin his capacity to do the work he has said is important to him.”
To quantify exactly how Mr. Armstrong’s personal life may or may not undermine his advocacy is not possible. Scott MacEachern, the general manager of the Livestrong line of workout gear Nike introduced in January, with profits going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, said gossip coverage does Mr. Armstrong and society “a disservice.”
“It would be nice if the media would pay as much attention to him in the cancer wards of hospitals as it does to him in Cannes, France,” Mr. MacEachern said.
He hastened to point out that Nike remains supportive of Mr. Armstrong and said Mr. Armstrong’s personal life has not affected the popularity of Livestrong products, whose sales have already raised $2.5 million for the foundation.
Certainly, Mr. Armstrong has accomplished a rare feat, leveraging success in a sport few Americans once cared about into a post-athletic career in which his fame and influence are even stronger. This achievement brings Mr. Armstrong, still young and rich, plenty of opportunities to enjoy himself.
“He’s a lot more fun and interesting off the bike, and lot cuter,” said Sally Jenkins, the co-author of his memoir “It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life.” “As a friend of his, that was the most grim, boring, monovisioned part of him,” she said. “The bike guy was this gaunt, driven fighter. Off the bike, he’s this flip-flop-wearing, beer-drinking, serial-dating marquee idol.”
Although Mr. Armstrong is divorced, he enjoys a good relationship with his ex-wife and is devoted to their three children, said his former coach, Chris Carmichael.
“His foundation, the fight against cancer and his kids: I see those as the most important three things in his life,” Mr. Carmichael said. “I mean he has girlfriends and things like that — why not?”
Ms. Crow, whom he started dating in 2003, was his first high-profile relationship. They separated in 2006, five months after becoming engaged. On an album released earlier this year, Ms. Crow has a song titled “Diamond Ring,” with the lyrics:
We made love all day
In our little hideaway
But I blew up our love nest
By making one little request
A spokeswoman for Ms. Crow said that the lyrics might or might not be about Mr. Armstrong.
Click on title link to read on......
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Liquigas' Roman Kreuziger confirmed himself as one of the world's best climbers in the Tour de Suisse on Saturday, putting in a stunning performance to win the 25 kilometre test on the Col du Klausen and pull the leader's yellow jersey off the shoulders of High Road's Kim Kirchen. The Czech rider was thrilled to put in the best performance of his career in Switzerland.
"Until now, my win in the 2004 world junior title in Verona was the most important. But now this victory here in the time trial tops that result," said an elated Kreuziger after the race. "I hadn't done a mountain time trial yet with the pros, but I was very motivated because I was second overall going into today. This is my first big victory as a professional."
The 22 year-old has a long history of competing in the country. "I was racing as a schoolboy for a Swiss club called RV Sulz and as a junior I competed for the Groupe Sportif Schumacher, which also had its base in Sulz," he said.
With no major difficulties facing the riders on the final stage to Bern, Kreuziger looks well placed to take the overall title home. He leads by 49 seconds over Astana's Andreas Klöden, but could get help from Team CSC who will want to deliver Fabian Cancellara to another stage victory in his home town.
Kreuziger only came to Tour de Suisse to prepare for his first Tour de France, but surprised himself with his form. "I came to the Tour of Switzerland hoping to do a good preparation for that race, but when I learned I was in good condition, the overall classification came into my focus," he said. "For the first time, I am in the Liquigas team selection for the Tour de France. I will go there to learn and to stay there for ten days. Maybe I can do something in a stage."
Friday, June 20, 2008
Limited Edition #1
De Soto Sport made 100 of these in early 2007, and they sold out in less than 6 weeks.
Limited Edition #2
De Soto sport made 200 of these in late 2007 and less than 25 are left!
Limited Edition #3 Now Here!
De Soto Sport made 200 and they are now available. Cool new graphics and new colors that will match any of our cycling bibs and shorts. Made of Skin Cooler™ Pique, with 3 pockets, and an 18-inch front zipper. Edition 3 has no elastic on the sleeves, and is 1-1/2 inches in longer in the torso than Edition #1 (the same length as Edition #2).
This jersey is only available on their website and not sold at any store.
This is a limited edition garment. Get yours before they sell out!
To order click on the title link.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
By - Mark Sisson
Most folks are aware that “fight or flight” is the body’s natural response to stress. When faced with a stressful situation, we either get aggressive or, in the words of a local surf instructor, we bail. This choice depends upon our perception of the circumstances and our corresponding judgment of the odds of success. The “fight or flight” response is, in terms of energy preservation, tremendously efficient. And it is very effective at ensuring greater odds of survival. This makes sense to everyone on a visceral level, but do you know the physiological mechanisms involved?
The fight or flight response begins in the brain. Various regions operate in concert to detect, sense, decode, and respond to a stimulus. Though there are a few different pathways for a given feeling (like fear) to travel, it is ultimately the hypothalamus that is responsible for triggering the fight or flight response. Once the hypothalamus goes to work, what I call your survival systems, i.e. the “gut”, kick into gear. They are the nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system.
Enter physical symptoms: sweating, heart palpitations, muscles tensing, hearing sharpening. You are now extraordinarily alert, but only on the issue at hand: concentration and awareness of anything else fly out the window. The nervous system has flooded your body with adrenaline (scientists often refer to this as epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). Meanwhile, the adrenal-cortical system (which produces these hormones) becomes activated by way of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland secretes a hormone known as ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone…say that three times fast). ACTH journeys - via the bloodstream - to your adrenal cortex, where these small organs will pump out as many as 30 different hormones to address the stressful situation at hand (the adrenals are “fed” by cholesterol). And your immune system temporarily shuts down so your body can utilize all its resources to deal with the perceived threat.
The adrenal cortex produces cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone, among many other hormones. It’s a beautiful system. Unfortunately, what worked for our old friend Grok does not, I believe, work so well for us. Simply put, our modern lifestyle subjects us to a potentially enormous amount of stress on a daily basis that the body has simply not evolved to handle. To my mind it’s a bit like “deer in the headlights”. We have a big deer overpopulation problem in my area, and you always hear comments along the lines of how dumb the deer are around automobiles. Well, in my opinion they’re not so dumb - in evolutionary terms, after all, cars are very new on the scene. The deer simply haven’t adapted the appropriate stress response. Is it so different for humans?
Theoretically then, persistent, low-level stress - which the body unfortunately interprets as warranting a “fight or flight” response - is destructive to health. In other words, being stuck in traffic for two hours a day, every day, is the equivalent of a serious survival threat to your as-yet “primal” brain, and the adrenals pump accordingly. Cortisol serves many important functions, including the rapid release of glycogen stores for immediate energy. But persistent cortisol release requires that other vital mechanisms effectively shut down - immunity, digestion, healthy endocrine function, and so on. Among other stress-health associations, the link between elevated cortisol and weight gain has already been established.
At this point I hope you can begin to imagine the potential health ramifications of what is often called “adrenal fatigue”: daily compromised immunity, continuous stress hormone release, being “on edge” generally, exhausted sex hormones (remembering my admittedly pet theory of why male endurance athletes often suffer from diminishing testosterone production and consequent receding hair). Your body thinks it must survive at all costs - and is there ever a cost.
Though I’m no Green, nor do I think moving to the woods to commune with the grubs is a viable (or desirable) solution to mitigating stress, the tremendous volume and scope of stressful stimuli present in the modern, fast-paced lifestyle may play a very critical role in the high rates of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, depression and anxiety we’re seeing (among many health problems). At any rate, I firmly believe this to be so. (Humorous note: apparently shopping is physically stressful for men. But then, planning holiday events and managing social obligations is stressful to women. At the risk of announcing my bah-humbugness to the world, the holidays are inordinately stressful to everyone.)
Managing stress, then, is paramount to maximizing optimal health. To the extent that you can, reduce the “noise” in your life - from entertainment, from frivolous or excess obligations, from fractious relationships, from debt, and so on. Managing stress is a very big topic indeed, and we’ll be addressing it more in future posts. For now, here are the key factors I believe are necessary to reducing stress:
- Consume antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. I also recommend a multivitamin that contains a comprehensive and potent antioxidant profile. Completely avoid processed, empty calories found in snacks, junk food and fast food.
- Consume adequate beneficial fats to utilize antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes and co-factors. Wild Alaskan salmon, pure fish oil pills, olive oil, nuts and avocados are good places to start. I don’t go in for the Omega-enhanced Tropicana or miracle mayonnaise, personally.
- Manage expectations: your own and others’. Ambition and motivation and generous support are all great traits to possess. But don’t over-promise to others or yourself. None of us knows the future.
- Exercise daily. I cannot stress this enough. Exercise releases endorphins and helps to regulate the production of critical brain hormones.
- Unhook daily. Most of us spend so much time on the input-output cycle, we don’t give adequate time to simply absorbing it all. Reflect, relax, restore. I personally like to spend a little time each day reflecting on what I am grateful for (I call this doing my “appreciations”.) Prayer, meditation, singing, cooking and other activities that get you out of your head and into the moment are vital to helping you manage the stress of constant stimuli and energy demands. “Think positive” is nice advice, but it’s tough to do if you are at your limit. It’s easier to find an action that naturally lends itself to positive thinking and feeling, rather than trying to control your thoughts. That in and of itself can become stressful. Find an immersing action that works for you and do it religiously.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Frank Schleck's team-mate Jens Voigt was up to his usual tricks today, going clear early on in a break and putting the hurt on the other riders in the move. He said that he has come out of the Giro d'Italia strong, even if he doesn't have a zip in his legs at the start of each stage.
"I feel pretty good after the Giro" . "Obviously after a big Tour you don't have this feeling that you are super fresh, you don't jump out of bed and go 'woohoo, I am so fresh today'. But once the race gets hard you feel it, you realise that you have done the Giro and now you can go again. You never really feel that fresh any more, but you have this 'go-power' after a big race like that."
He gave his reaction to the stage, and also to the unfortunate crash that saw Schleck lose out on the yellow jersey. "The day was hard, it was a very fast start. I made a group as planned. But I didn't ride at my best, I think I was really giving it a little bit more than I should have.
"That said, it is my job, that is what I am here for...to cover these kind of breaks. To go where it hurts. So I kept an eye on the boys, especially the two guys who were well-placed on GC; Caucchioli from Crédit Agricole and Tschopp from Bouygues Telecom. I kept them in my sights and basically waited for my leaders to come back. They did, they attacked and all looked great until it all turned to shit on the last descent."
All is not lost for CSC, however. Schleck's younger brother Andy will start stage six 8th overall, 40 seconds behind race leader Igor Anton. Voigt said that the team will now back him. "I guess Andy is now our next-best chance," he stated. "He is the white knight from the  Giro, so I don't think it looks too bad for him either."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
At the International German Championships over the middle distance in Kulmbach, Normann Stadler left his competitors far behind. In the end, the two-times Ironman winner had a lead of five minutes over his competitor Timo Bracht, who will also race in Frankfurt on July 6th. Last year’s winner Andreas Böcherer came in third.
“The Race turned out to be perfect for me and was an important performance gauge for Frankfurt. There was a first class field of competitors and I knew I had to give it my all. It pleases me all the more that it happened to be such a big margin.” says Stadler.
This years Frankfurt Ironman should be the first showdown of 2008 with Macca, Faris Al Sultan and Stadler all on the start list.
While the 2008 Giro d'Italia completed its course from Palermo to Milano, Ivan Basso – banned for through 24 October for his involvement in Operación Puerto – completed his own race. The 30 year-old Italian, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, simulated the Italian three-week race through various training rides, including 5000 metres of climbing on the day of the Passo del Mortirolo.
"I did quite possibly the hardest training in my life the day of the Mortirolo. I have never before climbed Cuvignone five times. I did 240 kilometres solo, with 5000 metres of climbing and I spent more energy than riding Liège-Bastogne-Liège," recalled Basso to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He was dropped from his team and banned from cycling last spring, on the eve of the 2007 Giro d'Italia, for his relations with Eufemiano Fuentes.
Instead of watching this year's Giro d'Italia on television Basso worked out specific routes to prepare himself for his re-entry with Team Liquigas (his first race will likely be the Japan Cup, October 26).
"We started with a flat stage the first day. Then a mixed stage, a mountain stage of about 200 kilometres, a 30-kilometre time trial, another mixed stage and a final tappone of 240 kilometres," Basso continued. During his five repeats of Cuvignone, a climb near his home of Varese, he set his personal best time of 29'15" – a few seconds faster than what he set going into the 2006 Tour de France. His desire to be in form when he returns was not put off by the inclement weather; his time trial test was run under heavy rain, the same day that the Giro d'Italia raced the stage to Varese.
Over the past weeks he has heard from his future team-mates. "[Franco] Pellizotti and [Vincenzo] Nibali I talk to on the telephone. [Andrea] Noè, [Charles] Wegelius and [Ivan] Santaromita train with me. I don't know [Roman] Kreuziger, but I have heard great things about him. They seem happy for my arrival and the experience I can bring along."
When Basso does return for his first full season back in 2009 he will find his rivals further developed. "[Alberto] Contador is first class – at the first Discovery Channel training camp, with a cold, he was able to wow everyone on the climbs. [Riccardo] Riccò has showed himself to be very strong at this year's Giro. And [Damiano] Cunego, you will see, will have a great Tour [de France]."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Terenzo Bozzone topped a fantastic bike split with the fastest run of the day to win the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Kansas. Craig Alexander and Leon Griffin rounded out the podium. Sam McGlone won the women's race after chasing Joanna Lawn for most of the run. Lawn held on to second and Linsey Corbin finished third.
Top 10 men
1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:56:06
2. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:59:59
3. Leon Griffin (AUS) 04:00:37
4. Daniel Bretscher (USA) 04:03:28
5. Kirk Nelson (AUS) 4:04:22
6. Courtney Ogden (AUS) 4:05:26
7. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 4:07:53
8. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 4:10:39
9. Andrew Hodges (USA) 4:11:16
10. Alex M McDonald (USA) 4:12:04
Top 3 women
1. Sam McGlone (CAN) 4:19:03
2. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:19:32
3. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:36:11
Friday, June 13, 2008
Mirinda Carfrae started her triathlon career with great success at the Olympic distance, scoring silver medals at the Olympic-distance Under-23 world championships in 2002 and 2003 and earning a silver medal at the 2003 Salford World Cup. But in 2004, she earned a breakthrough win at the 2004 Nice long-course triathlon and won a silver medal at the 2005 International Triathlon Union long-course world championship. In 2006, she took two wins at the Ironman 70.3 distance and a third at the Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Clearwater. In 2007, Carfrae scorched the field to win the Ironman 70.3 Worlds and started 2008 strong with wins at the Geelong and St. Croix 70.3 races.
Riding a wave of success, people in the sport are wondering when Carfrae will follow in the footsteps of her friendly rival Samantha McGlone and tackle Ironman Hawaii. In this Q&A, Carfrae discusses her path from a childhood on family farm in Queensland to a life as one of the premier triathletes in the world.
Click on title link to read the interview.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By Jason Goldberg
The race season is upon us, and everyone is looking for an extra edge to help them perform their best on race day. One of the most potent forms of training you can utilize to get yourself into shape is threshold training.
What is threshold training? Called lactate threshold by some and anaerobic threshold by others, an athlete reaches his or her LT when exercise intensity increases and blood levels of lactic acid begin to rise in an exponential fashion. In untrained athletes, this can occur at 50 to 60 percent of VO2 max, but it occurs at higher intensities (up to 88 to 95 percent of VO2 max in some cases) in well-trained individuals. Although there is some disagreement on the exact point and even the definition, it is generally agreed that the sudden rise in lactic acid and ventilation during exercise represents an increasing dependence on anaerobic metabolism (producing energy without oxygen)—and it is this point that is generally referred to as the LT.
As long as your heart and lungs provide enough blood flow to your muscles, your muscles can operate aerobically, but as your level of exertion increases, your muscles require more oxygen than the body can provide and metabolism becomes anaerobic. Your anaerobic threshold occurs when you are no longer taking in enough oxygen to supply to your body’s requirements. During anaerobic metabolism, lactic acid accumulates in the muscles, and the muscles become fatigued and sore.
Being able to work close to your maximal oxygen consumption without suffering from a debilitating accumulation of lactic acid in the blood is what we want to accomplish, and through training our bodies become more efficient at clearing lactic acid out of the working muscles. There are several ways to determine your LT pace. The easiest way is to conduct a field test. Simply put, your threshold pace should be 25 to 30 seconds slower per mile than your 5K PR. So, if your PR for 5K breaks down to a 6:10 per mile pace, then your threshold pace would equate to a 6:35 to 6:40 per mile effort.
Another, more accurate, way of determining your threshold pace is to have a blood-lactate test performed. Using portable lactate analyzers, blood is drawn from a finger-pricked sample at various intervals during a controlled training session. When blood-lactate levels reach of 4.0 millimoles of lactic acid per liter of blood (BLa), the testers record the corresponding heart rate and pace, which equates to LT intensity—approximately an effort one can maintain for about an hour in a race situation.
However, it has been shown that there are significant variations around this 4.0 BLa value. Specifically, one athlete might have an LT that occurs at 6.9 BLa while another goes anaerobic at a BLa of 2.6. Therefore, a coach and athlete must be very careful if they are attempting to use BLa as a threshold definition.
Why train your LT?
Threshold training serves several important purposes. It will improve your endurance and your ability to maintain a pace close to your max effort. However, to get the most out of these sessions, it’s critical to perform the workouts at the correct pace. Pacing too slowly will not put the proper amount of lactate into your muscles while going too quickly will put too much lactate into your system and may prevent you from completing the workout. Thus, it’s critical that you develop a sense of your LT before forging ahead with any LT training.
There are two basic forms of threshold training. One involves completing one or more repeats of steady-state threshold efforts, each of which can last up to 20 minutes. After a good 15- to 20-minute warm-up (regardless of the sport), move straight into 20 minutes at your threshold effort/pace followed by a 15- to 20-minute cool-down. Most people feel they are going too easy during steady-state threshold training, but it is crucial to maintain disciplined pacing during these interval sessions. Afterward, you should feel as though you’ve worked hard, but you should not be completely wasted.
The other type of threshold training involves cruise intervals, which were made popular by exercise physiologist Dr. Jack Daniels in the 1980s. Cruise intervals, or tempo intervals, are done at the same pace and effort as steady-state threshold runs but with extremely short rest periods in between the efforts: often one minute or less. Distances of each work interval can range anywhere from 1000 up to 3200 meters, with the total work-interval distance in one session totaling between four and eight miles.
For example, a typical cruise-interval workout includes:
• A 10- to 15-minute warm-up
• 6 x 1 mile with 1-minute recoveries, or 6 x 1200 meters with 1-minute recoveries
• 4 x 1000 meters with 1-minute recoveries
• A 10- to 15-minute cool-down
Steady-state threshold workouts are fantastic for building concentration and focus at race efforts, while cruise intervals, because rest is built in throughout the set, allow you to get in a greater volume of threshold work in a single training session. However, each effort has its place as you build your fitness, and both workouts can have you toeing the line in your next race feeling sharp, fast and ready to go hard.
Jason Goldberg is the director of performance enhancement for Functionally Innovative Training, a full-service functional-strength and cardiovascular-training company. Goldberg works with many levels of triathletes, from age groupers to pros. For more info, go to www.fitcenter.net.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Great Britain’s Helen Tucker pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in recent triathlon history as she became the new triathlon world champion today in Vancouver. It was a thrilling sprint finish between Tucker and American Sarah Haskins down the final stretch. Less than a minute later, the fans were treated to another incredible sprint finish for the bronze with Samantha Warriner edging out Australians Erin Densham and Emma Moffatt. Shockingly defending champion Vanessa Fernandes finished a disappointing 10th place.
The Americans and Brits dominated out of the water holding the first five positions including Beijing hopeful Sarah Haskins and Helen Tucker, recent silver medalist at the Madrid world cup. Heavy pre-race favourite Fernandes exited the water in seventh place 14 seconds down. The crowds erupted as Kirsten Sweetland was the first Canadian out of the water in 14th place, trailing by 23 seconds.
Out onto the testing 40-kilometer bike course that included one substantial hill, six women made up the lead group including Fernandes. However, late in the first lap, Haskins and Tucker decided to break away and rode through after the second lap holding an 18-second lead. Their pair worked well together and increased the lead to a full minute by the midway mark. The first chase pack included Emma Moffatt and Fernandes. Just 13 seconds back was the large second chase group which contained a number of big names such as Laura Bennett, Lisa Norden, Erin Densham, Kate Allen and the powerful Kiwi trio of Andrea Hewitt, Samantha Warriner, and Debbie Tanner. The group also included Canadians Kathy Tremblay and Kirsten Sweetland, both looking for top-8 results for automatic selection to the Olympic team.
On the fifth lap, the second chase group caught up to form one huge chase group of 34 women all in pursuit of the leaders Tucker and Haskins. The second chase pack was more than three minutes behind and included Asian Champion Ai Ueda and Canadians Carolyn Murray and Lauren Groves.
The bike portion was similar to last year with Haskins in a two-woman breakaway. Eventually she was reeled in late in the run by Warriner but she managed to hang on for the silver. This year, Haskins and Tucker continued to hammer it out on the bike, building the lead to 1:40 after the sixth of eight laps, and then to 2:02 with one lap to go. The second chase group also continued to lose time and found itself down by almost four minutes.
Haskins was first out of T2 with Tucker just five seconds back. A full two minutes later is when the next woman, Emma Moffatt, headed out on the flat 10-kilometer run course. Behind Moffatt was a number of strong runners including Warriner, Lisa Norden, Tanner, and Sweetland. Meanwhile Fernandes looked sluggish and was slow through transition to be one of the last in the group to get on the run course.
The two minutes was more than enough for Haskins and Tucker, the only question being who would get gold and who would get bronze. The two ran side by side for nearly the entire ten kilometers until the final turn when Tucker powered ahead to become just the second British woman to win an elite world championship. Haskins took the silver for her first ever world championship medal. Up against strong sprinters Moffatt and Densham, it was the guts of Warriner that proved to be the difference as she nipped Densham at the line in a photo finish. It was Warriner’s first ever world championship medal. The Aussies went 4-5-6 with Abram coming across the line after Moffatt.
1.5km swim, 40km swim, 10km run
Gold – Helen Tucker (GBR) 2:01:37
Silver – Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:01:41
Bronze – Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:02:32.85
4th – Erin Densham (AUS) 2:02:32.96
5th – Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2:02:34
6th – Felicity Abram (AUS) 2:03:35
7th – Sarah Groff (USA) 2:04:09
8th – Kate Allen (AUT) 2:04:14
9th – Debbie Tanner (NZL) 2:04:24
10th – Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:04:35
70.3 World Champion Andy Potts won the 2008 Accenture Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and proved again that he is still tough to beat on the short course. Leanda Cave won the women's race.
Top 10 men
1. Andy Potts (USA) 2:01:57
2. Graham O’Grady (NZL) 2:02:32
3. Craig Alexander (AUS) 2:02:53
4. David Thompson (USA) 2:03:04
5. Matt Chrabot (USA) 2:03:25
6. Paul Matthews (AUS) 2:04:40
7. Mark Fretta (USA) 2:05:29
8. Joe Umphenour (USA) 2:05:57
9. Shane Reed (NZL) 2:07:05
10. Kevin Collington (USA) 2:07:51
Top 10 women
1. Leanda Cave (GBR) 2:15:37
2. Becky Lavelle (USA) 2:15:52
3. Mirinda Carfrae (Aus) 2:16:47
4. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 2:20:17
5. Samantha McGlone (CAN) 2:20:58
6. Alexis Smith (USA) 2:21:28
7. Jenna Shoemaker (USA) 2:21:44
8. Erin Ford (USA) 2:22:54
9. Gina Ferguson (USA) 2:23:32
10. Alicia Kaye (USA) 2:26:05
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Close to 2000 age-group athletes began today expecting to tackle a tough 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run at the 2008 age-group world championships. But even before the first wave started, race officials shortened the swim to 1100 meters as the water temperature was measured at a cool 12.5 degrees Celsius.
First up were the Corporate Challenge teams who started bright at early at 6:30am. A number of local companies entered athletes in the individual and team relays events. Once the corporate teams were off, the men’s and women’s athletes with a disability (AWAD) took to the course.
The first age-group Olympic distance wave was the 18-19 women and 20-24 women who raced into the chilly waters of English Bay. A few more age categories were started before the winds picked up, creating extremely choppy conditions. Race organizers, technical delegates for the event, and in consultation with the event medical director, made the decision to cancel the swim portion for the remaining waves. The safety of the athletes is paramount and race officials were not willing to compromise the health and well-being of the athletes.
The final age-group wave to enter the water was the 45-49 women and 50-54 women. Every wave after that was turned into a duathlon consisting of a 3-kilometer run, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. The affected waves were all women over 55 and all men.
In all, 672 athletes entered the water while the remaining 1030 completed the Duathlon. As of now, there are no announced changes to tomorrow’s under23 and elite races. If there are any changes to the race distance, they will be race day decisions. As this is a world championship and the final event with Olympic qualifying points at stake, organizers will endeavour to keep the elite race unchanged. However, the safety of the athletes is critical and will not be undermined. Cold weather has been the story of the event since racing began on Thursday morning. A number of hypothermia cases were reported yesterday and extra medical facilities were put in place yesterday in anticipation for this weekend’s race.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Although the team has been snubbed by the Tour de France organisers this year, the Astana squad will be competing in the Dauphiné Libéré, starting this Sunday in Southern France. On the menu: a prologue, two flat stages, an individual time trial and, in the end, three difficult stages in the Alps (Col du Joux-Plane in stage 5, Col de la Croix de Fer and La Toussuire in stage 6 and Col du Granier, Col du Cucheron and Col de Porte in stage 7). The aim of the outfit directed by Alain Gallopin will be to defend its first place in the ProTour Team Classification, and help American Levi Leipheimer to a top overall placing.
The complete team line-up is: Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Daniel Navarro, Sergio Paulinho, Benjamin Noval, José Luis Rubiera and Tomas Vaitkus.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Rock Racing's Oscar Sevilla revived the spark which once earned him the best young rider's jersey in the Tour de France and a second overall at the Vuelta a Espana. The Spaniard attacked out of the field before the last 8.5 mile lap, powering away to form a breakaway with Bernardo Colex (Tecos), and the Team Type 1 duo of Moises Aldape and Valeriy Kobzarenko. But on the last trip to up Mt. Penn, Sevilla dropped his companions and powered his way to the victory over the final 2.5 miles downhill to the finish. While the other three were gobbled up by the peloton, led to the line by High Road's Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sevilla was able to hold off the charge of the sprint to take the team's biggest win to date. High Road's Bernhard Eisel, the defending champion, won the field sprint for third.
1 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Rock Racing
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team High Road
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team High Road
I guess this is what happens when you swim in Vancouver BC, and the water is very COLD. Her head was probably so numb she forgot that lid was on her head.
Todays results from the Junior race.
2008 Vancouver BC Triathlon World Championships
1 Kirsty McWilliam - Great Britain 1:04:05.03
2 Ashleigh Gentle - Australia 1:04:43.40
3 Zsofia Toth - Hungary 1:04:47.15
4 Ashley Finaughty - Zimbabwe 1:05:07.80
5 Emma Jackson - Australia 1:05:18.56
6 Alena Stawczynski - Germany 1:05:22.88
7 Claudia Rivas - Mexico 1:05:23.70
8 Maaike Caelers - Netherlands 1:05:27.19
9 Paula Findlay - Canada 1:05:28.01
10 Nataliya Efremova - Russia 1:05:32.57
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
There was something very sweet and satisfying about Alberto Contador’s Giro d’Italia success last weekend, for how often do we see someone enter such a tough race at just a week’s notice, and actually go on to win? It’s probably never happened before - it is as unique as that. What was equally pleasing about the outcome was the way in which Contador and his Astana team paced themselves so carefully throughout the three weeks, leaving little doubt this was a team very short of adequate race-preparation and riding very much into the unknown on the most difficult days of the Giro. Faced off against some very strong and motivated Italian riders, Contador’s eventual victory was all the more enjoyable, for it bucked the recent trend of the Italian stage-race being the sole property of Italians. It has been fifteen years since a Spaniard – Miguel Indurain – last won the Giro, during which time only three foreigners have won the race. Contador now joins that elite group of winners, yet his achievement is tinged with the sad realisation that he only raced the Giro because he could not race the Tour de France this July.
Despite the complicated logistics of following this Giro, with endless transfers, mediocre weather, and colossal stages, the race organisers must be pretty happy with themselves for getting Astana into the Giro and livening up the racing – as well as showering the Giro with unprecedented interest from fans and media. There were a few stages when it was hard to know if Contador was actually going to win, such was the inconsistency in his and his team’s racing. He gained half-a-minute on stage seven, and proved his form was coming by riding such a superb time trial into Urbino three days later. He then seemed vulnerable on stages fourteen and fifteen, only to impress greatly in the Plan de Corones time trial, where he was probably the only overall favourite to have not tested the course pre-Giro. His worst day came at Presolana, where he almost lost the race-lead to an attacking Ricco and Di Luca. Yet Contador proved to be totally resilient the next day in the mountains, before trouncing his rivals on the race-ending time trial stage into Milan. His overall victory, by almost two minutes, was celebrated by moré than just Astana and the Spanish. For had Contador not won, those strange people in Paris would have won a small victory. As it is now, the Tour’s organisers are looking just a little bit silly – especially if Contador goes on to win the Vuelta, a race expected to be part-owned by the Tour before this summer is over.
When I saw Astana’s line-up for the Giro, I wasn’t at all sure Contador was their sole-leader, for the presence of Kloden and Leipheimer hinted at a team not sure itself of Contador’s form. As it turned out, the plan was entirely based around the Spaniard, with Kloden and Leipheimer doing the minimum to get the maximum for their man. Kloden dropped out with two days to go, and will lead the team in the Tour de Suisse, while Leipheimer rode as economically as is possible into 18th place overall, and will attack next week’s Dauphiné – Libéré with renewed vigour for his work. It was an eye-opener to see Leipheimer racing so tamely in the Giro, whether by choice or not, and I’ll be fascinated to see if the American national champion can turn himself around for the French stage-race that he’s come close to winning so many times. The course seems less brutal than before, with no Mont Ventoux to be scaled, and a flattish mid-race time-trial perfectly suited to Leipheimer’s abilities. The four mountain stages favour the climbers in the race, and a jaded Leipheimer will surely be challenged by the presence of men like Cadel Evans, Alejandro Valverde and Robert Gesink. The Dauphiné also sees such fresh faces as Michael Rogers, Carlos Sastre, and Sylvain Chavanel making a challenge – or at least training for the Tour. I for one will be hoping for clearer skies in France, and for the chance to grab the landscape shots that are missing from this year’s Giro collection.
By: Mark Sisson
I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. - regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.
In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.
As some of you may know I have a Primal Blueprint book in the works. If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.
To read more click on the title link.....
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Terenzo Bozzone, NZL, and Kate Major, AUS, celebrated victory at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Boise Triathlon, presented by Ford. Bozzone, ranking among the top ten at the 2006 and 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3, demonstrated his continued skill at this distance, with an overall time of 3:53:28. Major, with wins on the Ironman and 70.3 circuit as well as top-five finishes at the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, claimed the women's title with a time of 4:24:44.
While Bozzone led out of the water, multiple Ironman champion, Chris Lieto, dominated the bike course beginning at approximately mile 15. Lieto held the lead on the bike until Bozzone ran him down during the half-marathon run. In third place was Joe Gambles, who splits his time between Melbourne, AUS, and Boulder, Colo., coming over the line at 3:55:54.
Top five professional men's results are as follows:
1. Terenzo Bozzone 3:53:28
2. Chris Lieto 3:55:44
3. Joe Gambles 3:55:54
4. Leon Griffin 3:57:18
5. Jordan Rapp 4:01:45
Major performed with a solid swim time of 30:09 and a blistering bike split of 2:27:43. After an impressive bike, Major positioned herself ahead of second-place finisher, Desiree Ficker who was several minutes back. Finishing in third today was Heather Wurtele, a top-five finisher at last year's Barclay's North Ironman 70.3 event, with a finish time of 4:31:47.
Top five professional women's results are as follows:
1. Kate Major 4:24:44
2. Desiree Ficker 4:31:20
3. Heather Wurtele 4:31:47
4. Linsey Corbin 4:34:17
5. Katie Ellis 4:36:33
Rock Racing is going “all-in” for one of the most prestigious weeks of professional bicycle racing in the United States. The team is now an official sponsor of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling. Building on its “Here to Stay” motto, Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball said it is a perfect fit for the team to strongly support such a popular, prestigious and long-running event that is often referred to as “Philly Week.” “We wanted to be a part of Philly Week in a big way,” Ball said. “That meant more than just bringing the best team to compete in it.” As part of the team’s sponsorship, Rock Racing will present a one-hour highlights show on the Versus Network on the weekend of June 21-22 featuring aerial views of the action from the “Rock Racing Cam.” In addition to fielding a talent-laden roster that includes Fred Rodriguez (USA), Tyler Hamilton (USA), Oscar Sevilla (ESP), Victor Hugo Peña (COL), Sergio Hernandez (USA), Doug Ollerenshaw (USA), Jeremiah Wiscovich (USA), and Michael Creed (USA), Rock Racing will “own” the world-famous Manayunk Wall during the Philadelphia International Championship on Sunday, June 8. For the 156-mile (251 km) race, the signature event of the series, the steep, leg-breaking 17 percent grade that is traditionally the site of the most lively house parties and raucous fans, will be branded as “The Rock Racing Wall.” “The Wall is one of the greatest fan traditions in all of pro cycling,” Ball said. “It made perfect sense for Rock Racing to salute all the great house parties and celebrations that have taken place on this part of the course over the past 23 years.”
Vuelta organizer Victor Cordero says this year's Vuelta could be one of the best in history.
Alberto Contador received a hero’s welcome upon his return to Spain on Monday, with politicians toasting him and thousands of fans cheering him upon his arrival in Madrid’s Barajas airport.
But before the recently crowned Giro d’Italia winner had a chance to celebrate his unlikely victory, there’s already growing speculation the 2007 Tour de France champ can complete cycling’s “grand tour triple crown” with a run at the Vuelta a España this fall.
“I’ve had a great season, I’ve been able to win two different major tours and now I am going to race in the Vuelta a España,” Contador said. “Now I am going to try to win the Vuelta, which gives me an extra motivation because it’s my ‘home’ race and everyone will be watching me.”
Only four riders have won all three of cycling’s major three-week tours and Contador could become the rider to achieve all three victories within the shortest amount of time, if he can pull off a win during September’s Spanish tour.
Jacques Anquetil was the first to complete cycling’s grand tour sweep, with five Tours, two Giros and one Vuelta between 1957-1964.
Felice Gimondi became the second, winning one Tour, three Giros and one Vuelta from 1965-1976.
Eddy Merckx, who holds the record with the most grand tour victories at 11, won five Tours, five Giros and one Vuelta from 1969-1974.
Bernard Hinault currently holds the record for claiming all three within the shortest time frame, winning the first of five Tours in 1978, his first of two Vueltas in 1978 and one of three Giros in 1980, within a period of 26 months.
If Contador can win the Vuelta to go along with his 2007 Tour victory and this year’s Giro, he’d complete the treble in just 14 months.
Contador could also match another record if he pulls the Giro-Vuelta double, a feat that’s only been matched by Merckx (1973) and Giovanni Battaglin (1981).
Contador has already become the 18th rider in cycling history who has won two different grand tours.
For Contador, the Vuelta becomes the next major goal, with perhaps a detour through the Summer Olympic Games in August.
“I feel less anger about missing the Tour after winning the Giro. If the Tour hadn’t left us out, I would have raced neither the Giro nor the Vuelta,” he said. “I’m more motivated about the ‘triple crown’ than the Olympic Games right now. We’ll have to make a decision about the Olympics sooner than later. You can’t always win, but I am going to do everything to win the Vuelta.”
Vuelta director Victor Cordero was at the Giro last week to confirm Contador’s presence at the Spanish race in what could be the season’s major showdown among some of the sport’s biggest names.
Cordero said others confirmed to race the Vuelta are Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).
“The spectacle is assured because not only is there a great level of participation, there’s a beautiful course,” said Cordero, citing stage finishes at Angliru, Plá de Beret, Fuentes de Invierno and La Rabbassa.