Thursday, January 31, 2008

Astana goes to camp - A Casey Gibson Gallery





Checking In With Team Astana


Team Astana has been in Albuquerque for a full week now. Tuesday and Wednesday were media days for the team and for many of the guys this meant answering a lot of questions and smiling for the camera as journalists and photographers from around the world came to meet and greet the team. With the sport of cycling continuing to grow in popularity around the world, journalists have come from as far away as Japan, China and Belgium to take a look at Johan Bruyneel's new team. It's a busy time for the guys and makes for long days for everyone.

Tuesday was an easy day of riding and today's longer ride was cut a little short due to SNOW! The guys were riding in temperatures hovering around 30F and while I didn't actually hear any complaining about it, with so little body fat on the guys to insulate against the cold it had to be somewhat tough on them.

Also on the schedule these past two days has been plenty of filming and interviews for Versus. The filming is being done in a giant sound stage owned by Albuquerque Main Studios. All of the guys have been on site for photos, but Andreas Kloden, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, and Alberto Contador have gone in for additional shots in front of special backdrops and stages. This footage will be used during Versus' coverage of the Amgen Tour of California as well as spring races and of course the Tour de France. Look for pieces filmed in front of a hanging bicycle and a big wall of lights-those spots were filmed here in ABQ during camp.

Click on title link to read on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dave Zabriskie Checks In From Training Camp


Well, I missed the premier of Rambo on Jan.25. I am in still in Silver City New Mexico. I have been here for a very long time it seems. People keep chanting in slow voices "This is the worllllllldsssss lonnnnnngest training camp.” Maybe it hasn't been that long -- I think everyone is just ready to leave and we will be in a less than 24 hrs. The camp went well. People came here in very good shape and are leaving even better.

I am flying to the Bahamas on thursday for the tour of the Bahamas. It should be a good change of pace compared to the speed of life here at the Holiday Inn. There is only one truly funny moment that stands out from this camp. We were leaving a pizza place -- most of us in a van and Pat McCarty in his rental car with his girlfriend Tammy. We kind of were racing out of the parking lot onto the street. Pat blew by us and Tammy was like “see you losers later.” Then the flashing lights came on. We weren't sure who was getting pulled over at first, but it was Pat. The guys in the van busted up laughing. Then, when we got back to the hotel, CV's phone rang. Tammy was crying hysterically saying Pat couldn't pass the breathalizer test and asking what she should do. She got us pretty good -- Pat got off with nothing more than a warning.

Dave Z.

Astana Presents Itself To North America


The new Astana team – taken over by ex-Discovery Channel Team Manager Johan Bruyneel – presented itself to assembled media during a pre-season training camp in the southwest American city of Albuquerque. Belgian Bruyneel spoke to the media yesterday, along side his first and third place finishers of last year's Tour de France, Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer, answering questions about the new programme and their hopes for the upcoming season.

"This is a completely new team," Bruyneel said bluntly. "The name of the sponsor is the same but the management has changed, the structure has changed, the riders have changed – and above all I think the philosophy has changed.

"I was surprised by the passion and the determination to keep this team going," he noted regarding the sponsor's willingness to continue after last year's scandals. Astana is a group of businesses based in Kazakhstan's capital city that first got involved with the sport in mid-2006 thanks to the successes of Alexander Vinokourov, who was thrown out of last year's Tour.

"It's been a big challenge, but I think it looked a lot bigger when I started then when I look back on it now. I'm very confident we will pull this off and make this like any other team."

To read on click on title link.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Hype Over Human Growth Hormone


By: Mark Sisson

A lot of questions hit the MDA doorstep about HGH, Human Growth Hormone, and with good reason. It’s been touted in some circles as a bottled fountain of youth among other grandiose claims. Countless companies have jumped on that bandwagon, peddling worthless products with HGH labels.

We love to take on the propagandists and snake oil sales industries, and today will be no exception. Shall we begin?

The Basics of HGH
The natural HGH coursing through your body right now is, indeed, a perfectly remarkable anabolic hormone. It’s produced by the pituitary gland throughout life, but the levels gradually decline with age. The hormone is key for children’s growth and the health of the body’s organs. It stimulates the growth of muscle, bone and cartilage and enhances immune function. HGH is prescribed for children who are abnormally short in stature and for adults with diagnosed pituitary deficiency.

Genuine HGH is manufactured with recombinant DNA technology. Human genes are spliced into plant or embryonic animal cells. The resulting synthetic form is a controlled substance that must be medically prescribed and is only administered by injection. This is the only authentic and safe form of HGH. Animal HGH doesn’t work in humans, and it doesn’t exist in plants. True HGH, because of the elaborate scientific process it takes to produce it, comes with a hefty price tag. Estimates range from $10,000-$30,000 for a year’s worth of doses, which vary with individual prescription. (Fun fact: HGH used to be made from the removed and “processed” pituitary glands of cadavers.)

Fake HGH
We’re talking here about the homeopathic formulas, nasal sprays, sublinguals, secretagogues, and all the other forms you can get from supplement companies or health food stores without a prescription. None of them work. None.

HGH and Anti-Aging
A shoddy study with twelve older men (yes, twelve) done some fifteen years ago showed promise, but there was never any follow up or discussion of long-term effect. Since this study (if you can call it that), we’ve begun to understand the risks inherent in using HGH for anti-aging purposes.

First of all, we don’t have any evidence to prove that injected HGH, which doesn’t emulate normal secretion patterns, will improve health or longevity. A Stanford University review saw reason to believe that administered HGH resulted in very moderate increases in muscle mass, but that minor positive came with a host of negatives. Side effects of HGH administration in older adults include joint pain, swelling of soft tissue, carpal tunnel, as well as an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and prostate cancer. Now if that doesn’t make you feel old!

So-Called HGH “Releasers”
Really simple: they don’t work. They’re advertised everywhere and claim to prompt the natural release of your own HGH. There isn’t a single reliable study that confirms these claims. Period. Supposedly, the mechanism is being studied and in development, but I’m not holding my breath. I promise you we’ll let you know if the scientific community has any legitimate breakthroughs in this area. In the meantime, don’t trust the ads in the backs of magazines or websites that tell you it’s arrived.

Bottom line…
HGH is a great thing when you produce it naturally. MDA’s philosophy (a.k.a. the very fetching Primal Blueprint) involves achieving hormonal balance naturally. Nothing raises HGH in the body like good, intense anaerobic workouts and sleep. A good night of shut-eye is key, since the body produces HGH, as well as serotonin and other loveable hormones during sleep. The other component to maximizing your body’s natural production of HGH is, of course, that healthy, hormone-friendly diet we harp on all the time.

So, save yourself a whole lot of money and frustration. There’s no short cut miracle. Forget the HGH supplement hype, and invest in your overall health. Your body and your bank balance will thank you for it.

Click on the title link to read more from Mark Sisson's daily apple..

Friday, January 25, 2008

Astana Cycling Camp - Day 2



By: Chris Brewer

Jan 25, 2008 - Welcome to partly sunny / not-too-cold ABQ as Day Two of camp gets going. When the riders headed out this morning for a 3 1/2 hour "easy ride, slightly hilly" it was 38F/3C with a high of 49F/9C by ride's end, and so they all broke out their new winter gear to stay warm in the initial part of the work out. Some of the guys already wanted little more warmth (you need that when you're running 6% and below body fat!) as Goose and Jani headed to he local Trek store for another base layer under their kits.

Following yesterday's first ride together there was unanimous praise not only for how their Trek bikes worked, but for how sharp they looked as well. The guys also really appreciated having a large group to ride with as most of them have been training - in warmer climates - either solo or with one or two friends. While they'll stay in a big group for a while they'll soon break out into separate packs as some guys ramp up for the early season while others are riding more to build their fitness.

For the 2007 Astana riders it was time for a mini reunion, while for American riders Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner it was literally a time of introduction to many of their new teammates. Levi's already sporting his new USPro Champion jersey and will have his matching shorts in plenty of time to defend his Tour of California championship.

To read more from CB click on the title link

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Astana Cycling Camp - Day 1




By: Chris Brewer

Jan 24, 2008 - Welcome to Day 1 of Astana Cycling's camp here in Albuquerque, New Mexico! It's really something to see a brand new organization get started from the ground up, and for the boys in blue the time has come to put into action what so many have been preparing for.

As I am sure you expect, lots of things have been going on behind-the-scenes in the days and weeks leading up to camp. From arranging flights and rooms for 40+ riders and staff to figuring out where to ride in and around ABQ, it's been a real team effort across the board. One staffer of note thought has to be Assistant Director / legend of cycling Viatcheslav "Eki" Ekimov. He's been here for a week prior and has been scouting out many different routes for the guys to use. Add in that he's fluent in several languages and he's quickly become the go-to guy for one and all.

Probably one of the most anticipated times of any cycling team's new season - pro or amateur - is getting to unpack and check out the new gear. Team Astana is no different as the soigneurs have been busy sorting through all the uniforms and casual wear and the mechanics get the Treks all built up with their new SRAM components. Trek engineer Mark Andrews and team liaison Ben Coates were joined by SRAM's Alex Wassnann to make sure everything was just right, and the word is: so far, so very good.


It was no surprise that Levi Leipheimer was the first rider on the scene, and long before he saw the inside of his hotel room he was down with the mechanics checking out his new ride and asking for some tweaks to his set up (also no surprise!). While the Madones and TTX bikes are the same ones we saw winning the Tour de France last year for Discovery Channel, one very noticeable difference is the Astana paint job. The general consensus is that it really "pops", both on the road and the TT bikes - see what you think:

To Read more on Team Astan's camp click on the title link....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recovox Athlete - Bjorn Andersson Checks In


After a good 2 month break from training back home in Sweden after Clearwater 70.3 in November I’m now easing back into training in Taupo New Zealand. Taupo is the host of Ironman New Zealand and is a great place for training as well. The only problem if you are from Sweden is that it’s pretty much as far away as you can travel by air. It took me a good 40h from when I stepped on the first flight in Sweden until I stepped off the last one here in Taupo.

I was picked up at the airport by fellow pro triathlete Bryan Rhodes who proceeded to convince me of going for a short spin around town right away too loosen up the legs. I started getting suspicious when we began heading out onto the Ironman bike course and it turned out that Bryan tricked me into doing a lap around the course which was hardly the easy spin I expected. Anyway I’ve now been here a week and I’m slowly but surely improving my fitness for the 2008 season.

I plan to be here about 6 weeks for training and that includes a 2w training camp that Bryan and I are hosting that started this week. We have a good group of people with a couple of athletes flying in all the way from the UK just for the camp. So far we’ve had a couple of good days of training including riding around lake Taupo today which is a 160km ride with quite a bit of climbing. It’s one of the more scenic rides I’ve done and the conditions were great and everyone seemed to have a good time. For me this camp and the rest of my stay in NZ will be aimed at getting in shape again and build a solid foundation for the first half of the season.

As for my race schedule this year the plan is to start off with California 70.3 and then Wildflower before hopefully doing a few 70.3 races in Europe at the beginning of the summer. After that I’m not really sure but I’m planning on doing quite a bit of racing in the US the rest of the year if everything works out as I want.

Cheers,

Bjorn

Monday, January 21, 2008

First-annual Amgen Tour of California Women's CRITERIUM


Join the excitement and make history by participating in the first-annual Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium. Held in conjunction with Stage 1 of the race on Monday, February 18, the AToC Women's Criterium will bring the excitement of women's criterium racing in the hours before the men's finish in downtown Santa Rosa. Using portions of the men's finish circuit — including the finish area — the newest addition to the National Racing Calendar promises to be an exciting event for racers and fans alike........click on title link to learn more.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cipo & Rock Racing Cut Deal


Former sprint king Mario Cipollini will indeed race for Michael Ball's Rock Racing team this season, his lawyer confirmed Sunday.

Cipollini spent last week at the U.S. team's training camp in Malibu, California. But on Thursday, he threw some doubt on whether he would be joining the team.

"It's not an easy transition," he said in a telephone chat with Rai television. "We'll see. We're still in talks. But compared to two days ago, things are a bit more difficult. Something has happened."

Now, it appears that Cipollini's first race in Rock Racing colors will be the Amgen Tour of California, February 17-24.

The 40-year-old speedster "is not coming back to try and win," said lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone, according to the Ansa news agency. "He's done everything he needed to do. That's not the aim,"

"It's a young team that has asked Mario to take part in certain races for image reasons. He'll only race in the United States, not in Europe."

Before retiring in 2005, Cipollini had an impressive list of accolades, winning the world title in 2002 and racking up a record 42 stage wins at the Giro d'Italia.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cipollini postpones contract with Rock Racing


Mario Cipollini, winner of 42 Giro d'Italia stages and the 2002 Milano-Sanremo, is biding his time to sign with Mike Ball's Rock Racing team. The 40 year-old Italian who retired in 2005 is pondering a dual-pronged comeback with the USA Continental team – both as a rider and as a team manager. However, he said to the Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport that "if they don't give me a straight response I will return home."

The ex-cyclist, known as "Super Mario" for his sprinting prowess in the nineties and early 2000s, is in Santa Monica, California, to meet with the prospective team and its staff. As previously reported, the idea was that Cipollini could return as a cyclist in the Tour of California next month, however an agreement has not been made between the outspoken executive behind the fashion label Rock & Republic and the charismatic Lucchese.

"You don't have an idea in what kind of conditions I find myself. The project, the programmes, the structure: all of it was shared together with Mike Ball. And now I see there are problems, the scenario is different, his collaborators are bucking," stated Cipollini, who last raced as a professional at the Milano-Sanremo with Team Liquigas-Bianchi in 2005.

"It is better that I vent a little bit on the bicycle before I go and meet them. I have asked for a face-to-face meeting to reach a definitive answer. Either there is a contract, or there is a return home."

Cipollini and Ball first met at the trade show in Las Vegas where the idea of cooperation evolved. With the awareness of the former sprinter in Italy, the team would have better chances of receiving wildcard invites to races like Tirreno-Adriatico, Sanremo or even the Giro d'Italia. However, the team is only registered for 2008 as a Continental team, which prohibits its participation at least for the duration of this year.

The former racer envisions a larger-scaled project (rumoured names include the Schleck brothers and Basso - ed.) that could see Ball's team on top of the world in five years, however he wants to have his way with the team on the other side of the Atlantic. "I have been here since Monday," continued Cipollini, who arrived to the USA with his lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone.

"We have had meetings after meetings. The problem is not Ball, not my money, the use of my image, or investments, but it is the men that are around [Ball] and who are afraid to lose out on this proposed structure in Europe that I would manage. I came here in October, and I started to explain some things about cycling, like how the Giro d'Italia will celebrate 100 years in 2009, and they looked at me with mouths wide open.

"Ball came from nothing in his life. It was him who wanted to know me in Las Vegas. ... The project we created together. I asked for and obtained a carte blanche – not to have intermediaries – and he gave it to me."

Ball has made controversial contracts with riders involved in past doping scandal. Maybe Cipollini, like Frankie Andreu before him, is finding the waters to be rocky. "I was clear with him on [Oscar] Sevilla, [Santiago] Botero and [Tyler] Hamilton, who he has already signed. I said to Ball that it is not the right way to interpret cycling, that these riders would never be able to race in a European team. He gave me his reasoning, that they would only race in America. However, they take from the staff new requests, like 'Cipollini has to be a manager also in the USA, he has to transfer here for some time.' For this reason I no longer understand any of it."

Meetings were expected for later on Saturday. Depending on the outcome Cipollini will either be spreading his wings to fly home for good from LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) or to take on the final kilometres of the Tour of California's sprint stages coming up in February.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cipollini to come back with Rock Racing


Mario Cipollini will return to the peloton this season after a three-year absence. The 40 year-old sprinter has reached an agreement with Rock Racing, managed by fashion label Rock & Republic owner Michael Ball, to become one of the squad's riders, but also a manager.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that "Super Mario" is currently in Santa Monica, California, for technical and administrative meetings. An agreement that he would join the team was reached Wednesday night after a five hour meeting with Ball, and the contract may be signed as early as Friday. The 2002 World champion may make his come-back next month in the Tour of California.

While the Italian has always been known for liking spectacular appearances, he may also have financial motives for the new job. Earlier this week the tax magistrate of the Province of Lucca announced that Cipollini must pay some 1.1 million Euro back in taxes, sanctions and interest.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Paolo Bettini Sets His Goals For 2008


Paolo Bettini already has back-to-back world titles, so why not aim for a repeat with the Olympic gold medal? Better yet, why not go out big and shoot for the double-gold and bag the world title and Olympic title in one final blaze of glory?

That's the Italian's thinking, at least, as he rattles off top goals for the 2008 campaign.

"The 2008 season will be very unique for me, one full of challenges because they are two-fold - first, to try to win the gold in August in Beijing and then the world title in my home country in Varese," Bettini told La Deniere Heure during a break in team camp this week in Spain. "To try to achieve the double would be fantastic. No one's ever done it before."

At 33, Bettini still can afford to dream big in what could be his final season. The QuickStep-Innergetic rider promises to try to live up to his ambitious goals for the season.

"The motivation is still there," says the defending Olympic champion. "The passion for racing remains and the hope to improve is strong."

Bettini promises a full racing schedule, with a run through the Classics (though he might skip Paris-Roubaix) and bounce through the Tour de France and Vuelta a EspaƱa to hone his form, respectively, for the Olympics and world championships.

"The only thing crazier would be to ride the Giro, too," he said. "Then ride two weeks of the Tour and then all the way to Madrid with the Vuelta, but that's too hard. To race two complete grand tours is too hard. Ideally, I would race the Tour to prepare for the Olympics and the Vuelta for the world's."

With the way Bettini is talking, it's hard to imagine that he would retire at the end of this season as he previously hinted.

If he delivers the golden-double, it would be easy to picture 2009 turning into a season-long celebration farewell parade before he hangs up the cleats for good.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Italians investigate Spaniards over Puerto affair


Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and 2006 ProTour winner Alejandro Valverde are to be called before the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) prosecutor Ettore Torri over their implication in the infamous Operation Puerto doping scandal.

Torri said on Monday that he wanted to speak to certain foreign-based cyclists, as well as the man central to the whole scandal, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes.

Several high-profile riders who were implicated in the affair have seen their careers derailed by it, notably the likes of 2006 Tour of Italy champion Ivan Basso, suspended until the end of 2008 after admitting to have contacted Dr Fuentes with the view to undergoing blood doping.

Another is German 1997 Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich, whose name became so tainted by the affair that he decided to retire last year after he was sacked by his T-Mobile team.

But Spanish stars such as Contador and Valverde are still racing competitively after Spanish authorities decided to drop their investigations into the scandal. Now the Italians want to carry out their own probe into the Spanish cyclists.

"We want to hear the doctors Fuentes and (Merino) Batres (the other doctor involved) as well as the Spanish cyclists involved in the Puerto affair," Torri told Rai radio. "It's not right to talk about reopening (the case). Coni prosecutors are still investigating implicated Italian cyclists. Now there is simply a new bid to speak to the foreign doctors, trainers and cyclists implicated."

Italian authorities are known to be bitter that while their star rider Basso is serving a suspension, other high-profile riders from other countries are still free to race.

"It's not fair that our top stars, such as Basso, have been suspended while other notable athletes implicated in the Spanish affair continue to race on without any consequences," added Torri.

Italian laws allow Coni prosecutors to investigate riders, trainers and doctors even if they do not hold an Italian licence. Should they be found guilty, they could be barred from taking part in races on Italian soil.

While this normally would not prevent those riders from taking part in the Tour de France or major events such as the world championships, that would not be the case this season as the worlds are due to be held in Italy and one stage on the Tour will also finish in Italy.

"Contador and Valverde? Yes, I'm also thinking about them," added Torri. "It's always painful for us to suspend an athlete, but if they are responsible (guilty)..."

The Puerto scandal broke in May 2006 with the arrest of Dr Fuentes. More than 200 bags of blood were seized from his laboratory along with material to perform blood transfusions, steroids, EPO, hormones and other doping products. More than 60 cyclists were implicated in the affair but few have so far been convicted of doping and only Basso among the star names.

Macca’s Next Challenge


Defending his Ford Ironman World Championship will be easy compared to the double he has planned this summer, according to Matthew Dale

Relaxing with confidantes back in Sydney after his breakthrough Ford Ironman World Championship victory, Chris McCormack wrestled with the question all sportsmen ponder after reaching the pinnacle of their craft.

Now what? Defending his Hawaii title. Yes, that ranks at the top, Macca confesses. Since Mark Allen strung together five consecutive Kona crowns from 1989 to `93, only one male has repeated on the Big Island: Tim DeBoom (2001-02).

That quest, though, is obvious. For McCormack - a man whose charm is equaled by his ego – even the extraordinary is not good enough. Like Captain Kirk and the Star Trek crew aboard the Enterprise, McCormack's desire is to boldly go where no man has gone before.

So in 2008, Macca has come up with a doozy of a challenge. On July 6, he'll line up against Normann Stadler, Faris Al-Sultan and a star-studded field at Ironman Germany in Frankfurt. Barring injury or illness, one week later he plans to race the Quelle Challenge in Roth.

Two Ironman-distance races.

281.2 miles.

Seven days apart.

“Why not try to do the things that people say are impossible?” McCormack said by phone from Sydney. “To me, it's a challenge. That's what motivated me as a kid; that's what motivates me now. It's a personal thing.”

The skeptic might think that McCormack is inspired by the almighty dollar.

“I guess he figures he wants to get the money while he can,” Triathlete magazine publisher John Duke said. “I'm all for everyone getting their money, but I wouldn't do it.”

McCormack admits he's being paid a “very nice” appearance fee to line up in Frankfurt against Stadler and Al-Sultan, who are not exactly dues-paying members of the Chris McCormack fan club. Having won at Roth the past four years, McCormack said he is paid by the race as an “ambassador” regardless of whether he races or not.

“Being a sportsman is not about making money,” McCormack said. “If it were, I wouldn't have picked triathlon. I would have picked (soccer). But I dreamed about this sport as a kid and was inspired by the generation before me.”

One member of that generation, six-time Hawaii champion Mark Allen, whom McCormack has used as a sounding board, thinks he's making a big mistake.

“I can't imagine he's doing both,” Allen said. “I wouldn't advise it for anybody, especially like him, assuming he wants to go back to Kona and win. Defending (at Hawaii) is hard enough racing Germany as it is. To go there and do two Ironmans in a week would be suicidal, in my opinion.”

Responding to Allen's statements, McCormack said, “I agree. I haven't heard one single person tell me it's a great idea. That's not a surprise. Not one person has said, 'That's brilliant. That's genious.' ”

Yet, in January, he's sticking to his double-Ironman plan and talks about it as only the supremely confident McCormack can.

“If I win the two biggest events in Europe a week apart, that's on par with winning Kona,” he said. “It'd be the performance of the year. If I pull that off, I'll start to get myself legendary status when people reflect on my career. Then, if I'd win Kona, that'd be the year of all years.”

McCormack is quick to state that he’s not predicting he’ll win both races.

“I’m not saying I can do that,” he said. “Nobody’s ever tried. Nobody’s ever done it. People say I’m nuts and you can’t do it. People said I couldn’t win Hawaii. I’m just testing myself.”

McCormack scoffs at rumors that he plans to go all out at Frankfurt, then dnf at Roth. “I may dnf,” he said. “I don't know the feeling (of attempting a second Ironman one week later). But I'm going to both of those events to be the best I can.”

McCormack has certainly given the task some thought. He has consulted with fellow pro Petr Vabrousek, whose 2007 schedule reads like something out of Ripley’s Believe It or Not: 11 Ironmans, a 101-mile race, a European long-distance race, two 70.3s and a marathon. Vabrousek’s warning?

“The run (at Roth) will be a nightmare,” McCormack said. “Absolutely horrific. I’ll need to find my strength on the bike.”

McCormack has been encouraged, hearing about Jason Shortis going on 150 kilometer rides and 20K runs less than a week after racing an Ironman.

McCormack said his training will not be any different leading up to the races.

“It’s not the races that destroy you,” he said. “It’s the training.”

McCormack thinks the chronological order of the races plays into his favor. Al-Sultan and Stadler no doubt will push matters on the bike at Frankfurt. McCormack, though, is the better runner, so he can exercise his strength there.

A week later, it almost certainly would be difficult for McCormack to run a marathon in the 2:40s.
The field at Roth, though, is not expected to be filled with talented runners.

McCormack says he’ll want to be “tactically astute” at Frankfurt, meaning that he hopes to pace himself and not expend excessive energy.

“That’s going to depend on my competitors allowing me to do that and I don’t think they’ll allow me to do that,” he said. “I’m going to try to win the event as easily as possible, if that makes any sense. You don’t have to win by eight minutes. Five seconds is enough.”

McCormack has pulled off the seemingly impossible before. In 2005, he placed sixth at Hawaii. Three weeks later he raced the Noosa International Triathlon, an Olympic-distance race and arguably Australia’s most popular and he shocked the field by winning.

“I blew ’em all away,” he said of his two-second victory over Leon Griffin. (Three athletes finished within 13 seconds of McCormack.) “Suddenly, maybe (I’m) not such an idiot. That’s sort of what I feel like about Roth. If I listen to all the knockers, the people who said I couldn’t do it, I never would have won Noosa. I never would have won Hawaii. They say I can’t win Frankfurt and Roth. Have they ever tried? How do they know?”

It has been three months since Macca’s win at Hawaii, time enough for the reality seep in.

“It’s pretty surreal,” he said. “I don’t remember much of the finish. People ask, ‘What was it like jogging down Alii Drive?’ Damn, I don’t remember. Now that I’ve absorbed it all, I’m just content I did it. Proud that I did it. So many people said I couldn’t. They said I was too big, too cocky. There was so much negative around, I’m eager to tell you that you sometimes can’t help but have some doubt.”

He pauses and you can imagine that smile crossing his face as he added, “Three months later, I have that victory. My name will forever be on that trophy.”

McCormack turns 35 in April. He is a triathlon geek, knowledgeable of the sport’s history. Come summer, in Germany, he wants to make some history of his own.

“For me,” he said about his Germany double, “It’s about the challenge. My body’s only going to be going until I’m 38, maybe 39 with this type of strength. I’m not going to have the opportunity in 10 more years. It’s now or never.”

You can reach Matthew Dale at mdale@ironman.com

Monday, January 14, 2008

Recovox Athlete - Rebecca Preston Checks In


By: Rebecca Preston

Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2008 already!

2007 was my third year racing Ironmans. While I got off to a shaky start, struggling with injuries for the first 5 months of the year, 2007 was my most successful season yet! I managed to finish 4th place at IM Malaysia, despite entering the race with limited training. I won IM Switzerland for the second year in a row, with only three weeks of running in my legs (after recovering from a stress fracture). Then two weeks later, I managed a 3rd place at IM Austria. Unfortunately, my limited run training prevented me from repeating my double victory of 2006, however I was ecstatic to be back racing, and it felt like a win to me.

I also won Ironman Antwerp 70.3 in August, giving me great confidence leading into Hawaii. While my race in Kona was full of ups and downs, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d come 5th.

Since Hawaii, I’ve returned home to the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, Australia. After spending 8 months away this year, it’s been great to come back home and spend time with my family.

I’m looking forward to having a great season this year. I’ll be taking a different approach to racing which will see me race fewer Ironmans. Even though I love racing the Ironman distance (especially the Switzerland-Austria double!!!), the bulk of my season will consist of 70.3 races or shorter, which will hopefully see me toe the line in Kona fresher, physically and mentally. However, first up will be Ironman Malaysia. It will be my third time racing in Langkawi, so I know what to expect…..HOT WEATHER. I’ll let you know how it goes.

See ya Beck

Cameron Brown - Another Week, Another Race!




Hi there,

Well, I decided to have another hit out before I knuckle down into the final 8 weeks of training in preparation for Ironman New Zealand. The race was in my second home away from home at our holiday beach in the beautiful beach resort of Whangamata. The surf rolled in race morning and we had a good 1.5 meter swell to contend with during the 2km swim! It was meant to be the usual 1.5 km swim but the race directors didn't realize that the top elite athletes were finding it a very tough swim. Dylan Mcneice was 1st out in just under 26minutes!! I was having a shocker in the surf coming out 3minutes down on the leaders!!

Out onto the bike course I wasn't making too much time up on Stephen Sheldrake. He was riding well and putting time into me. I came off the bike in 3rd place and would need a solid run to make up the time lost in the swim and bike, my legs were still feeling the effects of only doing a half Ironman 7 days ago. The first few km's on the run were challenging. I haven't done too many short distance races over the years so the heart rate was at new highs early into the run leg. I was caught by Tama Christensen and Callum Millward and we then picked up Graham Ogrady on the 2nd lap of the run. I pushed clear at the 8km mark to finish 2nd in one of my best 10km run times in 10 years!! 32:59mins (I'm still getting faster!)

You'll hear from me soon.

Kind Regards,
Cameron Brown

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stadler Doing Winter Training In Bavaria





Normann Stadler, team captain of the Dresdner Kleinwort Triathlon Team was in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to do some winter training.

For a change, Normann Stadler begins the triathlon season of 2008 on cross-country skis in order to train his body’s strength and defences amidst the cold mountain air.

One highlight of the snow camp so far was a training day together with Magdalena Neuner, the youngest triple-World Champion in women’s biathlon ever. The 20 year-old, who was named female German sportsperson of the year 2007. She showed the world champion of Hawaii the right skiing techniques and taught Normann how to shoot on biathlon targets.

“Triathlon meets Biathlon – the training with Magdalena was great fun. The mountains, the fresh air and the snow are a nice incitement when doing the endurance exercises.”

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also site of the traditional ski jumping contest on New Year's Day, as a part of the Four Hills Tournament.

Normann who spent New Year’s Eve in Garmisch, wishes all his fans, friends and sponsors a happy and successful year 2008“!

Quick Step training in Spain


Team Quick Step has opened its 2008 training camp in Benicassim, Spain. The team will stay there until January 17.

Teams typically go south for warmth and sunshine, but the Belgian team didn't find those weather conditions on its first day of training. The temperatures weren't too bad (about 16°C) but the sky was grey. The riders were still able to get out for some four and a half hours.

"The riders are divided into two groups according to their fitness level," sporting director Wilfried Peeters said on the team's website, qsi-cycling.com. "Obviously, the athletes who need to be in top shape from the get-go are undergoing a series of specific workouts different than those undergone by the athletes who will be required to defend the team colours further on in the season."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Baja Epic adds to growing stage race calendar


Adding to the growing trend of multi-day endurance mountain bike races is a new event in Baja, Mexico, slated for November 5-8, 2008. The Baja Epic, covering 300 miles and 24,000 feet of climbing, will visit varied terrain including beaches, deserts, forests and mountains and be put on by Too Much Fun productions, a company which was started by Mexican Armando Carrasco and American Rob Quinn in the 1980s.

Click on the title link to read more about this amazing event.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cameron Brown Kicks Off The 2008 Season


Hi there everyone,

Well I had a pretty good day at the office today. Having only 6 weeks of training under my belt to prepare for this event, (after my annual extended break after the Hawaii Ironman) I was really pleased with the progress I had made to date. I came up a little short placing 2nd to a well deserved winner Keiran Doe, who put in a great bike leg to hold me off by 1m52s in the end.

I had a poor swim by my standards, finishing close to 2mins down on the leading bunch. Doe then set a cracking pace on the bike and I could only watch the minutes pass as he stretched his lead to nearly 8mins. I started the run in 5th place and immediatly tried to start limiting my loses. Mid way through the half marathon the lead to Doe was down to 5:30mins, I had pegged back a place and was now in 4th place. I picked up the tempo again, running into 2nd, but eventually ran out of road, however I felt really great and the legs were ticking along smoothly.

I'm happy with the way my training is coming together and things look on target for a great 2008. New Zealand Ironman is only 8 weeks away, so it will be head down bum up till then, a heap of kms in the pool, on the road and tracks and trails,not to mention an abundance of food and sleep to recover.

I'll be in touch soon, best regards

Cameron Brown

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rifts in Rock Racing over controversial big-name signings


Many rumours, speculation and critical reports have been surfacing over the past month about the American-based Rock Racing team, funded by the outspoken and controversial Michael Ball, owner of the designer jeans company Rock & Republic, which serves as the title sponsor. From the confirmation that Tyler Hamilton signed with the team to speculation that Mario Cipollini was in negotiations, the off-season has been tumultuous for the team - and the latest shoe to drop was the mutual separation between director sportif Frankie Andreu and Ball....click on title link to read on.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Chris Lieto - The Green Athlete


Click on the title link to read Chris Lieto's daily tips about going Green for 2008.

Team Astana to make American debut January 23 - February 4, 2008


Albuquerque, N.M. – The Astana Cycling Team, led by Johan Bruyneel, formerly of Team Discovery, will train in Albuquerque January 23 – February 4, 2008. The 2008 Astana team includes eight-time Tour de France team director and Astana General Manager Johan Bruyneel, the 2007 Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador, and the 2007 USA National Road Champion Levi Leipheimer.

This high-profile team has chosen Albuquerque for their winter training camp to prepare for the 2008 cycling season because of the high altitude, mild weather and supportive local community that New Mexico has to offer.

During the winter camp, the public is invited to meet Johan Bruyneel, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, Andreas Kloden and the 2008 Astana Team at their USA team launch on January 31, 2008. The team launch event will also promote health and wellness to the local community. The team will meet and greet the public with proceeds from the event donated to the American Diabetes Association (New Mexico Division) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Rio Grande Division). The event will include a reception and team introduction showcasing a performance by the National Institute of Flamenco and internationally acclaimed Yjastros American Flamenco Repertory Company. Tickets for the January 31st event will go on sale to the public on January 2nd at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the National Hispanic Cultural Center box office located at 1701 4th Street SW.

This event and winter training camp will bring national and international attention to Albuquerque as a premier center for professional cycling. Event organizers hope to promote health and wellness for all New Mexicans and showcase the destination as a tremendous asset to the cycling community.

“We are thrilled that Astana Cycling has chosen Albuquerque for their winter training camp. They will experience all that our destination has to offer from consistently mild weather, 6,000-11,000-foot elevation for training and a welcoming environment for cyclists,” said Charles Ovis, local training camp representative. “The attention that will surround these events will continue to highlight Albuquerque and New Mexico as a premier training location for cyclists.”

Special thanks to Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico Economic Development Department for bringing Johan Bruyneel and the Astana Cycling Team to New Mexico for their 2008 Winter Training Camp. Watch for additional information on these events after the first of the year.