Monday, March 31, 2008

Sevilla Edged Out On San Dimas Final Stage.

San Dimas, Calif. — Rock Racing’s Oscar Sevilla came up an excruciating one second short of victory Sunday at the San Dimas Stage Race.

Sevilla and his Rock Racing teammates lost a hard-fought battle during the final stage in a race that was the closest finish in the nine-year history of the event.

Canadian Cameron Evans (Symmetrics Cycling Team) emerged from a two-man breakaway during the 90-minute Cannondale Incycle Old Town Classic Criterium to earn enough bonus time in mid-race sprints and at the finish line to climb from 11th place to first overall.

“It was a little bit of a miscalculation on our part,” Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball said. “We will re-adjust things next week at the Redlands Classic and come out on the top like we intended to today.”

Rock Racing impressively defended Sevilla’s yellow jersey during the San Dimas Hospital Road Race Saturday and rode hard on the front during much of Sunday’s race around the six-corner course. But in the end, it came down to a single second separating Sevilla and Evans after nearly five hours of racing over three days.

“I probably should have taken a little more responsibility toward the end,” an obviously disappointed Sevilla said. “Maybe I could have gone to the front with four or five laps to go to help do a little bit more in chasing. But it was so aggressive in the last couple of laps that there really was no organization.”

Sevilla came into the final stage with an eight-second cushion over Peter Stetina (VMG-Felt-RMG) and 19 seconds over Ben Day (Toyota-United Pro Cycling). But time bonuses of 10, six and three seconds were available to the first three sprinters at the 30 and 60-minute marks of the criterium.

Sevilla earned three bonus seconds with a third-place finish on the first bonus sprint – which was won by Toyota-United’s Day. But immediately after the sprint, Evans launched an attack to initiate the decisive breakaway that included Amaran and Chris Jones (Team Type 1).

The leading trio eventually gained a 25-second lead that grew to more than a minute with less than 30 minutes of racing remaining. At that point, Rock Racing initiated a full-throttle chase to bring back what was now two escapees, with Team Type 1’s Jones having been dropped after the second bonus sprint.

Despite a valiant effort, the gap between the breakaway and the field didn’t come down dramatically until the waning laps, when teams other than Rock Racing began eyeing a chance at winning the field sprint.

Sevilla, who was racing this weekend in the United States for the first time, now joins Rock Racing teammates Santiago Botero, David Clinger, Michael Creed, Tyler Hamilton, Kayle Leogrande, Victor Hugo Peña and Fred Rodriguez in the first National Race Calendar event of the season. The 24th Annual Redlands Classic begins Thursday in Redlands, Calif.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Recovox Athlete - Pat Caro Wins KOM At San Dimas Road Race

Recovox athlete (far right) Pat Caro took the KOM in the men 35+ Elite division in yesterdays San Dimas road race. Everyone at Recovox wants to say "congratulations" Patrick on a great race!

Potts wins a nailbiter in Oceanside

If there were any doubts remaining about Andy Potts’ fitness before the second qualifier for the 2008 U.S. men’s Olympic Team, the American star shattered them March 29 at Ford Ironman 70.3 California with his devastating win over Craig Alexander. Potts, who won Oceanside last year, held off the late-charging Aussie to break the tape and take the crown in 3:58:22, just three seconds ahead of the 2007 Ironman Hawaii silver medalist.

Click on title link to

Snowsill repeats in Mooloolaba

The bid for history was again derailed by three-time world champion Emma Snowsill who today won the BG Triathlon World Cup season opener in Mooloolaba. In the first head-to-head battle between Snowsill and rival Vanessa Fernandes, it was the home favorite who triumphed. Fernandes settled for silver, approximately 39 seconds behind. Last year’s under23 world champion Lisa Norden of Sweden had an incredible run to take the bronze, becoming the first Swede to ever podium at a world cup in ITU history.

Snowsill and Fernandes were in the lead pack throughout the swim and bike and ran side by side for the first five kilometers. Snowsill made her move on the third lap when she cranked up the pace up the hill. Fernandes didn’t respond and let Snowsill get away to take her seventh career world cup title and second straight in Mooloolaba.

“The first race of the season, you just try to blow the cobwebs out. I’m so happy I feel myself again. The problems have dropped away. I feel like I’m back where I want to be,” said Snowsill at the finish line. “Everyone always says it would be great to have a head-to-head with Vanessa [Fernandes]. And I was thinking, ‘Great here it is. I’ve got to try and kill myself in a sprint finish with Vanessa.’ Home crowd advantage is a great thing.”

Fernandes meanwhile just tried to look on the bright side.

“Last year I was third and this year I was second. So that is better,” said Fernandes, who for the first time was second in a world cup, despite finishing third three times before. “I tried to go first at the beginning but Emma [Snowsill] was very strong and was faster then me. I was feeling really good the first two laps and then I think I broke a little bit and she ran away.”

Norden, who broke through last year with a seventh place at the Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup, beat several world cup veterans for her first appearance ever on the world cup podium.

“This was far more then I expected today. I’m absolutely stoked,” said Norden. “I just wanted to try to run with the fast girls today. I just wanted to see how fast they run.”

The Swede becomes the first Team BG athlete to medal at a world cup. The Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) provides financial and team support to athletes from developing National Federations.

“I really hope that I can show that there are a lot of talented athletes who do not have the support. There is a lot of talent out there that we need to look after.”

2008 Mooloolaba BG Triathlon World Cup
Elite Women – Unofficial Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold - EMMA SNOWSILL Australia 2:00:44
Silver - VANESSA FERNANDES Portugal 2:01:22
Bronze - LISA NORDEN Sweden 2:02:07

Jens Voigt Wins Criterium International

This year's edition of Criterium International turned out great for Team CSC, when the race ended this Sunday afternoon with Jens Voigt and Gustav Larsson in the two top spots after the Swedish rider took a third place in the final stage, which was won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (High Road.)

"It was just perfect. We knew that as the situation was Gustav had a realistic chance of pulling it off as one of the best time trial riders out of those, who were a minute and a half behind Jens. But one thing is having a chance another is to actually grab it," said an excited Kim Andersen from the Team CSC camp.

"Jens was very calm about the whole thing – almost too calm – but he didn't wanna risk his victory over a crash so it made sense," concluded Kim Andersen.

This was the fifth year running that the race was won by Team CSC and Jens Voigt climbed the podium as number one for the fourth time in his career. Voigt has won the race in 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2008. This makes him the most winning rider since 1979, when the race was opened up to non-French riders. Raymond Poulidor won five times before that when the race was pure French.

Oscar Sevilla Maintains Lead In San Dimas

One of the most aggressive races in National Racing Calendar history saw Rock Racing pull back multiple threatening breakaways to maintain its yellow jersey leader Oscar Sevilla's eight second lead. The bunch sprint finale saw Argentina's Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita/Sutter Home) claim the stage victory over Henk Vogels (Toyota-United) and Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joes).

"I felt really nervous at the start of this race because it is my first time doing a race of this caliber here in the USA," said race leader Oscar Sevilla. "But I had complete faith and security in my team that they were going to be able to do a good job to keep the lead of this race.

"I was very happy with Tyler Hamilton today because he was really communicating well with the riders to tell them exactly what to do to control the race for me," he added. "I'm very happy and I started feeling very good toward the end of the race."

With the field intact and one lap to go, the yellow jersey was tucked away safe in the peloton while the sprinters came out to play. According Borrajo his team made it possible for him to win, though not in the conventional lead out style but rather to put him in good position and bid him adieu at the bottom of the final climb.

"It is the kind of climb on the circuit that is really hard because it is so fast but it suits my kind of strength and to be able to sprint at the end is really suitable for me," said Borrajo. "I told my team-mates that I needed to be in good position over the top of the climb so they brought me to the bottom of it in 10th position and all I had to do was hold that over the top."

Borrajo elaborated on his Colavita/Sutter Home team tactics by describing the last lap in further detail. "Because of the climb, this is the kind of finish where there is no lead out for a sprinter on any team," Borrajo continued. "If a sprinter gets over the climb all the teams usually only have two or three riders left and everyone is tired. The first key moment was when Luis Amaran took me through the park and all the way to the front of the field before the climb.

"Second, there was an attack with three riders over the top of the climb and my brother Anibal Borrajo sacrificed himself to bring those riders back before the finishing straight away," he added. "Then I was able to work my way through the field for a good sprint and I'm comfortable with that."

It was chillier than the typical California day but the peloton warmed up after the first few laps of cat and mouse where riders Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) and Ben King (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast) worked to put some time between themselves and the field. However, Rock Racing was quick to shut down any break away to protect Sevilla, its leader on the road.

According to Borrajo he was not certain the leader's team would be able to continue its immense effort in chasing every break away attempt but changed his mind when he saw they had decided to revise their strategy and unite at the front to control the race by setting tempo instead.

"I thought that after two laps that there was no way they could continue that without suffering in the end," said Borrajo. "When the break of three got up the road I noticed Rock Racing were very organized and worked together to keep the break close enough for their leader and I was confident they were going to be able to bring it back together for a field sprint, this worked out very well for me."

Riders Edward King (Bissell), Stefano Barberi (THF Racing) and Javier Zapata (Caico) rolled off the front of the field during the fourth lap and maintained a steady lead of more than one minute on the peloton that was diligently controlled by Rock Racing. One rider noted to have acted out against Rock Racing's control over the peloton was Luis Amaran (Colavita/Sutter Home) who wound up caught between the leading trio and the bunch for several laps. King went on to gather enough points during his break away to take the lead in both the KOM competition and the sprint competition before being reeled in with three laps to the finish.

"It was a very aggressive race today," said the double jersey leader King. "We had three riders in the GC so we wanted to take the pressure off of them and put it onto Rock Racing so it was our plan to race aggressive and get in the break. Also, it was a dangerous course due to the islands in the middle of the roads through the park and so being in a group of three was much safer than being in a group of one 140."

During the final three laps, with the bunch back together, riders from Symmetrics, Toyota-United, Colavita/Sutter Home and Rock Racing flexed their legs by taking flyers off the front until it was clear that with one kilometer to go a bunch sprint was going to happen.

"We wanted to attack them as much as possible," said Vogels, who lost four riders from the front group due to mechanicals. "I knew it was a hard finish and I missed the boat a bit when Borrajo jump early with 500 meters to go.

"We didn't think he was going to make it but he did," he added. "I hate running second place but I know it was a good result given how hard the race was. Most of the guys were pushing more watts on today's course than they were in the Tour of California."

Race leader Sevilla acknowledged his excitement of racing in the San Dimas stage race, saying that it was everything he had expected North American racing to be like. "I'm very emotional about racing in the USA and it is very hard racing, everything that I expected it to be," said Sevilla. "I have raced all over the world and on big teams but I feel very privileged to be able to race here and I am very passionate about cycling in general. Where ever I'm racing in the world, I always give it my all."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

San Dimas - Glendora Time Trial, 3.8 miles

Sevilla Overcomes Mishap To Deliver Rock Racing A Win at SDSR TT

In his first race in the United States, Oscar Sevilla overcame a mechanical difficulty Friday to deliver Rock Racing an impressive victory at the San Dimas Stage Race. A shifting problem with his rear derailleur forced Sevilla to get off his bike and remount his chain in the final half-mile of the uphill Glendora Chevrolet Mountain Time Trial. Despite those troubles, Sevilla still bested runner-up Peter Stetina (VMG-Felt-RGM) by eight seconds and third-place finisher Ben Day (Toyota-United Pro Cycling) by 16 seconds.

Sevilla’s winning time of 13 minutes and five seconds on the twisting, 3.8-mile (6.1 km) course would have certainly been faster had he not had mechanical difficulties, Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball said. “He lost at least 35 seconds – or even more by having to stop,” Ball said. “To have him pull off this victory today is very gratifying. Our original track was to see Oscar at the top of the GC (general classification) at any given race, especially domestically. So we’re back on track.” “I was very nervous before the start, but I was motivated to do well today,” Sevilla said. “I haven’t been able to race in so long that I had a lot of butterflies.” Sevilla said his biggest concern was jet lag following a 10-hour flight Tuesday from Madrid to Los Angeles. “Last week I was feeling pretty good but with all the traveling, I didn’t know if I would have my racing legs today,” the 31-year-old said.

Rock Racing Team Director Mariano Friedick is now a familiar position – having to help defend the race lead. In 2006, he was racing in San Dimas in support of former Toyota-United teammate Heath Blackgrove, who won the race overall. “I know exactly what this race is like and I have complete faith in these guys,” Friedick said. Mara Abbott (High Road) won the women's race with a time of 15:27. Kim Anderson (High Road) finished second in 16:27 and ValueAct Capital's Leah Goldstein took third in 16:32.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Contador Takes Castilla - Dispels Transfer Rumours

Astana's Alberto Contador successfully defended his overall title at the 23rd Vuelta a Castilla y León on Friday, cruising to the win behind the final stage's bunch sprint finish, which was won by Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The 2007 Tour de France champion never once relinquished the leader's jersey after taking the opening time trial on Monday by four seconds over team-mate Levi Leipheimer, then extending his lead on the penultimate stage's mountain top finish.

Contador took the time to dispel any rumours that he might move to another team to participate in the Tour de France, giving thanks to his Astana team and pledging his loyalty. "Without them, it would have been impossible," Contador remarked of this week's victory. "I may have been the best in the time trial and in the queen stage, [but] without the support of my team, it would have been impossible to control the race.

"It must be clear: I will not ride the Tour the France in another team than this one," Contador insisted. "I hope there comes an end now to all speculations and rumours that I will go to another team in order to participate to the Tour the France. I will stay with my friends and sponsors who have stood behind me. This week, we proved again that Astana Cycling Team is not only a strong team, but a group of friends as well."

Emma Snowsill Checks In

Emma Snowsill is head and shoulders above the other women on the world triathlon circuit, but in 2007, she was still the second best female athlete on the planet. Could a simple thing like air help turn this around?

You would think an athlete with three World titles to her name would be in an envious position in an Olympic year. Emma Snowsill is, and she isn’t. That’s because, while she is usually in front of the rest, in 2007, she was behind Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes.

Fernandes, 22, burst onto the World Cup triathlon scene after her eighth place in the Athens Olympics. She steadily proceeded getting better and better, when getting better and better meant winning more and more.

You would think this is all hard to swallow for Australia’s super-powered sparrow, but Snowsill, 26, is under no illusion about what she’s up against. “I think Vanessa and her coaches have been really meticulous about the planning of every year for her and where she’s got to go,” she said.

“When you take the time to go back and look, she has really made those steps to get better. Every year she has improved that little bit more and built upon it. And I think the main thing is she hasn’t been injured and she’s been able to manage to get better each year—she is a pretty phenomenal athlete.”

In comparison to years past, 2007 was lacklustre for Snowsill. She placed second at the Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup, second at the BG Triathlon World Championships in Hamburg, and second in the Beijing test event. Others might cherish these results but it must have been slightly disappointing for an athlete accustomed to winning.

Meanwhile, Fernandes’ freak-winning road show gathered locomotive-like momentum and she wasn’t going to miss a stop on the tour—from World Cup to World Championship she rolled out unbeatable racing.

Unbeatable if you assume Snowsill was 100 per cent—she wasn’t.

Snowsill has not trumped Fernandes in a World Cup event since the 2007 season opener in Mooloolaba where the hometown girl, along with Erin Densham, relegated her to third. For the rest of the season she raced impressively behind Fernandes but something was just not right.

“For some reason last year I was suffering from asthma,” Snowsill said of her 2007 downturn. “I think that played a big part in my performance. Not so much my racing but my training to get to the races.

“In the back of my mind I just knew I wasn’t right a lot of the time. So I went into the races with what I could. Saying that, I’m happy with what I did, I couldn’t ask for anymore.”

This lack of air meant Snowsill was run down when she should have been running down Fernandes.

The alarm bells started ringing when she could no longer achieve the training performance indicators of years past. “I just wasn’t recovering,” she said “I had a training program I know I was capable of doing and when it wasn’t sticking together I was left thinking, ‘Why? What’s going on?’”

Whether sensing this or not, the Portuguese Panther pounced anyway, winning six World Cups including the Beijing test event, the European and World Championships. All the while Snowsill struggled for air.

“My training was just never clicking,” she said. “I was getting ridiculously overtired and even to the point of getting blood tests at the end of last year because I was getting so run down.”

When no abnormalities showed up, a test for asthma was proposed. “I did all the asthma testing and I was like, wow, realising how much I was running myself down,” she said. “I coughed for hours after the test in Melbourne, people in the street must have thought I was strange.”

Finally finding a diagnosis has been a release for the constricted Snowsill who showed trademark grit throughout her struggle to breathe—never making excuses or publicising her training problems.

“I just sort of felt like I forgot what being healthy felt like. It was doing my head in,” she said. “I was having these sore throats and just little things but I would never really get sick. It’s just a relief for me to understand that there wasn’t anything really wrong.”

Snowsill’s 2007 run of second places were not blowouts to Fernandes. She was 18 seconds behind in Ishigaki, missed the bike pack getting her wetsuit off and eventually ran eight seconds quicker than Fernandes in the World Championships and was 75 seconds behind in the Beijing test event.

Add this information to her improved health and she is in a great place going forward to Beijing, something she is obviously pumped about. “The Olympics are certainly the biggest thing for me this year,” she said.

“I’m excited and looking forward to going there. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and that’s how I’m looking at it. I want to enjoy it.”

So it looks as though—with a little bit of extra oxygen—Snowsill Air is well prepared to jet into the Olympic stratosphere. And she’s in the right frame of mind to take the fight to Fernandes.

“I think it is a good motivation for training,” she said. “It’s great to have to chase someone you know has been kicking your bum.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Contador On Top In The Mountains

Alberto Contador continued his Astana team's winning ways. The Spaniard won solo on the mountain top finish of the Puerto de Collada de Salcedillo, with efforts by Mauricio Soler (Barloworld) to catch the Spaniard falling short.

The final climb of the day saw a four-man break swallowed up by the peloton, which became consistently smaller. Soler set the decisive attack, with Contador the only one being able to react.

Contador was happy after the finish and praised his team. "Our Astana Cycling Team worked again so hard for me. Therefore, I really wanted to win this stage with its difficult finish. I knew Soler would be dangerous, but I had no difficulties to follow him and shake him off."

Leipheimer attacked four kilometres from the finish to weaken Contador's rivals. Soler countered and Contador went after the Colombian. Leipheimer finished more than a minute behind Contador and is out of the podium spots now, but his Spanish team captain increased his lead to 39 seconds in the overall classification, with his main rival of the day, Soler, now in second place

The roads were dry, but the piled up snow on the sides of the road made the stage look a winter sports event

With only one day remaining, Contador looks set to get another victory for Astana, which continues its quest to prove that they should be invited to the big races. The final stage is 158 kilometres long, going from Guardo to Riaño.


1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 3.54.17 (41,181 km/h)
2 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 0.11
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.33
4 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Burgos Monumental
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank 0.43
7 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC 0.49
8 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Saunier Duval - Scott 0.59
9 Danail Andonov (Bul) Benfica 1.03
10 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Caisse d'Epargne 1.05
11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Graham's View: Castilla y Leon Stage 3

Whether it is true or not that Astana has few real friends in this sport, the team must have gained about 120 more today by virtue of the way in which it led the peloton at such a perfect speed throughout the day's windblown stage. If Astana had really wanted to make life miserable, they could have ridden just a fraction faster and demolished the peloton completely - maybe even shelling Mauricio Solar out the back as well. But they didn't, and although we are all heading for a late dinner tonight, so tough was that wind, Astana deserves respect for the way it rode so professionally.

This was a bitterly cold day in northern Spain, you could see that etched into the faces of Rubiera and Paulinho, who seemed to bear the brunt of the elements as they toiled away for the first few hours. But tomorrow will be an even harder task, for with the wind is said to be turning into a bit of snow on high ground, which could turn the day into an epic battle in more ways than one.

For probably three of the four hours which the stage will last, we will be about 800-metres above sea-level - with a jump up to 1,200 metres and then a mighty 1,500-metres for the last two climbs. It is the last one, the Collada de Salcedillo - try saying that after a few glasses of Rioja - where this race will be decided. I anticipate day-long control by Astana, then a massive acceleration by Rubiera, Leipheimer and Horner as the 1st category ascent begins. At some point Solar will make one of his big jumps, and Contador will then make one of his signature attacks in response. Only the stage-result is unpredictable, for me the overall win has already been decided - Graham

Castilla y Leon Stage #3 - Contador In Control

On stage three of the 23rd Vuelta a Castilla y Leon Team Astana continued the pace-making required to protect the race lead of Alberto Contador. Despite the rain and wind ever-present on the stage the team did a perfect job of delivering Contador safely to the finish line to retain the burgundy leader's jersey which he has worn since his stage win in the opening time trial on Monday.

After more than two hours of racing a break of three was finally established and attained a small gap over the Astana-led peloton. Hoping for more cooperation from the weather to hold off the peloton, the trio up front worked well together and drove toward the finish but were reabsorbed by the group with less than 10km to go, setting up the finish for a traditional mass sprint.

As the teams of the sprinters moved forward, Team Astana was able to ease off the gas and let the lead-out work fall to others. Approaching the line with the riders spread wide across the road on the slightly uphill kicker Francisco "Paco" Ventoso (Andalucia) came roaring around Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Sammy Sanchez to secure the victory by at least five bike lengths. In third place was Edgar Pinto (Benfica).

There was no change at the top of the general classification as Contador accepted his third leader's jersey on the podium and teammate Levi Leipheimer remained in second place. Once again setting aside his trophy and flowers the slight Spaniard moved forward on the stage and plainly pointed to the team name 'Astana' emblazoned on the jersey in what is becoming his signature gesture on his many visits to the winner's circle.

Thursday's Queen Stage has the peloton riding from Carrión de los Condes to Montaña Palentina in a mountain stage with a challenging uphill finish. It could be the perfect time for Alberto to secure the win in this year's race.

General Classification after stage three

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 8.04.52
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0.04
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.13
4 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.19
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.22
6 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.25
7 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Barloworld 0.28
8 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld
9 Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.30
10 Huub Duyn (Ned) Slipstream Chipotle 0.36

Rock Racing Tops On-Line Poll

A poll on reveals Rock Racing has quickly pulled away from the pack to become the most popular team in pro cycling. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents (9,500+) voted for Rock Racing in response to the question, “What pro cycling team will you be rooting for this year?” More than 16,500 votes were cast through midday Monday in an unscientific poll posted on the website of Bicycling magazine. Last month at the Amgen Tour of California, Rock Racing’s booth at the health and fitness expo was consistently packed with fans clamoring for autographs and team merchandise. The team’s official website,, also received more than 6.8 million hits during the eight-day race.

Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball said those facts and figures – combined with the results of Bicycling Magazine’s poll – leave him wondering if fans are being shortchanged by the team’s exclusion from the Tour de Georgia next month. “I set out to create a cycling team that fans could root for and be a part of that was unlike any other pro team,” Ball said. “It’s unfortunate that fans will not have the opportunity to cheer on the riders and team they enjoy the most.” High Road Sports was second in the voting with 19 percent, followed by Team Slipstream-Chipotle presented by H30 with 12 percent. Astana garnered seven percent of the vote. Cycling fans in Southern California will be able to see the Rock Racing team in action later this week at the San Dimas Stage Race, March 28-30, and again at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, April 3-6.

Ask the Experts: Mental Training

Paige Dunn stresses "Your" ideal weight

I'm not very active, but I'd love to start running and maybe even participate in a half marathon one day. But I'm overwhelmed thinking about where to start. Can you help?

Sounds like you've already started! Just considering an accomplishment like finishing a half marathon is part of the goal-making process. It's important to give yourself permission to explore your options, decide what your goal will be, commit to it and then develop a strategy. For a half-marathon training plan check out Active Trainer or pick up the latest issue of Her Sports. You may also want to consult books, such as Jeff Galloway's Half-Marathon: You Can Do It, or look into Web resources.

Create a training schedule that includes small daily and weekly goals. A daily goal may be something as simple as running at a certain pace or completing a certain distance. A weekly goal may include adding a speed or hill workout to the week's training and making that workout a priority. This gives you something to focus on that is immediately achievable. By accomplishing intermediary goals, you'll stay motivated to keep working toward your ultimate goal without feeling overwhelmed.

I'd also suggest spending some time thinking about why you want to accomplish this goal. What's motivating you: To complete a new challenge? To lose weight? To raise money for charity? Training can become challenging and remembering why you set out to do it in the first place can help motivate you along the way.

I've run a few marathons and enjoy the training, but sometimes my long runs are hard because I get really bored. Is there anything I can do to stay focused and enjoy my runs more?

Long runs are definitely a challenge--both physically and mentally. There's no doubt they can get monotonous, and it can be difficult to stay motivated. To keep your brain interested, divide your run into several segments and plan a specific focus for each portion ahead of time.

For example, here's a plan for an 18-mile run. Use the first three miles as a warm-up. Make sure each body part, from your head to your toes, is relaxed and getting into an easy, fluid groove. Make the next six miles the second segment of your run and chose a new focus, like your leg turnover. Spend some time in this six-mile segment counting the number of times your foot hits the ground and work toward 90 strides per minute, the rate many coaches recommend. Try to get into a rhythm and to settle into a comfortable and sustainable cadence by the time you complete this segment.

Alternate your focus on the next six-mile segment. For example, mile one, focus on your breathing. Keep it deep, easy and smooth. Mile two, concentrate on relaxing your upper body. Be aware of hunching or tightening in your shoulders or neck. Mile three, pay attention to your core and overall body position. Repeat this breakdown of focus to finish this six-mile segment.

Take the last three miles to cool down. Go from head to toe to see how your body is feeling. And spend some time during those miles celebrating how far you've come and what you've accomplished.

If all else fails, get creative during your long run and give yourself an imaginary task, such as decorating a house or planning a dream event. Some runners do work in their heads, from writing memos to practicing presentations. You may be amazed what new solutions occur to you while you're pounding the pavement.

I get so nervous the night before a race I can't sleep. What can I do to relax?

Try this breathing exercise in bed the night before the big event: Lie on your back with both arms at your sides and begin a series of "circle breaths," deep, full breaths that start with an inhale through your nose, reach down through your abdomen, rise up through your chest, and finish with an exhale through your mouth. With each breath, picture a circle being drawn through your body. Breathe in for two seconds, hold for two seconds and breathe out for two seconds. Repeat this exercise for at least 10 full breaths.

Once you settle into a relaxed state, start to imagine your race. See yourself at the starting line, feeling relaxed and prepared. Then imagine yourself completing each mile. Try to create as many details as possible, and incorporate as many senses--sight, sound, touch--into your imagery. Most importantly, visualize crossing the finish line feeling strong and confident. Research shows a positive outlook can make a significant impact on your race results. Before you know it you'll be relaxed and ready to fall asleep.

Paige Dunn is a sport psychology consultant who counsels and educates athletes on the mental component of the athletic experience through her private practice, Xcel Sports. She specializes in working with endurance athletes of all levels and abilities. For more info, visit

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

23rd Vuelta a Castilla y Leon Stage #2

Judging by today's stage, Alberto Contador could be looking at one of the easiest wins of his career, for he seems to be head and tails above everyone else in this race. Today's trek into the mountains of Avila barely raised a sweat on the Spaniard's forehead, even if some of his teamates looked just a little bit weary at the end of a day where they'd never left the front of the peloton at all. No escapes had a chance of surviving, for Astana and Contador want to win this race so much and make a very clear statement to certain race organisers as well as certain rival teams that they are not to be messed with.

Contador should win this race easily, seeing as how lightly he was pedalling today, while those around him cursed and struggled with the climbs. His time trial ride yesterday opened up new pastures for the little fellow to explore, and with a bit more fine-tuning of his position and time trialling style, that same energy and purpose will eventually be transferred into the longer time trials that await him in bigger stage-races this summer. If there is one danger to Contador winning, it must surely come from Mauricio Solar, the climber who won last year mountains prize in the Tour de France. The tall Colombian also put in a remarkable time trial yesterday, and at just 28-seconds off Contador's pace, he is the biggest threat on Thursday's decisive climb into the northern mountains of the enticing region of Spain

General Classification after stage two

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 3.41.58
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0.04
3 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.13
4 Jason McCartney (USA) Team CSC 0.15
5 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.19
6 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.22
7 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.25
8 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Barloworld 0.28
9 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld
10 Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream Chipotle 0.30


After 17 years on the world triathlon stage, one of Australia’s greatest has brought his career to an end.

Craig Walton, a proud Tasmanian but who now resides on the Gold Coast, admits the decision was tough to make at first, but he now has no regrets about calling it a day.

Walton said “I have had a long career and certainly my fair share of highs and lows, but as a lot of retired Sports people say, you instinctly know when it is time to retire and while I still enjoy training and staying fit and active, I have simply lost the desire to race’.

He added “our sport is unforgiving and if you let your guard down slightly you will not succeed. I have always raced to win, and anything less, I am not happy with, and considering I am not 100 percent committed it is best that I walk away and focus on a new chapter of my life”.

Walton is regarded as one if not the best non drafting triathlete to ever the grace the world stage, thanks largely to his dynamic swimming and bike leg combinations, which allowed him to break the back of triathlon’s biggest names. Walton began his elite career back in 1993 and until his medically enforced layoff due to chronic fatigue and then glandular fever three years ago, he was firmly entrenched at the front of the field in any race he entered.

The Aussie star won 6 world cups, many National titles in both the sprint, Olympics distance and long course formats, and made the Noosa Triathlon his own, winning it a staggering six times, and he still holds the world record time.
But his highest honour was undoubtedly representing Australia at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. “to lead that race in Sydney for as long as I did, to have the thousands of fans cheering you on, is something I will never forget, there is no greater honour than flying the flag for Australia, it was a proud moment for me for sure”.

Walton also keen to acknowledge the support of his sponsors, both past and present and the media. “my heartfelt thanks goes out to all my sponsors, they made it possible for me to have the career I’ve had, and my sincere thanks goes out to them and to the media for their support.”.

Despite retiring, the lanky Tasmanian will have plenty to keep him busy.

His main priority will be to continue coaching his partner and Australia’s greatest female triathlete Emma Snowsill, as she prepares for the Beijing Olympics. “Emma has a great chance in Beijing to medal and I want to help her have the best preparation possible to achieve her dreams and goals, and now that I don’t have the added pressure on me of trying to focus on my racing as well, I can turn my attention to Emma’s preparation full time”.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Contador Takes Revenge In Spain

Alberto Contador and his Astana teammates aren’t going to the Tour de France this summer, so they look intent on winning everything else instead.

Just a day after Tomas Vaitkus sprinted to victory in Holland, last year’s Tour champ surged to an impressive time trial victory to open the Vuelta a Castilla y León on Monday in northern Spain.

Contador stopped the clock on the technical 9.7km course in 11 minutes, 39 seconds, just 3.6 seconds faster than Tour of California champ and Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer.

Contador started last as defending champion and looked back at his time and pumped his right fist into the air as he crossed the line. You could almost hear him say, “Take that, ASO.”

Leipheimer led a strong American showing in the five-day race, with Jason McCartney (CSC) stopping the clock in fourth at 15 seconds off the pace with Christian Vande Velde and Steven Cozza (both Slipstream-Chipotle) settling in for sixth and seventh, respectively. Tyler Farrar (Slipstream) was just out of the top 10 in 11th.

The otherwise modest Castilla y León tour attracted an all-star field, including Astana’s A-team with Contador, Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden.

Also lining up were Carlos Sastre (CSC), Thomas Dekker and Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Mauricio Soler (Barloworld), Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and a motivated Slipstream-Chipotle squad. Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d’Epargne) was a late scratch due to illness.

The technical, twisting course opened with a short climb quickly followed by an endless series of turns that didn’t fit the bill of the typical time trial seen in Spain. The stage ended in front of the summer palace of the Spanish kings at San Ildefonso, but it had all the look of winter with dreary skies and traces of snow.

Chris Horner (Astana) set an early fast time of 12:11 on a cold afternoon a day after the season’s worst winter storm blew through northern Spain to leave behind snow-covered mountains, cloudy skies and brisk temperatures.

Horner’s ride in the hot seat lasted until McCartney blew through with a time 17 seconds faster than his compatriot, before Dekker nipped that by just under two seconds faster in a time of 11:52.

Leipheimer blew through the course in his first race in Europe this year to knock nearly 10 seconds off Dekker’s time to post 11:43 and looked to have the win in the bag as none of the late finishers could touch his time.

The last rider out of the gate was Contador, winner of last year’s edition in what was his breakout year that culminated in his Tour victory last July.

Slipstream-Chipotle put three riders into the top 11, with Christian Vande Velde sixth at 22 seconds slower, Steven Cozza seventh at 25 seconds off the pace and Tyler Farrar 11th at 30 seconds adrift. The solid rides put the team into second in the team’s classification behind Astana.

The 23rd Vuelta a Castilla y León continues Tuesday with the 141.7km second stage in a bumpy route from Segovia to Ávila. The stage tackles three Category 2 climbs, with the final climb coming 19km before the finish into the walled city of Ávila.

Pro Athlete Training Secrets: Chris Lieto

By: Lance Watson

LifeSport Coaching works with some of the finest multisport athletes in the world. The coaches strive to supply these athletes with workouts that have a specific physiological purpose while providing inspiration. These training sessions are often trying, but when tackled with zest, result in world-beating performances.

This series offers a little peek into the training diary of TrainingBible’s elite athletes. Note the workout adjustments included at the end for athletes of various abilities, experience and fitness levels.

Athlete: CHRIS LIETO, top U.S. Ironman and top Ironman cyclist
Hometown: Danville, California.
Distance: Ironman/Ironman 70.3
Coached by: Lance Watson, LifeSport Coaching

Workout: 5x1 minute hills, 6x1 mile repeats

Warm-up: 20 minutes easy jog, drills/activation/strides
Main set: 5x1 minute uphill run easy run back down (continuous) 1-mile moderate run, 6x1 mile at tempo pace.
Cool down: 10 minutes easy jog


Lieto: As much as this workout hurts, I know it makes a big difference. The strength I get from the hills helps with my flat running by recruiting the hip flexors and glutes to create a good stride strength. If my butt is sore the next day, I know I am getting faster.

This is a workout that I will start doing early season and we revisit it periodically throughout the season.

Coach Watson: Both hills and pace work are important for strength and threshold fitness. If your threshold is higher, the pace you run aerobically over the marathon distance will also be faster. In an Ironman program, which has aerobic endurance sessions as the core training component, it is often difficult to fit in multiple run interval workouts within a week—the muscles tear down and the need for recovery is too great. I like this session because it is a 2 for 1 deal. It allows us to work on dynamic strength through hill work, followed by the drills. The athlete is then forced to run with good mechanics at lactate threshold with fatigue in the legs. Holding together form at the end of a race is also paramount, and this trains you physically and mentally to do so.


Hills are a great workout for all triathletes. Running off the bike is a strength activity, so anything that develops that ability will contribute to triathlon success. Once the hills are over, the workout calls for some tempo running— this requires you to get into a rhythm on somewhat tired legs as you would in a race.

Novice Athletes
This workout has been shortened for novices, although the spirit of the workout is still there—hill work to develop strength and then some tempo running to help improve running efficiency.

Warm-up: 15 minutes warm-up easy run, drills/activation/strides
Main set: 3x1 minute uphill run easy run back down (continuous), 1 mile moderate run, 3x3 minutes at *tempo pace.
Cool down: 10 minutes easy jog

Intermediate Athletes
This workout has been shortened slightly, but because the repetitions are measured by time, it’s suitable for the majority of athletes with some running experience.

Warm up: 20 minutes easy run, drills/activation/strides
Main set: 5x1 minute uphill run easy run back down (continuous), 1 mile moderate run, 5x3 minutes at *tempo pace.
Cool down: 10 minutes easy jog.

*tempo pace is comfortably hard running – equivalent to your current 10km pace

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cancellara Wins Milan-San Remo Classic

CSC's Fabian Cancellara won Saturday's Milan-San Remo classic with a brilliant solo attack just 3km from the finish.

On a day when Slipstream-Chipotle's Will Frischkorn was off the front with three, then two, companions for more than 200 kilometers, Cancellara, the world time trial champion, broke from a splintered peloton to win by about 5 seconds.

Frischkorn took off with Filippo Savini (CSF Group Navigare), Nicola D'Andrea (Miche-Silver Cross) and Raivis Belohvosciks (Saunier Duval-Scott) at about the 56km mark.

D'Andrea later fell back, while the other three built up a maximum lead of more than 15 minutes, which the pack brought back to a steady 2 1/2 minutes by around the 200km mark.

Their time in the sun came to an end as the race reached the crucial final climbs. On the Cipressa, High Road's Thomas Lövkvis joined Quick Step's World Champion Paulo Bettini in bridging to trio and riding straight past it.

Bettini and Lövkvist were soon joined by Niklas Axelsson (Serramenti PVC), Paris-Nice winner Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse d'Epergne.

Ace descender Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes) joined the group on the Cipressa descent and the five built up a 30-second gap, but the five were reeled in before the pack hit the bottom of the final climb, the Poggio, with most of the favorites in the front group of about 50 riders.

As the peloton splintered on the Poggio descent, Cancellara took off with just 3km to go, holding off the chase to finish just 5 seconds ahead of Liquigas's Filippo Pozzato, with Phillipe Gilbert third.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Axel Merckx new Rock Racing director?

Rock Racing has continued to make headlines within the cycling media following its turbulent Tour of California. The team's high-profile acquisition of Mario Cipollini ended last week after disagreements with owner Michael Ball. Following the news that Cipollini will not become a manager are rumors that another former professional, Axel Merckx, is in talks with Ball to become the team's new manager.

"I have been in contact for sure, and we are it is at the beginning stages, but it is too early to say anything more," Merckx told Cyclingnews. "It's a new team and obviously they don't have a lot of experience in the cycling world, but there are a lot of opportunities for them. Bringing the right people into the right spots would be a great opportunity. Not just for me but for the cycling community."

Merckx said he is fully aware about the controversies surrounding the team and its owner, and that he considers Ball a positive influence on the sport. "I know he has a strong personality but I don't think it is a bad thing for cycling," he said. "I have read a lot of things and I don't want to judge based on things from the past. He is a nice person. I have talked to him and he is a great guy."

"Cycling needs that right now and he wants to stay around for a while. He is young in the cycling world, he wants to do it his way, and I think it is very refreshing for cycling. We have to see in the future if it will continue but I am convinced that this is the way cycling should go and he is the right thing to do."

As for his own thoughts on directing, particularly this team, Merckx thinks being recently retired will be his strongest asset. "Everyone knows I've been in cycling for a while. I have a lot of experience and a freshly retired cyclist, so I think like the cyclists do. I am pretty ambitious and want to help younger cyclists. It is an interesting challenge for sure, it's a team that wants to grow a different image for cycling. I think it is a good opportunity for cycling to bring a nice new image to cycling."

The former Belgian national road champion and Olympic bronze medalist retired from professional racing last year at the age of 34, settled in British Columbia, Canada with his wife and started a bicycle touring company with trips to Europe. Merckx said his higher goal is to help younger racers in North American develop and make the jump to European racing -- that running a domestic team would allow him to fulfil that. He said that both his company and the team are relatively new ventures, so it is difficult to see far down the road with either.

"It is also in the beginning stages so it's a young company also," he said of his company Axel Merckx Bicycle Tours. "We just started it in the last few months so now I have to make a decision which way I want to focus myself. I know I want to be in the cycling community, especially in the North American community in order to bring young riders over to Europe. I am committed to making something work now whether it is through my company or with a team. It could go both ways but I definitely want to bring along the younger racing here in North America."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Smart Fuel - Shiitake Mushrooms

Once relegated to the Asian foods section of grocery stores, shiitake mushrooms have emerged a prominent contender in the produce aisle, promising to add a little extra oomph – and even some medicinal benefits – to vegetable socks, soups and noodle dishes.

Although this fungi is an excellent source of selenium and a good source of iron, protein, dietary fiber and vitamin C, shiitake mushrooms are much more revered for their combination of antioxidants and other compounds, so much so that they have been used in Asian medicine for the past 6,000 years!

Specifically, shiitake mushrooms contain a polysaccharide known as lentinan that is thought to shore up the immune system, particularly in people who have a compromised immune system due to HIV, AIDS or other immunodeficiency disorders. In addition, lentinan has also been shown to offer a protective benefit against certain cancer types by increasing the population of reticular cells (a type of immune cell that actively seeks out and ingests bacteria, cancer cells and other cell waste) and drawing T lymphocytes (another immune system heavy hitter) to prevent cancer cell proliferation.

In addition, mushrooms are also an excellent source of L-ergothioneine – containing roughly 13 mg per 3 oz serving – or about forty times the amount of top L-ergothioneine heavy hitter wheat germ. What’s the big deal about L-ergothioneine? Well, this powerful antioxidant – which is only available via dietary resources – is thought to play a key role in both energy regulation and in protecting cells from free radicals and their associated oxidative damaging (think wrinkles, skin damage, and general aging of the entire body). Even better news? L-ergothioneine remains intact in mushrooms during cooking.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mario Cipollini says arrivederci to cycling

Mario Cipollini has finished his cycling career for the second time and the Italian will not race Milan-San Remo this weekend.

"My professional relationship with the American team Rock Racing has finished," said Cipollini in a statement released on Tuesday. "The plan to contest Milan-San Remo would have been meaningful if it was connected to the building and management of a new team, that in practice, despite contractual agreements, happened without the least reference to me.

"My return to competition was a stepping stone in a much larger plan to create a 'dream team'. It's a shame, but at the same time I'm grateful to all those people who have shown me warmth, support and affection over the past few months."

There had been speculation that Cipollini could ride for another team, such has Tinkoff Credit Systems, this weekend. But his statement quashed those rumours.

Here We Go Again - Cipo Wants Out Of Rock Racing

Mario Cipollini is set to leave the Rock Racing team, according to a report in Tuesday's La Gazzetta dello Sport. And there is speculation that he could ride Saturday's Milan-San Remo with Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Cipollini retired after the 2005 Milan-San Remo, but was enticed back to racing by American entrepreneur Michael Ball, owner of the Rock and Republic clothing brand. After months of on again, off again negotiations, Cipollini signed for the team and took part in the Tour of California, where he managed third place in one of the stages.

Rock Racing had ambitions to race in Europe with Cipollini eventually becoming team manager. But it seems that the "Lion King" was unhappy with the state of affairs and last week requested that his contract be annulled. Still, he hasn't given up on the idea of racing Milan-San Remo, which falls on his 41st birthday this year. But at this stage, nothing has been confirmed between him and Tinkoff or any other team.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Contador: "I want to ride the Tour, but not at all costs"

Alberto Contador weighs in officially at 62.5 kg. But if people could measure their indignation in grams, the winner of the last Tour de France would weigh perhaps twice as much.

And so the cyclist from Pinto continues to be dumbfounded by the decision of the Tour de France organizers (ASO) to exclude Astana from the next Tour.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s a leap backward for cycling."

"We deserve to be in the Tour. We’re a clean team and one of the most competitive in the world, but the chances are almost nil. Therefore we don’t have any other remedy left but to set new goals, like the Vuelta a España and the world championships,” Contador said.

The subject is even more regrettable because the Madrileño thought long and hard about joining Astana after the sponsor of his previous team, Discovery Channel, left cycling. It’s a fact that the Kazakh-sponsored team was ejected from the 2007 Tour as a result of several doping scandals, the most notorious being that of Alexander Vinokourov.

But then, everything changed.

To read the full interview click on the title link.

Cancellara GC lead proves untouchable

Spaniard Oscar Freire took his second season win on Tirreno-Adriatico's power climb to Castelfidardo, nipping past Italian Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes). The Liquigas and LPR teams had worked hard to position their leaders for the finale up the four-kilometre climb, but it was the 32 year-old three-time World Champion who ruled the hilltop town of accordion builders.

Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) made a bid for the stage win and Fabian Cancellara's overall lead mid-way up the climb, but the CSC rider matched the Italian pedal for pedal stroke to stuff the move. Cancellara, with a 16-second lead over Gasparotto, looks likely to keep the race lead when the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico concludes tomorrow with a sprinters' stage in San Benedetto del Tronto.

The race was formed by an early escape, but it was closed down by the fifth and last climb up Castelfidardo. Freire managed the climb's 4.5-percent gradient and an attack by Gasparotto to take the sprint from an elite group. "If you win here it means you are going strong," Freire said, referring to Saturday's Milano-Sanremo, where he has won twice.

"I think that the new finale won't change the race much. This year, the race will be changed by the riders, there are a lot of on-form, attacking riders. I think that it will be diverse for us [sprinters] at Sanremo. I also think that Cancellara can do it all, even win in the sprint."

It was 'Spartacus' Cancellara who rose to the occasion 24 hours after his time trial win to take the leader's maglia azzurra. After matching the attack from Gasparotto, he upped the pace before sitting in on the sprint finale.

"The team worked completely for me to defend the jersey," said the 26 year-old Swiss. "Gasparotto did what he could to win, and I stuck with him. Freire showed he is going strong. After tomorrow, I will know more about Sanremo. Given today, I know that I can handle some attacks, like the one of Gasparotto. Overall, it is important to take this jersey home."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chris Lieto Gets 3rd Place Against ITU Speedsters At Miami International Triathlon

Ironman specialist Chris Lieto showed early season form by placing third overall in the Miami International triathlon today. Considering he was toeing the line against 2008 Olympic hopefuls he showed he is a serious threat at any distance. Recovox wants to congratulate Lieto on a super performance today and wish him the best of luck in his 2008 season.

Miami International Pro Results
1 Matty Reed 1:45:31.2
2 Oscar Galindez 1:45:39.1
3 Chris Lieto 1:46:08.8
4 Brian Fleischmann 1:48:33.6
5 Timothy O'Donnell 1:48:59.2

Friday, March 14, 2008

20% Gradients At 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico

Many riders could not handle Montelupone's stiff gradients and were forced to walk the final 200 metres. Conditions were made worse when a race motorbike fell over, blocking many of the late arrivals. However, Frenchman and early escapee, Loyd Mondory, did ride his bike all the way home.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jens Voigt - Hungry As Ever

A freshly-showered Jens Voigt, came out of his team bus late following Thursday's stage four finish of Paris-Nice, after having again put in one of the solo kamikaze attacks the tall German is famous for. He told us, "Well, you know, I have to do something for my image!" The CSC rider was part of the day's four-man breakaway, but went on his own with 16 kilometres to go, just at the foot of the Mont Ventoux climb in Malaucène.

"We had a real chance for winning - just one minute more and it could have ended differently," he said, not too disappointed with himself after finishing 15th on the line. The equally famous mountain ate away his lead of three and a half minutes, until the general classification riders and pure climbers overtook him with two kilometres to go.

"When I attacked the group at the foot of the climb, I believed I could make it. I only lost 30 seconds in the first five kilometres of the ascent. So I told myself I could possibly do it, just looking at it mathematically. But with five kilometres to go, I just couldn't resist anymore, and the guys behind put down the hammer for the finale..." By then, Voigt almost seemed to pedal backwards, as they say, but still gave his bike a ferociously stubborn grind to finish a very respectable 1'47" behind the winner, Cadel Evans.

Today was the first "satisfying" test of the season for the German all rounder, who takes pride in still being able to pull off these kind of stunts. "I mean, I'm 36 years old, but I still have what it takes to get in the right break, and the power to push through to the end. If the GC riders had waited a bit longer for their final moves I could have made it. Of course I'm a bit disappointed, but I had enough time to get over that as I knew with five clicks to go that this would be a slow death... Now, I see it as a positive unfolding of my form."

Speaking of which - with one of Voigt's dearest races coming up, the Critérium International, the CSC rider will do everything he needs to defend his 2007 title. "That race will be shorter than Paris-Nice, so that's more my cup of tea!," he added, looking forward to the event he has won already three times. "I really like Critérium International, it's short but sharp, exactly my kind of thing."

Michael Ball - Competitor Interview

He is the guy behind the three riders who have not been allowed to ride for his Rock Racing Team- Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla- plus he has the coolest team uniforms, Caddys for team cars and Podium Girls. Love him or hate him, Michael Ball is a lightning rod for attention, a self made man and one helluva interview.

Click on the title link for the interview.

Lance Armstrong opens bike shop

Dubbed Mellow Johnny’s, after Armstrong’s racing nickname, the 18,000 sq foot store is aimed at getting more people riding in Armstrong’s home town of Austin, Texas.

Top end Trek bikes, similar to those Armstrong rode on his seven consecutive Tour de France victories, will be available.

But Armstrong wants the shop to have wide appeal, and also plans to sell mountain bikes, commuter bikes, fixed wheels, low riders, handmade one-offs, triathlon bikes and more.

The shop will also provide lockers and showers for Austin’s bike commuters.

Armstrong’s vision is to make Austin a cycling city, in the same vein as Portland, Oregon.

But he admits there’s a lot of work to be done first.

He told his local paper, the Austin American Statesman: “"There are times I ride in Austin, and I'm afraid of cars.

"Imagine what the beginner cyclist must feel like? I think (Mayor) Will Wynn's dream was this whole revitalization of downtown, which we're getting, but it's going to make it a lot easier if people can get around on bikes."

Big brands to be sold in the shop beside Trek include Nike, Giro and Oakley.

There will be coffee on tap and bike mechanics at work on the shop floor who’ll answer any technical questions customers may have.

There will be some memorabilia from Armstrong’s glory days in the shop, but the aim isn’t for a museum vibe.

In fact, Armstrong predicts that Mellow Johnny's will be "the coolest bike shop in the world".

But, despite his mammoth plans, he insists he doesn’t want to see off Austin’s smaller bike shops.

"It's not us versus them," he told the Statesman. "We're all about the cycling culture."

Although it’s some way from opening, a vacant 1950s building has been earmarked for the project and local architect Michael Hsu has created a masterplan. Work on site started in February and is expected to go on through the summer.

The store is just north of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path that will cut east-west through downtown Austin.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Memorial Ride For Kristy Gough And Matt Peterson - This Saturday

Friends are planning a memorial ride Saturday afternoon in honor of Peterson and Kristy Gough. The ride will leave from Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, at 2:30

More details: Please click on title link

Tereza Hurikova Gets Her 3rd Second Place At The Cyprus Sunshine Cup

Elite women

1 Petra Henzi (Swi) Fisher BMC 1.43.52
2 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Czech National Team 0.38
3 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Ghost International 0.40
4 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 2.25
5 Morath Adelheid (Ger) German National Team 5.39
6 Githa Michiels (Bel) 7.39
7 Nataliya Krompets (Ukr) Ukranian National Team 9.28
8 Barbel Jungmeier (Aut) Ciclopia 10.35
9 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) B.N.T 12.45
10 Ksenia Chernykh (Rus) Russian National Team 14.03
11 Iryna Slobodyan (Ukr) Ukranian National Team 18.50
12 Ekaterina Melnikova (Rus) MGFSU-Cube 22.10
13 Evgenia Belozerova (Rus) Russian National Team 23.57