Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tyler Stewart's 4:47:59 Charity Ride

LUNA Pro Tyler Stewart announced today that on September 6, 2008, she will be leading a unique indoor cycling session as part of her efforts to raise money through the Janus Charity Challenge. Held at Endurance Performance Training Centers (PTC) in San Francisco, participants will ride with Stewart on a simulation of the Kona course for 4 hours, 47 minutes and 59 seconds – her world-record Ironman bike split time. This will serve as a key training session for Stewart and participants will get a unique behind-the-scenes look at her final preparations for the Ironman World Championships.

Stewart recorded her blazing 4:47.59 bike split at the 2007 Ironman Florida and it was at the awards ceremony for that race that she decided to participate in the Janus Charity Challenge and to dedicate her 2008 season to her stepdad, Don Zeigler, who is suffering from lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. You can learn more about Don’s story at

“I know it’s a long time to spend on a trainer but I hope to make this a fun and interactive session for everyone willing to step up for a great cause,” said Stewart. “I’m thrilled that my sponsors have been so supportive in helping me put this crazy ride together and I look forward to raising a lot of money for the Northern California Cancer Center.”

“When Tyler came to me and said she wanted to do this, I wrote the 4:47.59 session into her training schedule for Kona,” said Stewart’s coach, Matt Dixon. “If you want to see what kind of preparations someone like Tyler goes through, this is a great venue to get an insider’s perspective. And if you happen to be racing Kona or another fall Ironman, this could be a great session for your training.”

The tax deductible donation to join the ride is $447.59. All proceeds will benefit the Northern California Cancer Center. Riders can signup by emailing or by donating exactly $447.59 on Stewart’s page at

What participants should expect at the 4:47.59 Indoor Cycling Charity Ride on September 6th:

· A 4:47.59 session led by Tyler Stewart on a simulation of the Kona course – participants will ride on their own bikes on a Computrainer
· Commentary and coaching advice from Stewart’s coach, Matt Dixon
· A technique session with Charlie Livermore, founder of Endurance PTC and former head trainer of USA Cycling
· A behind-the-scenes look at Stewart’s training – including an interpretation of her blood lactate testing which will be done periodically during the session to help her zero in on what watt range she’ll ride in Hawaii
· A fueling and hydration talk with product from Clif Bar and LUNA Bar
· A Q&A session for any of your triathlon or cycling-related questions
· A prize package from Stewart’s generous sponsors
· 5 raffle tickets to win a complete Orbea at the post-ride fundraising party
· Great music and a lot of fun!

SPACE IS LIMITED for the 4:47.59 Indoor Cycling Charity Ride so sign up today!

If the 4:47.59 Indoor Cycling Charity Ride sounds like too long to spend on a trainer, immediately following the ride Stewart will be hosting a silent auction, raffle and fundraising party with great prizes from all of her generous sponsors including an Orbea bike, a swim lesson from LUNA teammate and 1st out of the water in Kona in 2006 and 2007, Linda Gallo, a performance consultation with Stewart’s coach, free indoor cycling classes at Endurance PTC, additional giveaways from the LUNA Pro Team and Clif Bar and more!

About the Northern California Cancer Center
The Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC) is dedicated to preventing cancer through population-based research and community education. An independent organization, NCCC is an established, nationally recognized leader in understanding who gets cancer and why, and how to improve the quality of life for individuals living with cancer.

About the Janus Charity Challenge
The Janus Charity Challenge is an innovative program designed and sponsored by the investment management firm, Janus. The program helps motivate Ironman athletes to use their race experience to raise money for charity. But unlike most other race fundraising programs, there is no pre-determined beneficiary. Each athlete has the flexibility to choose the nonprofit organization(s) that they care most about. Since the program’s inception in 2001, Janus Charity Challenge triathletes have raised over $31 million for hundreds of charities throughout the United States. Janus also makes additional contributions to the beneficiaries of the top fundraisers at each of the full distance U.S. Ironman races.

Media inquiries contact:
Diane Henry

Chrissie, King of the Hill at Alpe d’Huez!

TeamTBB sent a trio of stars to France to take on a course that has made stars in the bike ranks. Chrissie Wellington, who won the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon last year, was back to defend her title. She was joined by teammates and compatriots Bella Comerford and Stephen Bayliss to tackle a race that is quickly growing into a classic event. While each of the famed 21 hairpins has a Tour rider named in its honor, we think there is a case for Chrissie to perhaps take up one of the spots on the ascent. And in classic French fashion, which dictates that they do what they want, the long-course race was held on Wednesday.

The race, with a 2.2-kilometers swim, is followed by an epic bike; after a loop along the valley floor with a couple of leg-tenderizing climbs, the course goes up, up, up, from Bourg d'Oisans up the famed 21 hairpin turns that comprise the legendary Tour de France up Alpe d'Huez to the town of Huez. Once at the top, taxed athletes are greeted by a 22k run.

Wellington's 29:57 swim was impressive enough, but that merely set her up for a stellar, steady bike that took her to the front of the race. The reigning Ironman world champion stepped off the bike with the fourth-fastest bike—among men and women—in 4:09:05. From there, the endurance exhibition continued; she had the second-fastest run (bested only by her male teammate, Bayliss) turning in a 1:36:34 run to take second overall—that is, among women and men—in 6:18:25. The second women would come in over 25 minutes later.

The taxing conditions and torrid pace caused teammate Comerford to make the tough call to drop from the race on the run, saving her speedy legs for another day. On the men's side, Bayliss salvaged a tough day on the bike by notching that day-best 1:30:52 run to finish eighth in 6:36:54.

Congrats to Chrissie for adding another impressive win to her growing 2008 palmares, and props to Bayliss for toughing it out for a top-10 finish.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another record - Puget Sound to Columbia Crest and back in one day

Climbers strive to push the boundary of their sport to new limits every day – faster, more difficult routes, and even multi-sport athletic events. In the case of Randall Nordfors, he turned a simple guided summit climb with International Mountain Guides (IMG) into a full-on endurance race. Not only did he set out to bicycle a total of 162 miles from Puget Sound to Paradise and back, but he threw in a single push speed summit. If this trip wasn’t challenging enough, Nordfors set himself two personal goals: #1 Summit in under 12 hours and #2 Complete the entire trip in less than 20 hours.

The starting point for Nordfors trek was Tolmie State Park, located just a few miles from the end of the Nisqually River, whose source is glaciers up on Rainier. Despite problems that caused a slower than expected start and impossible to control time delays due to traffic and stop lights, Nordsfor still made the trip to Paradise in well under 5 hours. After successfully achieving his first goal in 11 hours and 40 minutes, Nordfors was back on his bike and headed downhill at speeds of about 40 mph. Although the final stage of his trip was mostly downhill, staying alert after such sustained physical exertion is a huge challenge. The final stretch of road was for sure the defining point of the trip. Behind in his time, Nordfors left nothing on the road, peddling hard and fast to make up for lost time and pulling in to Tolmie Park like a madman, finishing just under his goal of 20 hours at 19 hours 57 minutes and 30 seconds. Not bad for a day’s work...

Randall's To Do List:
Summit Mount Rainier under 12 hours – CHECK!
Finish crazy long bike ride and climb in under 20 hours – CHECK!

According to Nordfors, other than the actual physical conditioning required to complete this sort of endurance event, the two most important aspects of his training was eating when your body didn’t want to, and staying focused and mentally alert while your body is completely exhausted. As a retired competitive bicycle racer, Nordsfors is not new to intense training and challenges. Although only a novice climber, Nordfors, 45, decided that after his retirement from racing a few years ago, he wanted to try new things and test the ability of his body to new limits. His trip from Puget Sound to Summit certainly proved to be a worthy challenge, and although Nordfors achieved both of his lofty goals, he is not completely satisfied with his bicycle ride from Tolmie Park to Paradise and will attempt to improve his time in a another epic tour. Best of luck on your next adventure Randall!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Contador Training In The Pyrenees For Vuelta

Alberto Contador completed a training foray into the Pyrenees Thursday, a visit designed as a study of Stages 7 and 8 of the upcoming Vuelta a España. The expedition to Andorra included Contador’s Asturian teammates Chechu Rubiera, Benjamin Noval, and Dani Navarro, and Sérgio Paulinho of Portugal.

“Yesterday we rode the final 120 km of Stage 7: We climb La Rabassa twice, the second time with an extra four kilometers at the end--a first for the Vuelta. It will be a very difficult stage because of the cumulative kilometers in our legs, especially if it’s hot.

“The first two kilometers of the climb are really hard, but it gets easier after the sixth kilometer. The last part smooths out and there’s a chance to recover a little.”

“In the second part things will be determined by how the legs feel after 200 kilometers. Everything depends on the rhythm set at the beginning of the stage, but the last four km are not as hard, so it stands to reason it will come down to a small group of three or four riders. It will be my first time up this mountain, I only remember it from the year that Zarrabeitia got his finger cut off in the descent.”

On Thursday, Contador and his teammates rode 133 km of Stage 8, from the top of the Puerto del Cantó to the finish at Pla de Beret, reported press manager Jacinto Vidarte.

“El Cantó looked really hard to me. We took our bikes to the top, and after the descent we climbed the Puerto de Enviny, which was no big deal. We went on through a fairly long valley before La Bonaigua, which is tough. Today they were resurfacing the road. We were able to get through, but with 19 km of that plus the heat, it was really difficult," said Contador.

“On the other hand, I was a little disappointed with the Pla de Beret. It’s not very difficult, the road surface is good, and the last one-and-a-half kilometers goes downhill. Nobody will get much of a margin there.”

Alberto has a clear mental picture after these two days of reconnaissance. “In some ways I’m disappointed with the Pyrenees, because if it’s going well, there’s no place to grab the margin that I’d like, and if it’s not going well, you can limit the damages because there will be a lot of chances to get organized and ride defensively."

“These are not mountains for pure climbers. The only danger is that if you’re not on a good day, you could lose the general. But I don’t believe they’ll be decisive in winning the race."

Contador will scout out the mountain stages of Asturias next week, including a climb of the Anglirú on Thursday and the summit of Fuentes de Invierno on Friday. He’s hoping to find a different scenario there.

“Asturias will be much more decisive than the Pyrenees. Some of the favorites will be dropped here, but the real differences in the general will happen there, in Asturias.”

The Vuelta a España 2008 will take place August 30 - September 21.

New Study On PS Supplementation

The findings of a new study on PS suggest that PS is an effective supplement for combating exercise-induced stress and preventing the physiological deterioration that can accompany too much exercise. PS supplementation promotes a desired hormonal status for athletes by blunting increases in cortisol levels.

Click on title link to read the study.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Le Mans hero Kristensen meets Ironman Stadler

During the DTM weekend at Nürburgring on 26th/ 27th of July, Normann Stadler and Tom Kristensen had a chance to meet. Double Hawaii champion Normann Stadler took eight time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen out for a cycling session on Saturday. On Sunday it was up to the Danish Le Mans legend to take out Germanys Triathlon hero on a ride in a race taxi on famous Nürburging.

“The speed and the power of the Audi are very impressive”, Stadler said enthusiastically. “Tom Kristensen is a great guy and I’m sure that we will keep on exchanging our experiences in the future. The race taxi was a real kick, and I will keep this emotion for a while in order to put the pedal on the metal at Hawaii.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sastre takes his first grand tour

Spain's Carlos Sastre wrapped up his maiden Tour de France triumph on Sunday following the final stage of the race into Paris.

Sastre, a 33-year-old climbing specialist who rides for the CSC team, became the eighth Spaniard to win the race's yellow jersey and the third consecutively after Oscar Pereiro (2006) and Alberto Contador (2007).

Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans was runner-up for the second consecutive year, the Australian finishing 1min 05sec behind Sastre after failing to eradicate a 1min 34sec deficit to the Spaniard in the penultimate stage time trial.

A surprise third place went to Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl of Austria, who stepped onto the podium in Paris wearing the polka dot jersey for the race's 'King of the Mountains'.

Last year's 'King of the Mountains' winner, Colombian Mauricio Soler, quit the race before the halfway stage after a number of crashes.

Sastre's CSC team had cause for further celebration, having topped the teams' classification and seen Andy Schleck win the white jersey for the best placed rider aged 25 and under. Schleck's older brother Frank - the Luxembourg champion - finished in sixth place overall having worn the yellow jersey for two days in the Alps.

Rabobank sprinter Oscar Freire meanwhile made history by becoming the first Spaniard to win the race's green jersey for the points classification.

Freire, who also won the 14th stage, topped the points classification ahead of Germany's former six-time winner Erik Zabel. Freire made sure of keeping the jersey with a third place finish in the sprint behind Gerald Ciolek and final stage winner Gert Steegmans of Belgium.

The only French 'winner' of anything resembling a jersey was Cofidis all-rounder Sylvain Chavanel, who was awarded the largely symbolic title of the race's most aggressive rider. Chavanel, 29, claimed his maiden stage win on the race on Friday, bringing the hosts' victory tally to three following stage wins by his teammate Samuel Dumoulin and Cyril Dessel of AG2R.

France, however, is still waiting for an heir to five-time champion Bernard Hinault, the last Frenchman to win the yellow jersey, in 1985.

Française des Jeux all-rounder Sandy Casar, who finished second in the stage won by Dessel, topped the standings for the home riders in 14th overall.

Sastre's victory is his first in a major three-week race. Previously, his best results was his two runner-up places in the Vuelta d'Espana. The unassuming Spaniard took possession of the yellow jersey when he launched a daring solo attack at the foot of the race's final mountain climb, coming over the Alpe d'Huez finish line 2:15 ahead of Evans. His subsequent 1:34 overall lead on Evans proved decisive.

Sastre began the race as an outsider, but his consistency - thanks to the textbook support work of his strong CSC team - proved key. On the penultimate stage time trial, he held his nerve - and produced the race of his life - to keep a faltering Evans in his wake.

Compatriot Alejandro Valverde, one of the big pre-race race favourites with Evans, dropped out of virtual contention on the 10th stage. On the second of three days in the Pyrenees, the pace of CSC proved too much for Valverde, who finished five minutes off the pace of stage winner Leonardo Piepoli.

Italian outsider Damiano Cunego, the former Giro d'Italia winner who won the Tour's white jersey on his only previous participation in 2004, struggled with the pace in the first week and pulled out after sustaining injuries to his chin and thorax during the 19th stage.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Carlos Sastre Enters Paris Dressed in Yellow

After an incredibly exciting 53-kilometer time trial on Saturday from Cérilly to Saint-Amand-Montrond it became clear that Carlos Sastre will still be wearing the Yellow Jersey, when the Tour de France peloton takes on Paris and Champs-Élysées on Sunday.

Sastre was 12th in the stage and has a lead ahead of the final stage of one minute five seconds down to Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto).

"I really don't know what to say. This is what we've worked so hard to achieve for such a long time and now Carlos and the team have don it!" said Bjarne Riis just after the stage.

"We had Fabian Cancellara's intermediate times all the way through and we got times on Evans regularly as well so that Carlos had something to go by and luckily he had the strength to set a fast pace and keep it all the way and it's an absolutely incredible feeling for all of us right now," continued Riis whilst surrounded by cheering sports directors, mechanics, soigneurs and riders near the finish line.

"It's a fantastic feeling and I'm not sure I've taken it all in yet. I felt strong and my legs were good already during warm-up. And as it was hot and there was no wind I knew the conditions would suit me perfectly. The rest was up to me and I gave everything I had – and I couldn't expect more from myself so it was all or nothing basically," said Sastre after the stage.

Besides Carlos Sastre defending his Yellow Jersey Andy Schleck also managed to defend his White one and he now has 1.17 down to Tour de Suisse winner Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) in second place. Team CSC Saxo Bank increased the lead in the Team's Competition to 15 minutes 49 seconds on ag2r. The team has won the Team's Competition in Tour de France once before.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What If Astana And Contador Where In The Tour?

By: Graham Watson

How would it be different if Team Astana was in the 2008 Tour? Despite the many distractions of working any Tour de France, I’ve spent many a moment wondering ‘what might have been’ if Astana was here to play its cards the way it would have liked to. The team would have probably been like any other big league team early on, content to let others make the gains and take the glory, before moving themselves into effect in the Pyrenees. Contador would have equalled the ride of Menchov, if not Evans himself, in that time trial at Cholet, and the team would have then taken control over the Col du Tourmalet to ensure that at least one Astana rider went with Saunier’s duo of Piepoli and Cobo on Hautecam. Frank Schleck would have been surprised to find a Kloden or even a Leipheimer with him as he rode on the wheels of Piepoli and Cobo, while Evans would have had the shadow of Contador on his shoulder the whole way up the climb. Depending on the strengths of Levi and Andreas, Saunier’s pairing might still have won the stage – but Schleck would have been looking back at Contador and Evans all the way to the line, that’s if he made it that far alone…

For sure, Astana would have never let the Danny Pate/Egoi Martinez/Simon Gerrans/Jose Luis Arrieta escape get away so easily on stage fifteen. There was no team remotely interested in their escape until way after the long descent of the Agnello was over – now that’s a big oversight in the Tour. Even allowing for Pereiro’s spectacular crash, and the ensuing neutrality that the peloton imposed upon itself just afterwards – the entire Caisse d’Epargne team, with the exception of Valverde, stopped to comfort Pereiro – that escape should never have had the fifteen-minute advantage in the first place. Team Astana would have led the peloton up the Agnello, not actually catching the escape, but keeping it within reach. This is not what Silence did, a factor that went against Evans’ interests – for it gave CSC an easy ride to the foot of the final climb, allowing such powerhouses like Jens Voigt and even Fabien Cancellara to apply their awesome strengths to CSC’s cause…and the result was the Yellow Jersey.

Clearly, a Contador in his best form would have danced away from the head of the race long before that final, so exciting, last kilometre into Prato Nevoso. If CSC had even dared to launch an assault, as it did on stage fifteen, Astana would simply have ridden harder, and harder, until the threat had been extinguished – all of which would have made for a very different finale. With just two Alpine stages to go, plus that important TT next Saturday, I’m sure that Contador would be as near to taking that Yellow Jersey as if he was already wearing it. Astana would lead from the front on stage sixteen to Jausiers, ensuring Contador’s rivals were at least with him, if not actually far behind, as they crossed the stage’s final summit of the Col de Restefond, not worrying too much about who else actually won the stage. And stage seventeen to Alpe d’Huez? This would be a Contador showpiece, an epic move on the Tour’s most legendary ascent that would extend Contador’s overall advantage. Quite simply, whoever wins this Tour – be it Schleck, Evans, or Menchov – they are doing it in the knowledge that it is a gift made from heaven.

Stage 19 - 2008 Tour de France

Combo made on July 25, 2008, shows (From L-top) The leading racers, French Jeremy Roy (R) (La Francaise des Jeux/Fra) and French team leader Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis/Fra) riding in the two-men breakaway, children sitting on a straw ball as they look at the riders, Chavanel jubilating on the finish line, and overall leader's yellow jersey Spanish co-team leader Carlos Sastre (CSC/Den) putting his jersey on the podium, during the 165,5 km nineteenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Roanne and Montlucon. French team leader Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis/Fra) won ahead of French Jeremy Roy (La Francaise des Jeux/Fra) and German Gerald Ciolek (Columbia -ex-High Road/US)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Team CSC/Saxo Shares Tour With Youngsters

On Thursday Tour de France was visited by a group of young people, which means a great deal to Team CSC Saxo Bank. It was a fantastic opportunity for a bunch of young South African boys and girls from the charity project Velokhaya to visit the Tour and see what goes on around the greatest cycling race in the world.

Team CSC Saxo Bank, CSC and Cervélo have been the biggest contributors to the project over the last couple of years and it's been great for both the riders as well as everyone else around these organizations to be able to give these young people from some of the poorest neighborhoods in South Africa such a unique experience.

Credit is also due to the Tour-societé ASO, which had organized a tour for the Velokhaya kids and the day-to-day leaders of the project round the so-called "Tour-Village" in Thursday's starting town of Bourg-d'Oisans. They got to see the entire Tour caravan as well as the “Village” where they could visit the various stalls.

An ASO-official shoed the Velokhaya delegation around and afterwards they went to the Team CSC Saxo Bank bus, which they got a chance to check out as well before accompanying the riders to the sign-up area. It provided a great deal of media attention when the riders showed up with a large group of kids in tow and it's no secret that the attention is very welcome indeed as it can hopefully provide some much needed support for the project.

Stage 18 - 2008 Tour de France

Combo made on July 24, 2008, shows (From L-top) Spanish team leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa), Australian team leader Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto/Bel) and second placed in the overall standings, Luxembourger Frank Schleck (CSC/Den) riding in the pack, the two-men breaking away German Marcus Burghardt (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) and Spanish Carlos Barredo (Quick Step/Bel), Paris Nice Sisteron stage winner, German Marcus Burghardt (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) jubilating on the finish line and Sastre putting on his yellow jersey on the podium, on July 24, 2008 during the 196,5 km eighteenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Bourg d'Oisans and Saint-Etienne. German Marcus Burghardt (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) won ahead of Spanish Carlos Barredo (Quick Step/Bel) and French Romain Feillu (Agritubel/Fra).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stage 17 - 2008 Tour de France

New overall leader's yellow jersey, Spanish co-team leader Carlos Sastre (CSC/Den), leaves the podium, on July 23, 2008, at the end of the 210,5 km seventeenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Embrun and L'Alpe d'Huez. Spanish co-team leader Carlos Sastre (CSC/Den) won ahead of Spanish Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Euskatel/Spa) and Luxembourger Andy Schleck (CSC/Den).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stage 16 - 2008 Tour de France

Overall leader's yellow jersey Luxembourger Frank Schleck (CSC/Den) rides, on July 22, 2008, during the 157 km sixteenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Cuneo (Italy) and Jausiers. French Cyril Dessel (AG2R/Fra) won ahead of French Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux/Fra) and Spanish David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Terenzo Bozzone Wins Vineman Triathlon

What a beautiful day for racing in the wine country of Northern California. When the professional athletes took off on the swim at the 2008 Vineman Ironman 70.3, it was a cool 53 degrees with a light misting of fog and no wind. The water temperature measured 72 degrees, making it a wetsuit legal swim for all competitors.

Matt Clark led the charge out of the water right around 22 minutes. In hot pursuit as they grabbed their bikes were TJ Tollakson, Craig Alexander, Terenzo Bozzone, Paul Ambrose, the Lieto brothers and Paul Amey. Chris Legh was about 30 seconds back. Accompanying this who’s-who clan was the amazing Joanna Zeiger.

About half way through the bike, Paul Ambrose was leading the way, with Chris Legh, Matt Lieto and Steve Larsen close behind. Larson had to make up a 2 minute 30 second deficit from the swim to work his way up to this elite group of men. I am sure everyone was concerned about his presence knowing his superior cycling ability.

When the men approached T2, Larsen rolled in with a three-minute cushion over Paul Ambrose and Matt Lieto. Bozzone, Amey, Burkel and Craig Alexander had lost five minutes to the lead.

By the time the men hit the half-way point on the run, though, Bozzone had erased the five minute deficit and was running in the lead with Craig Alexander in second, 10 seconds behind and Larsen in third trailing by just over 30 seconds.
Bozzone held on for the win, setting a new course record in the process. “I decided to ride my own race today. So when I got caught by a bunch of guys at mile five I just stayed with my plan. I love this course and look forward to coming back again next year.”

In the women’s race, Joanna Zeiger was settling into the bike ride while Sam McGlone, and Kate Major were just finishing the swim, trailing by several minutes. Zeiger continued to show her determination and was riding solo at the midway check point of ride with McGlone, Alexis Smith and Major trailing by over four minutes.

Ultimately though, the race belonged to Zeiger. Even as they passed the spotters at the 10 km point of the run, Tyler Stewart had worked her way into second, but she was still 3:15 in arrears. McGlone, Major and Smith were doing their best to catch Zeiger but the gap of more than five minutes was just too much. Zeiger dug deep and did not panic even when the hard-charging Tyler Stewart whittled the 3:15 gap down to 40 seconds on the return portion of the run.

“My plan was to go hard on the swim, go hard on the bike and go hard on the run” laughed Zieger in her post race interview. “The plan went well until mile seven when I started to have GI upset. I really thought my race was over. Overall, I am really pleased with the day.”

Terenzo Bezzone 3:49:10 Coure Record
Craig Alexander 3:51:25
Steve Larson 3:53:22
Paul Amey 3:56:47
Chris Legh 3:56:55

Joanna Zeiger 4:19:58
Tyler Stewart 4:20:20
Samantha McGlone 4:24:08
Kate Major 4:25:30
Alexis Smith 4:25:50

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chris Legh and Luke Bell talk to

Stage 13 - 2008 Tour de France

Britain's Mark Cavendish (C) (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) jubilates on the finish line, on July 18 2008, at the end of the 182 km thirteenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Narbonne and Nimes. Britain's Mark Cavendish (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) won ahead of Australian Robbie McEwen (L) (Silence Lotto/Bel) and French Romain Feillu (R) (Agritubel/Fra).

Hamilton Claim First Win Since ‘04

Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton took his first win since returning to competition in 2007 in a thrilling finale, after the two leaders were caught on the Haute category climb’s descent. Hamilton escaped with Stage 6 winner Marek Rutkiewicz (Poland) on the descent, with the pair holding a one minute advantage over the last 20 kilometres to the line.

"Oscar [Sevilla] came back and the Polish rider [Rutkiewicz] was just five seconds in front, so I jumped across," Hamilton explained. "He is a mean descender, really fast. I had a hard time just holding his wheel when he was in the tuck. A great guy to be away with, he was riding at 100 percent.

"I let him take a little longer pulls," he added. "I think that he was faster than me in the sprint, but I let him work a little bit harder."

The win catapulted Hamilton into the overall lead and Rutkiewicz into second. Hamilton held fourth just 15 seconds down heading into the stage, while Rutkiewicz was in fifth a further six seconds behind. Hamilton now leads Rutkiewicz by 10 seconds, courtesy of the time bonus at the finish, with Hossein Askari (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) now 1’08" down in third.

The duo’s attack caught overnight leader Askari by surprise. With just one other rider in the leading group, the Iranian was unable to close the gap.

"This is not such a good feeling," Askari said. "To have two riders go away in the downhill to win was not good."

Askari now sits in third overall, but with just one more mountain stage remaining and Hamilton’s form improving as the race goes by, it will be a tough ask for him to try to take the jersey back. "It will be a little difficult for us tomorrow," he admitted. "Rock racing are very strong and I think that he will take the jersey all the way to the line.

"Now we will ride for the mountains jersey," he said.

After the last two mountain stages came back together on the descent, Hamilton gambled that the same thing would happen today. "I didn't have the acceleration to go with the Iranians," he said. "They have proven that they are the strongest climbers in the race. So I just rode my own tempo.

"I stayed with the main bunch and Dave McCann - he is really strong, I take my hat off to him," he added. "Tomorrow will be hard, one day at a time. I am really happy."

Rutkiewicz was pleased with second on the day and in the overall, admitting that it was an unexpected result. "I was second today, but that’s okay," he said. "I am very happy, that I’m second on the general classification. Before the stage I didn't think that I would be able to be in second after the stage.

"I was two minutes in front of the peloton [at the start of the main climb of the day], I attacked before the climb," he added. "It was good because it gave me some leeway. It was a very good situation for me."

"We were going for the general classification and were really going for it," explained Rutkiewicz. "I had my team manager screaming in my ear to go."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Doping expert stunned by Ricco positive

Professor Michel Audran is one of the world's leading experts on blood doping. He is also one of nine independent experts chosen to act as consultants in the formulation of the UCI's biological passport.

In the last twenty minutes we've heard that Riccardo Riccò has tested positive for an EPO-like product. The early reports suggest that Riccò used CERA or Micera. a so-called third generation EPO. What's your reaction?
Wow. I'm stunned. I'm amazed they're saying it's Micera, simply because there's no validated test for that yet. The World Anti-Doping Agency is working on a test, but it certainly doesn't exist yet.

What exactly is CERA, or Micera to give it its commercial name?

It's a delayed-action EPO, which has a different molecular mass from EPO. It's only been commercially available since the start of the year. We can tell when someone's used it but we can't declare them positive. In that respect it's like Dynepo, another EPO-like product. We know that Micera was being used on the Giro, so I'm not surprised that it's also turned up at the Tour. But I would be very surprised if they AFLD had declared Riccò positive for Micera, for the reasons I've just mentioned. Maybe they searched Riccò's room and found the product itself...

What's the difference between Micera and traditional EPO?

It's more convenient for clinical patients. They might only have to take Micera once a fortnight or once a month. EPO has to be administered much more often. The effect for an athlete is the same: raised haematocrit, raised haemoglobin, more oxygen to the muscles. It's funny, because Riccò has UCI certification for his high haematocrit already.

You talked about the differences between EPO and Micera, and also the fact that the latter is visible in tests, even if it, until now, it couldn't lead to a positive test. Could you talk a little more about that?

Well, you see synthetic EPO in urine in the form of bars on an electrophoregram. If a rider's taken Micera, the bars are located in a different place to those you see in a sample containing synthetic EPO.

This is the third positive since the start of the Tour. Does that suggest to us that the testing being carried out by the AFLD is more rigorous that the UCI's?

What the AFLD have done very well is target particular riders. I don't think their tests themselves are any more rigorous, though. They'll be adopting the same criteria for positive tests as WADA. I would say, though, that if the UCI's biological passports had been ready, which they should be soon, Riccò would never have started this Tour.

Stage 12 - 2008 Tour de France

Combo made on July 17, 2008 shows (From L-top) Super-Besse and Bagneres-de-Bigorre winner Italian Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval/Spa) leaving the cycling team bus this morning, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme (L) talking to Overall leader's yellow jersey Australian team leader Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto/Bel) on the start line, Britain's Mark Cavendish (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) jubilating on the finish line and Cadel Evans putting on his yellow jersey on the podium, during the 168,5 km twelfth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Lavelanet and Narbonne. Ricco has tested positive for blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), French sports daily L'Equipe reported on their website today.

Ricco Busted For EPO

Super-Besse and Bagneres-de-Bigorre winner Italian Riccardo Ricco (C) (Saunier Duval/Spa) leaves his team bus, surrounded by French gendarmes, on July 17 2008 in Lavelanet, before the 168,5 km twelfth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Lavelanet and Narbonne. Ricco has tested positive for blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), French sports daily L'Equipe reported on their website today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kenyan duo attempting Alpe d'Huez in August

Samwei Mwangi (L) and Zakayo Nderi training in Kenya.

Kenyan's Zakayo Nderi and Samwei Mwangi are testing their legs up the fabled 15.5km track of Alpe D’Huez on the 11th and 18th of August, 2008, to prove they have what it takes to join the world of professional cycling.

Lance Armstrong, retired professional cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner, took 39 minutes and 41 seconds to climb this route. Nderi and Mwangi want to pit themselves against his time, and prove that with the limited training and support they’ve received, they’re on par with the top 20 cyclists of the Stage 16 time trial at the 2004 Tour de France.

Nderi and Mwangi have endured poverty and hardship, including ethnic cleansing in their villages. This ride is the next lap in these Kenyans’ hopes of getting sponsorship and putting together a multi-ethnic African world-class cycling team.

They have big dreams. They want to put African cycling on the map by being part of the first black African team to enter the Tour de France. Could this be a new era for pro cycling?

Nderi is a shoe-shine boy and Mwangi is a Kikuyu tribesman who bought his first bicycle at the age of 16 and never looked back. Daily, they ride distances between 100-200km for work. They both have the small stature and high endurance of the typical Kenyan marathon runner, which supporters believe is the perfect build for a climbing specialist in cycling.

So far, they’ve ridden a timed ascent of Genting Highlands, voted by Procycling Magazine as the fifth hardest climb in the world. Their time was comparable to the champion of the Tour de Langkawai, Anthony Charteau. When he could not compete in a cycling competition, Zakayo took part in stair-climbing competitions. Last September he won the Swissotel Vertical Marathon.

There are currently no professional black African cyclists racing in the European peloton. Many cyclists from Africa, and in particular, East Africa, have been restricted in their opportunities to compete at prestigious cycling events.

A contributing fact is the high cost of the sport which is a significant barrier to their entry and participation. Traditionally, cycling events such as the Tour de France require sponsorship by companies in order to field a team to participate.

Follow their progress at

Mark Sisson's Two Minute Salad

Stage 11 - 2008 Tour de France

Norwegian Kurt Asle Arvesen (C) (CSC/Den) sprints on the finish line, on July 16, 2008, at the end of the 167,5 km eleventh stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Lannemezan and Foix. Norwegian Kurt Asle Arvesen (CSC/Den) won ahead of Swiss Martin Elmiger (R) (AG2R/Fra) and Italian Alessandro Ballan (L) (Lampre/Ita).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Voigt - CSC-Saxo Bank Waiting To Pounce

Team CSC-Saxo Bank used a lot of energy on Monday's stage to Hautacam, but it certainly paid off as Luxembourg champion Fränk Schleck rocketed from 11th to second overall, one second behind new leader Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto). Providing much of that energy was Jens Voigt, who set a blistering pace up the Col du Tourmalet and then powered the CSC train along the valley road towards Hautacam.

After a brutal day in the mountains where he eventually trailed in 14 minutes after the stage winner, Voigt explained his team's tactics on stage ten. "This morning [team manager] Bjarne Riis said that it would be perfect if we have Fabian [Cancellara] in the breakaway, and that he survives the first climb so that he could work afterwards," said Voigt. "Riis told me to hold back and save my energy by not going into any breakaway.

"On the Tourmalet Volodymir Gustov and I set a hard tempo. That worked out pretty nice since I actually managed to drop Valverde and Cunego," Voigt said proudly. "To be honest, for a moment I felt like Eddy Merckx. It gives you a huge boost in motivation and morale; you just want to go faster and faster.

"You hear in the radio: this and that rider is dropped and at the top we had about 20 riders left in our group. Over the top Fabian waited for us and did the descent. In the valley we rode as fast as we could to put on as much time as we could on Valverde and Cunego. You never know that you might need that time later on in the race. Then I did the first two or three kilometres on the last climb and then it was explosion du moteur (engine explosion)," said Voigt, pointing out that he had nothing left in the tank at that moment of the race.

When Voigt dropped back Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre took over, but the younger of the Schleck brothers, Andy, began to struggle. "When I stopped pulling I noticed that Andy was struggling at the back of the group," said Voigt. "He's not the type of rider who likes to storm up a mountain like we did today. He needs a few kilometres to get his rhythm going."

Eventually Andy Schleck lost nearly nine minutes to stage winner Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) and dropped back to 22nd in the general classification. "He's young and it is his first Tour de France," said Voigt. "Everybody puts pressure on him after his second place in the Giro d'Italia, but you can't expect that from such a young guy."

While brother Fränk Schleck was initially disappointed to miss the yellow jersey by a second, Voigt said the race situation suits his team, which should be able to conserve energy until its onslaught in the Alps. "Fränky is one second behind the yellow jersey, so that means Lotto has to defend the jersey. We can just wait, and on Fränk's climb Alpe d'Huez we'll take it over from them.

"Of course Fränk will be disappointed because he is so close to yellow. Especially since he was virtually in yellow halfway up the climb, and in the end he's losing it by only one second. For me as a domestique rider it is different. The teams who have defended the jersey so far, like Caisse d'Epargne and Columbia, totally exploded today and had nobody in front.

"From that point of view we [CSC] should be happy to not have the jersey and wait a few more days to take it. On the other hand this might also be as close as we get, you never know.

"You're happy not to work like crazy, but on the other hand it would be nice to have it."

Rest Day # 1 - 2008 Tour de France

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ironman European Championship 2008

Horner headlines USA Crits series in Vancouver

Astana's Chris Horner will be the star attraction in Vancouver on Wednesday as the USA Crits series heads north for the BC Cancer Foundation's Tour de Gastown. Horner has just come from a solid week of racing at the Cascade Cycling Classic and says he's eager to display the form that helped team-mate Levi Leipheimer claim the overall victory.

"I hope to put on a show; I'm going for the win," said Horner, who hails from San Diego, California, but now calls Bend, Oregon his home. "That's why I'm going up there. Crit racing is very fast, intense, and demands a lot of speed in the legs and a different kind of fitness. It's a good opportunity to keep racing and keep my legs in good condition."

Horner, a former winner of the Athens Twilight, is also attracted to the huge crowds that make the Tour de Gastown such a popular event. At least 30,000 cycling fans are expected and without his posse of impressive Astana teammates, Horner's going to need all the encouragement he can get.

When asked how he's going to fend off teams like Toshiba-Santo, Toyota United, Jittery Joe's and HealthNet, the man who only moments before had joked that he would be "a one-man wrecking crew" laughed. "I'm gonna have to get lucky, I guess."

The race will be the centrepiece of BC Superweek, British Columbia's most prestigious week of bike racing, with a total of $15,000 in prize money on the line. Some of Canada's 2008 Olympic team will also be there, including recently crowned national champion Christian Meier, Zach Bell, Svein Tuft and Cam Evans (Symmetrics).

In the pro-women's lineup from Canada will be 2008 Olympians Erinne Willock (Webcor), who is also the Tour de Gastown's defending champion; and Gina Grain (Webcor), a former women's Tour de Gastown champion. Jennifer Wilson (Vanderkitten Racing) holds the overall lead in the USA CRITS Series followed by Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine).

"These are two fantastic fields for both the men's and women's contests," said USA Crits managing director Ravi Rajcoomar. "There's no telling who will emerge the victors in what's shaping up to be two of the most closely contested races in the USA Crits Series to date."

Stage 10 - 2008 Tour de France

New overall leader's yellow jersey Australian team leader Cadel Evans (Silence Lotto/Bel) arrives on the podium, on July 14, 2008, at the end of the 156 km tenth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Pau and Hautacam. Spanish Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Saunier Duval/Spa) won ahead of Italian Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) and Luxembourger Frank Schleck (CSC/Den).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oscar Sevilla Keeps "Rocking"!

Riding with white bandages on his chin and wrists, Sevilla and more than 130 other riders slugged it out against strong crosswinds in rain showers during a race that began in Qinghai Lake and traveled to Bird Island. The 75-mile (120 km) course included one Category 3 climb in the final 10 miles (16 km).

Despite injuries to his left wrist and rib cage – which makes breathing difficult – Sevilla’s legs are good, Rock Racing Team Director Mariano Friedrick said.

“They (his legs) are the ones literally pushing him spiritually,” Friedrick said. “His morale is as high as ever and he is looking forward to the next few days, as he knows he’ll start to feel better physically.”

Sevilla and the Rock Racing team drove the peloton in the closing miles to significantly close the gap on a two-man breakaway that stayed away to the finish. However, the margin between stage winner Kristjan Fajt (Perutnina Ptuj) and Sevilla’s group – which included teammate Tyler Hamilton – was only 14 seconds. Sevilla finished 14th and Hamilton was 15th on the stage.

Fajt’s winning margin and time bonus lifted him into the overall lead while Sevilla slid two spots to fifth overall, 12 seconds back. Hamilton is 13th, 21 seconds behind, and Rock Racing’s Michael Creed is also in the top 25 (25th, at 19 seconds).

Monday’s 95-mile (152 km) Stage 4 goes from Bird Island to Xihaizhen and includes a pair of categorized climbs in the final 20 miles (32 km).

Stage 5 - July 12: Cascade Lakes Road Race

Mexico's Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) took his first victory on American soil in a tactical sprint finish at the top Mt Bachelor Ski Resorts. Aldape took the Stage 5 victory ahead of mid-race break away companions Chad Beyer (USA) and Bradley White (Successful Living).

"This was my first win here and a very important one because of that," said Aldape. "The finish was very tactical between the other riders in the break so all I had to do was remain very patient."

United States Champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) continued to increase his overall lead, which now stands at 2'30" over Jeff Louder (BMC). Louder's team-mate Darren Lill moved into third place after finishing only three seconds behind Leipheimer on the day's climb.

A significant 12-rider breakaway forced Leipheimer's team-mate Chris Horner to face the wind for over half the race. Horner's effort held the front group at a non-threatening 2'30", before Leipheimer shaved another 90 seconds off the gap on the final ascent.

"We needed to have help somewhere and luckily I've got some good friends," admitted Horner, who recruited some valuable help from the California Giant-Specialized team. "I've been in the business a long time, I've been on a lot of different teams and got a lot of friends to help out. Levi's got a good size gap so we don't need to win the stages, just the overall."

How Chris Horner Is Spending His July

Photographer Heidi Swift was near the summit of the final climb of Saturday's fifth stage of the Cascade Cycling Classic when a passing race moto driver told her to get her camera ready.

Soon enough, Swift saw a strange sight: Astana rider Chris Horner pounding along, with a rider — and bike — along for the ride.

Swift learned later that Horner came across Billy Demong (Team American R.A.D.D./AGEL) about 2km from the summit. Horner, his work helping teammate Levi Leipheimer over, offered Demong a ride.

"I wasn’t really a huge Horner fan before this but I am now. What a class act," Swift said.

Horner, by the way, still finished 82nd on the stage, nine minutes behind winner Moises Aldape, who won the stage. Results show Demond credited with the same time, in 83rd.

Emma Snowsill takes out ‘Four in a Row’

Taking out her fourth major race in succession, Queensland’s Triple World Champion and Commonwealth Games Gold Medal winning Triathlete Emma Snowsill continued her blistering good form in the lead up to the Women’s Olympic Triathlon by winning the opening round of the 2008 LifeTime Fitness Triathlon Series race in Minneapolis today (US time) by a handy 2mins 32seconds,

The event served as a final tune-up race for 10 competing triathletes who will represent their countries at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and Snowsill will now go into her final stages of preparation.

Exiting the 1.5km swim in Lake Nokomis behind US super-swimmer Sara McLarty Snowsill was tightly clustered by Beijing bound Sarah Haskins of the US, Jodie Swallow of Britain plus Jodie Zeiger and past World Champ Julie Dibens onto Transition 1. Riding hard throughout the 40km non-drafting bike course, Snowsill entered Transition 2 in tandem with Becky Lavelle of the US, but then raced away from the entire field. Running a blazing 33:57, for the 10Kms, Snowsill outran the second placegetter by over 2minutes with no other woman breaking 36 minutes for the tough course.

In addition to 40 professionals, more than 3,000 amateur triathletes participated today representing 10 countries and forty US states.

By taking first place over US women Sarah Haskins and Becky Lavelle in third, Snowsill also emerged as women’s point’s leader in the $1.45M US Series which ends in the Toyota Cup in Dallas Texas after races in New York City, Chicago, and City of Los Angeles; however due to her Olympic campaign Snowsill will not be able to compete in the required number of series events to claim the overall prize.

In the men’s race Sydney Olympic Gold Medal winner Simon Whitfield of Canada took out the win with Andy Potts of the US and Australian Greg Bennett, who narrowly missed selection for Beijing, rounding out the Podium. U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper, who finished 10th among the men, was penalized a minute for drafting during the bike leg, which cost him at least two places in the final standings.

Speaking from Minnesota Emma said ‘‘I’m happy with this result as I’ve done a lot of kilometers in training. It was non-drafting format which suited me because I could go hard on the throttle all the to see exactly where I was at.”

Prior to this win the petite Snowsill has won three rounds of the ITU World Cup Series in Mooloolaba Queensland, Ishigaki in Japan and Des Moines Iowa in the US.

Stage 9 - 2008 Tour de France

Super-Besse winner, Italian Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval/Spa) rides in the last breakaway, on July 13, 2008, during the 224 km ninth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Toulouse and Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Italian Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval/Spa) won the stage ahead of Russian Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R/Fra) and French Cyril Dessel (AG2R/Fra).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stage 8 - 2008 Tour de France

Britain's Mark Cavendish (2ndR) (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) jubilates on the finish line, on July 12, 2008, at the end of the 172,5 km eighth stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Figeac and Toulouse. Britain's Mark Cavendish (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) won the stage ahead of German Gerald Ciolek (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) and French Jimmy Casper (Agritubel/Fra).

Levi Leipheimer defends yellow

Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United), the man nicknamed 'The Horse', applauded downtown Bend's flat stage four criterium after his bunch sprint victory ahead of Kyle Gritters (Health Net-Maxxis) and Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living).

"I'm happy to have put on a good show," said stage winner Rollin, who continued to joke with the crowd. "As a sprinter this is one of the worst races I have ever done. There is climbing every day which is not great for me, but I had some fun tonight."

It may not be the yellow jersey of the Tour de France but the thick crowds gave race leader Levi Leipheimer (Astana) a warm reception as he rolled to the start line for the evening criterium in the Cascade Classic yellow leader's jersey.

Leipheimer maintained his 1'58" lead over Tom Zirbel (Bissell) and 2'02" gap ahead of Jeff Louder (BMC).

"These guys were really fast tonight and Toyota-United rode a fantastic race," said Leipheimer who admitted he could not remember the last time he raced a top notch US criterium. "Chris Horner put on clinic for me, always in front and in control – he's worth eight guys to me."

Leipheimer competed in the Cascade Classic ten years ago and noted the many changes he observed in this evening's criterium.

"Wow, this race was off the hook," said Leipheimer. "It's ten times bigger, better and faster. I don't remember it being this aggressive."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stage 7 - 2008 Tour de France

Combo made on July 11, 2008, shows (From L-top) Spanish Luis Leon Sanchez (C) (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa) riding in a breakaway with new best climber polka dot jersey Spanish David de la Fuente (L) (Saunier Duval/Spa) and Spanish Josep Jufre Pou (Saunier Duval/Spa), the pack riding, Spanish Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa) jubilating on the finish line and the Best Sprinter green jersey Luxembourger team leader Kim Kirchen (Columbia -ex-High Road/US) putting his overall leader's yellow jersey on, during the 159 km seventh stage of the 2008 Tour de France cycling race run between Brioude and Aurillac. Spanish Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa) won ahead of Italian Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas/Ita) and Spanish team leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne/Spa).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Riccò takes the stage, disaster for Schumacher

Italian Riccardo Riccò took his first Tour de France stage victory atop the climb at Super Besse, besting Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans in the uphill sprint. The finish was overshadowed by a crash from yellow jersey wearer Stefan Schumacher, who was in the lead group in the final kilometre, but touched wheels and crashed. The judges do not apply the same time rule for crash victims on hilltop finishes, so the German lost his overall lead to Kim Kirchen (Columbia) who finished fifth.

Riccò was happy to have beaten the Tour favourites to win the stage. "Today was a great win. I beat a great champion," he said, but brushed off comparisons with his self-proclaimed idol Marco Pantani. "Pantani is unique. He won the Tour and the Giro. I have not, but I hope to get better over time." He also discounted ambitions for the podium in Paris. "I just want to gain experience," he said, and tipped the man he beat today to win in Paris. "I think Valverde can win the Tour."

With his tenacious ride, Cadel Evans moved into second overall, just six seconds behind Kirchen, and ten seconds ahead of the unfortunate Schumacher. Kirchen took over the lead in the points classification from Thor Hushovd, but the Norwegian will still ride in green as Kirchen will be in yellow.

The day's breakaway belonged again to three Frenchmen. This time it was Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux). Chavanel took over the lead in the mountains classification, where he is tied on points with Thomas Voeckler.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Botero "Rocks" At Cascade Cycling Classic

With serious contenders in the field that include Astana’s Leipheimer and Chris Horner as well as Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream), the men’s race was fast from the start. Steven Cozza (Garmin-Slipstream) and Curtis Gunn (Successful Living) initiated the first of many short-lived breaks right after the start, and were joined by Ken Hanson (California Giant-Specialized) around mile 13. The peloton, largely driven by Garmin-Slipstream, kept them close, allowing no more than a 26-second gap before they closed in at mile 17.

Riders from teams such as Toyota-United, BMC, Ride Clean, and California Giant-Specialized tried launching attacks before a break of 12 finally succeeded around mile 38. It included Matt Cooke (Health Net-Maxxis); Caleb Manion (Toyota-United); Bissell teammates Ben Jacques-Maynes, Burke Swindlehurst, and Jeremy Vennell; BMC riders Jonathan Garcia and Brent Bookwalter; Team Type 1 teammates Glen Chadwick and Chris Jones; John Hunt (California Giant-Specialized); Justin Rose (, and Chad Beyer, an U23 National Team member.

Just before the KOM at mile 50, some shuffling occurred in the main break, with Cooke, Manion, and Rose falling off the pace. In the meantime, one by one, Botero, Louder, and Baldwin bridged up, keeping the break at 12 men.

By mile 62, the dozen riders had established their largest gap at 2:15, but the peloton began reeling them in, closing that to just under one minute by mile 67. The majority of the break worked well together, and for the remaining 15 miles, never let the gap get below 44 seconds.

As soon as the break hit the bottom of Pilot Butte, Botero, who won the KOM jersey at the Tour de France in 2000, powered away from his companions, and momentarily 21-year-old Beyer was able to hang onto his wheel. “I just blew up halfway up,” he gasped at the finish line.

In his fourth year with the U23 National Team in Belgium and home from Europe on a brief break, Beyer decided to do Cascade because it looked like “a really cool race with a good field.” He said he was surprised he could catch Botero’s wheel as he surged, and “Two seconds later, I was like, ‘I’m gonna blow up!’ I just tried to maintain a good pace the rest of the way up.”

Botero was out of his saddle almost the entire two kilometers up to the finish, looking back periodically to see if anyone was with him. Baldwin passed Beyer as he fell off Botero’s wheel, and seemed to nearly match Botero’s pace, but never quite reached him, and crossed the finish six seconds down, followed by Louder 14 seconds later.

Of the final climb, Louder explained, “It’s such an all-out effort. It’s basically just man-on-man, and the better man won.”

While Leipheimer was not part of the original break, he bridged to the escapees at the bottom of the climb and passed everyone, reaching Jones just before the finish. Jones crossed first, and they both received the same time, 25 seconds off Botero.

Asked if he was concerned about where Leipheimer was on the climb, Botero nodded with a smile, and said, “He’s so strong now, the best rider in the United States.” Referring to Astana’s lack of an invitation to the Tour de France, he continued, “It’s sad because I am 100 percent sure he could win the Tour. But I’m happy with him, Chris Horner, and Tom Danielson here – it makes the racing good.”