Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
After investigating the news, VeloNews has learned that the team will indeed be on the start line of the Lombardy race October 17. “There was an oversight by the organizers,” an inside source told this VeloNews. “A letter confirming the invitation was lost apparently. And so they are working with the UCI to work things out so the team can start the race.”
Friday, October 8, 2010
Contador also claimed that there have been moments in the past weeks when he has been tempted to leave cycling, especially in the immediate aftermath of being informed of his positive test. “I said to myself: I’m quitting it all,” he said. “I saw children around my house on their bikes imitating me, and I felt like telling them ‘Let it go, don’t try and be a champion and do it correctly. This world is unjust.’”
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"People know in cycling that's it's not possible to win the Tour de France without it," Kohl told FanHouse at the conclusion of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's annual science symposium on Monday. "It's three weeks, 3,000 km and you climb (the equivalent of) Mount Everest four times. That's just not possible."
"Floyd Landis won the Tour de France and his average speed was 40 kph," Kohl said. "This year it was Cantador and it was also about 40. It was nearly the same average speed. Landis was doped. Maybe in 10 or 15 years, you can win (without drugs) if we work with the anti-doping movement."
"The one thing that really should bother right minding thinking people is that no one cares for honest men getting screwed. The journalists don't care, the race officials don't care, the sponsors don't care, and sadly you have to say that the public don't care. That's always been the issue for me."
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
"Are you f**king kidding me? If I go back, let alone if I'm dropped, I have two race officials, TV cameras, an ice-cream van and a marching band following me. How the f**k am I going to hold on to a car?” he asks.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
"You have to understand—in the high-pressure world of competitive cycling, it's all about getting any advantage you can," Armstrong said. "And if we were being realistic, we'd have to admit that everyone in cycling was trying to get an advantage. So, in a way, if we were all trying to get the same advantage, then the playing field was still completely equal. So I was still the best. It makes sense when you look at it that way. And nothing I am about to tell you changes that. So, when I'm finished saying what I have to say, you all have to promise to still adore me."
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
ps - and take your friend Johan with you
I have, generally speaking, been a Lance Armstrong fan over the course of his career as a pro cyclist. Watching him light up the Tour de France has generated a great collection of memories over the past decade. Some of those memories have become iconic images of cycling and will enliven the pages of cycling history for the next century. And outside July Armstrong has amassed a pro palmares that by any pro career standard would be cherished - beginning with his 1993 World Championship in the cold and torrential rain in Oslo, Norway. I also have huge respect, far beyond the cycling, for what he has done for so many people who have been stricken by cancer; many of those lives have been energized by his remarkable story and rebirth from a situation so dire that it more often than not kills.
The 2010 Tour de France was your 13th Tour, unlucky 13 some would say, but you hung in there and showed some class - well until the last stage, 20, into Paris with that last minute change of kit fiasco. If you had only played with (the UCI), instead of against the other kids. Could you just not turn loose the lime light? Was magnanimity just too far a stretch? Was it Contador or just an ego that said this is my show and I'm going to take it with me regardless my position. Do you remember when your former teammate "Eki", Viatcheslav Ekimov, retired? During the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France, he announced that the 2006 Tour would be his last. Remember? He was honored by the peloton on the final stage, who allowed him to lead them over the line on the first of the traditional eight laps of the Champs-Élysées - the peloton acknowledged one of their own. That's how one graciously, with humility leaves a sport that has given him so much, more than he could ever give it, history tells that tale. In 98 Grand Boucles there has never been a rider, or director sportif, or team, or even a Tour director, that has risen above or outlasted the Tour itself - you won't, you can't, you shouldn't try.
America has several new and wonderful teams and cyclists on the horizon, your role in the sport has to some degree enabled that. Your career has built upon the triumphs of the likes of Greg LeMond, and Andy Hampsten, and their's on the unknown, unsung efforts of American cycling pioneers like Jonathan "Jacques" Boyer, Ron Kiefel, Mike Neel, George Mount and John Eustice that had to cross the Atlantic to earn places on European squads. We build, and move on, for others... for other dreams, for other memories.
So it's time for American pro cycling to blossom without Armstrong. It's time for kids breaking free from training wheels to discover new heroes. Look around your RadioShack team and toast a beer to all those under 35 years old who have had a chance to make a mark outside the Armstrong shadow - not many. If you want to further the Armstrong cycling legacy, then put your weight behind a true honest youth cycling movement in America - something you have never done - call it the Little League of Cycling - where kids of every socio-economic background can have the opportunity to ride, race, be coached, learn teamwork and maybe someday challenge for the top step of the podium after three weeks on the roads of Le Tour de France.
PS - be sure to check out Part 1 from the link on their page
above photo copyright: Bogdan Cristel/REUTERS via Boston.com
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Italy's Adriano Malori, 170th, trailing in Le Tour de France by 4h 27m and 3 secs.
The TT, they call it the race-of-truth. Just you and your bike against the clock, and Saturday, for 52 km from Bordeaux to Pauillac, you shared it with the wind. After surviving three weeks, including one of the Tour's toughest final weeks in the Pyrenees it finally came down to this, the Individual Time Trial.
Mano-a-mano, the race was on the line, one man would walk away victorious, the other only his family and friends would remember the pain and suffering - after 3,642 kilometers the 2010 Lanterne Rouge had come down to this.
Unfortunately for Adriano, a respectable young time trialist with a young palmares full of U23 ITT victories, a bright future and despite trailing the human-rocket Fabian Cancellara by less than seven minutes as well as topping perennial TT strongmen like Andreas Klöden, Christophe Moreau, Michael Rogers, Jens Voigt, and Cadel Evans, he was up against more than a mere mortal Lanterne Rouge contender, it was the three-time former German National and 2008 UCI ITT Champion Bert Grabsch - he was going to need a tailwind and "no chain", and maybe one of those mysterious motors to hold his 2 minute 1 second "lead" out of the Lanterne Rouge.
It was never to be.
In the end 11 riders finished within 30 minutes of the Lanterne Rouge. For much of the three weeks several of these guys were fighting, suffering, dangling near the back, and occasionally off the back, precariously close to time cut-offs and the sweeping sounds of the voiture balai as it low geared its way up hill and down dale. But this year many of the autobusers were pedaling broken, battered and bruised. For anyone who has seen a pro bike race in Europe you know that in the mini-convoy that trails the race an ambulance accompanies the broom wagon; for many riders dreaming of Paris in 2010 it must have been an ominously goolish sight many days.
How it all shook out - and names to watch next year:
, by virtue of the Lanterne Rouge position, was the first rider out of the gate at Saturday morning in Bordeaux for the 19th stage. With light winds and his last shot at stage glory dangling like a bottle of fine Bordeaux Rouge 52 kms west along the Garonne River in Pauillac. Grabsch st0pped the clock in a blistering time that would hold up for several hours until HTC-Columbia teammate Tony Martin blew it away by a minute and a half, only to see that time fall to Cancellara.
|159||Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team||3:57:00|| |
|160||Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||3:59:45|| |
|161||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team||4:00:47|| |
|162||Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo||4:01:02|| |
|163||Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team||4:02:21|| |
|164||Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team||4:02:59|| |
|165||Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha||4:08:28|| |
|166||Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||4:09:12|| |
|167||Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux||4:13:37|| |
|168||Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team||4:17:16|| |
|169||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia||4:23:01|| |
|170||Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||4:27:03|| |
Friday, July 23, 2010
I've been searching through this pile of books, old newspaper clipings and web-articles I got assemble for research trying to come up with odds for the current Lanterne Rouge leader Grabsch of HTC-Columbia losing his grip on the little lantern - it doesn't look good - although 2:01 could be lost a bad wheel change.
|169||Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||4:24:55|| |
|170||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia||4:26:56|| |
Appears despite Adriano Malori's mysterious move today to lose nearly a minute and a half, Bert was keeping an eye out and did his job in the Cavendish leadout train just long enough to slip off and go milling about for Malori.
So it really comes down to how bad Malori wants this thing for Italy? Could we see the possibility of a track-stand between Bert and Adriano akin to that of Andy vs Alberto a few stages back on the slopes of Ax-3 Domaines? Or does Grabsch get lost in his search of red in the more than 8,500 producers or châteaux scattered about the Bordeaux?
Once again the Lanterne Rouge race is complicated by opportunity and tradition. Wasn't it a lot easier last year when we had Kenny van Hummel just happy to suffer all the way to Paris and dine on his handlebars?
PS - I have to note that while Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise were seen all over the finishing area photo opp'ing it with Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, even stage winner Mark Cavendish, not one hint was provided that they sought out the Lanterne Rouge. Although given the current state of Cruise's career, he may have desperately avoid showing any interest in others finishing last.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Actually, sometimes, that's exactly what it's about.
That's all its about.
"For some it was crazy, for others it was stupid, and others a day of courage and bravery. For me, it was a day to enjoy being on the bike."
Today the only thing piercing the summit's thin air was Andy Schleck's outstretched fist as he crossed the line a wheel length ahead Alberto Contador. The rest of the peloton are still pedaling squares up the foggy face of the mountain's west slope - coming across the line in dribble and drabs. It will be nearly an hour before we know on whom the red light shines in the race for the Lanterne Rouge. Rumor has it that HTC-Columbia has formed a Lanterne Rouge Leadout Train to insure Bert Grabsch get's home under the time cut-off.
Current Lanterne Rouge Bert Grabsch survived Tuesday's "Circle of Death" so took refuge in the company of a trio of his fellow HTC-Columbia riders to seek safety from any final Tourmalet assassins and finished 31:46 back on the day, enough to pry open his rest day margin in the race for rouge by an additional minute and a half over Adriano Malori. With little more than a few speed bumps worth of elevation on the flatish road Friday north to Bordeaux, it looks like we have a two man race for the little lantern with the German rider setting up a 75 year celebratory return to rouge. My only concern is Grabsch forms part of HTC's leadout train for the Manx missile and one twitch of wheels and it could be an Italian celebration in Paris. Here's where the race sits:
|169||Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux||4:14:11|
|170||Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||4:23:14|
|171||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia||4:26:56|
*(Some report the word was actually "Murderers".)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Perhaps my favorite was the horse race where the jockey fell off because the saddle buckle failed, but the horse continued to run and won, but they didn't.
In every sport the clock keeps ticking, the race continues, the contest races on. I don't know who invented sports, any kind, but I'm certain the first contest had rules, well, maybe just one rule to start. I'm sure those earliest titanic battles, before the media hype and screaming fans and instant replay went something like - I can outrun you to that tree... ready...go! or maybe, I can throw my spear farther than you... see, did it.
The curious thing is we did invent rules. We got intrigued by them, then finally obsessed by them. Often, the more rules the better. They invested legitimacy in event via the person or group that could not only play the game, survive the ordeal, conquer the challenge, but could do so "within" the rules.
What's interesting is we really hate the rules - unless of course they help us, or our team, or our "guy." That's why we classify and subcatagorize the rules such as, "ethical rules", and "moral rules", and of course rules of "letter" and those of "spirit", because the actual rules don't always fit us, our team, our guy. Bicycle racing is a simple sport with lots of rules (only outnumbered by the number of banned substances a rider can't use), especially the Tour de France. And this edition, 2010, has been one for both the history books and the rule books.
Of course interpreting the rules is why we have officials, media, fans, and on rare occasion politicians - and maybe most importantly blogs, so we can rant and babble, over analyze, and debate, until the race is finally settled on the roads, the only place it will ever really matter.
What makes bicycle racing more interesting than most sports to me is the marriage of man and machine. Both can triumph and both can fail. Like man, machines aren't perfect and occasionally have mechanicals. Mechanicals are as much a part of cycling as tired legs and exhausted lungs. To quote Andy Schleck on the Tour's rest day, "the Tour is not going to be decided by a chain slipping.” I agree, but I think he meant to say "This Tour." If he had checked the history books, even as recent as his dad's time riding for Eddy Merckx, he would know mechanicals have decided Tours.
There have been dozens. The most famous of these mechanicals has been widely retold, with accuarcy and lore, about Eugene Christophe who had to walk and run for 14km down the Col du Tourmalet's east slope to the village of Ste. Marie-de-Campan (which was at the 55km point on Tuesday’s stage 16 westward route), where he found a blacksmith’s forge and took four hours to effect the repair before continuing. What most people don't know is he repeated this fork faux pas in 1919 while in yellow with one stage remaining - holding a mountainous lead of 28 minutes disaster struck on Stage 14 with over 160 km of cobbles (yes, this year's precarious pavés only totaled 13.2 km... hmmm, so much for history?) and Christophe lost nearly two and a half hours fixing his own forks. BTW... no one waited for the yellow jersey.
Ask past pros what their thoughts are when mechanicals befall your competitors...
"At my time, when others had mechanical problems, we would just attack," said Laurent Fignon, a Tour winner in 1983 and 1984.Stopping vs not stopping? The Tour is a bicycle race - game on. But it's also the Tour and the Tour has always been more than a race. It's human drama on the greater landscape of life, and in that drama you are judged ultimately not by what you win, or lose, but the class and character you show when life tosses you a mechanical.
"I would have given Contador a rollicking if he had waited for Schleck. That's the race," said Frenchman Jean-Francois Bernard, third in the 1987, a pundit for daily newspaper L'Equipe's website.
Again from today's rest day interview Schleck said, “Yesterday Alberto spoke with me, and he apologized,... He said (attacking the race leader during a mechanical problem) was the wrong decision, but it’s hard to make a decision in these moments. I’m not angry anymore. That case is closed for me, and it should be for other people as well. I don’t like it when fans boo at Alberto, and yesterday I told every TV station that I spoke with that to get the message across. He’s a big champion, and for me, the case is closed. End of story.”
I think Andy Schleck's story is just being written, I think its hero will be one we admire for his character. It will be a class-ic.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Exactly one hundred years ago now, director Henri Desgrange dispatched his trusted assistant Alphonse Steinès to determine the passabilty, better survivability, of sending single-sprocket riders over the spine of the Pyrenees. Steinès' liberally positive report (after nearly being lost in the snow) concocted an experiment that would be tested two months later on the Herculean Stage 10 of the 1910 Tour de France: four brutal climbs, peaking with the first ascent of the Col du Peyresourde (1569m), the Col d'Aspin (1489m), the Col du Tourmalet(2115m), and the Col d'Aubisque(1710m). A Tour legend was born. To the delight of Director Desgrange, the print press proved contributing accomplices to the legend by naming the new route that grueling day in the Pyrenees “The Circle of Death”, where hopes of a Tour de France victory go to die (Thursday that fate will be decided for Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador.)
A Circle of Death? Why?
In Desgrange's own words, "The ideal Tour would be a Tour in which only one rider survives the ordeal."
That ordeal, first for Alphonse Steinès, included the now famous Col du Tourmalet, generally capped by cold and mist, crowning the Circle of Death. Ordeals of the Tourmalet pepper Tour lore. One story goes - arriving at the summit in 1947 Jean-Apo Lazaridès climbed off to wait for the others for fearing his 'ordeal' would include the challenge of Pyrenean bears. On the day I rode the Circle death had overtaken a local horse and vultures haunted the roadside scene - definitely inspiring this rider to pick up the pedal revs - cyclists are not the only ones challenged by the Circle of Death.
To be fair even generally uncompassionate Desgrange was apprehensive about the mountainous experiment; as a precaution, to protect perception of his race, he created a vehicle to rescue victims of the Circle and, in an extremely rare show of generosity, even allowed them to start the next stage, penalized of course. That vehicle was the voiture balai - Death's chariot was born - the broom wagon.
The Circle of Death wasn't quite as hungry today as in years past, but it did have an appetite, for two riders the journey was pockmarked by 'DNF'. For many in the peloton the Circle was more akin to the Bermuda Triangle; over 23 minutes adrift Sylvain Chavanel, Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans, all but vanished from camera view, leaving commentators to question if they had DNF'd.
One rider soared away from the mountains and apparently out of the Lanterne Rouge race, RadioShack's Dmitriy Muravyev, who once was considered a serious challenger for rouge. Going into the rest day in Pau things aren't sewn up:
|159||David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions||3:25:22|
|160||Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank||3:26:42|
|161||Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||3:27:19|
|162||Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team||3:27:22|
|163||Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team||3:27:48|
|164||Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo||3:29:15|
|165||Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team||3:30:01|
|166||Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha||3:32:26|
|167||Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||3:33:16|
|168||Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervelo Test Team||3:38:41|
|169||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team||3:42:51|
|170||Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux||3:43:02|
|171||Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini||3:53:09|
|172||Bert Grabsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia||3:55:10|
Jens Voigt, crashed again today, He was on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde, when he suffered a front tire blowout, out the window went his control and down he crashed at high speed.
Fortunately he eluded the Circle of Death chariot, or worse, by avoiding a repeat of the horrific injuries he suffered during last year's race when he landed on his face and head at top speed.
After waving away the help of race assistants in the broom wagon, Jens battled on to finish the stage with the autobus - and beat the time cut-off. After wards he told reporters, "I'm doing 70 kilometers an hour on the first descent when my front tire explodes," continuing with characteristic good humor, "Before I hit the asphalt I actually manage to think that this is going to hurt. Both knees, elbows, hands, shoulders and the entire left side of my body were severely hurt." Adding, "My ribs are hurting but hey, broken ribs are overrated anyway. Fortunately, I didn't land on my face this time and I'm still alive."
Regarding a broom wagon ride Jens said, "I was offered a ride on the truck that picks up abandoned riders but I'm not going to quit another Tour de France. Now, there's a rest day and Paris is not that far away."