Levi from ToM Gallery
The Discovery Channel Team continues to dominate the Tour of Missouri with Levi Leipheimer winning the Stage 3 time trial while George Hincapie keeps the GC lead coming in fifth place. The two teammates have been on the opposite sides of luck since Leipheimer came on board. Levi is enjoying a career best year with a Tour podium and the win at The Tour of California and US National Championship. Levi is a happy man despite not having a contract for next year. Meanwhile Big George has a contract with T-Mobile for 2008, but not because of his stellar results. Despite being US National Champ for 2007 Big George has been having troubles. Curiously, George and Levi seem to not be so buddy-buddy as they seemed to be last year when Levi sacrificed himself to allow George to win the US National Champs in his hometown.
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Today’s stage proved to be an almost all Discovery showcase. Leipheimer lit up the course which he described as:
A lot of big rollers, I would call them. Middle climbs that required a different kind of rhythm. I had to punch it on all the middle climbs and recover on the downhills.
Tour of Missouri website
Hincapie was feeling the effort from the previous day, but still faired well with a sixth place finish that allows him to extend his lead.
“The legs weren’t great, I definitely felt my effort yesterday. Coming into the circuits yesterday was basically me against 10 guys, I had to control every attack. So I think I paid a little bit for it. But it was good, I was better than everybody in the break, and that’s all I had to do today.”
Tour of Missouri website
Stage four will probably be the toughest stage of the Tour with lots of hills and the longest distance of the race so far. Disco does have the strength to defend George’s title, but don’t count out all of the 12 breakaway men. David Canada and Will Frischkorn are close enough to George where they could still be dangerous.
OSE LUIS ROCA/AFP/Getty Images
Team Milram is in a groove at the Vuelta. They have the big train rolling along and some of the pesky train breaking sprinters such as Oscar Friere are gone. So that just leaves new Italian Sprinting Alpha Male Daniele Bennati to contend with. His Lampre team is good, but not Milram good. That is why Alessandro Petacchi is on his second win in a row. The stage 12 gives Petacchi 19 stage victories in the Tour of Spain for his career. Impressive number, but way behind
Today’s stage finish was the perfect setup for Petacchi with a long straightaway that could allow him to reach top speeds. According to Velonews speeds reached up to 59kph and many non sprinter types joined in the action making for some interesting results. The final was still the top two sprinters left in the Vuelta in Petacchi and Bennati. Tomorrow looks like another sprint stage but Petacchi is shy about asking his team to chase down the breaks as it did today. Maybe after a few kilometers they might change their minds.
(AFP/Jose Luis Roca)
Oh, AleJet. Your afterburners have not roared in a while. Not since the ban from the Tour de France for Sabutimol has AleJet been able to show the rest of the peloton the backside of his shorts. Not until today. After being involved in a doping issue that combined with Zabel’s EPO admission sent the Milram team in a tailspin, Petacchi is racing and winning stages in Grand Tours. Early on in the Vuelta Petacchi was only a spectator with a good seat. Lampre Sprinter Daniele Bennati was coming into his own with two stage wins in the Tour and one the the early stages of the Vuelta in front of Petacchi himself.
Now it looks like Petacchi is getting back the form with a big win in a Grand Tour. This could help ease some of the pain of the doping issues faced during the summer.
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
George Hincapie could have already delivered the death blow to the Tour of Missouri. Hincapie won Stage 2 of the Tour of Missouri from a group of 14 men who are all Continental Pros. No other Euro based racer was in the break meaning that Hincapie can most likely defend the race lead all the way to the end. Discovery Channel has the strongest team at Missouri including such notables as Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador. Each of these races and others has brought top results to Disco over the course of this year. So it is only natural that it is George’s turn to win.
Tomorrow is a time trial in Ned Flander’s version of Las Vegas, Branson, Missouri. Hidely ho neighborinos, George Hincapie will be trying to shake off the 14 breakaway men that helped him to a 14 minute lead so he can have some more breathing room going into the next stages. But, George has not had very good luck in races. Last year’s ENECO Tour fiasco with Stefan Schumacher and the broken forks/stem of Paris Roubaix among some of the misfortunes that have beset Phil and Paul’s favorite racer after Lance Armstrong.
Maybe there could be some magic in Branson Missouri, or maybe George will go see Yackoff Smearnoff and get really agitated and stomp out a storming TT as a result. Either way the Tour of Mizzou could be over only two days into the inaugural race, but at least the fans are getting a known name to be the winner.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Ivan Dominguez, the Cuban Missile who likes to sprint from the brake hoods won the first stage of the inaugural Tour of Missouri in Kansas City. The Toyota man took a field sprint in the latest big bike race for the domestic circuit.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
This race is also the last domestic event for the Discovery Channel team. Disco is going out with a bang in the US after winning the Tour of California and Tour de Georgia. They have the horses to win the Tour of Missouri including Tour de France Champ Alberto Contador. Johan Bruyneel is also stateside to captain the team. With Team CSC taking a pass on this domestic race it could be a dominating performance by Discovery Channel.
Ahh, the Vuelta is sometimes the place of redemption. A cyclist having a bad year can go to the last Grand Tour and make a season positive. Denis Menchov is trying to help Rabobank forget about Micheal Rasmussen and Roberto Heras. Menchov looks like he is bulding a healthy lead in the Vuelta and could win it and savor his podium unlike a few years ago when he received the Amarillo jersey after Heras lost it due to doping.
Now, the best part of cycling is also back. Carlos Sastre is not too happy with the cozy situation between Denis Menchov and little Italian climber leonardo Piepoli. The two used to be teammates on the Banesto team. It seems like they are still wearing the same jersey by the way they worked together in the tough mountain stage. Carlos Sastre is PO’d and is speaking out.
Sastre even pulled a “Lance” type move by acting as if he was in trouble to see what Piepoli and Menchov would do.
“I played a little theater today to see if what I was thinking was true,” Sastre continued. “Piepoli straight away attacked the group. That proves that alliances are at work here.”
Piepoli, who finished seventh in the eight-up sprint won by Menchov, calmly denied he was blatantly working for Menchov.
“The comments by Sastre are overblown and came at the heat of the moment after finishing the stage,” Piepoli said. “All I did was ride my own race. I was the only rider who attacked up until 4km from the finish.”
Piepoli’s tactics could be mistaken as working for Menchov. However, look at Piepoli’s riding style and his performance at the Giro. The man wins climbing stages because he is a climber. He won the stage and the only way he could do it was to keep a high pace and keep everyone from attacking. It seems that Piepoli’s tactics meshed well with Menchov’s but that is simply fortunate for Menchov. Piepoli is always at the front going for stage wins, what else would he do?
Cycling is getting fun again, it is refreshing to talk about team tactics and polemics rather than lost sponsorships and positive dope tests.
Pro cyclist have shown to have larger than normal hearts at rates of 20 to 40%. Scientist studied several Pro cyclist in a long term test and showed that they usually have larger hearts even after they stop competing. The larger heart is developed in response to the intense training. This is not completely surprising since the heart muscle is one of the key components to cycling. Just as most cyclist have overdeveloped legs especially in the quads. What is most interesting is that point made at the end of the article where they reference doping. Seems that since cyclist train their systems to function so well, doping would be detrimental and could possibly cause major problems.
… in athletes with bigger hearts, doping could prove potentially more dangerous than for normal people.
Athletes with bigger hearts have more red blood cells, which deliver oxygen around the body. These cells are thicker than normal cells. So if athletes decide to use an illegal agent like the blood-booster EPO, they run the risk of making their blood too thick. That puts them in danger of a clot, stroke, or heart attack.
“These athletes already have hearts that have increased in volume to adapt to their training workload,” Bove said. “If they then go and use drugs, that could potentially erase the natural advantage they already have.”
The EPO deaths were seen early on in the 1990s and late 80s when several Dutch cyclist died in their sleep. I seems that later on in the 1990s cyclist were savvier in their use of EPO as mysterious deaths were rare.
Photo by Andrew Kozak of Champion Systems
Why is the racer above running in the middle of the pack with his arms up in the air? The series of photos that leads up to that moment on Velocity Nation is impressive. In the Pro 1/2/3 race at Prospect Park(?) in NYC on July 29th. As the racers are lining up for the sprint one man is about to crash. He avoids the crash by giving what looks like the heimlich maneuver to a fellow sprinter. This move was enough to avoid getting some serious road rash and possibly avoid a larger crash. So, is “Alder” (the man how gave the heimlich justified in his maneuver? Check out the comments to and decide for yourself.
http://www.velocitynation.com/ thanks to Steve Reiter, via Roadbikerider Newsletter.
Chris Thater Memorial Criterium happened Saturday and Sunday down in Binghamton, NY. This is one of the oldest races on the Calendar and one of the most prestigious. Top pro men and women come out and this year the event was even on TV.
My event was the Category 4/5 race which goes under the classic name of the Senior Men’s Category 4/5 event. The race was run at 8 am on Sunday, a brutally early start to racing in a Criterium. The Crit is followed by a 5K running race and then the Cat 3 men followed by the Pro Men and Women. It is a big weekend of racing. The early start for the Cat 4/5 field stinks since it gives zero time for warming up and makes you get out of bed at extremely early hours. I was up before the newspaper was even delivered. Ouch.
I scrambled to get to Binghamton which is not too far from Syracuse. Once I arrived I could see plenty of cyclist already on course warming up. After signing up and getting my number I was ready to race. There are some little hills around the course and did some sprints to get the blood flowing. The weather was good, it was cloudy annd temps were in the 60s to 70s which was a huge improvement from the previous day of 90 degrees and humid.
It took twice as long to finish the Tour, but the first non-doping cyclist rode into Paris.
Finland’s Piet Kvistik, a domestique with the Crédit Mondial team, was this year’s highest-finishing non-doping rider (142nd overall). Kvistik claimed the maillot propre, the blue jersey worn by the highest-placed “clean” rider, on the ninth stage of the race when the six riders who had previously worn it tested positive for EPO, elevated levels of testosterone, and blood-packing.
“It became most difficult for us on the 7th stage, which was almost 200 kilometers and the first stage through the mountains,” Kvistik said while accepting the non-doping victor’s 100-franc check from his stretcher. “Not only did the excruciating pain and weakness in my legs make it difficult to walk my bike on the steeper stretches, it was mentally very hard to know that half the other clean riders were dead or dying. Also, the other 141 riders finished the Tour in Paris that morning, which made it all that much harder.”
read more at The Onion Thanks to Tim Bingham.