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.
The Washington Post has a little story about the rise of bike thefts. The rise is thanks to more and expensive bikes out on the streets and easy ways to sell them such as eBay and Craigslist. Some sad victims have stumbled onto their own bikes being sold and decide to go vigilante on the sellers.
I remember seeing posters around the SU Campus recently of a lost/stolen MTB. I thought it was pretty much a lost cause and could relate to the emotional attachment that you get with your bike.
However, after my recent race (Chris Thater report coming), I am very much inclined for a new rig.
Who needs Versus, when Time Warner Sports is getting into the game too. The WCSN-TV coverage of the Chris Thater Criterium will be shown on Time Warner Sports channel. Good news for the sport in getting coverage locally. Time Warner Sports covers lots of local sporting events such as High School Football, Basketball and Lacrosse. (Disclaimer: I used to work for the local Time Warner Cable Division)
I’ll be racing at Thater on Sunday morning, but probably won’t be on TV since my race is at 8am. Weather looks to be better than last year which was cold and rainy.
SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Time Warner Sports is partnering with WCSN-TV, an online sports programmer, to carry the 24th annual Chris Thater Memorial cycling competitions (men’s and women’s professionals) live on Sunday, August 26 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Those races take place at Recreation Park in Binghamton.
Time Warner Sports will offer WCSN’s live feed of this event on its Syracuse station (channel 26) and its Binghamton station (channel 23).
The Chris Thater Memorial, a weekend-long event with numerous running and cycling competitions, is named in honor of a young man whose life was taken by a drunk driver. This world-class event attracts more than 1,500 participants from all over the U.S. and from around the world, who are cheered on by 12,000 spectators and visitors to the Binghamton area. Weekend activities include pro, novice and elite cycling, with a 5K run and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The Broome County Stop-DWI program promotes and benefits from this event, recognizing the need for continued awareness regarding this widespread issue.
Doug Logan, Director of Time Warner Sports, said, “We’re pleased to offer this coverage of a major cycling event happening right here in our own backyard, and we thank WCSN for allowing us to pick up their feed so we can let all of our customers in on the action.”
World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) is the popular destination for fans of Olympic and lifestyle sports, delivering an immersive experience via exclusive live and on demand coverage of world class competitions, interaction with top athletes and in-depth access to sports news and information year round. Its website is wcsn.com .
About Time Warner Sports
Time Warner Sports, a network found exclusively on Time Warner Cable, features a wide array of high school, college, amateur and professional sporting events – most of these, carried live — as well as coaches’ shows and other sports content.
Mixing things up in a Criterium is probably the diciest form of bike racing there is. Except of course if you are Lucas Brunelle, but that is a whole ‘nother category of craziness. For the Weekend Warrior such as myself a Crit is as close as you will get to total chaos. The speeds are usually very high, corners make for some interesting changeups and the pack usually stays together for most of the race. Sometimes the pack is in a bunch or strung out depending on the speed. Most of the time spent racing a Crit you are thinking about various things such as how long you can hang on to the speed, or when to attack. You are always watching for a shift in speed or potential crash.
I’ve been racing Crits here and there for the past couple of seasons. While I theoretically know what to do and can stick in the pack technically, my legs/weight/fitness would not allow me to stay in the group for long. Other situations could cause me to lose touch with the pack and eventually get lapped or pulled. All of this Crit stuff started well back in 2004 when I tried out the Syracuse Race Weekend Crit and placed third. First time luck did not translate well. I’ve been trying to get things right ever since.
2007 Tour de France champ Alberto Contador met with the press accompanied by Discovery Channel Team Director Johan Bruyneel and his family and Spanish sports minister Jaime Lissavetzky. Contador basically announced they he never doped and he is not involved in Operation Puerto (OP). He will not stop racing and will in fact give DNA samples and help with the investigation. The growing controversy surrounding the Tour champ resulted in Contador not being invited to several races especially in Germany where investigator Werner Franke is said to have evidence linking Contador to OP.
The announcement by Contador must surely be a way to help clear the air of suspicion surrounding Contador especially as he is now looking for a new team to race for in 2008. Tailwind Sports the company behind the Discovery Channel team has announced that they are stopping the team at the end of the 2007 season. Tailwind sports was unable to find a suitable sponsor since the announcement earlier this year that Discovery Channel would cease sponsorship. The never ending flow of doping news most likely scared away potential sponsors, especially with the admission by Ivan Basso of being “Birillo” of Operation Puerto fame. The involvement with Basso and other doping controversies which only intensified during the Tour de France may make any potential sponsor shy away.
Now, the remaining team and associated staff will be looking for a job for 2008. George Hincapie is said to have already signed for T-Mobile which will stay in the sport until 2010. Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych and Alberto Contador to name a few will be looking for work.
The end of Tailwind sports marks the end of a formidable team that started way back in the 90s as Subaru Montgomery. The team eventually landed a large sponsor in the United States Postal Service who was keen to advertise overseas. In 1998 they signed recovering cancer victim Lance Armstrong. In 1999 Johan Bruyneel came on board. The rest is history. Discovery Channel finally seemed to get past the Armstrong Era with Contador. The team performed better overall placing three racers in the top ten overall at the Tour.
Just like US Postal “took over” after the demise of Motorola in the early 90s a similar pattern is emerging at Team Slipstream is gaining momentum to be the next top American team. Slipstream may not take the ProTour opening left by Discovery Channel for 2008 as their main goal is entry to the Tour de France only and not the various Pro Tour events.
Another interesting note is a developing trend. The 2007 and 2006 Tour winning team have ceased sponsorship at the end of each season. Last year’s Phonak squad ended after Floyd Landis’ Testosterone case caused replacement sponsor iShares to cancel its sponsorship of the team. Now Discovery Channel is ending its sponsorship after having a Tour winner in its ranks. Sponsors are shying away from the sport and the doping headlines causing racers and support staff to actually lose their jobs. With lots of racers around and not as many teams, they pay for racers goes down due to supply vs. demand. Therefore each racer gets less money than they would have otherwise. So, the incentive to dope should now disappear.