Monday, August 31, 2009

The Doping Devil

Posted without comment, "The Doping Devil":

"Almost ten years have passed since this book was first published. The occasion was the widespread revelations of doping during the Tour de rance in 1998. In the media there was a deluge of articles, commentary and letters to editors, the great majority of which shared a common sense of outrage and condemnation. A few contributors adopted a contrary view and took the opportunity to propose a legalisation of doping. The far-out views of this minority could have been countered by solid arguments, but none of sport’s leading figures, whether they were managers or politicians – not even those from the world of cycle sport – had the least desire to entertain that possibility. The time was not right for unprejudiced debate. Least of all in Denmark.

In 1996 the proud son of the nation, Bjarne Riis, had achieved the unthinkable by winning the world’s most arduous cycling race. On his homecoming he was greeted like a king. His victory had raised patriotic sentiments to euphoric heights. Two years later it became clear that victory laurels had been borne home from a world that was far from ideal, and suspicions began to fester that Riis’ victory had been won using unsavoury methods..."

Full text here.

Alexander Vinokourov - VINO4-EVER!

Alexander Nikolaevich Vinokourov, also written Alexandre Vinokourov, (Russian: Алексaндр Николаевич Винокуров, born September 16, 1973 in Petropavlovsk, Soviet Union, now Petropavl, Kazakhstan) is a Kazakhstani professional road bicycle racer. He is often referred to as "Vino" and is an all-rounder. Vinokourov was banned for a year for blood doping following during the 2007 Tour de France and subsequently retired. In September 2008 he announced his intention to return to cycling in 2009. As of August 2009, Vinokourov is riding on the professional level again, rejoining Astana. Heeeeeee's Back! An exciting style, much like DiLuca's, though I wish Vino and Uli could have taken-out King Lance at least once during his reign. I'll be interested to follow his come back, but I won't limit myself just to VeloNews or Rather, I'll go first to YouTube to see Vino in motion, then CNN for my outdated dose of Vino in print, and then to, which is not promising to bring anything other than all Vino, and atill more Vino, all the time.

I'm not sure how I feel about VINO on a Trek, however. Thoughts, anyone? Graham Watson provides an image you can ruminate on:

But what's to think about, really? It's Vino-Time!

Lastly, Chuck Norris has quotes - so shouldn't VINO? Guess what? VINO DOES! Or at least he's featured in other riders' quotes.

[NOTE: I don't support doping. Vino was convicted of doping, maintains his innocence but served a ban and now is back in pro cycling. I hope he is riding as clean now as he says he was then.]

The Cuba of the 1930's

A tour of the city of Havana, Cuba in the 1930s filmed by Andre de la Varre. Just a quick glance of their YouTube page shows travelogues from Argentina, NYC, and even Travel by Air.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bike Pure

Recently I was contacted by BikePure to offer my feedback on efforts they are contemplating to "change all of cyclesport for the better." I was intrigued, to say the least, and offered my honest thoughts and opinions, and I wish BP success in their mission. I wear the blue BP wristband when it doesn't clash with my kit, and intend to install the BP headset spacer if I am able to build-up a new carbon bike. There is not much commentary for me to offer, and the point of this post is more to make you aware of the organization and the debate it inspires. I'll post some basic info below, but recommend you give thought and contemplation to their efforts. You may agree, you may not...but at least you'll have taken the time to think about the issue.

"Bike Pure is an independent, non profit organisation, committed to redirecting trust to Professional cycle sport. Bike Pure is an umbrella group for all concerned parties in cyclesport. A medium to let the fans, riders, teams and cycle trade join together in a united stance for an new era of clean cycling." - BikePure website

Visit BikePure first, and then take a look at what is being discussed at here. Excellent article in the press covering BikePure is here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From the Archives: Former Kelme professional Jesus Manzano

Manzano speaks out, as reported at the time by

Former Kelme professional Jesus Manzano has spoken out about alleged doping practices within his team, describing at length his experiences which he claims left him seriously ill on two occasions in 2003. Manzano, who rode for Kelme between 2000 and 2003, was fired from the team during the Vuelta a España after sleeping with a woman during the race, thereby breaching team conduct. Some say that he is now seeking revenge on his former team, and his comments have gained a lot of attention in the Spanish media.

In an extensive interview with AS, Manzano explained that he and the cyclists on Kelme used blood transfusions to keep themselves "healthy" during the season. Before the Tour de France, he had a litre of blood removed and stored as two 500 mL portions. Manzano noted at the time, "One thing I did not see as normal was to leave the portions in a plastic tray without marking them, if you are going to extract from more people. The first thing you should do is to mark them and put them in a blood bank. We are not dogs, we are people and we have the right to be treated as such...Then I became aware that you must first do a cross check to see if it's your blood that is going to be put back into you."

Manzano said that he put in €3,000 at the start of the Tour to cover "medication", and he supposed that the other riders put in the same amount. But because by the end of the race the team's prizemoney was almost non-existent, they actually made a loss.

Manzano described the first part of the Tour as "normal" but things suddenly changed in stage 7. "It was the first mountain stage and in the morning they tested a substance that I had not experimented with. This substance was taken according to your weight. It is injected into a vein and the unique thing that it does is to keep your hematocrit low but raise your haemoglobin.

"In the morning they injected 50 ml of this product into me. Before the start I was in the village, I spoke on the phone with my girlfriend, Marina, and I told her: 'Prepare yourself, because I know today that I am going to ride well."

On the day's first climb, the Cat. 2 Col des Portes (km 50), Manzano and Richard Virenque set off to try and catch the early break with Paolo Bettini, Rolf Aldag, Médéric Clain and Benoît Poilvet. Virenque would not work with Manzano as he had Bettini in front, leaving Manzano to try and close the gap himself. But after three kilometres of climbing, "I started to have sensations of dizziness, with a lot of heat, very cold sweat, contrasts of hot and cold, but above all, a lot of cold. In spite of the July heat, I began to shiver and feel strange. Virenque looked at me and attacked. I went for another half a kilometre and there was a corner. It was so hot that the tar of the asphalt had melted...the only thing I remember was that I was dizzy and I could not longer ride straight, if I crashed, whether they would carry me off, where they would take me."

Manzano recalled his experiences subsequent to his crash, and said that he was given an injection in the ambulance as well as an electrocardiogram. "I felt strange, as if my tongue had swollen, as if I couldn't breathe. If they had put a hole in my throat I would have thanked them."

Manzano believed that whatever he took in the morning before the stage resulted in his near catastrophic dehydration. After the Tour, he began to get depressed and afraid, and lost his desire to race. One night his team director told him that he was going to do the Tour of Portugal. "I don't know if I am going to race any more," said Manzano, to which his director replied "I you don't race any more this year, you won't race next year." "Man, if I don't race year, why would I want to race the next!" were Manzano's final words.

A few days later in Valencia, Manzano was asked to 'reclaim' his second half litre of blood. "It was July 25 I think. I was in Valencia, I slept in a hotel and the team personnel were already saying to me that there was a problem during the Tour that affected the team, that there was a positive case, but it was nothing to do with me."

Manzano got on a train to Valencia and met an assistant of the team doctor who gave him his blood. "There were no cross could have been the blood of Pepito Flores," he said. He was injected with 125 ml of blood and immediately "I started to feel very, very bad. Chills and shivers, even with the blankets they gave me I felt colder than if I was at the North Pole."

"If they had put in half a litre I would have returned in a pine box," he continued. "They put 125-175 ml in me and this happened...I understood that the blood was at the Tour and wasn't stored properly."

Despite feeling this way and still shivering, Manzano got in a taxi to go back to the station at Valencia. "I got on the train, went in first class and felt a lot warmer. My girlfriend went and asked if they could turn off the air conditioning. And they asked her if I would be able to survive until Madrid. The guard decided to turn it off and even so I asked him for a blanket, but they didn't have one. There was a man in front of me who said 'This boy will not last, he'll die.' The train wouldn't start unless I got off. The team manager called a doctor and he came. He took me on his shoulders and carried me back to the clinic. And they started to give me more Urbason [a Prednisolone derivative with anti-inflammatory action]."

Manzano passed a another terrible night and in the morning the team director called him to ask him not to tell anyone else on the team. "How could I not do it? It could have happened to someone else too."

And the drug list:

Actovegin (extract of calves blood which supposedly improves oxygen carrying capacity)
Albumina H. (protein in blood plasma)
Androgel (testosterone)
Aranesp (Darbepoetin alfa = super EPO)
Celestote (corticosteroid)
Eprex (EPO)
Genotorm (growth hormone)
Hemoce (plasma)
Deca durabolin (anabolic steroid)
Humatrope (growth hormone)
IgF1 (insulin growth factor 1)
Neofertinon (hormone to stimulate ovulation and estrogen production)
Neorecormon (hormone that regulates red blood cell production)
Norditropin (growth hormone)
Nuvacten (corticosteroid)
Trigon (asthma drug)
Urbason (corticosteroid)
Ventolin (bronchial dilator)
Oxandrolona (anabolic agent)
Vitamin B12 (essential B vitamin)
Triamcinolona (corticosteroid)
Testoviron (testosterone)
Aspirina (analgesic, anti-inflammatory)
Oxyglobin (artificial haemoglobin intended for anaemic dogs)
Hemopure (artificial haemoglobin)
Ferlixit (iron)
Caffeine (stimulant)
Hemassist (artificial haemoglobin)
Prozac (antidepressant)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trojan Man!

I finally got a Trojan condom ad on my blog. Thank you, Google!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Latest Homicidal Motorists

To mess with me while I was on the bike...
Gmail Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FBI Trained Hal Turner As An "Agent Provocateur"

HARTFORD — - Internet blogger Harold "Hal" Turner's attorney said today that Turner's background as an FBI informant will be a key part of his defense to charges that he incited violence against two state legislators and a state ethics official.

Superior Court Judge David P. Gold on Tuesday authorized Michael A. Orozco, a New Jersey attorney, to represent Turner. Turner did not appear again in court Tuesday because he remains in federal custody without bail in Chicago, where he is accused of threatening three federal judges.

In asking Gold to allow Orozco to represent Turner, Turner's Connecticut lawyer, Matthew R. Potter, said Orozco has a long-term legal relationship with Turner, plans to bring a complicated First Amendment defense and is familiar with Turner's background as an FBI informant.

That role as an informant for the FBI is a key part of the defense, Orozco said outside court.

Orozco said Turner was trained by the FBI as "an agent provocateur."

"Mr. Turner was trained by the FBI," Orozco said. "He was told where the line was — what he could say."

In his comments on his blog that brought the state and federal charges, Turner did not cross that line, Orozco said.

Orozco said Turner worked for the FBI from roughly 2002 to 2007.

"His job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner that would cause their arrest," Orozco said.

The comments for which he is charged came after he left the service of the FBI, Orozco said.

Turner stopped working for the FBI on his own, Orozco said. He declined to say who the targets of his comments were.

"If you compare anything he said when he was operating, there's no difference" to what he posted on his blog that led to the criminal charges, Orozco said.

He is scheduled to go to trial on the federal charges on Oct. 5. His next court date in Hartford is set for October 19.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Google Ads

How do I get more ads like this to load on my blog?

Ferrari to pay-off Raikkonen

Ferrari are reportedly set to dump Kimi Raikkonen at the end of this season, offering the Finn a massive pay-off to step aside for Fernando Alonso.

Rumours of Raikkonen's pending dismissal began last season when poor results and what appeared to be a lack of motivation on the 2007 World Champion's behalf grabbed headlines.

The speculation grew this year as the Finn competed in his debut World Rally Championship event, even revealing that rallying could be his future line of work when his current Ferrari deal expires at the end of 2010.

According to The Sun, a Formula One insider has revealed that the Scuderia are intent on dumping Raikkonen, offering him a massive pay-off.

'They say the Italian giants have told the 2007 World Champion he can have half the value of his 2010 contract - thought to be worth £25million - to end it one year early,' the tabloid has reported.

Should Raikkonen part ways with Ferrari at the end of the season it would pave the way for Alonso's arrival with the double World Champion believed to already have a contract for 2011.



Tim Tebow Says He's Still a Virgin, Saving Himself for Marriage

Tim Tebow Says He's Still a Virgin, Saving Himself for Marriage

We already knew Tim Tebow had the ability to kill a man with a forearm and get popcorn to pop by staring at kernels, now he's given yet another example of his superhuman powers. The most popular player in SEC history is saving himself for marriage. Unbelievable. I asked him this afternoon, and he didn't even blink before responding. He handled it masterfully, deftly. He even said he wasn't surprised to get the question. Talk about unflappable.

There have been famous virgins in the entertainment world before, think Britney Spears (a lie) and A.C. Green (purportedly true), but has there ever been someone like Tebow who has publicly announced he's a virgin?

I don't think so.

Cue the angels, strike up the harps, let halos drop from the Heavens while birds chirp. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "The rich aren't like you and me." We've all suspected it before, but now we have even further evidence: Tim Tebow isn't like you and me. He's better than you and he's better than me. And I'll be damned if even me, as big of a Tennessee fan as exists on Earth, can even root against him. I'll write more on this later, but right now listen to the audio and marvel. Tim Tebow is superhuman in every way.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

El cántabro José Iván Gutiérrez defiende título en el ENECO Tour

El español José Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse D'Epargne), defenderá el título en el Eneco Tour, prueba del circuito Pro Tour que se disputará durante una semana entre Holanda y Bélgica a partir de este martes, en la que tomarán la salida el alemán Andreas Kloden y el británico Bradley Wiggins.

Gutiérrez, ganador de las dos últimas ediciones, llevará los galones como jefe de filas del Caisse D'Epargne y tratará de apuntar el triplete de la prueba en su palmarés. El ciclista cántabro tendrá la oposición de Wiggins (Garmin), un corredor campeón de pista reconvertido en escalador en el pasado Tour, en el que fue cuarto y del alemán Andreas Kloden (Astana), que alcanzó la sexta plaza en la "grande boucle".

La carrera, que comienza en Rotterdam con un prólogo contrarreloj de 4,1 kilómetros, ofrece etapas llanas aptas para el lucimiento de los esprinters, como el belga Tom Boonen, quien se retiró en el Tour y precisa de victorias para retomar la senda perdida del podio. También reaparece con hambre de etapas el australiano Robbie McEwen, dentro de una nómina de velocistas entre los que también destacan el italiano Bennati y el estadounidense Farrar.

Las opciones de Gutiérrez pasarán por aprovechar sus condiciones de contrarrelojista en la cronometrada de la séptima y última etapa, de 13 kilómetros en Amersfoort, donde se decidirá la clasificación general.

Las etapas:

Prólogo Rotterdam 4,419
1a Aalter (BEL) - Ardooie (BEL) 184,420
2a Ardooie (BEL) - Bruxelles (BEL) 178,121
3a Niel (BEL) - Hasselt (BEL) 158,322
4a Hasselt (BEL) - Libramont (BEL) 221,223
5a Roermond (HOL) - Sittard/Geleen (HOL) 204,324
6a Genk (BEL) - Roermond (HOL) 163,325 7a Amersfoort (HOL) CRI 13,1.

Current Reading - Race Against Me: My Story

Thanks to Karol in Ireland, I'm reading Race Against Me: My Story by Dwain Chambers. Great read so far.

"In January 2002 the athlete Dwain Chambers made a serious error of judgement when he succumbed to peer pressure and temptation and took a performance enhancing substance. The inevitable bust, when it happened, came almost as a relief. Nevertheless it would turn his life upside down. Chambers came clean, held up his hands and unburdened himself of the guilt he d been carrying for so long. His income fell from six figures per annum to nil and he had to repay 18 months of athletics prize money when he freely admitted the timescale of his abuse. A two-year competition ban was imposed and a lifetime ban from the Olympics. He fought the two-year ban as the drug he took was not actually on a banned list at the time of his offence. Despite the experts advising him otherwise he lost the case, needing to sell his house in order to pay the costs. He then made the decision to rebuild his athletics career and his life and decided to fight the British Olympic Association attempting to overturn his lifetime Olympic ban.

Some would say it was yet another error of bad judgement taking on The Establishment . For five years Dwain Chambers has been abused and vilified by the BOA, the media and his fellow athletes past and present, he has been called a cheating bastard in a radio interview and a prominent Lord has used the F word when referring to him. Lord Sebastian Coe, Lord Colin Moynihan, Daley Thompson, Steve Cram, Steve Redgrave and Dame Kelly Holmes are just a few of the high profile names who have ensured a tirade of negative publicity during and leading up to one most high profile hearings in British sporting history. Once again Dwain Chambers placed his faith in British justice. Two of his legal acquaintances Jonathan Crystal and Nick Collins agreed to work for free, such was their belief in their client s right to run. The BOA, by their own admissions were not particularly well off, nevertheless they wheeled in David Pannick QC, arguably Britain's pre-eminent brief on sporting matters, whose hourly rate of up to £1,500 puts him at the very top of the pile of legal earners. The Lawyer magazine estimates he commands an annual income in excess of £2m. Chambers lost his case. He sat and watched the Beijing Olympics at home. Dwain Chambers has kept a diary for five years, now it s his turn to talk. His treatment by certain individuals, who are far from perfect themselves, and in particular by the BOA have sickened him to the core. The lies and double standards are evident in RACE AGAINST ME as Chambers pours his heart out and exposes the real cheats in the world of athletics. RACE AGAINST ME is a book that will shake UK and world athletics to the core written by a man who tells it how it is."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sinead Miller, top-10 at National Championships!

Congratulations to South Park, Pennsylvania's Sinead Miller, who raced to a strong 8th-place finish in today's National Criterium Championships for Elite Women, in Downers Grove, IL. Sinead, who has been preparing specifically for the nationals since last month, entered the race with amazing form and a string of top-10 finishes. She was 10th last weekend in North Carolina at the Hanes Park Criterium and rode home in 5th last night at the Downers Grove warm-up race.

In addition to specific work-outs on the road and racing with her local club, the Allegheny Cycling Association, Sinead also completed a crash-course (no pun intended!) in sports psychology. She employed techniques of visualization and self-affirmation to train her mind along with her body, and fully-expected to stand atop the podium today. But a near-crash with two laps to go knocked Sinead out of the lead group and cut her off from eventual-winner Tina Pic. Where a lesser rider may have abandoned or simply sat-up, the 19-year-old Marian University student and varsity athlete fought her way back towards the leaders and still managed a top-10 finish.

With crit nats now a part of history, Sinead turns her attention towards the velodrome, where she'll race as captain of Marian's woman's team.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

1996 Tour de France, Stage 7 - Chambery-Les Arcs - 202km

Stage 7, Chambery to Les Arcs, 200km

1. Luc Leblanc (Fra) Polti 5.47.22
2. Tony Rominger (Swi) Mapei 0.47
3. Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Carrera 0.52
4. Richard Virenque (Fra) Festina
5. Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Festina
6. Abraham Olano (Spa) Mapei all s.t.
7. Bjarne Riis (Den) Telekom 0.56
8. Fernando Escartin (Spa) Kelme
9. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom
10. Piotr Ugrumov (Rus) Roslotto
11. Yevgeny Berzin (Rus) Gewiss all s.t.
12. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Refin 2.19
13. Bo Hamburger (Den) TVM 3:14
14. Aitor Garmendia (Spa) ONCE 3:29
15. Alex Zulle (Swi) ONCE s.t.
16. Miguel Indurain (Spa) Banesto 4:19
17. Udo Bolts (Ger) Telekom 5:09
18. Manuel Fernandez Gines (Spa) Mapei 5:17
19. Viacheslav Ekimov (Rus) Rabobank 5:20
20. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) Rabobank 7:05

Stage 7 Report
Tour de France Stage 7 as it happens

[This report draws on the reports on France's Europe 1 radio. All times real race time -- Central European Time]

The stage includes the HC Madeleine (Sean Yates says it's going up "the hard way... and it's bloody hard. It's constant for 19km with a few harirpins at the bottom and less at the top."). After the Madeleine at 79km, the riders tackle the Cat 1 Cormet-de-Roseland (163km) and the stage finishes at the summit of the Cat 1 Les Arcs.


There have been two abandons in the first few kilometres: Stefano Colage (Refin) and Leon Van Bon (Rabobank). There have been attempts at attacks by Jacky Durand (Agrigel) and Laurent Roux (TVM), but now the peloton is all together. The first sprint of the day (Bourgneuf -- 29.5km) was taken by Erik Zabel (Telekom) with Bo Hamburger (TVM) second and Thierry Gouvenou (Aubervilliers) third.


The peloton, still all together are at the foot of the Madeleine (La Chambre -- 58.5km). There has been no rain yet today, but the sky is threatening. As the 19km climb begins, Luc Leblanc (Polti), who lost nearly four minutes yesterday after a crash, attacks...


With 8km to go to the summit we join a crackly commentary from a motorbike. There are about 20 riders out in front.The front group includes Bjarne Riis and Brian Holm (Telekom), Richard Virenque (Festina), Miguel Indurain (Banesto), yellow jersey Stephane Heulot (GAN), Luc Leblanc (Polti), Tony Rominger and Abraham Olano (Mapei) and Alex Zulle (ONCE). Laurent Broachard (Festina) and Chris Boardman (GAN) are 25 seconds back, but the news of the moment is that Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) is 45 seconds off the lead group.


With 1km to the summit, riding through mist and rain, Holm and Riis are slightly in front of all those mentioned in the 13.05 report except for yellow jersey Heulot who is chasing alone at 45 secs. Also mentioned in the lead group this time are Evgeni Berzin (Gewiss) and Laurent Dufaux (Festina). What is described as "the Chris Boardman group" (Boardman + Brochard? +??) is at 1.35. Jalabert is dropping further back -- he is now at 2.50.


The position over the summit (km79) in what is obviously an incomplete listing are: 1. Virenque, 2. Indurain, 3. Zulle, 4. Rominger 5. Berzin 6. Tour de Suisse winner Peter Luttemberger (Carrera), 7. Leblanc. No mention of Boardman, but yellow jersey Heulot was at 1.35 and Jalabert crosses the summit 4.35 down. The lead group are said to be taking no risks on a dangerous descent on slippery roads through thick mist.


We are now, as far as I can hear, at about km100 on the descent, with Riis hanging 45 secs ahead of the rest of the lead group, _including_ Indurain, Virenque, Zulle, Olano, Berzin. Notably, yellow jersey Heulot has bridged to this group. At 2.50 is what is again described only as the "groupe Boardman" though it plainly no longer includes Brochard, who is further back at 3.15. Jalabert has slipped further back -- he is now at 4.50.


A break of three is near or at the feed at Albertville (123km). They are Patrick Jonker (ONCE), Alberto Elli (MG Technogym) and Udo Bolts (Telekom).I take it these were in the 20 original leaders up the Madeleine. They have 1 minute on the main lead group as described before. At some point on the descent Rominger crashed but was brought brought back to the yellow jersey (Heulot) group by team-mates Olano and Spanish champion Fernandez Gines. Behind the Heulot group is Boardman at 1.40 (I don't know if he is alone or with other riders). Jalabert is now in a group of 13 some 5 minutes back. Europe 1 has him rather melodramatically with his head bowed in defeat, in line behind team-mates Melchor Mauri and Roberto Sierra. Also in this group of 13 are Laurent Brochard and Pascal Herve (Festina) and Pascal Lino (Roslotto).


140km out with the Cormet de Roseland soon to come. The Jonker-Bolts-Elli group is rolling along nicely with a lead that is now 3.05 on the 30-strong yellow jersey group. To recap, apart from Heulot, this includes Zulle, Virenque, Indurain, Leblanc, Bersin, Rominger, Olano and -- a new name -- Christophe Moreau (Festina). Chris Boardman is still some way behind this group and said to be "in difficulties" at this particular point. Further back but now only at 3 minutes of the yellow jersey group is the Jalabert group. Jalabert is fourth in line with team-mate Melchor Mauri on the front working hard for him.


Eight kilometres into the mist-wreathed climb of the Cormet-de-Roseland, Bolts is 1.15 ahead of Elli and Jonker, with Dufaux 2.30 behind him. At 3.05 is the yellow jersey group, with a couple of new names mentioned --- Laurent Madouas (Motorola) and Bo Hamburger (TVM). At 6.15 to Bolts is the remanants of the Jalabert group which shattered on the first bends of the Cormet de Roseland. In this stretched out group, in no particular order, are Mauri, Herve, Jesus Montoya (Motorola), Orlando Rodrigues (Banesto), Rpberto Sierra (ONCE) and Mauri, Lino and Brochard. Jalabert moved clear of this to rejoin Christophe Moreau, Chris Baordman, and Prudencio Indurain (falling back after helping his brother earlier on the climb. Jlabert seems to have gone past these, though it's not certain -- whatever, he's riding on his own.


Bolts passed the summit first with 1.15 over Dufaux. At 2.05 the Induraingroup in the order Virenque, Riis, Indurain, Leblanc, etc. Heulot had been dropped from this group and was in great difficulty on the climb. He is seen stopped by the roadside consulting Roger Legeay. "Visibly it's finished for Stepahen." comments Marc Madiot on the radio. And no sign yet of Jalabert as Joose Maria Jimenez, P. Indurain, Vicente Aparicio, and then Viatcheslav Ekimov cross the summit. No mention of where Baordman may be or what state he's in. Somewhere on the climb Zulle had attacked but was brought back straightaway by Indurain.


Drama! Sad times -- still on the climb yellow jersey Stephane Heulot abandons. And Jalabert crosses the summit 7.15 behind Bolts


Ten kilometres to the finish on the way up to Les Arcs Bolts is still in the lead, with 1.15 on 1.15. Furrther back the Indurain group has been joined by Aitor Garmendia and Fernando Escartin is also mentioned. Jalabert is at 7.30 to Bolts.


Nearing 3km from the line and Leblanc is closing on Dufaux who is in front, Bolts is out of the picture. Leblanc overtakes Dufaux. Behind Zulle is looking troubled but not as troubled as Indurain is beginning to look. Olano, Rominger and Riis leave him behind as does Zulle. Then Hamburger comes past him. It's "fringale", hunger knock, the bonk... Indurain struggles on,then asks for a bottle from his car. Up the road Leblanc is winning. I honestly don't know who came second. Rominger? Virenque? Dufaux? Too much excitement on the radio. But Indurain comes in 4.17 down on Leblanc and 3 minutes or more on Leblanc, Rominger, Olano, Riis and Berzin. Berzin takes the yellow jersey, with Rominger second. There is still no sign of Laurent Jalabert 10.40 after Leblanc crosses the line..... phew!
Miguel Suffers
Spain's five time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain's nightmare seventh stage -- one of the most remarkable in Tour history -- appears to have blown this year's race wide open and made it potentially the most exciting in years.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, seeking a record sixth consecutive win, has not endured a worse day in the saddle since he was an ordinary workrider for Pedro Delgado in the late 1980s.

There was little sign in the leadup to the final climb of Les Arcs that anything was amiss.

Indurain appeared to be his usual imperturbable self, countering the attacks of his main rivals like Alex Zulle of Switzerland, and content that another serious challenger -- Frenchman Laurent Jalabert -- was struggling well behind his leading group of 30 or so riders.

But it was Zulle, who survived two falls on the descent from Cormet de Roselend, and his ONCE teammate Aitor Garmendia who sewed the seeds for Indurain's shock reverse.

Garmendia, a former teammate of Indurain's, set the pace of the lead group up Les Arcs and evidently played on whatever weakness he could recall Indurain possessed.

Ultimately, Zulle, too, paid the penalty as leading rivals Tony Rominger of Switzerland, Yevgeny Berzin of Russia and Bjarne Riis, the Danish champion and third overall last year, broke away -- leaving Indurain and the Swiss to trail in over three minutes behind them and over four minutes behind stage winner Luc Leblanc of France.

It was the sight of Indurain struggling and desperate for refreshment that really stunned the spectators -- though it must have given his challengers an enormous psychological boost to see the God of the Tour was mortal after all.

Frenchman Richard Virenque, attempting to win his third successive King of the Mountains title, was astonished. "I could not believe it. We were all there with Indurain to the fore and then when the others broke he just appeared to cycle on the same piece of road. Truly, it is the most remarkable sight I have seen on the Tour," Virenque said.

Indurain is a remarkable champion and cannot be discounted yet, but should he perform disappointingly in Sunday's time-trial -- where he has been unbeatable in previous years -- then the game is surely up.

To add to Indurain's misery, the race jury were considering adding 20 seconds onto his time for asking for a bottle within prohibited distance of the finish. He will have regretted not taking a drink when Zulle offered him one earlier on the climb to Les Arcs.

Berzin, who retired from the Tour last year with bronchitis, took the overall leader's yellow jersey by just 16-hundreths of a second over world champion Abraham Olano of Spain.

Berzin, though, did not sound optimistic about retaining the yellow jersey all the way to Paris. "It was a very difficult day for me, but I can at least dream about winning the Tour," the 26-year-old 1994 Tour of Italy winner said.

But asked if he was afraid of the challenge ahead he said: "If I was afraid I would go home."

Leblanc, the 1994 world road race champion, attacked on the final climb and overhauled longtime stage leader Laurent Dufaux of Switzerland to speed away and win by over 40 seconds from Rominger with Austrian Peter Luttenberger in third place. "It was an extraordinary day for me. My team worked so hard for me yesterday, when I had my second fall in the week, so I dedicate this victory to them. They were marvellous," Leblanc said.

Dufaux was dsiappointed he had not managed to hold on. "I have won two Dauphines but never a stage of the Tour de France, it would have been special, but that's life," he said.

The stage, once again raced in appalling conditions, ended Jalabert's hopes of becoming the first French cyclist to win the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985. Jalabert, the world number one, was left behind on the steep ascent to Madeleine and although teammates Melchor Mauri and Roberto Sierra tried to help him back in to the race, he finished more than 12 minutes adrift of Leblanc.

Apart from Zulle's two falls, Belgian Johan Bruyneel had a narrow escape when he fell 12 metres into a ravine on the descent from Cormet de Roselend, although he remounted and continued without suffering any apparent injury.

The former yellow jersey wearer, Frenchman Stephane Heulot, abandoned during the stage, citing tendinitis in his right knee.

The Frenchman's GAN teammate Chris Boardman, Britain's Olympic and world pursuit champion, had a dreadful day as well and reflected on it afterwards. "It was a catastrophe for me today. I got back to the main group after the climb to Madeleine but I was incapable of staying with them. Its terrible for the team and for Stephane Heulot -- but that's the Tour de France!" Boardman said.
Heulot abandons on Stage 7
Frenchman Stephane Heulot, the yellow jersey leader, abandoned the Tour de France during Saturday's seventh stage. Heulot, the Fremch national champion, retired with tendinitis in the right knee.

The 24-year-old teammate of Olympic and World pursuit champion Chris Boardman was left by the peloton on the first category climb to Cormet de Roselend.

Heulot, in tears, stopped for two minutes but was encouraged by team boss Roger Legeay to continue -- finally retiring from the stage 20 metres later. He had predicted his retirement on Friday saying: "The weather has taken its toll and I have got tendinitis."

1991 Tour de France - Etapa 13, Jaca-Val Louron, 232 km

Another National Championship about to be won for Pittsburgh!

Super-proud of Sinead Miller, who is going to win nationals tomorrow!

Watch for it...and read about what it's taken to get there.

Give it up for Sinead Miller, people! Fifth (5th) in the warm-up race at Downer's Grove tonight, she is my pick to win the US National Crit Championships.

Cheer her on!
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Mt Troy

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OTB Bicycle Cafe

Anyone been?

Karma Kompromiser: Nancy Pelosi, Health Care and Nazis

I have a pair of Oakley Radar glasses courtesy of Eyetique that I have to test before it gets any cloudier out, so I'm can't invest any time in editing this post, which is really just a collection of links and quotes. Don't take that as an insult though, Dear Reader, for the fact that I'm posting to begin with after the night I just suffered through is evidence of my deep appreciation of you. So here is some random politics-related stuff that's popped up on the Radar recently, and of course a gratuitous Vino shot and Armstrong reference...enjoy your weekend.

Rory Cooper asks if the White House is attacking the advertising base of a TV show just because Obama doesn't like the message being delivered by the show's presenter:

"Making fun of cable news is one thing, but is the White House associated with a campaign to not only discredit their critics but also strangle the financial footing these businesses rely on? These are questions that need answering."

As Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has done an excellent job commenting on Nancy Pelosi's fear of Nazis disrupting the health care reform debate, I'll let his words stand-in for mine today:

"A lot of pundits (including me) have been highly critical of the rhetorical Hiroshimas that some Republicans use when battling Democrats or trying to gain political support by mobilizing their political base. And now we have a classic one coming from the Democrats: the use of the label un-American to describe town hall protesters who are effectively drowning out discussion of health care reform..." More

Here is Pelosi's original column, co-authored by Steny Hoyer. And the quote that is of concern to some folks:

"These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."

Thankfully, we have Dennis Miller to counterattack...the transcript of which is recorded here.

Oh, and is Obama keeping a list of un-Americans or not? Don't count on White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton to clear-up that one...

Actually, would you be surprised to learn that we were living in a country in which the government keeps an citizen's enemies list? After all, Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel mastered the media hit-list quite a long time ago:

"Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team controlled access to the team tightly, giving them considerable power that could be used bluntly – to deny or grant interviews – or with more subtlety. As Dan Coyle reports in “Lance Armstrong’s War,” OLN never showed Ferrari in its series “The Lance Chronicles,” despite following Lance to Tenerife for training sessions (Ferrari’s hands, in one episode, were the extent of the doctor’s presence in the series). Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands 100 miles off the coast of Africa, was referred to only as Lance’s “European training camp.” (The Canaries are a semi-autonomous protectorate of Spain.) Other racers, including Alexandre Vinokourov, train there as well, and the UCI recently announced it had stepped up target testing on riders who use what it called “strange” training locations. Coyle later writes, “To anger Armstrong was to risk losing access – a potentially career-scuttling loss for underpaid cycling writers for whom access to the Postal team was crucial.” Postal team officials even kept photos of journalists they considered unfriendly to the team – the so-called black list.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Help a Friend

A good friend, who is of course a cyclist, took a bad fall several weeks ago and is really hurting as a result. What's especially hard on him is the fact that his mobility and resultant social interaction have declined significantly. Would you cold-hearted bastards send him some email and Google Voice sympathy and well wishes if I set it up?

Let me know via email or, if you must, comments to this post.

Dads and Birthdays

I'll give a shout-out to Cigar Mike for his post, "Today was my Dad's Birthday." My apologies to Mike for missing his dad's birthday yesterday, the 13th, but let me print some of his post here, so you all can enjoy it and check out the full piece if so desired...

Cigar Mike writes, "The irony of Val's Post regarding today's date. August 13 is usually looked as the birth date of a decrepit tyrant. To me, this date has always been my dad's birthday. He would have turned 85 today. Since his untimely death in 1994, I would always commiserate about my dad on this day with my mom. Now for the first time in my life, I no longer have her to commiserate with. As an only child growing up it was essentially Mom, Dad, the Cuban Abuelos, and me that lived together. As the years went on, my grandfather died in 1977, my grandmother in 1988, my dad in 1994 and my mom in 2008. Now I'm at the top of the heap as they say.

The irony of it all is that while a good man born on that date lived only to see his 69th Birthday, an evil man born on that day is still around with blood on his hands and with room for more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I was in Ohio on Sunday for Obzinky, about which I wrote last year. I'm happy to report that this year's Harvest Festival was even better.

I miss my Babi, but I don't think that every goes away.
So, until next year...

My Theory on Why Vino Is Not Yet in an Astana Jersey

Simple: his Tasmanian Devil-like press conference before the Tour scared-off Contador from Astana '10. Until Vino convinces Contador to stay, he himself doesn't get to be on the team.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Great video.

I can't compete with BikeSnob NYC's analysis, however, so post-video, head there.

Peloton Personalities - Past and Present

This started as a thread in the answers are below.

Ballsiest = Lance (given that he has only 1 ball) - NOT! Actually, all pro's are ballsy, b/c cycling is the hardest sport in the world - either that, or "cycling is for pansies."
Bravest = Tie between Cancellara (for his stage 7 TdF descent while in Yellow to regain leaders) and DiLuca (for riding to 2nd in the Giro whilst doped on CERA)
Craftiest = Michele Scarponi (for his 2 Giro stage wins and zero positive tests)
Crankiest = Lance (for his shunning of media in Giro and his hating on Contador all year long)
Creepiest = Jock Boyer (gross)
Fiercest = Thor (SMASH!)
Funniest = Harm Jansen (retired or not, still the funniest)
Likable-est = Mike Friedman (how can you not like a guy w/ the nic' "MeatBall"?)
Loneliest = Danilo DiLuca (for how quickly his team decided to sue him after having been caught doing what they most likely condoned...[see above link])
Scariest = Denis "Crash" Menchov (pity he who follows the Russian's wheel on a day like that of the 17th stage of the 2009 TdF)
Sexiest = Rochelle Gilmore (duh!) [I don't understand why ever dude who answered this question listed another dude, as opposed to a female pro cyclist...]
Shyest = Riccardo Ricco (fleeing the doping control chaperons is evidence of S.A.D., right?)
Toughest = Vino-4EVER!
Virile-est = WTF? Can this really be a category?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kimberly Reed Photography

Back in the day, there was no shortage of media covering my moves on a bike, and I even tried the habit myself (though of the "hidden" camera variety). Anyway, while on an amazing ride around town yesterday during a glorious day that reminded me of a morning in the tropics (humid, light breeze, not yet blazingly hot but crystal blue skies), I met a pro photographer at PNC Park. Despite what Burt Hoovis would say, I'm normally not annoying and I try not to talk to strangers (lol), but for some reason I spun up to the woman with the two cameras and asked her if she'd "take my picture?" Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I felt like a total dork, but she was really cool about it and snapped a few pictures. Of course, she could have just been pressing the shutter release and then immediately deleting the image, but I didn't care. It was a funny moment, it passed in but a second and I was on my way again, but thanks to the staff of Kimberly Reed Photography for making me feel like a star again!

Ex-Nazi Officer Gets Life Sentence

A Munich court sentenced a 90-year-year-old former Nazi officer, Josef Scheungraber, to life in prison for murdering Italian civilians in 1944.

Ex-Nazi Officer Gets Life Sentence
Published: August 12, 2009

"BERLIN — A Munich court on Tuesday sentenced a 90-year-year-old former Nazi officer, Josef Scheungraber, to life in prison for murdering Italian civilians as a reprisal for the killing of two Nazi soldiers.

In one of Germany’s last Nazi trials, he was convicted on 10 counts of murder and also found guilty of attempted murder.

Mr. Scheungraber had denied allegations that he ordered the killings in June 1944 in Falzano di Cortona, near the Tuscan town of Arezzo, when he was a 25-year-old German army lieutenant in command of a company of engineers. The trial began last September after the presiding judge, Manfred Goetz, said Mr. Scheungraber was fit to stand trial.

Prosecutors said that, after Italian partisans had killed two German soldiers, Mr. Scheungraber commanded his soldiers to shoot three Italian men and one woman. The prosecutors said he then ordered that another 11 civilians be herded into a barn that was then blown up..." Full Story.

They probably won't have to spend much on housing him in prison now...

Monday, August 10, 2009

1997 Vuelta Ciclista a Navarra

Spain, June 3-8, 1997

Stage 1, Barain-Estella, 145 kms:

1. LOCATELLI, Marthal (Fra) Selec. Francesa 3.25:53
2. BABAITSEV, Artoor (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 3.25:53
3. LAURANCE, Franck (Fra) Selec. Francesa 3.26:28
4. MIKHAILOV, Guennadi (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 3.26:28
5. ZANDARIN, Flavio (Ita) Selec. Italiana 3.26:28
6. DIAZ LOBATO, Pedro (Spa) Plastimer-Hacera 3.26:28
7. PALACIN, Javier (Spa) Kaiku 3.26:28
8. VAN DIJK, Stefan (Ned) Rabobank 3.26:28
9. BENITO, Alberto (Spa) Banesto 3.26:28
10. ARRIETA, Angel (Spa) Telcom Fina 3.26:28

Stage 2, Estella-Alto De Gorramdeni, 152 kms:

1. ARREITUNANDIA, Peio (Spa) Kaiku 4.07:47
2. MANCEBO, Francisco (Spa) Banesto 4.07:55
3. FIGUERAS, Guiliano (Ita) Selec. Italiana 4.07:55
4. SASTRE, Carlos (Spa) Banesto 4.07:55
5. CASTRESANA, Angel (Spa) Kaiku 4.08:00
6. OUDRIAVTSEV, Nikolai (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 4.08:14
7. SOURKOV, Iouri (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 4.08:27
8. LASTRAS, Pablo (Spa) Banesto 4.08:41
9. GUERRICAGOITIA, Gorka (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 4.08:44
10. UREA, Jose (Spa) Avila Rojas 4.08:44

Stage 3, Elizondo-Tafalla, 152 kms:

1. TRASTOUR, Olivier (Fra) Selec. Francesa 4.08:59
2. BARBIER, Gregory (Fra) Selec. Francesa 4.09:00
3. JARQUE, Jose Francisco (Spa) Porcelanatto 4.09:00
4. GUERRICAGOITIA, Gorka (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 4.09:00
5. ASMAKER, Olivier (Fra) Selec. Francesa 4.09:00
6. NAVARRO, Juan Vte. (Spa) Avila Rojas 4.09:00
7. ACCIAVATTI, Robert St. (USA) Kaiku 4.09:00
8. FERNANDEZ, Ruben (Spa) Sky Blue-A.C.R. 4.09:00
9. JIMENEZ, Eladio (Spa) Banesto 4.09:00
10. UREA, Jose (Spa) Avila Rojas 4.09:00

Stage 4, Tafalla-Tudela, 156 kms:

1. BIANCHINI, Cristian (Ita) Selec. Italiana 3.52:19
2. GRICHTCHENKO, Serguei (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 3.52:19
3. LAURANCE, Frank (Fra) Selec. Francesa 3.52:19
4. JARQUE, Jose Francisco (Spa) Porcelanatto 3.52:19
5. PALACIN, Javier (Spa) Kaiku 3.52:19
6. MANCEBO, Francisco (Spa) Banesto 3.52:19
7. ISASI, Josu (Spa) Pinturas Banaka 3.52:19
8. ARRIETA, Angel (Spa) Telcom Fina 3.52:19
9. GUERRICAGOITIA, Gorka (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 3.52:19
10. LOPEZ, Miguel (Spa) Avila Rojas 3.52:19

Stage 5, Tudela-Ablitas, 77 kms:

1. LOCATELLI, Marthal (Fra) Selec. Francesa 1.42:25
2. GUTIERREZ, Jose E. (Spa) Porcelanatto 1.42:27
3. STAM, Danny (Ned) Rabobank 1.42:44
4. MUNOZ, Diego J. (Spa) Plastimer-Hacera 1.42:44
5. DEL OLMO, Jose M. (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 1.42:44
6. ACCIAVATTI, Robert St. (USA) Kaiku 1.42:44
7. SOURKOV, Iouri (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 1.42:44
8. VAN HEST, Bas (Ned) Rabobank 1.43:20
9. ISASI, Josu (Spa) Pinturas Banaka 1.43:25
10. LOPEZ, Miguel (Spa) Avila Rojas 1.43:25

Stage 6, Corella-Corella, ITT, 23.5 kms:

1. MANCEBO, Francisco (Spa) Banesto 29:41
2. TAULER, Antonio (Spa) Avila Rojas 30:00
3. SEMPRINI, Maurizio (Ita) Selec. Italiana 30:07
4. GONO, Marcel (Australia) ZVVZ-GIANT-AIS 30:18
5. LOCATELLI, Marthal (Fra) Selec. Francesa 30:26
6. BABAITSEV, Artoor (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 30:32
7. JARQUE, Jose Francisco (Spa) Porcelanatto 30:35
8. GONZALEZ, Aitor (Spa) Caja Rural 30:42
9. ASMAKER, Olivier (Fra) Selec. Francesa 30:44
10. ACCIAVATTI, Robert St. (USA) Kaiku 30:45

Stage 7, Villava-Pamplona, 109 kms:

1. BARBIER, Gregory (Fra) Selec. Francesa 2:41:09
2. PALACIN, Javier (Spa) Kaiku 2:41:10
3. MENEGHETTI, Carlo (Fra) Selec. Francesa 2:41:11
4. STAM, Danny (Ned) Rabobank 2:41:11
5. ARRIETA, Angel (Spa) Telcom Fina 2:41:11
6. FIGUERAS, Guiliano (Ita) Selec. Italiana 2:41:11
7. SANCHEZ, Jose Luis (Spa) Porcelanatto 2:41:11
8. MIKHAILOV, Guennadi (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 2:41:11
9. ISASI, Josu (Spa) Pinturas Banaka 2:41:11
10. FERNANDEZ, Ruben (Spa) Sky Blue-A.C.R. 2:41:11

Final GC

1. BABAITSEV, Artoor (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 20:31:58
2. JARQUE, Jose Francisco (Spa) Porcelanatto 1:01
3. SASTRE, Carlos (Spa) Banesto 1:05
4. CASTRESANA, Angel (Spa) Kaiku 1:09
5. GUERRICAGOITIA, Gorka (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 1:57
6. SOURKOV, Iouri (Rus) Lada-CSK-Samara 2:08
7. JIMENEZ, Eladio (Spa) Banesto 2:34
8. ORIOL, Christophe (Fra) Selec. Francesa 2:38
9. FIGUERAS, Guiliano (Ita) Selec. Italiana 3.06
10. FERNANDEZ, Victoriano (Spa) Plastimer-Hacera 3.20
11. DIAZ DE CERIO, Ruben (Spa) Sky Blue-A.C.R. 3.25
12. REQUEJO, Elijio (Spa) Avila Rojas 3.31
13. MANCEBO, Francisco (Spa) Banesto 4:05
14. NIETO, Javier (Spa) Sky Blue-A.C.R. 5:24
15. TRASTOUR, Olivier (Fra) Selec. Francesa 5:32
16. TAULER, Antonio (Spa) Avila Rojas 5:58
17. ARREITUNANDIA, Peio (Spa) Kaiku 6:07
18. ACCIAVATTI, Robert St. (USA) Kaiku 6:52
19. DEL OLMO, Jose M. (Spa) Olarra-Ercocera 7:22
20. MENEEGHETTI, Carlo (Fra) Selec. Francesa 8:20

Give Credit When/Where Due

Lance says, "Congrats to Sinead Miller, top-10 in a big pro crit yesterday! "
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Sinead top-10

Congrats to future national champ Sinead on her top-10 finish in NC today.
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Sunday, August 09, 2009

On the Road Again

Near Geauga Lake
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cycling Illustrations by David Brinton

This illustration of "The Lion King" comes from a series done for VeloNews, but browse the entire Brinton collection, especially Les Héros du Vélo.

Prisoners Of Depression - Mental Illness in Pro Sports

"Mental illness still carries a powerful stigma in pro sports, but there are signs that teams are finally facing the problem and trying to help troubled athletes.

He came roaring down the mountain at nearly 85 miles an hour, a blur in an aerodynamic Lycra suit. Headfirst on a sled barely bigger than a cafeteria tray, Jim Shea was inches from rock-hard ice, handling serpentine turns without the benefit of either brakes or a steering wheel. The running joke is that Shea's exhilarating sport, skeleton, got its name for a good reason: One imprecise maneuver and he could be turned into a bag of broken bones. It was the winter of 1999, and when Shea rounded the final curve on his last heat .57 of a second ahead of the next-fastest guy, he was suddenly a world champion.

When coaches and teammates mobbed him on that cold afternoon in Altenberg, Germany, it was as clear as the mountain air that Shea, after thousands of hours spent training and traveling, had reached the pinnacle of his sport. His spot on the U.S. 2002 Winter Olympic team was all but guaranteed. And Shea felt ... nothing. "It was total emptiness, like I didn't even care," he recalls. "The joy of winning? I could have broken a world record and won the lottery on the same day and not been happy about it."

The clinical term for this, he later learned, is anhedonia, and Shea relies on weather analogies--"fog," "dark clouds" and persistent "gloom"--to describe the feeling. Still, at the time, Shea found nothing unusual about his lack of emotion in the face of what was, by any measure, a triumph worthy of unbridled joy. Shea's grandfather Jack was a speed skating pioneer who won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics. His father, Jim Sr., competed in the 1964 Games in Nordic combined and cross-country. The men in the Shea family were quiet, tough, bootstrapping types who lived by a Spartan code of stoicism and self-reliance. Emotions were best left bottled up. An uncle's suicide, for instance, was not on the table for discussion. Since Jim had been in elementary school, he'd known there was something preventing him from experiencing emotional crests, an immovable force that kept him mired in lows longer than any of his friends. "But I figured those were the cards I was dealt," he says. "For me it was normal."

A U.S. Olympic Committee psychologist at the training center near San Diego thought otherwise and referred Shea to a local psychiatrist, Michael Lardon, who had worked with dozens of elite athletes. After one session Lardon ran through a checklist of symptoms--persistent sadness, feelings of emptiness, the inability to extract joy from pursuits that should be pleasurable, irregular appetite and sleep patterns, decreased energy--and noted how many applied to Shea. "Jim, listen," the doctor said, "I think you suffer from depression." Shea's reaction was typical of people like him. Me? Depressed? How could that be? I'm an athlete.

It is an invisible incubus that will haunt 19 million Americans this year. One in six people will be affected by it in their lifetimes. It accounts for countless sick days and costs U.S. industry $ 44 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. Depression is an equal-opportunity affliction, not discriminating according to class or social standing. Among the millions affected: Barbara Bush, Halle Berry and Winston Churchill, who called his depression "my black dog," a companion that seldom left his side.

The list of athletes who suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or social anxiety disorder--three of the most common forms of mental illness--would make for a hell of a table at a charity dinner. Ricky Williams, the NFL's 2002 rushing leader, suffered such overwhelming social anxiety that he couldn't bring himself to leave his house to mail a letter. Terry Bradshaw, the star quarterback and irrepressible NFL broadcaster, was once so depressed that he would go to bed crying. On the eve of last January's Super Bowl, Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins neglected to take medication to treat his bipolar disorder, went on a Tijuana drinking jag, considered committing suicide and was in a hospital during what should have been the biggest game of his career. Mike Tyson was in the clutches of depression long before he turned into a pitiable sideshow.

And those are among the few who have come to the public's attention. Innumerable other athletes are familiar with the Via Dolorosa traveled by the PGA golfer who contemplated suicide last summer after failing to make the cut at the Greater Hartford Open. Or the top pick in a recent major league draft whose deep melancholy has forced him to take an indefinite leave from baseball. Or the former NBA All-Star whose decline is widely attributed to alcoholism but who actually suffers from crippling depression. "An amazing number of athletes have these illnesses," says Lardon. "It's way more than you'd ever guess. I mean way more..." Read the full article here.

Sports Illustrated Magazine
September 8, 2003
By L. Jon Wertheim

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pez Fumbles Again - are they Journalists or Commentators?

Once again it looks like Pez Cycling News is confused by the difference between news reporting and op-ed writing. In today’s “Euro Trash Thursday,” Matt Conn can’t resist taking a swipe at Alexander Vinokourov, offering what he must imagine is a clever bit of wit regarding Vino’s return to sport after having served a two-year ban for doping. While Mr. Conn might think that Vino should be banned from cycling “4 Ever,” his opinion can’t substitute for the fact that, after serving a two-year penalty, Vinokourov is free to return to competitive cycling, should he find a team willing to employ him.

Actually Mr. Conn, as long as he isn’t caught doping again, what Vino can do “4 Ever” is keep racing. Perhaps at some point Pez will realize that op-ed is handled on one side of the shop, and proper journalism on the other. And that when the two are so carelessly mixed, it’s the credibility of the media outlet – and not the subject of the article – who ultimately suffers.

Arnie Baker - Cyber-criminal?

Published: August 1, 2009
A sprawling case is opening a view on the shadowy and potentially lucrative business of gathering what corporations refer to as “strategic intelligence.”

Harry Patch - The Last Tommy

Rather than give any press to that sociopath George S., let's read a bit about someone heroic, Harry Patch, shall we?

"Who's he," you ask? Well, Harry Patch was a Brit made part of history by circumstance and his willingness, as the "Last Tommy," to rather unabashedly describe war as what it might truly be: “the calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings."

The NY Times reports:
Thousands Mourn Britain’s Oldest Warrior

WELLS, England — To the strains of the “Last Post,” and in the presence of soldiers from armies that had fought as both friend and foe, the funeral was held here Thursday for Harry Patch, the last British survivor of World War I living in this country...


There are already hundreds of news reports accessible via Google, but I'll include a link to one more, from the UK Telegraph.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Did They Use Elmer's or Krazy Glue?

From the AP:

WAUSAU, Wis. - A married man who planned to meet with one of his handful of lovers at a Wisconsin motel instead found himself bound, blindfolded and assaulted by a group of women out for revenge, according to court documents.

Four women, including his wife, eventually showed up to humiliate the man, who ended up with his penis glued to his stomach in a bizarre plot to punish him for a lover's quadrangle gone bad...

More here.