Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Controversy Surrounds TDF Leader Chris Froome

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

Tour de France race leader Chris Froome has lashed out at sections of the media, blaming them for whipping up a frenzy of innuendo and speculation about him.

About a third of the way through the beautiful 178km stage 14 (Rodez to Mende) Froome says he saw a fan ‘acting strangely’.

“I saw this guy just peering around and I thought, ‘That looks a bit strange’.”

“As I got there he just sort of launched this cup toward me and said (in French) ‘Doper!’

“No mistake,” said Froome, “it was urine.”

The day should have been a double celebration: South African Stephen Cummings won his first stage victory, coinciding with Nelson Mandela Day.

But the day was marred by the actions of a few.

Chris Froome’s Sky Cycling teammate, Richie Porte, also claimed a spectator hit him during the race with a ‘full-on punch’ during a climb on the Pyrenees.

Both men are laying the blame on over-exuberant journalists ‘whipping up all the rubbish that they are.’

“I certainly wouldn’t blame the public for this,” said Froome. “I would blame some of the reporting on the race that has been very irresponsible.

“It is no longer the riders who are bringing the sport into disrepute now, it’s those individuals, and they know who they are.”

Froome again raised eyebrows with another super-human acceleration on a fiercely steep final climb. He raced away from his competitors, taking one second from Quintana and more from his other rivals.

Concealed Motor Accusations Plague TDF Leader Chris Froome

Motor image: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2015/04/hidden-motors-for-road-bikes-exist-heres-how-they-work/

It seems almost ludicrous, but the accusations of a concealed motor in the bike of Chris Froome (current Tour de France leader) won’t go away.

Froome is also battling allegations of using performance enhancing drugs.

Many believe the incredible accelerations created by Froome are only possible with the aid of a concealed motor.

And believe it or not, such things are real.

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

Chris Froome image: en.wikipedia.org

“It seems like the bike is pedalling itself,” said Cedric Vasseur, a former competitive cyclist now working for French television.

Concealed motors weigh less than 750g, can generate up to 200 watts of power, and hold a charge for anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes.

As outlined in this Cyclingtips article, the motor would only need to be used to supplement the rider’s power in crucial stages of a race. These crucial stages are usually the areas most lined with noisy fans. Any noise from the motor, then (and they’re pretty quiet) would be easily drowned out by the roadside spectators.

Similar allegations were made of Fabian Cancellara, the 2010 Tour of Flanders and Paris – Roubaix victor.

Union Cyclists Internationale: en.wikipedia.org

Union Cyclists Internationale: en.wikipedia.org

Brian Cookson, president of the international Cycling Union (UCI) said the organisation is taking the issue very seriously.

“We’ve done some testing already for concealed motors.

“We understand that although this subject sometimes causes amusement and derision we know that the technology is available: We have seen examples of it in laboratory conditions.

“We have no evidence that it has been used in competition, yet sadly we do know that in competitive sport sometimes some people will try to find ways of cheating.”

New UFC Policy Divides MMA Community

IV Rehydration Image: en.wikipedia.org

A controversial new rule change has the UFC community divided.

In its partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) the UFC has announced IV’s containing more than 50ml of saline will now be banned.

Intra-venous (IV) rehydration was a commonly accepted practice for fighters to replace the massive amount of fluid lost through weight-cutting.

But the UFC and USADA drug-testers believe many fighters are misusing the IV rehydration program to blood boost.

This is where blood that has been taken from the fighter on a previous occasion is fed back in intravenously moments before the bout. There are super benefits to this: Blood carries oxygen, so having more blood means more energy fuelling the body.

There are also super risks associated with the practice: The fighter’s blood pressure goes through the roof! They’re vascular system is pushed to the limit as excess blood strains the carrying capacity of the arteries and veins.

The process was first used by competitive cyclists; a sport where a cardiovascular advantage means the difference between winning and being dropped by everyone else in the race.

But not everyone is happy with the ban on 50ml+ saline replacement.

According to an article in Bloody Elbow many influential fighters and trainers believe it will damage the health of competitors. Mike dolce, a famous and well respected nutritionist and weight-cut advisor, believes the IV ban will make fighters more susceptible to brain injuries.

Fluid serves to cushion the brain from impact. Less fluid means less protection.

“Someone will die because of that,” said dolce on Periscope Q&A.

“Let the USADA officials stand there and watch every athlete on a drip, that’s fine.

“I know they’re trying to get rid of drugs, which I think is awesome. But you can’t risk the health of the athlete. It’s just so close-minded. It’s dangerous.”

But not everyone agrees.

George Lockhart, a top MMA nutritionist, believed that when done properly oral rehydration is just as effective as intra-venous rehydration.

“There are a lot of potential downsides to IV rehydration,” he said to Bloody Elbow. “If you have too much fluid or too many electrolytes you can have some backlash, like diarrhoea among other things.”

“If you look at all the studies between oral rehydration and IV rehydration, if they rehydrate properly orally, they’ll gain the same weight back.

“If they don’t know how to rehydrate properly then it’s probably better to use the IV.

“But if they know how to rehydrate properly there’s no advantage to using an IV.”

The UFC fighters have been given until October before the ban will be enforced.

Journalist Tries to Eat Like a Tour de France Cyclist – Results Aren’t Pretty

Image: Youtube

Norwegian journalist Nicolay Ramm has attempted to eat a Tour de France cyclists diet and failed – spectacularly!

The Grand Tours are arguably amongst the most physically demanding sports on the planet. The incredible amount of energy the competitors use each day must be replaced with an incredible amount of energy rich food.

Racing cyclists consume a staggering 8290 calories a day, on average – more than twice the amount recommended for an average 16 – 18 year-old male (3000 calories) and almost three times as much as an average 19 – 50 year-old man (2750 calories).

So what happens when an average guy tries to eat like a Tour de France cyclist?

It’s not pretty.

Ramm did his homework. He talked to one of the chefs on a Tour de France team.

Breakfast was:

A full bowl of oatmeal, an egg omelette, 3 ham and cheese sandwiches, a 500ml smoothie, a cup of coffee, 100 grams of pasta, a tub of yoghurt and one glass of orange juice.

By the time Ramm got to his coffee he was already doubled over and groaning.

He managed the coffee and then began on the milkshake … before nearly retching it all back up.

 

Now it was snack time:

Image: Youtube

Image: Youtube

1 banana, 1 apple, a handful of nuts and 2 energy bars, a bottle of water and more coffee.

 

Ramm was looking green. He really had to struggle to finish off the coffee.

 

Now it was the ‘in-between’ food, the sort of stuff cyclists eat while competing!

2 croissants with jam and ham, 2 cans of coke, gallons of sports drink and water, 7 energy bars and 2 energy gels.

 

Image: Youtube

Image: Youtube

Ramm was 4 hours and 7 minutes into his ‘culinary tour de force’ and his stomach was beginning to rebel. Out came the sick-bucket, but, to his creditm Ramm manfully fought it back down again.

“It’s okay … barely,” he groaned as another jam and salami croissant was pushed in front of him.

Then, “I can’t take it anymore!”

But with lunchtime only a few minutes away Ramm’s stomach had had enough. Back it all came and Ramm was disqualified.

After purging himself Ramm looked at the meatloaf for lunch and gave up.

His calorie intake for 5 hours and 3 minutes had been a measly 4300! What he’d eaten had been barely enough to get him through the early stages of an easy day in the Tour

Adam Hansen Riding into History in this Year’s TDF

Adam Hansen image: commons.wikimedia.org

On Saturday night Queenslander Adam Hansen will make professional road cycling history. The moment he turns the first pedal he will have begun his 12th straight Grand Tour,. This will equal the record of Spaniard Bernardo Ruiz who did the same between 1954 and 1958.

Hansen began his record breaking career at the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. Since then he has ridden the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia every year – something unprecedented for a modern-day cyclist.

Should Hansen complete this year’s Tour and finish the Vuelta in September, then he will own the record outright.

“I like riding Grand Tours,” said a somewhat bemused Hansen from the Netherlands on Friday. “The record is a nice thing, but (it’s) not the first objective. Hopefully I finish in Paris.

Hansen (who rides for Lotto-Soudal) said the key to his longevity was quality rest between races.

In the same breath he admits there were some Grand Tours he didn’t think he’d finish.

“So far, the hardest grand Tour would have been the 2013 Vuelta. We had two real hard stages there – I was over my limit.

“In the Tour there is always a stage every year (where) I think: ‘this could be it’. But the 2013 was very difficult.

Hansen was lucky just to make this year’s Tour de France. He crashed in the Ster ZLM Toer in June, but managed to recover.

“It was a relief that the injuries after my crash weren’t too severe.

“Because of the visit to Belgium this is a special edition for the team and I’m happy to be here. Of course I’ll do everything I can to lead Andre (Greipel) to victory.

“I also hope to get in a breakaway, so I can fight for the stage win. I already won a stage at the Giro and Vuelta and I would lie to add a Tour stage to my victories.

“We have a dynamic team, with lots of rider who love to race aggressively and we’ll help each other when we can.”

Armstrong Vows to Ride Two Tour de France Stages

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has confirmed he will ride two stages of this year’s Tour de France.

Armstrong says he will ride each stage the day before the peloton race it. He will ride with former English footballer and fellow cancer survivor Geoff Thomas. The pair hope to raise $2 million for the Cure Leukaemia foundation.

But the pair met with fierce rivalry from ICU president Brian Cookson.

“We know Lance’s involvement in Le Tour has split opinion,” said Cookson, “so we’ve tried to be as respectful as possible to the Tour de France itself in terms of the stages he will be riding.

“The stages Lance will be riding come towards the end of week two, when I know all riders will need some support.

“I know his arrival will give them the encouragement they will need to carry on with this gruelling challenge and in turn raise as much money as possible for blood cancer patients.”

Armstrong appears to have his sight set on riding the 198.5 kilometre 13th stage from Muret to Rodez on the 16th of July. This will be followed by the 198.5 kilometre stage from Rodez to Mende the following day.

Armstrong was controversially stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned from most competitive sports for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2012.

These penalties came after he admitted in an interview on the Oprah Winfrey talkback program that he had used performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.

For this reason Tour organisers are embarrassed to have him ride in their race.

Armstrong to Ride for Charity in This Year’s TDF

Brian Cookson image: http://www.uci.ch/inside-uci/organisation/management/committee/brian-cookson-gbr/

Head of cycling’s governing body, Brian Cookson, is outraged at Lance Armstrong’s decision to ride the Tour de France.

Not the actual race, of course.

Armstrong, with fellow cancer survivor, footballer Geoff Thomas, have signalled their intention to ride a few stages of this year’s Tour to raise money for a leukaemia foundation.

Cookson, however, says having Armstrong associated with the race he duped seven times would be ‘disrespectful’ to the sport.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles and lost $20 million after finally confessing to taking performance enhancing drugs.

The sport’s governing body has worked hard to try to limit the damage and stop questions being asked about its complicity in Armstrong’s deception. Armstrong did get away with it for SEVEN YEARS. And during this time competition road racing earned itself the dubious honour of being the most drug infected sport in the world.

Armstrong has hit back at Cookson saying his riding to raise money for charity is ‘the least of cycling’s problems’.

And surely Armstrong has a point?

What further damage can he do to the race – other than have people focus on how so many others were caught cheating while Armstrong himself was not?

If anything, Armstrong’s notoriety will boost attendance. Certainly his presence will raise money for a most worthwhile cause. And Armstrong being at the great race will, without doubt, serve as an object warning about the perils of taking performance enhancing drugs in competitive sport.

Cookson wants the whole Armstrong saga forgotten. He seems pretty desperate to do so. Many are wondering why.

Cadel Evans Looking to Revitalise Australian Cycling

Cadel evans image: en.wikipedia.org

Cadel Evans is trying to restructure cycling in Australia. He is aghast at the current lack of Aussies able to compete for titles in the grand tours.

Evans is the only Australian ever to win the coveted Gold Jersey at the Tour de France. He credits much of his ability to do this to the combination of mountain biking and road racing.

Evans believes that improving the links between these two sports well lead to improvements in the results of the next generation of Australian competitive cyclists.

“Cycling in Australia is not really favourable for bringing in the climbers. All of our racing is more suited to rouleurs and sprinters,” said Evans. “That’s why we have a lot of good time-trialists and sprinters, because of the type of racing at the grassroots level. Which is why I’m so grateful to the sport of mountain biking.”

Evans began his professional career in mountain biking. He won two cross country world cup gold medals before moving to competitive road cycling.

“Mountain biking is such an important part of cycling overall because it draws on a different type of physique.

“This physique that’s well suited to riding cross-country mountain bike races can also be very well suited to the physique you need to be a Tour de France contender. People need to realise this.

“We don’t have races at the junior level that are suited to these kinds of riders – with a physique like mine – and they can possibly be discouraged from a young age, from staying in the sport.

“If we have more facilities for mountain bikers we can help them develop more.”

Horror Crash at Stage 6 Giro d’Italia

Image; YouTube

An over-zealous fan with a long telephoto lens has caused an ugly crash at this year’s Giro d’Italia.

The pelaton were winding up for the finishing sprint when Daniel Colli (riding for Nippo-Vini Fantini) clipped a spectator spilling him into the other riders.

The crash broke his left arm and sent race favourite Alberto Contador pin-wheeling along the road.

Contador released a statement saying: “I haven’t broken anything, but I have suffered a dislocation of the left should.

‘The doctors have recommended I immobilise my left arm during the evening and night, while I try to move it a bit with the help of my other arm to promote the movement of the shoulder.

“I will try to start tomorrow on stage 7.

“I will try to continue until the very last moment. I’m optimistic about the start tomorrow. But we have to wait until right before the start to see what happens and how serious the effect of the crash is.”

Contador bravely limped across the finish line after the crash. He escaped time losses because the accident happened within the final 3km.

Paris-Roubaix Nearly Ends in Tragedy

Image: news.com.au

The blood, sweat, and tears of the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic cycle race nearly ended in tragedy. Several riders had a near miss with a high speed TGV train as they sought to cross the line as the safety barrier was descending.

One of the rider, from the Belgian Lotto team, was actually clipped by the barrier as it descended, with the train hurtling towards him only seconds away.

Organisers shudder to think what might have happened if he’d fallen onto the track.

The incident took place about 87 kilometres from the Roubaix finish.

The race, known (almost feared) as The Hell of the North, has stretches of brutal, bone-breaking cobblestones; winding dirt tracks; tortuous, spirit sapping climbs; and leg burning open bitumen straights.

But riders are aggressive and willing to take risks in order to win this prestigious event.

The riders who chose to cross as the boom gate was lowering were, technically, breaking the rules. In 2006, three riders working together to reel in a lone breakaway (eventual winner Fabian Cancellara) found themselves disqualified after skirting a lowered railway line barrier only 10 kilometres from the finish.

Image: news.com.au

Image: news.com.au

Race organisers, however, were quickly onto the riders who had slipped through the barrier. They were told to slow down so that those behind them could catch up – which was only fair.

The riders agreed and the race officials let them off with a frown and a hard gaze.

Guy Dobbelaere, the president of the jury of race commissioners, told reporters: “It wasn’t possible for the leading riders to stop sufficiently safely.

‘By neutralising the race for a few moments to not penalise those who stopped, we respected the spirit of the rule.

“In theory, those who pass when the barrier is down are thrown out of the race. This time, that would have been unjust in respect of those riders who weren’t identified.”