Archive for the ‘sports science’ 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.

TUF Coaches for Season 22 Announced

Image: Twitter, Ariel Helwani

UFC supremo Dana White stunned the MMA world by announcing the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter season 22: Conor McGregor and Uriah Faber.

Where this differs from previous announcements is that the rival coaches usually face-off at the conclusion of the series. Not so this time. Conor McGregor has booked himself a fight against incumbent (but injury prone) champion Jose Aldo.

Fans seem quite happy with the announcement.

Faber has been an exciting, skilful and popular figheter, but is well past his prime. His recent loss against Frankie Edgar had White considering dropping Faber from the UFC roster – for his own protection.

Installing Faber as a coach without making him fight the lightweight contender appeases fans, gives the show’s contestants the benefit of Faber’s almost unique experience, while protecting the veteran fighter from further damage in the ring.

TUF-22 will feature two teams of lightweights selected along national lines. Faber will coach a team from the United States, while McGregor will coach a team made up of Europeans. Both coaches are articulate, strong-willed, and unafraid to say what they think – it should make great viewing.

The season will include a two-hour special and debut on September 9. It will run for 11 episodes and likely conclude with the title fight sometime in November.

Rumours suggest McGregor may face Aldo for the title as late as January 2. Faber may fight on the same card, but an opponent has not yet been selected.

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

McGregor Tries to Bet $3 Million on Himself!

Image: Twitter, Ariel Helwani

Now this is confidence:

Conor McGregor has suggested a bet with the top executives of the UFC on the outcome of his fight against Chad Mendes, on Saturday, July 11.

So confident is the Irishman he is willing to lay a bet of $3 million on himself to win.

Ariel Helwani posted on Twitter on the 8th: Dana White on Jim Rome just now. McGregor offeed to bet White and Fertitta 3 million dollars that he will finish Mendes early.

So not only does McGregor believe he’ll win, but that Mendes won’t even be able to go the full distance with him.

White was understandably flabbergasted.

He first mentioned the suggested bet on The Jim Rome Show.

But perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad bet for the promotions executives?

Rumours close to the McGregor camp are saying the Irishman is facing a particularly brutal weight cut. He needs to lose close to 27 pounds in the few days before the weigh-in.

Many normal people spend years trying to lose that amount of weight. McGregor, however, has much, much less time.

Would the executives win their bet if McGregor did not make weight?

Will the drastic weight cut affect McGregor’s normally explosive, aggressive style?

The world awaits one of the most anticipated UFC fights since Jon Jones fought Daniel Cormier.

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.”

McGregor Scoffs at Aldo’s Withdrawal

Imae: Twitter

UFC featherweight contender Connor McGregor hasn’t held back on champion Jose Aldo’s withdrawal. The two were due to fight at UFC 189 this Sunday, but Aldo withdrew after suffering a cracked rib during training.

McGregor took to the media claiming he would have ‘butchered’ Aldo had the Brazilian not ‘pussied out.’

McGregor believes Aldo’s replacement, Chad Mendes, and he should be fighting for the actual title, rather than an interim belt when they meet next Sunday:

“Every time I looked into that man’s (Aldo’s) eyes I saw fear,” raged McGregor.  “I saw glass. I anticipated he would not show. When he got his opportunity to pull, he pulled.

“It’s something I expected. I don’t blame the man; I was going to f***ing butcher him. Rip him limb from limb. I wouldn’t want to face that either.

“He’s gone. He was beaten mentally before he was beaten physically.

“I don’t know whether he’ll be back. He’s gone running and I don’t think he’ll be back.

“If a man pussies out, and he’s pussied out time and time again, then he should be stripped (of his belt).

“If you’re fit to fight and you’re not going to fight (then) the belt rightfully should be stripped and this (fight should be) for the regular featherweight belt.”

McGregor dismissed Mendes as a mere stand-in.

“You can’t even pass guard,” McGregor scoffed at Mendes. “You’re a wipe-out on the mat. What are you going to do? Hold me down? I will butcher you from the bottom. I’ll get back up and butcher you on my feet.

“I hear a quiver in his (Mendes’) voice.

“I see me butchering his facial structure. I feel he’s in the wrong weight class. He gasses to quckly.

“ I think Chad is a substitute. The B-level. I think he’s a wrestler with an overhand that gasses quickly.

“I’m here to shut this man down. Break that pay-per-view record and cash those big, fat cheques, and f*** anyone who doubts me.”

 

Aldo responded by posting x-rays of his fractured ribs on Twitter. These, he says, proves he is in no fit state to fight McGregor.

He then drove home his disgust of McGregor by saing that Mendes and McGregor were merely fighting for a ‘toy belt’.

“The Octagon is my kingdom and there is only room for one king – it’s me.

“If he wants to participate, he has to be the court jester.

“If you (McGregor) beat Chad Mendes, the only thing you’ll have is a toy belt to show friends, drunk in the bars of his country. Because that’s what an interim title is for me – a toy. The champion is me.”

Australian Wins Mr Universe

Image: Instagram

Australian Calum von Moger has won the most prestigious body building event in the world: the WWF (World Fitness Federation) Mr Universe.

He overshadowed the competition held in la Ciotat, France, over the weekend and was a clear favourite with the crowds.

von Moger describes himself as the quintessential ‘skinny kid’ who took up lifting weights to improve his self-image and earn the respect of his peers. At the ripe old age of 14 he began pumping iron in an empty warehouse. But von Moger could not get enough of it.

In 2011 he won the Junior Mr Universe.

In 2014 he moved to Los Angeles to compete against the best bodybuilders in the world.

Image: Instagram

Image: Instagram

Later in 2014 he won the Amateur Mr Universe (where he was given the nickname ‘Schwarzenegger 2.0’).

And now he has won the overall title.

The competition was decided after a 10-minute performance. The competitors’ physiques are judged through a posing routine, body rotation, eight mandatory poses, and a one minute ‘pose down’ against another competitor (or competitors) of the judges choosing.

von Moger (who has Dutch and Austrian parents) grew up in central Victoria. He is grateful to his parents and friends whom, he says, always supported him.

As for the competition itself: “It’s always a challenge when you’re up against the best of every country,” said a thrilled von Moger.

“But I am already so happy at the level I am at and the conditioning I have achieved for this show. Win or lose, I know I gave it my all this time.”

Image: Instagram

Image: Instagram

Drug Cartels Target High School Athletes

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#mediaviewer/File:Cocaine3.jpg

American drug law enforcement agents are horrified at the increasing number of drug overdoses amongst high school athletes.

A recent report highlights a pervasive use of heroin, leading to addiction, and often death amongst teenagers.

The seven-month study, by Sports Illustrated, believed cartels focus on athletes recovering from injuries. These people often have a history of painkiller use (either prescription or blackmarket) and are ripe to ‘graduate’ to hard drugs like heroin.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has identified this demographic as ‘at risk’.

The pressure and rewards of sporting achievement, even during high school, can be enormous. Scouts from many top-tier sporting teams regularly attend high school sports matches and carnivals in the hopes of spotting athletes worth signing.

As such, many teenagers are willing to take enormous health risks and compete despite being injured. When they are unable to be given prescription painkillers they look to the blackmarket.

“The cartels have developed a strategy,” said DEA chief of operations Jack Riley in the Sports Illustrated article, “with the help of street gangs, to put heroin in every walk of life. They recognise how vulnerable young athletes are.

A research project carried out by the University of Michigan found that approximately 11 per cent of high school athletes will have used a narcotic painkilling substance (including OxyContin or Vicodin) for non-medical purposes by the time they reach their final year of school.