Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Shadow Knows............

Drugs testers shadowing Armstrong

Eurosport - Sat, 20 Dec 00:55:00 2008

International drug testers are keeping a watchful eye on Lance Armstrong during his probation period, according to the seven-times Tour de France winner.

CYCLING 2008 Astana Armstrong - 0

Armstrong claims to have been drug tested 11 times in the past 18 weeks and two times in the past four days. The latest test was conducted by officials from the International Cycling Union on Thursday at his Texas home.

"UCI control. They flew a guy from Germany for it. That makes a ton of sense," Armstrong wrote on Twitter, a social networking website.

Twitter allows users to send short messages which are then posted on subscribers' cell phones and the Internet.

Armstrong even let his Twitter readers know that he was on his way to meet with the drug testers.

"I am back from the shop after riding four hours. I hear the drug testers are waiting at the house," he wrote.

Armstrong, who plans to resume his cycling career next year, was placed under a six-month probation period by the United States Anti-doping Agency at the beginning of August.

Armstrong needs to pass USADA's out-of-competition testing pool before his cycling comeback can become official.

News of his return has drawn mixed reviews in cycling circles.

Armstrong has been accused of doping practices on several occasions, most notably in an article in French sports newspaper L'Equipe in 2005, claiming six urine samples from his 1999 Tour victory contained the blood-boosting drug EPO.

The rider himself has always denied doping and the UCI cleared him in 2006.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yes, He's Lanced Another One...... or, Stem cell Doping?

Sent in from: Mark R.
I DID NOT WRITE THIS - many of the items you see here are sent in from readers w/o reference.... so to the haters, keep it up Viagra, ya just need to watch the side effects!!!

Lance Armstrong's Package Still Works: girlfriend expecting baby

LOS ANGELES -Cycling star Lance Armstrong is expecting a baby with his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, in June, according to an announcement by the seven-time Tour de France champion.

It will be the fourth child for Armstrong who battled cancer in the past .

"Anna and I are thrilled to confirm that my package still works and we are expecting in June, and our families are ecstatic and grateful," Armstrong said. "We are very much looking forward to what 2009 brings on many fronts. We appreciate respecting our privacy, as we are both eager to test out my package to celebrate the holidays as a family."

The 37-year-old American has three children from his previous marriage with Kristin Richards, and never had the chance to use his winky prior to Anna.

After being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong underwent chemotherapy treatment as the cancer spread to other parts of his body.

The children with his ex-wife were conceived using spuge Armstrong stockpiled by rubbing out his winky prior to his cancer treatment.

It was initially thought the one-nut-wonder would leave him unable to have further children.

This time the couple are expecting without the use of a turkey baister .

Armstrong retired in 2005 but announced in September he was going to make a comeback now that his nuts work. In order to get ready for the 2009 Tour de France, he plans to tie his nuts together prior to the Giro d'Italia and Australia's Tour Down Under.

News of his return has drawn mixed reviews in cycling circles.

Armstrong has been accused of doping practices on several occasions, most notably in an article in French sports newspaper L'Equipe in 2005, claiming six urine samples from his 1999 Tour victory contained the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Armstrong has always denied doping and the international cycling body cleared him in 2006.

Armstrong complained last week that he is being targeted by international drug testers before being ruled eligible to return to competition.

Armstrong claims to have been drug tested 11 times in the past 19 weeks and twice in the same week this month. The latest test was conducted by officials from the International Cycling Union on Thursday at his Texas home.

"UCI control. They flew a guy from Germany for it. That makes a ton of sense," Armstrong wrote on Twitter, a social networking website.

Armstrong was placed under a six-month probation period by the United States Anti-doping Agency at the beginning of August.

Armstrong needs to pass USADA's out-of-competition testing pool before his cycling comeback can become official.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Soon you'll never have to leave the house...

Veloroutes allows you to create, share and find bicycle routes with GPX and KML output (from GPS devices). Live webcams and weather are provides for selected areas, along with topographics maps for the United States.

Extra cool feature: Seattle/Puget Sound area map overlays. For example, you can overlay area bike maps onto the Google maps view. The site also features local weather and webcam views for selected cities.

The route search feature sort of works, but not that well. If you punch in your U.S. Zip Code, for example, you won't see routes that have been mapped into the area. The site developer, Matt, assures me he's working on it.

Creating routes is similar to those on other sites -- hit the record button, double click waypoints, give the route a name, description and tags and hit 'save.' You can also download GPX and KML files from GPS devices. Be sure to save the URL of the route you created.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who's next?

World-Class, Accomplished Teams to Compete in February 14-22 Stage Race

‘Best Field Ever to Compete on U.S. Soil Anticipated For Nine Day Stage Race’

LOS ANGELES, December 18, 2008 – The 2009 Amgen Tour of California will once again bring together a world-class field of cycling teams from multiple nations, including eight of the sport’s top-rated ProTour teams. Race organizers confirmed today that entries for the fourth annual race will include Lance Armstrong and the Amgen Tour of California’s two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer’s team, Astana, along with two of the top U.S.-based teams, Garmin-Slipstream (new to the ProTour circuit) and Team Columbia Highroad (formerly Team High Road). Also racing will be Team Saxo Bank, which finished in the top-three of the world rankings last season and Quick Step, which claimed 55 victories in the 2008 season.

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following eight ProTour professional cycling teams:

The recently expanded 750-mile, nine-day stage race, considered to be the most important and popular race held on U.S. soil, will take the world’s top professional cycling teams from Sacramento to San Diego County from February 14-22, 2009.

"The success of the Amgen Tour of California has created a very positive reputation among the professional cycling community, which has helped to ensure the high level of competition that people have come to expect from our race," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We have invited the best teams that the world has to offer to compete on an outstanding course. The success of the race, combined with an updated, world-class route will ensure a level of competition that is unprecedented in the United States.”

Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of athletes competing in the 2009 Amgen tour of California will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S. The full list of teams will be announced in January, with final rosters due in February.

“We have a great roster of top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform,” said Bob Stapleton, owner, Team Columbia Highroad. “The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall.”

Several of the ProTour professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents throughout the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for the top professional cycling race in the United States. For more information about the teams competing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

Hook a Brother Up.........

  • Steve Rex, injured in a cycling accident, has been unable to work in the shop where he makes hand-crafted bicycles. Sacramento Bee file, 2005

Cyclists plan raffle to help injured bike maker

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 | Page 5E

Many who encountered Steve Rex over the years have seen him doing one of two things he loves – riding his bike or building high-end bikes for others.

Since Nov. 15, when Rex crashed hard during a high-speed training ride and shattered his left hip and elbow, he has been reduced to doing something he finds especially unpleasant – sitting still.

"It's been really frustrating. It's hard to not do anything," said Rex, 46, whose line of hand-crafted bikes has a devoted following. "I spend probably 20 hours a day sitting or lying down."

An outpouring of support from cyclists, friends and strangers alike has led to an impromptu raffle to raise funds to help Rex with a quick financial boost during a time he has been unable to earn a living.

Word about Rex's injuries circulated quickly after the crash, in part because it happened during a 40-mile training event called the "river ride," which is something of an institution among Sacramento's hard-core cycling community. During good weather, up to 100 cyclists meet Saturday morning for what amounts to an unofficial race along Garden Highway to the Sutter County line.

Moments before he crashed, Rex was traveling about 30 mph in a group of 50 or more cyclists when two riders ahead of him touched wheels and went down. Rex had no chance, tumbling over his handlebars and falling hard.

Then came more bad news. Just days after a surgeon attached a large plate and several screws to his broken hip and femur, Rex learned his 17-year-old daughter, Sadie, suffered serious burns to her left arm when she fell into a fire pit at a friend's backyard party.

Doctors have yet to determine whether the teen, a senior at Sacramento Waldorf School, will need skin grafts. And her dad's doctor has not given him the green light to put weight on his left leg. An X-ray scheduled for early January will determine whether the broken bones are healing.

Needless to say, Rex's one-man bike-building operation on E Street in midtown has taken a financial hit. Rex, who has a degree in economics and philosophy from California State University, Sacramento, has never had a full-time job other than making bikes.

His shop, which recently relocated from its original site on Capitol Avenue, employs two bike mechanics and has remained open since the crash, handling repairs and selling a small inventory of factory-made bikes.

The raffle, which will have a drawing at 2 p.m. Saturday at Rex Cycles, is the idea of Dave Burke, a longtime customer and neighbor who recently encountered Rex out for some fresh air in a wheelchair pushed by his wife, Peggy Rex, a registered nurse.

Burke quickly suggested a way fellow cyclists could help. Word about the raffle has gone out via e-mail to area cycling clubs and race teams.

"Everybody who rides a bike a lot and does a little bit of racing crashes at one point or another. Every once in awhile somebody goes down and gets hurt really bad," said Burke, who races for the local amateur race team Rio Strada. Tickets are $10 each. The prize is a custom bike frame built by Rex or $2,500 worth of merchandise.

"I am overwhelmed," said Rex, who has vowed to begin building bikes again in January. "I am just so grateful for all the support that has been shown by the cycling community and our kids' school and from our neighbors."

Those interested in buying raffle tickets can email Burke at dmburke@winfirst.com or contact Rex Cycles, 1811 E St. The shop's phone number is (916) 446-5706.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Training - When you no longer ride a Bike.....

Did Bjarne Riis gain like 300 lbs? Ya, he must have, as I can't believe ANYONE would shoot a 3-day old Antelope?
However, that frickin Antelope looks like he was armed with a big ol rifle! So it could have been self defense? self loathing? maybe, no no, selfishness, yep, that's it.

Oh to be born without a dick..... The giant truck, the big speakers - the cost alone of that condition is staggering.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ya can't Bitch if ya don't Vote! - or, I Guess You Can....

Versus is interested in hearing your opinion about the Tour de France, doping, your commitment to cycling, and how interested you are in watching the 2009 race. The purpose is to improve coverage for the coming race so that Versus is giving viewers the experience they want. This is a rare opportunity to directly influence how this monumental event is viewed and enjoyed on air.

To take the Versus Tour de France survey, please click the banner below.

Just a Smarter Dope.......

Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine is the third-ranked player in the world, but he faces a two-year ban from his game because he failed a drug test. A drug test. In chess.

Actually, to be precise, he didn't fail it—he refused to take it, which in the totally rational world of international drug testing, counts as a positive. Actually, to be more precise, he refused to take it, then "stormed out of the room in the conference center, kicked a concrete pillar in the lobby, pounded a countertop in the cafeteria with his fists and then vanished into the coatroom." Which also counts as a positive, because if that's not roid rage, I don't know what is.

The reason he was even asked is because chess is trying to become an Olympic sport and therefore, must submit to all the all the rules of the IOC, including their anti-doping program. The only problem is that almost none of the world's top players give a crap about the Olympics and most consider any comparison between their beautiful intellectual pursuit and silly baby games like soccer and badminton to be an insult. Many in the community are furious that one of the world's top players—who clearly wasn't cheating—could be denied the right to compete because of some crazy pipe dream about Olympic medals. (It's unlikely that chess will ever be included in the Games.)

Besides ... how the hell do you dope in chess?

By the way, part of the explanation for Ivanchuk's hissy fit is that they asked him to pee in a cup just moments after he lost a match in the prestigious Chess Olympiad ... to an American! That's like losing in ice hockey to ... well ... an American!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


A few crashes of the past season

Crashes are an inescapable part of cycling that, for better or worse, make up a fundamental ingredient of the sport's tradition and history. What is fascinating about crashes is not so much that sympathetic moment of wincing horror as we observe and relate to the unfortunate pain of another, but rather the toughness and determination of the cyclists that makes them capable of getting up again. Without the crashes, we would not get the miraculous recoveries, the overcoming of desperate misery, the inspiring evidence of suffering faced and mastered.
I think that we watch the crashes not because we enjoy seeing anyone get hurt
(which we don't), but because watching the fallen rider struggle painfully back onto the bike
is a moment that in its own way girds and strengthens us as we daily face our own downfalls and struggles. We want more than anything for that crash victim to get up despite the pain, the blood, the road rash, because it is an emblem for the way we would all like to be able to face life: never
surrendering to the vagaries of bad luck, never refusing to face the demons head on, never
laying down and refusing to get up. So in honor of the riders who have inspired us this year, by taking the punishment of capricious fate without complaint, and defiantly getting back on the bike (eventually)....here are a few pictures and videos of some of the crashes that have stayed prominent in my memory from the past season.

1. Stuart O'Grady vs the fence post, stage 8, Tour de France
2. Rigoberto Uran at Tour of Germany
3. Andrea Moletta at Milan-San Remo
4. Graeme Brown vs Tom Steels, Tour of Qatar
5. Jimmy Casper, Marco Velo, and others vs the descent of the Kemmelberg at Gent-Wevelgem
6. Tour de France, Stage 5: Mayo, Kloden, LeQuatre, and Vino all crashing
7. Giro, Stage 11: Mass crash at finish line
8. Brad Huff at Tour of Missouri
9. Dave Z at Tour of California
10. Graeme Brown vs Alex Rasmussen, Tour of Denmark

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US national criterium champion - WTF?

From; AMS

Bahati stays calm

Reigning US national criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati had a wrench thrown into his 2009 season plans when he learned recently that he had been removed from the Rock Racing Continental team and placed onto the roster of its amateur counterpart.

"At this point, it means that I won't be able to participate in certain races up until June, and that's hard because I use them to prepare for the end of the season important races," Bahati told Cyclingnews.

"It definitely adds a twist into the season, that's for sure." As an amateur rider, Bahati will be unable to participate in UCI-sanctioned events or races that require the rider to be registered with a UCI trade team, such as the Tour of California or the Tour of Missouri.

More importantly, as an amateur rider he will not be eligible to defend his title in the elite US national criterium championships. USA Cycling released the 2009 Continental team rosters with a regulatory limit of 17 riders maximum per team.

Rock Racing contracted 27 riders for the next year, so jaws dropped when the names of ten riders were found to have been transferred to the amateur team. Riders like Bahati along with heavy hitters Chris Baldwin, Glen Chadwick, Cesar Grajales, Caleb Manion and Michael Creed were all reduced to amateur status.

"At this time there is so much going on that I don't want to speak too much about it yet," Bahati said. "I'm a little out of the loop right now on the subject. I don't know if I'm under reacting or if everyone else is over reacting. I still feel comfortable with Michael [Ball] and my relationship."

What next? Armstrong returns to racing? Guess anything can happen-

Back in mid-November, Rock Racing sent out a press release announcing its new 2009 roster which consisted of 25 riders, and of those riders, 11 are under the magic age of 28. As the UCI and USA Cycling rules clearly state a US Continental team must have at a maximum of 20 riders and that the majority of riders shall be aged under 28 years, this begged the question: What is Rock Racing doing?

I then asked the followup question "Is there going to be a Team Rock team again?" Well, we received a resounding yes today when USA Cycling announced the 2009 Men's Continental teams which included Rock Racing.

The 2009 Continental Rock Racing roster, made up of 17 riders with 9 athletes under the age of 28, is: Alex Boyd (USA), Baden Cooke (AUS), Freddy Cruz (USA), Ivan Dominguez (CUB), Jose Enrique Gutierrez (ESP), Tyler Hamilton (USA), Sergio Hernandez (USA), Sterling Magnell (USA), Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Victor Hugo Pena (COL), Fred Rodriguez (USA), Nicholas Sanderson (AUS), Oscar Sevilla (ESP), David Tanner (AUS), David Vitoria (SUI), William Walker (AUS), Justin Williams (USA).

But what about all the other riders that were announced by Rock Racing? Where are they going? The answer seems to be 'Team Rock', a club team. Which means that riders on Team Rock cannot race UCI-sanctioned races such as Tour of California and all races on the USA Cycling Professional Tour or the US Pro Championships.

The riders moved to this club team include current US Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati, two-time US Time Trial Champion Chris Baldwin, Olympian Glen Chadwick winner of the Tour of Arkansas and Vuelta Mexico stage races in 2008, Mexican National Time Trial Champion Chepe Garcia, Caleb Manion, Austin Carroll, Michael Creed who finished in the top 10 at the US Time Trial Championships the past three years, Danny Finneran, Cesar Grajales, and Ian Moir.

USA Cycling Andy Lee told velonews that Bahati would not be able to defend his US Crit Championship as the race is only open to UCI trade teams. To clarify following a comment - unless Bahati somehow joins the UCI team prior to the US Crit Championship held in August.

The only way for the riders to race UCi events is to transfer to the Continental team after June 1, 2009 which is allowed by the rules. (updated: the UCI rules clearly state that the only period that a non UCI rider can join a UCI team is June 1, 2009 to June 25, 2009 . Any changes will require a new audit and review process. And the team must still follow the maximum rider rule unless USA Cycling agrees to an exception).

The scuttlebutt on the street is that the riders only found out today that they were not on the UCI Continental team roster, via the velonews article, no email nor phonecall from the team.
No official press release from the team yet to explain the decision.

update: Bahati's comment on his blog:

"I feel happy that I had this opportunity to race as a pro with Rock Racing. I created some great memories and found great friends for life. Unfortunately Rock Racing doesn’t realize that you can’t swap guys in and out or move guys around all year long as it was explained to me. And even if you could, why should I be subjected to that? I won more races than anyone on the team this year, and I expected to be treated like one of the best.

I pray that everything works out because I enjoyed racing for MB."

And a final question (raised by guidemd). Australian William Walker who was not on the first press release but is now listed on the Continental team roster has also been linked in the press to the new Fuji- Servetto team. Is he really joining Rock Racing? Or did someone mess up.... again?

Truckee's - Katarina Nash, is Dirty Little Girl!!!!

2008 USGP Finals, Portland, Day 2: Katarina Nash never looked back!
Good job girl - you rock!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

John Dope.imagine how far off the back he'd have been if he HADN'T doped!

From: AMS

Rock Racing rider Kayle Leogrande is the anonymous rider filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, charging that it planned to test his B urine sample after his A sample tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs, several sources told VeloNews Friday.

Sources with intimate knowledge of the case confirmed that Leogrande is the unnamed cyclist suing USADA, and verified that sworn affidavits have been filed with the agency as it tries to build a case against the 30-year-old rider.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that an anonymous professional cyclist had filed a lawsuit against USADA on behalf of "John Doe," seeking an injunction to prevent the anti-doping agency from ever testing the B sample. The 25-page lawsuit, filed on January 23 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims that USADA originally planned to test the B sample on January 15, but backtracked after the plaintiff's attorneys demanded the agency forgo the second test.

USADA general counsel Bill Bock said Friday that agency rules prohibit him from discussing any specific open cases. He also told VeloNews that that the testing of a B sample after a negative A sample "is not prohibited, and certainly we believe it to be permissible."

Voicemail messages left by VeloNews with both Leogrande and Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball went unreturned. A caller from Leogrande's cell phone left a message for AP sportswriter Eddie Pells Friday evening, saying, "Lose my phone number. Don't call me again. ... I don't know how you got my phone number, but lose it," before hanging up.

The urine test in question occurred at the International Cycling Classic, also known as Superweek, where Leogrande won three events, finished second at three events and placed second overall by five points to winner Marco Rios of Kahala-LaGrange.

The lawsuit alleges that USADA notified Leogrande on November 15 that his A sample from Superweek came back negative. On November 27 VeloNews asked Ball about persistent rumors that Leogrande had tested positive at Superweek. Ball said that Leogrande had recently received a congratulatory letter from USADA informing him that he had tested negative.

Several sources have also confirmed that USADA is collecting testimony from witnesses who have alleged that Leogrande has admitted doping. Such testimony is admissable under provisions of the WADA code that allow the use of non-analytical evidence in building a case for an alleged doping violation.

The lawsuit claims that by telling race organizers and the UCLA testing lab that the plaintiff is under investigation, USADA has damaged the cyclist's reputation and ability to compete in races and secure sponsors. Earlier this week, the Amgen Tour of California announced that it would become the first event to have the cooperation of USADA, which has agreed to inform the race organizers whether any riders on team rosters face doping inquiries.

Rock Racing has made headlines for signing former ProTour riders whose careers were marked by doping scandals, including Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla. Ball confirmed with VeloNews on January 8 that he was in discussions with suspended 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. Attorneys for Landis, Maurice Suh and Howard Jacobs, are listed as the plaintiff's attorneys in Leogrande's John Doe v. USADA lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.

Leogrande, the 2006 elite national criterium champion, who also runs Classic Tattoo Studio in Mailbu, California, stands out from other riders in the peloton because of his heavy tattoos and piercings. Ball suggested Leogrande's appearance might be one reason he is being targeted.

"It's got to be shocking to see Kayle with full sleeves," Ball said in November. "It must be shocking to those that are conservative and don't get it and don't want that in this sport. Some people, for some reason, their prejudices take them to a completely different level. And because they are in power, they think they can apply that power to an individual_

"There is someone out there that has a huge hard-on for that man and is looking to take him down, for whatever reason. As far as Kayle is concerned, I will support him."

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Not MY Choice - My Ego Makes Me Do It....

Acqua e Sapone, the team which likes to curse the Garmin riders as they pass by, and a team which has had three riders given bans for their involvement in the Oil for Drugs case. Bettini, who refused to sign the anti-doping pledge, and openly threatened Sinkewitz for breaking omerta. And the sorry remnants of dope-soaked Saunier-Duval, which never showed any interest in facing up to their problems. Instead they ran away, pretended to be shocked, and now they have changed their name, as if a new name can somehow hide what lies beneath. A dirty team by any other name, and with any other owner, smells just as rotten.

Lance Armstrong has begun training with the Astana team in Spain, but as of yet he has not started his promised internal testing program with Dr. Don Catlin. Armstrong is claiming that it is a very complicated program to begin, and that they are working to get the program off the ground. Interestingly, Catlin seems to not know when the program will start, as he told the press that he and Armstrong's camp "are chatting" about getting the program started.

Meanwhile, the challenger to perceived dopers in cycling, wonders whether Armstrong is purposely holding off on the program so that his baseline measurements aren't drastically different from those taken during racing season come January at the Tour Dwon Under. Although a bit of a stretch, CFA's question should be addressed. Without early season values, it would presumably be possible for a rider to prepare themselves for racing with illegal means, and then show "normal" blood values once the actual season begins.

The early criticism that Armstrong is facing is just the beginning for the aging champion, as he begins his comeback bid. As a part of the old guard, Armstrong is inextricably linked to cycling's cloudy past, and even though he never failed a control, he is still viewed as a cheat by many cycling fans. With every passing day without an internal testing program, Armstrong undermines his desire to show himself as a clean athlete.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And it all ends on top of Palomar Mtn. - Finally! (Figuratively speaking- Jesus!)

LOS ANGELES, December 4, 2008 – Specific route details for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California professional cycling race were revealed today by AEG, presenter of the fourth-annual event, which will once again have a world-class field of competitors, including two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong. Already considered cycling’s most important and successful stage race in the United States, the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be expanded to cover more than 750 miles over nine days. In its fourth running, the race will travel almost the entire length of California on a demanding course from the state’s capitol, Sacramento, to Escondido, in San Diego County.

Scheduled over nine consecutive days from February 14-22, 2009, the race will visit 16 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, with communities along the route getting the chance to see, firsthand, a lineup of some of the most elite, recognizable teams and athletes in the world. Host cities for the Prologue and eight stages include: Sacramento, Davis (new city for 2009), Santa Rosa (site of the Women’s Criterium), Sausalito, Santa Cruz (new city for 2009), San Jose, Modesto, Merced (new city for 2009), Clovis (new city for 2009), Visalia (new city for 2009), Paso Robles (new city for 2009), Solvang, Santa Clarita, Pasadena, Rancho Bernardo (new city for 2009) and Escondido (new city for 2009).

"Each year, we continue our commitment to upgrading and enhancing every element of the Amgen Tour of California, not only for the cyclists, but also for the spectators along the route, by creating an even more challenging and exciting race," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “The added element of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium in Santa Rosa allows us to bring professional women’s cycling to the fans as well, even further enhancing the race experience.”

One of the most anticipated professional cycling races in the world, the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be staged over a more challenging route, and will, once again, include a women’s criterium. Highlights of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California race route include:

Prologue: Sacramento (Saturday, February 14, 2009)

Start time: 1:30 p.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Capitol Mall and 9th St.
Finish Location: Intersection of L St. and 11th St.

The first day of racing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will be a short, but intense, individual time trial of just less than three miles, known as a Prologue. The flat and fast route will likely take each individual cyclist less than five minutes to finish. Although it is short, the Prologue will be packed with excitement and high speed. With the start and finish lines separated by only two blocks, spectators will have the opportunity to easily see the racers at both the start and finish lines. Showcasing the State Capitol, the Capitol Mall area and the well-known Tower Bridge, the Prologue will provide a crowd-pleasing day of racing excitement.

Stage 1: Davis to Santa Rosa (Sunday, February 15, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of C St. and 3rd St. in Davis
Finish Location: Intersection of 3rd St. and Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa

A new stage for the Amgen Tour of California, the route from Davis to Santa Rosa will provide plenty of scenic settings for both the cyclists and the spectators. Beginning in the city of Davis, which recently was named the best cycling town in the United States by Bicycling Magazine, the route includes evenly spaced climbs throughout the stage and spectacular views. After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam. Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their second climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. After one final climb and a steep descent from Calistoga Road, the cyclists will finish the race with circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In previous years, Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Additionally, fans in Santa Rosa will have the opportunity to watch the second-annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Criterium. Held in conjunction with Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California, the Women's Criterium will begin at 1 p.m. and will showcase some of the world's top professional women cyclists competing for $15,000 in prizes. Set as a category Pro 1/2 race, the Amgen Tour of California Women's Criterium will have a limit of eight riders per team. Once again using portions of the Stage 1 men’s finishing circuit in Santa Rosa, the Women’s Criterium will bring the thrill of professional women’s cycling to fans in the hours just before the men’s finish in downtown Santa Rosa.

Stage 2: Sausalito to Santa Cruz (Monday, February 16, 2009)

Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
Start Location: Spinnaker Restaurant at 100 Spinnaker Dr. in Sausalito
Finish Location: Intersection of Front St. and Cooper St. in Santa Cruz

Starting on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stage 2 will cover more than 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. The stage will begin with a scenic start in Sausalito on the water and will head south over one of the most iconic structures in the country, the Golden Gate Bridge, and then through the streets of San Francisco. The route will then take the riders west down the California coastline on Highway 1, flanked by the picturesque backdrops of the Pacific Ocean on one side and Redwood forests on the other. This coastal stage will include two long, but moderate climbs on Tunitas Creek Road and Bonny Doon Road, which will be followed by lengthy and fast descents. The sprint to the finish in Santa Cruz will provide an exciting conclusion to Stage 2 of the race.

Stage 3: San Jose to Modesto (Tuesday, February 17, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of San Fernando St. and Almaden Blvd. in San Jose
Finish Location: Intersection of I St. and 12th St. in Modesto

Fans of the Amgen Tour of California may recognize part of Stage 3 from the 2008 race when the cyclists traveled from Modesto to San Jose; however, in 2009, the racers will be traveling the route in reverse with several changes. Beginning with a climb that is synonymous with cycling and the Amgen Tour of California, the cyclists will head up Sierra Road (1,930 ft.) within the first five miles of the stage. This epic climb will be a defining moment in the race and will create an action-packed day of racing for the cyclists and the fans alike. After completing the Sierra Road climb, the riders will face fast and flat roads full of twists and turns (Calaveras Road alone has more than 40 switchbacks) before climbing Patterson Pass. The stage will finish with two circuits in downtown Modesto.

Stage 4: Merced to Clovis (Wednesday, February 18, 2009)

Start Time: 11 a.m.
Start Location: City Hall at the intersection of N St. and 18th St. in Merced
Finish Location: Intersection of Bullard Ave. and Pollasky Ave. in Clovis

Stage 4 will introduce two new host cities and the Sierra Mountains to the Amgen Tour of California. With four KOMs ("King of the Mountain" competitions) and several sprints, Stage 4 will be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. From the start in Merced to the finish in Clovis, this stage will be characterized by consistent climbing surrounded by the beautiful mountain scenery. Fans can watch the climbs, always a spectator favorite, at any of the four locations - Hwy 140, twice on Hwy 49 and Crane Valley Road. Coming to a finish in Old Town Clovis, this stage will introduce the beauty of Central California to the Amgen Tour of California.

Stage 5: Visalia to Paso Robles (Thursday, February 19, 2009)

Start Time: 10 a.m.
Start Location: Intersection of Aceqia Ave. and Church St. in Visalia
Finish Location: Intersection of Spring St. and 11th St. in Paso Robles

At more than 130 miles, Stage 5, sponsored by Rabobank, is the longest stage of the race. A new course for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, Stage 5 will begin with a neutral start of parade laps through Visalia’s downtown area. Once the race wends its way through the start in Visalia, the riders will experience an amazing contrast between the previous day of racing in the Sierra Mountains, as they head through the vast stretch of flat roads on the San Joaquin Valley floor. For the first 100 miles of the stage, the riders will have virtually no protection from the wind, creating a challenging ride. Winding its way back to the coast, the route, which will include two sprints, will pass by vast cattle ranches and farms. Packed full of rolling hills and large horse farms, the final 30-mile run into Paso Robles will be a fast sprint to the finish.

Stage 6: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 20, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Intersection of Mission Drive and 1st St.
Finish Location: Copenhagen Dr.

The quaint Danish village of Solvang hosts some of the ProTour teams annually for training camps, as well as some of the largest cycling events in the United States. With the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 6 is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep climb up Ballard Canyon. This year's short, flat and fast time trial will create a challenging test for the riders and is expected to be a decisive day of the race.

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Saturday, February 21, 2009)

Start Time: Noon Start Location: Town Center Drive in Santa Clarita Finish Location: West Drive, alongside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena

The race from Santa Clarita to Pasadena proved to be a difficult one during the final stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, and this year will be no different. The first 25 miles of Stage 7, sponsored by Herbalife, include a gradual climb from Santa Clarita, through Acton, to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. The route continues uphill, showcasing the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, to the second highest elevation ever reached by the Amgen Tour of California on the towering Millcreek Summit (4,906 ft.). Descending with a 15-mile run to Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. After more than 65 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, the peloton will complete the stage with five, five-mile laps on a very demanding circuit through the area surrounding the Rose Bowl. This course will provide a challenging, action-packed day leading up to the finale on Sunday.

Stage 8: Rancho Bernardo to Escondido (Sunday, February 22, 2009)

Start Time: Noon
Start Location: Bernardo Center Dr. in Rancho Bernardo
Finish Location: Intersection of Grand Ave. and Broadway in Escondido

With the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California as a difficult point-to-point road race, there is a chance to see an overall lead change, as well as a change in the KOM jersey leader on the last day. With four climbs, including the highest point ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California, and two sprints, Stage 8, sponsored by Amgen, can easily be characterized as the most difficult final stage that the Amgen Tour of California has ever seen. The cyclists will have to fight through the very end of the race, due to the addition of Palomar Mountain (5,123 ft.). At 11.7 miles, a seven percent average grade, 4,200 feet of climbing and 21 switchbacks, Palomar Mountain will provide a challenging conclusion to the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Organizers expect a hard sprint to the finish; as with all the Grand Tours of Europe, winning the final stage of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is a prize coveted by the riders.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From Nate.... on Chad.... "You're a Fuckin Looser"!

Folsom Cyclebration Experience

Monday, September 15th 2008 @ 4:21 PM

Posted by Nate Freed

I raced this weekend at the Folsom Cyclebration, but both races were pretty unevenful. I do have a great/sad story from after the circuit race, which was on the second day. After the sprint finish of the race, I did a cooldown lap by myself, and rolled back toward the finish. I noticed a guy sitting on the curb all by himself under the shade of a tree. He had an old beat up bike sitting on the ground next to him. He was very tan, and looked to be about my age or a little bit older. I just passed by the guy, and he looks up at me and says out of nowhere, "Hey buddy, I hate to break it to you, but you're a fuckin loser." I just looked back at him and said "Yeah well you're a fuckin drunk". Then I went to meet up with Matt, Katie, Ramsey, and Alanna who had stuck around to support me and watch my race. I talked to them for a minute about the race, and told them the story about this crazy guy who was still sitting under the tree about 100 yards away. We said goodbye, and for some reason, I decided to ride back by the guy again on the way to my car. I wasn't trying to start a fight or anything, I was just curious to see if he would say something again. He looks up at me this time and says something to the effect of: "You would make a great sandwich in loserville." At this point I realized that he was either nuts or on a lot of drugs, so I kinda just rode past him. At the same time, he gets on his old beat up crappy bike and rides next to me. He just looks at me, and I look back at him.

Then I recognize him! He was on an episode of the A&E show "Intervention".... so I say to him, "Hey, I know you." He says, "I doubt it." And I say, "I know you from TV." Then he instantly takes off down an alley and I just let him go.

When I got home from the race tonight, I did a little bit of research on this guy. At first I forgot his name, but I do know that he was a pro bike racer for US Postal at one point. He had a troubled childhood, and was sortof a loner as a bike racer. He got kicked out of the Olympic trials because he poked Lance Armstrong in the stomach, and called him a "doughboy". After that, his career seemed to spiral downwards. Then he started smoking crack..... In the episode of "Intervention", he did accept treatment at the end, but obviously he relapsed. What I have taken out of this is that, as bike racers(or athletes in general), we almost have an "addiction" to the awesome feeling we get when racing our bikes. We finish one weekend, and look forward to the next. We are lucky that we are addicted to something so positive and productive and healthy... and it is now apparent to me that it could very easily go the other way.

His name is Chad Gerlach.

Back from Crack Leads to Attack!

Gerlach, 34, who was raised in West Sacramento but now lives in a recovery facility in Auburn, Calif., left cycling in 2002 and lived for five years homeless and in despair in downtown Sacramento.

Few doubted Gerlach had the talent for a successful career at the top level of the sport. He never rode in a grand tour like the Tour de France, but his nine-year pro career took him around the globe.

He won regional events like the Nevada City Classic and he won stages in diverse events like the Tour of China and Tour of Langkawi. He was a U.S. Postal Service teammate of Armstrong in 1996, but was dismissed for “personality conflicts.” Gerlach also rode with high-budget Italian squads and second-tier U.S.-based squads. Many of his coaches gave up, called the talented rider uncoachable.

Amore e Vita goes American
Although still based in Tuscany, Italy, the Amore e Vita-McDonald's team will be registered as a continental team from the US in 2009 and no longer in Poland. Team manager Cristian Fanini has finalized a multi-national 18-man roster including Ukrainian sprint ace Yuriy Metlushenko and former CSC rider and Tour de l'Avenir time trial winner Christian Müller from Germany.

The team will also include American Chad Gerlach, who will make a return to the sport after having declined into drug addiction and homelessness. His story was the subject of a US television programme called "Intervention". Following the show, where troubled people are helped into a recovery regime, Gerlach began training again. The 35-year-old was previously off the bike for six years.

Also joining the team, according to La Nazione, is Roberto Gaggioli as a third directeur sportif.

2009 Amore & Vita roster: Alexey Bauer (Rus), Vladislav Borisov (Rus), Matt Brandt (USA), Phil Cortes (Can), Jaroslaw Dabrowski (Pol), Richard England (Aus), Peter Femal (USA), Graziano Gasparre (Ita), Chad Gerlach (USA), Fabio Gilioli (Ita), Sergey Grechyn (Ukr), Philip Mamos (Ger), Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr), Nathan Miller (USA), Christian Müller (Ger), Soren Nissen (Den), Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr), Andrew Talanski (USA).

Good luck man!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plans from Bruce...

Setting up a Team Training Camp

By Bruce Hendler for AthletiCamps

Traditionally, the winter/early spring months are an optimal time to get your team or club together to participate in an organized team training camp. Motivation is high and riders are eager to begin their 2009 individual and team preparation. Here are some tips and suggestions to help organize the best possible camp or clinic that will benefit all members going into the cycling season.

Do it yourself or hire a professional? – One of the first decisions a group has to make is whether they will organize the camp themselves or hire a professional coach or training company (like AthletiCamps) to organize the camp for them. As with the old Greyhound bus tag line, “Leave the driving up to us,” clearly, hiring an outside service with experience in organizing a productive camp can be beneficial. It can take away any pressure from the team themselves and allow the whole team to focus and enjoy the camp. Also, having an independent and objective view of your team in this type of environment can lead to improvement. Sometimes the team itself can’t see the forest thru the trees and having an experienced point of view can help offer suggestions that may allow the team to perform better as a group. Remember, the camp is not just about riding; it’s about teaching the team to perform at their best during the season.

Define a purpose for the camp and make sure everyone is on the same page. Identify areas that the team needs work on, like lead-outs at the end of criteriums. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that every rider has input as to what they want accomplished. Take suggestions from the riders as to what their top priorities are for “their” camp. They can range from the obvious of riding to tactical discussions and team goals for the upcoming season. Begin by sending out an email to all members and ask what they would like to accomplish during camp. This process will allow the team to be most productive in their limited amount of time together.

Bring in a variety of different sources of information, more than just riding - In line with defining a camp purpose, there can be many topics to cover at camp. For example, at our camps we offer performance testing of each athlete, bring in coaches that can offer different points of view on training, nutritionists, doctors with a focus on exercise performance, and sports psychologists. By presenting a variety of topics, riders can learn that there is much more to athletic success than simply riding their bikes. By bringing in other coaches and experts, it can teach them that there are alternate methods to training. A lot of times, riders get “stuck” in one type of training approach, when, in fact, there are many different methods of training.

Organize riders into training groups that reflect fitness level – If you have a large club or team it might be best to split the camp in different groups or even consider separate camps. For example, if the club has Elite 1’s and 2’s as well as Masters of varying age groups, separate the ones that race together during the season into their own subgroup. The main benefit of this, other than fitness level in relation to riding, is they get to know each other better (while riding) and can race more effectively. The whole group can come together for general talks about things like nutrition and psychology.

Organization – Define routes, timetables, etc. – Do everyone a favor and have a structured itinerary and schedule, and stick to it. For example, don’t come to a meeting place in the morning and ask the riders how much they want to ride that day and where they want to go. You are sure to get as many opinions as there are riders. When athletes come to camps, they usually just want to follow a lead and not have to think about things too much.

Add a social aspect to the camp - For most teams, bike racing not only represents an athletic hobby, but also represents a social aspect of their busy lives. Training camps represent a small vacation away from everyday life, so make sure there is a good social component to the camp. Perhaps organize a wine tasting or a trip to local sites of interest. Here in the Gold Country, we make sure everybody is aware of the impressive history of this area and try to present that to athletes.

Home or away. Clearly getting away from home base can have its benefits as it can eliminate any distractions from the riders and can be looked upon as a vacation. On the other hand, going away can cost more (especially in this economy) and may limit many members of the team from attending. One option would also be to bring the organizer to the team. There are many teams that request AthletiCamps to come to them. It definitely represents a balanced approached to getting a camp done.

Schedule some down-time each day and plenty of time to rest up in the evening. Usually, the prime purpose of camps is training and we tend to want to overload on the kilometers given time away from work and daily responsibilities. Allow for down-time in each day’s schedule, and encourage the riders to get plenty of sleep each night. For example, it may be difficult to schedule events after dinner. Riders are tired and had just had a nice meal together. Making them listen to a presentation may not be the best thing at that time.

There is no question that teams that train and race together with proper guidance have better results through the season. The more a team gets to know each other both on and off the bike, the better the chemistry will be when trying to achieve team goals (i.e., win bike races.) Use a team training camp to begin this process this year. And by all means, don’t limit yourself to one camp. Think about multiple camps during the year, where team moral can be improved, a review of the season to that point can be talked about and goals for the rest of the year can be addressed.

Ride safe; ride strong,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Making The Mainstreem, The Hard Way...

Here's the NW story:

When gas prices surged above $4 per gallon earlier this year, it didn't take Nostradamus to predict that there would be a resultant rush to carbon-free commuting options—especially in a place like Portland, which is known for its ample network of bike lanes. Cyclists in "Stumptown" are spinning their spokes here in unprecedented numbers, trading in their fuel-guzzling SUVs for stylish 27-speeds.

But the cycling surge has created conflict, as the new breed of commuters bumps up against the old, oil-powered kind.

First came a drunk cyclist repeatedly smacking the driver of a car with his bike July 6, before a passerby stopped the melee by knocking the pedaler to the ground with one punch (the driver happened to be a longtime cycling advocate, who'd kicked off the altercation by chiding the biker for blowing through a red light.) A week later, a drunken motorist drew a tirade from a cyclist who thought the car was driving too fast. The driver tried to run Jason Rehnberg down, only to have the biker land on the hood, hanging on by the windshield wipers for the next block—a surreal scene captured on video by a resident who heard the shouting and brought his camera out to see what was happenin

The very next day, a cyclist blew a red light and slammed into a pickup truck, which sent the biker to the hospital. The day after that, Adam Leckie and Patrick Schrepping wound up in fisticuffs over Schrepping's admonition to Leckie for riding around helmetless. Leckie allegedly responded by keying Schrepping's car, according to police (Leckie confirmed the keying episode; Schrepping wound up decking Leckie with his own bike lock. Both were arrested on assault charges (neither has a court date yet).

Finally, on July 18, a man carrying his bike ran a red light on foot to catch a city bus, blocking four lanes of traffic. The driver motioned for the man to get out of the way so the bus could pick him up; the man responded by punching a hole in the bus window and taking off.

An escalating war between two-wheelers and four-wheelers, brought on by sky-high gas prices? Absolutely not, insist cyclists, city officials and the local newspaper, which has called the hoopla "a war of anecdotes." Injuries to cyclists remain steady even as ridership surpasses record levels, according to statistics kept by the city. Portland was recently named one of two "platinum" U.S. cities by the League of American Bicyclists, and most agree that there's safety in numbers; more pedestrians and cyclists on the road means more awareness and greater caution on the part of drivers.

But there's also clearly plenty of tension on Portland's streets, and the strange two-week spate of clashes this summer that has people wondering whether the incidents are a sign of further trouble to come. "In 26 years as a cop, I've never heard of a string of facts like this," said Portland Police Sgt. Brian Schmautz. "It's pretty easy to draw the conclusion that there are some unusual influences at work in Portland."

The numbers of new cyclists on the road are staggering. City officials track the growth on four bridges that cross the Willamette River, connecting the east and west sides of town. Last year, 14,500 cyclists crossed the bridges, an increase of 21 percent over 2006. In May, the number of cyclists who crossed the Broadway Bridge was 24 percent higher than the peak in 2007. Eighteen percent of the vehicles that crossed the Hawthorne Bridge last year were bicycles.

The surge has by and large been safe. Last year, 29 people died walking, driving or riding a bike in traffic accidents in Portland, said Greg Raisman, traffic safety specialist with the city. In 1996, the number was 59. Injuries to cyclists has remained flat even with double-digit increases annually in their numbers over the last several years.

In part, that's due to a range of improvements on city streets to make bike trips safer, says Karl Rohde, government-relations director for the 5,000-member Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The Oregon Legislature passed a landmark bill in the 1970s that set aside one percent of state highway funds for bicycle lanes and paths. Portland has 40 bike shops and 150 bicycle-related businesses, plus 270 miles of on-street bike lanes, bike boulevards and paved trails, and 400 bikeway destination signs throughout the city. An estimated 16 percent of Portland residents commute on bicycles.

Motorists who hit bikers face tough penalties here. In April, a Multnomah County grand jury indicted Johnny Jerry Eschweiler of attempted murder, after his vehicle allegedly ran down two cyclists who were in his way last August (Eschweiler pleaded not guilty). Attorney Christopher Heaps found a rarely used state law that allows citizens to issue citations to drivers after his client, Siobhan Doyle, was struck by a car and hospitalized last October. The police didn't issue a citation to the driver, Lisa Wheeler, but the citizen complaint led to a $180 fine. Wheeler pleaded no contest.

All this infrastructure and enforcement adds up to a fairly safe environment for cyclists, most agree. So why the recent road rage?