Friday, January 30, 2009

Everything Must Go!

How in the world can these guys recover from this?

Isaac recalls all bikes built since 2004

Isaac International Ltd has issued a voluntary recall on all bikes and framesets built since 2004 due to a potential safety problem with some stem and spacer combinations.

No serious accidents have occurred, but the company said in a statement that a faulty fork steerer could break suddenly during riding, resulting in serious injury or death of the rider.

Anyone who owns an Isaac bike or frame set built since 2004 should take it to an Isaac dealer, where it will be checked any necessary replacements made.

Isaac strongly recommends against using a bike that has not been checked and has not had a new expander fitted.

For more information, visit

Thursday, January 29, 2009

EPO Te Quiero - Laplage

With the US season just about to start with a huge bang! The loyal readers know all to well, this clip shows up each yr... Why you ask? Ask not and enjoy.......

Just cuz we all wait for someone else to tell us what's up....

A race-by-race look at the major events of the 2009 road cycling season, updated throughout the year.

Blue = UCI ProTour events; Yellow = Grand Tour events

Dates Race Location Winner (Team)
Jan. 20–25 Tour Down Under Australia Allan Davis (QST)
Feb. 14-22 Tour of California United States
Mar. 9-16 Paris–Nice France
Mar. 12-18 Tirreno-Adriatico Italy
Mar. 21 Milan-Sanremo Italy
Mar. 29-30 Critérium International France
Apr. 5 Ronde van Vlaanderen Belgium
Apr. 6-11 Vuelta al País Vasco Spain
Apr. 8 Gent-Wevelgem Belgium
Apr. 12 Paris-Roubaix France
Apr. 19 Amstel Gold Race Netherlands
Apr. 21-27 Tour de Georgia United States
Apr. 23 La Flèche Wallonne Belgium
Apr. 26 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Belgium
Apr. 28-May 3 Tour de Romandie Switzerland
May 9-31 Giro d'Italia Italy
May 18-24 Volta a Catalunya Spain
June 4-8 Tour de Luxembourg Luxembourg
June 7-14 Dauphiné Libéré France
June 13-21 Tour de Suisse Switzerland
July 4-26 Tour de France France
July 6-13 Tour of Austria Austria
Aug. 1 Clásica de San Sebastián Spain
Aug. 2-8 Tour de Pologne Poland
Aug. 16 Vattenfall Cyclassics Germany
Aug. 20-27 Eneco Tour of Benelux Belgium / Netherlands / Luxembourg
Aug. 23 GP Ouest-France France
Aug. 29-Sept. 20 Vuelta a España Spain
Sept. 23 World Championships - Time trial Switzerland

Sept. 26 World Championships - Road race Switzerland

Oct. 12 Paris-Tours France
Oct. 17 Giro di Lombardia Italy
Oct. 26 Japan Cup Japan

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tour of Missouri Route 09

Sent in from: AMS!
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (January 27, 2009) Event organizers and Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today announced the start and finish host cities and the overall course for the third Tour of Missouri professional cycling race, scheduled for September 7-13, 2009.

The following cities will play host to a leg of the Tour: St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Rolla, St. James, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Chillicothe, St. Joseph, and Kansas City.

"We had a record amount of cities inquire about the Tour of Missouri," said Lt. Governor Kinder. "It is a testament to the success of the race. We faced a very difficult process of eliminating some great cities. Our commitment, however, is to continue to route the course to all areas of the state. This year, for the first time, we will visit the southeast part of Missouri while spending a longer time north of Interstate 70. In addition, we will be able to highlight some of the agricultural regions."

The overall course will take on a very different slant in 2009. For the first time, the race will route east to west, starting in St. Louis and finishing in Kansas City. The past two years, the race routed west to east starting in Kansas City to finish in St. Louis. Stage by stage courses will be announced at a later date.

"In keeping with tradition, we will change the course from year to year to keep it fresh," said Chris Aronhalt, the managing partner of event organizers Medalist Sports of the Atlanta area. "There will be new drama on the race route and we expect a few more hills. Overall, we have some great and very excited host cities."

The race will be contested over seven days and seven stages. There will be two circuit races (St. Louis, Kansas City), one individual time trial (Sedalia), and four point to point road races (Ste. Genevieve to Cape Girardeau; Farmington to Rolla; St. James to Jefferson City; Chillicothe to St. Joseph).

Added Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish of Britain, who won three stages of the 2008 Tour of Missouri: "Last year's race was very well organized and promoted. I really liked it. As a sprinter, I had several opportunities to win races, which is always good. With more hills expected, we'll see what happens."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yo, Props fo Armstrong, Basso n Landis - Welcome back boyz!

On n On we go - thank god.... Well He'll never be President - he ain't black!

Sent in from: Nadell!

Chasing Hope

By Martin Dugard

My recent attempt to sell a sequel to CHASING LANCE was met by indifference in teh publishing world. It seems that no one believes Lance can sell books anymore (as one editor noted: "two words: Olsen twins:). So as his comeback is now underway in Australia, here's a bit from the proposal. Rather see it here than go to waste. Oh, and it's worth noting that if Lance actually does come back, the sequel might still happen. Either way, I'll be at the Tour in July.


My favorite Lance Armstrong story is unprintable.

In fact, my top five favorite Lance Armstrong stories could mean legal action. They are the sort of tales I only tell good friends after one beer too many, because the anecdotes are second-hand and tawdry and revealing in a way that makes me feel slightly guilty for sharing, as if by weaving the story I have admitted something about my own character that I am not entirely comfortable exists.

But I tell them anyway, starting with the night atop L'Alpe du Huez and the startling comment by the British cameraman, and on and on.

Why is that? To be liked? To be in the know? To be accepted?

We'll get to that. But I know this: I'm not alone. Everyone has a point of view on Lance Armstrong. Those attitudes have lain dormant in the four years since he segued from Tour de France cyclist to international playboy. But now they’ll blossom once again as he begins his unlikely return to racing January 18-26 at Adelaide, Australia’s Tour Down Under. Whether you see him as doper or hero or unrepentant bully, your views are likely very strong, and say a lot about who you are as a person.

I believe we've all told a Lance Armstrong story or two in our day.

Here's one I can put into print: July 23, 2005. Lance (we all call him Lance, don't we? As if he pops by the house to borrow sugar) has just won the penultimate stage of the Tour de France, a 34.41-mile time trial beginning and ending in the town of St-Etienne. I'm packed into a large sweaty gymnasium with hundreds of other journalists, waiting for him to give the final press conference of his career. This is a rabid crowd, full of print writers with bad hair and rings under their armpits who've spent the previous three weeks begging for a scrap of time from Lance; and, television types who've just parachuted in from London and Tokyo, looking entirely too coiffed for the surroundings as they dust lint off their lapels.

I sit dead center, and feel blessed -- seriously, that's what it's like; as if some deity has allowed me to touch a cloak hem -- when Lance chooses my raised hand from all the raised hands, allowing me to lob a direct question. I don't remember what I asked, but I do remember sitting there rapt and full of eye contact as his words poured forth. And then -- this is the part that makes me cringe, even now -- I mouthed the words "thank you."

I've never done that before or since. But there's something about Lance's celebrity that made me behave like those school girls from the 1940s, the ones who urinated in their seats rather than get up and use the restroom during a Frank Sinatra concert, for fear of losing their spot.

And I'm not alone. Because at the end of that press conference, that throng of hardened journalists -- cynical, hard-bitten men and women who would sell their mother's eyes for an exclusive story -- mobbed Armstrong. Looking very much like Sinatra's screaming school girls, we thrust our press passes into his hands for an autograph.

This is not done. The press does not kowtow to anyone, and we certainly don't beg for athlete’s signatures. But there we were, looking deflated and a little soiled when he was whisked from the room by his security people after signing a paltry few badges.

That story makes me feel sad. What were we thinking?

Most Lance Armstrong stories have the exact opposite effect. I think of the moment atop Pla D’Adet in 2005 where he hugged George Hincapie after his teammate won his first ever stage. I can see him dropping Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso and the rest of the cycling world on climbs with names like Galibier and Tronador. I remember when he came back to win the stage he wasn’t supposed to win in 2004, the one where he famously encouraged Floyd Landis “to run like he stole something,” in the hope that his teammate would get his first-ever Tour stage win. Later, when Landis faltered, it was Lance walking down Germany's Andreas Kloden with a furious sprint to the line. I know stories about his guts and determination and ability to endure great pain. And I know stories about how I’ve been doing some lonely workout of my own, high up in the hills near my California home, and summon the spirit of Lance Armstrong to push through weakness.

Those stories make my heart soar.

I have this theory about sports. Athletic contests represent not just games or civilized representations of war, but an almost Biblical quest to be our very best. We aspire to compete and be that better part of ourselves that we cherish. And we watch the elites compete, hoping to see some superhuman act of grace or athleticism that transcends our mundane daily struggles. We don't watch to see average. We watch to see spectacular. Because spectacular lifts us up, and fills us with a sense of wonder. The act of witnessing greatness lifts us out of our ruts and mediocrity, if only for a few moments.

I think this is why the world fell in love with Lance Armstrong. He was this cancer survivor who came out of nowhere to win the 1999 Tour de France. Conspiracy theorists like to posit he contracted cancer due to an overload of performance enhancing drugs, which would make Armstrong one of the few such known cancer cases in the world. They say these words through gritted teeth, as if they see something wily and sly in the cancer that ravaged his very being.

They say it as if he had it coming.

My sister died of cancer. That story makes me sad, too. She used to love Lance for his grit, but also hate him for beating the Big C, especially when it became obvious that he had done the impossible and won the Tour after beating his illness, while she was just as surely wasting away to nothing. I can tell you this: nobody has cancer coming. What Armstrong did in 1999 was one of the most remarkable athletic feats in history.

I was there. In fact, I was there with three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond before the pivotal stage to Sestriere, when the past and future American Tour champions shared a laugh before the day got down to business. LeMond was all joviality and good advice, eager to grant benediction to the brash kid with the All-American name. I stood outside Armstrong's inner sanctum, a small mobile home near the starting line, as LeMond went in to discuss strategy with Armstrong and his domestiques George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton.

There was no one around. Just me and one of Armstrong's soon-to-be ubiquitous bodyguards. That, and Lance's bike. It looked small and hardly the sort of contraption that would rocket him up the mountain into the yellow jersey that very day. If there was one prevailing emotion to define that meeting between LeMond and Armstrong, it was hope.


The Book of Romans tell us that "we must delight in our sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and, character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us."

In actuality, hope disappoints us a whole lot. We live lives of marginalized dreams and settling for the status quo. Not many of us enjoy the sort of happily-ever-after as adults that we envision our lives will be as children.

Lance was different. Lance was hope, personified. He had suffered through cancer, he had persevered in the Alps and the Pyrenees, he had character and attitude enough for twenty men, and every single time he raced the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005, he won. Hope did not disappoint.

That hope was shared, literally, by millions. Lance Armstrong taught us that anything was possible with suffering, perseverance, character, and hope.

And we believed him. Boy, did we.

I always got a kick out of the bro-mances -- all those middle-aged men traveling to the Tour, hanging around, hoping through some sort of observational osmosis, for a sliver of whatever made Armstrong great.

I remember at one Tour, watching a woman with enormous cleavage linger near Armstrong's trailer before a stage. Her breasts bulged like titans from a blouse two sizes too small. Alongside her was a fan carrying a sign announcing that she was a cancer survivor (like Lance!), a raft of those middle-aged wolfpacks, and assorted people of all nations willing to endure heatstroke or blizzards or any other freakish act of endurance to witness that moment when Lance stepped out of his trailer before the stage, clipped into his pedals, and made his way through the gauntlet to the starting line. They called out to him, waiting for that moment of acknowledgment or even that instance where he stopped long enough to Sharpie a signature. But mostly they wanted to see him.

You'd hear the constant allusion "Lance is a rock star." But he wasn't. Lance wasn't Bono or Bruce or even Sinatra. Lance was Christ. They wanted to touch the hem, follow him like apostles, and recite his sermons. "No bad days," people would say, reverently fingering their yellow LiveStrong bracelet, referring to an Armstrong quote about his worldview after beating cancer.

I said the same things, until one day my LiveStrong band just snapped. I never bought another.

David Walsh of London's Sunday Times was the first to suppose that Lance wasn't all he said he was. I didn’t much like Walsh, and I didn’t like the way he grandstanded, and I got the feeling he was on a witch hunt. I sat in the front row of a press conference in Pau in 2001 as Armstrong heatedly defended himself against Walsh's badgering questions. Walsh believed that Lance was a doper. Until then, only the French had said as much, and we all took that as jealousy (the French, after all, have not had a Tour champion since the mid-80s. So for the Americans to win again and again... why, who wouldn't spread rumors?). Then, that same year, emboldened by Walsh, LeMond chimed in. He made it a point to say that he'd never doped, but that he knew through his sources that Armstrong was a doper.

I called LeMond the night Lance won that 2001 Tour, staying up until dawn doing the interview from Paris and filing my story with a magazine back in New York. LeMond later recanted his version of events. But then he went on to recant that story, too. Now, almost six years later, Greg LeMond seems to spend every waking moment searching for ways to embarrass Lance Armstrong. Most notably, he did a credible Walsh imitation at the 2008 Interbike Convention in Las Vegas, as Armstrong announced his comeback. In the annals of great sports feuds, very few come to mind that match the sheer malice between LeMond and Armstrong. Greg LeMond is like a full-scale shitstorm of malevolence and rage, bent on proving that Lance Armstrong is a doper. The feud between the past and distant past of American cycling continues to this day, and LeMond’s frequent sniping that Armstrong required performance-enhancing drugs to win those seven tours (while he, LeMond, a man who gave his life to a sport where doping has long been as common as taking an aspirin, would never dream of such a thing) is as good a motivation as any for Lance's comeback.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The world was slow to pick up on Walsh's insistence about Lance's alleged cheating, though not for long. More and more people stepped forward to say that Lance had used drugs, most notably former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife Betsy. As Armstrong is wont to do, he shut the Andreu’s out of his life once they testified in court about his alleged doping. That’s Lance – when you’re on the ins with him, he’s brash and friendly. But piss him off and you’re done. Total silence. Total exclusion from all things Lance. Siberia.

Sometimes it’s not that straightforward. A colleague of mine once suggested quite strongly in print that Armstrong doped. My friend called me afterward and said that he’d finally done it; he’d finally cut the cord.

There was no Siberia. Just the opposite. Armstrong didn’t banish my friend. He pulled him closer, showering my friend with affection and bro-mance and parcels of the precise insider knowledge Lance wants published. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This is how a clever man makes the media his lap dog.

As for the Andreu’s, they survived. Frankie was mysteriously fired from his job as director of an upstart American cycling team, but kept his job with a sports television network that specializes in Tour coverage. Frankie doesn’t talk much about Lance. But talk with Betsy, even now, and you will get an earful about why Armstrong is a cheater. She is a wonderful woman, smart and proud of her Frankie. But don't get her started. The woman can go on for days.

In the midst of all this, as the world began wondering if Lance doped and he began spending more time defending himself against those charges in court, hope faded. The faithful still flocked to see him race without a sliver of doubt, but the rest of the world seemed to have their eyes wide open. I'd get back from the Tour and be bombarded with questions about what it was like to meet Lance, see Lance, talk with Lance, and on. Inevitably, they'd ask if he doped. And I'd always give my pat response: "He's never tested positive."

And he still hasn't. The French would say differently, pointing to 1999 urine samples that have lately been retested with more modern technology.

All of this came to a head for me in 2005, which was to be Lance's final Tour. I had chosen to write a book about what it's like to spend 23 days at the Tour de France, chasing an icon around a land known for wine, cheese, history, and a bike race. Chasing Lance was not about Lance, I told all those cycling geeks who demanded to know gear ratios and carb-to-protein ratios. It was about me and my ultimate road trip. In the end, of course, I was wrong. The book sold better than anything I’ve ever written. But not because of my epic road adventure. As with all things Tour and Lance, it wasn't about me at all. It was about Lance.

Which brings me back to why I tell my friends those Lance stories that I cannot tell here. The point of my book's title was that each and every journalist at the Tour devotes an inordinate amount of energy to getting that vaunted one-on-one interview with Lance Armstrong. We chase him. And that was my goal during the 2005 Tour, getting that Lance one-on-one. It would make my book special. It would make me special.

So I bided my time. I spoke to him at the daily post-race conference, surrounded by scores of journalist but never alone. I spoke with him in a more intimate setting with a group of five American journalists. I bumped into him as he came out of doping control, and got a friendly hello. I gnashed my teeth as my friend and rival Austin Murphy got a one-on-one for his sports magazine, and then proceeded to rub it in my face. He was friendly about it, Austin was, but there was no disputing that he ranked higher on the journalistic food chain. And that hurt. Even as I pressed Lance's people for an interview, they treated me like I'd contracted leprosy, telling me that they'd get back to me with their arrogant unsmiling Texas faces. Really, I started to hate those handlers.

Soon I became one of the faithful, just standing outside Lance's trailer and hoping against hope that Lance would nod my way. I stood with the large-breasted women and the cancer people and the people from Texas with their horns and hats and that outlandish stuff that soon made Lance and fellow Texan George W. Bush synonymous in my head.

It got worse. I returned home from the Tour without my one-on-one. I wrote the book. Still no call from Lance. Like any hanger-on, I began to resent the individual who had once given me such hope and inspiration. I wrote mean things about Lance as part of my manuscript, and then watched in horror as my editor scrubbed them out with his red pencil and asked me to reconsider. My idol had fallen and, like Kathy Bates in Misery, I was demanding that Lance be punished.

How bad was it? The stories I can't tell you here, the ones that display nothing more than Lance's humanity -- I wrote them all down. My editor, a man with an eye for a potential lawsuit, scrubbed those out, too.

Then, September 9, 2005. It is the day before my manuscript goes to the printer. I am driving down the freeway when my phone rings. "Hi, Marty," says a familiar Texas accent, "it's Lance."

So we talked, Lance and I. All was forgiven.

That wasn't the last time we spoke. I ran into him a year later in that bar atop L'Alpe du Huez, wearing a baseball cap pulled low on his head while standing next to Jake Gyllenhaal, as if that could somehow hide his identity. We shook hands and spoke about the book, but it was understood that I wouldn't linger.

That was the night the camera man came back with his incredulous tale, the one that reduces me to a gossip.

It must be uncomfortable, being a man like Lance. Being hope. There's no room for failure, whether competitive or moral. Witness the judgment pointed Lance's way about his series of failed relationships with famous blond women. Once that social compact is broken, when you're a symbol of good like that, the disillusionment leads so many people to root for your comeuppance.

Or, when he admits to a very basic human emotion like fear, as he did last November when he stated that he was scared that the people of France might try to hurt him if he raced the 2009 Tour, we scratch our heads. We’re so used to him being a superlative that such a raw confession doesn’t compute. And then I wonder if it’s possible that Lance is like the rest of us now and again, waking up at 3 a.m., only to find himself unable to fall back to sleep, tossing and turning in a black insomniac hell as the irrational consumes him.

It’s possible.

Then again, this is a guy staring at 40 and a midlife crisis, who just made the rather abrupt decision to whip his body into shape and race the Tour de France. At some point, despite all that swagger, there must be some element of soul-searching and fear of mortality.

So know this as Armstrong arrives Down Under to launch le comeback: He's a man. An athlete, a rascal, a Texan, a cancer survivor, a rock star.

Not Christ.

I need to hear that as much as anyone. I need to be my own hero for a change, finding a way to achieve my own transcendent greatness instead of living vicariously through Lance's.

That’s a story that fills me with hope, once again.

And as for those old Lance stories? Time to put them to rest. I'd hate for anyone to be telling stories about me.

It's time to pick up a few new Lance Armstrong stories. It's time to follow the comeback and see what happens -- for better or worse.

Friday, January 23, 2009

BBI Finds a New Light....... ooooohmmmmmmmmmmm..

Nice on the blog, especially the links to previous stories. Funny stuff was written. All for posterity, and to ensure, also for posterity, that I shall remain date-free.

I owe it all to you. Actually, I owe it to me, you just chronicle it.

I do try to lead the pure life; weird how easy it is to get off track.

“When Saints go awry...” My own harlequin novel?
-- BBI

Lance Armstrong in the Wind Tunnel

Our Little Sport is Now Covered by AP.... oh so mainstream

Floyd Landis says he is coming back to cycling, and his sport will be better for it.
By: Getty Images

Floyd Landis says he is coming back to cycling, and his sport will be better for it.

Floyd Landis is coming back to cycling, and says his sport will be better for it.

Landis’ feel-good story came to halt when he was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory following a doping scandal and protracted fight in courts around the world. He said Thursday he feels “like a kid again” knowing that his two-year ban from cycling will end next week.

“In my mind, it’s already behind me,” Landis said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m not dwelling on that at all.”

Landis was barred for using synthetic testosterone in the latter stages of cycling’s showcase race three years ago. He contends the testing system is flawed, but he has no means left to fight other than to resume racing.

He will ride for the OUCH cycling team and debut at the Tour of California next month, starting what he plans to be at least two years with OUCH, which opens its training camp Friday.

“This isn’t some kind of statement to shut down the critics or any kind of changing-the-world project of mine,” Landis said. “This is me doing what I’ve trained myself to do for the last 15 years, and I hope that the people that follow bike racing get a better show than what they’ve had the last couple years.”

His return comes on the heels of seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong resuming his own racing career. Armstrong is currently in Australia at the Tour Down Under, his first competitive race in three years.

Armstrong’s plan is to ride in France this year. Landis isn’t sure if he’ll ever return to the sport’s premier event.

“I don’t have any goals to, but I wouldn’t say that I don’t ever want to,” Landis said. “I would prefer to see how racing in the United States goes and if I really do enjoy it as much as I expect to, I’ll set new goals.”

For now, the first goal is the Tour of California.

Landis says he feels as good as ever, in large part because his left hip is now pain-free. He underwent hip resurfacing surgery two years ago, relieving the bone-on-bone pain that plagued him for years, even during that 2006 Tour.

OUCH is sponsored by Dr. Brent Kay, a devout cycling enthusiast from California who has worked on Landis’ hip for many years and is a close friend of the rider.

He said when the opportunity came to sign Landis, he didn’t hesitate for one second.

“It’s overwhelmingly clear from the evidence that he’s innocent,” Kay said.

It wasn’t so clear to experts analyzing Landis’ case.

Following what a panel of arbitrators decided months earlier, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last summer that Landis was evaluated using “less than ideal laboratory practices,” but still concluded that he doped before a stunning victory in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour.

He was 8 minutes behind Spain’s Oscar Pereiro to start that day.

After that stage, Pereiro’s lead was a mere 30 seconds, and Landis eventually prevailed.

“The best performance in the modern history of the Tour,” was how former Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc described Landis’ effort at the time.

It led to the Tour’s biggest scandal.

Landis’ samples taken after that stage revealed a testosterone/epitestosterone ratio of 11:1—nearly three times the 4:1 limit. Eventually, he became the first Tour champion to be stripped of his title.

And that means the reaction at the Tour of California and other races might not be necessarily warm for Landis.

“I know who I am. I know how I got to be where I am in life,” said Landis, the son of Mennonites in a Pennsylvania community where bicycles were the primary mode of transportation.

“It’s easy for someone to sit and write on a blog everything that’s wrong with the world, but it really doesn’t have any effect on me. I don’t go around judging people. They can judge if they like.”

His new teammates say they’re welcoming the opportunity.

“It’s not every year you are riding with Floyd,” OUCH teammate Rory Sutherland wrote this month in a Web diary posted at “I’m under no illusions that it won’t be a hard year. As a team we will be under the microscope, and have greater expectations than we have had before.”

During his two-year exile, there were a lot of days where Landis thought he was finished.

He still doesn’t trust a drug-testing system that he insists is rigged against athletes, and he can see the irony of his return exposing him to that system. He spent most of his money—he doesn’t know the exact amount, but some estimates are higher than $2 million—railing against the drug-testing setup, knowing the fight was further damaging his reputation.

“There were times when I didn’t have any desire, not because I was interested in avoiding the spotlight or being questioned. Whether I ride my bike or not, that’s not going to go away,” Landis said.

“There were times I didn’t want to race because I lost the fun that I remembered bicycle racing to be. But I’ve got a goal now, a race to focus on, and a good team around me. So those feelings are gone.”

Those who know him best, like Kay, say the doubters are only fueling Landis’ comeback.

“He’s training top-level again and his history always has been that he’s trained harder than everyone else and that’s why he won,” Kay said. “He’s always been stronger and tougher than everyone else. And he’s back at those levels. That’s the side that never gets out there, that people don’t see or understand.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BBI Resurfaces........

Some of you have been asking for an update on the Broke Back Idiot AKA: BBI.

Well we are happy to say he still is alive..... taking bets on how long that will last, anyhow, below is his latest offerings.... and for those of you who need to be brought up to speed on BBI, here's a primer..

Making a time trial helmet with your cereal box is a no-brainer if your pride in your result is more important to you than your pride in your look. Take a look at the pictures below and create your own aero-helmet. The really cool thing about this procedure is that you can customize your helmet to your current road helmet, your back profile, and shoulder profile. Be sure to measure twice, cut once. BBI-

These are the supplies you will need.

Cut your box into 4 panels.

Make two of these side pieces with opposite sides in mind to keep color coordination.

Roll the cardboard to make a smooth, rounded surface.

Cut this piece for the top.

Connect the pieces with masking tape. When the final product is finished, use duct tape to make the connections stronger.

Cut the back to follow your back and shoulder profile.

Fill in the bottom section. Make sure the end is curved so that it fits around your neck.

View of the bottom of your helmet.

Attach ear pieces.

Thanks Zach!!!!!

Now you just need to tape it to your helmet and saran wrap the front of the helmet smoothly to connect with the cardboard teardrop. This will make the whole front aero too. Add sponsor stickers and race!


LOS ANGELES, January 22, 2009 – Joining the previously announced eight ProTour teams, nine additional Pro Continental and Continental teams have been confirmed for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California by AEG, presenter of the professional cycling race. The nine-day stage race will feature 17 of the world’s top professional teams, including world-renowned riders Lance Armstrong, two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer, three-time World Champion Oscar Freire and 2008 Olympic gold medal winner and world champion Fabian Cancellara, racing more than 750-miles from the state’s capitol, Sacramento, to San Diego County.

The complete 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster will feature the following 17 professional cycling teams:

*Newly announced

"These 17 teams represent the strongest field we have had at the Amgen Tour of California. We are delighted to have some of the world’s best and most established teams and we welcome the new teams who will be racing with us for the first time,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. “The level of competition and talent for the fourth-annual Amgen Tour of California rivals the top races in the world and demonstrates the importance of the United States to professional cycling.” Along with the Pro Tour teams, the growing class of top domestic teams will be represented by return competitors Bissell Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Colavita/Sutter Home Presented by Cooking Light, Jelly Belly Cycling Team, OUCH Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis (formerly Team Health Net) and Rock Racing, and new competitors Cervelo Test Team, Fly V Australia presented by Successful Living Foundation Team and Team Type 1.

"The BMC Racing Team for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California will possibly be the strongest roster that we've fielded in any race since the inception of the program,” said Gavin Chilcott, manager of the BMC Racing Team, which is based in Northern California. “New talent has joined the team, and our two-week training camp in Northern California will be ideal preparation for the race. We've investigated some of the courses, and overall I am very pleased with the prospects for our group this year."

Several of the 17 professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents across the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for one of the top professional cycling races in the United States. For more information about the teams competing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, please visit

Did ya know........

The our Down Under s being shown everyday on Versus? Did ya know that?
Some guy named Lance, who misstakenly Superglued his finger to his mouth, is in there.

1pm west coast time.......

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Invasion of the Trophy Snatchers.....

So this is what happens to the local race scene when the circus comes to town..... Tour of CA warm-up, USCF Cherry Pie Crit - NorCal- Feb 8th, Pro 1,2 field...

Start list:
Pro 1/2top
Christopher Baker EMC2/Felt
Chris Carscadden Adobe/HDR p/b Lombardi Sports
Brian Choi
Michael Cordova Chico Corsa/Sierra Nevada Brewery
Steven Cozza Garmin-Slipstream
Tom Danielson Garmin-Slipstream
David Del Rosso HDR p/b Lombardi Sports
Angelo Digiovine Sportgenic / Squadra Ovest
Darin Divine HDR pb Lombardi Sports
Paul Estabrook
Tyler Farrar Garmin-Slipstream
Eric Fischer
Todd Hennings Delta velo
Jens Hillen Berkeley Bike Club (BBC)
Alex Holtz EMC2-Felt
Raffi Jilizian Team Norcal Bikesport
Greg Juneau Team SugarCRM
Paul Kundrat Wells Fargo Racing Team
Dean Laberge Team Specialized Racing Masters
Brian Laird Labor Power
Daniel Martin Safeway/Bicycle Plus
Gregory Munsell Health is wealth powered by Whole Foods
Andrew Nevitt SJBC/SugarCRM
Danny Pate Garmin-Slipstream
Steve Pelaez HDR p/b Lombardi Sports
Christopher Phipps Morgan Stanley/Team Spine/Specialized
Josh Rennie Team Clif Bar
Joel Robertson Sierra Pacific Racing
Darryl Smith International Christian Cycling Club
Chris Stastny Davis Bike Club
Stanley Terusaki Morgan Stanley/Team Spine/Specialized
Nick Theobald SJBC/SugarCRM
Svein Tuft Garmin-Slipstream
Judd Van Sickle
Christian Vande Velde Garmin-Slipstream
Eric Walle TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling
Jan Weissenberger Sportgenic/Squadra Ovest
Alex Wick Davis Bike Club
Zachary Wick Davis Bike Club
Robert Winder HDR p/b Lombardi Sports
David Zabriskie Garmin-Slipstream

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breakfast of Champions!

Sent in from: Smoking Rick!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Fun Answers....

Contributor: James Raia

Like other sports that rely on sponsorships, pro cyclists ride for teams pedaling around the globe as billboards on wheels. It’s an accepted tradition of the sport, and most riders tout numerous companies during their careers.

Sometimes the company logos look cool on jerseys, other times they look pathetic. And sometimes I wonder if the cyclists even know what the company they’re advertising respresents.

One current prime example is Astana. With the exception of Alexander Vinokourov, the former team rider, how many guys on the squad had ever heard of Kazakhstan or the knew the conglomerate of businessmen from the capital of the country who are paying the bills?

Someone finally had the diplomatic and savvy idea to have the cycling team visit the place, which it recently did. Good idea, guys.

But Astana is far from the most unique, funny or wacky product made by a company sponsoring a cycling team. Among the ProTour squads in 2009, the Italian squad Liquigas is sponsored by the manufacturer of liquified gas products. The team is talented, for sure. But there must be a few fart jokes in the peloton, right?

And Quick Step, sponsor of the longstanding Belgian team, is a company that makes floor laminate. It conjures great possibilities for headline writers: “Quick-Step Cements Team Title” or "Tom Boonen Pastes The Peloton.”

The former squad led by Lance Armstrong was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service for many years. It didn’t take long for the headline: “Armstrong Delivers” or variations of the same theme to become cliché.

Many years ago, via the memory of my old friend and esteemed cycling journalist John Wilcockson, I was told of a former top amateur team in Holland known as Team Diana. Its sponsor was a Dutch brothel. One couldn’t help wonder: How were the riders compensated?

During the 2009 season, the former domestic squad Health-Net will be known as OUCH Presented by Maxxis. The OUCH acronym stands for Occupational Urgent Care and Health (OUCH) Medical Center. It’s the Temecula, Calif.-based facility where physicians resurfaced the hip of Floyd Landis.

The 2006 winner of the Amgen Tour of California and dethroned 2006 Tour de France titlist signed with the team last November and is scheduled make his return to cycling Feb. 14-22 with Team OUCH at the Amgen Tour of California.

And so, here’s my pitch: A team called OUCH is ripe for a lot of fun, whether it's via clever headlines or quips. Got something? Let me know.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hey Akmaud! Does this 7-11 Take Euros?

From: Euro Peloton

Sastre to Tour of California, Other Big Names Sure to Follow

The Cervelo TestTeam will be coming to the Tour of California, and team leader Carlos Sastre will make the trip to the great American west as he begins his 2009 season. Although no other riders have been officially announced, it is likely that Thor Hushovd, Dominique Rollin, Roger Hammond, Ted King, Hayden Roulston, and Andreas Klier will probably be chosen for the squad.

Thor has ridden the ToC before, in 2006, and he'll be looking to build his early season form for an eventual run at one of the cobbled classics. Hammond and Klier too will be targeting the early northern classics, and will use California to familiarize themselves with each others riding style. Roulston, after riding on the American circuit in 2008, will be a valuable rider to help with race routes and with leading out Hushovd in the sprints. Plus, Roulston finished in the top ten on two stages in last year's Tour, so he may be a dark horse for a sneaky victory during the nine day race.

Ted King meanwhile, after a breakout 2008, will enjoy beginning his season in California, and will no doubt enjoy returning to American soil before a challenging first year of big time racing in Europe. King showed his chops in 2008 as a potent climber, and the youngster will look to watch and learn from the talented veterans around him.

Last but not least, Dominique Rollin. "The Weapon of Mass Destruction" outlasted the field on last year's brutal Queen Stage of the Tour of California, and he signalled his ability as a potential hard man of the sport. A gritty, burly Canadian, Rollin like Ted King takes a big step up, and one that he is likely ready for. He'll ride in support of Hushovd for most of the season, and he may not get too many wins, but the experience he'll gain will be worth its weight in gold in 2010. And, lest we forget, Rollin was last year's best sprinter.

Friday, January 9, 2009

This Season Can Not Be Over-Shadowed... can it?

Big interview: Donald McRae meets Lance Armstrong

The seven-times Tour winner is back in the saddle - and still facing a battle to convince the disbelievers

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong poses for a portrait at his home in Austin, Texas. Photograph: Jim Herrington/Getty

The sweat is still drying on Lance Armstrong's gaunt face when, with sunken eyes as blue as the cloudless sky, he sweeps through the front door of his home in the secluded hills of Austin, Texas. Armstrong offers a hand while balancing a pile of training gear on his arms. "Sorry, I'm late," he says. "It's been a busy day."

He disappears as quickly as he arrived and I slide back on to the plush sofa of the vast room where I've been waiting. Huge paintings of minimalist pop art hang on the walls. Ed Ruscha's Speed Racer and Safe and Effective Medication echo the backdrop of cycling, cancer and doping allegations which have made Armstrong one of the world's most famous but controversial sportsmen.

An elegant woman drifts past to check whether I need another sparkling water. The temptation is to mumble that a definitive dollop of truth would suffice for no other athlete divides the planet like Armstrong. He could be the greatest sportsman of all time, an epic and courageous figure who overcame cancer to win seven straight Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005. In the alternate view, however, he simply cheated his way to victory with performance-enhancing drugs.

The ferocious split between believers and critics was illustrated when I canvassed the experts before arriving in Austin. I barely had to mention Armstrong's name to be assailed by a furious response from European journalists who had covered his exploits for years. "Horror-show" and "disgrace" were two of the milder terms of denigration. And yet, interviewing Bradley Wiggins in September, I was taken aback by the Olympic champion's delight just a few days after Armstrong announced his comeback. Wiggins, whose vehement stance against doping has long been enshrined, appeared an unlikely ally of Armstrong. So who do you believe? A maverick racer like Wiggins or a coterie of specialist reporters?

"I don't care who you believe," Armstrong drawls. We sit at a big round table, in touching distance of his seven blue Tour titles on the bookshelf, while Armstrong hunches over a bowl of soup and a cup of green tea. "I understand people in France and in cycling might have that perception but the reality is that there's nothing there. The level of scrutiny I've had throughout my career from the press and the anti-doping authorities is unmatched. I'm not afraid of anything. I've got nothing to hide. There are seven cups in this room because of my hard work. This next year won't be any different - even if people hate to hear that. I'm going to be focusing on every aspect of the bike, the team, the strategy, the training, the hard work, the sacrifice. There are no secrets. To the critics I would say, believe it or not, there are exceptional athletes out there. Michael Phelps ... Paula Radcliffe ..."

But neither Phelps nor Radcliffe has been engulfed by swaths of circumstantial evidence, or links to proven drug cheats. "There has been a fair amount of suspicion around me, and a hell of a lot of suspicion around cycling. If the guys who finished second, third and fourth behind Phelps were all busted then people would say, 'Hey, wait a minute. He beat 'em all - how the hell is that possible?'"

Armstrong nods meaningfully, conceding why there are such doubts about him. The last time he stood on the podium in Paris, in 2005, he said he felt "sorry" for all the poor saps who doubted him and the integrity of the Tour. And yet the two men who shared his podium were both exposed as dopers. What did he think when Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich were busted?

"Egg on my face," Armstrong says softly. "But look at the Brits on the track this year - absolutely outstanding. And still the head of French cycling said their performance 'is not possible'. Give me a break. Bradley Wiggins is the best fucking pursuiter of all time. I don't think he cheated. So if I could talk to your cycling buddies I would say, 'Just fucking relax. We're not talking about God. We're not talking about war. We're not talking about you losing every dime you had. We're talking about bike-racing'."

Yet we are talking about doping. Three years ago L'Equipe published their claim that a sample of Armstrong's urine from the 1999 Tour had been retested and found to contain traces of EPO. They published their apparent exposé under a banner headline of "The Armstrong Lie". "I remember the call. This house was still under construction and I was in the backyard with the contractor. At the time I thought, 'OK, whatever' - even if it was a big 'whatever'. There was hysteria and they got this big independent commission to investigate.

"Cycling, like the world, is very divided. One side finally said, 'OK, the independent commission cleared him so we're moving on'. The other side said, 'I don't believe the independent commission'. But the report was very clear and we were ready to go to the international tribunal with the lab, with Wada [the World Anti-Doping Agency] and the French government - and they declined. Now they come back and say 'OK, we'll now let you test those samples to prove your innocence'."

Armstrong pushes his cup towards me. "Here's your sample," he says, "and the lid is now off it. Something might have been put in it and your life, your credibility depends on it, but now I put the lid back on. Now we come and test it. Nobody in their right mind would take that test. The commission cleared me and L'Equipe itself said, 'The athlete in question has no way to defend himself'. I'm all for drug controls but if the athlete cannot defend himself, what kind of kangaroo court is that?"

Setting aside the possibility of tampered evidence Armstrong's first sample contained a residue of EPO - a fact he explains away by arguing that he used a cream for saddle sores during his first Tour win without any knowledge that it included a banned substance. Various other people also claim that he admitted to past doping.

Is Emma O'Reilly, his former physiotherapist on the US Postal team, simply a liar - she claimed that Armstrong had asked her in 1998 to dispose of a bag of syringes containing EPO? "We all know the names. Emma O'Reilly, Steven Swart [his former team-mate who admitted using EPO], David Walsh [the respected Sunday Times journalist and author of LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong] and Prentice Steffen [an ex-professional cyclist who told L'Equipe that "the bad guys, like Armstrong, dope"]. We sued David Walsh in the high court and won. The prosecutor in Paris opened a federal investigation and we were completely cleared. We had another arbitration case in Texas and were vindicated again."

Betsy Andreu, whose husband Frankie raced with Armstrong, claims she heard the cyclist tell doctors treating him for cancer that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs. "Her husband lived, trained and raced with me and he said, under oath, 'I have never seen Lance take performance-enhancing drugs'."

Armstrong's past links with Dr Michele Ferrari, the Italian physician charged with various doping offences, are more damaging. "Yeah - but more was made of that relationship than existed. And I'm not going to kick a family friend out of my life. There are those relationships but look at the real data. Nobody had more scrutiny than me."

As part of his mission to prove himself clean on his return Armstrong will be tested daily by Don Catlin, an independent analyst, who will post his results online. But trouble continues to brew. "I don't want to enter an unsafe situation but you see this stuff coming out of France. There're some aggressive, angry emotions. If you believe what you read my personal safety could be in jeopardy. Cycling is a sport of the open road and spectators are lining that road. I try to believe that people, even if they don't like me, will let the race unfold."

Does he fear being violently attacked on next year's Tour? "Yeah. There're directors of French teams that have encouraged people to take to the streets ... elbow to elbow. It's very emotional and tense."

There is also something compulsive about Armstrong's comeback, which can be seen both in his craving to succeed and the fascination surrounding his tilt against the odds. Comparing his fitness at this stage of the season with past years he insists: "I'm much better physically now. And mentally there is no comparison. I'm far stronger and more motivated. The motivation of 2008 feels like the motivation of 1999. I was back from cancer then. I had the motivation of vengeance because nobody wanted me or believed in me."

Nine years later Armstrong sounds more vulnerable than vengeful. "I have anxiety and insecurity about being 37. Let's not forget I'm the oldest tour winner in modern cycling history and that was four years ago. But that nervousness makes me work even harder. We're doing a training camp in December in Tenerife and another in California with big climbs. Normally I wouldn't smell a mountain until February so I'm starting early."

Armstrong will begin the new year in Australia before he returns for the Tour of California and more racing in France and Switzerland, followed by his debut in the Giro d'Italia. "I regret not riding the Giro before. But their 100th anniversary and starting in Venice and finishing in Rome made it irresistible. That's the beauty of this comeback. You lay out different scenarios in your head. What if you won the Tour again? Or the Giro? Or if you won them both? Or you lost them both? You lay it all out and I'm still up for it."

Armstrong suggests that running marathons led to him agreeing to get back on his bike in the 100-mile Leadville Trail in August, the day his comeback began. "Leadville climbs 12,500 feet and I felt good the first six hours. It was only in the last hour I ran out of fuel because I hadn't done enough miles. But I finished just behind Dave Wiens, a former world champion whose whole season revolves around that race."

For a man who has often said losing is akin to dying, Armstrong looks briefly satisfied with that second place. But, deadly serious on the bike again, and beyond the claim that he is aiming mainly to raise money for his cancer foundation, Armstrong is plainly chasing an eighth Tour victory. "When people have cancer it's black and white - they live and they win. They lose and they die. I take that same mentality into sport - to win. My friends on the team were always quite surprised that I wasn't that excited to win. They'd say: 'Aren't you excited? You just won the Tour de France for the seventh time?' I was 'Yeah, it's pretty cool'. It would have been very different if I had lost. But now if I'm able to win again, any race, it might be different this time round. We'll see."