February 12, 2007

SF Chron offers in-depth Leipheimer profile

sfgate.com | TOUR WATCH / The Consummate Detail Guy


Dorsey Kindler offers up a terrific profile of Levi Leipheimer with a week until the Tour of California kicks off in San Francisco.

The article spends a lot of time on Leipheimer's support system, wife and former pro rider Odessa Gunn.

It seems like a make-or-break year for Leipheimer, at 33. He won the Dauphiné Libéré last year, and was, in my opinion, the strongest man at the US national championships in Greenville. He rode instead for teammate-to-be George Hincapie, with an eye toward Hincapie paying him back this season, only to see the team sign defending Giro champion Ivan Basso in November. He's got a string of Top 10s at the Tour de France, without ever making it onto the podium. If he's going to win a GT, this needs to be the year.


Photo Gallery


Other Tour of California content:

Sacramento Bee | Popularity of U.S. bike racing at a crossroads

Davis Enterprise | 11 minutes of heaven: Organizers preparing for Feb. 20 when Amgen Tour rolls through city of Davis

Posted by Frank Steele on February 12, 2007 in Levi Leipheimer, Rider profiles, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 27, 2006

L.A. Times profiles Floyd Landis

Landis delivers
Landis delivers,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Los Angeles Times (free reg. required) | Rebel Rebel

Martin Dugard profiles one of the great American hopes for the Tour, Floyd (Lloyd Flanders) Landis for the LA Times Sunday magazine. Dugard talkes to both Misses Landis, offers the obligatory horrific accident story, and examines the psychological impact that Lance Armstrong may have had on Landis as a rider.

There's not a more likable guy in the Tour than Floyd. Landis has put in the domestique time, works as hard as anyone, and has a tremendous backstory. He's smart and talented, and has three stage-race victories to his credit this year.

I try not to go all raving fan-boy here, but I would love to see Landis on the top step in Paris. I've publicly said I would never doubt him again.

That said, there's a lot that Landis will have to overcome this year. The team's exclusion of José Enrique Gutierrez and Santiago Botero leaves Phonak weaker than expected, and Landis has never hit the podium in a grand tour.

Despite the wins in California and Georgia, and at Paris-Nice, I don't think we've seen Landis really pushed to the edge this season. If, as some have said, Landis has only showed 85 percent, and he can recover in the mountains, he'll have a shot.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2006 in Floyd Landis, Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

VeloNews interviews Chris Horner

VeloNews| Checkin' with Chris: A chat with Chris Horner about his first Tour

Neal Rogers interviewed Chris Horner (maybe Tuesday night?) on how he's doing on his first Tour de France.

The American, riding for Saunier Duval-Prodir, is coming off a stage win and top-5 finish at the Tour of Switzerland. Despite a somewhat disappointing individual time trial, and a 2nd-to-last finish for Saunier Duval-Prodir in the team time trial, Horner still thinks he has a shot at finishing Top 10:

I think I can ride into the top 10, even with the problems in the TT. And now I'm lower on GC, so if I find a good group to go with, they're not going to chase me down.

Horner says the team is waiting out the first week, "looking forward to the mountains."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2005 in Chris Horner, Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

Say hello to Guido Trenti

The Boston Globe | Lead man Trenti is up front about role in Tour

Not to correct USA Cycling, but There are 8.5 US citizens in the Tour field this year. That last half is provided by Quick Step's Guido Trenti, who holds dual US and Italian citizenship, and has ridden for the US at the world championships.

The Boston Globe profiles Trenti, who has earned his keep at Quick Step this week, serving as the lead-out man for double stage-winner Tom Boonen. It's Trenti's first appearance at the Tour de France, but he's made 5 starts each in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 5, 2005 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

NY Times profiles Tom Danielson

nytimes.com | Searching for a Gear to Be Like Armstrong

Tom Danielson
Tom Danielson @ Tour de Georgia 2005

Andrew Hood offers a profile of Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson, not riding this year's Tour but likely to feature on the Disco Vuelta team.

Danielson, at 27, is almost certainly the best pure climber among American racers, and got some face time in the press when he won April's Tour de Georgia, largely on the strength of a win in Stage 6, finishing atop Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia.

It's great what people say, but the legs have to do the talking," Danielson said in a recent telephone interview. "You can have the engine to maybe win the Tour some day, but you've got to have the head and the work ethic to make it happen."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2005 in Rider profiles, Tom Danielson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

Field guide to Yanks in the peloton

Bike.com | Hopping the Pond: A look at Americans in the European pro peloton

Legendary Usenet rec.bikes poster Bruce Hildenbrand offers an overview of the American presence on 2005 Euro-pro squads.

It's cool that we're getting to a point where there are Americans in important roles on so many ProTour squads: Hildenbrand's article lists riders waving the Stars and Stripes at Discovery (Discovery has gotten amazingly international, but still has 7 Americans and 2 Canadians on the 28-man roster), Landis at Phonak and Leipheimer at Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto with Fast Freddie Rodriguez, CSC (where David Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde join Bobby Julich), Saul Raisin at Credit Agricole, and Chris Horner, now with Saunier Duval.

Hildenbrand mentions that (shades of Vandevelde) Chris Horner is having trouble getting a work visa.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 24, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Rider profiles, Saul Raisin | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

Floyd Landis on Phonak '05

PezCycling | Interview: Floyd Talks to PEZ!

PezCycling has the first of two parts of an interview with the World's Fastest Mennonite, Floyd Landis.

Landis was perhaps the biggest hoss on a squad of Clydesdales with last year's US Postal team, and one of my biggest disappointments was that he didn't quite have the oats to nose out Ullrich and Klöden at the end of Stage 17.

With Tyler Hamilton out of the picture, Landis looks likely to lead the Phonak team in one or more grand tours this year (Landis: "If we end up doing the Tour, then I think I would end up being the leader").

He also talks a little about how other riders are going to have to step up into leadership roles, since the new ProTour requires teams to race every date on the calendar.

PEZ promises that Part 2 will look toward the coming season and changes between last year at Postal and this year with Phonak.

Update: Part 2 is available now.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 16, 2005 in Floyd Landis, Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 12, 2004

Abt busy: profiles of Mayo, Simoni

IHT | A brooding rebel with many causes

NYTimes.com | Basque Cyclist, Mayo, Enjoys Salad Days on Tour

Samuel Abt, the best English-language cycling writer, offers up profiles of Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo (in the New York Times) and Saeco's Gilberto Simoni (in the International Herald Tribune).

On Simoni, the lead is my favorite:

You don't have to be Sigmund Freud or even a Dick Tracy Junior G-Man to figure out that when Gilberto Simoni failed to sign in for two consecutive days at the start of stages in the Tour de France he was betraying a certain reluctance to continue in the race.

Mayo has tired of The Question (have you peaked too early?):

"I've been asked one hundred times and I keep saying the same thing: No. My preparation has gone wonderfully but I still have room to improve. Last year at the Dauphiné," he continued, referring to a weeklong mountainous race in France in June, "I was better than I am now, so I still have room to improve." He finished that Dauphiné in second place, behind Lance Armstrong.

Abt has tired of The Pun (although he couldn't resist "Mayo Can Still Lay It On Thick" used ironically).

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2004 in Gilberto Simoni, Iban Mayo, Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2004

Hamilton speaks on doping, Tour prep

Guardian Unlimited Sport | Interview: Tyler Hamilton

The Guardian does a good feature story/interview with Tyler Freaking Hamilton, who they call "America's other cyclist." Ouch.

The story goes into all the colorful exploits of the toughest man in go-business: The 11 caps he needed after gritting his teeth through the Giro, riding 3 weeks of last year's Tour with a broken collarbone and refusing painkillers since they make him woozy.

Hamilton says he thinks he can win it all if everything goes perfectly.

"Taking out a flat time-trial and adding a mountain time-trial is a big advantage to guys like Mayo, [Ivan] Basso, [Roberto] Heras," Hamilton forecasts, "because the strong time-triallists are not going to put two, three minutes into those guys. This year's Tour suits more of a pure climber than in the past. It'll be a more open Tour than for some time."

I get the impression the interview predates David Millar's exclusion, but Hamilton told the Guardian he thinks doping is an exception in the peloton:

"I think it's in a good phase," he says. "I can't speak for the other teams but I can speak for my team and myself. I feel like it's cleaned up a lot. I got tested three times in the off-season; that's just out-of-competition testing. And with all three teams I've been on I've signed my contract knowing if I use illegal substances I'm fired straight away.

"I think it's getting better, though there is a lot of silence. But maybe the teams aren't so open because of the journalists. If they don't always write the truth, and then someone like [the retired Kelme rider Jesus] Manzano speaks, they take it word for word as though it's the truth. Between him and [former Cofidis professional Philippe] Gaumont, they've done so much damage to the sport, and how do we know it's all true?"

Hamilton advocates a riders' union to help look after the riders' interests, including testing and long-term health.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2004 in Doping, Rider profiles, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2004

NY Times profiles Chris Horner

nytimes.com | Americans Maneuver in a Competitive Market

Today's a big day for US cycling fans: the Tour of Germany wraps up, giving us a look at Jan Ullrich's fitness 1 month out from the Tour, the Dauphine Libere starts in France, showcasing most of the other Tour contenders, and the USPro Championships are today in Philadelphia.

The New York Times offers a profile of Chris Horner, who has won every race that matters in the US except the USPro, and spent time in Europe with Francaise des Jeux (he's now riding for Webcor).

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2004 in Chris Horner, Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

Tyler's tuning up

DenverPost.com | Changing course to Tour triumph

Good profile of Tyler Freaking Hamilton, and his drive to become the third American to win the Tour. Quite a bit of detail about his switch from CSC to Phonak:

"We had a lot of objectives," said Hamilton, the VeloNews' North American rider of the year. "U.S. Postal had one. You can't say either one is wrong. Both definitely get a lot of publicity for their sponsors. But in a selfish sort of way, I want a team built around me like U.S. Postal is built around Lance.

"And Phonak came to me with that opportunity."

Can Hamilton dethrone Armstrong?

...Armstrong faltered some in the Alps and his winning margin closed from 7 minutes, 17 seconds in 2002 to 1:01 last year. He is a year older. He is going through a divorce. Is he vulnerable? Is he vulnerable to Hamilton?

"He's getting older, and he's got a lot going on," Hamilton said of his former U.S. Postal teammate. "It's hard for him. He has a busy lifestyle. He does a lot. But I know the way Lance works, and he'll be ready."

Posted by Frank Steele on January 14, 2004 in Rider profiles, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

Beloki fitness update

Yahoo! Sport | Beloki happy with new team and has Tour in his sights

Beloki, whose dramatic crash during Stage 9 of the 2003 Tour sent Lance Armstrong offroad and Beloki's podium chances down in flames, is training in western France for the season ahead.

"I have no worries about my fitness. I always thought my fall could have been worse. I do however still have quite a lot of muscle to put back on."

Beloki, who has finished in the top three in the past four years on the Tour de France, said that race remained his priority.

"For the Tour, I'll prepare in my own way, following a programme I know well."

Posted by Frank Steele on January 7, 2004 in Joseba Beloki, Rider profiles, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Another USPS defection

Procycling | Vande Velde opts for Liberty

Citing the Spanish daily Marca, Procycling.com reports that Colorado's Christian Vande Velde, 27, will follow Roberto Heras to the Liberty Seguros team managed by former ONCE directeur sportif Manolo Saiz.

As with Heras, Vande Velde, who rode in the Tour in 1999 and 2001, still has a year left on his USPS contract, but apparently final details of a contract buyout are being worked out.

Vande Velde is the 19th rider to join Liberty Seguros.


VeloNews | Vande Velde poised to jump to Liberty

Posted by Frank Steele on January 6, 2004 in Rider profiles, Tour news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2003

Americans in Paris?

VeloNews | Americans deliver more than Postal to Euro' peloton

VeloNews offers up a preview of Americans racing in the 2004 European peloton, including team leaders Lance Armstrong of US Postal, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, now with Phonak, and Levi Leipheimer of Rabobank.

Newcomers to the Euro scene include Tom Danielson and Tim Johnson, formerly of Saturn, and possibly David Clinger, who raced for Prime Alliance in 2003, after stints with Festina and US Postal.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 22, 2003 in Rider profiles, Tom Danielson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 10, 2003

Armstrong Q&A

Lance Armstrong Official Website | 10 Questions for Lance - Dec 10, 2003

Of note:

What was your reaction to the news that Roberto Heras wanted to leave USPS? Was that a surprise to you, or had it been in the works for a while behind the scenes and it all just came together quickly?

    I have to say that I wasn't terribly surprised. Roberto's a leader and had the opportunity to go and do that, plus get a longer term deal. I wish him well.

The addition of Jose Acevedo looks on paper to be a very nice fit... there would seem to still be some funds left for another rider as well - is that in the plan?

    The "Ace" does fit in well. He can climb, time trial, and is strong in the TTT. He'll fit nicely. We may take another young American rider yet to be decided on...

Of local interest for me:

What's the latest on you doing the Tour of Georgia? Is it seeming more or less probable?

Unfortunately, I think it's dead. So not good at all..

Update: Chris Aronhalt of the Tour de Georgia says preparations for the race are proceeding and to "look for big news and positive announcements in early/mid January."

Update January 23, 2004: Looks like Armstrong will be riding in the Tour de Georgia.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 10, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2003

Robert Millar profile

Scotsman.com Sport - Honour at last for Scotland's king of the mountains

Millar rode for Peugeot, Team Z, and Le Groupement, among others, and won the King of the Mountains in 1984, when he finished 4th in the Tour.

He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame Friday night.

Posted by Frank Steele on December 8, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 04, 2003

CNN.com | Report: Cyclist Lance Armstrong, wife to divorce

Armstrong with wife Kristin, son Luke and twin daughters Isabella Rose and Grace Elizabeth after Stage 20 of the 2003 Tour. (AP Photo)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and his wife have separated and are planning to divorce, according to a published report.

Armstrong and wife Kristin separated two weeks ago, soon after they moved back to Austin from their European home in Girona, Spain, according to a story published in Thursday editions of the Austin American-Statesman.

Here's the story from the Austin American-Statesman.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 04, 2003


In their typical understated way, the British newspaper the Daily Mirror talks about Lance Armstrong's marriage problems, claiming Armstrong's break after the Tour is at least partially to mend fences with Kristin.

The couple reunited in April but now, with the season almost over, they will take the first tentative steps to rebuild their relationship at their flat in Gerona, in northern Spain. Kristin, 31, says: "We're going to take the month of August and play, spend some time alone. Have some fun. I think it's going to be OK."

Her only fear is that it may be impossible to rediscover the love they had when they first met and Armstrong had yet to receive the all-clear from the testicular cancer that spread to his brain.

Posted by Frank Steele on August 4, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2003

washingtonpost.com | Extra Ordinary In Ways Unseen

Sally Jenkins takes us beyond what Lance Armstrong has done to what does Lance Armstrong mean? Was his success, even in the face of cancer, predetermined by his genes, or is there something more at work?

She offers her perspective as an author who co-authored Lance Armstrong's books, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life and the forthcoming Every Second Counts.

She compares Lance's stage win with the way he fought his cancer:

He fought like that on the climb up Luz-Ardiden to victory in the Pyrenees, after crashing last week. The thing you can't know about Lance on a climb, until you've seen him do it in person, is that the effort is so severe that his eyes become completely bloodshot from burst capillaries.

"Why do you do it?" I asked him once. "What's the pleasure in riding a bike up a mountain for six hours?"

"I don't understand the question," he said.

"Well, there has to be some pleasure in it," I said. "I mean, your back hurts, your neck hurts, your butt hurts. What's the payoff?"

"I still don't understand the question."

I went away baffled -- and convinced that unless I could get him to talk to me on the subject, I'd never understand him. After a couple of days of thought, I realized I'd been asking the entirely wrong question.

"You don't do it for the pleasure," I said. "You do it for the pain."

"That's exactly right," he said.

If you want to know to what extent Armstrong's success comes from being a mutant, and to what extent it results from pure will, check out this column.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (2)

sfgate.com | Injured Hamilton wonders 'What if?'

I can't speak for Tyler Freaking Hamilton, who completed a tremendous feat of arms today, made worse by the cobbles of the Champs Elysees. I'll let the man speak for himself:

"The way you deal with the low points in your life is what makes you a person," Hamilton said Sunday, "and I think I dealt with a difficult situation the best I could."

He wound up fourth in the overall standings, 6 minutes, 17 seconds behind five-time champion Lance Armstrong.

"I'll always look back and think, 'What if?"' said Hamilton, speaking on the train taking cyclists to the outskirts of Paris for Sunday's final stage.

"But that's life. Life is a roller coaster ride."

Update: We need a Tyler Hamilton picture, so here's one. As always, click through to see the source, in this case Yahoo! Sport's AP photo gallery.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2003 in Rider profiles, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 26, 2003

Times Online | Ullrich the comeback king ready for trial of strength

Times Online has a good profile on Jan Ullrich, and what an amazing comeback he's made to be back at this level of competition.

This afternoon, however, ten million Germans are expected to tune into television coverage of Ullrich’s effort to reverse his narrow deficit on Armstrong in the most gripping finale to the Tour in memory. The fact that Ullrich, 29, is racing at all is unexpected, but a decisive victory over the American, who has won all the final time-trials in his four-year reign, would be unforgettable.

Twelve months ago, Ullrich’s career was in freefall. Scorned by Telekom, his sponsor, and deserted by the German public after years of excuses for poor performances, the final humiliation came early in July. As Armstrong left Luxembourg en route for a fourth successive Tour win, Ullrich faced the press in Frankfurt and hesitatingly tried to explain how he had found himself in a nightclub taking Ecstasy.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 26, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2003

cyclingnews.com | Interview with Pablo Lastras

cyclingnews.com has a refreshingly self-effacing interview with Pablo Lastras after his victory in Stage 18:

"I guess I can say that I'm an all-rounder, because I'm equally bad in all disciplines. I can't climb, I can't descend and I can't sprint, so all-rounder suits me fine. Honestly, I hope the journalists will come up with something nice to say about me."

Lastras dedicated the win to his mother, who died four months ago.

Pablo Lastras average speed of 49.938 km/h today makes his stage the second fastest Tour stage in history, and the speed was one of Lastras' biggest worries during the stage. "I spoke to my team manager early in the break, and I told him that I was so very tired. The day had started so fast, and it took a lot of energy to get the break going, and I ended up with nothing to eat. With 30 kilometres to go, it was a different story. I had eaten and felt a little better, but I was still very tired. I thought that if I have to die for this one I will."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2003

cyclingnews.com | Interview with Servais Knaven

cyclingnews.com has an interview with Stage 17 winner Servais Knaven, conducted in 2002. Knaven was with Lotto-Domo at the time; this year, he rides for QuickStep-Davitamon.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 23, 2003

cyclingnews.com | Tyler Hamilton - C’est la vie!

cyclingnews.com talks to Stage 16 winner Tyler Hamilton, thriving despite a collarbone broken in two places in the big Stage 1 pileup:

"Of the seven Tours de France I've done, this race is by far the most painful, and it isn't even over yet. The pain I was going through in the first week was just brutal. I couldn't sleep and I just wanted to survive until the team time trial so that I could help my team mates out. After that stage I felt a little bit better, and I decided to go along, taking it day by day. At this point, my shoulder is better, but it's not a 100%. I still cannot sleep on my side, so I have to lay flat on my back, and I'm getting a bit sick of that. While on the bike, I can pull my handlebars, but I still feel a bit awkward when standing up."

Asked about claims (by Walter Godefroot, the Telekom manager and others) that his broken collarbone was an "American PR trick", Hamilton says:

"Well, Walter has the right to have an opinion, as have everyone else. I'm sad he said that though, and he is welcome to come and visit me anytime, and I'll show him my X-rays, where you can clearly see the two breaks. It disappoints me too, that he would say such a thing, because by doing that he calls me and my team for liars. I don't like it, but I guess that's life."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 23, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2003

LanceArmstrong.com | Interview with Kristin Armstrong

In previous years, Lance Armstrong's wife Kristin has contributed a column to the official Lance Armstrong website. The couple separated in February, so no column this year. There is, however, an interview with Kristin up at LanceArmstrong.com, with an update on the situation with her and with their children.

Update 9/4/03: Lance and Kristin Armstrong have announced plans to divorce.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 22, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (96) | TrackBack

July 18, 2003

cyclingnews.com | Head to head

cyclingnews.com offers an interview with green jersey Baden Cooke. It’s 3-1 that the Aussies will take the green jersey, but which Aussie?

Cooke’s lead over Robbie McEwen in the points race dwindled to 8 pts Thursday, and Stuart O’Grady made up 12 points, moving into 4th place, behind Cooke, McEwen, and Erik Zabel.


“Since McEwen has been struggling on the climbs, I am more worried about Zabel and O’Grady, because they have been doing some good climbing. McEwen could be in danger of being eliminated once we get to the Pyrenees. Thor Hushovd has also been climbing well, but I don’t think he’s fast enough to pick up on the points. Zabel and O’Grady could be dangerous if it came down to a bonus sprint after a climb, but so far I’ve been the better sprinter.”

Cooke credits Bradley McGee as his “secret weapon:”

“He has the knowledge of how to put me in a perfect position for the sprints, and he is riding so strongly at the moment.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 17, 2003

One for the ladies

"Crazy Jane" over at The Daily Peloton offers a beefcake review of the peloton:

Jan Ullrich. To quote Dieter, Saturday Night Live's inimitable host of German talk show Sprockets, "he's so beautiful and angular!"

Anyway, if you want to see what the riders look like without their helmets and god-awful sunglasses, trying to charm a fangirl with an instamatic, check it out...

Posted by Frank Steele on July 17, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 16, 2003

journalstar.com | Armstrong edges Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds for ESPY

US sports network ESPN awarded its annual “ESPY” awards for athletic achievement tonight. In the category “Best Male Athlete”, Lance Armstrong beat out Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Tim Duncan. Armstrong had previously won the 2000 Comeback Athlete ESPY.

Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was named Best Female Athlete.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 15, 2003

NYTimes.com | With Broken Collarbone, Hamilton Presses On in Tour

Tyler Freaking Hamilton gets some well-deserved attention from Samuel Abt in The New York Times:

This year Hamilton was a star of the spring, winning the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic and the Tour of Romandie. He was expected to be a major challenger to Lance Armstrong in the Tour until the crash.

Now, to widespread amazement, he remains a contender. Hamilton has passed through the Alps with the leaders and, after a rest day Wednesday for the riders, he is likely to do well in the next major challenge, a 47-kilometer (29-mile) individual time trial on Friday. Then come the Pyrenees, starting on Saturday.

Why is Hamilton carrying on, his collarbone taped in place and the tires on his bicycle underinflated to reduce bouncing?

"I'm doing it for my team and my sponsors, who got me this far by believing in me," he said. "And for my wife." Haven Hamilton serves informally as his trainer, even driving a scooter or car as he paces behind near their racing home in Gerona, Spain.

Abt also passes along one of those irresistible stories, probably apocryphal, about the Tour:

Some lore that is not found in any of the authorized history books: In 1971, Eddy Merckx and a couple of his Molteni teammates set a pace so rapid on the stage to Marseille that the pack arrived more than an hour ahead of schedule.

The mayor of Marseille then was Gaston Defferre, who held that office from 1953 until his death in 1986 and governed the city with an iron hand.

When the mayor arrived at the appointed hour to preside over the victory ceremony at the finish, he found the riders had come and gone. The podium was being dismantled, the crowd barriers had been packed away, Merckx was at his hotel and the fans — the voters — had left.

On the spot, the mayor banned the Tour de France from his city. Not until 1989, three years after his death, did the race return to Marseille.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bike.com | McGee's Hunger For Success Gives Way To Frustration On Tour

Australian Bradley McGee's success at the start of the Tour de France has given way to frustrating bouts of fatigue which have hampered his bid for further glory.

The fdjeux.com rider is to undergo tests in a bid to determine why he is experiencing debilitating 'hunger flats' which are ruining what started off as a dream Tour de France.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 15, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2003

Lance links

In honor of Lance Armstrong retaking the maillot jaune, here are a few profiles of the USPS leader:

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 13, 2003

VeloNews | Tyler Tunes : On top of l'Alpe

Tyler Freaking Hamilton has updated his race diary at VeloNews.

On the technical side, he explains one adjustment they've made since he can't comfortably stand on the bike:

I've been trying to concentrate on using a higher cadence in this year's Tour de France. I've been riding a 52x36 instead of a typical 53x39.

The man is simply unbelievable. If I was in his place, I wouldn't be able to stand up straight for all the horse tranquilizers I'd be popping.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (1)

cyclingnews.com | Iban Mayo : First objective achieved

cyclingnews.com offers an interview with l'Alpe d'Huez winner Iban Mayo.

"After I attacked Lance in Dauphine, I was told that it would be very different and much harder for me to do the same thing in the Tour," the 25 year old rider smiled behind the podium at the top of the Alpe. "Now I have done just that, and my attack carried me all the way to the finish. It is true though that my team lost a lot of time in the team time trial, and because of that I don't think I was considered a big threat to Lance today and that might have been a reason that they let me have a go here. I am sure I will be more controlled by the other teams after today."

Mayo who has been a pro since 2000 and is riding his second Tour de France, came to the start in Paris with a very specific goal. "I told journalists before the Tour that I wanted to win a stage, and that it should be this specific stage. I think Alpe d'Huez is the most beautiful of all stages and it is certainly an important one, both historically and for the general classification."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ironic story du jour: Merckx targets Alpine success

Axel Merckx is the son of legendary racer Eddy Merckx, probably the greatest cyclist of all time (5 Tours, including one in which he won 8 stages). Axel told BBC Sport his goal was to win today's stage:

Merckx Jnr, however, insists he has the ability to take arguably the Tour's toughest stage prize.

He told the BBC Sport website: "Obviously because of my riding style, the mountain stages suit me a great deal but there's one that sticks more in the mind than the others.

"The dream is to win Alpe d'Huez and it remains this year's goal, but you just have to play these things by ear.

"My form has not been too bad so far and I'm getting increasingly near peak condition. I'll see how I feel on the morning of Alpe d'Huez and take it from there.

"Sadly, there'll be a lot of guys thinking the same thing."

Apparently some of those guys showed up today: Merckx was struggling behind the gruppetto (the laughing group, a group of riders working together just to escape elimination) today even before the climb to l'Alpe d'Huez started. Update: He eventually finished within the grupetto, which came in at 42:19.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rider's diaries updated at cyclingnews.com

There are updated riders' diaries at cyclingnews.com. Most of them are updated through yesterday's Stage 7. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano isn't racing the Tour this year, but is contributing a rider's diary with an insider's view.

cyclingnews.com | Floyd Landis diary: Stage 7

cyclingnews.com | Fred Rodriguez diary : Stage 4-7 - Hot roads, hotheads

cyclingnews.com | Bradley McGee diary : It's mate versus mate

cyclingnews.com | Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano analysis : Stage 7 : Hot and hard

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2003

Tyler Hamilton | Life at Camp Collarbone

Tyler Hamilton has updated his race diary at VeloNews.


I guess my primary reason for being here up until now has been to see if I can hang on and lend support to my good friend Carlos Sastre. He has done so much for me over the last year-and-a-half that I feel like I should make the most of every opportunity to repay him. I wanted to be a contributing factor in the team time trial for him, and tomorrow we will see if I still have what it takes to do some work for him in the mountains.

I'm a little concerned about whether or not I will be able to stand up on the bike. I'm only riding with about 50 percent of my full strength on my right side. So, it hasn't been that easy to keep pace with the accelerations in the peloton over the last few days. To stay with the first group, you really have to be able to pull on the handle bars when the speeds heat up on the climbs.

If I can't stay with the lead guys, I won't be able to be of any service to my trusty amigo. And if I can't do that, then I will be forced to reevaluate my status in this race. Like I said, I'm not sticking around to be pack fill. I really want to help my team. But if I can't, then it will be decision time.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The New Yorker | The Long Ride: How did Lance Armstrong manage the greatest comeback in sports history?

As the Tour moves into the Alps, and the likelihood of Lance Armstrong moving up into the maillot jaune, I thought I would link to the best Lance Armstrong profile I've read.

It originally ran in The New Yorker's July 15, 2002 issue. It goes into some depth about both the physiology and, more importantly, the psychology that go into making a successful Tour rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 12, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2003

Peña in yellow

cyclingnews.com | A Colombian in yellow: Victor Huga Peña realizes a dream

New yellow jersey Victor Hugo Peña turns 29 tomorrow, as the leader of the most famous bicycle race in the world.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


eurosport.com | Hero in his own country

Eurosport offers up a profile of Tyler Hamilton, who reportedly was only ‘satisfied’ with his ride in the TTT, and plans to continue riding with a collarbone fractured in two places.

Also: Hamilton’s July 9th diary entry at VeloNews: “As pile ups go, this was one of the worst I’ve ever been in.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 9, 2003 in Rider profiles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack