VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:54:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Video: Road rage between two bikers in London commute http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/video-road-rage-two-bikers-london-commute_350105 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/video-road-rage-two-bikers-london-commute_350105#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:46:03 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350105

Road rage causes a crash after one cyclist attacks another in London commute.

A dangerous crash occurs when one rider unexpectedly kicks the wheel of a second cyclist, sending him sprawling into a nearby bus

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Road rage causes a crash after one cyclist attacks another in London commute.

Although Raphael Carrondo uploaded this POV video to YouTube two months ago, and it is now making the rounds after the The Independent reported on the altercation that took place in London.

“I couldn’t believe what had happened — I feel so lucky to be alive,” Carrondo told ITV News. “This guy just came out of nowhere and leathered my front wheel. I went flying over the handlebars and my head almost went under the bus — it was terrifying.”

Read the full article on The Independent >>

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Pulmonary embolism, a silent killer: What cyclists should know http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/pulmonary-embolism-silent-killer-cyclists-know_350026 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/pulmonary-embolism-silent-killer-cyclists-know_350026#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:28:05 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350026

In 2006, Mike Friedman suffered a pulmonary embolism. He made a full recovery and returned to professional racing thanks to prompt medical treatment. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (File).

Mike Friedman, Chris Horner, and Frank Vandenbroucke all suffered pulmonary embolisms. Vandenbroucke's condition tragically claimed his life

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In 2006, Mike Friedman suffered a pulmonary embolism. He made a full recovery and returned to professional racing thanks to prompt medical treatment. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (File).

Editor’s note: This article is a general overview of pulmonary emboli and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your physician if you think you are suffering from this or any other medical condition. 

On November 17, 2006, Mike Friedman (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), 24, felt an excruciating pain rip through his torso. “I’ve never been so short of breath,” he said. “It was like a dull knife ripping apart my chest.” In the middle of watching the movie “Cars,” he turned to his date and said, “We need to get to a hospital. I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Forty minutes later, Friedman was under evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, not for a heart attack, but for a pulmonary embolism, a potentially lethal blood clot in his lung.

Pulmonary emboli (PE) are silent killers. Often with little prior warning, nearly 300,000 people are killed every year by blood clots which lodge in their lungs (Kahanov and Daly, 2009). There is no greater cause of sudden death in the healthy population than a pulmonary embolism (Goldhaber, 2004).

First, a clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) forms, often in the calf. The DVT travels from the veins to the right side of the heart which pumps the clot to the lungs. Untreated, this blocks blood flow to the lungs and can ultimately cause cardiac arrest. In total, over 900,000 people are stricken with pulmonary emboli every year. Many of those hit are otherwise healthy athletic people. (Andersen et al, 1991).

PEs are not unheard of in the peloton. Rwandan cycling pro Adrien Nyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), the focal point of Tim Lewis’s book, “Land of Second Chances,” lost his 2013 season because of his PE. Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner suffered one in 2011. Top professional Frank Vandenbroucke wasn’t so lucky. His embolism was fatal.

It was the coalescence of four crucial factors that caused Friedman to totter down the UPMC emergency department hall that night.

In late October of 2006, the rider affectionately known as “Meatball” had surgery to remove a recurrent saddle sore. What he didn’t know at the time was that he carries a genetic mutation called Factor V Leiden — one of the approximately 16 known genetic variants that can cause clotting disorders. The surgery, coupled with Friedman’s genome, kicked his clotting mechanism into high gear.

On November 6, he drove 1,600 miles non-stop from his home at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to his family in Pittsburgh. Fueled by little more than truck stop coffee, dehydration became Friedman’s buddy during the drive. Worse, periods of immobility, such as lengthy drives and airplane rides, often trigger DVT formation. Friedman’s calf cramped badly during the drive. Once the clot took root in his leg, the cramping was constant, an early warning sign that a DVT had formed in his leg.

When Friedman arrived in Pittsburgh, he began to train again. Unable to sit comfortably, he went out for runs. He also did 75-mile rides — without a saddle, but with a DVT in his calf.

Surgery, genetic predisposition, a lengthy drive, plus dehydration — fortunately for Friedman on his date night, he avoided the urge to tough it out, and got to the ER.

What are the warning signs that should alert you to seek immediate evaluation?

1) Shortness of breath — typically appears suddenly and always gets worse with exertion.
2) Chest pain — Not only “heart attack pain,” but pain when you draw deep breaths, cough, or bend at the waist. It does not go away.
3) Cough — especially bloody sputum.
4) Leg pain and/or swelling — usually in the calf. This is a tough one for cyclists. Our calves always ache. One-sided swelling is a tipoff. Friedman’s was only in his right calf below the knee.
5) Clammy and/or discolored skin — Friedman’s leg took on a reddish hue.
6) Irregular heartbeat.
7) Anxiety, lightheadedness, and/or dizziness.

If you’ve got two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to get evaluated immediately. Untreated, 30 percent of acute PEs result in death (Horlander K.T., et al). Once at the hospital, several tests are commonly used to diagnose a DVT/PE episode.

Typically, a chest x-ray is taken to rule out other disorders which mimic a PE. An ultrasound exam of your legs can confirm the presence of a DVT. Standard blood work often includes a D-dimer test, which can tell if your body’s clotting mechanism has been engaged.

A CT pulmonary angiogram is considered the gold standard for PE diagnosis. A small amount of contrast medium which contains iodine is injected into a vein in the hand or arm. The exam is quick — images are taken shortly after injection and take just moments to gather. Any emboli are seen as dark against the white background of the dye within your pulmonary circulation.

Now that your doctors have diagnosed you with a PE, you are likely to be treated with a variety of anticoagulant therapies. How long you’ll remain on anti-coagulant therapy, and when you can get back on your bike are critical questions for any cyclist.

Straightaway, you’ll need patience as the damage caused by the blood clots in your lungs and legs takes time to heal. Swelling of the legs is often worse after a DVT, so your physician may order you to wear compression stockings to keep it at bay. You might find that the mere act of walking up stairs leaves you breathless for several weeks post-PE. Base miles will be the order of the day for awhile.

PEs are complex medical management issues for physicians. It may take several weeks of tweaks until your personal physiology and the medications begin to act in harmony. While the outlook for a fit athlete’s return to active riding is far brighter than for the population at large, you might find yourself on anticoagulants for some time.

Most likely, you’ll be back on the bike, but perhaps not as strongly as Friedman. In May of 2007, six months after suffering a PE, Friedman raced the Four Days of Dunkerque. In December of 2007, Friedman won the pre-Olympics scratch race on the Beijing velodrome which cemented his spot on the US Olympic long team. And in April of 2008, he raced the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, as he rode in support of fourth-place finisher and Garmin teammate Martijn Maaskant. Nice comeback.

Special thanks to Dr. Chris Roseberry, MD, FACS — the finest cyclocrossing surgeon in Exeter, NH.

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Gallery: Power unit roundup from Interbike http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-power-unit-roundup-from-interbike_350055 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-power-unit-roundup-from-interbike_350055#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:26:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350055

Lennard Zinn checks out a few power units on display at the annual trade show

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The 2015 Tour de France: Nibali’s to win again? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/2015-tour-nibalis-win_350042 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/2015-tour-nibalis-win_350042#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:16:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350042

On the 2014 Tour de France's second stage into Sheffield, Vincenzo Nibali subjected his rivals to a brutal attack on the steep final climb. More fireworks are expected next year, as the Tour is rumored to include the Mur de Huy and other punchy climbs in northern Europe. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Next year's Tour is expected to be light on time trials and heavy on punchy climbs, which favors the defending champion from Italy

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On the 2014 Tour de France's second stage into Sheffield, Vincenzo Nibali subjected his rivals to a brutal attack on the steep final climb. More fireworks are expected next year, as the Tour is rumored to include the Mur de Huy and other punchy climbs in northern Europe. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) will present its 2015 Tour de France route Wednesday in Paris, but already, enough is known or rumored to suggest that Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will have a chance to defend his 2014 title. [Watch a live broadcast of the presentation on VeloNews, starting at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on October 22 -Ed.]

The race will start in Utrecht, Netherlands on July 4 and finish in Paris on July 26. It is due to run counter-clockwise around the country, skirting the north coast before running through the high Pyrenean and Alpine mountains.

Lack of time trials

29-year-old Siclian improved, but is still not at the level of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) when it comes to time trials. The 2014 Tour had one 54-kilometer time trial stage, where Nibali placed fourth, but next year is due to only have one individual stage, the 13.7-kilometer opener in Utrecht.

Northern start

Any time lost in the short time trial on day one, “The Shark” could gain back when the Tour rolls through the nervous and technical North. The 2015 edition should have two stages in the Netherlands — one following North Sea’s coastline to Neeltje Jans — two in Belgium, and about three along the coasts of Normandy and Brittany.

In 2014′s cobbled stage five to Arenberg, Froome crashed early while the technically adept Nibali rode away from all of his rivals on the wet stones. He gained 2:35 on Contador and 3:27 on eventual Tour runner up, Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Punchy climbs

Nibali, along with Contador, will have the upper hand over Froome and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in 2015′s short and sharp climbs that resemble those of the Ardennes classics. In fact, stage 3 should finish up the same 1.3-kilometer ‘wall’ in Huy, Belgium — the Mur de Huy — that hosts the Flèche Wallonne classic every April.

Along with the Mur de Huy (averaging 9.3 percent), ASO is rumored to be planning a finish on the 2.21-kilometer Mûr-de-Bretagne in stage 8 (6.5 percent) and the three-kilometer Côte de la Croix-Neuve (10.1 percent) in stage 14.

High mountains

Nibali rode away with the Tour title in 2014 after Froome and Contador abandoned early. He won four stages, three in the mountains, but may not be so lucky in 2015.

The Tour is due to include summit finishes at Pierre Saint-Martin and Plateau de Beille, Pra-Loup, Toussuire, and Alpe d’Huez — it is good news for Nibali, but better news for his rivals, especially lightweight Colombian climber and 2014 Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana. Quintana scheduled the 2015 Tour as his main event after skipping it this year and placing second to Froome in 2013. It remains to be seen how Nibali will respond when challenged by the GC heavies in the high mountains.

Team event

Astana should field eight strong riders to support Nibali, especially since he is now a proven Tour winner. With the defense in mind, it signed climbers Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Dario Cataldo (Sky), and Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis). It also added Dutch hard-man, and former world cyclocross champion Lars Boom (Belkin). Boom won the Arenberg stage of this year’s Tour, so he could become the perfect chauffeur for Nibali when the Tour departs from Utrecht.

Astana can also count on this year’s helpers: Lieuwe Westra, Alessandro Vanotti, and Jakob Fuglsang. With the right selection, the turquoise team could compete well in the rumored 25-kilometer team time trial planned for stage 9 in Plumelec.

One of the few question marks resides beyond Nibali’s control: Astana’s standing with the UCI. After three doping positives in 2014, the UCI is expected to review the Kazakh team’s WorldTour license ahead of 2014.

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Cookson: ‘Technology has moved on’ from 6.8kg weight limit on bikes http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/bikes-and-tech/cookson-technology-has-moved-on-from-6-8kg-weight-limit-on-bikes_349994 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/bikes-and-tech/cookson-technology-has-moved-on-from-6-8kg-weight-limit-on-bikes_349994#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:06:54 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349994

Brian Cookson has opened the door to the UCI lowering the 6.8kg weight limit. Photo: AFP | Fabrice Coffrini

The UCI president says "technology has moved on" from the minimum weight required for bikes in the pro peloton

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Brian Cookson has opened the door to the UCI lowering the 6.8kg weight limit. Photo: AFP | Fabrice Coffrini

The 6.8-kilogram (14.99-pound) weight limit imposed by current UCI regulations is on thin ice, but hasn’t fallen through just yet.

“I understand why that rule was brought on in the first place, though I think that technology has moved on,” UCI President Brian Cookson said to VeloNews in a phone interview.

The current rule, which bars complete bikes from weighing less than 6.8kg when used in UCI-sanctioned competitions, was implemented as part of the Lugano Charter. That charter, written in early 1997, is still the basis of the UCI’s technical rulebook. The weight limit rule is widely viewed as outdated and unnecessary by the cycling industry, as composite technology has advanced to the point where a bicycle can be built well under the limit and still pass industry standard safety tests.

A complete rewrite of the rule is not imminent, but will likely be part of an ongoing restructuring of the current rulebook.

“Weight is a crude way of looking at it really. It’s quite easy to have bikes now that hit the 6.8kg limit,” Cookson said. “I wouldn’t like to throw it open completely. Strength is the most important thing and I wouldn’t like to see bikes breaking underneath riders, we see enough of that in crashes. So we can take a look at this from the other end of the telescope in terms of wheel and frame strength and what that means in terms of weight.”

Any changes will be slow and deliberate. Removing the weight limit rule would require that it be replaced with some sort of safety standard; lowering it would require a detailed analysis of the strength of modern composites to determine just how low the limit could go.

“Any modifications to the rules will be targeting smooth transition rather than sudden changes. This is my personal preference and I am sure that the cycling industry and the teams share that opinion,” Dmitris Katsanis, a member of UCI’s Equipment Commission, said to VeloNews earlier this year.

Enhanced strength and safety testing would likely result in the expansion of the UCI’s frame approval program to include safety testing for both frames and wheels. Currently, the program simply ensures that frames used in competition meet a collection of UCI regulations surrounding shape and geometry.

The UCI already has a wheel test in place, though, much like the 6.8kg rule, it is frequently derided by the cycling industry as a useless metric. The UCI’s test involves running a large weight into a wheel and examining how it fails — not whether it fails, or the level of force leads to failure, but what the wheel looks like once it has exploded. The test has been ridiculed for its focus on the aftermath of a crash than avoiding a crash in the first place.

The governing body announced the impending implementation of a wheel approval program in 2012, but that program has yet to materialize.

Implementing a safety protocol above and beyond the current European Commission standards would be complicated and likely quite expensive. But Cookson’s focus on strength leaves few other options available — short of leaving the 6.8kg limit as it stands, of course.

VeloNews’ Matthew Beaudin contributed to this report

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In the News: Trail booby trap found in Portland, Oregon http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/news-trail-booby-trap-found-portland-oregon_350016 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/news-trail-booby-trap-found-portland-oregon_350016#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:27:52 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350016 Portland bomb squad diffuses trip wire-activated firearm found in Forest Park on multi-use trail

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The Oregonian reports that hikers found a trip wire and an improvised gun device on a multi-use trail in Forest Park, in northwest Portland, Oregon.

They found a parachute cord rigged to a three-quarter-inch-diameter pipe — open at one end, closed at the other — attached to a tree. There appeared to be a firing pin at the closed end. The cord was attached to a beer bottle that was supposed to swing down and strike the firing pin at the back of the device when the cord was tripped.

One of the hikers called a friend who works as a bomb squad technician for the Portland-area interagency Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit. Bomb squad members found what they described as an improvised firearm loaded with a shotgun shell attached to a trip wire. A dog apparently tripped the device when it stepped on the parachute cord, but the gun apparently malfunctioned.

Read the full story on The Oregonian >>

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QBP announces 10 United Bicycle Institute scholarships for women http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/qbp-announces-10-united-bicycle-institute-scholarships-women_349974 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/qbp-announces-10-united-bicycle-institute-scholarships-women_349974#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:07:35 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349974

Quality Bicycle Products announces a new scholarship to help female mechanics.

QBP, along with a collection of industry partners, announces 10 scholarships for women to attend the United Bicycle Institute

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Quality Bicycle Products announces a new scholarship to help female mechanics.

A collection of cycling companies has collaborated to provide 10 scholarships for women to attend the United Bicycle Institute (UBI), with the goal of providing a pipeline into the industry for female talent.

UBI, SRAM, Liv, Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), Pedros, Park Tool, Nuu-Muu, and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition will provide the scholarships to UBI’s Professional Shop Repair and Operations Workshop, covering lodging and the $1,800 in tuition costs associated with the two-week course.

“It can be challenging for women to join the bike industry, and it will take numerous efforts to create a talent pipeline,” said Alix Magner, QBP’s Distribution Sales Manager and QBP’s scholarship program manager in a press release. “This is one step, and we’re thrilled at the level of initiative from our partners to start leading change in how women are included in our industry.”

The scholarship is aimed at women who are aspiring or experienced bike mechanics. Applicants must be currently employed in a bike shop, at least 18 years old, and U.S. residents. The scholarships can be applied to UBI’s February, March, or April sessions.

The application process is open from October 20 to November 15, and winners will be notified by December 19. Interested parties can apply at qbp.com/womensscholarship.

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Department of Justice strikes back in Armstrong case http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/department-justice-strikes-back-armstrong-case_349985 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/department-justice-strikes-back-armstrong-case_349985#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:52:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349985

The legal battle between Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Department of Justice continues as the government calls Armstrong's claims "baseless." Photo: AFP PHOTO | Gabriel BOUYS (File).

The legal volley between the Department of Justice and Lance Armstrong continues as the government presses Armstrong on defenses

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The legal battle between Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Department of Justice continues as the government calls Armstrong's claims "baseless." Photo: AFP PHOTO | Gabriel BOUYS (File).

The United States Department of Justice responded to Lance Armstrong’s initial legal defenses on October 17, calling he and his attorneys’ approach “baseless.”

In a 27-page document filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, U.S. attorneys attempted to assail Armstrong’s central defenses, which essentially amount to this: The United States should have known about the doping program at the U.S. Postal Service team, and that in its sponsorship of the program, the government got much more than it paid for.

“With scant basis to oppose plaintiffs’ motion on its merits, defendants’ response appears primarily intended to advance their strategy of attacking the plaintiffs and laying out the theories of their case, with no less than twenty exhibits filed in support of their response,” the government’s filing reads.

The two parties are quarreling over what defenses should be allowed should Armstrong and the federal government not settle the False Claims Act suit pending against Armstrong, at one point a seven-time Tour de France winner. Thus far, Armstrong has withdrawn 12 of his initial defenses.

The laws may be stacked against Armstrong.

“The False Claims Act is much more ‘pro-Government’ than a traditional contract action would be vis-à-vis a private plaintiff.  In other words, the defenses that Armstrong has raised in his answer could be relevant in a breach of contract action, but may not be relevant in a False Claims Act case,” noted Mark Stichel, a Baltimore-based attorney who has litigated civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S., in an an email to VeloNews. “The Government is trying to narrow the case not only because it wants to limit Armstrong’s ultimate ability to defend himself at trial, but to limit the discovery he is seeking.  Also, both sides are trying to win the PR war.”

On the subject of damages, the government’s attorneys say that “actual damage” to the U.S. is not a necessary element in a False Claims Act suit.

“Therefore, defendants’ claim that no damages were suffered by the United States cannot … form the basis for an affirmative defense to liability in this case,” the DOJ filing reads.

False Claims Act suits allow whistleblowers to sue those they say defrauded the government, and the government has the right to intervene, which it did in February 2013. Floyd Landis, who initially filed the suit and also admitted to using PEDs, could collect up to 25 percent of the money recovered. The USPS paid more than $30 million for the team from 2001 to 2004 and has sought three times its investment, though VeloNews understands the number discussed as a possible settlement is much lower.

The government lawyers also wrote that Armstrong’s contention that the USPS got more than it paid for in terms of sponsorship was null. “This defense is merely another attempt to negate the element of damages. As an ‘affirmative defense,’ it thus fails as a matter of law and should be stricken.”

The back and forth between the DOJ and Armstrong attorneys has been exhaustive, and perhaps indicates what’s still to come. “The legal papers that both sides have submitted on this motion and on other motions in the case are well-written and well-researched,” Stichel wrote. “The papers on their face show that both the government and Armstrong are committing substantial resources to the case.”

The power now rests with the judge in the case, United States District Court judge Christopher R.Cooper, who will decide what is admissible and what is not.

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Austin cyclist dies moments after finishing local cyclocross race http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/austin-cyclist-dies-moments-finishing-local-cyclocross-race_349972 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/austin-cyclist-dies-moments-finishing-local-cyclocross-race_349972#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:21:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349972

Guy Nethery (center) with his teammates at training camp in 2013. Photo: The Nethery Family

Guy Nethery, 47, died just moments after finishing a local cyclocross near in Austin, Texas on Saturday

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Guy Nethery (center) with his teammates at training camp in 2013. Photo: The Nethery Family

The Texas cycling community suffered a tragic loss over the weekend when Guy Nethery, 47, died suddenly, just moments after a cyclocross race in Webberville, Texas.

Following his race on Saturday, Nethery rode away from the course. He then collapsed on the ground without cause. A passerby quickly noticed Nethery and notified race officials. CPR was administered within 30 seconds of Nethery’s fall and emergency services were contacted immediately.

Fellow racers and spectators stood at Nethery’s side until an EMT crew arrived. Nethery was promptly evacuated to a nearby hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

Needless to say, cycling as a whole has suffered a loss with the passing of Guy Nethery — husband and father of three — but the local Austin cycling scene he leaves behind will miss his presence the most.

“Guy was that racer who everyone loved and talked with. He was friend to all, enemy to none and a constant figure at Andrew Willis’ weekly criterium, The Driveway Series,” said friend and TXCX coordinator, Joe Doyle. “He loved to race and ride and, most of all, be with his loving family.”

The Austin resident had been suffering from unknown illness prior to his death on Saturday, but details are forthcoming.

GoFundMe campaign has been created to raise funds for the three Nethery girls’ education.

For more information about Guy Nethery, read Joe Doyle’s blog post about the incident >>

 

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Gallery: Katie Compton celebrates 100th win http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-katie-compton-celebrates-100th-win_349951 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-katie-compton-celebrates-100th-win_349951#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:45:44 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349951

Over the years, Compton proves to be the most consistent, successful American cyclocross rider. Take a look back at some memorable moments

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Amgen Tour of California names host cities for 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/amgen-tour-california-names-host-cities-2015_349943 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/amgen-tour-california-names-host-cities-2015_349943#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:47:27 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349943

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California promises much of the great scenery the race is known for. It will also offer a women's stage race. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Women’s race expands to four days as part of 10th anniversary edition, while men’s race features 700 miles of racing May 10-17

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The 2015 Amgen Tour of California promises much of the great scenery the race is known for. It will also offer a women's stage race. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, announced it will return to Sacramento to kick off the 10th anniversary of America’s largest cycling race. The eight-day stage race will start in California’s capital city and travel North to South, spanning nearly 700 miles. The Tour of California also announced a three-day professional women’s race May 8-10, as well as an invitational time trial on May 15.

Throughout its first nine years, 52 California cities have hosted the race. For the 10th anniversary, 12 cities — in addition to Sacramento — will host the eight-day event, including Nevada City, Lodi (first-time host city), San Jose (10-time host city), Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles), and Pasadena.

“Since we launched the Amgen Tour of California nine years ago, we have strived to host the world’s top cyclists in a race that will not only challenge them as professionals, but will also provide a stunning backdrop,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “As we look ahead to our 10th edition of the race, we’re certain the worldwide audience will be on the edge of their seats watching as the sport’s best men and women cyclists compete against each other in what is likely to be our most challenging and picturesque course ever.”

Stage 1 of the race commences on May 10, 2015 in Sacramento, which marks the seventh time the city has hosted the race and the third time as the overall start. After eight days of racing, cyclists will conclude the race in the city referred to as the “City of Roses,” Pasadena.

Stage 2 will take the peloton through Nevada City to first-time host city Lodi, known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” The peloton will then start and finish in San Jose on stage 3.

As the peloton continues its journey south, Stage 4 will take the race from one oceanside community to another, from from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach. This year marks the second time each city has served as a host city.

Stage 5 will commence in Santa Barbara and finish in Santa Clarita, with both cities sharing the distinction of serving as host cities six times since the race began.

Third-time host city Big Bear Lake will be the site of this year’s individual time trial (Stage 6). Ontario, will host a start for the second time as stage 7 takes the peloton to the mountaintop finish at Mt. Baldy, a third-time host city.

The race will conclude with a stage from L.A. LIVE in the heart of downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This marks the third time Los Angeles has served as a host city after hosting the overall finish of the race in 2012, also at L.A. LIVE. Pasadena has hosted the race four times, including the overall finish in 2008.

For 10 consecutive years, biotechnology company Amgen has served as the title sponsor of the race and will continue to promote its Breakaway from Cancer® campaign. Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer aims to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer, from prevention to survivorship.

2015 Amgen Tour of California to host four days of professional women’s cycling

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California will continue to expand its support of women’s cycling and host a three-day women’s stage race. The race will travel through South Lake Tahoe on May 8-9, 2015 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10, 2015, the same day of the overall start of the men’s race.

As with previous years, the world’s top-ranked time trialists will be invited to race against the clock in a time trial preceding the men’s individual time trial at stage 6 in Big Bear Lake. The women’s stage race is sponsored by SRAM, one of the founding sponsors of the Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial.

“We are beyond thrilled to see the Amgen Tour of California continue to expand its entire women’s racing platform. This will continue to expose the world to the passion and force women have on the bike,” said, SRAM president Stan Day.

“AEG has always been proud to support women’s cycling and is pleased to once again expand its women’s competition to four days,” said Bachochin. “Hosting four days of women’s cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world.”

Host city partners for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California include:
Women’s race:
Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Invitational Time Trial: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake

Men’s race
Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

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Cycling’s 24-year-old stars set for 2015 success http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclings-class-1990-set-2015-success_349930 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclings-class-1990-set-2015-success_349930#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:02:14 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349930

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) are two 24-year-olds who have raced together for years. They are expected to deliver many more exciting battles as they reach the prime of their careers. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Whether pounding cobbles, battling in sprints, or winning mountain stages, these young riders will deliver excitement in the coming years

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Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) are two 24-year-olds who have raced together for years. They are expected to deliver many more exciting battles as they reach the prime of their careers. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Cycling’s class of 1990 promises to lead the way in 2015 and beyond based on its progress and results so far. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) dominates the headlines after his recent world championship win, but many other 24-year-olds are at his side.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won the green jersey at the Tour de France. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took the Giro d’Italia overall victory, and Fabio Aru (Astana) won stages in the Giro and the Vuelta a España. Along with Kwiatkowski, they sit at the top of the list of talented millennials in the peloton.

Sagan and Kwiatkowski have a history that goes back to their days as juniors. Slovakia’s Sagan won one Nations’ Cup and Poland’s Kwiatkowski two in 2008. Sagan raced junior world mountain bike championships in Val di Sole, Italy that year, and won a rainbow jersey. Later that year, they both were unsuccessful in the junior world road race championships in Cape Town, South Africa, but Kwiatkowski turned it to win the junior world time trial. He finished eight seconds ahead of Taylor Phinney, also born in 1990.

Sagan then joined Liquigas/Cannondale and immediately tasted success. Kwiatkowski matured slower and this year, he finally out-performed his longtime rival. Both, however, have shown that they will dominate the classics to come. Sagan is favored on the cobbles against Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), while Kwiatkowski will aim for the Ardennes Classics against Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

In grand tours, Colombian Quintana sent a warning message to his older rivals at last year’s Tour de France. He placed second to Chris Froome (Sky), 29, and beat 31-year-old Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). In the wake of his 2014 Giro victory, the 126-pound climber is targeting the Tour de France next season.

Italian Aru may be a step behind, but he promises just as much. He placed third to Quintana at the Giro and won the stage to Montecampione. At the Vuelta, he won two mountain stages, one in front of Froome and one over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Astana now wants Aru to lead its Giro team to victory in 2015.

The grand tours will include other cyclists from 1990. France’s Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) showed their capabilities with a third and sixth place overall, respectively, at the Tour.

Esteban Chaves (Orica), another Colombian, finished third in the recent Tour of Beijing and won stages in the Tour de Suisse and the Amgen Tour of California this season. Orica said in a statement last week that Chavez exceeded expectations in the first week of the 2014 Vuelta, “showing plenty of promise for the future.”

When the roads are not so steep, Australian Michael Matthews (Orica) and Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) will be fighting for victories. Matthews won one stage and held the pink jersey for six days in the Giro d’Italia. Bouhanni sprinted to three stage wins in the same race.

Phinney, Rohan Dennis (BMC), and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) — all born in 1990 — are showing promise in time trials. Racing in the Netherlands’ orange colors, Dumoulin placed third behind greats Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at the worlds in Ponferrada, Spain. Australian Dennis was fifth.

Phinney, who missed half of 2014 recovering from a broken left leg suffered at the U.S. nationals in May, wants to return to win time trials and battle in the classics with Sagan. He told VeloNews, “If I can come back and do Paris-Roubaix, that would be the best thing, but the Tour is a massive goal for me, especially with the short, punchy prologue.”

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Gallery: 2014-15 Cyclocross World Cup Valkenburg http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-2014-15-cyclocross-world-cup-valkenburg_349897 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-2014-15-cyclocross-world-cup-valkenburg_349897#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:44:50 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349897

Katie Compton rebounds from an early fall to win the season-opening World Cup race

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Q&A: Van Garderen on 2014, his ‘best season ever’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/qa-van-garderen-on-2014-his-best-season-ever_349921 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/qa-van-garderen-on-2014-his-best-season-ever_349921#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:09:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349921

Tejay van Garderen lost time due to crashes and a bonk in the Tour de France but still finished fifth. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The American takes a closer look at his 2014 campaign, which included a fifth-place result at the Tour de France

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Tejay van Garderen lost time due to crashes and a bonk in the Tour de France but still finished fifth. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) is chilling out by now. With the last races of the year in the history books, the 2014 racing season is in the rearview mirror.

By any measure, the 2014 campaign was a great year for the American. He opened the season by finishing second to Chris Froome (Sky) at the Tour of Oman. But that was followed up by a setback at Paris-Nice, when he abandoned ill. Just as quickly, he rebounded at the Volta a Catalunya to win a horrible stage in the Pyrenees for what would be his first UCI WorldTour-level professional victory. After skipping a defense at the Amgen Tour of California, van Garderen’s high hopes for the Tour de Romandie faded when he crashed in the prologue and was forced to abandon a few days later, with what was revealed to be a fractured hip. That up-and-down turn of fortune set the tone for the remainder of the year.

At the Tour de France, it was one step back, but two steps forward. He matched a career-best fifth but called the race his “best ever” Tour, simply because nothing came easy. After defending at the USA Pro Challenge, he helped power BMC to the world pro team time trial title in September. That was enough highs and lows for anyone.

For van Garderen, going into late October, it’s time to recover, relax, and reflect, and to plan for the coming season. The 2014 season was a building block, a stepping-stone, and a transition to where he’s going and where he wants to be. VeloNews sat down with van Garderen to look back at a season full of highs and lows.

VeloNews: Looking back at 2014, what do you take away? You won some big races, but you also had some challenges; how do you view the season?
Tejay van Garderen: I would rank this as my best season ever. There were some hiccups early in the season, with my sickness at Paris-Nice, and my crash at Romandie, which led into a bad Dauphiné. There were also a lot of positives from the season. I got my first WorldTour win at Catalunya. I was able to defend at USA Pro [Challenge in Colorado]. The Tour de France was up and down, but in the end, I was very happy with that. I was second to Froome at Oman, so yeah, I am very satisfied.

VN: Last year, you won for the first time as a pro, and this year, a first in Europe. What does that mean to change the podiums into wins?
TVG: It would be even nicer to convert some of that success I’ve had in the States over here in Europe, but in all honesty, the races over here are a lot harder. I think the team is doing a really good job. I just have to keep following the natural progression. So hopefully next year I can get a few more wins. It’s never easy to win, and it’s especially hard at the WorldTour level.

VN: What was your highlight?
TVG: When I won at the first summit finish at Volta a Catalunya. That was on a day that was just atrocious; rain, snow, 20 kilometers of climbing, it was a legit climb. It wasn’t a win from a breakaway. I beat Quintana, Froome, Contador. I think a lot of guys saw me as a good climber who can ride tempo, but to win like that, that was important. OK, it wasn’t the Tour de France, and maybe everyone wasn’t on their best form, but to win like that, on a real summit finale, that was a big confidence boost, to show that I could climb like that against those guys.

VN: Riders such as Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador, and Chris Froome are at the top of the sport. Do you consider yourself at their level?
TVG: I’ve got a ways to go before I can really compare myself to those guys. I think I am close, nipping at the heels. If I was to really be honest, I’ve got a little more developing to do. I can see areas where I can improve, and I am willing to do the work.

VN: Such as?
TVG: My explosiveness. And other sorts of fitness work off the bike. It’s one thing to bust out sit-ups for 15 minutes, but I need to look at other ways to strengthen where I need to strengthen. Position on the bike. Diet. Things like that.

VN: How big are the differences at the top of the sport?
TVG: We are looking at fractions of a percent. If you’re not doing that, you’re 3-4 percent behind, and that’s where I feel like I am behind those guys.

VN: Looking back at the Tour as your first as a team captain, where do you rank it personally?
TVG: That was my best Tour this year, easily. You have a lot “what ifs.” I got sick, I crashed a few times, I bonked that one day, and that really cost me a lot of time. There are “what ifs” on the other side, with Contador and Froome crashing out, that opened up some doors for me. At one point, I thought I was going to get on the podium, but that didn’t happen. It looked like a possibility. I just take it for what it is. I try to learn from the mistakes and move on, and focus on next year, and keep chipping away. One day I do believe I will be on the podium in the Tour.

VN: You were on antibiotics at one point, when did you become sick?
TVG: After that day to Belles Filles, I got sick the day after that. The whole peloton was just getting wrecked. That day started sunny, and then it was a freezing day in the rain. It was up and down, and there was never a chance to go back for a jacket, and we were just in shorts and jerseys. Everyone just came down with something after that. That will knock your immune system.

VN: You also had a few crashes. How much did those set you back?
TVG: They were not serious in terms of injuries, but crashing takes it out of you. When you’re missing that skin, it makes it hard to sleep. You roll over, and you hit the wound, and it wakes you up. On stage 7, that cost me one minute, that also was a setback.

VN: What lessons do you take out of the Tour?
TVG: It just showed me that you have to keep on fighting. I had all these things happen to me, and I still had my best Tour ever. It would have been easy to give up, and to say, “OK, I crashed, I got sick, I lost time, let’s try again next year.” You keep moving forward, and keep thinking about being in the moment, you can come to Paris, and still be happy.

VN: It’s a cliché to say “one day at a time,” but at the Tour, is that true?
TVG: That’s all you can do. You can never turn the page before you get there. You have no idea what’s going to happen, you have no idea what the other teams are going to do. You just got to take it day by day.

VN: You were looking good for a possible podium, but then you bonked in the Pyrénées. What happened?
TVG: It was a bonk. I can pinpoint a few things that were off; I didn’t eat enough on the rest day, I didn’t eat enough during the stage. I just had no appetite. Then I got on that climb, and thought, “I’m in trouble.” I know that feeling. You’re seeing stars a little bit. I just bonked. By then it’s too late. If you wait to eat until you bonk, it’s game over.

VN: And then Movistar attacked; you knew they were going for you?
TVG: It was the worst possible combination. Their plan was obvious; they wanted to get rid of me because I was a time trialer and I was the biggest threat to [Alejandro] Valverde. Movistar attacked me, and they did that plan on my worst day. There are no sour grapes — that’s racing, but that was a tough day.

VN: You seemed to bounce back pretty fast, and were back on the attack; did you still hope to move up?
TVG: Even after that bonk, I was still holding out hope for the podium. I looked back at the results from 2012, and I put three minutes into [Thibaut] Pinot, on a similar course and distance. Obviously, he’s worked a lot, but I was still thinking: “if Pinot had a bad day and I had a great day, Valverde is fading” — all these things were going through my mind. At the end of the day, I was happy to move up just one place, by the skin of my teeth. I was still amped up, nothing is impossible, we’re still going for it.

VN: It was your first year as a captain without Cadel Evans; how was that experience?
TVG: It was a good experience. The team did an awesome job. It wasn’t to say that everyone was just around me. The guys were free to jump into the breakaways. We had a plan for the GC, but we also wanted to win a stage. We came close. The team rode the most aggressive I’ve ever seen them, and we rode really smart.

VN: Are you already thinking about your schedule for 2015?
TGV: I want to wait until to see the routes. I am sure it will follow a similar format; Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, depending which has a better course for me. Then back to Catalunya. Cali is a question mark, obviously the Tour will be the pinnacle of the season, and that will be the main focus.

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Under pressure: What great expectations mean to young stars http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/pressure-great-expectations-mean-young-stars_349666 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/pressure-great-expectations-mean-young-stars_349666#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:12:31 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349666

As one of the most promising young American riders, Tejay van Garderen often bears the brunt of high public expectations. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

On the shoulders of a young, talented rider, expectation hangs like a thick cloak, leading to a cascade of physical and mental stresses

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As one of the most promising young American riders, Tejay van Garderen often bears the brunt of high public expectations. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Velo magazine.

Talent is a gift, a lovely box with a pretty ribbon. Expectation is a leaden cloak upon thin shoulders.

There is a pressure to perform in sport, just as there is in life, but it’s magnified in such a complex arena like cycling. Small mistakes are extrapolated into patterns of failure, a tome of publicly perceived underachievement.

Just ask Tejay van Garderen — the next great thing for now, and maybe the next great underperformer thereafter.

“It happens really fast. You go from a young rider to an underachiever — so fast. A few years ago, 2010, my neo-pro year. I was third at the [Critérium du] Dauphiné. Everyone was like, ‘Oh!’ All praise,” van Garderen said early in the 2014 season. “I was still young. And, then, all of a sudden, after a couple years of getting what I thought were really good results, it was like it just shifted into being, ‘Well, when’s he actually going to do something meaningful?’”

“Meaningful” is in the eye of the beholder. Van Garderen, 25, finished fifth in the 2012 Tour de France en route to claiming the white jersey, so it was clear early on that he was no slouch. Such a result would seem enough to keep the wolves at bay, though he said on countless occasions leading to the 2014 Tour that he was out to prove that performance wasn’t a “fluke.”

In 2013, he lost nearly four minutes on his GC rivals in stage 8 of the Tour, the first day in the Pyrenees. Upon the bell-curve of expectation, where results and age drive pressure upward, he is still climbing. Until he reaches the top, he will be the subject of speculation: Can he ever live up to potential set by others?

In 2014, he finished fifth again, a confirmation of his 2012 result, taking an eraser to the tepid 2013 campaign. In his first Tour as an outright leader, he battled hard and stayed afloat.

“I’m absolutely happy with it. I’m thrilled with it,” he said. “The result is secondary to the journey we took on this Tour, because of all the adversity we faced with the four crashes — I did two rounds of antibiotics with the crashes — I had a bonk, and even back to [the Tour du] Romandie when I had a fractured hip. We were just facing an uphill headwind the entire time. But the team never lost faith. … We fought every day. And that’s a damn good result, I think.”

The public and press, though, are always antsy.

“Sometimes I think the public maybe gets a little impatient. They think, ‘Okay, we know you’re good. But it’s time.’ You’ve got to just kind of ignore it a little bit — you know, let things happen on your time rather than theirs,” he said.

Van Garderen is far from alone, and in a way he’s fortunate there are expectations upon him at all. Still, it’s easy to let the burden to perform become personal.

“It’s hard not to,” van Garderen said. “But at the same time, if you spend too much energy on it … I’m the one out there doing it. And I can only do my best.”

Managing expectations

So, what does it all do to an athlete, a young athlete, in particular, to be digested by the hype-machine, toasted, torn down? Stress, is the simple answer.

“Stress is physical and mental,” said Kristin Keim, a clinical psychologist with a focus on health psychology, neuropsychology, and clinical sport psychology. Keim also runs a performance consulting business. “Athletes are already putting themselves in a lot of physical [stress], because you’re basically going out there, you’re ripping your body apart. I mean, that’s what athletes do. So you’re under a high demand of cortisol from the physical component. On top of being an athlete and racing, it is mentally stressful. I don’t care who you are — you race a bike, you’re stressed out.”

Is the pressure to win for an athlete the same as, say, the pressure to hold down a job, or feed a family, for an average person? It may start that way, but physical activity can bend the arc of stress in different ways.

Across the board, the reaction to stress starts the same. After perceiving a stressor, the hypothalamus sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland, and then another message is sent via the blood to the adrenal glands, which produce stress hormones. Those glands, atop the kidneys, secrete cortisol, which then binds to receptors and jolts the body into action to handle the stressor.

Cortisol is a reliable biomarker of stress, generally speaking. For example, higher cortisol levels are an indicator of lower socio-economic status, according to studies. But not all of this reaction is detrimental to one’s physical capabilities, as stress is something the body needs to respond, according to Keim.

In endurance athletes, cortisol levels are higher than in most other athletes, Keim said, as spikes in the hormone are released during prolonged exercise. Bike racers, then, are an inherently vulnerable niche of a larger population that puts an emphasis on progression and achievement.

“I would have fourth-graders stressed out about SATs, and where they’re going to college. So, obviously, in our society, kids today have an enormous amount of pressure that I didn’t have when I was growing up,” Keim said of her psychology work. In cyclists, and in those from ages 19 to 23 in particular, she notes an overload. “The stress that I see is not only the expectation of their performance. The stress on the bike is the last thing. It’s trying to go to school, or figuring out, ‘Do I need to go to school?’” she said.

Metabolic and hormonal changes influence stressors broadly, and performance, or lack thereof, can have a cyclical effect on mental states and, in turn, performance.

According to clinical studies, underperforming will cause an athlete to increase his or her training, and overtraining can then lead to a depressive-like state. In a medical paper entitled “Trainability of Young Athletes and Overtraining,” published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, authors Nuno Matos and Richard J. Winsley write that “the frustration due to the lack of performance typically drives the athlete to further increase the amount of training that he/she is doing, which just exacerbates the situation by increasing physical and emotional fatigue, with a consequent worsening in performance.”

That sequence of events can result in changes in mood, sleep disruption, and losses in hunger and weight. That, the paper noted, can ultimately lead to depression.

“Overtraining and clinical major depression share many similarities; therefore, overtraining should be studied by acknowledging this perspective,” the authors wrote.

That sentiment is crystalized in Keim’s clinical experience, notably with developing riders.

“Often that is the time where people get this mentality that more is better. And they still have the idea they’re invincible, because they’re teenagers, so they push the limit,” she said.

And young or older, riders are prone to falling down a rabbit hole of doubt, specifically in the case of injuries.

“One injury, an injury that may only be minor, can turn to just a dark place easily. Because you’re overseas, you’re away from your family, you’re away from your friends,” Keim said. “It makes me feel kind of claustrophobic just saying that. Again, we see from the outside, or the normal person sees, ‘Oh, it’s a dream job, you’re racing the Tour de France.’ They’re miserable half the time!”

Media hype and exposure contribute to the cycle. Consider the case of Taylor Phinney. The BMC Racing rider has been on the cover of Velo magazine four times — the same number of professional road wins to his credit. Phinney knows that with such coverage come expectations.

“I’m lucky to have the head that I have. Because, for sure, every year there’s sort of added pressure. And people from the outside, they want things from you now. They don’t want to go through the process of personal growth in sport, because when you get a lot of attention you then have a lot of expectations,” Phinney said. “Every athlete’s canned answer is that the pressure that that athlete feels is only from himself and not from anybody else. But, for sure, there’s outside pressure. And, I’ve always — one of the best things I’ve always done — is compared my career trajectory in this sport to some other guys who I look up to the most, who I’m currently racing with.”

For Phinney, those are riders like Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin, and Tom Boonen — icons now, certainly, though it wasn’t always the case.

“When they were my age, they were in a similar position. Maybe Tom was the guy with the most attention. But Cancellara, Tony Martin, they were just kind of scratching at the surface,” Phinney said.

This confluence of ability, promise, and results is a precarious merger. And there are outliers that complicate the calculation of age and expectation. Like Peter Sagan.

“Keeping all that in mind is made even more difficult by a guy like Peter Sagan who shows up at my age or even two, three years ago, and just starts rocking the peloton from a super young age,” Phinney said. “And then people from the outside are like, ‘Wait, Taylor’s that age, and why isn’t he doing that?’ For sure, in my mind, I’ve thought that as well, because we raced together as juniors.”

Sagan, though, has his own battles to fight. Those green jerseys come with an interest rate. He won the points competition again, easily, in 2014, but he didn’t win a stage in spite of finishing in the top five on seven occasions in the first seven stages. Even with such success, the Cannondale star — headed to Tinkoff-Saxo next season — was none too pleased with the negative racing against him, and the media’s constant needling.

“Why do you always ask the same questions?” Sagan snapped at one TV journalist after a stage in the Tour’s second week. “You need to do your homework.”

One day in Oman early this season, a cluster of recorders picked up the words the 24-year-old was saying, but they couldn’t see his face, or see his shoulders shrugging. This was a different Sagan than the playful one the sport was used to seeing and hearing.

A longing press and public often misunderstand him, his boyishness lost in translation, from his native Slovakian to an English that comes out broadside before it hits recorders. It’s hard to tell, in written words, if he’s in good spirits or not. Most of the time, he grins when answering questions.

But on this day, he came across subdued. He batted away questions about his looming, inevitable excellence in one-day races.

“I am still young, 24 years. I don’t have anything to lose. I said this three years ago,” Sagan said. “When I’m just riding the bike and thinking about my life or something, it’s easy. But outside, it’s a little bit … I don’t know. Too many people they stop me, they just want to speak about the classics, about the race, ‘How [do] you feel?’ and I don’t like it. The bike and cycling is one thing that I do, and in my life there are other things, no?”

No, and yes. The hype beast will bite. It’s up to the riders who win to keep winning, and those who’ve yet to win to keep striving. That pretty package of talent, once opened, can feel very heavy.

Look no further than the youthful Sagan. Asked point blank if this was all still fun, he just shrugged.

“Yeah,” he said. “But [to have] fun I must win something.”

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Lars van der Haar wins 2014-15 World Cup opener at Valkenburg http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/lars-van-der-haar-wins-2014-15-world-cup-opener-valkenburg_349857 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/lars-van-der-haar-wins-2014-15-world-cup-opener-valkenburg_349857#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:21:34 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349857

Lars van der Haar won the first round of the men's cyclocross World Cup on home soil in the Netherlands on Sunday. Photo: Dan Seaton

Lars van der Haar opens his 2014-15 World Cup defense with a dominating victory over Kevin Pauwels in the season kickoff at Valkenburg

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Lars van der Haar won the first round of the men's cyclocross World Cup on home soil in the Netherlands on Sunday. Photo: Dan Seaton

Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) opened his World Cup title defense on Sunday with a dominating solo victory at the series opener in Valkenburg, the Netherlands.

Van der Haar got away from Kevin Pauwels as the Sunweb-Napoleon Games rider slid out on a bumpy descent, and that was all the advantage the Dutch champion needed.

He added to his advantage with each go-round, and raced into bell lap with a lead of more than a minute over a six-man chase containing Telenet-Fidea teammates Tom Meeusen, Corne Van Kessel and Thijs Van Amerongen; Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus); and Sunweb teammates Pauwels and Klaas Vantornout.

Grinning as he punched the air, van der Haar took the first World Cup victory of the season with a half-minute in hand over the pursuit. Pauwels proved best of the rest, attacking late in the final lap for second. Van Kessel followed for third.

“After the first lap I just felt like I could win today. It just went perfect,” said van der Haar. “I didn’t expect to be this early alone, because Kevin Pauwels was really strong.

“I really came for the podium. I tried to get that pressure off a little bit, but after the first lap I felt I could win, and then I went full for the win.

“I’ve raced here now four times and I’ve won four times, so that’s pretty good.”

U.S. champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) hit the line ninth at 1:10.

Hot day, fast start

It was a hot day, and riders were hitting the pits not for bikes, but for beverages.

Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr) and Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy) were off and running with first-lap mechanicals as van der Haar quickly took command.

Meeusen and Pauwels worked their way up to him and it was a three-man group off the front, with Mourey and Gianni Vermeersch (Sunweb) chasing.

With seven to go van der Haar was on point and fighting to open a gap. Behind, German champion Walsleben caught Mourey and Vermeersch early in the lap.

A lap further along the lead trio still had a solid 15-second advantage over Walsleben, who had moved ahead of the other chasers.

Again van der Haar tried to ride away from his companions. But Pauwels stuck close, with Meeusen a few bike lengths behind, as Walsleben worked his way forward. Belgian champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) was in a group of six a few seconds behind.

Pauwels soon rejoined van der Haar, but Meeusen was having trouble making the junction, chasing some six seconds back.

Pauwels crashes, van der Haar attacks

And then Pauwels slid out on a bumpy descent and van der Haar gave it the gas.

Heading into five laps to go van der Haar was all alone, with an 11-second gap over Meeusen and Pauwels. Walsleben was 21 seconds down in fourth and closing.

After his miscue Pauwels found it hard to stick with Meeusen, who had moved into sole possession of second.

With four to go, van der Haar remained alone, 26 seconds ahead of Meeusen and Pauwels, who had regained his composure, with Walsleben at 31 seconds. Vantornout and Nys were at 45 seconds.

Three to go saw van der Haar with a 41-second gap over Meeusen and Pauwels. Vantornout was moving up to Walsleben as behind, Nys was off the bike and struggling with a jammed chain. He would later abandon the race.

And soon it was a four-man battle for second.

With two to go van der Haar led the quartet by more than a minute, and a second chase — Telenet teammates Van Kessel and Van Amerongen — was closing in on the first. Powers and Vermeersch were just behind.

Going into the final lap van der Haar was untouchable. Vantornout tried to escape the now-six-man chase on the run-up, and then Van Kessel attacked on the flats, splitting the group in two.

Pauwels was next to go, charging out of a corner and onto the flyover. Van Kessel followed.

Two amazing performances

Ahead, van der Haar celebrated with a grin and an air-punch as he crossed the line alone. Pauwels’ late attack was good enough for the runner-up spot at 26 seconds, while Van Kessel hung on for third at 34 seconds.

“I was hearing a lot [about the gaps] and I really wanted to make a half a minute quick, and I got that, then it was 40 seconds. Then I was still riding a really hard pace, but trying not to kill myself, and then it still was going up,” he said. “So then I knew this was going to be good, so I was trying to do my pace and then, if needed, I could do a little punch more, but that wasn’t needed anymore.

“The last three laps were amazing, especially the last two laps I was really enjoying. Even the last lap I was even getting some goose bumps, it was really so beautiful, all the people cheering you so loud. It was amazing.”

Van Kessel, who had hoped for a top-10 finish, said it was “amazing” to finish on the podium.

“Before the race I expected top 10, and all the race I did between six and eight, and in the last lap the group in front of me didn’t ride any more. I could close the gap to place two, I think,” he said. “Tom Meeusen gave a sign to me that when I close the gap I have to go directly, and I tried and only Kevin passed me the last half lap or something.

“Normally I’m not [good in the heat] but we could drink in the race, and every lap you could drink I did, and I take a bottle of water on me to cool me down. And if I didn’t do that, then it was too hot for me.”

Powers pushes harder

The U.S. champion likewise had hoped for a top-10 finish, and he got one.

“It was good. It was hot for sure, but it was a good race for me,” said Powers. “I knew this was a good track and when it didn’t rain the last couple of days I thought, you know, it’ll be a little muddy, but generally speaking it’s going to be a good race for me. I’m in good form.

“It’s definitely eight more hard minutes than I’m used to, but I think that over here [in Europe] I can push harder because there’s more guys at the same level. It didn’t really affect me, I felt like maybe I was flat with three to go, I felt like I needed to take a break and I left off a little bit. But everyone seemed like they did.

“Generally, I’m happy with how it went because top 10 is what my goal was and I achieved that. It’s a great stone from here to step through. It’s a good place to start from with the beginning of the season with what I’m shooting for.”

The second round of the World Cup will be November 22 in Koksijde, Belgium.

Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.

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Katie Compton comes from behind to win 2014-15 World Cup kickoff http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/katie-compton-comes-behind-win-2014-15-world-cup-kickoff_349867 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/katie-compton-comes-behind-win-2014-15-world-cup-kickoff_349867#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:00:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349867

An early fall left Katie Compton more than a minute down on the race leaders, but it didn't keep her from winning the first World Cup of the season. Photo: Dan Seaton

Katie Compton takes a fresh bike early on, then battles back to win the World Cup opener in the Netherlands

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An early fall left Katie Compton more than a minute down on the race leaders, but it didn't keep her from winning the first World Cup of the season. Photo: Dan Seaton

Defending champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) had to get her World Cup campaign started the hard way on Sunday, coming from behind to win the first race of the 2014-15 UCI series in the Netherlands.

Compton needed a bike change early on after dumping her machine on the drive side, but bounced back to take the World Cup opener in Valkenburg by just 13 seconds over Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team).

Sophie De Boer (Kalas-NNOF) rounded out the podium in third at 25 seconds.

“I got stuck in traffic and then I got stuck behind someone on one of those steep uphills and they came to a stop and I was in the middle and I stopped and then I couldn’t unclip. And then I fell on the derailleur side and then I had to run to the pit,” she said.

“It was just one of those stupid things where, when you’re going up steep stuff and someone stops in front of you, there’s not much you can do.”

But Compton didn’t panic. She got back to business and set about reeling in riders.

“I knew this course wears on some people and I knew I’ve got a good finish, so I was just patient and tried to time trial it,” she said.

“This course is so hard that if you go too deep at times, you just can’t recover, so I just made sure that on the steep run-up and on the steep hills I went hard, but not so hard that I couldn’t recover and do it again.

“It was a hard effort today for sure.  I don’t think I’ve dug that deep in a long time.”

Wyman was content with her ride, which she called “more than okay.”

“I felt really good at the beginning of the season since I’ve come back from America, and I thought I could do well here. It’s a really hard course and it’s hot, but you’re just sweating the whole time, it’s really humid heat, so it’s okay.  I got an average start, but managed to work through pretty quick and then Katie was nowhere to be seen and I was thinking, ‘Seriously, what do I do now?  There’s no one driving the race forward, what do I do?’

“I tried to break as many people as I could.  I was starting to crack people and then she came past and then you’ve got a carrot to follow so I tried to follow her.”

De Boer was also looking for a wheel while trying not to overcook herself. After a good start she slipped past Wyman, but didn’t feel confident about staying out front.

“I was riding alone in the front, but immediately I felt I needed to take it a bit slower because my legs were okay, but I didn’t feel in top shape.  So [I thought] I need to be careful and not over-push myself,” she said.

On the last two laps she was riding with Nikki Harris and Sanne Cant, and took advantage of a technical section to make her move.

“In the last two laps it was just with Nikki and Sanne and I knew I just had to pass them in the technical sections, because especially Sanne is a very technical rider.  And I could, and then something happened with her chain, I don’t know, and Nikki dropped, so then it was in the last half lap I just thought I needed to keep going, don’t make any mistakes.

“But it was really hard, especially with the warmth. I really had to give like 120, maybe 150 percent today.”

Not far behind, Compton’s American compatriot, Elle Anderson (Kalas-NNOF) finished fifth, a career best for her in a World Cup cyclocross race.

“It was a really really awesome course.  It just reminds me why I’m here in Europe this year … to race the most challenging courses out there, and this one was so hard.  Every second you had to think about the obstacle coming next, but I just had a lot of fun,” said Anderson.

“It’s really different, it’s a whole different story than the racing in the U.S.  It’s so demanding, and I just had a great time.”

Asked whether she was focused on earning a spot on the U.S. worlds team, Anderson conceded that she thought of it out on the course, but added: “Regardless of the place, I made up some spots in the last lap or two, and just what was important for me today was to never give up and to just keep riding as hard a race as I possibly could. And I think the fact that I really pushed myself the last two laps makes me really happy.”

Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.

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Results: 2014-15 UCI World Cup-Valkenburg http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/results-2014-15-uci-world-cup-valkenburg_349853 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/results-2014-15-uci-world-cup-valkenburg_349853#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:56:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349853 Results from the 2014-15 UCI World Cup opener at Valkenburg

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  • 1. Lars van der Haar, Giant-Shimano, in 1:05:42
  • 2. Kevin Pauwels, Sunweb-Napoleon Games, at 00:26
  • 3. Corne Van Kessel, Telenet-Fidea, at 00:34
  • 4. Klaas Vantornout, Sunweb-Napoleon Games, at 00:38
  • 5. Tom Meeusen, Telenet-Fidea, at 00:38
  • 6. Thijs Van Amerongen, Telenet-Fidea, at 00:41
  • 7. Philipp Walsleben, BKCP-Powerplus, at 00:48
  • 8. Jens Adams, Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace, at 00:59
  • 9. Jeremy Powers, Rapha-Focus, at 01:10
  • 10. Gianni Vermeersch, Sunweb-Napoleon Games, at 01:24
  • 11. Tim Merlier, Sunweb-Napoleon Games, at 01:31
  • 12. Bart Wellens, Telenet-Fidea, at 01:38
  • 13. Michael Boros, at 01:58
  • 14. Jim Aernouts, Sunweb-Napoleon Games, at 02:05
  • 15. Niels Wubben, Telenet-Fidea, at 02:18
  • 16. Francis Mourey, FDJ.fr, at 02:23
  • 17. Arnaud Grand, at 02:25
  • 18. Fabien Canal, Look – Beaumes De Venise, at 02:30
  • 19. Twan Van Den Brand, at 02:35
  • 20. Enrico Franzoi, Marchiol Emisfero, at 02:48
  • 21. Tomas Paprstka, Remerx-Merida Team Kolin, at 02:55
  • 22. Bart Aernouts, Corendon – Kwadro, at 03:04
  • 23. Julien Taramarcaz, Corendon – Kwadro, at 03:08
  • 24. Rob Peeters, Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace, at 03:24
  • 25. Andreas Moser, at 03:25
  • 26. Patrick VanLeeuwen, Jo Piels, at 03:38
  • 27. Marcel Meisen, Corendon – Kwadro, at 04:02
  • 28. Sascha Weber, Veranclassic-Doltcini, at 04:11
  • 29. Simon Zahner, at 04:12
  • 30. Ian Field, at 04:42
  • 31. Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez, at 04:51
  • 32. Melvin Rulliere, at 04:58
  • 33. Lukas Winterberg, at 05:24
  • 34. Marco Bianco, at :1LAP
  • 35. Clement Lhotellerie, at :1LAP
  • 36. Mariusz Gil, Corendon – Kwadro, at :1LAP
  • 37. Eddy Van Ijzendoorn, at :2LAP
  • 38. Kenneth Hansen, at :2LAP
  • 39. Severin Saegesser, at :2LAP
  • 40. Ben Berden, at :2LAP
  • 41. Jonathan Page, at :2LAP
  • 42. Josep Betalu, at :3LAP
  • 43. David Van Der Poel, BKCP-Powerplus, at :3LAP
  • 44. Yu Takenouchi, Veranclassic-Doltcini, at :4LAP
  • 45. Joachim Parbo, at :4LAP
  • 46. Elia Silvestri, at :4LAP
  • 47. Angus Edmond, at :5LAP

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Results: 2014 Chrono des Nations http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/results-2014-chrono-des-nations_349890 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/results-2014-chrono-des-nations_349890#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:50:14 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349890 Results from the 2014 Chrono des Nations

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  • 1. Sylvain CHAVANEL, IAM Cycling, in 1:04:18
  • 2. Jérémy ROY, FDJ.fr, at 0:53
  • 3. Reidar Bohlin BORGERSEN, Team Joker, at 2:03
  • 4. Carlos OYARZUN, Sélection Nationale, at 3:02
  • 5. Aleksejs SARAMOTINS, IAM Cycling, at 3:24
  • 6. Julien FOUCHARD, Cofidis, at 3:34
  • 7. Stéphane ROSSETTO, Big-Mat Auber 93, at 3:39
  • 8. Pierre-Luc PERICHON, Bretagne-Séché, at 3:54
  • 9. Nicolas BALDO, Team Vorarlberg, at 4:12
  • 10. Jelle WALLAYS, Topsport Vlaanderen, at 4:14
  • 11. Samuel PÖKÄLÄ, Esko Lummelampi Pitkäkatu, at 4:48
  • 12. Gustav LARSSON, IAM Cycling, at 5:17
  • 13. Pierre GOUAULT, Big-Mat Auber 93, at 5:46
  • 14. Gaëtan BILLE, Veran Classic, at 5:51
  • 15. Boris DRON, Wallonie-Bruxelles, at 6:23
  • 16. Gregor GAZVODA, Geb. Weiss-Oberndorfer, at 6:26
  • 17. Olivier PARDINI, Vérandas Willems, at 6:30
  • 18. Sander CORDEEL, Vastgoed Service-Gp, at 6:54
  • 19. Evaldas SISKEVICIUS, La Pomme Marseille, at 6:54
  • 20. Marcus CHRISTIE, An Post-Chain Reaction, at 7:00
  • 21. Jimmy ENGOULVENT, Team Europcar, at 8:10
  • 22. Zico WAEYTENS, Topsport Vlaanderen, at 9:46
  • 23. Antoine DEMOITIÉ, Wallonie-Bruxelles, at 11:14
  • 24. Romain BACON, Amateur-Vaulx En Velin, at 13:59

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Sylvain Chavanel, Anna Solovey win 2014 Chrono des Nations ITT http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/sylvain-chavanel-anna-solovey-win-2014-chrono-des-nations-itt_349893 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/sylvain-chavanel-anna-solovey-win-2014-chrono-des-nations-itt_349893#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:45:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349893 Sylvain Chavanel wins his first Chrono des Nations as Anna Solovey repeats her victory of 2013

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LES HERBIERS, France (AFP) — Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) wrapped up the European road season on Sunday with a victory in the Chrono des Nations individual time trial.

The French national time trial champion covered the 51.5km course in 1:04:18, 53 seconds faster than runner-up Jérémy Roy (FDJ.fr). Reidar Borgersen (Team Joker) finished third at 2:03.

Chavanel was the first Frenchman to win the Chrono des Nations since Pascal Lance did so in 1995. He finished third in 2013 and second in 2012.

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won the last three editions of the race, skipped the event this year.

In the women’s race, Anna Solovey (Ukraine National Team) won for the second consecutive year, covering the 20.9km course in 27:37. Astana-Bepink’s Alison Tetrick, racing for the U.S. National Team, took the runner-up spot at 1:25 with Melodie Lesueur (Lointek) third at 1:52.

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