Diabetics get an advantage in the pro peloton … maybe

Cyclicious (www.cyclelicio.us) has a knack for finding cycling stories outside of the mainstream.  Well, that and being Johnny-on-the-spot for photos of celebs on bikes.  So it is no surprise that he would find a story about the US Military (DARPA) working to fund research into drugs to dilate blood vessels.

The body produces nitric oxide and releases it into the bloodstream to dilate the blood vessels when increased blood flow is needed. Dr. Stamler plans to research ways to deliver nitric oxide to the blood through inhalers.

The Case Western Reserve School of Medicine notes potential non-military applications to enhance blood delivery such as with “heart failure, ischemic heart disease, stroke, sickle cell disease and diabetes,” though I can think of a certain other class of users *cough*enduranceathletes* who might see a use for an inhaler that can increase blood flow and improve their athletic performance.

http://www.cyclelicio.us/2010/military-funds-blood-doping-research/

This could, however, create something of a moral delimea for me.  It may put into contention my desire to remain healthy as a diabetic (something I deal with now) with my desire to race competitively (something I hope to deal with shortly.)  It may present a real situation where medications that may help diabetics could also be banned for use by athletes due to performance enhancing characteristics.

Indications of Voigt joining Schlecks on new team

The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting (English translation here) that there are indications Jens Voigt will possibly be leaving the current Team Saxo Bank to join Frank and Andy Schleck on their new Luxembourg team.  Reports are that Kim Anderson – former directeur sportif of Team Saxo Bank now working to help set up the new Luxembourg team – has contacted Jen Voigt about a possible spot.

VeloNews as confirmed the rumors that Alberto Contador will leave Astana to ride with Team Saxo Bank next season.  These moves are potentially setting up a repeat of this years Tour de France next year, with Andy Schleck again facing off against Alberto Contador.  In fact, Andy Schleck as already stated as much on the website andyschleck.com:

Next year I can turn the tables and win the Tour. I did a bad prologue this year and I have to admit that, but Fränk crashing out was a big loss. If there were two of us in the mountains it could have been so different. But now I know that I can beat Alberto and that gives me huge confidence and motivation for next year.

It is official: Schlecks will be on new team next year

VeloNews.com is reporting that Andy Schleck has officially confirmed that he and his brother Frank will be leaving the team currently known as Saxo Bank at the end of this season.

So, after first reporting that the brothers were leaving, and then reporting that wasn’t certain during the Tour de France, we’ve finally got more concrete, specific information.  Next year we will see a new pro cycling team out of Luxembourg, with Frank and Andy Schleck riding for their home country’s team.

Jens Voigt: The Bloody Menace, Part II

I unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) missed this when it happened as I was on southbound I5 traveling back from the 2010 Seattle to Portland bicycle classic.  It looks like the mountains in the Tour de France have taken a second swing at Jens Voigt of Team Saxo Bank.  In the 2009 Tour de France Jens was unfortunately taken out of the race in one of the most dramatic crashes in the tour in recent memory.

This year the mountain tried again, but couldn’t knock him out.  Jens hit the tarmac on stage 16 while descending from the Col de Peyresourde.  In Jens own words, his front tire “just exploded” sending him to the ground, his bike rendered unusable.  Unfortunately all of this happened behind both of the Saxo Bank team cars – leaving Jens without a bike.  He was finally able to get a spare from the neutral support teams, but unfortunately the bike didn’t really fit him.  I think this may be one of the most compelling images of this great rider: tattered and bloody, finishing the stage on a borrowed bike that doesn’t actually fit him, refusing to quit.

The post-stage interview shows typical Jens Voigt attitude and humor remained intact after the crash:

There is a saying among cycling fans: “Jens Voigt doesn’t get road rash.  The road gets Jens rash.”  It captures the toughness this rider has shown throughout his career.  I’m sure the Jens mystique will be even further strengthened after this and as he crosses the Champs-Élysées.

Schleck brothers future still a question mark?

It was reported here at JustAnotherCyclist.com that the rumors of brothers Frank and Andy Schleck leaving the Riis Racing team (currently sponsored by Saxo Bank) at the end of this season were indeed true.  However, according to press releases by Bjarne Riis during the Tour de France, that may still not be set in stone.  It was revealed that SunGard – currently a minor sponsor of the team – would step up and fill the title sponsor role being vacated by Saxo Bank at the end of this season.  With this move, according to VeloNation:

With Sungard and the second, unnamed, sponsor on board, Riis will likely be able to afford to keep hold of the team’s two biggest assets: the Luxembourg brothers, Fränk and Andy Schleck. “We will continue at the same level,” said Riis, “We will still aim to be the World’s best cycling team.”

Andy Schleck, however, deflected direct questions and chose to focus on the current Tour de France by saying “Now we will get the Tour out of the way, then we will talk about it later in the year” (VeloNation)

It does not appear that this effects Bryan Nygaard’s plans to start a new pro cycling team based in Luxembourg.  It does, however, spur additional questions about exactly what theam the Schlecks will call home.

World class sprinter born in Washington state

Wenatchee, Washington, United States.  Current population: about 30,000.  Area: 7.3 sq miles.  Chief products: Apples, World Class Cycling Sprinters.

That’s right.  The boy from Wenatchee, Tyler Farrar of Garmin Transitions professional cycling team, is not only riding in the Tour de France, he’s nipping at the heels of sprinting powerhouse Mark Cavendish.  He achieved a second place finish in stage 6 while still suffering from a broken wrist.  For those unfamiliar, sprinters rely heavily on the arms, hands and wrists to provide a leverage point for the upper body to hold against the power of the legs as they turn the pedals over.  Before the unfortunate crash that broke his wrist, Farrar was a survivor in a Tour de France that was quickly losing sprinters capable of challenging Mark Cavendish.  The second place finish despite the injuries shows that Farrar can be a real threat.

Tyler Farrar was born June 2 1984.  Following Junior national titles in track as well as sprint events in 2002, he started his professional cycling career in 2003 with Team Jelly Belly.  His year with Jelly Belly was followed by a year each on Health Net-Maxxis and Cofidis (Lance Armstrong also once rode for Cofidis).  In 2008 he joined team Garmin-Transitions, where he remains today.

Video of Armstrong crash caught by spectator

Video posted toYouTube shows the immediate aftermath of the crash on Stage 8 of the Tour de France.  In retrospect this may be viewed as the moment that ended Armstrong’s hopes of the Yellow Jersey in what he himself has declared his last Tour de France.