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5001. iiibbb - 7/21/2006 3:43:24 PM

Then there is either no hope for the sport or none for the cynics.

5002. iiibbb - 7/21/2006 7:35:32 PM

Charly Gaul in the 1958 Tour was 16 minutes behind Rafael Geminiani going into an Alpine stage to Aix les Bain. He attacked and pulled back 14 and a half minutes to leaving himself only 1 and a half minutes behind new overall leader Vito Favero.

He then took the final overall win on the time trial on the penultimate stage in Dijon

Obviously, he must have been doping.

5003. PelleNilsson - 7/21/2006 8:33:01 PM

You think so?

5004. wabbit - 7/22/2006 12:09:59 AM

Oscar Pereiro is getting comfortable in yellow. He still holds the leader's jersey heading into tomorrow's time trialI agree with iiibbb and AC, this is so much better than a foregone conclusion. Yes, the chemists are one step ahead of the testers, but the officials have to be testing all the leaders all the time now. It can only help clean up the sport.

American Floyd Landis remained in third place in Le Tour de France, while Matteo Tosatto of Italy won Friday's 18th stage in which the top contenders rode together in a trailing pack.

Spain's Oscar Pereiro retained the yellow jersey as the Tour's overall leader after the relatively easy 122.4-mile stage from Morzine to Macon, which followed three tough days in the Alps.

That sets the stage for Saturday's time trial, the last major test before cycling's premier race ends Sunday on the Champs-Elys Dees in Paris.

Former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich has been fired by his T-Mobile team, several weeks after he was linked to a Spanish doctor charged with doping. Ullrich was forced out of this year's Tour on the eve of the race. He had been considered a leading contender.

Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997 and was runner-up five times to Lance Armstrong, was pulled out of the race after Spanish media reports said his name turned up on a list of 56 cyclists who had contact with the doctor.

T-Mobile said it also immediately terminated the contract of Spanish rider Oscar Sevilla, who also was pulled from the Tour and suspended by the team. T-Mobile said both Ullrich and Sevilla failed to provide evidence of their innocence within a deadline set by the team.

5005. wabbit - 7/22/2006 12:10:27 AM

Esera Tuaolo (L) plays for the Atlanta Falcons in a 1998 photo

As a 340-pound (154-kg) nose tackle in the National Football League, Esera Tuaolo was a pretty tough guy. But as a closeted gay athlete he recalls living in constant fear.

"I felt like if I had come out while still in the NFL I would have been in physical danger," Tuaolo told Reuters this week. "They would have taken me out -- gone after my knees, or tried to paralyze me."

Hawaiian-born Tuaolo, who played for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1999 Super Bowl game, was in Chicago to participate in the weeklong Gay Games VII sports festival, and appeared on a panel called "Brokeback Locker Room," about the challenges facing gay and lesbian athletes.

5006. wabbit - 7/22/2006 12:11:45 AM

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods put on a clinic with his long irons, none more spectacular than his eagle from 209 yards on one of the toughest holes at Royal Liverpool. It carried him to a 7-under 65, matching his best score ever in a major, and gave him a one-shot lead over Ernie Els in the British Open.

Els made birdie on all the par 5s, and picked up two more strokes with shots that were every bit as good as Woods', though not quite as dramatic. One was a bump-and-run 7-iron that stopped rolling 2 feet from the cup on No. 3, the other a 4-iron into 15 feet left of the flag on the 14th. He made birdie from just short of the par-5 18th for his 65.

Chris DiMarco, whose mother died of a heart attack July 4, emerged from his slump with a 65 and was three shots behind at 9-under 135. Another shot back was two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who had a 66. Masters champion Phil Mickelson will need a lot to happen. He never got anything going in his 71, leaving him eight shots behind. That still leaves him in better shape than Vijay Singh, who started bogey-double bogey on his way to a 76, missing the cut for the first time in 15 majors.

5007. wabbit - 7/22/2006 7:05:20 PM

A-RodAlex Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach 450 home runs, but committed his team-leading 18th error in the New York Yankees' 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. Rodriguez's three-run homer in the third inning off A.J. Burnett was also his 2,000th hit. A-Rod, who turns 31 next Thursday, is the eighth player to get his 2,000th hit before his 31st birthday. Ken Griffey Jr. was the previous youngest to reach 450. He was 31 years, 261 days old when he did it Aug. 9, 2001.

In the hours before Friday night's game, New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya talked about how he was shopping for pitching as the trading deadline approaches. John Maine's performance against the Houston Astros may have reduced the urgency for Minaya. Plugged in at the last minute, Maine responded with a brilliant four-hitter, shutting out the Astros 7-0. He had plenty of help with Jose Valentin hitting his second grand slam home run in two weeks and Carlos Delgado adding a two-run shot.

David Ortiz again proved to be the greatest home run hitter of the season - so far. His major league-leading 33rd home run, Manny Ramirez's 26th and three more Boston homers off Jamie Moyer sent the Red Sox roaring past the Seattle Mariners 9-4 on an unusually hot night in the Northwest. An evening game-time temperature of 89 degrees inside usually pitcher-friendly Safeco Field helped Boston to its season-high home run derby and fifth straight win. It pushed the Red Sox 3 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East. Boston, off to its best start since 1979, has gained three games on its arch rival in four days.

MLB scores

5008. wabbit - 7/22/2006 7:05:40 PM

Floyd Landis' third-place finish in the time trial was enough to regain the yellow jerseyAmerican Floyd Landis is all but assured of winning the Tour de France after regaining the overall lead Saturday. The individual time trial, won by Ukraine's Serhiy Honchar, shaped up as the decisive stage in one of the most topsy-turvy Tours in years. The Phonak team leader reclaimed the yellow jersey from Spain's Oscar Pereiro, who started Saturday's race against the clock with a thin 30-second lead over Landis. The 30-year-old Landis moved up from third to first, gaining 59 seconds on the now second-place Pereiro. With such a lead, Landis is in prime position to take home the maillot jaune -- barring disaster in Sunday's ride into Paris -- in the first Tour since fellow American Lance Armstrong's record seven straight victories.

Honchar, like he did in the seventh stage time trial, dominated the 35.4-mile course from Le Creusot to Montceau-les-Mines, finishing in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 46 seconds. German rider Andreas Kloeden was second, 41 seconds back. Landis placed third, 1:11 off the Honchar's pace. Pereiro was fourth, 2:40 behind. Kloeden's strong ride Saturday moved him from fourth overall to third at 1:29 back, dropping Spain's Carlos Sastre to fourth. Sastre entered the stage second overall, but he crossed the line 4:41 back of Honchar, falling to 3:13 behind Landis.

5009. wabbit - 7/24/2006 1:59:31 AM

With his 11th major title, Tiger Woods tied Walter Hagen for second on the all-time major championships list as a professionalTiger Woods was ruthless as ever on the brown, baked links of Royal Liverpool, relying more on brains than brawn. He hit driver only one time the entire week -- the 16th hole of the first round -- and relied on iron play that was so impeccable his caddie kept a sheet of paper of all the shots Woods missed. There were only three of them.

It carried Woods to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot victory over Chris DiMarco, making him the first player since Tom Watson in 1982-83 to win the British Open, golf's oldest championship, in consecutive years. When DiMarco made a charge with another gritty rally in a major to close with a 68, Woods responded with three straight birdies that allowed him to stride confidently up the 18th fairway at Hoylake and toward the claret jug. It was his first victory since his father, Earl, died May 3 after a brutal bout with cancer. Some questioned whether Woods could regain his focus after taking nine weeks off, especially after he returned to the U.S. Open and missed the cut for the first time in a major.

No one could stop Woods from winning his 11th career major at age 30. He is tied with Walter Hagen for second on the career list and is one step closer to the 18 professional majors won by Jack Nicklaus, the only mark that matters to Woods. He had to work for this one because of DiMarco, equally emotional and inspired while coping with a more recent loss. DiMarco's mother, Norma, died of a heart attack July 4 in Colorado.

Ernie Els, among three players who started the day one shot behind, was the only one to catch him, briefly. He couldn't keep up with Woods, lost ground to DiMarco and had to settle for a 1-under 71 to finish alone in third at 275. Jim Furyk birdied two of the last three holes for a 71 and fourth place.

5010. wabbit - 7/24/2006 2:01:44 AM

Floyd Landis joins Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong as the only Americans to win the biggest prize in cyclingThe highs and lows of Floyd Landis' nail-biter of a bike race ended without a hitch Sunday as he won the Tour de France and kept cycling's most prestigious title in American hands for the eighth straight year. The 30-year-old Landis, pedaling with an injured hip, cruised to victory on the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees, a day after regaining the leader's yellow jersey and building an insurmountable lead in the final time trial.

Landis picked up where another American left off last year, when Lance Armstrong completed his seventh and final Tour triumph. With the victory, Landis becomes the third American -- joining Armstrong and three-time winner Greg LeMond -- to win the Tour. Landis, who plans to undergo surgery this fall on an arthritic right hip injured in a 2003 crash, said he hoped he would be able to return next year.

Sunday's champagne and Landis' fifth yellow jersey of the Tour were possible thanks to a once-in-a-lifetime ride Thursday in the Alps that put the Phonak team leader back in contention, one day after a disastrous ride dropped him from first to 11th, more than eight minutes back. Oscar Pereiro of Spain finished second overall at 57 seconds back, and Germany's Andreas Kloeden was third, 1:29 behind Landis. Australia's Robbie McEwen won the green jersey given to the best sprinter for a third time, and Denmark's Mickael Rasmussen earned the polka-dot jersey awarded to the best climber for a second year. Italy's Damiano Cunego, 25, won the white jersey as the best young rider.

Norway's Thor Hushovd won the final stage Sunday of the three-week race. He had also won the Tour prologue on July 1. Russia's Viatceslav Ekimov, 40, led Sunday's peloton -- or rider pack -- as it arrived for the first of eight laps on the famed Paris avenue to honor him as the Tour's oldest rider. It was his 15th Tour -- one shy of Dutch cyclist Joop Zoetemelk's record.

5011. wabbit - 7/24/2006 1:01:51 PM

Canada's Ryan Ward (right) hoists the trophy as the Canadians celebrate their win over the United States to capture the World Championship for the first time since 1978.Gary gait, the star 39-year-old forward from Victoria, playing his last game at the elite level, scored four goals in the last quarter - including the winner - in a 15-10 victory over the United States on Saturday that gave Canada its first world field lacrosse championship since 1978. Canada was clinging to a one-goal lead when Gait slid out from the side of the net and leaned into the crease to bounced the ball in to make it 11-9. He whipped in an underhand rocket three minutes later to make it 12-9, and Canada pulled away to claim the elusive title.

5012. wabbit - 7/24/2006 1:02:36 PM

Zinedine Zidane will perform community service as penance for his infamous head butt on Marco MaterazziZinedine Zidane will perform community service as penance for his infamous head butt on Marco Materazzi in the World Cup final. The French midfielder, voted the best player in the championships, also was fined $6,000 by FIFA on Thursday and agreed to work with children in lieu of a three-game suspension. The penalty is irrelevant because at 34, Zidane has retired from soccer. Materazzi didn't get off unscathed, either. Materazzi, the Italian defender who provoked the head butt by insulting Zidane, was suspended for two games and fined $4,000.

A German soccer club plans to open a cemetery next to its stadium so that die-hard fans can rest in peace alongside their favorite team. Hamburg SV, a Bundesliga side from the northern port city, aims to open the graveyard some 50 feet from the stadium's main entrance, said deputy chairman Christian Reichert. With 42,000 registered supporters at the club and just 500 graves up for grabs, competition for places promises to be fierce. Officials have already begun taking reservations.

Fans get 25 years in the turf and can choose from a range of burials: ashes in an urn from 2,500 euros ($3,150), a single grave at 8,000 euros and a two person plot at 12,500 euros. Plans for the 70,000 euro graveyard, due to be completed in September, include a war memorial from the team's former stadium, as well as commemorative stones honoring former Hamburg players, who include ex-England star Kevin Keegan.

5013. wabbit - 7/24/2006 1:03:39 PM

James Blake reacts after defeating Andy RoddickJames Blake was happy to win the RCA Championships and seemed to be just as pleased to see Andy Roddick back on track. Roddick said he played one of his best finals, but Blake won the all-American matchup 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Sunday. Blake replaced Roddick this month as the highest-ranked American man, and lived up to his new status. But he said Roddick is starting to look like the guy who once was No. 1 in the world.

The win capped a stunning turnaround for Blake. He was ranked No. 210 last April. In May 2004, Blake suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck when he slammed head first into a net post during a practice session. Later that summer, he learned he had shingles, a condition which affected his vision and caused temporary paralysis on one side of his face. In July 2004, his father, Thomas, died from stomach cancer.

Roddick came into the match having won 40 consecutive service games. That increased to 45 before Blake broke him on a backhand return winner to take a 2-0 lead in the second set. It was the first time in the tournament, singles or doubles, that Roddick's serve had been broken. Roddick and Bobby Reynolds beat Paul Goldstein and Jim Thomas 6-4, 6-4 to win the doubles championship on Sunday.

5014. alistairConnor - 7/26/2006 4:49:30 PM

What a great Tour! I saw very little of it, but as iiibbb points out, the inconsistency of the top riders is an excellent indication that sporting physiology rules once more, after a long period (probably 15 years) where the results have been tangibly affected by doping.

All hail Floyd Landis, for winning the most open, and cleanest, tour in the modern era. All the more so because he came back from the dead, and is faced with disabling joint problems (I'm sure you identify with that Wabbit!)

The thing about doping in cycling is that it has always existed, but until the last couple of decades it didn't actually enhance performances over a three-week race. Eddy Mercx certainly took all kinds of dope in his time, but they would have been pain-killers (cocaine, heroin) and amphetamines mostly, which give riders the illusion of greater strength because they pushed back the pain threshold. That may work for a day or two, but inevitably you have a day when the organism doesn't respond any more, you're running on empty.

The blood doping of modern times changes the equation, because it actually works. It can actually save you from that "empty" day, and increase the body's capacity for work over the long haul. So it has materially affected results for many years now.

Mercx was undoubtedly the greatest cyclist of his time, dope or no dope. Probably Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong were the best of their respective eras, too... But we'll never be sure.

One mark of the change this year is that mountain stages were won by attacking riders, often specialist mountaineers : light, wiry riders who have a high power to weight ratio, and who generally have no chance in the overall standings because they are no good in time trials. Whereas for years now, the mountain stages have generally been won by beefy riders who are the overall winners, but wouldn't be competitive in the mountains without the extra oxygen-carrying capacity provided by blood doping.

Well that's what I think.

5015. wonkers2 - 7/27/2006 3:33:03 PM

Who broke the color barrier in Baseball? Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey? NFW. Here's the answer.

5016. iiibbb - 7/27/2006 4:10:26 PM

Landis doping??

Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its Web site.

5017. wonkers2 - 7/27/2006 4:16:50 PM

The Cap'n sez, "Maybe he's just hi-test like the Cap'n!"

5018. iiibbb - 7/27/2006 4:17:46 PM

Better source on Landis.

I am to wonder... the human body is a wierd machine. Who knows what an adrenaline dump does to your blood chemistry.

5019. iiibbb - 7/27/2006 4:18:40 PM

Another velonews article.

5020. iiibbb - 7/27/2006 4:29:02 PM

Only thing that seems fishy is that a front-runner would know they're going to be tested every step of the way... so I don't understand why they would risk it.

We've already seen questionable sample handling by these testing facilities.

Who to trust?

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