8-year-old with brain tumor runs 33 miles in Utah trail race

March, 26, 2015
Mar 26

Lota Ward Courtesy of Dave and Sheri HawkesLota Ward says running helps him cope with the surgeries and treatments for his brain tumor.

If it weren’t for his aching feet, Lotatoa "Lota" Ward thinks he would've finished the recent Antelope Island Buffalo Run, a 50-mile trail race near Salt Lake City, Utah.

He made it 33 miles, an impressive distance for any runner to complete. But Lota isn’t just any runner, he's an 8-year-old with a brain tumor.

"I like running because it helps me a lot with hard times," Lota told Runner's World Newswire. "It doesn't make me feel scared going into brain surgery."

Inspired by his ultrarunner dad, Keith, Lota started hitting the trails behind his family home in Layton, Utah, last year. He ran three half-marathons, including the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship 21K in September, where he raised about $1,700 for two of his friends who suffer from spinal muscular atrophy.

"As his mom, I had a lot of reservations about his running," Rowena Ward said. "I honestly did not want him running the long races. But Lota didn’t take 'no' from me. He brought up the topic every day. Then his dad talked me into letting him try a half-marathon. My hope was that afterward, he would say he would never want to run a race again because it was too hard. But that’s not what he told me at the finish line of his first race.

"At that point, we didn't know he had a brain tumor," she added.

In October, a visit to the optometrist showed the back of Lota’s eyes were swollen. A month later, doctors told the Wards the swelling was due to a benign teratoma brain tumor. Lota underwent two surgeries to remove the tumor.

During a routine follow-up in February, an MRI revealed a new tumor that was four times larger than the original one. The golf-ball-sized mass contained early signs of cancer. Lota went in for his third surgery the next day so doctors could collect samples.

"That surgery was on a Wednesday, and he did a 10-mile training run on Sunday," Keith said. "I think running has helped the mental part of his recovery. Every time he has surgery, he is so motivated to get out of bed. He's up and walking within six hours."

Keith said his son's doctors fully support his running. In fact, his neurosurgeon is a trail runner himself.

"We asked [the doctor] if Lota's running would affect the growth of the tumor or cause it to do mutations, and he said it doesn't affect it at all," Keith said. "He said, 'As long as it keeps him happy and healthy, I don't see anything wrong with it.'"

Rowena said Lota will undergo a fourth surgery soon before doctors decide whether chemotherapy is necessary.

"I think running really helps him deal with a lot of what he's going through," Rowena said.

You can keep up with Lota's running and health updates on his blog and Facebook page.

Invitations announced for Vuelta a España

March, 20, 2015
Mar 20

La VueltaJaime Reina/Getty ImagesThe field at La Vuelta will once again be crowded with WorldTour teams and wild cards.

The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organizers of the Vuelta a España, announced invited teams for the 2015 race on Friday in Madrid.

Along with the 17 WorldTour teams that are granted automatic invitations, five wild card selections were also named for the race that will take place from August 22 to Sept. 13.

The Vuelta will start in Puerto Banús (Costa del Sol. Málaga) and conclude in Madrid. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador is the reigning champion, but it is unlikely that he will defend his title in 2015, because he plans to target the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France instead.

(Read full post)

Kenenisa BekeleAP Photo/Michel EulerKenenisa Bekele's recovery from a leg injury will keep him out of one of the year's top marathon fields.

LONDON -- Ethiopian distance-running great Kenenisa Bekele has pulled out of next month's London Marathon because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Bekele, a multiple Olympic and world champion on the track, had been scheduled to make his debut in the London race on April 26, but picked up the injury to his right Achilles while competing in the Dubai Marathon in January.

He says he "desperately wanted to run in London this year, but the injury to my Achilles has not healed sufficiently for me to compete against such a great field."

Organizers announced two new entrants to the field Monday: Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai and Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia.

Mutai is a two-time New York Marathon champion and winner of the 2012 Berlin Marathon.

The lineup already features current marathon record-holder Dennis Kimetto and former record-holder and defending champion Wilson Kipsang.

Copyright 2015 by the Associated Press

LA Marathon notebook: Kenyans sweep; Ward wins U.S. title; Hall drops out

March, 15, 2015
Mar 15
Daniel Limo and Ogla KimaiyoAP Photo, Getty ImagesDaniel Limo and Olga Kimaiyo led a strong Kenyan contingent at the LA Marathon.
Kenya’s Daniel Limo used a late surge to win the ASICS LAMa rathon men’s race in 2:10:35 over compatriot Lani Rutto (2:12:42). American Jared Ward broke up the Kenyan podium sweep by making up ground in the final miles, and was also crowned the USATF 2015 U.S. Marathon Champion.

Kenya's Ogla Jerono Kimaiyo surged after a steady pace by the women’s lead pack for a majority of the race, winning in 2:34:10. Natalya Puchkova was second in 2:34:33 before the top American crossed the finish line with Blake Russell third in 2:34:57.

Here are a few observations from the day’s action in Los Angeles:

How good is Ward?
Before the race, the 2014 U.S. marathon championship runner-up was thinking about running somewhere within the 2:10 and 2:11 range, but when the forecasts for warm weather began coming in Ward adjusted his goal.

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Warm weather tops LA Marathon storylines

March, 13, 2015
Mar 13
LA MarathonAP Photo/Reed SaxonWho would've thought weather would be an issue in Los Angeles, of all places?
The ASICS LA Marathon welcomed its international and American elite runners to meet with the media on Friday morning, and the warm conditions forecast for race day dominated the talk among the Americans vying for the U.S. championship, which is being contested as part of the overall race.

Sunday’s race will be contested in record-hot temperatures as a weather advisory was issued earlier in the week. The full field start time was moved from 6:25 a.m. to 6:55 a.m.

Ryan Hall, America’s fastest marathoner, does not believe weather will be much of a factor, as long as humidity is not involved.

“I don’t think it’ll be too bad,” Hall said. “We’ve been running at the same time as we would during the race for the last couple days and the weather is similar temperatures for race day. Might be 70s in Santa Monica, which is similar to the conditions to when I ran 2:08 in London.”

For Hall, the conditions can not be worse than the warm, humid and polluted air at 2008 Olympic Marathon in Beijing.

“It wasn’t bad as it could’ve been on that particular day,” Hall said. “It was something that required special preparation and I was training in sweats and wearing a beanie -- all that crazy stuff.”

For Hall, there will be no ice vests at the starting line or insulated water bottles along the course in Los Angeles. He will stick to his preparation and trust the training he did in Ethiopia over the last couple weeks.

Mike Morgan (2:14 personal best, 2012 Olympic Trials) tailored his training by spending two weeks in Orlando, Fla.

“You have to make some adjustments to your overall training pace and that’s what we’re hoping to do,” Morgan said. “As far as what that is, it’s a guessing game. It’s not going to be as humid here, but you just hope you can figure it out from previous experiences with the heat.”

World championship spots at stake
United States Track and Field will also use the Los Angeles Marathon as part of the national team selection process for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. One each of the three men and three women that will represent the U.S. in China will come from the Los Angeles Marathon’s top five finishers.

Since LA is not an IAAF-eligible course, those athletes must have run faster than the 2:18 qualifying standard between July 1, 2014 and April 26, 2015.

Hall said he would “politely decline” the USATF selection.

“I just don’t like running marathons in really hot conditions,” Hall said. “I think it could also be detrimental to your career in general. If you look at Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley after they had their Duel in the Sun, that set them back for quite a while. I’m not a big fan of running marathons in the heat, unless you have to like the Olympics.”

On the flip side, a runner like Mike Morgan, who has not made an Olympic team, would take the opportunity if selected.

“Any chance I can get to represent the United States, I’d take,” Morgan said. “It’s an awesome opportunity and some of my best memories in running come from wearing a U.S.A. jersey. I would have a tough time turning one of those down.”

HOKA One One Northern Arizona Elite coach Ben Rosario said he’s had internal talks with athletes Matt LLano and Scott Smith and they would decline the USATF selection as well.

“We can’t risk the Olympic Trials or future on one race,” Rosario said. “The runners that accept it also understand the risk.”

Comedic return
At some point during Sunday’s race, Ryan Hall will pass his wife Sara, who is running her marathon debut, along the course in her marathon debut.

Sara Hall said the training leading up to her 26.2 mile debut felt natural and is “excited that it’s finally time to take the plunge.”

Healthy Ryan Hall headlines strong U.S. men's field at LA Marathon

March, 12, 2015
Mar 12
Ryan and Sara HallJonathan Moore/Getty ImagesRunning with his wife, Sara, has helped Ryan Hall prepare for the LA Marathon.
The 2015 U.S. Marathon Championships will be held at Sunday’s ASICS LA Marathon. Aside from competing against each other, elite runners will have to battle against the heat, with a weather advisory having been issued and high temperatures reaching the 70s during the race.

Here’s a look at who to watch for on Sunday:

The Comeback narrative

Ryan Hall -- Hall has the fastest personal best of the field with his 2:04 from the windy 2011 Boston Marathon.

(Read full post)

Janet Bawcom, Brianne Nelson lead U.S women at LA Marathon

March, 12, 2015
Mar 12
Janet BawcomDina Rudick/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesJanet Bawcom has had success in road races before, and she hopes to continue it in Los Angeles.
The 2015 U.S. Marathon Championship at the ASICS LA Marathon takes place on Sunday, and the winner has a chance of taking home $50,000 if they win both the U.S. race and the overall race. Here's a look at the U.S. runners to keep an eye on when the starting gun goes off on Sunday morning.

The favorite: Janet Bawcom -- Bawcom makes her return to the marathon distance since finishing fifth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012, where she ran a personal best of 2:29:49. No longer on the track, Bawcom has found success on the roads with podium finishes in several of the U.S. Championship circuit races. H

er most recent was a third place finish at the U.S. Half-Marathon Championship (70:46) on Jan. 18, which she followed up with a victory at the Rock N’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon the next weekend. Her return to the 26.2 mile distance could be successful after a strong training stint in Kenya.

The contenders

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Michael Matthews sprints to Paris-Nice lead

March, 11, 2015
Mar 11
Michael MatthewsLionel Bonaventure/Getty ImagesStage 3 of the Paris-Nice race ended in celebration for Australia's Michael Matthews and his team.
Michael Matthews opened his 2015 account on Wednesday in Paris-Nice, winning a punchy sprint in Stage 3 and claiming the overall race lead.

Matthews’ Orica-GreenEdge team dominated the lead-out at the end of the 179-kilometer stage from Saint-Amand-Montrond to Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioul, setting up the Australian perfectly in the final kilometer.

The early break was a trio of riders: Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). The escape’s advantage dipped under three minutes with 30 kilometers remaining.

Etixx-Quick-Step, Katusha, and Team Sky all contributed to the pace-making in the peloton. With 25 kilometers left, the break had only a two-minute lead.

Coming into the final 20K, a circuit around the finish city, the lead trio had a mere 55-second advantage. Soon, Gilbert sat up and returned to the peloton. With about 10K to go, the catch was made.

(Read full post)

Mariya Konovalova sets new women's masters marathon record in Japan

March, 10, 2015
Mar 10
Mariya KonovalovaJIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty ImagesMariya Konovalova's track success has carried over to road racing.
Russia’s Mariya Konovalova, who turned 40 in August, ran 2:22:27 for second place at Sunday’s Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan to lower the women’s world masters marathon record by more than two minutes.

Konovalova surpassed the previous masters standard of 2:24:54 by Germany’s Irina Mikitenko at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, the IAAF reports.

Konovalova’s previous best was 2:22:46 for third place at the 2013 Chicago Marathon; she was also third in Chicago in 2010 in 2:23:50.

Konovalova has been a presence on the world-class stage for two decades. Formerly known as Mariya Pantyukhova, she was sixth in the 5000-meter final at the 1995 World Championships. Thirteen years later, she was fifth in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympics in 30:35.84.

Her career track bests -- 14:38.09 for 5000 meters, 30:31.03 for 10,000 -- plus her 2013 half marathon of 1:09:20, were all set in Russia. Konovalova ran her debut marathon in 2010 at the London Marathon.

In Nagoya on Sunday, Konovalova was in close contract with eventual winner Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa of Bahrain for nearly 20 miles before Kirwa pulled away to win by 19 seconds.

The American women’s masters marathon record is 2:28:40, set by Colleen De Reuck in Chicao in 2005.
Vincenzo NibaliAP Photo/Peter DejongVincenzo Nibali is committed to Tirreno-Adriatico despite uncertainty for his Astana team.
MILAN -- Organizers for the upcoming Tirreno-Adriatico race have announced a star-studded field featuring Grand Tour winners Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana.

It will be the first time that the four riders with 10 Grand Tour wins between them have competed together in a World Tour stage race.

The 50th edition of the race across central Italy runs March 11-17.

Contador is the defending Tirreno champion, Nibali won in 2012 and 2013, Froome was runner-up in 2012 and Quintana finished second last year.

The Tirreno starts with a team time trial, includes a serious mountain stage, and finishes with a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) individual time trial.

Nibali, last year's Tour de France champion, races for Astana, which appears set to lose its license following a series of doping cases.

Copyright 2015 by Associated Press

Cas Loxsom chasing indoor national title ahead of outdoor season

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
Loxsom Casimir Getty ImagesCas Loxsom is looking for a national indoor title before turning his attention to the outdoor track.
Back on Jan. 24, Casimir (Cas) Loxsom took advantage of his early-season fitness to set the American record in the 600-meter indoor run at at the New Mexico Lobo Open in Albuquerque.

This weekend, he’ll be putting that fitness to the test at the USATF Indoor National Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, where Loxsom will be racing the 600 for the first time since his record-setting run and gunning for his first national title.

The 23-year-old Penn State alum trains with the Brooks Beasts of Seattle but grew up in New Haven, Conn., and considers Reggie Lewis to be like a home track. ESPN Endurance caught up with Cas earlier this month to discuss his favorite New England food, why the Olympics aren’t that big of a deal, and why he’s a different animal as an athlete this year.

The conversation sheds some light on his preparation heading into his second East Coast race of the season.

Congratulations on the American Record. What a great way to start off your season.

One for one, I’ll take it!

What has your training looked like for the past month?

I’ve been out in Albuquerque, which is where we [the Brooks Beasts] make our home in the early months of the year. It’s been a really good month of preparation. We’ve been having some quality team bonding time and getting in the miles up in the mountains. I think across the board the group had some good training successes, so it was a good camp for sure.

Can you talk about that team bonding?

It’s always interesting when you stick a lot of people with different personalities into the same space for an extended period of time. We went to Dave and Buster’s one night and all won mugs. That was pretty much the highlight outside of track and field life. We have some new teammates that are on board that we don’t know particularly well yet, so getting closer with them was good.

I think one of our strengths as a group is how much we all care about each other. I know everyone will be tuning in to watch the race on Saturday and that’s a real good feeling. We were all at altitude camp but we had FloTrack Pro up watching our teammates racing across the country this past weekend. That kind of attitude is fostered in environments like camp where we’re all together for an extended period of time, cooking meals for each other – we had a dinner rotation. I always enjoy training camp, but I always enjoy when it’s over too because we get to go back to Seattle and I miss oxygen.

Are you going to have a big cheering section in Boston on Saturday?

Yeah. It’s close to home, so my parents get to come watch this weekend, and some of my friends. I ran here a lot in high school, so it’s as close to a home track as I get.

[+] EnlargeCas Loxsom
PhotoRunCas Loxsom is happy to race back home in New England again.
Any New England things that you’re looking forward to in the next few days?

Oh, god, I had some lobster last night, that was really nice. I miss seafood. When you’re living in landlocked New Mexico it’s a little hard to come by. Mostly though I’m just excited to see my family and to have a little bit more of an East Coast vibe going on. I love Seattle and it’s an incredible place to train, but New England will always be home.

What are you hoping to accomplish this season?

I think as a group we’re setting our sights on the US Outdoor Championships and trying to put a percentage of our team onto the world championship team. That’s probably the number one programmatic goal for us. The things that we’re doing are all leading up to that.

Personally I’m gunning for trying to be top three at outdoor USAs. That’s the main focus of the season and that’s what our training will be oriented around. I’m not going to race too much indoors because the focus is outdoors.

[Editor’s note: Cas was disappointed with his showing at the New Balance Grand Prix (6th at 1,000 meters, 2:22.80) and ended up racing once more at the Husky Classic (1st at 800 meters, 1:47.81)]

That said, I really believe in having stepping stones and smaller goals in between to get you to your big goals. You can’t just have one big idea and somehow arrive there; there’s a process to it. So I’m excited about this weekend just like I was excited about last weekend, but you keep it in context in terms of the bigger plan.

We’ll have a nice training block in Seattle at sea level and then we’ll go back up to Flagstaff for another altitude block before outdoors gets rolling. I’m not really sure what outdoor meets I’m doing just because that’s so far in advance and I’d prefer to live in the moment a little bit. But it’s good to set the long term goals and then once you have those established get yourself back to living in the moment and realizing that your day to day efforts and tasks are really what’s going to get you there.

Do you look as this year as a dress rehearsal for next year for trying to get on the Olympic team?

You know, the Olympics are funny. It’s kind of the same way I feel about the American record in general. Those kind of things are more universally understood in our sport. An American Record. It means more than saying I ran 1:15.58. It’s something that people can recognize. And I think more people know about the Olympics than the World Championships, so that inherently turns it into more of a focus, but it’s equally impressive to make a World Championship team. It’s not like anyone sits out of World’s and only races the Olympics.

The best people in the world are gunning for world titles just like they’re gunning for Olympic titles. So in terms of the bubble of our sport, I’m seeing this year as this year. It’s big and really important for us, and in the track and field world it’s on the same tier entirely.

I haven’t made a world team before, so it’ll be really awesome to take a first stab at it. Last year was a transition year, with Danny as a new coach, my first year as a pro, and it being an off year for the World Championships. This year’s been sort of, let’s see what can happen when we really execute the process to perfection. I think that this is the first year of my career that everything’s been going well in all facets of life. I’m taking it a little bit more seriously and I’m a little bit more bought in and dedicated. I’m a different animal this year.

We’re still waiting to see on the results, but the indicators that we’ve had so far, the one race and some workouts that we’ve done, have been pretty positive. So hopefully we can build on some of that success this weekend.

What are some of the things that you’ve focused on doing better this year over last year?

I think we have our weight training better figured out. I’m more committed to just doing all the little things – especially with my nutrition, extra weight routines, corrective exercises, core, drills – all those little one percenters that contribute to better running economy. Then there’s the consistency of not missing days of training, managing myself so that if something is flaring up I can take one day a little lighter.

Coming into last indoor season I didn’t feel prepared to race at all, and coming into this indoor season I felt very prepared. A big part of it’s just being out in Seattle with the team and Danny with all the resources that we have.

How does the daily training with the Beasts work?

Part of the reason why I joined the team over some of the other groups is that we practice together every single day. We maybe have Saturdays off. We meet from the Brooks office a couple days a week, which is great because we’re integrated in with the staff a little bit, especially with meals, and we share some facilities. It’s a real team.

Does the dynamic feel similar to college?

Yes and no. In certain aspects it does, in certain aspects it’s definitely more of a professional group. We keep a simulation of the positive aspects of a college team: we have camaraderie, we encourage each other, we’re bought in to the success of the rest of the group. But it’s a more narrow focus on our event areas and we just have more time.

Also, we’re adults. We’re given the autonomy to make good decisions and I think that enforces our good decision making, 99% of the time. This is our jobs. We’re the ones who have the responsibility to take it seriously. We’re not babysat as much as we might be in college. So in that sense it’s a little bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. You work harder for your teammates, and you’re meeting for practice every day and seeing everyone succeed together and that kind of togetherness is one of the big draws of being on the team.

One other part of the team dynamic is working with Brooks. It’s a great company that’s really committed to us and our success. It’s cool having a team that’s sort of integrated into the company like we are, and to see the growing success of the group as sort of a result of that

I think it’s a unique experience that we’re getting where we have a little bit more input, where we get to work with the footwear and apparel teams. The Brooks employees know who we are and meet with us at lunch. It feels a little bit more personal. I feel more like a Brooks employee than them being just the kind of company that pays my bills and sends me shoes and gear.

Plus, Brooks is really big on promoting running at all levels of the sport. From supporting high school teams to post-collegiate runners to college programs to local runners that just love to run. We’ll go to local running stores and do group runs. Wizzo [Mark Wieczorek] and I coach at Gig Harbor high school. We try as often as we can to be available to the Seattle running community. We really want to try to be Seattle’s team.

Sally Kipyego and Desiree Linden headline women's field for NYC Half

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
Sally KipyegoAP Photo/Craig RuttleSally Kipyego won the 2014 NYC Half in her half-marathon debut, and is back to defend her title.
The 2015 NYC Half women’s elite field will pit past champions along with a mix of spring marathoners and strong track distance runners.

Defending champion Sally Kipyego of the Nike Oregon Track Club returns and will be challenged by Americans Molly Huddle and Desiree Linden. Full fields for the March 15 race were announced by the New York Road Runners earlier this week.

Kipyego won last year’s race in a course record of 1:08:31 in what was also her debut at the distance. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist is coming off a 2014 season in which she was the fastest woman at 10,000 meters.

“It is a privilege to visit and enjoy New York City while getting a chance to mingle and compete with some of the best athletes in the world,” Kipyego said in a press release. “I'm thrilled to be racing the United Airlines NYC Half again!”

The field will also serve as an appetizer for April's 2015 Boston Marathon.

Joyce Chepkirui holds the fastest half-marathon personal best in the field with her 1:06.19 from the 2014 Prauge Half Marathon. When you double the distance, Chepkirui holds the slowest marathon personal best (2:30:33) of those who have raced 26.2 miles before.

Buzunesh Deba (1:08:59 half, 2.19:59 full), Desiree Linden (1:10:34, 2:22:38) and Caroline Rotich (1:08:52, 2:23:22) all hold faster marathon personal bests than Chepkirui and will see her again in Boston. Deba was last year’s NYC Half runner-up, and Rotich won the race in 2011 and 2013.

Not to be counted out from the American contingent, Huddle debuted at the 13.1 mile distance in 2014 and finished third (1:09:04) across the finish line in New York. She was also third at the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon in October. The strength training from the half-marathon distance bump also allowed her to lower her own 5,000-meter American record on the track.

Linden is back after tying for seventh at last year's NYC Half.

“I'm thrilled to head back to the Big Apple and compete in this year's United Airlines NYC Half,” Linden said in a press release. “NYRR always puts together an amazing field, which makes New York the perfect place to test my fitness as I build into spring racing. Training is progressing well and I'm anxious to see how I match up against some of the world’s best.”

This year’s race will also be the first in which the elite women will start separately (12 minute ahead of) the professional men. Coverage outside of the New York City area will be available on ESPN 3, via WatchESPN, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. ET.
NibaliLionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty ImagesTour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali faces uncertainly about Astana's near-term future.
AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) -- The Astana team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali appears set to lose its license to compete this year, at the request of the UCI.

An audit by the Institute of Sport Sciences at the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) into Astana's management of anti-doping measures found "a big difference" between what the team was doing and what it promised to do, world cycling's governing body said on Friday.

The UCI said there were "compelling grounds" to refer the issue to the licensing commission, and request that Kazakhstan government-backed Astana be stripped of its Pro Team license, which guarantees entry to top stage races and one-day classics.

Astana was awarded a license in December, but only on probation after five senior and development squad riders, including brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, were caught doping with EPO and steroids since August.

"The UCI considers that the ISSUL audit has, among other things, revealed a big difference between the policies and structures that the team presented to the license commission in December, and the reality on the ground," the UCI said in a statement.

(Read full post)

Lance Armstrong enters Livestrong charity cycling event

February, 20, 2015
Feb 20
Lance ArmstrongTom Pennington/Getty ImagesLance Armstrong plans to once again ride for the Livestrong charity he founded.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Lance Armstrong is getting back on his bike, this time to raise money for the charity he founded and was later pressured to leave.

Armstrong has set up a fundraising team for the Livestrong Challenge ride in Austin in October. It will be his first return to the event since 2012, when a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency exposed performance-enhancing drug use by Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team.

Lance Armstrong has registed for the Livestrong Challenge as part of a "Lance & Friends" team that has raised more than $10,000 for the charity.
Armstrong was later stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and pressured to leave the Livestrong board. He was banned for life from official competition.

Armstrong registered for the charity ride and made a $5,000 donation on Feb. 2. He also set up a "Lance & Friends" team that has drawn several longtime Livestrong ride participants and has surpassed $10,000 in total funds raised.

Livestrong officials said they welcome his contribution. Spokeswoman Ellen Barry said he has "no official role with the foundation and there are no plans for him to." The organization, which had informally adopted the Livestrong slogan, changed its name in late 2012.

(Read full post)

By the numbers: Meb Keflezighi headlines NYC Half elite men's field

February, 18, 2015
Feb 18
Meb KeflezighiAP Photo/Seth WenigMeb Keflezighi is back in New York after finishing fourth in last fall's NYC Marathon.
The New York Road Runners have announced the elite men’s fields for the 2015 NYC Half, headlined by 2014 Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi and three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein as they prepare for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

The overall for the March 15 race field includes a mix of talented runners who will run the full marathon distance in April and those using the bump in distance as endurance training for the 2015 track and field season.

“It is always a thrill and an honor to compete in New York City, and NYRR has been the most consistent supporter of my running career,” Keflezighi said in a press release. “As I train to defend my Boston Marathon title in April, there is no better race to prepare than the United Airlines NYC Half.”

Keflezighi opened his 2015 with a fourth place finish at the U.S. Half-Marathon Marathon Championships on Jan. 18, where he ran 62:18. Following up with the NYC Half Marathon puts him on the same race schedule he followed leading up to last year's Boston victory.

(Read full post)