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.

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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.

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Matt Tegenkamp setting his sights on 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon

February, 18, 2015
Feb 18
Matthew TegenkampJed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesMatt Tegenkamp is hoping for another chanve to wear a Team USA uniform in the Olympics.
Two-time U.S. Olympian Matt Tegenkamp finished seventh in the 5,000 meters at the Milrose Games, and while the distance is far from the 26.2 miles of a marathon it was still part of Tegenkamp's marathon training cycle ahead of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, to be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 13 of next year.

“(Coach) Jerry (Schumacher) and I talked things through and we knew the ultimate focus was going to be the Olympic Trials Marathon,” Tegenkamp told “I’m not going to run a marathon in 2015, but I am currently in a marathon cycle and doing things necessary pointing towards the trials.”

Tegenkamp did not race after last April’s U.S. 10-Mile Championships in Washington, D.C., and admits there were question marks surrounding his focus before he and Schumacher decided on a plan for 2016.

“Being banged up last year, having it lingering on, not getting the training in necessary and get in a fall marathon made me decide I didn’t want to do anything crazy this year,” Tegenkamp said. “In the U.S. you need to show up to the start line super healthy, firing on all cylinders, and need to finish top three.”

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Niki Terpstra defends Tour of Qatar title

February, 13, 2015
Feb 13
Niki Terpstra, Maciej Bodnar, Alexander KristoffLIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty ImagesNiki Terpstra takes home the Tour of Qatar's overall leader's gold jersey for the second straight year.
DOHA, Qatar (AFP) -- Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step) claimed his second straight Tour of Qatar title on Friday after the sixth and final stage, a 113.5-kilometer ride from Sealine Beach to Doha, that was won by Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18).

“I’m happy to begin [the season] in good form,” said Terpstra, winner of last year’s Paris-Roubaix. “I know I don’t have to worry about that [form] so that gives me confidence.”

Terpstra, 30, finished six seconds ahead of Poland’s Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo). Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), the winner of three stages, took third, nine seconds back.

“Today was the last chance to score a stage win and that gave us the extra motivation,” Bora sport director Andre Schulze said. “Even though we modified our leadout a bit, all riders played an important role for winning the stage. We knew that a big leadout train with all riders will be less successful. So we concentrated completely on the last kilometer and we placed just two, three riders there for Sam. And it worked out perfectly.”

Four riders broke away from the gun: Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing), Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Nicola Boem and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF). Their lead grew rapidly and reached 1:10 after 10km of racing. But the Katusha team then took command of the pack and started chasing, hoping to control the field for the intermediate sprints.

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Alexander KristoffLionel Bonaventure/Getty ImagesAlexander Kristoff's three stage wins at the Tour of Qatar have him in the silver points leader's jersey.
MADINAT AL-SHAMAL, Qatar (AFP) — Norway’s Alexander Kristoff was on the mark for the third time in the Tour of Qatar on Thursday, claiming the fifth stage.

The Katusha rider, who had previously won Stages 2 and 4, prevailed in a sprint at the end of the 153-kilometer ride from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) crossed the line in second, with Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) of Germany third.

The Etixx-Quick-Step team broke the peloton into several echelons early in another windy day in the desert. About 40 riders made the front group, including race leader Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step), points competition leader Kristoff, Luke Rowe (Team Sky), as well as Sagan, and Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step).

Several notables were left stranded in the chasing group, including Tinkoff-Saxo’s Maciej Bodnar, who is second-place overall, and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). Fortunately for them, the gap never went over 35 seconds. Eventually, after 62 kilometers, the peloton bunched up again.

Just a few kilometers later, five men broke away: Ben Hermans (BMC Racing), Marco Haller (Katusha), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Jelle Wallays (Topsport-Vlaanderen Baloise) and Matthew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge). This leading quintet enjoyed a 50-second advantage after 80 kilometers of racing. At the first intermediate sprint (87km), won by Hayman ahead of Wallays and Gruzdev, the pack was 1:38 adrift. The gap reached a maximum 2:35 at 102 kilometers before the chase intensified.

At the second bonus sprint (126km), also claimed by Hayman, the peloton closed in to just 38 seconds behind. The front five were caught with just over one lap to go of the final circuit. In the final 10 kilometers, Tinkoff-Saxo went to the front and 10 men powered away, including Kristoff and Bodnar . They had a slim 15-second lead but were caught before the finale.

In the end, Kristoff mastered another bunch gallop in Qatar, adding a third stage win to his trophy case.

Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step) had a scare in the final lap, missing the 10-rider move that threatened to go to the line, but he retained the overall lead after the bunch regrouped, six seconds clear of Bodnar and 11 seconds up on Kristoff. Sagan is back into the lead of the young rider’s classification.

The race concludes with Friday’s 113km stage 6 that starts in Sealine Beach Resort and finishes with 10 circuits around Doha Corniche.

Kristoff has a chance to snatch the overall win in Qatar if he takes the final stage and is able to pick off time bonuses in the two intermediate sprints. The sprints offer three-, two-, and one-second GC time bonuses to first through third places, respectively, and the stage winner gets a 10-second time bonus.

Second place on the stage gets a six-second bonus, and third receives a four-second bonus. He could also pull past Terpstra with wins in both intermediate sprints and second place at the finish, assuming that the current leader does not accrue any bonus time.
Tour of QatarLionel Bonaventure/Getty ImagesAlexander Kristoff, right, edged big names like Peter Sagan in a bunch sprint in Qatar.
MESAIEED, Qatar (AFP) -- Dutch rider Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step) retained the leader’s gold jersey at the Tour of Qatar after Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won Wednesday’s fourth stage.

Kristoff, who also won Stage 2, triumphed after a bunch sprint at the end of the 165-kilometer stage between Al Thakira and Mesaieed, finishing ahead of Slovak Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and German Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin).

The peloton again faced windy conditions that forced organizers to start the stage ahead of schedule and led to several crashes in the final 30 kilometers of racing.

“It was a lot of headwind during the whole day, so the pace was slow, and the race became easy until the final kilometers,” Kristoff said. “In the final, everybody was fresh, so the sprint was very chaotic. It was very important to get a good position.

“Maybe I started a bit early, but I felt I had to go otherwise I would have come in from behind. In the end, Sagan was fast. I saw him on my left, and I wasn’t too sure I had won. It was a tight one.”

The early breakaway went after 10 kilometers of racing, and it included Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana), and Jarl Salomein (Topsport-Vlaanderen). The trio gained an advantage of 3:45, but their exploit ended with 18 kilometers to go after they fought headwinds all day long.

In the overall standings, Terpstra now enjoys a six-second advantage on Poland’s Maciej Bodnar (Tnkoff), with Briton Ian Stannard (Sky) 12 seconds adrift.

“It’s my best start of a season,” Kristoff said. “I didn’t expect to be that good. I feel good, I feel confident. I have never felt so strong in Qatar before. It’s a great feeling.”

With his second stage win, Kristoff claimed the silver points competition leader’s jersey. Luke Rowe (Team Sky) keeps the white jersey as best young rider.

Thursday’s fifth stage will see the riders tackle 153km from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal. The race ends Friday.

Niki Terpstra wins individual time trial, takes Tour of Qatar lead

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
Niki TerpstraBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesThe gold leader's jersey passed to Dutch rider Niki Terpstra after the individual time trial in Qatar.

Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step) rode to victory in the stage 3 time trial of the Tour of Qatar Tuesday, taking the race leader’s gold jersey along the way in Lusail.

A time of 14:03 on the 10.9km course on another windy day in Qatar was good enough to best both Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who took second, eight seconds behind Terpstra, and world time trial champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), who was third, nine seconds back on the leader.

Having started the day in fifth overall, Terpstra’s ITT performance gave him a commanding lead in the general classification. Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) nabbed fourth place on the stage 3 and now sits in second place on GC, 11 seconds behind the lead, with Ian Stannard taking fifth on the day to put him in third on GC, 12 seconds down.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who started the day wearing the gold jersey after his victory on a windswept stage 2, lost 44 seconds to Terpstra, and tumbled down to sixth in the general classification as a result.

Wednesday’s fourth stage will take the peloton 165.5 kilometers from Al Thakhira to Mesaieed.

Stage win nets Tour of Dubai lead for Alexander Kristoff

February, 9, 2015
Feb 9
Alexander KristoffBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesAlexander Kristoff claimed the gold leader's jersey with a win in Stage 2 at the Tour of Dubai.
AL KHOR CORNICHE, Qatar (AFP) -- Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the second stage of the Tour of Qatar on Monday, and also took the gold jersey as race leader, after a 187.5-kilometer ride from Al Wakra to Al Khor Corniche.

The 27-year-old from Oslo won a bunch sprint after a high-tempo stage, as he held off Italian Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) of Belgium.

“It was a very long sprint,” Kristoff said. “I bridged up to Terpstra and Guardini who had a little gap, and with 500 meters to go I went full gas. I felt I had it under control but Guardini is a fast guy, I was only sure when I crossed the finish line. I am really happy today with this victory.”

Echelons formed immediately from the start, due to windy conditions precipitated by a sandstorm. Although splits formed early, the field regrouped after 60 kilometers when the wind shifted to the riders’ backs.

Then, a five-man breakaway went up the road, including Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Johann Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge). Their advantage grew to 3:50, but they were caught by the remnants of the shattered peloton with 71 kilometers to go.

The main field of 60 riders was soon pared down to 36, again due to the winds. Notables such as Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) all missed the split. In the end, about 15 riders were in contention for the win in the final sprint.

“This was maybe the hardest stage I have ever seen here in Qatar,” said Katusha sports director Torsten Schmidt. “A very strong wind, high pace, permanent echelons, and fighting for the position in the front made this stage a real struggle.”

“The windy conditions today suited me very well. In Norway I live at the coast. We even have more wind there,” Kristoff said.

The victory for Kristoff, 27, who won two stages at last year’s Tour de France and Milano-Sanremo, gave him a one-second lead over Belgian veteran Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick-Step), in the overall standings, while Van Avermaet is three seconds adrift.

Tuesday will feature a 10.9km individual time trial around the Lusail Circuit as the race follows a six-stage route which finishes in Doha on Friday.

John Degenkolb takes lead at Dubai Tour

February, 6, 2015
Feb 6
John DegenkolbBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesA late sprint gave John Degenkolb reason to celebrate after Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) claimed victory in Friday’s stage 3 at the Dubai Tour, out-sprinting Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the day’s final kicker, a 17-percent hill at the end of a 205-kilometer day.

The German seized the overall race lead from Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step), who is now four seconds back. Valverde, who finished two ticks behind Degenkolb to place second on Friday, is third overall at six seconds.

Valverde’s teammate and fellow Spaniard Juan Jose Lobato came in third.

“The team supported me the whole day,” Degenkolb said. “I think we raced pretty smart, and in the end we had still enough guys to put me in the right position in the last 500m. I was lucky that I could go around Luka Mezgec. I think I started my sprint with less than 200m to go, but if it’s steep like this, then 150m are like 300 on the flat.”

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Jake RileyPhotoRunJake Riley is hoping for a cross country title after an impressive Marathon debut last fall.
ESPN Endurance caught up with Jake Riley of the Hansons-Brooks distance project ahead of the USATF Cross Country National Championships in Boulder this Saturday. The 26-year-old Stanford grad has been on quite a tear recently, placing second in the 8K race at the Great Edinburgh XC International Challenge last month, second at the 10k USATF National Club XC Championship in December, and second among Americans at October's Chicago Marathon with an impressive 2:13 marathon debut.

Can he continue that string of second place finishes this weekend and qualify for the World XC Championships? We asked him about his love for cross country, the training that has helped him progress to his current spot on the verge of mainstream distance-running success, and what his plans are for the big race this weekend.

Walk me through your race plan for Saturday. What are your goals for the race?

Even though the forecast for Saturday is good, all the snow melting between now and then is going to make for a pretty soft, muddy course, my favorite. That, plus the fast early pace I expect from a championship race, the altitude, and the odd distance (the race is 12K) I think all make a progressive race plan -- starting in the back and working my way up as people who went out out of their depth fall off -- the smart move.

Ryan Vail uses that strategy a lot and I've been passed in the middle of a race by him too many times to doubt how well it can work. The main goal for the race is to make the world team, everything else is secondary, but I've been training and racing really well lately so I think a top 3 finish is very doable.

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Jake Riley

Mark Cavendish retains Dubai Tour lead

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5
Mark CarvendishBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesMark Cavendish finished second in Stage 2 in Dubai, holding on to the overall leader's blue jersey.
DUBAI -- Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) was pipped for victory in the second stage of the Dubai Tour by Elia Viviani on Thursday, but kept the race leader’s jersey.

The Briton was second on the 185-kilometer run from Dubai International Marine Club to Palm Jumeirah, but the bonus seconds he took in winning Wednesday’s opening stage ensured he remained in the leader’s blue jersey.

Team Sky’s Viviani, who was third on Wednesday, is now just two seconds behind after gaining back four of the six seconds he lost to Cavendish on the opening stage.

Cavendish’s team led him into the final kilometer at the front of the field, but Astana’s Andrea Guardini -- who lost out to Cavendish on Wednesday in a photo finish -- was first to shoot for the line.

Having left his charge too late on the opening stage, the Italian went too early this time and countryman Viviani jumped on his wheel before powering past to take a clear victory -- his first since joining Sky this season -- with Cavendish passing the fading Guardini fro second.

Friday’s third and penultimate stage is the longest of the race, covering 205K from the Marine Club to Hatta Dam.
Less than a day after the image of him clearing off the Boston Marathon finish line during this week's blizzard took social media by storm, the mystery man known previously as "The Boston Shoveler" has been identified.

Local bartender Chris Laudani was outed by his employer, Back Bay Social Club in Boston, on Twitter as the man in the photo.

"I only did it to send a message ... I love the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for, the finish line doesn't deserve to be covered in snow," Laudani told Boston Magazine on Wednesday.

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Ryan Hall leads best-ever elite field at L.A. Marathon

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26
Ryan HallAP Photo/Elise AmendolaRyan Hall is the biggest name in a fast field for the Los Angeles Marathon.
The American elite field at the 2015 Asics L.A. Marathon will be the largest in 30 year history of the race as the hosts of the 2015 United States Track and Field Marathon Championships. Athletes also will test the course and the city as part of their own preparation for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2016, also to be held in Los Angeles.

“This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive fields in the history of the marathon,” LA Marathon CEO Tracey Russell said. “On both a national and international level, the breadth of talent is at an all-time high to set the stage for a historic race.”

Ryan Hall, the fastest American marathoner in history with his 2:04:58 at the windy 2011 Boston Marathon, was the first elite athlete announced for the year’s race. He will be joined by his wife Sara Hall, making her marathon debut.

After his 2:17:43 debut at the Chicago Marathon, Northern Arizona Elite runner Matt Llano looks to rebound in his second crack at the 26.2 mile distance. He will run the 2015 Houston Half Marathon in preparation for the race. His 61:47 personal best in the half marathon was set there last year.

“There's a big learning curve with a race that long, and even though I received advice from some of the world's top marathoners before Chicago, there's something to be said for lessons that resonate better through experience,” Llano told “I've been channeling those lessons I learned in Chicago to optimize my training and set myself up for achieving the goals I have for 2015.”

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Track standout Diego Estrada eyeing longer distances, U.S. team berth

January, 21, 2015
Jan 21
Diego Estrada Scott Olmos/USA TODAY SportsDiego Estrada has gone from competing for national titles to chasing a spot on Team USA.
Olympian Diego Estrada (Asics) won last weekend's Aramco Houston Half-Marathon in 60:51, which is tied for seventh on the all-time U.S. list.

The race was his first serious attempt at the 13.1-mile distance, and the former Northern Arizona track star is showing flashes of potential for the full marathon. We caught up with Estrada after he discussed the potential move up in distance with his coach.

Over the years, spectators have grown accustomed to seeing you take races out hard. What went through your mind while executing the same tactic in Houston?

I really wasn’t thinking much. That was one of the game plans and I decided early on to go with Plan B by going to the front. I was mentally prepared for it.

What was Plan A?

Plan A was that the guys would take it out in a hot pace and I would sit there as long as I could before taking over. I had a Plan C where I would wait until the last 200 meters to kick.

Now, after looking at the time, some might think "Wow, this guy might really be able to exceed in the marathon." What are your thoughts on the marathon?

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By the numbers: Boston Marathon elite field

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
Lelisa Desisa, Buzunesh Deba Getty ImagesLelisa Desisa and Buzunesh Deba are among the fastest elite runners in the Boston Marathon field.
Race organizers have completed the elite athlete fields for the 119th running of the Boston Marathon on April 20. Five previous champions will return to the start line in Hopkinton with the hope of being the first across the finish line on Boylston Street.

“During the last three decades, unpredictable and compelling races have played out on the streets from Hopkinton to Boston, as our American and international athletes push themselves to win here, more than any other race they will contest,” race director Tom Grilk said in a news release. “We look forward to the spring and watching new stories unfold in these athletes’ quest to capture the olive wreath at the finish on Boylston Street.”

The men’s field includes former world record holder Patrick Makau, 2013 champion Lelisa Desisa and 2012 champion Wesley Korir as the some of the threats to 2014 champion Meb Keflezighi’s title defense. World half-marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese makes his Boston debut, hoping to finally figure out the full marathon distance.

The women’s field is the fastest ever with 10 runners under 2:23. Mare Dibaba leads the charge after setting a personal best of 2:19:52 at the 2015 Xiamen Marathon. Buzunesh Deba, runner-up in 2014, is the second woman in the field under 2:20. Two-time Berlin Marathon Champion Aberu Kebede is also in the Boston field, and has run 11 races under 2:28 since 2010.

2012 champion Sharon Cherop and 2011 Caroline Kilel will also take part, and American Shalane Flanagan will have her hands full once again as she makes her third attempt at winning her hometown race.

The full field of elites have won 85 marathons around the world. Here’s a look at the group by the numbers:

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