Endurance: Endurance

Kenenisa Bekele to run Chicago Marathon

August, 12, 2014
World-record holder Kenenisa Bekele will run the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. The Ethiopian is coming off a two-hour, five-minute, four-second marathon debut and victory in April’s Paris Marathon. He holds world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

"Kenenisa Bekele is one of the best, most versatile and exciting athletes competing on the global stage today,” race director Carey Pinkowski said in a press release. “Any time an athlete of Bekele’s caliber lines up to race, course records and world records are in jeopardy. We expect Bekele to put on a speed show, and it’s not out of the question to think that Bekele could bring the world record back home to Chicago.”

Bekele by the Numbers:

0 – No losses. Bekele is undefeated since he moved to the marathon. Although Bekele struggled with hamstring cramps toward the end of his first 26.2-mile race, he held off Limenih Getachew. Bekele's winning time of 2:05:04 was the fastest debut by anyone older than 30 and a Paris Marathon course record.

1 – American road race debut for the two-time Olympian. He has raced on an American track only five times.

3 – Bekele had three pacers during his run in Paris. Race organizers put the spotlight on him as the star of the event. Bekele might see tougher competition from the elite field in Chicago and might not have as much control over the pace for the lead pack.

6 – Bekele had the sixth fastest debut in history. How will he fare in his second marathon?

$75,000 - 2:03:45 is the current course record, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2013. Bekele aims to lower the time, which also comes with a $75,000 time bonus reward.
Lance ArmstrongFranck Fife/AFP/Getty ImagesJan Ullrich, left, believes all seven of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France wins should be reinstated.
BERLIN -- Lance Armstrong should have his seven Tour de France victories reinstated because of the prevalence of doping at the time, former cyclist Jan Ullrich said.

"I would give Armstrong the Tour victories back. ... That's how it was back then," Ullrich told the current edition of Sport Bild magazine. "It doesn't help anyone to draw a line through the winners' list."

Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, finished second to Armstrong three times -- in 2000, 2001 and 2003 -- but the German declined to stake a claim for his former rival's stripped titles.

"I only want victories that I've experienced on the bike. I don't want to win anything at the green table," he said.

Armstrong, the dominant cyclist of his generation, acknowledged in January that he doped for all seven of his Tour wins from 1999-2005. He was subsequently stripped of the titles.

Ullrich admitted to Focus magazine in June that he received blood treatments from Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

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26.2 facts about the Boston Marathon

July, 30, 2013
Boston MarathonAP Photo/Stew MilneThe race draws more than 500,000 spectators -- or 80 percent of the city's population -- each year.
Sharpen your Beantown knowledge and floss your running wisdom with 26.2 facts to impress your marathoning friends.

1- The Boston Marathon is iconic for a reason—it's both the oldest (dating back to 1897) and the fastest (median time of 3:44) marathon in the country.

2- Racers pick up their bibs and chips at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo, the largest running expo in the world. With more than 200 exhibitors, each brand strives to outdo the rest. In 2012, the pageantry included harpists dressed as angels and elite athletes attempting to break the treadmill marathon record as curious runners looked on.

3- Perhaps the most famous incline in running, Heartbreak Hill has a reputation for being a doozie. However, the highest point on the course (by far) is actually the starting line, at 463 feet above sea level. Heartbreak crests to only 263 feet, but it’s located at mile 20 -- when even a molehill feels like a mountain.

4- One of the only 26.2 milers held on a weekday, Boston coincides with Patriots' Day, a civic holiday celebrated only in Massachusetts and Maine commemorating the first battles of the Revolutionary War.

5- Approximately 500,000 spectators line the marathon's course each year --that's 80 percent of Boston’s total population!

6- Women were officially excluded from the race until 1972. Kathrine Switzer famously entered as "KV Switzer" in 1967 and was nearly stopped by official Jock Semple. Our swift sister dodged his grabby hands and ran on to cross the finish in 4 hours and 20 minutes.

7- In 1951, Korean-American runners were denied entry. The logic was that these citizens should be supporting U.S. troops in the Korean War. Walter A. Brown, then-president of the Boston Athletic Association, stated, "Every Korean should be fighting to protect his country instead of training for marathons."

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Stuart O'GradyClive Mason/Getty ImagesRecently retired cyclist Stuart O'Grady admitted to blood doping during the 1998 Tour de France.
SYDNEY -- A day after retiring from professional cycling, Stuart O'Grady admitted to using a blood-booster during the scandal-plagued 1998 Tour de France.

The 39-year-old Australian rider, a six-time Olympian who wore the leader's yellow jersey for a total of nine days in 17 Tours de France, announced his retirement earlier this week after the 100th edition of the race. He admitted he used erythropoietin (EPO) for two weeks before the 1998 event, saying he acquired it himself and used it without the knowledge of his team.

His admission in an Australian newspaper came after the French senate inquiry into doping in sport released its findings and implicated dozens of cyclists for suspicious test results, uncovering evidence that 1998 Tour de France champion Marco Pantani and runner-up Jan Ullrich used EPO.

"You win Olympics, Paris-Roubaix and now all of that is going to be tainted by this action," O'Grady, who won the Madison gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and was a silver medalist in the team pursuit at the 1992 Olympics, was quoted as saying Thursday in News Corp Australia newspapers. "That's the hardest thing to swallow out of all this -- it was such a long time ago and one very bad judgment is going to taint a lot of things."

O'Grady told the newspapers he just had to "drive over the border and buy it in a pharmacy" and used "extremely cautious amounts" of EPO.

The 1998 Tour de France was notable for the major scandal that emerged with the discovery of widespread doping on the French Festina team. The subsequent police crackdown led to seven of the original 21 teams either withdrawing or being ejected from the Tour.

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Lance ArmstrongChris Graythen/Getty ImagesLawyers for Lance Armstrong argued the U.S. Postal Service got what it bargained for from him.
WASHINGTON -- Lance Armstrong is urging a federal judge to dismiss the Justice Department's False Claims Act lawsuit against him, arguing that the claims are barred by the statute of limitations.

In the filing Tuesday, lawyers for the disgraced cyclist also argue that the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored Armstrong's team, got exactly what it bargained for -- that is, tens of millions of dollars' worth of publicity.

The Justice Department this year joined former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis' whistle-blower lawsuit against Armstrong. The government claims that Armstrong violated his contract with the Postal Service and was "unjustly enriched" while cheating to win the Tour de France bicycle race.

In January, Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs after years of denials.

-- Associated Press
PARIS -- A French inquiry into sports doping uncovered proof that 1998 Tour de France champion Marco Pantani and runner-up Jan Ullrich used the banned blood-booster EPO to fuel their performances.

France's senate, after a five-month investigation focused on sports doping, released a report Wednesday that confirms what many have long suspected: Use of the banned substance EPO was rife in cycling in the late 1990s, before there was a test for the drug.

Pantani was suspended in 1999 from the Giro after failing a random blood test, and his career was damaged by several doping investigations. He died in 2004 at 34 of an accidental drug overdose.

Ullrich, the 1997 Tour winner, has admitted to blood doping and last year was stripped of his third-place finish in the 2005 Tour.

The 1998 Tour de France was notable for the major scandal that emerged with the discovery of widespread doping on the French Festina team. The subsequent police crackdown led to seven of the original 21 teams either withdrawing or being ejected from the Tour.

Other star riders whose positive EPO doping tests were disclosed include American Kevin Livingston, who finished 17th in the 1998 Tour. Also listed were double-stage winner Mario Cipollini of Italy and Laurent Jalabert of France.

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Georgia Gould goes gourmet

July, 19, 2013
Georgia GouldHelen H. Richardson/Getty Images
Georgia Gould, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in mountain biking, dishes about backyard treasures and kitchen creations at her Colorado home. espnW: Athlete's Life.

Sarah Groff races with love, gratitude

July, 19, 2013
Sarah GroffNils Nilsen
Olympic triathlete Sarah Groff says all athletes -- regardless of level -- should set race goals and find a sense of fulfillment at the finish line. Read about it in her words ... espnW: Athlete's Life.
videoNeed a little something to spice up your training? Try mixing in a boatload of mud, a few fiery obstacles and some barbed wire. Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders conquers the Warrior Dash.
VAISON-LA-ROMAINE, France -- Swatting the air with the back of his hand, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme says he has nothing to say to a group of female cyclists hoping to one day ride in the sport's greatest race.

Before the start of Tuesday's 16th stage, Prudhomme brushed off a question about an online letter and petition urging Tour organizers to let women compete next year.

Prudhomme said, "We are saying nothing for the moment."

Olympic gold medalist and road race world champion Marianne Vos and British Olympian Emma Pooley are among the cyclists behind the petition.

-- Associated Press

Jennie Finch: An incredible, cool time

July, 16, 2013
FinchAP Photo/Matt Peyton
Olympic softball star Jennie Finch finishes the 'incredible,' 'cool,' 'awesome' Aquaphor New York City Triathlon ahead of schedule and starts to consider another go. Read about it in Finch's own words ... espnW: Athlete's Life.
Marianne VosFranck Fife/AFP/Getty ImagesOlympic road race champion Marianne Vos wants a chance to add a yellow jersey to her collection.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Marianne Vos has Olympic gold medals and the road race world champion's rainbow jersey in her trophy cabinet. Now she wants the chance to add a yellow jersey.

The Olympic road race champion is among a group of cyclists, including British Olympian Emma Pooley, who have launched an online petition urging Tour de France organizers to let women participate in next year's race.

In an online letter to Tour director Christian Prudhomme, the riders say that after a century "it is about time women are allowed to race the Tour de France, too."

A "Tour Feminin" women's race in France that was staged in the past, but not since 2009, "lacked parity, media coverage, and sponsorship" the letter to Prudhomme says.

Pooley won the 2009 race, known as the Grande Boucle Feminine, and Vos placed third.

The riders backing the petition said letting women race in the men's Tour, "will also create an equal opportunity to debunk the myths of physical `limitations' placed upon female athletes."

Vos conceded that getting women into the 2014 Tour may not be realistic, "but we hope to get the ball rolling," she told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

On Friday, more than 2,200 people had put their names to the petition.

-- Associated Press

Learning the art of losing

July, 12, 2013
Kim CrossCourtesy of Mary Lou Davis
In the quest to train for the ITU cross triathlon world championships -- with a job and a kid and a spouse -- Kim Cross learns you have a lot to gain by losing. Read about it in her own words ... An Athlete's Life.

Van Garderen hits reset button in France

July, 10, 2013
Tejay van GarderenBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesAmerican Tejay van Garderen has fallen more than 35 minutes off the lead at the Tour de France.
SAINT-MALO, France -- Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) didn't expect to be starting the second half of the Tour de France parked in 50th, more than 35 minutes behind the yellow jersey.

Eleven days ago on Corsica, van Garderen started his third Tour as an outsider for the podium. Two brutal days in the Pyrénées surprisingly saw van Garderen languishing off the back, when normally he would be right in the front row, trading punches with the big boys.

Speaking to VeloNews before the start of Tuesday's 10th stage, van Garderen said he was still at a loss about what happened in the Pyrénées.

"I would have liked to have been better. I don't really have an answer to why," Van Garderen said. "I am not going to make any excuses. The legs were not there for some reason."

Last year, van Garderen was one of the revelations of the Tour, becoming the third American to win the white jersey en route to placing fifth overall.

After winning the Amgen Tour of California in May, many expected van Garderen to pick up where he left off last year. BMC was backing Cadel Evans, but van Garderen would have a free ride.

Things went sideways, however, when van Garderen lost contact on the hors-categorie Pailhères climb, the first major test of the 2013 Tour.

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Pat McQuaidFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty ImagesUCI president Pat McQuaid doesn't believe the Lance Armstrong case will affect his re-election.
AIGLE, Switzerland -- Pat McQuaid insists the Lance Armstrong doping affair should not be an issue in his bid to remain president of cycling's governing body.

McQuaid faces British federation leader Brian Cookson in the Sept. 27 election. In a race that appears tight, McQuaid seeks a third four-year term in the vote that coincides with the road world championships in Florence, Italy.

The Armstrong case fueled claims the International Cycling Union protected Armstrong from doping allegations during his Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2005. McQuaid, who became UCI president in 2005 after Armstrong first retired, said Monday the American rider and "issues related to him" should not affect the vote.

"I don't think he should be a factor," McQuaid said in an interview with The Associated Press as he began laying out his campaign Monday. "This election should not be about what happened 10 years ago. This election should be about cycling today and cycling tomorrow."

McQuaid listed key pledges in a 20-page document, "A Bright Future for a Changed Sport." He aims to "preserve the new culture and era of clean cycling," promote women's cycling and continue developing the sport outside its traditional European base.

As an IOC member since 2010, McQuaid also suggests cycling needs to maintain a voice within Olympic decision-making, including new medal events at the Summer Games.

Cookson contends he has the support of cycling officials dissatisfied with how UCI dealt with allegations about Armstrong's doping, which was finally detailed in a report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last October.

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