Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Alberto Contador: What’s the Beef?

Friday, October 1st, 2010

In another blemish on the face of pro cycling, Alberto Contador, three time Tour de France winner, has been suspended from cycling for suspicion of taking a banned substance. This allegation is based on small amounts of the steroid Clenbuterol that were found in Contador’s blood. Along with this allegation the French publication L’Equipe is now reporting that traces of plastic, that are used in transfusions bags, have also been found in Contador’s blood. Both claims are still under investigation, however, based on the finding of Clenbuterol in Contador’s blood he will be suspended until further notice.

Contador is claiming that the Clenbuterol found in his blood was due to tainted steak he consumed during the 2010 Tour de France. Some experts have concurred that this is a plausible story, noting that occasionally cows are injected with Clenbuterol. However, others have noted that the likelihood that the Clenbuterol in steak would have survived the cooking process and then survived in Contador’s system is unlikely. It seems very suspicious that Contador is able to pinpoint the cause of Clenbuterol being in his blood so quickly. When pro cyclist Floyd Landis (self admitted blood doper) was accused of blood doping, he immediately put fourth numerous, some very compelling, explanations that lead to the negative test results. It is hard not to be skeptical of Contador when many individuals before him were initially so convincing of their innocence, but eventually would be proven guilty. I hope Alberto Contador is innocent not only for his sake but for the sake of cycling.

Regardless of the outcome, this story it is yet another blow for the already reeling sport of cycling. Another champion has the cloud of drugs hanging over him. With all the clouds hovering over the sport of cycling it is becoming hard to see the stars.

Justin Mayer

Executive Director-ISPA

It’s Good to be Old!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Back in July Lance Armstrong, then 37 years old, came in third at the Tour de France. The Tour de France is one on the toughest bike races in the world and boasts one of the most competitive fields in the sport of professional cycling. Armstrong was eleven years older than race winner Alberto Contador and thirteen years older than second place finisher Andy Schleck. Brett Favre, 40 year old quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, finds himself ranked fourth (based purely on stats) among all NFL quarterbacks this season. Perhaps, even more important than numbers Favre has his team rolling along with a 7-1 record with their sights clearly set on the playoffs. The NFL is a tough league and even young players are chewed up and spit out by the dozen. Favre, who is 40 years old, excels even though he is many years older than the average NFL quarterback.

Science tells us that over time the body begins to slowly deteriorate. We lose muscle tone and our motor skills are not as sharp as they once were. How then can Armstrong and Favre compete at such a high level when they are many years older then their peers? Undoubtedly, both of these individuals are incredibly gifted athletes. One could make the argument that they are among the greatest to ever engage in their respective sports. Genetics play a large role, but I would like to think it is more than just winning the genetic lottery. I would like to think that it is heart that allows both of these athletes to continue to excel. Obviously, both athletes are still paid large sums of money; but they have already made their fortunes. I find it hard to believe that money is driving them to be so great at this stage of their lives. Ego? I am sure ego has something to do with their desire to compete, but is it enough to drive them to the pinnacle of their respective sports? No, I would like to believe that heart is what keeps them at the top. In an era when players only seem to rise to the occasion when their contracts are due it is refreshing to see two great athletes who have nothing to prove excel. What do I mean when I say “heart” keeps them at the top? Armstrong and Favre give their all to their sport. They play with a determination and passion rarely seen at any age. If only we could bottle their spirit and give it to all athletes. Armstrong and Favre show us that you are never too old to be great.

Justin Mayer, Executive Director-ISPA

Sportsmanship

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I Feel Badly

While taking a run this morning on the Chicago lakefront I did something I feel badly about. As I was well into my run my mouth developed a good deal of saliva as we men are often known to do. I looked behind me to my left and then to my right to see if another runner or cyclist was approaching me from behind because clearly there was no one approaching me. I prepared that mouthful of spittle, took a deep breath and off it went out of my mouth and on its way toward helping the lakefront grass to some nutrients. But, alas, from out of nowhere a cyclist going at an estimated speed approaching Contador and Armstrong dueling down a French mountain, came next to me at the moment of launch and my well intended lawn additive landed squarely in this cyclist’s face. After a string of choice words and a bit of a wobble on his expensive road bike he didn’t break pace and sped off.

My first reaction to this unfortunate incident was, “Oooops! I feel so bad, sorry good sir.” But, as I jogged on my merry way also not breaking stride from my blistering 10.0 mph pace I thought about how many times I had seen cyclists speed by runners, walkers, groups on this same path thinking they are re-creating a stage of the TOUR and ride up upon people without warning. I have seen cyclists run right into the backside of runners, I have seen runners change lanes suddenly and bikers swerve to avoid a crash only to be thrown violently from their bike. All of this that could have been avoided had the cyclist given the proper, “On your left” to warn the foot traffic on the path that they are approaching.

I do feel bad about what happened this morning, but cyclists please, give a warning as you approach foot traffic on the paths! At the very least you’ll be protected from the possible face full of spit.

Dr. John E. Mayer, President

International Association of Sports Professionals-ISPA