Monday, September 29, 2008

Training: Running on empty?

If you think glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrate we use to produce the energy required for cycling, you would be correct. However, glycogen does a lot more than just that. Scientists have discovered a crucial second function that directly affects endurance performance and could revolutionise the way we endurance train.

Glycogen also plays an important part in regulating metabolic signalling, interacting with particular proteins in cells to alter their activity.

One affected protein is an enzyme called ‘AMP activated protein kinase’ or AMPK, which plays a huge role in endurance performance because, when activated, it encourages the build-up of mitochondria within the muscles.

Mitochondria are the power-houses of the cell. They create most of the energy that powers our muscles when cycling. So, the better the signalling function, the greater the AMPK activation – meaning your muscles accrue more mitochondria, and that results in a greater capacity for producing aerobic energy.

“There are essentially three things that limit endurance performance: VO2 max, lactate threshold and cycling economy,” says Dr Keith Baar of Dundee University, an expert on AMPK.

“Improved glycogen signalling can boost two out of the three: VO2 max and lactate threshold.”

This would be interesting but not practically useful were it not for one crucial point, the scientists showed our signalling function can be improved by training when glycogen stores are low, which is a radical break from conventional wisdom.

How low-level glycogen training affects performance
Generally, athletes of all levels are told to have a carbohydrate-rich meal two to three hours before any training occurs, ensuring their glycogen levels are fully topped up.

But these studies suggest that purposefully manipulating your glycogen level so that it’s around one third depleted results in improved signalling, hence greater muscular mitochondrial mass and better endurance performance.

“The exact mechanism is still being investigated, but this could work in a number of ways,” says Baar.

“For example, training on low glycogen puts the body under extra stress, meaning it produces more adrenaline. Therefore the body adapts to dampen the body’s response to adrenaline, which in turn helps to increase the lactate threshold”.

How to train your signal pathways
Dr Baar’s fellow boffins at the University of Birmingham have even created a training session specifically designed to increase the signalling function of glycogen. The idea is to purposefully lower your glycogen until it’s depleted to the right level, then to do some high-intensity training in that state.

Have a low-carbohydrate meal prior to the session and then beginning the workout with 45-60 minutes of low-intensity, steady cycling at around 70% of your VO2 max (a level where you can still breathe through your nose, with your mouth shut).
After your glycogen is sufficiently depleted, switch to intervals of five minutes’ hard exercise with a minute of rest in between.
This will train your signalling pathways to maximum effect.

“We know from studies that training at high intensity activates AMPK at a greater rate, plus we know this effect is improved when training at lower glycogen levels, so this session gives twice the activation,” Baar explains.

Short-term limitations versus long-term benefits
Before embarking on glycogen manipulation training, it’s important to recognise its limitations. For example, if you’re a track rider and don’t race for longer than an hour, this type of training is going to be largely ineffective on your short-term performance.

The reason for this is that improving your glycogen signalling increases your energy efficiency at slower speeds, when you are undergoing aerobic respiration and want as much fat-burning as possible. Racing shorter distances for an hour or less requires a faster speed, meaning that your body has to burn carbohydrate no matter what, so glycogen signalling is largely irrelevant.

But for longer distance events, particularly stage rides where you have to pedal day after day, this type of training can bring definite benefits.

Only pure endurance will get the full benefit
You also need to be careful about when and how often you perform this kind of training. Unlike running, which requires only pure endurance, cycling also requires a degree of explosive muscle strength to power the pedals.

Crucially, glycogen manipulation will only work for pure endurance training. So there’s no point going into a weights session in a glycogen-depleted state because you’ll simply fail to get the full benefit from the workout.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lance Armstrong - Interbike 2008

It might not be the Tour de France, but Lance Armstrong's first cycle race after announcing his comeback to professional cycling drew enormous crowds.

Armstrong took part in Thursday's Cross Vegas, a cyclo-cross race organised as part of the Interbike cycle show currently taking place in the entertainment capital of America, Las Vegas.

Armstrong finished 22nd in an event which included some big names from the off-road cycling world - Thomas Frischknecht, Geoff Kabush and Christoph Sauser to name a few. It was won by Ryan Trebon of the Kona team.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rock Racing’s Hamilton, Rodriguez and Bahati to Sign Autographs at Interbike

On September 24 & 25, Tyler Hamilton, the 2008 National Road Race Champion; three time USPRO Road Racing Champion “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez; and 2008 USA Pro Criterium Champion, Rahsaan Bahati will be meeting fans and signing autographs at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Rock Racing is also set to unveil their 2009 three-tiered product line exclusively at Interbike, including a “Team Series,” “Tech Series” and “Core Series” as well as a women’s line. The autograph signings will be on September 24th & 25th from 10:00am-11:00am, 1:00pm-2:00pm, 4:00pm-5:00pm at the Sands Expo Center Booth #1330, Hall A.

Niki Gudex Interbike Autograph Session

For a chance to meet Niki be sure to check out the Castelli booth at Interbike on Thursday 25th September. Niki will be promoting her signature Niki Gudex clothing line, chatting with fans and signing autographs from 1pm.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vegas Baby! - Interbike 2008

Interbike 2008 is upon us once again. Beginning on Wednesday we will have hourly photo updates and video interviews of the show, plus we will take you behind the closed doors of all the VIP parties that the show is famous for. Check back with us to see what all the buzz is about.

9-Year-Old Completes Triathlon And Helps Raise More Than $100,000 for Prostate Cancer

Nine-year-old Winter Vinecki, a resident of Gaylord, Michigan, today honored her father’s fight against prostate cancer by competing in the inaugural Athletes for a Cure Triathlon at the Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Her effort helped to raise more than $100,000 for cancer research programs sponsored by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).
As the youngest competitor and fundraiser in the race, Winter was given a ten-minute head start in front of the nearly 1,000 competing athletes. She finished the 1.5k swim/40k bike/10k run course in a time of 03:59:04 hours, coming in ahead of 62 competitors.

Winter’s mother, Dawn Vinecki, is also a triathlete and was at her side for the entire race providing encouragement. Several famed figures from the world of triathlon competition also provided support to Winter along the way. Simon Lessing, former World Champion triathlete was at her side for the swim and running segments, and former World and Ironman Champion Karen Smyers ran with Winter in the final leg of the competition.

Michellie Jones, 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist and former Ironman Champion, was unable to travel to Orlando, but reached Winter via phone to congratulate her on her accomplishment.

“It was an honor to meet Winter and participate with her,” said Simon Lessing. “This event supports an important cause and this young girl’s determination has put a whole new face on the sport and on raising awareness for prostate cancer.”
“Winter has achieved an incredibly impressive goal, especially for a 9 year-old,” commented Karen Smyers while signing autographs with Winter after the race. “She is proof that motivation and focus can result in amazing feats of selflessness.”
On his 40th birthday, Winter’s father, Michael Vinecki was diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma. It is an especially aggressive form of cancer that attacked his prostate. In the six weeks between his diagnosis and a 12-hour Father’s Day surgery at the Mayo Clinic, his daughter was hard at work forming Team Winter to raise money for Athletes for a Cure and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Michael Vinecki, a triathlete himself, was able to travel to Orlando to watch his family compete. He returns to the Mayo Clinic this week for more surgery and treatment.

Winter’s original goal was to raise $10,000 for prostate cancer research, to make people aware of the importance of early detection, and to honor her dad by fighting as hard as he has. She exceeded that original goal, raising $31,000 of the more than $100,000 raised by the event. However, Winter did more than that. For the first time ever, the entire field of competitors at the Athletes for a Cure Triathlon in Orlando competed as a single team: Team Winter. Every participant registered as a fundraiser symbolically “gave” their fundraising total to Team Winter. Their passion and their hearts finished the race for the Vinecki family and their father.

“The Vinecki’s are an incredible, loving and giving family,” commented Scott Zagarino, managing director of Athletes for a Cure. “They are some of our everday heroes, fighting for an end to prostate cancer. In spite of all they are going through, regardless of where live is taking them, they remain steadfast in their will to get the word out about prostate cancer and raise money for advanced research to find a cure. Their unstoppable spirit is an inspiration for prostate cancer patients and their families everywhere.”

Prostate cancer strikes 1 out 6 American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 28,000 men will die from prostate cancer in 2008 while more than 186,000 new cases are diagnosed. With the aging of the baby-boomer generation, the number of new cases diagnosed annually is projected to reach 300,000 by 2015—an increase of more than 60 percent—with an accompanying annual death rate of approximately 45,000. Early detection and treatment can result in a five-year survival rate of more than 90 percent.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


When Alberto Contador crossed the line in Madrid on Sunday to confirm victory in the Vuelta a Espana, he became only the fifth rider of all time to win the three grand tours in his career.

The 25-year-old Spaniard clinched the triple in double quick time. Just 14 months have elapsed since he won the 2007 Tour de France. This season he has added the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana to become the rider to complete the full set of grand tours in the quickest time.

Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault are the only four riders to achieve the feat. It took the greatest cyclist of all time, Merckx, four years and 11 months to complete the full set.

Bernard Hinault won the Vuelta and Tour in 1978 and added his first Giro in 1980 to do the triple in a speedy two years and one month.

But the fact that Contador's team was barred from the Tour this year meant Contador was able to capitalise by concentrating on the Giro and the Vuelta. He joins the ranks of the greats after completing victory in the three grand tours in an incredible period spanning just one year and two months.

Only five riders have won all three of the major tours – the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana – in their careers.

First Tour de France July 1957
First Giro d'Italia June 1960
First Vuelta a Espana May 1963

Time taken to complete the set – 5 years, 10 months
Age when completing the set – 29 years 4 months
Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 2 Giro, 1 Vuelta

First Tour de France July 1965
First Giro d'Italia June 1967
First Vuelta a Espana May 1968

Time taken to complete the set – 2 years 10 months
Age when completing the set – 25 years 8 months
Total grand tour tally: 1 TdF, 3 Giro, 1 Vuelta

First Giro d'Italia June 1968
First Tour de France July 1969
First Vuelta a Espana May 1973

Time taken to complete the set – 4 years 11 months
Age when completing the set – 27 years 11 months
Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 5 Giro, 1 Vuelta

First Vuelta a Espana May 1978
First Tour de France July 1978
First Giro d'Italia June 1980

Time taken to complete the set – 2 years 1 month
Age when completing the set – 25 years 7 months
Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 3 Giro, 2 Vuelta

First Tour de France July 2007
First Giro d'Italia June 2008
First Vuelta a Espana September 2008

Time taken to complete the set – 1 year 2 months
Age when completing the set – 25 years 9 months
Total grand tour tally: 1 TdF, 1 Giro, 1 Vuelta

Alberto Contador wins historic triple

Alberto Contador of Spain secured overall victory in the Tour of Spain in Madrid on Sunday to join a select club of riders to have won all three of the sport's major Tours.

The 2007 Tour de France winner also won this year's Giro d'Italia, meaning he has become only the fifth rider in history, and the first ever Spaniard, to win all three of cycling's three-week Tours.

French duo Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Belgian legend Eddy Merckx and Italian Felice Gimondi all distinguished themselves from riders who only concentrate on the Tour de France by also winning the Vuelta and the Giro.

But Contador's achievement is all the more impressive given he has done so in the space of 14 months.

Danish rider Matti Breschel, of the CSC team, took the final stage victory into Madrid but, with respect, it was Contador who attracted all the plaudits after yet another stunning display of three-week stage racing.

The Spaniard claimed his maiden three-week stage race victory when he won the Tour de France in 2007 with the Discovery team. But later that year he was controversially uninvited to the 2008 race after organisers 'sanctioned' his new team, Astana, despite a management overhaul for a number of doping offences during that year's race.

Contador turned his attention to the 2008 Giro d'Italia, which he won ahead of Italian Riccardo Ricco, who in July was thrown off the Tour de France for testing positive for banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).

Contador then went to the Tour of Spain as the overall favourite and put his rivals to the sword in the mountains, while performing strongly in the race's time trials.

American teammate Levi Leipheimer won the penultimate stage, a 17.1km uphill time trial, on Saturday to close an overnight gap of 1min 17sec on his Spanish teammate to just 46sec.

Ekimov: ‘No comeback for me’

All the talk about Lance Armstrong’s comeback hasn’t tickled any thoughts of a return by Russian veteran Viatcheslav Ekimov.

Now 42, Ekimov is busy enough these days working as a sport director at Astana and as a coach at the Russian national team.

“I won’t be coming back,” Ekimov told VeloNews with a laugh. “I already came back once. I am finished with racing. I got it out of my system.”

Ekimov, however, made his own comeback of sorts, briefly retiring in 2001 only to return to U.S. Postal Service after life behind the wheel as a sport director of a start-up Russian team made him realized he missed the thrill that came with racing.

The three-time Olympic medalist says he understands why Armstrong wants to make a return to cycling.

“I was not surprised,” he said. “I know it’s very difficult to stop. The emotions you find in racing you cannot get anywhere else in life. When you see that you still have the capacity to race at the same level, you want to come back.”

Ekimov eventually became one of the key members of Armstrong’s “blue train” that paved the way for the Texan’s seven consecutive Tour victories.

But he missed Armstrong’s first victory in 1999 when U.S. Postal Service didn’t extend his contract and he raced for the Amica Chips team. Armstrong called that one of the team’s biggest errors and worked to re-sign Ekimov for the 2000 team.

After the 2001 Tour, however, he announced his retirement and took over management of the Lokomotiv team, but that was a short-lived detour.

Ekimov announced his desire to return to competition and he began piling up the training miles. He was legendary in his long-distance, eight-hour training rides and would ride up to 35,000km a year to train.

His first race back in 2002 was the Dauphiné Libéré and went on to make that year’s Tour team.

“My break was real short, just six to eight months. Lance has been three years off, so it won’t be easy,” Ekimov said. “For sure it will be a big spectacle, but physically it’s not going to be easy for Lance. But he’s a big champion and everyone knows his character.”

Ekimov missed the 2004 Tour with injury, but rode two more Tours before retiring for good in 2006.

He led the peloton onto the Champs-Elysées in 2006 in what was his last Tour. He started and finished 15 Tours, tying him with Lucien Van Impe with second on the all-time list.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Contador set to make history

Just one day separates Spaniard Alberto Contador from his third Grand Tour victory in 14 months, but on Saturday's uphill time trial to Navacerrada, the 25-year-old showed uncharacteristic frailty. Trailing teammate and stage winner Levi Leipheimer by 31 seconds at the top of the 17.1km climb, his face twisted in pain, Contador earned his likely Vuelta a España win the hard way.

He now leads the race by 46 seconds over Leipheimer, and is poised to become only the fifth rider in history to win all three Grand Tours. The race concludes Sunday in Madrid.

Despite his young age, Contador showed his experience when put to the test. Because his legs weren't the best, he decided to change his strategy. "I went a bit more steadily," he said, and thereby missed out on the chance to score his third stage victory in this year's race, but ensured he wouldn't be toppled by Leipheimer.

Contador learned his lesson from two experiences. One was the last-minute invite to the Giro d'Italia, which he received while sitting at the beach. Despite the difficult task without proper preparation, he suffered through to take overall win. He also may have remembered his Olympic time trial, where stormed off the start ramp like a man possessed, but later suffered and faded to just outside the medal spots.

The Spaniard admitted there was a lot of pressure on him. "I was considered the favourite number one." But he drew strength from his form. "When I was training in July and August I sensed that I could win the Vuelta."

Of his three Grand Tour victories he has great memories of all of them and it was difficult to pick the importance of one win over another. "It's true that the Tour de France victory impacted me and probably brought me the most joy. After all, it changed my life." But number two and three are not far behind. "In the Giro, I will never forget the tifosi."

Then there is racing at home in the Vuelta a España, which is also something special. "There were so many fans here this year, it was really special." It gave Contador additional pressure to perform well under the watchful eye of his people, but it also had some advantages. "Racing at home is very nice. You feel a little bit more balanced. You are used to everything. It feels like home."

Contador compared the three races to each other. "The Vuelta has steeper climbs compared to the Tour. There was a lot of spectacle this year." As for the Giro it wasn't so much the parcours that stood out for him. "It was really, really cold this year in Italy."

Contador hadn't given much thought of entering the history books. "I am still young, I want to win races, but I am not thinking about creating a legacy."

Equally, he didn't know yet what was next on his wish list. He felt that he had already achieved a lot. "For a rider of my characteristics, I have won the three Grand Tours. For now I will just enjoy that victory." After he won the Tour de France last year, he was facing similar questions. He had just achieved his three goals. He wanted to become a professional. Then he wanted to race the Tour and finally he wanted to win it. After that was achieved, people asked him what was next. "Then came the Giro d'Italia win and now the Vuelta."

Contador doesn't think too much about the future and will just enjoy his latest win. Of course, some celebrations are on order as well. "My teammate will await me at the hotel and we will have a special dinner, not just the usual pasta and fish..."

Leipheimer and Contador deliver one-two Astana punch

American Levi Leipheimer stomped his way to a second time trial win in the 63rd Vuelta a España and looks set as the favourite to beat for next week's World Championships. He bettered his Astana teammate and overall race leader, Alberto Contador, by 31 seconds at the end of a 17.1-kilometre climb up Alto de Navacerrada, but still trails the Spaniard on the overall classification by 46 seconds.

When asked if he could have won the Vuelta under different circumstances, Leipheimer said, "I had no pressure. [Contador] had a lot of pressure in this race. He is Spanish, it's the Tour of Spain. It's impossible to say [if I could have won]. He deserves the victory. I never though about winning the Vuelta [today]. I wanted to win the stage."

Spaniard Contador rode within himself to defend the maillot oro and, barring incident, will win the race's overall after tomorrow's 'sprinters' stage' in Madrid. Leipheimer remains second overall ahead of Spaniard Sastre of Team CSC-Saxo Bank.

With the possible win in Madrid tomorrow, Contador becomes the only one of five riders to win all three Grand Tours – joining Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi and Jacques Anquetil. He went from the maillot jaune on Paris' Champs Élysées to the maglia rosa in Milano and on to his final triumph in a period of 14 months.

Bettini battles for historic triple on home soil

The 2008 World Championships presents Paolo Bettini the chance to make history – a never before seen three consecutive world titles. Better yet, the Italian winner in Salzburg (2006) and Stuttgart (2007) has the chance to take the rainbow jersey on home soil. Lombardia's Varese hosts the battle, the 75th edition of the World Championships beginning on September 23 with the U23 time trial and culminating with the men's road race on September 28.

The 34 year-old defending champion from La California, Livorno, is already part of an elite group of repeat winners, which includes Greg LeMond, Gianni Bugno, Freddy Maertens, Georges Ronsse, Briek Schotte and Rik Van Looy. But he will be savouring the chance to trump Alfredo Binda, Eddy Merckx, Rik Van Steenbergen and Oscar Freire, the only other triple winners, by taking his titles three years in a row.

Freire, on the other hand, will be looking to become the only rider in history to win four world championships, and he's got a strong and unified Spanish team behind him – one that includes (soon to be) triple Grand Tour champion Alberto Contador, Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, and three-time world championship podium finisher Alejandro Valverde.

The course, however, will more than likely favour Bettini due to its similarity to the last two editions.

Based in northern Italia, Varese will host the start and finish of all six world title events from its Mapei Cycling Stadium, which is a specially converted horse track. The time trails for under-23, women and men categories will use varying routes out of the stadium and the road races for the same three categories will all use a 17.35-kilometre parcours.

The course in Varese has 237 metres of climbing over the 17.35-kilometre circuit which the men will complete 15 times, for a total of 3,555 metres over 260.25 kilometres. The big features are the kilometre-long Montello (topping out at kilometre 1.69, averaging 6.5%) and the 3.13-kilometre Ronchi (kilometre 13.79, 4.5%).

German Jens Voigt triumphed the last time the circuit was used, in the Giro d'Italia's stage 18, when the finish was placed closer to the top of Ronchi on Via Sacco. This time the riders will face an extra three kilometres – predominantly flat – before arriving to the line.

Voigt wins miserable stage in signature style

Team CSC's Jens Voigt put in one of his signature solo attacks on the Tour of Poland's sixth stage, and in weather more fitting for a Spring Classic than a summer tour, he rode his way into the race's overall lead. He now leads teammate Lars Bak by 1'22, with the morning's leader, José Joaquín Rojas fading from contention more than five minutes in arrears.

The stage, originally planned to cover 201.7 kilometres with five mountain passes had to be shortened to just 118 due to the extreme weather which has plagued the Tour since the start. "The original plan was for us to work for Lars Bak today because we thought he could avoid losing time and possibly take the lead," said CSC director Kim Andersen. "But Jens approached me and said he was feeling strong. So I said it was okay, and we agreed that he was going to make an attempt on the next climb. And from then on it was simply The Jens Voigt Show," he joked.

The shortened stage fell into Voigt's favour, but, he revealed, the entire peloton knew it. "Half of the peloton came over to me right before the stage and said, 'Jens, this is your kind of stage, it's wet and cold and it's short,'" Voigt said. "It's a great feeling because this is my last race this season and it a good morale boost for my winter training."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tim DeBoom Joins Ironman 70.3 Longhorn Tri

After a disappointing withdrawal from the Leadville 100 following a dislocated big toe only 3 days before the big event, and staying true to his decision of taking a year away from the lava fields in Kona, Tim DeBoom has refocused his attention on the remainder of the 70.3 Ironman Series for 2008.

First up for Tim will be a stop at the Longhorn 70.3 Tri in Austin, TX where he will take on the likes of Bjorn Andersson, Kieran Doe and Simon Lessing among others. The half ironman distance is arguably Tim's best distance from a talent standpoint. His natural speed that helped him win ITU world championships as an age grouper as well as represent the US at 2 Pan Am Games and the Goodwill Games will aid him well as he uses the half distance to help in his efforts to hit the 2009 season at full speed.

Tim's got his fingers in alot more than racing this year as he is working not only with his wife Nicole and her apparel line Skirt Sports, but also with his new partners at the Red Rock Racing Triathlon Series, his part ownership in the DeBoom Sports Mecca, and his new apparel line launch of the Endurance Conspiracy with brother Tony.

To quote a DeBoom movie favorite, Aspen Extreme, "skiing's the easy part." If you replace "skiing" with "tri training", then you have an understanding of Tim's 2008. Tim's looking forward to getting back to what he does best in 2009 - racing..and winning.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vuelta a España - Stage 18

Spain's Alberto Contador (L) shakes hands with Spanish opposition leader Mariano Rajoy on September 18, 2008 at the end of the eigthteenth stage of the Tour of Spain Valladolid and Las Rozas. Spain's Imanol Erviti of Caisse D'Epargne won the stage ahead of Irish Nicolas Roche of Credit Agricole Team and Spain's David Herrero of Xacobeo-Galicia Team.

Eggs: They Are What Their Mothers Eat

Cage free. Organic. All natural. Free range. You see these terms on egg cartons all the time, some even using all four at once! But what do they mean? Does “free range” mean access to a chicken’s natural,? Let’s examine each nebulous term for what it’s worth.

Free Range

As applied to chicken eggs, this term is essentially meaningless. Government only loosely regulates the definition of “free range,” and egg producers have jumped at the opportunity to print some new labels and charge a couple extra bucks in return for giving their hens occasional access to a tiny patch of dirt. According to the Department of Agriculture (PDF), egg “producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the Outside” In other words, there needs to be a door to the chicken cage, and it needs to be open part of the time, but the chickens can still eat substandard food and live in cramped conditions. A “range” can range from being a full-fledged pasture (not likely) to a 10 x 10 patch of manure and dirt (more likely). Chances are, most free range chickens rarely even venture outside. Why would they? Their food is usually inside.

Cage Free

Even more meaningless than “free range,” this term has no legal definition. Technically, cage free hens don’t live in stifling metal cages; instead, they might still live in stifling, overcrowded henhouses! Some cage free hens’ lives aren’t much qualitatively better than those who live in cages and most still aren’t getting any access to the outdoors, but they’re generally raised with better food and better treatment.


Organic is more useful and easy to pin down. Organic egg producing hens are given organic feed, no antibiotics (unless in the case of an outbreak), and limited access to the outdoors (just a door to their cage or barn, really). These are better than your average mass-produced egg, but your best bet is still to find a truly pasture-raised egg.

All Natural

Um, “all natural”? As opposed to artificial? This is the most useless, all-encompassing term for anything. All produce is natural. These eggs weren’t created in a lab by a team of white coats. Even the most steroid-pumped, antibiotic-immersed hens produce “natural” eggs the way nature intended: by laying them. “All natural” is just a subtly disingenuous term used to conjure up images of hens happily pecking away at seeds and bounding through pastures, only to return home for the nightly egg-laying. It’s a feel-good phrase that distracts consumers from the fact that most eggs are produced in appalling, wholly unnatural conditions. Feel free to eat all natural eggs, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re of any particular improvement in quality.

Omega-3 Fortified

Omega-3 fortified eggs come from hens fed flax, linseed, or a direct supplement. The healthy fats do trickle down to the consumer, but in varying degrees. Seeds (especially flax) aren’t the greatest source of omega-3 fats anyway, so we would advise you not to rely on the fortified eggs for your healthy fat source. Buy these if you like – omega-3 fortified eggs also tend to come from organic, cage-free birds, so they’re generally better – but stick with the fish oil, too.

The Bottom Line

As we are fastidious about what we eat, we should also pay attention to what our food eats. Chickens raised in stressful environments – eating corn, soy, and antibiotics (a decidedly unPrimal diet for a chicken), and relegated to a tiny cage that would result in atrophy were it not for the steroids – do not produce high quality eggs. Your best bet is to research the egg producers. Free range and cage free are good starts, but it’s not the end of it. Find out if their birds are actually free range, and not just given access to a patch of dirt. If the hens are out their pecking away in a pasture, digging for grubs and worms and eating wild grasses, they’re going to produce eggs that are much more inline with how nature intends it.

A study (PDF) of fourteen free range chicken farms conducted by Mother Earth News (I know, I know, how hippy-dippy can you get?) confirms that true pasture/range free chickens, given a natural diet of grains, insects, grasses, and seeds, produce eggs loaded with nutrients. Pasture raised eggs have more beta-carotene, vitamins E and A, and omega-3 levels, with less cholesterol and saturated fat than mass-market eggs.

The choice is pretty clear. If you can afford it, look for local varieties of pasture raised eggs. Try the farmer’s market or gourmet grocery stores. If not, at least stick with organic, cage free, free range eggs. Their chickens may not have been out frolicking, but at least they weren’t stuffed into cages and force-fed drugs. Your wallet may hurt in the short term, but – as we know better than anyone else – your long-term health is worth the extra expense.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Images Of The 2008 Malibu Triathlon

Rock Racing "Rocks" Harrods Of London

Hundreds of people turned out at Harrods to meet Rock Racing’s six riders who competed in the Tour of Britain. Rahsaan Bahati, Santiago Botero, Tyler Hamilton, Victor Hugo Peña, Fred Rodriguez and Oscar Sevilla signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Fans also purchased official Rock Racing merchandise, including the team’s exclusive line of “London Rocks” green-and-gold uniforms.

Al-Fayed’s visit to Rock Racing’s special appearance and display area on the fifth floor was one of the highlights of the event – as was the presence Rock & Republic President Andrea Bernholtz. She greeted the team and congratulated them on their three top 10 finishes at the Tour of Britain.

Harrods will continue to carry the new line of Rock Racing “London Rocks” sports apparel for men, women and children through the month.

Macca wins Malibu, J-Lo, McConaughey get the spoils

By Jay Prasuhn

Sept. 15, 2008 -- The scene Sunday was unlike any other triathlon on earth: Chris McCormack, the reigning Ironman World Champ, is three weeks away from defending his world crown in Kona, and had just taken a late season tune-up win at the 22nd-annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon in front of over 3,000 fans that flooded the tiny beachside town.

And not one reporter (save from this publication) sought him out after the race. Few even knew he was there, or cared that he won the half-mile swim, 18-mile bike and 4-mile run event in 1:18:46, or even who he was. Macca anonymous at a triathlon? Had earth tilted off its axis?

No, this day was about the celebs. Big-name celebs. While there were over 3,000 athletes competing between individual and relay events, the two highly notable age groupers that lined up Sunday morning on Zuma Beach for the race were a couple first-timers: actor Matthew McConaughey and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez.

“I was worried about Matthew McConaughey because I see he’s been training with Lance (Armstrong),” McCormack, standing outside the finish gantry, said with a wry smile. He, along with a few fellow pros were unfettered by the press. “Yeah, it was surreal,” McCormack said. “But the way it looks, these celebs did an awesome job.”

McConaughey and Lopez, co-stars in the movie The Wedding Planner, had their significant others in attendance; McConaughey with girlfriend Camila Alves and their newborn Levi and Lopez with husband Marc Anthony. Other celeb attendees included William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Jon Cryer, Mark-Paul Gosselar, as well as former tennis pro Anna Kournikova. The event emcee: Cindy Crawford.

With them came fans. And paparazzi. As J-Lo and McConaughey walked from transition to the swim start, a swarm of photographers, tripping over themselves and the occasional clump of beached kelp, snapped shots, lighting up the misty dawn with the crackle of flash strobe.

“It was pretty wild this morning watching all the flashes going off,” Chris Lieto said. “I walked in with Matthew going into the water, and all these photographers were in the water and I told him “I don’t know how you deal with it. And he said ‘aw, I just focus on what I’m doing and just ignore it.’ Hats off to them. I totally appreciate them coming out and being part of the sport.”

McConaughey, who paired with respected L.A. Triathlon coach Ian Murray of Triathletix spoke to Triathlete after the race. With a solid finish time of 1:30:44, McConaughey spoke with an excitement for not just completing the race, but placing in the top five in the celebrity category. Considering he has trained with good buddy Lance Armstrong in the past, he was certainly not out for a joyride. In fact, he and Murray did a course recon earlier in the week.

“Just knowing the course, getting familiar with the course, knowing where I could put in some horsepower saved six, seven minutes,” McConaughey said. “Ian said to set things out, then go over it all in my mind—shoes first, then helmet, then sunglasses. And he said ‘don’t bring choices, either.’ Just bring your one thing you gotta have.”

And of his day? “The swim, I had no idea,” McConaughey said of his first discipline expectations. “I was out of breath in the first 200 meters and had to open my wetsuit to let some water in to cool down. After that, I did the parallel [portion of the swim] real cool, got out of the water—and was like ‘whoa’… a little dizzy.

“My bike, it felt good. It took 30 (minutes) to make the first nine (miles), but I booked it back home, so I felt like I went in under an hour there,” he said. (The actual split was 54:45). “Then on the run, I think I ran a 28 (27:26), so that put me at about seven-minute miles. I felt that was a good pace for those four miles.”

After all the tee totaling of splits—like any good Type-A triathlete — he had the epiphany most any triathlete realizes: the sport is a balanced exerted effort. “Granted, this was my first one, but I think the coolest thing is all three add up to fatigue, but all three use difference muscles. It was a ball.” McConaughey took fifth in the celebrity category, in 1:43:48.

Lopez finished the race in 2:23:38, taking fifth in the women’s celebrity category.

All the pros agreed that the celebrity angle, and the crazy media that comes with this event, only benefits multisport. “I reckon it’s good for the sport,” McCormack said. “ I saw J-Lo and McConaughey and saw these other faces, saw Tiffany Amber Thiessen. The more of this Hollywood set that comes into our sport, the more it boosts the profile of the sport.”

“It’s intimidating standing in transition with those guys that you see in the movies,” Luke McKenzie said.

The event, which doubles as a fundraiser, raised over $125,000 for Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.

Vuelta a España - Contador Takes Control

Alberto Contador put his stamp on the Vuelta a España on Saturday with an impressive attack up the famous Alto de L'Angliru. The Angliru, with its steepest pitch of 23.5%, brought the showdown battle everyone had hoped for. There was no hiding and it was every man for himself.

Contador had set his eyes on the Angliru prize even before the Vuelta. "This was the stage that I had dreamed about the most. I think it is the most mythical mountain in all of the Spanish races."

To conquer the Angliru's torturous grades, Contador (which translates as 'the accountant') meticulously planned his winning ride. "Fortunately I could do the climb in training beforehand, so I knew it fairly well."

No amount of knowledge could make the climb any easier, Contador confessed. "The Angliru is very hard. It is a very impressive climb, with very steep grades." The Spaniard's fluid riding style belied the difficulty of the ascent, and he rode out of the saddle and away from his competitors, making the climb almost look easy.

The throng of fans who came up on foot or on bicycles probably knew the reality. Many had to get off their bicycles at the steeper sections. Even some of the cars by the organisation that were trying to make it up to the finish had a hard time.

"I really have to applaud Leipheimer today. His work was impressive. He is a great professional."

-Alberto Contador acknowledge the sacrifice of his American teammate.

This toughness of the climb and the good weather brought an unprecedented number of people to the mountain, making it resemble a Spanish Alpe d'Huez.

Contador noticed the massive amount of people along the way. "I am very happy with the atmosphere on the climb today. It was very important for cycling, for the Vuelta and above all for Spanish cycling. It was a great spectacle. Cycling isn't dead yet!"

Noting that frequent ascents like this could also hurt him some day, he quickly added that it shouldn't be overdone. "We don't want this kind of climb in every race, but once in a while it is OK, to give fans a spectacle."

Rivals and teammates praised

Cycling is a team sport, and Contador's Astana squad provided him the perfect springboard for victory on stage 13. First it was Andreas Klöden who drove the pace all the way until the final climb. Then Jose Luis 'Chechu' Rubiera took over. Finally, it was Levi Leipheimer who put in an impressive spell at the front, staying with his captain until the final five kilometres.

It was the latter rider that Contador especially singled out. "I really have to applaud Leipheimer today. His work was impressive. He is a great professional."

But Contador also made clear that he didn't expect anything else. "The things were clear. Johan Bruyneel and the rest of the sports management had decided I was going to be the leader." Indeed, Bruyneel confirmed this fact a few days before stage 13 to Cyclingnews. With no more flat time trial to come, Astana did well to put all its money on Contador, even though Leipheimer had shown he could hold his own on an uphill finish.

It will be interesting to see which of the two can do better in the mountain time trial on the next to last day. If the Giro's Plan de Corones madness is anything to go by, Contador should be ahead. Both riders went unprepared into the Giro, not knowing that Astana was eligible to ride until a week before the race.

Besides his teammates, Contador had also kind words for the rider who was deemed to be one of his biggest rivals up to the Angliru, Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi). "That Igor Antón crashed out is a real shame. He is a very young and impressive rider." Antón crashed after the treacherous descent of the Alto de Cordal was already done and over with. The peloton was going through the town of Fresnedo, the location of the last sprint of the day.

Contador couldn't do much but state the obvious. "Unfortunately that is bike racing. You have to pick yourself up and continue." Following his own advice, Contador is now looking ahead and he sees a bright future at the 2008 Vuelta. "It is true I gained a lot of time today, but the race isn't over. I have a lot of respect for my rivals."

But then Contador was informed of the actual time gaps to his rivals: Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) at 3:01, Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) at 4:19 and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) at 4:40. The Astana captain is most closely followed by teammate Leipheimer, who is 67 seconds behind.

Contador rephrased his previous statement slightly. "Yes, the time gaps are pretty big. I think if I don't have a bad day – and I believe I have everything well under control – that I am the best right now. If my body doesn't fail me, things should go smoothly."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rebecca Preston Checks In......Shovelling s#@*!

Well, where do I start? The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of travelling, racing, dnfing :(, and shopping I’m writing this blog from Santa Monica, and in 5 hours I will be leaving for the airport and flying to Jeju!!! I’m so excited!
Anyway, you’re probably all thinking what in the hell is my blog title all about? Well, after yet another disaster for me at Penticton, I was very close to jumping off the edge, and giving the sport away. Luckily for me, my mum had decided to take a holiday, and was with me in Penticton, and was able to provide much needed support and words of wisdom. She reminded me of how much I love the sport, and if I was to give up, I would never be able to achieve what we both know I can.

We also talked alot about my triathlon experiences, and I recollected my first long course triathlon. It was in 2005, and I had been in Europe for 3 weeks, and Doc decided that I should do the Gerardmer Long Course Triathlon (3/120/30). I had never covered anything longer than a half, let alone 30 km of running or 120km of cycling. We drove there, and anyone that has ever spent a little bit of time with the Doc, knows that he pretty much can talk non stop, and finds the right way to motivate someone. Anyway, he reasoned that racing long course triathlon is one of the easiest jobs in the world, and likened it to shovelling shit. He told me if someone told him he could earn a couple of thousand dollars, for shovelling shit for 8 eight hours, he’d respond with, ‘pass the shovel’ (or it could of been, ’stuff the shovel, I’ll use my hands!!!’, I can’t remember, hahahaha). We had already booked flights for Ironman Louisville, so really, I had no choice, but to suck it up, get my arse back on the startline, and shovel shit for 10 hours.

So after two full days of travelling (the drive back to Calgary from Penticton, then the flight to Kentucky), we had reached Louisville. Friday and Saturday were spent doing the usual pre race stuff, but mostly I kept a low profile. I was slightly concerned about the lack of training in my legs during the week, but told myself, ‘oh well, you’ll have plenty of opportunity on sunday for training’.

I won’t really go into much detail about the race. While it wasn’t my best physical performance, it was probably my biggest mental performance in a race, aside from IM Austria 2006, where I had Lori Bowden (probably the best female IM runner in history), chasing me and putting time into me. I swam decent, I rode decent, and ran terribly!!! At the end of the day, I asked myself, could I have went any harder at any point of the day? Maybe, maybe not….I really don’t know. However, I do know that I was so proud to be an Ironman finisher again, and now I can’t wait for Hawaii!!!

So, what have I been up to since last Sunday? I’ve managed to get some training in, and thanks to my homestay here in Santa Monica, Steve, I’ve had a free pass all week at a fancy LA gym. Since my bike was in for a service midweek, I thought why not go to a spin class. All I’m going to say is, a spin class two days post ironman is not a good idea. The instructor had us out of the saddle doing this running like motion with our bums hovering just above the seat for about 80% of the class. Apparently it’s good for toning your butt, but from my experience, it killed my quads.

I’ve also spent a decent amount of time at Wholefoods the past 4 days. I love that place, and would eat every meal there if I had the choice. Now, I have to go and pack, because I’m leaving in 4 and 1/2 hrs.

Vuelta a España - Stage 12 Bettini charges to victory

Paolo Bettini of Team Quick Step charged out of the leading group on the difficult curving uphill finish in Suances to take the win one second ahead of Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Lampre's Damiano Cunego. The loser of this rainy day was Alejandro Valverde, who fell back on a climb with some 50 km to go, and despite his team's best efforts, ended up losing over three minutes on the day, falling from fourth to 11th place and knocking him out of contention for the overall win.


1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre
4 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana
6 Egoi Martínez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
8 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Saxo Bank
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
10 Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rock Racing Weathers Crashes At Tour Of Britain

Burnham-on-Sea, England — For all but a handful of riders, the third stage of the Tour of Britain was certainly one to forget – Rock Racing included.

The team’s troubles on Tuesday included an early race crash in the rain that took down Tyler Hamilton and Oscar Sevilla, a number of bike changes for Hamilton as he chased back, and the retirement from the race by U.S. criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati.

By day’s end, all but 23 of the 91 riders found themselves out of contention for the overall as the peloton finished more than 13 minutes Frenchman Emilien Berges (Agritubel), who soloed to victory to win the 115-mile (185.7 km) race.

Hamilton chalked up the misfortune to bad luck. A deep gash on his left arm required three stitches while Sevilla also had to be attended to by race medics for severe road rash on his right hip.

“A week or so ago, I was winning the U.S. road race and things couldn’t have been going better,” Hamilton said. “Today, I had to ride a neutral bike for a time that was too big and then the next bike had its chain snap on a climb. That’s bike racing. Your luck can change just like that.”

Sevilla, Hamilton and Rock Racing’s other three riders finished 13:02 in arrears on the longest stage of the eight-day race. In the overall classification, Sevilla is now the team’s best-placed rider in 32nd, 13:09 behind.

Bahati was one of three riders who did not finish Tuesday’s stage. However, he will remain with the team through the remainder of the race and be a part of Monday afternoon’s special appearance and autograph signing at Harrods in London.

Vuelta a España - Stage 11

Spain's Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel (R) speaks with compatriot Alberto Contador of Astana Team before the eleventh stage of the Tour of Spain Between Calahorra and Burgos on September 10, 2008. Spain's Oscar Freire of Rabobank Team won the stage.

Contador: ‘Armstrong welcome’

The possible arrival of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to Astana could complicate Alberto Contador’s plans to win his second Tour crown.

If the 2007 Tour champion is quietly cursing Armstrong’s imminent comeback, however, he certainly isn’t giving anything away publicly.

The Spanish climber said Wednesday that Armstrong would be welcomed with open arms if the Texan rejoins his former sport director Johan Bruyneel at Astana.

“If he returns and decides to come Astana, I would be the first to welcome him,” Contador said. “I’ve always admired him and I’d love to race with him. If he comes back, surely it will be at a high level.”

Since his breakout win in the 2007 Tour and his confirming victory in the 2008 Giro d’Italia, Contador has been hailed as cycling’s newest star.

But Armstrong’s return could overshadow Contador’s rising prominence both on and off the bike.

Just the announcement of Armstrong’s return has already eclipsed the Vuelta a España and pushed the race off the front pages.

“Right now I am here to try to win the Vuelta and that’s what I am going to focus on,” said Contador, who is third overall at the Vuelta. “We’ll have more time to reflect on everything once we have time to study all the facts in detail.”

Armstrong confirmed his return to cycling, but Bruyneel revealed that Armstrong’s move to Astana is not yet formalized.

Armstrong - who said he’ll be racing without a salary - could join any team he’d like, but it’s hard to imagine the Texan not racing on a team run by Bruyneel.

There are even whispers that the Texan could create some sort of special team built entirely around his comeback effort that doesn’t involve any existing professional team, a scenario Bruyneel called unlikely.

“Nothing is decided yet, but to make a (new) team is something different. All the good riders are already taken by other teams and it takes a lot to build a team to fight in the Tour,” Bruyneel said. “I cannot imagine him riding for another other two, like a CSC or Rabobank, just to say two.”

Before the stunning news of Armstrong’s return, Contador was quietly consolidating his role as the team leader at Astana.

Contador – whose contract with Astana runs through 2010 -- is making the most of the 2008 season despite Astana’s controversial exclusion from this year’s Tour, with victories in the Vuelta al Castilla y León, Vuelta al País Vasco and the Giro.

At the Vuelta, the team is completely backing Contador with a stellar lineup that also includes Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer, evidence of his rising importance within the team.

If Armstrong does rejoin his longtime director Bruyneel at Astana, his larger-than-life presence will certainly reshuffle the existing power structure within the team.

Along with Contador, there are Leipheimer and Klöden, two riders who’ve also finished on the Tour podium and who still harbor their own personal ambitions.

Contador seemed peeved Wednesday when journalists kept asking him if Armstrong’s arrival to Astana would undermine his role as team leader.

“We could be good teammates, but if I go to the Tour next year, it’s to win,” Contador said. “What problem would we have?”

Bruyneel said if Armstrong did come back to Astana, he would have to prove his worth within the team.

“I think Alberto is the best rider in the world right now,” he said. “Lance was the best rider in the world, but after being away from the sport for three years, he has to demonstrate again whether or not he can return to the highest level. The road will decide everything.”

A Tour showdown between Contador and Armstrong would be one hell of a race. Whether or not they’ll be on the same team remains to be seen.

Armstrong Astana bound?

Lance Armstrong is close to sealing his return to cycling with Johan Bruyneel's Team Astana. Bruyneel and Armstrong's relationship dates back to the 36 year-old's cancer comeback, before the two went on to win seven editions of the Tour de France.

"I spoke to Lance yesterday evening, and he confirmed that he wanted to make a comeback into professional cycling. I said to him, 'there are a lot of things we have to talk about. If you are a professional cyclist I can't imagine you would make a comeback with any other team.' ... I don't know if Lance can come back at the highest level. He has been training and keeping in shape, it is different than riding at the highest professional level," said Bruyneel Tuesday morning.

He noted yesterday that he believed Armstrong would race with his team. He added today, "I will talk to the sponsor today or tomorrow." The Belgian took over management and reorganised the team after its doping-related problems in the 2007 Tour with Alexander Vinokourov.

Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Tour, stated it was this 2007 link that led to the 2008 non-invite. The Luxembourg-registered team instead dominated the Giro d'Italia in May with Contador and looks in good position to do the same in the Vuelta a España, which concludes on September 21.

With an already impressive line-up of Contador, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden, could it be the case of too many cooks in the kitchen? Contador was quick to dispel any such idea. "I was surprised by the news. I don't know that Lance will be back at the highest level. But I think it is good news for the sport. It will bring some fans to the sport. ... Will I have problems being his team-mate? No, what problems... If he returns I will open the door," he said.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rock Racing's Oscar Sevilla

Spaniard Oscar Sevilla is 10th, seven seconds off the lead, and American Fred Rodriguez is 12th, eight seconds behind. In all, 84 riders – including five of six from Rock Racing – are within 10 seconds of overall leader Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes).

The flurry of action on Stage 2 happened within the last six miles of the 90-mile (145 km) race from Milton Keynes to Newbury. Sevilla was the unfortunate victim of the majority of unluckiness. The Spaniard first suffered a flat tire on the final categorized climb of the day, but quickly received help from teammate Victor Hugo Peña, who gave up his bicycle.

But after chasing back and shepherding teammate Rahsaan Bahati into position for the final sprint, Sevilla punctured again as a massive pile-up occurred inside the final two miles, splitting the field.

“Everything was fine the entire race until we got to the last couple miles,” Sevilla said. “Then it all fell apart.”

Because Sevilla’s mishap occurred in the last 1.8 miles (3 km), officials credited him – and the majority of the peloton who were stopped as a result of a rider hitting a median – with the same time as the group they were riding in when the crash occurred.

Up ahead, Matthew Goss (CSC-Saxon Bank) won the stage over a pair of Team Garmin-Chipotle presented by H30 riders: New Zealand national champion Julian Dean and Australian Chris Sutton. Rodriguez was the only Rock Racing rider to make the 20-strong lead group that finished about 15 seconds ahead of the pack (that was later given the same finishing time).

Earlier in the race, Sevilla showed his strength as part of a five-man break that escaped on the first King of the Mountain climb. He won the sprint to take maximum mountain points before his group was caught.

Peña’s unselfish act to help Sevilla ended up costing him valuable spots in the overall classification. After getting a new bicycle, the Colombian was inadvertently led off course and eventually came in more than 13 minutes after the leaders. But by finishing within the time cut, he will start Tuesday’s third stage of the eight-day race.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vuelta a España - Stage 9

Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet of the Silence team sprays cava on the podium on September 8, 2008 after winning the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain, in Sabinanigo, northern Spain. Spaniard Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel took the overall lead after Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet of the Silence team won the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain on Monday, a 200.8km ride between Viella and Sabinanigo.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bahati's Top 10 Finish Leads Rock Racing In London

Competing for the first time as a professional in Europe, the reigning U.S. criterium champion said he was on the wheel of stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Ballan) in the closing moments of the 53.5-mile (86 km) race that was run through the streets of London.

“Like a lot of guys – probably about 20 – I was trying to stay on Petacchi’s wheel,” Bahati said. “They don’t know me over here so it was a real battle to maintain my position. The biggest difference between racing here and in the U.S. is that there are so many more guys who can come around you at 60 kilometers an hour (37 mph) in a short span.”

Rob Hayles (Great Britain) was second and Magnus Backstedt (Team Garmin-Chipotle presented by H30) rounded out the podium in a race that averaged 28 mph. Petacchi earned the race leader’s yellow jersey in his first race back after serving a one-year ban for a positive test for an excessive amount of a prescribed asthma medication.

Bahati made up four places in the final 20 meters to post the best placing of Rock Racing’s six riders in the opening stage of the eight-day race. Teammate Tyler Hamilton raced for the first time as the U.S. national road champion and successfully chased back after a flat tire in the final eight minutes. He and the rest of Rock Racing’s riders all finished in the same time as the winner.

Sunday’s stage was run on a five-mile (8 km) course that passed by picturesque landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, traveled up and over Tower Hill and back parallel to the River Thames.

At one point, eight riders escaped the 96-strong field and gained a nearly minute’s lead. But after an hour out front, a pursuit led by Rock Racing, CSC and Garmin-Chipotle reeled them in – but not before 2007 Giro d’Italia winner Danilo Di Luca soloed away from the breakaway just as it was being caught. He was swept up on the last lap.

Monday’s race is 90 miles (145.5 km) and includes three categorized climbs and three bonus sprints between Milton Keynes and Newbury.