During the height of his career Lance Armstrong was famous for taking every possible step to perfect his aerodynamic position on the bike because, during the Tour de France, "every second counts". Since his return to the sport, he has yet to dominate in the race against the clock. Insider sources have revealed to Cyclingnews that the American recently underwent a radical, secret surgery to alter his physique to help cheat the wind.
Following his crash in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, where Armstrong fractured his right collarbone, he flew back to his Austin, Texas home. Once back in Texas he had surgery - supposedly to repair the clavicle which, doctors insisted, was broken into four pieces.
Sources within the Armstrong camp explained that initial reports that the break was a single, clean fracture were true. But the seven-time Tour winner had been told he could shave seconds per kilometre off of his time trials if only his shoulders weren't so broad. The American decided that, since he faced several weeks of recovery from the broken bone anyhow, he might as well go through with a plan which would shorten both clavicles and narrow the width of his upper body.
Doctors cut out a section of the right clavicle before putting the bone back together with a plate and screws, then moved over to the previously intact left collarbone to duplicate the procedure. The surgery marks the first time an athlete has undergone such a radical surgery to gain a performance boost.
The extreme measure was taken with a view toward the Giro d'Italia's stage 12 time trial from Sestri Levante to Riomaggiore which, at 61.2km, is the longest individual test of Armstrong's career and could well be the decisive stage of the tour.
"We did everything we could in the wind tunnel to shave fractions of seconds off of Lance's times - Trek invented new technology to cheat the wind on the bike, Nike used space-age technology to create the world's most aerodynamic skinsuit... but there was no getting around the fact that Lance's frontal area was just bigger than other riders," a spokesman said.
"The surgeons took two centimeters off of both collarbones and then screwed the bones back together," he added. "With the titanium plates holding the bones in place, Lance is already cleared to get back on the trainer. He was so eager to find out how much more aerodynamic he is that we flew straight away to San Diego to do some tests in the wind tunnel. And boy, oh boy, all I can say is watch out!"
These are my personal. I'm going to hit one or both of my bosses at work tomorrow by a) covering everything on their desk(s) in tinfoil and/or b) smearing peanut butter under the door handles to their car(s). Fairly harmless, but it'll be fun.
This might be a true story but its almost to good and to funny to not be a April Fools joke.
All the rednecks having to watch Hyundai and Toyota in NASCAR?
Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out Of NASCAR - Car News
With their racing budgets deemed unnecessary expenditures, GM and Chrysler are ordered to cease racing operations at the end of the season.
BY JARED GALL, ILLUSTRATION BY ERIC WOODWARD
In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government. Companies around the globeHonda and Audi, to name twohave drawn down racing operations, and NASCAR itself has already felt the pinch in the form of reduced team spending. A complete withdrawal from Americas premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere.
Automakers used to operate on the principle of win on Sunday, sell on Monday, but the Auto Task Forces research just doesnt validate that as true, said the statement from President Obama. While fans have decried the Car of Tomorrow for heavily limiting what little personalization the cookie-cutter series had previously allowed to participating manufacturers, and drivers have slammed its brick-like aerodynamics and unpredictable handling, even the governmental oversight committee sees that the full-scale regulation of the cars leaves the manufacturers very little space for research and development. NASCAR is a racing series that regulates down to the smallest detail of the cars, where a car badged a Chevrolet or Dodge differs only marginally from a Ford or a Toyota. Theres no technological development to speak of.
The statement goes on further to say the same demand will be made of Ford if it asks for government assistance. In order to receive this money, corporations must demonstrate they will spend it wisely. Racing has been said to improve on-road technology, but frankly, NASCAR almost flaunts its standing among the lowest-tech forms of motorsport. NASCAR is not proven to drive advancements that transfer from the racetrack to the road, and this nations way forward does not hinge on decades-old technology. We need new, and we need innovation.
The President realizes this will be an unpopular call, but stands behind the decision, saying, This is an obvious cut to make, but it is not an easy one. This administration is not ignoring the tremendous sentimental value and emotional appeal NASCAR holds for so many Americans. But now is not the time for sentiment and nostalgia; now is a time for decisive financial action. If our automotive industry is to emerge from this recession intact, then these difficult decisions must be made.
Both Chevrolet and Dodge see the move as only temporary, and fully expect to resume racing in NASCAR as soon as they have stabilized and the governments hand in their operations is minimized. There is nothing really to say at this point, said one representative, who wished to remain anonymous. Weve been doing this since the beginning, and we always assumed wed be doing this until the end. Heck, nobody ever thought to think that there would be an end. But we aint done. As soon as this is over, were taking back our spot at the top.
NASCAR officials remain tight-lipped about the call, but sources say series president Mike Helton and team managers are exploring several options, including other manufacturers to fill Chevrolet and Dodges vacated positions. Given the companys recent interest in motorsport and the steady cash-flow and V-8 engine provided by its new Genesis sedan, sources indicate that NASCAR is pinging Hyundai to gauge the Korean companys interest in occupying a spot in NASCAR. Toyota was not well-received their first year in the sport, nor was their first season an easy one, the source says. But they learned, they applied the lessons, and they have proven very competitive this year.
If Hyundai does indeed join the series, there will no doubt be a steep learning curve, and the move would leave Ford the lone domestic battling a pair of Asian makes in Americas most popular racing series. We wonder, however, how long NASCAR could hold that title without two of its most storied participants.
I'm going to put peanut butter on my co-workers desks and smear tin foil under everyone's door handles!
If I wasn't off tomorrow, I actually was going to draw on some fake bushy eyebrows, huge nose, big black glasses and mustache like Groucho Marx onto my picture on my secured area I.D. badge and see how many people noticed before my boss told me to take it off or I'll get fired.
Here is a new "Lumberjack Slam" handlebar...it's 9" X 32" and the same weight as a normal Slam XLT thanks to our new "Honeycomb" crossbar design. We are also working a a whole frame with this new 4Q Baked tube set. Stay tuned...we'll have it at Interbike.
Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 United States visit to Richmond, Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia. In return, the Queen gave the President a silver framed signed photograph of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh - apparently a standard present for visiting dignitaries.
It is believed the Queen already has an iPod, a 6GB silver Mini version she is said to have bought in 2005 at the suggestion of Prince Andrew.
UPDATE: Pool reporter Richard Wolf of USA Today says that an Obama aide told him the President also gave the Queen a "rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers". END UPDATE
Earlier, Mr Obama had spoken of his admiration for Her Majesty but indicated that his wife was handling the details of their royal meeting. "There's one last thing that I should mention that I love about Great Britain, and that is the Queen," he said at the end of his joint press conference with Gordon Brown.
"And so I'm very much looking forward to meeting her for the first time later this evening. And as you might imagine, Michelle has been really thinking that through -- because I think in the imagination of people throughout America, I think what the Queen stands for and her decency and her civility, what she represents, that's very important."
Mr Brown added: "Well, I know the Queen is looking forward to welcoming you and she's very much looking forward to her discussion with you."
There was widespread criticism in Britain and from Anglophiles in the US of Mr Obama's recent present to Mr Brown of a box set of classic American movies on DVDs that were not compatible with British DVD players