why is everyone picking on Lance … aka more dirty tales emerge

Retired professional cyclist Roberto Gaggioli has claimed that Lance Armstrong paid him $100,000 for agreeing to throw a race in Philadelphia in 1993 – the money, in dollar bills, contained in the packaging of a cake traditionally eaten by Italians at Christmas.

In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L)  Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) - 1 week after Armstrong won world title in Oslo.
In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L) Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) – 1 week after Armstrong
won world title in Oslo.

Gaggioli, now aged 51, told Milan-based newspaper La Corriere della Sera that he was resting in a hotel room in Bergamo, northern Italy, in October 1993 when there was a knock at the door.

“It was a young American fellow rider,” he said. “He gave me a panettone in a gift box wishing me ‘Merry Christmas’ and went on his way. In the box there was $100,000 in small denomination bills. That fellow rider was Lance Armstrong.”

Shortly beforehand, Armstrong, then aged 22, had been crowned world champion in Oslo, but the money Gaggioli claims he paid him related to a race that had taken place across the Atlantic four months earlier.

Pharmacy chain Thrift Drug had put up a prize of $1 million, insured at Lloyd’s of London, for any rider managing to win a trio of races in the United States that year under the name of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling.

All three races took place in the space of three weeks and Armstrong won the first two the the Thrift Drug Classic one-day race in Pittsburgh, and the K-Mart West Virginia Classic stage race.

He headed to the third and final event in Philadelphia, which also doubled as the US national championship, intent on winning that seven-figure purse.

But Gaggioli, an Italian who had emigrated to the United States, was the red-hot favourite for a race that he had previously won in 1988.

“So much time has passed, now I can talk about it,” Gaggioni told the Corriere della Sera. “Lance came up to me before the start. He told me that my team, Coors Light, had agreed and spoke to me about my compensation – $100,000. I understood that everything had already been decided.

“Two laps from the end, I got into the decisive break with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italians from the Mercatone team. On a signal from Lance I turned and pretended not to see him attack. He won by a distance.

Asked why the other Italian riders hadn’t reacted, Gaggioli said: “They had very good reasons not to.”

The Corriere della Sera asked the four Mercatone Uno riders about their recollections of the race.

One, Simone Biasci, said that once the break had formed, Armstrong struck a deal with another Mercatone Uno rider, Angelo Canzonieri. “It went well,” he said. “We earned more in one day than our team mates did in three weeks at the Giro d’Italia.”

Another, Roberto Pelliconi, remembered: “Canzonieri and Lance agreed for ‘fifty’; Angelo was thinking in dollars, Lance in lire. At the Giro di Lombardia, he delivered 50 million lire to us, saving 40 per cent thanks to the favourable exchange rate.”

Canzonieri, however, has no recollection of the episode. He told the newspaper: “Leave Armstrong alone, he’s paid enough. I don’t remember anything.”

Gaggioli and the Mercatone Uno team weren’t the only ones allegedly paid off by Armstrong that year – New Zealand ex-pro Stephen Swart says his team was paid $50,000 to ease off in the stage race in West Virginia – but there would be a sting in the tail for the American.

The prize was only $1 million dollars if anyone winning it agreed to accept the money in 20 annual instalments of $50,000; choosing to take cash, it reduced to $600,000, which would also be subject to 20 per cent tax.

With the alleged backhanders to be paid and money also to be given to his Motorola team mates and staff, the Corriere della Sera says that Armstrong would have been left with just a “pugno di dollari” – the name in Italian of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.

Last year, Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of all results dating back to his return from battling cancer in 1998 – so while that prize money may be long gone, he does get to keep his victories in that trio of races.


PWA Aloha Classic

Watching this makes me miss windsurfing (a bit)

Siver snatches the victory from under the nose of Seadi after an epic day in Ho’okipa

The wind and wave Gods were shining over Ho’okipa Beach Park on the fifth day of the JP Aloha Classic – presented by Nalu Kai – as the PWA single elimination was completed in epic conditions. Just as the forecast predicted the wind and waves built throughout the day, and by the time the competition was reaching its climax the swell was pumping with over mast high sets rolling into Ho’okipa, providing a pulsating finale to a enthralling day. Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) sailed superbly and he was rewarded with victory at the end of the single elimination. Will the American be able to hold onto his single elimination JP Aloha Classic crown?

The final was run as a four-man battle over the duration of 22 minutes to give Kauli Seadi, Morgan Noireaux, Bernd Roediger and Levi Siver the maximum chance to really exercise their prowess.

The American delivered one of his stunning trademark aerials and a couple of turns, which sent the spray flying by the bucket load.

Roediger and Noireaux were also going for broke, as they attempted air takas and frontside wave 360s respectively, but ultimately it was Siver who stepped up to the plate.

On his final wave of the heat, Siver lined up the critical section to launch into a frontside 360, which he claimed, before delivering another gouging turn.

With no time remaining Seadi tacked onto the final wave of the heat and rotated through a perfectly executed goiter, but it wasn’t a counting wave for him, which left for a nail biting finale.

The result proved to be almost inseparable with just 0.02 of a point in it, much to the delight of Siver it was soon revealed that he had clinched the single elimination victory.

“I just told myself that I want to enjoy it. At the end of the day we’re all friends who love this sport and I think we should keep that spirit of Aloha, and just keep encouraging each other”, said Siver.

JP Aloha Classic | Single Elimination:

1. Levi Siver (Quatro/Goya Windsurfing/MFC)
2. Kauli Seadi (JP/Hot Sails Maui)
3. Bernd Roediger (Quatro/Goya Windsurfing/MFC)
4. Morgan Noireaux (JP/Hot Sails Maui/Maui Ultra Fins)
5. Matt Pritchard (Tabou/Gaastra)
5. Josh Angulo (Angulo/Gun Sails)
7. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Ezzy/MFC)
7. Graham Ezzy (Quatro/Ezzy)

Oi Fatty …. yes you

from huffington post

This is the average American male in his 30s.

usa bodyHe doesn’t look too bad, right? Well, here’s how he stacks up against his international peers from Japan, the Netherlands, and France.

country measurements

America’s expanding waistline may not be new news, but throwing the average American male’s body into a line-up spotlights America’s obesity epidemic, which is exactly what Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm did when he created these visualizations (which obviously deal only with body size and not ethnicity or skin color).

“I wanted to put a mirror in front of us,” Lamm told The Huffington Post in an email. “Americans like to pride ourselves on being the best country in the world. However, it’s clear that other countries have lifestyles and healthcare better than our own.”

Here’s a look from the front.

country measurements

And a side angle — Oof, not the most flattering comparison for the American. He’s second on the left.

country measurements

Lamm constructed the 3D models based on body measurements collected from thousands of men by universities and government agencies — including the CDC, the Netherlands’ RIVM, and France’s ENNS. The average American male has a body mass index (BMI) of 29 — significantly higher than Japanese men (who have a BMI of 23), men in the Netherlands (who have a 25.2 BMI), and French men (who have a 25.55 BMI.)

Lamm said he used BMI charts and photos for visual reference, and ran the models by Dr. Matthew Reed, an expert on body shape measurement, for accuracy.

“I chose the Netherlands because they are the tallest country and are clearly doing something right there,” Lamm said. He chose Japan because it is well-known for its longevity, and France because, he said, “a lot of Americans like to compare themselves to that country.”

So what are the Dutch and Japanese doing right?

Experts suggest it has to do with a complex combination of genetic, environmental and social factors. A good healthcare system, better nutrition, and more active lifestyles have been cited as reasons for the towering Dutchmen and long-lived Japanese.


Early trends in yacht design

interesting article from SAILfeed

Early yacht race

We’ll recall that the advent in the early 19th century of what might be called the first purpose-built cruising boat,Cleopatra’s Barge, was nurtured by the vast personal wealth of one individual, George Crowninshield. And as the 19th century progressed, yachting, not surprisingly, continued to be the domain of the wealthy. The vessels and the egos behind them only grew larger and more extravagant.

Yachting was very much about social status, and this led to the formation of exclusive clubs. The two most prominent were the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS), formed in England in 1815, and the New York Yacht Club(NYYC), founded in 1844. Neither, however, was the first of its kind in its respective continent. The Water Club, formed in Cork, Ireland, circa 1720, is believed to have been the first yacht club in Europe, while the Boston Boat Club, circa 1830, was the first in North America. The activities of these clubs centered on racing and wagering, and the racing could be quite vicious. Competitors in early RYS events, for example, would effectively wage combat against each other, wielding weapons of various sorts in efforts to cut away their opponents’ rigs. Like their Dutch predecessors, RYS members also staged mock naval reviews in which large groups of yachts sailed in formation.

Cruising, it should be noted, was not unheard of. Members of the RYS often cruised in company across the English Channel on wine-buying expeditions along the French coast. Likewise, the first thing members of the NYYC did upon forming their club was to cruise in company up Long Island Sound to Newport, Rhode Island, staging various “trials of speed” along the way. To this day the NYYC Annual Cruise with its competitive squadron runs is religiously observed.

Over time, yacht racing became more formal and less violent, though the wagering continued unabated. The designing of yachts also became a specialized practice. Originally, as was the case with Cleopatra’s Barge, a gentleman’s “yacht” was essentially a working vessel dressed in finery. Its construction might be specially commissioned and executed, but its design was based on common working craft. Over time, however, yachts became unique vessels in every respect. Eventually it became possible for men to earn a living by specializing in the creation of these pleasure craft.

Cutters Versus Sloops

As the design of yachts evolved, two fundamental paradigms asserted themselves. In Great Britain, where racing handicaps were based on government tonnage rules for taxing commercial vessels that penalized beam, yachts tended to be narrow and deep. These so-called “cutters”–the term in those days referred to a vessel’s hull form rather than its rig–depended for their stability on a great deal of ballast fixed as low in the keel as possible. In the United States, meanwhile, where beam was not penalized and there was a considerable amount of shoal water along the coast, yachts tended to be wide and shallow. Vessels like this, described as “sloops” (again, the reference is to the hull, not the rig) and sometimes as “skimming dishes,” depended on their wide hulls for stability (though some ballast was carried loose in their bilges) and on centerboards to minimize leeway. The centerboard, an American innovation first patented in New Jersey in 1811, was directly descended from the leeboards used by the Dutch aboard their wide, shallow jaghts.

Radical British cutter

A radical example of a British cutter with a deep keel and a very narrow hull

Lines of Gracie

American centerboard sloops like Gracie, shown here, were quite wide and shallow

Inevitably, these divergent design paradigms were forced to converge. The first equalizing event came in 1851, when the famous yacht America, owned by John Cox Stevens, a founding member of the NYYC, crossed the Atlantic and trounced a fleet of British yachts in a race around the Isle of Wight. America‘s hull was not radically shallow, nor did she carry a centerboard, as she had been designed expressly to cross the Atlantic and was based more on New York pilot schooners than on cutting-edge racing yachts. But she was wider than the British yachts she competed against and, more importantly, carried much of her beam aft and had a hollow bow with a fine entry forward. This was the exact opposite of the crude “cod’s head and mackerel’s tail” shape (a wide entry forward with a narrow run aft) that still prevailed in Britain.

As a result of America‘s success, though British yachts did not immediately become significantly wider overall, their proportions started shifting. Bows became more hollow and concave, and the point of maximum beam moved farther aft. This was exactly in keeping with the first scientific theory of naval architecture–called the Wave Line Theory–which had been developed and promulgated by a Scotsman, John Scott Russell, nearly a quarter of a century earlier, but had until then been ignored in Britain.

Yacht America

Besides winning her famous cup for the New York Yacht Club, the yacht America was an early example of a “scientifically” designed sailboat

Lines of America

Lines of America

The next significant equalizing event came in 1876, when the American centerboard schooner Mohawk capsized and sank in a sudden but relatively moderate squall off Staten Island in New York Harbor. The boat’s owner, Will Garner, his wife, and a party of guests were killed in the incident.

Mohawk, an extreme example of the skimming-dish type, was intended by Garner to be the largest, fastest, most opulent yacht in the NYYC fleet. She was 141 feet long, 30 feet wide, and had a draft of just 6 feet that increased to 30 feet when she dropped her massive 7-ton centerboard. She flew an amazing 32,000 square feet of sail area. The fact that she could not stand up to all her sail in spite of her great beam helped fuel arguments that the wide, shallow yachts favored in the United States were fundamentally unsafe. It did not help either, of course, thatMohawk was slower than Garner had hoped and proved a dud on the race course.

Schooner Mohawk

Schooner Mohawk under sail. She proved both slow and unstable

A narrow British cutter named Madge crossed the Atlantic and raced successfully against several U.S. yachts in 1881, and then another large centerboard schooner, Grayling, capsized on her maiden sail in 1883. As a result a vociferous group of “cutter cranks,” who called the skimming dishes “death traps” and favored British designs instead, became prominent in American yachting circles. This led to the development of “compromise” designs pioneered by Edward Burgess of Boston, Massachusetts, an entomologist turned yacht designer who was heavily influenced by British cutters he had observed during a summer spent on the Isle of Wight.

These compromise boats, like the British cutters, had heavy ballast keels, but they were not nearly as narrow or deep relative to their length. Also, like the American boats, they carried centerboards. The litmus test came in 1885, when the Burgess-designed Puritan defeated an American skimming dish, Priscilla, for the right to defend the America’s Cup, then beat a British cutter, Genesta, in the Cup finals.

Lines of Puritan

Lines of Puritan. A successful compromise design that bridged the gap between narrow British cutters and wide American sloops

Racing Rule Development

The final factor that helped to unite the opposing camps of yacht design was the development of empirically based handicap rules for racing. As noted, handicaps originally were based on commercial measurements devised for tax purposes. Over time, however, it became clear that these formulas had little to do with a vessel’s actual performance.

Performance, it was noticed, depended most directly on waterline length–i.e., more waterline equals more speed. In 1883, the first handicap rule based on measurements of waterline length and sail area, the Seawanhaka Rule, developed by New York’s Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, was adopted in the United States. Soon afterward, in 1888, a similar rule came into use in Great Britain. The result, ultimately, was a universal trend favoring boats with overhanging ends whose waterlines increased as they heeled to the wind.

One of the most important yachts to exploit this little rule-beating trick was Gloriana, a 70-foot sloop designed and built by Nathanael Herreshoff for E.D. Morgan in 1891. Gloriana, thanks at least in part to her overhanging spoon-shaped bow, was undefeated the one season Morgan raced her and instantly secured Herreshoff’s reputation as a yacht designer. Described by some as the first “scientifically contructed” yacht, she was also very stable and could carry a great press of sail, as weight above her waterline was greatly reduced and was instead concentrated as ballast in her keel.

Yacht Gloriana

E.D. Morgan’s Gloriana under sail. She was undefeated the one season he raced her

Lines of Gloriana

Lines of Gloriana

In the decade that followed, the continued development of these features, plus a tendency to cut away as much keel as possible to reduce surface area below the water, produced increasingly radical boats. This evolution culminated in a 1901 Bowdoin Crowninshield design, Independence, that was lightly built with immensely long overhangs, a tiny keel, and a gigantic sailplan. Independence leaked badly, however, and handled, as her skipper put it, like “an ice wagon.” Nat Herreshoff managed to perfect the concept in his equally radical Reliance, which defended the America’s Cup in 1903. Termed a “monster” by many at the time, Reliance measured 144 feet long on deck (and a little over 200 feet overall if you measured from the end of her boom to her bowsprit), and had a waterline length of just 90 feet, with over 16,000 square feet of sail area flying from a single mast that was 200 feet tall.

Lines of Independence

Lines of Independence

Reliance under sail

Reliance running off with maximum sail set

Profligacy in the Gilded Age

In all ways, the general trend in yacht construction in the latter half of the 19th century was increasingly grandiose. This was particularly true in the United States, where the enormous expansion of the national economy in the years following the Civil War—the Gilded Age, as Mark Twain termed it—allowed for the accumulation of private wealth on a scale never before imagined. Picking up where George Crowninshield had left off with Cleopatra’s Barge, the American “robber barons” competed with each other in creating ever more extravagant vessels.

Originally, these 19th century super-yachts could function both as cruising and racing vessels. Will Garner’sMohawk, for example, though intended to excel on the race course, also featured fabulous creature comforts, including gas lighting, hot and cold freshwater plumbing, and a steam-heat system, not to mention a grand piano and other lavish, heavy furnishings. Even America’s Cup contenders were tricked out in this manner and were often cruised between campaigns. By the end of the century, however, the superwealthy tended not to cruise in the sailing vessels they raced, as these were becoming ever more extreme. Instead, they cruised for pleasure aboard enormous steam yachts that were even larger than their sailboats.

The trend toward profligacy, and toward steam, was reflected in the changing composition of the NYYC’s squadron of members’ vessels. In 1870 the squadron consisted of only 49 vessels, four of which were steam yachts. The largest vessel was a 145-foot schooner displacing 275 tons, owned by William Douglas. Within just 30 years, the squadron mushroomed to 402 vessels, 207 of which were steam yachts. The queen of the fleet was Lysistrata, a 314-foot steamer displacing 2,682 tons that belonged to newspaper magnate James Gordon Bennett.

The nearly tenfold increase in the size of the squadron was not really a function of yachting’s growing popularity as a sport. Instead it reflected yachting’s growing importance as a venue for public displays of status and wealth–a fact, of course, that was also reflected in the growing size of the yachts themselves. Many of the “yachtsmen” who owned these vessels, unlike George Crowninshield, who made his fortune at sea aboard trading vessels, had little interest in nautical matters. Even those who owned and campaigned racing yachts were often happy just to write checks (and make wagers) and never sailed their boats themselves.

As for cruising, the tycoons of the late 19th century did indeed wander far and wide in their floating palaces. One of these was an Englishman, Sir Thomas Brassey, who circled the globe in 1876-77 in his 170-foot steam auxiliary schooner Sunbeam. His wife, Lady Anna Brassey, published an account of the voyage (it was, in fact, the first circumnavigation ever made by a yacht) that became a bestseller both in Britain and the United States.

Yacht Corsair

J.P. Morgan’s Corsair. By the end of the century rich yachtsmen most often cruised in large steam vessels and only raced under sail

The Brasseys were followed by many others, particularly Americans who, like Crowninshield before them, yearned to cruise the Mediterranean, where they could purchase art and perhaps hobnob with European royalty. J.P. Morgan, for example, bought his first yacht—Corsair, a 185-foot steamer—in 1881 and at once took off on an art-buying cruise to Palestine. His third Corsair, built in 1899, which he often cruised to Europe, was 304 feet long. James Gordon Bennett, meanwhile, spent almost 20 years living aboard his steam yachts, meandering ceaselessly back and forth across the North Atlantic. Lysistrata, his last and largest vessel, had more than 100 paid crew, a stable for a milking cow, and three separate owner’s staterooms.

Needless to say, cruising on this scale never trickled down to the lower strata of society. But upper-middle-class and middle-class sailors were finding ways to get afloat, and in the end the cruises they undertook turned out to be much more influential.

The America’s Cup is getting exciting (who thought I would ever say that)

Dean Barker

OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this madness hasn’t ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and “only” needs four more.

This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn’t been looking too happy at press conferences lately.

Here’s the video (HIGHLIGHT) for yesterday, in case you haven’t stumbled across it elsewhere:

Both wins were wire-to-wire, but the Kiwis got very close for a while in the first race. Oracle has firmly established that they can foil like bandits upwind when conditions permit and their tactics and crew work continue to improve overall. If day one of the series were today and I were making bets, I’d have to pick them.

Which reminds me… if Oracle repeats with a double win today, that jury decision docking them two races at the start becomes determinative.

That would truly suck.


Americas Cup History on this day

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1895, Race 3, Valkyrie III (GBR) vs. Defender (USA): Lord Dunraven’s Valkyrie IIIdeclines to race the third race of the match and is labeled a “quitter” by the American Press. Valkyrie III crossed the start line, struck her racing colors and sailed for New York Harbor while Defender sailed the course to win the race and the match. Dunraven cited interference by spectator craft and dissatisfaction with the manner in which the New York Yacht Club was conducting the match for not continuing. It later emerged that Dunraven and his afterguard believed Defenderwas illegally ballasted. The NYYC held a hearing in December that year attended by Dunraven and his English Counsel, which exonerated Defender. One of the last surviving crew of Defender later disclosed in a recorded interview in 1974 that Defender had pumped in and out illegal water ballast. (Mark J. Gabrielson, “Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews,” History Press, Charleston, 2013, p109.)

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State Bicycle Co VIDEO

The State Bicycle Co. – Undefeated is a 7005 Aluminum Track Bike with Full Carbon Fiber Fork and intergrated FSA Headset. This race ready machine feature SRAM Omnium Cranks standard. We’ve partnered with Ritchey Components on the cockpit and seat post.

See it for yourself here: statebicycle.com

Rider: Bryan “B-Hard” Harding

Shot and Edited in Chicago by Dylan Opet

Music: Nosaj Thing – “Fog”


Sweet little promo film for the State Bicycle Co.’s Undefeated track bike. A rather tasty Ali/Carbon mix of a bike fixie beautifully shot

The State Bicycle Co. can be found here.