Though I told myself I wouldn't do it, I watched the Lance Armstrong interview last night. It was like a bad pile-up on the highway or billows of black smoke from a distant fire—you know you shouldn't look, but it's tough not to get sucked in. I had a two-hour workout to do, and I figured the footage of the final unraveling of one of the greatest American sports heroes couldn't be any worse than my normal shoot-em-up trainer fare. I was wrong.
Still can't wrap your head around all the doping escapades detailed in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's Reasoned Decision? Tonight's nationwide debut of The Levi Effect, a documentary about American cyclist Levi Leipheimer, should lend more insight.
Leipheimer's testimony about his own and Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs, along with similar testimonies of 10 other riders, lay at the heart of USADA's October 10 report. Leipheimer was issued a reduced six-month suspension in exchange for his testimony, a sentence that could see him racing again by March 2013. However, his Omega Pharma Quickstep team subsequently sacked him, leaving Leipheimer in search of a new team if he hopes to continue racing. "I don't want to stop like this," he said.
Armstrong continues to deny all allegations, though the UCI yesterday upheld USADA's decision to strip him of all victories since 1998 and serve him a lifetime ban.
Or maybe that should be Danny MacAskill vs. Remington. Look, I'm not criticizing the Scottish trials prodigy for selling out—mountain biking's a tough way to earn a buck, and you gotta make a living where you can. I am, however, laughing uncontrollably at the copywriters and creatives at Remington. "Superior Power. Unbelievable Precision. Unique Touch Control." I mean, somebody thought these seven words were a good reason to try and link their boring men's grooming product to MacAskill's insired riding? Don Draper would not be pleased.
He’s probably crooning so contentedly because he is in one of the most beautiful and hard to reach places in the world shredding pristine slopes and being ridiculous for the camera.
Another reason he might look
so smug is that he just signed a deal with Scarpa, a leading Italian footwear brand. And he’s not just going to be one of Scarpa's athletes. Along
with serving as a Scarpa ambassador and testing new Scarpa products, Davenport
will be a key member of the product development team for a new line of Scarpa
freeride boots coming out in time for the 2013/14 season.
Davenport is one
of the most accomplished big-mountain skiers in the world. "I’m a product guy,
a gear geek if you will. I love equipment, I love tweaking it, and I believe
that you can always make a better product," he said. "There’s very definitely
an opportunity in the freeride category—a product for a specific set of needs
that doesn’t yet exist in the marketplace. I’m joining Scarpa to be involved in
the development of the strongest boot line yet, specifically built for the
needs of freeride and sidecountry skiers."
Before Southern California downhiller Aaron Gwin won the World Cup Overall last year, no American mountain biker had ever earned that title. Then 23 and racing in only his third season as a pro, Gwin, who grew up on the BMX and moto tracks, was so consistent in his results (including five victories) that he sealed up that title before the season had finished. He's dominated 2012 in the same fashion, winning four of the six events so far this year and clinching the overall before the final race in Hafjell, Norway.
Gwin's successes stem from a preternatural sense of balance and movement on the bike that he's gleaned from 19 years of riding. (Yep, he began BMXing at age four.) To watch him race is deceptive because he's so smooth and fluid that he makes very difficult courses look easy. Those who know him also describe Gwin as a fastidious student of the sport and consummate professional who works out constantly and spends hours and hours practicing basic skills like cornering.
Having commanded the World Cup circuit for the last two years, Gwin has turned his eye to the World Championship race, slated for this Sunday, September 2, in Leogang, Austria. It's a course that Gwin has won on before, in the 2011 World Cup. We caught up with the Trek World Racing rider last week on California's Mammoth Mountain, where he was teaching a skills camp and putting the finishing touches on his preparations for Leogang.