The decision to pull Horner from Lampre-Merida's Vuelta lineup was a "completely voluntary decision," the team said in a statement.     Photo: Brendan A Ryan/Flickr

Chris Horner Pulled from Vuelta a Espana

Defending champ and oldest winner sidelined by his team

When he won last year's Vuelta a España at the age of 41, Chris Horner also became the oldest champion of one of the three Grand Tours. He was all set to compete again this year, but his team, Lampre-Merida, has just announced that he will be replaced by Grand Tour newcomer Valerio Conti.

Simply put, this is a real damper for Horner's illustrious cycling career. He's competing successfully well beyond the prime age for most cyclists, and this decision takes away Horner's shot at defending his title very close to the time for retirement. But the reasoning behind removing Horner from the 2014 Vuelta, which begins Saturday, is more complicated.

Team Lampre-Merida is a voluntary member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), a group that enforces stricter anti-doping policies than the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Among MPCC's rules are stipulations on what levels of cortisol are healthy for competing cyclists. Earlier this year, Horner suffered from bronchitis, and UCI authorized him for cortisone treatment. The treatment lowered Horner's cortisol level to a point that was too low for MPCC's standards, though UCI would have allowed him to race. 

"I must accept the situation without regrets," Horner said in a Lampre-Merida statement. The statement also emphasized that the team's membership in MPCC is completely voluntary, and the decision to remove Horner from the Vuelta roster "reaffirms [Horner's] adherence to the principles underlying the MPCC organization … [despite] this being an important appointment for the athlete after an investment had been made on behalf of the team."


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A photo of Zink doing what he does best, posted to his Facebook page hours before his Mammoth Flip.     Photo: Cam Zink/Facebook

Landing the Word's Longest MTB Backflip

Mountain biker jumps 100 feet, 3 inches

Mountain biker Cam Zink claimed a Guinness World Record on Thursday evening after completing the longest bicycle backflip distance jump ever—a whopping 100 feet, 3 inches.

After waiting for strong winds to die down at California's Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Zink descended a 910-foot approach—reaching speeds of 48 mph—and sailed over an 80-foot dirt-to-dirt gap jump to achieve his Mammoth Flip.

"It's like a dream. I mean, just popped off and I was like, 'Holy moly.' I forgot how long I'd be in the air," Zink told ESPN. "I still felt comfortable, but I'm like, 'Man, I'm just staring at the sky forever.' … It's a long flight."

"I think it's just the beginning, as in I'll do—maybe one day—150, 200, who knows?" he added.

Those increments might not be so obscene for riders like Zink. He already held the unofficial record for the jump, increasing it in spades this week as part of a Monster Energy–backed TV special—his previous record was a 78-foot jump on the FMB World Tour course at Red Bull Rampage 2013.

The jump was Zink's second record of the day. Zink managed to set the dirt-to-dirt bicycle straight air record with a 120-foot unassisted jump during warm-ups for the flip. Talk about effortless.

Catch an encore presentation of Zink's flip on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST, when it airs during ABC's one-hour World of X Games highlight show, or watch his flip online.


Start your day off with some coffee in your mug. Or some granola. It's your choice.     Photo: Jonathan Lin/Flickr

Stop Your Breakfast Shaming

The latest research throws out the current guidelines

For decades, breakfast has been touted as the "most important meal of the day," gaining a reputation as a surefire way to rev your metabolism, boost weight loss, and ensure satiety throughout the day. Then came the tidal waves of anti-breakfast studies claiming that the first meal of the day led to as many as 500 overeaten calories by the end of the day.

Which way is right? Well, both. Breakfast does not necessarily lead to weight gain, boost your metabolism, suppress appetite, or have anything to do with overeating at lunch, according to a new study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What breakfast—or a lack thereof—does is help you start your day exactly how you choose.

In this new study, researchers conducted two rigorous trials that randomly assigned participants to either partake in or abstain from breakfast. The first trial, led by the University of Bath, allowed 33 lean adults to choose to eat a 700-calorie breakfast or nothing during the course of six weeks. By the end of the trial, participants' metabolic rates remained the same, and those who skipped breakfast didn't overeat at lunchtime. "As a scientist, I was quite shocked actually at how sparse the evidence base was," study author James Betts told Time.

The second trial, which studied 300 overweight participants who were instructed to eat or skip breakfast during the course of 16 weeks, came to similar conclusions. "A recommendation to eat or skip breakfast for weight loss was effective at changing self-reported breakfast eating habits, but contrary to widely espoused views, this had no discernible effect on weight loss in free-living adults who were attempting to lose weight," concluded the study.

So, fix yourself breakfast if you like. Or don't. We won't shame you either way.