May 16, 2012
Tom Boonen in 2009

Tom Boonen in 2009     Photo: bram_souffreau/Flickr

Boonen Will Focus on Olympics, Miss Tour

Sprinter wants fresh legs for London

Belgian cyclist Tom Boonen on Tuesday announced that he will forgo this year's Tour de France in an effort to remain sharp for the London Olympic Games. Boonen, who rides for Omega-Pharma Quick-Step, was the race's top sprinter in 2007 and has won six stages in his career. He claimed wins at two of cycling's most important spring races, the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix classic, in April. The 2012 Tour de France begins on June 30 and finishes in Paris on July 22, six days before the Olympic road race.

Read more at AFP

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    Photo: DrabikPany/Flickr

Sagan Wins 3-Straight at Tour of California

Twenty-two year old hangs on to lead

Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan sprinted to a third-consecutive stage win in the Tour of California on Tuesday. Sagan, 22, who rides for Liquigas-Cannondale, said the victory came as a surprise. "This race is very hard for me," he told the Los Angeles Times. "The long climbs and the time trial are not so good for me." The tour continues Wednesday with stage four's 130.2-mile marathon ride from Sonora to Clovis.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle

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The West Ridge

The West Ridge     Photo: Jason Maehl/Shutterstock

Anker Calls Off West Ridge Everest Bid

Climber to join South Col team instead

The National Geographic-North Face Everest expedition, led by Conrad Anker, called off its plans on Wednesday to summit via the West Ridge due to unstable conditions in the Hornbein Couloir. Drought and high winds have scoured the mountain of the fresh snow that normally gives climbers good protection. "But what we have now is that that surface layer of snow has been stripped away, leaving bare ice," Anker wrote on the expedition's blog. "It's very ancient ice that's difficult to climb on." Anker noted that, while Hornbein and Unsoeld encountered knee-deep snow on their original 1963 climb of the route, he would face blue ice followed by two pitches of nothing but scree and bed rock. He also cited the great risk of rockfall in the couloir. Anker is now working to change his permit to the South Col. "It's the sensible thing to do from an experienced alpinist's perspective," Anker said. Eddie Bauer's First Ascent team has not yet announced whether they'll attempt to summit the West Ridge.

Read more at National Geographic

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway     Photo: Soil Science/Flickr

NPS Stops Mowing After Death

Accident prompts safety review

The National Park Service on Friday suspended lawn mowing in all national parks following the death of a worker who fell more than 140 feet after losing control of a riding mower on May 7. Dana Bruce, 63, died in the Blue Ridge Parkway when his mower slipped off the edge of a steep, rocky embankment as he tried to steer around a trash bin, according to a witness. OSHA is investigating the accident and will resume once employees are briefed on mower safety procedures and equipment, a process that could take weeks at larger parks.

Read more at The Charlotte Observer

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Mountain lion at the Houston Zoo

Mountain lion at the Houston Zoo     Photo: MIKE FISHER/Flickr

Rabid Mountain Lion Killed With Skillet

Animal attacked dog at AZ camp

An Arizona man killed a rabid mountain lion with a skillet in Tonto National Forest earlier this month after it attacked his dog. Brandon Arnold, 24, and eight friends were making breakfast at a remote campsite on May 4 when a large animal attacked Arnold's 90-pound pit bull mix. "It was hard to tell what it was. I thought it was somebody's dog, so I was just pissed off somebody brought a mean dog to camp," said Arnold's friend Donald Jones. When they realized it was a mountain lion, Arnold grabbed a 14-inch cast-iron skillet and hit the mountain lion over the head several times until it went still. A friend shot it for good measure. Arizona Fish and Game tested the animal and confirmed that it was infected with rabies. The dog was already vaccinated for rabies and survived with minor injuries.

Read more at Chino Valley Review

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