May 24, 2013

Danilo Di Luca again tested positive for EPO.     Photo: Pitert

Cyclist Danilo Di Luca Busted for Doping

Lance Armstrong asks if he's 'f—ing stupid'

Italian cyclist Danilo Di Luca, who is currently racing at the Giro d'Italia, has been suspended and fired by his team after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test administered ahead of the race. Di Luca, who won the event in 2007, has a long history of doping and was unwelcome at the 2013 Giro by many in the press.

Di Luca's known doping history dates back to 2007. His test samples from the 2007 Giro were classified as suspicious, but he was granted a last-minute reprieve by the Italian Olympic Committee. Later that season, he was implicated in the Oil for Drugs scandal, earning himself a three-month suspension. In 2009, he twice tested positive for CERA, a new class of EPO-like-drug, and was suspended for a short 15 months after cooperating with anti-doping authorities.

On Twitter, riders were quick to criticize Di Luca, including Lance Armstrong who wrote: "Knowing I have 0 cred on the doping issue – I still can’t help but think, ‘really Di Luca? Are you that f—ing stupid??’"

Di Luca was a last-minute entry into this year's Giro. According to a press release, his team manager, Angelo Citracca, didn't want the disgraced rider on his squad, but "our main sponsor Valentino Sciotti, who out of friendship and regional ties to the rider, insisted upon and created the conditions for his addition to the roster."

Sciotti told CyclingNews that he regretted taking on Di Luca. "I wanted and believed in the man and the rider, and it’s only right that I take all the blame because I made a mistake. Maybe I made a mistake in believing that someone can redeem themselves after an error and not make one again. Maybe I made a mistake in wanting to help someone who I saw in difficulty."


    Photo: Courtesy of Harley Soltes

I-5 Bridge Falls Into Skagit River

Cars and people submerged

A four-lane section of Washington’s Interstate highway 5 bridge fell into the Skagit River Thursday night, sending cars and people hurtling into the water. Officials believe that the collapse may have been caused by an oversized load that “immediately” caused the bridge to give out.

While no fatalities have been reported, a spokeswoman for Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon said that two patients taken from the accident were being treated for injuries. A third was taken to another hospital. There is no word on their conditions. One witness, Xavier Grospe, 62, told the AP that he could see at least several cars partially submerged, with some people sitting on top of their vehicles.

The Skagit bridge, built in 1955, was just one of many in desperate need of repair. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson laid out the dire state of America’s bridge infrastructure in an article Friday:

The average age of America's 607,380 bridges is about 42 years old. The Federal Highway Administrations claims we'll need to spend about $20.5 billion annually for the next 16 years to properly update them -- about 60 percent more than we're spending every year today. Meanwhile, the Highway Trust Fund has been slammed by a decrease in miles driven nationally, states and cities have been slammed by the weak economy, and private builders face a jumbled knot of ‘municipalities, investors, and federal overseers.

Something to think about next time you’re driving across a creaky bridge in the middle of nowhere. Photos and video footage of the collapse can be seen below:

Image Courtesy of Harley Soltes


Going the traditional route     Photo: Courtesy of Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

Fracking Threatens German Beer Supply

Breweries rely on underground wells

A new law that would legalize fracking in Germany could risk destroying something much more important than the environment: The world's supply of German beer. According to a statement from the country's Brauer-Bund beer association, chemicals left over from fracking could pollute the underground wells that supply more than half of Germany's breweries with water.

"You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals," said a Brauer-Bund spokesman, "so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead witht he fracking law.

With more than 1,300 breweries, Germany is Europe's largest beer producer.

Via Gawker


    Photo: Sands_of_time via Flickr

Ex-French Pres. Admits to Panda Attack

Climbed into the enclosure

More than three decades after the fact, former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing has found the courage to admit that he was once the victim of a panda attack

It happened at Paris’ Vincennes Zoo while he was in office. Giscard d’Estaing, now 87, had decided to test his “presidential courage” by climbing into the panda enclosure. Things didn’t go as planned and staff soon had to free the president from the claws of a panda after it leapt on him.

The chubby and vegetarian panda may not strike fear into the heart, but it is very territorial and will take sass from no one – not even from a man who is, according to BBC News, “often regarded as the most cultivated and most aristocratic of recent French presidents.” Lesson learned: A world leader may be above the laws of the zoo, but he is not above the vicious laws of nature.