September 3, 2013

Chris Froome puts the finishing touches on his Tour victory on Stage 21's circuit race up and down the Champs Élysées.     Photo: #iamspecialized and #itsmytour

Tour de France Cyclists Live Longer

Gain extra 6 years of life

Despite potential hazards, elite endurance athletes appear to live longer than their contemporaries, a study in the European Heart Journal has found.

Researchers gathered mortality information on 786 French participants of the Tour de France from 1947 through 2012, comparing them to the general French population.

While 208 of the cyclists had died by 2012, they had a 41 percent reduction in mortality compared to people in the general population, gaining an estimated 6 years of life. Fewer cyclists suffered from cardiovasical disease, cancer, and respriotary or digestive diseases. However, they were more likely to die of traumatic causes.

"Although our results are reassuring to some extent, since no death has been observed since 1990, we have to remain careful since we cannot directly assess the potential harmfulness of doping through our analyses and results," the study author told Forbes.

The study co-author noted that athletes who compete in the Tour may have "superior genetic composition with lower disease susceptibility," making it hard to generalize the findings.

A similar study from the International Journal of Sports Medicine studying cyclists who rode the Tour between 1930 and 1964 also found that the professionals lived longer than people from the general population. The study authors noted that the cyclists smoke less, drink less alcohol, and have healthier diets than their peers.

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    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Marijuana Farmer Killed by His Own Booby Trap

Illegal farm in upstate New York

An upstate New York marijuana grower was killed Saturday when he fell prey to one of his own booby traps.

Daniel Ricketts was believed to be drunk when he drove his quad bike into a barely-visible piano wire that he had strung up around his marijuana crops in Albany County. The 50-year-old was thrown from the bike, his head almost entirely separated from his body.

Hikers spotted the body and alerted the authorities. Ricketts was pronounced dead on the scene. Officials on site also uncovered extensive barbwire and a leg trap, presumably for meant for coyotes. Ricketts was pronounced dead on the scene.

According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, growers are not uncommon in the rural area. “They go up there and they'll grow marijuana on a lot of the state lands. Fortunately hikers, people out and about, neighbors will call us and they'll tell us,” he told CBS 6.

Officers removed the plants from the property and are "continuing the investigation."

Read about California's Mendocino County, where paramilitary task forces battle armed and deadly pot growers from Mexico

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    Photo: B.Stefanov via Shutterstock

Lindsey Vonn Returns to the Snow

Skis for the fist time since injury

Lindsey Vonn returned to the snow Saturday for the first time since her crash at the world championships in February, where she tore her ACL and MCL and suffered a fractured tibial plateau in her right knee. The gold medalist trained with the U.S. women's speed team in Portillo, Chile, with the hopes of competing in the Sochi Games.

"I can't tell which knee is injuredthat's a good sign," she said. "I usually go from zero to a hundred. I'm not good in between so this is going to be a challenge."

Last week, Vonn worked out in front of reporters with her Red Bull trainer. On Saturday, she took five runs on flat terrain, and she hopes to get in gate training at the end of the two-week camp before she returns to Vail, Colorado.

She plans to begin competing in time for the women's World up in Beaver Creek, Colorado, at the end of November. "I would love to win as many World Cups as possible but my main focus is definitely the Olympics," she told USA TODAY last week. "If I start off slow, it's fine. I want to make sure that by the time I get to Sochi that I'm 100% in those events."

Vonn needs just three World Cup victories to tie the women's all-time record of 62 World Cup wins.

For more: Why Did Lindsey Vonn Crash in Austria?

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