Chris Eubank Jr vs Arthur Abraham set for July 15

07/06/2017 18:18

IBO super middleweight champion Chris Eubank Jr (24-1, 19 KOs) will fight former two-time super middleweight world champion Arthur Abraham (46-5, 30 KOs) on July 15 at the SSE Wembley Arena in London.

The 12-round bout will be for Eubank’s minor world title, which he won when he defeated little-known Renold Quinlan by 10th round TKO in February.

Eubank has won six fights in a row since his only loss, a split decision to rival Billy Joe Saunders for the European, British and Commonwealth middleweight titles in November 2014. Saunders is now the reigning WBO middleweight champion.

But Eubank, 27, has only fought low-level opposition since the Saunders defeat and Abraham, 37, represents a return to world-class level.

However, Abraham, also a former middleweight world champion, lost his WBO 168lb title by a one-sided decision against Mexico’s Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in April 2016, so Eubank may be catching the German at the right time. Although Abraham has since won his last two fights.

“I respect every fighter,” said Eubank. “Anyone who enters the ring has my respect but it’s my time now. I’m the next generation.”

Abraham said: “I’m very happy to be fighting here in England. I’m looking forward to it and I think it will be a good fight.”

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Team USA Announces Men’s Water Polo Roster for Croatia Series

Photo Courtesy: Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports

USA Men’s National Team Head Coach Dejan Udovicic has announced his roster for the upcoming four game series in California against Croatia. The four game set starts on Friday evening at Riverside Aquatics Complex at Riverside City College at 6pm pt. The series moves to Stanford University on Sunday at 3:30pm pt, then Tuesday evening at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village at 7pm pt followed by the finale on Wednesday evening at Long Beach State in Long Beach at 7pm pt. The Team USA roster of athletes competing will change for each of the four matches and be determined prior to each match.

The roster features eight returning Olympians from the 2016 Olympic Games led by Tony Azevedo who plays his final match for Team USA on June 11. Other returning Olympians include McQuin Baron, Ben Hallock, Alex Obert, Alex Roelse, Luca Cupido, Alex Bowen and Thomas Dunstan.

To purchase tickets for the match at Stanford, click here. To purchase tickets for the matches on June 9, 13 or 14, click here. Live streaming of all four matches will be available at and live stats will be available at

2017 USA Men’s National Team vs Croatia Roster

Drew Holland (Orinda, CA/Stanford/Lamorinda) – GK
McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Regency) – GK
Alex Wolf (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Bruin) – GK
Jack Turner (Fremont, CA/UC San Diego/Sunset San Diego) – GK
Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) – Playing at Stanford only
Ben Hallock (Westlake Village, CA/Stanford/LA Premier)
Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/NYAC)
Alex Roelse (Maarssen, Netherlands/UCLA/Bruin)
Chancellor Ramirez (Pasadena, CA/UCLA/LA Premier)
Blake Parrish (Santa Barbara, CA/Stanford/Stanford)
Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita, Italy/California/Newport Beach WPC)
Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/LA Water Polo)
Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier)
Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
Thomas Dunstan (New Canaan, CT/USC/Regency)
Duncan Lynde (Laguna Beach, CA/Long Beach State/LB Shore Aquatics)
Nic Carniglia (Lodi, CA/California/Cal Bears WP)
Matt DeTrane (Moraga, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC)
Nolan McConnell (Laguna Beach, CA/Long Beach State/SET)
Hannes Daube (Long Beach, CA/Orange Lutheran HS/North Irvine WPC)
Marko Vavic (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA/Loyola HS/Trojan)
Jake Ehrhardt (Camarillo, CA/Oaks Christian HS/Pride WP Academy)

USA-Croatia Series
June 9 – Riverside Aquatics Complex – Riverside, CA – 6pm pt
Buy Tickets  Live Stats

June 11 – (Tony Azevedo Retirement Match) Avery Aquatics Center – Stanford, CA – 3:30pm pt
Buy Tickets/Clinic Registration (12pm)  – Live Stats

June 13 – Oaks Christian School – Westlake Village, CA – 7pm
Buy Tickets – Clinic Registration (4pm) – Live Stats

June 14 – Long Beach State – Long Beach, CA – 7pm
Buy Tickets – Live Stats

Press release courtesy of USA Water Polo

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20 Tips For The Vegetarian Bodybuilder!

If you’re looking to build more muscle mass but enjoy eating a vegetarian style of diet, you may often feel as though you might be defeated before you get going. You hear so much talk about protein being the most important nutrient needed to build muscle and one that you should be consuming very large amounts of to achieve success.

Don’t be so quick to jump to this conclusion however. While it definitely is true that protein is an extremely important nutrient to have in the diet, it’s not true that you necessarily need copious amounts of it to make progress. There are plenty of ways for vegetarians to build the muscle they are after despite the fact that they aren’t consuming any meat products.

Let’s have a look at the 20 top tips that the vegetarian bodybuilder needs to know.

1. Get Sufficient Calories

The very first thing you must do as a vegetarian bodybuilder is make sure that you get enough calories. If you don’t take in enough calories on a regular basis your body is much more likely to turn to incoming protein for fuel and you very well may see a deficit forming.

2. Consume Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables

Second, be sure that you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables. These are going to supply you with a high quality source of nutrients as well as all the antioxidant protection to keep your immune system feeling strong.


3. Don’t Neglect Chickpeas And Legumes

For vegetarians looking to build muscle, one of the key sources of protein they need to be looking into are chickpeas and other legumes. These will also be a good low-fat source of carbohydrates as well and make for a great snack before a hard workout.

4. Swap Rice For Quinoa

If you’re in the habit of always eating brown rice with your meals, swap that up for some quinoa instead. Quinoa tastes much like brown rice (a combination of brown rice and oatmeal) and is higher in overall protein content than the brown rice. On top of that, quinoa is actually a complete source of protein, whereas brown rice is not. This is important for the process of muscle building to take place.

5. Utilize Egg White Or Soy Protein Powders

Fifth, it’s a very wise move to make use of egg white protein powders, if you eat animal by-products, or soy protein powders if not. These will dramatically help to boost your protein intake and are quick and convenient for when you need them. As long as you do make sure to mix them up with other sources of protein, they are definitely a ‘must-have’ for your daily diet.

6. Avoid A Heavy Reliance On Processed Foods

One big mistake that many vegetarians make is relying a great deal on heavy, overly processed foods. Don’t do this. Remember, being vegetarian doesn’t mean you get free range to eat as many high-carb snack foods as you want. You still do definitely have to be eating healthy and making an effort to maintain a fresh diet that contains whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

7. Keep Your Workouts Short But Intense

When it comes to your workout, as a vegetarian you should aim for short but intense workouts. This will help prevent muscle mass loss from taking place and your body relying on protein to get through those workouts. If you were doing very long workout sessions that’s when your protein needs will be really elevated, which could get more difficult being on a vegetarian diet.


8. Be Sure To Vary Your Food Choices

Also be sure that you’re taking the time to vary your foods in your diet as well. As a vegetarian you may find that it’s easy to gravitate to the same foods over and over and over again. Try to prevent this if you can. By making sure to take in a higher variety you will prevent nutrient deficiencies and have better luck with your diet program.

9. Make Use Of Tempeh

Another protein source that’s highly beneficial for vegetarians is tempeh. This one is one that is often overlooked so start finding creative ways to add it to your diet today. Many people find they prefer this over tofu, which is the other main vegetarian option.

10. Consider Going Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

One thing that you may want to consider, and this will highly be based on your personal beliefs, is going lacto-ovo vegetarian. What this means is that you will include both egg and dairy products in your diet. This will dramatically boost your protein options since then you can include egg and egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, and milk. It will definitely make your life as a vegetarian bodybuilder easier.

11. Utilize Nuts For Fuel

Another great food that you’ll want to take in are nuts. Nuts provide a healthy source of fat and will provide a long-lasting form of energy as well. One handful will significantly boost your calorie intake and help make muscle gain that much easier.


12. Take In Plenty Of Flaxseeds, Walnuts, And Flaxseed Oil

For your essential fatty acids, since you likely won’t be consuming fatty fish or fish oil, turn to flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. These will have to be your primary sources for this must-have nutrient.

13. Start Adding Peanut Butter

Another good way to boost your fat content is to start smearing natural peanut butter on as many foods as you can in your diet. This will also help to boost your overall calorie intake as well, which is obviously important when aiming to build muscle. Smear some peanut butter over your bananas, apples, mix it into oatmeal, or add it to any fruit smoothies you may be preparing.


14. Consider Iron Supplementation

One nutrient that you may fall short in without eating any red meat is iron. Since iron is responsible for good red blood cell development, it’s not one you want to risk being low in. If you do, you’re going to find you’re fatiguing a lot faster in your workouts as well. If you plan on carrying out a vegetarian diet for the long term, consider adding an iron supplement to your day.

15. Focus On Broccoli And Spinach Intakes

Two other vegetables that you’ll definitely want to think about adding in higher quantities as well are broccoli and spinach. These both will contain nice doses of calcium, which is another nutrient you may fall short in. In addition to both of these, also think about using a calcium supplement.

16. Don’t Let Others Get You Down

Unfortunately one thing that many vegetarian bodybuilders deal with is others telling them they won’t see success. Try and block this out as best as possible. If you want to really pack on the muscle, you need to stay in a healthy frame of mind – and their negative influence is definitely not going to help you do so.

17. Eat More Frequently

It’s also important that you’re making sure to eat frequently throughout the day. Since you won’t be taking in as much protein with every meal you eat as someone who isn’t a vegetarian, by getting in regular meals you’ll help ensure that you do always have that steady stream of amino acids going into the muscle tissues.

18. Monitor Your Body Fat Levels

Since one thing many vegetarian bodybuilders are concerned over is muscle mass loss, be sure that you’re regularly monitoring your body fat levels. This will give you a better indication if you are losing muscle mass so that action can be taken to help prevent this.

19. Supplement With Branched Chain Amino Acids

Another important supplement that you’ll want to use is branched chain amino acids. These you should specifically take immediately before and after the workout is complete as they too will help to safeguard against muscle mass loss.

20. Stay Positive

Finally, the last tip is to stay positive. It may take slightly longer to build muscle as a vegetarian, but if you stay positive and keep working towards your goals, you definitely can get the results you’re looking for.


So be sure that you’re keeping all of these tips in mind. More and more people are turning to this style of eating and it definitely does not mean you need to give up on your fitness and muscle building goals.

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Makenzie Fischer Helps USA Women’s Water Polo Get By Russia

Photo Courtesy: Peter Neushul/USA Water Polo

Makenzie Fischer’s (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) goal as time expired gave the USA Women’s National Team a 13-12 victory over Russia and capped a wild second half as Team USA claimed first place in Group A at the FINA World League Super Final. Fischer scored three goals, two in the final 37 seconds, to lead Team USA on offense while Mia Rycraw (Walnut, CA/Arizona State/Sun Devil) made six saves in net. Team USA now advances to meet Australia in quarterfinal action at 4:20am et/1:20am pt on Friday. Live streaming is available via FINA TV and can be accessed by clicking here.

Match Report via McKinnon

USA secured victory at the death knock, the winning goal skimming through the air as the final buzzer sounded. It was Makenzie Fischer who stood up and scored in an amazing finish to an amazing match. So much happened in the final seconds, but it was a match of many facets. It was Makenzie Fischer who broke the deadlock in the first quarter for the lead.

It was Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) and Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/NYAC) who broke the deadlock in the second quarter where an incredible 11 goals were scored. It was Kiley Neushul again in the third who clinched a one-goal advantage with two seconds remaining. And then came the tumultuous final period when Russia exploded — coming back from a three-goal deficit to level at 8-8 in the third and then again to level at 10 in the third. Russia was rampant, fouling all over the pool in an effort to upset the North Americans. While the foul count mounted (ultimately 14-7), Russia scored twice midway in the fourth to go ahead for the first time at 4:09, Anna Timofeeva screaming in a centre-forward backhand.

Kiley Neushul had a chance to equalise at 2:25, but decided to pass off. Maria Borisova lobbed into the bottom right post, which could have been the kiss of death for USA. Next attack, Russia’s Timofeeva failed to pass to Borisova, who could have possibly drawn a penalty foul. USA took a timeout at 0:52 and 15 seconds later, Makenzie Fischer scored from a 5m shot for 12-12.

Russia went upfield and finally Russian head coach Aleksandr Gaydukov called a timeout with just three seconds of possession left. He talked for the full 60 seconds and it appeared the players did not know what to do with those three seconds. There was one pass and the ball was turned over in the middle of the pool, not even a tactical dump. USA rifled the ball deep left and Olga Gorbunova buried her attacker and was ejected. The USA attacker fumbled the ball, fed off to Fischer and she had the foresight and will to shoot, earning a fantastic match and group A victory.

Final points:
Group A: USA 9, Russia 5, Netherlands 4, Japan 0.
Group B: Canada 8, Hungary 7, China 3, Australia 0.

USA 13 (4, 6, 1, 2) M. Fischer 3, R. Fattal 2, K. Neushul 2, J. Raney 2, A. Fischer 1, M. Musselman 1, J. Neushul 1, A. Williams 1
RUS 12 (3, 5, 2, 2)
Saves – USA – Rycraw 6
6×5 – USA – 5/13 – RUS – 4/8
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – RUS – 1/1

Press release courtesy of USA Water Polo.

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Simple Guide To Choosing Complementary Proteins

Animal sources of protein are referred to as “complete proteins.” Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, are incomplete, because they lack one or more essential amino acids. A meal (or diet) void of complete proteins may cause your health and performance to suffer.

Fortunately, you can make certain you get each essential amino acid by pairing plant-based sources of protein together. These are referred to as “complementary proteins.” Check out the infographic below to learn which foods you can pair in order to hit your amino-acid quota!


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Anton McKee, Sarah Gibson Highlight CoSIDA’s Division I Academic All-American Teams

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

University of Alabama senior swimmer Anton McKee and Texas A&M University senior swimmer Sarah Gibson headline the 2017 Academic All-America® Division I Men’s and Women’s At-Large Teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

McKee and Gibson have been selected as the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Members of the Year for the Division I Men’s and Women’s At-Large programs, respectively. The at-large teams for the Academic All-America® program include the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming & diving, tennis and water polo for both men and women, as well as beach volleyball, bowling, crew and field hockey for women, and volleyball and wrestling for men.

McKee, who compiled a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. as a management information systems major, is a repeat selection as the Academic All-America® Men’s At-Large Team Member of the Year, becoming the fifth student-athlete to earn that honor twice, and the first since Stanford wrestler Nick Amuchastegui in 2011 and 2012.

McKee is also a rare three-time CoSIDA Academic All-America® selection, earning first-team honors for the second year in a row after collecting third-team accolades in 2015. A native of Iceland, McKee was an 11-time All-American and three-time Southeastern Conference champion while competing in breaststroke, freestyle, individual medley and medley relay events, notably finishing in the top five at the NCAA Championships in his specialty, the 200-meter breaststroke, during each of his four seasons at Alabama, capped by a runner-up finish in 2017. The reigning SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, McKee helped the Crimson Tide to NCAA top-10 finishes the past three seasons, marking the first time Alabama has pulled off that feat since 1981-83.

Gibson is a two-time Academic All-America® selection, appearing on the first team for the second year in a row. The San Antonio, Texas, resident maintained a 4.0 G.P.A. as a biomedical engineering major at Texas A&M. Gibson is the second Aggie to earn Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year honors in any sport, and the first since 1987, when football standout (and 2003 Academic All-America® Hall of Fame selection) Kip Corrington received that distinction.

In the pool, Gibson was a nine-time All-American and won seven SEC titles during her career, competing in the butterfly, freestyle and medley relay events. She was named the SEC Swimmer of the Meet and earned the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy for high-point honors in 2017, helping Texas A&M to its second consecutive SEC crown. The SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year then played a key role in leading the Aggies to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the best showing in program history.

Nearly two-thirds (27) of the 45 student-athletes on the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Men’s At-Large Team earned at least a 3.90 G.P.A., with 16 compiling a perfect 4.0 G.P.A. or higher. The 15 first-team members had an average G.P.A. of 3.91, including six student-athletes with a 4.0 G.P.A.

McKee leads a plethora of swimmers that made the list. On the first team, Navy’s Ryan Bailey (3.98, Operations Research), Texas’ PJ Dunne (3.99, Biochemistry/pre-med), NC State’s Anton Ipsen (4.00, industrial engineering), Alabama’s Luke Kaliszak (3.93, human perf. exercise science), Connor Oslin (3.92, biology [pre-med]), Pavel Romanov (4.00, economics/finance), Cal’s Ryan Murphy (3.54, business administration), and Michigan’s PJ Ransford (4.00, mechanical engineering).

Murphy and Oslin appeared on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® First Team for the second year in a row, with Murphy garnering second-team accolades and Oslin making the third team in 2015. Ransford and Romanov received first-team recognition this year after earning spots on the Academic All-America® Second Team a season ago, while Bailey moved up to the first team this year following placement on the Academic All-America® Third Team in 2016.

Other swimmers that made the second and third teams include Purdue’s Marat Amaltdinov (3.81, economics), Gardner-Webb’s Connor Bos (4.00, business) and South Dakota State’s Weston Christensen (3.94, civil engineering). The third team included South Carolina’s Jonathan Boland (3.98, exercise science), Georgia Tech’s Robert Borowicz (4.00, computer science), and Cincinnati’s Connor Davis (3.96, neuroscience and psychology).

On the women’s side, more than two-thirds (32) of the 46 members of the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America® Division I Women’s At-Large Team posted at least a 3.90 G.P.A., including 21 student-athletes with a spotless 4.0 G.P.A. The 15 first-team members registered an average G.P.A. of 3.91, with more than half (nine) logging a 4.0 G.P.A.

There are 16 student-athletes on this year’s Academic All-America® Division I Women’s At-Large Team that are two-time Academic All-America® choices, including 10 on the first team, which is led by Gibson. The other swimmers on the first team who earned their second Academic All-America® honors are University of Kentucky senior Danielle Galyer (4.00, political science and psychology) and University of Georgia senior swimmer Chantal Van Landeghem (4.00, psychology). The women’s first team also includes a plethora of swimmers including USC’s Anika Apostalon (3.92, psychology), Texas’ Madisyn Cox (3.78, neuroscience/pre-med) and Stanford’s Simone Manuel (3.48, communication).

Gibson and Galyer are two-time first-team selections, receiving top honors the past two seasons. Van Landeghem also made the jump to the first team this season after earning a place on the Academic All-America® Third Team in 2015, then taking the 2016 season off to compete for her native Canada at the Rio Olympics.

Boise State’s Brittany Aoyama (3.96, health science) was the only swimmer named to the second team. West Virginia’s Amelie Currat (4.00, finance), North Dakota’s Steph Frey (4.00, communication science and disorders), Missouri’s Lauren Reedy (3.91, nutritional sciences) and Minnesota’s Yu Zhou (3.61, communication studies) were named to the third team.

The above press release was provided by College Sports Information Directors of America.

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Amy Pieters snatches first Boels-Dolmans win on stage two of Women’s Tour

The Dutch cyclist notches her first win for Boels-Dolmans since joining with British champion Hannah Barnes in second

After a chaotic and fractured stage, Boels-Dolmans opened their Ovo Energy Women’s account today with Amy Pieters taking the win in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Dutchwoman won the uphill sprint into the city centre ahead of British champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), who bagged the best result of her year.

It is Pieters’s first WorldTour win since joining the Dutch team over the winter, though she won the second stage of last year’s race when riding for Wiggle-High5 too.

The day was aggressively contested throughout, with attacks coming from the moment the flag dropped in Stoke. However, despite a number a small number of unsuccessful forays off the front, it was not until 40km had passed that anyone established a meaningful gap.

Then Alé-Cipollini’s 2007 world road champion Marta Bastianelli escaped and was soon joined by Canadian rider Alison Jackson of BePink-Cogeas. The pair established a gap of 1-30 before being caught as the course went just past Utoxeter, 81km in.

Their gap then tumbled, and before the race reached the second sprint in Cheadle they were caught and another group of six went clear. Of these Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) was strongest, attacking on the the first classified climb to Ipstones, gaining a lead of around a minute.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour – Stage 2: Stoke-on-Trent – A group of riders tackle Gun Hill climb.Picture by Credit:Alex Whitehead

Maintaining that gap over Gun Hill she was eventually caught with less than 10km to ride.

Race leader Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energy) finished in the bunch and maintains the green jersey going into tomorrow’s stage between Atherstone and Leamington Spa.

After her Boels-Dolmans team conceded so much time yesterday, Pieters says stage wins are now their focus.

“The climbs were really tough, It was a really hard day after yesterday, so our goal was to go for the stage,” Pieters told reporters after the race. “The team was strong today and we felt really strong and I could save my legs for the sprint.

“We have a strong team here and I hope we can go for everyone for a stage win.”

Niewiadoma had found herself under pressure on the climbs, with no team mates to help, however she was able to resist attacks, particularly one from Wiggle-High5’s Elisa Longo-Borghini, to retain the race lead.

“I knew it would be like this,” she said. “Even though I have a good advantage I knew teams would make a situation that would be good for them. We had Sunweb, Boels, Wiggle and Canyon which have a lot of strong riders and my team are not able to chase every attack.

“There were a lot of situations that I though it was goodbye to the green jersey, but you can’t lose hope and I tried to stay relaxed and calm. Even when Lucinda was there in the front there were teams that would want to go for the stage win, so they felt a responsibility to chase.”

Defending champion and Pieters’s team mate, Lizzie Deignan was not in that front group and finished 8-47 down.

Tomorrow’s stage between Atherstone and Leamington Spa appears less demanding than today, though at 151km, it is the longest of the race and one of the longest race days of the whole season. As such expect a similar situation where a reduced bunch contests the victory.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour, stage two result

1. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 3-49-42
2. Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon Sram Racing,
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb
4. Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Energie
5. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Energie
6. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5
7. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo-Bigla Pro Cycling
8. Alice Barnes (GBr) Drops
9. Danielle King (GBr) Cylance Pro Cycling
10. Aude Biannic (Fra) FDJ, all at the same time

Ovo Energy Women’s Tour General Classification after stage two

1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Energie 7-41-11
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Energie at 1-46
3. Hannah Barnes (GBr) Canyon-Sram, st
4. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 1-48
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, st
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervélo-Bigla, at1-52
7. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Drops, st
8. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at 1-55
9. Cecilie Ludwig (Den) Cervélo-Bigla, at 1-58
10. Danielle King (GBr) Cylance Pro Cycling, at 1-59

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Coquard dismisses Bernaudeau's Tour de France ultimatum

Bryan Coquard, by the letter of Jean-René Bernaudeau’s law, should not go to the Tour de France this July. After informing the Direct Energie team manager of his desire to leave at the end of the season, the sprinter’s ordinarily secure spot on the Tour roster was thrown into doubt, and he was given an ultimatum: Win at the Critérium du Dauphiné or you’re staying at home.

“If he gives us guarantees, he will go,” said Bernaudeau ahead of Tuesday’s stage 2. “Guarantees, that’s winning a stage at the Dauphiné. If he beats [Arnaud] Démare, that would be good news.”

Coquard finished 10th on that day and, after the break foiled the sprint teams the following afternoon, Coquard had his final chance of the Dauphiné in Mâcon on Thursday. He finished third, with Démare in second.

“Guarantees don’t mean anything,” the Frenchman told a group of reporters after coming to a halt outside the Direct Energie team bus.

“I read in the newspapers that a guarantee was me winning at the Dauphiné. If you absolutely have to win a stage to be at the start of the Tour, there won’t be many there,” he added with a grin.

Coquard, confident and firm so far in his public handling of a thorny situation, has clearly not lost his sense of humour.

“I think I’m going very well. Now Jean-René will decide whatever he decides. I hope I won’t be spending July eating Merguez,” he said later.

Coquard regularly speaks about his affection for Bernadeau, who has guided him from an 18-year-old in the Vendée U feeder team right through his four-and-a-half years as a professional, which have yielded over 30 victories. Nevertheless, he admitted there had been “a bit of rancour” since he told Bernaudeau he wouldn’t be staying. The ultimatum speaks for itself.

The long-standing team manager dropped in on the Dauphiné on Wednesday, and Coquard was asked how the communication between them had been.

“We spoke, we spoke, but we spoke about everything except the difficult stuff,” he said, again with a grin.

“No, we get on very well. We discussed a lot of things but not my selection for the Tour. He knows what I think about it – I want to go. Voila, it’s up to him to make the decision.”

As for his teammates, he admitted there were a couple who haven’t seen eye to eye with him or his decision. That said, he gave a reminder that he had handled the difficult situation openly and decently, and a more pointed reminder of his role in the survival of the team at the end of 2015, when he rejected WorldTour offers to give Bernaudeau time to secure a new sponsor.

“The cohesion is pretty good with the teammates. They haven’t forgotten that despite everything, they have jobs thanks to me, when Direct Energie came along 18 months ago,” he said.

“There are some [who have a problem], but not in my core group, if you like. Nothing has changed. They were in the loop, they knew about it well before announced to the media They understand. Everyone reacts a bit differently, but there you go, I took a decision, and now I’m following through with that decision. My spirit hasn’t changed; I give my all on the bike, I want to win…”

Coquard, ordinarily, should be a shoe-in for the Tour – Direct Energie’s most likely possibility for a stage win, by some distance. He has risen in stature over the last couple of years and even came close to winning his first ever Tour stage last year – what would have been the team’s first since Thomas Voeckler in 2012 – but was agonisingly edged out by Marcel Kittel.

This year he has five wins to his name, including one from the Belgium Tour at the end of May on his return from a break of more than a month.

“I’ve tried to prove myself on the bike. I had a long break between Amstel and Belgium, and that was to in order to still be fresh towards the end of the Tour. I’ve had nearly two weeks of racing now [since Amstel]. I did a good Tour of Belgium, and I think I’m in very good form and on track to keep getting better all the way to the end of the Tour – that’s for sure.”

Coquard didn’t want to dwell on what the rest of the year would look like if Bernaudeau were to follow through – “It would be very complicated” – but reaffirmed his desire to go to the Tour and win for the team.

“There is no interest whatsoever, for either of us, in things ending badly. I even hope things can finish on a high. If I could win a stage of the Tour in my last season with Direct Energie, in the final Tour of Thomas [Voeckler], who has done a great deal for me since I turned pro, that would be the icing on the cake.”

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Swimming With Scoliosis

Photo Courtesy: Cai Lin Khoo

By Jinq En Phee, Swimming World College Intern.

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spin that affects about two percent of the population, including children and adults. While some people with scoliosis may take up swimming lessons to strengthen their back muscles, other swimmers continue to excel even once they develop the condition.

Australian distance swim star Jessica Ashwood has raced in two Olympic Games while managing her S shaped spine. Malaysian Olympian Cai Lin Khoo recently underwent surgery to correct the curve she swam with competitively for two decades.

Khoo was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was eight years old. Her mom noticed that her back didn’t look the same anymore and took her to a doctor. Scoliosis runs in her family; a few of her cousins have it as well.


Photo Courtesy: Cai Lin Khoo

Despite the diagnosis, in the past 14 years, Khoo qualified for two Olympics Games, five World Championships, two Asian Games, and two Commonwealth Games. Khoo specializes in distance freestyle events, and she currently holds four individual Malaysian national records in the 200 meter freestyle, 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle and 200 meter butterfly.

Khoo learned to swim at the age of three. Her eldest sister took swim lessons to help her asthma, and Khoo tagged along to swim practices. She then started competitive swimming at the age of seven, and her passion for swimming grew stronger as she got older.

Like every other athlete, she had a dream: to be a part of the Olympic Games. “I said that when I was 12, I didn’t even know how big the Olympic Games were,” said Khoo.

When she turned 13, she became really competitive, and she was so determined to succeed in swimming that she did not allow anything to get in her way, even scoliosis. “I had a huge passion for it [the sport] and nothing was going to come in between my swimming and myself,” said Khoo.

But with a big dream comes sacrifice. In addition to constantly suffering from lower back pains, Khoo also suffered from shoulder pains too. The imbalance in her spine had definitely taken a huge toll on her shoulders. She overcompensated with one shoulder when the other side got injured, creating an injury cycle for both of her shoulders.

Due to her condition, Kho’s training regime usually differed from her teammates’. During dryland sessions or in the weight room, Khoo was limited to bodyweight exercises and exercises that didn’t require heavy lifting. Exercises like squats or deadlifts were off limits because they would only hurt her spine.


Photo Courtesy: Cai Lin Khoo

Asked if she thinks that scoliosis was a disadvantage for her compared to other swimmers, she replied, “I’ve never really looked at it as a disadvantage, because you’ll never know what other people might be suffering or going through.”

Getting a surgery to correct her spine had been on her mind since she was 16 years old. But there was only a 50 percent chance that she could make a comeback to competitive swimming scene again, so Khoo decided to delay the surgery.

Even with the decision to delay surgery, she was not going to let scoliosis interfere with her dreams. Khoo set a goal for herself. “I wanted to swim and achieve what I’ve set out to achieve before I get the surgery done,” said Khoo, and she went on and achieved that.

Earlier this year, at the age of 28, she finally decided to get the surgery done. “At some point in my life I would need to get this operation done,” she said. “Because if it don’t, it will just keep getting worse and sooner or later my internal organs and my lungs will be compressed by the curvature of my spine.”

Looking back at her swimming career, Khoo regrets nothing. Asked if she would have done anything differently, including fixing her spine first before going all out in her swimming career, she replied, “No, I wouldn’t have done anything differently because whatever I did paid off and I managed to achieve all my goals.”

Khoo took a powerful lesson away from her competitive swimming journey, “Never give up and just focus on your dreams because nobody can bring you down except yourself.”

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Pirelli gets back into cycling with new road racing tyre range

It’s been a while since Pirelli made bike tyres, but it’s back with a new range

Pirelli says that its new P Zero Velo range of road racing tyres is coming in September. It claims that the tyres are aimed at the top tier of road bikes, with different colours for different disciplines: silver for road racing, red for time trials and blue for all-season.

The famous Italian tyre maker says that it’s built on its 110 years of experience in two and four wheeled motorsports for the new tyres. The P Zero name is used on the brand’s ultra-high performance car and motorbike tyres, so its adoption for its new cycle tyres signals Pirelli’s intentions here too.

Pirelli’s cycle tyre experience goes as far back as 1909 when riders in the first ever Giro d’Italia used its tyres. And legendary champion Fausto Coppi’s Bianchi bike was equipped with Pirelli tyres too.

The Paris-Modena ride attracts some famous names each year

It’s backed its re-entry into the world of bike tyres with a glossy website showcasing the world of cycling. And its tyres have been used on the recent Paris-Modena cycle ride, which visited Pirelli’s headquarters in Milan en route to its finish at the Masarati factory in Modena.

It’s an event that has attracted other major sponsors, with Look Cycles having backed the ride since 2015 and producing a special Paris-Modena edition of its 795 Aerolight, the official bike of the event.

It will be interesting to see if Pirelli has followed the modern trends to wider tyres and tubeless-ready and whether there’s a complete range of tubulars as well as clincher tyres.

For the moment details of the new tyres are scarce, but look out for further information to emerge in advance of the September launch.

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