Mo Farah

Mo Farah comes to New York pursuing unfamiliar territory

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NEW YORK — A man with one million Twitter followers (twice as many as New York’s mayor), 119 Wikipedia footnotes and two Olympic gold medals went unrecognized in the Big Apple this week. Perhaps unsurprisingly so.

One group of New Yorkers made him feel welcome though. Mo Farah‘s grand arrival before Sunday’s NYC Half marathon came at P.S. 1 in lower Manhattan on Thursday.

Farah, the British distance great, the first man ever to sweep the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Olympics and World Championships in back-to-back years, jogged with about 50 elementary school students inside a gymnasium.

He’s not in London anymore. Heck, he’s not even in Portland, Ore., his training base in a state where so many U.S. runners are groomed.

At P.S. 1, Farah held a question-and-answer session with the kids. He spoke of smart choices, finding one’s talents and the epic 2000 Olympic 10,000m final between Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie and Kenyan Paul Tergat.

He then sat a table in the middle of the gym, dressed in Nike from head to toe (including a Mobot logo) and in front of posters the kids made for the occasion.

Farah answered questions from a few reporters in a row of chairs as the kids, sitting on the gym floor, looked on with varying attention spans.

What’s it like being in New York with your family?

“I can chill out,” said Farah, who could have been referencing the city’s sub-freezing, never-ending winter. “We can go to restaurants, we can push the kids, take some photos, Times Square, relax. Nobody recognizes you. If that was Piccadilly Circus in London, Leicester Square, I don’t think I could have done that.”

It’s a different experience for Farah, even from his previous visit for the 2011 NYC Half, which he won.

That victory was before he became double Olympic champion in London in 2012, repeated the feat at the 2013 World Championships and switched to marathon training this year.

Farah’s track-to-road conversion is set to be the biggest storyline in the sport before Usain Bolt and Co. herald the outdoor track season later this spring. Can the world’s greatest distance runner convert to a race four times longer than the 10,000m?

The NYC Half is a step toward Farah’s 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 13.

“From running 5K/10K to going to a marathon is completely different,” Farah said. “I”m here, on the weekend, to test myself.”

Farah, 30, trained the last two months in Kenya, home of six of the seven fastest marathoners of all time.

The training has been hard, but it’s gone well, Farah said. He’s worked not only on getting comfortable at a proper pace but also making sure he doesn’t miss drink stations — as he did in running half of last year’s London Marathon — and getting used to the specific drink he will take. Farah wouldn’t reveal its ingredients.

“When you’ve never done a marathon before, you don’t know what it’s like,” Farah said. “I don’t know what to expect.

“Am I going to be good at marathons as I was good at track? I guess we’re going to find out.”

What did he learn from training with Kenyans? That training is the hardest thing about marathon running. He’s also picked up a thing or two from his coach, the scrutinized, Havana-born Alberto Salazar. Salazar won the New York City Marathon three straight times from 1980-82.

“He’s been there, done it,” Farah said. “I believe in him. We are doing the right training. … I’m confident.”

Farah will face an accomplished field over 13.1 miles on Sunday, including two-time reigning New York City Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai (of Kenya) and top American Meb Keflezighi.

He will confer with Salazar after Sunday’s race and make adjustments — small changes, if anything, he hopes — over the next month before London. The London Marathon is one of six World Marathon Majors and hasn’t been won by a British man in 21 years.

What’s his future after the London Marathon?

Farah won’t say for sure, but he’s already committed to one post-marathon track meet, a Diamond League competition in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 11-12. The Commonwealth Games are also in Glasgow later in the summer, but Farah hasn’t decided on that yet.

“See if I’ve lost any speed, lost any strength in terms of the track,” Farah said of entering the Diamond League meet. “It would have been a whole year I had not been on the track.”

What’s bigger is 2015, a World Championships year, and 2016, an Olympic year. Could he stick to marathon running?

“If I’m good in London, then I’ll do it a couple more times,” Farah said, according to the BBC. “If not, I’ll come back to the track.”

He seemed confident he will return to a shorter distance to race Usain Bolt, a topic that’s been talked about since the London Olympics as a possible charity event.

“It will happen at some point soon,” Farah said, narrowing the distance to 500m or 600m. “I don’t know where it’s going to happen. Probably one of the big cities, but, yeah, it will hopefully happen some point.”

100-year-old man entered in USA Masters Track Championships

2020 Tour de France standings

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2020 Tour de France results for the yellow jersey, green jersey, white jersey and polka-dot jersey …

Overall (Yellow Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:05
2. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — +:59
3. Richie Porte (AUS) — +3:30
4. Mikel Landa (ESP) — +5:58
5. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — +6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED) — +7:48
8. Rigberto Uran (COL) — +8:02
9. Adam Yates (GBR) — +9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (ITA) — +14:03
13. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — +25:53
15. Sepp Kuss (USA) — +42:20
17. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +1:03:07
29. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) — +1:59:54
36. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) — +2:19:11
DNF. Egan Bernal (COL)

Sprinters (Green Jersey)
1. Sam Bennett (IRL) — 380 points
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) — 284
3. Matteo Trentin (ITA) — 260
4. Bryan Coquard (FRA) — 181
5. Wout van Aert (BEL) — 174

Climbers (Polka-Dot Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 82 points
2. Richard Carapaz (ECU) — 74
3. Primoz Roglic (SLO) — 67
4. Marc Hirschi (SUI) — 62
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) — 51

Young Rider (White Jersey)
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) — 87:20:13
2. Enric Mas (ESP) — +6:07
3. Valentin Madouas (FRA) — +1:42:43
4. Dani Martinez (COL) — +1:55:12
5. Lennard Kamna (GER) — +2:15:39

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TOUR DE FRANCE: TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage | Favorites, Predictions

Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia win Tour de France for the ages

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A Tour de France that almost didn’t happen ended up among the most exciting in the race’s 117-year history.

Tadej Pogacar, a 21-year-old Slovenian, rode into Paris on Sunday as the first man in more than 60 years to pedal in the yellow jersey for the first time on the final day of a Tour.

Let’s get the achievements out of the way: Pogacar is the first Slovenian to win the Tour, finishing with the other overall leaders behind stage winner Sam Bennett on the Champs-Elysees.

“Even if I would come second or last, it wouldn’t matter, it would be still nice to be here,” Pogacar said. “This is just the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with the words.”

He is the second-youngest winner in race history, after Henri Cornet in 1904. (Cornet won after the first four finishers were disqualified for unspecified cheating. The 19-year-old Frenchman rode 21 miles with a flat tire during the last stage after spectators reportedly threw nails on the road.)

Pogacar is the first man to win a Tour in his debut since Frenchman Laurent Fignon in 1983.

And he’s part of a historic one-two for Slovenia, a nation with the population of Houston.

Countryman Primoz Roglic, who wore the yellow jersey for nearly two weeks before ceding it after Saturday’s epic time trial, embraced Pogacar after a tearful defeat Saturday and again during Sunday’s stage.

Tasmanian Richie Porte, who moved from fourth place to third on Saturday, made his first Tour podium in his 10th start, a record according to ProCyclingStats.com. The age range on the Paris gloaming podium — more than 13 years — is reportedly the largest in Tour history.

TOUR DE FRANCE: Standings | TV, Stream Schedule | Stage By Stage

Three men on a Tour de France podium in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, each for the first time. Hasn’t been done since 2007, arguably the first Tour of a new era.

This Tour feels similarly guard-changing.

It barely got off, delayed two months by the coronavirus pandemic. Two days before the start, France’s prime minister said the virus was “gaining ground” in the nation and announced new “red zones” in the country, including parts of the Tour route.

Testing protocols meant that if any team had two members (cyclists or staff) test positive before the start or on either rest day, the whole team would be thrown out.

It never came to that. Yet the Tour finishes without 2019 champion, Colombian Egan Bernal, who last year became the first South American winner and, at the time, the youngest in more than 100 years.

Bernal abandoned last Wednesday after struggling in the mountains. His standings plummet signaled the end, at least for now, of the Ineos Grenadiers dynasty after five straight Tour titles dating to Chris Froome and the Team Sky days.

Jumbo-Visma became the new dominant team. The leader Roglic was ushered up climbs by several Jumbo men, including Sepp Kuss, the most promising American male cyclist in several years.

What a story Roglic was shaping up to be. A junior champion ski jumper, he was concussed in a training crash on the eve of what would have been his World Cup debut in 2007. Roglic never made it to the World Cup before quitting and taking up cycling years later.

As Roglic recovered from that spill in Planica, Pogacar had his sights on the Rog Ljubljana cycling club about 60 miles east. Little Tadej wanted to follow older brother Tilen into bike racing, but the club didn’t have a bike small enough.

The following spring, they found one. Pogacar was off and pedaling. In 2018, at age 18, he was offered a contract and then signed with UAE Team Emirates, his first World Tour team. The next year, Pogacar finished third at the Vuelta a Espana won by Roglic, becoming the youngest Grand Tour podium finisher since 1974.

Pogacar was initially slated to support another rider, Fabio Aru, for UAE Emirates at this year’s Tour. But his continued ascent propelled him into a team leader role.

Bernal and Roglic entered the Tour as co-favorites. After that, Pogacar was among a group of podium contenders but perhaps with the highest ceiling.

He stayed with the favorites for much of the Tour, save losing 81 seconds on the seventh stage, caught on the wrong end of a split after a crash in front of him.

“I’m not worried,” Pogacar said that day. “We will try another day.”

The next day, actually. He reeled back half of the lost time, putting him within striking distance of Roglic going into Saturday’s 22-mile time trial, the so-called “race of truth.”

Pogacar put in a performance in the time trial that reminded of Greg LeMond‘s epic finale in 1989. Pogacar won the stage by 81 seconds, greater than the margin separating second place from eighth place. Roglic was a disappointing fifth on the day, but he could have finished second and still lost all of his 57-second lead to Pogacar.

Pogacar turns 22 on Monday, but that might not add much to the celebration.

“Sorry,” he said, “but I’m not really a fan of my birthdays.”

MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

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