Kelly Clark

Motivated Kelly Clark shrugs off critics after Olympic bronze

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Kelly Clark isn’t done snowboarding, not after four Olympics (three medals), 15 Winter X Games (nine medals) and more than 60 victories and 100 podium finishes.

She isn’t done, because she thinks she can still do better.

“I don’t feel like I’ve really hit my potential,” Clark said in New York last week. “I’m going to keep chasing down my dreams and chasing down the progression of my own personal riding and continuing to raise my own bar.”

Clark, 31, won bronze at the Sochi Olympics, when most predicted she would win gold.

What most didn’t see was Clark falling on all five of her practice runs and her first of two competition runs the night of the final.

She was the last rider to go on the second run and didn’t fall under that pressure. She posted a 90.75 to jump on the podium with gold medalist Kaitlyn Farrington and silver medalist Torah Bright.

“That was probably one of the greatest victories I’ve ever had,” Clark said. “My bronze medal run in Vancouver [2010] and in Sochi, it wasn’t my best snowboarding. But in the context of the events and in the situation that I was at, it took a lot more work to get those bronze medals than it did some of my X Games wins and even my Olympic gold in Salt Lake [City in 2002]. I think you value things based on what they cost you.”

You choked, she heard people say.

“If I was doing it for the medals, I would’ve quit a long time ago,” Clark responded.

She’s doing it for the same reasons as before Sochi — pursuing progression. After the Olympics, Clark rode all the way through May, including winning her seventh U.S. Open in March.

“She’s still the best, if not one of the best, easily,” U.S. snowboarding and freeskiing coach Mike Jankowski said. “The Olympics are a great event, but it’s one night.”

Clark is still perfecting her cab 1080, which she tried at a handful of events last season. The former high school tennis standout will begin the 2014-15 season at a U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo., in the first week of December.

She loves snowboarding more now than when she started. Clark spent three weeks riding in Mt. Hood, Ore., in July, then trained in Chile and just got back from more riding in Austria.

“As long as I have things that I want to learn, that’ll be what governs [how long I compete],” Clark said. “For me, the Olympics aren’t a destination. They’re simply a wonderful addition to a great snowboarding career.”

Clark’s competition this season figures to include the surprise Olympic champion Farrington and the formidable 14-year-old Chloe Kim. Kim was born three months after Clark debuted at the Winter X Games in slopestyle and snowboard cross (but not halfpipe) in 2000.

Kim finished one spot behind Clark at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships and the Winter X Games last season, but she was too young for the Olympics. Clark will go for her fifth straight X Games halfpipe gold in Aspen, Colo., in late January, which would put her one behind Shaun White‘s streak that ended last year.

“I never really look at what the other girls are going to shape my approach,” Clark said. “I look at Kaitlyn, I look at Torah, [2006 Olympic champion] Hannah [Teter] and Chloe, you get inspired by what people do, but I never look at them to shape the decisions that I make.”

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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 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.”

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