Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin: ‘All is fine’ with Beijing meet organizers

Leave a comment

U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin said “all is fine” with organizers of a Beijing track meet, after he previously said he was “kicked out” of the meet.

“Emotional day. All is fine with Beijing Org & I We have great relationship and look forward to being there in Aug “Worlds” & next year meet,” was tweeted from Gatlin’s private Twitter account late Tuesday night Eastern time.

Earlier Tuesday, Gatlin’s agent said the 2004 Olympic champion, five years removed from a four-year doping ban, was shut out of the meet because organizers thought Gatlin was injured, according to Reuters.

Gatlin said he initially told organizers he was unsure of competing due to a hamstring injury after he ran the fastest 100m time in the world (9.74) since August 2012 in Doha on Friday, but said he felt fine after training Monday. Nehemiah showed Reuters a Monday text message from an organizers’ representative “saying that the local organizing committee felt Gatlin should leave.”

“I was happy to stay,” Gatlin said, according to Reuters. “I’m fit and ready to run. I was cramping a lot after the fastest my body has ever run. They didn’t have any respect for me so they said: ‘You better leave,’ and they kicked me out.

“It’s crazy. I have no idea what they were thinking. I think they thought I wasn’t man enough and I might pull up in the race, or not finish it and then still ask for money.”

“But I’m not a man like that. I’m not the kind of guy to cheat people of their money or let the fans down … that’s not what I do.”

Gatlin said he would compete in the Pre Classic in Eugene, Ore., on May 30.

“I’m going to drop a bomb out there,” Gatlin said, according to Reuters.

Gatlin is a polarizing figure in track and field, a man challenging Usain Bolt for sprint supremacy but with the baggage of the doping ban and the suspicion of running his fastest times at an advanced age, 33.

“There’s nothing he can do about the criticism, the bed’s been made,” his agent, former 110m hurdles world-record holder Renaldo Nehemiah, told Reuters. “But what it does is fuel him. Not from anger, but it fuels him to combat the doubters. It gives him that extra chip on his shoulder which he can tunnel into pristine focus.

“He’s a man on a mission. He knows he has only so many races and years left so he’s making every one of them count. It’s not a distraction, it motivates him. It’s like ‘take that!'”

Gatlin’s 9.74 from Friday marked his fastest 100m time ever. He won the 2004 Olympic 100m title in 9.85 at age 22. He matched the then-world record of 9.77 in 2006, but that time was erased due to his doping ban. Gatlin’s then-coach Trevor Graham blamed a massage therapist for rubbing an illegal cream on Gatlin’s legs that caused the 2006 positive test, a claim the massage therapist denied through an attorney at the time.

Last September, Gatlin ran 9.77 again, nearly four years after his doping ban expired.

“People who aren’t students of the sport don’t realize he was a phenom before he ever got banned,” Nehemiah said, according to Reuters. “He was going to be as good as he is now, whatever.

“[Before the doping ban] He just got together with a coach [Graham] who wasn’t patient and who wanted to make a name for himself. And they also don’t realize that in the four years his body has been rested [the doping ban from 2006 to 2010] and though he might be 33, he’s like 28 years old.

“Put two and two together and they [the critics] are just very upset. … The more he wins, the more they’re disgruntled.

“He’s like the poster child for the whole sport’s ills which is unfortunate.”

Blind pole vaulter Charlotte Brown finishes third at state meet

2020 Tour de France standings

1 Comment

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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia win Tour de France for the ages

Leave a comment

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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!