Elizabeth Beisel, after DQ, makes one more world team before retirement

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Elizabeth Beisel swam at her first world championships in 2007 at age 14. She’s expected to make this year’s world championships her last at age 24.

The three-time Olympian made her sixth straight world team by finishing second in the 400m individual medley at the USA Swimming Nationals, part of the TeamUSA Summer Champions Series, presented by Comcast.

Beisel actually touched the wall third, 4.69 seconds behind winner Leah Smith. She was upgraded to second — and the final world team berth — after runner-up Ella Eastin was disqualified for an illegal turn.

“Since [Beisel] was about 12 or 13, she’s been the top of USA Swimming,” Smith said on Universal HD. “I’m sad that this is her last year of swimming.”

Beisel did not dive into retirement talk Thursday but said she’s “nearing the end” and that her Speedo contract is up in December.

SWIM NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | Event Schedule/Results

Beisel, who made the team on just two months of training after a post-Rio break, regretted qualifying via DQ and said she urged Eastin to appeal.

“It’s weird for me to say that I am going to Budapest … the circumstances couldn’t be worse,” Beisel said on USA Swimming’s Deck Pass Live. “After the race [but before the DQ], I was looking at Leah, I was looking at Ella, and I was like, you guys are the future. I’m handing you the 400m IM baton.”

Beisel learned of the DQ first by looking at the scoreboard. Still in the pool, she told Eastin, a rising Stanford junior who had thought she made her first world team.

“You just see how elated she is,” Beisel said, “and you go from cloud nine to rock bottom in three seconds.”

Eastin’s last shot to make the world team comes in the 200m individual medley Saturday. She is ranked third in the U.S. this year in the event.

In other races Thursday, Olympians Kelsi Worrell and Caeleb Dressel won the 100m butterflies. Olympic silver medalist Chase Kalisz took the men’s 400m IM in 4:06.99, the fastest time in the world this year.

Kalisz is going to his third straight worlds, while Beisel is the only American swimmer to qualify for every major international meet since 2006.

She essentially took nine months off from competition after the Rio Olympics, traveling the world with eight-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt, who is believed to be retired.

“Now, at my age, I know what I can mentally and physically handle, and I’m not going to overdo it,” Beisel said on Deck Pass on Tuesday. “I know I’m not going to make the team in certain events, so I’m putting all my eggs in one basket this week [the 400m IM] with hopes that it works out. I’m what they call a one-hit wonder these days.”

Beisel was the youngest member of the U.S. team at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships (qualifying as a 13-year-old), 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics.

She earned her first world medal in 2009, then the world 400m IM title in 2011.

Both of her Olympic medals came in London, where she led the 400m IM by .81 of a second after 300 meters. But then Chinese 16-year-old Ye Shiwen went 1.77 seconds faster than Beisel on the first 50 meters of freestyle and ended up beating the American by 2.84 seconds, taking 1.02 off the world record.

Plenty of scrutiny was placed on Ye, the 2011 World 200m IM champion who chopped more than five seconds off her 400m IM personal best in London. But Beisel was not outwardly skeptical of Ye, who since London has not swum within two seconds of her since-broken world record.

“She had the race of her life,” Beisel said minutes after the London 400m IM. “Congratulations to her a million times over. It’s definitely hard getting second, but I can’t complain at all.“

Beisel later took bronze in the London 200m backstroke, sharing the podium with Missy Franklin.

In 2016, Beisel made the Olympic team by finishing second in the 400m IM at trials and then placed sixth in Rio.

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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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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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