Tour de France Winner Tested Positive for Doping

The UCI announced the suspension of threefold Spanish cycling professional Alberto Contador, the Tour winner of 2010’s race. Contador tested positive for illegal substance of Clenbuterol. And he might lose his Tour victory credentials. His suspension will last 2 years. Why should we sound surprised? It's happened before.

UCI announced the suspension of threefold Spanish cycling professional Alberto Contador.

Alberto Contador, the Tour winner of 2010’s race. Contador tested positive for illegal substance of Clenbuterol. And he might lose his Tour victory credentials. His suspension will last 2 years.

The suspension comes just before the World Cycling Championships in Australia in which Alberto Contador will not compete.

Alberto Contador was tested during a day of rest on 21 July 2010 in the French town of Pau. Clenbuterol is mainly used to treat horse for asthma like symptoms.

The Tour de France is the most prestigious bicycle race in the world, it is yearly held in France with the finish line at the Champs-Elysees. The winner can foresee a lifelong place in the cycling hall of fame. Contador and his Astana team placed himself three times on the top of the leader boards.
Three weeks of continues bicycling, every summer the Tour de France brings joy to bicycles race enthusiasts from all around the world. An almost inhumane exercise which leads to illegal use of substances forbidden to be used by competitors during the event.
It was not the first time the Tour medical committee took away the title from the winner, in 2006 Floyd LandisFloyd Landis had to give back his Tour the France trophy. Also Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong was tested positive, but contra expertise proved UCI wrong and he was able to keep his titles.

Freddie Flintoff calls it a day...

England's Andrew Flintoff, regarded as one of the finest all-rounders of the game, on Thursday announced his retirement from international cricket, bringing down the curtains on a 12-year career which was marked by nagging injuries and controversies.

The 32-year-old Flintoff, who had announced his retirement from Test cricket after the 2009 Ashes triumph in the Oval Test, decided to quit all forms of the game with immediate effect because of a long-standing knee injury.

Flintoff, who played 79 Tests and compiled 3845 runs (ave 31.77) and claimed 226 wickets, was considered one of the most talented cricketers to emerge from England in recent times though there were some critic who felt he did not justify his immense potential.

In 141 one-dayers, Flintoff scored 3394 runs (ave 32.01) and took 169 wickets while he featured in seven Twenty20s claiming five scalps.

His achievements in the cricket field were at times overshadowed by a series of controversies, which ranged from waving his shirt during England's 2001-02 India tour to the infamous pedalo incident during the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

After quitting Test cricket, Flintoff underwent a series of knee surgeries and hoped to return to action this season, but that was ruled out last month.
The Lancashire cricketer then aimed for Twenty20 stints in Australia and the Indian Premier League, where he plays for Chennai Superkings.

But Flintoff didn't have any option but to quit after the latest meeting with his surgeon, who told him that his body won't be able to stand the wear and tear of cricket any more.

"It is with both disappointment and sadness that I am today announcing my retirement from all forms of cricket," said Flintoff."

The decision to end my career came yesterday after consultation with medical advisers. I was told that the problems I have been trying to overcome in re-hab for the last year following the latest in a series of operations would not recover sufficiently to allow a comeback.

"Having been told that my body would no longer stand up to the rigours of cricket, I had no alternative but to retire," he added.

Flintoff said he would take a break before deciding his future engagements.

"I would like to thank my family, Lancashire Cricket Club, England, all my sponsors, friends and advisers for all the help and support they have given me throughout my career.

"Last, but by no means least, I am indebted to the encouragement and support I have always received from England's magnificent supporters. I will now be taking a break before deciding which future direction to take," he said.

Flintoff made his Test debut in 1998 against South Africa at Trent Bridge. In 2000 he hit 135 in the quarterfinals of the Natwest Trophy against Surrey. But his fitness started becoming an issue with England's management making it clear they were unhappy with his weight.

Flintoff soon responded with a 42 not out in a ODI match against Zimbabwe on his home ground at Old Trafford and collected the Man of the Match award.

In 2001, he lost his England place but he remodelled his bowling action and gained a place on the 200102 India tour. He flopped with the bat during the Tests, but the ODI series proved to be a turninng point in his career.

Entrusted with bowling the final over with India needing 11 to win, he ran out Anil Kumble and bowled Javagal Srinath with successive balls to win the match and took off his shirt in celebration, his was repeated by former India skipper Sourav Ganguly at Lords during the NatWest series.

In 2002 he also scored his maiden Test century but by the end of the year, averaged just 19 with the bat and 47 with the ball.

In the summer of 2003, Flintoff scored a century and three fifties in the five-Test series against South Africa at home, and continued to excel on the tour of the West Indies in March and April 2004 and was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year.

Although injury prevented him from bowling, he was called into the England squad as a specialist batsman for the 2004 NatWest ODI Series against New Zealand and the West Indies and he responded by scoring two consecutive centuries in the series and hitting seven sixes in one innings.

In February 2006, Flintoff was named captain of the England team for the first Test match against India. His contributions with both bat and ball ensured that he was named as the player of the series.

Flintoff continued to captain England during the seven ODIs in India, although he was rested for two matches. But a recurrence of his long-term ankle problem in May 2006 forced him to miss both the ODI series against Sri Lanka and the first Test against Pakistan.

He was thus ruled out for the entire series against Pakistan after it was learnt that Flintoff's rehabiltation had not been sufficient to quell the injury, and that further surgery would be required.

Despite injury concerns, Flintoff was later named for the ICC Champions Trophy, where he played as a specialist batsman, not as an all-rounder.

The zenith of Flintoff's career was the 2005 Ashes, in which he starred with bat and ball to topple the Australians and win back the urn after an 18-year hiatus.

Flintoff returned as captain of the England team for the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia but it turned out to be a humiliating one as his side suffered five straight losses and thus lost the Ashes.

Flintoff was also no stranger to controversies and was once involved in an incident with water and a pedalo.

After England's loss to New Zealand in the 2007 World Cup, Flintoff fell off a pedalo and got into difficulties in the water early on Saturday morning following a drinking session. He was soon sacked as England vice-captain and banned for the Canada World Cup game.

In February 2009, the Chennai Super Kings of the Indian Premier League bought Flintoff for USD 1,550,000, making him the highest-ever-paid IPL player, alongside compatriot Kevin Pietersen.

However, Flintoff did not find success at the tournament, held in South Africa after the Mumbai attacks, as after a difficult first few matches he was sent home for surgery following another knee injury.

Andrew Flintoff - we all wish you well in whatever the future holds for you and thank you for all the entertainment that you gave to us.

Can Man City follow Chelsea?

As long as the owners of Manchester City continue to back their manager, the club will be champions fairly quickly as long as the manager is good enough. Ordinarily spending guarantees little, but spending when everyone else is saving looks a far more potent tactic.

Whether Roberto Mancini is good enough in this division remains to be seen. Rafa Benitez was able to win titles in Spain but not England, Phil Scolari was a world beater outside England and so on - pedigree in other countries provides no guarantee. So a heavy defeat of a Liverpool team in transition (not necessarily decline) proves little in that respect. With so many players looking to force their way into the team it would be more surprising if City had played with less obvious verve.

But given economic realities, it is a case of when and not if City will be champions. Based on the Chelsea model from Roman Abramovich's takeover in 2003 then it seems reasonable to suggest that City will be expecting to move up a couple of places this season - before another change of manager yields the title in 2011/12.

When Roman Abramovich bought out Chelsea in 2003, he took over a team that had edged past Liverpool on the final day of the season to finish fourth under the Italian manager Claudio Ranieri. Much of the upsurge in Chelsea's fortunes over the previous decade had been debt financed and this was dealt with in the £140m purchase. Abramovich's largesse in the summer of 2003 ran to further transfer spending of about £120m on eight players. Damien Duff for a then club record £17 million, English youngsters Wayne Bridge, Joe Cole, and Glen Johnson, Argentine pair Juan Sebastián Verón (£15m even after a poor time in Manchester) and Hernán Crespo, Frenchman Claude Makélélé and Romanian star Adrian Mutu.

In many ways the Chelsea situation in 2003 can be equated to Manchester City in 2010. In both cases previous transfer debts were dealt with and that left a squad that looked like a solid top six team - but a further £120m or so transfer spending spree turned them into a team capable of being champions.

Many people have since equated the summer 2003 Chelsea situation to the summer of 2009 when Mark Hughes was manager at City, but given Chelsea's higher squad start point a more appropriate connection can be made to this year. In 2008/9 City finished in 10th place - so it would be inappropriate to compare a mid-table team to a top four team.

In Chelsea's case Ranieri took Chelsea into the Champions' League semi-final and into second place in the league in 2003/4. It was clear that he was going to be sacked even before the league season had finished - and it must have been hard on Ranieri knowing that his team was still improving when it was already at such a high base. Jose Mourinho arrived and spent another large chunk in making Chelsea the dominant domestic club for a couple of years and providing a high baseline that other have benefited from.

So in all probability the long Manchester City trophy drought is nearly over, with belts still being tightened domestically it must be an odds-on shot that City will be champions in the next three years. Although there is a possibility of the title this season, I suspect more strengthening from the higher ground of a Champions' League qualification next summer will deliver the title in 2012.

So will City be champions this year or next year or will they fall short... or will it be Manchester United or Chelsea again?

World Cup singer dies at 34

Opera tenor Siphiwo Ntshebe, who had been asked by Nelson Mandela to sing at the opening of the World Cup has died at age 34 of bacterial meningitis.

Ntshebe had been asked by the Nobel Peace Prize winner to sing a song called ”Hope” at the June 11 opening ceremony of the World Cup in Johannesburg.

He was preparing for rehearsals when he contracted meningitis and was admitted to Livingstone Hospital in his hometown of Port Elizabeth, where he died.

”This is such a sad, tragic story,” said Sony Music Entertainment chief executive officer Keith Lister, according to the Sapa news agency.

“Within days of realising his dreams he was struck down like this. It is a great loss. For someone who has worked as hard as he has, who has trained, and then to have it taken away right at the moment of the acknowledgement of his talent and success...”

Ntshebe had just finished recording an album containing a spoken message from Mandela. He had signed a multi-album deal with Epic.

The “Hope” track has already been included on the official World Cup album, set for worldwide release.

Siphiwo is a true South Africa World Cup legacy, gone too soon. May his spirit lead us to 11th June 2010.
May his soul rest in peace and may Siphiwo‘s spirit of hope centre us all,” said Lebo M, producer of the World Cup opening ceremony.
. The Official Website of Siphiwo Ntshebe.

Top 10 players that may miss out on World Cup 2010

The squads for the teams involved in the World Cup have now been announced and there are some notable absentees. Here is my top 10 picks of players that should have made it to World Cup 2010 but somehow failed to.

No 10. Rio Ferdinand
England have confirmed that their captain Rio Ferdinand is out of the World Cup with a knee injury and Tottenham Hotspur's Michael Dawson has been called up as a replacement

No 9. Alexandre Pato
The Brazilian striker narrowly misses out on Dunga’s 23 man team after failing to rediscover his fine early season form for AC Milan. Quick and incisive, the diminutive forward would have hoped to go to the World Cup 2010 and make a name for himself just like another young Brazilian compatriot, Ronaldo, did 8 years ago. With age on his side, waiting another 4 years will be scant consolation for Pato.
No 8. Adriano
Another Brazilian striker to have faced the chop. Adriano is in the mould of a big burly target man and it wasn’t too long ago that he was terrorizing defences in Italy’s Serie A. Unfortunately, he seems to have suffered emotional setbacks and has lost interest in the game. A transfer to the less demanding Brazilian league has also not worked out for him. I guess he will not be feeling too sad at missing out on World Cup 2010 then.

No 7. Alessandro Del Piero

The little Italian has graced countless major tournaments for the Azzuri. However, he seems to only perform at club level for Juventus and has never really set the world stage alight. He will not get another chance now, as the Italians have lost patience with their maestro.
No 6. Michael Ballack

The German captain got injured in the FA cup final for Chelsea and has been ruled out of World Cup 2010. Despite not being as influential as he once was, Ballack has enormous fighting spirit and tones of experience that would have served Germany well.

No 5. Ruud Van Nistlerooy
The Dutch scoring legend was a surprise omission from Holland’s World Cup team. With 33 goals in 64 international appearances, his knack of finding the net will be sorely missed at World Cup 2010. Not to worry, Dutch fans will be treated to the comparable finishing ability of Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt, oh, wait a minute…

No 4. Michael Owen

After bursting onto the World Cup scene 12 years ago with a fine solo effort against Argentina, Owen has struggled with an abundance of hamstring problems. Now a lot older, and slower, Owen will still be missed due to his boyish good looks and England's lack of a prolific strike partner to Wayne Rooney.

No 3. David Beckham

The poster boy of world football is injured and misses what is his final chance at a World Cup appearance. Despite retaining his good looks, his skill levels have gone downhill with age. That will hardly stop female fans asking “Where’s Beckham” in June though.

No 2. Francesco Totti

Roma fans adore their captain and for good reason. When he plays, they win. Too bad his ego is as inflated as all the balloons you will see at World Cup 2010. The tournament will not be graced by his leadership qualities nor his thunderous long range shooting. Italy’s coach Marcelo Lippi obviously thinks these are small sacrifices in comparison to squeezing his big head on the plane to South Africa.

No 1. Ronaldinho
Still only 30, the former World player of the year is a massive talent. Too bad that in recent times he tends to prefer the ladies to showcasing his skills with a football. Very sad news too for fans around the world because; if he was up to it he could have dazzled World Cup 2010.

Euro 2012 Draw

The World Football Cup is due to start soon and yet we have another competition on the horizon.

For all you Euro footie fans the draw has taken place an the suspense is now over.
The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, will be the 14th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by UEFA. The final tournament will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July 2012.

The joint Poland/Ukraine bid was chosen by UEFA's Executive Committee on 18 April 2007, in Cardiff, Wales. This bid defeated the other shortlisted bids from Italy and Croatia/Hungary, becoming the third successful joint bid for the European Championship, after those of Belgium/Netherlands, for Euro 2000, and Austria/Switzerland for Euro 2008.
This will be the last European Championship finals in which only 16 nations will participate, with Euro 2016 being the first European Championship finals with 24 competing nations. Qualification for the final tournament will be staged between September 2010 and November 2011.

The groups are as follows:-
Group A: Germany, Turkey, Austria, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
Group B: Russia, Slovakia, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND, FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra
Group C: Italy, Serbia, NORTHERN IRELAND Slovenia, Estonia, Faroe Islands
Group D: France, Romania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Belarus, Albania, Luxembourg
Group E: Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, San Marino
Group F: Croatia, Greece, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Malta
Group G: ENGLAND, Switzerland, Bulgaria, WALES, Montenegro
Group H: Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Iceland
Group I: Spain, Czech Republic, SCOTLAND Lithuania, Liechtenstein

So England are in one of the smallest groups and have a favourable draw and have managed to avoid some difficult countries. Just like the World Cup draw, Fabio Capello will be happy with the other teams in the same group. The other home nations have difficult groups but could do well and perhaps qualify through the play-offs.
The Official Euro 2012 website address is: