23 July 2013When Chris Froome became the first African-born rider to win the Tour de France on Sunday, it came as no surprise to his first coach, who revealed that the Kenyan- born, South African-educated 28-year-old had paid his dues and more in his formative racing years in South Africa.Robbie Nilsen, a Johannesburg attorney, became Froome’s first coach when his son Rory and Froome raced on the Cycle Lab Supercycling club’s Hi-Q Academy team, the road racing youth development squad of South Africa’s largest cycling club.“Chris raced largely for fun when we first came across him on a rival youth team in 2003. He was studying a B.Com with the aim of becoming a chartered accountant, and enjoyed cycling, but it wasn’t his primary focus at that stage,” Nilsen recalled on Monday.Under-23 team“There were some changes in the youth team structures in Johannesburg at the end of that year and Chris asked if we’d consider creating an under-23 section to include him and some of his teammates at the Hi-Q Academy. We were only an under-16 and junior academy at that stage, but we felt adding some under-23s would be good for the academy as that had been the original plan.”Nilsen and Gavin Cocks, the academy sponsor, whose son Edwin was also in the squad, had decided that the South African road racing landscape was too focused on the short, flat races that are so popular in the country. Nilsen put the academy riders onto periodised training plans that focused on proper endurance and strength training. Part of that strategy had them racing for only six months per year.“This worked well because for part of the year we’d still let the riders do races, but there was no pressure on them to get podiums. This made a big difference because they got to enjoy racing and when the races were longer or harder, they were hungry for success, physically strong and they excelled,” Nilsen explained.‘A super-domestique’“It’s hard to believe now, but Chris initially struggled to finish in the main peloton in the South African races, which are mostly short (around 100km) and flat. Our first goal, when I started coaching him, was to ensure he finished in the main pack. Our next goal, because Chris is so light and not a great sprinter, was to make him a super-domestique.“He was great at this and would go off on long breaks, often solo, forcing the other teams to chase and softening the finale up for the sprinters on our squad.“We focused heavily on deep endurance in training because we knew that Chris’s future was in Europe and not in South Africa. He would train for hours and hours and hours. Always calculated training, though, not just wasted mileage. He’s a smart guy and he always wanted to know exactly how the training I prescribed would benefit him,” added Nilsen.When Froome moved on to race for the South African-based Konica Minolta team in 2007, Nilsen continued to coach him.Team Barloworld“We needed Chris to race overseas, where the races suited him better. At that time, Konica Minolta was the only South African team with an international racing programme. He did really well and from there went on to attract the attention of the Barloworld team, which was South African sponsored, but Italian based.”Froome rode his first Tour de France in 2008 on Team Barloworld. He climbed many of the big mountains with some of the sport’s best ascenders and finished 16th in the 53km individual time trial on the penultimate day.“Chris only found out 10 days before the start that he was included in Barloworld’s Tour de France team. He wasn’t properly prepared for it, but the way he rode confirmed that he was indeed destined for success in this race,” said Nilsen.“I continued to coach him when he raced for Barloworld, but when he was approached by Sky, a team with a huge budget and the best sports science backing you can get, I was happy for Chris to be guided by that kind of expertise.“We are still quite close. Chris does his own contract negotiations and sometimes bounces some things off me when he needs another opinion,” Nilsen revealed.HumilityFroome’s calm temperament and humility off the bike was commented on regularly by the media during the 2013 Tour de France.For Cocks, one of Froome’s earliest sponsors, his temperament has always been an asset and the main reason he’s so well liked.“Chris has always had great manners and so much empathy. When he stayed at our home a few years ago when Team Barloworld did a race in our part of South Africa, he would help my wife wash the dishes and always made his own bed in the morning,” Cocks said on Monday.“Watching his TV interviews during the Tour de France, where you see a quiet confidence and humility, it’s the same Chris Froome as we got to know a decade ago. He is still grounded despite his amazing success,” added Cocks.“Of all the athletes I’ve coached, Chris stands out as the most disciplined and the toughest,” Nilsen reckoned. “He knows how to manage suffering, but I always was impressed with his ability to recover rapidly, an essential quality for stage racing success.Richly deserved“His victory in the Tour de France is richly deserved. But it didn’t come easily. Chris paid his dues but never let anything obscure his progression. He chased his dream, even when it seemed out of reach to others,” Nilsen said.“When Chris joined Sky in 2010, he told me he wanted to be a Grand Tour contender within five years,” said Cocks. “The following year he was second at the Tour of Spain, then second at last year’s Tour de France. And now, he’s a Tour de France winner.“It happened a lot quicker than five years, which isn’t really surprising. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”SAinfo reporter
Photo by The Associated Press.David Ortiz, affectionately known as “Big Papi,” etched his name and nickname deeper in Boston sports lore Wednesday, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 4-2 World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.Ortiz did not even get a hit in Wednesday night’s 6-1 clincher; the Cards gave up trying to get him out, so they walked him four times, three times intentionally. But he had done enough damage in the previous five games to take the trophy.“I know I’m one of the forces for this ballgame and I like to take things personal,” he said. “And that’s been my whole career, a challenge. I wasn’t trying to be the guy, but I know I got to get something done to keep the line moving. I don’t even have to do anything (Wednesday). I guess, the rest of the team took over.”Ortiz batted .688 for the series with two home runs and five RBI in the Series. Consider that the rest of the Red Sox hit .169 with a 484 OPS and two home runs.Manager John Farrell was asked to describe Ortiz. “Well,” he said after a pause, “I’d probably rather let his bat do the talking, because it’s pretty special.”The Red Sox faithful at Fenway Park rained chants of “MVP, MVP” during each of his plate appearances Wednesday night.“He just keeps writing new chapters,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “I know great players are great, are more likely to be great in any moment but it’s hard to see him in those moments and not think that there’s something different about him. He’s locked in. We’ve seen him locked in before but to do it on this stage, and do it in so many big moments, I can’t add anything more to the legend that’s already there, but he keeps writing more chapters on his own.”Ortiz’s .760 on-base percentage and batting average were the second-highest in Series history, trailing only Billy Hatcher’s marks of .800 and .750 in 1990 for Cincinnati.“This guy’s unbelievable,” St. Louis catcher Yadler Molina said on Fox audio.
Mozilla’s Nightly version of Firefox began a two-week experiment Monday that blocks all notification requests unless the browser user has clicked or typed something into the site. Stephen Shankland/CNET Chances are that when a website pop-up asks your permission to send you notifications, you don’t want to grant it. That’s a problem Firefox and Chrome engineers have begun trying to fix.Website notifications can be useful, for example, when you want your web-based calendar to alert you to an upcoming meeting or when an important message arrives on your web-based chat. But a monthlong Mozilla test found people using the beta version of its Firefox browser denied that request 97 percent of the time.That’s why Mozilla and Google are exploring ways to block notification permission requests until some kind of action on the website offers a better indication that we’re likely to be receptive rather than ticked off.Mozilla’s Nightly version of Firefox began a two-week experiment Monday that blocks all notification requests unless the browser user has clicked or typed something into the website, Firefox engineer Johann Hofmann said in a blog post. And Google is “looking into many strategies to tamp down on this,” including monitoring our engagement with websites before permitting the request, Chrome standards guru Alex Russell tweeted Sunday.The moves reflect the difficulties of adapting the web from its initial design as a repository of static documents into a foundation for apps. A dynamic web is great for things like messaging and social networks, but the interactivity means it’s harder for websites to strike the right balance between powerful and pushy. That’s especially true given the famously aggressive ethos popular in Silicon Valley that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.It’s common for websites to ask you for permission to show notifications, but most of the time those requests aren’t welcome. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET But while browser makers have been keen to dial up the web’s power, they don’t like seeing it abused. One website might benefit every now and then when one of us agrees to its notifications or newsletter offer or survey. But overall, those requests are clutter that degrades the web with interruptions between us and what we actually hoped to see when we clicked that link to a site.Browsers are getting a more explicit ability to run apps — called progressive web apps, or PWAs — and notifications are a central part of that technology. But the notification technology predates the PWA movement’s effort to avoid spammy website behavior, Russell said. A Chrome crackdown would try to fix that, he said.”My current starting place is to make push notifications a feature of super high engagement score,” Russell tweeted. “Basically [if] it isn’t installed as a PWA, [website developers] won’t get the ability to ask.”Website developers may not be happy about that, but browsers are getting more assertive these days acting on behalf of us. Reading modes cut website clutter; Safari, Brave and Firefox are blocking technology that publishers and advertisers use to track us around the web; Brave blocks ads by default; and browsers for years have blocked pop-up ads.And last year, Firefox got an option that allows you to block all requests for website notifications. That option isn’t protecting people by default, Hofmann said.Mozilla also plans a second two-week test that shows Firefox Nightly users an address bar indication that, if clicked, will show the notification permission request.It’s not yet clear how the permission requests will look in the future, but it’s a good bet you’ll be seeing fewer pop-ups as browsers crack down on what Hoffman called “permission spam.” He encouraged website owners to restrain themselves in asking for notification permission for their own benefit.Not only did Firefox beta users dismiss 97 percent of such prompts, but 19 percent of the time they triggered people to leave the site immediately. That doesn’t sound like anybody’s idea of user engagement. Chrome Firefox Tags Share your voice 10 Software Comments
Mamata BanerjeeWest Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of the Assam is an insult to Bangladesh.Speaking at the office of her party All India Trinamool Congress in New Delhi on Wednesday, she said, “BJP is trying to say that all Bangladeshis are infiltrators. That’s not true. Neither is Bangladesh an illegal country, nor is she a nation that patronises terrorism.”Mamata went to New Delhi on Monday to gather support against the BJP move. “Bangladesh is our friend. The issues concerning the NRC will have a negative impact on the country. It’s a lie that those 4 million people who have been left out of the NRC have come from Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a friend. Such words against her will create big problems. The number of infiltrators is very low. But how did they get in here? It’s the responsibility of the BSF who are under the central government,” said the WB chief minister.”Forcing millions of Bangla speaking people saying that they are Bangladeshis is very wrong. We in both the Bengals speak Bangla. Is that a crime? During the partition, many fled Pakistan and came to India. People came here from Nepal as well. What BJP is doing in the name of NRC gives us the impression that anyone who is not a voter for them will be labelled ‘foreigners’. If this continues, we will see bloodshed,” warned Mamata.Mamata has earmarked the NRC issue as a catalyst for her initiative to form an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the next general election. As part of the campaign, she met former Indian prime minister HD Deve Gowda and his son HD Kumaraswamy, who is now the chief minister of Karnataka.Mamata met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday evening while she has sent an eight-member Trinamool Congress delegation to Assam on a two-day visit.The West Bengal chief minister also held meetings with veteran lawyer and former BJP leader Ram Jethmalani, former India finance minister Yashwant Sinha and stranged BJP lawmaker Shatrughan Sinha. Mamata said she believed other political parties that are against the NRC should also sent delegations to Assam.Her party is organising a mass rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on 19 January and Mamata has urged all opposition parties to join the programme to strengthen the anti-BJP movement.
Houston-native technology billionaire Michael Dell, who founded Dell Technologies, and his wife, Susan Dell, have launched the Rebuild Texas Fund to help disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The goal is to raise $100 million by the end of the Labor Day weekend they announced on Friday.The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation will contribute $18 million initially and match another $18 million as donations come in, The New York Times published on Friday. The gift is the largest donation to date aimed at recovery efforts, the Times said. So far, Verizon has pledged $10 million and Toyota $3 million. The Rebuild Texas Fund will be run with the OneStar Foundation, which coordinates charitable work in Texas. ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos Share