|Tech Features Road MTB Cyclocross Track News Photos Feedback|
Edited by John Stevenson
Graeme Obree -- the extraordinary Scottish cyclist who twice held the world hour record in the early 90s -- attempted to commit suicide just before Christmas, the Daily Record newspaper has revealed.
36 year old Obree -- who his doctors believe has been suffering from severe bipolar disorder and rapid mood swing disorder since he was 19 -- was found hanging from the rafters of a barn in a farm near his home in Irvine, Scotland.
Obree cannot remember the attempt, according to his wife Anne who spoke about the near-tragedy to the daily Record yesterday. "All he can recall is going to see his psychiatrist at lunchtime that day.
"He can't remember cycling to the farm, and has no recollection of feeling like doing what he did, or actually doing it. All he remembers is waking up in a big white room and looking at me.
"He didn't even know he was in intensive care, or why he was there, until I told him."
Obree had ridden up to the farm where Anne kept her horse to feed the animal while she looked after one of their two sons, who was ill with a stomach bug. She became worried when he had not returned by the evening and drove to the farm to look for him.
"I got there in time to see Graeme being carried into the ambulance," she said. "He was unconscious. Apparently, the farmer's daughter had found him hanging from the rafters. Her dad cut him down and the ambulance rushed him to hospital."
Obree was diagnosed three years ago with bipolar disorder (sometimes inaccurately known as manic depression) after years of violent mood swings. His doctors believe that only the endorphins released in the brain by strenuous exercise helped to keep the illness at bay during his racing years, but he has not been training as hard since an accident last year. It's also possible a recent change in medication was a factor, according to Anne Obree,
Cyclingnews wishes Graeme a speedy recovery and hopes he and his family are able to come to terms with this debilitating condition.
Cyclingnews would like to thank all the people from around the world who took the time to vote in our first Readers Poll. We've had a few emails about the results (thanks, Chris), with some Europeans clearly baffled at the selection of some riders.
At the same time, our poll required voters to think there was no series of multiple choice buttons where you simply clicked and made an anonymous vote.
Cycling is one of those sports where the appreciation and understanding of the spectators is heightened by the experience of actual participation. How else would the crowds know what it's like to suffer on a climb, to encourage the riders as they battle exhaustion? The poll was simply our way of letting this global community of passionate cycling fans have their say.
While it has to be said that one of our team, online editor Jeff Jones, would have a certain career as a cycling bookmaker, given his uncanny ability to tip winners, we don't line the roads for hours to catch a glimpse of the action lasting seconds (although we all have), we drive in cars or hang about in press centres.
Can any real conclusions be drawn from the Readers Poll? Considering the majority of readers live in the USA, it would explain why American riders polled extremely well in some categories, without detracting from Lance Armstrong's extraordinary one-two win in the Ride of the Year category. It was his ride in stage 10 of the TdF ("the look") that won that category. But from my point-of-view, it was stage 13 that was most impressive: Jalabert in a brave attack, chased by USPS and Telekom. Lance rode past former team-mate's Fabio Casartelli's monument, waited for Ullrich after he went over the armco, regained the maillot jaune and proved without any doubt that jersey belonged on his shoulders. One day had it all.
The other conclusion is that the poll confirmed our previous research: most of you cycle all year-round (if weather permits) and follow the sport through all its seasonal disciplines, which was reflected in the selection of the German legend, Erik Zabel, taking our Rider of the Year category. Zabel is the consumate professional who above everything else, loves racing his bike. With a season that started in Milan San Remo, a record sixth green jersey in the Tour, he then finished the Vuelta (three stage wins), took fifth in the Worlds, then hit the boards to bag Six Day wins.
The real awards in cycling do not come from Web sites or publications; rather, they come in forms ranging from a chunk of pave attached to a timber base and presented in the Roubaix velodrome, to a yellow jersey, or rainbow jersey, which is not paid for in the local bike shop, but presented at the end of the world's toughest races. And it is the competition in the races which creates the spectacle and gives meaning to the win. Congratulations and thanks to all riders (and the weather) for providing a great year of racing.
(About the numbers: Compared to a online competition where we give-away a bike or set of wheels, the numbers of votes we received was much smaller and represented less than two per cent of our weekly visitors. The total number counted was 1,559, while the number received was much higher. Prior to compiling the results, we eliminated all the duplicate and anonymous votes where people did not identify themselves. As we said in the voting form no name, no vote. Why? Simply to try as best we can to avoid any vote-stacking, as they say in political circles.)
Fotoreporter Sirotti was at the Rolling Stone nightclub, Milan Wednesday for the launch of Mario Cipollini's Acqua&Sapone team and controversial new team strip. See our latest photos page for more pics of this star-infested event that was also attended by soccer star Ronaldo and mountain bike goddess Paolo Pezzo.