Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Fantasy Team Sky Press Conference

Dave Brailsford: Good morning. I've called you all here today to address the ongoing controversy surrounding Team Sky, namely, how the !@#$ did we ever think giving Richie Porte his own team bus was gonna help him win the (aide bends, whispers in ear)--oh right, that doping/Jiffy bag/motor !@#$.

First, I'd like to say--well, !@#$, at least we're not as bad as Discovery was under Armstrong, right? (aide bends, whispers in ear) We are? !@#dammit! Uh, second, I'd like to say that there is absolutely nothing suspicious about throwing a black bag over a team employee's head, dragging him into a windowless van with 6 to 8 jack-booted thugs in face-masks, blasting thumping Euro club dance music at top volume for 14 hours so he can't hear where he's going, then dumping him in a filthy London alley with an unmarked package with a note to deliver it an unused Victorian-era mailbox in Bull!@#$-on-Liarsville.

Owain Doull: I just wanna reiterate that we're all 110% behind Dave Brailsford. When Brian Cookson commandeers a tank and !@#$in' squashes him with it, ha ha!

Chris Froome: Uh, I think I met that guy once. Maybe.

Jess Varnish: You know, for months I've been testifying quite credibly regarding British cycling that-- (Brailsford interrupts angrily) Hey, lassie, didn't you see that "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" sign on the door?! We said, no girls allowed!

Dave Brailsford (continuing): Third, I'd like to comment on the entirely spurious allegations that Team Sky uses motors on its bicycles. A, that button Froome keeps pushes on his top tub is just a buzzer to ask his soigneur to kindly bring him a hanky to wipe off the urine that was just thrown on him and to fetch a refreshing gin & tonic. B, that's not a "motor", that's a pile of wires connected to a generator connected to a ring-tailed lemur we've hopped up on 50 ounces of cocaine then crammed in there with one of those hamster wheels to artificially increase the riders' speed going up the climbs. Plus, the blazing orange color showing up on UCI heat-detectors means it's really *cool* and *non-motory* in there, not *hot* from a *motor*.

Finally, I want to affirm Team Sky's unimpeachable commitment to clean sport, including the unrestricted use of tramadol, bogus TUEs, kenacort, cold medicine, malaria remedies, medicinal herbs, stimulants, downers, cough syrup, cortisone, menstrual-cramp tinctures, rhino tranquilizers, very strong tea and crumpets, liver-crushing quantities of wood alcohol, and, of course, giant boner pills. I told you it's all in the training and nutrition! We also use (aide drags him away from microphone, into hallway) gummy bears, like Sagan! And Easter candy! Marginaaal Gaaaaaaiiiiiinnnnssss!

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Yer Unwritten Rules o' the Peloton, Revisited!

All right, as the recent smackdown between Kittel & Grivko so amply demonstrated, it's !@#damn etiquette chaos in the peloton right now, so before we all devolve into thievery, cannibalism, and chamois-snapping, I say it's about freakin' time to lay down some serious rules. Disagree, especially if yer a pro who's not just talking out of his/her !@# like I am? Have at, Miss Manners!

1. The Golden Rule: Do Not Be a Punk-Ass. If yer own mom'd spit on you and disown you for shaming the family, back off whatever weasel scumbag move yer about to pull. This goes for you too, Valverde!

2. Golden Rule, Part Deux: Do Not Be a Wuss. This, as dear reader(s) have pointed out, is bike racing. If Rui Costa'd rip yer stem off and start beating the crap out of you with it for some simpering passive-aggression, back off!

3. The Leader's Jersey, Part Un: Respect the Jersey. The leader sets the rules, dictates the pace at non-critical junctures, calls nature breaks, and doles out mercy or hellfire. But only within limits, because...

4. The Leader's Jersey, Part Deux: this goes both ways (hear me, Marcel)? Don't call a nature break halfway up Alpe d'Huez just because yer legs are crap and you know some !@#$wit with a motor--uh, Valver--uh, somebody stronger is gonna destroy your GC hopes like Godzilla on Tokyo, don't take undue advantage of someone else's misfortune, and don't, in general, be a !@#$. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, get it?

5. Sucker-Punching (A Fan): sure, you might not like that publicity-slutting asshat running next to you screaming their heads off in a neon banana-hammock, combination baseball hat/Texas longhorns, or a (wholly unjustified) syringe costume and accusatory sign, but if s/he ain't interfering with your line, endangering your wheel with a flag, or imminently tossing a large dog or small child in yer path, save the energy, honey, and let it go. On the other hand, if someone throws urine at you--and you're sure it's not just an ill-aimed, if well-intentioned, attempt to toss you a beer--I say, justice dealt!

6. Sucker-Punching (A Fellow Rider): Don't use it to screw someone over in a sprint. If some reckless selfish dipwad is jacking *your* line in the last 100 meters, though, fair game. And if you're Bernard !@#$ing Hinault, you can punch anyone at any time for any reason. Why, *you* want to tell him he can't?

7. Attacking (Flat Due to Natural Road Debris): look, happens to everyone. If you're just some schmo, no-one's attacking you anyway. If you're ten seconds apart on GC, particularly if it happens on a crucial climb, keep your pace, but no need to be a wanker about it. Caveat: no brownnosing peloton-powerhouse former teammates by staying with 'em for half an hour while the team you're supposed to be riding for gets hosed. And no running up the hill like a jack!@#!

8. Attacking (Flat Due to Pile of Tacks Deliberately Strewn by Some Malevolent Nutwhack): Not only should you not attack if you're the only sod lucky enough to get through it unscathed--which only rewards the scumbag, imho--but this possibly one of those instance where the Sucker-Punch (Fan) protocol applies. You endanger the riders, you takes your chances!

9. Bottles (Giving): Got an extra bottle riding next to someone who's obviously in croaking distress with no team car in sight? Nice to pass it along. Just don't accidentally hand over one with whatever sketchy drug-positive internet "nutritional supplement" you're scamming!

10. Bottles (Throwing): Over the head and/or to the side. Not skittering under somebody's wheel to take 'em down! This goes doubly for musettes: toss it into somebody's wheel and you've probably cost 'em the stage, the podium, or, even worse, some major collarbone surgery when they jackknife into the tarmac. And they'll remember you, pal!

11. Nature Breaks: Don't attack on a real one. It's weak, and the entire peloton will justifiably hate you. About three more water bottles in, you'll likely find that out for yourself! For calls necessarily heeded while on the fly, with perhaps the balancing assistance of a discreet teammate, for god's sake stay to the back and off to the side, so you don't let it rip on the poor bastard behind you!

12. Extreme Weather Protocol: Know you game-changingly suck in the wind/cold/snow/rain/dessicating heat, and your GC rivals don't? Well, it's really nice that UCI's decided no-one should actually have major limbs drop off from frostbite, but don't take advantage of your lack of hardman skills and whine at the organizers til they cancel the stage just so you can gain a leg up. Why? Because you're a *cyclist*, dammit, and Marianne Vos eats blizzards for breakfast and spits 'em back out as snow-cones for the kiddos while you're still cowering in your hotel room in your down bathrobe, you wuss!

13. And Finally, Yer Miscellaneous Post-Race Commandment: If you say you're gonna retire, *retire* fer chrissakes! This applies without exception to Brad Wiggins, but not to, say, Purito, whose glaring absence from the peloton has already left an atom-crushing black whole from which no light or matter can escape. And this includes any stupid !@#$ like reality-show long-jumping/bull-fighting/extreme curling or whatever the !@#$% you're doing lately, Wiggo!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

It's Yer 2017 Year In Preview (Yeah, You Read Right)!

Look, we all know the pro-cycling wreck-o-rama that was the dearly, and just, departed 2016. But what's gonna happen *this* year? Read, dear reader(s), and learn!

January: Team Kits-o-Rama! Glum Contador shows off jersey with huge portrait of Vincenzo Nibali, words "We'd Rather Have Nibs" in neon yellow under it; Astana eschews traditional team kit in favor of full-body tattoos of whatever crazy-!@# !@#$'s gotten into Vinokourov's head that day; Tour of Qatar cancelled, number of fans on roadside remains exactly the same.

February: Time for the hard men! Boonen calmly eats cobblestones as cereal for breakfast at check-in, spits out remnants next to team bus, entire onlooking peloton gives up, packs up, goes home; commentators at loss with entire peloton dressed in black kit, start randomly assigning names like "Willy Wonka" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" to winners at line, enraging team bosses;

March: It's the Race to the Sun! Richie Porte blows prestigious Paris-Nice three-peat by domestiquing Chris Froome instead; Cancellara watches Milan-Sanremo from living room couch in underwear, drinking beer, eating nachos, wins by 24 minutes.

April: Paris-Roubaix "extreme weather protocol" invoked on new climb, Boonen, Sagan already frozen, excavated from blocks of ice 10,000 years later by next evolution of hominids; Philippe Gilbert returns to 2011 winning form at Ardennes Classics, takes--!@#$, Valverde, what are you *on*?; revitalized UCI reveals first doping bust of season as 4 year old Emma Smith of Maple Grove Pre-School popped for illegal juice-box use during last 5 yards of schoolyard bike race, banned from UCI competition for life.

May: What else? It's the 100th Giro d'Italia! Superfit Nibali poised to take 100th Giro after Landa, Quintana, Chaves kidnapped, force-fed typical bloated American fast-food diet until race bikes snap under new-gained weight; Landa catches bilharzia when Froome visits hotel to cheer on the guys, resultant energy burst from 24/7 vomiting, gut-wrenching meds gives Mikel the podium in Milan. Forza Mikeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

June: Pre-Tour prep begins! Froome falls off bike on training ride, bike completes circuit of Mallorca at top speed without rider, Froome avers "it's just a little brake lever problem"; Sky courier mistakenly delivers unlabeled package to Cofidis, entire squad promptly loses 40/kg each; women's peloton protests total !@#$ing lack of comparable races, rewarded with opportunity to ride the guys' bikes for them before each Grand Tour stage to work out any mechanical issues.

July: Uh, what else? It's the Giant Golden Clown Show! Bouhanni socks Cav in sprint finish, Cav wins when chews Nacer's wheel off, causing Bouhanni to crash at line; giant inflatable 1k banner collapses, beans dimwit tourist sticking camera right out into barreling peloton, saves 30 riders from career-ending injuries; Contador victor in Paris, Oleg Tinkov drunk-rushes final podium in yellow tutu, feathered headdress, pointe shoes, yelling "DANCE WITH ME ALBERTO, MY PRINCE!"

August: Oh, thank God, the Vuelta begins! Purito unretires at last minute, Chaves, Valverde, Quintana preemptively concede defeat; Dumoulin actually melts into tarmac in Basque mountains, disappears; total disrespectful !@#holes at UCI demand Vuelta be rescheduled til "some !@#ty week in February" to accommodate changed date of some crappy other race, instead.

September: It's the World Championships at last! Sagan blindfolded, spun around like kid playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey", sent out on course on unicycle with underinflated tire 45 minutes after departure of rest of field, pulls off World Champ double; Vos retakes Worlds over exhausted field while actually still at start line signing autographs; time trial championship called off because "without Fabian, what the !@#$'s the point?"

October: Transfer season begins! Anton, Landa, Txurruka, Izagirres, Zubeldia, Sanchez to new mystery crowd-founded squad "Youskaltel-Youskadi"; 30 of those freaky !@#$in' 3D-printed super-powered robots from "Westworld" to Sky, like anyone can tell the difference; cryogenically preserved Valverde extends with Movistar until 3036, opining "I've still got a good few years left."

November: Transfer season heats up! Recent lottery winner Jonathan Vaughters goes on coke-fueled bender, buys out contracts of Froome, Contador, Nairo, Alejandro, Fabio, Nibs, hands out gladiator armor, weapons, orders them to "FIGHT FOR THE TOUR DE FRANCE LEADERSHIP, YOU SCRAWNY MOTHER!@#$ERS!"; entire Astana squad to "wherever we freakin' have to to get away from Vinokourov"; Sky leadership distracted by testifying at latest scum-weasel doping scandal, forgets to renew World Tour status, put up internet ads for "anyone with a warm body who can scam a UCI license."

December: End-of-year awards show time! DSes vote Chris Froome "Most Bull!@#$ Transformation We've Ever Seen in Our Entire Dope-Supervising Lives"; Valverde voted "Guy Most Likely to Blow the Tour de France in the Final Week"; bored Wiggo announces upcoming appearance on reality-TV "Rhythmic Gymnastics With the Stars," wows judges with ability to catch spiraling crankshaft with pinkie toe while bent into pretzel; team camps begin with Sky--aw, we already *know* what the !@#$ they're doing!

Well, them's yer 2017 preview, so cover yer ears, avert yer eyes--and for heck's sake, don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Look, most of these folks--dear as they are to all of us--are either too inept, too narcissistic, or too darned clueless to help themselves for 2017. And while the philosophers say the unexamined life is not worth living, I say--if we can examine it for them--it darn well is. So listen up beloved cyclists, while we make Yer 2016 New Year's resolutions for the peloton!

1. Brad Wiggins: oh, !@#$ off. Really, who cares? We're all sick and tired of hearing about you anyway!


3. Peter Sagan: seriously, do I have to resolve anything? We all know I'm winning everything I want in 2017 anyhow!

4. Tom Boonen: I will win my 5th and final Paris-Roubaix. So suck it, Fabian!

5. Race Moto Drivers: we're gonna remember to put our contact lenses in this year. And take a coupla driving lessons. And try not to confuse the cyclists with freakin' bowling pins. And...

6. Chris Froome: I swear, when the narcs come knocking, I will be exactly as loyal to my former captain Brad Wiggins as I was during the 2012 Tour de France. Sucker!

7. Roman Kreuziger: well, I'm on a new team now...wait, who's the team captain I'm supposed to screw again?

8. Alberto Contador: Up. I will stay *up*, no matter what train-wreck idiot tries to take me down. Right, and I'm coming for you at the Tour, Chris you joyless android!

9. Greg Van Avermaet: I resolve that the next jack!@# that calls me an "almost-man" is gonna get it right in the kisser. I AM THE OLYMPIC CHAMPION FER CHRISSAKES!

10. Nacer Bouhanni: I will not pick stupid fights with random drunks break my hand punching 'em out and ruin my entire team's Grand Tour season. I will hold back, and punch out Mark Cavendish during a sprint finish instead.

11. Alejandro Valverde: I will meticulously follow the orders of my DS and unequivocally support my captain Nairo Quintana as his loyal-est domestique. From the top spot of the podium, that is! Oh, I'm sorry, was that my earpiece that I accidentally tossed back to be crunched under the front wheel of the team car?

12. Marianne Vos: You won't *make* me a three-week Tour de France? I'll damn well *ride* the three-week Tour de France--what, you gonna stop me?

13. Fabio Aru: I will...no, I probably *will* have one spectacularly crappy race-wrecking day at my Grand Tour target again. Yeah, you've got competition now, Valverde!

14. Dave Brailsford: uh, Dave? Dave? Pick up the phone! Where are you, man? Anybody seen him? Wait, what's this about a plane ticket to the unmapped Amazon jungle?

Well folks, them's mine, if I missed any, have at--and riders, listen up, we're trying to *save* you here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2016 Racejunkie Awards!

Put away those ballgowns and tuxes, bag the stilettos, skip the hours of hair 'n' makeup, and break out the spandex, bike helmets, and clipless-pedeal cleat covers--this ain't no fussy film-star red carpet, fans 'n' riders, it's the incredibly prestigious (and morally dubious) 2016 Racejunkie Awards! Prizes--your obscure place in internet cycling-fan history, eternal shame (or glory), and, for those confused or desperate enough to get their actual physical prizes, something--I swear--approximating a golden trophy, and a stylin' custom-embroidered--I swear--racejunkie cycling cap! So turn off those stupid Oscars, and get ready to scream at your TV--it's on to the 2016 Incredibly Prestigious racejunkie Awards!

Like That Killer Rabbit in That Monty Python Movie Award: oh, just *look* at the cute little fuzzy chipmunk-cheeked smiley wee th--AIGGHHH! AIGGGHHH! IT'S RIPPED MY THROAT OUT! IT'S JABBED OUT MY EYEBALLS! WHERE DID MY LEFT ARM JUST GO? Esteban Chaves, this one's for you. Fool you once, shame on him. Fool you twice--well, don't say I didn't warn you, you eejit!

I *Cannot* *!@#$ing* *Believe* It *Again* Slam-Your-Head-Into-a-Concrete-Pole-in-Frustration Prize: is there some new, sick-!@#$ game I haven't heard about this year, like "Betcha an Espresso I Can Knock Alberto Contador Off His Bike and Lose Him a Grand Tour" or some twisted crap? *How* is it possible that such a tranquillo bike handler with such a good sense of tactics can be so inevitably placed within a millimeter's proximity of the dimwittedest most uncoordinated nimrods on the pro cycling planet? You have my truest sympathy if you fall and hurt yourself, Anonymous Inattentive Peloton Jerkface--but you're maybe a little *less* sympathetic when you take prize-winner (who I'm sure would rather have a big TdF trophy instead) Alberto Contador down with you!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year: yeah, you heard me--while Alejandro Valverde typically grabs this one by a landslide, Chris Froome's flailing-ditzbag faux-panic babyfaced-naif Usain-Bolt overall-victory-nailing foot-sprint up Mont Ventoux in the please-don't-patronize-us-you-!@#hole 'confusing' wake of an ill-timed mechanical and even more unfortunate team-car delay--which totally coincidentally resulted in him *gaining* crucial time and space he would *never* have gotten otherwise over his exhausted bike-pedal-welded podium rivals--takes the Tour de France, *and* the cake. Like you'd normally even *notice* you were having a mechanical if it weren't happening to the power meter you've got glued to your eyeballs, you tick-tocking power-drone? Now climb those !@#damn stairs to the stage to pick up your stupid !@#ty trophy, before I lose my temper and smack you upside the helmet with it!

Implausible Deniability Award: It's "marginal gains." No, it's "functional dehydration." No, it's *bull!@#$*, you shameless asshats. They're amped up like a playground full of just-napped toddlers force-fed a lifetime diet of Red Bull and sugar cane, and that's *after* they've crossed the finish line after 6 hours of riding uphill. !@#$ you, Sky, in ten years you clowns'll bite it in a scandal of Operacion Puerto--hell, Lance Armstrong--ian proportions. Til then, we wait and sneer. Oh, except all your ex-Euskaltel riders are innocent victims of your inestimable toolishness. !@#$ you, Sky!

Bad-!@# of the Year: like the nearly indestructible Stuey O'Grady before her, Annemiek Van Vlueten can get hit by a train, run over by a bus, corralled by sheepdogs, stampeded by lion-spooked hippopotami, and kicked out of a plane at 30,000 feet without a parachute--oh, and endure a truly horrific crash at the Olympic road race--only to bounce right back up and start killing it at races while barely skipping a beat, which beats promptly got the hell outta her way the second they realized she was coming up behind them anyway. Bow, bow before the iron will--and body!--of Annemiek!

What, Are You *Trying* to Kill Them You Dipwad? Award: now, I may not be an esteemed road engineer, nor highly respected and often-utilized bike race planner, but one thing I *do* know in my pathetic liberal-arts doofusness is that, well, YOU DON'T FREAKIN' LEAVE A METAL POLE IN THE EXACT MIDDLE OF A RACECOURSE when the poor unsuspecting peloton is unerringly going to smash right into it at 60 kilometers an hour. Thank you, 2017 UCI races, you can pay me later for my sage advice--but you can !@#damn remove those stupid bone-snapping obstacles *now*!

Best Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: he was reviled for testing poz after his miracle run at the Tour de France, then duped some very nice people into donating into his "Floyd Fairness Fund", then reviled even worse for breaking omerta' and ratting out his former buds, and *now*, after years of public scorn, has earned back the love of the cycling--hell, entire--world by coming back with his blazing entry into the legal weed business. Floyd Landis, come on up--no, seriously, put down those damn nachos and come on up to claim your prize!

Worst Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: oh, 2002 Vuelta star Aitor Gonzalez, how it *pains* me to do this. And generally, I'm in no position to give career advice. But if you're gonna hit the netherworld up for a job after your cycling career is over, robbing a cell-phone store (allegedly!) in Alicante like a common schnook is *not* the way to go. For heck's sake, man, you're a *pro cyclist*--you've at *least* got the connections the know-how and the ready-made market to be a dope courier!

Total !@#$ Team Dissolution Prize: IAM Cycling. Short, but so *very* sweet while it lasted. Oh, how we'll miss you!

Retirements of the Year (Aw, We'll Miss 'Em): Fabian, you're a legend. Mara, *just* when I was about to put you into the racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton with yet another Giro Rosa, I realize you'd already announced your plan to hang up (for pro racing purposes, anyway) your wheels. Dag nabit, come up and get your trophies, while I'm still inclined to hand 'em over!

Retirement of the Year (It's About Time Already): oh, thank !@#$ Bradley Wiggins has decided it's time to rest on his impressive (if now slightly tained) laurels and--*what*?! This !@#$ing !@#$er is still leaving the door open for unretiring again?! Jaysus H. Christ, pack it in already, pal--or are you waiting to milk a few *more* euros out of yet *another* autobio over your latest track feats with Cav?

Retirement of the Year (!@#$ You Teams For Not Hiring Him Yet!): look, unless and until he makes an official statement--and if common sense, justice, and pre-November 2016 American values prevail--dear ex-Carrot, breakaway artist, and climber supremo Amets Txurruka is still in the game. And we all remember the nailbiter of a film-noir suspense-fest when we also love Samuel Sanchez *finally* announced his renewed deal with BMC a year or two back--after the baby season had already started. But *!@#dammit*, you ignoramus short-sighted amoral freaks, *where* the hell is Amets' new contract ffs?!

Golden Memorial !@#-Kissing Award: Hey, I--um, you--just won that race! Here, let me heft up that trophy! Move your !@# over so we both fit on the podium! Look, I'm photo-bombing you while you're trying to pose for the ceremonial post-victory handshake with a true legend of the sport! Ooh, I've tattooed my whole body in World Champion stripes so I can match your jersey and piggy-back right on you the next race you have! Oleg Tinkov, you self-serving, publicity-whoring, Contador-screwing victory-slut, this one-fingered salute of a trophy is for you--and no, Peter Sagan can't be in the picture this time!

Domestique of 2016: It's over for your team captain, and at the best Grand Tour of the year. Oh, *boy*, is it over. And you, comfortably ensconced in the breakaway and with no-one needing to bother to chase *any* of you down for GC, have a serious chance at perhaps a last-ever Giro d'Italia stage victory--and you're Italian. So what do you do? *That's* right, you disloyal punks (I'm talking to you, Tinkoff riders!), if you're Michele freakin' Scarponi, you pull over to the side of the road and chill (literally, in a snowbank) for a good half-hour, downing water bottles energy snacks and barely dodging frostbite to boot, til your captain finally schleps up to you and you bash the crap outta the rest of the contenders til they're mere whimpering jelly beneath your wheel, and you *win* that guy the Giro. Michele, I concede I've had my issues--but damn, did you earn your keep!

And Finally, Yer Corollary Comeback Ride of 2016: look, you can say a lot of things about Vincenzo Nibali, and I'm frankly too much of a lady to say them here. But in the absence of any mechanical-or-PED-assistance scandal to the contrary, you gotta admit, his Stage 20 bounce-back to take the overall win at the Giro d'Italia after his excruciating humiliation on Stage 16 was genuinely a marvel to see. But I'm still rooting for Mikel Landa to take it in 2017 Vincenzo!

Ok folks, claim yer prizes, crack some Champagne--and for most of you, just *pray* you don't end up on this ignominious list next year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Yes, no matter what we celebrate this time of year--or with what delightful, appalling debauchery we celebrate it--we've all got one thing in common: we love our dear peloton and its saintly (or dastardly) denizens. And what better way to show how much we love them than to give them the wonderful gifts they so rightly deserve? Ergo, cyclists and cycling fans, here's Yer Annual Racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Alberto Contador: what else? The 2017 Tour de France, baby! You can come back and re-win the beautiful Vuelta the *next* year instead!

Chris Froome: a warm, hearty, sincere congratulations from Alberto Contador on yer second place in the Tour de France. It feels almost as good as 1st place, amirite?

Tom Boonen: what else? A record 5th Paris-Roubaix, baby! Crappy, season-hosing crashes, bad luck, and sudden nerves, begone--YOU ARE TORNADO TOM, !@#DAMMIT, YOU HAVE GOT THIS IN THE BAG!

Mikel Landa: okay, I *know* I am supposed to root for an Italian, like Vincenzo Nibali or Astana starlet Fabio Aru, to win the 100th Giro d'Italia. But I guess I better get ready for my eternal trip to hell, because you, Mikel, are not only a noble ex-Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, but also doomed to play second fiddle to that snotty little !@#wipe Froome for the rest of your career if you stay with your current !@#$ty squad. Win the Giro, Mikel, and you can name yer price--and yer team--for 2018!

Pierre Rolland: yeah, that's right, he just called out the sainted Tour de France for being boring! And he's *French*! A gold-plated--no, solid-gold--superfast, supersexy blinged-out super-powered Lamborghini for that boy!

Nacer Bouhanni: some common sense. And some boxing gloves, to protect your delicate cyclist hands in case you randomly decide to ruin your whole team's Grand Tour again in some stupid beef with an obnoxious hotel guest. Seriously, you're an actual pugilist--you don't already *own* these things?

Annemiek Van Vlueten: well, you're already clearly a bounce-backing bad-@!# after your terrifying spine-fracturing crash at the Olympics and incredibly speedy recovery--and not only race *return*, but immediate *win*--at Lotto Belgium Tour, so I suppose there's not much I can get you that you won't perfectly be able to get for yourself--but damn, I'm wishing you the World Championship anyway!

Mark Cavendish: you actually had a pretty decent year, but still and all, you're not *quite* back to your usual whinging, smack-talking, sprint-obliterating self. I gift you your mojo--because *you* oughta be able to win without head-butting, Cav!

Women's Cycling: !@#$ this one-day 'La Course' dabbling--a real, three-week race-o'-destiny, just like the boys get. And some !@#damn decent paychecks while we're at it!

UCI: a fence. A giant, 50-foot-high, concrete, steel-reinforced, glass-shards-and-barbed-wire-covered fence that goes all around Europe. Now keep that tyrant asshat Oleg Tinkov away from our sport!

Team Sky: a year's gift subscription to Federal Express. Seriously, numbnuts, a *team courier*? Why not just hire a !@#$ing marching band with a majorette in spangles and a big !@#$ing banner screaming "I'm carrying a big bag of dope here!" for cripes' sakes?!

Dave Brailsford: speaking of which, a linear, credible excuse for Brad Wiggins' "mystery package," which, after months of sordid speculation (mine included), you grudgingly claimed to be a pile of, yes, ordinary, harmless *decongestant*, which is apparently (1) easily available over the counter without hauling it a thousand miles through Europe and (2) actually violently contraindicated for the bull!@#$ asthma diagnosis you *did* scam a TUE for Brad for. Brilliant!

Brad Wiggins: a peaceful, happy, *permanent* retirement. RETIREMENT already, you hear me? FFS!

Roman Kreuziger: You screwed--and dissed!--your own team leader Alberto Contador, and relentlessly butt-kissed your repulsive wingnut publicity-ho team boss Oleg Tinkov. Wishing you *karma*, jack!@#!

Amets Txurruka: Santa, I have literally been tweet-storming you Christmas carol lyrics for this talented boy--and most importantly, ex-Carrot--every single day for the last month. CAN WE PLEASE GET AMETS A CONTRACT ALREADY?

The lot of you: may your favorite rider ever win, your favorite Classic ever cobble, your Belgian beer be ever cold, beautiful Giro never end, your Tour de France--aw, who the hell cares--and your fabulous Vuelta go ever upwards. Now break out the nog--or glogg--and let's toast a Very Merry Whatever You Celebrate to fans and riders, one and all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Pro Cycling Year in Review!

Yes, it's December, that special time when we reflect on the events of the year almost past with a mix of joy, gratitude, revulsion, horror, and profound self-recrimination. And in our beloved sport of cycling, with its soaring (and plummeting) extremes of the divine and the disgusting, such reflection takes on particular significance as we consider that HOLY CRAP THERE'S STILL TWO MORE WEEKS FOR SOME GROTESQUE SCANDAL TO ERUPT! So in case you missed it--or have merely already blocked it out--here's yer 2016 racejunkie 2016 Pro Cycling Year in Review!

January: Team kits come out! AG2R relegated to Conti level for having "the butt-ugliest team kit the peloton has ever produced"; Tinkoff in hi-viz yellow so Oleg can find, leap into presence of Peter Sagan at all times; Pozzato personally designs dashing Southeast-Wilier kit, decides to ride naked all season anyway because "hell, I'm even prettier than it is!"

February: The road season begins! Ion Izaguirre accused of motor-doping because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara; numbnut Katusha twerp endangers license, dear Purito's season by being 968th straight team stagiare to test positive for dope; Van Avermonster pips the Saganator at the line at Omloop as teams decide to quit race, have tea party at local hotel instead. Workin' hard for the money, boys!

March: Yay, it's Classics season! Matteo Tosatto, Eros Capecchi accuse Arnaud Demare of stealing Milano-Sanremo victory by team-car tow, pissed their own attempts didn't work; Nibali incensed as "extreme weather protocol" bags Tirreno-Adriatico stage, threatens to lose Tour de France, *again*; UCI solves bike doping controversy once and for all by busting, banning 'cross novice Femke Van den Driessche because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara. Thank god this cesspool's all cleaned up!

April: It's Tommeke's Bid for a 5th Roubaix! Matthew Hayman wins Hell of the North in stunning upset, Bernard Hinault congratulates by shaking hand, asking "who the !@#$ are you?"; Fran Ventoso makes unsuccessful case for disc brakes in peloton when disc flies off mid-race, slices off top of legendary Mont Ventoux; Philippe Gilbert smashes too-close motorist in face with giant spiked medieval mace--uh, maces too-close motorist. Don't !@#$ with the Phil-Gil!

May: Il Grande Giro, baby! Pissed-off organizers nearly cancel entire show when realize only 3 Belgian neopros registered, everyone else is riding the stupid Tour; FDJ's Alexandre Geniez viciously assaults AG2R's Hubert Dupont at the line by wagging finger, pulling jersey collar, Dupont hospitalized for 3 weeks; remorseful Vincenzo Nibali gives overall race win to Esteban Chaves, who actually lost Giro on penultimate stage, "because he just looked so *cute* when he was crying." Awwwwwwwwww!

June: Pre-Tour de France prep time! Movistar, Astana, to unidentified "black sites" for top secret do--uh, top-shelf "nutritional counseling"; Sky hires master robotics expert, entire tenured faculty of MIT to "help us with some wiring in the team car that's on the fritz"; Contador to Oleg Tinkov's house for three weeks of wholly unwarranted verbal abuse and morale-crushing death-spiral. Thank you Oleg, that's *gotta* help!

July: It's the Sprint Heard Round the World! Bouhanni accidentally punches Bernard Hinault in face in hotel altercation instead of hapless drunken guest, requires 2,643 stitches when Hinault punches back; Contador crashes 18 times in first 2 stages, persists for two weeks despite looking like one of those creepy skinless plasticized cadavers frozen in weird poses in museum exhibitions; Oleg Tinkov extends support, sympathy by hiring small aircraft to skywrite "ALBERTO CONTADOR IS A TOTAL !@#$ING LOSER" above peloton during Stage 13; Froome realizes his riding style is !@#$iest, most inefficient on planet, ditches bike to run up Ventoux and seal overall win in Paris. God, *when* will this !@#$show be *over*?

August: Woot woot, it's the beautiful Vuelta at last! Contador's Tour redemption bid already wrecked on Stage 1 when Oleg hires actual turtles from local pet store as Alberto's Vuelta domestiques; Valverde "helps" Quintana by setting hotel-room alarm to blare Nairo awake every single night at 5-minute intervals; race organizers take out poor Steven Kruijswijk by unexpectedly parking 5000-ton decommissioned Soviet army tank in middle of race course. Shoulda put an orange cone in front of that one!

September: The Vuelta continues! Froome announces switch of focus from climbs to sprints from now on, Kittel, Cav, Greipel give up, quit cycling "effective immediately"; Contador taken out by some random dimwit, entire season ruined, *again*; "Fancy Bear" TUE scandal shows that Froome's bodily fluids entirely replaced by pure liquid amphetamines. 'Marginal gains' my !@#!

October: It's the Worlds, Baby! Extreme heat in Doha mummifies entire peloton into those invisible "sea monkey" things you can order out of back of comic books and reconstitute with water; 100th Giro d'Italia route announced, Froome declares interest in ra--ha ha, just kidding, of course I'm riding the Tour!; Team Sky "mystery package" determined to be "just a !@#$in' bunch of vials and !@#$, nothing to worry about!"

November: Transfer season! Contador formally announces expected transfer to "Please God, Anywhere Else"; Kreuzinger to "Hey, I Can !@#$ Over My Team Leader at *Any* Squad"; Marianne Vos to "We'll Pay You Anything! *Anything*! Here, Take This Ferrari! No, This Lamborghini! No..."

December: UCI announces no doping pozes at any Grand Tour ever, Armstrong smashes picture frames, grabs his 7 yellow jerseys off the wall of his man cave, runs up and down in front of Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis yelling "THEY'RE STILL ALL MINE, BITCHES!"; 2017 team kits revealed, goths raid cycling shops worldwide to snatch entire supply of all-black cycling garb; where the hell is Amets Txurruka's contract, dammit?

Well folks, that was the year that was--and hopefully, that *never* will be again. Next up: Yer 2016 Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!