Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It's Yer Off-to-the-Races Early Season Cycling Roundup!

Sowing the Seeds of Love/the Seeds of Love: Yep, it's quite clear the big squads are sending their A-game to the Gir--hah, that won't happen! to the Tour, dummy!--especially Team Movistar, which seems hell-bent on (1) sending Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, and Mikel Landa together and (2) ergo, self-destruction, with Movistar's formidable domestique lineup assigned to mountain suppor--uh, to break up the inevitable fisticuffs and prevent Valverde from slashing Quintana & Landa's brake cables with a pen-knife. Oh my goodness, cue the hippies bell-bottoms and flower-chains, we've got a love-in over here!

Dope-a-Dope: and, welcome to our first major doping scandal of 2018, as an impressive dozen riders from the recent Vuelta a Costa Rica--including the winner--got popped en masse for EPO and CERA. You cheap-!@# dimwits, don't you know you're supposed to pony up $100,000 for a *motor* nowadays? In other dope(ing) news, rumors continue to swirl around the horridly sickly Chris Froome's poz from truly warehouse-filling levels of salbutamol, including that he'll be subject to a retroactive 2-month off-sesason ban, that new UCI chief David L'Appartient will literally slap his wrist and sternly call him a "bad boy," or that the Giro organizers will throw him a ticker-tape parade and preemptively award him the final maglia rosa in Roma before the first stage even sets off. Harsh, man!

Pretty Is as Pretty Does: meantime, kudos to the race organizers (and graphic designers) over at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for their dashing 2018 promo poster portrayal of the rakish Peter Sagan as Emperor Napoleon, which is (1) not unlikely that he actually *will* rule the world someday and (2) a big step up from other official pro race posters of recent years featuring, for example, a giant blow-up photo of a woman's vajayjay and the words "WOW, DOES P***Y SELL RACES!" in 900-point bold-face all-caps. Progress!

Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Banana?: finally, it's a warm welcome (back) to the peloton to two smashing Basque squads, Euskadi-Murias and Fundacion Euskadi, who, in the approximately two races that've been ridden so far, have nonetheless managed to amass higher placing than, say, Cof--I mean, cough! cough!--has done in the last 10 years. Be patient, new little carrots--the victories are on their way!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

It's Yer 2018 Pro Cycling Year in Preview (Yeah, You Read Right)!

Hung over from a hard night of partying to welcome in 2018 (or drown out the memory of 2017)? Well snap out of it! That's right, fans (and curious riders) it's officially a new year, and a new cycling season--so with the powers invested in me by Nostradamus, Baby New Year, and a good shot o' maple bourbon, let's get to it!

January: Back to team camps! FDJ to Biarritz for manscaping, champagne cocktails; Astana to daring raid at high-tech Kazakh prison to free Vinokourov after busted for buying Liege off inevitable winner Kolobnev; Movistar to Pamplona for off-season running of the bulls to determine Tour de France team leadership by stomping. Run, Mikel, run!; Richie Porte loses Tour Down Under on final stage when Chris Froome suffers bilharzia asthma attack leprosy hemorrhoids toenail fungus record-breaking tapeworm and perimenopause in final kilometer.

February: Now we're *really* getting going! Dubai Tour riders evaporate into those "sea monkey" things from the back of comic books at 96k mark of first stage, race halted as team docs attempt to reconstitute cyclists with water cannons; total media blackout of women's cycling for 2018 season as UCI too cheap to buy TV coverage, uses carrier pigeon to announce results, bird eaten by opportunistic hawk. !@#dammit!

March: Classics Season! Longo Borghini takes 2nd consecutive women's Strade Bianche after chewing, spitting out 100k of gravel to precise dimensions optimal for her current bike setup; Carlos Betancur repeats 2014 Paris-Nice glory victory after--aw, no he doesn't, he misses the start line on stage 2 due to rendezvous with 12-pack of Dunkin Donuts; Pozzato triumphs in final Milano-San Remo when blinds rest of peloton with gleaming beauty of new chest tats.

April: The scrawny little hard men come out to play! Philippe Gilbert loses Tour of Flanders after 2nd 55k solo breakaway when Alejandro Valverde spins past him at finish line 15 minutes after waking up, taking shower, making himself pancakes, and wandering down to the start line to sign autographs for fans; Valverde completes total sweep of Ardennes after--oh, who the !@#$ knows *what* that guy is on!; Van Avermaet realizes he's blown the entire Classics for 2018 when mistakenly sucked Fabian Cancellara's wheel on daily Starbucks run.

May: It's Il Grande Giro, baby! Giro pays Froome undisclosed sum to ride, Froome blows it all on new weight-loss PED, disappears into thin air; final week cancelled after defending champ Dumoulin takes 7-day refuge in roadside port-o-pot to "powder his nose"; !@#dammit Mikel why aren't you riding this I *told* you to bag one of these before going for the Tour in 2019!

June: Pre-Tour de France race prep time! Froome to accelerated PhD prgram in mechanical engineering, avers "just looking to tune up the ol' espresso maker, mate"; entire Team Sky to altitude training in undisclosed South American mountain location accessible only by llama, donkey, and Jiffy Bag; Bouhanni improves power-to-weight ratio by repeatedly punching resident peloton !@#hole Gianni Moscon.

July: What else? It's the Giant Yellow Freakshow, baby! Chris Froome's frame sawed in half by enraged Movistar team boss, motor shown to new UCI boss L'Appartient, who waives Fitbit at it and proclaims "that's some mighty nice brake cables you got there!"; Mark Cavendish relegated, removed from race for being a "whiny crybaby little !@#$"; 3 week women's Tour de France goes forward after Marianne Vos repeatedly runs new prototype studded anti-flat road tires over race organizers' face. Equality is sweet!

August: it's the fabulous Vuelta, baby! Vincezo Nibali disqualified on first day when slaughters field, found tethered to Elon Musk SpaceX rocket by near-invisible fishing line; entire peloton swallowed by melting tar in high mountains, mistaken for "really skinny wooly mammoths" when unearthed 15,000 years from now; Alberto Contador--aw, whaddaya *mean* he's retired?!

September: More Vuelta, honey! New Euskadi team takes 20 stages, points/mountain/combo jerseys, and team classification, politely arrive at start line one hour late on stage 2 to allow someone else to win *something*; 9 random strangers mistakenly replace Euskadi riders on stage 18 when team bosses can't tell own cyclists from screaming fanatics in full team kit--next year, try just selling the general public some t-shirts instead!

October: World Championships time! Men's and women's pelotons reduced to 15 apiece after worried national team captains tie up own domestiques reasoning, "after that Chantal Blaak !@#! you can't trust a !@#damn one of 'em"; Esteban Chaves takes men's time trial because "!@#$ it, none of the rules apply any more, who cares if I weigh 6 grams going into a 20 kph headwind the whole way?"

November: Giro route revealed by race organizer reading crumpled cocktail napkin from Froome's pocket titled "What I Want You to Put in the 2019 Giro"; Froome banned for 3 days in off-season for--argy-bargy in a 2004 juniors amateur race? What the !@#k is *wrong* with you, UCI!

December: Team kits revealed! AG2R gives up on trying to make kit look nice, replaces entire design with "poop emoji"; Movistar switches up navy blue theme with full-body pic of Nair--no, Mik--no, Valverde's face; Wiggins quits rowing career, announces he'll be competing in 2020 Summer Olympics in weightlifting, reveals new, all-natural not-chemically-enhanced bod:

Well, folks, it's on to an exciting 2018. Now you know--so don't come b*tching to me about it when it happens!

It's Yer 2018 New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

All right, you miscreants. You know what you did. And now, in this season of self-reflection, redemption, and renewal, it's time to ponder our previous misdeeds, and set out a plan for a sparklin' New Year. So here's what you're resolving--and I mean it, pal!

1. Chris Froome: I resolve to be gracious when I'm forced to hand over my Vuelta a Espana to Vincenzo Nibali. Hah, like that's ever gonna happen--suckers!

2. Vincenzo Nibali: I resolve to be gracious when Froome is forced to hand over his Vuelta a Espana to me. And then when I'm forced to hand mine over to Ilnur Zakarin after I'm busted for previously undiscovered footage of me taking a tow from my team car from the start line in Nimes to the final meter in Madrid. Hah, like that's ever gonna happen--suckers!

3. Richie Porte: I resolve to never, ever, trust any ungrateful, backstabbing piece of !@#$ ex-colleague to do the right thing by me ever, ever again. Of course, that still won't make me win the Tour. Dammit!

4. Alberto Contador: Who, me? I'm going off to play with my dog. Enjoy this year's !@#$-show, you chumps!

5. Tom Dumoulin: I vow to come up with a plausible reason why a 6-foot-10, 800-pound time trialist has suddenly become one of the best climbers in all of Grand Tour history. And not to eat "Bob's Giant Box o' Explosive Fiber" for breakfast the day before a big race. Ever again!

6. Mikel Landa: I will domestique nicely for Nairo Quintana. I will domestique nicely for Nairo Quintana. I will domestique nicely for Nairo Quin--WATCH OUT, MOTHER!@#$ER, I'M COMING FOR YOU YOU LITTLE !@!$! Aw, busted already...

7. Alejandro Valverde: I will domestique nicely for Nairo Quin--oh, screw that, you know I'm just gonna steamroll over him *and* that upstart little twerp Landa both from day one of the season!

8. Nairo Quintana: I will be humble and appreciative in recognition of Mikel and Alejandro's unquestioning and faithful service during the Tour de France. Oh, no, was that a water bottle I just accidentally rolled back down to the bottom of Alpe d'Huez? FETCH, B*TCH!

9. Gianni Moscon: I resolve to not call that !@#$%ing !@##$$ a !@#$ing !@#$%%. !@#$%ing !@#$%$. What?

10. Peter Sagan: I resolve to bash that Tour-wrecking little bastid Cavendish into the barriers so hard he'll end up with a Specialized banner sticking out of his !@# *and* his ear for 30 yards on either end. DQ me for *this*, you sniveling eejits!

11. Mark Cavendish: I vow to stay the hell outta Peter Sagan's way. But only really because I can't actually keep up with 'im.

12. Nacer Bouhanni: Right, like *I* was the problem in 2017?!

13. Women's Cycling Union: We vow to finally get a women's Tour de France, true Monuments, full and contemporaneous TV coverage on a real-not-pirate channel, and a minimum wage from the cheap misogynistic pigs who run this sport. After our lousy 3 a.m. shift at Wal-Mart is over so we can pay for gas to the start line. Paper or plastic, ma'am?

14. UCI: we vow to *really* crack down on motor doping. Hey, Team Sky, you guys use motors? No? Great, champagne's on us!

15. Roadside Fans: we promise not to shove a camera into Marcel Kittel's face in a frenetic sprint, run buck-naked into the line of a struggling (yeah, like that'll ever happen) Chris Froome, or call the start of a fox hunt with 280 slavering beagles and a cavalry's worth of amped-up horses right into the middle of a careering peloton. But boy, do we still reserve the right to throw a bottle of steaming "beer" onto any rider we don't like!

16. FDJ: come on, man. We gotta resolve to win *something* in 2018, right?

Well, riders, teams, and fans, you all know what you gotta do. Now do it--or you'll be right back here in the doghouse next January 31st!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2017 Racejunkie Awards!

Yeah, let those hoity-toity celebs toast each other at their televised Oscar soirees with golden trophies hand-stitched couture gowns goody bags dripping with diamonds and snowballs of blow while they try to dodge the grotesque attentions of some even richer guy who looks like Jabba the Hutt--we here in the world of cycling have our *own* awards, thank you, and damned if they're not better! Prizes, for anyone so desperate as to actually pick theirs up (no, really, I promise, just ask!): a dashing custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap; a passel of spiffy racejunkie stickers to deface your bike, your car, or your face; and whatever trophy-looking tchtochke I can dredge up at the local second-hand store. So jot down yer speeches, plaster on that fake smile for when the camera hits you when you lose, and let's get this soiree rollin'!

Delusional Tweet of the Year: okay, we've got *lots* of competition here, including from me, but pro Phil Gaimon's "I think it's the sign of a clean rider and a real sportsman to go [for the Giro-Tour double]. Good luck Froome" absolutely takes the cak--well, the Kool-Aid. Delusional, but also so sweet!

Suck Retirement of 2017: Look, I bawled like a baby over Tom Boonen. And I hereby state that I stand unequivocally by everything--*everything*--I've said about Alberto Contador in this execrable e-rag the last ten years. But in an era where--totally coincidentally as a style choice I'm sure--Froome rides with all the pizzazz and humanity of an electric clock, Alberto was always a one-man attack-o-rama. Knock him off his bike (eejits!), cram a month's worth of pollen up his nose during the worst of allergy season, whack him with a stomach virus, you could *always* count on Berto, the second he had a drop of gas in the tank, to liven up the race. Even better: when he finally lost his !@#$ and unloaded on crazed ex-team boss Oleg Tinkov. We'll miss you, ya wee thing!

Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Well, Maybe This One) Prize: speaking of whom, Alberto Contador's smashing farewell victory at the Vuelta on the legendary Angliru. Now pick up your prize Alberto--that is, if even you've got your legs back yet!

Heartbreak of 2017: Oh, Samu!

Cyclist Slap Fight o' the Year: now, normally Bouhanni's delivered a fine sucker-punch to a rival for, y'know, existing in the same planet, but this year, kudos to Astana's Andriy Grivko who settled a little argy-bargy in a sprint finish at the Dubai Tour with a vicious right hook to Quick Step speedster Marcel Kittel's eye socket, leaving Marcel, who merely viewed the jockeying towards the line as ordinary, with a long bloody cut on the eyebrow as a result. Quoth the apologetic Grivko, as he headed off into his ban, "!@$% you you !@%ing !@##$%"!

Total Useless Piece o' Crap o' the Year: UCI. Let's be real, those clowns couldn't find a motor if you lifted the hood of an F1 car and jammed 'em head-first into the carburetor. But if you're a Colombian popping 10-year-old CERA outta Riccardo Ricco's refrigerator or a Master's racer in !@#-end of Nowheresville who took a hippie-store fish-oil supplement, ya might as well slap on the ol' handcuffs now, punk. Clean sport all 'round, hooray!

Superdomestique o' the Year: Mikel Landa. I mean, not like the most *willing* superdomestique, but clearly the highest quality o' the lot. Cause enough anarchy at Movistar in 2018, Mikel, and hopefully we won't have to see you up for this category in 2018!

Love, Love, Love Award: Nairo Quintana's warmest welcome to new teammate Mikel Landa. IT'S MY TOUR YOU PIECE OF !@#$--it's great to have you on the squad, now lick my feet you worker-bee dirtbag!

Crash o' the Year (Game Changer): Okay, Alejandro Valverde wiping out horribly on an inexplicably slick and crappy Stage 1 Tour de France opener *really* sucked. But !@#dammit, can Alberto Contador get a freakin' break? The boy's like a human domino. His Tour *and* his Vuelta both over before they really began. We're so sorry Alberto--we knew you could've beat that spindly wretch and his team of androids without 'em!

Crash o' the Year (Fan !@#$wit Edition): So, he may not be exactly a household name. But Austrian racer Marco Haller had pretty good reason to go ballistic on the stupid fan who wrecked his--hell, and a half a dozen other countries'--World Championship hopes by carelessly hooking 'im with a fluttering jacket and piling a ton of guys to the tarmac. Now, I may not be able to understand German--but I'm pretty sure he wasn't saying "Danke!" there!

Crash o' the Year (Totally Freakin' Avoidable): All right, race organizers have been to know to occasionally, y'know, not block off a noticeable piece of road furniture here and there. But a !@#$in' *automobile*? Yep, that's the gift the Tour of Britain left for Orica's Michael Hepburn, as he took a sweeping left-hander into the unexpected vehicle's back windshield, leaving him, surprisingly, among the least bloody of the pile o' resulting human debris. What the hell, are you clowns trying for a new Slalom jersey category in road races this year? STOP LEAVING !@## IN THE ROAD!

Get Yer Motor Runnin'/Head Out on the Highway Statuette: So who's got the moto--uh, mojo--that just won't quit after a brutal day's mountain stage? Yep, it's this incredible ride from presumptively exhausted Froome superdomestique Wout Poels, jetting away from the competition on a 28% gradient with, notably, no discernable involvement from his actual legs. Damn, I wanna hire his mecha--uh, barista!

Like the NFL, But Cycling: You wanna ~!@# with Tony Martin during the World Road Race Championships time trial? Not when the Norwegian police catch you running behind 'im you don't! Spectacular tackle by the cops. New England Patriots, I know you're gonna win the Superbowl and all--but ya might win it faster hiring these guys to do your dirty work!

Complete !@#hole of 2017: Y'know, I'd really just like to give this to Chris Froome on principle, but to be fair to Froomey--shut up, I can so be either!--this one's an absolute lock by racist !@#$face Gianni Moscon, who attacked innocent Kevin Reza with a racial slur, slugged him, then "apologized" by bitching about the mean press coverage he deservedly incurred. Bonus Team !@#$wit Award: Team Sky, which promptly "punished" Moscon by giving him an internal "Young Rider" award. Now *that's* deterrence, you Keystone Kops!

Karma's a B*tch, B*tch Prize: Chris Froome. Remember how you basically told your team captain Brad Wiggins to !@#$ off while you pedaled away, and nearly tanked his Tour in search of your own glory? Yeah, well you don't get to complain about what the clearly superior Landa so openly wanted to do to you. Didn't like it so much from this side of the col, didja jerkface?

The (Lost) Age of Innocence Award: so Richie Porte generously helps now-non-teammate Chris Froome to Grand Tour victory, and expects Captain Praying Mantis to return the favor. So fair, so trusting--but I bet you ain't gonna do *that* again!

The Last Gasp of American Exceptionalism Prize: yeah, I know. Shut up. But thank goodness for amazing Ronde champion Coryn Rivera--and what a *year* for this incredible star!

Race Organizer Bone-throwing Inadequacy Award: the women's peloton has never been stronger. The crowds have never been bigger. Even both puny minutes of TV coverage you've been sticking on the !@#end of Nowhere Channel have managed to garner great ratings. So what do we, and more importantly, the deserving peloton, get in recognition? WOW, A ONE-DAY TOUR DE FRANCE! Well bleach my bloomers and snap my bra strap, WHAT AN HONOR! Wait, now I have to stick around afterwards and wrangle the boys' teams' dirty laundry? Thanks, ASO--even better!

Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away With(out) Me Award: Philippe Gilbert's daringly huge--and smashingly successful--53 kilometer breakaway to steal the retiring Tom Boonen's potentially 5th victory at Paris-Roubaix. Fire *me*, Quick Step? Take *that*, !@#holes!

Enjoy Your Retirement, Please! No, I Mean It! Statuette: He was a cyclist. Then he was a knight. Then he wrote a book so you'd pay attention to him. Then he complained to every microphone he could find about how no one would leave him alone. Then he wrote another book so you'd leave him alone some more. Then, he decided to become a *rower*. Brad Wiggins--enjoy your dotage in peace, please--for the rest of our sakes!

Jaysus Someone Shut Up That Whinging Crybaby Award: hey, Cav. We know it's tough having gone from winning every race you rode in while you berated fellow riders for their pathetic victories in only "!@#$ races" to being out-supermodeled by Peter Sagan, but jaysus, can you quit bitching about him not causing you crash at the Tour de France? He got kicked out for no reason and you *still* didn't win the green jersey, so what's yer prob for chrissakes?

Dark Horse Award: Smashing new road race champ Chantal Blaak. Oh, c'mon, like you saw her in World Champion Stripes when all she was supposed to do was wait for her exhausted team leader--hell, even *she* didn't see herself there til she got there!

And Finally, Yer Punk-!@# Move o' the Year: hoo-boy, have we got a bunch to pick from this year! Usually, this one goes straight to Alejandro Valverde for some egregious act of treacherous backstabbing, but for 2017 we got hot competition from (a) a racist jack!@#; (b) (the same) reckless-to-the-point-o'-terrifying-injury-causing jack!@#; and (3) a whinging crybaby over being called out for being a jack!@#. Congratulations, Moscon--you just keep on "winning"!

Well riders'n'fans, them's my 2017 awards show, so in honor or in shame, come up to claim yer prizes with your arms raised in triumph--and to those of you who know what you did, let's *hope* I don't have to give you another prize next year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

It's Yer 2017 Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Y'know, as cycling fans, I feel we often take for granted the fine, upstanding members of the peloton upon whom our endless twitter rants, thoughtful blog posts, and many wasted hours of our lives that we'll never get back rely. So in this season of love and giving, let's take a few minutes to show our gratitude towards these hardworking denizens of the road, whatever they celebrate and in whatever Dante's circle of hell a few of 'em likely celebrate it in, by granting them their surely most heartfelt--or at least most sorely needed--desires:

1. Chris Froome: A year of good health. Seriously, ever since this poor boy went from perfectly healthy pack-fodder donkey to multiple Grand-Tour-winning thoroughbred, he's been absolutely plagued with incredibly catastrophic health problems--from bilharzia to asthma to severe menstrual cramps to Creepy Cyclist Overprominent Limb Vein Syndrome--which miraculously only seem to improve his performance, but anyway, the sad sickly thing just can't catch a break (though he catches damn near everything else). Get well soon, Froomey--!@#$, maybe then you'll win even *more* Grand Tours next season!

2. Alberto Contador: Froome's Tour. C'mon, like he didn't already deserve the damn thing anyway?

3. Mikel Landa: Let's face it, getting outta Team Craphole, he's already gotten a pretty sweet visit from Santa this season. But here's what he needs next--the Giro. That's right, the *Giro*. Yes, you can prove it on the road bushwhacking your own teammates at the Tour, but do you *see* how in a race where every watt counts and the other teams aren't blowing them that is going to be a hugely self-destructive waste of energy? Honor the fabulous Giro first, and get the Grand Tour win you need to send Nairo to the compost pile without a fight for it!

4. Alejandro Valverde: What do you even get a guy who at age 200 has, and still wins, damn near everything? More formaldehyde, or whatever Egyptian-mummy preservative-!@#$ he's huffing!

5. Gianni Moscon: Class. Not *a* class, but *some* class. Though he could use *a* class as well, to be sure--here's yer diploma, now either show us what you've learned and act like a civilized person, or shut yer yap!

6. Nairo Quintana: A suit of shining armor. Between Valverde coming at 'im with a Viking sword and Landa trying to hit 'im with an intercontinental missile, the poor little twerp's gonna need it!

7. Tom Dumoulin: A pink jersey? Naaaah. Give that boy a giant pink bottle o' Pepto-Bismol, and keep 'im stocked for chrissakes!

8. British Cycling: A ticket. To the 21st century. Don't be scared, you retrogrades--you're not gonna instantly shrivel your enormous gonads being in the same sport with the womenfolk!

9. UCI cycling: The world's biggest telescope. 'Cause clearly that iPad !@#$ ain't working, but if this thing can see billions of years back to the Big Bang to the very origins of our universe, it oughta at least help you see into a bicycle!

10. Daniel Teklehaimanot: He was in every break that, well, broke, he worked like a maniac, and was one of the most exciting young talents of the year to watch in action. And that !@#$wit Moscon gets a gig? Jaysus--get that young man a contract!

11. Andre Greipel: let's be honest, despite his total superiority over every other human being on the planet, our lovable lug hit a bit of a rough patch this year. So to our dear Gorilla, I say go screw Sagan and let's go for the big one for Andre: I wish you the green jersey big guy, and a pile o' sprint victories at the Tour to boot!

12. Mark Cavendish: a nice box of Kleenex. FFS, will you stop crying about that crash with Peter Sagan at the Tour you caused already?

13. Team Sky: a scaffold. Cause it's only a matter of time before that whooooooooole deck of cards comes tumbling down, honey!

14. Chantal Blaak: Captaincy! *You* can bring up the water bottles to *my* World Champion-striped !@#, you peons!

15. The New Euskadi Team: Your very first Vuelta a Espana mountain-top win. Now bring on the World Tour funding for our Nuevo Carrots!

16. Vincenzo Nibali: Okay, he's popped. You *know* that Vuelta's got yer name on it, honey. Sure, it's a hollow victory--but sure as hell beats a hollow loss, amirite?

17. And Last But Not Least, Both My Dear Readers: May Alberto return to the peloton, Mikel officially kick everyone's !@#, and your Saganator post cute videos of him baking cookies *every* *darn* *day* (oh, and riding, too). Now let's raise the Festivus pole, light the lights, trim the trees, get our groove on for the Solstice, and raise a glass to dreams coming true, the lot of you!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

It's Yer 2017 Cycling Year in Review!

Yes, cycling fans, it's less than two short weeks til we bid a sobbing, cheering (and occasionally nauseous) goodbye to a raucous 2017, and if the history of this sport teaches us anything, that's plenty of time for some repulsive skin-crawling scandal to rear its hideous flailing arachnid limbs and--oh wait, that one just happened. Anyhoo, it's been a lively one, so for those of you too excited, blase', or just too plain disgusted to remember, let's review!

January: Richie Porte takes Tour Down Under, "can't wait til July for Chris to pay me back for last season by working for me", he enthuses; Lampre dead, world glitter-and-pink-spandex market collapses; Trek-Segafredo boss admits they wanted Nibali first, "settled" for Contador, shut the !@#$ up you ungrateful wretch!

February: sole roadside spectator at Tour of Qatar dessicates in extreme desert heat waiting for peloton, eaten by vultures; Kittel-Grivko smackdown causes etiquette crisis in peloton, Queen Elizabeth's protocol chief called in to mediate, gets gratuitiously socked by Moscon.

March: Sexism scandal erupts at British Cycling, chief responds by scratching self, opining "go make me a sandwich and bring me a beer, willya dear?" Sky busted red-handed with Jiffy bag full o' dope, team boss avers "we just thought that was some of Wiggo's old !@#$"; Boonen preemptively chews up and spits out Muur in prep for final Classics campaign--wahhhhhh!

April: Van Avermonster takes Roubaix as Boonen stops for one last roadside party with coke-fueled fans, retires after waking up in Moroccan alley two weeks later; Gilbert takes epic Flanders after daring 53k solo helicopter ri--uh, breakaway; the rest of April wasn't funny--RIP complicated bon vivant Michele Scarponi.

May: It's the Giro, baby! Most Discussed Bowel Movement in All of Human History; totally natural flyweight climber/hulking Classics-TT specialist Tom Dumoulin takes Giro; worried Contador, Quintana, Chaves to intensive Arnold Schwarzenegger Weightlifting-n'-Steroids Bodybuilding Academy program to bulk up for Tour de France; Gianni Moscon disciplined for racist insults to Kevin Reza at April's Tour de Romandie, screams "but my best friend is a !@#$ing !@#$@%!"

June: Pre-Tour race prep! Sky mechanics to F1 racing teams to, uh, admire their very garages; Sky to altitude training, like they freakin' need it; Valverde to--holy hell, who knows *what* that perpetually reverse-aging genetic freak is doing to perform like this?

July: Shove it, pal, I know who won; Contador's (almost) Last Stand--waaaaahhhhhhhh!; Sagan controversially kicked out of race just to shut Cav the !@#$ up; UCI aggressively tests for motors using dowsing rods and Ouija board; Thomas Voeckler retires, briefly electrocuted when prehensile tongue slams into overhead telephone wires in final race.

August: Post-Tour cheating scandal! Just kidding, UCI's !@#$in' useless; it's the fabulous Vuelta, bab--oh, !@#$, *that* jackass is riding it?

September: Contador officially retires, entire planetary Internet goes down after distraught fans overwhelm world infrastructure with photos, farewell posts; Froome ruins perfect Vuelta; Peter Sagan bags World Road Champ hat-trick after 183k wheelie; Gianni Moscon DQ'd for extended sticky bottle--if you think a 45k tow is a problem, you Negative Nellie; Chantal Blaak takes surprise World Road title after telling official team captain to "move it or lose it, sister!", taking off.

October: Entire Colombian peloton tests positive for PEDs, Quintana flies home to "make sure they're doing things right"; Valverde officially finishes season having won 637 consecutive races, Olympic road race three years before it actually happens; Cancellara retires, local electrical grid surges with unexpected extra power; Gianni Moscon causes FDJ's Reichenbach horrid bloody crash in punk-!@# scum-move, now a completely well-rounded !@#hole in both verbal *and* non-verbal disciplines. Triumph!

November: contract excitement! Landa officially to Movistar, Quintana welcomes by trying to break both legs with tire iron; Sky inexplicably names racist !@#$wit Moscon as "Young Rider of Year," When Is Someone Gonna Take Down That Little Bastard Edition.

December: Team kits revealed! Sky tries to show innocence with sweet white and baby-blue outfits--yeah, we all know how *that* turned out; AG2R--well, they just can't be helped; Astana forgoes kit at all for full-body blue-and-yellow tats and jockstraps; Froome tests positive for excessive salbutamol after inhaling entire Zeppelin full of that !@#$ on single climb at Vuelta.

Well, darlings, That Was the Year That Was--so far. Thank goodness we still got two more weeks before we gotta live through the next!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Racejunkie's 10 Things I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving (And a Few I'm !%#$in' Well Not)

Yes, it's almost Thanksgiving, that heartwarming time of year when we Americans celebrate the merciful saving of the Pilgrims from starvation by gorging ourselves into a revolting overprivileged stupor, dashing to watch a football game we hate to avoid doing a monstrous pile of grimy dishes, and trying not to whang our politically-offensive-yet-inescapably-loud relatives upside the head with a 25-pound frozen turkey before we even have a chance to stuff the thing. Oh right, and sit before our resplendent table, clasp our hands over our gleaming heirloom silverware, and ruminate humbly over the many things we have to be grateful for this year. So if you're a cycling fan, what's that? This!

1. #FreeMikel Landa! Oh wait--we did! Word to Movistar: Don't. !@#$. Him. Over!

2. Basque cycling rises again. Yes, they're just getting started, and no, they're not our lovely Carrots. But the rest o' you peloton can just working on those climbing drills now--you're gonna need 'em!

3. Chantal Blaak. Look, everyone knew she was good. Hell, great. But World Freakin' Champion? You *go*, you Amazon!

4. Svein Tuft. If he can take out a charging wolf with a hockey stick, he sure ain't taking any !@#$ from Bouhanni or Moscon next year!

5. Alberto Contador. Not that he's gone, but that he was here. Sure, I've slagged 'im (rightly, natch) over the last ten years--but seriously, has *anyone* else been *half* as fun to watch? Liar!

6. Team Sky. Just kidding! They're horrid.

6. Alexander Vinokourov. The gift that keeps on giving. Until you !@#$ with 'im. Then, watch out!

7. UKAD. Because Sky can sleep peacefully at night knowing that if they drop trou and jam giant needles labeled "THESE ARE PEDs" into their collective !@#es right on UKAD's doorstep, they *still* won't bust those freaks. Now that's trust, my friends!

8. The beautiful Giro. No matter what fraudulent mutant stick figure is threatening to ride it next year.

9. Andre Greipel. Shut up--he was just resting!

10. The Vuelta. No matter what fraudulent mutant stick figure is threatening to ride it next year!

And a few I'm !@#$in' well not:

1. Oh, Samu!

2. La Course. Le Tour to women's peloton: Le!@#$You!

3. Le Tour. Let's face it, it sucked. Next time you're gonna pull *that* boring crap, just hand over the final maillot jaune the first day and save us three weeks of misery already!

Well, fellow celebrants, them's mine. Happy Thanksgiving to all--now pass me the bourb--uh, apple cider--dammit!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Tour de France is *On*, Baby!

Miss the hard smack of Cav ramming someone into the barriers? Find yourself sighing dreamily whenever you spy the color yellow? Well, I don't, but if you do, have we got a bangin' 2018 Tour de France right outta the gate! And it's still 9 months away for heck's sake!:

1. Pave'!: that's right, Classics specialists, not only is there reputed to be gravel patches ahead, have we got cobblestones for you! What better way to ensure total chaos in GC than to have Froome's spider limbs flailing wildly across cracks he can't even see due to his unseemly relationship with his power meter, or to launch a two-ounce climber into outer space when he hits a particularly lumpy slab o' rock? Enjoy the novelty, boys--if you survive it!

2. Mountains!: yes, it's already billed as "one for the climbers", meaning, presumably, that the giant Classics men who've recently taken over the mountains by storm'll be leaving boys actually built for mountain-goat duty, like Esteban Chaves, struggling at the base of every col like they've got a lead chamois in their shorts. Allez ogres! Over at Movistar, we can expect intra-squad treachery of truly epic proportions, as Nairo recently affirmed to the press that he is TEAM LEADER FOR THE TOUR DAMMIT, and Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde burst out into maniacal laughter before being whapped upside the head with a miniature Tour trophy by their distinctly irritated team boss. Froome, meantime, will abandon his beloved power meter in the heights in favor of a full-on Iron Man helmet, which will spit out a continually-updated full-body MRI, once-a-minute body-weight update, *and* replace his bike's mo--uh, Chris' own personal motivation. Asked about their captain's 5th-win Tour prospects, Sky domestiques Michal Kwiatkowski and Geraint Thomas responded in physical and verbal unison "He's great, he's great, he's gre--", until Dave Brailsford fiddled with some software on his iPhone and the riders slipped back into "human" mode. Fabio Aru, natch, is making his move from Astana to UAE in search of greater success, while Alexander Vinokourov, reportedly "stunned" at Aru's leaving, has already announced Astana's complete Tour de France lineup for next year, including surprise return Alberto Contador, who was lured out of retirement with the seductive promise, "!@#$, it can't be any worse than working for that !@#hole Tinkov, right?" May the best climbers actually win--and good luck with that, you underfunded suckers from every other team but Sky!.

3. Time Trials!: Uh-oh--there ain't much. Tom Dumoulin, upset at the lack of 28% percent gradient climbs that come so naturally to giant Dutch time triallists, is reportedly considering not riding the Tour de France because--oh, holy crap, it *is* because of the lack of time trial kilometers! Don't worry Tom, with your recent transformation you'll just take the queen stage in the Alps by 10 minutes instead--you'll hardly even remember you were ever some big sleek TT guy at all!

4. The Sprints!: As to the seeming lack of sprint stages in next year's course, Newly Sensitive Cav Version 2.0 issued a press release stating "!@#$ this !@#$, what the !@#$ing &*% do I look like, !@##ing Esteban Chaves you !@#$ing c@#$!?", Nacer Bouhanni, also present at the route reveal, had no comment about the course itself, but did sucker-punch the tech guy running the slide presentation on his way out, while Peter Sagan--oh, who cares what he said, he's just gonna win all the damn things anyway, can we just hand over the green jersey now and save the other guys the humiliation?

4. La Course!: Next, the Tour de France once again makes a great leap for gender equality by allowing the delicate ladies a one-day race on the exact same route as the guys', with the proviso that they all attach brooms to the backs of their bicycles because "we wouldn't want to risk the *real* Tour de France racers getting a puncture." Furthermore, in lieu of a gravel stage, the entire women's peloton will instead be assigned to breaking large granite rocks into little tiny pieces for the menfolk to ride on. I am woman, hear me roar--no, seriously, don't walk away ASO you !@#$wits, I said HEAR ME ROAR !@#DAMMIT!

5. The Circus!: Finally, what's the Grand Boucle without the glorious, tawdry circus that surrounds it? Lance Armstrong, who persists in clawing back from the dead like some gory extra in a Michael Jackson video, is launching his new podcast, "Look at These Guys. You've Gotta Be !@#$ing Kidding Me, Right?", and best "bud" the disgraced Floyd Landis, long banished to the trash heap of pro cycling, will be the Official Weed Provider to all the French teams who've already given up on GC anyway, *again*. Have a toke and a smile, kids!

Welp, that's yer 2018 Tour de France early preview. Now can we all get back to the Giro dammit?