Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Racejunkie 10 Cycling Things I'm Thankful For This Year (And a Few I Ain't)

Yes, Thanksgiving in America is upon us, that heartwarming time of year when long-lost relatives from far and wide gather to spout their offensive political views, try to refrain from stabbing each other with forks, reach harmony over universal condemnation of the gravy, soothe still-wounded spirits in a slap-fight over the last piece of chocolate-cream pie, then retire to watch the football game where some lazy oaf falls asleep and completely hogs the sofa before everyone else shifts uncomfortably for three hours on ottomans and folding chairs, only to sob on the way out the door how the family oughta get together more often--uh, to enjoy a perfect Norman Rockwell holiday where the turkey is moist, the mashed potatoes are slathered with butter, and not a spot ever falls on Grandma's crisply ruffled apron. And for we cycling fans, what better opportunity to ruminate on our beloved sport and consider the Ten Cycling Things I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving (And a Few I Ain't)? Ergo:

1. Alberto Contador is free. Whatever happens at the Tour, this boy's finally got his wings back at a team that'll really appreciate him!

2. The 100th Giro d'Italia. Truly, have more beautiful words *ever* been uttered? A toast to il grande Giro!

3. The Vuelta a Espana. Look, forget that gaudy showdown in July. Here's where the real GT hardmen have at it!

4. Nacer Bouhanni. Who *else* has single-handedly decided the prestigious Tour de France green jersey by TKO of a rowdy hotel guest the night before the Grand Depart? That is *class*, baby!

5. Didja see Tom Boonen is coming back to try for his 5th fabulous Paris-Roubaix? Didja didja didja? Allez Tommekeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

6. 2016 UCI Road Race Champ Denmark's Amelie Dideriksen. C'mon, did you even *remotely* see that coming? You did not either!

7. Esteban Chaves. Like you don't either, you cynics, I see you melting--*and* he can kick your !@#!

8. Alexander Vinokourov. Oh, go to hell, with that revolting oligarch outta the game next year we gotta have *some* guilty-pleasure arch-villain to root for!

9. UCI Doping Controls. Just kidding! Unless you're a Masters rider, or a kid racing yer tricycle around the schoolyard still hopped up on leftover Halloween candy, in which case you're guaranteed to (1) get popped and (2) earn a lifetime ban, they're useless. Dope on, kids--throw in a few hookers, and in 10 years you can have a lucrative new autobio on the bestseller list, too!

10. My dear Tweeps. So much raging bias and unsubstantiated gossip, *so* little time for me to spend on stupid "work." At least that's what I hope my boss don't find out!

And a Few I'm Not:

1. Team Sky. Official Motto: Screwing Ex-Euskaltel Riders Since 2010. Just go *away* already!

2. Speaking of whom, Brad Wiggins. Just *retire* already ffs, while your legacy's still halfway intact!

3. Where the hell is we love ex-Carrot Amets' Txurruka's new World Tour contract? Team camps are starting, give the boy a day to pack his gear whydontcha?

Well, them's mine, and if I missed anything, have at. In the meantime, enjoy yer dinner, and back away from that last slice of pie, pal!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's Yer Smack-Talk, Scandal, 'n' Road-Race Roundup!

Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye: look, there's no doubt Oleg Tinkov's brought a lotta, well, liveliness and publicity to the staid ol' sport o' pro cycling. But in the last coupla years, bravado and showmanship has deteriorated into vengeful malevolence and, let's face it, just bat!@#$ *crazy*. So it's with great delight that, after two years of Oleg publicly slagging dispirited Grand Tour superstar Alberto Contador as a lazy, talentless, over-the-hill never-was, I report that Alberto finally broke his diplomatic silence and came down like a bolt o' lightning on Oleg's sorry pissy head for his last race for House Tinkoff in Abu Dhabi: yes, the new Trek-Segafredo signing posed with his jersey zipper witheringly undone and the logo ergo squashed to the side for his official team photo. From Contador, that's like pinning Oleg down and scrawling "I'M A GIANT !@#HOLE" on his forehead with permanent marker and tattooing "KICK MY !@#" on his back in humongous Pippo-sized ornate script. Take *that*, you crass oligarch !@#$er!

Millenium: okay, it's actually "just" the 100th edition of the beautiful Giro d'Italia, but I'm sure *hoping* it'll last at least another 900 years, and the organizers of what looks to be quite a mountainous, smashing centenary edition can--after prematurely kidnapping Froome, Contador, Dumoulin, Nibali, Aru, Purito and Chaves and smuggling them to an undisclosed location in the race organizers' basement--breathe a sigh of relief that they won't *quite* be monstrously treated as a second-class race to the crappy Tour this year of years: yes, wee Nairo Quintana claims *he's* now interested in the Giro-Tour double that even Alberto failed to accomplish, which either means (1) he's aiming for the Giro-Tour double or (2) he doesn't think he can win the Tour de France against Sky's stoked-up android Discovery army, and wants at least to be able to claim--without an asshat team boss like Oleg disparaging the measly accomplishment--that he bagged a truly history-making Giro. Whatever the hell gets you there, Nairo--but am I the *only* one in a spitting rage because the Giro deserves so much better?

To Catch a Thief: meantime, in a grim glimpse o' the future for even stellar pro cyclists, 2002 Vuelta a Espana champ Aitor Gonzalez was arrested for robbing a cell-phone store, making, well, probably dozens of cycling fans to shake their heads in sorrow at what becomes of a former sporting hero after the pedals are unclipped the podium babes step off and the cameras go home. Helpful career advice: you'll make a *lot* more money, and suffer a boatload less consequences, if you forget the mask-on-your-face-and-finger-pointed-in-yer-pocket-like-a-fake-weapon trick and become a monumentally stupid no-questions-asked mystery-package courier for a giant untouchable World Tour team. Thank you Aitor, no charge, always glad to help a roadie in need!

Moto-!@#$er!: and, what would UCI's vaunted campaign to run over--uh, protect--as many cyclists as possible be without one last bit o' carnage to screw a great athlete's off-season? Yep, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio busted her hip just in time to jack her winter training when some careening twit didn't notice a 5-foot-tall-plus woman in bright spandex riding a, y'know, entirely unexpected *bicycle* in a *bike race* the eejit was *working in.* Get well soon Ashleigh--and get a !@#damn drivers' license that's worth something, you incompetent !@#clown!

When Pigs Fly: finally, it's nice to see that British trackie Jess Varnish, who got completely unjustifiably slammed as a disgruntled !@#$ cyclist after accurately raising that British Cycling technical director/total doping apologist Shane Sutton is a low-rent misogynist pig, was finally vindicated this week after an internal review confirmed that, yes, Shane is a few grunts short of being qualified to wallow in a barnyard manure pile. What was that you told her to do Shane? Oh right, now that you're too old to ride, head off into retirement and start having babies--or maybe for their theoretical sake, better not, jerk!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Sun Is a Mass/ Of Incandescent Gas/ A Gigantic Nuclear Fur-nace! #UCIDoha2016

And You're Riding In It, Sucker: yes, in the presence of truly record-breaking crowds--in the sense that "zero" is a "record", albeit a !@#$ty one--the planet's greatest cyclists have officially convened in the sweltering deserts of Doha to barf, pant, collapse, careen, and faint their way to World Championship glory, and, if there's one thing we know as the men's and women's elite road race is upon us, it's that the UCI's venal, profit-groveling, rider-endangering, cycling-screwing moronity clearly knows no bounds whatsoever beyond a fat, marinating pile of sun-scorched sweat-drenched euros, leading desperate riders to institute measures like "extreme sauna protocol" to accustom themselves to the heat, which apparently involves being locked in a small cedar closet with a steaming pile of hot rocks until you personally physically shrivel into (1) a desiccated, permanently preserved wraith-corpse, or (2), even worse, Chris Froome or 2007 Tour de France-era Michael Rasmussen. Glad no-one's actually *croaked* from the heat yet, you reckless !@#$ing sickos! Jaysus, why not !@#$ing hold the road race championships on a molten !@#$ing lava flow the next time Vesuvius blows and bacon-crisps an entire !@#$ing country, whydontcha?

Corollary Mystery o' Science: whether, as the winner ascends the podium to collect his or prize, s/he will--because as we all learned in school, if our inferior US educations were even correct, heat rises--spontaneously combust into a sad, skinny little pile of ash as the gold medal, with nowhere left to hang, collapses onto it ignominiously and instantly superheats into a gas, disappearing into the netherworld. Isn't science *fun*, kids?

The Postman Always Rings Twice--uh, NEVER EVER LOOKS IN THE !@##$IN' PACKAGE, ALRIGHT?: meantime, as British Cycling begins to cannibalize itself faster'n a Westward-bound pack o' manifest-destiny-seeking wagon-rollin' desperadoes, the latest guy to jump ship is the hapless Team Sky "mystery package" courier who, it seems, "didn't know" what was in the pile of sleazy, rules-evading dru--uh, do--uh, stuff he was delivering, despite the words "FRAGILE--PEDs" stamped all over the box in 200-point type, a frantic call from an unidentified staff person demanding to know its whereabouts, and, upon its arrival, an estimated 56 cyclists running up to the courier, bull!@#$ TUEs in hand, jersey sleeves rolled up, and their upper arms already freshly prepped with alcohol wipes. Yeah, it was a box of cutting-edge, specially aerodynamic band-aids, you doofus--*dang*, ignorance is bliss!

NEWS FLASH!: finally, I bring to you this exclusive breaking news from Doha: we're just now receiving reports that, due to extreme heat-induced dehydration, Tom Dumoulin has literally shrunk into Esteban Chaves. So much for that "breakthrough 2017 *Dutch* Grand Tour win", I guess!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hot Times at the Worlds! Punk-!#$ Parting Shots! Tour-Induced Hallucinations! #ilovecycling

Death Valley Blues: yep, in what already promised to be a 270k snoreworthy World Championship bore-fest (with the possible exception of (1) stupidity regarding (2) crosswinds), another entirely unforeseeable crisis has reared its ugly flaming head: the desert is, apparently, *jot*, and UCI may have to shorten the course to a mere 106k so delicate riders don't start dropping dead mid-race from heat exhaustion. In other news, when riders' noses start to shrivel and fall off from frostbite during late-winter jaunts in Antarctica, it *may* be time to pull out the ol' armwarmers. Handy rule: when a freakin' scorpion can't handle the heat without wearing protective little booties on whatever creepy appendages pass for their feet, neither can, say, giant German fastmen. Glad that 8th-grade section in your science class on "weather" really stuck in yer heads, dimwits!

Pink, It Was Loathe at First Sight: in other news, vengeful oligarch/Russian Trump Tinkoff team boss Oleg Tinkov ends his gold-plated stewardship by both (1) trash talking !@#$ rider/9-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador as not only a weenie the entire team hated but also for not winning him the Tour de France, thereby depriving Oleg of the crucial opportunity to dye his entire body maillot-jaune gold and mug for the cameras like a meth-fueled evil clown, and (2) threaten to come back to sport that he despises someday, *if* Sagan'll still let him cling onto his coattails like a desperate bloodthirsty disease-bearing tick. Can't wait, Oleg--but I'm sure Alberto Contador can!

'Scuse Me/While I Kick the Sky: over on Planet Crap Transfers, just as we were all *so* enjoying wee we love Chaves re-signing for a jillion-year contract with Orica, Diego Rosa--helpfully throttled by Astana in its pointless bid to back Fabio Aru for Lombardia, then ruthlessly publicly shredded by wankmaster team manager for blowing his own certain win--has been sucked into a presumably loaded but inevitably self-destructive contract with Team Sky, ruining yet another fine rider with a great future ahead of him, at least til they've drained him into a sorry shadow of his great-potential self and left him littered like a spit-slobbered gel packet on the side of the road after they've used him up for the perpetually annoying and ergonomically horrifying Chris Froome. Just cash the checks and hold on, Diego--I'm *sure* a far worthier team is coming for you!

Feed Your Head (Especially If You've Got an Upper Respiratory Problem): finally, the endless bogus-TUE revelations of the last two weeks--which have taken riders who, by their alleged medical records, were knock-knock-knocking on heaven's door and instantly healed 'em right onto the top of every Tour de France podium the last half-decade--have come to their inevitable, cycling-rattling conclusion, this time by way of Tour king Christian Prudhomme: yep, "no-one" is coming from "nowhere" anymore like they used to, so cycling's troubled past is clearly behind us and we can all look up at the final show in Paris with the starry-eyed innocence of tots too young to spot the fake beard on the department-store "Santa Claus." That's right, Christian, Froome *did* come from somewhere: the !@#-end of a stagnant career path to Firedsville, before he unaccountably morphed into a mantis-thin record-smashing "Conan the Barbarian"-era Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whew, I'm *glad* I can believe in cycling again, aren't you?

Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Yer What the Hell There's Still Racing and Stuff After the Vuelta? Update!

Yes, as we slowly wake up from our post-Vuelta stupor, and the world's best athletes continue to recover from their garbage-bag TUE hangovers, the world of cycling charges ahead, so what're you missing? Buckets!

Sprint Train Sounding Louder/Everyone Jump Upon the Sprint Train: this week, the Classics boys, so long dormant, come out to play again, this time at the beloved Eneco Tour, where Can'tTellTheTwoLottosApart's Dylan Groenewegen snagged the first sprint stage in a chaotic--read "universally choked"--lead-out, and Nacer Bouhanni, who came in second ahead of new Eurochamp stars-man Peter Sagan, celebrated his podium spot by gratuitously punching two random members of the public and the guy who hands the winner the hot-off-the-presses leader's jersey. We're proud of you too, Nacer--you're behaving less Cavishly every day!

To Gasp, Perchance to GC: and, in "seriously,-we're-not-doping news", the controversy continues over the commie-conspiracy "Fancy Bear" athlete Therapeutic Use Exemption leak, which revealed an astonishing 74 separate TUEs for Chris Froome alone at this year's Tour de France, including totally coincidentally performance-enhancing meds for such common pro-cyclist maladies as asthma, high cholesterol, influenza, the common cold, arthritis, gout, heartworm, rabies, saddlesores, toenail fungus, and a particularly nasty case of dandruff. Geez, you really *can't* win a Grand Tour nowadays unless you're damn near dead! Over on Planet Bull!@#$, immortal Tour de France champ/unendingly self-promoting autobiographer Brad Wiggins justified getting over the Great Britain peloton's "total taboo" against using needles in order to receive a deep-tissue drug injection by saying, "I was on so much other !@#$, they coulda jabbed me with that thing they used to eviscerate Mel Gibson in "Braveheart" and I wouldn't'a felt it." Thanks for the clarification, Brad!

Move It or Lose It: finally, the smokin' hot end-of-season transfer market speeds on, as Alberto Contador explained his long-anticipated shift to Trek (bringing along like the only 2 teammates who didn't stab 'im in the back this season) by opining that, while the collapse of his team surely played some role in his wing-spreading, "there's only so many times even a diplomatic guy like me can say he's "grateful" to be Oleg Tinkov's b!@#$." In other team news, new-but-bangin' squad Dimension Data was briefly in danger of losing its coveted World Tour license for lack of points, at least until Mark Cavendish met privately with UCI prez Brian Cookson for tea, reportedly smashing a crumpet into dust with his bare fist and telling Cookson over the clotted cream that "this'll be your !@#$ing face, you !@#$ing !@#%!", after which Cookson announced "an accounting error" at an afternoon press conference and granted DiData its license back after all. Welcome back Dimension Data--and smooth save there Mark!

Well, until Tom Boonen takes an Eneco stage (shut up! will too! go to hell!), that oughta hold us, at least til some other dimwit breaks with the proud history of team d--nutritional guidance by getting popped for some sketchy "internet supplement" and ruins the fun for the rest of the riders. Allez Toooooooooooooooooooooom!


Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Ultra-Coveted Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! #LV2016

Still reeling from the official end of Grand Tour season? Unrelentingly morose since that !@#$wit King of the Freakshow Froome shot a poison dart right into our darling Vuelta? Well morose around no more, dear reader(s), 'cause it's time for the incredibly prestigeless 2016 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! Prizes for our mortified (and thankfully oblivious) winners: eternal Internets glory, a custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap, a hideous trophy-like tchotchke, and, in lieu of a magnum of champagne, you come on over thisaway and I'll treat you to a regular at Dunkin' Donuts. So roll out the red carpet, don your finest cycling socks, and let's get this awards show on the road!

Guy I Want to Smack Every Time He Opens His Lying Doping Weasel Mouth Award: "Nairo did a nice job today." "Boy, was that climb tough." "Merry Christmas!" Yep, no matter how outwardly polite he is--and despite the fact that I was raised to be a delicate lady--I swear I want to slap Chris Froome upside the head with a lead bidon every !@#damn time he speaks from today til his inevitable Armstrongian downfall, which, to go by previous UCI track records, will probably occur about the time the Big Bang reverses and the universe collapses back in on itself. Dammit! Chris Froome, accept your prize--if you dare!

What the !@##king !@#$! GC-Screwing Dumbass Award: all right, race organizers--normally I'd give you a pass on anything because you're the noble Vuelta a Espana, but what the *hell* were you thinking starting off with a remotely-longer-'n-5-kilometer team time trial that decimated the !@#damn GC on the FIRST DAY and left Alberto Contador almost a minute back before he even had time to get his chamois on straight? Take your award, and shove it!

Crash o' the Race (Oh, for !@#$'s *Sake*! Edition): Lotto-Numbnut, whoever you were, come on up in tearful quivering misery and accept your life o' notoriety, because after taking down the luckless Alberto Contador in an excruciating crash that left him fully held together with gauze pads and tape for reasons no mechanical, road surface, or basic familiarity with a bicycle could explain, this is frankly the last award you're ever gonna get. Save the daydreaming for the off-season, you eejit, or get the hell off the road and let the GC contenders alone!

Crash o' the Race (*What* Did I Just Tell You Not to Do? Edition): yep, *another* steel bollard thoughtfully placed smack in the middle of the road by some unaccountably embittered urban planner, *another* utter failure by the race bosses to place the smallest shred of marking upon it, *another* innocent rider down and Taaramae'd home in an ambulance. Bollocks, uh, I mean, bollard!

Crash o' the Race (The Entire Planet Sucks! Edition): after battling through the mountains at darn near double the age of some of his competitors, with a hot shower and a cold beer in Madrid virtually within view, our dear Samuel Sanchez caught a bad corner and dislocated his shoulder in a horrid--and horridly demoralizing--time-trial take-out. And he *still* came in 12th on GC after he winced across the line--get well Samu you bad-!@#!

Get Your Motor Runnin'/Heavy Metal Thunder Prize: Chris Froome. La Covadonga. As the bone-crushing fatigue of supremacy in the Tour de France, a bronze medal in the Olympics, and an 8-month performance peak finally hammers home--as if!--Froome's 'energy reserves,' led by a really zippy lemon-poppy scone at breakfast, kick in right on cue, and he tick-tocks up the mountain and onto the podium with the perfect regularity of a Postal Service drone. Damn, that "marginal gains" hocus-pocus really *does* work!

Oh, Snap! Rest Day Press Conference Excellence in Insults Award: he's been soooo nice to his miserable !@#$ team, and so typically complimentary of his usual opponents, that you'd scarce believe it. But even our doe-eyed hero Contador couldn't resist confirming to an inquiring wiseacre that no, he *didn't* want to ride like Froome does making out with his power meter for 2,000 kilometers. Take that, you horrid Sky spider-metronome!

Bestest Bestest Sprinter Award: what the !@#$ are you people talking about, this is the freakin' Vuelta a Espana fer chrissakes! Any of you poor bastards who made it over the Aubisque without having to be airlifted by helicopter gets a prize. Step on up--if you've got any legs left!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race: yes, this is indeed a shocker: for approximately the 96th consecutive Racejunkie Awards (jeez, I've been writing this drivel a long time), it's everybody's best bud Alejandro Valverde, saved from picking up the prize for nutwhacking his own team leader by this time actually bothering to hose someone else, to wit, apparently reassuring fellow countryman (and we all saw how much *that* mattered with Purito Rodriguez) Alberto Contador that they'd kick in a few wholly unneeded calories to chase down no-threat-to-Nairo cheerful stealth-weapon Esteban Chaves when he took off on a daring--and thanks to Movistar, unanswerable--late-Vuelta move to seal the podium *and* yet another reason for that tool Oleg Tinkov to bitch about him. Jaysus, Valverde, you're like a slavering spandex pit bull, throw yer budsd a *bone* whydontcha when you say you will!

Attack o' the Race: and, correspondingly, this is for wee adorable Esteban Chaves, cannily taking advantage of Alberto's still-healing body--and a peloton full of ennui--to attack from way out with Madrid in view and bag third place on the final podium. Aw, it's like being piranha'd on the ankle by a snarling Bichon Frise--it's just so cute you *can't* be mad at it!

Domestique o' the Vuelta: wah, Valverde for Nairo, wah. We all know if that if the Green Bullet hadn't choked so spectacularly on GC he'd've 'helped' Quintana by accidentally feeding his main--and all his replacement--bikes into a woodchipper. But who *could* be relied on, no matter what the challenge, terrain, or wincing blow to his own chances for stage victory? *That's* it, dog-loyal Tinkoff's (I know, right?) Daniele Bennati, working diligently for Contador from the first pedalstroke of the disastrous team time trial to the last depressing ceremonial schlep to the finish line in Madrid. Class, thy name is Benna-Jet!

Sleeping Beauty Award (And Lazy-!@# Prince Award, to Boot): *who* decided to catch up on their beauty sleep with a silent screw-you by meandering in a cool 60 minutes past the time cut, and *who* collapsed like a hurricane-swept house o'cards rather'n anger the whinging toddlers and kick out, well, the equivalent of the entire women's peloton, to avoid cringing embarrassment the next day when like 2 guys'd be left to show up to race? Uh-huh, like 90 clowns who smugly sought safety in numbers (and totally coincidentally, saved a ton of energy for the remaining mountains ahead), and the completely whipped race organizers. Congratulations--you oughta be ashamed of yourselves!

Grace Under Pressure Award: your team is nowhere to be found, except that one assclown who sent a congratulatory tweet out to one of your opponents. Your lackadaisical emperor team boss is still chasing Peter Sagan's holy shadow. And how do you respond to this total !@#$shit? Yeah, you sweetly thank the engineer of your complete miserable crap season and depressing 2016 fruitless downfall for their unending warmth and continued support. Oleg Tinkov, you owe Alberto Contador a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge reward for not completely losing it and going all Vinokourov on your sorry !@#!

Finally, the Corollary "You Suck, Oleg!" Award: it's one thing to be a bit short on reserves after you've targeted the Tour, to unfortunate effect. It's a whole 'nother animal to set 'em snarling on each other carcasses while they're desperately camera-whoring for new contracts at the gaudiest show on the calendar and merely send their wraith-remnants to halfheartedly schlep around at a Grand Tour you clearly don't care about. Forget Contador, the whole damn Vuelta deserves better than the likes of you buddy!

Well, now that the hair gel has melted, the trophies are handed out, and the few who've bothered to remain this long have collapsed into the warm remnants of their gourmet meals, it's time to pack it up on this edition of the Vuelta a Espana and head for home. Next stop, Lombardia--and Contador'll be there, beeyotches!


Sunday, September 04, 2016

It's Yer Holy Crap What Just Happened Out There Vuelta a Espana Roundup! #LV2016

Yes, we're fully two weeks into what is usually the least ridiculous of the Grand Tours, the smashing Vuelta a Espana, and what've we picked up so far, scholars? Damn chaos, I say! Anyway, the current hoo-ha:

1. Today, where like 90 guys deliberately finished about an hour outside the time cut by pulling over for a cool drink, a massage, and a dip in the local hotel pool, is presumably a friendly "!@#$ you!" to the sadistic organizers of the last two stages, which ironclad rule, as the peloton correctly predicted, UCI would be too spineless to enforce. S!@#$w off, UCI, or next time we're going on a 4-hour guided walking tour of the nice village we're passing by, too!

2. Usually, Grand Tour riders are strong in their youth, but gain tactical sense and lose, well, stupid as they age. Froome, of course, is in total reverse. What the heck was he thinking today? I mean, I get--maybe--condescending to Contador and covering your own implausibly miraculous performance by letting him take a little time back today. But Quintana? Jaysus, *how* can this amateur have won three Tours? Oh, wait, I know...

3. It's perfectly normal to peak, as, say, Valverde and Froome have, for 8 straight months of the season including all of the GTs, most of the Classics, the Olympics, and all the short "training" stage races in between, as long as you have one bad day. Must be that no-one in cycling--save, perhaps, Postal/Discovery--ever knew how to train, eat, sleep, or ride until this year. Whew, bullet dodged on the doping front UCI, you can go off and scan another top pro's ride for a motor you're never gonna find there!

4. Contador. If you were Froome, you'd've made up some bull!@#$ excuse to drop out 6 stages ago. Chapeau!

5. Tomorrow is a sprint stage. Given that giant Dutch riders have lately been known to take 86% gradient mountain stages the last season, anyone else banking on Esteban Chaves for the win?

6. Surprised to see Oleg Tinkov there shaking his fist for Contador--or was that giving him the finger? Sagan finally lose patience and kick you out of his entourage now that he's got a shiny new contract, did he?

7. What the hell, LL Cool Sanchez, you couldn't have told Vino to stuff his bizarro pointless orders to put the hammer down in the chase and let your ol' we-still-miss-shut-up-I-don't-care-what-they-were-forcefed-Liberty Seguros buddy snag back a few extra seconds on the Pasty Spawn of Satan's Soulless Beancounter? You *trying* for the Alejandro Valverde Hosing Your Teammate Lifetime Shameful Achievement Award? Send that unholy Astana/Sky alliance back to the flaming underworld from which it came!

8. DO NOT !@#$ UP THIS TIME TRIAL NAIRO. DO NOT !@#$ IT UP!

9. Didja see Greipel took a win today? Look out World Championships, he's comin' right at you!

Well, that's my solid analysis--and if you're thinking that Sky'll figure out a marginal gain for Froome between now and the next mountain stage that'll completely blow the race back apart, well, wouldn't that be an un-surprise. Til then, hang in there Alberto, you got essentially a rest day coming up tomorrow--just stay outta the sprinters' way, and don't let that petty asshat Valverde pip you for seconds while you're the only sensible one avoiding the 3k-to-go feeding frenzy!

And here, the sweet replay: