Saturday, October 18, 2014

Holy Crap Astana's In Trouble! An Alternate Career Plan for Vincenzo Nibali #cycling

Calm Down, Everybody!: okay, so yet *another* numbnut Vinokourov protege--a stagiare, but still--has gotten popped for drugs, and boy, is UCI mad how bad it makes them look: they're micro-examining every tiny detail of Team Astana, and, worse, threatening to take away their World Tour license. And while they're realistically not gonna put down the team containing the reigning Tour de France champion--who has a rep as a raging anti-doper, no less--still, more freakish things can happen, and with damn near *everybody's* budget too blown to accommodate as expensive a rider as Nibali, if the boy wants to be entirely safe, he's gotta start thinkin' backup. My proposal: Nibali to Tinkoff-Saxo! And cool it, Contador fans, I've got good reason here: Oleg Tinkoff sheds Nibali's annual salary in euros when he blows his nose, and the Contador-Nibali matchup is headline city. Can you imagine that in combination with Oleg's ability to force both riders to take on all 3 Grand Tours ('cause no matter who's exhausted by September, Oleg's highly likely to take at least one of 'em), he gets to stroke his raging ego by having Alberto and Vincenzo cage-fight it out on the roads for Oleg's favor all season? Will Contador count on Nibali's hometown pride to drive him to the win and total exhaustion at the Giro, thereby allowing Alberto to prove himself the indisputably stronger captain for Alberto's lost Tour de France? Will Nibs leave the Vuelta entirely to Contador, or take advantage of Alberto's now-frazzled legs to smack Alberto right in front of the boy's own hometown crowds? Will Chris Froome take advantage of the internal team discord he used so effectively to screw Brad Wiggins the last couple years to grab Grand Tour glory while Nibs and Alberto mark and attack each other? I hope Astana holds on, if for nothing else because Vino's such a crazy vindictive fabulous bastard--but Vincenzo, there's hope for you just in case!

See No Evil, Rat on No Evil: meantime, Thor Hushovd's still stirring up controversy with his new autobio, getting viciously slagged for maintaining his friendship and omerta with his pal Lance Armstrong even after the latter casually admitted to Hushovd that he was a giant doping peloton-screwing scumbag. Oh sure, maybe his tacit complicity contributed to the wholesale public-relations destruction of the sport we love, but jeez, cut the big lug some slack, I say--I mean, if we apply that sort of good-sportsmanship narc-on-your-pals rule equally, there'd probably be like two guys left in Mo--uh, Montana, and *then* who would be left for us to watch? More, big Thor has also dissed Armstrong destructo-campaign victims such as Bassons for trying--and being wrecked for--calling bull!@#$ on Lance back in the day, on the theory that if Thor could win when *he* wasn't doping, Bassons and those other whiny clowns just plain sucked anyway. Thor, Thor, just because the Thunder God could take on some of the most stoked-up sprinters in the peloton on the flats doesn't mean that single individual climbers could reasonably be expected to compete in the Alps against not only Armstrong but his entire damn needle-stuffed pace-setting robot army! Oh, Thor, can't we just talk about your green jersey or something--you're not *helping* yourself here!

P.S. !@#dammit, why does we love Samuel Sanchez still not have a contract yet? Another ex-Euskie already retired this season! !@#$in' 800-year-old Alessandro Petacchi's got like three offers to choose from! I mean for !@#$'s sake Valverde's still riding! You *suck*, BMC!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Give Samuel Sanchez a Contract, Dammit! #HireSamuNow

You Blow, BMC!: so, here we love ex-Euskaltel god/Olympic gold medalist Samuel Sanchez is, busting his works as a superdomestique for Philippe and Cadel all season without complaint, and what does he get? Right, treated like the laundry guy's own rancid sock-washer and without a damn contract with *anyone* much less a World Tour squad when all the decent dough's already been sucked up for next season! Dang, I'd get it if like BMC had to pull a Lampre on his !@# and ditch 'im like Horner because he had to get pulled for unfortunate drug levels or something, but really? The guy who was sixth in this year's Vuelta, despite being some egregiously decaying geezer? Who's faithfully exhausted the field in the mountains all season in service of his team leaders? Well the hell with you ungrateful freaks, I'm starting a campaign. #HireSamuNow, or may endless noogies bedevil your days!

I'm On Top of the World!: and, Bjarne Riis is apparently tranferring his sadistic old CSC team-building philosophy to the innocent boys of Tinkoff-Saxo, forcing them into treacherous a 4,000 meter march up Mount Kilimanjaro, where Oleg Tinkov, who will already have twice conquered the summit earlier that same morning, will reward them by kicking the loser stragglers back down the mountain off the rockface before making everyone else left drop and give him fifty pushups. Now, if a desperate struggle to survive doesn't decide whether Alberto or Sagan is really the year's team captain, what could? Well, good luck and happy trails to the lot of you, and watch out Sagan--we already know who's the better climber of you two!

Good Pick MTN-Qhubeka!: finally, huge congrats to Tyler Farrar, whose snap-up by up-n-coming MTN-Qhubeka got his head and his legs right back in the ol' sprinting game with a bangin' win at the Tour of Beijing in his last race in Garmin kit. Welcome back Tyler--here's to more of *this* in 2015 (hello we love Phil Liggett)!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Schleck! Nibali! Tinkov! Astana! Nairo! Tyler! Just Buckets o' Roundup #cycling

A Sigh Is But a Sigh: okay, now that everyone's had a day or two to simmer down from the mourning, adulation, and general freakout over the sad injury-driven retirement of former CSC shooting star/next Great Grand Tour Hope/one-time Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Andy Schleck, let's talk straight--poor baby Schleck's heart seemed out of the game even *before* he got so badly and repeatedly hurt, particularly under the beastly ministrations of a frustrated Lance-less Johan Bruyneel, whose constant public motivational speeches like "ride, you lazy weakling b!tch!" failed to help the sensitive Andy get his mojo risin'. Indeed, one of Schleck's most notable results of his post-CSC career was convincing everyone Alberto Contador was an unbearable lowlife punk-!@# and Andy was a saint over the ostensibly Tour-deciding "Chaingate," when Andy's own brother Frank had similarly attacked Alberto like a wank when *he* had a mechanical in the very same race. Still, to be fair to the boy's prowess, it was rather astonishing at Andy's peak to watch such a gangly kid scale the heights so tenaciously, it's a pretty rare thing that a guy who repeatedly podiumed at the Tour and technically won the thing in 2010 is considered a disappointment, and while it is probably correct that he lacked some of the freakish mental impermeability so necessary to sustain a dominating Grand Tour career, if he can't compete I sure hope he and his knee are up to getting a bike ride in now and then for the pleasure of it. In bocca al lupo Andy, hope the real world is kind to you!

Nibali v. Tinkov: meantime, reigning Tour champ Vincenzo "Don't What-If Me, You !@#holes!" Nibali has slugged back at Oleg Tinkov's million-euro triple-Grand Challenge, pointing out that not only does he hardly need the money, but *he* cares about spending time with his family you narcissistic megalomaniac *and* he'd put the money if he had it towards starting a youth-development cycling program anyway. Take *that*, Daddy Warbucks! Still, the team directors--always a cash-hungry sponsor-whoring bunch by necessity--seem less concerned with the personal toll on their riders but at least rather concerned about the public-relations and sponsor-angering implications of injuring one of their prized racehorses like Nairo Quintana before their actual main Grand Tour goal of the season. Aw, we already know that Alberto Contador can slaughter the Vuelta on a fractured tibia--let the rest of those wussies stick on a band-aid and quit their whinin'!

Alexander Vinokourov, Anti-Doping Champion: and, the fallout from the Iglinskiy brothers' mutual pops for EPO over at Astana continues, with vigilant team bosses launching a heart-felt internal investigation into how these guys !@#$ed up so badl--uh, strayed from the team's gleaming golden path of righteousness, 'encouraging" the two to meet with the narcs to (carefully!) spill their guts out, and offering their sincerest hopes that UCI will take up the team's offer to meet so they can promise any bul!@#$ it takes to hold on to their World Tour licen--uh, immediately address any concerns these unfortunate and wholly isolated incidents may have raised. I love you Vino--but I still love you better when you just tell anyone who questions you to !@#$ off or you'll start naming names!

Just Breathe (As Long As You Use a Gas Mask): finally, as class-act Tyler Farrar vows to give it his all as farewell thanks to Team "No Lead Out for You!" Garmin as he heads to MTN-Qhubeka next season, complimenti to the organizers of the dying Tour of Beijing, forced to cut a stage short due to crappy polluted air quality. Damn, between the riders getting busted after noshing from the contaminated food supply and the inconvenience of these stupid athletes needing some dumb!@# "oxygen" in order to ride 200 miles a day, it's a wonder this race is continuing next year at all! Oh, wait...

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

How Cute of Oleg to Donate his Pocket Change to Riders Who Do the Grand-Tour Triple!

Mony Mony: okay, forget that this year's Giro has been ratcheted down to entice Alberto to manageably do the Giro-Tour double--perhaps too much, as Contador expressed consternation over the Froome-friendlier monster individual time trial--Oleg Tinkov's calling out *all* you wuss-weenie competitors to Alberto: you do the Giro-Tour-Vuelta *triple*, and he'll hand over a cool one million euros. More, Oleg has *personally* challenged Nairo, Nibali, and Froomey to a throwdown, promising to ride each Grand Tour stage in 2015 himself, on two flat tires and carrying Andre "the Gorilla" Greipel on his back to boot. Man up, you wilting flowers--wah, legs, wah, wah, crashes, wah, wah, undoped limits of human endurance, wah, ya crybabies!

Wiggle Me This: and holy crap, not only does Wiggle-Honda already have a lock on the great speedster/prior world champ Giorgia Bronzini, but now they've got and signed two-time Giro Rosa winner/queen-stage bad-!@#/US hell-on-wheelwoman Mara Abbott as well. Dang, Giorgia for the sprints, Mara for the climbs--maybe Marianne Vos *has* got something to worry about next year!

Crime Pays: finally, good news for all you drug-stuffed cheating weasel miscreants: new research suggests that, at least as far as anabolic steroids go, the benefits of doping last looooooooooong after the thief-skank has served his/her ban and returned to the sport. Lesson: it's a good thing they haven't apparently researched this !@#$ with cycling's drugs yet, or a good percentage of the existing peloton'd be out on its !@#! On the plus side, this speaks well for Riccardo Ricco's planned attempt at we still love so go to hell Iban Mayo's climbing record. Forza Ricco the Snake--Cobra, whatever--anyway, you oughta be juuuust fine when yer ban is up in 2024!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

It's the Race of the Falling Leaves (And Carcasses! And World Tour Rankings!): the Road Season Almost Wraps Up #cycling

Puritoooooooooooooooo!: no, I *don't* give a crap he didn't win Lombardia today, Rodriguez *still* gets an adoring shout-out, as well as the Vuelta title next year (will too either! bite me!), but is this an early Halloween frightfest, or is Alejandro Valverde really coming so terrifyingly close on some terrifyingly prestigious races lately? I mean !@#$, is that guy a zombie from the bottom down?--his legs just *never* *!@#$in'* *die*! Anyway, *just* lovely to see Dan Martin escape for the win, woo-hoo Samu for pulling off a fabulous 5th!, and crap luck for Alberto Contador (and even worse for him now that Oleg's given 'im two seconds to heal up before he threatens to break his legs himself)--a nasty knee-whanger fall right in the last 250 meters or so. With Valverde now in the World Tour lead, Alberto, you got about two days to get better before the Tour o' Beijing and your last chance to avoid Tinkov wrath! Here, the last 4k: Complimenti Martin--damn great tactics!

Cyclist, Heal Thyself: and, a rather nice contract result there for Italy's former Next Great Hope Damiano "Il Piccolo Principe" Cunego, as he drops down discreetly to the Pro Continental level after years of diminishing results with Lampre and, wisely, starts prepping for his post-race career as a physiotherapist. Hey, even with years of lingering rage over his beastly backstabbing of we love Gilberto Simoni I can't help but think that's quite sweet! Lucky for eternal pin-up (if only occasional podium-finisher) Pippo Pozzato, he's still got another year left with Lampre on his contract, which I believe definitively makes him not only one of Lampre's elder statesmen but also the most rakish little devil on the squad. Forza Pippo--you've got all next season to earn your keep!

Astana Heads Home (And Vino's Head's Gonna Explode): meanwhile, a storm's a-brewin' in Kazakhstan, as Vincenzo Nibali publicly blames some sponsor publicity-ho-ing for his sorta-off late-season form, *and* Astana gets booted from the World Tour races the rest of the season for the Iglinsky brothers' getting popped for EPO. Leaving aside that damn, kids, it's not like you don't know anyone who doesn't know how to do that !@#$ correctly, I say cut Maxim and Valentin a little slack--they're a two-fer, like the Schlecks, just treat it like one single doping poz and you'll feel all kindsa better!

Welcome Back, Briefcase: finally, as Fernando Alonso misses the deadline for forming a new World Tour squad for next year (tho' a Pro Conti is still a possibility), great news for Basque cycling as its young developing talent rises again (and here's the bad news) under the nurturing bloodb--uh, hand--of notorious Operacion Puerto/early Contador mentor Manolo "Briefcase" Saiz for this coming season, but considering some of the odious clowns running actual World Tour squads, I suppose the worst thing about 'im is his unfortunate propensity for getting busted. "Don't* screw over the next generation of Basque riders, Manolo--PLEASE, can't Samu just be put in charge of, say, reconstituting dear departed Euskaltel when he retires, and we can bring some unabashed glory--and even better, legitimacy--to this smashing sport?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Whoa Moly That Was Creepily Close For Valverde! Yer Way-Quick Worlds-in-Review #Worlds

The Quick and the Dead: yep, even as we love Purito kept his noble promise and actually worked for Valverde--kiss his butt for that, Alejandro, I mean it after last year, KISS HIS ACTUAL PERSONAL BUTT!--it was still a nail-nipper as new rainbow jersey/games-playing jailbait Michal Kwiatkowski sat up what looked like a mile before the line to meander across celebrating as the hopeful-too-late trio of Gerrans Valverde and Breschel came up behind 'im. Sooooo close to an atmosphere-shattering world-wide howl of agony as Valverde almost took the show! *Geez*, Michal, freak the whole lot of us out whydontcha! So to round up the rest of yer Worlds:

Your Winners: Team Time Trials: Lululemon grabbed the prize as Rabo-Liv hit the deck. Next year, I bet Marianne Vos won't get dropped! For the boys: BMC stomped the unstoppable Quick Step. Women's and Men's U-23: so who should you fear in the years to come? No, it's not Spain, Italy, or Belgium--it's Denmark (Amelie Dideriksen) and Norway (Sven Erik Bystrom). Thor Hushovd (and, uh, Michael Rasmussen?), you already got somebody picking up the torch! U-23 Time Trials: woo-hoo Cadel you've got some serious talent behind you, Aussies Macey Stewart and Campbell Flakemore! Women's Elite Individual Time Trial: Lisa Brennauer, Germany's first big hope (I *know*, I'm not counting sprinters) since we love and still miss (yeah yeah, stuff it, I know this too!) Jan Ullrich. Men's Elite Individual Time Trial: screw you, what the hell is Tony Martin supposed to be, some kinda Transformer Aerobot, the man's human for heck's sake! Oh right, Wiggo. Way to save the season, man! Women's elite: holy crap, what a disaster--unless you're Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, who sure oughta get a bonus stripe for she-nuts! Men's elite: You still suck for leaving Samu off the squad, Spain! Michal Kwiatkowski for the well-earned (and damn near lost) win. Oh, from "up-and-comer" to "marked man every single day of the 2015 season"--sniff, they all grow up so fast! Here, the elite road men's and ladies have us all yelling at our screens and jumping off our couches like crack-stuffed lemurs:

Well, that was exciting, and the smack-talkin' blame-game from the men's and women's road races is already even more so, with Armistead, Gerro and Gilbert laying it out. I love thoughtful, measured, adrenalin-raged post-race analysis! Now, it's onto Il Lombardia--forza azzuri, any of you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Total Carnage, Tactical Disaster, and a New World Champion at the Women's Worlds Road Race! #worlds

Medic! Uh....Tactician! Uh...Jersey Printer!: holy cow it was total bloody bone-whacking carnage at the women's world champ road race in Ponferrada, with half the peloton going down before the rain even kicked in to slicken the roads--including American star Alison Powers, who despite missing what appeared to be approximately half a buttock after her crash still managed to make a bold attack that completely shook up the field--and a certain podium flushed entirely (and worse, entirely needlessly) down the toilet in the last half k when the four lead riders, Vos, Armitstead, Longo Borghini and Emma Johansson collectively sat up, wouldn't work together or hell even separately, and pulled off the road entirely to call it a day and go out for a beer. Damn, I expect this stupid !@#$ from someone like Valverde, but not these pros! Still, to be fair, Vos just didn't seem to have the legs in any case, and surprise new world champ/22 year old road and mountain biking prodigy Pauline Ferrand-Prevot utterly earned that win. As for the injured, a bunch of folks unfortunately had to go to hospital, and wishing a full and speedy recovery to all. Woot woot to our new rainbow jersey--and whoa moly, watch out for double-threat road-race 2nd place Lisa Brennauer this coming year, she completely smoked the elite women's time trial already too!

Puritoooooooooooooooooo!: bite me, he can so either! But if not I'm rooting for Boonen or Gilbert. Or Cancellara would be nice too I suppose. Puritoooooooooooooooooooooo!