Friday, August 10, 2007

Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee! And, Top Ten Things I'll Miss About Discovery (And Not)

What, Me Worry?: All right, so Contador bravely got up before all the world at his heralded press conference this morning and proclaimed...yep, "I've never doped." Gasp! Now, fine, I personally of course have no idea, and I even sincerely hope he didn't, for once in my sordid mind, but realistically, I call bull!@#$ Alberto! Here you are, a brilliant young rising star, handpicked out of hordes of desperate hopefuls to be trained and nurtured by Spain's premier king-maker, grantor of multiple Vueltas and endless race stages, the revered (if also reviled) Manolo Saiz. By all accounts--including those of your own jailbait Liberty Seguros teammates, under oath to Spanish prosecutors--Saiz walked around, at a minimum, slapping mystery skin patches on everyone like badges on Boy Scouts. Even assuming you didn't fall in to being a client of Fuentes'--and I'm guessing that since you offered up a DNA sample, you either genuinely weren't, or genuinely weren't reckless and stupid enough to leave a bag of blood in his fridge--it must have occurred even to innocent, trusting you, deep in the dark recesses of your ambitious nascent professional brain, that Saiz *probably* would've coughed up some explanation of what you were wearing if it was, indeed, merely an extra dose of a UCI-approved Spongebob Squarepants kiddie vitamin supplement. Whether you knew it--or wanted to--or not, it's highly likely that, at least during your tenure at Liberty Seguros and ONCE, you weren't just snarfing Red Bull. Again, I call bull@#$! Alberto!

Disco is Dead, Again: no sponsor, Johan? You couldn't even come up with some half-assed amoral company in Europe? Hell, even Festina's got more cycling ads plastering the peloton than T-Mobile's got positive test results! This is easily the lamest single thing I've heard this year, compounded by, as Shameless St. Millar Defender helpfully points out, the necessity of my rooting for that assclown Millar if I want to cheer for an American team at all, which really isn't so much the issue as the fact that I can't not root for we love Dave Zabriskie which I blame entirely on that wanker Bjarne Riis, but is irksome nonetheless. Luckily, I dislike smug holier-than-thou sobbing antidoping wah-ing nearly as much as I dislike reflexive rah-rah nationalism, so at least until Iban Mayo's B-sample comes up positive at the end of August, I'm rooting for Saunier Duval, and then perhaps, while still sending good vibes to we love Sastre Julich and Jens over at CSC, decamping entirely for matchless climbing gods Euskaltel Euskadi. Anyway, I quite boringly digress. What's more surprising about this whole hoo-ha is that, despite his icon status, enormous name recognition among the US public, astonishingly inspiring Lifetime-movie life story, and even more formidable ego, Lance Armstrong's been unable to pull even a half-assed deal off with the guys who make tinfoil bikes for Wal-Mart. This, this is our reward for watching you jack over every cyclist who betrayed you by ever dreaming of having his own career? Ugh! Anyway, as Slipstream steps up to clutch at Discovery's ProTour license (or Astana's, or...hell, with the way things are going, half of 'em'll be up for grabs next year), I humbly present:

Top Ten Things I'll Miss About Discovery:

1. US cycling getting some airplay, in the actual United States. Any. Ever. I presume we're back to square one, which means more bass-fishing marathons and bull-nut-twisting rodeo shows on OLN than the French have excuses for losing. Dammit!
2. Their team time trial. Fluid. Effortless. Perfect.
3. Johan Bruyneel's indisputable, if lately rather Machiavellian, genius. Say what you want about Lance's dull single-mindedness, but no DS has ever come close to achieving so precisely what he aimed for, and how, as Bruyneel.
4. Repeatedly pounding the crybabies over at L'Equipe, no matter how valid their accusations over individual, and systemic, doping at the team. Great lawyers you got there, Lance--an inspiration to us all!
5. The dearly departed: Hamilton, Heras, Landis. Flawed yet brilliant, they went above and beyond the humble drone Lance demanded, to their ultimate peril and self-destruction.
6. Big George Hincapie, more loyal than Lassie, the self-sacrificing Tammy Wynette of the peloton, and an incredible power in his own right. The thought of him looking like a giant bottle of shampoo next season in T-Mobile Barbie pink is simply excruciating.
7. Eki. Triki. Does any team have better nicknames? And no, I don't count "the Chicken."
8. The total certainty of a stage win or ten in the Tour de France. Sure, the Giro and the Vuelta are still far more entertaining, but hey, at least it gives the networks some reason to put up 10 minutes of cycling coverage!
9. Their really, really spiffy team kit. Cut me some slack here, I'm getting desperate for things to list...
10. I can't say Lance. I just can't. Even if he's the greatest Tour de France rider of all time, and finally gave Hincapie his stage win. And you can't make me, so go to hell!

Phew! Top Ten Things I Won't:
1. This place was a freakin' cult of personality during the Armstrong years--I half-expected the team to start yapping about aliens taking 'em up onto spaceships and dressing alike in bedsheets accosting strangers at airports. Squicks me out slightly to this day.
2. Monstrous yowling Americans painting their hairy thatched beer guts with the American flag and gallumphing half-naked in cowboy hats along the mountain passes cheering the team on. Christ, and we wonder why half the world hates us?
3. Johan, you were a complete and total @#$hole to wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am endless good sport Levi Leipheimer by seducing him into supposed team leadership then tossing him like a goo-filled hanky the second pretty little Basso fluttered his eyelashes then halfassedly welcoming him back when your comely little bankroll got busted. Like a teacher in summertime: No Class.
4. The whining selfish dope-slapping of any rider soulless enough to want his own recognition. *Must* you have been such snippy little high-schoolers when we love Roberto tanked at the Tour?
5. Last year. Damn, didn't they see Lance's retirement coming--where was your planning, people?
6. The total and unprecedented focus on the Tour to the exclusion of everything else, particularly with a stablefull of riders who would have been team leaders and repeat classics gods at any other team on the planet. Anyone else getting rather lonely for the days when riders actually had to try to peak throughout the season, and everyone wasn't squandered for the benefit of one giant ego?
7. The Next Lance Armstrong, heralded every time a Discovery jailbait took a stage win, who inevitably cracked under the pressure and tanked for seasons on end. Can we all get back to predicting the Next Indurain now?
8. Al Trautwig. Since he wouldn't've been enlisted at all if a petrified clueless OLN hadn't wanted to draw in the usual Monday Night Football crowd with an easy-to-cheer American icon (like Lance) and a voice they knew (like Al's) to tell the tale to the exclusion of actual talents, I blame this abomination entirely on Discovery.
9. The 7-year lack of competition. Sure, Discovery earned every Tour they got in smashing form, and I can't begrudge it a bit. But surely I couldn't be the only one actually entertained by having some guesses to make on the road to Paris again?
10. Crappy American sports-page cycling coverage. With no Great American Story to cheer, they'll be back commenting on something they do understand that I won't have to read, like deathly yawn-inducing golf tourneys or giant lumbering no-necks stomping each other into the Astroturf at the Super Bowl. It's back to quality race coverage, at last!


Nancy Toby from Lanterne Rouge Blog said...

LOL! Very well said!!! Please do something with Trautwig. Anything involving cement overshoes would be fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Ah a cynic after my own heart. Can not agree more about anti dopers and flag waving nationalists. How do we know Millar is dope free now? I think that disco has to look at the way unibet is being treated and wonder if the pro tour is such a good deal! Philip

Anonymous said...

Its the protour that is screwing everything up. Why would any team continue with the way unibet is being screwed. Philip

Shameless St Millar Defender said...

I'm not sorry Disco is dead. They didn't get that right now, its not about the winning, its about being clean and making the effort. Hell, even Mr "i've never tested positive would get that by now. You' d' think... And I'll just add that I've been a Slipstream fan for far longer than Millar was linked to them. And a CSC and T-Mobile fan. It doesn't take much to figure the connection there. I am however intrigued, and not a little alarmed to see what Vaughters dreams up to mix argyle and the British union jack next year.