Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mari, Queen of...Well, Everything

Round and Round: yep, time to throw some love to a discipline I ordinarily overlook, as it's been a smashing few days at the track Worlds and jailbait savant Marianne Vos has apparently become the first cyclist to rack up Worlds titles in 'cross road and track (points) and Brad Wiggins woofs badly in the preliminaries only to come back fighting to take gold. Right on Marianne! Over in the boys' room, meantime, we love Jens wraps up his 80th Criterium International; Cadel seemingly gets tired of all the wheel-sucking accusations and takes the initiative and ultimately the win over at Coppi e Bartali; and, as Alberto Contador swears his fidelity to Johan Bruyneel and puts the kibosh on rumors he's headed to Caisse d'Epargne for the Tour, Stefano Garzelli bludgeons the field in every race he's in to dope-slap the vindictive babies at RCS Sport for keeping Acqua e Sapone out of the Giro. Oh well--at least amidst all the petty bitter infighting and randomly-targeted disqualifications, someone is getting to ride somewhere!

I Guess They Ain't Getting a Beer Together Anytime Soon: and, a nod to the selfless whistleblowers of this tainted sport, as Andreas Kloden (sick again, though unclear if sick in the sense that "I'm whacked with the same early-season bug that's plaguing half the peloton" or sick in the "I'm gonna hurl if Johan finds out what I really ingested at T-Mobile" sense) threatens to sue the shorts off Patrik Sinkewitz for ratting him out to the narcs, and embittered publicity ho'/broke-!@# ex-soigneur-to-the-stars Jeff D'Hont gets tired of waiting for Jan Ullrich to 'fess up and writes yet another book whining about how he's not getting the adulation he deserves for profiting off helping other people dope. Still, none other than Philippe Gilbert has purportedly dropped to his knees in gratitude to our unfairly-maligned antihero, claiming after his handsome victory at Het Volk, "I won because of you, because of your book!", apparently because the French teams have been hampered of late by their tough anti-doping programs relative to the rest of the drug-fueled peloton, which still doesn't explain why, say, CSC is completely kicking their !@#@*. Keep lookin' for those excuses boys!

A Plea to the Riders: Menchov. Cunego (though I can't help but imagine if this has anything to do with the fact that he's tired of getting smacked around by the sneering tifosi as a one-hit wonder). Contador. So help me, even we love Samuel Sanchez from Euskaltel-Euskadi for heck's sake. All of 'em, dissing two far more beautiful races for the circus-freak parade that is now the Tour. Fine, you'll go down in history as winners of the Grand Boucle, yap, even folks who don't follow cycling will know your name, yap, yap, you'll be able to hit up your team for more money next year than God, yap, yap, yap. But in the name of all that is fair and good in this world, can you all stop treating the Giro and Vuelta like everybody's beer-goggled last-chance closing-time one-night (well, three-week)-stand already?!

And You Thought *I* Was a Roberto Heras Fanatic: yep, I'm a grotesque hypocrite, so you can all just go to hell but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Pay no attention to that Man(olo Saiz) behind the curtain:

Oh Give Me a Home/Where the Buffalo Roam: finally, though this admittedly hasn't much to do with cycling, except that it's wholly worth spending thousands of dollars to follow the Giro d'Italia around like a dog just so you can power-snarf the best food on earth while you freeze your @#$ off for six hours on the side of a Dolomite waiting for a ten-second glance of Gilberto Simoni, I hereby humbly request a moment of reflection in sympathy for the Italian buffalo mozzarella crisis, which, despite the desperate assurances of the Italian agriculture minister that the supply is safe, is still being banned by such purveyors of fine products as China, on the lame grounds that organized crime is alleged (alleged! please don't hurt me) to have tainted the pristine grazing grounds by the unauthorized dumping of illegal waste. So mangia, mangia--but carefully!

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