Saturday, June 21, 2008

(Time) Trial of the Century

Faster Pussycat: so despite totally coincidentally having the pancake-flat time time of his life at the Dauphine--and we all know what happened to we-still-love-so-shut-the-hell-up Roberto Heras right when that !@#$ started, not that I'm implying anything against a guy whose dog totally coincidentally has a carload of Op Puerto blood bags named after him--perpetual Tour podium presumptive Alejandro Valverde's incongruously professing relief that the Tour's rather short on such stages this year, which for my money is even better news for guys like dear little Sastre and why-can't-you-just-be-happy-smokin'-the-perfect-Vuelta-and-leave-the-Tour-to-that-twerp-Menchov Samuel Sanchez. Still, the boy's only finished one Tour to date, so it remains to be seen if he can even hold it together for any of the many stages he could without the assistance of alleged illicit practices possibly win. Good luck "Piti" (and you may need it with the narcs on high alert this year and all), but I'm still hoping Sastre kicks your !@#!

The Roman Empire: first, holy moly youngster Roman Kreutzinger, as if you've got to take a first pro win, the Tour de Suisse ain't a bad one, but more important, right on we love Klodi, and what total crap it is that our fabulous ex-Jan acolyte is being denied his certain podium (despite being Contador's outrageously-conscripted endless errand boy) at the Tour de France! Over in Holland, Tom Boonen sensibly took his inaugural return to the bike and resulting stage win at the Stoer Elektrotoer, which, for reasons no doubt completely irrelevant to his decision to participate, has gotten roundly slagged in cleanster circles for a total lack of doping controls. Welcome back Tommeke! Meantime, proving yet again that the Italians rock, Fabiana Luperini took a record-smashing sixth win over at the Giro del Trentino as US wondergoddess Mara Abbott snags the young riders' jersey. Now that they've all proven worthy of their trikes, can we stop making, say, the women's Tour de France so insufferably patronizingly lame?

French Letters: and, it's been nigh on a week since the vicious attack ankle-biters at UCI suspended the French cycling fed for being "disloyal" in siding with ASO having Paris-Nice and the Tour de France be French-sanctioned, and the consequences of this dreadful, near capital, punishment are clear: um, nuthin'. Next up: anyone who doesn't put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to UCI has to go stand in the corner face to the wall while all the good little cycling feds get to go out for recess. That oughta show 'em, Sheriff McQuaid!

The Ten Greatest Male Athletes the Wall Street Journal Has Ever Heard Of: so just as the irksome New York Times had almost graduated from the unbiased Landis-immolating bull!@#$ faux neutrality of such nobly disinterested parties as WADA's (ex) Dick "Dick" Pound to really a very dandy article on training by the ever-likeable Christian Van de Velde, only to toss all cred again barely a day later by publishing an agonizingly idiotic Tiger Beat piece on the impact of Lance Armstrong's starlet-slurping on his cycling and cancer-awareness legacies, the crack sports journalists over at the WSJ have come out with their Top Ten Athletes in the World list, and I gotta say, it blows, in that I cannot believe there is not a single freakin' cyclist among them. Why? Pro cyclists are too "one-dimensional," which presumably means that the attention-deficit coke-snorting French-cuffed martini-sucking adrenaline-whore commodities traders at the WSJ haven't the patience or sense to actually figure out what's going on during a race. What's worse, the Journal uses "stamina" as a key point of judgment, and cyclists *still* don't make the list. Let's face it, some pansy-!@# baseball player is moving tops--tops!--10% of a 3 hour game, and 90% of *that* time, he's "moving" by spitting tobacco lougies at the cameras like some inbred backwoods Deliverance extra. Is this remotely the same in the effort department as even the most sad-sack un-doped time-cut-missing also-ran Continental domestique in the peloton expends during the ride to the line in the morning check-in? Okay, "popularity"--well, they did give soccer its due international credit, but are you seriously telling me more people are lining up screaming for some gorilla shot-put no-neck more'n once every 4 years at the Big Show? Even "skill"--yes, it is very, very hard for some lunk the size, shape, and general maneuverability of a boxcar to squash an agile 200-lb quarterback, when basically all he has to do is lean his steriod-bloated corpse over its natural tipping point in a timely manner, but I'll bet a tailgate's worth of brew none of these bloated clowns could manage to stay upright grabbing a snack from a feed zone without squashing a half-dozen of the poor soigneurs they'd inevitably plow into. What the !@#$ WSJ?

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: finally, as Bjorn "Love Machine" Leukemans and Andrei Kashechkin await the results of their latest appeals, and both Alexander "IV" Vinokorouv and Michael "I Was !@#$%^!" Rasmussen get back to training to the distinct displeasure of the joyless whiners over at UCI, many congrats to the head of the Spanish cycling federation, sued by the bulk of the late lamented Liberty Seguros squad and now cleared of media leaks with regard to Operacion Puerto. Explain to me again why no-one's gone down for the cowardly disgusting self-serving total-hosing Landis leaks that had the boy wholly incinerated by a flamethrower's worth of toxic character-assassination vitriol before the poor boy had even got his boxers on the morning of his downfall?

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