Friday, August 29, 2008

*This* Is How You Say "Good Job!"?

Didja Ever Hear of "Thank You Notes?": yes, as you might surmise, on the eve of the spectacular Vuelta, a spectacularly ungrateful Bjarne "Thank God No-One's Pursuing Those Allegations About Me and Fuentes" Riis has generously informed the press that Carlos Sastre "doesn't represent the future of our team" like Cancellara big and baby Schlecks and Sorensen, and we just don't have space for the boy anymore, though we're really, really gonna support him at the Vuelta, the poor old useless hag. Um, last I noticed, Bjarne, he just a few short weeks back won you the same Tour de France you admitted you doped through, so while I'm certainly no Miss Manners, it does seem to me that, however decrepit his aging bod, perhaps the boy is owed some faux good will at least through the end of this season, no? What, he just told you he's taking off for Cervelo's new Pro Continental gig or something? Suck it up and show some class, you bitter nasty clod!

Pass the Deutschie: so as Andreas "Thank You Sir May I Have Another" Kloden, already smacked by his country leaving him off the Worlds team, skips the race and as usual tanks his own superior prospects to wipe Contador's butt at the Vuelta (thanks PJ and Anon for the sympathy!), the 2008 Jens Voigt's Just Gonna Win It Again Deutschland Tour is underway, and while he's certainly got a hell of a road ahead of him with boys like the Fothens Kohl Burghardt and Grabsch to put on the hurt, one other boy on the start list oddly stands out: the smashing Haimar "Contador's Future !@#$$" Zubeldia, bagging the last chance he'll ever have for himself at the Vuelta to prostrate himself at the service of you-know-who next season. Look, I don't begrudge the boy's phenomenal talent--if you gotta work for someone, he's more than worthy. But must some of the best riders on the planet always find themselves playing dope-slapped spit-on second banana to Johan's latest object of adoration? If you can't give 'em any dignity, Bruyneel, you at least better be paying Klodi and (next season) Zubeldia some serious dough!

The Sounds of Silence: yep, it's contract season folks, and for my money, one of the biggest surprises isn't that Milram's just offered to snap up half the jobless Gerolsteiner boys, but that Cadel Evans, whose team's complete inability to support him in the high passes likely cost 'im the Tour de France (or at least a closer second place finish--woo-hoo Sastre!), has signed on with the ineffectual Silence-Lotto for another two seasons (so likely the end of his career), which begs the obvious question: what, you couldn't for any humiliating pay cut convince someone like Bjarne to back off the Schlecks he's grooming now that he's tossed Carlos off the team bus? I hope you at least persuaded Silence management to pony up for a better climber than Robbie McEwen...

White Ponies on Dope (Redux): and, in non-cycling doping news (since frankly it's no-one I care about who just made cyclists look like selfish stupid reckless !@#es, *again*), the fallout from the notorious Olympic busts of 2008 continue to shake the coke-snorting denizens of the stables to their very cores as yet another front on the drug war opens up, this time, following the fine example of the sincere zero-tolerance anti-doping maestros over at UCI, from the law'n'order Kentucky racing authorities: no anabolic steroids for you! Unless, of course, you require one of the race organizers' handy new Therapeutic Use Exemptions, so long as you flush it all out 60 days before race day, which oughta make early-season form enhancement a prancing breeze. Okay Mr. Ed, the choice is clear: admit you don't have any health problems and lose, or emulate the 90% of pro cyclists who totally coincidentally desperately need meds that totally coincidentally happen to increase their ability to win. Take the latter, and I guarantee the 2009 Triple Crown is yours!

Gripe o' the Week (Surprise! There is One): now, Velonews is a very fine publication, I enjoy the website, and the whole operation I gotta say is overall bitchin'. But imagine my surprise and total ballistic rage when I received the August 25, 2008 issue--5 measly days before the start of the you-know-what--and discover *zero* mention of the season's third Grand Tour on the cover, in the table of contents--anywhere! And *this* with everybody's darling Contador as the favorite! Oh, fine, you've alluded to it in past issues, I'll erect you a freakin' statute in Madrid for that-- but WTF, dear Velonews?

Stand and Deliver: finally, as said peerless Vuelta heads out today, a nationalist shout-out to Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez, who avoided impaling himself on the Carbon Fiber Pike of Imminent Castration by the riding the last k of the Eneco Tour standing above the jarred-off remnants of his saddle-less seatpost and, even more unlikely, winning the thing for the second year in a row. Y'know, I get that these are professionals and all whose phenomenal technical skills allow 'em to strip off raingear on a roaring switchbacked descent without catapulting into a crevasse or to throw a half-empty musette into a hated rival's wheel at 50k an hour with surgical precision, but coming from the perspective of someone who can't peek under her shoulder to see who's behind her without actually ramming into a building, I gotta say--even acknowledging the enormo motivation and adrenalin rush Gutierrez must've had to not let himself be transformed into a soprano--I'm impressed. Give that boy (and his surely relieved significant other, if he's got one) a bottle of champagne!

All right, we all know there's only one thing that matters the next three weeks anyway. On to the fabulous Vuelta!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's the Vuelta a Espana 101, Baby!

Okay, class, you've seen the hype and pageantry that is the Tour de France (woo-hoo Sastre!), the last BMXer's gotten down 'n' dirty in Beijing, you're waiting for some badass Worlds in Varese, and now it's time for the most spectacularly bitchin' race you've barely heard of and even worse barely gotten the chance to watch: that's right, Spain's brutal and beautiful Grand Tour, the Vuelta baby! Here's what you need to know:

Who: out: undeserving defending champ and complete Heras inferior Denis "Crybaby" Menchov; injured stalwart Cadel Evans, who at least has an excuse; Samu "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Gold Medalist!" (and ergo forgiven) Sanchez; pretty much all the Italian climbers, as they've all been DQd in disgrace. In: inevitable winner/baby savant Alberto "Screw You ASO!" Contador; podium-shot-even-with-his-domestique- servitude Levi Leipheimer; we love the ever-jacked far-too-good-for-this-!@#$ Andreas "Contador's !@#$%" Kloden; Valverde; Igor Anton and Mikel Astarloza for the orange army; and of course, dear little Sastre. Venga Klodi--make that bastard Bruyneel *have* to give you a raise and some dignity!

What: 3 weeks of pain glory rabid Basque nationalism and vicious heatstroke in the monstrous Spanish mountains, with a coupla bones tossed to the sprinters so Boonen can soothe those wounds after his ignominious Tour de France bar-from. Kick back and enjoy the agony--sangria all 'round for us spectators!

When: Saturday morning August 30th we get rolling folks, with a seductively brief time trial to tickle the senses and fool the unprepared; excruciating mountain playgrounds on stages 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 19; flatter if still sun-beaten hell on the rest. 5 summit finishes, 13 cat ones, & 3 hors categorie climbs. Feel the burn, baby!

Where: the only real coverage you'll be able to access in this crappy bass-fishing-obsessed bull-riding effete-golf-strolling armpit of a real sports backwater at for damn near anything they want to charge; a wholly inadequate if still Phil-and-Paul-blessed 10 minutes on Vs.; the Vuelta home page at (translates to English); the fabulous Magnus over at for the latest in Euskaltel-specific intrigue; and, if I may humbly suggest, here for the latest news sleaze and grossly unsubstantiated rumormongering. Between 'em all, you needn't miss a minute!

Why: why should the !@#$in' Tour get all the glory? Gaze upon the beauty and misery of the mountains, and tell me it don't beat the French all to hell!

And finally, my loser pick o' the race: I'm so irked that (the seemingly quite nice and certainly enormously talented, to be fair) Contador's going to get it at poor Klodi's expense I think I'm actually gonna root for Valverde. Damn Piti, live up to your hype already why dontcha!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Is This, National !@#$ Over the Vuelta Month?

Gone, Baby, Gone: so the list of boys bailing from the venerable Vuelta over their failed pursuit of the overrated Tour continues to mount, with not only new Olympic road race champ Samuel Sanchez out to prep for backing Freire and Valverde in Varese, but also Cadel (who at least has an excuse) and, as expected, Denis "I Hated You for Heras, But I Now I Hate You Fair and Square" Menchov, still just too darn tired from a race he lost in July to be bothered with defending a Grand Tour title he's actually won in September. !@@#$%, why don't we just ride one stage in the mountains for Euskaltel to take, hold a big !@#$ing party for Contador and hand over the maillot d'oro a magnum of champagne and a pack of cooing podium babes on day 2, and freakin' save everybody 3 weeks if no-one but the Basques gives a rat's !@#? Free the Vuelta dammit!

The Silence of the Lamb: speaking of our beloved Euskaltel, it's been a good (well, deeply crappy) two weeks since Iban Mayo was officially screwed by the fine dissemblers over at CAS, and, unlike say Ricco's immediate crybaby PR offensive by his sap mom, fiancee, and sis, there's been not a peep from our delicate hero, not even on his personal website, which does, incongruously, post the news of his hosing right on the homepage. Okay, Iban, we know the drill: (1) 'fess up and become an ostentatiously faux-humble apologetic irksomely self-righteous hypocrite publicity whore (not that I have anyone particular in mind here); (2) deny it again in typical Spanish fashion and vow to return to conquer the Alpe d'Huez again in vengeance; (3) hide behind the skirts of your lawyer like a simp; or (4) spiral into a drug-and-booze-stoked pit o'misery and self-destruction to the relieved sighs of your even more culpable filthy skank compatriots that it's all happening to you not them. Say it ain't #4 Iban--we believe, or at least believe you're the least of this disgusting sport's problems!

My Boyfriend's Back: and, it's a delirious return for a thoroughly chastened Tom "Sniffy" Boonen as the sorely-missed boy returns triumphant at the Eneco Tour, snagging the first stage sprint to the sure delight of swooning teenyboppers everywhere all a-dreamy at the prospect of being his next underage girlfriend, and to the certain relief of our Tommeke's Ferrari fund. Leaving aside the total stupidity of busting Boonen for a little evening fun when half the riders're stuffed with enough drugs to OD, well, the Spaniards, isn't it nice to have him back since every sprint without him's just been one big ol' "what if"? Welcome back Tom--and keep your nose clean from here on out!

White Ponies On Dope: so the latest Olympic doping scandal is out, and for once it's *not* a cyclist: yep, 4 horses have been busted for unauthorized ingestion of painkillers, including ones from Norway, Ireland, Brazil, and Germany, none of whom apparently consulted with better-microdosing athletes in other disciplines before hitting the local corner dope-dealer. See, the narcs are closing in, boys--it's only a matter of time before that unnatural speedster Cancellara's Cervelo gets sent to prison for excessive lube...

Back to Business: meantime, the Italians, enjoying their Olympic road medals, pretty well dismissive of the Vuelta, and basically working on their tans 'til Ivan Basso gets an early out to crash the Worlds in Varese, have turned their attention to far more important matters: yep, our reigning world champ Paolo Bettini has recently crowned (not *been* crowned, you wiseacres) the new Miss Bibbona, now in the running for Miss Toscana, then all-out Miss Italia. Ah, the perks of being a national icon! Next up: the comely Basso, Cunego, golden-coiffed Pellizotti, and pin-up calendar silk-kimono-clad icon Alessandro Petacchi face off in a spandex man-candy battle-o'-the-fiercest for the coveted title of Mr. Squadra Azzura. Get thee some manscaping gentlemen--like any of you could beat our dewy-eyed Basso in that war anyway!

Gran Bretagna: last but not least, a belated shout out to Shameless St. Millar Defender, whose smashing countrymen and women beat the crap out of absolutely everyone in the velodrome in every single race by humiliatingly ginormous margins at this year's Olympics with the freak exceptions of wonderjailbait Marianne Vos' points win and the touching final-farewell gold of Joan Llaneras, former race partner of the late track star Isaac Galvez. Congrats to the Brits for rebuilding the Empire, and long live the Queen!

Monday, August 18, 2008

(Cycling) Stuff I Like

So having finally begun to recover from my black crevasse-o'-melancholy over we-still-love-so-bite-me Iban Mayo's royal relentless hosing by the desperate image-conscious incompetence-coddling protocol-screwers over at CAS--and just jarred back into reality by the horrid news that Haimar Zubeldia has signed with Astana for two years, which presumably means that this venerable Euskaltel star is gonna be !@#$ed to truly Klodenesque proportions--I've been pondering, of late, whether the sleaze of the peloton and its repulsive governing bodies has actually begun to outweigh the inherent beauty and glory of the sport that hooked me like a naive trusting sap in the first place. Therefore, while such cheerfulness goes against my very nature, I've managed to come up, for those of you similarly thwapped into cynical loathing, with a few things genuinely left to like about this sport:

1. The Giro. The nationalism. The macho preening. The perfectly elegant smack-talk and timeless climber whining (hi Simoni!). The endless irrelevant tifosi paeans to Marco Pantani, even when we're just talking about the latest SRAM components. Most of all, the prosciutto. Sigh. Is there anything *not* to love about this race?

2. The Vuelta. Heat to kill a scorpion, climbs to knock out a mountain goat, and best of all, Euskaltel-Euskadi's band of orange-draped screaming mouth-foaming fanatics. Viva la Vuelta!

3. Paris-Roubaix. If there's anything more lively to watch (if not to personally experience I suppose) than George Hincapie's bike shearing apart and frame-bashed bikes and frozen-wet bods generally careening over cobbles as treacherous in the dry as they are in the wet, I've yet to see it. Welcome to Hell!

4. Trust But Verify. The gold standard. Love Landis or hate him, this blog is the definitive source for all things Floyd, written by folks waaaaaaaaaaay too smart for me to halfway follow, much less successfully comprehend. All this, and bitchin' supporters too. Free Floyd!

5. The gone-but-not-forgotten Jan Ullrich. Sure, he's an X-snarfing off-season-bloating over-the-hill drug-stuffed erratic perpetual ne'er-do-well train wreck--that's his charm. Like you don't miss watching him too, you hypocrites!

6. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Do you remember what vintage Chateneuf-du-Pape you enjoyed with a fine local goat cheese and handcrafted crackers on the 17th stage of the 1968 Tour at the very spot where an obscure French monk did some obscure historical deed in 1256? Phil and Paul do--and they also remember every single damn boy who rode that day, who designed their team kit, what brand of shoes they were wearing, and what order and in what precise time they arrived that day. Allez allez to the greatest sportscasters on earth!

7. Time trials. Unbefreakinlievable. Is there anything cooler or more nail-biting to watch?

8. Bjarne Riis. His transformation from Tour-doping lying skank to moral guardian of peloton purity has got to be one of the greatest snowjobs of all time.

9. Podium babes. Anyone who can park themselves directly beneath the armpit of a boy who's just been racing for six hours and keep smiling, and even actively buss the creature without noticeably dry-heaving, deserves even more ludicrous paychecks and accolades than they already get. Buy those fine lasses some nose clips, and give them a round of applause!

10. Garmin-Slipstream-Chipotle-whoever the hell's dandy blue and orange argyle team kit. Next up: Milram goes flowered chintz. Oh, laugh if you want least they don't look like those cotton-candy princesses at Lampre!

11. The Spanish antidoping authorities. Never has anyone investigated so thoroughly, busted so many, leaked so much, and punished so few. Now that's justice, baby!

12. Marianne Vos. This smashing jailbait's won damn near everything in her brief career, and what she already hasn't, she certainly will. Right on sister!

13. Thor Hushovd. Okay, he's not explosive as Cavendish, eternal as Zabel, suave as Petacchi, or wanky as McEwen, but he's a class act and just plain untouchable in a prologue. Woo-hoo Thor!

14. My black-and-copper Ross Apollo 3-speed stick shift. When those black leather streamers finally come in the mail, I am gonna look *so* Batman. Eat my dust you wannabes!

15. Last but not least, dear little Carlos Sastre. Yeeeee-haaaaaaaaaah!

All right, that's it, all this perkiness is making me sick--I feel like !@#$ing Hannah Montana on a Sweet-Tart high. Read trustbut or burn in eternal flames, I say!

Monday, August 11, 2008

You *Suck*, CAS!

How Many Tries Do You Get to Come Up With a Valid "B" Sample?: oh, dozens apparently, as the incredible garbage-validating dissembling !@#$-up lab apologists over at the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that it's fine to send a rider's umpteenth negative sample to Mars and finally back to a lab you like again so long as you ultimately come up with a bull!@#$ Z sample positive that puts the stamp of approval on your initial incompetent lab-chimp monkey work, as long as it's Iban's, or justify any other ludicrous miscreant screw-ups that'd be tossed out of any other forum (as long as it's Landis'). Dammit! If Iban Mayo--who frankly is fragile enough psychologically when he's *winning* races, much less when he's just been totally !@#$ed and his career has ended--doesn't go into a total downward-spiral drug-fueled Pantani over this I'll be shocked. And before I get any crap from anybody again about how I'm a soulless pro-doping tool-o'-cycling-destruction (though it might be nice to have the power), these are the narcs' own freakin' rules, and if they don't like 'em, they're perfectly free to demand a firing squad for the first A sample poz they get, but somehow even these vicious clowns thought it might be fair to confirm an initial positive result before they sent the offending rider down the 8th circle of hell to cavort with similarly heinous criminals like serial killers dog-abusers and Dick "Dick" Pound. And let's face it, if Iban walked right up to the start line at the bottom of the Alpe d'Huez, jammed an IV into his arm with a bag clearly labeled "MY PACKET O' DRUG-PUMPED HOMOLOGOUS BLOOD DOPING", and proceeded to leave the rest of the field in the dust, he'd *still* be least of this disgusting sport's problems. Free Iban dammit--particularly when you're letting the *rest* of the Spanish peloton zip around scot-free!

Oh For !@#$%'s Sake, Not *Again*: as the gleam has barely faded from Samu Sanchez' bitchin' gold medal in the road race--and to the sure delight of embittered tifosi everywhere still hyperfocused on the injustices of Italian drug busts--Spain once again claims its true place in cycling: yep, the Olympics' first doping poz, by hometown nimrod road-rat Maria Isabel Moreno. Y'know, let's leave aside the morality bull!@#$ and how you're probably gonna turn into a man someday like that German shot-putter from all the crap you're taking and how you're setting a pathetic example for all the eager admiring little girls pounding along on their sweet pink Treks with images their Olympic heroine on their walls: the more salient point, to my mind, is, you're a freakin' Spaniard with freakin' Spanish access to the phenomenally sophisticated best-in-the-world Spanish doping infrastructure and you *still* couldn't get it right? What kind of ludicrous amateur-hour shenanigans are they paying you for, Maria? Um, not to suggest there's anyone among your countrymen you might want to call for some good pointers, but...

Loser Pick o' the Games: okay, it's clearly gonna Fabian, Fabian, Fabian, or Fabian for the time trial, but with Schumi completely stoned from the heat, Cancellara having wiped himself out a bit with a bronze he never anticipated, and the Americans humiliated back at the ol' team car grabbing a Twinkie while the rest of the peloton made its decisive mood in the road race, I'm gonna pick Levi, with Zabriskie in the top five, and for my Aussie posse, I'll put even our damaged cranky but so very darn earnest Cadel right in there. As for the women, I may actually get it right for once with Armstrong, but then again, having picked her, you may reliably (and profitably) place your bets elsewhere. Break a leg (not literally if you please) Levi!

Me And You and a Girl Named Blue: meantime, as the Italian team continues to celebrate its silver (Rebellin) and bronze (Guderzo), congrats to mamma Daniela and the whole Lampre family as yet another little shining star is brought into the world: Alessandro Ballan's spankin' new baby girl, named, quite perfectly, Azzura. Any bets on what year our twee little hell-on-wheels'll take her first national championships? Forza (Squadra) Azzura!

Better Red Than Dead: finally, in a non-cycling development that may yet have profound implications for our beloved if mildly tainted sport, researchers have found that refs go easier on red-clad athletes than on other ones. Just think of the handy and glorious implications should current rogues like Petacchi Boonen and Di Luca head for such fashion-forward teams as Cofidis and Barloworld! "Better take another hit, Alessandro--you're breathing pretty hard with 50 m to go!" "Another line, Tom?" "Is that an IV in your arm, Danilo?--I'm sure that crimson stuff is just saline!"--the possibilities are endless! And do I ever know this great source for nutritional supplements off the internet...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Casper the Friendly Ghost

At Least Since His Team's Suspended His !@#: so, in a shrug of relief that at least it's not Sastre (nice work today Carlos!), skank no. 5 at the Tour turns out to be the harmless Jimmy Casper, whose personal website, surprisingly, doesn't as yet mention his current little entanglement with the fine folks over at ASO and UCI, though you can still join his fan club and, if you're a real wisenheimer, leave him a message. But wait! He's *not* a skank! He's one of the pro peloton's thousand chronic wheezing asthmatics, and it's sure to be only a matter of moments before the little snafu of his idiot team doctor in not getting his latest meds recorded properly is neatly resolved. Well, thank heavens for Therapeutic Use Exemptions and the astonishingly bull!@#$ standards required to obtain one...anyone else feeling short of breath right at the top of this next climb?

Aw, crap! Woo-hoo!: yep, bad news for a dejected Paolo Bettini, dropping his shoulders at the line and admitting fault in watching Valverde instead of wily teammate Samuel Sanchez, who damn well better ride the Vuelta now since otherwise it'll just be a total snooze watching Contador take it out from under the two minor Spanish domestiques remaining who actually give a rat's !@# about their own gorgeous hometown Grand Tour this year. Allez allez Samu--forget this lame "vacation" excuse, come back to us in September dammit!

I'm Queen of the World! (Spoiler Alert!): and, huge kudos to queen-of-near-misses Nicole Cooke, taking the Brits' first gold of the Games in a brutally soaked road race and canny breakaway with Italy's Tatiana Guderzo in bronze as such notables as Amber Neben, Kristin Armstrong, Oneone Wood and Judith Arndt straggled in well behind. Right on Nicole--now let's get it on for the time trial Kristin!

Punk-!@# Whine of the Olympics: finally, sad to say this one's to Chris "I'm Not Bitter" Horner, who recently took the opportunity not only to proclaim how great he'd have been in Beijing given his proven ability to keep up with the best in the world, which was fine, but also had the utter lack of class to blast Jason McCartney for just plain sucking relative to his lordly greatness. Man, Chris, not to remind you how *your* first foray into international competition left you crawling back home with your tail between your legs like a yapper-dog Chihuahua who's just been chomped back into his place by a Doberman, you're usually a breath of fresh air and your straight-talk-express act is appreciated and all--but did you have to go all Riccardo Ricco' on a boy who really didn't deserve to get pounded on for being a pathetic domestic-class weakling when such stars as Levi and George shouldn't've been snoozing back at the team car and missed the day's decisive move?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Who Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis It?

Knock, Knock: well, it's bad news for some other s.o.b., as the Tour announces a fifth (unauthorized, of course, as the 3/4 of the peloton with Therapeutic Use Exemptions to scarf banned substances like Boonen snarfs nose candy still gets off the hook) doping poz at this year's Grand Boucle, perp as yet unnamed, which seems to make it rather likely it's a big one, and frankly, if it's dear Carlos Sastre, I'm setting myself adrift on a ice floe to congeal slowly into a racejunkiesicle in the Arctic because I'll really have had it with this septic tank of a sport. So glad to see you've managed to fix cycling since the dark days of Op Puerto and 2007, ASO--I'm sure you haven't missed anyone else who tried it!

Like Lambs to the Slaughter/They're Drinking the Water/And Breathing the Air: as the bewildered US trackies get unfairly dope-slapped for publicly wearing the antipollution masks the US training staff told 'em to wear and the USOC bought for 'em to wear, Alejandro Valverde has weighed in what he thinks is gonna decide the road race: yep, in addition to the heat, which oughta help the Vuelta-lovin' Spaniards, it's gonna be who can tolerate the pollution best. For my money, considering the dubious crap most of the cyclists have pumped into their systems, toxin-choked smog oughta be the least of their long-term health concerns, but with that said I'm reluctantly tagging our "Piti" for the road race but rooting, natch, for we love Paolo Bettini--still either glum or wily in his pronouncements of weak form, depending--to beat him down. Vai Paolo!

Sorta Like Those "World's Dumbest Thieves" Who Call 911 to Complain Someone Ripped Off Their Stash: so in a move guaranteed to spook Danilo Di Luca, a bitter Riccardo Ricco', determined not to go down alone with the ship and unerringly wrong in thinking that breaking omerta will make him as heartbreakingly pretty and easily forgivable as Ivan Basso, has now pegged Il Killer's lifelong pediatrician (who's at least not masquerading as gyno-to-the-male-stars like Dr. Fuentes) Dr. Carlos Santuccione as his supplier, whining he paid him 700 euros for a bunch of slop that wasn't even undetectable as promised. Wah, wah, you little twerp, get a job at an autogrille to pay your rent like a real man--do you realize how much more poor Jan Ullrich spent on the !@#$ that took *him* down?

What the !@#$ CAS?!: so, not to bother the tender sleepyheads over at the Court of Arbitration for Sport--no doubt still behind on their beauty rest after so exhaustively covering their !@#es as they hosed Floyd Landis--but you think, now that you've finished jacking him over, you might get around to making a decision (and I'm pretty sure we're all pretty sure what *that's* gonna be) about we love Iban Mayo before the !@@#$%in' Vuelta? After all, let's face it, with Ricco and Piepoli in the tank, it's not like Saunier Duval doesn't have another opening for our fragile superhero...

In Bocca Al Lupo, Baby!: finally, good luck to Emanuele "Gilberto Simoni Ought to Beat the Total Living !@#$ Out of Me" Sella as he faces the Italian narcs head-on Friday, which oughta go real well as the authorities, finally irked after the 800th Italian poz in two weeks and the giant consulting fees they're gonna have to pay the Spaniards to find out what the hell their boys are actually doing right, have already kicked half the national peloton out of the ranks for the next two seasons and show no sign of being reluctant to take out the rest. Oh dirty little Giro mountains king, so close to a multiyear multimillioneuro contract, yet now so far...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Give Simoni His Giro Stage Back, Sella You Wank!: and that includes his throngs of cheering fans, masses of media, champagne and podium babes, as in further testament to the fact that doping is a thing of the dust-to-dust-ashes-to-ashes generation, 27 year old 3-fer Giro stage winner/Giro mountain goat Emanuele Sella, who dropped we love Gibo on the vicious heights of Aprica on Stage 20 of the Italian Grand Tour, tests poz for the latest EPO in a July out of competition doping test after Il Trentino, of all people, warmly complimented him on the win. Y'know, I usually deride (but also adore) Simoni for being a smack-talking crybaby, but at least he's too smart to (1) dope or (2) get caught! Man, first Ricco' (who said he "feels for" Sella, by the way), now this--what the !@#$ is this, National Screw Over Gilberto Simoni Month?

The Tifosi React: natch, regardless of the truly impressive rack-up in Italian test pozes the last few days, enraged that it's the goddamn Spaniards who get away with it every time while their poor oppressed Italian brethren hit the skids, though they do have the pride to declare themselves "nauseous," "vomiting," and "disgusted." Why don't yer boys give Valverde a call and get some pointers before they make their next hot date with an IV drip? Oh, bad racejunkie to suggest such treachery!

The Narcs Move In: ironically, the IOC, clearly a pack of cycling fanatics intimately familiar with the scandals of the last few years, has moved in on the only two Spaniards *not* linked to Operacion Puerto or any other scumsuckery: yep, 2008 Tour champ (woo hoo!) Carlos Sastre and green jersey king Oscar Freire. Um, not to suggest there's anyone else you'd be better off going after, but...

Thor-ture: so, as Team Tinkoff/whateverthehellitsgonnabecallednow proceeds to sign some of the biggest and most costly names in cycling (a far better way to "raise the profile of Russian cycling" than, say, UCI's vaunted Tour of the Communist Gulag), and the dissolving Credit Agricole's minor players already start to sign on with such outfits as Cofidis and Bouyges Telecom (big points to the first loyal, or even merely opportunistic, reader who can sincerely tell me how to properly pronounce "Bouyges"), and a certain someone significantly reduces his marketability by bailing on Beijing due to illness, a key question arises: what the hell *is* gonna happen with Thor Hushovd? With Gert Steegmans wrapping up the final day on the Champs Elysees as Boonen blows into his Kleenex at home, Quick Step with its superstar and new back-up boy seems booked; you know Lotto's gonna hose you next year with their last frantic effort to pull off a Tour win with Cadel so they're out; Columbia'd have to be freakin' insane to do anything to irk a present and future cash-cow like Cavendish; but perhaps with Petacchi off to LPR with fellow embarrassment Danilo Di Luca and even Erik Zabel's battered ol' skeleton bound to spontaneously turn to dust sometime, there's room at Milram? Whatever you do, Thor, just don't pull a Robbie McEwen and jack yourself out of the lead-out you deserve next year!

Going to the Chapel and We're/Gonna Get Ma-aa-aaried (Well, Some of Us): finally, as Lance "Hollywood" Armstrong gets ready to ride the Leadville 100 with a completely pimped mountain machine as we sorely miss Floyd Landis sits disconsolately at home, even more important news whacks the cycling world right in the works: our golden 7-time Tour winner has broken up (sob!) with celebrity lovemuffin Kate Hudson. But the real rumor of the day: Tuttobici's reporting (tantalizingly if unsurprisingly) that we still dearly miss Floyd Landis is walking down the aisle with Rock Racing for next season. Don't worry Floyd, I'm sure you can overcome even Michael Ball's boundless demands for constant worship to thrill the fans again at Rock, and Lance, no doubt there's comfort to be found in the food-deprived arms of whatever Olsen twin you've yet to snog, if being the hero of millions ain't enough for you!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pollution, Pollution, Wear a Gas Mask and a Veil/

Then You Can Breathe/'Long as You Don't Inhale: so I see the Olympic track stars are started to get a wee bit concerned about sucking in solid black clouds o' smog as they run about (tho' visually it might have a sort of cool smoke-machine heavy-metal-concert effect for those of us at home), which begs the obvious question for a much more bitchin' sport: how dare these selfish goons expect we love Paolo Bettini to breathe this filthy crap, particularly when he's comparing his form unfavorably to that in Athens 4 years ago? Oh, okay, Tom "Sniffy" Boonen maybe, he likes to party, surely he's no stranger to, for example, smoke-filled nightclubs--but to ask our boy Paolo to deign to ride in that lung-gunking garbage? Now, *here's* a chance to make that disgraced (and disgraceful) rugrat Ricco' useful again--let's force him to pedal ahead of the squadra azzura with one of those "Sharper Image" ionic air purifiers bolted on his handlebars to ease the way for his betters, why don't we? See, little Riccardo, there's still a place for you in cycling...

The Road to Beijing: meantime, Cadel Evans, having recovered sufficiently from the knee injury caused by his stumbling drunken fall at the Silence-Lotto "Boys Gone Wild" post-Tour party (just kidding, Cadel's massive humorless bodyguard!), is gonna be at the Olympics after all, certainly at the road race and possibly even at the time trial along with such notable competition as returning broke-back Giro-bashed American speed god Dave Zabriskie. Good enough luck to you in the time trial Cadel, 'cause at least you're not dull as dirt to watch in that--but I'm still hoping Dave Z and (in the road race) the Italians wipe the tarmac with you!

Yes, Comrade: and, the Party line on doping continues in perfect lockstep, as the boss over at the International Olympic Committee parrots WADA's bizarre insistence that every single doping poz proves that no elite athletes are doping. Um, not to rain on the Lions Club parade here, but in light of Ricco's little revelation that he was snarfing enough EPO every day to fuel a rampaging herd of wolf-spooked buffalo and mostly not getting caught, isn't it slightly, slightly within the realm of mathematical possibility that you're just culling the stupid and leaving the very best (in wiles or financial backing) skanks in sport to set the world records?

I Wanna Be A Supermodel: sleek studmuffin-o'-the-Cannondale Ivan "Man-Candy" Basso is the subject of yet another humble, fawning interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, ruminating on the pure love of family and eye-opening charity work that has inspired him to work long and hard for the privilege of perhaps once more honoring his beloved sport by riding, and dare he even think winning, clean (as indeed he always did anyway, having merely "attempted" to dope) to earn the world's forgiveness, and, not coincidentally, getting enough dough out of Liquigas from his smarmy rehab efforts to get his favorite Ferrari out of hock (oh, give me a goddamn break, you Pollyannas, like you weren't thinking it!). Oh, Ivan, convince me again how the earth is flat as I lose myself unquestioningly in those beautiful starlit eyes of yours...

His Goose Is Cooked: finally, a shout-out to Anonymous for his or her question about Vladimir "Goose" Gusev's "irregular blood values" and subsequent immediate expulsion from the Astana House of Purity, to which I can only say, if one of Johan Bruyneel's boys actually had the astonishing ineptitude to come up "irregular" while he was currently *on* Johan's team, Gusev *must've* been taking some !@#$ on his own, nuthin'. There, that won't get me sued by him or Armstrong I hope! And hey Anonymous--didn't you mean internal *anti*-doping programs? I thought so!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Hints From Heloise

(Well, Ricco'): so as Riccardo Ricco' issues a yipping (if informative) mea culpa in his desperate effort to become the next St. Ivan Basso of Varese, and loyal roommate Leonardo Piepoli, having reportedly tossed his captain under the bus by first proclaiming "I am like Ricco'" to the gendarmes and then denying he took anything at all unlike his cheating skank captain, it seems to me that Ricco's little confession offers some valuable tips for the rest of the riders should they themselves get busted (and God knows they're gonna keep needing 'em):

1. Taking EPO for an entire Tour is a "youthful mistake": Sort of like being an hour late for curfew one night and briefly making your parents worry you've been in a car accident, except with precisely-calibrated IV drips, clandestine trips to prestigious university medical clinics, huge payoffs through dummy bank accounts, and months of strategic planning.

2. You might want to tweak the testing protocols, because I should really have tested positive *every* day: !@#$ if I'm gonna be the only sap in the peloton who goes down for this!

3. I acted alone: because I'm really, really praying I can score a ginormous deal with a deep-pocket better-microdosing team when my two-year ban is up. Anyone want to suggest any names?

4. You get really tired riding the Giro clean, so you have to dope for the Tour: 'cuz as long as you don't embarrass yourself on Italian soil, who cares if you screw the French?

Peking Duck: yep, the number of riders continuing to bail on the Olympics (not including such inadvertent exclusions as world champ Marta Bastianelli, busted for taking a banned diet supplement--and after Jan Ullrich got so relentlessly !@#$%-slapped as a fat lazy cycling-hating pig every year every time he put 5 kilos on in the off-season, can we really blame her? after all, her cycling fed doesn't!) continues to rise, as Thor Hushovd claims lingering illness (bad timing considering Credit Agricole's tank, tho' I hear Lotto could use a sprinter if you don't mind getting ignored on the team bus like the most uncoordinated kid being picked last in gym class for the dodgeball game) and Damiano "Not Tonight Honey, I Have a Headache" Cunego withdraws from lingering, if rather weird, effects from his nasty late-Tour crash in the Big Show. You know Damiano, perhaps you just oughta use this time to reflect on your recent years' struggles and triumphs--you took your Grand Tour already, there's really no shame and truly quite a bit of glory in copping to being a Classics man!

The Tifosi Weigh In: needless to say, the Italian faithful are already placing their bets for the Olympics, tantalized by the Bettini-Rebellin combo o' foreigner-crushing death, rushing to offer the tenderest best wishes for a speedy recovery to the same Cunego they've been pounding on as a heinous failure since he took the Giro, still pissed that basically every Spaniard on earth is riding the Games while pouty-lipped pin-up Ivan "I Only Tried to Dope" Basso is still stuck at home for what who gives a rat's !@# if he did it or not, and, in the very essence of good sportsmanship and bitchy nationalist smirking, warmly congratulating Alejandro Valverde, his dog Piti, and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes for his win at Clasica San Sebastian yesterday and any impending victory in Peking. Forza we love Paolo Bettini!

Freak-!@# Cycling Quote o' the Week (Jan Ullrich Gone-But-Not-Forgotten Edition): "pointless, magic squander, pumped my cycle as smartly as Jan Ullrich jazzing through the Tour de France. My climax quickened the..." (From Woman: An Intimate Geography, by Natalie Angier)

Welcome Back, Doper: finally, a warm welcome back to Operacion Puerto victim/Manolo Saiz protege (like you know who! except this boy got nailed) Michele Scarponi, who returns to the peloton at the Giro dell'Appeninno by apparently defiling we love Gilberto Simoni's Diquigiovanni squad, like Gibo doesn't have enough problems with his association with that moron Ricco'. You might amp up the bawling-and-kissing-babies gig now Michele--without Basso's dreamy hotness or Millar's ostentatious sobbing (or either of their palmares, while we're at it), you've still got some serious rehab work to do!