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 cycling.tv 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 lavuelta.com (translates to English); the fabulous Magnus over at ibanmayo.blogspot.com 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!


PJ said...

Klodi could have raced in Germany if Chris Horner hadn't crashed. Too bad. Astana is sending its A team, and Klodi is certainly part of that!

Anonymous said...

Hey, PJ, I'd rather see Klodi scrape along for some TT crumbs at the Vuelta than do the Tour of Germany. I hope Kloden can get some TT glory, because unfortunately, that's as good as it's gonna get for him.