Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's the Mountains, Baby!

Supa Dupa Fly/I Can't Stand The Rain: sure, it was freezing pouring and zip for visibility in today's queen stage of the Vuelta, but happily for us at home it only gets nastier from here, as tomorrow the boys grind up four leg-mangling climbs including the highest point in the race at Puerto de la Bonaigua and the legendary Pla de Beret, and, after a workweek of nerve-wracking anticipation, next Saturday's fearsome Angliru. If the frustratingly erratic Valverde thought today was a bad 'un (and don't give me that crap that he doesn't want the podium), he better hold it halfway together tomorrow--the bike gloves are gonna come off now baby, so aupa Euskaltel-Euskadi!

Go Gently Into That Good 2009 Tour: so with Carlos Sastre having formally announced his new gig with Team Cervelo to the envy of a hundred thousand gearheads going nuts these guys are building a team basically to conduct test-runs of their nifty new components, Bjarne Riis, who last week came out swinging at the decaying old bag, has apparently decided to be civilized, complimenting Carlos on his great achievements and wishing him and his fellow defecting DS well, particularly, one imagines, since Cervelo's gonna have to come up with some serious dough if it hopes to get Sastre enough backup not to be completely Cadel Evansed compared to CSC next season. Okay, Bjarne, you've got some fine prospects for next year, just try not to be an !@#$!@#$ to the Schlecks...

Tour de Where?: okay, I pettily ignored the noble Tour of Germany once it became obvious we love Jens wasn't gonna take it (and also out of annoyance that perpetually-jacked Andreas Kloden was too preoccupied completely woofing at the Vuelta to be there) but there is some pretty sweet stuff even beyond the far superior Vuelta to keep an eye on: the Tour of Great Britain and the Toura Missoura start this week, and to the Brits' loss and our gain as Shameless St. Millar Defender kindly pointed out, Mark Cavendish (recently tagged by none other than Mario "the Chest" Cipollini as the new him) is gonna be burning up the tarmac on our side of the pond along with Mick Rogers Hincapie Van de Velde and Zabriskie, as LPR's Alessandro "Wheezy" Petacchi and Danilo "Hey, At Least My Dope Doc's Not a Freakin' Gynecologist" DiLuca (but not next year's Tour de France's mountains king Mauricio Soler, just !@#$%$ by bureaucratic snafu) take to the roads over on the other. Go big George--after all, it might be some comfort to Lance for losing at Leadville if his ol' lieutenant takes another one!

Big Wheel Keep on Turnin'/Proud Ricco' Keep on Burnin': so after seemingly being told by a wily publicist that being a complete crybaby twerp isn't good for either the ol' rep or the ol' post-ban bank account, Riccardo Ricco's of all people's been engaging in some pretty intensive image rehab, and while he just can't be as pretty as Ivan Basso unfortunately, he's not only learned to profess his gratitude for the support of his many fans and his ardent desire to prove himself dope-free and worthy again one day, the boy's even got himself a new day job: yep, he's teaching a spinning class. Now *his* class' energy drinks oughta be something worth imbibing!

I Spy: more on-line coverage of the Vuelta, as the Italian tifosi go into riot mode over the fact that they've now not been able to see any of the Italian triumphs on their own TV sets, and someone handily posts this link on gazzetta in response: try, and though I didn't bother to try downloading it, click on "English help" on the top right of the screen for instructions and on the date at the bottom of the screen for the schedule. Good luck, and Jesus H. Christ Vs., can we not be bothered to run an hour a week of this smashing race in between the scintillating bloated-beer-swillers-waiting-for-a-bass-to-bite coverage you're subjecting me to?

Tribute to Il Falco: finally, as quiet two-time Lord of the Giro Paolo Savoldelli hangs it up, I bring you--instead of, you'll be relieved to learn, the photographic homage I was gonna post because of its bitchin' Duran Duran soundtrack--a goodbye showing Il Falco doing what Il Falco does best, slaughtering the field on an ugly descent even as he shepherds that laggard Di Luca along:

Mille grazie Paolo--so what if you never posed in your satin netherwear and press-pimped yourself like the sprinters?--you'll be missed!

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