Sunday, March 15, 2009

Johan Bruyneel is a Tool

Got Class?: okay, Contador bonked badly. Very badly. But he's still very young, and he still took two, and quite near three, stages in a rather well-regarded race. But even putting aside Lance Armstrong's cool comments as unsurprising from a guy who's too nearsighted to see beyond the immediate glare of his own enormous ego, Johan Bruyneel snarking that "What else is there to say than he didn't race intelligently? He only had to look after Sanchez," was a punk-!@#, low-rent move. Y'know, I don't even care if it's correct--he's *your* freakin' rider, and if you thought he was such an irredeemable moron, why the hell didn't you cut him loose for one of the other 8000 teams that'd've pimped their own grandmas to get him when your golden god returned? And can we get, as Anonymous points out, into the fantastically craptastic performance of Astana, leaving Contador utterly isolated when he needed them most--I mean, !@#$in' *Quick Step* outpacing them in the mountains? That's just lame. And sorry, but Gallopin's blaming the loss on the lack of Levi and Chris Horner (while a nice compliment to them) doesn't change the fact that Armstrong's little acolytes Brajkovic and Popo oughtn't to have, well, mostly sucked. Maybe you're right Anonymous, beyond even my wildest paranoid conspiracy theorist dreams--after all, it sure couldn't be looking much better for Lance at the moment, could it?

Nice Guys: otherwise, though, it was a rippin' Paris-Nice, and I gotta say, besides giving massive points for having big Maggy Backstedt call the race, everyone who's been treating former fellow ONCE/Liberty Seguros nestling Luis Leon Sanchez like Contador's less coordinated slightly embarrassing baby brother better take a look at his growing palmares and the fact that Caisse d'Epargne seems to be quite conscientiously grooming him for the long haul (and I won't even suggest why it's a good idea for them to have a backup for Alejandro Valverde). And while I'm still mystified why the refs didn't penalize Sylvain Chavanel for his egregious team-car drafting on his way back from the Worst Timed Mechanical of the Seasom--tho' it was nice they didn't--what I cheered for most (besides we-still-love-so-bite-me Frank Schleck's smashing performance) was undoubtedly Christian Van de Velde's accidental whomping win on a breakaway. I love late bloomers!

From Sea to Shining Sea: meantime, over at Tirreno, I see Andreas Kloden got the last win Johan'll ever let him take in his entire career, nailing the time trial and setting up a nasty battle for GC, only slightly overshadowed by his too-telling assessment of his role in July where he didn't even mention poor Contador. Okay, I'd been somewhat ignoring the race as it focused on the flats--but is anyone else impressed by how Tyler Farrar smoked Cav, Boonen, Petacchi, and McEwen at the line? Not to be a coarse raging nationalist, particularly since I'm usually rooting for the Italians, but one more American win like this and I'm gonna have to stick antlers on my helmet like one of our tasteless fans at the Tour o' California and start running alongside the racers screaming in a thong. Woo-hoo Tyler!

Gilberto Guevara Rides Again: finally, as Basso continues to insist on his Twitter feed that he's on perfect form, Gilberto Simoni celebrates his recent win in Mexico beautifully by not only doing some charity work for the local bambini and quoting the great, drug-addled Italian pop star Vasco Rossi on his site, but also managing to compare himself to Che Guevara, which considering the way some other folks are erroneously judging their chances for the Giro perhaps isn't so ludicrous after all. Viva la revolucion, Gibo!


Annie said...

Not a thong; it takes away from the whole classy tasteful picture you want to present as a rabid, screaming American bike fan! Stick to the antlers (and a Texas flag might really round out the picture! HA!).

I was totally impressed by Contador's performance at P-N! Yeah, he bonked in an exciting way; but, as you point out - where was his team?? Those dudes whose entire job (and paycheck) is supposed to involve them fetching bottles and such for Contador? What happened to them during the tour?? He seemed pretty alone every time I saw him. Maybe Bruyneel noticed that also...?

Astana is not going to be able to get past the Mighty Danish Armada of Saxo Bank unless they can get guys who can work together. Astana has the fantastic talents of Contador, Levi, Kloden, and Lance. But SB has the fantastic talents of the Schlecks, Fabian, Stuey,and Jens I-Love-Attacking Voight. AND they have already shown they can ride as a team.

It's going to be a very exciting season in cycling! But I'd rather seem the mighty teams competing to the death (or, uh, podium I guess) than watch someone go down for a lack of teamwork.

Jesse said...

I wonder when Levi and Alberto are going to find themselves alone and one whispers to the other, "You found yourself isolated at a key moment in the race, too, huh?"

"Yeah. What's that about?"

Is it a conspiracy that will culminate on Mont Ventoux? Maybe. Maybe it's just growing pains from becoming the biggest, baddest cycling team (on paper). Either way I think we're in for a fun year.

TheInnerRing said...

I too wondered why the Astana team didn't support Contador in public, but instead both Bruyneel and Armstrong made public criticisms of him.

A nasty atmosphere on the team?