Monday, March 02, 2009

The Thorminator

It's the Classics, Baby!: yes cycling fans, it's finally time for two-odd months of bone-rattling, bike-destroying, mostly freezing sodden cobblestoned misery, and I for one can't be happier about it, not least because I don't have to personally microfracture every part of my own body jerking over the things and mostly because we love the indomitable ever-dissed Thor Hushovd continues his own and badass new squad Cervelo's assault on the season by taking Omloop Het They-Should've-Kept-It-Volk-I-Can't-Spell-Niewsblad and Tom Boonen, after a rather depressing start to the year being relentlessly smacked around by Mark Cavendish (but points out the boy has actual human weaknesses and can be beaten at the Tour, namely by tiring the big lumbering beast out too much over a long stage to take the sprint), took Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with time to spare. And I know these races aren't typically an American's game--but just *one* for George Hincapie, please, before he says goodbye!

Two, Four, Six, Eight, Who Should We Eliminate?: and, I see the perpetual cheat-skank enablers (Rasmussen, anyone?) over at UCI are feeling upstaged by the Italians actually bothering to take action against some of the (alleged!) weasels UCI's happily allowed to ride the Tour the last few years, as they assuage their wholly justified feelings of impotence and irrelevance by announcing that, sometime soon, they're sure to name a few boys in biiiiiiiig trouble over nebulous readings on their biological passports. Um, not to rain on the parade here, but given that you were so slow to implement the thing that the boys had plenty of time to manipulate their blood values before you even established their baselines, who's to say you'll catch anyone but the merely slow'n'stupid? Not that that's a bad thing--I'm just sayin'. Well, I'll take bets on who's going down first--but since we're dealing with UCI here it damn well ain't gonna be someone they've been coddling to date!

Schum' and Gloom: speaking of (alleged!) drug-snorters, as Valverde gets set to beg the Italians later this week not to assume some silly DNA match is any more accurate than a random guess by a roomful o' drunken monkeys, Stefan "I Heart Amphetamines" Schumacher continues to vociferously protest his doping ban, claiming not only the usual round of technical screwups by the shameless unteachable lab chimps, but, even more offensive to the powers that be, his genuine innocence. Heck, if it's true, that oughta win the day--worked for Landis, right?

Giro d'I Really Hope Armstrong Doesn't Win This: meantime, the Italians are throwing down the gauntlet already, with up-and-coming Bennati and slowly-cheering-up Petacchi trading sprints at Sardegna, Rebellin so far looking stronger than Cunego ahead of both their Classics campaigns and the Giro (and given that the Little Prince is supposed to be the GC contender and Rebellin merely Gibo's domestique at the big show, not to mention that his Grand Tour performances since his toddlerhood Giro win have taken on a certain, well, Valverdian quality, Damiano better be planning this right), Basso finding time between Twitters about fun with the kids to rest his knee and inevitably reclaim his rightful place as Giro champ over such discredited foils as Danilo DiLuca, and Spaniard Carlos Sastre stepping in and making it clear that while his first aim is defending his Tour, he's not showing up in Italy just to gorge himself on great food and wine (a tough choice, but who I am to criticize?). Forza Sastre, but I'm still hoping Simoni takes everyone out in the mountains!

Leviathan: finally, a heartfelt get-well-soon to Armstrong Tour domestique (keep dreamin' Alberto!)/Tour o' California champ Levi Leipheimer, whose mild surprise he still felt a bit sore after his little wheel clip with Armstrong turned out to be a broken sacrum, which, despite not preventing him from slaughtering a formidable field in the time trial and overall, is, unfortunately, forcing him off the bike for a whole six seconds or so before he, like all you Tyler Hamiltonesque cult-of-pain bike freaks, returns to whomp on his competitors from traction in a specially pimped hospital bed complete with aero bars and ultralight bottle cage. Come back pronto, Levi!

!@#dammit, *no-one* thinks poor Frank Schleck is innocent?


Annie said...

Oh - I love Frank Schleck! I have my hopeful faith that he is actually innocent of the Evil Doping. (Of course, this is in contrast to my totally righteous certainty that Floyd was both innocent and hosed.)

Go Frank! Help out Andy; it's great to see you both out there contesting!

PJ said...

And I love Contador. May he be clean and free---free from LA and OP.