Tuesday, April 28, 2009

!@#dammit, Rebellin, You !@#$wad!

Aiiigggghhhhh!: okay, two cyclists are poz for drugs from the Olympics, and if my hopes already hadn't been crushed enough by this filthy disgusting cesspool of a sport by Iban and Roberto, from which I am distinctly still recovering and was just yesterday thinking how Heras' situation was all Denis Menchov's fault, now it's !@##$ing allegedly Classics god/aging-well Davide Rebellin down the tubes. Frankly, I don't care who the hell Scumbag No. 2 is, although if Valverde finally gets busted I suppose it'd be a glorious irony and if it's Samuel Sanchez perhaps that will send me quite over the edge, but I am extremely irked if for no other reason that someone who was buried in the peloton for the entirety of its prime doping years ought at least to have figured out how to do this !@#$ without screwing it up. What's far worse, this is just in time to completely jack over we-still-love-and-I-don't-give-a-crap-if-he-pimps-his-own-grandma-for-banned-substances-twenty-times-a-freakin'-day Gilberto Simoni for the Giro d'Italia. You moron, couldn't you have just stuck with the coke and X at the disco like everyone else?!

Gila Monster: of course, the big headline at the fawning princes of denial over at Gazzetta dello Sport is that, despite prohibitions against Pro Tour teams at such events, Armstrong is riding the Tour of the Gila, which, as long as we're exempting Armstrong from any rules whatsoever in order to kiss maximum cash-cow !@# we might as well just do with regard to everything else, including doping tests, the SATs, traffic laws, the criminal code, and the law of gravity while we're at it. I mean, I'm happy to see Levi and Horner ride, but man, can we act like there are *any* other riders left on Earth? Y'know, I'd like to suggest that the rules be similarly waived for, say, Floyd Landis so he can ride in Europe this season, but somehow I'm suspecting that suggestion wouldn't get quite the same reception....

I Wonder/I Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah-Wonder: why Liquigas, despite the formidable performance of St. Ivan of Varese in last week's Giro del Trentino, is still trumpeting Basso and golden-locked babe-muffin Franco Pellizotti as "co-captains" in the Giro? Just bluffing? Fear that a clean Basso of 2009 isn't quite the certainly-equally-clean Basso of 2006? Pellizotti threatening to sue their pants off for breach of contract? No, perhaps the two of 'em were given joint leadership to mollify 'em like tantruming tots when they were squabbling over preening time at the mirror in the team bus...

CSC What Happens When You Hose Wee Little Sastre?: yep, saving the Schlecks for the Grand Boucle, Bjarne's announced Saxo Bank's Giro squad, and though there's no GC contender in sight there is, thank goodness, Jens to randomly slap the field silly on the attack at will, JJ Haedo for the sprints, and Cancellara to hopefully herd the team to a time trial win. I know, I'll be rooting for the Italians in every other stage, cut me some slack--forza Jens!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You *Suck*, Cycling.tv!

Aaaaaaiiiigggghhhh! (Spoiler): you *blow*, cycling.tv! Here I am, enjoying my "live" coverage of the fabulous Liege-Bastogne-Liege, happily watching baby Schleck smile for the cameras as he's within 2k of the line with an unbeatable lead and indignantly wondering if I am the only person in the world who for once wanted to grab a fistful of doped-up syringes and collectively jam them in the !@#es of the lame disorganized numbnutted chase group to at least get them acting like it would be interesting to win or hell even halfway try to contest the race, when with 1k to go the picture entirely freezes up into a still photograph and I have to hear the race organizers describe in minute detail how little Schleck has all the time in the world to zip up his jersey give a victory salute come triumphantly across the line and, not incidentally, like half a freakin' hour to climb into the team bus for a nice massage and get back to the hotel for a nap before the picture unfreezes just in time to watch the rest of the boys straggle in after I've already heard what order they're in. What the hell, Cycling.tv?! We are in the absolute dead zone of cycling coverage here in the US, we're clearly ready to sell off excess body parts to raise money for the privilege of paying out the hoo-ha to get it, !@#dammit pay some chump with a videocamera charging on a stallion alongside the group as a backup if you !@#$ing well have to and don't lose us within like 20 yards of the finish line!

Thank you. And kindly don't even *think* of allowing this stupidity to happen during the Giro.



Friday, April 24, 2009

Tough Luck There, Alberto!

The French Back Off: yep, the pissy whiners at AFLD have finally decided to forgo any disciplinary action against Lance Armstrong for taking a post-ride shower and siccing Johan Bruyneel on their hapless urine-sample-collecting goon, citing, after intensive investigation, that "we look like a pack of !@#holes." Oh, poor little Contador--so close and yet so far--sure you don't want to offer to, say, start 'protecting' Lance's water-bottles from anyone (else) looking to take the King of All Creation down ahead of what would have been your Tour?

The Seventh Circle of Hell: indeed, that would be the latest address of we love Andreas Kloden, nut-kneeing the competition in the time trial Giro del Trentino (yes, I saw Simoni was 4th to Pampeago behind Basso's 2nd; he's just saving his legs for May, go to hell!) only to inform the press that Johan--I mean "Klodi"--'s decided to bag the Giro entirely in favor of the incredible honor and good fortune of being a totally subservient subhuman pace monkey to the overly-entitled supernova-of-an-ego that is Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France. Man, Klodi, bad enough that after repeat Tour podiums you were reduced to being Alberto's !@#$% (I could handle, if still be somewhat irked at, your being Levi's); how much lower can you go without actually being ordered to carry Lance up freakin' Alpe d'Huez tied on to your back? Now don't go getting any ideas, Johan...

Update: Yes, I read all about "T-Mobile" and "Klodi." I'm sure it's all a gigantic typo and Der Spiegel meant "Discovery" and "Armstrong." La-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-la-la-la....

Don't Mess With Bill (Lance, Whatever): Let's see. The Giro d'Italia race organizers are really excited that Lance is gonna ride their centenary Giro, even though he clearly doesn't give a rat's rump about the race, because he's gonna bring in more money and publicity than God. And Lance just happens to despise Italian national champ/anti-Lance activist Filippo Simeoni, who rides for Ceramica Flaminia, who the race organizers just barred from the Giro. And now, despite the outraged howls of Simeoni and Ceramica as to how a pack of--ack!--Spaniards at Xacobeo Galicia could be more deserving of riding the race than they, RCS is refusing to discuss their reasoning. Um, not to accuse RCS of cowboy-coddling or nothin', but I can't help but surmise that, since Basso, DiLuca, Petacchi, and the CERA-suckin' Ricco's alma mater Fuji are all being welcomed to the race, the problem sure as heck ain't Simeoni's doping history. Or am I just being paranoid here?

Now These Boys Have Their Priorities Straight: finally, for your delectation, here's a spankin' new bike-friendly ad from the fine folks at Stella Artois, for whom I am not a paid shill, for the record, though I am certainly open to soul-selling bribery:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Put Up Or Shut Up, Already!

UCI's Yippin' Again: yep, our intermittently doping-averse friends at UCI are almost on the warpath yet once more, warning us for the umpteenth time that they're really, really, really gone name some dirty, dirty dopers busted by their vaunted Biological Passport program, this time as soon as they have a nice cup of tea and read the morning newspaper, head out to the park for a romp with the dog, stop by mum's house for a chat and some of her famous chocolate-chip cookies, pick up the dry-cleaning, take out the garbage, finally get around to cleaning out the gutters over the garage and--oops!--time for dinner so I guess this'll have to wait for tomorrow now anyway. Damn, UCI, you already gave the boys more than enough time to amp up their pre-season blood values by announcing the program half a year before you implemented the thing--if you've managed to pull off even a quasi-sustainable poz out of this farce despite such stupidity, then either !@#damn name 'em or !@#damn shut up til you can actually justify one already!

B-b-b-bad To the Bone: and, controversy continues over the Theo Bos/Daryl Impey sprint incident at the Tour of Turkey, and while you can judge for yourself here,, for my money, when even notoriously cheap-shot-prone Robbie "Head Butt" McEwen thinks you've pulled a wank move, you're one testosterone-OD away from a Mike Tyson impromptu in-fight earlobectomy. Y'know, watching the replay, it is sorta like those helpful tifosi giving a gentle push to a struggling climber up a muscle-draining Dolomite pass, if you're also trying to shove 'em off the mountainside I suppose...

18 Days and Counting: meanwhile, it's less'n three weeks now til the 100th Giro d'Italia hits the road, and the Liquigas boys are out in force going over the team time trial course, leading to rapturous well-wishes by the tifosi and, in case any of you should remotely doubt St. Ivan of Varese's return to purity, even more irreproachable photos of him cavorting humbly with wide-eyed bambini on his website. Just look at 'im--who could doubt such a wholesome creature? So lay off him, you soulless, cynical vultures!

Coming Around Again: finally, I note with pleasure that for those of you still heartbroken that doper-haven Rock Racing is about to tank, Danilo Hondo is ready to take up the charge in his own native stomping grounds, already contemplating putting together a new squad of his own, not only with him to helm the professional medical needs of, I mean the professional development of, a pack of innocent newbies, but, he hopes, with we-still-miss-him-and-like-you-don't-either Jan Ullrich at his back. Oh, as if you won't enjoy watching 'em too, you lurid voyeurs!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Else?

All right, we all know what happened: Tyler Hamilton came up poz on a banned substance, and retired. And the reactions have been all over the map, from "screw him, he's a lying !@#$%$#@ *again*" to "leave him alone, the poor guy's ill" to the tifosi's relief and pride Cipollini bailed out of that freak show to a burned-out "just go *away* already." Me? After agonizing over why I feel so ambivalent, I think we're dealing with basically three aspects of Tyler (or his career) here:

1. Tyler the Badass: love him or hate him, you gotta admit, even in a sport filled with perversely ecstastic masochists who live for pain--and I concede that, as someone whose greatest physical struggle typically involves manhandling a stubborn cork out of a wine bottle, I do find it mystifying--Tyler stands out. Climbing up some of the most fearsome mountains in the game while pounding on a broken collarbone with every twitch of your body, no matter how much crap you're taking to (1) get you there or (2) kill the agony itself, is nothing if not spectacular. On this one, he was unforgettable, and nothing else he ever did changes it.

2. Tyler the Lying Sack of !@#$: Whatever pathetic need to believe in this sport and its heroes that led me to deface one of his expensive charity's hats with a desperate blazing-red "Free Tyler!" was totally blasted out of the water when he claimed, among other ridiculous excuses, his blood values were off the charts because he ate his own twin. Ya doped--deny it and shut the hell up, or admit it and shut the hell up, but don't have the total lack of grace and the contempt for everyone around you to spew ludicrous bull!@@# like that. In fact, Captain Implausible, it's the reason that an awful lot of good and sympathetic folks now have the sneaking suspicion, or outright claim, that your latest wah-ing is just another in a long line of disgusting scam-artistry. And frankly, using your depression to excuse never owning up to what happened and to quash any entirely fair and reasonable questions about your actual motives now is a punk-!@#, cowardly move. Zero, zero, zero sympathy here.

3. Tyler the Patient: he's got an illness, it's still got a stigma, his facing it and, even more, going public with it takes strength. And part of what's so sad about this whimpering end to Tyler's career is that the antidepressants he was taking that apparently weren't working aren't even on the UCI's banned list. But as someone who lost her dear mom to cancer, I have to say that if he is *remotely* using for one iota of a microsecond her struggle and his reaction to it as a means to justify or garner sympathy for something as base, inconsequential, and stupid as a doping poz--and I will assume, because he's a human being, that he isn't and wouldn't--he oughta zip it right there, unequivocally, for good, and never speak to the press or public again. Meantime, I hope he finds whatever he needs to get and to stay well, because the last thing this sport needs is another Vandenbrouckian or Pantaniesque tragic downward spiral. And perhaps someday, he'll come to terms with owning up.

Oh, and Michael Ball, you couldn't've helped him. He had to find his own way there. But what you can do to help everyone incidentally, is stop hiring every !@#$%in' unrepentant dope fiend on the planet, dressing 'em up in terror-inspiring acid-green spandex, and calling 'em a cycling team.

All right folks, that's all the thinkin' I can do on a weekend without making my head hurt. Tomorrow, it's back to the trenches!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Pound of Flecha

The Thrilla in...Well, Paris: so that was a roarin' Roubaix, with Hincapie and Devolder knocked out by the Worst Timed Mechanicals Ever, an enraged Leif Hoste--always the slightly-pitiable Dean Martin to Boonen's too-suave Frank Sinatra--sidelined by a careening Juan Antonio Flecha, a surprisingly strong we love Thor Hushovd done in by a slight misjudgment just as he'd surged ahead of Tom, and our Belgian babe magnet just powering away for the win as a booed-beered-and-spit-soaked Pozzato lumbers into second. The fallout? Pozzato cussing out the (pretty low-rent, I grant you) lougie-wielding fans, Boonen copping to indifferent form, Hushovd bemoaning his carelessness, Armstrong tweeting that he thought that watching a bunch of lame-!@# male debutantes at the Masters golf tournament was more interesting than the race, and freakin' everybody lamming into Flecha for (1) wheel-slurpin' laziness and (2) flat-out stupidity. Add to that, the poor fans seriously whomped by a moronothon race moto and the usual gauze-n-blood-covered body count, and you've got yourself a Classic! Question: so is Hincapie, having lost the big one once more at the fossilized age of 35, gonna call it quits, or is he gonna try to live the dream for one more year?

Prijs Release Me/Let Me Go: meantime, in today's action, Robbie McEwen is whining that someone else made him crash and burn *again*, Boonen's foot is disturbingly sore, and the Italians are already crowing that Petacchi's gonna beat the crap out of all the other big boys at the Giro. In related Giro news, dreamy-eyed ex--um, nothin'! he didn't do nothin! Ivan Basso sez he's on smashing form, leaving the tifosi in paroxysms of all-caps-and-exclamation-point-laden ecstasy over his inevitable grasp of the final maglia rosa in May. Hell, more likely him than Cunego, right?

Pimp My Website: yep, Tour hopeful Cadel Evans' new site is up, and to his credit, it's buckets jazzier'n his old one, with the added bonus that you can leave him cheerful notes of encouragement as to his form and Silence-Lotto's excruciating inability to give him the backup firepower he'll need in July. Even better, elsewhere on the web Pippo Pozzato'll actually respond to you if you drop him a note, so if you're Belgian, still can't let go of the Flanders wheel-suck debacle, but were unfortunately too well-raised to actually go up and spit on 'im, you can simply insult him in writing and likely receive an interesting response. But perhaps he could use a little love after this week!

You Ain't The Only One, Honey: finally, if I were ex-Liberty Seguros (alleged!) lab rat Alberto Contador, I'd've thunk twice last week about crowing over how blown away I am by my own shockingly instantaneous improvement in the time trial of late, if only because every time someone totally physically unsuited to the discipline suddenly goes into hyperspeed in it--like his old teammate we-still-love-him-because-he-was-a-perfect-climber-so-bite-me-you-merciless-goons Roberto Heras--he inevitably ends up in the headlines with an IV in disconcertingly close proximity to every single vein in his body. Begging for a twice-daily visit from the narcs, are we?--you better be grateful AFLD likes you better'n Lance, kid!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green; and, A Call To Action

...Or A Guy Dense Enough To Name His Blood Bags After His Dog, Either: yep, despite the objections of the rabidly anti-doping Spanish authorities, Alejandro "The Green Bullet" Valverde's hearing in Italy is set for May 11, where our still-unscathed hero is gonna have to try to delay any ban from riding on Italian soil til at least after the Tour de France, which, of course, should the ban be in place, would DQ him from riding for GC in the Tour because one stage crosses briefly over into Italy. Given how ticked off they are over Basso's cruel 3-year exclusion, good luck with that one Alejandro! Oh, well, you could always pull a Ricco' and keep yourself busy teaching spinning classes--at least then you won't have to face the press after blowing the Grand Boucle *again*!

It's My Body and I'll Cry If I Want To: so Lance, predictably, has gone on the offensive over the French accusations of grievous etiquette violations, claiming of course he couldn't give a blood or urine sample til after he'd had time for a nice hot shower and his manservant Johan spent half an hour checking the narc's credentials anyway. Okay, Lance, it was an inconvenience, and I sympathize with the hideous damage to your beautiful coiffure, but am I the only one who remembers poor shocked Kevin Van Impe being accosted for a doping control then threatened with sanctions right after he'd learned his infant son had died? Yeah, Lance, *that* it ain't. So suck it up, quit whining (as should the French, while we're at it), and move on already--and oughtn't you at least pretend to keep an eye on the surging Contador?

World's Dumbest Criminals: and, congrats to alleged master thief Lee Crider and general master doofus Dung Le, busted for, respectively, stealin'-and-sellin' and possessing Lance and two other Astana boys' incredibly inconspicuous specially-pimped bikes from a team truck at the Tour of California. Um, I don't remotely want to encourage this sort of knavery, but neither of you two rocket scientists ever heard the handy phrase "repaint it first"?

As If!: meanwhile, I see time trial genius (oops, almost) Stefan Schumacher, banned for 2 years after an exceedingly impressive 2008 Tour de France, has appealed his case to the CAS, which, particularly since he's protesting his actual innocence, sez it unfortunately won't be able to hand down its predetermined screwover til the near-end of the season. !@#dammit, Schumi--quit yapping about this meaningless "justice" crapola--just grab yourself a forlorn-lookin' baby to kiss and start chasing down the paparazzi with it already!

Yes, We Can!: finally, I've just learned the European wine industry is in serious trouble, and folks, as lovers of international cycling, it's frankly our duty to fix it. Therefore, in the interests of saving our beloved sport, and because I just plain like alcohol, I propose a new drinking game: (1) every time the Italians wank about Valverde, toss back Chianti Classico. (2) every time the Spaniards complain about the Italians wanking about Valverde, it's a glass of Tempranillo. (3) every time the French whine about--jeez, what don't they whine about come to think of it, but let's stick with Armstrong anyway--snarf up a nice Bordeaux. I guarantee, with these options, we will have this industry back up and rolling within days. Now get out that corkscrew, and allez, allez!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Foiled Again!

Nasty Boy: yes, the triumphant French narcs over at AFLD have nailed Lance Armstrong at last: they've sent a scathing report about his--you guessed it!--behavior during his recent hair-sample gathering to the guardians of etiquette at UCI and WADA, which means, of course, they've failed to get him for actual doping *again*. A violation of politesse by this uncouth barbarian cowboy-pig--quelle horreur! Um, not to tell the French how to prioritize, but isn't there, say, one or two other podium-shot riders we can all think of, perhaps even in the same team kit, who they might more profitably turn their attention to ahead of July?

I Feel a Hot Wind/On My Shoulder/Must Be the Breath of Stijn Devolder: wow, did race fave Pippo Pozzato hose himself suckin' on Tom Boonen so tightly, and while those two trade whines over their colossal mutual woof, I must concede that, while I was actually rooting for we love Thor Hushovd because I'm still stinging from big Maggy Backstedt's casual remark that he oughta be Heinrich Haussler's lead-out--and even a bit for Tom just because hardly anyone picked him either--Devolder's whomping two-fer of a breakaway-shattering solo run absolutely kicked !@#. Oh well...at least Pozzato looks very "Make Me a Supermodel" on his slinky new website!

Killer Queen: meantime, the Queen of Classics, Paris-Roubaix, is almost here, and in my usual paean to losing causes I'll say flat out I desperately want Hincapie to take it, if only because anyone who has the craptastic luck to have his steerer tube shear off his bike while in great position for victory and the stellar reflexes not to impale himself on the thing like he's committing hara-kiri has really, in my view, already earned the thing. Heck, the world owes him *some* justice for killing himself at Lance's service for so many years with only one lousy Tour de France stage win as his thanks in return!

Take On Me: finally, as the Italians continue to pursue Alejandro Valverde in vengeance for Ivan Basso being justly busted for Op Puerto, I see the Spaniards, who in the last years've masterfully avoided taking any action against anyone among a whole peloton's worth of drugged-up home-grown skankballs, are suddenly aggressively declaring jurisdiction over Alejandro, no doubt so they can help make sure those old needle marks are well-covered by makeup by the time he's forced to testify about a truckload of blood bags that not only belong to someone else's dog entirely but will also almost certainly mysteriously disappear sometime this week and render the entire inquiry moot before he even has time to lose this year's Tour in his own right, *again.* See, Italy, they're all for equal punishment for equal crimes--if you're Italian or German, that is!