Friday, May 29, 2009

Break Out the Champagne and Podium Babes, Baby!

Bas-so Close, But Yet, So Far: yep, it was a valiant if ultimately fruitless try up Vesuvio today by our humble dreamboat, who promises to be in winning form for the Vuelta but better not even think about upstaging Samuel Sanchez or anyone else from Euskaltel incidentally, but what I did not predict, though was certainly happy with, was that we love dear little Sastre would take the stage again. And to our valued and thought-provoking Anonymous who suggested that Cunego tanked this Giro because he's clean, please tell me you're not by extension suggesting that Sastre's winning because he isn't--there's gotta be *someone* left in the peloton I can respect. Plus, I'll, well, cry. Allez allez Carlos--unaided, thank you very much!

Robbie Baron: okay, I think Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen is a coarse, rude, obnoxious, egomaniacal sprinter-pig. And from a purely entertainment perspective, particularly with the doubtlessly-retiring smack-talker-of-the-gods Gilberto Simoni on some twisted diplomacy binge and the outspoken Danilo Di Luca lacking the finesse to rise above the merely bitchy, I admit, that's often appealing. But I gotta say, I'm awfully sorry to see this storied speed demon end his Tour hopes--though he sez certainly not his career--with his sucktastic crash and miserable injuries at the Tour of Belgium. Get well soon, Robbie--I mean, if Boonen gets left out and Petacchi can't scam his way in, we're gonna be left with just Thor and Bennati to duke it out every day, and where's the satisfaction in that?

Armstrong Wakes Up In the Morning, Brushes Teeth: y'know, when a legal website is breathlessly reporting mid-stage that Lance fell off his bike, was perfectly fine, calmly changed his wheel, and got back on his bike, you *know* this whack-job Dear Leader zombie-eyed cult-worshipper bull!@#$ has gotten out of control. What's next, imminent-commie-nuclear-death air-raid sirens and blaring amplified shout-outs from low-flying armored helicopters that Lance just breathed in and out? Holy crap, July is gonna be a freakin' nightmare...

Some, Someday/We'll Be Together (Yes We Will): meanwhile, UCI,irked that Bernhard Kohl dared to compliment their bio passport as a smashing aid to well-planned doping, has gone on the offensive, decrying Kohl as full of it and promising, yet again, that they will come up with some really, really cool positive results on some really, really big names just about the time the sun implodes into a black hole and sucks their impotent organization and the pulverized remnants of our planet into another dimension. And, they might even say Valverde is a very, very bad boy by then. Oh, the deterrent!

French Letters: over in the Would-You-Wanks-Just-Let-It-Rest Department, I see the French are about to go all Interpol on Floyd Landis if he doesn't show up and testify about the ancient-history leak of their lab chimps' screwups in his sample analysis, apparently because, far worse than destroying someone's career and livelihood on tainted incompetent ergo dubious evidence is other people actually finding out that you woofed it. Not to get all irrelevant, here, guys, but mightn't you more profitably spend your energy making sure your employees can, say, read and write?

Hats Off!: finally, as the 100th Tour of Italy comes (almost) to a close, and as we reflect upon the lame-ified mountain stages behind us, let's take a moment to salute the flag and listen to the national anthem of the country whose denizens clearly designed said stages this year:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

He's Got It/Yeah Baby He's Got It

If the Narcs Don't Get Him First, That Is: Okay, so Franco "Farrah Fawcett" Pellizotti is 2 minutes back, which he's not gonna get, and there's no way in hell Danilo's gonna get the 80 or so seconds he needs on Menchov ahead of Sunday to cover the 20-odd seconds he's behind now, any time bonuses Denis may go for, and the 40-plus he's gonna lose on Sunday's crono. So unless Denis Menchov has some hideous mechanical on the climb or, particularly in light of the high level of interest today in his association with scuzzbucketian ex-teammate Rasmussen, suddenly falls unfortunate victim to that special kind of "stomach virus" riders only get when they're about turn up poz in a doping scandal, this Giro's in the bag. Still, the boy gets points for not complaining when the cheap-shot fans in Abruzzo hissed at him, which, incidentally, sent half the fans into a mortified mea culpa on behalf of a chagrined nation (y'know, the French might try that next time they whine when their boys get smoked on their turf, like every single freakin' day in July), though if he in fact *is* a dope fiend, and if Kohl is right you can't win clean then there's no reason to think he isn't tho' I still hope Jens Voigt was right !@#$-slapping Bernhard as a sore-loser dreams-of-grandeur rock-star wannabe, he can either take Heras' Vuelta win and hand it over nicely, or he can shov--I mean, I would be very, very disappointed. Anyway, nice work hosing over your *entire country*, RCS!

Italy's Next Top Model Roundup: speaking of Franco of the Euromullet, I know the boy tanked on a few earlier climbs, but am I the only one thinkin' that if he weren't half-handholding the newly-reborn St. Ivan of Varese the whole race, and if the team hadn't been so desperate to wring out a return on their obscenely enormous investment from Basso at any cost, we might've had a serious GC contender on our hands?

It's Too Darn Hot: meantime, a disconsolate Team Diquigiovanni is blaming the ludicrous Vueltaesque heat in the mountains for we still love Gilberto Simoni's spectacular failure, in which case I sincerely wish our aging hero a cool restorative shower and a nice tall glass of lemonade, but more interesting, while they're updating the team website with Giro news, they *don't* have Bertagnolli and *do* have Rebellin on the corridori list. So are they just too broke or cheap to fix it, or are they planning to get back their Classics meal ticket for one more year?

Ves, Ves-su-vio/Oh, Oh: so writing tomorrow off entirely as irrelevant, let's look ahead to Friday, shall we? Gibo needs it to reclaim his dignity, though this dinkmaster stage is not, but for a few steep sections, his terrain. Ivan wants it to prove he wasn't a drug-stuffed back-alley addict in '06. Garzelli wants it as icing on the cake of his maglia verde. Di Luca's pissed he didn't get it today and no doubt agrees with the low-class hissing of his fans, and wants to pluck that bloodsucking leech Menchov off his wheel. And as for Levi, well, Lance having worked for another rider for the first ten seconds of his entire career in cycling, I imagine Johan's gonna subject him to an all-squad bike-tool beatdown if he doesn't pony up the goods. And me? I love you Levi, but I still hope Gibo makes you all cry like Ricco' behind his mama's skirts!

I Want a New Drug: in non-cycling news,as UCI and WADA continue their highly effective "we only ban you if we hate you" antidoping campaigneven the NFL and MLB, for heck's sake, are starting to give out research grants to the tune of half a mil for labs to discover new methods of detecting banned steroids in urine. Might we persuade our own governing bods to try the same, since, according to Kohl, the Biological Crap-port is apparently only good for helping the cheaters to calibrate their precise doping needs (and thanks especially, natch, to their giving the boys a good year's notice they needed to amp up their baselines)? Of course, the first million or so UCI & WADA spend might have to be on "Remedial Sample Labeling" or "Testing Protocols for Lower-Order Primates", but it'd get 'em there someday, right?

Finally, Gratuitous Thor Hushovd Rocks Clip o' the Week (be patient!):

Monday, May 25, 2009

Giro d'Italia 2009: Stuff I Like and Stuff I Don't

Okay. It's no secret that I think that wanker Lance Armstrong has, with his insatiable ego and supreme publicity-whoredom, utterly wrecked what should have been a near-perfect centenary Giro. And I guess (and it's lucky for the lot of you) that between Captain !@#clown and Simoni's total nonexistence, that it's rather put a damper on what's normally a frantic and incoherent amount of posts during the corsa rosa. That said, today was the first day that got me actually interested in this beautiful race again (spoiler), so I might as well spit out what I'm liking and what I don't:

1. Thank you ever so much, Lance, for completely bamboozling the simp star-blinded race organizers into wussifying every single one of the climbing stages from brutal spikes o' gradient death into long low Italian-hostile yawners just precisely for you. If I want to watch the !@#$in' Tour de France, I'll watch it in July you punk!

2. Nonetheless, Simoni better have ripped an actual entire limb off in a crash or been 24/7 projectile yakking at the roadside to justify this week's craptastic performance. What the hell Gibo, have you no pride?!

3. By contrast, a noble if fruitless attempt today by Damiano Cunego. Honey, I hate to break it to you yet *again*, and I know you are having a tough time exiting the closet on this one, but you're really a Classics man. Embrace it, and your tifosi will understand, and someday, you will even be at peace.

4. Simoni was right, and having cheered the boy in Milan in '06 along with the rest of the swooning champagne-soaked throngs it does still rather sting to say it: Basso was an "extraterrestri" then, and he's just a plain ol' uomo, if indeed still a strong one, now. On the plus side, his gilded crusader-o'-purity wings and pretty, pretty apologetic visage surely remain intact!

5. Woo-hoo dear little Sastre! I thought he was cooked on the second-to-last-climb, and what a fool I was! Mild heartbreaker, if I still weren't in major annoyance mode with all of Lance's little acolytes: Popo just limply shaking his head as Sastre cruised on by.

6. Race commentary without Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen is like an entire night of stone-cold-sober karaoke with a tone-deaf 5-year-old shrieking halfway-memorized Disney tunes at the mic. Except less fun.

7. As both my faithful readers may disgustedly recall, I still have a wholly unjust irrational resentment of the innocent Denis Menchov for a giant bucket o' stuff he never did to Roberto Heras. But if Di Luca can't step up, he's gonna take it, he's gonna deserve it, and the Italians will never, ever, ever live it down. Anyone else see a new Italian-narc witchhunt against a randomly-targeted foreigner on the horizon?

8. Y'know, ex- maglia bianca Thomas Lokvist is really, really underrated. So can we please cut the constant pointless camera-action of Lance meandering along in the gruppo picking his nose or taking a drink for once, and focus on someone who matters in this race already?

9. Sprinters are just unbearable, aren't they? Except Thor of course. I mean, here Cav was, lamming into the riders left and right for disrespecting the Giro, 'til he gets the last stage *he* feels any interest in and heads for home. Ahem!

10. Beyond the full-throttle screaming Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi fanatics at the Vuelta, there are just no better tifosi than the Giro's. Anyone else notice how the riders were angrily smacking away the fans tossing water on their heads, until a nicely-dressed elderly lady was doing it and they all just meekly submitted as they passed?

All right, I suppose I'm feeling better now. Too bad about your lousy mechanical Levi, but at least you've got tomorrow's rest day to plan your attack up Vesuvio!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Levi Leipheimer is Scr#wed!

Road Rage: all right, I've been phenomenally lame in keeping our dear newbies in particular up to speed on this year's Giro, unlike, say, for my brothers, who are force-fed humungous updates and previews every morning like geese on the fast-track to fine pate'. And because I love our newbies so, I will stop pointing out for the next whole thirty seconds that the mountain stages of this race have been utterly Tourified and ergo wussified for Lance Armstrong's selfish piglike undeserving sake. So let's review the state of play: yes, the great Levi Leipheimer is completely screwed. First, superdomestique-o'-the-gods Chris Horner pops a muscle after a crash that takes him--and likely Levi's maglia rosa hopes--out of the Giro. Second, some nimrod drops a water bottle right in front of our boy at the feed zone and leaves him half-skinned for the time trial tomorrow--not deadly, and certainly nothing new for these boys, but hardly optimal. Sure, Levi's got the hideous ego-on-wheels that is Lance, who (1) has barely ridden for anyone else in his life and (2) until yesterday could barely even keep the pace much less set it for someone else consistently, and there's Chechu, who of course can do no wrong--but am I the only one besides Cadel Evans who remembers the colossal disappointment that was Popovych in last year's Tour? Speaking of which, we all know you're completely jacked for that, especially if they have one less !@#$% for Lance with Klodi's probs, and if you think Contador's not gonna all of a sudden want the Vuelta after that debacle, you've already taken too many narcotics to dull the pain. Oh, Levi, how could you have ever trusted that wank Johan after the first time he jacked you over for Basso?

Angel Is the Centrifuge: and, no word yet as to who the lucky riders are who got to play with esteemed drug freaks Bernard Kohl and Michael Rasmussen's handy blood-doping centrifuge, though I imagine, if the boys had any sense, that they at least wouldn't've helped stoke their immediate rivals. Then again, perhaps I'm giving 'em too much credit. Of course, at least the cyclists get credit for dignity, tho' not for their superior scumlordliness, as I see a bunch of Belgian bodybuilders scattered like teens from open beer cans from *their* narcs, whereas at least the cyclists'll at least stick around for the test then run crying to their lawyers afterwards. Geez, you guys are supposed to be so big and tough--*must* you be such scaredycats?

Pink/It Was Love At First Sight: okay. Il Killer is good. Very good. But he's also got a disconcerting history cavorting with suspect doctors, being caught on audio discussing dope, and, most surprisingly, of turning up at post-stage doping controls with the testosterone levels of Strawberry Shortcake. Not to cast any aspersions on the boy, but be honest--am I the only one thinkin' Danilo Di Luca's doing just a little *too* well this race? Don't take my miserable jaded word for it--look at this photo of him crossing the line yesterday, and judge for yerself!

And dammit Simoni--I know this whole course blows for you--suck it up and get it together already! Oh, well, at least you won't lose *too* much time at the crono tomorrow--damn, now I've gone and cursed him!

The Days of Aude Lang Syne: meantime, is there any top racer in the world who *isn't* at the Tour de l'Aude? Teutenberg, Vos, Armstrong, Cooke, all whomping on each other like drunken soccer hooligans--aside from, well, the near-total lack of media coverage, and the fact that they get paid less than the disgruntled dropout who spits in your fries on the overnight shift at the local ScuzzBurger, what's not to like?

Enjoy It While It Lasts, Honey: finally, yes, I *did* notice that we love Thor Hushovd kicked !@# for the second straight year in a row at the time trial at the Volta a Cataluyna (woo-hoo!), and yes, I *do* hope smug dog-defaming narc-evading weasel (and all-around good guy) Alejandro "Piti" Valverde doesn't mind stickin' around the home front, because it's still theoretically possible anyway that despite UCI's notorious spinelessness and inability to read an Op Puerto file they've had for three years now they really will get around to, as they promise, mildly objecting to his presence in every race on the planet sometime before the boy not only retires from the sport but before he's 4 million years fossilized into a spindly skeleton with a plastic IV port still stickin' out of the rock. Somehow, Alejandro, I think that so long as you stay the hell out of Italy, you've got nothing to fear!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Livin' On a Prayer

Can't Buy Me Love: so as Johan Bruyneel goes on about how Astana will be at the Tour de France in some form, and Alberto Contador trustingly continues to scope out the key stages of a race he's got no hope in hell of riding as captain in no matter how clearly past his primo Commander-of-All-Creation Lance Armstrong is even after that arrogant wank completely watered down the best pure climber's race in the universe to no effect whatsoever than to completely jack over Gilberto Simoni (wah, wah, collarbone, wah--not that you'd ever think to ask how he's done it, Lance, but didja notice how similarly-incapacitated and damn-near-as-ancient-as you Chris Horner managed to leave even Basso crying in the hills like St. David Millar at a press conference?), one cannot help but speculate, what the heck *is* gonna happen to the poor boy in July? Not to be a cynical depressive naysayer here, or to recall that despite feeling pity for him now that he's all oppressed I still think he was a dope-happy little pin-cushion at Liberty Seguros along with the rest of his grimy little cohorts, but I think this child is done for no matter how much he actually deserves to win (or at least ride for it) at the Tour. First, let's say Lance or his many personal sponsors pony up the dough for the squad--well, we all know who gets to call the shots then even more than now, right? Second, let's consider alternatives. Even if anyone else had the cash to hire you this late, which they don't, the best option among the serious GC squads--Caisse d'Epargne, apparently about to lose Valverde at least for this race--has, no matter how they yap on about giving your utterly underestimated BFF Luis Leon Sanchez another year or two to grow to Grand Tour leadership, an existing, in-house, and therefore cheaper, back-up. Help me folks, I'm trying to think of other options for him here--*besides* Chief Waterboy, you wiseacres!

Little Corsa Rosa/Baby You're Much Too Fast: mercifully, Pedro Horrillo's reportedly out of his coma and thankfully not brain-damaged from his monstrous crash at the Giro this week, but the boys still were too shook up or at any rate too extremely pissed to ride a real race today, 'til Cav got irked at the crybaby GC contenders blowing one of his last chances for a sprint with such stupid concerns in other stages as, y'know, not personally dying, and took the win. Not happy: the race organizers, who snarled the riders were a pack of mutinous hypocrite sissies; Pippo Pozzato, who frankly has more to be embarrassed about this race so far; and notorious tax cheat/Dancing With the Stars champ Mario "the Chest" Cipollini, who not only remains tartishly desperate for any adoration he can garner but also sincerely felt they lacked any dignity or spine whatsoever. Anyway, perhaps teh rest day will soothe some spooked nerves, and please, get well soon, Pedro!

Let's Dance/The Last Dance: finally, for those of you who'd like to see Alejandro Valverde ride one last time before he's forced to face reality and quietly retreat into the Jan Ullrich Memorial Pit of Cringing Obscurity, it's the bitchin' Volta a Catalunya, baby, and it's a formidable course worth watching this year. Good luck Alejandro--I still hope Samuel Sanchez stomps on you though!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The New Astana Team Kit Is In!

Well, Alberto Contador's, Anyway:

What'd I *tell* you to do, you naive sap? Damn, they don't even have money to pay you, kid--geeeeeeeeeetttttttt oooooouuuuuuuuttttttt!

You Want Freiburg With That?: oh, all crappy right, I've read up on the loathesome Freiburg Report, and all I can say is this: (1) poor little Andreas Kloden was clearly the wholly innocent hapless inadvertent victim of a Machiavellian money-hungry amoral dirtbag-directeur sportif and dough-suckin' rider-endangering scum-sponsor; (2) Kessler and Sinkewitz by contrast of entirely deserve whatever they get; and (3)it's !@#damn lucky none of these backwards ignorant medieval butchers freakin' killed these boys with their recklessness, stupidity and talentless body-mangling, though to be fair, at least they weren't celebrity gynos like Fuentes. Ooookaaaaaay, I am *vaguely* ready to concede that dear Klodi could maybe have done more than shrug say thanks and pull out a magazine to read while he was prepped for an IV and strapped down to a hospital bed for four hours after a long day in the saddle and an hours-long drive to a suspiciously darkened anonymous clinic, but come on, he was a domestique on T-Mobile, like he even had the nest-egg to get his hands on the high-quality !@#$ Jan Ullrich was enjoying?

You've *Got* To Be Kidding Me: so I see the Tour de France organizers, the greatest protectionists of performance-enhancing drug addicts from Rasmussen to Valverde since, well, UCI, have decided that pinup frat boy on wheels Tom Boonen is too indecorous to be permitted in this year's Tour, which means, I suppose, that rather than having one boy snort a few lines on his off-hours for fun, they'll have to content themselves pretending to be shocked at twenty-odd boys signing in at the line with actual visible medical equipment hanging off their !@#es. Am I the only one *not* taking enough drugs here that I think the Tour organizers are a bunch of ludicrous point-missing hypocrites?

Can We Please Shut the Hell Up About Golden Boy Already?: yes, Basso looks not only very pretty but strong, tho' a part of me can't help be just a weeeee bit bummed that Pellizotti's lacking the legs to kneecap his team co-captain on the sly. And I gotta say, whatsisface-who-stole-Roberto Heras'-Vuelta is lookin' pretty good for a heinous lowlife cheat-thief. But to me, despite the fact that in cyclist years he's almost officially clinically dead, clearly, Simoni's just faking you all out. Though he's right to point out that the stages are far lamer this year thanks to the race organizers disgustingly organizing the entire corsa rosa around that petty prima donna cash-cow media whore Lance, and I'm distinctly annoyed at Danilo "I Seem A Little *Too* Strong Lately, Don'tcha Think?" Di Luca for pronouncing himself "disappointed" in our hero, as Simoni optimistically notes, "it's not gonna get decided til the last day in Rome." Forza Gibo--and bite me, you Basso-bedazzled unbelievers!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Up, Up With People!

Well, the Climbers Anyway: yes, tifosi, having finally figured out how to get this beautiful race on TV, and while I'm still mourning the sucktastic luck of Christian Van de Velde, I can say with pleasure that we already hit the mountains tomorrow, and looking at the stage profile, and considering my own mild personal preferences, I gotta say, I hope Simoni kicks Basso's "attempted-doper" !@#. And if he doesn't? Well, perhaps Ivan'll just be saving himself for the Alps and GC, expecting Gilberto & co. to prematurely exhaust their ancient bods in the Dolomites, but on the flip side, if St. Ivan of Varese does take the stage, I can at least look forward to the distinct possibility that the lately-saccharine Simoni'll finally lose his cool and go, as was his whiny wont, for the verbal jugular. But for my money, what would be even more entertaining long-term: if Basso shows any weakness at any time in the race, because dollars to Dolomites, Franco Pellizotti, who as one may recall went completely shrieking bat!@#$ when Liquigas hired the Comely One, will absolutely hard-core bushwhack him. Anyway, forza, forza Gibo; race commentators, please do not yap the words "Lance Armstrong" more than 800 times a minute any longer lest I officially pull a Linda-Blair-in-the-Exorcist and go all kinds of head-spinning projectile--well, I won't go into further detail, but anyway, it sure wouldn't be ladylike; and no offense, but stick with the Classics Cunego!

I Feel Piti/Oh So Piti: meantime, the ink was barely dry on the Italian narcs' 2 year ban of poor Alejandro "Piti" Valverde before (1) Valverde started yellin'; (2) the tifosi started celebrating; (3) Caisse d'Epargne started suin' and (4)Tour de France organizer Christian Prudhomme finally got his excuse to kick that dirty, dirty boy out of his race once and for all. Me, I'm starting to think that between the Italians having been dragged kicking and screaming into serious antidoping efforts only because they were pissed Valverde got off while Basso got nailed, the Spaniards hell-bent on protecting their national hero at any cost, and the French happy to see any foreigner go down to distract the masses from their own inability to win their Tour for the last decade, none of these clowns are in a position to complain about anybody. Anyhoo, good luck at CAS, Alejandro--as Floyd Landis or damn near anyone else could tell you, you're gonna need it!

Finally, a Giro d'Italia Coverage Haiku:
Aching emptiness
Yapping ignoramuses
Come back, Phil & Paul!

Friday, May 08, 2009

It's The 100th Giro d'Italia, Baby!

All right folks, I've already tormented both my faithful readers with Giro previews in prior years, so I'll spare you that but first, I'd like to warmly welcome any Giro d'Italia/Grand Tour newcomers--because even if you *are* only watching it because Lance Armstrong is riding it despite the fact that he is the least important and certainly most annoying aspect of this year's race, I love you anyway, and I know you'll come to adore the three weeks of hand-to-hand combat, spectacular climbs, thrilling sprints, fanatic-driven spectacle, and inevitable doping scandals that are the Giro as much as we do. So let's round it up, kids!:

The Team Time Trial: I'm not gonna lie to you, I had Liquigas pegged for this one, not because I didn't think Garmin Astana or possibly High Road couldn't beat them on the merits, but because I was damn near certain the Italians would've run visible IV lines directly from the team car to the rider's rear ends right in front of the cameras to keep some foreigner from taking the 1st maglia rosa in the 100th Giro d'Italia. So apparently they didn't, but I must ask: am I the only shocked by how well freakin' *LPR* did today? Not that I'm suggesting anything untowards here--after all, Danilo's Barbiesque post-race testosterone levels'll probably do that later in this year's race quite nicely on their own--I'm just sayin'.

The Quick and the Dead: okay, it's on to a day or two of sprint stages, and while with Bennati, Head-Butt, Hushovd and pretty well everyone except Petacchi and Cav out of the race the range of possibilities seems rather narrow at best, for my money the fun begins immediately thereafter in the Dolomites, where Gilberto Simoni will be blowing right by his home stomping grounds and hence desperate--no matter how Mr. Rogers our resident smack-talking peloton Mr. T has become of late--to slap around Ivan Basso one last time before he retires. Forza, forza Gibo!--I mean, you guys already lost a bucket of time this morning, so you might as well redeem yourselves in the mountains, right?

Paris Hilton On Wheels: like anything else matters but the Giro, but anyhoo, you've all heard by now that babelicious Belgian party-slut Tom Boonen has sadly tested poz for coke again, and now, sensing serious trouble apparently, he's ditching the rakish charm that's saved his !@# so far, expressing gratitude and regret to the family friends and team he's disappointed, saying he blacked out from drinking too much, and claiming he needs, and is now sincerely seeking, help. Y'know, only he can tell if it's just a club-happy frat-boy sympathy ploy, mindbending reckless career-trashing stupidity, or a genuine problem requiring professional aid, but either way, I hope Boonen, who is really quite thrilling to watch, comes back soon. Clean, this time, get it?

Holy Moly, Ivan Basso Really *Does* Walk On Water!: finally, from the opening festivities in Venice, I give you this proof of St. Ivan of Varese's supernatural talent (now stick with it, through the yappin'):

The 2009 Giro d' How the !@#$ Am I Supposed to Watch This Thing !@#Dammit!?!; and, an Update

Aaaaaaiiiiggggghhhhhh!: As if hadn't pissed me off enough already, I not only get a nice e-mail from them explaining that they're too cheap and crappy to get any rights to the Giro this year--and I don't know what the hell you people think we're paying you for, but as one might reasonably surmise from the name of your site, it's to *broadcast freakin' races*--but I next learn that, though the bullriding-addicted inbreds at Vs. can't be bothered with the Giro either, we're saved! saved! because "Universal" Sports will broadcast live in the US with not only no commentary but also no replay coverage. Now, I can do without the live commentary--my ears are still ringing lo these many months later, after all, from the excruciating aural assault that was The Trautwig--but no replay coverage? What the hell are we supposed to do if we *work* for a living, you thoughtless nits--get a !@#$ing note from the network? ("Dear Your Honor: please excuse RJ from her hearing today. She has to watch a bike race.") Well, it's all moot anyway, because "Universal" turns out to be the monster hyperbole of the century, as they don't even *broadcast* in my major metropolitan area. Can one even sense how very irked I am at this moment?!

All right, I'm off to find some solution to this hideous scandal, and if it involves selling off a couple of limbs or some extra relatives on the black market to scam a last-minute ticket to Venice, fine. You *suck*, Universal Vs. and every other damn outlet on earth!

Update: Thanks to all for the advice on alternatives. Plus, Tom Boonen's positive for cocaine again. I don't know about you, but I sense rehab, folks, whether he actually needs it or not!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The 2010 Tour de What the Hell Are You Freaks Thinking?!

California, Here I Come--Not!: Is there a good reason why the organizers of the Tour of California want to tell every half-decent Italian and Spanish rider on the planet to eat it by scheduling next year's race right smack in the way of the Giro and the Volta a Catalunya? Y'know, I hope you goons aren't pandering to Little Lord Lanceleroy by scheduling it so he can use it to prep for the Tour in the off-chance he decides to crush Alberto Contador like a malaria-stuffed mosquito again next year, 'cause frankly, the old guy is gonna have to kick off (the bike, of course) eventually, and then what the hell was the point? And don't give me that crap about the weather, these boys ride in Belgium for heck's sake over the sleet-soaked cobbles of death so cry me a river if it takes the tropical fruit an extra day to ripen because it's mildly chilly out for one day in California. How dare you defile the Giro, after Paolo Bettini deigned to ride your lousy race?!

Katu-sh%@!: yes, we haven't even started the Giro yet, and if Katusha weren't already total pointless packfiller in this year's race with the absence of Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen from the sprints, Christian Pfannberger has been suspended by the team for a doping poz just one day after sending the team a friendly note saying he was withdrawing from the Giro roster for "personal reasons," apparently because he, personally, is a low-rent, cheating spitwad. Aw, Christian, what were you thinking--*never* be the first guest at the party, if you'd only waited til an Italian came up poz for the Giro before you went on the juice, UCI'd barely've noticed!

Prince of Tides: and, I see Simoni's baby-bushwhacker ex-teammate Damiano Cunego is pegging himself a favorite for the race, which is pretty surprising considering his total karmic inability to come up with the goods since the Piccolo Principe's hype machine went into full power like 4 years ago, though I do hope he does well because his poor, loyal tifosi just seem so heartbroken whenever he proves, yet again, that he is--though noble is the endeavor indeed--a Classics man. Meantime, everyone else is swooning anew over the incomparably dreamy Ivan Basso for the win, and one of the really nice things I'm noticing about Alberto Contador besides his admiration for Ivan is how heartily he extends his good wishes to Armstrong to overcome that pesky collarbone and reign triumphant in...well, May, and that's pretty much it. Aw, don't worry little Contador, I'm sure that with Astana's current financial problems Lance won't even have a team to ride for in July! Oh,, maybe Katusha'd consider you for that newly-opened spot? Or, y'know, Caisse d'Epargne might be short a captain if the Italian narcs beat down Valverde..but then there's Luis Leon Sanchez to step in...Well, maybe one of the photographers'll let you ride on the back of their race moto--I mean, it's not quite the same as riding the actual race but you'll get a nice view of the eventual winner, right?

Welcome Back, 'Korouv: in other Astana news, I see Kazakh rock-star/erratic wingnut Alexander Vinokorouv is looking forward to completely destroying the perfect 2009 Vuelta with the foul acid-bath of his corrosive (if lively) returning presence, with the added bonus that he's gonna go for gold in next fall's Worlds. Gee, grab a trunkload of IVs, a couple of doctors of dubious credentials and swill-dwelling ethics, get ol' pal Kashechkin on his cell-phone, and Samuel Sanchez has got himself an actual rival this year!

Law Is A Many-Splendored Thing: finally, congrats and a passionate "in bocca al lupo, baby!" to the aforementioned Alejandro Valverde, who has decided that he's gonna sue the Italian narcs in the wild and astonishingly unlikely hope that he'd actually be better off getting his !@# adjudicated in front of the Spaniards. I mean, it's not like they've protecting him with all the gun-toting fervor of, say, Cadel Evans' formidable 2008 Tour de France posse, is it? Hmm, maybe I better rethink that...

Friday, May 01, 2009

RJ's Doping Dos and Don'ts

All right, pro riders. At the moment, damn near the lot of you make me sick. You've defiled this beautiful sport, made pure sportsmanship the scorned purview of the naive and stupid, and effectively mocked the un- and under-paid, hardworking, honest club and small-team riders who wouldn't think of polluting their bodies or love of riding for a better result even if they had your obscenely inflated salaries and 24/7 access to podium babes. That said, if there's anything that pisses me off more than a liar and a cheat, it's a stupid one. Ergo, dirtbags, in a rare act of mercy, I give you RJ's Doping Dos and Don'ts:

1. DO say you didn't do it *one* time, then shut the hell up for all eternity and refer all questions to your lawyers. Sure, you're lying, but at least we only feel like punching you once.

2. DO make a date with a good spa and, if necessary, a spectacular plastic surgeon. To the pretty go the spoils. Sound extreme? I got three words for you, buddy: Basso, Valverde, Boonen. Now fer heck's sake pout those newly-plumped lips!

3. DO stick with the party drugs. Hell, even that idiot Schumi got off easy for amphetamines. Yum--coke!

4. DO confess to old offenses. Exhibit A: Erik Zabel. Come on, who doesn't love Zabel?

5. DO stay on UCI's good side by crusading against everyone else doping to conceal the fact that without it you no longer get the same results. Works for David Millar, right?

6. DO, despite a lifetime of self-absorption, now crave the charity circuit. Oooh--waifs!

7. DON'T believe UCI when they say you'll be rewarded for helping them, ever. So, how's Jorg Jaksche doing these days?

8. DON'T claim that someone slipped you a mickey at the club or in your water bottle. Even if it's true--and it's not--you're asinine. If you're really that paranoid, pay your grossly exploited soigneur an extra 50 bucks a night out of your Ferrari budget to guard your drink and stop insulting us with that bull!@#$.

9. DON'T hide behind your wife, girlfriend, or mother. It makes you look like a wuss, and frankly, if you do it, you ARE a wuss. Riccardo Ricco', read and learn!

10. DON'T whap on so many testosterone patches, o esteemed women's peloton, that you suddenly sound like James Earl Jones, develop a suspiciously Ben Affleck jawline, or actually grow a working, visible penis. Folks do notice.

11. DON'T hide your stash in the home of your family or friends. You're a wank to implicate them. And this, children, is why God created safe deposit boxes.

12. DON'T ever, ever, ever use your innocent dog's name in vain by making it a code name on your blood bags or in any other fashion. Because you're gonna go to hell. And you'll deserve it.

Well, dope fiends, most of you will still continue to cheat like the opportunistic amoral podium-hos that you are, and a select, unlucky few of you may even get caught doing it. But at least this way I'll still respect you in the morning!