Sunday, September 27, 2009

Attack of the Killer Australian

Cadel Call: all right, I'll cop to it. I'm one of them. You know, the ones who've been constantly dope-smacking Cadel Evans for not attacking, downright saying he couldn't, comparing him kindly to such esteemed members of the animal world as "remoras" and "leeches." Well, I'm eatin' it now, because as you well know, Cadel is World Champion. And frankly, it was gorgeous and astonishing to watch, so except for the fact that I was actually rooting for Oscar Freire, all I especially care about is that Samuel Sanchez is fourth over his "team leader" that drug-stuffed punk Valverde, and a significant, disgustingly scumwaddy part of me was sincerely hoping for Valverde or even better Vinokorouv to win just to watch Pat "Dick" McQuaid's face when he was forced at hypocrite gunpoint to hand over the gold medal, I gotta say, it's not so bad a feeling to be that gobsmacked. Congrats to our Aussie posse--and major bonus points to Cadel for not pulling that obnoxious Contadorian "pistolero" grandstanding or Cav-ish wanker chest-thumping over a simple acknowledgement to the crowd. Class act, particularly the way you've been treated (by, um, some of us), Cadel! Today's helpful Hint from Heloise, since we're still unofficially on the Cadel Evans Find Me a Team That Won't Jack Me Over Project: right this very second, before Silence has a chance to remember the first part of your debacle season, is *the* fleeting moment to skyrocket your asking price and demand the domestique firepower you really need for the big shows. Good luck to you and your paycheck! If it all works, can I get a cut?

Et Tu, Fabian?: meantime, the recriminations among the other squads have begun, with the Italians' boss blaming everyone from his own boy Pozzato to lazy-!@# Cancellara to the useless Spaniards to damn near his own grandma for blowing it for Cunego, the squadra azzurra feeling generally screwed, the Spaniards pointing fingers at the Italians, and just about only our perfect Samu Sanchez actually giving Cadel any personal credit for the victory. And the tifosi? Absolutely on the rampage at their unbelievable loss, split between blaming Basso, Cunego, Pozzato, and the team boss, and apparently paying off the Giovanni Visconti Shrieking Teenybopper Fan Club to flood the place with the only kindness to anyone besides Cadel. Looking forward to lots of unprintable words in the Swiss, Spanish and Italian press the next few days, don't you think?

(Anti) Doping for Dummies: so after doped-up riders have been rewarded for years with massive wins, podium accolades, fan adulation and obscene sports car budgets, with only spotty punishment followed by lucrative new gigs for those whose handlers sensibly convince them to shed ostentatious amounts of crocodile tears to any camera within eyeshot, UCI has taken truly decisive action to stop doping in the new generation of eager beavers: yep, despite the merely dubious risk of actual consequences, they're gonna have to take a class on how doping is really, really, really naughty. Heck, if lessons on what is and isn't detectable under current UCI testing protocols ain't useful, I can't imagine what is--and now that you don't even need a Therapeutic Use Exemption for asthma meds, why not teach 'em exactly how many puffs you can take before the finish line without getting busted? Oh, the academic possibilities are too endless...

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: speaking of UCI, our noble overseers, still fresh from their triumph of an entirely plausibly drug-free Tour de France, have been thwapped by the Italians over their claim that they were powerless to take any earlier action against despised cheat-weasel Alejandro Valverde and keep him out of the Worlds because it "didn't have the file in time," as the Italians call bull!@#$ and say they sent a huge wad of ironclad documentary evidence to UCI in plenty of time to keep the boy from riding anything more important than a jaunt to the local 7-Eleven for some cheez-sauced nachos and a Slurpee. Y'know, not to lay odds here, but given that the Italians are still engaged in a rabid anti-Valverdean vendetta-snit over Piti escaping Op Puerto scot-free while half their own boys went down, and the UCI's grotesque history of doper-enabling and scuzz-coddling, I'm bankin' on Italy being in the right on this one. Or am I just underestimating UCI's true commitment to genuine dirtbag-purging over gutter-wallowing rump-covering "NO CHEATS LEFT IN THE PELOTON" PR-mongering?

Leaving Las Vegas: finally, a big shout-out to Team Ouch founder Floyd Landis, who graciously told me at a mob-scene sponsor meet-n-greet he'd actually read this muckraking on-line scandalsheet and, even more graciously, didn't even ball up his fist and deck me for it then 'n' there. Now *that's* good sportsmanship! So, you going to RadioSk--um, Shack next season or what?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How To Dress Like a Rock (Racing) Star; and, Racejunkies for Podium-Babe Equality

Rock Around the Clock: Wanna look like a Rock Racing Team star, without the dubious, um, medical history, perpetual haunting by the narcs, and constant threat of being fired or demoted like some no-name talentless dipwad? Well, now you can, baby:
From Interbike 2009

Sure, you won't ride any faster--but won't you look chic gasping by the side of the road waiting for someone to come pick you up?

We Were Sufferin'/'Til Suffrage/Whoa!: yes, with the brutal schedule, body-stomping road and mountain rides, more limited race opportunities, and squat pay, for my money clearly the most crucial issue facing the women's peloton has been: why the !@#$ do only the guys get podium babes? Well, Interbike's remedied that one, honey, and I fully expect to see the gents in lame' hot pants posing for a kiss on the cheek with the triumphant sweat-soaked champions at all future award ceremonies, just like in the Tour de France:
From Interbike 2009

Way to fight the good fight, sisters!

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Wear Lampre: want to ride your bike, but afraid of looking like (not that I have any squads in mind, here) some tarty Starburst spandex poseur? Here's some spiffy tweed duds from the incredibly cool folks at Sheila Moon (complete, as you can see, with handsome leather patch to protect those sensitive areas):
From Interbike 2009

From Interbike 2009

Couldn't *someone* have started making these clothes before every sausage-stuffed wannabe Lance Armstrong began assaulting our eyes in oversqueezed neon team kit?

Worlds, Worlds, Worlds: so you can quit cryin' about the Vuelta, Cadel, as formidable speedster Brad Wiggins one-ups you with The Suckiest-Timed Mechanical Ever at the World Time Trial Championships, though whether anyone can beat Fabian Cancellara without actively bashing his bike to bits with a hammer (which I do *not* recommend, you cheating vandals) is doubtful at best. Geez, Cav's down for the count, Brad's hopes are dashed--please, please don't let anything else bad happen across the pond this season, newcomer Team Sky in particular!

Bad News for the Dimmer Bulbs: okay, you can perhaps surmise who I'm thinking of here, but holy freakin' moly are some of our, well, less poindextery boys in trouble two years out, as UCI votes to bag the use of two-way race radios in the peloton. Presumably, of course, the DSes'll still be able to scream their heads off at their doltish charges--and let's face it, doesn't the occasional wayward child perhaps need it? Anyway, enjoy the radios while they last, Pro Tour--you got two years to teach the less Einsteinian to independently strategize and think!

No Sleep/ Til Brooklyn (Well, Mendrisio Anyway): finally, sweet dreams to poor Alejandro "Piti" Valverde, whose paranoid Spanish national squad is keeping him the hell out of the site of his ban in Italy where the rest of the kids are boarding during the Worlds, and stashing him, alone and forlorn, in Switzerland instead, despite the fact that he can technically step into the country so long as he stays the heck off his bike. Silly? Yes. An excess of caution? Certainly--but then again, perhaps it makes sense about now for the Spaniards to start practicing keeping him away from forbidden borders!

A Question for Dave Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, and Danny Summerhill; and, So Much More!

Oh Yeah, Baby!: all right, folks, you know the score: we're the fans, and they are the cycling gods. So what do they really think of us? You ask (well, I do anyway), I answer, honey! The Scene: a highly educational technical discussion of the hydration specs of the Garmin-Slipstream squad at the Camelbak booth at Interbike with team physiologist, DZ, CVV, and U23 phenom and all-around nice guy Danny Summerhill. The Opportunity: they opened it up to audience Q&A, including inspiring and intelligent queries like how to get started as a pro. The Racejunkie Question On Behalf of You, the Faithful Reader: so you're at the Tour de France, and the fans are screaming in your face, running alongside you in man-thongs or in funny hats or with their national flags painted on their beer guts--what are you thinking? I'm sure it was just a matter of efficiency that the mic was jerked out of my hand immediately afterwards like Indiana Jones' lasso on icon. The Responses (and I paraphrase a bit; what the hell am I, a tape recorder?): DZ: "nice ass," it "can get annoying," and as for the crowds generally, "you're just trying to get through it." CVV: I "don't get the male nudity" but "am in favor of female nudity," "it's pretty amazing," and you're "glad everyone is out there." Thanks, boys! Does this mean I can run alongside you shrieking in a man-thong at next year's Tour?
From Interbike 2009

An Interview With 2009 World Downhill Champ Steve Peat!: okay, I'm a road freak, but really, is anything quite so cool as someone in full body armor careening down a dirt descent o' death and not only living to tell the tale, but kicking the !@# of every other speed-freak in the genre? So here's the word from the Deacon of Dirt:
--Worst day ever on a bike?: "they're all good days."
--Best day ever on a bike?: "two weeks ago when I won the World Championships."
--Advice for aspiring riders?: "have fun, go out and enjoy it, don't take yourself too seriously."
--How'd you get started?: "X-C."
--Fan question: How many broken bones do you have?: "About 15." Hardware: "Just in my collarbone." Am I the only one who wants to recklessly find a mountaintop with my ancient wholly-unsuitable road bike and pitch myself down it right now?

New Stuff I Liked: wah, wah, the economy's in the tank. Get your priorities straight, you simps!
--Vanderkitten. Bad-!@# riders, bitchin' kit, and advocates for women and girls hitting the road. Right on sisters!
--Pashley Bikes: British, hand-built, meltingly sexy, ineffably dashing. Yap, road racing, yap. Bring these babies *on*!
From Interbike 2009

--Dogs Rule, Cats Drool: naturally, from the smashing Italians, the slinkiest yet most functional dog/cycling gear anywhere anytime ever. Emanuele Bianchi Design. Bike with Fido, and you don't even face-plant entangling her leash with your drivetrain!
--Oooh, Ladies First/Ladies First: tired of hearing about DZ's Nuts and whatever else the guys have to slap on their works? Here's one for the women--Hoo Ha Ride Glide! Even better: their Reflect H2O Swim Shampoo and Conditioner. The problem: my hair turns into the Centurion Helmet of Congealed Hideousity after a dip in the pool. After using this stuff, not only did it smell so deliciously tropical I started singing "The Pina Colada Song" in the shower (shut up! you would too!), but it left me feeling like one of those chicks in the hair-conditioner commercials who look like they're about, tell their friends about it. Nice!

And, the Gratuitous Alberto Contador Dope-Slap o' the Day: first, there's a giant Alberto Contador banner celebrating his 2009 Tour de France triumph. Next, there's a jersey with the beautiful colors of Astana. And all I could think was, you poor bastid. Alberto, what were you *thinking*!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Live, From Vegas, Baby--It's Bike Lust 2009!; and, Good News for Alessandro Petacchi

Yes, folks, we're at fabulous Interbike 2009, and already it's total sensory overload as we engage in a hard-core effort to score schwag, stalk yer fave cyclists, and find what's new and hot for both my faithful gearhead readers. Today's notes:

Schwag o' the Day: okay, castigate me for my endless lameness if you will, but aside my excitement over a single stylin' merino sock that seductively promises you its mate tomorrow morning at its manufacturer's booth, and despite the truly impressive array of power drinks and energy snacks I've snarfed today, my top freebie so far is undoubtedly the bitchin', pretty dice from bebop, makers of exceedingly spiffy pedals (and not, sad to say, even freakin' paying me to pimp 'em):
From Interbike 2009
Thanks, bebop!

Product Test Review o' the Day: this one's for smashing localistas (for me, anyway) Parlee for their dandy new Z-5:
From Interbike 2009

"It's like riding a column of air!"--John Anon., 9/22/09 Want specs? Let me know!

Your Aw, !@#$in' Hell! Bike God Near-Miss o' the Afternoon: The Quarry: Dave Zabriskie. The Place: Bootleg Canyon, 1:25 pm. The Problem: I've been in the desert 4 1/2 sun-pounding hours, I'm High Pasty Irish for Chrissakes, I'm deep into screaming-pain Honeybaked Ham sunburn territory, Dave Z won't be around for another 35 minutes, and I'll be shrieking in my hotel room like Cad...well, why piss anyone in particular off?...if I don't get inside, for good, in the next 15 seconds. !@#$!

Dream Ride o' the Day: no, it's not some $10,000 sell-your-organs-on-the-black-market-to-get-it carbon-fiber pro-or-poseur bike: it's
From Interbike 2009
electra bikes' peace-n-love construction o' today, throwback to idyllic childhood spiffy new ride. Y'know, all this genuine sweetness on my part is making me sick. Would someone pay me to kiss their !@# already?

Air! I Need Air!: finally, back in the real world, it's a fantastic gimme to both legit user Alessandro "How Many Puffs Does It Take To Stun a Rhino" Petacchi and faux wheeze-gaspers everywhere, as WADA, in its endless quest to limit the supply of troublesome and PR-unfriendly doping pozes, I mean, refine its quality-control system and ensure only the truly guilty get caught, takes everyone's go-to crap-malady treatment salbutamol off the Therapeutic Use Exemption list--not so you can't use it at all, you faithless child, but so you *can* use it without even the annoyance of a bull!@#$ gyno-to-the-stars doctor's note. Thanks, WADA--with CERA so easily detectable nowadays, what else was an enterprising skankball supposed to do?

All right folks, that's it for today--check in tomorrow for the Phil 'n' Paul Stalker Report, Gratuitous Alberto Contador Dope-Slap, Humiliatin' Celebrity-Hunt Moment o' the Day, and whatever stuff I like and hate! Note to energy-drink makers: I really, really hope your products don't make me yack. Til then!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fire Your Handlers, Contador!

Didn't We Go *Over* This Already?: all right, Alberto, we've all just about accustomed ourselves to the fact that you're not quite the brightest candle in the chandelier, but now you officially confirm you didn't even have the sense to negotiate a buyout clause out of your long-term contract with !@#$up-when-you-got-there Astana? Child, who the hell is *handling* you? Okay, I suppose you can't exactly fire your brother Fran, and to be fair, on the blood-is-thicker-than-your-head scale you'd be completely a tool if you did, but who the hell told you moving into Alexander Vinokorouv's burning kerosene-fueled balsa-wood hell-hole of a mansion without a ladder was a good idea in the first place? Get this, twerp: even if your current man-crush Garmin-Slipstream is losing the not-cheap Brad Wiggins to Team Sky (and they're damn well set for next season if they did, incidentally), Jonathan Vaughters likely *still* doesn't have the dough to buy you out of this debacle, so get set to trade in your bitchin' sports-car and luxury vacations for a third-hand lawn-mower-motored dinged-up scooter and a flybitten motel where you don't wanna know what's been on those sheets if you really wanna hang with Dave Z next season. Oh, man. Sure you wouldn't be better off taking a couple years off the bike to take some university classes?--you'd still be in your prime when you got back, right?

Samu, Samu, Samu!: and, right on Samu Sanchez for a spectacular ride without the benefits of the last-climb help Ivan and Alejandro enjoyed from their teammates, and once you'd dropped poor crushed Gesink and couldn't shake Valverde on the final descent (does that make anyone else, well, sorta queasy but me?), you were right to take it conservatively--just *please* don't lose too much to Cadel and Ivan in the time trial! Y'know, not to suggest you won't win entirely on your own next year--but if someone suggested to the race organizers that the Vuelta take a scenic one-day detour into, ooooohhhh, saaaaaay, Italy next year, that'd be totally coincidentally awfully pleasant, wouldn't it?

Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean: meantime, holy moly, maybe St. Ivan of Varese really *is* as reformed as he's thankfully stopped constantly trumpeting he is, as he gamely holds his own but doesn't disconcertingly bash the heck out the competition and still has a shot at (now don't get too ambitious, Ivan) third tomorrow after a season of highly respectable, but not freakishly, oh, Rabobankian, results. Oh my, am I feeling twinges of sympathy after that ridiculous "attempted doping" excuse that's still !@#$ing me off from two years ago, or am I just getting bedazzled by those pretty, pretty eyes and pretty, pretty pout and pretty, pretty tweets to his wife on her birthday? Focus, Racejunkie, focus! The tifosi, of course, are duly proud, but if there seems to be a soupcon of disappointment in their comments that he's not back on the juice, I mean, not quite yet able to beat the undoubtedly doped-up pigs ahead of him in every race, well, perhaps my translation skills are just off. Anyway, forza Ivan--and I doubt you'll have to worry about Alejandro at any rate next season!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eat Scalding Karmic Cycling Eternal Flaming Suffering, You Disgusting Hypocrites!

I Mean, Gee Whiz, UCI!: so we still love and still miss !@#dammit ex-Euskaltel climbing god/sensitive emotional trainwreck Iban Mayo has announced that, his two year ban for a B sample that wasn't even !@#$in' positive 'til the desperate witchhunting skanks at UCI finally found a pack of chimps that'd give his unlawfully-tested Z sample a bull!@#$ poz completed, he's disillusioned and not returning to the sport. What the hell is wrong with you, UCI? Here you are, the most egregious enabling druggie-lover cheat-wank-huggin' hypocrites on the planet, coddling some truly extraordinarily repulsive dirtwads whose dishonesty and utter lack of respect for other athletes has damn-near ruined and certainly irreparably damaged our beautiful cycling, and of all people, including the ones you so relentlessly !@@-kiss, you pick the quiet--and by your own freakin' protocols, not even guilty, which one would think might be mildly relevant to any legitimate tribunal--Iban Mayo to kneecap? No offense, but given who you dissembling weasels have been coddling, and who you choose to pick on like some dim-bulb reasonless child-thug schoolyard bully, you look like a pack of completely stone-stripped wussies. Free Iban I say--not that it matters anymore!

Miracle on Ice (Well, In Pounding Heat, Whatever): meantime, am I absolutely hallucinating here on an astonishing amount of adulterated acid, or is Alejandro "Wannabe" Valverde actually about to take a Grand Tour? 'Cause if you've been watching the same baseless hysterical pre-race hype and inevitable spectacular ignominious cracks I've been watching the last several years, honey, it is *far* likelier that all those tye-dye-colored lizards you've been seeing crawl up the ceiling while you're under the influence are real than what we're seeing happen with the boy this Vuelta. And happy as I rather was for him up to the precise moment I learned Iban was screwed while this clown pedals on, again, and despite his still-rightful place as a one-day Classics man, he'd better enjoy it while it lasts, because on the incredible off-chance those pig doper-sucking narcs at UCI finally get shamed into actino, he ain't gonna be riding the Vuelta, much less the Giro or the Tour, again anytime soon. Anyhoo, good work holding it together so long for once, Alejandro--and how come all that !@#$ you were taking never helped you before this?

Shut Up! He Can Still Too!: in other news, the fabulous Samuel Sanchez of the perfect Euskaltel is currently on the podium in third, and barring the daring last-minute attack I know our stealthy holy-crap-he's-the-reigning-Olympic-champion is cannily holding up his sleeve, I assume how badly he woofs, and how endless pissed-off bad-luck sad-sack Cadel Evans pounds him and where-the-hell-did-he-come-from Gesink in the time trial, is gonna decide it. Venga Samu'! Speaking of Euskaltel--and who doesn't want to--can !@#$ing Lance Armstrong stop poaching the broke-!@# team's best riders with his bottomless dough and swooning unquestioning Saint-o'-the-Peloton media slutmongering? It's like watching a Smurf get into an X-Treme Sports Fatal Kickboxing Match with the monster from Alien for heck's sake--gruesome. Anyway, for my money, the other revelation of the Vuelta has got to be--besides the babelicious Ivan Basso's truly impressive return--fellow-Valverdian-Classics-boy Damiano Cunego, whose Grand Tours have been a miserable two-wheeled deathmarch since his freak (and ungentlemanly) Giro win in his infancy. Sure, he's still incapable of winning another three-week race--but it's nice to see, if all his "Mr. Clean" braggadoccio is true, that he can still hold his own and then some, ain't it?

Come Fly With Me: finally, lest I get dope-slapped again by the Lance Armstrong/ Criticizing Dear Leader Gets You 5 Years Hard Labor In Some Hellish Gulag contingent, I have to admit, this new thing of Lance's where he's having all these open rides with ordinary folks is not only a great crowd-pleaser opening gambit for his future run for Governor of Texas, but just generally, a really cool gesture. I mean, if him using his undeniable star power to encourage more of us cycling-ignorant Americans to ride our bikes, and even better develop an interest in this gorgeous sport of road racing, isn't that genuinely great? In fact, it's *so* great I think he oughta do it more often. Like, full-time. Especially during the 2010 road racing season. And in perpetuity thereafter. Don't you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We're Going to Vegas, Baby!

What Happens in Vegas, (Don't) Stay in Vegas: Okay, we're now one short week away from going to the bitchin' Interbike trade show in Vegas, and what's in it for both my faithful readers? Buckets, kids! like:

5 Questions For...: Join me as I ask whatever questions of dubious taste randomly come to mind of whomever I can scam a few minutes with. Sure, it'll probably be the hand-towel gent in the bathroom at the convention center instead of, say, Dave Zabriskie, but who better to know the intimate secrets of the bike world anyway? Inquiring minds want to know!

The Daily Dipwad Shrieking Fan Moment o' the Day: how will my bad-!@# resolve to ask cutting-edge questions dissolve into miserable mortified dorkdom in the face of mano-a-mano combat with the objects of my love-'n'-loathing? Wait and see!

The Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen Periodic Stalker Sighting Update: follow me in my impassioned quest to track down the greatest cycling commentators in human history and bow to their total godliness like dope-smacked-domestique-on-Armstrong. We love you Phil and Paul!

The Salacious Gossip Project: because what good is 4 days of 24/7 cycling immersion if we can't dig up some lurid dirt on our heroes? Bike parts, schmike parts, yaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn....

Schwag Lust: what's the smashingest freebie I can score today? Hell, I'll be drooling just over the advertising flyers, but hand me a sweet cycling cap and I'll pimp your product shamelessly for life. I do take bribes!

The Sex-on-a-Stick Bike Gear o' the Day: yep, for you gearheads, if you thought you wanted to steal Lance Armstrong's crappy bike from the back of his team truck at the Tour of California, wait'll you see this coolio new stuff, so get ready to pilfer from Grandma's handbag or, God forbid, actually work for a living to get it. Oooooo....carbon fiber!

And Finally, Your Special Interactive Racejunkie Reader Feature--Ask a Pro Cyclist a Question (That Won't Get Me Punched)!: yes, opportunities and no-neck ham-handed bone-bustin' bodyguards permitting, I'll be asking a lucky pro cyclist(s) a question of burnin' interest and up to, say, moderate offensiveness from you, our faithful reader. If your question *does* get me punched, well, I'm a peaceful person and all when you come right down to it, but boy, will I ever lecture you severely! So you got questions? Post 'em--and allez allez on to Sin City, honey!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

All Hell's Broken Loose!

No, Not Armstrong: jeez, you take a few days off during a sprint-contaminated Vuelta and all hell breaks loose--Cunego actually wins his first Grand Tour stage since he bushwhacked Gilberto Simoni at the Giro as an infant, both the Schlecks collapse, Alejandro Valverde of all people pulls it together for more than a stage at a time, now even the stolid Cadel Evans is Robbie McEwen-ing the harmless Robert Gesink right in the guts--what's next, Basso taking GC? And yes, you can all just bite me, because despite his current lack of the maglia d'oro the wily Samu Sanchez is clearly just saving his energy for more profitable all-peloton smackdowns in later stages. Venga Samu--and don't get too comfortable in that golden jersey Valverde you punk!

Eat Hot Melted Tire Tracks, Cav!: and, I was going to say something perhaps somewhat south of diplomatic about the Manxman's spectacular defeat at the hands (well, legs) of we love Thor Hushovd, but let's just roll the tape, baby: Woo-hoo Thor!

No Freire!: so speaking of Cavendish (and there's a link here, trust me), I still haven't gotten over master tactician/peloton overlord Paolo Bettini retiring (though happily, he will apparently be co-directing the squadra azzurra at the Worlds) and now freakin' Oscar Freire is calling it quits?! Luckily, it's after the end of next season, as he wants to retire as reigning world champion, plus he did manage to save me from utter despair when he basically went off on certain racers (see, I told you there was a link) for being talentless robot lead-out-suckin' wuss-weenies who can't win a sprint without being forcibly yanked to the line like a dimwitted (if fleet-footed) donkey. Oh, Oscar--could it be *possible* to love you even more? I swear, when we love Jens retires, all we're gonna have left are a pack of whining scrawny prima donna climbers and muscle-bound sprint knuckleheads with no politesse whatsoever. Dag nabit!

Lament of the Big Man on Campus: oh, how hard to be the high-school quarterback pursued by the head cheerleader, the class slut, the homecoming queen *and* the freshman hottie all at once--just ask Alberto Contador, being chased by Caisse d'Epargne, Astana, Quick Step *and* Garmin! Of course, being in the family way with Astana already, he's somewhat hamstrung at the moment--but surely it's nothing his mommy and daddy can't weasel him out of with a big fat payo--I mean contract buyout--to team management, right? Good luck honey--it ain't easy being BMOC!

Faster Than a Speeding Doper: and finally, what gives with this rumor that Rock "I Heart Druggies" Racing's gonna debut a new line of bikes at Interbike later this month? Let's review, shall we? Unbearable egomaniac Michael "Style Over Substance" Ball, purveyor of ungodly-overpriced poseur hipster denim, hires a huge number of instantly-recognizable name-brand cheat-wanks on the wholly noble grounds that anyone who soulfully keeps denying they did what they did surely deserves a second (third, fourth, whateva) chance for their unrepentance. Then, he completely justifies the gracious forgiveness and moral purity of that decision with the inarguable exclamation point of a bitchin' acid-toned flaming-skull team kit. Last, he *really* buttresses his cred by !@#$ing over the great Fast Freddy Rodriguez, abandoning the first guy on his squad who tests poz on his watch and could actually use some redemption, and, icing on the cake, demoting until recently the impressive talent Rahsaan Bahati from full-fledged team player to underemployed amateur sock-washer. So now he's got the time, effort, and obscene amount of cash necessary to shove out a new line of incredibly expensive (and cool-lookin'! really cool-lookin'!) bikes? Give that poor traumatized boy a raise instead, you cheapskate!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy Labor Day! and, Meetings with Fallen Idols

Well folks, having seen the weirdest pack of sprints in the Vuelta in recent memory (not that, to be fair, I particularly notice any of 'em while I'm swooning over Euskaltel in the mountains), and having met a really quite mellow and friendly Tyler Hamilton and listened to an interesting in-depth discussion about chamois cream last night, I'm off for the weekend to ponder that one. When we come back, it's finally the mountains, baby, and watching Thor Hushovd kick the crap out of everyone at the Toura Missoura--woo hoo, and Happy Labor Day everyone!

And Pereiro to RadioSkank with Landis? Really?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Boulevard of Broken Dreams (and Bodies)

Noooooooooooooo!: okay, it was inevitable. But I still think it phenomenally blows that we love Levi Leipheimer has inked a two-year deal to be Lance Armstrong's trod-upon serf over at team Radioskank. Even worse, Levi seems to be under the complete delusion that Lance's gonna let him all-out for his very own Tour de France win. Um, not to jam a pin into the happy shiny helium balloon here, but am I the only one who heard Lance say he's going to the Tour next year to really, really, really win it? Sure, he blew it this time by underestimating the defiance of kid Contador, but he ain't gonna do that again. Oh well, if by "go for the Tour" you mean "go fetch Lance another Power Bar from the team car," I suppose you're right on target! Oh, poor Levi...and don't even get me *thinkin'* about Andreas "First Ullrich, Then Contador, Now This !@#!@#$?!" Kloden....

Little Shop of Horrors: what a total freakin' slaughterhouse disaster my beloved Vuelta's decision to go into Belgium has been, as the Glassy Roads o' Bone-Crushing Agony take out half the peloton, including, heinously, hardest-working-man-in-show-business Chris Horner, who deserved, after an already injury-wrecked season followed by his flat-out offensive omission from the Tour de France, a hell of a lot better than this lame crashout. I mean, not to suggest that I believe in divine punishment for something he didn't (much less even did) do, but *no-one* else had worse karma coming to 'em yesterday?

Burnin' Down the House: speaking of crashes, Jakob Fuglsang's freak careen into the back of an oil tanker is already one for the record books, tho', fortunately, neither tanker nor rider exploded into a Bruce Willis action-movie ball o' flames. No offense to the Vuelta, which is perfect, but what the hell was that thing doing at the side of the road there anyway? 'Cause if we're gonna up the ante on the danger of the race course so far beyond the usual "I whacked a Golden Retriever" or "I took out a spectator" hijinks, I say we oughta go Vegas entirely and have 'em ride through hoops of burning fire or dodging charging famished circus tigers or something. Now *that* would boost this race's ratings. Watch out, Valverde--that lion's right on your---ooooh!

Cycling/It's a Gas: meantime, I see team Liquigas is finalizing its 2010 roster, and it looks like both Ivan Basso and his "co-captain" Franco of the Euromullet Pellizotti are going to face off against, I mean harmoniously work with, each other next year, which, depending on whether ASO lets attempted-but-repentant-never-cheated Basso back in the Grand Boucle, oughta make for some mighty entertaining internal competition at the Grand Tours next year. Heck, what possible problems could a little friendly rivalry cause, right? Just ask Lance and Alberto!

Yet Another Reason to Love the Danes: finally, to the delight of Greg Lemond fans everywhere, a Danish (I think) doctor is alleging that Lance Armstrong's strange blood chemistry during the Tour shows that he either (1) had an unmentionably gross three-week stomach ailment or (2) hit the good stuff. Anyone else wanna bet that Lance's lawyers are already marshalling an army of explicit data to argue (1) while they they descend on that doctor like a screeching flock of subpoena-wielding Harpies to put the kibosh on (2)? Me, I don't actually mind either way, as long as someone else whomps him in the Tour next year. Since even Contador seems to think he's hosed over at Astana, go baby Schleck!