Monday, December 28, 2009

2010: The Year In Preview (Yeah, You Heard Me)

Yes, dear readers, as 2009 recedes both nobly and ignominiously into history, and the peloton returns from the sunny beaches of their vacation palaces to their in-season routine of hard work, ascetic living, and CAS doping appeals, it's time to look ahead to what's coming in 2010, if for no other reason than at least this way we ain't all gonna be bushwhacked:

January: Time for team camps! Jens Voigt completely eaten by polar bear at Saxo Bank Artic survival exercise, sews self back together with emergency kit; Team Sky to fittings for new ascots; Contador locked in bare concrete room, kept awake for 823 consecutive hours in "Manchurian Candidate" brainwashing, sits smiling, glassy-eyed, as Vinokourov announces 26-year contract extension at Astana press conference.

February: it's the Amgen EPO Tour of Calif...what the !@#$ do you *mean* it's been moved to May? What kind of !@#$ing stupidity is *that*?; Cav accidentally rockets past border at Tour of Qatar finish line, detained in barbed-wire prison facility in Saudi Arabia.

March: it's the Classics, baby! Contador cries hysterically at sight of cobblestones on TV, soothed by lollipop and juice box; Stuey O'Grady run over by fully-loaded cargo train at crossing, wins Paris-Nice by using two remaining unbroken fingers to claw self over finish line.

April: it's the Hell o' the North, honey! George Hincapie flats record-breaking 234 times in 16 minutes, takes race when steals Tom Boonen's bike while latter distracted flexing muscles for swooning fans during brief stop caused by massive pile-up.

May: time for il grande Giro, baby! Ivan Basso and Franco Pellizotti injured in hotel-bathroom primping altercation, forced to withdraw; returning Riccardo Ricco' takes it, DQd when lab tests show 100% of blood has been replaced with next-generation doping product; back in US, Levi Leipheimer wins 56th consecutive Tour of California, fawning press-hungry race organizers award it to Lance Armstrong anyway.

June: time for pre-Tour doping controls! Spaniards, Samu' and Carlos excepted, banned from race in July; Boonen busted, suspended til B samples show actually *was* just amped up on Pixy Stix as protested; RadioSkank shows off expansive state-of- the-art medical bus to "treat the sniffles," lauded by UCI for service to clean cycling.

July: what else? Contador slips between cracks in 1st pave' stage, disappears; Bruyneel and Armstrong, too busy !@#$%-slapping him in press to notice, excoriate him for failing to domestique for Lance despite actually being team leader at entirely different squad; Cav loses green jersey on Champs-Elysees when, excitedly thumping chest in irritating premature victory celebration, knocks self off bike 2 meters before the line; Cadel second, *again*, til Andy Schleck mysteriously goes "missing" and Evans awarded maillot jaune by default.

August: time for post-Tour doping controls! UCI declares Floyd Landis positive for testosterone, estrogen, EPO, DHEA, coke, marijuana, amphetamines, downers, Ecstasy, LSD and Hershey's kisses even though he didn't race; WADA determines large amounts of CERA found in RadioSkank team bus really just Candy Everyone Really Adores.

September: oh, yeah, time for the Vuelta! Y'know, it's a big bike race. In Spain. That guys ride. For like three weeks. Really. Samuel Sanchez just won it. Y'know, a bike rider. He's with Euskaltel. A bike squad. Really. No, not RadioShack. They dress in orange, they're Basque, they're paid by their sponsor to ride togeth...

October: it's the World Championships, baby! Oscar Freire takes 4th and final Worlds despite crazed fan attack with Nerf darts; Marianne Vos takes road, 'cross, time trial, unicycle, those little trikes ridden by circus clowns, keirin and velocipede.

November: vacation time again! Alejandro Valverde to undisclosed location with crack medical squad he swears are just "good friends"; women's peloton to unregulated Chinese coal mine with no ventilators, bathroom breaks for better wages, working conditions; Klodi, Popo to local beauty school to improve manicure/pedicure skills on orders of Armstrong.

December: team rosters announced! RadioSkank buys every male cyclist on earth, Contador forced to make do with coupla kids he finds riding Huffys down the street from his house; Mark Cavendish forms own team with teeth-bleaching sponsor, whole squad sent to cosmetic dental retreat for redo, accidentally chews up entire team stock of new carbon frames when new caps take on minds of their own.

Well, folks, that's my look ahead for 2010--please, some of you, prove me wrong!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yes, Peloton, There *Is* A Santa Claus (Or Whoever Schleps You Gifts This Time o' Year)

Whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, or (and you know who they are) violent ritualistic devil-worshipping--whatever our boys'n'girls in the peloton celebrate, it's time for plenty of folks' year-end orgy of gift-giving and, even better, receiving (oh, give me a break, like you don't think so, too!), and, in the spirit of love, selflessness, and charity that informs the season, and indeed all our saintly hearts, I hereby beg Santa, la Befana, and any other loot-distributing powers-that-be on behalf all those in cycling we so adore:

Alberto Contador: let's be honest--love 'im or hate 'im, and despite his truly awesome talent, our wee little charmer ain't exactly the sharpest knife in the block. And if he's gonna survive even a season with that wily wingnut Vinokourov, not to mention certain forces outside his own squad, he's gonna need help. To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, if he only had a brain--Santa, baby, help this boy!

Lampre: Frankly, team kits like this are why blockhead grunting American wunkheads of dubious manhood are too afraid to even consider watching this sport. And as a result, American TV coverage of our beloved cycling, to be blunt, blows. Turquoise--out! Hot pink--out! Studly unmockable red, white, and blue--in! WTF is this, a Disney princess convention?

Tom Boonen: I have noticed of late that our rakish sprint king is...easily distracted, one might say, at the clubs. Particularly by cocktails with pretty paper umbrellas, desperate and obsequious hangers-on, and white powder on pocket mirrors. And we all know what happens when he starts with *that* !@#$. Ergo, a healthy, wholesome, home party kit is in order for our potentially wayward child. Who wouldn't have just as much with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, a pinata stuffed with candy treats, and a nice game of Pictionary to play with your pals? Fruit punch and cupcakes all 'round for Tommeke! !@#dammit you soulless enabler, put that flask back in your pocket, you think this is freakin' junior prom or something?

Andreas Kloden: now, as a lady I can only posit, but I imagine a gent can only get kicked in the !@#$% by Johan Bruyneel so much before it really, really starts to hurt. A Kevlar codpiece for our underappreciated hero--now go for a race of your own, Klodi!

Alexander Vinokourov: ah, what do you get a guy who has (and has taken) it all? No, not coal in his stocking, tho' for sure he's been more naughty than nice--give him an invite to the Tour! Heck, he can't defile it worse than half the guys already in it, right?

Jeannie Longo: she's been French national champion since most of us were in diapers. Can you *please* just lend her to the men's peloton for a coupla weeks so the French can win *something*? Of course, that's more of a present to the Tour de France organizers than to Jeannie, but even they deserve a little kindness now and then, right?

George Hincapie: 2nd once. Felled by an extraordinary freak mechanical 45k from the line another year. And now, my wish is that our fine elder statesman gets his race. Paris-Roubaix. Come on, hasn't this poor guy suffered enough?

Floyd Landis: this is completely pathetic, but he said he'd read my blog, which means either (1) he's a gentleman for lying; or (2) he's even more of a gentleman for not sucker-punching my teeth out. No matter what the hell you think happened, or didn't, in 2006, bring this boy a ProTour contract--heck, even a Pro-Continental squad with some half-decent invites'll do!

Samuel Sanchez: okay, I'll cop to it: Samu's Tour win, while still inevitable, may--may--take a wee bit longer than anticipated as Lance, Alberto, and baby Schleck slug it out next year. But that oily snake Valverde beating his !@# in Spain simply by not falling over and keeping the hell out of Italy for three weeks? Bring Samu' the Vuelta!

Ivan Basso: all right, he damn near tanked this season--he's clean. Er. So let 'im take some results at the Giro this time--why play that lying "co-captain" !@#$ with Pellizotti all season when you can just whack him into submission right in May, especially when you're just as pretty as he is?

Danilo DiLuca: y'know, it's almost enough to make you miss the sheer tact and elegance of traditional cycling omerta--not to protect especially incompetent weaselry, but there has *got* to be a middle ground nowadays between doping yourself til it pours out of the vent holes in your helmet, and showing up apres-race with the testosterone level of Hello Kitty. If you can't buy that guy a conscience, for the love of Mike, at least give that boy a better doctor!

Thor Hushovd: the green jersey, baby!--like he even *needs* help, but can't hurt to ask. I mean, anyone even seen Cav in the mountains last season?

UCI: you openly coddle sneak-skanks you favor, go for blood against any poor sucker who dares to challenge you, turn a blind eye to wholly inconvenient problems, and crow incessantly over dubious triumphs. UCI, I ask for you the gift of dignity. You need it!

Lance Armstrong: it must get awfully tiring ruling your team with an iron fist, receiving constant unquestioning adulation by the American press, watching race organizers worldwide stampede to obtain your glorious presence, and having the world slavishly agree with you as you wank unrelentingly about the only guy you've ever ridden with who's ever tried to get his own results while on your squad then oinkishly ignore him at the podium. Clearly, a much-needed gift is order--yep, the precious gift of obscurity. Oh, leave this beleaguered boy *alone* next season!

Well folks, I know there's so much more we ought to give, but given time, space, and your generous tolerance limitations, them's my big ones for this year. Merry Whatever to all--and for !@#$'s sake, riders, how about putting a little fair play in *our* loyal stockings this year?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 2009 Racejunkie Awards

Yes folks, it's awards season, and as everyone else showers manna on such trivial non-entities as actors, musicians, and planet-saving Nobel Prize winners, it's time for us here at racejunkie to bestow our own rump-kissing accolades on the people who really matter in this world, professional cyclists. Peace, schmeace--does any of that really compare to some pig-raised clown jerking a fair-play compatriot off his bike in the last 100 meters of a sprint? No! Ergo, this year's Incredibly Prestigious Racejunkie Awards:

Punk-!@# Play o' the Year: yep, as noted above, it's damn hard imagining anyone being a nastier troll at the line than Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen, but Theo Bos, this one's for you. Sure, it's awful unpleasant being crowded over towards the barriers--but tell me again why the wholly uninvolved Daryl Impey deserved a dog-leash yank on his collar two cracked vertebrae and a chipped tooth over it?

I Call Bull!@#$ Award of 2009: as UCI joyfully crowed from every rooftop, no-one, *no-one* tested poz for banned substances at this year's Tour de France. Yet, buckets of these superior athletes apparently suffered from such a crippling surfeit of maladies that they required enough medical equipment to stuff half of Europe's emergency rooms in a single, coincidentally contemporaneous three-week period. And wads of weasels tested poz before and after. Heck, I'm buying it--anyone got a bridge in Brooklyn they want to sell?

Pot Calling the Kettle Black Award: yep, you guessed it! Lance Armstrong, who took 7 years to even reward one of his loyal lieutenants with a single lousy stage win and screamed like a nipple-deprived infant the second any one of 'em dared to have any ambitions whatsoever for themselves anytime anywhere ever, righteously lecturing the now-superior Alberto Contador that "there is no "I" in team." Damn, with Lance, the domestiques were lucky there was an "i" in "You're my b!@#h!" No doubt, Contador's an arrogant selfish punk, but at least he's got time to learn--why'd it take you 15 years?

Shameless Tug o' the Heartstrings Prize: to Tom Boonen, once just another big handsome party-boy sprint jerk-doofus, then charmingly redeemed by his fall and subsequent low-key rise from total disgrace. Aw, look at 'im blush in embarassment as he cowers before the press yet again--*so* cute!

Teflon Don Award o' 2009: you gotta hand it to him, or at least his b-b-bad to the bone legal team--no matter what you throw, nothing' sticks. Yep, Alejandro Valverde's still riding. What's more, he even pulled off a Grand Tour before the Spaniards definitely declared they're protecting his !@#. Unbe!@#damnlievable!

Every Breath You Take/Every Move You Make Prize: now, I don't know how the hell you say "stalker" in Kazakh--but I bet you Vino does. I told you to listen to the lyrics Alberto--that ain't no love song he's singin'!

Don't Stand So/Don't Stand So/Don't Stand So Close to Me Award: ergo, this one's for his far weaker (and certainly less, well, brainiac) quarry, Contador. Y'know those horrid scenes in nature shows where some fluffy helpless bunny is being pursued by some starving snarling wolf, and they pull back the camera just as it closes in on its prey to a blur of kicked-up snow or foliage? Yeah, well, welcome to team camp, Alberto!

The Would Someone Pay Attention to the Fabulous Samuel Sanchez? Award: yes, fellow rocket scientists, this one's for Samu' "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez, leader of climbing lords Euskaltel and, like anyone noticed, a podium finisher at the smashing damn-near-perfect Vuelta. Am I the only one watching cycling this season?

Crash o' the Year: alas, this one's for Pedro Horrillo's incredible plunge down the Rock-Strewn Valley of Imminent Bone-Crushing Death, which, about an hour and 400 rescue workers later, he miraculously survived. Even better, he apparently doesn't remember a thing except the massive injuries he woke up to--and our brave boy *still* intends to get back on the bike. Ride safe next season Pedro--you've earned it!

Oh, Sweet Mystery of Life/At Last I've Found You Award: Klodi. You've podiumed at the Grand Tours again and again. What's more, you are so clearly physically capable of winning one of these suckers in your own right. So *why* are you *so* happy--I'm talkin' milch-cow-chewing-her-cud-in-a-sun-dappled-field happy--being Lance's, Alberto's, and damn near everyone else's freakin' step-stool? Aiiiggggghhhhhhhh!

Sprinter o' the Year: okay, we all know it's Tyler Farrar next season. But this year--much as I'd rather give this to Thor, Tom, or even that back-from-the-doldrums former preener Petacchi--Mark Cavendish was absolutely unbeatable in the last 100 meters from the line. Flash those pearly whites for the cameras, Cav--you actually earned your ego!

Guilty Pleasure of 2009: He's back. And he's winning. And as my filthy hypocrite heart warms, I am so very, very, very ashamed at how deliciously dirty I feel. Oh yeah, baby--Alexander Vinokourov is in the house. Someone retrieve my lost morality, stat!

The Mario "the Chest" Cipollini Memorial Studpuppy Prize: to Pippo Pozzato for his recent Playboy interview and slinky foto spread, which, while not quite featuring him wearing only a come-hither pout and some hairspray, *does* have him posing in a fedora and tux tearing suggestively into some sort of pastry. What's more, he answers only to God. Che bel ragazzo, indeed!

The Jeez Louise, What's *Next* for This Poor Bastid Award: sure, his neck and back tend to freeze in place for half a season, he crashes in crap races before he even gets to the ones he's training for, and the occasional saddle-sore the size of Lake Ontario threatens to devour his--career, but being shot at the Tour by a freakin' pellet gun? Karma, give this boy a break already!

Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em Prize: okay, it still extremely sucks--but retiring road warrior Kristin Armstrong sure knows how to go out on top. Yep, she's the World Champion in the time trial, and frankly, she always, always will be. All hail the Queen!

Climber o' the Year: well, it *should* have been we love Gilberto Simoni (shut up!), or Andy Schleck, or heck even Menchov for his sheer tenacity in the Giro, but I gotta say, that wiry little sonofagun has earned it. Just pay a little more attention next year, Contador!

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor Award: jeez, this kid's racking 'em up left and right, but I got to give it to that annoying twerp Contador, he could've gone off on Lance to the press at any time during the Tour, and he didn't. Of course, two days later he was acting like one of those heinous shrieking alpha-bimbos from "Heathers," but who can blame him?

Reality Bites Prize o' 2009: it took him, oh, 5 years, but you gotta give him a shout-out for honesty: yep, Damiano Cunego finally acknowledged what even his tifosi have know for years, he's a Classics man. Now grovel on your knees for Simoni's forgiveness, you backstabber!

And Last But Not Least, the Class-Act Play o' the Year: like Tiger's mistress complaining to the press about him having other mistresses, but even classier: who else but Lance Armstrong openly snubbing 2009 Tour de France winner (did I mention, Lance, that he was the 2009 Tour de France winner?) Alberto Contador on the podium. Damn, Lance, we all know (and quite respect) that you're the best Tour rider in history and inarguably one of the great cyclists of all time, and you *did* just return from a two-year retirement and ride incredibly well to boot--incapable of good sportsmanship, much?

Well, dear reader(s), them's mine for this year--if there's anything I (1) missed or (2) colossally woofed, I'm sure I'll hear it from the "Lance is a Golden God You Ignorant Tasteless Ungrateful Skank" crowd. But awardees, by my measure you've all earned your prize--enjoy, and Boonen, don't celebrate *too* much, you hear?

Monday, December 07, 2009

The 2009 Year in Review

Sure, there's actually 3 weeks left in 2009, but aside from Johan and Lance wanking about Alberto Contador *again* like The Sorest !#@$ing Losers In All of Human History, what's really gonna happen between now and then? Ha, *now* some poor bastard's cursed! Anyhoo, it's time to say a fond farewell to the champions, the unsung, and the flat-out dirtbags that made us cherish this fine sport in 2009, so, without further ado, I bring you:

January: Sprint god Erik Zabel really retires at age 86; Johan sez Lance can win the Tour, sweetly dim Contador stays with squad; Rock Racing broke, dirty, but oh-so-chic; Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen accuses Graeme Brown of unfair sprint at Tour Down Under, chews off Daniele Bennati's ear 20 meters from line in next day's stage.

February: Tom Boonen hospitalized for sand inhalation after accidentally mistakes desert for huge pile of blow at Tour of Qatar; Dumbest Thieves Ever steal Lance's Extremely Noticeable Ride; we love Levi !@#$ed over for Tour de--um, wins Tour of California as usual; scum-sucking skank-weasels steal we love Dave Zabriskie's action figures. What next, his sippy cup?

March: Time for the Classics, baby! Contador wins stage at Paris-Nice, Johan classily slags in the press; Lance snaps collarbone, world financial markets collapse, Contador pops champagne; Thor 'n' Tom take Omloop and Kuurne. Stuff it, Cavendish!

April: Italians bust Alejandro Valverde, sure beats prosecutin' their own guys; Tyler forced to retire, again; grande dame Rebellin a total damn doping disgrace; Tom takes Roubaix; French narcs bust Lance, testing etiquette violation? Quelle horreur!

May: what else? It's the beautiful Giro, honey! Italians emasculate mountains stages for the One; Danilo rides creepily well; disgraced cheat Bernard Kohl thanks UCI for The Greatest Doping Guidelines Ev--I mean, the Biological Passport; shut up, Klodi is so too innocent!

June: Menchov wraps up Giro; Lance "Pinocchio" Armstrong sez he'll race for Contador "with pleasure" at Tour; Michael Jackson dies (shut up! is so too relevant!); Piti's out and Sniffy's in for July. Allez allez Tommeke, you scalawag!

July: how many bitchy remarks can dance on the head of a pin? Bruyneel, Armstrong excoriate Contador for winning; Klodi and Levi !@#$#ed *again*; Cadel who?; Jens crashes out, vows return; yep, the French *still* suck. Don't worry boys, there's always next year! Well, probably not next year. But maybe the next one. Um... well, 2050's not such a bad goal to set, right?

August: no post-Tour doping pozes, because the race is 100% clean; Paul Sherwen whacked upside head by flying pig; Levi seals doom with RadioSkank; Samuel Sanchez is a god. Woo-hoo Euskaltel!

September: bodies fly at Vuelta; holy crap Cadel Evans is the new world champion!; women's peloton gets podium babes at last in Vegas; we-still-love-so-go-to-hell Iban Mayo officially retires; some punk-!@# Spanish dope fiend barely beats far superior Sanchez. Just wait til next year Valverde!

October: 2010 Tour route announced; crazed-yet-wily Vinokourov stalks his pretty Spanish prey; suspicious medical waste found in Tour team garbage bags, squads protest it was all from last ye--um, their total innocence; French humiliated *again* as BBox & Cofidis are booted from the Pro Tour big time. Geez, they're the gift that keeps on giving this year, ain't they?

November: Shotgun wedding!--Vino snags his one true love, Contador professes happiness at Kazakh-goon gunpoint; nouveau cleanster Basso vows 2010 triumph; Landis coy about new, Euro-friendly home. Oh, come *on*, UCI--look who *else* you hypocrites let ride in the big show!

December: Astana jacks Pereiro; Johan nut-knees Alberto, *again*; Lance concedes past dramatics, but sez he really does hate Contador; Head-Butt dreams of Worlds; Schlecks on track for total world domination. Who doesn't love Schlecks?

Well folks, them's the big stuff as I recall it--and with the exception of whatever disgusting scandal's damn near guaranteed to whack us in the next 20-odd days of 2009, onwards to 2010!