Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your Handy Tour de France Glossary

Yes, cycling fans, with the Tour at hand the commentators'll be using lots of unfamiliar language, and as I've already done at least 1 dictionary in years past, I'll keep this one short'n'sweet:

Allez: what you yell at the cyclists to encourage them. Example: "If you *ever* try to leave this team again, I'll have my goons drag you down that allez and break every bone in your body!"

American: the retina-burning abomination running alongside Lance dressed in a Speedo, a giant foam cowboy hat, and the Stars and Stripes painted across his gut. Use: "I can't believe we can't beat the !@#damn Americans in our own Grand Tour!"

Climbs: climbs are divided into Categories: Cat. 3 (small), Cat. 2 (medium), Cat. 1 (large), and Hors Categorie or HC (holy crap!). Example: "HC, I can't believe Vinokourov made it up that thing so fast unassisted!"

Cracked: when the clean rider that can't keep up with the dope-stuffed autobots who're about to take the podium. Example: "Cadel Evans has cracked!"

Directeur Sportif: if you're not Lance Armstrong, he's your boss. If you are Lance Armstrong, you're his boss.

Doping: what there wasn't a single instance of during last year's Tour, and what there won't be a single instance of this year, either. Usage: "I have never tested positive for doping. Suckers."

Enjoy myself: what you're at the Tour to do when you've just realized you're gonna lose the overall.

Entire annual steel industry output of China: what Stuey O'Grady's got holding his body together after 968 consecutive crashes. We love Stuey!

Gods: Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Kneel, beeyotches!

Musette: the little cloth bag of food the riders pick up on the fly in the feed zone. Usage: "I'm sorry, Lance, did I accidentally toss my musette into your chain ring?"

My Grandma's: the blood bag/syring/white powder/notorious doping doctor found in your hotel room.

Promotional item: what you just sliced Thor Hushovd's arm open with two feet before the line. You idiot, you just lost him the stage!

Road rash: when you rip your skin off in a crash. Example: "if you drop me in the mountains when I need you, I'll give you !@#$ing road rash you weakling!"

Sprint: what Mark Cavendish interferes in to screw you out of a stage win. Wanker!

Stomach ailment: (1) a stomach ailment; or (2) what you suddenly drop out of the race for the night before the race organizers announcing your doping poz. Alternate use: "Man, I said I was coming back to win, but then Contador kicked my !@#. Must've been, um, that pesky stomach ailment!"

Team Car: where your DS keeps the little cooler with the "Fanta" in it.

Water bottle: what gives you a total bull!@#$ excuse to hang on to the team car for half an hour when you're about to croak on a climb. Usage: "Oops, the cameras are on us--I better 'pass' you another water bottle!"

Well, that oughta hold you all for this race. And hey, Buster--quit staring at my tete-de-la-course!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 Tour de France, Baby!

Yes, dear newbies and oldies alike, Lance Armstrong has announced this is his final Tour, Versus is gonna pimp 'im for all he's worth, you don't want to miss it anyway, and it's time for the Grand Boucle! So having done buckets o' glossaries and other intros throughout the years--archived in late Junes past--this year I'm gonna cut right to it: meet our overall contenders! Caveat: for those of you playing fantasy Tour de France at work, please note that since my predictions constantly blow and you can thereby reliably bet against my picks, I fully expect an obscenely huge cut of the massive amount of dough you're about to win. So here goes!

Ivan Basso & Liquigas: Ivan just won the Giro, a year after his return from his doping ban, and has a great squad to back him up. Two potential issues: (1) he could be too tired from the Giro to win the Tour; and (2) in a complete pansy move, his squad wussed out and dropped last year's King of the Mountains Franco "Euromullet" Pellizotti because of an ongoing controversy over his cleanliness and because he's a rival to Basso, so Ivan is short a climber. Prediction: podium or top five.

Carlos Sastre & Cervelo: wee climber Carlos killed his back in the Giro and sez he's fit to ride but the team's had its knee on his neck and I think he's hosed. We love Carlos tho'--he won the Tour in 2008. Team's also split talentwise b/c they're backing Thor Hushovd, who will triumph, for the green jersey hunt. Top ten.

Cadel Evans & BMC: he's always 2nd in the Tour & historically allergic to attacking but since he got his World Champ stripes, he's got wings. Unfortunately, w/the exception of hyperexperienced ex-Lance lieutenant big George Hincapie, he ain't got the squad to back him up. Top 5.

Christian Van de Velde & Garmin: great rider, crashed out again at key training ground Giro d'Italia, smashing team, damn good sport who kindly answered my question at Interbike re: how the poor riders feel when naked freak publicity-seeking fans run alongside 'em screaming when they're trying to ride their race. Top 10.

Andy Schleck & Saxo Bank: big bro/protector Frank should take a stage and w/him and the dynamite we love Jens Voigt to blow apart the helpless peloton at will, Andy's in good hands. Excellent climber but this season? A bit rough around the edges. I'm rooting for him anyway for the top spot in Paris. Go baby Schleck! Podium.

Lance Armstrong & Radio Shack: Lance has the huge advantage of the strongest and, more importantly, psychologically-whipped team in the universe and didn't win 7 tours being an idiot. Weak spot: age. He's lost the legs to surge. But if anyone can, he can. If not, I predict catastrophic "stomach troubles." Podium.

Alberto Contador & Astana: so-so squad, wingnut mentor in crazed ex-doper Alexander Vinokourov, but best stage racer in the world. Weakness: could be out in the 1st few days if he crashes on the cobblestone stages, at which he ruthlessly sucks. If not, virtually unbeatable--he can float like a butterfly (and sting like a bee) up the high passes. Ugh, the final win in Paris--can Bernard Hinault do us all a favor and tackle *him* into the pavement if he makes that annoying pistol-shot move again?

Samuel Sanchez & Euskaltel: aiming for stages & a good result for Samu'. Lords of the climbs, look for their wiry tiny bodies and their hysterical rabid fans in orange in the mountains. Top 10 and a stage for Samu'. Shut up!

Denis Menchov & Rabobank: sorry, but I've still completely unjustly got it in for the little bastard because he was awarded a Vuelta win after we still love so go to hell Roberto Heras was busted for EPO. Fine stage racer but don't seem to have it this season--I honestly don't get the fuss. Plus Rabobank has Oscar Freire in the green jersey hunt--certainly a distraction. Top ten my !@#!

Brad Wiggins & Team Sky: Always good but completely rebuilt his body and just came outta nowhere last year--a lean, mean, pedaling machine. Sky's brand-new and already winning damn near everything it enters--look for a few stage wins at least. There's *one* British team that don't bite!

Well, dear readers, them's my thoughts, and before the slobbering hypnotized Lance zombies slog out of the woodwork to dope-slap me again for my ignorance and perfidy, I'd just like to reassure you fans, Lance *still* acted like a !@#$in' punk last year. Here's to good sportsmanship, and a great (and cleanish) Tour!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Fantasy Team Astana Pre-Tour Pep Talk

Alberto Contador:

Good morning. As you know, we're here today because Alexander Vinokourov promised to have his goons literally rip my legs off if I even tried to breach the contract I so stupidly si--I mean, because it's only a few days to the Grand Boucle, and boy am I excited to be riding it with the fabulous Team Astana for 2010!

First, I'd like to assure my good friend Vino that I was *not* trying to escape the hotel last night when I dressed up like a ninja, cut the power to the entire floor, jimmied the deadbolt to my room, knocked out my Kazakh security guard with a lamp base, ran down the hallway and took a head-first diver into the laundry shaft. I merely got lost on the way to the bathroom. Second, I want to assure everyone that I am absolutely in top form for this race. Not only have I been practicing my patented "pistolero" move in front of the mirror 21 hours a day for the last month and a half, I've also been working closely with my manager to determine my most becoming angle for the daily sign-in photo shoots, refining my podium-babe triple-kiss *and* training 15 minutes every single morning and afternoon, which leaves me a full two hours a day for sleeping, eating, and attending to personal bodily functions. Take that, Armstrong you "hard-working" poseur!

Now, let's talk about team strategy. The first strategy is, you half-wit backwards no-talents !@#$ this up for me and I swear I'll hunt you down like rabbits. Next, as you might imagine, each of you is committed to a particular task. Vino, all I ask of you is that you please lay off the juice or at least not beat the major GC contenders to the line by 36 minutes every stage when you've got a visible needle-hole in your arm unless you're gonna cover it up discreetly before the sign-in with a bandage for your "road rash." Iglinskiy--your job is to hijack one of those road-repair trucks in the dead of night and cover all the pave with tarmac, 'cause let's face it, I don't care if Peter Van Petegem carries me over that !@#$ cradled in his arms like a baby, we all know I'm still gonna get killed. Why you? Because you !@#$ing Kazakhs got me into this hellhole, that's why! De La Fuente, Hernandez, Noval, Navarro--once I drop your !@#es in the mountains, you're gonna stick with Lance, Cadel, Ivan & the Schlecks, and while I don't want anything to happen to the Schleck brothers 'cause everyone seems to somehow like them so much, and Basso's just as pretty as I am so marring that level of beauty would really be a disservice to the sport, if Lance accidentally punctures a wheel on every critical climb because of the sudden appearance of tacks totally coincidentally thrown under his wheel by some unknown cheap-shot sabotaging personage who won't rat me out as the instigator, I'm not gonna cry my eyes over it afterwards, either. Tiralongo, Grivko--you're in charge of laundr--I mean, providing essential domestique services in varied terrain. Now, I've heard some whining over "why isn't Oscar Pereiro here after both of you said he would be," "isn't leaving him off the Tour squad a crappy way of paying him back for all the hard work he's done for you"--whatever. He's out because, not only is he completely intentionally "focusing on the Vuelta" this year of his own free will and an enormous payout from an offshore bank account, I don't want him getting any stupid ideas about team captaincy because of his 2006 Tour de France "victory." Next jerk who brings that up again joins 'im!

Last but not least, I'd like to say how truly happy and proud I am to be riding with each and every one of you, so long as you--with the exception of Benjamin Noval of course--don't talk to me, my soigneur, my mechanic, or my masseuse, stay at the same floor of the hotel as me, expect the "team" chef to be allowed to cook for you peons, dine at the same restaurant, use the same team bus, look at my bikes, or try to climb up on the podium with me in Paris for the "team" classification award. Now let's get out there and win m--I mean, the great Team Astana--another Tour!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RadioSkank Says It All

"We Chose Pure Slaves": yes, unless this is some kind of hideously amusing April Fool's joke--perhaps unlikely, tho' not impossible, in late June--them's the actual words of Team RadioSkank DS Dirk Demol, describing Gert Steegmans' exclusion from the Tour de France squad, apparently on the grounds that, besides being a useless sprinter, the unbelievably arrogant little !@#$ has the gall to have a soul of his own. Oh, Levi, oh, Klodi--*look* at your own palmares(es?) for once--*listen* to the cruelly honest assessment of Demol--*how* can riders of your caliber debase yourselves tolerating this crap from this unappreciative !@#hat? Anyway, finally, someone calls it like it is in the service of that mindbogglingly egomaniacal tyrant-on-wheels--now, can Lance man up and do the same?

WUSS!: I call bull, WADA--UCI claims there really wasn't a single doper in the Tour de France last year, the narcs who aren't completely whipped see-no-evil team stooges miraculously found enough completely unnecessary medical waste to stoke a season's worth of "Intervention" episodes, and you *still* won't let AFLD in to do some of their own testing this year? You spineless jelly-limbed wussbags! Yes, I've no doubt this is the cleanest group of cyclists in all human history since the bloodbag vampires from Operacion Puerto. And yes, the French, who wholly forgive doping in their own riders but still can't field a winner for their own Grand Tour the last two decades, are perhaps not without ulterior motives. But *really*--you'll let AFLD hand you names then pass 'em to UCI so *they* can let anyone important off the hook? And no, you disgusting clowns--a first year neo-pro from Vacansoleil doesn't !@#$in' count!

Mr. Mojo Risin': yep, the final rosters for July are comin' out, and for me, with Skank Astana Saxo and BMC's deals pretty clear, the most interesting issue remaining is, what the hell is really gonna happen with Liquigas? Franco of the Euromullet beat the heck out of Ivan "GQ" Basso last season and, more importantly, now has the climber's jersey to defend at the Tour. But with Pellizotti out of the way at this year's Giro thanks to the UCI bullsh--I mean, biological--passport, Ivan's got the maglia rosa to shoo him in for unquestioned leadership except, I imagine, our fair Franco--if he's allowed to ride--is gonna question it anyway. Eatin' their young, again, anyone? Free Franco!

Jeannie In a Bottle: meantime, in cyclists-who-aren't-raging-@#$holes news, the amazing Jeannie Longo has taken her 467th consecutive French national (time trial) championship at age 51, which makes me think (1) Jens Voigt should really think about sticking around another decade or so and (2) everyone else in the peloton who retires is a quitter-simp. You go, sister--and see you next year!

Paolo Bettini Steps Up: last but not least, in the wake of beloved Italian cycling head honcho Franco Ballerini's sad demise, good pal and mentee Paolo Bettini really is stepping up as the next Commissario Tecnico for the Azzurri, and while he sounds a bit humbled by the legacy he has to uphold, for my money, the Italians really can't do better now than the man who was, to my mind, the best damn tactician ever in the peloton. Watch, remember, and learn, you pathetic brainless wannabes!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Don't Do It, Sastre!

Leave Dear Little Sastre Alone, Cervelo You Goons!: fine, Thor Hushovd is still hurt, not like it's gonna affect him at all, but really, with Boonen wounded, Robbie McEwen still violently allergic to the mountains, and Cav just acting like a wank, is any of that really gonna jack him out of the points jersey? No, so suck it, and why the !@#$ is Sastre riding the Tour de freakin' France 10 seconds after he's healed from his back injury? Do you *want* him to be a bodily train wreck for the next twelve months? Of course, if Carlos says it's okay, it must be, but if it's not, you *suck* Cervelo--get over your sponsor-whore pressure-cooker instincts and let the poor boy ride the Vuelta instead!

No More Mr. Nice Guy: yes, as Alberto Contador shrugs off the flu that's keeping him out of the Spanish nats but surely can't be great for his Tour prep, humble angel Ivan Basso's cutting the saint crap at last and getting down to business, telling gazzetta dello sport that he's not afraid of the climbs, he's not afraid of anything, and he's certainly not afraid of Alberto Contador. I was hoping he couldn't keep up this dreamy-eyed martyr bull!@#$ forever--you go Ivan, if you can without the, um, particular strength you had in 2006!

I Wanna Schlecks You Up: okay, let's cut to it: Frank's looking absolutely bitchin' after his surprise (to me--weren't you?) win at the Tour de Suisse, Andy is, honestly, a little less so but he's still got some time to tweak or even ride into his form so I'm trying not to let my head explode, Carlos is !@#$ed, Cadel is solid as always plus with his new wild-card ability to attack, Ivan I still think is overreaching, so what of Lance? For my money, he just looks really good, not great. So to me, the question is will he be either (1) consistently steady enough to win even without a great stage or two or (2) able to pull away from his rivals if/when he needs to? He certainly can't beat Contador there, tho' it's always likely our pretty boy will do something tactically stupid, but if he don't, even with The One having Levi Klodi and every other top cyclist on earth to dope-smack into submission, my bet’s still on Contador. Even so, I can't bring myself to root for the little pain in the !@#, so allez allez Schleck!

Emma, Queen of Trentino: finally, compliments to Emma Pooley on her humungous win at the Giro del Trentino, and particularly to Eleonora Patuzzo on her smashing acceleration from a formidable breakaway including Judith Arndt to take the final stage. Check out the celebratory champagne sprays: Forza Azzurri--and on to the Giro Donne, baby!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lance Gets Pissed

The E! Red Carpet Fashion Review: yes, two weeks out from the Tour de France, the One's gone postal (no pun intended) over what really matters:Outside Magazine's Photoshop addition of the words "38. BFD." to his cover-shot t-shirt. Y'know, while I understand that was perhaps uncool, considering what they *could've* Photoshopped on there--like, say, an accusation from Floyd Landis--you really come off looking at worst like a desperately ironic hipster rather'n, say, (not that you are or ever have been!) being a giant doping dirtbag. Oh well--I guess no stickin' on devil horns in my next post about you, Mr. Sensitive!

The Little Engine That Couldn't: meanwhile, UCI's announced it's gonna have a scanner all ready for the Tour de France to detect mechanical bike doping, which means that, if they match their incredible record for catching actual drug-dopers at the Tour, they oughta come up with a bike poz sometime in 2015. Til then, have at, you weasel punks--you're still not gonna beat Cancellara!

It's the Giro del Trentino, Baby!: yep, as if doing this bitchin' race once wasn't enough, it's time for the women's Giro del Trentino, baby, with Cervelo's British bad-!@# Emma Pooley whomping the likes of Alessandro d'Ettorre, Judith Arndt and Trixi Worrack. What, no Cav-esque !@#$-you chest-thump?

Ivan Looks Ahead: in Grand Tour dreamboat news, I see our redeemed Ivan Basso is promising to be at his best at the Tour de France, and, curiously, his once-besotted tifosi--though still in love--are taking a more tempered view these days of his chances, particularly given his post-Operacion Puerto, well, lack of his previous strength in the time trial. Me, I gotta say, now that he's no longer the Mark Cavendish of Grand Tour contenders and, one hopes, clean as snow, I'm hoping he can at least rally to take a stage. After all, we already know he's pretty in pink--why not the maillot jaune as well?

Angels in Chains: in other Basso news, Ivan's equally-slinky sister Elisa and her smooch/disgraced ex-pro Eddy Mazzoleni have scored deferred sentences for dealing performance-enhancing drugs, and while I'm certainly happy for the hard-luck Basso clan, y'know, it's almost too bad--this had the makings of a great 1970's "Charlie's Angels" hot-babes-in-prison episode all over it: So Ivan, you gonna apologize for dragging your innocent sis into the disgusting cesspool of this sport, or what?

Riders We Miss o' the Week: finally, yes, I'll hold off on like-you-give-a-rat's-!@#-about-we-still-love Iban Mayo for now, as the Rosemary family is--quite rightly--missing the two-wheeled stylings of the fabulous Big Maggy Backstedt. So here he is winning something or other in 2007: Come back, Magnus, come back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Radio/ Someone Still Loves You

But It Ain't the Vuelta: so yes, the fabulous and ever-underrated Vuelta has announced its 22 squads, and who one of 'em ain't is our friends at RadioSkank, for, the Vuelta assures us in spite of Johan Bruyneel going absolutely bull!@#$, entirely legitimate "sporting reasons." In instead: Garmin, Katusha, Sky, Cervelo for dear little Carlos of course, and a couple of small-yet-respectable Spanish teams. Yee-owtch! Natch, the part of me that wants Levi and Klodi to get the Grand Tour win I *know* they are capable of if only Lance Armstrong stops nut-kneeing 'em is crushed, but it's not like Lance'd be sending his top-form A-Team to support their worthless lowlife carcasses anyway. The part of me that has no soul? Oh, yeah, I'm diggin' it, baby! Of course, it's not the One gives a rat's !@# about this perfect race anyway, but then, that's precisely why the squad doesn't deserve to race the Vuelta. Love it or leave it, Skanks!

Psych-Out!: okay, so after the first rainy day in Switzerland Lance is sayin' he's just not the rider he was in the rain back in the day. So are we seeing a guy who is really more risk-averse and is gonna ride gingerly for the long haul to his inevitable detriment in the Tour--reservations our young Contador still doesn't seem to have--or is this just another famed psych-out move against cocky little Alberto a la' BSing Jan Ullrich that he was in the bonk of his life lo these many years ago? Me, I think Lance was maybe a bit shaken by his first-time busted collarbone and is cautious about losing Zubeldia to a routine crash, but the fact is, back in the day or not, as his brilliant avoidance of we still love Joseba Beloki's downfall showed, he's one of the best bike handlers of all time, and I can't imagine, retirement or not, that that brilliance ain't still in there somewhere. More, if Lance is gonna be beaten (again--ha!), it'll just be a better Tour and a nobler victory if the man is beaten at the top of his game. That said, I still wanna see him whomped in July. Go Schlecks!

Nice Work Cav!: finally, it was bloody carnage at the finish line of the Tour de Suisse today as Mark Cavendish swerved like a drunken Tom Boonen smack into Heinrich Haussler, knocking the poor thing out of the race entirely just as he'd snagged a stage and was coming back into form, and big kudos to class-act-o'-the-race Alessandro Petacchi for declaring himself disappointed in his own win as he'd been too far out to deserve it in the first place. Don't worry, Ale-Jet--if Cav keeps riding like this much of a clod, you're gonna really earn another one soon enough!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Honest Question for UCI (For Once)

And No Honest Answer Forthcoming, Of Course: all right, UCI, I may find your stupid disputes, petty favored-rider coddling, and total impotence annoying, but here's a sincere question for you: you've been crowing over the Italians' fearless pursuit of Alejandro Valverde for the last two years, so why the heck, with the Italians having just equally fearlessly kicked a whole squad out of the Baby Giro for allegedly having a bunch of suspicious medical supplies on hand, haven't you had the stones to take on Lance Armstrong's Astana (hell, even Caisse d'Epargne, and we know you already hate them) for allegedly doing the exact same thing (allegedly!) at the mildly more well-known and prestigious Tour de France last year? Now, before the fanatic Armstrong acolytes come out to screech at me, I'm sure, in addition to the whole rumor being entirely and completely false, either (1) one, some or all of the best athletes in the world at Astana were in fact so grossly debilitated by ailments every day that they couldn't make from the team bus to their hotel rooms without utilizing a surfeit of bizarre blood-related equipment or (2) some silly soigneur simply misread the word "aspirin" off the daily grocery list and inadvertently came home with the kind of stuff meth addicts usually have to break into hospitals to find. So truly--if this *did* seem legit enough for even the hated French to investigate, why isn't--particularly amidst their allegations of you schmoes being soft on dopers--UCI demanding that Johan's squad,like other teams not actually currently proven to be engaging in wrong-doing before it, be preemptively cut out of the Tour this year? Not that I'm suggesting it oughta be--I'm just genuinely curious. Well?

Down To Business: meantime, Contador certainly made his point to his former best-buddy-ever on the Alpe d'Huez this week--as a really smashing Janez Brajkovic clearly earned the overall--so with Lance looking on fine form at the Tour of Luxembourg and now at the Tour de Suisse, the question is, with Astana perhaps somewhat weaker as a whole but RadioSkank having likely lost crucial mountain goat Haimar Zubeldia to his broken wrist, who, a few weeks out, has got the edge for the Tour in July? Me, I'm so hoping either we love Levi Klodi or Horner is allowed a stage win instead I actually don't much care where their GC contender lands, so long as either Baby Schleck or even that aggravating rugrat Contador wipes the floor with 'im, but I gotta say, if Vino and Pereiro can hold it halfway together, I'm giving so far the slight bet on Alberto. So, in keeping with my fine tradition of losing choices, allez allez Schlecks!

Reading Is Fundamental: finally, class, for your summer vacation I'm going to assign you (because I'm too cheap to buy it, and I'm still saving up for Simoni's book, besides which the brash child ought to have *some* consolation for losing the green jersey at the Tour de France to Thor Hushovd *again* this year) Mark Cavendish's wildly-anticipated and splendiforously-received new tome, Boy Racer: My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker." While again, I can't personally speak for the contents, I *can* say on the "Surprise Me!" selection I pulled up on Amazon, I did learn more than one had ever anticipated about a top pro cyclist's breast-feeding and potty-training competitive streaks. Congratulations on your literary debut, Cav--and far better an autobio from you than another, say, Landis book!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

D Is For Doping, That's Good Enough For Me

Or Just Dopes, Whatever: yes, in yet More Disgusting News That's Never Gonna Affect Lance Armstrong No Matter What, the narcs apparently spent some time last month interrogating official Lance mastermind Johan Bruyneel over that pesky ton or so of unapproved and wholly-unnecessary medical waste found in Astana's 2009 Tour de France garbage, which, if Johan is to be (entirely reasonably) believed, our brilliant yet unusually clueless leader knew absolutely nothing about. Heck, if *I* had millions of euros *and* another Tour de France win *and* my legacy as one of the greatest managers ever *and* Lance's whole entire legacy riding on the cleanliness of *my* riders, *I* wouldn't be interested in what they're doing with enough drugs to stoke the entire Spanish peloton for a year, would you? Of course, it's entirely a moot point anyway, because (1) let's face it, UCI wouldn't bust Lance Armstrong for drugs if he personally sauntered back and forth before the press corps with a giant IV flapping out of his !@# every morning at sign-in time, and (2) Johan'll just say it's Alberto Contador's stash anyway. Damn, and to think a team led by Alexander Vinokourov could actually look cleaner'n last year's model!

I See London, I See France, I See Pat "Dick" McQuaid's Underpants: meanwhile, the smug French narcs continue to out-PR the hapless rider-slurpin' suckups at UCI, today slamming the oft-trumpeted biological passport as essentially useless a mere 24 hours after eliciting hysterical shrieks of "bull!@#$!" for also pointing out that it seems, well, implausible that there were absolutely zero dopers--including among the teams with the doping refuse right out in the open, never mind what they disposed of more discreetly--at the 2009 UCI-controlled Tour, as whenever AFLD does the testing, like they did in 2008, riders drop like Raid-soaked flies. Me, I'm siding with UCI--I mean, *everyone* knows the peloton's been utterly clean since at least post-season 2008!

Prison Song: in legal news--and no, I'm not announcing the formation of a new "Floyd Fairness Fund," tho' I will accept your cash and hell, I haven't even lied to you--looks like the Austrians have cleared elder Tour cheats Bernard Kohl and Michael "Feed Me!" Rasmussen of organized doping charges and, even better, legendary Italian sprint stud Mario "the Chest" Cipollini, lately accused of tax evasion, has been exonerated of that heinous crime as well. Aw, it's almost too bad, don't you think?--SuperMario would have looked so feral in prison stripes!

Killing Me Softly: for those of you who've been wondering what we-still- love-so-go-to-hell/4(yes, *4*)-time Vuelta winner Roberto Heras is doing (shut up!), he's taking on a prestigious race in Mongolia for which, I will have you naysaying jerkface weenies know, he is the favorite. Goddammit, Roberto, I *told* you to pull a Basso and start kissing babies the second your drug poz broke--*see* where ignoring my advice has gotten you?

Back the !@#$ Off Carlos, Already!: finally, as dear little disc-herniated Carlos Sastre (and what a bad-!@# to still come in 8th at the Giro, no?) pleads desperately to be left alone for six seconds to let his back heal, can Cervelo--which already ditched its perfunctory lying "his health is all that matters" crap and named him to its Tour de France short list anyway--please lay off the pressure already? Wah, you need the sponsorship exposure for the Tour, wah--not only would this option let Carlos ride the smashing Vuelta which I am sick of everyone dissing and give Samuel Sanchez a worthy companion on the podium, but Thor Hushovd's already going to take home the green jersey anyway so there's really nothing for you wanks to whine about. Remember this, Cav?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

It's The Countdown to the Tour de France, Baby!

Face/Off: so Lance and Contador's Tour de France prep is well under way, with Lance turning in a genuinely handsome performance at the Tour de Luxembourg and Alberto, having reconned the Pyrenees with posse in tow, now ready to take on the Dauphine for, he swears, just some training time as he positively assesses Lance's prospects for July. Me, I'm stuck on a more fundamental question: short of some evil lackey of Contador's stealth-slashing all the RadioSkank bike tires every morning--and even assuming the poor twig makes it out of the opening cobblestones sections alive--how the hell is he gonna stand up to Lance's mentally-crushed robot army with *his* squad? Ya can't suck off of Saxo Bank *every* day in the mountains, honey!

The Emperor Has No Clothes!: surprisingly, in a distinctly unfamiliar experience for Lance, he was actually accosted by a non-adoring member of the public at a press event, with the local ruffian calling out that Lance was a "cheat" and a "liar", and Armstrong challenging the ultimately-cowardly miscreant to "come here and say it to my face." Lance: 1. Ruffian: zip. Oh, why even *try*, haters--the man's just unbeatable!

Alejandro Valverde Needs Your Support: in other Tour happenings--or more precisely, not-happenings--Alejandro Valverde would like to extend to you his heartfelt thanks for your support--which message you can leave for him here, and no, let's not abuse the poor boy psychologically, you wisenheimers, at least not on his own website, particularly when UCI has recently released its revised world rankings. Ouch! On the other hand, congrats to Cadel, and look where our big lovable Tom Boonen is sitting--Tommeke, how far you've come! Y'know, I was gonna post some rakish photo of Tom himself, but having just come across some distinctly disconcerting clips of our boy in what appears to be an au-naturel photo-shoot shower scene, I admit, even I've actually got standards, so here's a nice pic of the car he wrecked in his far-away bad-boy days:

Motorin'/What's Your Price for Flight?: and, the controversy over motorized bike dopingcontinues to rage, with UCI swearing to take down anyone except Lance Armstrong who engages in the practice and Marco Pinotti, at least, knowing--but refusing to say--exactly who to blame when he blows the victory. Aw, come on, pony up, Marco--what's a little slander between friends?

Que CERA, CERA, Suckers!: finally, in vaguely-related-to-cycling-news, the Olympics have just announced that they're going back to check to 2006 Torino samples for CERA, which means, presumably, that they're also gonna go back and check the 2008 Summer Olympics samples for anything the then-new testing protocols may have missed the first time around. So for my money, while of course we all know we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez is innocent, the rest of you two-wheeled weasels oughta get ready fast with the Official Doping Excuses of Disgusting Cheating Skankwads, namely, (1) I didn't do it; (2) the lab !@#$ed up; and (3) Lance Armstrong peed in my sample. Lookin' forward to the press conferences, dirtbags!