Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The 2010 Racejunkie Tour de France Awards

Well cycling fans, another bloody, glorious Tour de France has hit the history books, and now it's time to reflect on those noteworthy--for better, or just plain disgusting--riders who made this race so dandy. Therefore, without further ado, I present the prestigious 2010 Racejunkie Tour de France Awards:

Class Act o' the Tour: yes, we're starting out nice, because I *am* nice, but anyway, this one, I gotta say, was tough. And no-one gave the prize winner a better run for his money than US sprint king Tyler Farrar, who not only rode for two weeks with an excruciating beeyotch of an injury, but who kindly deflected several direct invitations to call out renegade Cavendish lead-out Brutus Mark Renshaw for being a thug. But to me, this year's award goes to perpetual bridesmaid Cadel Evans, who rode up the entire damn Pyrenees with a broken elbow--quite a handy body part for cyclists, by the way--without a peep until under extreme duress from days of press-hound screeching about his inferior performance. Contrast, one might suggest, a certain Lance Armstrong's incredibly overblown disproportionate wanking over one mid-, one minor-, and one not-even-really-a-crash. Chapeau, Cadel--"World Champ" is right!

Beer Googles Award of 2010: like the unbearable frathole big man on campus who 6 or 7 Bud Lights down the line suddenly seems palatable enough to bring home, so too was the legendary--if sort of sickening--Lance Armstrong to the press. Never has so much been made of someone who in the Tour actually at hand accomplished so little. And oh, that morning-after wakeup--obsequious journalists and photographers, this one's for you!

Crash o' the Tour: yes, to the delight of the sadistic yet happy crowd, there were an unusually ginormous number of bone-shattering tool-outs to choose from this year, but this 'un was the star by a longshot: the massive oil-slick cobblestone skating-rink that brought half our boys down like lead balloons. Here, in an ancillary award for Entertaining Interview o' the Month, is Levi's take: Medic!

Shock o' the Race Award: holy crap, baby savant/imminent Indurain Alberto Contador is actually vulnerable. On the climbs, no less. And was I the only one to see the look of utter terror on the boy's face as he realized what was happening to a certain second-place rider in the time trial? Andy Schleck, no doubt, is already plotting for next year. Contador, whatever the hell happened to you out there this year, you got 12 months to fix it, or you're toast!

Sissy-Boy Slapfight o' the Tour: watching cyclists fist-fight is sort of like watching your sweet little old grandmas go at it, without the blue hair, sensible shoes, or superior bloodshed. But Carlos Barredo turning his enormously expensive wheel into a carbon-fiber instrument of death was truly a thing of beauty, and upped our beloved peloton's game to a glorious new low. Next year: strangulation by feed-zone musette. How Godfather!

The You Owe Thor Hushovd a Green Jersey, You Scumwads! Prize: I get why you went on strike after practically getting yourselves all killed, boys--hell, you were entirely entitled to do it. But I have yet to hear *one* valid reason why the speedmeisters, with the (badly-bruised, to be sure) group back together as usual anyway, shouldn't've been allowed to contest the sprint. Don't give me that pity-party garbage, you Petacchi apologists--Thor was spot-on right to be pissed!

Bore o' the Tour: speaking of which, yeah yeah, he's the fastest man on two wheels on earth. And however Mark Cavendish suddenly got his mojo back after a disastrous first part of the season, it worked. But is anyone else just getting bored stiff watching Cav take every sprint that doesn't involve an uphill finish or a catastrophic crash at the line? Tom Boonen, promise me you'll come back and play at the Vuelta--now, more than ever, we need you!

He's a Real Nowhere Man Prize: he won the Giro d'Italia, then sleepily tanked into oblivion at the Tour de France. Oh my goodness, maybe the comely little pin-up *is* clean--Ivan Basso, this one's yours!

Poor Performance Excuse o' the Race: no, not Lance's bullcrappian whining, this one's for real--yes, freak-injury king Oscar Freire was felled this year not by saddlesores, not by a pinched nerve, and not by a BB pellet--this time around, he was knocked flat this year by nasal polyps. What's that, Johan? Armstrong had 'em too? Well, *that* explains it!

Punk-!@# Move of 2010: yes, folks, like an Oscar, but for jerks, we have our first two-year-in-a-row winner--congratulations, Lance Armstrong! Why? Well, his outright refusal to help Levi Leipheimer on the road didn't exactly help Captain Ego, but it's in fact because he could've--and for years has--publicized his genuinely admirable Livestrong cause beautifully without his ridiculous attention-slut stunt that--100% knowingly to someone who's enjoyed the party on the Champs-Elysees 7 times--severely limited what is justifiably a day of celebration, glory, and yes, media focus to the same Tour de France winner Lance was a graceless !@# to *last* year. Typical Lance M.O., and an embarrassing end to a storied career, all because it's no longer All About Him--no class!

Tweet o' the Tour--Die, Mother!@#$er, Die! Edition: actually, tweets, and just when I thought I couldn't love Robbie "Headbutt" McEwen even more for being a press-lashing crackhead-erratic C4-explosive rage-meister, came his perfect series of rants after some dimwit photog knocked him on his already-injured !@# at the finish line. From a shocked first impression ("Un-f-believable. Got taken out at 60km/h by a podium chaperone 75m after finish. He literally jumped in front & ran into me. Nothing broken") to an increasingly-menacing desire for vengeance ("My back is so sore. I want him identified and expelled. Just too ridiculous for words what he did. I hope I can ride tmoro. I mean WTF.") to a tranquil-sounding but still imminent gangland hit ("Btw, this is how my lower back is looking thanks to the tool at finish a few days ago. Hip & leg look similar")--replete with !@#$-you photographs, no less--Robbie laid out the groundwork for a truly impressive chain of evidence in the event of the unfortunate journalist's unfortunate demise. I'd *still* be watching my back, son!

Tweet o' the Tour--Oh My God You Made Me Agree With UCI! Edition: yes, in 4 years of blogging about pro cycling, no-one has made me feel quite so slimy as none other than the machiavellian Johan Bruyneel, who, after idiotically failing to ask simple, inevitably-granted permission for Lance & Co. to wear non-conforming team kit--because even prissy bureaucratic bean-counters like the French don't want to look like they don't admire the Livestrong cause--responded to UCI's quite logical suggestion that he ought to have done so with the pissy tweet “Ok people! Now it’s official! To be a race commissar you don’t need brains but only know the rules! Their motto: ‘c’est le reglement!’” No thanks to you Johan for making me sympathetic to those enabling hypocrites at UCI--ick, and you can just go to hell for it!

Turn That Crap Down! Prize of 2010: yes, not only is it the parental siren song to every teenager's music-blasting, it's also the absolutely undisputed award to the lovebirds of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. After 60 kilometers of smiling, chatting, hand-holding, and downright snuggling on the final stage into Paris, these two declared their previous imbroglios over in a matter almost, frankly, unseemly. Okay, okay, we get it--can the cameras at least go soft-focus to protect the young 'uns?

And Finally, the Jens Voigt Is a God Award: no, no reason in particular, and the winner is obvious, but then again, Jens Voigt is a god. Why? Duh!

Alas, folks, that's about it for the Tour til next year, at least until the narcs finally catch and the race organizers sweep under the rug the inevitable doping dopuses. Lookin' forward to 2011, baby!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Take That, Contador! Lance's Last Revenge

Last Stage Summary:

1. Lance is a complete--I mean high-school alpha-girl complete--bitch. Am I the only one thinking that after the whiny French bean-counting weenies pulled RadioSkank off to the side of the road at fifteen different locations to pull on new jerseys and painstakingly pin their numbers back on there is no !@#damn *way* Lance didn't pull that whole stunt just to pull the focus away from Alberto Contador on his glory day in yellow? Um, hello?...somebody?...I'm over here...at the front...in the maillot jaune...you know, the one that shows that unlike Armstrong I *didn't* finish the race at the ass-end of nowhere...you've maybe heard of it, the Tour?...it's a big race in France...it's considered pretty neato if you win it...come on, *someone's* gotta say *something* over the sound of crickets chirping...

2. Okay, it *was* hilarious. Anyone else notice that while Popovych was there crouched on the ground like an illegal-sweatshop indentured servant measuring the distance between safety pins himself, Lord Lance had an obscenely huge pack of lackeys pinning his numbers on? You still bit this whole Tour, though, Lance!

3. Don't even *try* to tell me the French weren't *aching* to pull Armstrong out of the race. Unfortunately, it still wouldn't've changed the fact they haven't won their own Tour for 25 years now. D'oh!

4. Samuel Sanchez got *screwed*! Of course Menchov obliterated him fair and square in the time trial--sez who *I* have to be fair about it? I've still got it in for the Vuelta-stealing little commie and Samu got jacked by a bad crash anyway. After the whole Contador-Schleck hoo-ha, why the hell wasn't everyone screaming 'cheap shot' at Menchov? Next year, Samu, next year--the course will change, and the podium will be yours!

5. Speaking of which, I do think we love Carlos Sastre is right. The Tour's no !@#$ing Miss Manners tea party--put down the crumpets clotted cream and dainty floral bone-china cups, and *race* already you guys!

6. Except when it comes to Sanchez' crash, of course.

7. Petacchi in green on his way into Paris just blows. I mean, I love when creaky old once-wases suddenly bloom into a startling renaissance out of nowhere, but ain't that what happened to Davide Rebellin a couple years back? Not that I'm suggesting that Ale-Jet's current doping investigation ain't just a coincidence or nothin'!

8. The French really didn't suck this year--Casar, Chavanel, Pineau and natch surprise polka-dot jersey Chartreu. And seeing one of 'em in an actual king of the mountains outfit in Paris is like seeing Vinokourov walking around without an IV hanging off his butt--just plain unnatural. Vive la France!

9. Schleck's chain came off *again*? Not to besmirch the character of the amiable Andy, but if *I* were Schleckino's mechanic, I'd be remembering that you *are* still in the country that invented the guillotine--hope you have your passport handy, honey!

10. Finally, congrats to Contador--but if you don't watch out for your own ego, boy, you're gonna throw this whole show down the toilet. When Lance started loving his own reflection more than the bike itself, and succumbed to the cult-of-personality celebrity-slurping media-whore reality-show circus that became his life, it was game over for his legacy--before you get back on that podium with Cameron Diaz next year, and let your form go to hell while others take advantage of your foolishness, *think*!

Anyhoo, Tour fans, it's been an interesting one. Next up--the prestigious 2010 Racejunkie Tour de France Awards!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yep, He Earned It!; And, Lance Armstrong, Your Cruise Director

Sing It, Doubters!: okay, forget his beeyotch, or sensible, move the other day--and having considered the thoughtful comments of my beloved posters, and Schleckino's failure to wait for Contador after Alberto's earlier holdup, I *am* inclined to view it more as a public relations disaster of colossal proportions and a case of classic Contatwerpian stone-cold tone-deafness rather'n any actual evil anti-Schleck slag--on the Tourmalet, Contador showed conclusively that, despite earlier relative lack of form (relative to last year's "holy crap, how can that kid not be sucking down more dope than the rest of the peloton put together?" that is), and barring some catastrophic crash in the time trial (oops, now I've done it), he absolutely deserves the final maillot jaune in Paris. Why? Because much as I love our brilliant gangly goofball Schleck (and am often irked by Alberto's sprinteresque cockiness), Contador clearly could've dropped him. And he didn't, which either shows actual contrition for the prior kerfuffle whether he should've even *been* contrite or not, or just that his bro/manager Fran beat the crap out of him, so yes, big points to our pretty Spanish pinup pipsqueak for not doing so. Me, I'm hoping that between these two great riders, we're gonna have ourselves for the next 5-odd years a sexy new Lance Armstrong/Jan Ullrich epic rivalry, without (sort of) Lance's infinite open assholian ego (hell, just without Lance is a gift) or our darling Janster's Vinoesque uber-capacity for self-destruction, wingnut behavior, and illicit performance enhancement. You go, baby Schleck--the way you've improved, and with Frank hopefully in one piece, next year the yellow jersey could be yours!

Oh No, Samu!: please please please please let him third! Fine, we love Samuel Sanchez, like anyone else at Euskaltel-Euskadi ever, blows at the time trial. In fact, I fully expect Denis Menchov to dope-smack him harder than Lance on Klodi (poor Klodi!). So how cosmically unfair is it that with precious seconds over Menchov, Samu hit the tarmac yesterday like...well, Lance on Klodi? Still, our brave Samu did claw back some time on Denis, but then, he's a god (shut up, is too! like anyone else cares) and Menchov pisses me off. Come on, Samu, I refuse to believe you can't do it--remember Carlos Sastre of all riders' smashing last-minute tt two years ago?

The Love Boat: yep, having lost his final chance for self-gratification, Lance Armstrong has officially left the building, leisurely suckin' down daquiris on the Lido deck and not even bothering to help Levi out beyond sayin' thanks for being my !@#$% even after I couldn't hold team leadership and, by the way, hit the ground you insignificant peon 'cause I need a squirming doormat to wipe off my bike shoes on. Wow, it sure pays to work with Armstrong--just ask Contador! Or Tyler, or Floyd, or Hincapie, or....

Green Is Good: meantime, the battle for the precious maillot vert ain't over yet, and while that oft-wanker Cav may indeed get all those boring "wins," the fabulous Thor Hushovd can still take that sucker in Paris, so let's all send massive good karma to a boy who deserves it even more than, particularly considering a certain Lampre someone's current investigation for cutting-edge doping practices, late-career resurgent sprintster Petacchi. After all, who couldn't root for this face?

An Apology, and a Plea for Dough: finally, I'd like to apologize to my faithful reader for being relatively absent this last crucial week o' the Tour, as my much-needed "job" has massively interfered with the enormous amount of web-scannin', rumor-mongering, and generally odious muck-raking it takes to keep this obscure enterprise running. Ergo, in the vein of the fine Floyd Landis, I hereby announce the creation of the "Racejunkie Get Me the Hell Out of This Noisome Gig and Into a Life of Unearned Leisure Fund," with the added bonus that, not only will this greatly improve the dubious quality of my posts, but I'm not even a thieving skank-dwelling weasel-faced liar--I really *do* want your moolah for genuinely the greedy undeserving self-serving reasons stated above. Thanks, and I look forward to serving you better--on your dime, of course!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Alberto Contador: Lying, !@#hole Punk, or Fair-Play Good Sport?

The Sinners Have Much More Fun: okay, you saw it: everybody loves Baby Schleck had a mechanical on the climb, and Contador attacked his !@#. So is Contador a scum-dwelling, mud-sucking slimelord--or is he actually telling the truth when he says that he didn't even notice that Andy had a problem? Of course, the boy's self-absorption *does* know no bounds--but even someone that egomaniacal doesn't notice that the wheel he's been 2 seconds away from for 4 hours seizes up and jerks his prime competitor--in a rather distinctive yellow jersey, no less--to a complete halt on a climb? Then again, Menchov did confirm that he himself was clueless, but then again, (1) he's wrangling for 3rd with Samu (woo-hoo Samu!), not watching those guys, and (2) I still hate his weasel guts for stealing we still love Roberto Heras' Vuelta, so nothing he says really matters anyway. And even Bjarne, Johan, and Samu of the Gods say it was just the way things shake out sometimes.Me, I say let's look at the facts objectively: either Contador is not the rider he was last year, or Schleck's come in to his own enough to match him, 'cause Alberto sure as hell can't drop him; this puppy bought him an opportunity even he couldn't make for himself; and since Lance Armstrong who shrieked insults at him as his own teammate all last Tour to the press wouldn't insult him, and he wouldn't be polite to someone who'd beaten him fair and square without some nefarious purpose, he must think that Contador was enough of a skank to savor the pleasure of watching the little twerp hang himself. Or, our sweet little wonderboy could simply be a fair and reasonable tactician wholly entitled to win the Tour like a no-class bum-rushing dir--I mean, who is the accidental beneficiary of Andy's sadly-timed accident. I'm sold--cancel out the results of all these clowns, and give the final maillot jaune to Jens!

Relax, Don't Do It: speaking of Armstrong, and leaving his intermittent attention to Levi Leipheimer aside because we here at racejunkie do respect him for that, am I the only one thinking that Lance is being too !@#$ing lazy and selfish to help Leipheimer like he promised--and ought to--and is treating the rest of this Tour like a 3-week booze-cruise to the Caribbean every day? That's right, Lance cultists, give the man all your worldly possessions dress in baggy pastel sackcloth uniforms and start handing out daisies on the sidewalks to unwilling passers-by--that's a critique. Or is Armstrong not even up to being a superdomestique at this point? All right, all right, I'll cut him slack--he's still the same man who won the Tour seven times and podiumed last year after an unprecedented absence-by-champion--he's just intentionally being a jerk. Hey, cabana boy--bring Lance another beer, willya?

Anyhoo, Pistolero, enjoy the Tourmalet--it's probably the last mountain the peloton's gonna let you ride in one piece!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Next, On Versus: Extreme Cagefighting With...HTC Columbia?

Damn, and you thought Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen had the lock on violent intra-sprint altercations (and if you *still* can't see where Andre Greipel had his ear sewn back on after Robbie chomped it off, *I* can't help you): now harmless lead-out man Mark Renshaw's actually gotten thrown out of the Tour for defending crybaby supremo Mark Cavendish's honor with his skull, so badly that even resident peloton Little Lord Fauntleroy Tyler Farrar was pissed off. Let's review the tape: Oops, that *was* Robbie. Let's try this one: Yep, class way to win, Cav--just have your remaining lead-out train whack Tyler Farrar right on his broken wrist with a pedal wrench next time, why don't'cha?

Baby, You Were Born To Run: well, good luck to the owners and managers of US Postal during the Armstrong years, 'cause Lance, apparently rather concerned there's maybe something to those "systemic team doping" allegations, has decided to completely abandon them to the Big House via his complete crap assertion that, not only was he not an owner of the team--certainly not too onerous to ascertain--but, and this has got to be a joke, he was such a pathetic powerless ignorant minion with regard to its management that he might as well have been the towel boy's cousin's daughter's sister-in-law, or, infinitely worse, Andreas Kloden. I call bull!@#$ Armstrong! No, you hadn't won the Tour de France 7 times yet, but you were already a Great American Hero, a colossal commodity cash-cow, and a relentless narcissistic control-freak. No offense, but how the hell else did Postal get run like a heavily-armed dissent-and-die banana republic dictatorship to serve your every whim, if not by you? And am I the only thinking that if I were his bestest friend in the world Johan Bruyneel, I'd start getting ready to be pimped to the narcs like a $5 gigolo? Look--there goes Lance with his ol' partners after him!

Don't Give Up, Thor! Finally, we love Thor Hushovd is crushed for his loss of the green jersey in the sprint to Ale-Jet Petacchi today, and while I can't blame him for being skittish for once in the midst of a sucker-punch bar-brawl far beyond even the usual egomaniacal sprinter punk-assness, I do have to say, don't feel too bad Thor--Cav's won three stages now (and, to his deserving kudos, has just broken the sprint-win record for the Tour even though Zabel is still far superior) and he's *still* on the rump-end of the green jersey points, so you *go* you big Norwegian lug!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cadel Evans, Class Act o' the Tour

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!: yes, I've slagged Cadel Evans for being a wheel-sucking attack-fearing tick-remora until this year's World Champion stripes made him up the ante completely. And come to think of it, since he's never got a teammate within 20 minutes of 'im in the mountains, it's a shock he can ever do much more than that. But Cadel's first thoughts after finally crossing the line--to apologize to his teammates for the wholly human act of finally succumbing to physical agony--was the mark of a true leader's concern for his troops over himself. Maybe he *does* have it in 'im to win a Grand Tour; maybe, even without catastrophic injury, he just don't. Either way, the boy's got more class in one toenail in one day than Armstrong'll ever have in his entire selfish body. You fought hard and well, Cadel--all admiration to you for that!

Lookin' Good for Lance, Baby!!: speaking of the One, leaving aside the passionate hordes of Armstrong fans that make up the entire USA, *someone's* apparently taking Landis' allegations of doping, fraud 'n' strippers seriously--yep, the feds have apparently issued subpoenas to a bucket o' witnesses, among whom, I imagine, are likely to be one or more of the riders finked on by Landis. Damn, can't George get a half-second to recover from a tough day for BMC in the Alps?--it's not like Armstrong hasn't gotten away with it for a dozen years already, what's the rush?!

Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys Unite!: back to actual Tour action, the ever-wannabe French of all riders are at last doing their own Grand Tour quite proud, as canny Sandy Casar--whose last Tour stage win I believe involved a bloody face-plant over some dopemeister Golden Retriever, and who damn near tossed it out the window today in the last kilometer by golly!--takes the stage over LL Cool Sanchez and a so-close-to-glory Damiano Cunego. Nice work again, Sandy--another 50 wins or so and the French boys' peloton'll almost stop being an embarrassment to millenium-long road-champ Jeannie Longo!

Cunego-Go: Speaking of Cunego, speculation's gettin' hot as to who the suave Piccolo Principe is gonna sign with, and word from the boy himself is that he's seriously considering either Sky or Garmin for the interesting opportunity to learn English and investigate a new culture. Me, aside from seeing how this affects him at the Classics of course, I'm looking forward to seeing how our dapper Milan-runway Princeling adjusts to shopping for the classic American guy wardrobe of relaxed-waist Dockers, bland golf shirt, and baseball caps worn to fine restaurants. The white socks go *inside* the man-sandals, Cunego!

Anger Management: finally, lest the Photographer Desperately Trying To Remain Anonymous thinks the potentially-violent Robbie McEwenhas forgiven the "tool" for knocking off his bike--yeah, well,he ain't. Screw just parachuting into a jungle to get away from 'im, pal--I think radical plastic surgery is in order! Hmmm, maybe you can convince some uncredentialed underground hack to make you over into Mark Cavendish--that'd be an entertaining misunderstanding at the start line!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Your Tour de France Lessons from the Alps

yes, kids, it's time to review what we learned today, and what some of the cyclists themselves still won't no matter how hard Barredo beans 'em upside the skull with a wheel:

1. Lance will forever--*forever*--blame, and be able to blame and allowed by every single person on earth for reasons that continue to utterly baffle me to blame, crashes, hold-ups, and plain ol' bad luck--not *anything* having to do with the rider himself, *ever*--for losing the Tour de France. Oh, and did I mention he's old? HE'S OLD! And he was just riding it for old times' sake in the first place. Did I mention he was just riding it for old times' sake in the first place? Sorry, Andy, Alberto, or Cadel--you'll never, ever, in all the future of humanity, be counted as the real, deserving winner of this year's Tour!

2. He's still gonna find a way to punish Levi and Klodi for it anyway. "Help them win a stage" my !@#--you're still gonna help Lance do it instead, if you know what's good for you!

3. I gotta admit, Astana is actually a lot stronger on the road than they seemed on paper. Alberto, take *good* care of Daniel Navarro from now on, you hear?

4. No matter how often Vinokourov swears to support Contador for the overall, and even how often he has the intermittent twinge of responsibility to be a truly humble and useful water-bottle !@#$%*, he's still just too !@#$in' crazy, and just too resentful, to be relied upon not to take a Contador-destructive, Vino-favoring flyer off the front. Can we get some kind of wingnut-gauge stuck to this guy's bike shorts or something so Contador can tell which one of 'im he's getting in any given five-minute period?

5. Contador, while still likely to win, is actually vulnerable. And class-act Armstrong is going to relish every single squirming second of it.

6. Apparently, baby Schleck is gonna be okay without Frank, especially so long as he's got Contador's wheel to suck on in the high mountains. Studying perpetual lone-wolf Cadel's old footage in the evenings, are we?

7. While I'm still rooting for Schleckino to win the overall, since we love dear little Carlos won't be able to do more'n a stage win (shut up--will too!), I was still looking for Samuel Sanchez to beat 'im on the stage after he led Andy up the last wunk of tarmac. Almost, Samu--just a tiny bit more reserves in the tank in the Pyrenees, and the stage will be Euskaltel's at last!

8. Not to diss an otherwise lovely publication, but man, the Boston Globe really blew it on this one. Amateurs, the lot of them! Am I the only one with a pretty clear idea of who's missing?

9. Levi, Klodi--how can you stand it?! Revolt, I tell you, revolt--vive la revolucion, why are you still scavenging crumbs for this !@#$ when you so clearly both deserve to eat cake?!

10. I really do feel quite bad Lance got caught up in stupid crap, since I wanted Alberto to unimpeachably take him out on his own merits, but since I also apparently have no soul whatsoever, here goes: Feel better, Lance, truly!

Well, them's my take. And hey, did you all see that Thor Hushovd's in green? Woo-hoo Thor!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

French Riders Who Don't Suck, Sissy-Boy Slap-Fights, and That Landis Thing

Chapeau, Sylvain!: y'know, just as I was explaining to a few dear family members how exactly it is the French haven't even won their own Tour for 25 years, comes boys like Sylvain Chavanel and Jerome Pineau to restore my faith that they're almost certain to win it again before the start of the next millenium. Toss in a win for Sandy Casar if he don't get taken out by a dog again and we've darn near got us a renaissance! Of course, Bweeguh BBox Whateverthehell promptly reignited the ashes of perpetual French self-destruction by ruthlessly hunting down their own countrymen like it was Armstrong in the lead, but I'm sure it was a brilliant tactical move in the end. Oh, to hear the brave chords of the Marsellaise again at the top of the podium in Paris...well, in the interim they can always figure out a way to give another tribute to the worthy Bernard Hinault instead!

Run! Run for Your Life!: in other news, I don't know who the heck the dim-bulb photog was who thought right in front of Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen's front wheel was a nice place to take a stroll, but our boy is still sore and, worse, irked today so if I were him I'd catch the next flight out of France and parachute into some remote jungle 'til Robbie calms down round about the middle of next year: Can this guy *ever* catch a break this year?

Catfight!: meantime, in an even worse example for the kiddies than Cavendish's tantrums, Boonen's former coke-snorting escapades and Armstrong's total lack of sportsmanship and class, a mildly put-out Carlos Barredo whanged his wheel repeatedly onto the head of elbow-jousting Rui Costa, proving that there's no misunderstanding between respectable professionals that can't be solved by impaling the jagged edge of a busted carbon bike part into someone else's brain stem. Your moms must be *so* proud--put these boys into cheap miniskirts and hooker heels, and they'd be right at home on any VH1 reality show!

In Quasi-Defense of Floyd Landis--Now Hear Me Out!: yes, as we all know, everyone from the fans to the sponsors to the One himself are in deep-implausible-denial mode over the explosive Wall Street Journal revelations of US Postal/Armstrong doping hijinks, with Interpol now on Lance's !@#, Hincapie and Hamilton called in by the federales, and Landis justly reviled as a lying, self-serving scum-pig. Still, in the interests of consistency, I think it's high time we forgiving souls here at racejunkie do the unthinkable: give 'im credit where credit is due. Now hold on before you start swearing at me! Landis is a weasel and a general tool. And while pursuing his claim of innocence was just a more hysterical version of the typical doped-cyclist jerkiness, it was in fact particularly odious of this loathesome creature to set up, seek out, and worst of all accept, money from some really lovely, faithful people who mostly made a hell of lot less money than him working a hell of a lot harder for it--and no, calling it the "Floyd Fairness Fund" not the "Floyd Innocence Fund" as some ween technocrat suggested does not excuse the disgusting dishonesty deliberately implied by the lack of the correct title, the "Floyd Get My Filthy Slimedwelling Carcass Off On a Bull!@#$ Technicality Fund," which Landis would clearly have known would've brought in waaaaay less ill-acquired dough. So why am I giving Landis credit for *anything* except being a swinemeister? Because (1) does anyone really think Lance never did *any* of it? and (2) at least Floyd, unlike every other rat, copped to his pathetic motives, specifically that he's accusing Lance not out of any sense of conscience or remorse--which he still seems not to have--but because he's pissed off he got busted when other guilty riders never did. Petty? Yep. Characterless? Ding ding--we have a winner! But I've sworn before I'd at least minimally respect these disgraces if they were just open about that, and gosh darn it, we're stickin' to it. So Floyd, take comfort--you've just earned a ticket out of eternal hell and into hell's eternally dull waiting room instead!

Up, Up with People!: finally, as the boys get ready to tackle the first serious shakeout mountain stage tomorrow--and it'll be interesting to see how baby Schleck hangs in without big bro Frank's help in the highest passes--the Giro Donne has already hit its Queen stage, conquering the fearsome Stelvio and crowning great US climber Mara Abbott as the likely winner at the final day. Also looking awesome: world road race Tatiana Guderzo. Forza, donne!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Contador

Contador, Are You !@#$in' *Nuts*?!: someone tell me this isn't a sick joke: yes, just as Alberto Contador's brains were starting to actually work for him, his brother/manager Fran has announced that Contador's about to sign with Astana of all squads for another two or three years. Why does your own big brother hate you so much, exactly? Y'know, I get that Astana tossed you a dog bone when they had you on a choke chain and let you buy a bunch of trusty Spanish domestiques that you could be reasonably certain weren't gonna bushwhack you. But haven't you noticed that extremo-ambitious Napoleonic wingnut Alexander Vinokourov is in total control of this team thanks to the moneybags sponsors, and has, to be kind, some unfinished issues with the Tour de France? Damn, he already set the pace to drop you before the line when you had a broken wheel coming off the cobbles the other day--when you need him and he's got the legs to help, do you really think he's gonna be able to resist the lure of the mountains he's been pining for ever since he tried to hose Jan Ullrich back in the day? 'Cause I'm not confident--after all, Lance promised to support your scrawny !@# too, and we all know how *that* worked out for you. My word, you trusting child, good luck--you're gonna need it!

Showin' the Love, Baby!: in more weird Contador news, it's hats off to our little high-road rider, who showed up at Lance and Johan's RadioSkank team bus today carrying two small bags containing commemorative 2009 Tour de France watches. Now, I know--*know*--that this was a wholly selfless, thoughtful, peacemaking gesture from our doe-eyed rugrat-o'-steel, for which he is, as with all random acts of kindness, to be commended. Therefore, I likewise know that Alberto in no way meant to remind Armstrong that Contador, not he, won last year's Tour. That's *so* sweet of you, Alberto! To Lance's gentlemanly credit, he called wee Contador's gesture "very generous," and, in the hilarity-factor Quote-o-the-Tour, added that Alberto obviously "recognizes he had the support of a great team" in 2009. Like the "support" you get when you're !@#$%-slapped in the press every day by your own former cycling idol, rejected like a sore-covered leper during the presentation of the Team Classification win, and completely ignored as you stand six inches away from Captain Athletic Supporter on the top of your own podium in Paris? Goodness, with support like that, who needs rat poison? Anyhoo, as you continue your sobbing road to redemption, Cavendish, here's your (much needed) example--do this with Heinrich Haussler, and he may not intentionally run over your skull next time you take him down recklessly in a sprint!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Man Up, Cavendish!

Cav's Punk Move: Look, I understand Mark Cavendish's been in a personal and professional funk all season. And to the extent he hasn't acted like a bitter, crybaby, snot-nosed, hyperaggressive alpha-wanker about it--and unfortunately, he *completely* has--I would even, in my chivalrous losing-cause-defending heart, quite sympathize. But when the boy who's paid far too much to ride a bike while being babied by a huge entourage of masseuses, soigneurs, team cooks, mechanics, assorted other team support, and is even coached by the phenomenal sprint god Erik Zabel for heck's sake, knows he's lost out for the win and *sits up* like an ungrateful whiner while even the domestique lead-out men still have the pride and dignity to put down their heads and charge full-out to the line to get as high a position on the stage as they can--and let's forget that he acted like a petulant bike-throwing helmet-tossing weenie after the stage, while Alessandro Petacchi still had the grace to refuse to be baited into talking smack about him--I'm beyond annoyed. I mean, am I the only one who went completely !@#$%^&* over this?!
Thor, kick his !@#!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Blood, Guts, and Sportsmanship; And, An Update

Breaking News (And Bones): yes, after today's carnage, the sprint quality at this year's Tour has just taken a massive blow, as Tyler Farrar, who was inevitably gonna kick Mark Cavendish's uncoordinated crap-sport rump in several sprints, has just announced he's out of the Tour with a fractured elbow. Natch, I'm exceedingly glad Robbie McEwen seems to be okay despite the disgusting hole in his own elbow, and that Oscar and Thor and even Cav came out fairly unscathed, but this ain't no way for Thor to don the final green jersey in Paris--get well soon Tyler, perhaps you can whomp the field in the (pretty much only sprint in the) Vuelta instead!

Thor Hushovd Was *Screwed*!: first, before I get a bunch of crap from you whiny bleeding hearts about such trivialities as honor, integrity, fair play, and justice, I do think the peloton was quite right--and lovely sports--to slow down to let Schlecks & co. bridge the gap back up to the remnants of the main field after the carnage on the descent of the Stockeau--though it's not like they also waited for, say, Van de Velde, but then, he was about 5 hours back. No doubt, winning the Tour on someone else's misfortune is a sorry--and if said misfortune is deliberately taken advantage of, absolutely punk-!@#--way to win the race. But besides being in a general snit over the race course, why the hell couldn't Thor and whatever other sprinter was left in one piece be let off the leash a few hundred meters out to contest the sprint and grab some green jersey points? I'm serious, the GC contenders were appropriately brought back into the fold, so what's the harm? Free Thor Hushovd!

The Controversy: so what else is all the fuss about from today's stage, dear newbies in particular? After all, crashes are normal--in fact, the Tour has been the site of some truly cringe-inducing disasters, from violent leg-snaps on soft hot tar (oh Joseba! we still miss you!) to terrifying pitches into deep crevasses to twenty-rider pileups that look like a game of Twister gone horribly and bloodily wrong. But some of the boys--ace diplomat Chris Horner among them--are calling bull!@#$ today on having anything in the Tour take place in hard-man haven Belgium for the mere entertainment of the sadistic fans, much less a stage cramming 180 boys into the treacherous narrow descent on the Stockeau, which, if recent news is accurate, was made a complete Death Valley by an oil-spill caused by an out-of-control race moto desperately trying not to run down the poor scrawny sap who already hit the deck in front of 'im. A whole 'nother school of thought, however, holds that if you open the door on this one and just nullify all the time gaps, to be fair you are also going to have to do the exact same thing tomorrow when the wraith-like GC contenders all bash their helpless bodies and pulverize their bones into the cobbles, in which case, what the hell is the point of having a bike race in the first place? Me, I think that between the dimwits who keep letting their dopus Golden Retrievers meander into the course to try to kill the riders, the 24/7 suckmeister weather in Belgium, and tomorrow's inevitable gore-fest, we'll be lucky if there's anyone left alive after Tuesday's stage at all. Chavanel, forget this "I'll hold on to it for the next few days at least" pessimism--you may end up with the yellow jersey in Paris by simple attrition!

Wonder Woman: last but not least, over in the land of cyclists who can stay upright for 5 consecutive minutes, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has cemented her historic status as Rider Most Likely To Crush You Like The Cockroach You Are Without Even Mussing Her Hairdo by taking a *fourth* freakin' consecutive stage at the Giro Donne, which leaves the climbers in the bunch approximately 5 minutes left in the race to stake claims of their own before speedmaster Ina finds a way to shame 'em again on the final podium. Mark Cavendish, you arrogant child, look and *learn*!

A Walking Wounded Update: phew, turns out that all Tyler did was *sprain* his elbow and fracture a *wrist*. Great, if only he didn't have to ride his bike tomorrow!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

And We're Off!

Score: Armstrong, 1!: okay, I'm woman enough to own it: forget this "I'm happy with my result" spin-city crap, Lance Armstrong dealt a massive psychological atomic wedgie to spindly twerp Alberto Contador in the prologue. 5 seconds? I don't know if you were watching the same coverage I was, but for the look on Alberto's face as he saw his time it might as well have been five minutes. Of course, Alberto'll still kick the !@#$ out of Lance in the mountains, but man, our precocious baby did not have a good day. Anyone else thinking Alberto's unfortunate mechanic and soigneur still have visible slap-marks on their faces this morning?

Save Me!: speaking of coverage, and with all due respect to Phil and Paul who were clearly entirely manipulated and strong-armed into this disgusting orgy, I swear that by 10 minutes into Versus' slutbaggy non-stop lip-licking "Lance vs. Contador" showdown idiocy I was ready to get all the commentators a room stick a "do not disturb" sign on the door shut off the lights hand 'em all a pack of cigarettes and tell 'em not to come out until it's all over. Oh, and did you notice there are actually other GC contenders this year? Well, damn, two hours into the TV show I sure didn't! Please, please, not three weeks of this lurid "battle of the giants" rival fetishism--at least not in public for heck's sake!

A Tale of Two Sprinters: turning to the fast men and today's bloody uncoordinated carnage, and leaving aside that Oscar Freire was completely screwed out of the uphill stage win he inevitably triumphs at so I was more than irked except that Petacchi who only just today was telling Tuttobici that Mark Cavendish's general assiness has brought the entire peloton's loathing onto himself cannily snagged the win, am I the only one who thought Cav was the twitchy chump responsible for bringing the boys down tantalizingly close to the finish cutting over like a nursery-school bully into the snack line? Contrast (by contrast) class act Tyler Farrar, who delicately shrugged that the AG2R gentleman apparently just thought it was a good time to run his back wheel into Tyler's derailleur and refused to blame anybody other than everybody equally for the nervous-nelly spazzes that took half the riders into face-plant makeout sessions with the tarmac. Can this boy *get* any cooler? Of course, for all I know it's all an act and he secretly steals lollipops from babies and trips up little old ladies in crosswalks, but I'm still romanced enough by this glorious ridiculous sport to give the man the benefit of the doubt til he breaks my heart and sends it hurtling into the Iban Mayoesque underworld of death'n'despair. So Tyler, don't !@#$ this up!

Il Grande Giro: meantime, sprint bad-girl Ina-Yoko Tuetenberg's got the lock on the Giro Donne for the third straight stage in the row, which means, unfortunately, that the azzurri are starting to look even worse than the French men's peloton in their own race. Step it *up*, sisters--do you *want* to look like those desperate pathetic never-gonna-bes in the Tour de France?

Music Soothes the Savage Breast: finally, in honor of poor injured Tom Boonen whose noble renouncing of the coke-studded club scene didn't even result in a spot in the Tour de France this year, I bring you Kraftwerk's extremely Teutonic tribute to the Tour:

Friday, July 02, 2010

My Fantasy Lance Armstrong Team RadioShack Pre-Tour Pep Talk

Lance Armstrong: Good morning. I SAID GOOD MORNING, DAMMIT LEVI IF YOU CLINK THAT SPOON IN YOUR COFFEE CUP ONE MORE TIME WHILE I'M TALKING I'M GONNA JAM IT IN YOUR !@#$ING EYEBALL! First, I'd like to--(swigs drink, spits out onto first row of teammates)--GODDAMMIT POPO, I TOLD YOU I WANTED THE LEMON-LIME GATORADE, WHAT IS THIS ORANGE !@#$?! (wings full bottle at Popovych's head) Get out of my sight, you worm!

Anyway, first I'd like to say what an honor it is to work "with" every single one of you. Now, just because Dirk Demol said you were all picked because you're completely whipped doesn't mean he didn't call you 'pure slaves' in a complimentary way. Klodi--I've never seen my shorts and baselayers look so white. Horner, it was ultra-cool of you to stop slagging me in the press every day once I hired you just because you like me so much. How's that new Ferrari runnin' by the way? Paulinho, I really--damn, I dropped a crumb from my bagel on the floor. Lick it up, you dog! (he does) Hey Leipheimer, drop and give me twenty! (Levi complies) Ha, that was funny!

Okay, let's talk rivals. Contador, as you know, is !@#$ed with that half-!@#ed team and that erratic freak Vinokourov at the helm. Evans and Menchov? Uh-huuuuuuuh. Now, Andy Schleck, *he* scares me. Muravyev, you bushwhack that older brother he clings to in the mountains like a frightened baby monkey and he's already halfway to toast! If that doesn't work, Johan Bruyneel will immediately put Operation Total Lying Bulls!@#-I mean, Operation He Never Even Came Back To Win It Again In The First Place into effect. Anyone caught not following said protocol and covering my !@# will be immediately be taken out back of the team bus and executed. Capische?

Now, let's discuss doping. As you can see, Bernard Hinault here has not only won the Tour de France 5 times, but even more importantly, he's gonna be in charge of security. Naturally, after tackling interlopers off the podium the last two years, he's the perfect choice, if that betraying sack of crap Floyd Landis or even worse that crybaby whiner Greg Lemond tries to heckle me at a press conference, to cause them truly bloody and spine-mangling bodily harm. Thanks, Bernard!

Now pay attention you guys, this is crucial--Brajkovic here rode so well at the Dauphine that he gets to manage all my gratuitous celebrity suckups. While the full 21-day schedule is in your folders, and you *are* expected to memorize it, I'd just like to highlight that I've still got a restraining order against Ben Stiller for touching my bike last year, but Lady Gaga, Ben Affleck, and the cast of "Twilight" are in, plus, as a special surprise, Mel Gibson will be joining us for the stage to Ventoux with Bernard here ready to punch his teeth out if he starts to slip into one of his weird anti-Semitic rants. Jani, keep 'im off the booze, alright!

Finally, lest any of you forget how much I respect and value my bitc--I mean, domestiques--I remind you that it only took George Hincapie 7 straight years of completely sacrificing his incredible talent to my own ambition for me to reward him by letting him off the leash for a single stage win of which he was perfectly capable on multiple occasions that didn't inconvenience me personally in any way whatsoever. Therefore, in keeping with my incredible selflessness and generosity, I hereby promise Klodi, Levi and Horner that you, too, will be exactly so rewarded, which means, unfortunately, that since this is my last Tour de France, and none of you have put your seven consecutive years in, you're all completely !@#$ed. Thanks for all your hard work, you saps--now, on to the Tour!