Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, Baby!

Tour, Schmore--yep, for agonizing climbs, blood-curdling descents, and general Spanish mayhem, it just don't get better than the glorious Vuelta, baby! Ergo, your Short'n'Sweet Handy-Dandy Clip'n'Save Guide to the Bitchinest Race on Earth:

The Course: no rest for you, viewers--the final podium selection's set up to go down to the penultimate day on the excruciatingly steep new climb of the Bola del Mundo! But first, to get there: a 13k introductory team time trial, 8 mountain stages, 6 summit finishes, 5 sprints--mostly towards the middle and end, so no bailing out after the first few stages for Cav!--one individual time trial for the climbers to tank at the end, and a bunch of inevitable-smackdown attack-happy rollers. Which brings us to...

The GC Contenders: no, Contador and Samu' aren't riding, which blows--but wee little Carlos, Frank Schleck, Denis Menchov, everybody's dark horse menaces Nibali and Arroyo, Euskaltel's Igor Anton (shut up! will too!), I guess I gotta mention Denis Menchov dag nabit, and last but not least, Alejandro Val--oops! Bu-steeeeeeed! Anyway, I'm not counting out big bro Frank, who's lookin' for revenge for his early-out Tour--but everyone else can go to hell and stuff it on the journey down 'cause right or wrong I'm rootin' for Carlos!

The Sprinters: all right, if he don't drop out crying in the first week, or make one of his lead-outs pull a skank move in the last 1000 meters, we all know Cav's gonna take somethin'--but Oscar Freire's latest freak-show medical crisis is behind him, and assuming no one actually tries to take the boy out with a pellet gun like in last year's Tour, there's some nasty little uphills that'll give 'im an edge. Then again, if Petacchi sneaks his way past the narcs, he's been quite the shocker threat this season. And of course, there is--when you don't run him into the barriers like a cheap-shot wuss-baby--Tyler Farrar. Woo-hoo Oscar!

The Stage Winners: Okay, LL Cool Sanchez--who I swear is still underrated for sometime-soon GC contention despite his recent prowess as a Classics man--is a given. And since Van de Velde sez he's in no shape for GC, I'm guessin' he's gonna try to redeem his Grand Tour luck from the Swill-Suckin' Pit o' Tarmac-Slurpin' Doom. But natch, we know the real score--8 times out of 10, Euskaltel's gonna exterminate the rest of 'em like Raid-soaked termites. Go Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

The Dope Fiends: thanks to UCI, I mean, to a 100% honest, perfectly clean & genuinely sportsmanlike peloton, there weren't any pozes at the Tour de France this year, but since, in a complete abomination against God, the eyes of the world aren't trained on the Vuelta--in fact, since hardly anyone watches this mindbogglingly smashing race at all--I'm guessing they'll all show up here instead. Enablers much?

Who's Got It:'s got a great list of who's got what coverage where when'n how. English-language coverage in the US: Universal Sports. Outside the US: Eurosport. !@#$dammit Universal, can you please (1) hire Phil and Paul away from Versus if they're just gonna waste 'em on Lance tributes anyway and (2) please sign some kind of last-minute deal with my lame local cable companies?

Well, fellow Vuelta wingnuts, that's my quickie--grab yer orange t-shirts, hit the slopes (or your computer screen), and get ready to scream your head off for the climbing gods of Euskaltel-Euskadi! Next up: the rules for the 2010 Racejunkie Vuelta a Espana Win Free Stuff Contest!

1 comment:

Rosemary said...

My favorite Vuelta moment is still Flecha taking Antlerman's flag.

I can't believe I scheduled a mini vacation to my brother's the first few days of the Vuelta. I hope he gets Universal and I'm camping out in his home theater room if he does. If not, I'm checking in regularly on your site.