Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mara Abbott: Your Racejunkie Rider Profile o' the Week

Yap, Contatwerp, yap, the 2011 Tour Down Armstrong's Gonna Hijack the Whole !@#$in' Thing, yap: for sheer bad!@#ness, not to mention a clean rap sheet, ya can't beat U.S. climbing goddess Mara Abbott:

The Scoop: the only US woman ever to win the Giro d' Italia Femminile, and even better, she nailed it by attacking and crushing her formidable competition, including the usually-unbeatable Emma Pooley, on the uphill boulevard o' broken dreams, the Stelvio. What does this get her, besides well-deserved eternal glory? That's right, baby, a contract with Italian squad Safi-Pasta Zara for 2011 so at least it can claim some credit for the next time she wins it. Forza ragazza! The replay:

Personal: Born in 1985. Besides being a road warrior, she's also a champion swimmer, studying to be a yoga instructor, and fond of corn on the cob. And while we're at it, a bitchin' website. What's not to like?

Palmares: besides That Which Cannot Be More Fabulous, she also took the queen stage of the Tour l'Aude this year, she's the newly-crowned 2010 US Road Race champ, she was second in the Giro Donne last year, she's won at Redlands, she's the 2007 US Road Race champ, she's...damn, besides the men's Tour de France, what *hasn't* she won?

M.O.: despite the fact that if anyone's earned the right to be a hideously-annoying egomaniacal braggart, she has, well, she ain't. But if you want to hear about every pedal stroke her teammates put in to control the stage, she's happy to tell you. Um, any riders we can think of who might want to take class-act humility lessons from Mara?

Spiffy Photo: fortunately (or unfortunately, for the more salacious among you), the women's pro peloton does *not* tend towards the sort of Tom Boonen come-hitheresque X-rated film clips that can embarrass the hell out of one's own kids 15 years down the line, but the woman *does* look both joyous and smashing in the maglia rosa. You go, Mara--and I can't wait to see you take it again next year!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jens Voigt Explains It All

Jeeeeeeennnnnnsssss!: look, I feel very, very sorry for Bjarne Riis. After watching 3/4 of his squad bail only to replace it with the hugest, doe-eyed-est cash-cow the cycling world has ever seen, only to have said cow squirming under the thumb of a giganto doping investigation, the poor guy can't be feeling exactly on top of the world right now. And in fact, I feel so sorry for Bjarne I won't even remind him it's clearly planetary-justice karma for him being a wanker to dear little Carlos Sastre after he won him a freakin' Tour de France a ways back. But if Jens Voigt sez he had a good reason for leaving Saxo for baby Schleck's new squad--and even if he sez it's just like being his old team, except with different jerseys and, y'know, a slight change in management--then that's damn well good enough for me. Oh, and if you're *really* worried you're just gonna end up "the boring, established rider who takes a paycheck and says 'Yeah, I'll do whatever you want'--with all due respect, lay off the java for a while, o godly one, we all know *that* ain't gonna happen. Sorry, Bjarne--and bow, peons!

Cowabunga, Dude!: speaking o' Contador, it's good news and bad news for our jailbait (maybe jailbound) dreamboat as Spain arrests 34 evildoers connected with unlawful clenbuterol distribution 'n' use--including, apparently, some nefarious weasel funneling the stuff to innocent cattle. Yeah, Bessie thought that internet !@#$ was a harmless supplement--and look what it did to my damn career! I wonder if one *can* sue a steer (or his estate, anyway) in Spain...

Uh, Oh, Ivan!: man, not only does posterstud Ivan Basso have that up-n-coming Nibali to worry about--with Franco Pellizotti off the hook for his bio-passport prob (at least til UCI appeals it) and, presumably, back at Liquigas, now Ivan's gonna have to convince an insanely pissed-off, entirely season-deprived superclimber teammate to domestique 'im at the Grand Tours between depositions in his monster lost-earnings suit against UCI. Y'know, class, I think we all learned from the Armstrong/Contatwerp Astana debacle that you can only have so many princesses vying for the prince (maillot jaune, whatever) at the ball. Hell, with these two's primping you'll be lucky to get 'em out of the ladies' room in one piece--good luck, and if it comes to fisticuffs, for god's sake Ivan don't mess up Pellizotti's hair!

And You Thought Lampre's Outfits Were Chic: well, they ain't anymore, and neither are those lame, say, ultra-aero time-trial helmets, because according to cicloweb, the hot new protecto-trend for the pro peloton 2011 is: air bags! Yeah, just try to head-butt me in the sprint, pal--when you bounce off this sucker and into the barriers like a rag doll you are gonna *pay*!

"God bedring", Thor!: at least, I *hope* I'm wishing him "get well soon" in Norwegian as opposed to, oh, insulting his mother or committing hell-bound blasphemy, but anyway, holy-crap-he's-the-new-world-champion! we love Thor Hushovd's finally fixed that pesky collarbone and is well on track to humiliate Mark Cavendish and any nit who dares challenge him in the Classics next year. Se deg snart, you big lug--and if that means something I didn't intend, please don't hurt me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's the Magical Mystery Tour (de France)!

Higher, Baby!: yep, the Tour route's been announced, and while you can read all about it here, suffice it to say there's 3 stages in the Pyrenees in week 2, 3 Alpine stages in the last week including a mountaintop finish on the Galibier, the intermediate sprint and stage-win bonuses have been scrapped, and, all in all, it's a pretty tough climber's course that oughta suit Contador perfectly--if he gets there. Oops! The rider reaction? Baby Schleck--waxing diplomatic about his hopes Contatwerp is innocent and gets to keep his Tour--pegs Nibali, Cadel and Basso as his other rivals--don't let that faze you little Sastre, a mountain stage is still yours but what the hell is this crap about your killin' yourself with three Grand Tours again?!, Hincapie sees his own opportunities if his bike don't combust, and Van de Velde's already lookin' at the Pyrenees.

Slow'n'Steady Wins the Race: or at least avoids more crap publicity for the doper-enablers at UCI, as it promises spons--I mean, those interested in the careful application of justice that it's in no rush to bust--or even not bust--Contador for anything. And hey, if, as Contador is bankin' on, clenbuterol use is okay for a hard-core endurance athlete like a ping-pong player, why *shouldn't* it be okay for some lazy wussy ProTour cyclist as well?

Employment Wanted: meanwhile, looks like Ivan Basso doesn't have to worry about the annoying 2009 team-leadership rival Franco of the Euromullet--currently in the doghouse over a bio-passport prob but having been vociferously supported by Liquigas--anymore, as Ivan utterly ignores his existence in discussing the 2011 season but does suggest he'll give jailbait upstart Vuelta winner Nibali, with whom he swears there is no rivalry, the Giro Ivan won in 2010 so Ivan can focus on the Tour, on the grounds that riding the Giro first is just too damn exhausting. Funny how that wasn't gonna be an issue when Ivan won the Giro by 9 minutes in 2006 and planned to ride the Tour then, too, no? Though it's probably very *good* news that it *is* an issue for him this time around!

I'm Rich! I'm Filthy Rich!: finally, congrats to Alexander "IV" Vinokourov, who's won his epic battle with UCI and doesn't, after all, have to pony up his entire season's salary for that minor little blood-doping matter back in 2007. Me, I think it's great--hell, now he can afford to print up a whole line of those Vinokourov-faced jerseys so we can *all* enjoy wearing his (formerly!) hopped-up little visage on our chests!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't !@#$ With Liquigas!; and, Don't Do It, Carlos!

Throwin' Gas on the Fire: boy, if you're gonna suggest that--no way, dude!--lots of cyclists dope, and don't even mention a particular team in a particular nation much less any actual names, you sure better hope that the wingnut paranoid conspiracy theorists at Liquigas ain't readin' the newspaper, because the home of ex-attempted doper Ivan Basso (who did rather charm me against my better judgment with this year's please-let-it-be-clean-as-everyone-sez-it-is renaissance Giro d'Italia win so I better *not* be freakin' disappointed *again*) and bio-passport-busted Franco Pellizotti is outraged, outraged dammit! that apparently the whole entire giganto interview was somehow solely and completely directed at them, and are suing the omerta-smashin' Italian narc Ettore Torri for a sweet 5 million euros. Geez, you actually *haven't* had a real doping poz this season, so why the hurt feelings Liquigas? I don't know about you folks, but if *I* were UCI sittin' on a bucket o' Liquigas blood and urine samples from this season, *I* might start suddenly getting interested in what the fuss is all about...

Don't Do It Carlos!: speaking of Italians who never, ever, ever dope, I see Danilo DiLuca is reported to be on the verge of signing with dear little Sastre's new squad, Geox, which makes me rather inclined to remind you, Carlos--totally without the intent of encouraging sabotage or anything similarly illegal or just plain sneaky--that if you can't get out of that contract on a "do I have to ride with this dirtbag" clause, I imagine riders have an awfully hard time riding if, for example, their bikes mysteriously go missing at the start of every race, and eventually they might just quit the team in frustration. Not that I'm suggesting anything--I'm just hypothesizing here!

I'm Lookin' for Pound Notes, Loose Change, Bad Checks, Anything: speaking of euros, (literally) poor speedster Mark Cavendish is horribly oppressed by the Man again this week, as HTC isn't showin' him the love or, more importantly, the humongous additional amounts of money our sweet little victim deserves. I'll give it to him--he's the fastest man on earth, his total lack of self-control makes him a terrific media darling, and goodness knows if anyone in the peloton deserves a first-rate paycheck--besides Jens Voigt of course, who is a god and should be paid in actual diamond mines--it's Cav. But d'ya *think*, dear child, there are more sympathetic poster boys for abject tragic life-wrecking poverty than yours in the world? Nope, didn't think so--but you'll probably still get a healthy raise out of your whi--I mean, noble plea!

Jeannie Longo Rocks, Again: over in racing news, while it was really an incredible Giro di Lombardia--and Belgian bomber Philippe Gilbert's sheer hard-man bad-!@#itude continues to amaze--51-year-old time trial ace Jeannie "Don't I Make Fabian Cancellara Look Like a Wuss-Puppy?" Longo snagged her umpteenth TT masterpiece this weekend against the helpless usual jailbait-in-their-prime at the Chrono des Nations. Oh, and congrats to still-repentant ever-weeper St. David Millar too for his record-breaking win. Hey--stop cryin' there, ya big baby, there's no paparazzi around!

Let's Talk About Saxo: and, in an era of relentlessly simpy sponsor bail-outs, big points and a warm hug to Saxo Bank for announcing they're stickin' with Bjarne Riis no matter how some piddly little Contador matter comes out. The caveat: any clown caught eating Spanish steak or doing any of the !@#$ Bjarne did during *his* career will be summarily whomped upside the head with a lead-filled safe deposit box. Ah, well, you can't get somethin' for nothin' anymore!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We've Got a Plan B, Baby!

Unfortunately, It's Gonna Be Ugly: yes, Saxo-Whatsit boss Bjarne Riis has assured his local newspaper that he's got a "Plan B" in effect in case that little Contador thing blows up on 'im, and, while he won't yet divulge the details, it involves, one imagines, slumping on his living-room couch sobbing amidst a pile of 50-odd empty beer cans and begging the Schlecks to take him on as a bottle-filler on their new squad next year. Sounds like a plan, Bjarne--I'd have a "Plan C" though in case the bottle gig falls through for ya!

Gone In Sixty Seconds: meantime, I see Contatwerp's been whining to El Mundo that he's so disappointed in the whole process that no matter how his case comes out he may well quit cycling entirely, which, apparently, is Spanish for "I can't believe no-one's buying my 'asthmatic cow' defense" and "like the other clowns on that podium were clean, they just weren't stupid enough to transfuse their doped-up blood from the Tour de Suisse." Wah, wah, Alberto--even if you *are* busted unjustly, you're still a Munchkin gazillionaire set for life, go cry over your pina colada on the beach-side lounge-chair of whatever private tropical island you're gonna buy to retire to--and if you *do* get itchy to get back in the saddle, just spruce up a coupla orphanages full o' hungry waifs, bat those pretty eyelashes with the tears wellin' up for the cameras, and you've got yourself a multi-million-euro contract with Liquigas!

I gotta say, though, I really *am* sorry about Contador--not sorry if he did it (though it's terrible his career is wrecked if he didn't), but sorry that (1) anyone who pissed off Lance Armstrong so much should go down and (2) we all can't watch a beautiful performance without smirking that the rider's got a permanent IV port surgically implanted in his butt. Oh, those innocent, halcyon days when the cheats just scarfed plain ol' amphetamines like Pez at the start line...

Your Quote o' the Day (from retired Italian sprinter Pierino Gavazzi): "Today if you don't dope it's like going into battle with a bow and arrow against a bazooka." Geez, I sure hope not--I'd honestly like to think there's *some* potential for the cleansters to win, wouldn't you?

It's the Giro di Lombardia, Tifosi! finally, in actual cycling news--and isn't it nice to have some?--there's one more major road race to go this year at the beautiful Classica delle Foglie Morte, and before we devolve into our usual end-of-season contract hijinks, smack-talkin' rider skirmishes, and doping pozes, let's take a preview of the brutally nasty end of the routeand a moment to mourn (1) Cervelo Test Team's last race (woo-hoo Thor!) and (2) the post-race retirement of tireless domestique/pretty damn good racer for himself too Chechu Rubiera. Now onto the Ghisallo--Gilbert, forget Paris-Tours, this baby is *yours* again!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ask And Ye Shall Receive, Cycling Fans!

Michael Rasmussen on the Danish Edition of Dancing With the Stars:

I feel *extremely* dirty right now.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Cadel Evans: Your Racejunkie Rider Profile o' the Week

You know him: you've seen him on the second spot of the final podium of the Tour de France a hundred times. But oh, there's *so* much more!

The Man: Okay, Cadel, you got me. For ages, I found you dull as dirt yet dutifully admirable to watch. And then you won the World Championships, and everything changed in an instant. The attacks. The...well, the attacks. And still more attacks. Wheel-suck *this*, you doubters!

The Basics: born in '77. Started as a mountain biker. Fabulous wife and classical musician Chiara. Major charity supporter. He's also darned appreciative of his fans, speaks well of his rivals, and doesn't make excuses when he's tired, injured, or's had a plain crap day. What he *does* do is perservere. Suckitupistan, bow to your king!

The Palmares: besides 2009 World Champ, and a whole 'nother career beating other guys on his mountain bike? The man wore his first maglia rosa in 2002; took a Tour de France time trial; snagged #1 in the UCI rankings; he's worn the maillot jaune enough to wallpaper a room with 'em; and he's taken the Tour de Romandie, Fleche-Wallone, and the points jersey in Dauphine-Libere. Pretty sweet!

The Fatal Weakness: his teams. Year after year after year, what the hell?

Cool Website Feature: In Australia, or Italy, and hungry after a hard day's road ride? Read Cadel's restaurant reviews for where to eat!

Typical Tweet: "Yes, started my ride with mens Norwegian XC (ski) team yest. Never saw guys with hairy legs go uphill so easily!"

Iconic Photo: Stage 7 at the 2010 Giro. Classics, schmlassics--can one get more bad-!@# than this?

Iconic Freak-Out: Let's see, the one where he whacks someone who touches 'im? or where he threatens to cut off someone's head for hurting his dog (buy the Official Incident T-shirt here!)? Or the one where he head-butts a journo? Or where he smacks around Daniele Righi for screwing with the chase? Me, I don't blame him for none of it!

And finally, Iconic Quote: (tossing broken helmet on ground after bloody crash in 2008 Tour) "This is your interview." Any more stupid questions, punk?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Single Best Anti-Doping Interview Ever

Fine, he's being reviled by his own cycling fed, and, best of all, by Team "On the Fast Track to Sainthood" Liquigas, which hired "attempted doper" Ivan Basso about two years before his (apparently aspirational) 4-year ProTour ban was up. But not only is Italian narc emeritus Ettore Torri's interview about doping the funniest damn thing I've ever read on the subject--up to and including mocking that cowardly little weasel Riccardo Ricco' for likely planning to pass off his recent 50-pill doping stash as his grandma's, an excuse which has of course been used before--but *no-one* can honestly say that what he said isn't probably 100% true. These guys are almost all cheats? Horrors! Any couch spud can climb 6 mountains a day at 40 gazillion k an hour for three weeks straight on nothing but Wheaties and Clif Shots! The teams have been involved in systemic doping? Shocker! That ER's-worth of medical waste in the hotel garbage every night was just from, uh, the "IV Heroin-Head Club o' Europe" conventioneers down the hall! Riders keep trying to outwit the system? Hell no--that's got nuthin' to do with the peloton's 800 consecutive CERA pozes the day a reliable test for it came out! Trainers help riders dope? My butt, all those guys busted with buckets o' drugs in their apartments were really just stockpiling 50 pounds of St. Joseph's baby aspirin for the Apocalypse! If everyone's gonna cheat anyway, we oughta just make this !@#% legal if it won't hurt their health? Like *you* never thought it, and God forbid we should be able to trust that a rider either (1) isn't cheating or (2) isn't gonna drop dead from the unregulated untested crap they're taking just for the hope of a posthumous add-on to their palmares!

Unbelievable, you hypocrites. Sure, apologize to the clean one(s) for the general accusation, but kill the freakin' messenger why dontcha?

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Call "Bull!" Alberto!

At least, Bessie's Owner Does: yep, more bad news for Alberto Contador: an outraged Spanish Minister of Agriculture is calling "moo!" on Contador's defense that he bought clenbuterol-tainted steak from his home country on the grounds that it is (1) strictly banned there and (2) even more stringently tested for. Neat, just like Spain treats its cycling dopers! Anyhoo, you sure you want to cast aspersions on an animal that can do this to you, Alberto? Even worse, Astana's own chef claimed in an interview last July that Alberto ate steak from, not Spain as pleaded, but Pau. Oh, so now you're gonna insult *French* cuisine? Forget whether you're even *innocent* of the charges--good luck getting another Tour invite in this lifetime, Contador!

Buck Up, Tommeke!: 2005 World Champion. Three--three!--time winner of Paris- Roubaix. He's worn the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, and the green on the final podium outright. And despite all that, our boy seems to be experiencing a serious crisis of confidence. Sure, he's had a few, well, brushes with infamy, but any boisterous, big-hearted youngster with a smokin' $400,000 auto and a sudden onslaught of fame, fortune, and hangers-on is gonna do *that*. And sure, maybe he's committed a few more soft-core images to film and the internet for all eternity than he'd want his mama to see. But before his 2010 season was wrecked beginning with his idiot crash in the Amgen EPO Tour of California and his thenceforth-recalcitrant knee, he had already begun redeeming himself from his wayward youth (as we had all instructed him to do) with admirable earnestness. You can still do it, Tom--certainly now that the coke haze has long faded, you remember all this? Come to think of it, maybe we *don't* want him listening to anything with club music in it...

He's Baaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaack (Again): and, just when you thought losing his grip on guaranteed-Tour-winner Alberto Contador might mellow our erratic Kazakh missile, slobbering peloton Cujo Alexander Vinokourovhas announced his own intention to win the race next year, and, better, has also proclaimed that new Astana rider/star-o'-the-future Roman Kreuziger is gonna get to be his point man. Well, don't feel bad, Roman--at least he's not promising to domestique for you *then* pointlessly attacking your !@# on a climb!

And the Oscar Goes To...: retirement, as we bid official farewell to 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro, calling it quits after a race and general partying in his honor which, apparently, old Phonak pal Floyd Landis did not attend. Since he was shorted out on the joys of the final podium in Paris, let's at least remember him (if not only for his incredible leg-and-career-snapping fall off a switchback in 2008) in the maillot jaune and trophy awarded later at the Spanish Sports Ministry: Who knows, maybe they'll have to do this again next year! Of course, I suppose that'd be the *Luxembourg* Sports Ministry...oh, who can even keep track anymore!

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Right *On*, You Big Lug!: yes indeedy, our dear poll-ees who picked "wrong again, nimrod" were right--I hardly dared hope for it, I was frankly still a little peeved over his earlier-season press-smack to Sastre, and I didn't seeing it coming over Gilbert's smashing Vuelta form anyway. So my bad, and Thor's great--here's how it played out!

The Post-Race: and here's our big happy puppy weighing in:

A Cartoon Tribute: heck, even the Saturday morning kids' tv shows saw it coming 'way back in '66 before the Thormeister was even born:

And, In Other, Scuzzbucket Cycling News: aw, who gives a !@#$--let's us cycling fans just enjoy the moment for once!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Forza Italia, Baby!

Right On, Sister!: yes, in a smashing sprint that sure didn't initially look like it was gonna go her way, new maglia iridata Giorgia Bronzini whammoed her way past an incredible field--and a controversial cut-off of a clearly-ticked Emma Johannson by ever-silver-medalist Marianne Vos--to grab the championship. Giorgia, of course, was wildly complimentary to her squad, explaining it was only late in the race after a hard day's work by all that the azzurre decided who really had the legs, and supported her all the way to the line. Forza Giorgia! So d'ya think Vos cut off Johansen unfairly, or not?

The Scrawny Little Doe-Eyed Elephant in the Room: y'know, there's *so* much crap to post about the Contador situation, not least that it's one sick-!@#$ rancher who not only feeds Bessie asthma drugs, but also makes it huff the kind of plastic that one would only totally coincidentally use in medical equipment for a blood-transfusion. But since this stupidity has almost drowned out the hard work, nail-bitin' thrills, and consistent American-men's tweeting about the (1) girl-fitted and (2) ugly US team kit--oh right, and that Cancellara guy and that Pooley chick's smashing wins in the time-whatsit--for today I'm gonna refer you straight to Contatwerp's own words for the true, unbiased story. Tomorrow--the men's road Worlds. Just use the space the womanly US jerseys leave for their racks as, well, extra water bottle holders, and concentrate on the race, guys!