Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Yes folks, the champagne's wearing off, the first batch o' pre-season microdosing is kicking in, and it's time for us all to make New Year's resolutions, and since we know none o' these gods or clowns are gonna do it, we are just gonna hafta do it for 'em:

1. Bernhard Eisel: I will kick Mark Cavendish's @# at least once this year. Of course, he's gonna be a bitch and snark that it's just a "!@#$ race", but at least I'm beating him at something. So !@#$ off, Cav!

2. Alberto Contador: I will ride my bicycle with the full force of my 20 kilos over Pat "Dick" McQuaid's crying carcass after I win the CAS appeal. Don't mess with the Contador!

3. Alexander Vinokourov: I don't have to make any "resolutions", you worm--I will take over Kazakhstan *and* the Tour de France by the force of my will!

4. Jens Voigt: I will attack at every race, on every stage, at every moment, whether I'm given the go-ahead or not. Oh wait, I already do that. Anyway, if I accidentally find myself in, say, China instead of France because of it, so what?

5. Andreas Kloden: I'll ride a race for myself this year. If Johan Bruyneel lets me. And one of the first-year domestiques doesn't need me to fold his laundry. And the luggage-wrangler can hold off on my doing his Starbucks run. And...

6. Giorgia Bronzini: I will wring a fair salary out of the sponsors next year if I have to use my Special Forces training to squeeze their wallets til they shoot out their abdomens like that gross facesucker-spawn from "Alien." So ya might as well pay up before I win the Worlds again!

7. Mark Cavendish: I will win the green jersey, the Olympics, the Worlds, and 86 consecutive sprint finishes. Did I tell you that Eisel sucks eggs?

8. Bjarne Riis: When Alberto Contador wins the CAS appeal, I will run over Pat "Dick" McQuaid's crying carcass with the full weight of all the trophies I and my minions doped to win during my entire rider and managerial career. Don't mess with the Bjarne!

9. Dave Zabriskie: I will shave. Daily. Because that whole facial-hair thing is just too porno. And Olympic time trial, you are *mine*!

10. Alejandro Valverde. I will scare the crap out of the entire field by taking the maillot jaune in the first week of the Tour. Then, I will have a catastrophic meltdown in week two. Then, I will scare the crap out of the entire field by taking the gold jersey in the first week of the Vuelta. Then, I will have a cata....

11. Philippe Gilbert: like I need to resolve what I'm already gonna do? Eat my dust, you hosers!

12. Cadel Evans: mine, it's all mine, mine, mine! Uh, what was the question again?

13. Andy Schleck: I will put up or shut up this year. And I won't ride the Giro just because I think I can't win the Tour, because it's a disgusting amoral blasphemy of a superior beautiful race. Dag nabit, second again!

14. Frank Schleck: !@#$, if Andy can't win the Tour without me, I might as well win it myself. See you below me on the podium in Paris, little bro!

Well, we'll see who lives up to what--me, I just resolve to enjoy the show, and bring my beloved reader(s) more o' the hack commentary, blind favoritism, and excruciatingly faulty analysis you've both come to know and slag me for, so Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012: The Year In Preview (Yeah, You Heard Me)

Yap, the days of auld lang syne, yap, that Baby New Year animated show that's not nearly so great as the one with Heat Miser, yap--another fabulous, shameful year of cycling is almost upon us, baby, and it's time for our annual Year In Preview!

January: the verdict is in! Contador and Riis go on three-week liver-crunching rotgut bender, black out and forget if they're mourning or celebrating til too late to train for Tour anyway; RadioSkank goes to week-long training-camp "barbecue" at Michele Ferrari's, Andy Schleck beats world time trial record in training exercise;
Cadel, Thor, Philippe, starving lions to Colisseum for BMC leadership-supremacy deathmatch. Thooooooor!

February: soulless pig Pat "Dick" McQuaid reschedules Giro di Lombardia *again,* runs it as "the Race of the Where the !@#$ Are the !@#$ing Leaves!"; Boonen grabs Tour of Qatar, demands Leipheimer be rolled up for him on team bus for rest of season and used as footrest.

March: time for the Classics! Vino wins Paris-Nice, Tony Martin seen at afterparty with diamond grill, 14 feet of gold chains around neck, keys to platinum-plated Ferrari, entire world's supply of Kristal; Hushovd takes Ghent-Wevelgem, kicked in nuts and fired by BMC management.

April: it's the Hell o' the North, baby! Boonen back on top, orders Leipheimer shaped into carafe and used to pour him coffee every morning; Gilbert sweeps Ardennes classics while actually at home tucking in baby for afternoon nap.

May: it's Il Grande Giro, honey! Petacchi beats Cav in 7 consecutive sprint finishes, attributes to "damn good local espresso"; Contador takes queen stage three days, 11 hours and 23 minutes before it actually starts; Vinokourov buys overall victory from Ivan Basso in exchange for dictatorship of future Kazakhstan satellite states despite fact Vino doesn't even race it.

June: time for pre-Tour doping controls! UCI preemptively declares no doping positives at 2012 Tour de France, entire peloton heads to Spain for "a little R&R"; Vinokourov discovered to have paid Kazakh 8th-grader 2 million euros for three weeks' worth of urine, awarded National Medal of Honor; Ullrich tell-all autobiography out, Lance Armstrong corners Jan at local butcher's, clubs him with wienerschnitzel.

July: what else? Hoogerland winged into fence made of glass shards, sewing needles, razorblades, and thumbtacks, finishes Tour held together by 465 miles of scotch tape; Andy Schleck DQ'd for tiptoeing down Galibier holding Frank's hand for speed, stability; Cadel mistakenly tears Contador to pieces when Alberto attempts to give new baby cuddly binkie toy; holy crap Thor Hushovd is the polka dot jersey!

August: It's the start o' the Vuelta, baby! Juan Jose Cobo takes start line for Movistar after whacking Alejandro Valverde unconscious with wine bottle, fooling squad by explaining he's wearing mask over his face "to keep the dust off"; dull sprint stages livened up by making riders do them blindfolded; still-irked Spanish cow gores unsuspecting spectator Contador.

September: the Vuelta continues! Entire peloton swallowed by tar pits when roads melt after 21 consecutive 114 degree days; Igor Anton floats to GC win in Madrid as water-weight loss from sweating renders him lighter than air; Italian men's team spotted at Worlds course practicing losing *again*.

October: It's the World Championships! Giorgia Bronzini makes it three, runs over Pat "Dick" McQuaid with Army tank when refuses to guarantee women minimum salary of indentured third-world child laborers; Cav keeps World Champion stripes after British lead-out sets up "Indiana Jones" obstacle course, squashes entire pro sprint contingent with giant rolling spherical rock.

November: last-minute contracts! Bjarne Riis signs up top-flight nursery-school playground tricyclists as backup for Contador at 2013 Tour; Jens' legs won't shut up, convince him to keep riding through 2036; Vino appears at Astana press conference with 18 perfect clones. Like he was *ever* gonna really leave, suckers!

December: team camps again! Garmin tires of playing with facial hair, emerges with matching full-body tats instead; GreenEdge goes surfing off Aussie coast, nearly devoured by sharks 'til McEwen raises eyebrow in their general direction, scares off; Sky to Buckingham Palace for crumpets, Cav accidentally chews up priceless 15th-century royal tea set.

Well folks, them's my predictions for next year--I'm sure they're half wrong, but it oughta scare ya even more if they're half freakin' right!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's the 2011 Racejunkie Awards!

Put on yer red-carpet gowns and spiffiest spats, dear reader(s), because it's the time of year to reward the sublime, the unsublime, and the just plain ridiculous in this magnificent sport of cycling, and therefore, without further ado, or cheesy Oscar-night dance routines, I hereby bestow the incredibly prestigious, passionately-sought-after, and potentially slanderous 2011 Racejunkie Awards:

The 2011 Doping Excuse o' the Year: okay, the transgression didn't actually *happen* in 2011. But let's face it, the droning "did not, either!"s coming outta the peloton for this year's pozes were a certifiable snoozefest. What wasn't? Michael "the Chicken" Rasmussen's "I Wasn't Cheating on My Bicycle, I Was Cheating on My Wife!" excuse for lyin' about his whereabouts to evade doping controls--uh, a major jealous-spouse nut-whack--before a way-old Tour de France. Geez, outta the frying pan and into the fire with that one, Michael--if she forgave you then, she probably ain't too happy you yapped her pain to cover your scrawny !@# with the narcs, I imagine!

Climber o' the Year: he's big. He's fast. He's Norwegian. And once he hits an incline bigger'n a speed bump, he's got no business being anywhere in the peloton but the !@#-end of the autobus. But yet, he took 2--count 'em, 2!--mountain stages in the Tour de France this year. Schleck, dreck--Thor Hushovd, this one's for you. You *go*, you big lug!

2011 Doug and Wendy Whiner Award: it's mountainy. It's descendy. It's time trially. I was supposed to win it. I'm still P.O.d about that chainy thing from two hundred years ago. Y'know, I've been a big advocate of both Schlecks in the past--particularly Frank, even tho' he's been alleged to make a few funny automotive detours during the Tour back in the day--but this !@## really ticked me off. Andy, the only thing Cadel oughta hear from you next July is "Congratulations!"

Soul-Crushing Transfer of 2011: need this even be put into words? 'Cuz it's already been scorched into my soul. Jens Voigt to RadioSkank. Whhhhhhyyyyyy? Whhhhhhyyyyyy? Whhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy?

Punk-!@# Move o' the Year (Celebrity Intimidation Edition): rock-star Lance Armstrong corners newly-confessional Tyler Hamilton by the toilet like 11th-grade alpha-bitch on shy goth-girl at the Homecoming dance. What next, Lance, you gonna snap Floyd's !@# with a towel in the locker room?

Punk-!@# Move o' the Year (Total Management Diss Edition): Let's see. He's wearing the World Champion stripes with *your sponsor's* name all over 'em, he busts his works domestiquing yer other riders, he wins some pretty fine stages for you at the Tour de France, and what does he get? Right, squat, and the chance to be slapped around by Cadel & Gilbert at BMC all next year. Thor Hushovd deserves better. Bite me, Garmin/Vaughters!

Ow, @!#$! Hardman Award o' 2011: is this even a contest? Johnny Hoogerland's gruesome 45kph airborne date with a death-fence at the Tour--and he *still* powers through, to the just adoration of all cycling fandom. Get this boy a bottle o' pain pills and a coupla band-aids, stat!

Gee, Maybe the French *Don't* Suck So Bad Prize: Thomas Voeckler. Wow. Boy, did you make even Contador look like a putz!

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You Freaks Award of 2011: lemme get this straight. Juanjo Cobo takes the Vuelta a Espana out of absolutely nowhere in an incredible show of heart and grit, and now even can't get a job wiping that blood-doping dirtbag Valverde's rear end? Cosmic justice, where art thou?

Dodgin' the Bullet Prize: sure, he may've shot himself full o' illicit crap in 2010, (or not! I'm sure it was the cow!) but hey, why let a little suspicion keep 'im from bagging two Grand Tours in the meantime? Alberto Contador, I guess that stupid "Pistolero" thing really *did* scare off the narcs!

Say It Ain't So Award o' the Year: Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie. You were a model elder stateswoman--but apparently not without help, tho' the sloppy French cops conveniently bungled the case against you quite nicely. Dang, you can't just use Botox or something to fake some youthful vigor?

Woo-Hoo! Moment of the Year: Cadel Evans wins the Tour. Nice guys (okay, he occasionally threatens to rip some journalist's arms off, but that ain't no nevermind) do finish first!

Disgusting Skankball o' 2011: in a wholly uncontested category, this goes to lying cheating pig Riccardo Ricco', who not only besmirched the name of a beloved, now late, trainer to the stars, but, on his triumphant and extremely clean return from a doping ban, managed to inject himself with a batch of bad old blood he apparently stored next to the moldering steak and expired yogurt in his fridge, making himself seriously ill in the process. I'm truly glad you're okay now, Riccardo--but please, go to back to whatever slime-pit you slithered from!

Complete Dumb!@# of 2011: d'oh! Ricco', it's a two-fer. You couldn't find *anyone* in the peloton to show you how to do that !@#$ right?

Rider Insult o' the Year: finally, in a related award, the hell with the Armstrong/Landis/Hamilton wars--by far the best (and most accurate) commentary o' 2011 came from Captain Discretion, Mark Cavendish himself, who not only called Riccardo Ricco' a "parasite," but charitably opined "I really do hope he becomes someone's bitch in prison." Well said, Cav--a fine sidenote to a spectacular season!

Well, congrats to all our lucky winners, and for those who missed the cut, better luck next year--I'm sure *some* of you guys will pull off something truly spectacular (in beauty or idiocy) next year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a Very Merry Festivus Wish List for the Peloton!

Yes, as we ponder the deeper spiritual meaning of the holidays by waiting in line outside stores for 36 consecutive hours for a 6am crack at a 684-inch flat-screen, gorging ourselves to excess on marshmallow Santas, and shoving little old ladies outta the way in a toy-store death-match to grab the latest Teach-Me-To-Curse Elmo, it seems to me our beloved cyclists deserve a treat this year, so I hereby bring you my Merry Everything Gift List for the Peloton:

Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix, the great Hell of the North. 'Cause not only will it prove he's still got it, he can whack all his foolish naysayers upside the head with that bad-!@# cobblestone. Better quit pickin' on him, Lefevere!

Juan Jose Cobo: a contract. A freakin' contract. How can the freakin' winner of the freakin' Vuelta a Espana not have a freakin' contract!

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen: a network. A freakin' network. How can they stick you guys on the butt-end of 3am on the schedule after bass-fishing on their crappy network!

Johnny Hoogerland: a teflon coating for his entire bod. Try scorchin' me with razor wire through *this* !@#$, suckers!

Jens Voigt: a gilt-and-marble statue so huge it can easily be seen from outer space; immortality; and the title, duties, and aggregate powers of Supreme Ruler of the Universe. A bonus lifetime supply of coffee if you bail on your contract with RadioSkank, Jens!

Andy Schleck: May the Time Trial Fairy descend in a flutter of glitter as you peacefully sleep on your pillow and, with a flick of her golden wand, give you wings for that most troublesome of disciplines. That, or the Giro, 'cause even *she* don't have the power to grant you the Tour!

Alberto Contador: a year-long membership to the Organic Meat of the Month Club. Oh sure, mock it now--but can you say "paper trail"?

Bjarne Riis: a career. 'Cause if Alberto goes down, he ain't gonna have one. See, I can be nice!

Thor Hushovd: a shining suit of armor. Why? Between Gilbert and Cadel, your !@# is gonna get beat on this season, and you're gonna need all the protection you can get!

Jeannie Longo: honey, after that doping scam you pulled on the cowardly enabler French, just be glad it ain't still the French Revolution--you remember what happened to those clowns, right?

Floyd Landis: a cloak of invisibility. Come to think of it, that's actually more a present for *us*. Can't hurt next time you're anywhere near Lance Armstrong though, I guess!

Ivan Basso: what do you give a guy who's already the patriarch of the Cutest Family on the Face of the Planet, the winner of two Giros, and looking forward to a wholesome retirement to the family blueberry farm? I'm gonna go big here, and wish him the Tour. Redeem yourself once and for all, Ivan--it's your last chance to prove it shoulda always been yours anyway!

Riccardo Ricco': lucky for you, Santa don't do beat-downs. You wanna be a bartender, have at--a Mixmaster's Guide, and be grateful for it!

Alexandre Vinokourov: whatever he wants. Or he'll sink your !@@damn feet in concrete and toss you to the bottom of the harbor, you peon!

Mark Cavendish: this semi-civilized diplomacy !@#$ you've adopted of late is, to be frank, dull as dirt. You got one free day to bushwhack your rivals, insult yer leadout train, and dope-smack everyone who's ever dared to do you a kindness. Have at, Cav--and don't forget to shove yer best buddy into the barriers!

Last But Not Least, My Dear Reader(s): may your favorite rider score a blazing and wholly unexpected victory against the best of the best at their dream race, and do so entirely, genuinely, and unimpeachably clean. Allez allez, you studpuppy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011: the Year in Review

All right folks, the curtain's about to drop on another year of cycling, and before we all get perma-blotto on too much good cheer and bad eggnog, it's time to recall the sublime, the ridiculous, and the downright disgusting that make this sport so easy to love:

January: Contador's banned! No, he's not! Yes, he is! make up your minds, you clowns!; Tour screws former champ dear little Sastre out of invite, nice work Geox!; Team LeopardSchleck debuts--what, a name like that and *still* your team kit's lame?

February: Floyd Landis interview out, cycling world hit by curious double-attack of projectile vomiting and ennui; Schleck's still bitching about Chaingate; Riccardo Ricco waaaaaaaaay too stupid to dope correctly; Jens says race radios are good, so it must be true. Forgive me for doubting, o Jens!

March: it's the Classics, baby! Boonen roars back at Gent-Wevelgem; Goss surprises at Milano-Sanremo; Gilbert gets ready to start all-year reign of terror; UCI's a buncha crybaby !@#holes. So what else is new?

April: Jonathan Vaughters squanders the great Thor Hushovd; Quick Step dumps on Boonen; Versus relegates Phil and Paul to Obscurity Hour; what's next, you freaks all gonna kick the Easter Bunny?

May: May wasn't funny.

June: class act Lance Armstrong corners Tyler Hamilton by the toilets; French bust Contador for--um, riding down the Galibier without a tail-light? yeah, that'll learn 'im!; RadioSkank announces four GC contenders for Tour de France, might as well pack it up and go home now. Good luck with that podium, Johan!

July: it's the Tour de France, baby! Hoogerland winged into razor wire, gamely finishes Tour; Hushovd turns mountain goat, *still* dissed by Garmin; Schlecks !@#$ up, *again*; holy crap we love Samuel Sanchez is the polka dot jersey!; Cadeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

August: the fabulous Vuelta gets underway; Levi and George raise hell in Colorado; Cav teases about his team choice; ham-fisted goon Vinokourov "nicely" asks junior team member to retire from cycling to make room for him on Astana. Or else!

September: Euskaltel rules, of course; unheralded Cobo takes the Vuelta, you better not break my trusting heart !@#dammit; Cav grabs Worlds, 2500 spectators blinded by teeth on podium; Georgia Bronzini makes it 2, outrages sport by asking to be paid as much as that horrible off-key ukelele guy in the subway who plays for pocket change. The nerve of some people!

October: Bjarne leaves Contador with no support for 2012 at Saxo Bank, but then, that's what cows are for; Hushovd goes from being screwed at Garmin to being screwed at BMC; Tour announces 2012 route, Andy Schleck starts cryi--uh, learning to time trial. Allez allez Andy!

November: Merckx tells Schlecks to aim for the Giro; Jan Ullrich threatens to talk--watch out, Lance!; Zabriskie croons for Vaughters; WADA gives Contador a pass on plasticizers. IV-suckin' dirtbags o' the peloton, unite!

December: Vino accused of buying win at Liege-Bastogne-Liege for 134k big ones, which is still better'n 98% of the !@#$ he usually does; riders lay out plans for upcoming season; Bjarne Riis tosses Contador out of airplane. Ya got two weeks left in the year--the rest of you guys, don't !@#$ this up!

Well, sadly for me (but luckily for you), I couldn't cram it all in--but let's hope for a lively 2012!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Alexander Vinokourov: One Wily, Dirty Mother!@#$er

I Love You, Vino!: y'know, I was actually planning to post today about Vinokourov bitching how someone, probably that techno-geek mastermind Floyd Landis, hacked into his email accounts and apparently uncovered his plot to buy out the Tour de France turn the Tour into a results-guaranteed fascist fiefdom take over Kazakhstan when he gets elected to office and throw any dissenters into some rock-breaking commie gulag, when Vino actually outdoes even himself: yes, the boy is accused of paying off Alexander Kolobnev a handsome $134,000 to throw Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which, Vinokourov quite reasonably explains in his own defense, was merely a "loan" which he totally coincidentally happened to offer Kolobnev on the run to the LBL finish line. Folks, if nothing else proves those wanker fans who hissed Vino as he won weren't a bunch of unfair doubting bitter meanie miscreants, this does. !@#$, Vino, it wasn't enough you pumped all that !@#$ into your veins, you had to buy out Kolobnev--Kolobnev?--at least show some !@#damn dignity and buy a race from Gilbert or Boonen! Oh look, here's the "win":

Just Because He's a Lying, Cheating Dirtball Doesn't Mean He's Not Right: meantime, hilarity no doubt ensues at UCI this very moment as Floyd Landis' allegation that the lab monkeys, dope testers, and entire "anti"-doping community are a bunch of favorites-playing hypocrite scum-weasels is backed up as "probable" by none other than the WADA head honcho himself, which has been a big 10-outta-10 on the "No !@#$, Sherlock"-o-meter to most of us, but still hasn't been publicly acknowledged by someone who wasn't a sore-loser whiner just pissed everyone else didn't go down with the ship besides him. Pat "Dick" McQuaid, lookin' forward to the standard denials!

Backtrack Alert!: finally, it's good luck to Andy Schleck for 2012 as he avers he might too in fact ride the Giro this coming year, which, one presumes, is not only a statement to Cadel Evans that he's not either a wuss, but also a convenient excuse for a massive meltdown choke at the 2012 Tour de France (should he need it). Well played, baby Schleck--but don't you feel kinda funny taking a page from Contador's 2011 playbook?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bjarne Riis: the Smell of Fear

But We're Nice! Really, Really Nice!: yes, in keeping with the ol' CSC tradition of dropping unarmed squad members dressed in penguin suits onto ice floes filled with starving polar bears, Bjarne Riis is still sending his boys to boot camp this year, but this time with an added bonus: they get to do charity work, too! Now, we here at racejunkie are never ones to question, much less openly besmirch, the untainted kindness, selflessness, and generosity of do-gooders. In fact, we downright admire it. Which is why I have no doubt whatsoever that Bjarne Riis' sudden departure from 20 years of training-camp rigidity has nothing whatsoever to do with, say, a gasping, heaving desperation move to make him and Alberto Contador look good totally coincidentally just as Contador, and ergo Bjarne, look like they're totally f!@#$ed. Anyway, at least someone benefits from the charity work--bummer for Bjarne if it ain't him, too!

Oh, Laaaaaa-aaaaaaaance! Laaaaaa-aaaaaance!: oh yeah, game on sucker--467 years after he officially retired, the Janster is finally about to be officially busted and, apparently, is ready to talk. So who else is ready to draw back the curtains on that brief, dark era of drug-stoked devilry, now that out of the entire peloton only (1) US Masters riders and (2) minor Canadian pros are still doping? Y'know who'd be really doing a service to the sport, is--hey, do I hear crickets chirping?

Tour Wars: meanwhile, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans have both announced their goals for next year (if Alberto has a next year, but anyway): it's all for the Tour de France, baby, and each one's convinced the other one's goin' down. Well, they might want to run that by the Schlecks and Ivan Basso (tho' for my money Ivan's really gonna focus on the Giro), but either way, between Saxo Bank's broke-!@# lack o' backup, and BMC's astonishing potential to eat their own young in a monster clash of conflicting objectives, looks like the Tour's gonna be worth watching in 2012. Go Cade--uh, Alber--uh, Iva--oh, heck, good luck everyone, just stay the hell outta Samu's way on the uphills!

It's the 1st Annual Mario Cipollini Gratuitous T&A Award!: y'know, when I post, as a public service, a pic of Pippo Pozzato holding a saddle over his works, or, say, a soft-core Tom Boonen video, I am sometimes asked, in the noble interests of equality, "racejunkie, why don't you post a photo of Ivan Basso's hot sister?" Well, never let it be said I don't love you all, because as if women's cycling weren't already degraded enough this year, I hereby bring you this very informative wheel pic from 2009 Italian national road race champ/2011 Tour o' Qatar speedster Monia Baccaille:

Mario "the Chest", keep your eyes open, you've got competition!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Racejunkie's Ten Things I'm Thankful For This Year

Well treasured reader(s), it's time for us on my side of the pond to give thanks for our great nation by stuffing ourselves til our pants-buttons pop, watching 16 straight hours of football til someone else caves and does the dishes, and trying to keep that weird relative from spouting off freak theories about the alleged "moon landing," so in recognition of this fine holiday, and in the spirit of warmth, generosity, and kindness it so naturally engenders, I humbly bring you my Cycling Stuff I'm Thankful For This Year:

1. Alberto Contador. Love 'im, hate 'im, or stuff 'im with steak, the boy never fails to entertain, even in the off-season. Hell, this might be the last we hear of him for two years--might as well be grateful for him now!

2. Underdogs. If you saw Juan Jose Cobo coming at the Vuelta, you're either (1) a genius, or (2) a lying sack of !@#$. Either way, woo-hoo to the unheralded--just swear to me you earned it the nice way!

3. Mark Cavendish. Sure, he's been disappointingly diplomatic this year, but there's always that sweet underlying suggestion that he could still come flyin' at yer face like a cornered rabid badger at any instant. We love you, Cav!

4. Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeellllllll!

5. Holy crap we love Samuel Sanchez is the reigning polka dot jersey!

6. Thoooooooooooooooor (shut up you haters!)!

7. Cadel Evans. Not only a damn hard worker, the first Tour de France winner in ages who didn't make me just a liiiiiiiittle bit creeped out. And I don't freakin' want to hear otherwise, you got that?

8. Giorgia Bronzini. Sure, the men's squadra azzurra was burned in effigy in the streets of Florence by looting mobs after its spectacular woof in this year's Worlds, but you know who bagged her second world road champ title? Yeah, sing it, sister--again!

9. The Giro d'Italia. If there's ever a race as bitchin' as the Vuelta, the beautiful, perfect Giro is it--plus, prosciutto! Now would the rest of the !@#damn cycling world quit scheduling a buncha stupid crap at the same time or what?

10. Jens Voigt. The man, the myth, the legend--the one who makes the rest of peloton start mewling like babies before he even puts his socks on in the morning. Come to think of it, I'm thankful for Jens every year. Aren't you? Bow, fellow peons--and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Please, Can't They Just Start Racing Again?

The Hills Are Alive...With the Sound of Zabriskie: yes, the teams are rampin' up their official presentations for the year, and before Garmin's Dave "Muttonchop" Zabriskie heads off to a spa for some serious facial-hair management, here's his stellar rendition of "Proud JV": Tina Turner, watch yer back from now on!

Rope-a-Dope: yes, in the ongoing fight against doping, we've got three contradictory viewpoints today: CONI narc supremo Ettore Torri proudly saying that, despite the fact that amateurs are drugging themselves incoherent for a chance at "a salami", at the pro level cycling is "a lot cleaner" than it was in 2006 (tho' apparently he pulled a Sleeping Beauty for a couple years and missed, say, the even more disgusting 2008), bitter default Tour de France fair-n-square winner Oscar Pereiro claiming the whole system's mean because the soccer (sorry, football) players are even dirtier and no-one cares about that, and tennis great Yannick Noah saying the Spaniards are so high and the poor clean French so helpless against their illicit onslaught that the French oughta just quit testing entirely and give everyone a giant syringe full o' the Spaniards' chemical best. Me, I'm inclined to say we can all find a nice middle ground here and agree cheerfully that, if we weren't all raised to be ladies and gentlemen, it certainly wouldn't do the whole topic a disservice to gratuitously give, oh, Riccardo Ricco a swift steel-toed kick to the nuts. Harmony, people!

Riders I Like: Okay, it still really creeps me out that Chris Horner started being nice to Lance Armstrong. But you gotta love a guy who, long after most denizens of hte peloton have returned to their original training as carpenters or school-weens or joined the DS ranks, is more impassioned about the sport than he was as a youngster. And that, after that reckless selfish !@#hole Johan Bruyneel didn't even pull his bloodied head-whacked wreck of a bod from the Tour when he rode a bike for 2 hours without even realizing it! Chris, may you and Jens ride forever--but in one piece from now on, y'hear?

Pay Attention, Contatwerp!: righty-o, Alberto, remember how Alex Rasmussen accidentally evaded the doping vampires and asked to be punished for his shameful, if inadvertent, mistake? Well, you got one week to make a play for no mercy, honey, because the child just got off his "zero tolerance" punishment for his humility. You want to ride the Tour next season? Moo like a cow for the tribunal, Alberto, and beg for it!

Three Weeks In July: look, Eddy !@#$in' Merckx told the Schlecks what to do--essentially, you can't time trial for !@#$ so the Tour is fruitless, but if you work your !@#es off, you might be able to overcome Basso at the Giro. And though I bristle at (yes, everything, but also) any suggestion that winning the beautiful perfect Giro is any less a vicious masterwork than is the Tour--'cause it sure as hell wasn't this year, despite Contador's dominating performance throughout--I'll admit that the Giro tends to be rather, well, kinder on time-trial miles for its Italian homeboys than the Tour. Still, the Schlecks remain defiant, convinced that the loving attentions of Johan Bruyneel can nuzzle 'em up that final step of the podium and, mercifully, sparing us three solid weeks of whinging (did I get that right, dear Brit readers?) about Chaingate in March. Enjoy the Tour, boys--I'll sure as hell be enjoying the Giro a little more this year!

Monday, November 14, 2011

UCI Sticks It To Valverde (Tho' Frankly, He's Been Stuck Harder)

Nyeah, Nyeah, Nyeah, Nyeah, Nyeah!: yes, right as Movistar gets set to throw on the disco lights to welcome back drug-stuffed Op Puerto degenerate Alejandro Valverde, the tough guys at UCI have stepped in, declaring they're gonna completely clamp down on widespread systematic doping in the sp--uh, make Movistar cancel their press conference. Oh, snap! Um, not to rain on your parade, McQuaid, but all things considered, isn't better you *don't* give a guy like Valverde any more unsupervised free time off than you absolutely have to? Still, I'll give it to Alejandro, at least he's open about not giving a !@#$, instead of faking some unbearable self-righteous teary-eyed jailhouse-conversion yip-yap wah-wah. So let's see what Valverde can do riding without enhancement in 2012--if he'll show us, that is!

Cipo For Prime Minister!: in other news, we all know that eternal sprint god/women's cycling impresario Mario "the Chest" Cipollini is not only an icon of the noble sport of cycling, but an inspiration to clothes-conscious manscapers everywhere. So imagine my surprise and delight when a headline in the venerable New York Times proclaimed that if he weren't cool enough already, Super Mario is poised to lead the great nation of Italy! Sadly, it turns out to be a boring reference to some random politico, but still, I can't imagine a better candidate than the real thing himself. So suave, so smooth, so chic--who even *cares* what he thinks? All hail the Lion King!

!@#$ that Rocks: okay, a little slow on the uptake here, but given my distinct peeve with that reptilian little drug-sucker, I gotta say, this "Ricco" edition T-Shirt freakin' rocks: . And no, I'm not a paid spokesperson--but for those of you interested in highly prestigious product endorsements like mine, I *will* take bribes, particularly, in the off chance you're broke, Mallomars. Nice work, Dopers Suck!

Because It Just Ain't Cycling Without a Post About Contador: finally, as CAS sets a rough decision date for January, reports abound that among Alberto's approximately 678 personal-domestique character witnesses will be a lie-detector-test expert, leading, natch, to the exciting conclusion he has taken or will pony up a fateful test against the machine. Next up after the November slugfest: Alberto appears on a Very Special Maury "Are You My Baby's Daddy?" Povich. Lookin' forward to the show, Alberto!

Friday, November 11, 2011

He Shoots, He Scores--Contador!

Just One Word...Plastics: score one for imminent-appeal-subject/inadvertent clen-snarfer Alberto Contador: WADA's bagged a test for plasticizers that could suss out blood-doping weasels--yes, the same chemical wee Alberto was reputed to have awfully funny levels of--on the grounds that there's so much of that !@#$ floating around in pleather, rainwear, flooring, food packaging, and kids' toys that a perfectly innocent person could have freakishly high levels of medical-grade tubing residue in their bodies, which means that, if CAS buys Alberto's argument that a Spanish farm imported a Chinese cow from Mexico, he's home-free 'cause they've got nothing to hang him on. One likely sticking point--killjoy good-guy Alex Rasmussen's noble insistence that he ought to be punished for breaking the CAS similarly zero-tolerance rules on rider location tracking, as it just wouldn't be *fair* to everyone else to let 'im off. You school-monitor goody-two-shoes teacher's pet--don't you realize how bad that makes Alberto look if he don't make the same gesture?! Anyway, I don't know about you, but in light of WADA's beautiful new cave-in, *I* see a pack of suspect two-wheeled dirtbags in the very near future conspicuously wandering around perpetually in trenchcoats with faux-wood planks stuck to their shoes pacifiers in their mouths and Sno-Ball wrappers stickin' out their pockets to cover their butts. You're almost there, Alberto, you're aaaaaaalmost there!

Like That Facebook Kid, Only More Annoying: and, technological whiz kid/Tour de France miscreant/fan-ripper-offer Floyd Landis was handed a cool 12-month suspended sentence in France for masterminding a computer-hack of the lab that, despite its spectacular incompetence, managed to legitimately bust him for doping nonetheless, which means that, so long as he acts like a wuss the rest of his life and stays the hell away from the country he disgraced with his cheating, he can continue his triumphant return to the Masters' ranks or, even better, have to jack up his car instead to take NASCAR by storm. Good thing there's no doping in Masters, so you won't have to worry there won't be a level playing field there!

Boonen: The Next Generation: meantime, in off-season hijinks news, wacky-but-talented Euskaltel party-boy Romain Sicard was busted by the cops while blotto stuffing a purloined street-sign in his trunk, and, as truly fortunately no-one was hurt except the street sign during the escapade, I imagine a sincere mea culpa, a little community service, and a heartfelt promise to the sponsors not to pull that crap while dressed in full Euskaltel-Euskadi team kit ever again oughta do the trick quite nicely. Romain, it's much less conspicuous to try this stuff while you're *inside* the club--just ask Tommeke!

Cadeeeeeeeeeeel!: last but not least, massive congrats to Tour de France bad-!@# Cadel Evans for his (obvious, but still!) win for Australian Cyclist of the Year, and if there's any doubt about how thoroughly I consider myself well and fairly nut-whacked for having ever criticized his less-than-flashy style in the past, here's another look at his smashing time trial at the Tour: Okay, I've been nice like you deserve, Cadel--now you better not pull a Vaughters and !@#$ over Thor Hushovd next year!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Better To Have Loved And Lost (Your CAS Appeal), Than Never To Have Loved At All

Felicitaciones, Alberto!: yes, many wishes for a long and happy life together for wee champion Alberto Contador and his equally-adorable fiance Macarena on their marriage today, and as Alberto gives quite a nice interview on his training routine (he takes naps!), the current state of cycling (too many racing days!), and his upcoming season (Tirreno?), he remains tranquillo about his prospects for his upcoming CAS appeal, as, he sensibly reasons, he's got nothing to fear since he's done nothing wrong. Right, like that matters to UCI if they hate your guts today anyway! Of course, if I were a complete bitch as well as just a total ween, I'd've tangentially thought to idly google the state of spousal privilege in Spain, but since I'm hoping to come off for just one sweet shining moment as a far better human being than I actually am, I've decided to just look it up on another search eng--uh, confine myself to sincere expressions of happiness and success for Alberto's future in all things. And sorry he's off the market, Contador fans (not that you *don't* just love him for beating Armstrong down at the Tour)--but I'm sure there's another unattached dreamboat substitute left in the peloton!

Aw, Rats, *Now* Who's Gonna Bushwhack Cav?: and, it's with deep regret that I report that the great Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen has now formally announced his long-expected mid-2012 retirement into the management scene, which means that, I suppose, while there's not gonna be anyone left on the road actually as ready as Mark Cavendish is to go all goon on a rival's !@# (seriously, can any of you picture Tyler Farrar sending his lead-outs up with a two-by-four to accidentally tank someone else's sprint?), Robbie will at least be left in a position to give the overly-amiable Aussies at GreenEdge some hard-won personal pointers. Today's tip to the youngsters: that innocuous plastic clip that fits under your earlobe to adjust your helmet can, in the right amoral rider jerkface's hand, make a formidable offensive tool. Oh Robbie, just *one* more go at the line for your faithful fans, *please*!

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You People?: meanwhile, ever-trusting Vuelta god Juan Jose Cobo is even now confident Geox can find a new sponsor this season, raising the question not only of why Johan Bruyneel *still* hasn't sold himself on ebay to come up wih dough for him, but late in the season or no, what the hell is this sport coming to when a pack of proven-doper-dirtbags can land lucrative gigs with gigantic ProTour power squads and a spankin'-new Grand Tour champ is left begging !@#$in' Big Wheel manufacturers for a last-ditch ten-euro handout? You *suck*, people--now pony up and don't waste this guy, am I the only one who watched that freakin' race this year?! Oops, bad question--anyhoo, pony up I said!

Money (That's What I Want): last but not least, our beloved Euskaltel=Euskadi is *still* in danger of going under, and if any of you ever wanna watch anyone climb anything bigger'n a walnut ever again without the direct aid of IV drips, discreet frame-hidden motors, or tainted livestock, I implore you to please, please, quit being such callous cheapskates and donate some moolah to the Official Racejunkie I Said Save Euskaltel !@#dammit! Campaign. C'mon--the first one to give Samuel Sanchez a raise gets a really hearty thank-you. No, some cool racejunkie stickers. No, a four-week rider insult moratorium. No, a whole post's worth of soft-core Tom Boonen shots. No...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Uh-Oh, *That* Don't Sound Right

Y'Know That Prickly Feeling You Get on the Back of Your Neck When Something Creepy's About to Happen?: yeah, well, no matter how well-intentioned, an inspiring article about the Schlecks' efforts to improve their notoriously sucktastic time-trialing and descending skills just starts to read a weeeeeeeeee bit creepier when it's subheaded something like "Weaknesses Being Targeted by Spanish Experts." Sorta like "Tom Boonen's Birthday Party Being Planned by Top Belgian Disco Owner!" Anyway, I'm sure Johan Bruyneel's got his top do--folks on the problem, and if only so Cadel and Contador don't totally make 'em look like asses against the clock next July, I'm genuinely rooting for the brothers to triumph in their new disciplines-o'-choice. Hell, with "experts" on hand, how can they fail?

Go Big George!: meantime, I see big George Hincapie's teaming up with BMC to support a squad's-worth of upcoming young cycling talent, and while BMC handles the tedious logistics of equipment, lodging, and morals clauses, Professor George is scheduled to teach such classes as "How to Win a Race Even After Your Bike's Spontaneously Exploded," "Econ 101: How Much Do You Have to Pay a Guy to Make Him Wash Your Bike Shorts?" and "What To Do When the Narcs Come a-Knockin' For Your Friend." Me, I'd be delighted to see any of these whippersnappers open up a can of whup-!@# on the peloton--I mean, am I the *only* getting bored with the sheer inevitability every time Gilbert lines up for a race?

!@#Dammit, Bjarne, What Part of "Pimp Yourself If You Have To, But Get This Guy" Don't You Understand?: okay, no more excuses: Geox is *over*, and Juan Jose Cobo needs your help--or more accurately, you need *his* help, because if you *don't* dredge up Contador some more talent in the next two or so weeks, *and* he chokes the Tour as a result, I guarantee you Captain Cool'n'Rational is gonna whang you over the head with his two-ounce bike helmet 'til you start to cower with annoyance and screech for mercy from the onslaught. Heck, don't you *want* a backup plan in case your boy goes down for cattle-doping? Come on, offer him *something*--your Tour trophy, your eternal soul, *anything* worth a few euros'll do!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yer Random News Roundup o' the Week--Rider Smackdown Edition!

Tyler Extends the Olive Branch: y'know, I was gonna post a whole bunch of sweet sentimental ponderings today on dreamy Cav's impending fatherhood and Rodriguez's adoration of Team Katusha, but !@#$ that--for my money, the best tweet o' the week is traitorous Lance Armstrong defector/men's-room beatdown rival Tyler Hamilton, generously letting Lance know that if he wants any restaurant recommendations while he's in town, silly inconsequential betrayal to the feds and impending legacy destruction or no, Ty's still his man. Note to Lance (who shockingly, however, hasn't apparently yet responded)--if you end up in some cockroach-ridden Southie back-alley with Tyler and a posse of black-clad goons at 2 a.m. "looking for the entrance", he ain't takin' you to Legal Seafoods for chowder. See, I can be nice!

BMC See the Bloody Remnants o' Yer Carcass Next Season, Thor!: and, unstoppable Velo d'Or Philippe Gilbert is already amping up the love at Team BMC, ruminating on his chances for dominance in Paris-Roubaix for 2012 and, one assumes, really reassuring Thor Hushovd that besides being demoted to Cadel's water-boy at the Tour de France, he can also look forward to being Gilbert's b!@#$ at the Classics next year. !@#dammit, has ever a recent World Champion been so nut-kicked in such swift succession by squads that oughta be backing him up? Yap, yap, Thor's a whiner, yap--much as I love Cadel and Philippe, he should be freakin' howling at the moon like a werewolf and going all Wolverine on their !@#es, and they should thank him extravagantly for doing it!

The Racejunkie Review o' Books: yes, all that fancy lit-crit is for weenies, because my spankin' new Ivan Basso autobio has just arrived on these very shores, and, faster'n you can say "Birillo," I hope to be posting the more salacious details of his career--which, I fear, may be sorely lacking in this edition--for both yer entertainment. Oh well, what it may lack in potentially-litigious peloton gossip, it'll certainly make up for in really pretty pictures. Woo-hoo!

Jens, the Next Generation: finally, I see total god Jens Voigt has tweeted that one of his Jenslets just competed in--and, inevitably, won--his first-ever bike race. me, I'm thinking that with approximately 563 offspring to his credit, Jens derivatives'll pack to the peloton enough within the next ten years that there'll be no-one left *but* a Jens and Jensette in the ProTour ranks, all joyfully bounding ahead of each other on the road whether their DSes want them to or not like labs after a just-tossed tennis ball. Bow, peons--and with that many of 'em coming up, we're gonna have to get used to doing it *often*!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yer Cyclist Guide to Morality, Fair Play, and General Good-Guysmanship

On Dekk: yep, as he returns to the peloton after his ignominious doping ban, former Rabo-rauser Thomas Dekker has taken the moral high road and pimped himself to the narcs--not because he personally has anything to gain, because as he justly points out he's already served his time, but because he wants to make the world a better place. Awwwwww, so sweet! Um, am I the only one thinking this is a total bull!@#$ excuse for him to root out a buncha other dopers so now that he's been personally declawed he doesn't have to compete against fellows as morally flexible as he (used to be)? Thomas, thanks in advance for noble services to yourse--uh, I mean cycling, that's it, cycling!

Now *That's* Freakin' Scary: Frankenstein and zombies my !@#, I'll tell ya what's really flippin' me out as Halloween approaches--though I've been tightly clinging to denial thus far, I must finally concede the rumors exist, from none other than dear Samu' himself, that beautiful perfect Euskaltel-Euskadi may be having sponsorship troubles, and, worse, may actually have to fight it out with FD-!@#damn-J of all squads for a high-level gig. Are you !@#damn *serious*? Sanchez is the reigning polka-dot jersey you dirt-sucking amoral goons! Aiiiiigggghhhhhh! Bad enough the rest of you big-budget pervmeisters are constantly stealing Euskaltel's talent--now you're gonna leave the lonely brilliant Basques without a single ProTour team to call their own? Aiiiigggghhhhhh! Ergo, I hereby establish the Racejunkie Save Euskaltel Euskadi Fund, for which, under these dire circumstances, I will be accepting dollars, euros, yen, Groupons, trade ya whatever your mom packed in your lunchbox, marbles, candy, livestock, crap from ebay that can't even garner the minimum bid, and untraceable illicit black-market !@#$ that'll probably land me in prison the next ten years. Save Euskaltel--Aiiiiggggghhhhh!

The Mask of Zorr--Uh, Kolobnev: so lemme get this straight: although there was zero doping positives at the Tour de France this year, a guy who tests poz for a diuretic/masking agent (which masks, y'know, dope), is gonna get a 50-cent fine and a sloppy wet kiss from the narcs, but a wayward party-boy who comes up twice for coke-for-fun in 7 years is gonna get barred from the sport for 2 1/2 years? Not to endorse anything potentially involving horrid European techno music, but what the hell kind of sense does *that* make? At least prove he snorted it outta his musette when it'd've helped 'im in a breakaway or something first! Still, this does provide a valuable lesson: so long as you don't show up with actual dope in your system, evidence you've been trying to *beat* the tests is all juuuuuust fine. Thanks for the clarification--anyone else picturing Danilo DiLuca running out to stock up on whatever girly !@#$ was making him test at the testosterone levels of a Bratz doll a few years back?

Clean as a Whistle!: finally, it's with unrestrained delight that I report that the Vuelta a Espana was completely clean this year, which, considering they've allegedly historically taken even less interest in anti-doping efforts than the Amgen EPO Tour o' California did this season, makes me fully confident that the shocking result in nearly every stage plus GC this year is, in fact, clear evidence that previously-frustrated talents now allowed to compete on a level playing field are finally getting their rightful day in the sun. Yep, the peloton'll toast to that--wait, that ain't no champagne glass!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yer Burnin' Cycling Question O' the Week: #whatthehellwascontadorthinking?

'Cause This Sure As Hell Wouldn't've Happened to Armstrong: so let me get this straight: Contador--yes, even our brilliant wee Contador--needs some more support in the mountains next season, Saxo boss Bjarne Riis has known for a *year* he's gonna need some more support in the mountains, the !@#damn 2011 Vuelta winner, Denis Menchov (hint: both these guys are decent climbers), and their support riders are all out of a job with Geox's implosion and willing to ride without saddles next year to get a new gig, and one of the winningest riders and winningest team bosses of all cycling history can't scrounge up enough dough between 'em to buy *any* of these guys for next year? What the hell is *wrong* with this sport? And no offense, Alberto--because your tactical sense has certainly grown all up of late, and no-one can blame you for bailing for *anywhere* much less Bjarne and a really very fine stable of talent after the last couple seasons you've had--but this domestique debacle would *never* have happened to Lance. Of course, Lance is the kind of guy who (allegedly!) corners ex-minions outside of bar-room bathrooms like high-school-bitch on dork at Homecoming, so I imagine one might reasonably stick with him for life or else--but dang, you can't even sell off the diamond-encrusted fuzzy dice from yer sportscar to raise a few euros for one of yer ol' pals to have yer back? Hey, Samuel Sanchez sez he'd like to work with you--sure, they got no money either, but maybe you could still ditch Bjarne for Euskaltel!

News From the Department of Total Pointlessness: and, say what you want about Jan Ullrich--'cause you can sure as hell say it about everyone else he rode against, including a few guys who've still got starring roles in the peloton--but to me, at least the guy kept to his twisted code o' silence and didn't fake a bunch of bull!@#$ crocodile tears in saccharine crap remorse for publicity points, and since he's spent the last five years in a tailspin and only just emerged back on the charity circuit, I'm inclined to say it is completely useless at this point for the selective hypocrites at UCI to continue to try to prosecute his !@#. Their reasoning? Apparently, they'll look even more randomly vindictive--or enabling, depending on the rider--than they already do, if they don't. Now *that's* the way to clean up the sport, Pat "Dick" McQuaid--anyone else you wanna yank outta retirement to make an example of? Didn't think so!

Gee, We Oughta Just Start a New Cable Channel For This !@#$: speaking of which, as technological mastermind Floyd Landis goes on trial in absentia in France for computer hacking--for which, if I interpret L'Equipe correctly, the penalty is a year's diet of Wonder Bread, Cheez Wiz, and rotgut foreign sparkling wine--I see associated drug-weasel Joe Papp has been sentenced as well, and I gotta say, if this trend continues, certain riders are likely to openly stick their IV bags right on their handleb--um, repent unprovoked and voluntarily ban themselves 'til their careers would've been over already anyway. The proof--there's been nary a doping poz this season, except for a freak group of renegade Canadians, so it's obvious these hard-line tactics are working. Congrats to all--now, pay no attention while I suddenly start having play dates this winter with Ferrari!

Back In My Happy Place: finally, as I offer my fondest wishes for future employment to the thanklessly ditched loyal-Lanceista Ekimov outta the Johan Bruyneel ranks, compliments to talented youngster Brice Feillu for finding a home after the LeopardSkank merger debacle, which means that between them, Geox, and HTC's collapse, there's only a mere 6000 or so worthy pro cyclists still left without a contract next season. Y'know, far be it from me to suggest that a dedicated cyclist consider crossing over to another sport or nothin'--but heck, if any of y'all are desperate enough, I hear that say the Mets could use a hand (that's *any* hand) next season!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's the 2012 Tour de France, Baby (Again)--Somewhere, Andy Schleck is Crying

Off-Season My !@#!: well, the Tour de France route's been formally announced after a concerted campaign to hunt down and kneecap the bastard who caused the epic route-leaking screw up earlier, and baby Schleck, you can forget those few short months of R&R after dragging approximately 8 million miles outta yer legs this season: you've got basically the winter to correct your main weakness before Cadel, Alberto, and even Ivan beat the crap out of you at the Tour, or, in Desperate Pollyanna P.R. Bull!@#$-speak, "I am really looking forward to working with Johan Bruyneel, the guys at Trek, and the aero-geeks at MIT in the wind tunnel to refine and perfect my time-trialing position this winter." Good luck with that, Andy, truly--you are gonna freakin' need it! Still, you'll have yer chance to shine and conquer at the punchy new climbs and the few summit finishes, so long as there aren't any of those irksome "descents" along the way. Hey, if Alberto actually gets banned, I'm sure *he* could help you with that--he sure won't have anything else to do the next 12 months!

Wow, Maybe Katusha Doesn't Suck So Much After All: sure, they tossed Pippo Pozzato into the trash like a radioactive germ-stuffed hanky in flu season, but Team Katusha apparently ain't *all* bad--unlike lame-!@# Rabobank and Movistar, they're reportedly on the verge of hiring the great Oscar Freire for his last (aaaaiiiiggggghhhh!) season in the peloton. Even better, they bagged the legendary Erik Zabel (no, he didn't "dope," he said he rinsed with "Scope," you haters!) to coach the fast men. All right, Katusha, here's yer chance--now give we love Oscar the support he deserves, and don't !@#$ this up you trolls!

Search and Destroy: finally, peloton god Jens Voigt tweets that he's got a fine new hobby, geocaching, which seems to me the perfect opportunity: some directeur sportif--please, *anyone*--needs to suss out Jens' next search target, and leave a new contract and a huge bundle of unmarked euros as the prize. Oh, I know, dear Jens is sweetly loyal to the Schlecks--but come on, surely Bjarne Riis at least is flippin' out enough over his betting the farm so rashly on Alberto Contador next year to bankroll a sufficient sum to make a breach o' contract with RadioSkank worthwhile!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blood, Guts, and Liquigas--It's the 2012 Giro d'Italia, Baby!

Who Can It Beeeeee Now?: yes, reluctant defending Giro champ Alberto Contador is going for full-on revenge at the Tour de France--and not even considering he won't be able to do either of them--which leaves, despite a penultimate-day blowup on the Stelvio that Contador could really whale on, basically a spindly-gladiator internecine dog-fight between warily-complementary Liquigas teammates Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso for Grand Tour glory. Look, prodigy Nibali blew this year's Vuelta and Basso woofed--despite a fine and steady performance throughout, but we're talking by Basso standards here--his once-unquestioned claim to the Tour. So the question is, does Liquigas put a much surer bet on proven Giro commodity Basso for three-peat Italian glory and just pray for Nibali to hold it together for a decent showing in July, or does it assume that a Contador-free Nibali can still grab the Giro with a bunch of domestiques essentially training to support Basso and put all its real faith into Ivan's potential for a final maillot jaune in Paris? Me, I'm guessing that even Basso's hard-swallowed pride of the last few years won't allow a major rebellion from Nibali just yet--but one thing I do know is, with this year's flat-lovin' parcours, Mark Cavendish'll look really bad even for a sprinter if he skips out any time before the final week!

"Falling Leaves" My !@#--You *Suck*, UCI!: and, as the last edition of the real Giro di Lombardia goes out with a thrilling and satisfying end with a win by typically unheralded worker-bee Oliver Zaugg, it finally whacks me like a Grand-Tour post-doping-control "stomach virus"--that wanker Pat "Dick" McQuaid really means it when he booted Lombardia from its rightful season-ending position in favor of the Tour of Beijing for 2012, because if there's any hallowed tradition *more* deserving than the beautiful Giro di Lombardia of being kicked back to a totally unnecessary and irrelevant time slot near the Worlds in favor of a one-year-old race no-one yet cares about in which cyclists are afraid to eat the food, DSes are afraid to feed it to them, and riders are tweeting each other terrifying photos of the lung-munching pollutant haze, Pat "Dick" apparently hasn't heard of it. What next you goons, rescheduling the dandy and certainly enjoyable--but still pretty new--Amgen EPO "Don't Bother With Those Silly Blood Tests, We Don't Mind" Tour of California exactly so half the peloton'll bail on the far more worthy, century-old Giro d'Italia? Oh, *double* suck, UCI! Anyway, here's the glory our humble Zaugg deserves: All Hail the Domestiques!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Minor Correction To Contador's Clenbuterol Explanation

Nice Guys Finish First: yes, as yet another cyclist gets off on a clen violation because Mexico's meat supply is widely viewed as contaminated, the teams openly disdain Chinese food on impurities grounds at the recent Tour o' Beijing, and a certain 2010 Tour de France champ's CAS case draws nigh, I think this is a great opportunity for the unduly-discreet Alberto Contador to correct the international press on their 8,964th mistaken report that Alberto said his contaminated beef came from "Spain," when in fact he's been claiming for the past two years that it was flown in from "Mexico" or "China." Aw, that sweet kid, not wanting any reporters to get in trouble with their editors--but you can't *always* be so kind Alberto, it's *okay* to set the record straight now and then!

The Wheels on the Bus Go 'Round and 'Round: the hell with "doping," o scumlords of the peloton--perhaps, as in the recent case of a renegade English marathoner, it's time to revive a new/old method of improving yer results, taking a bus to the finish line. Now, to be sure, this trick's been tried in the Tour de France before, but really, if you're gonna risk a ban anyway, which'd you rather do--Ricco' a life-threatening fridge-bag of gross old congealed blood (uh, right, "iron solution") into yer virgin system, or blow a coupla euros on medically harmless bus fare? Ding, ding, we have a winner--who's afraid of the big bad blood test now (when you bother to run 'em), UCI?

Your Deep Denial Moment o' the Week: now, I don't know about you, but no matter what the whiny Padova narcs say, *I* wholly believe, as the Italian national cycling federation agrees, that former canniest rider ever/current squadra azzurra commissario tecnico Paolo Bettini was just being darned *thoughtful* when he reminded his notoriously absent-minded riders about an upcoming doping control at the 2010 World Championships. Shut up! And before you haters get your chamois in a bunch, if the cycling fed really *did* want there to be a "surprise" doping control, why on earth would they tell the team head honcho far enough in advance for him to warn anybody, which in any event the great Bettini would never ever do? There, proven--the man is clearly innocent! La-la-la-la-la--I can't *hear* you, so just !@#$ off!

Sky's the Limit: finally, as our dear readers kindly reported, British sprint-studpup Mark Cavendish has officially signed for Sky, raising concerns over how the team is gonna balance Wiggo's bid for GC and Cav's tragic upcoming loss of the green jersey to Thor Hushovd (shut up!) at next year's Tour, and, more important, begging the (trust me, related) question: what the hell is Levi Leipheimer gonna get to do at Quick Step when Boonen kicks !@# this season, and how the !@#$ am I gonna bear watching Fabian Cancellara and indisputable god Jens Voigt being soiled every day by Johan Bruyneel's RadioSkank kit? Oh well, at least Stuey O'Grady's gonna be wearing GreenEdge...Jens, please, I'm sure the Aussies've got at least *one* last spot on their squad--look, look, see how pretty their new outfits are?!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's The 2012 Tour de France, Baby--Oops!

How Do You Say "You're Fired!" In French Again?: yes, the 2012 Tour de France route has been revealed, which is great--except for the poor bastard who posted it a week before the actual presentation was supposed to take place. Of course, since I assume they're scrambling to scrap the entire route right now so it looks like it was just a completely made-up "prediction" by the rabble-rousers at L'Equipe instead of a humiliating internal ASO woof, this could in fact be *good* news for none other than Baby Schleck, who has recently vowed to improve his dismal time-trialing but must have been horrified to learn today that the Tour organizers planned to completely jack him out of the win in Paris with approximately 5,600 kilometers of the discipline. Oh well, ASO, at least you don't have to agonize over whether multiple Tour winner/potential 2010 Tour strippee Alberto Contador should take the stage with Cadel and Andy at the route-presentation press conference!

Greg Van Avermaet Takes Off (And Takes It Off): and, after what must have been a very frustrating last kilometer for poor Marco Marcato, during which Greg Van Avermaet sat on Marcato's wheel like a lump o' lead only to pull out around him as Marcato's leg seized up in a burnin' ball, Van Avermaet took the win at Paris-Tours, and, in lieu of available video, I bring you a photo of his win instead: . Gee, he didn't even need a bike to do it--impressive!

Suck It, Katusha!: in other news, after a crap season at the grossly unappreciative Team Katusha, Pippo Pozzato finally took his first win o' the year at the GP Beghelli, which means not only is he looking good ahead of next weekend's season-finale Giro di Lombardia, but with this new result on his side he's probably gonna be able to squeegee new squad Farnese Vini into upgrading his next season's lodgings from a standing-room-only berth with the soigneurs in a hotel janitor's closet to an actual above-ground shared hotel room. Things are lookin' up for 2012, Pippo--now don't blow it!

Watch Out for Deer: on a cautionary note, many thanks to cycletard for tweeting this footage of a freak collision during a mountain bike race, which makes me wonder if this, along with the truly humungous number of recent road-race cloven-hoofed disasters, proves the entire worldwide population of prey animals has suddenly pegged cyclists as the mistaken target of their enmity: Very glad to read the boy's okay, and the rest of you--watch out for Bambi!

Hold It Together, Cav!: finally, the incomparable Tom Boonen can breathe a sigh of relief that he's not doomed to be Mark Cavendish's lead-out beeyotch next year, as Cav's rumored deal with Quick Step has fallen through and, bizarrely, he still hasn't inked a deal with anyone else yet, either. Bad timing, Cav, it surely didn't help to have let yourself get so far behind at Paris-Tours this weekend--but it's still not like most DSes wouldn't sell off most of their minor relatives to get you to sign on with 'em anyhow!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends, With A Little Help From My Frieeeeeeeeee-eeeends!

Oops, I Mean, I Get *By* With a Little Help From My Friends: yes, on the eve of his CAS appeal, none other than patron saint of drug-snorting livestock Alberto Contador has called for "more rider involvement" in doping regulations, and before you nasty-minded cynics naysay the whole idea, I, for one, think it would be a great service to the sport if Lance, Floyd, Vino, and--well, you get the idea--all formed one big Roman-orgy love-in of a cyclist executive committee to put together some standards everyone with (allegedly!) ungodly amounts of dough and unscrupulous connections can live with (and win with) and set the whole thing straight from here on out. !@#$, if UCI can't keep its microdosing minions from unfortunate errors and unpleasant publicity, who better than expert riders to set some realistic goals? You go, Alberto--and the rest of you, he can wave to from the window of the team car as he gets chauffeured back to his hotel past you suckers still slogging up the road in the "autobus" towards the finish line!

Hang 'Em High: of course, in the same article, UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid's got a different take on the whole situation, saying that the national cycling feds oughta be banned outright so riders he's pissed off at that week can avoid that pesky due process and head straight to an international kangaroo court instead, which, while certainly likely to cut down on the nationalist fervor of antidoping ministers with a more, well, cutting-edge view of sports medicine as regards their own athletes, seems really unfair to extremely vigilant countries like, say, Spain. Damn, is there any option here for noble riders and faithful fans that *doesn't* suck?

A Gentle Plea for Reason: and, before we leave this topic for today, may I also point out a reason that, as November approaches, the fine folks at CAS might want to give our pretty little Contador a walk? Yes, yes, our charming boy is pure as snow, and surely, that counts for something--but more important, am I the *only* person who'd rather listen to a thousand rabid in-heat wolverines screeching for all eternity than hear Andy Schleck bitching about Contador (because let's face it, there's pretty much nothing bad one can say about Cadel) for the *next* two !@#damn years? Yeah, didn't think so--I rest my case, free Contador!

Give 'Em Hell, Cadel!: finally, speaking of whom, defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has spit out his plans for 2012, and while it's certainly a darn shame he won't be gracing the Tour Down Under, I *would* like to suggest that, while I've never been a big fan of human-machine hybrids (Fabian Cancellara naturally excepted), given the ringing endorsement recently given Cadel by none other than Big Mig himself, if there's ever been a case for, say, surgically implanting an outlet in your !@# and plugging in a giant neon sign blaring "MIGUEL INDURAIN JUST CALLED ME 'RIDER OF THE YEAR'", *that* compliment is it. Oh, come on Cadel--it'd still be sorta aero stuck onto yer time trial skinsuit, don't you think?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Game On, Baby Schleck!

Tick-Tock, Sucker!: yes, even in the wake of WADA backing off on its own butt-kissing cowardice and sticking with a minimum level for clenbuterol despite doe-eyed superstar cash-cow Alberto Contador's upcoming doping appeal and the easy "why the hell bother punishing 'im" excuse it would provide, our boy's gutsily announced his program for next year, this time skipping the Giro he rode in case of a Tour ban last year, and setting his sights 100% on Paris. That's 9 months you've got to learn to time trial and make your peace with those unfairly-included "downhills," Andy Schleck! Of course, the race is Cadel's to defend, but with BMC apparently aiming for a spectacular infighter-meltdown between the already-irritated (and thoroughly justified, so stuff it!) Thor Hushovd and ever-ready stage-seeker Gilbert, Alberto's got a pretty sweet shot at the whole show despite a Frank'n'Andy tag-team wear-down--if he's allowed to ride next year. Good luck in November, Alberto--but I bet Andy's not quite so rooting for you!

Don't Cry for Me Jakob Fuglsang ('Cause The Giro Won't Change For *Your* Whiny !@#):
meantime, the spectacular Giro d'Italia's announced its 2012 queen stage, packing in a record 465 climbs in one day including the fearsome summits of the Mortirolo and Stelvio, leaving the race completely undecided until after the penultimate day and already causing nuevo Vuelta sensation/now-serious Giro aspirant RadioSkank recruit Jakob "Jan Ullrich's Mini-Me" Fuglsang to start crying like a 2-month-old. Look Jakob---you are a stellar young talent with a bright future at the Grand Tours. But do you really wanna start emulating Andy Schleck in *everything*?

Questions That Keep You Up At Night: okay, maybe not "you," but probably unjustified Bruyneel reject Jani Brajkovic, anyway--like, is Alexandre Vinokourov gonna nurture and support me to my full and obvious potential at Team Astana, or is he gonna intentionally claw his bike over my body like a discarded gel-snack on his way up the mountains at next year's Tour? Me, I'm genuinely hoping for the best for the talented Jani, but then, well, Vino *has* been known to be a little erratic. Damn, kid, maybe you'd've been better off with RadioSkank--at least the Schleck brothers are fairly harmless!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Caaaaaaaaaaav!: And, Your Overall Worlds Roundup

Well, it's big love (and a dashing photo of Cav, of course) to our Brit friends on Mark Cavendish's smashing win at the Worlds today (see, I can be fair to your boy!), and aside from that, just a few things we might remember about this lively week:

1. I was all kinds of ready to extravagantly compliment the French racers for not sucking and musing enthusiastically on their bright new future after stars-o-tomorrow Arnaud Demare and Adrien Petit went 1-2 in the men's U-23 road race and Pierre-Henri LeCuisinart or whatever bagged the junior men's, 'til some French asshat crashed and WRECKED THOR HUSHOVD'S CHANCES TO DEFEND HIS JERSEY! Fine, the French won't suck *soon*. And I like pomme frites, so I'll give 'em that too. But for holding up Thor, your compatriot *blows*!

2. Amber Neben certainly earned her spot in the time trial, as, by whatever obscure criteria, she won her appeal fair and square--it's not her fault those morons couldn't get their act together on a ruling 'til Kristin Armstrong had just landed in freakin' Copenhagen. But if *I* were Armstrong, and I were home with a cold one in my hand watching those results on TV...come on, like *you* wouldn't be pissed!

3. I'll give it to 'em--for Cav to take that sprint after having been boxed in and losing any kind of home-town wheel to cling to despite a bitchin' lot of work by his teammates, a situation completely out of his comfort zone--*that* was some kind of bad-!@#. Congratulations, Cav--you did in fact rock this one!

4. Watching the perfect Dutch lead-out in the women's road race, and then Marianne Vos *still* taking second place, was just heartbreaking. On the other hand, strikingly like her commissario tecnico Paolo Bettini, two-years-running champ Georgia Bronzini is one canny !@#@$%^&*!. Well played!

5. For Fabian Cancellara to be rocking all over the bike like a rum-drunk sailor in a hurricane, and *still* come in third in the world in the time trial, is a testament to his greatness. And didn't Tony Martin beating him *not* give you the same sickly feeling as when Stefan Schumacher did back in that Tour?

6. I've hereby solved this total !@#$shit question over whether some of the best cyclists in the world should be guaranteed the same minimum base pay as, say, the high-school delinquent who cleans out yer local 7-Eleven's Slurpee machine: everytime Pat "Dick" McQuaid says something toadying, arbitrarily enemy-attacking, or just plain asinine, that's 10 bucks in the women's peloton paycheck kitty. Screw that silly sponsorship dough--Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, six months from now, you're rich!

7. Y'know, Ina-Yoko does kinda scare me, but after watching Judith Arndt in the time trial, I'm pretty sure that if I or, say, the Incredible Hulk met her in a dark alley on a bad-mood day, one would need some pretty serious nonexistent video-game weaponry to come outta there alive. Just sayin'. Go Judith!

8. Finally, for certain faithful readers, yer bonus gratuitous Cav adulation shot:

Complimenti to all, and to all a good year!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Armstrong Question: Should They or Shouldn't They?

Yes, cycling fans, I'll get to the Worlds, but before we even find out if Thor Hushovd is gonna kick !@# for a second year in a row or whether he's gonna intentionally hang back in an excess of modesty and graciously let some undeserving schnook take the stripes instead (shut up!), here's the question of the day: as the Italians accuse you-know-who of using a sham company to discreetly funnel money to old "social friend" Michele Ferrari in exchange for a damn thorough doping regime, should the narcs continue pursuing Lance Armstrong, or shouldn't they? Okay, Lance's time--and that glorious period of hero-worship, genuine naivete, and unimpeachable faith--has passed. So I get it--in a way, what the hell's the point? But for my money, if yer gonna sic a slobbering pack of PR goons on your every real or imagined enemy, get yer nemeses kicked permanently outta yer favorite beer haunts (horrors!), and call everyone who halfway dares to cross you a cheater, liar, druggie, betrayer, scumball and general puppy-kicker, I say, game on, you smug punk-!@# bully! Y'know, there's your own personal omerta'--and really, can one *so* despise, say, an Ullrich who, knowing exactly who gets taken down and who oughta be but isn't, at least only destroys himself with his denials?--and there's bull!@#$ing *and* punishing the guys who--for their own selfish and messy and noble and regretful reasons, so let's not fake they're saints either--call you on it. Oh well, at least we know there was no doping at the Tour de France *this* year--the *rest* of those (alleged!) miscreants were all riding the Vuelta!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And He's Off (the Hook Again)!

Too Little (But Not Too Late): yep, things are lookin' good for doe-eyed young Grand Tour savant Alberto Contador: WADA, apparently as reluctant as UC--um, everyone else--to lose the Greatest Cycling Ambassador/Cash-Cow Since Lance Armstrong, is totally coincidentally now on the threshold of Alberto's doping appeal considering instituting a minimum acceptable level--and bagging the zero-tolerance--for Clenbuterol. Yap, there's no guarantee this would influence Contador's appeal, yap--I got a bridge in Brooklyn needs buyin', chumps! Anyhoo, the only wrench in this gigantic gift is the pesky fact of all those alleged plasticizers also resident in Alberto's blood, but not only is the test juuuust undeveloped enough to give our hero's lawyers a bitchin' ground for smackdown, but I have it on extremely reliable authority--that is, my own--that 'Berto ingested that plastic !@#$ chewing on the new Lego set Bjarne Riis got 'im last Christmas. Damn, Bjarne--can't you at least get him something that's *not* a banned substance to teethe on?

A Modest Proposal To Solve Missed Doping Tests: first, skeletal Danish superstar Michael "the Chicken" Rasmussen gets busted by UCI and Rabobank after it becomes irksomely public that he blew off a doping controls fleeing to Mexico. Next, it's poor Jeannie Longo. Now, it's Danish (mmmmmm...Danish) trackie Alex Rasmussen of near-defunct HTC getting fired for not being where *he's* supposed to be. Now, me, I'm sure all these missed connections have nothing to do with any of 'em doping. Why? Because I'm an eejit. But while I'm no techno-whiz, either, it seems to me there's an easy, dignified solution to make sure cyclists are where they say they are when they say they are--(1) those lunky electronic collars you use to buzz pets with a "humane" wad o' voltage if they stray, and (2) one a' them GPS microchip thingies they implant into runaway-prone dogs, except maybe right under the sponsor logo on the shorts-butt for convenience. C'mon, just *think* about the broader possibilities--Andy Schleck, say, tries to sneak into Saxo territory to slash the tires on Alberto Contador's bike on the queen stage of the Tour de France, and ZAPPO--he's droppin' that naughty Swiss Army knife like a hot potato! Yes, thank you, you can nominate for me official UCI watchdog here....

Russian Roulette: meantime, in pinup transfer news, Classics stud-machine Pippo Pozzato has bailed out of the thankless Katusha--and why that is is beyond me, because as Contador can tell you, hangin' with a squad that ABSOLUTELY HATES YOU is a peach--for smaller tho' actually very fine Italian squad Farnese Vini, potentially screwing him out of Paris-Roubaix but most definitely allowing him to race--um, down the block to the gelateria? Well, this can only be a turn for the better, Pippo--and if Farnese don't let you race, you can always go back to modeling!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive, Baby!: dang, it's good to be the king: Philippe Gilbert's reportedly gotten the Tour de France 2012 to change the first stage for him because, well, he doesn't think he can win it and Philippe doesn't darn well *like* that! Y'know, I'm all for valued rider input on the courses--for example, "I don't want to get beat down by a bunch of political radicals when I'm just trying to ride a !@#damn bike race"--but for my money, this kind of !@#-kissing goes a *bit* too far. Hell, with all due respect to Thomas Voeckler, dear race organizers, if you're gonna rig the Tour de France course, at least rig the freakin' thing so a French guy can win the maillot jaune in Paris for once!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, No, Carlos!

This Just Sucks: so wee little Sastre, having already announced he's leaving Geox after a wholly pointless and mutually self-destructive alliance with Denis Menchov, has finally decided his future: he's retiring. Now, I have had certain persons who shall remain nameless suggest that, despite his obvious total greatness, it was, perhaps, a bit odd that our pure climber rode the time trial of his life and pulled off the win at the 2008 Tour de France, to which my highly analytical response is, of course (1) bite me! and (2) even though Carlos *did* have the time trial of his life, (a) it still kinda sucked, which *has* to be reassuring, and (b) the maillot jaune, as Phil and Paul say--and what kind of unworthy heathen would argue with them?--gives you wings. And that's *only* the maillot jaune, you haters! Anyway, since turning pro with the late great ONCE 15 years ago, Carlos Sastre racked up a huge palmares, but was never too humble to domestique someone who deserved it--right up through the 2011 Vuelta--no matter the personal cost. Here's dear little Sastre winning on Alpe d'Huez in 2008:

And kickin' !@# at the Giro in 2009:

And generally being way more fabulous than that oppressor-wank Bjarne Riis ever deserved after the way he treated 'im:

Aw, rats--thank you Carlos for 15 years of spectacular climbing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your General Roundup o' the Week; and, Watch Out, Alberto!

Thooooooor!: so, nouveaux climbing freak Thor Hushovd's lookin' mighty bitchin' ahead of the Worlds, bagging a victory at the Thor of Britain as reluctant Belgian leader Philippe Gilbert predictably whomps the field in his own latest race: Yer clearly getting past those sniffles you had that were a direct result of Jonathan Vaughters horribly screwing you out of your Worlds prep at the Vuelta--Thooooooooooooooooooooor!

So Longo, See Ya, Wouldn't Want to Be Ya: meanwhile, in the latest la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you news, perpetual French champ/inspiring ageless national icon Jeannie Longo's husband is getting busted for allegedly procuring EPO from tireless drug pimp Joe Papp, and Jeannie, of late in hot water herself for evading doping controls (like that stopped UCI from, say, letting Michael Rasmussen nearly take the Tour de France before they decided to get upset over it), has reluctantly withdrawn from the Worlds to avoid getting blood-tes--um, to stand by her man. Aw, I'm not worried--I'm sure that !@#$ was her grandmother's/her dog's/mislabeled baking soda/just a little something to give the neighborhood school kids an early-morning energy boost in their juice boxes!

That's Rich: since you just can't get enough of disgusting bottom-dweller Riccardo Ricco', I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that our hero has now sworn under oath to the Italian narcs that he never, never, never, never blood doped from his fridge, because, in fact, he did it from a bag stored in his coole--wait, am I reading this right? Anyhoo, lest you're tired of watching people actually summit *after* the rest of the peloton's had time to sign in at the start line on race day, Riccardo is promising that, like a season-ending saddlesore or an unpleasantly itchy reaction to that new chamois creme, he'll be back. Lookin' forward to it--especially since your compatriots you ripped off so many victories from must loooooooooove you so much!

Yep, I *Still* Feel Dirty: finally, it's with that warm and fuzzy feeling only truly oleaginous hypocrisy can produce that I report that Alexandre Vinokourov is back on the bike, training for Lombardy and, I presume, ready to bushwhack Alberto Contador with a buncha steel-toe-booted goons should this rumored marriage between Saxo Bank and Astana come to pass by the end of the season. If they go mano-a-mano, I know who I'm betting on--and it ain't the little twerp with the 65 Grand Tours to his name!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yer Deep Thoughts On The Vuelta a Espana


2. Chris Froome: not bad for a domestique.

3. Okay, I'm sure he earned it the hard way (hell, even the easy way is the hard way)--but don't tell me your eyebrow didn't raise juuuuuuuuuuuust a bit at the top podium in Madrid! Still, I'll believe 'til my little heart gets ripped out and stomped into a mazillion gazillion tiny pieces *again*: Venga Cobo!

4. Man, Tom Boonen is *cursed*. Come back, Tommeke, come back!

5. Looking back at my "welcome to the 2011 Vuelta" post, I look like a complete dumb!@#. Yes, I'm only copping to *that* post. Yeah, like you predicted it any better--stuff it!

6. Tyler Farrar may be the only sprinter in the cycling's entire history to admit he !@#$ed up a sprint and caused a crash. Pure class!

7. Wiggo's got *some* guts, boy.

8. Word to organizers: next time you stick a roundabout at the end of a sprint, put a guy with a freakin' flag there. But I bet JJ Haedo doesn't think so!

9. Liquigas, even *you* can't bag all three of 'em in one year. Pick one Grand Tour, and focus on it, from soigneurs on up. Forza Ivan--next year!

10. RadioSkank just *sucked*. Oh well, Klodi, maybe Johan'll let you take a couple guys from the development squad for you to domestique--um, to be your domestiques next Vuelta!

11. Moncoutie, Moncoutie, Oh-So-Soft-and-Cuddle-y: geez, these points-chasers are the accountants of the peloton. Not glam, but 4 KOMs ain't bad!

12. Contador is gonna beat the crap out of all these guys next year. Except Igor. Who's gonna take it, until Mikel Nieve does the year after. Shut up!

13. The Basques: Bitchinest. Fans. Ever. Epic--just try to give Igor a little room to move next time!

Friday, September 09, 2011

It's Jensageddon--Aiiiiggghhhhhhh!

Don't Tell My Heart, My Achy-Breaky Heart: oh my god, Anonymous (thanks Anonymous!) is right--we love Jens Voigt has signed with RadioSkank! It's like that horrible opening scene in "Jaws" where some pretty teenager bips away from the party at the bonfire to cavort in the surf ahead of her laughing boyfriend, and this creepy anticipatory music kicks in, and everything goes dead still for a moment, and a giant Great White shark rears up out of nowhere with its gazillion enormous razor teeth and ruthlessly chomps her to pieces, except it's Johan Bruyneel's head coming out of the water and he's got one of those unattractive RadioSkank jerseys clutched in his teeth and he hands it to Jens instead! Oh, Jens, I'll remain faithful to your superior godliness and if you say you want this I'll try not to yack--but please, please tell me this is all some horrid B-movie hallucinatory nightmare! Okay, just staaaaaay calm everyone (okay, me), at least Jens will still spend next year in the peloton no matter who he's with...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ivan Basso Gets Slapped

All Right, *That's* Too Much: look, I'm all for takin' down the Man. So if a bunch of separatists and/or their opponents wanna go all wingnut and start a half-riot at the Giro di Padania, hey, that's cool. But slapping Ivan Basso?! That's just punk-!@#, you pansies! First, as Ivan rightly notes, he's a cyclist, not a politician, so you're slappin' the wrong dude entirely. Second, he's a *cyclist* and weighs about 1/50th of a normal human being, so if you're any bigger than a freakin' Barbie doll you look like a complete wussy for whackin' him. Third--he's Ivan !@#$ing Basso you moron, do you know how much that pretty face is worth if he sues your !@# for bruising that thing?!--Betty Grable's legs alone were insured for $1 million back in World War II, for chrissakes! Oh, wait, that's his hot sister. Anyway, here's the chaos: That's it, not *quite* clear on the slap but close enough for me and a passel o' swooning jurors, you're going DOWN, fuzzy-boy--Ivan, sue the !@#$*&!!

Froome, Froome!: okay, sing it--you didn't peg Chris Froome for the podium--hell, even the guy who sets up the podium--at the Vuelta a Espana, either. But there he is, and there's Cobo, who you didn't see coming either, still in red. Which begs the question--what the hell? And before any of you wisenheimers start making little syringe-squirting motions with your hands, let me just say this--I have it on good authority (meaning, I can't find where I read it) that Juanjo rode a really, really low gear to win his stage compared to the other riders, and Froome--well, come on, the man was staggering all over the Angliru like a Bud-soaked frat boy coming off a merry-go-round, and anyhow, could that big a Boy Scout ever do anything that pervy? So go Cobo (even if Igor Anton *did* almost crush you today, woo-hoo!)--and don't !@#$ with my stupid faith in you, you hear?

Jens Voigt Transfer Update: nothin'! there isn't one! anywhere! not a peep from anyone! aiiiiigggghhhhhhhhhhhhh! aaiiiiiiiiggggghhhhhhh! Oh, Jens, *please* not RadioSkank...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Get Tom Boonen Back on the Blow; And, Where the !@#$ is Jens?

Party On, Tom!: okay, maybe I've suggested this before, but it bears saying again in no uncertain terms whatsoever: we've all faithfully supported the good-boy bull!@#$, but Tom Boonen was a better, luckier, gutsier rider when he was accepting suspect cocktails from strangers and snorting up mystery crystals at parties, and it's time he gets back to the job. Sure, it's the wisdom and maturity of age creeping up on him, his new-found fear of sprints, the natural caution that a series of crap season-screwing injuries is gonna have on you--Tom's clearly lost his joie-de-whup-ass, and that emasculating wanker Patrick Lefevere over at Quick Step better quit slagging our boy in the press, assess what's psyching him out, and !@#damn stuff him full of Ecstasy every night like a teenager if that's what's gonna make him happy. Now plug your ears from that hideous Euro-club techno-!@#$, Patrick, and get the real Tommeke back already!

Come Back, Jens!: first, aaaaaiiigggggghhhhh-it's true! Leopard-Trek is merging with RadioSkank! What the hell does it take to keep a sponsor *in* this business, anyhow, a Tour de France victory--damn, the French squads would've all croaked a generation ago! Second, why the !@#$ isn't we love Jens Voigt mentioned among the "nine riders" moving to Johan's House of Hell? I get he doesn't have a longer contract with Leopard-Trek--who gives? Is he retiring, in which event the entire peloton is gonna suck for decades to come? Is Johan stupid enough not to offer him at least a lousy year's gig, not that Jens working for anyone else--say, a pimp--wouldn't be preferable? Has some Michael Ball-esque Lance Armstrong wannabe wisely decided to hand Jens gazillions of no-strings dollars to start his own squad of fellow gods? Jens, you *can't* let this be the end--even if you should become a DS, no-one existing is worthy of your legacy!

Yer Vuelta a Espana Rest Day Round-up: all right, so a clearly back-on-form Igor Anton is gonna obliterate the field for a stage win in the last week--yeah, stuff it!--Wiggo, I think, has no-one to apologize to ever after impossibly sticking it out on the 23% gradients of the Angliru to hold on to 3rd, if the spectators keep messing with the climbers' lines some pack of citizen-vigilantes're gonna have to start whacking 'em out of the way with a stick since the cops ain't getting it done, Cobo looked so relaxed I thought he was taking a nap at 100kph, and, despite Nibali's brave declaration he's gonna fight it out for numero uno to the end, we're sure gonna have a surprise in Madrid because the only GC contender left out of the original bunch is the freakin' lanterne rouge at this point. Still, there's the Basque country left to come in the final week, along with Euskaltel's inevitable group o' victories. Yeah, I said it--venga Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

Oil and Water Don't Mix: last but not least, to no-one's surprise that oily little weasel Riccardo Ricco' has definitively been found to have besmirched faithful last-chance trainer Aldo Sassi by having not only blood doped but having done so like a world-class moron, which means Ricco', no longer troubled by such oppressive burdens as, y'know, riding a bike for a living, is now free to pursue his fallback career as a total !@#ho--um, bartender instead. Well, Riccardo, you open your new booze-house to cheating unrepentant dirtbags-on-wheels, and you got yourself a million-dollar biz and a regular "Cheers" without the laugh-track--good luck and good riddance, snake-boy!