Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tommeke's Back, Baby!

Woo-hoo Tom!: yes, our big babelicious Boonen, who'd actually have preferred to be at E3 Prijs this weekend but took Quick Step's demands to the contrary like a pip, is finally back after a long, glum post-illness bonk (though weren't you *so* proud to see Tom do *so* well sticking it out for *so* long in Milano-Sanremo while still recovering from the flu?) with a wholly unexpected--and beautifully played--pure sprint in Gent-Wevelgem. His reaction? More'n pleased, but not a typical sprinter-wank about it. Okay, Tom, you've eaten way enough humble pie the last couple seasons--time to come back and enjoy the main meal at the grown-ups' table from now on! Oh, and since I swore not to use that photo of you in a gladiator skirt anymore, lookin' good (with today's champ Frank Schleck no less) boy!

Yaaaaa-aawwwnnnn: okay, Fabian Cancellara is brilliant. But speaking of E3 Prijs, am I the only one who pretty well turned off the race in resignation and boredom when he took a flyer off the front with 16k to go and Haussler jerked off his wheel like he'd been actively glued to the tarmac? Forget "bike doping"--obviously, while the Spanish peloton was spending the entire winter dru--relaxing, the guy was in some secret medical clinic in Switzerland having his entire lower body replaced with titanium during the off-season. Cripes, Fabian, you can't at least *fake* a little fatigue for the guys behind you so we've got *something* fun to watch while you're riding?

Don't Mess With the Cavendish: meantime, ever-class whinemeister Mark Cavendish was less than thrilled to be taken out in Gent by some Movistar clown while he still had the legs to go for it--though what he was doing at the ass-end of nowhere in the peloton at that point in the race still escapes me--but, to his fine credit, managed to keep the post-race cursing to a minimum, unless I missed a whole bunch of Manx slang for "!@#$%ing Movistar mother!@#$ing !@#$er!" Here's the video: Aw, don't worry, Tusher--I know your boy'll come back blazing by the Tour!

Jeeeeennnnnnsssss!: fine, I know Frank Schleck actually won the Criterium International this weekend because the race organizers made a special if incomprehensible point of completely screwing the great Jens Voigt with the course, but it *was* dandy to see (1) Jens full-on attack from a gazillion kilometers out and (2) we still love Andreas Kloden taking another race, particularly since, when he popped around Samuel "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez at Paris-Nice, I was just too heartbroken to really root for him. Anyone else notice since the glory days of T-Mobile and RadioSkank that when Klodi hasn't a dedicated owner like Lance or Jan he's seemingly mentally incapable of not kneeling to, he can actually pull off quite a fine race in his own right? While we're at it, next guy (like Frank) who does that !@#damn double-fingered chest thump like some grunting boss-man gorilla crossing the line gets his !@#$in' arms ripped out of his shoulders by the urine-test guy. Capisce?

Sisters Doin' It For Themselves: finally, congrats to the great Emma Pooley for her win at the spiffy Trofeo Binda today. Now--say, Versus or Universal--can we get some footage of women's racing where and when we can actually see it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easy Rider (At Least 'Til CAS Nails His !@#)

Enjoy It While It Lasts, Contador!: yep, after a triumphal queen stage for Alberto over at the Volta a Catalunya (and not to spoil yer party, honey, but y'know, if you're trying to prove your innocence on doping charges, ostentatiously dropping the rest of the Tour de France contenders like a rock on a vicious climb don't exactly *help* yer case), UCI's announced it is in fact appealing the Spanish cycling fed's impressive exoneration of Alberto Contador to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The reasoning: UCI wants the "best decision" for "us, for Contador, and for the whole sport of cycling." Um, am I the only who thinks we're talkin' diametrically opposite interests here? In Contador's favor: cyclists--and even those hard-core steroid-stuffed Olympic ping-pong athletes--are getting off left and right these days for the inadvertent ingestion of Clenbuterol through loaded syring--um, tainted meat. Not in Contador's favor: well, pretty much everything else, particularly UCI's death-ray focus on showing that, between rider protests, revelations of half-million dollar Lance Armstrong gifts, shameless press-whoring, and, as the teams threaten to set up their own competing race league, its grievous losses in the Sissy-Boy Slap-Fight Superbowl, it hasn't been completely emasculated this year. Well, good luck with that, Alberto--and !@#dammit, Contador, I *told* you to cut that snotty "Pistolero" crap--you *know* if you keep pokin' at your brother in the back seat, he's gonna tell Mom!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Mint Milano (-Sanremo)

Gossie, Gossie, Gossie, Oy, Oy, Oy!: wow, what a wham-bang of a finish at Milano-Sanremo! I gotta say, I had Cancellara pegged, but without a long flat finishing straight the man just ran out of road--compliments all 'round to rising Aussie star (and, natch, our beloved Aussie reader(s)) Matt Goss on a truly smashing sprint! Of course, I was crushed to see O'Grady fade, and no-one was gonna let Philippe Gilbert get any space--much to his particular rage when Pippo Pozzato chased him down. And Cav, at least today you can plausibly say it was that crash--whew! Here's the finale and then some:

Perfetto!: speaking of Milano-Sanremo, what would today's race mean without fine comparative footage of the 1922 edition? You want some translation, let me know. So, for your viewing pleasure:
Wah, wah, "strade bianche," wah--check this !@#$ out!

What An Ass: okay, no sleek taglines for me on this one--Pat "Dick" McQuaid is just, if I may diplomatically say, a total wanker. Why? Because, rather than address the actual merits of the pro-race radio argument--which, since Jens Voigt sez so, must be both many and persuasive no matter what my ignoramus carcass thinks--he used his "open letter to the riders" on the race radio situation to not only insult Jens himself--for which he deserves, though I am personally a pacifist and do not advocate any sort of wildlife-driven vengeance, to be eaten alive by rabid wolverines--but also to fatuously accuse them of being brainless saps (okay, let's be fair, he got a few of 'em there) whose heads have been totally manipulated by their self-interested teams. Which is funny, 'cause I thought the only thing the teams were manipulating was the riders' blood values--ba-dum-bum! Thank you very much, folks, I'm in the Catskills every Tuesday night...

What A Maroon: finally, no post would be complete without some half-wit testing poz for something, so many thanks for "reformed" scum-weasel/hypocrite tattle-taler Patrik Sinkewitz for coming up with the goods on HGH. Y'know, I *knew* that crap could cause some facial-bone growth as a side effect, but honest, I couldn't even tell: Lookin' good, Pat!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cavendish, Cavendish, Wherefore Art Thou, Cavendish?

Disappoint Thy Lead-Out, And Confuse Thy Train: okay, so HTC-Columbia ain't panicking "yet" at the middling performance of fastest-man-on-earth Mark Cavendish so far this season, which must be why they're already also pegging Matt Goss as a protected rider for this weekend's festivities. And sure, his main 2011 goal of slaughtering every rival at the Giro, Tour and Vuelta is still some months away. But it's only a coupla days 'til Milano-Sanremo, baby, and with Tom Boonen at least having the excuse of the flu for being down, and Cav openly having touted his desire to crush the Classics as well, someone's gotta ask: you're gonna scare the likes of Freire, McEwen, and Hushovd with *that* crap show at Tirreno? How the hell can you insult everyone who helps you in your inevitable post-race no-brains interview meltdown if you're too far back at the line for anybody to want to talk to you anyway? Oh, Mark, you're just too entertaining to, this picture oughta fire you up!

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: uh, oh, UCI, better watch out: according to WADA, the "criminal underworld" is gaining control of the lucrative doping trade in pro sports, and if you guys !@#$ with their cash flow, they're gonna get *pissed.* Gee, maybe Alberto Contador is innocent after all, and surely all this whining and moaning about "CERA this" and "performance-enhancing" that really *is* just a buncha losers mad that they just plain can't win races. Here, let's flush that silly urine sample, Pat--that is, if you *like* having functioning kneecaps!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Evans: y'know, the man ain't flashy. But then--and this from a guy whose historically dull wheel-sucking would've been annoying if it hadn't been so snooze-inducing--Cadel strikes, and while Scarponi and Nibali sit up like dithering tactical blockheads on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico just yards from the line, he sneaks up and grabs the stage, and, for all intents and purposes, the overall win. So Ivan Basso sez he's not afraid of either Contador or Schleck in July? Fine--but he's an eejit if he's not at least a little scared of Cadel! Here's the move, just wait out the ad:

Ten-Four, Big Wanker: finally, over in race-radio news, the doper-enabler favoritism-junkies over at UCI are reportedly considering a compromise to allow genuine safety info, at least, to be immediately transmitted to the riders, which, I believe, makes particular sense for races on French soil. Anyone else envision the race commissaire grabbing the radio just to scream "!@#dammit, FDJ, if one of you weaklings don't take at least one race this season to salvage our national dignity you're gonna be taken out back of Sarkozy's garage like a rabid raccoon and shot!" Now *that's* a valid safety concern, dear reader(s)--"avoiding a 20-rider pileup" is the least of their problems!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Said Get Me a *Double* Espresso, Beeyotch!

I'm Never Gonna Dance Again/ Guilty Feet Have Got No Rhythm: no, Riccardo Ricco didn't dope--his total calamitous organ failure was just a completely random event, sorta like sneezing, or voluntarily jamming a drugged-up syringe into yer scrawny spandex !@--um, sorta like sneezing. And yes, he blames cycling for it instead of himself--so not only does the whole sport make him wanna barf, he's quitting to become a barista. Plenty o' call for them at the start line of a Grand Tour, Riccardo--just watch out some of your former teammates don't toss their scalding ristrettos into your eyeballs! And okay, a barista is actually a bartender, but really, even a hard-core customer can't drink enough bourbon to make this clown bearable. Look, I'm very sorry Ricco' almost killed himself disgracing the legacy of the great Italian trainer Aldo Sassi (and even worse, his undeserved mentor Gilberto Simoni) with a bag o' expired blood, particularly since the oily little gnome actually managed to spawn and nearly left an innocent child behind. And I'm truly glad he's wholly recovered, particularly 'cause it'll give him about 50 years to get over his cowardly ingrained denial and his wussmasterian tendency to run'n'hide behind his fiancee and mama's skirts and go apologize to the clean riders (oh, come on! there's gotta be *some*!) he !@#$ed out of a Grand Tour stage win. Ergo, one last, fond look at our little Cobra in action:
Oops, wrong link!:

All the Race News That Don't Make You Sick: meantime, there's been some pretty high excitement over at Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice this week, and for my money, aside from Andreas Kloden being allowed to win a race with his ex-boss no longer around to whip 'em (and did anyone tell the great Levi Leipheimer he's free to ride now that he doesn't need to do Lance's laundry anymore?) the most noteworthy is that--and we all know reigning World Champions don't hardly domestique for anybody, whether they've got the legs to win or not--smashingly gracious big lug we love Thor Hushovd deigned to lead out teammate Tyler Farrar for the jersey and stage win. You're great to watch, Tyler, but you better remember this favor on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix--now get to work with a hammer'n'chisel and start smoothin' 'em out for the man!

Friends In High Places: finally, if uber-narc/Lance nemesis Jeff Novitzky didn't have it hard enough evading hordes of pro-Lance torch-bearing villagers armed with pitchforks and Colt .45s trying to stop the search for truth in its tracks in Armstrong's home digs in Texas, now the man's got a Georgia Congressman on his butt, and to my mind anyway, I'd rather be rolled in tar and feathers and set on fire on some remote ranch somewhere than have to justify myself before a Congressional committee. Pretty good to be the king, Lance--but you still shoulda got Bush on your side before he got pissed crashing on his mountain bike!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

They Blinded Me With Science

You *Suck*, CAS!: okay, poindexters, clear this up: why the !@#$ is Franco Pellizotti busted for two years under the bio passport when actual proven dopers get to go free or get some punk-!@# 1-year suspension? Fine, Pellizotti's blood values came up "funny." Is that really as incriminating and does it really warrant the same result as, say, your actual drugged-up bloodbag--like Ivan's or Valverde's? Or even, taking the strict-liability clenbuterol rule into account, some !@#$up buying a tainted supplement from some shady assclown off the internet or tainted steak from a farmer? I'm not sayin' Franco's innocent (tho' let's face it, he ain't dirtier than half the peloton last year), but I *am* calling total, complete, unmitigated bull!@#$. And no, I don't want to reward a pack of cheating scumlords for being rich, lucky, or savvy enough to beat the tests. But dang, oughtn't they be held *less* accountable than someone at *least* as stupid and inarguably more clearly guilty? You *suck*, UCI--now do you have the guts to go after a star who *really* broke the rules? And no, "Um, we got Pietro Caucchioli too" doesn't count!

Shades o' Contador: no, not an actual positive test--they wish!--but Franco, for his part, does claim he's been "cheated" and vows he's had it with the whole unjust circus and is quitting the sport for good. Oh, Franco, you cut off those lovely locks for nuthin' least you've got nuthin' but time for them to grow back! Anyway, here's our (ex) Giro podium finisher/polka-dot jersey winner in happier days:

The Spanish-Italian War: meanwhile, the tifosi, of course, are freaking out, claiming (1) he didn't do it (2) if he did, they don't care and (3) as usual, the guilty Spaniards get to walk or put off their suspensions til they're actually clinically dead, while the guilty Italians get hosed just in time for that little bastard Contador to ride and take their hometown Giro, *again.* Aw, don't worry, I'm sure Alberto'll dedicate a stage win to Franco in May...won't that make you all feel better?

Nice To Know You: in race news, it's alternately thrills 'n' carnage at Paris-Nice. Today's smashing win (and nasty fall): Get well soon, Sagan--and geez, did *anyone* predict Thomas de Gendt for Stage 1?

Bow, Bow I Say!: finally, for no particular reason except I was just so happy luxuriating in the dulcet tones of Phil Liggett 'n' Paul Sherwen from Paris-Nice this weekend, I bring you a wholly gratuitous tribute to Sir Phil himself: Oh Phil, *tell* me they're all clean, I'll believe anything you say, I promise!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

My Fantasy Alberto Contador Press Conference

Good morning. I've called you all here today to break my sworn silence for the first time since I was falsely accused of doping at the 2010 Tour de France (brother/manager Fran whispers in ear). What? I've been complaining to the media every day? In that case, I've called you all here today because I haven't called you all here today since yesterday.

First, I'd like to address my defense to the minute amounts of clenbuterol found in my body. As we all know, this came from those leftover blood bags from the Tour de Suisse I thought were--(Fran whacks upside the head)--*ow!* I mean, from a tainted steak purchased in Spain for which we have the receipt. And if that doesn't hold up, we also have the receipt from the potatoes I ate that night as a side dish, because, as my team chef assures me, those things were so freakishly huge clen was obviously used to bulk those suckers *up*. I would like to point out to UCI and WADA, as they review my file in the desperate hope they can let me off the hook for this deba--(Fran pinches Alberto's arm)--Mo-om! Fran's pinching me!--review my file with all due objectivity, that the very fact that zero cows in a Spanish barnyard population of 36 million have ever tested poz actually proves my innocence, because obviously, no cow ever tested positive because obviously I ate the very one that *was* positive before it could be tested for clenbuterol. How do you like *them* apples, you doubters?!

Second, I'd like to address the issue of the plasticizer residue allegedly found in my blood that exactly chemically matches the plasticizers used in the high-grade medical equipment my soigneur purchased from that guy in the hoodie off the back of that tru--(Fran kicks sharply in shins)--ouch, quit it Fran!--I mean, found in IV tubing exclusively stored in locked vaults in hospitals. Mainly, that there's no UCI or WADA-approved test for it yet, so you can't get me. Nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah nyeah! Also, the reason it got there anyway even if it *did* get there anyway is because, as you all know, every time I do well on a training ride, Fran lets me have my Sunny D juice box with a Silly Straw. Look, my new one's blue--isn't that keen?

Third, I want to remind everyone of three things: (1) if you criticize someone with a preexisting medical condition for the totally unrelated defense of doping, you're a heartless !@#hole; (2) if you criticize someone who performs genuinely noble charitable work, you're a heartless !@#hole; and (3) in light of the fact that I'm doing this for *all* cyclists, primarily because I don't want to race against the rest of those drug-stoked dirtbags clean myse--(Fran pinches arm hard)--Mo-om! Fran's pinching me!--I ask you to give *my* protestations of innocence the same respect and credence you gave Floyd Landis, !@#$, I mean, Lance Armstrong. Did I mention I just donated $500,000 in cutting-edge laboratory equipment to UCI?

In conclusion, I'd like to remind you that I am just as cute if not even cuter than Ivan Basso, you big meanies made my parents cry, and most of all I want to thank the national cycling federation of Spain for having the strictest, most effective rider-protection sca--(Fran noogies Alberto's head violently)--I am *so* going to make Bjarne Riis beat the crap out of you Fran!--anti-doping program in the world. How else to explain that in the 852 "false" positives in the Spanish peloton in 2010 alone, there's never been a single conviction? Now *that's* due process, baby (Fran hustles Alberto out of room with cattle prod)!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Oh, Hush *Up*, Alberto!

La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You!: look, I'm with dear reader PJ to a certain extent on this--Contador is thrilling to watch on a climb, and the boundless satisfaction I got when he kicked Lance Armstrong's !@# and Lance was a graceless third-grader schoolyard beeyotch to him on the podium was a cold, cold glass of lemonade on a hot, hot day. But for %^&*'s *sake* Alberto, if you don't want UCI and WADA appealing your case (which, to be fair, they're gonna do anyway), *don't* go telling em' to "read the whole file" and "trust the process" just like you do. Get it, boy? If they're gonna back off on you at all, they need an out that doesn't make 'em look as shamelessly enabling and sycophantic as they've always been with La--that is, as the entire freakin' nation of Spain has been with you. You yap, you screw that up. You want to ride, let 'em scam their *own* bul!@#$ excuse so they can plausibly claim total neutrality when they get pounded for letting a big name off the hook, *again*. Capisce?

Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Joe's right, it *is* an interesting story--the return of erstwhile old-school pro/Olympic gold medalist/Colorado-scene eccentric Alexi Grewal. Now, I confess, back in the day, my knowledge of the 80s US cycling scene was pretty much completely limited to "Wow, Greg Lemond is kicking spindly Euro !@#!". But after catching up on what I've missed, I gotta say, I'm intrigued to see the man back in action. So does his inspiring story and imminent comeback--sorta like Chad Gerlach, whose tragic-yet-heartwarming tale of talent, freefall, and redemption apparently concealed a truly astonishing pervy doucheosity--x-out the fact that by some accounts the guy was allegedly a massive tool when he was at the top of his game? I mean, let's face it, if sheer character dictated success, Jens Voigt'd be, well, even more of a god than he already is, I'd be completely out of an already-lowly blog, and Lance'd be in an unventilated sweatshop scrubbin' the six-hour skank off George Hincapie's chamois somewhere. Anyway, since I don't have to ride with him, I'm wishing him all the best on his return. Gerlach, however, is another matter. Facebook and ye shall sow, pig-boy!

Game On, Baby!: last but not least, as the Classics finally get underway in earnest, and Thor, Tom, Philippe, and George get ready to cause their fellow riders some serious pain, fastest-man-on-wheels Mark Cavendish has announced his season plan: he's ready to take on the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta, the Classics, and that mother!@#$er who deliberately got into the 12-items-or-less line at Whole Foods with 13 items. Me, I'm expecting another smashing Milano-Sanremo and, of course, a ripsnorter of a post-race insults-to-everyone interview whether he wins or not. Good luck Cav--and especially lookin' forward to seeing you at the press conference! Here he is with the win in 2009: