Tuesday, May 31, 2011

*Now* We're Fighting Doping, Baby!

Amore & Vita Lays Down the Law: yep, fine Italian squad Amore & Vita is the latest to take on losing cause/perpetual scum-weasel Riccardo Ricco, on five conditions--first and most important, he's gotta lose the piercings and that faux-gangsta diamond embedded in his tooth. No !@#$, I swear this is true! Oh, and no syringes. Unless the team authorizes them. Then they're okay. Hey, there's *lots* of reasons to pump drugged-up blood back into your sys--I mean, use an IV to rehydrate after a really, really hot race!

Money (That's What I Want): over in Tour de France news, I see the Tour organizers are reluctantly accepting that CAS has given Alberto Contador the go-ahead to race in July, particularly since the presence of Contador and the prospect of another neverending catfight with Andy Schleck can only be great for publicity and rake in truly huge amounts of dou--that is, since they have no other choice but to suck it up despite their awesome personal commitment to stopping doping in its tracks. Unless Contatwerp can get 'em some new sponsors with deep pockets. And make the Armstrong Tour frenzy look like a cold rainy day at the beach. Hey, what's a little (accidental!) clenbuterol between friends--I've got a new luxury villa in Provence to finance, right?

(No) Beating 'Round the Busche: finally, congrats to surprise new US men's road champ Matthew "I Really Didn't Mean to Sign With RadioSkank" Busche, just nipping a startled George Hincapie at the line mere days after Dave Zabriskie obliterates the competition to take his 656th consecutive US national time trial win. Here's the finale: Now get outta that damn contract, willya!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 2011 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Awards

Yes, dear reader(s), another terrible, beautiful Giro is behind us, and it's time to reward both the sublime and the ridiculous with the respect, admiration, and wholesale mockery they deserve. So, with thanks to the peloton for their contributions to ignominious cycling history, here goes:

Punk-!@# Move of the Giro: okay, Visconti's World Wrestling Federation slugfest then spectacular post-relegation whining campaign came close, but this one's for Alberto Contador repeatedly attacking Vincenzo Nibali in the last 500 meters of the climb up Zoncolan. Let's be clear: Contador had by far the time to spare to show some class, and didn't. !@#$, Alberto, do *you* want to beat Lance Armstrong's unbreakable record as Biggest !@#hole In the Peloton?

Spectator o' the Race: sure, there's always gonna be guys in almost unlawfully tiny Speedos content to show off their flapping love handles to 2 million people innocently watching at home, but for my money, this goes to the guy in lederhosen dressed in horns running alongside Contador and bearing aloft a giant syringe. Still not a true believer, are you? Shame on you, naughty tifoso!

Always Something There to Remind Me Prize: Team Radioskank hotel hangout invaded by the narcs, followed by Johan Bruyneel's hysterical denials that he did not either bail out of the country like a wussbag with barely a change of underwear to avoid the heat. Doesn't *anyone* believe they're clean?! Oh, wait...

Krusty, Crostini, Crostis, Whatever Award: all right, the race organizers couldn't help the dirt Crostis descent getting cut--that was the teams' fault--but how lame to change the course *again* just to avoid a violent mob protest over the decision. How'd *you* feel if you camped out with no working toilet on top of a freezing mountain for 2 days only to be told to 'enjoy' the nonexistent remaining roadside spots elsewhere instead--show them some respect, and as for yourself, organizers, show some stones!

Sweet Spot o' the Giro: oh, my ever-underfunded, ever-underestimated Euskaltel. First you accomplish your entire race goal of one stage win with Igor Anton, then loyal superdomestique Mikel Nieve caps it off with a phenomenal, grinding win on the queen stage. Woo-hoo Euskaltel--you can just change that maglia rosa to orange-and-black from now on, suckers!

Wah-Wah of the Race (Self-Serving): remember in stage 3, when Alessandro Petacchi moved over like a foot during the sprint and--aiiiggghhhh! !@#$in' Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium! Aiiiggggghhhh!

Wah-Wah of the Race (Just Plain Irritating): The road has potholes. The Giro has mountains. I won a stage. Other people, except me, don't clean up til after they're caught doping. Yap, yap, yap. Dang, don't St. David Millar *ever* quit complaining? Nope, not as long as there's a camera around, I guess...

Stick a Fork In 'Em, They're Done Award of 2011: first, it seemed outright stupid, then, it seemed merely reckless, and finally, it seemed like the wiliest !@#damn move in Giro history. Alberto Contador on Mt. Etna. It's only stage 9, and game over, baby--better luck next year, Nibali!

Braveheart Award: no matter how many times Contador attacked, Michele Scarponi, to his everlasting credit, immediately tried to match him. Sure, he cracked like Humpty-Dumpty every time within two pedal strokes, but doesn't such dogged insanity *deserve* our respect?

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm Prize: okay, Contador every day, but in particular, Contador on the individual time trial to Nevegal. Um, don't you think you'd look just a *little* more innocent over the clenbuterol-huffing cow thing if you didn't beat the other best climbers in the world by half an hour? You made yer point, now cool yer jets, dingbat!

Is That Crickets Chirping? Award: yep, the sound of Denis Menchov this Giro--and yes, I saw his final GC placing--was the sound of a whole lotta nothin'. Geez, leak a UCI hit list putting you at a 9 outta 10 for doping suspicion, and look how totally coincidentally it affects a guy! Don't worry Denis, you've still got the Vuelta this year--at least til Igor Anton kicks your !@#!

Desperately Seeking Dignity Prize o' 2011: dear, reformed Danilo DiLuca. You've won the Giro, you've gotten busted, you 'fess up to a priest and a roomful o' schoolkids, the next thing you know, you're down to a 5-meter attack on the penultimate stage. But darn it, you're gonna have your own team someday and mentor younger riders, you are! Might try to regain your street cred with an undoped victory at *somethin'* though, first--maybe riding out to pick up a pizza for the Katusha boys?

Finally, the Publicity Whore of 2011 Award: just when you thought he'd finally retired, just when you thought we were finally rid of 'im til he becomes governor of Texas and King of All the Galaxy, he steals the spotlight off our beautiful Giro d'Italia once again: Lance Armstrong's collapsing house o' cards sucks up 90% of the press attention in May. Gaaaaaaahhhhh!

So, them's mine for this year--on to 2012, and Scarponi, your turn will come!

It's Your Week 3 Contest Winner(s); and, (Temporary) Congrats to Alberto!

Yep, as Alberto Contador holds onto the final maglia rosa for the moment til UCI beats him down and forcibly removes it as soon as the CAS verdict comes out, and Michele Scarponi waits patiently for his chance to verbally abuse Contador in the press in the finest tradition of Italian-peloton whining, it's time to announce our Week 3 2011 Giro d'Italia Win Free Stuff Contest Winner: with the correct answer of "Are you even *watching*?", it's treasured reader Anne! Anne, check your email so I can get your mailing info for your cap and stickers, and enjoy your Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium!

And, It's Another Winner!: well, I'm out of caps for this year, but as a special bonus prize to the only reader to pick Euskaltel climbing god we love Igor Anton for the podium (shut up! I picked him right after his colossal stage win! Aren't you *relieved* he doesn't recover like a freak?), it's a passel of stickers and another Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium for: Karl! Karl, check your email, and name your lucky rider!

Well folks, that's the contest for this year, and thanks to all for taking part--next up, the it's the 2011 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Awards!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Andy Schleck Freaks Out

Contador Gets His Break: yep, bad day for 2010 Tour de France 2nd place baby Schleck, as Contatwerp's lawyers convince the Court of Arbitration for Sport that they need more time to bull!@#$ the offic--that is, objectively evaluate the mounds of evidence so they can mount a wholly rational and believable defense, and, with a little mercy from the Tour organizers, our uphill nymph'll be right there at the start line in July. Sweet! Look, let's be honest--Contador's a thrill to watch, even non-cycling fans are starting to know who he is, he's easy on the eyes, he's got an epic palmares at an incredibly young age, and most of all, the whole sordid, slimy doping drama--whether we all sanctimoniously deny it or not--is a must-see train-wreck ratings cash-cow bonanza for the organizers, the broadcasters, the teams, the sponsors, and the Tour, and it is in no-one's, no-one's interest to !@#$ that up. !@#$, let Lance back for one more year with a needle pokin' out his shorts and we'll *really* have reason to celebrate--gentlemen, start yer syringes! Don't worry Andy, *any* rider'd still be too whacked to pull off a decent Tour de France after a Giro performance like that--unless, y'know, Alberto really 'relaxes' unusually well between now and July!

LitigateStrong: meantime, Lance Armstrong is now so completely confident in his "liar, liar, pants on fire!" offense against Tyler Hamilton that he's added two heavy-hitters to his legal team who successfully bounced a buncha baseball doping pozes off the radar on a technicality. Next up: Lance buys himself a new face, an obscure Pacific island, a massively-armed on-site private police force, a whole new set of identity papers, and converts all his assets into untraceable gold bars. Lookin' more innocent by the day, Lance--hey, wouldn't it be nice for no reason at all of course to buy all your teammates who haven't ratted you out to the narcs a nice new Lamborghini apiece or something?

Blood, Guts, and Breakaways: in actual race news, boy, was *that* a class move by Italian national champ Giovanni Visconti, ricocheting across the road from right to left in an eye's blink, coming up *behind* Diego Ulissi between the barriers, going all deathmatch on Diego for moving his line 5 centimeters when he barely had time to notice Visconti was there, nearly forcing an out-of-control Ulissi to take out the innocent Lastras, *then* bitching extravagantly post-relegation to the press about jailbait upstarts, the inherent compatibility of sprints and sucker-punches, and newbie disrespect. Geez, if you'd just sent up a lead out goon like--aw, !@#damn insult moratorium, *again*! Anyhoo, here's Visconti senselessly beating the cr--um, being disrespected by Ulissi, pick it up around 2:50 in:

And remember, enter here to Win Free Stuff!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's the 2011 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest, Part Tre!

Yes, folks, it's the final week of the Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest, so enter here, and if nail the question and get chosen from the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, a (1) custom-embroidered racejunkie cap (2) passel of racejunkie stickers and (3) A Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium can be yours! Meantime, many thanks to Week 2 winner Joe, who didn't pick an rider for his Insult Moratorium but did, even better, give me a two-week license to whomp on Armstrong with insults like Floyd Landis on a hard-core whiskey bender. Thanks, Joe! Jingle bells, Armstrong smells, Johan laid an egg....

Alberto Contador's Last Chance

Tick Tock, Sucker!: y'know, it's a damn good thing Contatwerp did pile on so much pain in the Dolomites, 'cause he sure might not get to do it in July with his UCI/WADA appeal set for 3 days in June. Any bets on the outcome? Right, enjoy having one less GC rival there, Andy Schleck! A good thing too, come to think of it, because Schleck was *still* bitching about last year's "Chaingate" incident to the Tour of California. Dang, boy, let it rest--you'll get your karmic dope-smack when Contatwerp gets that Tour and this Giro title stripped from him anyway! While we're talking about Contador, I can't decide if his ostentatious daily beatdown of his Giro non-threats is the smartest move ever, in that it shows only an idiot would do that if he *weren't* doping, or the dim-wittedest move ever, in that it shows that only an idiot would do that if he *were* doping. Sort of like how I can never decide if Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back" is a pig-like, neanderthal anthem because it's all about women's !#@es, or it's a coolio, pro-woman anthem because it's all about women's big, fat !@#es. What to think, what to think!

Your Paranoid Armstrong Conspiracy Theory o' the Week (Except It's Actually True)(allegedly!): so the fallout from 60 Minutes' highly entertaining revelation that UCI conspired with Armstrong and his peeps to cover up an inconveniently positive drug sample at the 2001 Tour de Suisse continues, with Ekimov swearing *all* the allegations of Lance doping are bull!@#$ (and don't tell me none of you people are skeptical about his really deserving the Olympic gold medal any more than Tyler does), Hein Verbruggen shrieking that Lance "never, never, never doped," and UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid grumbling that if he'd known all that money that Lance donated to the lab for no reason whatsoever was gonna cause so much darned trouble, he'd've blown the money for the testing machine on tainted blow a flashy sportscar and barely-legal hos like he was gonna do in the first place before that dumb!@# Hein talked him out of it. Wait, am I translating the last part of that right? Anyway, still not impressed by the Lance Armstrong "Cry Like a Little Beeyotch" public relations offensive--maybe you oughta dive behind the skirts and send out your significant other to defend you, sure worked for Riccardo Ricco'!

!@#Damn Mark Cavendish Insult Moratorium!: bad enough I couldn't comment on Mario "the Chest" Cipollini calling Cav--um, a really nice boy, but *now*, apropos of totally nothing, I swear, and totally coincidentally mentioned herein, Alberto Contador's personal mechanic has gone and beaten the crap out of a too-close tifosi with a car door. Fortunately for me, and the integrity of the ban, there's no--aiiiiigggggghhhhhh! When will this frickin' thing *end*? Aiiiiigggghhhhhh!

Euskaltel Rules, Lampre Drools: finally, for those of you who just can't enough of Euskaltel-Euskadi burning the Italians on the Giro mountain stages--because you're gonna get more, whether you like it or not--here's the fabulous Mikel Nieve of the fabulous Euskaltel taking down, without even a gratuitous stage-win giveaway by the maglia rosa, the field. Woo-hoo Euskaltel--suck it, Scarponi!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Xavier Tondo, 1978-2011

Barely weeks after the passing of Wouter Weylandt, the cycling world has lost another fine rider and human being in a tragic accident: Xavier Tondo of Team Movistar. Tondo was reportedly killed in an accident involving his garage door while about to leave for a training ride for the upcoming Tour de France with his good friend Benat Intxausti.

Tondo won the prestigious Vuelta a Castilla y Leon this year, as well as a stage in the Tour de San Luis. One of the greatest wins in his career was a stage in the 2010 Paris-Nice while riding with Cervelo. By all accounts, he was truly in love with the sport, and was a dedicated mountain biker as well as a road racer.

Team Movistar will continue riding the Giro d'Italia, which will hold a moment of silence in his memory, in his honor. The team's tribute to Tondo is here.

Here is Tondo's victory, and post-race interview, at Paris-Nice last year:

Deepest condolences to his family, friends, and team.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!; and, Your Contest Update!

Igor Anton Kicks !@#!: wow, that was a *smashing* ride up Zoncolan for we love Euskaltel-Euskadi's we love Igor Anton--literally leaving a smoking wreck of a burned-out moto in his wake--an unfortunate grind for Scarponi, and a noble attempt by Vincenzo Nibali. Woo-hoo Igor! And while it's nice Contador took second and all--and I'm not trying to slag on the boy here--am I the only one who thought he was actually kind of a !@#$ for pointlessly attacking Nibali the last few hundred meters? I mean, it's not like he owed Nibali any favors, as Nibali seemed to think earlier on the climb, but still--you're already kicking him in the nuts on GC, was it *necessary* to put on the steel-toed boots at the end? In other news, no thanks to the race organizers for chopping out the last-minute substitute Cat-2 climb to avoid a planned protest by the tifosi for the (not unreasonable--why wouldn't the boys still be frightened?) decision to cut out the fearsome Crostis--what a wussy way to handle it, don't you at least have the guts to dive onto the protesters personally to crush 'em like ants like Hinault did when that unwashed commie rabble-rouser tried to interrupt that Tour de France podium? Not to mention screwing up the riders' plans even worse! Anyhoo, it's another day of agony tomorrow, folks, with the 18% gradient of the Passo Fedaia sure to make some already tired legs audibly scream. Here's the route:

And here's Anton today!

We Have a Winner; And, It's Week 3 of the Contest, Baby!: and, with many thanks to our intrepid contest entrants, I've officially drawn from the Holy Once-Eroski Cycling Cap o' Destiny, and our winner, with the correct answer of either "0" or "Like they'd bust anyone?" is--James! James, kindly check your email to claim your prizes and name your insult moratorium! Everyone else--enter here to make your predictions for the Giro podium, and Win Free Stuff Part Tre!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lance Armstrong's Oh, !@#$! Moment

Okay, *This* One's Gotta Hurt: all right, forget bitter-Betty Landis and his "Fairness Fund" and even Tyler exorcising--and I hope it helps--his demons saying he had a bird's eye view of Armstrong injecting EPO: now, it appears, permanent Lance loyalist big George Hincapie has told the feds he saw Lance using PEDs. Look, even if you can't accept the premise that Floyd and Tyler just finally wanted out from under, you can argue all day that, besides being pissed over being busted to boot, Floyd and Hamilton had their own agendas--they dared to want and have their own careers, and Lance never stopped punishing 'em for it. And as it happens, disgusted as I was by Hamilton in particular at the time because I'd been so enamored of his brave uphill Grand Tour slog through a snapped collarbone, I don't think Tyler actually has anything to gain at this point, unless you count being ruthlessly ripped by the entire American Lance-worshipping cycling-ignoring public as an obvious liar, self-promoter, and general scumbag--which would seem to go against Tyler's self-imposed quiet couple of years off the radar and on to a respectable day-job. But Hincapie, who willingly stuck with Lance through most of his Tours at his own legacy's expense and for one lousy stage win at that, has none of that baggage. So let's hear it--how's Lance gonna smack down this one?

A Note From the Completely Immaterial Arguments Department: And while we're at it, and before Lance's Tour de France army comes at all us doubters with surface-to-air missiles, can we please stop with the dimwit self-serving "never tested positive" bull!@#$ already? Neither did Bjarne, Basso, Valverde, or half a dozen other heroes for the most part, until they either 'fessed up in annoyance or finally screwed up just enough. Neither did pretty well the entire cheating lowlife dope-sucking passel of Lance's PostalDiscovery minions, either--at least 'til after they left him. But apparently, they're all lyin' when they say they did dope when they didn't test positive, and all got nailed the very very very first time they ever did dope. So can we lay to rest the idiot argument that there's obviously no doping in the peloton because no-one got caught today with a giant needle in their !@#? Thanks, everybody!

Grossglockner Is Right: meantime, that was almost agonizing to watch the Giro today, particularly as I wouldn't mind seeing Nibali--hell, anyone--take a bite outta Contador just for variety's sake, but I gotta admit, baffled as I was when Alberto first took off gratuitously on the final climb considering the challenges still ahead for tomorrow and Sunday, that boy is growing some tactical *brains*. All he's gotta do now is hold on tight, and he's even, not to curse him or nothin', got room for a little mechanical problem or careless hunger bonk. On the other hand, is anyone else disconcertingly reminded of Ivan Basso's blistering win in 2006? Nope, nope, he couldn't be that stupid, it's just his natural superiority...or at least it !@#damn well better be!

Change in Plans: meantime, I see the Giro has just announced it's ditching the nasty ascent, and, more to the point, hairy descent of Monte Crostis tomorrow, which, depending on how they reroute the stage, could give the remaining GC boys some hope that they'll still have some life in their legs before Contador bashes it out of 'em, or, if Alberto's feeling particularly generous (speaking of which, it *was* worth the 8-second loss in time bonus to be a respectable human being and let Rujano take the stage win), even a little bit of actual leeway. Well, the day will tell--just be careful out there on the rest of it, guys, and well and wisely done by the Giro to sacrifice drama for safety!

Daaaaaaaavvve! Jeeeeeeeeennnnnns!: finally, besides the bummin' realization that we love Jens Voigt had to bail out of the TOC after riding with a broken wrist all day, that was really one kick-butt win for Dave Zabriskie today and an exceedingly fine performance from Chris Horner to hold onto the jersey. See, you *can* win without the porn-stache--now on to the Tour de France!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back to the Giro, Baby!

Rest Days Are for Pansies: yep, after Contador's monster mental--not to mention physical--crushing of his rivals up Mt. Etna, it's back for a quick trip to the (relative) flat before the Dolomites kick in, and lucky Week 1 winner Joe has sadistically chosen the colorful Mark Cavendish as his Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium bud! In which case, I gotta say: that was a very, very fine sprint today, Cav--well earned, and it's darned nice to see you back on form. Here's the finish: And you looked quite dashing in your team kit to boot. And you didn't ev--dammit! Must...control...mind...can't...touch...keyboard...

Call A Plastic Surgeon, Stat!: bad news for Ivan Basso--right as one of the most formidable, and certainly by far the prettiest, of the Tour de France GC contenders gets into the swing of pre-race training, our Liquigas pinup has a nasty fall on a tricky curve in Sicily, whacks the crap out of his shoulder and requires 15 stitches around his right eye and all over his cheek. Luckily, no broken bones, so though naturally declaring himself "really scared," Basso will gamely be back on the bike post-haste. Forza, Ivan--we all want the Tour to be the Battle of the Best, so don't let this little incidente psych you out!

In the Meadow We Can Build a Snowman: meantime, the Tour of California has wisely steered away the peloton from its scheduled trip to the Donner Pass--'cause not to get graphic here, primarily because I'd hurl, but the contents of a musette can only last so long if you know what I mean--and, after a coupla exciting sprints (Thor! Come *on* already!), it's back at last to not only warmer climes, but, even better, it's time for the mountains, honey! And, if my dear reader(s) across the pond will allow me just one rah-rah imperialist-pig America-n'-apple-pie moment, ain't it nice to see our domestic squads whomp the competition in their home stomping grounds? Yeah, take *that*, Euro-snobs! So what, the Americans still haven't quite won a stage yet...well, *you* pampered lap dogs try to do the job every day when American sports sponsors are spending all their dough on a pack of steroid-snorting NFL no-necks!

Finally: Enter here to win free stuff in the 2011 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest! This week's bonus points: for anyone who gets a tat of Contador making that "pistolero" shot right on their !@#. Well, no bonus points technically, exactly--but hey, won't your mama be *proud*?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Holy Crap, the Man's a Freak!

So, Is It Over?: look, either Alberto Contador's a total genetic freak and his DNA is half-cheetah, or he's been ingesting the entire domestic output of the Spanish cow industry for the last 14 years of his life. Either way, the question remains: barring total catastrophe, like his bike spontaneously combusting into flaming dust every day at the bottom of the Dolomites, or Menchov and Nibali ramping up on even worse !@#$ than Contatwerp's (allegedly! but he isn't really!) taking, is it already time to award the final maglia rosa pack it up and all go home for this Giro? Me, I'm convinced that if I weigh in with "yes," he'll totally accidentally be run over back-and-forth repeatedly by the Liquigas team car on the way back to the hotel this afternoon, but I gotta admit, it ain't lookin' good for the rest of 'em. Oh well, at least Garzelli already admitted he's only "going for a stage win"! Meantime, Alberto, how many !@#damn times do we have to say this--your legs are *already* doing the talking, would you CUT IT OUT with that !@#damn snot-nosed "pistolero" crap before the Italians really get pissed and drain half your freakin' blood out lookin' for evidence every night?

Oh, All Right, It's the Amgen EPO You Suck For Screwing the Giro Tour of California: y'know, if it's *still* gonna be snowy in May, you might as well make the peloton cut the whining and move the stupid thing back to February, but since there's guys I actually like in the race--and it *is* becoming a useful way to scope out the emerging forms of the Giro-skippin' Tour de France riders--I guess I'd be even more of an !@# than usual if I didn't at least acknowledge it, so here's the scoop: Thor, Dave Z, Ryder, Horner, Tejay, Hincapie, Christian, Levi, Oscar Freire, and, best of all, Jens are riding it, stage 1's hilly, stage two's mostly downhill then flat, and after that, I'm just too darned annoyed to report for now. You go, Dave Z--and where exactly the hell's the fun in this race if Tom Boonen's not riding it this year?

Damage Control: finally, I see UCI's finally focusing on issues of substance related to doping in the peloton: how exactly WADA can nail the bastards who keep making the rider-protecting hypocrite enablers at UCI look bad by leaking, well, true stuff. Glad to see the war on drugs is on target, UCI! Next up: UCI shuts down the factory that made Alberto Contador's socks the day he got caught doping at the Tour de France. You *show* 'em, UCI you bad-!@#es!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We've Got a Winner; And, It's the 2011 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Win Free Stuff Contest Part Due!

Yes, folks, the results from Week One of this year's Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest Part Uno are in, and the winner o' a bitchin' custom-embroidered racejunkie cap, a two-week rider insult moratorium, and a paw-ful o' racejunkie stickers, drawn from the correct answer "None of the Above, You Eejit" and the Holy ONCE-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, is: Joe! Congrats, Joe--watch your email for details!

It's the 2011 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Win Free Stuff Contest Part Due!: never fear, faithful reader(s), it's time for Week 2 of the contest--enter here for yer chance at immortal glory and stylin' headwear!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Surprises From the UCI Hit List; and, It's the Mountains, Baby!

Really?: okay, we've all had time to review the highly entertaining UCI 2010 Tour de France Doper Hit List, and for my money, here's the biggest surprise: on a scale of 1 to 10, Lance is only a frickin' *4*? Ha! Then again, UCI *has* always yapped on about how St. Armstrong of Texas is the cleanest, bestest guy ever, so I suppose it's a shock he made it *that* high up. But on the same level as Cadel? Break my heart again, but I just can't believe it of someone who's so viciously protective of his dog. Worst of all--the great Jens Voigt was still a 2. Two! Frank, Andy, Stuey--I don't want to endanger Jens' delicate fists here--you, kick Pat "Dick" McQuaid's !@#!

It's De-Lovely, It's De-Clercq: meantime, what a thrilla of a finish today at the Giro as jailbait unknown Bart de Clercq just barely managed to hang on for a win I was sure he'd blown as the canny Scarponi slugged it out for some time bonuses, de Clercq put in a good word for actually attacking, and Giro-winning vet Stefano Garzelli dope-smacked the peloton for lacking the nuts to share the work with a tiny squad with a gazillionth of the power and, to him, at least twice the ambition for a stage win. Me, I'm inclined to give the gruppo a little slack thus far for (1) still being a little gun-shy and (2) hoarding their energy for when Contador's, um, batteries kick in and he leaves the peloton discarded glumly on the tarmac like those old-skool testosterone patches the boys (well, save Danilo "Strawberry Shortcake" Di Luca) used to whap on (then discreetly toss off) their works. Anyhoo, looking forward to seeing more of young de Clercq--good work, kid! Here's the near-nip at the line:

Hot Lava, Hot Lava: meantime, after a flat stage for Cav tomorrow, it's finally the real mountains, baby, as we hit the slopes o' the literally explosive Mt. Etna for what's sure to be a, well, crispy 2-time ascent. Great call: despite the eruption, the organizers ain't changing the route. Sure, Mt. Etna's gonna be spewin' lava and hot ash when you climb it, but really, what better way to keep the peloton warm on those cold, windy descents? "Stuffing newspapers down my jersey" my !@%! And y'know, just ask Petacchi, nothin' cleans out the lungs like sulfurous, toxic gases. Forza, you wimps!

It's Week 2 o' the Contest, Baby!: hey, enter here to win free stuff in week 2 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest--especially anyone who thinks Denis "9 out of 10" Menchov now *really* oughta give Roberto Heras his old Vuelta back!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Next For the Giro?

So here's my question: what next for the 2011 Giro? The riders, and race organizers, I think, took a thoughtful, kind and respectful approach to the day. As David Millar rightly pointed out, the maglia rosa, in light of recent events, doesn't mean much right now. And by choosing to ride through today--without the fear and regret and pain it must have entailed--Leopard-Trek and his close friend Tyler Farrar showed grace and courage riding for their fallen teammate and, given the sudden and awful change that's suddenly befallen them, themselves. But the Giro itself *is* going on, and I think that, while each day will be tainted heavily with sadness, and surely the shrill and petty disputes of say stage 2 in which we can all delight in more frivolous times will be minimized out of respect for the gravity of Weylandt's passing and the unhappy awe that death inspires, it's the right thing to do. Will it be easy? Will it feel normal, or just even appropriate at all, celebrating and bussing the podium babaes or screaming in triumph as one crosses the line? Remembering what a hideous, trivial thing I felt like the first time I went shopping for some dopey item weeks after losing someone extremely dear to me, and understanding of course the difference between these situations nonetheless, I imagine it won't. But though Wouter Weylandt didn't die for the Giro, he did die in it, and I hope those members of the peloton who feel they can or must continue can finish it, for all their sakes, with the suffering and pride and excitement--even if just a shadow of the latter--that this magnificent, heartbroken race deserves. And I hope the rest of us insignificant sideshows--the fans, the journalists, hell, even us wiseacre bloggers--can do it too. Not to move past it, which always seems to me a fruitless and maddening exhortation, but just--to move. And I hope that in its own impotent way, that is its own small tribute.

R.I.P. Wouter Weylandt. This Giro, I'm sure, will be for you.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Wouter Weylandt, 1984-2011

26 year old Wouter Weylandt, a Belgian rider on Team Leopard-Trek, passed away today in a tragic accident on the descent of the Bocco in the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, just 25 kilometers from the finish. Weylandt was a talented sprinter with an already-strong palmares and a very fine future ahead of him. He won his first Grand Tour stage at the Vuelta a Espana in 2008, and his second at the 2010 Giro on Stage 3. Wouter leaves his girlfriend Sophie, who is pregnant with their first child.

Here he is in happier times on his bicycle, winning at the Giro last year:

Deepest condolences to his family, friends, team, and the whole peloton on their terrible loss.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Cav, You Big Baby!

Wah, Wah, Wah: Okay, the stage *just* ended so the official commentary from the sprinters isn't in yet, but how it *does* clearly go is something like, Cav: "wah, wah, wah, that bastard, wah, my line, wah, crappy sport, wah, I should take it like a man but I won't, wah" and Petacchi: "heat of the sprint, no wah, great lead out, Cav who, no wah, I only had 18 puffs of my asthma meds in the last 500 meters, no wah, why am I suddenly a better sprinter at 37 than I was at 33, no wah." Geez, Cav, half the time you're sending Renshaw up there like some picked-on twerp's schoolyard muscle to sucker-punch somebody 3 meters from the line, so suck it *up* for once, whydontcha? Oh, there's Ale-Jet kissing the podium babes--oof! And there you are sulking like a little !@#$% as you pull on the massive honor of the leader's jersey! Oh, wait, here's the word right from the giant teeth: "I had to stop and start my sprint two times" and, apparently the real beef on the issue, "I get relegated for that." Okay, he swerved a bit, cry it out over a beer on your new maglia rosa tonight and cut down the pissy wanker gesturing, all right? Here's the footage:

Igor Anton Is !@#$%ed!: meantime, on GC, Carlos Sastre claims unconcern at his squad's unhealthy hosing in the team time trial, Scarponi is cautiously pleased, Contador's unconcerned, Nibali's in great shape and poor we love Euskaltel's Igor Anton who still has plenty of time to come back in the mountains (shut up!) is off to a miserable though certainly for him not irredeemable start at 87 minutes back (shut up!). Tomorrow: the contenders save themselves for the mountains at the end of the week, and Cav gets his revenge unless he gets distracted while Robbie McEwen head-butts him off his ride while Tyler comes around as the only guy *not* cheating and takes the stage. You go, Tyler!

My New Ferrari: speaking of Nibali, I see he's hotly contesting any rumored ties to renowned Lance BFF Dr. Michele Ferrari, which is really too bad when you think about it, because he's apparently just a really fun guy to hang out with at a barbecue and a ton of sterile medical equipment before and during a big Grand Tour. A gentle nudge to the Giro organizers: if you're gonna nail him, which you won't, at least don't pull a Rasmussen on him and let him get within 20k of the final finish line before you jerk him outta the race!

Friday, May 06, 2011

It's the 2011 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest!

Why?: Because the beautiful, perfect Giro is *so* much bitchener than the Tour, and let's face it, 100 years after the One's retired, that's *still* gonna be a 24/7 Lance Armstrong squick-inducin' yip-yappin' butt-kissin' spit-swappin' lovefest. So here's the scoop!

What: answer the week's question right, and I'll toss yer name into the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, mix it up with the other correct answers, and draw a name--without peeking, I promise! That's it--you win! I'll contact you by e-mail and don't worry I won't pimp your contact info to anyone or nothin'.

The Rules: the legal crap's on the contest site, but basically, I get to change anything I want anytime I want which I probably won't do anyway, and all I really ask in return is you not be a wanker about it if I make any minor screw-ups like I did last year. Paint your house in Euskaltel-Euskadi colors and you may get extra bonus points. Thanks!

The Prizes: A custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap from Walz Caps; a buncha racejunkie stickers for your bike or anywhere else you wanna proclaim your racejunkie pride (or shame); and a two-week rider insult moratorium on your fave peloton pinup!

Where: enter here--and good luck to one and all, unless you're rooting for Menchov over Sastre but either way I'll still play fair!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Boy, Are *You* No Fun!

Bad, *Bad* Peloton!: just when you thought it wasn't actually possible for UCI to be even more mockable than they already are, today they really hit the gold standard--yes, UCI has declared that racers may not--not, you naughty boys!--use syringes for any reason not previously approved by UCI during the Giro d'Italia. D'oh!--I was *gonna* black out the windows in my hotel room, smuggle my doctor in by innocently dressing him up like a street whore, make my directeur sportif man the hallway and call the all-clear, and have my soigneur stationed by the door with a billy club just in case, but now Pat "Dick" McQuaid says I can't use syringes this Giro so I guess I just can't dope after all--aw, *rats*! Um, am I the only one who suddenly *wants* the entire set of GC contenders to start taking PEDs just to see what those idiots would do about it? Anyhoo, not to worry, boys--pills, snortable powders, and skin patches are still all A-OK!

It's a Two-Fer!: meantime, UCI struck another blow for its own credibility today by suing Floyd Landis for shockingly implying that, say, the UCI just perhaps--perhaps--plays favorites, or that, totally hypothetically, allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from, uh, some guy might reasonably be construed to impair one's heartfelt objectivity as to, maaaaaybe, that particular guy. Y'know, not to ask uncomfortable questions or nothin', gentlemen, and certainly considering Floyd's, well, previously demonstrated but since wholly overcome lack of *complete* trustworthiness--but are sure you *want* to keep inviting Floyd to "prove it"? I mean, sure, Hero of the Universe Lance can get over his American fans by saying he likes his credibility vs. Floyd's, but *you* clowns? Sigh...

Yer Unintended Consequences o' the Week: finally, congrats to the Italian press for its fantastically timely headline proclaiming, right along with all this UCI hoo-ha, that the Giro will be a perfect "open laboratory" for key contender Team Liquigas. Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch, UCI--they're just running innocuous physiological tests to determine optimal performance parameters, not hookin' the whole squad up to a series of medical-grade hoses (hosiery?) in the hotel lobby!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It's the 2011 Giro d'Italia, Baby!

Tour, Schmour--it's time for the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby, and the Corsa Rosa kicks off on Saturday! So, without further ado, here's yer Official Racejunkie Quickie Preview of the Bow Before the Giro d'Italia, Beeyotches:

The Course: 21 stages o' leg-rippin' misery, starting with a flat, 19k team time trial, tossin' in a couple of flat stages before Cav starts crying, then baby, it's 'most all uphill from there. In theory: 7 sprints, 4 rollers, 6 high mountains with 6 summit finishes, and one mountain time trial. In reality: if you can't climb, you're !@#$ed. And if you *can* climb, honey, by the end of the thing, you'll damn well wish you hadn't. Forza, baby--you guys are gonna need it!

The GC Contenders: Alberto "Last Race of 2011" Contador; 2010 Vuelta champ/Basso substitute Vincenzo Nibali; Denis "Ride for Sastre Dammit!" Menchov; dear little Sastre (shut up!); Euskaltel's almost-2010-Vuelta winner Igor Anton; Scarponi. Funny how *he's* the only Italian not implicated in a doping investigation, right?

The Sprinters: Like, who cares? It's the *Giro*, for !@#$'s sake! Okay, Cav's in there, and so's Petacchi. The rest--I'll post 'em when I got 'em!

The Missing: GC contenders Basso, Cadel, big'n'baby Schleck, Samuel Sanchez (aiming for the Tour, fearing the mountains in the Giro except for Samu of course); fast-men Daniele Bennati (injury) and Tom Boonen (ugh, Tour); stage-hunter Pippo "Suave" Pozzato (inexplicable snit by wankers at Katusha); and, including Cunego and ex-world champ Ballan, pretty much everyone who's ever, ever, ridden for Lampre (Mantova doping inquisition). Dang, the way this is shaping up, you folks oughta start translating all those Italian signs into Spanish, eh? Oh, the humanity!

Stages to Watch: to me, the Giro is all about the mountains, so watch the strong barely survive and the weak give up the GC ghost on the trio of rides up the Dolomites in stages 13-15, including, apparently, a hard-core BMX ride and a relaxing death-drop off the Crostis on which the seemingly litigation-wary race organizers are thoughtfully pitching some safety nets. Boy, does that make *me* feel better--the riders, maybe not so much!

And Last But Not Least: finally, as a thank you to both my faithful readers for realizing how supremely more bitchin' the Giro is than the Tour, we'll be running the annual Racejunkie Win Free Stuff contest every week during the Giro this year--thrills for all, and cool free stuff for the victors!