Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh, All *Right*--!@#$ I Missed in the Racejunkie Awards

It's Yer Final 2011 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards!: okay, I stand duly chastised, but it's not every day I'm accused by my faithful reader(s) of not babbling *enough*, and, frankly even with *my* low standards I questioned the good taste of an award to someone who basically survived a terrifying car accident, but between that and a couple 'nother things I left out due to space, here you go:

Your Body Is a Hoogerland Award: this goes, of course, to poor barbed-wired Johnny Hoogerland *and* to Juan Antonio Flecha, who though he did pop back up quickly after all was directly hit by the damn media car before Hoogerland sailed into that hideous fence, and while it's usually Stuey O'Grady wrapped up like a mummy with splints stickin' out of 'im in 14 different directions as he crosses the line, gigantic accolades to both Hoogerland and Flecha for not only sticking it out but actively triumphing, to the tune of the polka dot jersey for Hoogerland no less, with every subsequent attack during the Tour. Here's the dual damage: Let's hope no-one has to get this prize ever again!

Domestique o' 2012 (Yeah, You Read Right): as Alberto Contador's bromance with Bjarne Riis hits the rocks hard as he tells the press on further reflection it's certainly possible to do the Giro-Tour double if YOUR TEAM DOESN'T SUCK, we here at racejunkie are always ready to help, and can't help but note that it's our own dear reader/resident badass Doug who has recently *twice* conquered the Galibier. Look, no-one doubts that Sorensen's an awfully good guy--but Saxo bank just *gave* you a ton of fat-cat dough, Bjarne, now *use* it before Contador !@#damn jumps to Movistar! And I only take a ten percent cut. And maybe that ill-gotten maillot jaune you were so eager to get rid of. And...anyway, congratulations Doug, see you on Eurosport next year!

Happy Happy Joy Joy Prize: Best. Announcer. Reaction. Ever. Go Edvaaaaaaaaaaaaald!

Aussie Fans Kick !@# Award: finally (I mean it), and, in just about the best piece of citizen-journalism I've ever seen, our Phil and Paul of tomorrow weighed in on not only the mind-boggling news that Cadel was about to become the first Aussie ever to win the Tour, and the upcoming weather on the Champs-Elysees, but, most important of all, muffins! Great work, girl--and Versus, you once hired the Trautwig, now *hire* this chick!

So sorry to have pissed y'all off, and in 2012 I swear I'll just yap on no matter how questionably--so no freakin' complainin' next year!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's the 2011 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards!

Yes, folks another exciting and very strange Tour de France is behind us, and just as some guy with a truly terrifying pile o' chimp-thatched beer gut bouncing over his neon Speedo must run alongside the maillot jaune on a climb for half an hour searing our eyeballs on the queen stage, so must every Grand Tour have its accolades, which means it's time for the official, coveted 2011 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards! So before Contador gets his 2010 crown taken away somewhere after his great-grandkids turn 21, let's get right to the show:

Bawl Your Eyes Out Moment o' 2011: shut up, like you didn't too, you poseur: Tyler Farrar making a "W" with his hands (and damn near wobbling off his bike) as he crossed the line in his stage 3 victory. You rock, Tyler!

Doug and Wendy Whiner Award: wah, it's raining, wah, no-one-'s riding for me, wah, I don't like time trials, wah, it's not *fair* to make us descend at a Grand Tour, wah, wah, wah! Okay, Schleck brothers, everyone else can ride their bikes down the mountains, and we'll !@#damn buy you guys a jump rope so you can !@#damn *skip* down the Galibier next year. Will *that* shut you up once and for all? Great--it's a deal!

WTF Tactic of the Tour (Individual): not to dump on the guy, but Andy Schleck on the Plateau de Beille. If you're gonna take serious time outta Contador when he's not a knee-bashed weakling, or even when he is, 86 consecutive two-meter attacks ain't gonna do the job. Either go up, or stay home!

WTF Tactic of the Tour (Team): 4 GC leaders at RadioSkank? Leaving aside the unfortunately high attrition rate, which had nothing to do with this issue, what you get is 4 guys wringing themselves inside out before you've even picked a leader to ride for. Dang, Johan, what were you thinking?

Crash o' the Tour (Decisive): the hell with the Giro or Vladimir Karpets going all baseball-bat on Contador's kneecap--the race was over for half the riders--GC, stage, or bottle-carrier--on that ginormous pileup on stage 1. Brutal!

Crash o' the Tour (Just Plain Bummin'): oh, Vino, we hardly knew ye. It was only a matter of time in the Alps or Pyrenees before you scared the crap out of the peloton with your utterly random rippin' attacks and brought needle-bearing narcs down on you like vultures on carrion. What a lousy way to end your career--you *sure* you don't want to come back to piss off the French just *one* more time?

Crash o' the Tour (Irritating): crashes, actually--Jens Voigt on the descent o' the whatsit. I'm not sure, but just for a *second* there I thought I could hear cursing in German. We love Jens--and tarmac fears him!

Boy Wonder o' the Race: I was thinking Jelle Vanendert--in large part because if he captured the maillot jaune I thought "Mellow Jelle"'d be a bitchin' nickname-- but this one really goes to smashing Canadian export Ryder Hesjedal, who never saw a break he wouldn't be in. You looked awesome, Ryder--I can't wait to see what you do in the future!

It's a Bird, It's a Plane Prize: holy crap, no, it's one-hit-Grand-Tour-wonder/very fine Classics man Damiano Cunego, locking in a top-seven spot! What's next, the guy wins the Giro again?--watch out Ivan Basso, he's getting his mojo back!

No Guts No Glory Award: indisputably, Thomas "Savior of French Dignity" Voeckler. And no, given the guy's agonized gasping at the top of Alpe d'Huez and pretty well every other damn stage he held the jersey in, I'm not suggesting a damn thing. It's the sort of thing that gives a cynical fan hope again. Now listen Voeckler, don't !@#$ it up!

Mountain Do o' the Tour: Hors categorie, Thor, you are just the *man.* Forget six stellar days in the yellow jersey: two mountain stage wins, when a big lug like yourself by all rights oughtn't be able to climb anything bigger'n a speed bump? Woo-hoo Thor!

Euskaltel Are Gods Award: well, okay, not so much a prize, as a simple statement o' fact. Now bow before the altar of Samuel Sanchez, you lowly swine!

Slow 'n' Steady Wins the Race: okay, the man doesn't shoot up a climb like Lance on--um, on a bike. On a bike, Lance, honest! But he knows exactly what he's doing in a tactical sense, he doesn't let the Worst-Timed-Mechanical-Ever hold him back, and he's a freakin' beast against the clock. Cadel Evans, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy. "Advance Australia Fair" is *right*, baby!

Bait'n'Switch Prize o' 2011: I honestly thought Mark Cavendish's total personality transplant had this one in the bag, but the Schleck's 180 from 24/7 crybabies to Best Sports Ever (to Cadel, anyway) pipped him at the Champs-Elysees. Hey, Cav, doesn't that count as cutting you off?--you sending Renshaw up there to bust some !@$@$s or what?

Missing the Point Award: UCI has zero--ZERO, you hear me?--tolerance for doping at this year's Tour. So what are they gonna do about it? That's right, you cheating sons o' beetches, they're gonna go after--um, Jan Ullrich? Who was implicated in Operacion Puerto half a decade ago. Who retired soon thereafter. Who's barely ridden his bike since then except for a few wholly laudable kids' charity rides. You go, UCI--the Doping Skankwad Class of 2011 appreciates your ignoring them!

And Finally, Rock-'Em-Sock-'Em Robot Award of the Tour: y'know, Alberto Contador may be a lot of things, but a wuss isn't one of 'em. Pow, you !@#$%%$!

Well, them's mine for this year, and I'm sure there's some poor sod out there to whom I failed to do justice. In which case, humblest apologies, and never fear, o also-rans--you'll have your chance for immortality in 2012!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yer Podium Roundup; Or, Get Yer Dave Z Action Figure Here!

Swell Cadel!: okay, I'm a wuss-weenie, seeing Cadel fighting off tears on the podium choked me up. But while the Schlecks have to be fair handled their maillot jaune loss with grace and cheer since yesterday, I did feel better straightaway watching 'em all together with Cadel right there on top. Bad racejunkie!

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You, Versus?: there he is. We love Samuel Sanchez of we love Euskaltel-Euskadi is proudly taking the podium in his polka-dot jersey. And what are *you* disrespectful clowns doing? Ignoring it and interviewing Mark Cavendish, with his giant head blocking even the big spectator's video screen! How does he "feel" about winning the green jersey? Happy, you asshats--now get your priorities straight, and give Samu' the glory he deserves! Here, I'll fix it: Now don't do that again!

Garmin Just Gets Cooler: sure, despite Jonathan Vaughters cruelly screwing Thor "Mountain Goat" Hushovd out of a decent hotel room, it's hard to imagine how much more bitchin' the squad could get at this Tour, but as bone-broken crash-out Dave Zabriskie comforts himself for missing the party in Paris by hitting the show at Comic-Con, Garmin does their man a solid by including a life-size paper cut-out of 'im on the podium at the best-team presentation. Take heart Dave Z--I'm sure you'll be back there at the end for real in 2012!

Speaking of Who's Not on the Podium: and, watch out Schlecks and freakin' learn to TT if you can (and on my end, it's nice to be right for once)--I see that Contador *is* in fact not riding the Giro in 2012 (a wholly uncalled-for jerkfaced slap to a beautiful and of course far superior race that openly loves you, though, Alberto, unlike the hissing French, by saying you'll "never" do it again) to focus on winning the Tour. Looks like someone's after your record there, Lance--let's just hope he's got the same luck getting completely off the hook for, uh, nothin'!

All Right, Cav Fans: finally, while it's true Cav could barely get up a mountain on a helicopter, much less two wheels, and I normally don't have that much use for sprinters and their constant TV-ho ego trips, he *did* work his butt off on the intermediate sprint points, and, more, over a bucket o' inevitable stage wins solidified his well-deserved rep as the fastest bloke on two wheels. Congrats, Cav--and next time Samu is getting accolades, back the hell off the stupid press and bow to him like he deserves!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holy Crap Cadel Evans is the 2011 Tour de France Champion!

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy Oy Oy!: Let's face it, this has been one giant freak show of a Tour de France: half the faves crashed out in the first week, Samuel Sanchez just beat Fabian Cancellara in a time trial (shut up! go to hell!), Cunego came out of nowhere, the French didn't suck--what the !@#$ is next, Thor Hushovd taking two Grand Tour mountain stages? Anyway, you may not think Cadel rides pretty, and you may not think the man rides exciting, but the man indisputably does ride smashing, and huge congrats to Cadel and our friends Down Under for Australia's first-ever Tour de France champion! Oh, *look*, the man is crying--woo-hoo class act Cadeeeeeeeeeeeeeel--*that's* karma smackin' you right in the !@# and on top of the podium, baby!

Yer Tour in Mini-Re(well, technically still Pre-)view: so before Cav takes the stage tomorrow and thumps his chest like a gorilla, why don't we take a moment to review: Voeckler rode like a brave obsessed monster, Pierre "New Hope of French Cycling" Rolland did the Alpe d'Huez more than justice, we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's the Polka Dot Jersey!" Sanchez is King of the Mountains, and, because I'm not a whiny little beeyotch (today) like that emerging smug little snot you-know-who, I'm gonna give a big warm "well done!" to the first-ever podium brothers Schleck, who did, after all, only tank the time trial after a humungous recent solo breakaway and a truly mind-boggling amount of snippy braggadocio and smirking on Andy's part, and heck knows both of those take effort. But Andy's still very young, and unless he's gonna play Ullrich to Contador's perpetual (if less annoying and more well-rounded) Armstrong, his Tour will come. Plus, if Jens Voigt says so, it has to be true. Forgive me my doubts Jens, you're still a god! Still, since that's clearly the last time Alberto's gonna !@#damn ride the Giro--all I can say is, Andy, you got one year to get happy goin' downhill!

Next up: interviews, yap, photos, yap, the final podium in Paris, and yer ultra-prestigious fanatically-coveted 2011 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alberto Contador's Last Stand

Okay, It's Over: so the sun has set on Alberto Contador's Tour de France, and while you can hardly diss the boy after he alone among the GC contenders rode (and blitzed) the Giro (in case he was banned from the Tour, but whatever), then spent days in the Pyrenees nursing a sore kneecap--tho' you can *certainly* blame Bjarne for his spectacular dumbassity in letting Alberto effectively lose the Tour on stage 1 getting caught behind that stupid crash--I gotta say, I'm rather sorry for him, and Andy Schleck's been so unbearably whiny the last week I was seriously hoping Contador--hell, even Schleck's own team--would kick his !@# on the Galibier just on principle. But whatever his troubles, as his completely gobsmacked poor face showed, Alberto, classy about it as he was,just didn't have it in the end, and by any measure--including, for sure, tactical sense--if Cadel finally gets his Tour in Paris there can be no doubt he's earned it with every excruciating pedal-stroke. If the mightily tenacious French re-phenom Voeckler nails it? Holy crap, that'd be epic, but don't tell me you won't feel slightly, well, surprised, you liar liar pants on fire! And Bjarne--if you even *think* about using that new pile of Saxo Bank dough to try to buy out we love Samuel Sanchez from under Euskaltel in exchange for say the Vuelta, you can just !@#$%^%$ *&^%$#% yer frickin' !@#$$! #$% (*&^, you !@#$ #@#$%er! Anyway, starting about 11:30 in, here's Voeckler's brilliant, almost heartbreaking, lug to the line: Beautiful!

It Ain't Easy Being Green: meantime, forget the fact that Cav's in-the-bag green jersey is now back in play due to a 20-point penalty for blowing the time cut (along with half the peloton, to be fair)--more important than Rojas squealing like a kid at Christmas over his good fortune, what the hell has gotten into the Manx Missile lately? Where even the perpetually-genteel Tyler Farrar has fallen prey to a very brief (and instantly retracted) bout of smack-talk, Cav has apparently replaced his entire personality with some hideously saccharine Smurf's, generously complimenting everyone from Thor Hushovd to the guy who takes his urine sample with nary a complaint or insult in sight. Come back to us, Mark--I cannot *take* Andy Schleck's whinging as a cheap substitute to your !@#$ed-off perfection!

Yer Lance Armstrong Question o' the Day: last but not least, for those of us subject to those nonstop Miller High Life commercials on Versus, am I the only one thinkin' the only reason they finally stopped running the ones with Lance jovially chatting and mountain-biking with a buncha other pretty folks is because he must've threatened to rip the arm off the lowly peon actor who dared touch him on the shoulder during the party scene? Oh, well, I'm sure it didn't hurt *so* much with that nice beer buzz on and all...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yer Rest-Day Roundup, Part Deux; and, the Guilty Pleasure of Alexandre Vinokourov

Want Some Cheese With That Whine?: wah, Cadel won't work, wah, no-one's attacking, wah, no-one's helping me win, wah, wah, wah. Look, Schlecks: no-one owes you *anything.* First, you've got nearly two minutes on Contador who was limping up the Pyrenees with a bashed-in knee and a Giro-decimated lack of energy, and the best you can--or are willing to--get on 'im is 2 more seconds on the Plateau de Beille? With *your* abilities, why the hell didn't you dispatch him once and for all right then? It's not like you have moral problems hosing him like you did last year! And honey, if Contatwerp *remotely* feels better later this week, you've got a lot worse to worry about than guys on other squads freakishly not riding for *you*. Second, let's reiterate: no-one else owes you *anything.* Cadel doesn't--yes, it's a wheel-sucking snoozefest of a way to win the Tour, but *you're* the one who's gonna get obliterated in the time trial, why *should* he knock himself out? And Basso's got his own Tour redemption to sort out--remember when Frank was (allegedly!) associated with Fuentes, but only Basso went down? More, Ivan excepted, Liquigas simply doesn't have the high-altitude firepower to win the Tour, and at least Ivan's got the nuts to keep attacking alone. Andy, you or Frank could well win anyway--it was all decided on the first-stage pileups where Twerp lost time and you, thanks to mere timing, didn't. Win or lose, whatever, but quit the cryin' already!

White Punk on Dope: so UCI prez Pat "Dick" McQuaid sez it wouldn't be a "bad thing" if there were a doping positive or two at the Tour de France this year, on the grounds that it'd suggest that anti-doping efforts were working. Now, two years *without* a poz, *that'd* suck, as it'd tend to show there's "something going wrong here." Leaving aside the fact that, uh, there *has* been a positive dope, or masking agent, test at this year's Tour, and there hasn't even been *one* year, much less two, without a doping poz recently (as I seem to recall Contador got into some small imbroglio in 2010)--Pat, given the disgusting raft o' nailage that's been been going on since a reliable test for EPO, then CERA, then the bio passport, and also since certain members of the peloton have been shocked with a cattle prod every time they reach into the cooler on the team bus, I think it's safe to say that a load of these clowns are still getting away with it. I gotta give it to you, though, Andy's account of being forced to walk through a restaurant's worth of innocent diners with a cup of wiz in his hand both showcases your genuine diligence in the matter *and* provides a nauseating visual sure to be seared into my cerebral cortex for years to come. Thanks so much for all you do!

The Dark Horse Rides On: and, in "French Riders Who Don't Suck" news (and I was really rooting for Sandy "The Dog Ate My Bicycle" Casar, btw), Thomas Voeckler's doing a smashing job hanging on to the maillot jaune, and tho' he's assuring the French fans he can't win it, we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Road Race Champion And He Rocked the Pyrenees!" Sanchez, for one, is not buying it. I say let's make a deal with the French tifosi: if one of their own finally hits the podium, will *you* stop hissing and abusing everyone who kicks your !@# whether or not they're stoked on illicit substances? Hell, even that crap only helped, say, Virenque so much!

The Guilty Pleasure of Alexandre Vinokourov: all right, I'm a class-A hypocrite on this one. I can't stand doping, and I especially can't stand guys who take (allegedly!) half their wins with an IV in their butt and a direct sterile line to their team cars. But I loooooooove watching Alexandre Vinokourov, and I'm sorry to see him retire. I love the way he attacks seemingly at random, with no particular sense or strategy to the timing. I love how he lights up a pack of wheel-slurping lame-os out of their stupor with his inexplicable aggression. I love him for his endless work in keeping his fallen friend Andrei Kivilev's memory alive, for always rewarding his domestiques with their own victories before they hit retirement age (hear that, um...someone?), I loved watching him stick it to the bitter booing fans at Liege-Bastogne-Liege whose own guy couldn't've won it anyway. And I particularly love him for calling bull!@#$ on the teams, peloton, and entire cycling world for their ridiculous hypocrisy in criticizing him. Trust me, I appeal to the purity and goodness that is Lance Armstrong every night to make me a better person, to no avail. And yes, it makes me feel soooooooooo dirty. Disgusting as you may be, Vino, you'll be sorely missed--and I'll chomp down my racejunkie hat like a Dorito if I'm the only one!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pony Up, Vaughters You Cheapskate!

It's the Thor de France, Baby!: here's the scoop: we love Jens "Shut Up Legs!" Voigt is now on Twitter, and he sez Thor Hushovd's hotel room is a cramped, tiny piece of crap. What the hell is wrong with you, Vaughters? The man is world champion. He wore the maillot jaune for a week with your sponsor's logo all over his rump. He deigned to lead out (the great,to be sure, but jeez!) Tyler Farrar in a !@#damn sprint, for !@#$'s sake. And now this most unlikely of climbers has bagged you a Pyreneean stage win off the Col d'Aubisque, and this is the best you'll do for him? Pony up for a decent hotel room for the boy already, you oppressor pig! And no, I don't care if Jens *was* being tongue-in-cheek and Thor *was* already staying in a decent pad--you can freakin' pay up for an *extra* palatial suite for just his dirty socks and the pile of fawning sycophants you owe 'im. Don't take any more guff, Thor--and Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin *gave* you a damn Visa card, right? So use it!

GC Deep, Mountain High: let's cut to it: (1) Contador clearly ain't just "psyching out" the Schlecks at this point and (2) relative to his own freakishly high norm, at least, and barring some miracle renaissance tomorrow (which to be fair, Alberto being Alberto, is certainly possible), he looks like hell. So what's this mean for GC? Well, for my money, if the Schlecks successfully continue to tag-team him through the Alps, and Cadel doesn't crack, it's over, because there ain't near enough room in the time trial for Alberto to recover the time over even the sucktastic Schlecks, so we're basically talking about a battle for 2nd. And Andy, give it to Frank, while we're at it--you can't blame Chaingate for this one, your big bro just looks a bit better than you this year! Oh, Alberto, I can't stand the whining, promise me you'll pull it back for the Alps...or heck, if Thor Hushovd can take a mountain stage, maybe you can at least kick Cavendish's !@# in the next sprint!

Radio Silence: and, in further bodily-damage news, RadioSkank has now lost the stalwart (and darned on-form) Andreas Kloden, leaving just Levi Leipheimer--without the aid of Klodi, Chris, Jani Brajkovic, or Popo--to hold down the fort for the squad's Tour de France dreams. Luckily, Lance Armstrong is apparently due in France shortly to torment Alb--um, support Levi, which should provide, if massive annoyance to those of us at home who will be subject to the nails-on-a-blackboard 24/7 media whorefest, a big mental boost to our lovable RoadID tough guy. Aw, Levi--if they won't let Lance in to domestique, maybe you could buy up a few of yer old Gerolsteiner teammates to help you along...

Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeel!: finally, no post would be complete without a replay of the fantastically humble and exceedingly smashing we love Samuel Sanchez taking the stage to Luz-Ardiden, with half his key lieutenants crashed out, no less: Woo-hoo Samu--aupa Euskalteeeeeeeeeel!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh, Yeah--The Tour de France Begins, Baby!

Yep, forget the 11 days of GC-decimating crash-hold-ups, mass pile-ups, and dates with ditches that've left basically Cadel and Andy slugging it out for numero uno and all the other dogs just yappin' behind--it's finally time for the high mountains, baby, and the Tour begins in the Pyrenees! Anyway, tomorrow we'll see if what's left of Alberto can finally drop--and let's be honest, he needs to *severely* drop--Cadel and baby Schleck, or if he'll be stuck recovering time in craptastic 10-second increments til even the final time trial can't save him. Me, I'm rather hoping Alberto'll gain it all back just so Cadel can slap him around in the end like the road warrior he's finally grown into, but then, if Contador can pull this Tour out of the hole, especially after that grindfest of a Giro, I suppose it'd be just plain bad sportsmanship *not* to cheer him. And, since we all already know Samu Sanchez will take a stage for his down-but-not-out orange army (shut up! will too!), can the cagey Ivan Basso come up with the goods and knock one of the chosen ones off the top 3? Still, go Cadel--bonus points if you bring your dog up on the podium!

The stages: tomorrow, it's an Hors Category two-fer up the Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden,
, then, after a Friday drop off the Col d'Aubisque, Saturday brings us 6 ugly climbs with a lively--and leg-mashing--finish on Plateau de Beille. Meanwhile, chin up, Cav--a few more years of crawling on your knees up these stages to make the time cut, and you'll be climbing mountains like Thor Hushovd, I promise!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yer Rest-Day Roundup, Or, What the Hell Did JJ Flecha Ever Do To *You*?

Road Rage is Right: okay, we'll get to the rest of the carnage in a moment--but what the hell was that with that media car suddenly swerving at top speed right into the entirely non-threatening JJ Flecha and, by extension, poor bloody barbed-wired (and far more gracious than these freaks deserved) Hoogerland? Jeez, why don't we just stick the camera guys on the back of a !@#damn Zamboni so they can flatten the riders right into the road surface next time? That oughta work, you reckless !@#$s! Just look at this:

Ouch Report: in other disasters, Contatwerp went flying head-first into a spectator--Bjarne, can you order *some* of your extra boys to surround this little menace to society so no-one else gets hurt?--our beloved Dave Z is gone with a reported broken wrist, luckless nice-guy Van de Velde fell over, green jersey/class act Gilbert swore post-stage to keep on fighting for the shoulder-snapped van den Broeck's sake, and, worst of all, the gloriously destructive Alexander Vinokourov was forced to withdraw from his last Tour de France with, not a sarcastic tirade against the press and peloton and a leg-crushing stage win or two, but a broken femur and a host of other excruciating injuries after a hideous flyer into a woodsy ditch. Y'know, winning the Tour de France merely by attrition is *not* the way to take this great race. I mean, do we *really* want to see Cav and Greipel as the only two guys left slugging it out for GC in the Pyrenees?

Well, Excuuuuuuuuuse Me: oh, yeah, here it comes, Contador's respectable bailout: quite legitimately, no doubt, Alberto's suffering from some pretty bad-!@# knee pain from his series of crashes and his entanglement with Vladimir Karpets today. Still, the boy is pretty tenacious, plus outwardly optimistic about the restorative effects of a day off, and I won't be surprised if he sticks it out if he has to handstand his way across the finish line in Paris. Heck, he's more likely to stay upright that way lately than on two wheels, it seems...anyway, Alberto, get well by Tuesday, 'cause if baby Schleck's gonna beat you, I want him to have to beat you at your best!

A Gentle Plea for Reform: finally, I don't know what the hell's causing the gorefest at this year's Tour--whether the riders are still twitchy and terrified from the tragic events of the season, the routes chosen are narrow crap, the roads are just too damn crowded as Marco Pinotti suggests, or the pressure for spectacle from us clueless tifosi has driven all common sense from the race organizers--but can better minds than mine (come on, they can't be *that* hard to find) please get on the problem and try to keep these riders out of the ER for 10 minutes? Whatever it takes, we swear it's good by us! Big pillows tied onto their hips? Closing off the streets of NYC for 3 weeks so the boys can ride on a nice clean straight grid? Tricycles, what? Figure it out, ASO, so you've still got some undented kids to ride this thing--I beg you!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You, Johan?

It's Not That Important: look, it's cycling. I get the pain thing. You're a bloody wreck, you broke something of moderate usefulness, no one wants to bail on the Greatest Show on Earth, you suck it up and go on. And sure, before I hear any crap, it's easy to Monday-morning quarterback. But !@#$, people, particularly after what has already happened in the peloton this year--including the latest difficult news about Mauricio Soler's cognitive state--if you are telling the cameras that you personally were aware someone whacked his head into the asphalt during the race and immediately then, thereafter, and at the end of the !#@$ing stage didn't know where he was, what he was doing, what was happening, or how he got there, you really think it's okay to let him continue to ride for what--pride, GC, respect for the race? Or if your crash-smacked sprinter has a pre-race pounding headache and vomiting, and two riders from completely different teams are worried enough to track down your DS to tell you he's barely functioning and they're worried, today seems like a great day for a bike ride? What's more, if any of these guys had crashed again--and let's recall how many perfectly alert riders go down on any given day-- this could've been an even worse discussion. This video is just damn chilling. Luckily, both Chris Horner and Tom Boonen seem to be safely on the mend, and best wishes to both for a full and speedy recovery. Damn, squads--keep some perspective, please!

And, Yer Question o' the Day: okay, end of sanctimonious polemic. Am I the only one who thinks that--and no, we're not in his terrain yet--Contador just ain't lookin' that good out there?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Back In Action--But Not Some Guys!

Dang, take off for a coupla of 10-minutes-o'-interest sprint stages and all hell breaks loose--half of RadioSkank's hardworking GC is crashed out with busted whatsits or severely set back on the block, bitchin' Brit Wiggo is nursing a broken collarbone and heading back home, the race organizers go after Cav and Thor for ungentlemanly conduct--because we all know that's the worst problem plaguing the sport--and desperate stealth weapon Contador, now professing he's ready for the mountains, tries a classic left-hand-side uphill flyer on a milder stage only to be chased down and pipped by Cadel at the line without even gaining back a second. Save the drama for the mountains this weekend, whydontcha--or at least stay safely upright on the bikes for ten minutes you guys!

S.O.S. Please Someone Help Me: Speaking of our wee Giro king, I see sponsor Saxo Bank is freaking ou--um, generously handing Bjarne Riis the dough to pick up a bunch more support riders for Alberto, including, one hopes, at least one who can remind him of such crucial truisms as "front of the pack, good, !@#-end of nowhere, bad", and, equally utilitarian, pick up the squad's GC mantle for the future should the main man's doping case not go in his favor. I gotta say, I'm feeling sympathy for Bjarne on this one--having nursed such other talents as Basso and the Schlecks to huge success, it'd be a damn shame if he ended up in disgraced obscurity having to scramble to sign any kid with a halfway-decent speed on his daily newspaper route he can find. Anyway, who wants to domestique for Contador? Come on...a big fat signing bonus for new recruits with tactical sense!

Right Said Red: and, in a handsome reminder that the weakest man in the Tour de France can still beat the crap out of pretty well all but a 180 or so of the other 8 billion people on the planet with his legs tied behind his head like a trussed-up steer (hey, that reminds me, forget it, the boy's been through enough!), 2010 Lanterne Rouge Adriano Malori on Thursday was crowned Most Combative, which is not only an honor, but surely a useful tool as muscle-backup for his Lampre teammate Alessandro Petacchi the next time Cavendish (or some hired goon) tries to whang him off the tarmac in a tight sprint. Use him if you can, Ale-jet--ya can't count on your calendar pin-up photos defending you when you're mano-a-mano with the Manx Missile!

We Heart Capitalism: in souvenir news, the Tour itself is offering a smashing new bib on sale, not only ideal for brainwashing your little tot into a career in professional cyclist before s/he can even use the potty, but also for yer enterprising yet neat-freak grown-up contender who doesn't want his apres-stage...nutritional supplements getting on that nice team jersey. Also available for you-know-who's chef, a little maillot-jauneish reminder of what's at stake the next time there's a food-borne !@#$-up: Enjoy your dinners, gentlemen--carefully!

2 Legit, 2 Legit to Quit: finally, admiration and many thanks to Wall Street Journal sportswriter/cycling guru Reed Albergotti for his intriguing article on the present, past, and future legacy (and limits) of Alberto Contador, in which, I humbly note, racejunkie is briefly quoted, which means, I presume, that if I were really cool, and certain racers were interested in the trifecta of financial news, foreign sports pages, and cycling bloggers, I'd wake up some morning after the Tour de France to the sound of, say, Alberto's big brother whomping in my window with a crowbar, or, maybe, a set of giant white Cavish teeth trying to chew their way through my innocent doorjamb. Ah well, I'm not worried--it's not like some riders don't take criticism well!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Thoooooooooor--And, Back In a Few Days!

Yes, even racejunkies take vacation, and even during the Tour--hell, it's not like I'm off during the Giro or Vuelta--so, dear reader(s) and cycling fans, til I'm back at the end of the week, here's Thor "Oh Yeah, I'm the Maillot Jaune, Baby!" Hushovd (and his new steed) for your viewing pleasure:

I'll be back for the mountains--and Contador, just *try* not to lose more time until then!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Well, *That* Was Lively!

And, my entire post this morning is now entirely irrelevant, because tho' the boys have barely left the team bus, Cadel Evans is in total control, and Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, and damn near everyone else has got a cool 1:14 on Alberto Contador, held back by a smashingly stupid Astana/spectator crash and, I think, making it virtually imperative that the race organizers institute a new rule immediately leashing the fans as well as dumb-crash usual suspects, their dogs. So while Bjarne sez he's unconcerned, Contador, presumably, is going all Armstrong on him for letting him hang back that far in the bunch anyway--and jeez, Bjarne, what the !@#$ *were* you thinking, it's like only BMC had the brain trust in the team cars this morning!--and Frank's gonna mark Alberto like dog on fire hydrant to make sure he doesn't get much more'n an occasional stage win. Me, I think this sucks--love Contador or hate him, the boy can bring on the excitement, and if we're all gonna have a giant paranoiac wheel-sucking contest in the Alps, you might as well just wake us in Paris. And before he even gets to celebrate--!@#$ up Lance! Oh well, the French are happy--now instead of figuring out why you still can't win your own home Tour, you can boo Andy for 3 weeks like whiny little beeyotches instead!

Oh, look--here's the first photos of Contador on the team bus back to the hotel--
Cheer up, squirt--after all, it can only get better from here!

It's the 2011 Tour de France, Baby!

And We're Off!: Y'know, once you've seen Thor Hushovd dressed up like a chick holding a giant hammer over his head, it's hard to believe things could get any better, but yes, it's time for the glory, the folly, and class-A showmanship of the Tour de France, and what better way to start it than with a compact, handy guide to the festivities? Sure, some o' this'll be old hat to you veteran fanatics--but remember, at the Tour, anything can happen and most usually does!

The GC Contenders: look, Alberto Contador could pretty much stay in his hotel room for three weeks mainlining hard-core sedatives and he'd still win the thing, but should he and his lieutenants be truly thwapped from the Giro, ever-podium press-nemesis Cadel Evans, two-time Giro king Ivan Basso (still never quite the same after his ban), oh-so-close-to-last-year's-podium we love Samuel Sanchez, and perpetual second-banana (sorry, that's not to say he's not a very fine cyclist) Andy Schleck are on his tail. Andy in particular is still looking for revenge for a punk-!@# move he pulled on Contador early in last year's race that's he's conveniently blocked out of his memory before whining for 365 straight days about Alberto's stupid "Chaingate" attack, but since Contador in particular doesn't seem to hold a parallel grudge (or media weep-fest) over Andy, look for Andy and slightly-older evil twin Frank to bushwhack Alberto if they gets the chance. And yes, Levi Klodi Horner are in the slugfest, but !@#$ed. Fun for all!

The Climbers: Whatever don't go to the GC contenders and the tragically motivated Movistar, it's all about the orange-and-black, baby--go Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!

The Fast Men: sure, this is a spectacularly crap course for these guys, but we got drama: Cav's still gotta prove his early-season suck-form was a fluke, the disconcertingly ageless Petacchi's out for blood because of the stupid Italian cycling fed's completely unfair decision to keep doping slime-weasels out of the Worlds squad, Boonen's gotta earn his keep with that oily smirk Patrick Lefevere at Quick Step, unhappy Thor wants a good show to up the dough in his next contract, and peloton nice-guy Tyler Farrar, after the terrible loss of his dear friend Wouter Weylandt, would like to win one for both of them. Me, I'm rooting for Tyler 'n' Thor. You go boys!

The Breakaway Artists: Oh, pack it up and go home. Philippe Gilbert just took it. And the next one. And the n--oh, just go the hell home!

Time Trial: is this even a question? The last guy to beat Fabian Cancellara tested poz for like 2 gallons of dope the next day. The man's a bionic freak! Or bike doping. Or just plain better'n you whiners. Or...

The Missing: total, unmitigated bull!@#$. We love dear little Tour de France champ Carlos Sastre (yeah, don't feel quite so bad about Menchov) and Robbie McEwen are out. You suck, race organizers and RadioSkank!

The Commentators: it's not Phil & Paul's fault that they're Lance fans, and they can still tell you all about the spectacular local brie they ate at that winery apres-stage 15 in '78. Kneel, swine!

And, a Bonus Feature for My Beloved Reader(s): Lance, Lance, Lance, Lance, Lance, Lance Lance Lance, Contador, Lance Lance, controversial, Lance Lance Lance Lance chain Lance Lance Lance Andy Schleck Lance Lance. There, I saved you two hours outta your life--you just watched every morning's TdF preview show!