Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No, Jens, No!

From the Department of Unholy Matrimony: look, bad enough I had to watch we love Chris Horner become BFFs with Lance Armstrong--now *Jens* is gonna become a denizen of the devil's playground 'cuz of a rumored merger between Leopard-Trek & RadioSkank? Aiiiggghhhhhh! First, can poor Andreas Kloden *get* any more dope-smacked? Sure, he's been unjustly demeaned and downtrodden for most of his incongruously illustrious career, but when the Schleck brothers get ahold of 'im, forget doing *their* laundry, he's gonna be washing their soigneur's sister's in-laws' dirty underwear every night *and* bringing 'em breakfast in bed every morning. Oh Klodi! Second, though I'm clearly a soulless monster to be annoyed with Frank'n'Andy this year if Jens loves them, the thought of Jens finishing his career in RadioSkank team kit is a flat-out gackfest. Don't do it, Jens, please--if there's ever been *any* time to unleash your immortal powers on the peloton, destroying this crap disaster deal is it!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: In other team sponsorship news, I see from its formal 2012 UCI filings that Astana will be known henceforth as Team "Don't !@#$ With Me You !@#$ing Maggot, I Am Alexandre !@#$ing Vinokourov!", and, effective immediately, the DS, soigneurs, masseuse, towel boy, mechanic, team car driver, chef, team-bus maintenance guy, team leader, domestiques, Kazahk U-23 development squad, agent, PR firm, legal counsel, component maker, and official bike manufacturer will each be some guy listed as "A. Vinokourov." Here, new security guard "A. Vinokourov" clears the scene at the press conference. Lookin' forward to next year, Team DFWMYFMIAAFV!

A Helpful Tip From Paul Martens: y'know, as a gentle lady, I can only posit the masculine discomfort, but if *I* were Pat McQuaid, and *I* were surrounded by 180 guys hot off the bike with distinctly unhappy gentlemanly areas who also have access to large, heavy swingable objects like bicycle stands and giant wrenches, I might heed the sage tweeted words of new fave rider/Rabobank tough guy Paul Martens: "I wish the UCI comissairs would do a 47k tt with the new rule that the saddle must be horizontal #deadballs !" Y'know, Pat, I'm sure Paul is a friendly, reasonable man and all--but it's not like he can't find you after a bike race while you're preening about for the press corps, you think you might ease up on those specs a bit?

No Rest for the Weary: last but not least, despite Igor Anton having finished sometime next year in yesterday's individual time trial, I remain deeply in denial over Euskaltel's Vuelta GC prospects, & fully committed to my stance that Menchov'll be lickin' at least Mikel Nieve's bike shoes clean for him by the time of the final podium in Madrid. Come on Mikel, even a single stage win'll do it! As for Purito Rodriguez, I'll irrationally deny wise and valued reader Paul's peremptory (if wholly correct) thwap and point out that Brad Wiggins is bound to crack in the mountains sometime, Nibali's gonna be awful sleepy after that good ride yesterday, and, in fact, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy do exist, which I can totally prove because they all just busted out a nice rose' with me last night at dinner. Don't screw with my happy place, people!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Damn, Maybe These Guys *Do* Need Race Radios

Argh!: y'know, I'd pretty well resigned myself to supporting the use of race radios because, basically, Jens said so, but now there's an argument that actually has independent merit: if you watched Ten Dam, Schleck, and (sorry Ivan!) Basso's epic choke in the last 2k of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, it's obvious some of these guys *cannot* be trusted to think for themselves. Geez louise, you have a *guaranteed* win by one of the best bike racers on earth--and frankly, some of you could use it this season--and you blow it by pissy wankerian knowingly self-destructive tactical dithering? Look, I was gonna get annoyed if Andy bagged it too, but better him than none of you for all that work y'all put in. But really, DSes, you've *got* the radios in the team cars, did it *occur* to you you're supposed to use 'em to scream instructions their !@#damn dimwit ears during the race if they need it instead of, oh, ordering a Big Whopper at the drive-thru as a post-loss consolation prize? Andy, of course, managed to whine like one of those horrid over-coiffed yippy dogs *again* about how everyone else owed him victory, though from my seat Ten Dam was at least trying the whole time and Basso jumped on every move no matter who wouldn't even try to help him. Yes, I know you're trying to divert our attention, Andy--but you've still got to learn to time-trial this winter! Anyhoo, big points to Tom Peterson for shoving Richard Nixon's mug out o' the way (serious, look for it): And that was some fine riding, Levi--Johan, with the win as extra leverage, I hope he *does* bail to Quick Step for more dough!

Your Vuelta Roundup: and, as Euskaltel's we love Igor Anton sneakily holds way, way back in preparation for stomping Nibali and Rodriguez next week (shut up! and you can all just bite me when Mikel Nieve wins the Vuelta in a couple years!), Monday's gonna be a big race to the bottom for the GC contenders as each tries not to suck *quite* as bad at the time trial as the next guy down, and I'm banking on Nibali, providing he's not too tanked from his mean ride today, to be the fair-to-middling best o' the bunch. But it's still your race to lose overall, Rodriguez--I hope you don't mind if it's to Anton!

Blast From the Past: meantime, nothing sets the ol' waterworks off and the heartstrings tuggin' like this genuine diamond I find I still have filed from, it looks like, the Financial Times right after the bust in 2006: "I'd no reason to know about testosterone," quoth Landis, "and, all of a sudden, 200 journalists are experts and they've all convicted me." Such cruel, unjustified doubts from those vultures--I'm gonna sue every !@#$% who slanders me! Oh, wait...

Yer Racejunkie Tweet o' the Week: finally, a warm congrats to Mark Cavendish for his comment on Tyler Farrar (sorry!)'s mash-up on this week's Vuelta sprint: "Just watched yesterday's crash in the sprint of #vuelta. I wonder who's going to be first person to blame me for it." Not me, Cav--maybe the field was just hallucinating one of your hired goons chasing 'em down instead?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Gentle Persuasions of Alexandre Vinokourov

Retire Or I'll Break Your !@#$ing Kneecaps!: yes, the Astana saga just gets curiouser and curiouser, with Astana managing to keep within the UCI rules and, totally coincidentally, retain their ProTour status with the wholly unsurprising completely voluntary retirement--not a team switch, a retirement--of jailbait quitter Roman Kiriyev, because for my money, a 24-year-old who's just recently achieved his dream career, has been riding actual races within the preceding fortnight, already grabbed a spot on a Grand Tour squad, and despite reports of serious injury has, accordingly to reliable medical reports, a "boo-boo", is just the kind of grizzled veteran whose jaded, arthritic burnout and approximately 63 road miles ridden finally caught up with and whacked 'im when he decided on his retirement "months ago." Well, nice to know ya, Roman--hope Vino didn't cry too hard when you gave him the news!

Crashes and the Dumb!@# Parents Who Cause Them: and, in the sort of crack parenting advice only someone who has personally inadvertently frozen three innocent young cactii to death during a blizzard is qualified to give, I generously offer this suggestion to tifosi everywhere: DON'T LET YOUR FREAKIN' KID RUN OUT ONTO THE COURSE AT A GRAND TOUR. Now, I understand the entirely faultless tot's impulse in dashing out on a 70kph Vuelta downhill to grab a discarded water bottle--if Jens Voigt so much as phtoofed the spit-covered nub of an empty energy gel into the gutter in front of me I'd dive for that thing mount it in platinum and parade it around my office like the Hope Diamond. But I'm old enough to *choose* to be that stupid, and certainly to wait til the peloton goes by. Thankfully, both child and the very worried Kurt Asle Arvesen escaped with mere bumps and bruises, and will be just fine. But *think*, dear parents--we wouldn't allow Junior to skip out onto the fifty-yard line during the last damn play of the Superbowl, would we? Riiigghhhtt!

Punk-!@# Move of the Week: fine, David Moreno wasn't thrilled Chris Anker Sorensen attacked, but to my eyes, it was an *extremely* punk-!@# move on Tuesday for him to wheel-suck Sorenson for 3k then, nicely rested, blitz around him for the stage win. Meantime, I remain in deep denial about we love Igor Anton's disastrous two-day bonk and meekly confessed lack of form, because (1) of course Igor'll ride right back into it in a day or two (shut up! will too! go to hell!) and (2) while GC contenders like Rodriguez and Nibali are foolishly crossing him off their list, Euskaltel revelation Mikel Nieve will smack the smirk off their faces with a coupla smashingly time-gaining stage wins (shut up! will too! go to hell!). Keeeeep dreamin' there Vincenzo--the boys in orange are comin' up!

Oldies But Goodies: finally, it's just darn great the last two days to watch the usually slow-n-steady Levi Leipheimer accelerate like a beast to take a stage and big George Hincapie crush the break today while certain European riders, hampered, as Cadel Evans noted, by a distinct lack of that pesky "oxygen", cracked after a few brave, if futile, efforts of their own. Yes, yes, I know who George and Levi used to ride for, you paranoid, mean-minded haters--lalalalalalalalala, I can't hear you, lalalalalalala!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Answer to My Dirty, Dirty Little Prayers

Look Who's Back!: oh, yeah, watch out, mother!@#$ers. It's Alexandre Vinokourov, and whatever his reasons, he's not done with you yet. A snapped femur is nothing to a man who'd rip it out and beat you over the head with it rather than retire from the peloton in ignominy. He's coming back for a final showdown at Lombardy, and this time, he's not landing in a !@#damn ditch until he's stood on the top of his final podium and he's pedaling home to his hotel at 60kph in a power-drunk haze. I know you want it too, Gilbert. So come and take it from him. If. You. Dare. See you in October, baby!

BMC Ya In Hell, Gilbert!: geez, from Cadel's sharp slap at Thor to know and keep his place, to Hushovd's very warm welcome of his good friend Gilbert to the squad on the condition that he sticks to the Ardennes classics and doesn't start dreaming of sugarplums and Paris-Roubaix til Thor's long been rockin' on the porch reminiscing about yesteryear, the fireworks just keep coming at now-superteam BMC, with Classics aspirant Greg Van Avermaet feeling just a tiiiiiiiiny bit suspicious of BMC's professed commitment to his own personal development with the addition of Philippe to his happy home. Oh, I'd not worry, Greg--between Thor, Cadel, and Philippe marking each other like dead enemies at every race, they won't even *notice* if you escape up the road for a win!

And We're Off!: yes, the fabulous Vuelta is on the road, and with the usual twitchy freak assortment of crashes, mechanicals, and disastrous bonks for the prologue in the rear-view, it's time to coddle the flatlanders before Tyler, Cav, and co. seriously start reconsidering bike-doping when the race starts hitting even its more modest hills. In the meantime, they're off to a surprisingly fine start, with Tommeke charging just a bit too early (but still looking great--come on Tom!) as that nasty little uphill bit in, and Chris Sutton capping a smashingly strong finish with a detailed individual shout-out to his teammates for the set-up as Benna-Jet of all folks bags the red jersey. Here's hot-off-the-presses spectator footage: Anyway, I'd just like to point out that Euskaltel-Euskadi did *not* lose as much time in the TTT as might've been well expected, and Menchov, you can just start shining Anton's bike shoes for him right now. He likes 'em nice and bright, so get started already, punk!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, Baby!

Yes, cycling fans, the obscene circus that is the Tour de France is past, the lucrative post-Tour crits are history, UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid, having abandoned anti-doping efforts for the year, is blissfully in heavily-hallucinating rainbows-and-unicorns territory declaring the sport finally clean, and it's time for the fabulous Vuelta a Espana, baby! So here's what you need to know:

The Course: 3 solid weeks of high-altitude pain, pain, pain, and more pain, as pansy French climbs like Alpe d'Huez are abandoned in favor of excruciating heat, ferocious impending misery, and some seriously daunting!@#$ in the mountains. Oh, right, and Oscar Freire gets a couple of not-really-flats to make the rest o' the sprinters whimper like the pampered simpering babies they are. Climb or go home, suckers!

The GC Contenders:
--Igor Anton. But for his craptastic bone-buckling crash-out last year, the generous Samuel Sanchez's wiry acolyte would've been standing atop on the final podium with (the worthy, but still) Vincenzo Nibali gasping for fresh air in his armpit. And that's *exactly*, with the help of his twee mountain-goat teammates and a merciful lack of time-trialing kilometers, where he's gonna be this year. Aupa Euskalteeeeeeeeel!
--Vincenzo Nibali. Let's be honest, Ivan Basso wouldn't be hedging his bets (and continuing Liquigas captaincy) calling himself and this kid "Italy's Schleck Brothers" unless he had a reason to worry, and Nibali's near-winning performance in the 2011 Giro, and 2010 defending jersey in this race, tells you why. Good luck Vincenzo--but Igor's still gonna stomp your !@#!
--Michele Scarponi. Dang, this guy is better now than when he was d--uh, a debutante. No, he won't win--he'll just grimace his way along quietly and sneak ever-up on GC--but a podium spot could be in sight. But heck, it's not like Lampre's girly-dress-up team kit is hard to miss--so keep an eye on 'im, boys!
--Joaquim Rodriguez. Katusha may blow, but they ain't stupid. He's fresh, he's canny, and he's eager to take his home Grand Tour. And thank heavens he won't have to time trial too much!
--Denis Menchov. Oh, don't even *go* there with me, honey--where the hell has he *been* this season, anyway? But good luck dear little Sastre with your stage win!

The Climbers: they're busy. Look for anyone who busts his...chainring for his captain and deserves a reward, and anyone who can't keep up with the GC in this race but gets too press-hyped to concede defeat, to grab a solo stage win here and there. This means you Euskaltel, and--aw, you know who you are, I'm not gonna make it even worse!

The Sprinters: hah! Like they're any use in *this* race. No, there are some. Let's see...there's Petacchi, and...um, there's...no, well...oh, just take my damn word for it, already!

The Missing: 1st, Thor Hushovd, who as you surely know by now wanted to ride the Vuelta to prepare to defend the prestigious World Champion stripes that in between acting as a freakin' domestique for !@#$'s sake he's been CONSPICUOUSLY PIMPING ON JONATHAN VAUGHTERS' !@#$IN' JERSEY ALL SEASON--you *suck*, Garmin! Also, all the Tour de France GC contenders. Never fear though, cycling fans--*after* you watch the far more important Vuelta coverage in full every day, you can watch Cadel, Ivan, and the Schlecks go head-to-head at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. Better, catch Thor at the Tour of Britain instead. C'mon Thor, show Vaughters he can shove yer wilted Tour de France mountain-win bouquets right--gosh, right in his glove compartment!

And Finally, Why This Particular Vuelta's So Bitchin': yes, at this Grand Tour there *is* a distinct lack of publicity-slut nimrods bouncing their pasty hairy beer-guts over their underwear running way too close to the riders (and cameras) for comfort, but even better, the Vuelta is takin' a nice hike through the brutal, beautiful Basque Country itself, which means thousands upon thousands of orange-army fanatics packing the roads to deafen even their Euskaltel heroes with screaming. These guys, in sum, are (aside from my dear reader(s) of course), the very bestest fans in the business. Igoooooooooooooooooooor!

Well, them's yer intro, I'll go into far more'n you ever wanted to hear as we go along. Now repeat after me--Anton rules, Nibali drools, Anton rules, Nibali drools, Anton r...! Look, here's why:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yer Racejunkie Hall o' Shame

Okay, aside from ex-cycling gadfly/newbie car racer Floyd Landis saying Alberto Contador's former coach is a "drug trafficker," Gilbert still deciding whether to screw over Boonen at Quick Step or tag-team Cadel doing it to Thor Hushovd at BMC, Horner recovering well (thank goodness) from a blood clot and Levi Leipheimer taking the Tour of Utah while new Sky signing Henao climbs like a monster, there's really not that much goin' on today, so that said, except for maybe Jens and Cav, it occurs to me lately that there's a certain "je ne sais quoi"--French for "total lack of entertainment value," of course--missing of late from the peloton. Oh, and before I get any crap, yes, although a *few* of these selections *may* have had issues with doping in the past, I'm against it. Extremely against it. So against it, in fact, that I'd rather listen to Andy Schleck wh--well, maybe not quite *that* against it, but trust me, *really* darn against it. Therefore, without further ado, Guys I Really Miss From the Peloton But Probably Shouldn't:

1. Jan Ullrich. say what you will about his strict fidelity to omerta' and the fact that he was a frustrated constant second fiddle to Lance Armstrong for the better part of a decade--and we all know why *that* was--but god love 'im, that man was a glorious mess. His power, undeniable; his performances, gorgeously erratic; his weight-piling off-season schnitzel binges, just plain lovable. At his best, as he chomped his way up a mountain in some ridiculous gear, he was simply a marvel to watch. And lest we forget, the man *did* take a Tour de France. Glad to see you back in action on the charity circuit, Jan!

2. Roberto Heras. like most climbers, Heras never yapped on much--no small part of why I tend to like them--but what you could count on, no matter what *he* was on, was his impeccable form on a climb, and drugs just can't buy that !@#$. And with no glory left in sight, the man's still riding his bike. Oh stuff it, like you don't think noone else at the time was any cleaner!

3. Alexander Vinokourov. Damn, it's barely been a month, and already the roads seem almost sane. And with Vino, you always knew to expect *some* race-course freak-show, whether it was a wholly pointless acceleration 70k from the finish line or his impish tendency to inflict sudden pain on an exhausted-but-inevitably-winning GC contender just because he could. Vino, please do get a handle on Iglinsky so he doesn't hurt anyone--but if you could imbue yer little Astana acolytes with your random torment, we'll all owe you big time!

4. Mario "the Chest" Cipollini. Look, it's no secret that I normally can't stand sprinters--their arrogance, their braggadocio, their squicky tendency to be caught making out with their own reflections in the men's-room mirror--but I gotta say, Cav excepted, the politesse of these guys lately is really getting on my nerves. But not only is Super Mario fielding a personal squad of exceedingly formidable female cyclists, you could always rely on him for, if not a sparkling quote or a brilliant finish (and he dished out plenty of those), a buck-nekkid photo of him around a bicycle. Damn, don't people think their mammas look at the internet?

5. Gilberto Simoni. Y'know, there's nothing I love more than to hear Cav go off on a teamful of guys who've just helped him take a win, Cadel snap on a posse of friendly press corps, or McEwen threaten to personally dissect anyone, on any basis, who !##$s with him. But these guys are frankly Amateur Hour next to the great two-time Giro d'Italia champ Gilberto Simoni, whose enormous capacity for vindictiveness and utter lack of self-editing led to some of the nastiest smack-talk of the last decade. Best of all, the man *can* back it up in the heights. Come back, Gibo--maybe your ol' pal Basso could use another DS to help him out over at Liquigas?

6. Erik Zabel. Don't tell me the sight of a hot-pink Telekom jersey didn't whack 14 or so years o' fear into the sprint kings! Oddly, there's rather a dearth of Zabel greatest-hits compilations on the web, though, in a disturbing harbinger of this past year's cow-carnage, I did find this interesting clip of poor Erik being clobbered by a pony. This isn't why I miss you Erik--but Phil and Paul's commentary *is* priceless!

Yes, I've left out many deserving greats, and you and they all know who they are. And no, Lance isn't one of 'em, 'cause frankly, we *still* hear too much about that !@#$. So back to the countdown to the Vuelta, and good luck Contador with your Landis response!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mark Cavendish is *Screwed*!

Man on the Run: yep, looks like it's serious--Cav's go-to, and frankly much-needed, lead-out Mark Renshaw is apparently about to head to Rabobank to pursue some main-man sprint dreams of his own. Well, given how you've used him like a bat-wielding goon on the other sprinters, Cav, you better watch out now if you piss *him* off! Of course, you could just go all McEwen and actually rip someone's ear off with your teeth yourself...

Thooooooooooor!: in other "what the !@#$?" news, we love Thor Hushovd has bailed on the wholly unappreciative Garmin-Cervelo--I warned you, Vaughters!--to head to BMC of all places, and is so certain that the squad's massive support of all things Cadel (which Cadel deserves, for sure) won't leave him completely jacked again in the Classics and everything else that he's gone ahead and inked a full three-year gig. Considering what Thor managed to pull off entirely on his own in the Tour de France this year, though, I imagine that even there with the full force of the squad behind the defending Evans, Thor'll manage things for himself juuuuuuust fine. Okay, Thor, I'll admit I'm still a little skeptical here--but if you say it's okay, it must be true!

Bio Hazard: so, despite the fact that narcs-supreme UCI've got every cyclist's blood profile locked down cold, it seems there's a little problem with the infallible biological passport--according to Cervelo guru Gerard Vroomen, the dedicated dope-fighters aren't actually, y'know, testing against it. D'oh! Y'know, *no-one* has more faith in Pat "Dick" McQuaid than I, so I'm gonna state the obvious here and say that the only reason UCI *hasn't* done any of this stuff lately is that they just haven't plain had the time since they've been so busy busting big-name riders like, um....and, uh....gee, maybe...no, how about....hmmmmm....oh, but you watch out, you cheaters, they're comin' after you *someday*!

Tic-Toc, Baby!: finally, since you just can't wait for the Vuelta to begin (no, not the *Tour*, you soulless trolls, the *Vuelta*, the fabulous *Vuelta*), here's a bitchin' promotional video to ring in the countdown. Enjoy--and dammit, bring this sucker *on* already!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Groveling Apology (And A Bonus Offer!) to #PhilLiggett and #PaulSherwen

I'm *Scum* (Oh, Screw, I Mean on This Specifically): yes, I've done a grievous injustice to lords o' commentary Phil Liggett & Paul Sherwen: according to their interview in Bicycle Times, Phil gets "annoyed" when they get criticized for talking nonstop about Lance !@#$ing Armstrong, because in fact, it's the doofus US TV producers who *make* them do it. In my defense, I've only slagged 'em here for it 40 or 50 times total while lauding their godly superiority to all other creatures except maybe the boys at Euskaltel an estimated 3,650,000 times per single actual post, but still, I can't bear having done them wrong for a minute, so not only do I most humbly beg your forgiveness for being a complete twit, if you guys stop on by Rancho Racejunkie, I'll take you on a sojourn--on the fine racejunkie steed of your choice--down the path to one our truly superlative ice-cream emporia. Heck, I'll even pony up if you're one of those inexplicable "sorbet"-eating freaks. Sure, you'll drop me thirty yards out the driveway, but I'll catch up in a week or two. And I highly recommend the Vienna Finger Cookie, but if you're of a mind for a pint instead, I'll even make sure ahead of time they have the Guinness ice cream on hand. So Phil & Paul, mea maxima culpa, ditch those boring $10,000 Cervelos or whatever astonishing !#@$ you've been comped, and step right up to my smashing 1973 copper Ross Apollo 3-speed stick shift, or whatever else you can find amidst the chaos!

Yer Doping Excuse o' the Week: no, I didn't get around to this about five days ago--and really, can you blame me for not keeping up with the sheer quantity of postaldiscoveryastanaradioskank riders that've been dropping like flies every day?-- but while it's awful hard to beat Riccardo "Hey, *Anyone* Can Mistakenly Tell Their Doctor in a Total Delirium That They've Removed Their Own Blood, Pumped It Full of Illegal Performance-Enhancing Drugs, Stored It Improperly In the Fridge Next to the Yogurt for Three Weeks, Then Re-Injected It Back Into Myself In the Breakfast Nook" Ricco', former Lance minion Max Van Heeswijk's doing us all proud, claiming that when he admitted to a Dutch reporter he'd taken EPO on Lance's watch, he was really just referring to some "pre-race vitamins" he'd taken. (Unfortuntely, there's no record either way, as Van Heeswijk allegedly took the recording. D'oh!) Y'know, I hear you, Max. Truly. It is *so* hard to distinguish my Dora the Explorer Chewable Vitamin C Supplements from my SpongeBob Squarepants Gummi EPOs, especially when Lance is screaming right in my frickin' ear to get my lazy !@# to the start line before he rips my legs off. So remember next time--the *vitamins* have Dora and Diego on the label!

Oh, Cough It *Up*, Honey!: meantime, speculation continues as to where sprint king Mark Cavendish is gonna end up in 2012, even though he already knows, but it's clearly gonna be one of two places: (1) winning every race he's in, or (2) staring at Tyler Farrar's spandex butt in every sprint next season if he didn't get to take his crucial lead-outs Renshaw and Eisel with 'im. Wiggo, I see, has decided to welcome him with open arms if he goes to Sky, unless that is he fails to help him get and keep the yellow jersey in the Tour next year, in which case I imagine it'll be open fists in the team bus instead. See, they're best buds already--so long as Cav understands his place!

Your 2012 Rider o' the Year Is...: finally, I know I should be posting about Philippe Gilbert winning every post-Tour crit that Samu didn't whack him in (woo-hoo Sanchez!), and being all about to pulverize the peloton like stale breadcrumbs in this week's Eneco Tour, but since Euskaltel of course has come up with a stellar first-ever win for young talent Mikel Landa, I'm going to suggest y'all just su--um, sure enjoy the videotape:
Lookin' good for the Vuelta, boys--the rest o' you saps might's well just unpack yer bags at home right now!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Yer Holy Cro-Moly Isn't It Time for the Vuelta Yet? Roundup

A Gentle Suggestion for Andy Schleck: well, it's finally occurred to Andy "I Was Supposed to Win the Tour" Schleck that he's got a little work to do on his time trial before next July, and if I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion, you might want to work on those sketchy descending skills, too. Y'know who's *really* good at both? Oh, of course Cadel, but even better--Alberto Contador! And after 2 straight years of your bitching over Chaingate, I'm sure he'd be happy to show you how to pitch down a mountain at a zillion kph while he's shoving a water bottle into your wh--um, maybe you better just ask Cadel for help after all!

Lance Fights Cancer...Patient: yep, apparently Lance Armstrong ain't got much use for folks fighting cancer who don't like him, too, as a gentleman dealing with cancer surgery wholly reasonably begs no-one to get him one of those ubiquitous yellow bracelets, and Lance fires back with a snitty tweet to which, I must say, said gentleman responded with great discretion and aplomb. Y'know, it seems to me, Lance, that much as you've admirably done for the cause--which no one disputes that I've ever heard of--everyone's entitled to feel, and fight their own personal battle in, their own way. And if someone struggling with a miserable and terrifying illness can't bear eyeballing a cheerful platitude emblazoned on a happy-looking yellow wristband, I don't see how you can blame him. (Similar feelings, I've read, have been noted among some breast cancer survivors and the pink-ribbon campaign.) You fought your illness bravely, and I'm so very glad you recovered and went on to such great things. But you don't *own* the fight for everyone else, Lance, and those who don't feed your ego over your approach are entitled to that. Now cut the man some slack!

You Think the Climbs at the *Giro* Were Bad?: well, go cryin' to yer momma, honey, because the perfect Vuelta a Espana's about to do you one better--they're gonna make you haul your !@# up a giant volcano, and tough luck to you if your team kit and bike instantly vaporize in the lava flow and you end up butt-nekkid and rideless with nothin' but yer cleats to stand on and some smokin' shreds o' musette to shield the works. Oh, well, the Spaniards at least ride well in the heat--but Belgian hardmen, you might wanna just stay home!

The War on Drugs: no, not UCI's, you sweet, silly, naive little fool--Italy's, as Riccardo Ricco's latest doping ban gets extended another 30 days on the grounds that, if I am translating this correctly, he is "a colossal !@#$ing wanker." Don't worry Ricky, with the !@#$ you take (allegedly!) I'm sure you'll still be at the top your game when your ban expires sometime around 2050...

Gratuitous Jens Voigt Update: okay, as long as everyone's being irksomely coy about their transfer plans (this means you, Cav!), for no reason whatsoever I refer you to we love Jens, busy, apparently, painting a table with the Jenslets and confusing his dog. Ride again soon, Jens--what the hell are we supposed to do without you?!

Beach Baby, Beach Baby, There on the Sand, From July to the End of Septem-beeer: finally, bon voyage to wee sensation Alberto Contador, who's (almost--geez, decide already!) wrapping up his season (except for, y'know, his legal one) for 2011 to hit the beach, toss back a few--hey, I was gonna say margaritas, you cynics!--and reflect on his fascinating year. So, to tide you Alberto fans over 'til then, here's a little tribute: