Saturday, September 24, 2011

Caaaaaaaaaaav!: And, Your Overall Worlds Roundup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complimenti to all, and to all a good year!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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

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

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And He's Off (the Hook Again)!

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, No, Carlos!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yer Deep Thoughts On The Vuelta a Espana


2. Chris Froome: not bad for a domestique.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 09, 2011

It's Jensageddon--Aiiiiggghhhhhhh!

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ivan Basso Gets Slapped

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

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

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

Monday, September 05, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Great RadioSkank Bail-out

Go Green!: okay, Levi's apparently bailing for Quick Step, the squad's already lost half its young talent, Klodi--aw, Klodi'll probably stick it out--and now, the exodus continues, as the great Robbie McEwen decides to wind down his peloton days with new Aussie supergroup GreenEdge. Woo-hoo Robbie--especially if it's gonna be the Johan Bruyneel all-Tour-de-France Schleck Show, there's no need for you to put up with that !@#$! In other transfer news, future Grand Tour winner Tejay Van Garderen is headed over to BMC, which at this point is either gonna be (1) the best team on earth in every race next season or (2) a thrillingly catastrophic implosion of egos, conflicting goals, and bloody team-bus smack-downs. Me, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, I know what I'm rooting for--but Thor, I'm on your side just in case! Check it out Cadel, you gonna mess with this?

Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow: meantime, a big--and fast!--"get well soon" to Tom Boonen, hit hard by an excruciatingly-detailed chafing injury to his manly parts, but still determined, tough guy that he is, to continue on in the Vuelta. Damn, can't this poor thing get *any* type of break this season? Oh well, at least we all know he won't mind wandering around in public without his pants on while he heals!

Ever Wanted to Wear the Maglia Rosa Without Looking Like a Total Poseur?: well, now you almost can, as the Giro's running a bitchin' promotion where if you tweet why you love it, the man in the lead at the race next year may wear it right on the podium. Just think, your own words on some dreamy chest--I know who certain faithful readers are gonna root for!

Some Good News For A Change: finally, congratulations to the late Wouter Weylandt's family, as girlfriend An-Sophie De Graeve has given birth to baby girl Alizee', and both mom and daughter are doing well. Best to all!