Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Yer Tour of Flanders Preview, Baby!

On to the Ronde!: yes, as evil computer-hacking criminal mastermind Floyd Landis gets a November appeal date in French court on the grounds he can barely master a rotary phone, much less infiltrate a seriously-secured computer network, and the past and present Barbie-sparkle-princesses at Lampre get ready to defend against systemic doping accusations, it's time for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, baby, so let's take a look at this weekend's bloody battlefest!

1. The Course: ow ow ow ow ow !@#$in' flat ow ow ow ow ow !@#$in' derailleur ow ow ow ow ow ow OW MY !#@$IN' COLLARBONE ow ow ow oh !@#$ I'm glad it's over! Oh right, and they've bagged the Muur and seriously shaken up the route. And it doesn't help *anyone.* Oh, and watch out for nails, suckers!

2. The Players:
--Fabian Cancellara: look, he's gonna kick someone's !@#$; it's just a question of when. If he gets more than two bike lengths on anyone, including Boonen, it's over. Plus, someone's gotta save RadioSkank's season!
--Peter Sagan: right, he's just here training. But damn, this boy's on form! The stealth candidate no-one ever seems to notice 'til he's already smooching the podium babes. Top 3!
--Thor and Gilbert: hard to believe Hushovd could be any more screwed than he was with Vaughters at ungrateful Garmin, but frankly, he ain't lookin' like I hoped. And hopefully Gilbert'll heal up from his toothache by the Ardennes. Come on come on come *on* Thor--what the hell?! And while we're at it, go Hincapie!
--The Dark Horses: yes, Stijn Devolder, Pippo Pozzato, Freire, and a slew of even more recent bad boys are there. And Sylvain Chavanel is blazin' if Boonen sacks out. Me, I like newbie Sep Vanmarcke--not yet maybe, but soon!
--Tom Boonen: Marked like dog on fire hydrant, but clearly, our charmer is back. It's this, or Roubaix. Take yer pick Tom, but one of 'em is yours! Here, let's encourage dear Tommeke by reminding him just how refreshing a long hot shower can be after a cold, hard race:

3. The Prize: well, apparently they used to give out massage oil, but these days, you have to settle for eternal glory. And a trophy. And podium babes!

4. The Latest Headlines: oh, those halcyon days when Bjorn Leukemans was gettin' so much action he couldn't keep his testosterone levels low enough to pass a doping test; now, the poor boy's a monk. Indeed, straight from the official Ronde site and the man himself comes this quote:"Whether I'm dry? Maybe You Should Ask My Girlfriend". Uh, no thanks Bjorn--but good luck in the race and all!

Off to Flanders--sticking it out til the finish line, that's a whole 'nother question!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gent-Wevelgem--Semi-Classic, All-Bitchin'!

Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke!: yes, he may be sportingly pegging Cancellara for Flanders and Roubaix, but ya gotta say (aw rats, *now* I've cursed 'im), after his wins at E3 Harelbeke and the bone-rattlin' Gent-Wevelgem this weekend, resurgent pinup Tom Boonen's lookin' preeeeeeeety sweet out there! Meantime, we're clearly seeing the more annoying side of Mark Cavendish losing the Edit button on his internal word processor, as he wanks away about losing a wheel on the Kemmelberg like it was that guy's fault and not just taking his lumps for being the fastest man on the planet (not a bad thing to be, by the way) but descending for less'n squat today. Giant bonus points for the mellow Edvald Boassen-Hagen for whacking an assclown who drove him sideways in the sprint and, especially, for the announcers at Sporza for having, so far as I could tell with my doofus American nonlanguage skills, an approximately five-minute argument on how to pronounce "Tyler Farrar." Here, the fabulous Tommeke finishes it off: Ga Boonen!--and if Google Translate just made me insult your grandma, sincerest apologies big guy!

Cadel Evans: Saving BMC's Butt Since 2010: and, congrats to defending Tour de France champ/hardworkin' new dad Cadel for a well-earned win in the Criterium International, even though Jens should've won it but clearly Johan Bruyneel has destroyed the career of everyone from CSC/SaxoBank ever, which just goes to show that Andy Schleck oughta start cryin' in his beer, and/or Frank's, right about now. Just hold out for a Tour without a time trial, Andy--I'm sure they'll fix the course for 2013!

Euskaltel Takes Off: last but not least, I'd just like to point out that while Albasini actually won the Volta a Catalunya, it was Samu Sanchez for the win ahead of the bunch sprint no less on a genuine wreck of a stage 6, and, since I'm gonna gloat all season every time they win anyway, we might as well get started right now. And speaking of Euskaltel, what the !@#$'s the sponsor wailing about making 'em change their team kit next season--don't fix what ain't broken you goons, I like their Halloween team kit just dandy!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's the Volta a Total Freakin' Carnage! and, Cav Snaps Out of It

Katushbag: yep, Mark Cavendish's finally defeated that horrible Diplomat Zombie that's devoured his brains this season, tweet-ripping into the bidon-tossing dipwad who took him out at Dwaars and demanding, not unreasonably, that said "dickhead" "get a license" before he's ever allowed on a bike again. I concur. Katusha-boy, you eejit, you're supposed to toss those drool-covered bottles on the side of the road as cherished souvenirs for the *fans*, not use 'em as in-peloton weaponry against yer rivals! Sadly, Cav's mood seems much improved today, but one can only hope that next time someone !@#$s with his sprint, he'll actively chomp through that guy's bike with his giant teeth and spit his cowering carcass full o' carbon shrapnel. Nice havin' you back, Mark--we missed you!

Wipeout: meantime, half the Grand Tour contenders, much less more humble sods, are already training-screwed from dents, fractures, and just plain frostbite incurred in the atrocious slop conditions at the normally peaceful Volta a Catalunya, with Basso jacked with a whanged knee, Jakob Fuglsang out with a busted hand, nice guy Julian Dean enjoying a snapped femur, and damn near everyone within earshot of a podium for May or July headin' for the safety of the team bus before a snow-truncated Stage 3 was even out. And dang, don't you *know* you don't let the delicate summer flowers at Euskaltel outside til it's time to put away their snowsuits for the season? Here, the glam side of cycling glory (look who!): Come back soon, everyone--in one piece, if you please!

Yer Contador Tweet o' the Week: finally, our wee hero Alberto Contador continues to power-noogie helpless nemesis Pat "Dick" McQuaid ahead of his inevitably-triumphant return to riding in August, posting evermore twit-pics of himself in training action, and, best of all, a photo of himself with his giant dog "Etna", named, touchingly, after one of his Giro d'Italia conquests. Keep it up, Alberto--remember, every time someone dope-smacks Pat "Dick", an angel gets its wings!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Yer Milano-Sanremo Debate: Jerk, or Jock?

Suck It, Fanboys: well, that's my call, because listening to all this bitching over how Simon Gerrans was a twerp for slurpin' off Cancellara's amazing engine only to naturally be able to pip him at the line is like refereeing a comic-con nerd-match over what total bull!@#$ it is that that brief flashy turn by Liv Tyler as the elf-chick in Lord of the Rings got way more play than like 18 consecutive Harry Potter franchises ever did that hardworking modest young lady who played Hermione. First, Gerrans had his reasons--if the break got caught, he had other work to do. Second, it's not like he was a Pat "Dick" about it--he acknowledged Fabian as the stronger guy, and just gave himself some credit for decent tactics and the total miracle he didn't get dropped a week before the finish. Third, if even Cancellara's not whining all over Europe, why be more righteously pissed off than he is? Anyhoo, let's let poor Gerrans enjoy his victory before blacklisting 'im from the history books--and hats off to Nibali for saving at least a podium spot for Italy!

Lightning Volt(a): and this week, there's a hot field for the smashing Volta a Catalunya, including Alejandro Valverde, Ivan Basso, Andy "No Reason To Panic, Uh, Yet" Schleck, Brad "Eat My Dust Shleckino" Wiggins, and, of course, Samuel Sanchez to make them all cry for black-and-orange mercy. On tap--an opening-day bone for the sprinters if they don't bonk to hell on the way, then pretty much 6 days of leg-whomping uphill tests-for-the-Tour. Aupa Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll--and Menchov, keep dreamin'!

Oh, No, I've Just Cut Out Desserts, Is All: whew, it's a good thing the entire peloton's too morally upright to dope anymore, except that guy who tested poz this week, 'cause that means there's no reason whatsoever for concern that there's yet another generation of undetectable EPO variants on the market, plus, as an added bonus, a much cheaper blood-vessel dilator that totally coincidentally turns everyone who takes it into 2-oz skeletal supermodel wraiths. Anyone else thinkin' more'n a few Nervous Nellies in the field are suddenly gonna start going on a truly pigtastic Ullrichian schnitzel-bender this week? Uh-oh, looks like *someone's* an early-adopter...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Time for Milano-Sanremo, Baby!

Too Bad There Won't Be Anyone To Ride It: yes, the magical Milano-Sanremo is upon us, baby, and with guys like Thor and Gilbert gettin' dropped like Andy Schleck on a half-assed descent, it looks like it's up to Tommeke, Freire, or Cavendish to take the win, and, according to my meticulous analysis of their physiological data, since Cav always wins everything anyway *and* has been annoyingly genteel of late, and Tommeke's gonna beat the crap out of everyone on the cobbles, I'm hoping that if it's not our charming Belgian redemption song it's retiring 3-time champ Oscar Freire to make it a four-peat and tie the great Erik Zabel on the top of the podium. Yap, yap, Spartacus, yap--until Cancellara repudiates RadioSkank and begs forgiveness for riding with the dark side, he can !@#damn well stuff it!

Oh Gyno, My Gyno: meantime, in heroes o' cycling news, famed Dr. Eufemiano "Gyno to the Male Peloton" Fuentes is defending his lame Spanish charges of "endangering public health" with his by-the-gallon blood transfusions during the Op Puerto debacle in 2006 by contending that a hotel room is a perfectly sanitary, acceptable alternative to a hospital for the discreet publicity-shy drug-weasel, and, for *my* money, if anyone doubts it, they can always go back and confirm the sterility of all those syringes Astana (allegedly!) tossed in their Tour de France hotel garbage back in the day. Besides, what else are all those little nips in the hotel-room minibar for if not to clean up medical equipment, I ask you? I still hate your guts for throwing Roberto Heras under the bus, Eufemiano--but as a housekeeping expert, you're a peach!

Holy Crap, Cipollini is Serious!: y'know, I, like Paolo Bettini, thought the Lion King's dreams of return were just the nostalgic ramblings of a timeless legend alone with his memories of glory and podium babes, but when Cipo drops trou for the cameras again, you *know* this !@#$'s for real. Forget the admirable scenes of the man training with his crew--just dig that soundtrack, honey!

A Compliment for Pat "Dick" McQuaid: finally, I'd just like to express my shock and genuine admiration for our darling grumpy UCI gadfly, who managed to gack up on UCI's very website the news that his second-favorite Spanish dope-fiend, Alejandro Valverde, is back at the top of the UCI rankings just moments, it seems, after his return from his ban. Look, he posted this photo of Alejandro himself: Glad to see you can forgive and forget, Pat!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Yer Mid-Week Paris-Nice Roundup

1. It's a good thing Andy Schleck actually had gastroenteritis to excuse his performance. Because--and I say this as someone who will personally nut-knee anyone who disses my beautiful mountain gods at Euskaltel--when the boys in black and orange beat your !@# in a time trial, you *know* you suck but good.

2. Tummyache, got it. So, apparently, do half these poor guys, including Thor which completely explains him falling off the back like a brick every stage so far (shut up!). So Frank, what's *your* excuse?

3. Tommeke. It's so great to see him back, physically and most of all mentally, in the game. Ten bucks sez he posts another soft-core shower video on youtube before the season's out!

4. Gustav Larsson. Yes, the conditions sucked for the later boys. Still, like you honestly saw that coming?

5. Jeeeeeeeennnnnnnssssss! Did you *see* his freakin' time trial? Jeeeeennnnnsssss!

6. Alejandro Valverde. It's funny how, when Ivan Basso came back from his Op Puerto ban, it took him over a season to get back to a remotely similar level. Valverde, by contrast, has started winning right away. Funny.

7. Speaking of whom, Ivan Basso. What the !@#$? Get out of the middle of the pack already !@#dammit!

8. Sep Vanmarcke. There ain't no moss growin' on that kid. Canniest up-and-coming fastman I think since Freire.

9. RadioSkank. Just...give Horner the GC for the Tour, alright Johan? But nice try today Klodi!

10. NBC Sports. We get it. 896 races since 2010 now have new winners since horrible Contador's horrible doping ban. Who gives? It's not like he's not gonna take Murcia again next year anyway. On a quasi-related note, am I the only who is absolutely *diggin'* that Alberto is dope-slapping Pat "Dick" McQuaid by posting a photo of himself training on his bike every two seconds on his Twitter feed?

Well, them's mine. I see Tirreno-Adriatico is rollin'. Cav, you want Cipo for a lead-out? I hear he's back on the market!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

On the Road Again/I Can't Wait to Get (to Watch Everyone Else) on the Road Again

It's Paris-Nice, Baby!: yes, it's time for the Classics and Grand Tour prospects to really start to get twitchy--and paranoiacally parse each others' developing form--as Paris-Nice hits the road, honey! The parcours: bookended by a coupla time trials, the last day's uphill--and what's sure to be a disconcerting 90% chance of rain for tomorrow. The startlist: damn near everyone, including a cautiously optimistic defending-bad-!@# Tony Martin, Valverde, Ivan, Damiano, Wiggo, Samu', Tommeke, Jens (bow, beeyotches!), and, of course, Thor. Yap, yap, GC, yap--Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnssssssssss!

A Word From the RadioSkank "Oh, !@#$!" Department: meantime, I'm not sayin' this is a sign the French have been chaining Thomas Voeckler like a dog inside a wind tunnel since last August or nothin', but the Tour de France organizers sure seem to want to smack Andy Schleck off the podium at least: they've actually increased the amount of time trial miles ahead of the race this July. Hey, Andy, you were already warned to ride the Giro this year--tho' I'd rather you not treat *that* superior race you still wouldn't win this year like a cheap consolation prize!

Mmmmmm...Donuts: and, forget such trivial concerns as "your stupid ban left me without a GC contender" or "Saxo Bank is making me pay off their sponsorship scrubbing the men's room in their headquarter with my teeth" or "you're the jackwagon who pulled a BMC and left me with no freakin' firepower"--what's *really* coming between Alberto Contador and Bjarne these days ahead of Alberto's August return, apparently, is donuts. Specifically, Contador *wants* donuts, and Bjarne won't let him *have* donuts, so our sugar-suckin' diva is reportedly packing up and heading to Movistar, which not only has lots of, but will personally hook him up to an IV and feed him as much do--uh, donuts, as Alberto ever wants. Dang, Bjarne, I'll air-mail you a dozen from Dunkin' tonight if it'll help you two kiss and make up--just be glad the whiny little rugrat don't want a beefsteak!

It's That Damn Bionic Bike Again: finally, tho' of course I'm devastated an Italian didn't win, warm congrats to Fabian Cancellara on his first triumph o' the season at the Strade Bianche, particularly because, since I'm nice, it's gonna be the only thing keeping Johan Bruyneel from sobbing like a baby all year. Here's the action: