Friday, August 31, 2012

Phil Liggett Flips Out (and Breaks My Heart); And, Let's Give Lance Armstrong's Tour Wins to Ullrich

Okay, I've had it: Lance Armstrong, instead of shutting the !@#$ up like he's repeatedly promised and failed to do, has gone before yet another unquestioningly adoring audience deeply (and certainly justly) grateful for his fine charity work, and used it to proclaim he's always gonna be the winner of 7 Tour de France's anyway. I call bull!@#$! Why don't you pull that righteous crap in front of an audience of every teammate, sponsor, narc, journalist, friend, fan, and competitor you've ever screwed and *then* wait for the applause? Look, I don't expect anyone to be a saint. But if you're gonna be a smug little jack!@# about it, and particularly if you're gonna benefit from the fear, silence, or even just plain discretion of others, I say if you *did* actually do it (not just "tested positive"), the hell with putting some stupid asterisk next to your name in the history books, then let's give 'em all outright to none other'n fellow dope fiend Jan Ullrich for all posterity! Why? Okay, I like 'im better. But I've even got reasons here!

First, I don't care what the hell Jan was on, he was a beast. A beautiful, powerful, fragile, unpredictable, uncontrolled force. Sure, he maybe went a little wild at the schnitzel bar on the off-season and packed on a few kilos--who gives, it beats being some joyless wheat-germ-counting automaton, right? He succeeded despite his entirely human (okay, a pretty-jacked human, but still human) weakness. Second, bitch about omerta' all you want--and as to the aspect that shuts down any discussion of systematic doping in the peloton and its grievous harms, I surely agree--but at least Jan shut the hell *up* eventually. Isn't that at least more bearable than writing some lying sack-o-crap bestseller or crying like a self-serving baby for years after you're busted or making up some ridiculous excuse how you got like 80 gallons o'blood sucked outta you but not a single tiny drop ever got put back in? Please--give me silence!

Third, he's clearly been humbled, if still not forthright. No, he hasn't outed anyone who helped or joined him--which would surely be both helpful and cathartic for the sport. But he hasn't exactly blamed everyone else for his actions or gone on scorched-earth total-character-assassination search-and-destroy mission on anyone else who's ever criticized 'im, either. Yes, bonus points for honor among thieves! Finally, noting his kinder side--and he did do a buncha charity stuff, too, without yappin' all day about it--he'd probably be game to toss one to Joseba Beloki or Ivan Basso, too, one of whom looked pretty spectacular even among dopers before he hit that tar pit and the other who at least has won another Giro in much less spectacular fashion since his comeback. So join me in my new campaign to Give Lance's Tour Wins to Ullrich!

Say It Ain't So, Phil!: all right, I'll defend Phil Liggett over damn near anything. But as the whiskey haze wears off and the relentless pounding begins, I gotta concede defeat--Phil, you've just completely wigged out on this one. We know you love Lance. And we understand, really. Heck, I'm still in total denial over we still love Iban Mayo (oh Iban!). But this paranoid conspiracy theory !@#$ has sent you absolutely off the rails, Phil. And while I know everyone's calling for yer head, as one still besotted by the dulcet tones of your charmingly old-married-couple on-air spats with Paul Sherwen, I'm just gonna gently ask--please, please lay off the Lance commentary for now. Look--there's Jens! Let's talk about Jens! Jens couldn't screw anything up, right? We love Jens! Isn't that a nice bike he's riding today? See Phil, forget the naysayers, there's always gonna be a good place for you after all...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Race of Truth Spills Its Guts: Lookin' Good, Purito!

The Mountains Are Comin', The Mountains Are Comin'!: okay, Froome actually went pretty well today despite everyone dope-smackin' 'im for choking before he even got off the bike, considering he's gonna c--damn Insult Moratorium!--and Alberto, though as far as I can see not quite the time trialist he was when he first suddenly improved overnight in the discipline like a freak, definitely looked at home for maybe the first time this Vuelta. But for my money, the most exciting ride of the day by far was Joaquim Rodriguez, who not only smashed everyone's expectations even on a hilly course by only losing about a minute on the day to his main rivals instead of his usual, y'know, week'n'a half, but also set himself and all of us up for a thrillingly close mano-a-mano with Alberto in the high passes that could, if no-one bonks spectacularly, leave this race a nail-biter til the very end. Does *anyone* think this year's Tour de France holds a candle to this spectacular race? Meantime, it sure wasn't happy time out there for our dear Igor Anton, whose recently stated predilection for Norwegian black-metal music (got me, man, I just report this !@#$) might more productively be replaced by some nice upbeat techno music in his warmups, and for dear defending champ Juanjo Cobo, who might still get back in the game for maybe a stage win or two (bite me! will too!). Anyhoo, good on Alberto for not having to waste Saxo's limited energy on defending the red jersey for a few more days, the time-losin' crash early in the Vuelta is gonna be least of Valverde's problems this weekend, and Froome--there's a brief respite tomorrow with still a steep nasty dig of a Cat-3 final climb that the other three shouldn't be willing to kill themselves over, if I were you I'd grab any little gap you can!

Now *That's* Just Weak: look, the big boys doping to win a Grand Tour, or heck even some dipwad little race that might bag you a better paycheck next year, I get. I don't approve of it, I don't respect it, I think it blows unless I personally like the rider doing it, but I get it. But what the !#$% is with this season's scourge of freakin' Masters nimrods gettin' busted for drugs? Is it a desperate need for even modest hometown glory? Are they looking to take some high honcho's place in the big leagues when he falls on his dirty cheating World Tour !@# (well, syringe)? Look, you clowns, moral questions aside, as the Armstrong case proves, successful doping is a rich-and-well-protected rider's game--so suck up your limitations, and keep it to the energy gels and Red Bull you eejits!

Enter to Win!: and, don't forget to slag or praise Valverde, or better yet, brown-nosingly if irrelevantly slobber over the fabulous Euskaltel in our Week 2 contest, and win free stuff! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Yer Vuelta a Espana Rest-Day Roundup; Geezers in Review; and, Enter to Win Free Stuff, Part Dos!

Higher Ground: okay, let's lay it out flat: Contador sure can still accelerate, but happy tweets aside he can't quite sustain it right now, either, and if he really don't pick it up next week, it's still lookin' like a distinct step backwards for our wee doe-eyed darling since the end of his ban. The legs a little competition-rusty? Sure. Froome already looking--aw, !@#$, he's the beneficiary of the Three-Week Rider Insult Moratorium from our week one contest! But anyhoo, Alberto's never before had to rely on someone like a Purito's comparative inferiority in the time-trial before, much less the hope that main competitors Rodriguez and a t--(!@#dammit, foiled *again*!) Froome'll bonk out in week 3 just as he hits his stride. Valverde? Having a hell of a Vuelta so far, but really, am I the only one just countin' down the days 'til his Annual Grand-Tour Great-Hope Mid-Race Meltdown? As for Euskaltel's Igor Anton, he, like the rest of our beloved Basque squad, is merely waiting patiently--so patiently--to surprise the clueless big-shots with a ginormous stealth attack (shut up! go to hell!). So pull it together Alberto, it's been more than a week already--you're only proving your skeptics' told-ya-so crowing right now! Tomorrow, a lumpy little diversion before Wednesday's 39 kilometers o' (rather twisty-turny actually) fear:

Fountain of Youth My !@#: meantime, it's been a bangin' week for guys like Jens Voigt, Christian Vande Velde, and Levi Leipheimer, cuttin' down the whippersnappers of the peloton like scythes at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as Jens takes the King of the Mountains classification for goodness' sake but, sadly, also setting the sun on the career of big George Hincapie, who, despite his baffling loyalty to Lance Armstrong, has always been a class act, an eager and generous mentor, and a completely underrated and self-sacrificing talent. Me, as for retirements, I'll absolutely miss my dear erratic unapologetic Olympic-champion raving wingnut Vinokourov most of all--oh, Vino, promise me when you rule Kazakhstan you'll at least challenge rival national leaders to slug out on the road like the cowardly weakling punks they are...and here, George's price o' passion:

Contest Update: last but not least, it's game on baby for Part Dos of our Racejunkie Vuelta a Espana Win Free Stuff Contest, so enter for a chance to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's Our Week One Contest Winner; And, It's Yer 2012 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest, Part Dos!

And the Winner Is: with a correct answer to "who's gonna be in the red jersey at the end of stage 7?", it's Karl with "Rodriguez!" Karl, check your email, email me yer address (I won't pimp it out, I promise), name the lucky recipient of yer Three-Week Rider Insult Moratorium, and yer other stuff'll be on its way!

And Yer Win Free Stuff Contest Part Dos Is: yes, never let it be said that we here at racejunkie don't listen to our valued reader(s), because as kind participant Rosemary pointed out, the week one question kinda hosed the early comers. So, in keeping with the total arbitrariness of this fine contest, we're mixing it up with a free-form free-for-all for week two, so Enter Here to answer this week's question, and Win Free Stuff!
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Friday, August 24, 2012

My Fantasy Lance Armstrong Press Conference

Good afternoon. I've called you all here today to address the evil jealous bitter-betty success-hatin' tinfoil-hat-conspiracy doping-accusation witch-hunt with which WADA, USADA, YADA-YADA, Torquemada, and carne asada are unjustly persecuting the entirely innocent me at the expense of truth, justice, and my truly mind-bogglingly humongous ego.

Look, I did it. You know it; I know it; you-know-who sure as hell knows it; heck, even your damn guppy knows it! What's more, I lied about it, I covered it up, and I stopped at nothing to destroy anyone who said I did it. So why confess now, after years of half-!@#ed "I never tested positive" denials?

Well, first, I *was* a national hero, I *am* a national hero, and I'm always gonna *be* a national hero, so who gives what you peons think? By contrast, I have it on excellent authority that Travis Tygart is a communist, Marxist, socialist, fascist, daisy-pickin', vegetarian, peace-lovin', Sunday-nite-football-hatin', puppy-noogyin' elitist, and we all know how well-liked *they* are. You get it? NO-ONE IN AMERICA CARES. No one in America cares that I did it, and no-one in America *particularly* cares what a pack of snotty man-purse-wearing mineral-water-drinkin' Euro-weenies think, much less that random French-car-company guy named "Hinault" you all keep yappin' about. I mean, we kicked your !@# SEVEN TIMES at your own game--what else do we gotta prove? Burn!

Second, I've achieved all my personal objectives anyway. I won seven Tours, I exploited every ounce of every other human being in the sport necessary to do it, and, as a totally unexpected bonus, I made Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who completely betrayed me and my obvious natural superiority by deciding after years of loyal service not to be my beeyotch and pursue their own selfish careers, look like massive, monster tools. Not like they needed my help--ha-ha! Of course, once I heard George Hincapie and Dave Z might've ratted me out, I figured I'd better come clean just in case--I mean, everyone loves them, I'd look like a jerk, it'd be like slandering Bambi and the Easter Bunny, right?

Third, I'd like to point out all those saps can do at this point is *recommend* that I be stripped of my Tour titles and entire career results, and we all know how *that* one's gonna play out, suckers! I've made bazillions of dollars; I've done some genuinely good charity stuff for some really deserving people; you're still all too afraid of me to criticize me; I've bought some very expensive lab-equipment for some very influential--uh, nothin'! nothin'! I misspoke!; and, best of all, I had the most money to buy the best doctors, the best drugs, and the most comprehensive doping program, so I'm obviously smarter and more deserving than all those cheap-!@# B-list also-ran podium-crawling losers who were stupid enough to test positive during my reign of brilliance anyway. Nyeah-nyeah!

I'll now take questions from Frankie Andreu, Filippo Simeoni, and Greg LeMond. Ha-ha--NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Race-Leader Tantrums! Wheel-Sucker Etiquette! Bike 'Til You Barf!: Just Another Day in the Peloton

Off With 'Is 'Ead!: okay, the verdict is in on whether Sky should've stopped to wait for the red jersey to catch back up at the Vuelta after the race leader hit the pavement: Alejandro Valverde is a big !#$in' baby, and eatin' time for his crash was fair play. Sure, that same Darwinian philosophy didn't stop the Schlecks from bitchin' endlessly for two years about Chaingate when they'd just bushwhacked Contador the exact same way earlier in the race, but we can't ask for consistency from these guys, we can at least set, I submit, some ground rules: (1) you cause it, you wait for it, jack!@#!; (2) if we're talking seconds on a Grand Tour podium, suck it up and wait; (3) if there's a truly freak occurrence like some dimwit's dog, numb-nuts' race-course meander, eejit's support car, or weird psycho's small sharp object obsession, wait; and (4) if you've already !@#$ed people over at Paris-Nice, champ, ya might wanna hold the righteousness in check. Other'n that, may luck be a lady tonight, and have at, you cheap-shot mercenaries!

Slow and Steady Screws the Break: meantime, over at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the breakaway was more than irked yesterday at Liquigas princeling Vincenzo Nibali, who, according to his companions, sat on his butt like a lump 'til the break got munched like a bag o' Doritos just about in sight o' the line. Sure, Nibali opined he was just riding his own race (off the legs of like 20 other guys, but whatever), and the American sounded just a liiiiiiiitle bit bitter about their big-bucks press-darling Euro counterparts, but let's just look at this in practical terms--do you *really* want to kick out every wheel-suckin' weenie in the peloton, 'cause I can think of a few big names here, and you'd damn near have no-one left!

Now, *That's* the Hurly-Burly of Cycling: and, Garmin action hero Dave Zabriskie certainly gets my vote for hard-man of the race, not only busting himself for three straight days to help his teammates win the leader's jersey and the stage today, but literally throwing up with the effort by the side of the road *and* then remounting to keep putting the hammer down yesterday. Heck, I like a well-fought race as much as anyone--but aren't you guys taking this studly-masochism thing just a bit too far?

Back to the Vuelta, Baby!: finally, the Vuelta's back in the mountains tomorrow, Purito's already gunning for the win, and there's still time to enter this week's Win Free Stuff!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lookin' Sharp But Not Invincible: Alberto Contador Digs In

Rocket Man: well, there's two things for sure after the first mountain stage of the Vuelta: Contador's still the best steep-climb attacker in the peloton, and his rivals, particularly Froome, ain't bowin' to him just yet. Can Froome rely on his patient tick-tick-tick of the pedals to claw himself back to Alberto two weeks from now, with the Tour still in his own legs and Contador likely only to get stronger, if our Spanish dreamboat's anywhere near who (and why) the rider he was before? Alberto certainly proclaimed himself happy today, despite whispers his sprint-stage bonus-seconds grab was an early sign o' fear. But I wouldn't underestimate Rodriguez' seemingly endless ability in the tough gradients, either, but as to his assessment that today would show who's *out* on GC--bite me Purito, Juanjo's still got a bad tooth and Igor Anton was, uh, just saving his energy, yeah, just saving his energy!

No, Jens, *No*!: meantime, in vomitous RadioSkank news, Jens Voigt has inexplicably signed on with Johan Bruyneel for his (possibly) final year in the peloton, proving once and for all that our puny human minds really are incapable of comprehending the divine consciousness in what must be, somehow, a wholly reasonable, correct, and perfect godly decision. Forgive my faithlessness, o Jens--I'm really *trying* here, throw us a bone and make us understand this horrible thing! Oh, man, next thing you'll tell me there *is* no Santa Claus...

Cavendish, Cavendish, Wherefore Art Thou (Going Next Season) Cavendish?: in transfer news, as even Wiggo genially concedes that Cav's screwed if he stays at Sky next season, pretty much every other squad on the planet appears to be vying for him, so for my money, if they're gonna win their bride (1) they better not have any o' those whiny prima-donna Grand Tour GC contenders; (2) they better have some serious preexisting fast-men or some serious dough to buy 'em, because our Manxman does love a lead-out; and (3) for you poor ol' Sky and Cav fans, he'll just have to look adorable in some other hometown's colors next season instead. Shouldn't be too hard, any of 'em, right? Hey, it's not like RadioSkank's got any Grand Tour hopes, and *someone's* gotta keep our dear Jens company--Mark, how 'bout them?

USA! USA! USA!: okay, what I really mean is "USA Pro Cycling Challenge!"--which really has a hell of a field out there--but anyhoo, isn't it dandy to see Tyler Farrar back on form after his craptastic season so far? Glad to see you back in action Tyler--now start thinking Tour de France 2013!

Win Free Stuff!: finally, remember Vuelta fans, in honor of this smashing race the game's afoot: enter here to gain eternal glory and to Win Free Stuff!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's Yer 2012 Vuelta a Espana in Preview!

Yes folks, the countdown's nearly complete, Contador's got his happy legs on, and it's time for the amazing Vuelta a Espana! Here, yer official preview:

The Course: in a word--"oh, !@#$!" Blistering heat, seven--seven!--serious mountaintop finishes, mother-freakin'-steeps at every turn, one brief opening team time trial, squat for sprints, and even the lone individual time trial's an up-and-down thrilla of a leg-ripper. Sure, it's sadistic--but really, you'd rather watch 3 weeks' worth of snoozemeister flats? Get thee to the Tour then, you heathen!

The GC Players: Alberto Contador. Joaquim Rodriguez. Igor Anton. Chris Froome. And can *someone* give Juanjo Cobo *some* credit as a contender--he's the defending Vuelta champion, for heck's sake!

The Wildcards: well, there's some speculation that some o' the Belgians are in it to win. Hey, if the entire Spanish peloton simultaneously gets blasted with some disgusting spewing 3-week swine flu, who am I to say it's not possible?

The Breakaway Artists: you'll "break away" when Alberto Contador *says* you can, you peon, but with a host of Spanish continental squads, Euskaltel's loyal lieutenants in front of the hometown fans, and Damiano Cunego of all people in the mix, everything short of the high mountains is up for grabs. Sure, that's only like 2 stages--but that'll make the competition all the livelier, I say!

The Sprinters: honestly, who cares? But the likeable Ben Swift and the desperate RadioSkank's Daniele Bennati are riding, so good luck to you both!

The Fans: it's all about the fabulous Euskaltel-Euskadi's outrageously enthusiastic roadside army, baby--so break out yer orange-and-black, grab your spot on the sun-parched mountains, and get ready to scream your head off!

It's the 2012 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest!

What: Each week of the Vuelta, enter my Win Free Stuff Contest for a chance to win the cooly-cool prizes!

Why: because it's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby! Like I was gonna run this thing during the Tour?

How: Enter below! Each week, I'll put the correct entries into the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, no peeking I promise, and I'll pick a winner!

Huh?: any disputes, errors or 'nother stuff, I'll try to fix it fair and square. Plus, major bonus karma to anyone who slathers praise on Euskaltel. Other'n that, good luck to all, and thanks for playin'!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Tick-Tock, It's Five Days and Counting: The Vuelta a Espana Shapes Up!

Andale!: yep, forget that wussy little Tour de France and its pansy-!@# two mountain stages and its 8 gajillion nose-pickingly-dull flat-as-paper time trial kilometers--it's time for the fabulous Vuelta, suckers, and the real climbers'll be coming out to play! Out for blood: Alberto Contador, whose musette Bjarne Riis has stuffed with a surprisingly formidable squad of Alberto's most loyal minions; defending champ Juanjo Cobo, ready to prove he's not some middlin'-field one trick pony with the erratic Valverde at his disposal; the fabulous Euskaltel's Igor Anton (shut up! will too!); and, of course, Wiggins-beeyotch Chris Froome, free from the leaden weight of Brad's hipster sideburns in the heights to pursue a top spot of his own. Me, I'm hoping for Anton but rooting for Contador--if only to see Pat "Dick" McQuaid have to shake his hand!

If You Thought It Was Unsafe to Go to the Bathroom Before: then Tyler Hamilton oughta be even more afraid of encountering school-yard bully Lance Armstrong outside the ol' urinal now, because our snitch-happy tattle-tale is getting ready to release his autobiography, tentatively titled "Take That, You Pompous Lying Sack of Crap!" Not to be paranoid, Tyler, but you might wanna beef up that personal security--*someone's* comin' to toilet-paper your house in the dead of night now, that's for sure!

Don't Let Him Do It, Tommeke!: okay, Tom, we know that, like many more wary and experienced sprinters, yer backin' off the bone-breaking chaos at the line in favor of going mano-a-mano with the cobblestones you pound so fearlessly into submission, but let me say this--Quick Step treated you like !@#$ during your humbling comeback years, and if you let 'em successfully snare Mark Cavendish for next season, I guarantee you you're !@#$ed again. Do you *want* your impeccable Classics career blown by that ungrateful jerkwad Patrick "Better Riding Through Insults" Lefevere throwing all he's got at Cav's feet at your expense? No! Come on, Boonen, you still got *some* weight to throw around--hell, pawning a few broken pieces off yer ol' Lamborghini oughta raise at least a few euros to bribe some other DS to take 'im!

Finally, a Programming Note: next up: yer Official Vuelta a Espana Preview, and, it's the 2012 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cycling Goes to War; or, Pat "Dick" McQuaid, Defender of Virtue

Except If He's Kissed Your !@# For the Last Decade, That Is: yes, folks, from WADA to USADA to UCI, cycling's now found itself in a grand conundrum: whether to look honestly if ashamedly at the problem of doping in the sport by one of its greatest heroes, a 7-time Tour de France winner, warrior against cancer, inspirational figure to millions, and blindly-adored national icon, or whether to look like a repulsive rump-nosing selectively-prosecuting obsequious hypocrite weasel toady so desperate to keep the fame it has won that it--well, he--will do damn near anything north of pimping his own grandma to protect the guy who donated huge wads of cash to his organization, provided him with a life-changing outlet for reflected personal glory, and, totally coincidentally, is alone among the team he minutely controlled in every detail in being clearly absolutely innocent of doing absolutely anything as an internationally-revered anti-doping-by-other-people's organization's completely objective investigation would inevitably determine. Wanna guess which route UCI president Pat "Dick" McQuaid has taken?

Look, I get the crap about "this is pointless so late in the game" and "everyone else did it anyway" and "who the hell's a !@#$in' Vino fan to take the high road on this?" But frankly, there's value for the sport--and more importantly, for less-flashy but still talented riders--in determining whether winning is even in part a luxury purchase for the most loaded and sophisticated buyer, and I'll take any cyclist who at least calls bull!@#$ on the favored-nations status of certain popularity-contest publicity sluts over a bunch of crocodile-tear-spewing whingers who dedicate themselves to policing everyone else's purity only after their own !@#es are forced to compete on a level playing field. So Pat, I beseech you--even if you really, truly wanted to--and let's face it, that's a big freakin' if--you can't evaluate Lance objectively. You can't even appear to, if you could. Because you courted him so relentlessly, your legacy is inextricably entwined with his, and there is no possible way on this earth you don't know that. Worse, you openly went after any rider who threatened you. USADA, at least, has been nothing but ripped to pieces for asking uncomfortable questions and is screwed no matter which way it comes out--so why not let it do its job?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

It's Your Olympic Track-Cycling Roundup; And, Back to the Peloton, Baby!

Cruise, Booze, and Lose: yep, it took fabulous Aussie Anna Meares (over the retiring, and extremely still bad-!@#, Victoria Pendleton) to finally break the iron grip of the Brits on cycling gold in the sprint, but there was almost more fun outside the velodrome as Belgian omnium contender Gijs Van Hoecke was tossed out of the Games for partying just a liiittttle too hard apres-track--and really, with all the dope folks've been busted for these Games, *that's* what pisses off the Olympic etiquette narcs?--and the IOC announcing that onetime gold medalist Tyler Hamilton's finally being formally stripped of his medal over his doping admission. Okay, that's fine enough--but much as I like Ekimov, am I the only person thinking that giving the gold to any other one of Lance Armstrong's teammates from back in the day is !@#$in' *insane*? Hell, give it to Alexander Vinokourov or somebody whydontcha? Oh, bad!

It's the Tour o' Utah, Baby! And Eneco!: meantime, back in the peloton, the boys've divided themselves up quite nicely between the Tour o' Utah and the Eneco Tour, with Vande Velde heading up the pack in Utah after a typically slammin' Garmin time trial, Tom Boonen cannily taking the leader's jersey at Eneco, and, in one of the most nerve-wracking teaser-titles o' the week, Contador Tests...uh, the Cauberg ahead of taking on Chris Froome and Juan Jose Cobo in less'n a fortnight at the Vuelta a Espana. Keep on testing, Alberto--the climbs, that is, the climbs! And here's the dashing Tommeke--maybe he might give Van Hoecke a few tips on partying with a bit more dignity?

Monday, August 06, 2012

More Trouble on the Olympic Track; and, Welcome Back, Contador!

'Round and 'Round: so, you wanna know why the British are 10 bazillion times better'n everyone else on earth at track events? Well, forget that "they have a proud tradition of track cycling" or "they respect and nurture athletes in the discipline" or even just "Sir Chris Hoy is a rider for the ages" crap, because the French, of course, have got it nailed: yes, the Brits are using Ultra-Bitchin' Super-Duper Top-Secret Mega-Wily James Bond Spy Wheels on their bikes! And how do we know this? Because they Sneak 'Em In the Velodrome in Way-Devious Uber-Sneaky Opaque Bike Wheel Bags! Ah, yes, that *must* be it--if the French hadn't been pedaling those granite-wheeled foot-propelled Flintstone vehicles all these years, they'd've been tearing up the track *and* their own Grand Tour! Heck, nothin' like a paranoid conspiracy theory and gallons of cheap wine to soothe the dope-slapped collective ego...

Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!: okay, so either you like 'im or you don't. You think he's either a drug-snarfin' cow-slandering cheat-weasel, or an innocent accidental contaminant-ingestor. You think he's either one of the greatest stage-racers in cycling history, or one of its biggest (after, well, y'know) frauds. But I think we can *all* agree that whether Alberto's an angel, a devil, or just plain adorable, he sure whines less than a Schleck, don't he! Anyhoo, Contador's back from his ban, he's humbly learned his lesson--if "screw you, I'll still kick your !@#" is a lesson--and already stretchin' his legs with his posse at the Eneco Tour before he whomps the bejeezus outta everyone in the Vuelta. Bienvenido a casa, Alberto--good or bad, it's been a looooooong six months without you!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Controversy at the Track; and, Pat "Dick" McQuaid Takes the High Ground

The First Rule of Fight Club Is, There Is No Fight Club: Okay folks, as the phenomenal British squads single-handedly rebuild the Empire with a monster sweep of gold medals, we've now got ourselves a coupla hot'n'sexy controversies at the Olympic track events, and they apparently boil down to these: (1) the rules suck; and (2) the rules are fine, but if you say what they are, *you* suck. Why? So far as I can tell--and frankly, that ain't much, as I fully admit being completely baffled by bike races in which you, say, virtually track-stand for half an hour so you *don't* go fast--in the first case, the Brits are emotionally crushed for being screwed out of a medal in the women's team sprint after making a transition like a millimeter too early. Okay, like a crap hand-off in a relay race--I can get that. Blows, but as even the DQed athletes acknowledged, fair's fair. In the second case, the rules say if you make a crap start, you can start over. You can do this, according to the trackies whose angry and defensive posts I've perused, by just falling over on purpose. Uh...okay, cool. But now the Brits are pissed because they're being accused of cheating by the same sort of freaks who actually consider "badminton" an Olympic event, even though they followed the rules and didn't do anything wrong. So what's the prob? Yes, some poor sod on the British team mouthed off and *said* what they did. !@#$in' A, am I the only one who thinks that when things go in your favor and you're likely to look like an assclown for yappin' about it, you should just *hush up*? Thank you, y'all can just send me a check next time for services rendered...on second thought, maybe you better wait til after you try to explain why you're all stopped dead upright in the middle of a race! Here, the topple: and the frantic post-admission backtrack:

From the Pot Calling the Kettle Black Department: yes, the Lance Armstrong situation has taken yet another giant leap forwards towards justice: rabid anti-doping hero Pat "Dick" McQuaid of UCI has just declared that USADA ought to stop its investigation into whether Armstrong doped so he--that is, an independent investigator--can determine the truth because, well, USADA's not objective. Like a guy who hooked his entire career onto Lance's shooting star is, Pat? Lookin' forward to that verdict--at least, I'm sure Lance Armstrong is!

Vino Takes Over the World: finally, it's transfer season, kids, and while word's still mum on where Jens Voigt's gonna go, as expected reigning gold medalist Alexandre Vinokourov has neatly bagged Vuelta winner/Tour podium finisher Vincenzo Nibali, which means that not only is the guy going to be (fairly) making more dough than a bakery, but Vino's continued path from rider to newbie DS to Total Dominator of the Universe is well on its way. See what happens when you mess with Nibali, Liquigas--next time, be nicer when you tell the press he's yer beeyotch!