Monday, April 30, 2012

Get Yer Grand Tour Rumor-mongering Here!

Yes, it's a mere five days to the start of the glorious Giro, and just two months from the hypeapalooza of the Tour de France, and frankly, since there's no Alberto Contador to kick the absolute crap outta everyone 'til the Vuelta, things is gonna be a lot more unpredictable this year. The latest:

1. Bio-passport-bustee/new Androni hire Franco "Oh No He Shaved Off His Euromullet!" Pellizotti sadly isn't riding the Giro. On the plus side, he's still gonna be prettier than anyone else who *is* there, except maybe Ivan Basso or Cunego. That's one less guy to hog the hotel mirrors, anyway!

2. Basso's looked like !@#$ this season, tho' to be fair (for once), he's had some nasty whacks on the pavement. But after actually thinking about bailing, he sez he can ride the Giro to win now. Despite the Giro's obvious superiority, am I the only one thinkin' all this must be just a liiiiiiiiiiiittle bit ego-crushing for the former Next Lance Armstrong?

3. Frank Schleck as 'Skank team leader at the Giro. Either Johan Bruyneel *really* thinks Andy'll perform better if he comes out from behind Frank's skirts, or he's called it a day entirely and is pinning his July GC hopes on old-as-Moses (if still phenomenally bitchin') Chris Horner. One of you bros better save *one* of these Tours for Johan, Frank--Machiavelli there could reverse-dope your !@# and turn you into a mewling kitten if you cross 'im!

4. Michele Scarponi, who used to be at Liberty "Blood Bags 'R' Us" Seguros with Alberto Contador, is now the "defending" 2011 Giro champ since Contador's win was stripped and given to Scarponi. Anyone else snortin' their espresso out their noses right now?

5. In related Scarponi news, fellow Lampre teammate/former Giro theif Damiano "I Told You You Were a Classics Man" Cunego is now relegated to being the squad's also-ran back-up man. Bow to Gilberto Simoni like you should've the first time, you karma-slurpin' twerp!

6. Cadel. A little down, but he'll be back by July. Hell, he can't do worse'n baby Schleck!

7. Brad Wiggins. After a time trial, sprint, and up-'n'-downer in Romandie, has ever so exclusively a one-trick specialist as Wiggo looked so badassian for the Tour? Just watch yerself none of the other GC contenders thwap you off the Galibier for pretty well calling 'em all dopers today...

8. The Amgen EPO You-Suck-for-Decimating-the-Giro Tour of California: you *suck*, Tour of California, and the UCI scum-weasels who rescheduled you! Oh, Robbie McEwen, how *could* you make this your very last least dope-slap someone upside the eardrums into the barriers a few yards from the finish line for old times' sake!

Coming soon: your comprehensive guide to the 2012 Giro. Lesson One: Giro rules, Tour drools--now scream it at the top of your lungs til your voice gives out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yer Thoughtful Analysis o' the Week: What the !@#$ Is Wrong With the Brothers Schleck?

Let's be fair: on paper, Frank and Andy Schleck are admirably accomplished. National champions (okay, Luxembourg), a buncha Classics, stage wins and an overall win at the Tour de France (I know, PJ, not really!), and Giro and Tour podiums before Andy was even out of diapers. But in reality, we know the problem: compared to the hype on 'em, these guys are !@#$ups. Why, and what can we do to help 'em turn it around? Here:

1. Leopard Trek. A great idea, but it wasn't given enough time to develop. And frankly, when you've got Fabian Cancellara workin' for ya, yer average beer-guzzling pudge-gutted nacho-scarfin' American sports nut, much less an actual cyclist, oughta be able to sit there in his Barcalounger with his finger up his nose scratchin' for canapes and still put in a fine placing in a road race. Solution: dammit sponsors are instant-gratification crybabies, give 'em two seasons to develop next time whyndontcha?

2. They're Codependent. There's brotherly love, and there's brotherly luuuuuuuuuuuuvvvvvvvv. Frank's been catchin' you worms too long, Andy. And as a little sister, I do understand. But it's time to spread those little wings and fly on your own. Solution: Separate squads and a little healthy family rivalry. One of you's gonna have to suck it up and try to beat the other guy!

3. Time Trials. Look, all the practice in the world can't turn this lovably gangly dork into the compact muscular efficiency of a Cadel or the preying-mantis sleekness of a Dave Zabriskie. But !@#dammit, *someone's* gotta be able to shave off a few seconds for this boy *somewhere*. Solution: bike-fit gurus, I have it on completely legitimate authority (uh, mine) that Johan Bruyneel will personally pay you 1 million buckaroos for the perfect machine. Hell, he's losin' more'n that on Andy at the moment, right?

4. Descents. Il Falco he ain't. And descents *are* scary--for good reason. But they can be learned. And if you can't get down the Galibier without gripping onto the tarmac with yer teeth, fingernails, eyeballs, and nether hairs, you're doomed to lose. Solution: start low. Strap the kid flat on a skateboard at the top of an Alp, pat his hand for comfort, and give 'im a good hard Olympic-luge-style push. At worst, he can only fall two inches to the ground, so he'll soon get his confidence after a coupla 70 kph switchbacks. Voila'!

5. Denial. It's rainy. It's sunny. It's windy. It's calm. I'm still smarting from the ultra-wedgie Johan Bruyneel gave me this morning. Andy, as even you've finally acknowledged, at some point you gotta *own* this pup. Contador and Cadel have got something on you, and you need to figure out what pronto. Solution: Alexandre Vinokourov. He'll either dope you, berate you, or break your kneecaps with his bare hands, but one thing he *won't* let you do is whinge (did I get that right dear Brits?) to the press like some aristocratic inbred ascot-wielding tea-drinkin' weenie. START WINNING YOU WEAK-WILLED BASTARD OR I'LL FEED YOU TO THE SHARKS LIKE A BLOODY CHUNK OF CHUM!

6. Security. No Kim, no win. You don't separate Linus from his blanket, Schroeder from his piano, or, god forbid, Tommeke from his smoothie-smooth masseuse. Johan, the chemistry just ain't workin'. Quit bein' a beeyotch and let Andy have Kim Andersen in the team car. After all, let's cut to the chase here, the boys were better before they started on your squad. Am I right, or what?

7. RadioSkank. You boys just aren't Lance Armstrong, and no matter what you accomplish for him or for you, Johan will never, ever forgive you for it. He'll never forgive *anyone* for it. Look what happened to Contador for chrissakes! Solution: get out, out, OUT!

Well folks, them's mine, and their guaranteed road to success. If you got another way(s) to fix the Schlecks, spit it out--they need all the help they can get!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's Liege-Waffle-Liege, Baby!; and, It's Gettin' Ugly at Planet Schleck

Down to the Last of the Classics!: yes, with Fleche-Wallone but a happy memory for surprise victor Joaquim Rodriguez, and Andy Schleck having conveniently blamed other teams for his own squad's relative fiasco in the race, it's time to wind down the spring season with the venerable Liege-Bastogne-Liege, baby! The bets: really, with Philippe Gilbert in quickly-rising form and confidence, and the forecast calling for "cold and crappy," they're pretty well on him. Also out for blood: Valverde, Samu', Oscar and Rodriguez, likely to be felled a bit by the temps even more'n they'll enjoy the upwards yank to the line; Simon Gerrans; Cunego, lookin' for vindication from his earlier Ardennes crash-near-the-line buckets o' Belgians; and, of course, Frank and Andy, ready for redemption. Here's the fun to come: Allez, allez Philippe--hey, at least your brother's promised a hometown boozefest-fest either way, you can mourn or celebrate with some of that strawberry vodka!

Fast (Well, Actually Not So Fast Lately) Times at Team RadioSkank: meantime, an apparently panicking Johan Bruyneel, wholly unused to losing (until Lance's return, of course), has unceremoniously booted longtime Schleck guide-to-glory Kim Anderson from RadioSkank's Tour de France team car, and also completely freaked out Frank and Andy, who have reassured the fans (and themselves) that they'll be checking in with Anderson by telephone "at least three times per day" and "we're really excited that Johan's got no confidence in us whatsoever for the Tour." Johan, of course, is cheerfully encouraging the two, revealing that his tactics for July are to "limit Andy's losses" in the flats, descents, and time trials, and just capitalize on his justly-lauded climbing skills. Jeez, kick him in the psychological nuts whydontcha--it's enough to make me feel sorry for the kid! Anyway, I wouldn't worry Johan--Andy has, after all, won the Tour de France once already. Of course, Contador *actually* won that year. And Cadel is freakin' *motivated* to retain that maillot jaune in July. And...uh, at least you're gonna bring Jens!

Mark Cavendish, Man of Action: finally, big points to Colgate poster-pup Mark Cavendish, who's not only aiming at the Giro, but now swearing he's gonna finish the Tour de France *and* still be ready to go for Olympic gold. Hey, as long as Thor's gonna be too busy workin' for Cadel *and* bizarrely chasing mountain stages, lookin' forward to seeing you in green again, Cav!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Uh, At What Point *Do* You Expect More From Andy?

Yer Racejunkie Crisis-Management Quote O' the Week: so with Frank Schleck pronouncing himself delighted with his 12th place finish in Amstel Gold (and, because I'm a lady, I won't point out that we love Samu Sanchez dropped his chain at a key moment and still came in 7th), and wildly complimenting his baby bro for his brilliant work to get him there, Team RadioSkank honcho Kim Andersen is slightly less off the crack pipe in this assessment: "We don't expect more from Andy at this point." Now, of *course* the boy shouldn't be anywhere near on form when he's timing it to peak for the Tour de France. But correct me if I'm wrong here, even in April, oughtn't his form be *somewhat* north of "oh, !@#$"? Well, don't worry, as Johan Bruyneel's been indicating, I'm sure he's gonna be ready to kick Cadel's !@# in the time trial!

Freire Shocka: in other news, it was a damn brave--and damn near successful--move by we love Oscar Freire at Amstel, and a freakout surprise of a win (c'mon, wasn't it to you too?) by Enrico Gasparotto, and I gotta say, if Ivan really wants the Giro, Liquigas is looking pretty bitchin' so far this year. So Ivan, time to give us a real sense of your sweat equity at the Giro del Trentino this week--let's hope you're in as good a form as you are dashing a chef!

Good Thing There's No More Doping In the Peloton: dang, I know money's always a factor in the doping game, but couldn't our latest drug-snarfing dimwit Denis Galimzyanov have chosen a substance slightly less detectable THAN THE ONE DRUG EVERY SINGLE CYCLIST HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR SINCE 2006 to use? This, my little Katusha friend, is why comity among nations is so important--you couldn't have kissed up to some *real* pros in the business like the Spaniards for some top-grade tips?

Fleche (Fleche!) Fleche for Fantasy!: finally, before we get to what's sure to be a rippin' Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend, Wednesday brings us the exciting Fleche-Wallone, and, while it's an awful tragedy I've got a vicious contagious and truly disgusting stomach virus that day and sadly can't come in to the office, my money's on sneak competition Jelle Vanendert, because not only is he almost named after one of the coolest desserts on the planet, even the Fleche organizers have no confidence in what few favorites still remain. Surprise us, Jelle--or heck, maybe one of the Schlecks'll do that even more! Here's the parcours, including the fearsome Mur de Huy: Allez Jeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllleeeeeee!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Bitter Pijl to Swallow

How Do You Say "Oy, Gevult" in Luxembourgish, Again?: dang, not only has ever-presumptive Tour de France darling Andy Schleck had a crap start to his season, he's having a disturbingly crap run-up to the Ardennes Classics he's supposed to wow everyone in, as he bails outta the Brabantse Pijl after a crash and inexplicably lousy recovery. Johan, what the hell are you *doing* this boy? We *know* he can't time trial, now you're not even getting the poor kid to *climb* like he can? And don't give us some desperate smarmy bull!@#$ like you're just "making him save it all for July!" In good news, though, last year's Tour de France late-career revelation Thomas Voeckler blasted the course, Philippe Gilbert is marginally confident he'll get his form back someday, and, obviously, all-round strong-man Cadel Evans' chances of retaining his maillot jaune in Paris are looking better by the day. Hope that's some comfort to you Andy--sure is to me! Here's Voeckler's bold breakaway victory, with bonus irritating techno-!#$! too:

Pop, Pop Goes the Weasel, the Weasel: and, that tiresome doping rodent Riccardo Ricco' still just can't let go of his glory days, with his legal squad asking for yet more time from the narcs for the public to dwell on his essential skankiness. Look, the kid's still even doing training rides in hope for a comeback: Give it *up* already, you miscreant!

Nyuck Nyuck Nyuck!: finally, ya gotta love how discredited banned clen-snorter Alberto Contador keeps stickin' it to impotent nemesis Pat "Dick" McQuaid on twitter. Here--look what a fan just sent 'im!: Who else rode that year again?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Unbegoddamnlievable Boonen!

Don't lie to me, you lying liar who lies: when Boonen took off with fifty k to go, and then was hovering around 20 seconds, then around 30, then it seriously looked like he was stuck out there, you were screaming "No! Don't! Don't! What the !@#$?!" Who did he think he was, Cancellara? No, he was Tom !@#$in' Boonen, and he just spit out the rest of his competitors and crunched out more time on each cobblestone like a stone-chomping monster. And when he began giving thumbs up to the cameras and flashing a big fat "four" starting at like 4 k out, don't tell me you weren't thinking, "No no no no no! You've cursed yourself! You've just karmically conjured some dumb-!@# spectator to trip into your path! The velodrome is gonna warp beneath your wheels!" Well, it's not the first time I've been proven an eejit, but I must say it's about the most thrilling--and to you know who you are who even suggested for six seconds that it's a really miraculous turnaround this year, you're in serious danger of goin' straight to serious heck with the daisy-stompers and baby-noogiers, and anyway, I told him to go back on the blow first! Here, like you didn't just see it anyway: Quoth Boonen, "When I was all by myself in front, I just went for it as I know there are often disagreements behind over who is going to do the work. It's my greatest win. Claiming the fourth in such manner is just great." Tooooooooooooooooooommmmmmm!

In other post-race news, I see the Italian tifosi have already surrounded Pippo Pozzato's house with pitchforks and flaming torches for completely calling it a day the very second he crashed, so I hope they at least wait to hear if he actually had a good medical reason besides simple total psych-out before they light up his house, what crap luck for a phenomenal peloton-splintering Chavanel, congrats and happy retirement Guesdon, and Thor Hushovd--you are *extremely* in the dog house for that stupid crap dipwad bunny-hop debacle--and on Easter Sunday, shame on you!

Samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!: Finally, for those of you who think you're excused from making a pilgrimage to the giant bronze statue of Samuel Sanchez in his hometown and spray-painting your entire house black-and-orange to honor the Euskaltel gods, I'd just like to point out that our boy not only made his rivals blubber for mercy taking the queen stage but that he also blazed in the nasty uphill time trial *and* bagged the overall in the Tour of the Basque Country, all on a salary (and total Euskaltel budget of what Boonen) apparently tips the napkin-boy at breakfast. Samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

It's the Hell of the North, Baby!

Yes, it's time for the thrilling Paris-Roubaix, baby! and while there seems to be a distinct lack of freak-out excitement this year with Cancellara down and out and Boonen jinxed as presumptive champ before he even gets his chamois cream on in the morning, for my money, there's nothing more fun. Will last year's dark-horse winner Vansummeren make Thor Hushovd cry like a Millar and take it again? Will an ill-timed puncture give Ballan and Pozzato the chance to humiliate the Belgians mid-waffle? Will Stuey O'Grady get trampled by a raging random herd of zoo-escaped elephants and claw himself over the finish line by the mere strength of his nose hairs? These and all your other questions will be answered on Sunday, cycling fans, so here's yer official preview:

The Course: you know it. Riders fear it. And Boonen eats pave' for breakfast. 27 sections of rocky bone-breaking hell and the Arenberg at 80k to go. Here, the Sky boys check out the cobbles: Looks easy, right?

The Forecast: !@#$! Rain! Anyone else thinking last year's blinding dust-storm was a damn cakewalk in compared to tomorrow's inevitable cloud-borne carnage?

The Players: yep, the usual suspects. But also Flecha, Vanmarcke, Chavanel, Boassen-Hagen-Dazs, and for all we know some hapless terrified no-mestique from Team Holycrapishouldastayedhome could be the last man standing at the line. Oh, and Lance Armstrong'll be there, not that I'm tippin' off Landis or nothin'. Me, I love a surprise--oops, that'd be Hushovd this year!

The Prize: your collarbone still workin'? You won! Oh, and this thing: Sweet!

Onwards, upwards--and for lots of these poor guys, probably downwards--to Roubaix!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Expert Opinion on Contador: Fry, Fry, *Fry*, You Little Freak!

At Least, I Think That's the Exact Quote: yes, I may be too stupid to understand the intricacies of "reticulocytes" and "holy moly, that !@#$ is good!", but I'm pretty sure antidoping lord Michael Ashenden isn't, and in the midst of resigning from UCI's bio passport panel because they're a pack of controversy-muzzling simp-weasels, he sez that while he might still be a liiiiiittle bit on the fence about the Clenbuterol thing, *something* about Contador's 2010 not-found-in-nature blood values--cross-referenced cross-checked hot-cross-bunned and crossword-puzzled--just ain't right. Totally coincidentally, Alberto has decided not to appeal his CAS verdict, and is just going to keep showing his penitence over his non-wrongdoing by tweeting training updates at Pat "Dick" McQuaid every six minutes in two languages and crushing everyone at the Vuelta after watching Andy Schleck get whacked at the Tour, *again.* So relieved to see the system's working--see you in August, suckers!

What the !@#$, Thor?: look, Thor, I've spent no small amount of energy defending you against dear readers who totally wrongly think you're a "whiner" and always making up excuses. So now your whole Classics season's crap form is because you just don't gosh darn like Flanders but you're hoping you'll pull something out of your !@# at Roubaix this weekend? Help me *out* here a little, bud, I still *know* you can triumph--that damn publicity photo of you in a wig and a skirt last season mentally whack you in the goods or something?

Spartacus Update: and, Fabian Cancellara has already recalculated his still-inevitable plans to take over the planet this season, springing back into action in May and ready to defend his Olympic time trial medal for at least the next 62 consecutive Games. In other good news, according to the x-rays, his collarbone looks to be back in one piece: Get well soon, Fabian--we already miss you, and they *need* you, man!

Stork Report: finally, many congrats to Mark Cavendish and Peta Todd on the arrival of their brand-new daughter, who, if her charming parentage is any indication, will be both adorable *and* mind-bogglingly fast. Look--the stork's already brought her her first bike!:

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Aw, *Suck*! And, Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke!

Not Fab-ulous: aw, crap, Cancellara looked great, and there he is two seconds later, on the floor in the feed-zone, his whole Classics in the toilette! Could anyone see what happened--an errant musette, a nimrod with a bottle to the wheel, Johan Bruyneel's cursed everyone from SaxoBank and should just burn right in hell from now on? Anyway, it was a lousy way for Cancellara to lose and a great honorable ride by Ballan Pippo (who I honestly thought might have it the last ten seconds) and of course Tom for the win. But wouldn't have it been interesting to see how the tactics would've played out with Cancellara still in the race? And incidentally, for that school-boy jailbait Sagan to have as many mechanical mishaps as he did and still go so bangin' means that he and Vanmarcke I'm convinced will be brass-knucklin' it out for a good decade to come. Anyhoo, get well soon Fabian, Thor please pick a team that won't absolutely crush you next year, well done Judith and Kristin, you rock Hincapie for completing no. 17 even if you still have to renounce that tool Armstrong, screw you NBCSports for cutting off the podium, congrats to Boonen on the recovery of your long-lost mojo--now time for that post-race massage! Oh, and here's the men's PODIUM !@#dammit: