Monday, December 30, 2013

It's Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Yes, it's been another shameful, glorious year of wallowing in our filthy cesspools o' sin, and now it's time for our annual promises, however insincere, to clean up our dirty, disgusting acts, so without further ado--and especially because these clowns are never gonna do it on their own--I bring you Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Tom Boonen: Remember my 2012 Classics season? Yeah, me too. Eat my dust, Fabian!

Fabian Cancellara: Two words, Boonen: You. !@#$in'. Wish!

Peter Sagan: I won't ever, *ever* grab anyone without their consent again. Except maybe I'll grab Mark Cavendish in a headlock and noogie 'im.

Chris Froome: I'll quit whining about all those doping insinuations that piss me off so much. My positi--uh, my palmares will speak for itself!

Brad Wiggins: I'll give up faking I'll ever win--or want to win--a Grand Tour again. But boy, wasn't it fun ticking off Froomey with all that press frenzy!

Vincenzo Nibali: I will win the Tour de France. Even though I know the Giro's really better.

Oleg Tinkov: I will be polite, even friendly, to Alberto Contador. Because come 2015, that lazy overpaid crybaby princess is Alonso's problem!

Alberto Contador: I will be polite, even friendly, to Oleg Tinkov. Because come 2015, I'm Alonso's problem!

Alejandro Valverde: Next freakin' mechanical I get, my domestiques can relax. I'm gonna whack the first poor sonofa!@#$% I see off his bike and take it!

Andy Schleck: Okay, I *won't* learn to ride without my big brother Frank. But I promise not to actually clutch his neck screaming with my eyes screwed shut on all the descents at least!

Andre Greipel: I'll demand a better nickname. I mean, who the hell's gonna root for "the Gorilla"?

Jens Voigt: I'll attack. Of course, I always attack. In fact, I'll attack right now. And later today. And tomorrow. And...

Samuel Sanchez: I'll bag a ProTour contract. Or else poor little racejunkie will cry.

Mauro Santambrogio: I'll never use EPO again. I'll join the big-boy dopers, and start using AICAR.

Filippo Pozzato: I'll stop posting gorgeous bronzed photos of myself on Twitter and start winning races. Ooooooooo, look....I can see my reflection on the back of Cunego's helmet!

Jonathan Vaughters: I'll quit yappin' on about anti-doping and just let my work speak for itself, like David Millar. Oh, wait...

Tour of California: We'll reschedule it. Because we're really, *really* sorry for screwing over the dear Giro.

Tifosi: we'll give *all* the riders beer on a hot climb. Hell, Contador fans, Froomey weighs like six ounces, do you *know* how quick he'll get loaded and stagger himself outta contention at the Tour?

Finally, Johan Bruyneel: I'm gonna write a tell-all, beeyotches! Hey kids, is that fear I smell, or just the foul miasma of your sweaty testosterone nut-patch?

All right you peninents--now shake off that hangover, get on yer team kit, and get to work being all moral for 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's Yer 2014 Year in Preview (Yeah, You Read Right)!

Oh sure, we know all about what happened in 2013--like that we love SAMUEL SANCHEZ FROM EUSKALTEL STILL DOESN'T HAVE A FREAKIN' CONTRACT, THANKS OLEG TINKOV YOU GOON!--but what's ahead for 2014? Here, in keeping with our ages-old grand tradition of 100% accuracy in predicting the year to come, yer Year In Preview:

January: Last-minute team camp tune-ups! Bjarne Riis preps Contador for July with relentless all-caps social media assault; 3/4 of peloton coincidentally retires to "spend more time with their families" on same day results of Johan Bruyneel arbitration hearing revealed; unknown fan assailant spray-paints Movistar squad's team kits black-and-orange, Movistar declared missing from ProTour as new "Euskaltel" squad steps in. Yay!

February: And, we're off! Kittel thrusts enormous hairdo past Mark Cavendish's wheel on final stage of Tour of Qatar, pips Cav for overall at line, crazed Cav punches Marcel off bike, shaves head; Pippo Pozzato blows crucial pre-Classics prep time by posting record 897 consecutive half-naked selfies on Instagram.

March: Time for the Classics, baby! Tom Boonen wins Milano-Sanremo after Sagan relegated when pops wheelie, accidentally squashes Brian Cookson; Quintana figures "I can so do that cobblestone !@#$", inadvertently propelled into outer space bouncing off first block of pave'; resurgent Thor Hushovd grabs Gent-Wevelgem because "damn, BMC's gotta win *something* this year."

April: It's the Hell o' the North, *and* the Ardennes! Boonen bags record fifth Paris-Roubaix after Fabian Cancellara mistakes race for day he's supposed to do hour record, burns self out in 59 minutes; Sagan evades new rule against riding on dirt paths adjacent to cobblestones by bunny-hopping entire Forest of Arenberg; Andy Schleck announces intent to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege, sets 3-season personal best making it to back of team bus for morning espresso before quitting.

May: What else, it's the fabulous Giro! Basso, Evans, Scarponi DQ'd on first day when delayed arguing with hotel front desk over applicability of senior-citizen discount; Wiggo bails in dejection after learning "Giro" isn't Italian for "21-day Time Trial"; Rodriguez takes new "more humane" Giro/first Grand Tour win by wrapping self up in squirming angry polar bears to survive absolute-zero degree stage up Zoncolan.

June: Run-up to the Tour!: Marianne Vos rides entire 2014 Tour de France route in 3 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 8 seconds in protest, ASO chief pats arm, tells her to get him some coffee; Sky attributes record-smashing training performances to just "being way way cleaner than everybody else;" Tinkov claims threat to pitch Alberto Contador off Alpe d'Huez if he doesn't win is just "friendly encouragement."

July: It's the Tour de France, baby! Ted King awarded first maillot jaune because "man, we were !@#holes to kick him out last year over that 7-second time cut"; Vincenzo "the Shark" Nibali knocks at Chris Froome's hotel-room door, mutters "Land Shark," unsuccessful, sez "Candygram!", admitted entry, chomps Froomey, default Tour de France champ: Nibali!

August: Woo-hoo, time for the bangin' Vuelta a Espana! "Alberto Contador" goes for first Grand Tour win since clenbuterol ban when stocky bald guy in bad dark wig with American accent shows up at start line, Oleg Tinkov swears muffled yells coming from team-car trunk for three weeks is "just a bad muffler"; Wiggins sez he "always wanted to ride up 18 consecutive mountain stages with no domestique support," unfortunately forced to retire early due to catastrophic bit-of-popcorn-stuck-in-teeth injury; enraged Euskaltel fans pound entire Pyrenees to sea level with bare fists when Orange Army fails to ride by.

September: It's the World Championships! "Contador" defen--uh, wraps up Vuelta title, hits Spanish McDonalds for huge celebration; Marianne Vos wins Worlds in brutal conditions over all-star field, UCI congratulates, tells her how cute she looks in her little "pro rider team kit" costume; Rui Costa takes men's race again when Purito Rodriguez accidentally smashes Valverde's bike to smithereens in three-hour attack with ball peen hammer.

October: Time for final rider transfers! Contador to new Team Alonso, 2015 bikes revealed, media claims they look suspiciously like Formula 1 racecars 'til Alonso helpfully points out little brake levers on steering wheel; Jens Voigt claims legs won't shut up, forms own one-man squad, signs self til 2043; Andy Schleck swears he'll never ride again without Frank, Frank mysteriously fails to find new team.

November: Ready for a little R&R! Team Sky all vacations at same hosp--uh, "luxury resort"; Alexander Vinokourov sues newspaper over story he paid millions of euros for doping during his career, angrily protests "I always got that !@#$ for free"; Sagan constructs 86-foot monument to self out of sand on beach with little plastic pail and shovel, cries bitterly when learns even he can't order God to stop those silly "tides" from washing it away.

December: Back to work, boys and girls! Lampre determines 2015 team strategy will be to blind rest of peloton with glaring team kit, breaks out blue-and-pink Disney glitter pens, Swarovski crystals for crafty riders; Sky abandons wind-tunnel testing when star riders Wiggins, Froome sucked into fans, dissipated in building HVAC system; Lance Armstrong is--aw, who gives a !@#$!

Well, as my spot-on 2013 predictions clearly proved, 2014 promises to be a thrilling year indeed, so practice those cobbles, save yer places at the "Dutch corner" to hand out those frothy cold ones to the race leaders, grab yer neon mankinis and idiotic Viking hats for yer shameless TV time, and get ready for an exciting 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Bangin' Solstice, and Buon Natale a Tutti!

Next up--Yer Year In Preview, and Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton. 'Til then, let's break out the egg nog, and Merry Everything to you and yours!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's the 2013 Racejunkie Awards!

The Velo D'Or? Eh. The Paris-Roubaix cobblestone? Yawn. That big giant trophy you get for winning the Tour de France? Shrug. Yes, now it's time for the big awards show of the cycling season, the incredibly prestigious, highly anticipated (and universally ignored) 2013 Racejunkie Awards! Winners: if you claim it, enjoy a bitchin' custom racejunkie cap, as well as the eternal glory you've earned. Losers: well, you're probably better off not winning here anyway. Therefore, without further ado:

Cyclist o' 2013: Let's cut right to the chase: look, Nibali's bangin'. Froome's fab (okay, well Fabian's fab, but anyway). And Cav of course is awesome. But on road, mountain, cross, and trike, Marianne Vos is simply the best rider in the peloton today. Or yesterday. Or tomorrow. Or ever. Bow, bow before the Vos!

Kick In the Nuts/Punch In the Face/Wedgie of All Time Award: dear we love Euskaltel-Euskadi, really gone, brilliant wee climbers, unique Basque identity, smashing team kit, and fanatic Orange Army, and all. Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Good Deeds Never Go Unpunished Award: so impassioned (if ill-timed) Lance defender Chris Horner wins the Vuelta at age Moses, is immediately surrounded by doping suspicions, and what does he do? Yep, proudly releases his blood values. And what happens then? Nope, it sure wasn't pretty! Shoulda just hidden in your hotel room with a pile o' McNuggets 'til it all blew over, I guess...

Dope(r) of the Year: yep, Giro poz Mauro Santambrogio had this one in the bag, at least til Mick Rogers got taken out by a tainted Chinese cow not a week ago. Dammit, can't we at least keep it to riders I don't *like* for heck's sake?

Fan Antics o' 2013 Prize: yeah, there was that panda guy, and the usual contingent of screaming half-nekkid mankini banana-hammocks getting in the riders' way at the Tour, but this year, it was the rowdy beer-swillin'--and sharin'!--fans at the Dutch corner on the Alpe d'Huez. Here, Adam Hansen grabs a cold one:

TMI Award: Sure, dopers have pulled a lot of disgusting stunts in order to gain an edge. But what we *really* didn't need to hear was Michael "the Chicken" Rasmussen's claim that a then-Rabobank bus driver nestled a buncha EPO right up against his nuttal region to evade the narcs. Needless to say, successor squad Belkin quickly put the kibosh on to any further investigation into the matter. Thankfully!

Comeback o' the Year (Not) Award: Well, Wiggins was the 2012 Tour champ, so he didn't really have anything to come back from, which is good, because he didn't. But Andy Schleck? Oh, he was *so* taking the Tour! Or a stage. Or a one-day race. Or at least finishing one. Or maybe just getting to the start line sometime...

Over/Under, Over/Under Prize: oh, Orica-Greenedge. At the Tour de France, the team bus goes *under* the finish-line banner, not *over* it. D'oh!

Total Organizer !@#$up of 2013 Corollary Award: they're going to the original finish line. No, it's 2k back. No, it's the original finish again. The completely befoozled race organizers at the Tour. Make up your freakin' minds and convey it clearly to the teams already, so these boys even know if or when they're supposed to sprint!

Portrait of Dorian Grey Award: his dashing hipster facade belied the haggard, tortured trainwreck within. Brad Wiggins, this one's for you!

Icicle, Icicle, Icicle Race Award: Okay, we're used to the occasional freezefest in the Giro, even the Tour. But half the GC dropping out of the beautiful Vuelta coated in ice like grisly popsicles? I'm just glad any o' these guys survived!

PR Disaster of 2013: jeez, Lance, I didn't think it was *possible* for you to be more of an unctuous, self-serving tool than you already were. But then, you blabbed on Oprah. My bad!

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar: Women's cycling is *done* taking any !@#$, honey, and now, they demand the Tour de France, and every other race--from sponsorship to paychecks to organization to sheer kilometers--they deserve. Women's Cycling Association, this one's for you!

My Boss is a Bigger Nutwhack Than Your Boss Award: sure, Vino's crazy, which is why, among many other reasons, we still love him. But Oleg Tinkov, man--that's a whole 'nother level of wingnut. Am I the only one really psyched for 2014?

Crap Mechanical of All Time Award: Alejandro Valverde, absolutely blown outta the water on a crosswindy stage at the Tour. Still, he does get major class-act points for subsequently throwing his considerable power behind young untested Nairo Quintana. At least 'til he bushwhacked Purito Rodriguez at the Worlds!

Ride o' the Year (Thrill o' Victory Edition): yes, Fabian Cancellara's win at Paris-Roubaix was a beautiful--if almost inevitable--thing. But for sheer passion and love of the sport--even if he did have a huge crash near the line to partially thank for it--John Degenkolb's stage 5 win at the Giro, and subsequent collapse, was a jump-outta-yer-seater. Complimenti!

Ride o' the Year (Agony of Defeat Edition): a desperate Tony Martin, caught seconds before the line at stage 6 of the Vuelta. Valiant--but *so* agonizing to watch!

And, Last But Not Least, Lovable Legal Nitpick o' 2013 Prize: no, not that dissembling wanker Lance--it's our swoonworthy wreck-on-wheels Alexander Vinokourov, not so much taking issue with the allegations that he bribed himself his 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege win from Kolobnev, but pissed as hell that some thieving amoral jackwagon apparently hacked his personal e-mail to get the proof. Oh Vino--I don't know if you're best or worst thing to happen to cycling in this generation, but dang, you are by far the most fun!

Well, them's mine, and if I missed anything that ought've been include, feel free to write it in. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the hijinks of 2014--the new season's sure got a lot to aspire to!

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's a Very Merry Festivus Gift List For the Peloton!

Yes, dear reader(s), no matter what holiday(s) we may celebrate, it's that beautiful time o' year when we set aside our own selfish, petty desires and set ourselves instead to fulfilling those of others, and let's face it, after the year they've had, our beloved riders need all the good things they can get. Ergo, it's Yer Very Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Chris Horner: a WorldTour contract. Because otherwise, those Masters guys who keep gettin' popped will have to start doping a hell of a lot harder!

Samuel Sanchez: ditto: a WorldTour contract. Yeah, I heard the rumors too, but I mean a real, announced, signed, dated, chiseled-in-stone contract. Damn, he's like fifty years younger than Horner, ain't he?

Johan Bruyneel: a prayer. 'Cause right now, he ain't got one!

Chris Froome: a good light set. Because if Brad Wiggins quits playing nice, and decides to bushwhack 'im, Froomey better be able to see it coming!

Alberto Contador: the Tour de France. Because Oleg Tinkov is gonna do a lot more than tweet at 'im if he !@#$s it up this year!

Vincenzo Nibali: the Tour de France. Because Alexandre Vinokourov is gonna do a lot more than yell at 'im if he !@#$s it up this year!

Alberto Contador Auxiliary Stocking Stuffer: Wings. 'Cause judging by his 2013, "pedals" sure ain't working for him!

Purito Rodriguez: a Grand Tour. *Any* Grand Tour. Just because we love him.

Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix. Our gun-shy boy needs his confidence back!

Fabian Cancellara: the hour record. One, because he's Spartacus, and two, because it'll make him feel better when Tommeke takes back Roubaix. See, now everyone's happy!

Peter Sagan: A pretty pair of red yarn mittens. So from now on he can keep his filthy mitts to himself!

Lance Armstrong: a year of total media silence. For *our* sakes as much as his!

Andy Schleck: a magic, unbreakable, indestructible chain. Geez, I can't believe you were at it *again* today. *Now* will you finally stop whinging about the 2010 Tour?

UCI: nothin'. We already *got* our wish for you--how're you enjoying retirement, Pat "Dick" McQuaid?

Alexander Vinokourov: the title, powers, and all attendant trappings of Supreme Ruler of the Universe. It's only a matter of time before it happens anyway. Vino4Ever!

Marianne Vos: Yep, again this year, she already *has* everything. Maybe a day off, if only to give someone else a chance next season?

Mick Rogers (and it kicks me in the nuts to say this): a lump of coal. Naughty, naughty, naughty cyclist!

And Last But Not Ever Ever Least, Dear Reader(s): may your road rides be ever sunny, smooth, and dry, unless you're Belgian, in which case may they be ever rainy, muddy, and cobbly. May your saddle never sore, your tire never flat, your chain never suck, and your bidon be ever full. And no matter the vagaries of this wonderful, messed-up sport, may your joy in its glories never fail--Merry Festivus to all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We Are the Knights Who Say (I) Ni(ver Want to Win the Tour Again)!; Tinkov Makes Amends; and, Yay, It's Euskistar!

That's *Sir* Brad, You Serf!: hearty congrats to 2012 Tour de France champ Brad Wiggins, knighted today by Queen Elizabeth and, with the newfound gallantry appropriate to his rank, all kindsa "I Heart Froomey" and "Nope, Still Don't Want the Tour Again." Froome, for his part, graciously allowed that the hatchet is indeed buried between the two, not only, he swears, because Brad can now have him beheaded. Brad, from your former rabble subjects across the pond, we doff our hats--now *don't* diss the beautiful Giro d'Italia again by claiming you really want that win either!

I'm Sorry, You Lazy Hack!: in other olive-branch news, enjoyably unstable cycling oligarch Oleg Tinkov has sorta apologized to Alberto Contador for last Tour's blizzard of humiliation tweets, offering that he was only doing it to "provoke" the demoralized boy into some positive action. Next up--Tinkov throws our hero's !@# into 10 years of hard labor in some miserable rock-breaking hellhole to "encourage" him. Awww, that's sweet he cares so much!

That's *Eye*-gor!: last but not least, much as I've admittedly hated team Movistar's fat-cat thieving Euskaltel-poaching guts for contributing to the downfall of the squad by persisting snatching some of their best talent, now that our beloved Carrots are indeed no more (except for the new development team--in five years, watch out suckers!), I gotta concede I'm pretty stoked that frighteningly jobless erstwhile Igor Anton has been signed by the team, along with the previously-snagged alums climber-duo Ion and Gorka Izaguirre and sprinter Juanjo Lobato. All right, the hell with Valverde, you *seen* these boys in the high passes?--change those blue jerseys to orange already, and make Piti fight for it next year!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

It's Yer 2013 Year in Review!

Yep, we've still got a sweet 3 weeks for some ludicrous scandal to enliven the sleepy end of the year, but still, it's been a bangin' 2013, with enough scandal, sleaze, and yes, even racing, to delight and horrify the most dedicated cycling freak. Ergo, yer Year in Review:

January: Pat "Dick" McQuaid shuts down UCI Independent Commission on Why We're Scumbags; Wiggo really, honestly doesn't want the Tour, delusionally targets Giro; Lance cluelessly blows ratings-busting Oprah wah-wah. But I'm *sorry* I called Betsy Andreu a !@# !@#$%!

February: Rabobank shocked that everyone on squad doped when team told them to; Wiggo still really, honestly doesn't want the Tour; Thor redeems crap 2012 with win at Haut Var; Andy Schleck vows return. Uh huh, still waitin'!

March: It's the Classics, baby! Tom Boonen crashes out of suck Flanders, Classics !@#$ed; Sagan grabs Gent-Wevelgem; pig Sagan acts like, and grabs, an !@#; enraged Mark Cavendish blasts teammates for Tirreno-Adriatico loss. Nice to have your real personality back, Cav!

April: Dan Martin takes his first--and Ireland's second!--Liege-Waffle-Liege--slainte Dan!; frustrated Wiggo still really, honestly doesn't want the Tour, makes Wussiest Bike Toss Ever at Trentino; Fabian Cancellara takes Roubaix. Dammit I still miss Tommeke!

May: What else? It's the fabulous Giro, baby! Vincenzo "the Shark" Nibali slaughters the competition; Wiggo really, honestly doesn't want the Tour--and can't win the Giro, either; gutted John Degenkolb collapses after spectacular stage win. Now *that* is cycling!

June: It's the Tour de France, baby? Greenedge driver jams bus under finish-line banner, entire peloton crashes hard as dipwad race organizers confuse sprinters by repeatedly changing finish line; dopus Santambrogio a doping poz at Giro; the Giro Rosa is *on*, honey!

July: The Tour continues! Euskaltel announces they're goners, who gives about the stupid race?!; Froome slaughters rivals on Mont Ventoux, game over; Oleg Tinkov twitter-crushes demoralized Contador; Marcel Kittel dethrones Cav as sprint king. Better luck next year!

August: It's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby! Some old "Horner" guy ridiculously aims for podium; miserable Boonen's miserable season over with epic saddlesore; record-smashing Giorgia Bronzini takes 5--5!--consecutive sprints at Giro Rosa; new Women's Cycling Union demands Tour de France. Damn, haven't they earned it already?

September: More Vuelta, *and* the Worlds! poor wee Euskies mostly jobless; Horner wins Vuelta at age 94 on diet of Big Macs and McRibs; Vos takes Worlds and everything else all year Bronzini didn't win this year; Rui Costa bags men's race in controversial finish as defiant Valverde screws bitter Purito Rodriguez outta silver. Well there goes *that* bromance I guess!

October: Cleansters at Team Sky wants opioid its gives its own boys banned for everyone else; LL Cool Sanchez outta RaboBelkin; outraged jobless Horner goes nutwhack on Twitter. Not helping the cause, kiddo!

November: whistleblower Landis seeks the big bucks, but Lance already said he's SORRY gosh darn it; Samuel Sanchez, Igor Anton still teamless; Contador changes training regimen, optimistically plans return. Good luck with that Alberto!

December: Oleg Tinkov buys out Bjarne Riis at Saxo Bank, Contador cries self to sleep; desperate riders scramble for jobs on Pro-Kindergarten squads; Lance Armstrong sez he's gonna--oh, who gives a !@#$!

Well cycling fans, them's mine, and for every amazing incident I choked and didn't put in, apologies. Now can we *get* through the rest of the year without some epic nightmare screwup? Nope, I don't think so either!

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Lament of Alberto Contador

Once I was a rising star,
Heralded both near and far,
As they said, in bike parlance,
"I think that kid is the next Lance."
For several years I proved it true,
Bagging wins upon Ventoux,
Taking Vuelta, Tour, and Giro,
Spanish cycling's doe-eyed hero.
Then came my turn with Johan Bruyneel,
That duplicitous deceptive eel,
Ripping off my captain's pants,
And handing them straight off to Lance.
Tho' I then smacked him down and all,
I got popped for clenbuterol,
Which I quickly blamed, for all to hear,
On some stoked-up crackhead steer.
So I was banned, if not for long,
Soon I rejoined the cycling throng,
Tried my best in all the races,
And put my body through its paces.
I could not ride as once I had,
My Grand Tours, once great, were bad,
Pounded by some gangly geek,
Like a two-bit last-chance domestique.
I still enjoyed my job with Riis,
Sure, I bit, but rode with peace,
And knew deep down in my heart,
I'd once more play the winner's part.
But boss Tinkov was not impressed,
Even though I did my best,
Tweeting I was overpaid and lazy,
(Which frankly beats just bat-!@#$ crazy)
Ensuring with every dope-slap tweet,
I was both in mind and body beat.
So here I am at this event,
With Oleg on World Tour domination bent,
Standing stock-still like some frightened schmo,
Cowed by Oleg Tinkov's dough.
Now I'm stuck here til 2015,
When my bud Alonso starts his team,
Til then I better freakin' win,
And turn Oleg's wrath into a grin!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cycling Things I'm Thankful For This Year

Yes, beloved reader(s), it's Thanksgiving for we Americans, and you know what that means: gorgin', fightin' with the relatives, football(not soccer--football!)-watchin', and stompin' each other like lion-chased wildebeests to get a $100 flat-screen at CrapMart. And maybe, just maybe, a little appreciation for our good fortune. So, with the pure love of cycling in my heart, here's what I'm thankful for this year:

1. Etiquette. Lance, if you hadn'a cornered Tyler Hamilton outside the toilet in that restaurant and been such a mean petty little beeyotch to Floyd Landis, you'd probably still be a 7-time Tour champ. On the other hand, the off-season'd be a lot more boring!

2. Marcel Kittel's Hair. Unless you lived through the 80s, honey, you don't know how much work (and mousse) that takes. Wah, six hours in the saddle on a mountain stage, wah!

3. Marianne Vos. This bad-!@#-of-all-trades is like the one person in the whole cycling universe even *I* can't be cynical about. You rock Marianne!

4. Oleg Tinkov. Some bosses can be ambiguous, nay downright obtuse, in their feedback. But not ol' Oleg--well before he dips your feet in concrete and sinks you to the bottom of Lake Baikal, he'll offer you--and the world--helpful twitter advice like "YOU SUCK YOU LAZY PRINCESS!" and "GET A PAYCUT AND A REAL JOB YOU WHINER!" Refreshing!

5. New Continental Team--honest!--Vino4Ever. Yap, doping, yap--you're diggin' it, just like I am, from the grimiest, shamefulliest depths of your filthy blackened guilty little heart. Oh, yeah, baby!

6. The Giro. Fine, let the publicity sluts swagger for the Tour. For my money, the most beautiful race of the year--followed by the forbidding Vuelta--is the Giro d'Italia. Italian language, Italian food, Italian scenery. And some of the most mind-bogglingly beautiful, and thrilling, racing on the planet. Grazie Italia!

7. Jens Voigt. Yeah, he's been taking some heat lately. But I don't care, because even if it were all true, those people are all going to Hell. We love you Jens!

8. The Call For a Women's Tour de France. Right on, sisters--next stop, the Vuelta Mujeres!

9. Fabian Cancellara. Sure, a tenure at RadioSkank'd darn near demoralize anybody. But not Spartacus--he's going for the hour record in 2014. Woo-hoo Fabs!

10. Dear Reader(s): True, half the time you think I'm an eejit, but no harm no foul. And tho' I don't get to twit much about others, I'm delighted to follow you too. Thanks for readin'!

Well, them's mine, and if I missed a whole buncha more important stuff or if you're thankful too, you can pile on in. Most of all, happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

An Ode To Pro-Team Cycling Staff

O cycling staff, how hard you work,
For some coddled prima-donna jerk,
Or kindly low-ranked domestique,
Too zonked from setting pace to speak,
Your constant efforts near unseen
While stars with stage-win jerseys preen.

You rub sore muscles, scrub their chamois,
You tuck them in their bedtime jammies,
You get them to and from the race,
and lug their crap from place to place,
And guide them, like to some foul mirage,
To Controle Anti-Dopage.

You lean outside of the team car,
A deader if you reach too far,
To patch up a leader's gross road rash,
Caused by some idiotic crash,
And as with fans they smirk and prance,
Stuff their drugs in your underpants.

You make them coffee, give them food,
You're placid if they're nice or rude,
You bear their misdirected rage,
When they're the chumps who blow the stage,
You get no praise, you get no dough,
When sponsors bail, you're first to go,
We fans owe you more than we know,
So thanks, y'all, on with the show!

Monday, November 18, 2013

99 Luftballons (And One Colossal Freakin' Paycheck); and, News From the Department of PR and Bodily Safety Disasters

War! Huh! Good God, Y'All! What Is It Good For? Uh, His Wallet: uh-huh, just as Lance Armstrong gets all righteous at everyone throwing him under the bus--because, y'know, he didn't benefit more'n anyone else from his 7 Tour wins, ginormous cult of personality, thuggish omerta enforcement, and constant slavering planetary hero-worshiping butt-kissing from legions of adoring fans and journalists--and accuses then-UCI prez Hein Verbruggen of covering up a 1999 cortisone poz (and frankly, I think he's just ticked UCI apparently tried to cover up ol' Astana nemesis/next-gen-superstar kingship-thieving twerp Alberto Contador's doping poz, too) here comes that stinging wasp-on-wheels/demonic ex-teammate Floyd Landis, using a law apparently developed for wartime use to try to extend the time (and coincidentally, by truly humungous buckets, money) he can go back and dig outta outta Armstrong for his Postal-era nefarious weaseldry. Bet you'll think twice *next* time you wanna make a rude gesture to someone on Brasstown Bald, Lancey-boy!

Rider to Vino: Break My Kneecaps: well, *that* was a short-lived career: refreshingly outspoken--if perhaps not, well, brainiac--2nd-year American Astana protege Evan Huffman has just openly criticized erratic'n'ornery team boss Alexandre Vinokourov for his post-bio-passport-ban hiring of Franco-of-the-Euromullet Pellizotti. Oh well, kid, it's not like you needed those "unbroken bones" of yours anyhow--I'm sure Vino's goons won't put too much of a wrench into yer season! Now, upside yer *head* they might try to whack one...

!@#dammit Hire Samu' Already!: finally, as a truly galling number of cheating dirtwads continue to find gigs for 2014, most of dear departed Euskaltel-Euskadi continues to be hopelessly jacked for next season, including we love Samuel Sanchez, still trying to get a gig with Team Colombia or even Wanty but even allegedly considering a move to an advisory role with the growing world-o-cycling in Dubai. !@#$in' hell, World Tour, Horner I get but Sanchez? He's a spring chicken by comparison! And scandal-less! And--dag nabit, just hire 'im already! Look, look, remember when he was King o' the Mountains? Glory shall be yours, I tells ya!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Good News: The Vuelta's Clean! Bad News: You Still Can't Ride It!; and, Alberto Steps It Up

Dodgin' the (Green) Bullet: yes, we--even, say, Alejandro "Balaverde" Valverde--can all relax now: the Vuelta doping results are out, and the race was 100% no-holds-barred bucket-o'-integrity cutting-edge-testing clean. Woo-hoo! Does this mean everyone's suspicions are allayed and Chris Horner gets a million-euro contract now? Uh-huh, I thought I heard crickets chirping! Anyway, peloton, don't let this all go to your pretty little heads--if you're a female racer, you can apparently wait til you're older'n Horner is before there's a Vuelta a Espana with your name on it. Pigs! Oh well, at least we still got the Giro Donne--forza Italia, as usual!

I'm Sorry/So Sorry (For Me): and, Lance's regret for how he destroyed cycl--holy crap, he really *does* mean "regret for how mean and unfair everyone's been to me"--continues to warm the hearts of other sincere faux-repentants, as not only does he persist in claiming he's ready and willing to open up completely so long as he's in total control and gets exactly what he wants in every way--which hey, seems reasonable to me if I HAD A FRIGGIN' GOD COMPLEX--but he also claims he's delighted to accept any punishment, including the sport's "death penalty", as long as the dirty cowardly rats who helped him win 7 Tours de France bazillions of dollars worldwide adoration and ('til he dissed Floyd Landis once too often) the worlds' best-ever cycling omerta' are held to the exact same standard. Y'know, I do think most of those guys got off way too lightly, but really? You don't see any difference whatsoever in terms of who you were vs. who they were to the sport? No, I guess it's genuinely hard to see beyond the retina-scarring solar glare of one's own boundless ego...

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation: finally, if you thought Alberto Contador was finito after his disastrous 2013, you're wrong, baby--make room at the grownup's table again, Froomey, because he's already completely revamped his training regimen, gotten ready to hit the wind tunnel, and put in some high-altitude miles in Rio. As to those other headliners-of-yesteryear, the Schleck brothers? Well, I can't speak for Andy--though Frank certainly can--but big bro at least is ready to channel the anger and disappointment of 2013 into 2014 victories and is truly hungry to ride. If only you could reawaken the passion and confidence of your wee brother Andy once again, too...well, Alberto Froome & Nibali'd still kick his !@#, but it'd be nice to see some gumption back, anyway!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Uh, Maybe I *Won't* Dope Today...Tales From Cycling's Dark Underbelly (Well, Underpants)

Playing Chicken: that's right, the hits just keep on coming from Michael Rasmussen's tell-all about the gory, glory days of Team Raboskank: having already hastily retracted, under threat of lawsuit, suggestions that we still love so bite me Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha were doping, when in fact he didn't actually personally *see* them doping--which I'm sure means they didn't--and admitted in a truly gnarly act of filial (im)piety that he asked his dad to literally roll up his sleeves and hand over some nice compatible blood for his own vampire benefit, he's now wittily recounted the tale of how his team bus driver packed a buncha EPO into his underwear in order to evade the skeptical invading narcs. Y'know, I don't care *which* business end those vials were nestled up against, I am *losing* the Tour de France and shattering my lifelong dreams and the whole purpose of my puny human existence rather'n use that !@#$ afterwards. Fine, eat your own twin, store a pint o' yerself next to the moldy yogurt in the defective minifridge, p!@# black for a week while your internal organs freak out from what you've ingested--but using the bus driver's nut-nestled stash? Ewwwwwwww!

The Trials of Being Alberto: and, pity poor wee former Rider of His Generation Alberto Contador: despite winning a bucket of Grand Tours and being still at the tender and primo winning age of 30, two straight DSes have now pegged Chris Froome as the boy to beat for years to come, with sad-sack Pistolero apparently perceived to have Wigginsed off into the sunset. Add to that the beastly threat of Oleg "You Blow, You Overpaid Lazy Worm!" Tinkov reportedly considering buying Saxo Bank and Alberto's sorry butt outright, and I think he's got pretty well one option left: jump into Bjarne's arms, grab 'im in a death grip, and start bawling at the top of his lungs. Glad to see you're remaining tranquillo though, Alberto--just switch yer training plan back to whatever worked for you before, and hope it's (1) undetectable and (2) enough!

The Cit(ies) of Brotherly Love: meantime, cycling's greatest (or hell, even just past marginal) dopers continue to slag each other, with Tyler Hamilton reacting to Lance's latest bull!@#$ I wanna-help-cycling oppressed-victim pity-party on cyclingnews with the friendly Twitter invite "Hey @lancearmstrong - If you're sincere about wanting to talk, jump on your jet and fly to Missoula, Montana. Your posse is not invited." and angry scapegoat Joerg Jaksche musing, as he also commented on Lance's interview, "My last tweet brought me to the question is 'being more honest than [Jonathan Vaughters] a benchmark? Fuck..NO!!" Y'know, it's heartening to see all these guys bonding over how to fix the sport...

Hire Samu' Dammit! Hire Samu'!: finally, eager as I am to start my campaign to Make Patrick Lefevre Let Tom Boonen Ride the Tour de France, I gotta say, Luis Leon Sanchez is about to ink a new gig right after he got dumped over (perhaps, to be fair, unjustified) doping accusations, and Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez freakin' remains without a contract? Look, look what the boy can do!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

My Fantasy Doper Bull!@#$/Reality Press Conference

Good morning. I've called you all here today because I've had a sincere crisis of conscience/some bitter !@#hole I used to ride with just outed me to everyone. I'm deeply ashamed to say that a very long time ago/until very recently, I once/damn near daily used a banned substance/cheated like a thieving scumbag. However, I felt deeply ashamed/deeply paranoid about my actions, and immediately stopped/called my team doctor for reassurance I wouldn't be caught taking this !@#$. Furthermore, as an athlete wholly dedicated to pushing my body to its god-given, natural limit/taking any crap I could to get an edge on my competitors, I detested putting these drugs in my body/the thought that any of them could be doing it better than I was. Therefore, I deeply regret the choices I made early in my career/until yesterday. And, I'd like to point out that it is a total and complete coincidence that, as I say in all honesty/in a ridiculous excuse not even my grandma would buy, I stopped doping just before the statute of limitations ran out/before Pat "Dick" McQuaid called me from an untraceable disposable cell phone that the narcs were about to catch on to my act.

I know you'll find it hard to forgive me/let me totally off the hook anyway because I'm so much more likeable than Riccardo Ricco'. And I know I'll have to work hard to regain that trust/find a ghostwriter some other dope fiend hasn't already used to write my tell-all to make even more money off you suckers. In sum, I'd like to honestly apologize to my sponsors, team directors, fellow riders, family and friends/everyone I'm now gonna rat out in an effort to divert attention from myself for my inexcusable actions/for not being as ruthless as Lance Armstrong in shutting my enemies the hell up in the first place. Now that the truth has thankfully been revealed/has tragically been revealed totally against my will, I swear to join the fight against doping/the fight against anyone else doping while I have to ride clean. Thank you for your understanding and support/not hunting me down like a plague-spreading medieval bubonic rat if you're one of the guys I cheated out of a career.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aiiiggghhhh! Zombies! Zombies are Rising From the Dea--Oh, It's Just Bruyneel And Those Guys

And No-One's Gonna Save You From The Beast About to Strike: yes, just when you thought it was safe to go outside, well get the hell back in, dumb!@#--Lance Armstrong minion/Postal mastermind-in-chief Johan Bruyneel is getting called up by the narcs but quick, and as they line up ol' pals like Tyler and Floyd to take down their former boss, he's already embarking on a weird Twitter assault to defend his virtue against all comers. Aw c'mon, Johan--you were the power behind the throne, the Rocky to his Bullwinkle, the Robin to his Batman, the Ken to his Barbie--embrace it, don't deny it, just ask Landis, it ended up being so much *better* for him in the end to 'fess up!

I Told Ya, It's the Walking Dead!: in other unholy news from the netherworld, most-inept-doper-of-all-time Riccardo Ricco', apparently irked at watching eight thousand other peloton dirtballs continue to enjoy the Grand Tour stages he once rode so spectacularly slimily, has announced his new goal: he's gonna set a world record climbing Mont Ventoux, and frankly, especially given the lack of scrutiny the banned boy's under at this point, I wouldn't doubt him. Even over, say, Valv--uh, nothin'! Look, he's already posing for the podium babes: All you need is Pat "Dick" McQuaid up there shakin' your hand, Cobra, and it'll be just like old times! Over in Germany, meanwhile, a high court has cleared former Gerolsteiner rider/busted CERA-weasel Stefan Schumacher, who if I recall right actually beat Fabian Cancellara in a time trial, over accusations of fraud on his team director Hans-Michael Holczer for doping at the 2008 Tour de France on the grounds that Holczer knew darn well what the hell Schumi and everyone else there were doing the whole time. On the plus side, the court apparently *didn't* believe Holczer's contention that indeed he *could* be that stupid. So when you think about it, it's a compliment, really! Anyway, you needn't cry for the poor naive guy: he's still working as a consultant to Katusha, where he was lately a team manager. The new clean cycling era continues nicely!

Pain, I'm in *Pain* I Said!: finally, great to see the rabid enforcers over at Team Sky taking the high road, demanding that opioid painkiller Tramadol be banned from the peloton despite admittedly giving it to their own riders--but only when they really needed it, not for, say, generally allowing them to train harder through the usual pain like everyone else but *them*. It's heartwarming, isn't it, how they're all watching out for each other's well-being? Well, *I'm* touched, anyway...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

They're !@#$ed!: 15 Kilometers of Cobbled Tour de France GC Destruction

Come Together/Right Now/Over Me: yep, the 2014 Tour de France route is out, and lucky for these guys it's lots less brutal but still bizarrely more prestigious than the beautiful Giro or Vuelta, with 5 mountain top finishes, two rest days, 40 sprint stages, and some choice opportunities for Thomas Voeckler to singlehandedly shatter the road surface below 'im into smithereens with the sheer force of his grimace. And sure, Froome won't know he's won til the penultimate day's huge 54km individual time trial, but first, he and the other GC boys'll have to survive this: nine separate sections and over 15 kilometers of stage 5 cobblestones, which could--depending on flats, crashes, dropped chains, and whether wee climber Nairo Quintana accidentally slips through a crack in the pave and disappears into the center of the earth--decide the final yellow jersey before we're even outta week one. Reaction: Contador is cagey, Bjarne's confident he'll still suck less than Froomey on the cobbles, Nairo's stoked for the climbs, Froome professes both optimism and the implausible idea that he and 2012 champ Wiggo can ride it all kumbayah together without them punching each other's faces in, Valverde's psyched to stick it to Rodriguez again, Purito himself is suited just fine to a whole buncha climbs til he's hopelessly screwed on the time trial, and Cav and Kittel's formidable hairdos nearly came to blows bragging on who's gonna grab the green jersey. All in--Andy Schleck, who apparently misunderstood the part where they said your brother *can't* take you down the descents with you sitting on his handlebars. Model of Understatement Award: former Tour winner Stephen Roche, discreetly opining that perhaps this year's "soft" course won't encourage vulnerable innocent riders to take "shortcuts" again. Wait, are we talking those jackwagons who grabbed rides on cars and trains back in 1904?

Ho Ho Ho!: and, we're about to find out who deserves to be on Santa's naughty list: Lance Armstrong mastermind Johan Bruyneel's got his arbitration date just shy of Christmas, and if I were him, after all that stupid crap with Lance whining how oppressed his poor railroaded teammates were getting cakewalk 6-month off-season bans in return for incredibly profiting from and still capitalizing on their ill-gotten gains (lovable as these fine gents are), and pretending he's getting ready to spill the beans again, I'd be worried he was ultimately gonna Landis my !@# and I'd start *talkin'*, honey. Oh, but omerta's still so much more dignified...

Papa's Got a Brand New Tat: finally, congrats to dashing Classics suavester Pippo Pozzato, who's clearly taking the massive heat from the disappointed Italian press for being all style over substance to heart in this nascent off-season, by revising his diet, spending days hunched in a windtunnel perfecting his position, and restructuring his entire training regime for 20--uh, getting some nice new ink. But it is *so* aero, man!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Horner Hears a Who?; The Tour de France Shapes Up; and, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Warrior Princess

Uh, I Can Delete That, Right?: yep, just as Chris Horner already wasn't helping his own cause sending a bitter bizarre series of wig-out tweets that'd completely freak the average publicity-conscious DS outta hiring 'im, *then* twitted a cheerful "so long, see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya" to his RadioTrek squad o' four years, now if it's even possible the poor guy's hosed himself even worse: uh-huh, some sports-science ween is claiming Horner's voluntarily-released bio-passport results from the Vuelta look just a liiiiiiitttttle too good to be true. Disgusting slanderous rumor-mongering or no, I sure hope you signed a new contract in the last, oh, ten minutes there, Chris, 'cause the rest of the teams are only gonna pretend they never heard of you even more from here on out! #iscrewedupthat...

Countdown to July: meantime, for riders who actually *have* contracts, it's already shaping up to be a hell of a competitive Tour, with defending champ Froome cannily demanding that any thought of cobbles next year be swiftly dispatched, Contador desperate to reclaim his rightful rep and fat paycheck, Quintana opining he could have this one in the bag, and Nibali, unsatisfied with having won merely two of three Grand Tours, now going all-out for the big show. Aw, come on, isn't *anyone* in addition to Basso and Cadel in for the beautiful Giro--what's the big deal about the winky ol' "Tour de France", anyway?

More Retirements That Suck: finally, best wishes and suck-for-the-peloton as incredibly prolific sprint bad-!@# Ina-Yoko Teutenberg hangs up her cleats--despite an injury-wrecked 2013, she's racked up over 200 wins in her long career, and with any luck for the sport of cycling she'll get some obscenely lucrative coaching gig training riders or something who if even half the talent she is'll be Ina-ing up the tarmac for years to come. Here, winning as usual in 2012: Congrats on a great career!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1994-2013 #euskaltelteam

Fine, cycling teams come and go. But Euskaltel-Euskadi was a unique and glorious one, and it deserves every bit of homage it can get. So here, and in gratitude for damn near twenty years of excitement, being a major factor in my falling in love with the sport, and having the most smashing fans in fandom, a quick summary of we love Euskaltel-Euskadi's greatest hits:

Grand Tours: small budgets, big hearts, bangin' results. For all the (well-earned) hype about Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia, the top finishes actually all go to 2008 Olympic gold medalist Samuel Sanchez: a third in the 2010 Tour, a third and a second in recent Vueltas. And did I mention (this week) Samu's been Tour de France King o' the Mountains? Woo-hoo!

Stage Races: 1st (Samu) and 2nd (Iban) at Tour of the Basque Country. First *twice* (Iban, Landaluze) at Dauphine-Libere. And 1st at the Tour de Suisse (Aitor Gonzalez). Not too shabby!

Stage Wins: okay, forget the 80 gazillion stages in the tours of Asturias, the Basque Country, Burgos, and Romandie--in Grand Tours alone, they've racked up 17 victories since 1999, starting with Roberto Laiseka's wins in the Tour de France and Vuelta right through Ion Izagirre's 2012 stage win in the Giro d'Italia. Eat *that*--aw, you know who you are!

Scandals: shut up! who gives! bite me! far less than most squads, so stuff it!

Lastly, The (Clearly Heartbroken) Tribute:

Thank you Euskaltel--I doff my bitchin' orange team cap to you and all your riders and staff past and present for many years of great cycling!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Like That Disgusting Goo-Covered Thing That Pops Outta That Guy's Guts and Skitters Away In "Alien," But More Painful

Quotes That Rip My Guts Out: yep, even as EX-EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI rider Benat Intxausti, who those vulturous poaching carcass-pickers over at Movistar grabbed a coupla seasons back, takes a mountain stage at the Tour-of-Who-Gives-A-Crap-Except-It's-Dear-Euskaltel's-Last-WorldTour-Race-Ever!, our actual beloved Euskies continue to honor their carrot jerseys with characteristically hard work, but for my money, it's the quotes o' resigned doom coming outta the mouths of our boys in orange that's breaking my heart the most. The latest from team captain Samuel Sanchez, tentatively thought though clearly now not going to joining besieged and recently key-domestiqueless Alberto Contador at Saxo Bank: "Time goes by, and even if I do not want to end my career, I'm getting used to the idea of retirement." Arrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu (or however you write an agonized howl), arrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Well *I'm* not used to it !@#dammit, what the !@#$ is with you cheapskate soulless assface sport directeurs, hire Samu' already, *look* at some of the goons you've got on your squads who could be added to or replaced! Oh, bad enough young sprinter (a sprinter! Euskaltel's got a sprinter!) Lobato has no home, erratic yet worthy Igor Anton is finally conceding “As things stand I’ve got nothing, or at least nothing concrete,” and half the team are tweeting rueful farewell pics of their final team kits, now this--arrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

On the Catwalk/On the Catwalk, Yeah/I Shake My Little Tush On the Catwalk: meantime, to no-one's shock, startlingly incompetent doper/Byblos runway man-candy Danilo "Low T" DiLuca's is finally facing a largely-too-late-but-at-least-symbolic life-time ban from his own deeply annoyed cycling fed. I gotta say, I almost get why guys like Jan Ullrich and poor ol' Strawberry Shortcake here are so aggravated at the utter arbitrariness at who still gets singled out for scorn--or all-embracing, prodigal-son forgiveness--in the peloton. Ah well, Danilo, at least your buds can keep you in style with free clothes!

If You Experience Performance-Enhancing Symptoms, Call Your Team Doctor Immediately to Get More: and, many thanks to USADA for their warning today about a popular weight-loss and "focus-enhancing" nutritional supplement that apparently acts on the body like meth, because apparently, that lovely opioidtramadol crap the new, clean generation's currently taking as a pain-reliever (pain-relief being, well, useful to athletes who painfully *ride* six freakin' hours a day)isn't even banned yet. It's under review though! Whew, I'm *so* glad things have completely changed...hey, if you guys aren't gonna use your resources to combat this, maybe you could use the spare energy (and dough) to help Samu get a new contract instead?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Horner Freaks Out!; Scarponi Looks S!@#$ed!; and, Like *Sanchez* Is the Biggest Prob in the Peloton?

#HireMeYou!@#$ers: yeah, you read it, or at least read the 24-hour stream of mocking tweets: Chris Horner's rabid rapid-fire twit-barrage of how he got to be the Vuelta champ he is today, how you're the lowly slacker worm you are, and how you better, ergo, start paying him tons of money to ride for your team next year. Look--I see how he might be very mad and all, that after years of intermittent (if intermittently brilliant) results, his passionate defense of Lance Armstrong against doping accusations after years of publicly slagging him which totally coincidentally stopped right when Johan Bruyneel hired 'im, and a clearly successful all-McNugget training diet, there's still some, well, slight suspicion about his recent achievement. Adding insult to injury, Europcar snottily announced today that Horner's agent tried to sell 'im for 750,000 euro and was harrumphingly dissed. But Horner, let's be honest here--leaving aside that you didn't actually win the Vuelta until after the big guns'd already blown their transfer-season budgets, *and* their terror of losing their sponsors and folding their team if you get popped, I think they're frankly worried that your incredibly advanced age of 400 makes this win, even if legit, a freak fluke, and at your age you're gonna just start droppin' limbs off like some rotting undead carcass zombie. So I get yer mad--now quit complainin', and get in line with everyone else still out of a job!

Scarpface: meantime, things ain't lookin' much better for Michele "I Can't Believe They Gave Contador's Giro Win to *Me*" Scarponi, who, reliable talent though he is, is having a hard time picking a team from all his lucrative offers, apparently one down though with Europcar having also smacked Scarponi's agent for sending an unsolicited unwanted e-mail and then claiming that's some sort of near deal. No offense to Michele, or Horner, but right on Europcar--really, they're gonna get more mileage outta some piddly Grand Tour champ(s) than the irresistible camera-whore breakaway antics of Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler?

RaboBull!@#$: and, bad racing news but apparently a sweet payoff for stalwart stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez, who was ditched by RaboBlancoBelkin because he's been linked to too many doping stories. Jaysus, like *he's* the biggest liability in the peloton? Have you guys *noticed* what clowns are still getting paid hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros to actually *ride*, like right now, like next year, like 'til the next generation of dipwads gets busted and immediately rehired by equally morally outraged hypocrites? I mean, damn, I don't expect *anyone* who started over at Liberty Seguros, even as a baby, to've come outta there without some serious, well, nutritional advice, but Sanchez? When other squads are fielding Contador? Valverde? Scarponi? Sure, clean 'em out, I actually agree, but enjoy the two guys you actually got left...anyway, hope you do get a new gig if yer a cleanster an' all now LL, but one more spot open for a Euskie to grab, you hear that Igor Anton?

Monday, October 07, 2013

It's the 2014 Giro d'Italia, Beeyotches! All's Forgiven, You Wanker! and, Money Troubles of People Who Can Bite Me

Rosa Is the New Bad-!@#: yes, fellow Giro junkies, the "humane" 2014 corsa is officially out, with enough sprints (8, too !@#$in' many for me, but then I don't have to ride it) to seduce Mark Cavendish, enough "medium mountains" stages to give false hope to the breakaway artists, enough high mountain stages packed into the final week to guarantee GC suspense, and, after last year's violent protests, enough transfer time that they don't have to rappel some poor sap like Scarponi down from a helicopter to get 'im to the next stage in time and risk whackin' 'im into the rock face of the Passo Stelvio. Best of all--though it makes no actual sense from a race perspective--we start in my ancestral stomping grounds of fair Ireland. Road trip! Here, yer official promo: FORZA, FORZA, FORZAAAAAAAAAAAAA--oh, c'mon, Nibali, a Giro-Tour double can't be *that* hard, right?!

Redemption Song: and, huge congrats to Purito Rodriguez on his season-soothing--and second consecutive!--Giro di Lombardia win, and for then graciously deciding to simply agree to disagree with mortal enemy/Worlds-screwing teammie Alejandro Valverde as to both gentlemen's view of the prior weekend's race tactics, at least until Purito has the opportunity next year to jam a bidon into Valverde's chain ring flap a musette into his face on a plummeting descent drop 'im in a violent cross-wind and accidentally squirt an espresso gel onto his glasses on a twitchy corner. Jeez, of all the perfectly solid 'nother reasons to want Piti's !@# outta the peloton, and *this* is what's pissing Spain off? Perspective, people!

No Scrubs: meantime, while Alberto Contador's getting just glowing press for cutting his salary by like two million euros to save Bjarne Riis' de-Tinkov'd Saxo Bank--which has, for !@#$'s sake, saved-Alberto's-butt-and-shoulda-podiumed-instead-himself Roman Kreuziger, who alone makes the team worth saving--the rest of the peloton isn't faring quite so well in the wage-crushing scramble for the last few pro spots, so desperate high-class rabble Thomas de Gendt, for example, has taken an 80% pay cut to just to ride at all and be some GC snot's water boy, which means he's probably earning like what the best women earn now, which means he better start training on that McDonald's Fryolator but quick. Am I the only one not quite crying a river that Alberto, adorable as he is, is only gonna make like five million euros in salary and endorsements to possibly choke at next year's Tour? On the other hand, that cute little "pistolero" thing--aw, I'd pay gazillions of dollars for that too!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Will You Still Need Me/Will You Still Feed Me/When I'm Thirty-Four?: Retirees We'll Really Miss

The Old M(e)n Of the Mountain: yep, in an annual ritual of grievous crapitude, a whole wunk o' great riders are retiring this year--let alone the guys who're "retiring" because we love Euskaltel and like half the Pro Continental squads are folding--and I gotta say, Marco Pinotti, Juan Antonio Flecha, and the great Sandy Casar are (1) by far the most underrated and (2) the ones the peloton're gonna blow without the most. Why? Because Marco Pinotti is not only a great time trialist in his own right, he's also consistently voted (by me, so what?) as the Guy Least Likely to Be An !@#$hole About Being a Gregario. Because you've never, *ever*, seen Flecha not driving some insane daredevil breakaway, and, either he's a total wisenheimer, in which case we love 'im even more, or he's seriously threatening to become a pro surfer next season. Because Sandy Casar was basically the sole reason the entirety of French cycling didn't completely suck the last 15 years, and, unlike Philippe Gilbert (who we love anyway), he actually didn't interrupt his Tour de France to hunt down and scream at the clown who let his dog meander into the course and damn near kill 'im. Because they're not the megalomaniacal sprinters, the preening Grand Tour contenders, or even the skittish thoroughbred climbers who consistently get the press, the camera time, the hysterical lovesick fans, or the Ferraris-as-pocket-change contracts. Because they don't screw over their teammates, pimp themselves as saviors, or make the kind of sickening stupid excuses that only shame them. Most of all, because they make the whole damn sport tick, and because though you might not see them often, you know this place will be poorer for their absence. So grazie Marco, gracias Flecha, and merci Sandy--you were a blast to watch, and thank you!
Juan Antonio Flecha vole un drapeau américain - Buzz

Friday, October 04, 2013

Payback at the Giro di Lombardia! Andy Schleck's Big Plans! Contador's Wishful Thinking!

It's The Beautiful Giro di Lombardia!: yes, it's time for the last monument of the season, the glorious classica delle foglie morte, and what's usually a hotly-contested source o' local pride for the Italians is this year a rematch of last weekend's Worlds, with Rui Costa debuting his shining new rainbow kit (as Giovanni Visconti wistfully Twitted today, "In Rui Costa's room to admire his new maglia, shorts, gloves...I touch them delicately...they're a dream..."), Vincenzo Nibali to do what he was obviously perfectly capable of doing last weekend if he hadn't hit the deck, and Alejandro Valverde, if he's got any brains left in his legs whatsoever, staying the !@#$ away from a still-extremely-distraught (and this race's defending champ) Purito Rodriguez. Others on the hunt: twilight Italians Scarponi, Basso, and Cunego; climber supremo Rigoberto Uran; Basso teammate/wheelie-poppin' studpup Peter Sagan; and new-stripped Philippe Gilbert, with one hell of a gnarly lump on his knee. Ow, !@#$--heal up quick Philippe, looks like it's a good thing it's the end of the season already! Anyway, the course: perfect, with a trip up the Madonna del Ghisallo and later a sharp drop before the flat run to the finish. Forza ragazzi--I'm still just in awe you got anything left in the tank at all!

He's Baaaaa-aaaaaaaack (Uh-*Huh*): and, after an openly-conceded but still devastatingly crap season, Andy Schleck, his big brother and go-to trainer/nurturer both back to cocoon 'im in 2014, swears he's ready to come back blazing next year, all set to target (1) the Classics and (2) seriously, the Tour de France. What Andy Schleck *needs* to target first, frankly, is a finish line. Small steps, baby Schleck, small steps!

I Dream of Bertie: last but not least, in bocca al lupo in particular on Sunday to Alberto Contador, who's professed he's already blocked out his suckfest 2013 and is counting the Giro di Lombardia as a fresh start to a hopefully better 2014. So Bjarne told you he's got the dough to pay you next year after Tinkov slagged your overhyped butt and is gonna try to taunt you next year with a new, winninger, more cost-effective squad? I'd be pretending it's already 2014 too!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Amy Dombroski, R.I.P.

U.S. 'cross and mountain bike rider Amy Dombroski, 26, an American riding for Belgian team Telenet-Fedea, was killed in a crash with a truck while training today in Belgium. She competed in the GP Gloucester just this past weekend, where she posted strong results against a stellar field. Her website is here, and a lovely summary of her career is here. Condolences to all.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Yo, We've Still Got Racing (and Transfers!) To Do!; and, Yer Post-Worlds Nasties Continue!

It's Milano-Torino, Baby!: yes, despite the new-crowned Kings and Queens of the Worlds, the actual cycling season still ain't over yet, as the venerable Milano-Torino, including the tough Superga climb, races tomorrow with a field including defending champ Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Andy Schleck, Damiano Cunego, and even the men's worlds road race lanterne rouge (and hell, at least he finished!) Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler. Who's out: Vuelta winner Chris Horner, whose cracked ribs have called a late-early end to his season. Lookin' for vindication, Purito? Here's your chance! And in case you missed it last year:

The Race of the Falling Leaves (Teams, Whatever): meantime, as the clock ticks down to the lovely Giro di Lombardia, riders from Euskaltel to Sojasun are still scrambling for the last few spots in the ProTour teams, with grim Thomas de Gendt wondering if he'll get the last Quick Step spot from Igor Anton, Mikel Astarloza already throwing in the towel and retiring, stellar carrot climber/GC o' the future Mikel Nieve just grateful to play superdomestique and screw his own palmares over at Sky, and even the boys over at Bjarne's Saxo Bank starting to get a liiiiiiiiitle bit nervous they're gonna be stuck last-second without a squad. Still, fear not that baby Basque cycling talent won't be nurtured, at least: their cycling fed's hoping to start a wee Continental team to keep the Ibans (shut up!), Mikels, Josebas, and Igors coming nicely along. Til those heavy-handed money-bags at Movistar poach 'em anyway. !@#$!

Oh, Snap, Italia!: and, while British media is saturated with self-flagellating analyses like "Why We're A Pack of Weenie Dropout Quitter Wussbags," even one-medal (congrats, Ratto!) Italy's now piling on poor ol' Spain, with Paolo Bettini saying that, below hometown expectations as his squad was, at least they fought like lions and didn't lose like Spain. Geez, not arguing--because they really did snatch defeat from the slavering jaws of victory--but can people maybe lay off anything connected to poor Rodriguez while he's still a quivering mound o' tears over Costa's pip at the line? I mean, listen to the guy..."this is Purito's bitter destiny..."--kick 'im while he's down whydontcha?

Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Yer Post-Worlds Blame-Game Roundup!

National Brotherhood Week: yes, Portugal's Rui Costa, previously best known as a fine stage racer, tenacious climber, and for his spectacular sissy-boy slap-fight with Carlos Barredo at the 2010 Tour (tho' to be fair, it was Barredo whanging *him* with the bike wheel), is now our very worthy men's world road champ, and while the elite women exchange hugs, warm compliments, and congratulations all 'round, the men've already devolved into a seething snake pit o' venom-shooting viperous blame-purveying, with Britain telling its own team--none of whom managed to finish, least of all Brad "I Would Do Anything For Froome (But I Won't Learn To Descend)" Wiggins--y'all just suck except for Cav, Spain's chief slamming Alejandro Valverde for greedily screwing Purito into a lowly silver, the vaunted Classics hardmen dismissed disgustedly for failing in perfect (for them) weather, Team Italy head Paolo Bettini in and out of a job every six seconds, and only recent Vuelta runner-up Vincenzo Nibali roundly proclaimed a god 'cause if he had the strength to chase back on like that after his !@#$ crash with Luca Paolini he clearly woulda won otherwise. Surely these bitter Bettys can find *some* mercy for each other--damn, look at poor Rigoberto Uran's team kit! Anyway, here's how it all unfolded: Complimenti Rui!