Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Challenge Thee to a Duel!: A Practical Solution to the Wiggins-Froome Dispute

Look, here's what's clear: Wiggo can't man up and admit he's riding the Giro because he's more afraid of the Tour, so he won't cut the fantasyland bull!@#$ about a successful double, and Froome won't let Wiggins forget he'd be kissing Froome's !@# from the second spot on the podium if Froomey hadn't herded him up the Alps like a knocked-up goat, so he won't stand any challenge to his leadership at this year's Tour. Upshot: not only can they not work together, they're absolutely gonna sabotage each other, intentionally or not. Solution: cut the smack-talk, sissy-boys--we're havin' a duel! The rules:

Duration: Until (1) death or serious denting or (2) either one o' you runs crying home to momma. Anyone wanna guess how long this one's gonna last?

Coaching: well, we can't use Sky management--just look where it's gotten you guys so far! Wiggins--you get Pat "Dick" McQuaid. Froome--you get Travis Tygart. Just count yer blessings I didn't stick you guys with a Schleck or something!

Press Coverage: Nope, can't delay the fightin' that way. One overhead camera turned on at the start, no pre-duel press conferences or junkets. Nice try, Brad "I Hate Talking To The Media" Wiggins!

Location: Top of Alpe d'Huez. Caveat: you gotta get there under your own steam. See Froome, ol' Brad's half out of the running already!

Distance: With Wiggins' primordial pterodactyl wing-span, Froome is toast right off the bat if Brad is standing within 50 feet of 'im. 50 yards to start!

Weapons: Anything y'all can lift with that legendary cyclist upper-body strength, which I suppose, come to think of it, stops you both dead well before "seat post." Style points for "most original use of a spoke wrench"!

Attire: Regulation Sky team kit. Any attempt by Brad to wear his last year's yellow jersey to mock Chris, or by Chris to rip it off his torso and wear its tattered shreds himself to taunt Brad, will be punishable by one free hit.

Nourishment: Both parties must grab their musettes on the fly, during the match, from your soigneur, and either eat safely, or fall over trying. Just like a bike race!

Teammates: None. Neither of you guys needs anybody else, right?

Nature Breaks: What are you, animals? I can't even take it when the cameras catch that stuff during the Tour! You cyclists are always bragging how much you suffer on the bike--now prove it!

Testing: Any and all blood spilled will be collected, frozen, and tested ten years hence in accordance with then-current testing protocols. This way, we can see what !@#$ you guys are obviously both o--uh, how hematocrit naturally changes over the careers of top-level athletes. Anyone need a couple days to clean u--um, prepare yourselves mentally before we begin?

Reward: What, you want *another* knighthood, Sir Brad? This one's for the fans. Ya fought, ya won or ya lost--now ya quit yer whinin', and shut yer damn yaps about this stupid dispute from now on!

Well, dear reader(s), them's *my* fix. See you at high noon tomorrow, and may the best man *really* win!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Martin and Ryder Bust it Out for Garmin; Riccardo Ricco' Thinks You Suck; and, a Week o' (non) Wisdom-by-Tweet

Tactical Skill-o'-the-Irish: well, that was one slammin' surprise at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, not that seeing Gilbert-pleasingly-strong-but-not-quite-havin'-it was a shocker after his showing so far at Liege (and yes, I was rooting for him), with Argyle Army general Ryder Hesjedal looking great ahead of his upcoming Giro defense, Joaquim Rodriguez with a brave and nearly-successful flyer towards the end, a giant panda--uh, Valverde snagging yet another podium before he heads off to whack the field at Romandie, but ultimately Ryder's Garmin teammate Dan Martin taking his first--and Ireland's second, woo-hoo!--Liege. Whether you love or hate Jonathan Vaughters' letting ex-Lance-teammate/dopers Tommy Dave and Christian ride off peacefully into the post-scandal sunset, you sure gotta give it to 'im (and not least Dan Martin himself) for tactics--brilliant! On a bonus note, perhaps buoyed by shepherd Fabian Cancellara's likely-imminent departure, Andy Schleck rode tolerably ok. And don't worry Philippe, we have faith, you'll break the curse--surely it was *some* extra motivation seeing your name written every six inches in giant letters every bit o' the race on the tarmac! Here, Dan Martin's great win:

The Cobra Lashes Out: all right, young Italian riders, you've been slapped: disgraced inept-doper former-champion-now-mild-mosquitoesque-annoyanceRiccardo Ricco, praising wilier-fellow-miscreant Michele Scarponi for his form at Liege, sez in his twit-feed that compared to the older generation of current Italian cyclists, you all just suck. Yeah, too bad *you* weren't there to animate the race and immediately throw Italy in disrepute by testing poz for the CERA oozing out yer sweatglands, you weasel! I look forward to further whining when Vincenzo Nibali whomps the Giro--hey, aren't you supposed to be too busy with your new gig at "Cheers" or something (and a noble profession it is, which is more than you deserve) to be bothering the, y'know, working cyclists?

Talkin' Turkey: meantime, he may not have had the Classics season he wanted, but tattooed dream-stud Pippo Pozzato is set to give his all in the Tour of Turkey, so let's take a moment to wish him good legs and good luck, particularly since, I've noticed, he's always the first to tweet warm congrats to his compatriots for their own triumphs. Worse comes to worst, he can always rest up apres-tour reclining by the sea and posting swoonalicious photos of himself like usual, right?

A Humble Programming Note: well, both my dear readers, I won't have access to bloggery this week, but if anything ludicrous happens I may not be able to resist weighing in with a twit or two, so while I miss all the action, kick back with a cold one, scream your heads off for dear Euskaltel, and enjoy the races!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Single Wussiest Bike Throw Ever; "I Big" Face Off at Trentino; and, It's Liege-Waffle-Liege, Baby!

First Prize for Wiggo!: yes, in an early lock on the 2013 Sissy-Boy Tantrum o' the Year Racejunkie Award, Giro hopeful Brad Wiggins manages simultaneously the luckiest and total-weeniest frustrated-rider bike toss *ever*, landing this gem--and apparently the outraged intervention of the Pinarello gods--as he freaks out over an ill-timed mechanical at Trentino. Watch out, Giro d'Italia--he gets pissed at you there, he might land you a glancing blow with a ripped-off bike glove or something! Oh, the fury...

Vincenzooooooooooooo!: speaking of the fabulous Giro--and, to be fair for once, cutting Wiggo *some* slack for his recent delicate manly-regions problems (though for my money, the diuretic-downing Frank "Midol" Schleck's lady-cramp issues were clearly *way* worse)--"i Big" are looking in great form at testing grounds of the Giro del Trentino, not only including the obviously-blazing champ Vincenzo Nibali, but also, seemingly out of nowhere, a suddenly-surging Cadel. *Now* we've got ourselves a Giro, baby! Me, I'm still gonna root for (sorry my dear Italy and fabulous Aussies, I know I'm ungrateful scum) the smashing Canadian Ryder Hesjedal to take the two-fer, but we'll see how *he's* going this weekend at Liege. And thinkin' about the major GC guys of our time, is anyone else noticing that Contador--obliged as he clearly was by the sponsors to do the Ardennes--just ain't looking so hot this season? Here's your chance, Andy Schl--damn, I just broke my voluntary self-imposed rider insult moratorium on the poor kid, I'm *so* ashamed!

Where the !@#$ Is the Video Coverage for Women's Cycling for !@#$'s !@#$ing Sake?: meantime, am I the only one completely rabid over the fact that I can get 8,000 video hits of Peter Sagan apologizing for his disgusting grab-!@# 30 seconds after the camera shuts off, but it takes a whole *day* for a single piece of footage of the great Marianne Vos bagging her record-setting 5th Fleche-Wallone to show up in the craposphere, particularly as one clearly can't post about this week's cycling 'til it's available? Well, finally, at least *some* lame coverage from UCI: Now how about filming the actual !@#damn *race*, whydontcha?

Lieeeeeeeege!: and, all hail the magnificent Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend, as Philippe Gilbert gets one last chance to finish off his bummin' Classics season with *some* glory, and the ever-disconcertingly-powerful Valverde, Nibali, and of course Dani Moreno's faithful Fleche superdomestique Purito Rodriguez, who *still* pulled off a bangin' result in his own right despite that sob of a bruise on his leg, bring on the whup-!@#. Oh, let's give this one to Gilbert--he needs to break the curse of the rainbow jersey on *something* good!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And the Ardennes Are Off! Plus, Brad Wiggins Loves the Giro! He Swears It!

Czech-mate!: well, with all the hype over nowhere-to-be-seen Sagan and everywhere-to-be-seen world champ Gilbert (who would've been lovely for the win, but still), a fine run by Gerrans, a total !@#$ (and Tour-prep-hosing) crash for we love Purito Rodriguez nursing his left knee after he whacked into some dimwit who glued his wheel into deep mud at the side of the road, Valverde creeping everyone out as usual by grabbing the sprint for second, *and* a smashing long breakaway by Euskaltel's Mikel Astarloza of all people, it's SaxoBank's totally underrated Roman Kreuziger who grabs the win at Amstel Gold! Body count: besides poor Purito, a really nasty crash for Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler, first rumored to have a broken femur, then a busted shoulder, then finally (for now) just a snapped collarbone. Get well soon, Thomas--it's so much more preferable watching you contort your face into a scream just, say, signing in to the race start! Here, proud teammate Alberto Contador with the insta-tweet: Congrats Roman!

If The Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie, That's Amore: meantime, not-defending Tour de France champ Brad Wiggins swears to Italy how much he really, really loves the Giro and really, really doesn't care about the Tour, particularly asserting he really, really has no interest in being one of those selfish losers who aspires to win the Tour de France two or even three times, and, to boot, he wouldn't even mind taking the Vuelta a Espana some day. Um, Brad, if you're riding the *Giro* this year because you're afraid the Tour's parcours don't suit you (and why you think the Giro *is* better for you is beyond me), have you taken a look at the *Vuelta's* all-vertical roads-o'-death the last couple of years? Of course, Froomey could always lug you uphill again, but damn, even he'd need some sled dogs or a scooter or a tractor to drag your !@# uphill all over Spain for the win. Now bow, *bow* to the noble Giro gods 'til they're convinced you're sincere enough to ride it, you ungrateful Tour-winning peon!

Aupa, Euskalteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!: finally, despite the best efforts of that complete tool Pat "Dick" McQuaid, our dear if wholly discombomulated Euskaltel-Euskadi is back at last, ripping through the Vuelta a Castilla e Leon and, with Mikel's bitchin' break in Amstel today, finally building enough confidence to carry we love Samuel Sanchez to the Giro. Eat his dust in May, boys--remember, he's already been King of the Mountains at the Tour!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

It's Yer Paris-Roubaix Awards!; And, It's All Pat "Dick" McQuaid's Fault!

1. Massive "You Suck" o' the Race: WHY THE !@#$ IS THE ENTIRE REST OF THE EARTH SCREAMING THEIR HEADS OFF OVER FABIAN'S WIN AND IMMEDIATE COLLAPSE AT THE LINE WHEN THERE'S STILL 10K TO GO OF "LIVE COVERAGE" ON NBCSPORTS? *Must* we be so grateful for coverage of *any* cycling race in this crotch-scratching tobacco-lougie-spitting big-lunks-crushing-each-other country that we simply have to accept this mess? Aiiiigghhhhhhhhh!

2. Return of the King Award: Speaking of NBCSports' coverage, yes, I know perfectly well what Phil Liggett's done this past year, thank you--he damn near broke my faithful heart doing it. But hearing him and Paul together again is a symphony among banjos. He was an innocent lamb, I tells ya, an innocent lamb--bug off haters!

3. Fan Dipwad Prize: of course, one of the crazy-!@# things that's so great about cycling is that--unlike, say, in soccer, where one might get dragged off the field and stomped to death by 70,000 rabid hometown fans for pulling a similar trick--you can literally get close enough to reach out and touch the riders. But there is a difference between a bit of over-enthusiastic leaning over the roadside, and knocking a surging rider off his bike and out of the *biggest win* of his career. Poor Vandenbergh's tumble was bad enough--if not for having to make a spectacular cyclocrosser save over a camera-wielding nimrod, and even considering Sep Vanmarcke's phenomenal strength, Zdenek Stybar *really* could have won the whole race today. *Back* *up* you thoughtless freaks!

4. Rainbows-'n'-Unicorns Happy Place o' the Race: look in the break, and who do you see? Yep, it's we love Stuey O'Grady! Sure, he bonked eventually, but is that really any worse than how he usually ends a race, run over by a team bus, engulfed by some huge inflatable promotional item, stuck in someone else's derailleur, stampeded by a herd of 'roid-raging elephants? I know it's likely your last season Stuey--but can't you still change your mind?

5. Crash o' the Race--no, it wasn't decisive. Yes, it suuurrre did blow. Yoann Offredo's full-strength all-in flying-eagle whack into a road sign. Ow, even by Hell o' the North standards--hope you're okay, Offredo, and compliments to one heck of a hard-man for even getting back up so quickly!

6. He's Baaaaaa-aaaaaack (well, "Backish") Prize: yes, I was darned proud of Chavanel and Phinney, but then, they never had anyplace to come back from in the first place. Thor Hushovd, you're still mostly living down to everyone's worst expectations this season--but it was certainly nice to see you in the second chase group, perhaps it bodes well for much more!

7. Well, At Least It Wasn't Boring Award: last but not least for this year's Paris-Roubaix, I must humbly tip my hat to Fabian Cancellara--unlike Flanders, where we could've all just taken a nap the last hour, even Spartacus had so much on his hands the whole race he just plain fell over after the line. Nicely done--now someone bring that boy a proper pillow and blanket, he's earned it!

You *Suck* UCI and Pat "Dick" McQuaid!: and, lest I depart today's post without the most important news: look how you've destroyed my glorious beloved Euskaltel-Euskadi with your stupid domestique-screwing ridiculous "points" system--not only are they gonna apparently be winless til the Giro because you've stripped them of half the power that made them the peerless peloton climbing machines they so wonderfully were, one of the junior jackwagons that displaced guys like the smashing Amets Txurruka has turned up positive! *Dammit*, you petty loathesome abacus-crunchin' numbers-slurpin' soul-missing bureaucrats--shouldn't this little snake have been slithering around in someone *else's* colors this season instead?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

It's Paris-Roubaix, Baby!; and, What Is This, International Treat Women In Cycling Like !@#$ Week?

Welcome to Hell (of the North)!: What is it: Cobbles, baby! Twenty-seven sections and 52.6 kilometers of treacherous, uneven, spine-rattling, pile-up-inducing, damn near mocking blocks o' agony. And no, they're not as steep as Flanders, and no, they still ain't any more merciful. This ain't no pansy-!@# skip through a daisy-spangled meadow, honey, so enjoy--if you're not ridin' 'em!

Why You Should Watch It: Pain. Suffering. Grit. Bike handling. Power. Save pure climbing, it epitomizes virtually everything that is magnificent about this sport into a single fateful day. If you win Roubaix, you know you're one of the best cyclists who ever lived. Hell, if you *finish* Roubaix, you know you're one of the best cyclists who ever lived. Hell, if you crash out and break a baker's dozen o' bones at Roubaix, you know you're one of the be...

Who to Watch For: yes, yes, a pissed-off, twice-crashed Cancellara, but also 2011 champ Vansummmeren, ever-dreamer pin-up Pippo Pozzato, and, well, almost anyone else in the race from Belgium. And maybe the race *will* be a giveaway, if no-one's willing to work together to defeat Fabian. But it's Paris-Roubaix, and anything can happen. Your bike could spontaneously splinter. Your legs could freeze up. Your collarbone could explode into a pile o' pulverized bone-bits. You could get face-wrapped by a wind-whipped Flemish flag. Or you could have the best day ever of your life on a bike, and *still* not win. Me, I'd love, love, love for the fabulous, luckless Sylvain "See? The French Don't All Suck!" Chavanel to get it (shut up, I know he's most likely to podium, shut up!). And I actually like that wily s.o.b. Flecha, too, though sure, Vacansoleil's ignoring the whole Op Puerto thing til after the finish line's pretty skeevy. Forza, forza Sylvain--heck, Boonen can't stomp it this year, so it might as well be you!

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You Freaks?: first, a pointlessly ornamental podium babe gets grabbed by freshman wanker frat-boy Sagan. Now, the women's five-stage Energiewacht Tour gets screwed for an entire day by giant trucks riding the course, race-stopping boat and train passages, and crap directions to the !@#-end of nowhere. Jaysus, can things *get* any worse for women in this sport this week?--now up their pay, fix the problems, and treat 'em with some damn dignity whydontcha! Here, Kirsten Wild *still* manages to pluck a win:

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Cancellara Gets a Boo-Boo! Baby Schleck Gets a Break! Purito Rodriguez Gets a Grip!

Prijs Release Me, Let Me Go: man, crap luck today for Spartacus today at his training ride at Scheldenprijs, as Fabian Cancellara goes down (tho' luckily not bone-snappin'ly hard) and whangs the hell outta his posterior and side--hardly, as his team glumly notes, ideal prep for Paris-Roubaix. Well, at least you won't be home on your couch with a pile o' nachos watching "Dr. Phil" and pretending the race isn't on, like our poor soul-smooshed Tom Boonen--get well fast, Fabian, but for heck's sake try something new to liven up the race this weekend!

Freebird!: in *good* news, Andy "Linus" Schleck has almost got his security blanket back: big bro Frank's suspension for the banned diuretic he thoughtlessly scarfed for his severe menstrual cramps is officially up mid-July. Andy, we all know that, optimistic musings to the contrary, you cannot ride for !@#$ without Frank there to snuggle you along. There's no shame in that--unless, well, you compare yourself to Contador, Rodriguez, Froome or Nibali. So why not just be honest with yourself, wait 'til Frank's free for the Vuelta, and ride that one instead? Plus, it gives you an extra month to get over your lingering (and certainly understandable) post-crash willies, and how can that not help? Note to Frank: try a hot toddy a bowl of ice cream and a chick flick next time--*don't* !@#$ over your little brother again!

Finally, many thanks to inevitable (damn, I've cursed him!) Tour de France podium finisher Purito Rodriguez, who, unlike Cadel, has wisely decided to skip this year's Giro d'Italia after all, leaving it to that Heras'-Vuelta-thieving weasel/former Giro champ Denis Menchov to sully its pure and beautiful roads as Purito focuses on France instead. For any of you other clowns still considering the perfect Giro as training for the Tour, (1) how dare you use the perfect Giro for anything other than a holy tribute to its own glorious self, you cultureless classless goons and (2) enjoy staring right up the !@# of the day's lanterne rouge once you hit the mountains come July, eejits!

Monday, April 01, 2013

It's the Vuelta a Pais Vasco!; and, For !@#$'s Sake, "Buttgate"

Hey, It's the Tour of the Misogynist Little !@#$!--Uh, Flanders: yep, leave it Peter Sagan to overshadow Fabian Cancellara's win (however dull) at the venerable Tour of Flanders on Sunday: Sagan's pigfest podium ass-grab, and resulting shotgun-apologies (including a wholly lame tweet and sorta-improved regret video), have taken the cycling world and heck even the normal media by storm, as the international comment-n-twit-sphere seems actually somewhat divided between "eh, big deal" and "yes, big deal!" Still, even the offended podium attendee, Maja Leye,magnanimously took the high road in chastising Sagan, noting, in what is either a sincere mistranslation of the word for "apology" or an entirely delicious dope-smack, "excuses accepted." Am I on drugs, or do I just keep missing the footage where the female cyclists pinch a butt's-worth of the local dignitary giving them *their* trophies? Now keep groveling, Peter, and be glad if she lets you up off your knees with your nuts intact or we let you up to ride the Ardennes! Here, some video of the women's race, !@#dammit:

Hey, It's the Tour of the Basque Country!: meanwhile, in *race* news, Contador, Porte, Tejay, and we love Samuel Sanchez (bite me! dear Euskaltel's just warming up! stuff it!) faced off today at the beautiful Vuelta a Pais Vasco, with Euskaltel crushing me spiritually by failing to ride towards the front and getting caught behind a crash *again*, but fortunately, however, their redemption still to come in the upcoming mountain stages. I SAID, THEIR REDEMPTION STILL TO COME IN THE MOUNTAIN STAGES! DID YOU HEAR ME, EUSKALTEL? I SAID...

Tejay, Way Classier Act Than He Needs To Be: and, as Cadel Evans seemed to be already conceding defeat at the 2013 Tour by announcing he'll ride the Giro as well--what the hell is it with all the GC guys thinking this stupidity this year?--indispensable lieutenant Tejay Van Garderen almost immediately chimed in by gamely affirming he's only in it to support Cadel for the win. Jeez, Wiggo, you might want to find out what Cadel's doing so right with this kid--unless you *want* Chris "The Anti-Tejay" Froome to keep trying to bushwhack you again this year!