Sunday, May 26, 2013

It's the 2013 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Awards!

Yep, three glorious weeks of rain, sleet, snow--and oh right, bike racing--are past, and before the overhyped Tour de France sucks the life outta the cycling universe, it's time to honor the best, the worst, and the just plain weirdest for the 2013 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Awards! Yer winners:

M-M-M-M-M-M-My Poker Face Award: He wins. He's tranquillo. He loses. He's tranquillo. His rivals crack. He's tranquillo. His rivals surge. He's tranquillo. He's actually being chipped out of a giant block of ice on top of Tre Cime, he's tranquillo. Vincenzo Nibali, you ain't called the Shark for nothin'--anyway we can only *assume* you're actually happy today, so complimenti on a fabulous win!

Andy Schleck Memorial Whining Award: It's rainy. It's sunny. It's windy. It's descendy. I got caught out behind a crash. I got caught out in front of a crash. HOW DARE YOU NOTICE RIGOBERTO URAN INSTEAD OF ME FOR ONE SECOND YOU IGNORANT DIRT-DWELLING PEASANT! Oh shut *up*, Brad Wiggins--you cherry-picked your course, you still got beat, for chrissakes quit whinging already!

Total Tool o' the Race Auxiliary Prize: congrats, Brad, it's a two-fer! You lose your mojo, and you not only insult the iron-tough grievously-underpaid and distinctly-underpampered entire women's peloton in an effort to justify your own inadequacy, but you start being a merely tepid support to yer !@#-saving corsa-ripping Colombian domestiques and immediately spend the rest of the race--before you quit--trying to steal back the Tour defense you never even really cared about (uh, sure!) from Chris Froome. *Please*, Sky, don't let this spoiled princess screw your second straight Grand Tour this season...

American Idol Award: Ryder Hesjedal, this one's for you! Something bad--really, really bad--was going on out there, yet you doggedly honored the maglia rosa you were defending until there wasn't a single pedal stroke left in your legs. And *still* some misguided soulless goons gave you crap. Salute, Ryder, now rest up and get well soon--you done Canada, your entire swooning continent, and most of all the beautiful Giro d'Italia proud!

The Agony and the Ecstasy Prize: y'know, say what you want about John Degenkolb's chances had a hideous crash not taken 3/4 of the riders down without 'im, but Degenkolb's utter gutted exhaustion as he collapsed after the line was the epitome of what it takes to win. Geez, man, I hope you got your breath back by *now*!

French (Are) Toast Statuette: from Paolini to Visconti to Pirazzi to Santambrogio to, oh yeah, some "Nibali" character, the Italians were just *stompin'* in their home race this year. Could the French, in their home Grand Tour, say the same for, say, the entire last quarter-century? Step it up, kids--you've got til July not to shame your own country!

Divine Comedy Prize: oh, Danilo Di Luca. After your return from pipi-degli-angeli exile, it was awful fun of you to animate the race so frequently--tho' it was even skeeving out your own hometown journalists by the end of the first week. But when Lance-freakin'-Armstrong has the moral authority to call you an "idiot" for doping (well, getting caught anyway), you *know* you're a class-A chump. Che cretino, Danilo--you couldn't summon the brains to do this right just *once*?

Run! Run Away! Run Children! Run for Your Life! Award: Cadel Evans' mechanic--I don't know yer name, and if I were you I'd sure as hell change it, but this is a cash prize to buy a lifetime's worth of camping gear and a ticket to a remote landing strip in some deserted impenetrable craphole. Trust me, after Cadel's bike blew up on him on Tre Cime, you're better off there anyway!

Euromullet Award: not since the great days of Mario "the Chest" Cipollini have so many flowing locks taken so much aerodynamic advantage away from the GC contenders. But of all of 'em, Rigoberto Uran's take the hairspray. Welcome back 1980s--hell, half the squads already brought back the eye-gougingly flourescent team kits!

Twit-pic o' the Giro: okay, those snaps o' the riders covered in icicles *were* diverting. But in the midst of all the media hoopla about Pippo Pozzato's "mafioso" tactics and, well, leisurely approach to his profession, and in a scene straight outta some desperate 1960s "seduce yer man" playbook, Pippo wrapped himself in Saran Wrap for the cameras. Heck, that's twice as much as he usually wears--better luck next time I guess, fanboys 'n' girls!

Sweet Gesture Award: no snark, just admiration--for Cav's dedication of his stage win to the fallen Wouter Weylandt, and Benat Intxausti's to his lost friend Xavi Tondo. You done well by them, gentlemen--and such a kind gift to their families!

No-Show o' the Race: oh, sure, Cav never got his Petacchi, and poor Ivan Basso couldn't even start--but breathless near-daily team reports on the state of his ginormous nuttal cyst certainly kept us in the know. Nope, this win belongs to dark-horse pre-race press-darling Robert Gesink, finally bailing in total dejection (and obscurity) within the very sight of the finish line. Well, the boy is still a whipper-snapper--just bag a few short stage races, and they'll have your back again next year!

The Fine Colombian Award: geez, what a giant mark these few guys made in the race--between Betancur snagging the young rider's jersey on the penultimate day, to Henao's brave rides before he finally faded, to unexpected-team-leader-then-surprise-podium-runner-up Rigoberto Uran Uran, notice has formally been given to Sky and AG2R that they better waaaay-improve their contracts or lose 'em to greener pastures next year! Did we mention that if these wee climbers can halfway learn to time trial they'll be particularly hard to beat? Particular congrats to Uran for also taking this year's Diplomat o' the Race Award for (okay, maybe he did needlessly slag Froome a bit) remaining so discreetly humble in the face of Brad's increasingly-obnoxious desperation and his own increasingly-obvious supremacy!

Oh, Just Go *Home* You Wannabes Award: he won five--five!--sprint stages--with and without the lead-out train he so extravangantly credited--and, despite a little on-camera swearing amidst the argy-bargy at the intermediate sprint points, even snatched his red jersey back from the ravages of the cold snowy mountains--and Vincenzo Nibali--literally in the last few moments of the race. Mark Cavendish, you are simply unbeatable--well done, and Elia Viviani, there are way worse guys you (and every other helpless fast man in the peloton) can lose to!

Game-Changer o' the Race: yes, Nibali probably--almost certainly--had the maglia rosa tied up by the second-to-last mountain stage. But we'll never *really* know for certain, because the Gavia and Stelvio stage was cancelled, and even the Tre Cime stage took some serious kilometers outta the course. And in the Giro, as poor Cadel found out yesterday, and even considering Vincenzo's Abominable-Snowman imperviousness to snow, anything--from crash to mechanical to just plain bonk--could've happened. Damn, Mother Nature, if you wanna run the Giro in December instead just say so!

Class Move o' the Giro: finally, well done to 2013 champ Vincenzo Nibali, who generously gave his traditional victory show-off to the great, retiring 2000 winner Stefano Garzelli. No matter how anyone thinks you won this jersey, Vincenzo--and I'm not saying I'm among them, both because you're the current subject of a Rider Insult Moratorium and because Vino might break my kneecaps--they sure can't deny your grace!

Well, that's another great Giro d'Italia in the bag, some serious wine 'n' prosciutto in the stomach, and some major prosecco to suck down for our champions. Gentlemen, enjoy your trophies--may the Battle o' Brad'n'Froome begin!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Danilo Wants a Do-Over; Lance Chimes In; and, Last Chance to Call the Podium and Win!

So Are We Pissed 'Cause He Doped, Or Pissed 'Cause He Just Doped Stupid?: yes, the Giro d'Italia stage was canceled but the drama went on: Danilo "Strawberry Shortcake" Di Luca, previously busted for using so much masking agent he topped out with lower testosterone levels than a Ken doll, was nailed yet again for EPO. Danilo's take? He's optimistically--if delusionally--waiting for the B sample before he talks. Peloton reaction was, natch--and surely on the iron-fisted advice of their PR folks--swift. My fave tweet: Movistar's recent stage winner Benat Inxtausti telling Di Luca discreetly, in Italian, to shove it up his !@#. Hey, you ever suggest that to yer incredibly clean teammate Alejandro "Bloodbag" Valverde? Thought not! Lance Armstrong, of course, got all the attention, calling Di Luca a "f___ing idiot," but apparently just for getting nailed, not the actual cheating. Geez Lance, if Danilo had your power, your sponsorship dough, your expensively stoked-to-the-gills domestiques to fuel your astonishing palmares, *and* yer machiavellian mastermind Johan Bruyneel in his pocket, maybe *he* could have afforded the obscenely huge $$$ to be as "smart" as you too! Friendly note to nearly-deadly-inept drug-stuffing life-banned mountains freak Riccardo Ricco': coincidental timing or not, tweeting a pic of you and Danilo riding together is *not* doing the boy any favors. you're *not* doing Danilo Di Luca any favors tweeting a pic of the two of you riding together. !@#$, just post photos of the two of you with syringes in your rumps giving the camera a big thumbs-up whydontcha?

It's the Mountain o' Truth, Baby!: finally, while Cav sits tight awaiting his inevitable win on Sunday, there's now just one truncated day left for the podium fighters to make their cases, so I, for one, am expecting a full-on attackfest brawl between Cadel, Rigoberto, Michele and (for the stage win--shut up! will too!) Samuel Sanchez. So enter here, brownnose me about the superior fabulousness of Euskaltel, grab eternal glory, and win yourself a cycling cap! The profile (so far this evening): Forza, forza Cadel and Samu--and watch out for those neon snakes at Lampre!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It Ain't Over 'Til Scarponi Whangs a Musette Into Uran's Face to Try to Grab a Podium Spot

Or Worse, Into His Hairdo: yes, just as I was about to screech like a swooning Schleck-fan over we love Samuel Sanchez' smashing uphill time trial at the Giro, maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali crushed him--and Cadel's Giro-winning hopes--spiritually, but the podium's still wide open, 'cause (1) any freak thing can happen in this race and (2)either way, between Cadel Uran and Scarponi, at least with the snow-slammed Gavia and Stelvio out, and the merely rain-and-snow-slammed Passo del Tonale in, and even Saturday's stage profile damn near anyone's guess, there's plenty o' room for carnage. And *so* close Samu'--glad to see you're getting your legs, and your confidence, back! Tomorrow's revised corsa rosa:

You Ask Him--No, *You* Ask Him: meantime, gracious as Cadel was in today's defeat (and I hope he don't have to start defending his newly-confirmed Tour leadership to boot), the predictable "is he or isn't he" speculation is already a-swirl around poor hardworking Nibali, which, though certainly both healthy and reasonable, ought soon be quieted anyhow when Vinokourov sends a pack o' truncheon-wielding goons around to beat down everyone's computer and/or smartphone til they splinter into useless jagged smithereens. Uh, he's innocent Vino--we believe you, we swear it!

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Celebrity-Whoring Enabler Scorned: yep, never fear, faithful cycling fans: according to none other than UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid, since no-one's even doping anymore, minor problems like "barely any current effective testing" needn't worry you, and cycling is back from the abyss, baby! Oh, and did Pat "I'M FRIENDS WITH LANCE! I'M FRIENDS WITH LANCE! I'M--UH, I REALLY HATE LANCE!" McQ mention he *really* hates Lance Armstrong? Please, can't *someone* get this tool outta cycling--oh wait, Ireland tried to--nice job there Switzerland for saving his !@# and prolonging this farce!

Languedoc Ain't For Wussies: finally, congrats to Brit badass Emma Pooley for bagging the "chaotic" Tour de Languedoc, and even more, calling out the race organizers for the entire trainwreck. I'd love to show you some video, but then, this is women's cycling, so unfortunately, we seem to be screwed. All the same, right on Emma--maybe now they'll fix it for next year!

You Tough Enough to Call the Podium? Enter the Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest!

Oh sure, it's all wrapped up--maaaaaaybe. Prove your cycling studliness, and enter week tre of our contest here for a chance to win (1) a custom-embroidered cycling cap from Walz Caps; (2) a passel o' bitchin' racejunkie stickers; and (3) a Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium on your peloton hero!

In bocca al lupo a tutti!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Which Tom Boonen (Sorta) Breaks My Heart; It's the Tour o' Belgium, Honey!; and, Enter to Win!

The Classics Hardmen Return!: wondering what's become of all yer spring-king Classics faves? Yep, from new-dad Philippe Gilbert, still fighting the curse of the rainbow jersey, to kinda-besmirched LL Cool Sanchez, to Fabian Cancellara and injury-plagued we love Tom Boonen, they're all lining up to reclaim their dignity at this week's Tour o' Belgium. Hell, the weather can't be worse than at the Giro, right? This oughta be a skip-through-a-field-o'-daisies for you guys!

Bite Me, Lefevere You Tool!: well, Happy Birthday to Cav, who got to celebrate his 28th not only with a bitchin' cake in the red jersey, but the news that not only is former maillot vert Tom Boonen not riding the Tour de France to back him up as Cavendish so desired, but he's probably not gonna ever ride it again, either. Quoth his backstabbing manager, Patrick Lefevere, who so happily bragged about Boonen's incredible 2012 after dope-slapping in the press for 2 straight years prior, "a rider who fears a three-week race, do not force him to change his mind." Thanks for calling your own star a simpering wuss, you mercenary goon! Oh, Tommeke, how can we get your last season's joie de vivre back..I mean, if you're serious about staying off the party drugs and all, maybe some nice general carousing and a new Ferrari to play with might cheer you up?

Geez, What Does *That* Take?: meantime, several riders, including Euskaltel-Euskadi breakway artist Gorka Verdugo, were busted and fined today at the Giro for "unseeming behaviour which damages the image of cycling." Awesome, forza Gorka! So what the heck does that mean--tossing a musette into your rival's crankset at the intermediate mountains points? sucker-punching that guy running next to you in a bunny suit like an !@#hole? improper noogying? Well, whatever the lurid sin, Euskaltel sure ain't talkin'!

Naranja, The Colour of Competition: heck, does it even matter what they're saying? It's a tribute to the Orange Army, and Euskaltel--woo-hoo!

Predict the Giro Podium and Win!: finally, enter here to predict the podium, gain eternal glory, and win neat stuff!

Monday, May 20, 2013

*That's* a Freakin' Rest Day?

Pippo, Suave: well, it's sure been an action-packed day o' rest at the Giro d'Italia: while maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali remains cagey, Cadel Evans professes (not unreasonably) optimism, and the weather looks to toss the GC into chaos as mountain stages continue on the verge of rearrangement, an Italian journalist excoriated humble Scarponi domestique/comelier-than-thou peloton studpup Pippo Pozzato as a vain, lazy, glasses-and-shoe-matching, tv-whoring prima donna, and an angry hosed breakaway rider from Bardiani called him a "mafioso" for allegedly organizing a screw-the-organizers temporary race-slowdown to (not unfairly, for heck's sake) protest dangerous conditions on Mont Cenis. Of course, the entire twitsphere, including the gallant Taylor Phinney, immediately leapt to his defense. Try picking on someone less pretty (and charming) next time, jerkface!

Only the Good Die (Well, Retire) Young: and, in 'retirement' news, poor teamless Levi Leipheimer finally called it quits while guys who profited amazingly handsomely for doing the same disgusting !@#$ but didn't actually get busted for it twice continue in the peloton, as if that makes any sense, and Heras'-Vuelta-thieving weasel Denis Menchov unexpectedly called it a career over "knee trouble." In addition to his impressive palmares, Menchov also managed to rack up a 9-out-of-10 on the doper-suspicion scale in recent years, a truly stellar achievement considering the A-list competition on that front. Don't worry, Denis--'fess up a little, sniffle up a storm, and a lucrative DS gig should soon be yours!

Get In the Kitchen and Make Me Some Pie!: finally, it's really been heartwarming to see the total disregard for women's cycling this past week, as first that pig Wiggo bemoans his lack of manly descending skills, then the course at the Amgen EPO Tour of California isn't even wholly closed to traffic for the women's race, and lastly, the Tour de Languedoc screwed itself and half its amazing peloton by keeping the teams entirely in the dark as to whether they'd even be racing the damn thing right 'til it was time to clip in their freakin' pedals. One remaining bright spot: July's Giro Donne, with 20 teams and 160 riders set to start. What, some other race starts then too? Never heard of it!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's the 2013 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest Part 3!

Show Your Giro Genius and Win!: yep, y'all predict the final podium, you enter it here, your correct answer gets picked outta the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny (no peekin' I promise!), and you win (1) a custom-embroidered cycling cap (2) a two-week rider insult moratorium on your peloton hero and (3)a wunk o' racejunkie stickers to adorn (deface, whatever) your chosen surfaces! In bocca al lupo a tutti!

We've Got a Winner!: and, complimenti to our Week Due winner Dan, who picked one of our two correct (one tragically) answers, "Samu won't win a stage this week," and "Euskaltel are gods." Dan, check yer email to claim yer prizes, and thanks for playing!

It's The Galibier, Baby!: Vincenzo Nibali Faces the Cold #giro

Lookin' Good Up There!: yep, it's the morning of the fateful (and snow-shortened) Galibier, baby, and here's the state of affairs as 6 a.m. this morning:

Nibali Takes It On: in related news, as fragile guys like Michele Scarponi froze so bad up the climb to Sestiere yesterday they were forced to cut off their interviews from shivering and glom their hands on their soigneur's necks to suck the warmth outta the poor sods, the impenetrable-to-cold Vincenzo Nibali, who alone among his bundled-up counterparts conquered the bitter mountain in a short-sleeved jersey and no gloves, announced yesterday in an official Team Astana press release that he's going to climb the Galibier today clad only in bike shoes and a jock strap. Vino been stickin' you in a meat locker for hours as punishment for poor training rides or something Nibali? Anyway, that major act o' psychological warfare--much less the breezy outfit--oughta scare the crap outta yer wimpy sun-lovin' competitors--forza, forza Vincenzo!

Here, the revised course:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (Just Not on the Freakin' Galibier!) #giro

You're As Cold As Ice: yep, after more'n a week in relentless pounding rain, the Giro d'Italia peloton finally gets a break: now that they're finally in the glorious (and race-determining) mountains, it's a blizzard instead! Upshot: to honestly the relief and agreement of the GC contenders, today's climb to Sestriere is cancelled, replaced by a summit finish at Jafferau. Unfortunately, looks like it'll still be raining in Bardonecchia, so bundle up anyway boys! Tomorrow: the beautiful and fearsome Galibier likely faces the axe, some silly thing over a "threat of avalanche." What, you guys don't want a little push on the descents--you've been complaining about 'em all week!

Gone With the Wind (Well, Rain Mostly): meantime, as Ryder Hesjedal (an honorable defense, Ryder!) tries to figure out what went wrong and Brad Wiggins recovers from his crap chest cold, Chris Froome has reportedly built an impenetrable bunker in the Sky team bus to protect his now-blown position as team leader in the Tour de France, cutting off access to the coffee machine, booby-trapping the chamois cream with hot red pepper flakes and armed with his trusty hipster-haircut-destroying buzz-cut clippers should Brad attempt a hostile takeover. Oh come on, Brad, be a sport--you hate the cold and wet, right, so why not just saute yerself over at the hot hot mountains at the Vuelta instead and leave Froomey to the Tour he's earned--of course, you'll have to keep up with your own teammates first!

Jeeeeens! Jeeeeeeeeens! Jeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnssssss!: finally, it's time for the Amgen EPO Tour o' California to just pack it up and go home, because once Jens Voigt wins a stage in one of his joyous slobbering Labrador-retriever-on-tennis-ball attackfests, really, despite Tejay putting in a rippingly exciting time trial yesterday and all, what's the point of anything else? Just give Jens his Kingship of the Entire Planet already, set the man up a sacred throne room in every country he visits, and commence the worship already!

And, Last Few Hours This Week, Enter to Win Here!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Will Samuel Sanchez Take the Stage? Enter to Win! #giro

Yeah, he's just been resting! Anyway, answer this week's question, brownnose me about fabulous Euskaltel, and enter here to win a dashing cycling cap and other prizes!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garmin Gets Its Groove Back!; and, Enter to Win the 2013 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest Part Due! #giro

Tyler's Back, Baby!: yes, it was great to see Garmin regroup at the Giro and Ramunas Navardauskas take a smashing--and surely team-cheering--win today. And it was fabulous to finally see Tyler Farrar, after so long a rough patch, look so happy and at home at the finish line again. But even better to me was that, whatever the hell is going on with Ryder Hesjedal--and whether or not he even continues another day at this point--he has, by sticking it this long, really honored the maglia rosa he fought to hard to win in the first place. Auguri Ryder, bravo Navardauskas, sei fortissimo Tyler--and damn, nice save there by Vaughters!

I Toldja, Froomey: and, it's lookin' grimmer'n even yesterday for Chris Froome's Tour de France ambitions, as Brad Wiggins fights off a suckmaster of a chest cold that, if he wants, could also form a hell of an excuse to bail outta the Giro to fire up the ol' engines for July. Dang, can't *anyone* at Sky keep these guys under control for ten minutes--or at least 'til Froome bails for a bazillion dollars somewhere else this summer?

News From The Riccardo Ricco' Utter Lack of Self-Preservation Department: look, I get it. You want to win the Tour de France, or Giro, or Vuelta, or Roubaix. And you'll do almost anything for it. But you are seriously going to allegedly risk developing a giant *tumor* just to be a freakin' last-chance domestique at Lampre?! Please guys--no matter what you're gonna win, or even warm the seats in the team bus for, it's just not that important. Now quit taking all this dangerous crap and please, please stay healthy instead!

Predict the Giro and Win!: yes, it's still Week 2 of our Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest--predict the Giro here, survive the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, and enjoy the prizes!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Watch Out, Froomey: Brad's Coming to Take His Tour Back! #giro

Back off, Beeyotch!: Well, Froome, if his constant strip-tease over whether he'll show you his team leadership at the Tour didn't convince you yet, this oughta do the trick: after a coupla lackluster days in the saddle, and even given his Colombian lieutenants' hasty diss that they're "not [you]" and don't plan to backstab Wiggo at the Giro, Sir Brad is tentatively possibly theoretically ready to support Rigoberto Uran Uran for the GC in the Giro. Uh oh, you know what *that* means--he no longer thinks he's fighting for number 1 in Italy, and whether or not he's suited to the course this year or not, he wants his chance at Paris *back*! No offense, Chris, but my money sez that if that guitar-twanging royal puts his foot down, you're gonna be tossed into the bushes like an empty drool-soaked water bottle. Well, I'm sure you won't mind giving Wiggo a hand (hell, a whole body) up the mountains in France--you sure were a good sport about it last year!

California Here I Come: meantime, over at the Amgen EPO Tour of California, stage-winning sprinter Peter Sagan playfully grabbed noted actor Robert Downey Jr.'s !@# at the podium presentation, upon which Downey immediately morphed into Iron Man and pounded Sagan 300 miles into the Earth's mantle with a single blow. Bonus--it took the focus off the extremely widespread and gnarly press coverage of poor Ivan Basso's nut-al region cyst. Anyway, Peter, be grateful that's all you got for yer shenanigans this time--and congrats on another great win!

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Your Giro d'Italia Rest Day Roundup!

Yep, Brad's still whinging about the time trial, Nibali's still being ultra-complimentary--or cagey--towards his rivals, and it's time for our first 2013 Giro d'Italia rest day roundup! The score:

1. Being able to win a whole freakin' Grand Tour because you're basically a time trial specialist is bull!@#$. What next, the !@#$in' sprinters are gonna be on the final podium for GC and the climbers are just gonna be fighting for crappy stage wins?

2. Weather. What the hell is this, Belgium? Throw in a !@#damn tornado and suck Wiggins to the top of the Stelvio whydontcha? It's the only way he's gonna make it up to the top if Rigoberto Uran bushwhacks his own team leader anyway...

3. Michele Scarponi being this high on GC just plain creeps me out. Like Valverde, with a glaring-er team kit!

4. Angel Vicioso is one Stuey O'Gradian hard-man. Finishing a stage with three broken ribs, a broken wrist, a cracked scapula, and one nasty all-body bruising? We're not worthy, we're not worthy!

5. Come on, Sky. Yes, every worthy GC contender needs faithful domestiques who stay faithful; hell, I'm still irked by Damiano Cunego hosing over Gilberto Simoni in like 1906. But you're just setting yourself up for more Froomeian scorn here. Let Henao & Uran off the leash sometime!

6. Alexandre Vinokourov--and by extension, of course, Vincenzo Nibali--is running one smart race. And, I'm disgusted to say, I still love 'im from the core of my dirty, dirty little soul. Way to go Vino, and forza, forza Lo Squalo!

7. Don't be an ass, Wiggins. You don't "descend like a girl." You descend like a Schleck.

8. So Ryder's human. !@#$ off!

9. So Samu' is human. !@#$ off!

10. Cav's got me convinced: even without a reliably functioning lead-out train, he is just the fastest SOB on the planet. Did I mention he won our week-one contest's Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium?

Tomorrow: up. GC contenders, enjoy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's Yer 2013 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest Part Due!

Why?: It's Il Grande Giro, baby! Like you'd rather watch the Tour?

What: Answer the week's question right, yer name goes along with the other smartypants' into the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, I pick a name without peeking (I promise!), and you win! I e-mail you to find out where to send the prize, I don't pimp yer info to spammers--that's it!

The Rules: Yeah, yeah, the site's got legal stuff. If I screw up (by my low standards), I fix it, you kindly don't whine about it, you brownnose me about Euskaltel or Italy in general and you get even bitchener karma!

The Prizes: A dashing custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap from Walz caps! A wunk o' racejunkie stickers to show yer pride or shame! And, your fave rider gets an insult-free two weeks--no matter what disgusting shenanigans enliven the press!

Where: Enter here, and best of luck to all!

Brad Wiggins' Greatest Hissy Fits; and, We Have a Winner!

Yes, yesterday was a momentous day in the time trial, with Nibali and Cadel doing great, Ryder faltering, and we love Samu doing even, well--go to hell, he's just saving his energy for a stage win dammit! But you know what happened, and you also know that today is gonna be a hilly and exciting day in the saddle. So in the meantime, in homage to Brad Wiggins, a celebration of his Greatest Ever Bike Race Hissy Fits:

1. 2009 World Road Championships: track god Brad hampered by a crap bike in the time trial. Aw, his first recorded bike toss--how cute!

2. 2012 Tour de France: Bradley lost the stage and boy, does he hate cameras! He sure can cuss though:

3. 2012 Tour de France: he ain't no stinkin' doper--c!@#s! I give the hell up trying to find the video link, so here's the text. Heck, Lance denied it--why should Brad's defense be any less true!

4. 2013 Giro del Trentino: the most precise bike throw ever:

5. Thanks for Your Concerns: look, even I'm willing to give Brad a bit of a pass on this, as he was, to be fair, pissed, freaked, and in pain. And, the guy *did* apologize. Still, though--way to show the love for your concerned, adoring, ginormous-paycheck-justifying fans, Wiggo!

6. And, a Remarkable Act of Discretion: me, if some perv grabbed my sweaty nether garments as some twisted souvenir, I'd freak. Brad, however, admires the enterprise: Swiping shorts, cool; mechanical problems, doping accusations--stand out of striking distance, we get it!

Finally, congrats to Karl, our Week 1 Win Free Stuff Contest Winner, for being the only one to tag Astana as the reigning maglia rosa at the end of week 1! Karl, check yer e-mail to claim yer prize, and thanks to all for playing!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wiggo Loses Time! UCI Hates Dopers (Now)! And, It's the Amgen EPO Tour of California!

Purple (Well, Pink) Rain: holy moly it's been a oil-slick crashfest at the Giro d'Italia, with presumptive (presumptuous anyway) final maglia rosa Brad Wiggins already losing most of what he's likely to gain tomorrow in the after a scary if harmless slide-out and subsequently Schleck-slow descent in the mountains, desperate disaster-mitigation by Sky management, and Nibali, Cadel, Samu', and half Wiggo's own teammates accordingly ready to pounce after the inevitable obliteration they no longer need fear *quite* so much tomorrow. Also in the mix the last few days, creeping everybody out in his own country no less: returning Lord o' the Masking Agents Danilo "Strawberry Shortcake" DiLuca. Am the only one wondering why, say, the Spaniards aren't equally freaked out by Alejandro Valverde? Meanwhile, classics strongman Pippo "The Abs" Pozzato is keeping the peloton entertained while he awaits his own chance for a stage with lurid Italian Vanity Fair love-triangle gossip and some pretty Cipolliniesque photos there. OMG, even Ivan Basso didn't get this kinda media play posing shirtless for Gazzetta dello Sport back in 2006. Anyway, forza Nibali--but watch out for Cadel, that boy can really handle a bike! And didja see the new maglia rosa is former Euskaltel rider Benat Intxausti?

Watch Out Dopers--Uh, From Seven Years Ago: boy, UCI still really *is* lookin' to deflect ongoing worldwide scorn from Pat "Dick" McQuaid's fawning Armstrong-coddling fiasco: yes, it's decided to go to war to preserve the notorious Op Puerto blood bags of damn near everyone already riding back before half today's peloton was even outta diapers. *That'll* show the current crop of clowns getting away with the AICAR and !@#$ the dumb or broke ones are just getting busted for this season--um, that they might get their !@#es handed to 'em in a sling well after they retire! Oh, UCI, just pack up shop already...

Schleck Lovers Unite!: last but not least, he-lloooooo Amgen EPO Tour o' California, which heads out May 12 with this handy guide to which rider specializes in what. Actually, I think it's a great idea to introduce new spectators to the truly powerhouse field they've got this year (screwing the Giro, *again*)--but can these misguided freaks explain to me why Jens Voigt is listed under "Time Trialists" instead of "Gods"?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fun 'n' Backstabbing With Team Sky; Boonen Plans His Comeback; and, Honk (Well, Sign) If You Love Blood Bags!

Kolb Comfort: well,that was a heck of a sprint today at a soaking-wet Giro, as a huge crash on wet paint stripes decimated the field in the final gallop and an absolutely gutted John Degenkolb took it home. Miraculously, the GC contenders all made it in without hardly a dent, particularly good for dear Samu' since our Euskaltel hero's already lost crashed-whammed Pablo Urtasun. Here, the carnage: And, just how tired our poor winner was: . Sure, you can say it was grit, determination, and luck--me, I say it was the porn-stache!

Kalifornication: no, he won't be at the Tour of Cali to make his competitors quake in their bike shoes nor to dazzle the fans, but Tom "Suck Season" Boonen will finally be back at the relatively wee Tour de Picardie. Cav, through the lousiest of circumstances, it looks like you've bought yourself a grade-A lead-out for July--just let him off the least once in a while, willya!

Endless Love: and, the love-in just continues over at Team Sky, with Richie Porte signing on for another 2 years with his own Grand Tour ambitions just as Wiggo thought he was gonna finally be rid of the intra-team competition as soon as Froomey bails for unquestioned supremacy elsewhere, and Brad's Colombian domestiques denying reports that they went all Froome on Wiggo as soon as he started dropping his helpless butt off the back of the pack yesterday. Don't worry, Brad--once you wipe those boys out in the time trial, all they can hope to do is bushwhack you for a coupla stage wins anyway!

The Hell With "Autographs": yes, sign here to save the Operacion Puerto blood-bags before the Spanish courts have 'em destroyed! The tally: a truly impressive 20 for Francisco Mancebo; a neat 10 apiece for Jan Ullrich and attempted-but-never-ever-successful-doper Ivan Basso, and, well, I'm guessing *something* for pretty much the entirety of Liberty Seguros. Emerging tranquillo: ol' Contador play-date LL Cool Sanchez, apparently suspended from RaboBlanc of all moralizing bull!@#$ers over a single stoked-up (alleged!) bag-in-storage but now cleared to race the Tour of Belgium thanks to a little threat o' arbitration. Oh for !@#$'s sake, the clowns *you* coddled for years *after* Puerto decimated the peloton, and you're ticked at some then-powerless jailbait nobody back in the day? Allez Luis Leon--hell, you're not half so bad as some of the remaining weasels-on-wheels left today!

So who'll have the maglia rosa at the end of Saturday's stage? Enter here to prove your dexterhood and win!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Brad Wiggins Gets Smacked; Ryder Hesjedal Takes No Crap; and, Euskaltel Is Totally Innocent, Natch

Blazing Saddles: yeah, baby, the Italians are *smokin'* out there at the Giro d'Italia, as Luca Paolini makes it 2 outta 3 pink jerseys for the home team (nation, whatever), Michele Scarponi was--well, he was hosed, but anyway, they're still kickin' !@#--really, can, say, the French claim as much about their own Tour for the last quarter century? Meantime, all the squads that lost time today to Ryder Hesjedal are on a complete high-school-bathroom bitch-fest that they completely screwed themsel--er, that Ryder really blew it like a neo-pro chump-wad wasting so much energy on a stage that didn't even really get him anywhere and will surely jack his GC ambitions overally. Maybe, but Ryder sure begs to differ! Other winners on the day--Cadel, suddenly looking far more promising that we've had any reason whatsoever to suspect; the always-attentive Vincenzo Nibali; and we love Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez, thrown yesterday not by cluelessness but an ill-timed puncture by Remaining Exhausted Time Trial Carcass No. 5 and clearly unfazed this morning. Aupa Samu', and stuff it, Orange haters! Tomorrow: a long one, and our first hilltop finish of the race! And here, the final run to today's line: Oh, Ryder, I sure do *hope* you didn't blow your legs out...

Sky Lays Down The Law: meantime, in an effort to instill harmony and avert my proposed duel between Brad Wiggins and Chris Froome (which offer I still stand behind--I'm ready to set you a date, boys!), and to avoid a truly terrifying sissy-boy harangue from Froome, Team Sky stated definitively today that it's backing Froomey for leadership at the Tour de France, which means Brad will simply refuse to ride in support of that backstabbing little bast--uh, will suddenly develop an utterly incapacitating intestinal complaint on the evening of June 28 which will tragically prevent him from starting the Grand Boucle. Get well soon, Brad--I assume you'll be feeling aaaaaaaaaall better as soon as you leave Chris with just a little less support in scenic France! In other news, Froome today set a world's record for "fastest-ever maiden scouting-climb of Mont Ventoux," which achievement he reportedly celebrated by popping a bottle of champagne, mooning Wiggo's blameless soigneur, and defacing the iconic mountainside with a Brad-themed spray-painted obscenity. Glad to see you two getting along now that all the confusion's been sorted out, kids!

Predict the Giro!: and again, nail the question, survive the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, and win stuff here!

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Giro's GC Challenges Take Shape!; and, Enter to Win Free Stuff Part Uno!

Well, after a really incredible opening-day sprint from strongman Cavendish yesterday (and using other folks' lead-outs to excellent advantage), today's weirdly twisty team time trial laid out the issues for the GC contenders, as Brad Wiggins' Sky obliterated Ryder Hesjedal's surprisingly-far-behind Garmin, Nibali surely breathed a sigh of relief as Astana lost merely 14 seconds, and, of course, we love Samuel Sanchez' Euskaltel, already suffering with an exceedingly pavement-whacked Pablo Urtasun and doomed to bite this one in any case, unwittingly lost its fifth guy out the back like a toddler in a toy store and came in a bewildered, oh, I don't know, 3 years off the pace. Dammit! Class moment o' the day: Sky letting Italian Salvatore Puccio, in only his second year as a pro and in only his first Giro d'Italia, take the maglia rosa. Complimenti Salvatore e bravo Italia! Tomorrow: a lumpy little beastie that oughta give a breakaway artist with a good kick a chance to take the day. Now Sky, do that jailbait in pink you got there proud!

Wiggins Wins Again; and, while we're talkin' Wiggo--specifically, his sweetly trusting delusion that Froome won't slash his tires and put Krazy Glue between his gears in July if he doesn't keep flappin' his mouth about the Tour--I must briefly note with sincere admiration for his awesomeness that, far outstripping his knighthood, Brad has now earned the sought-after "Hypocrite of the Year Award" from a fine Aussie journalist. Hey, beats calling him a "!@#$&@!," right?

Enter the Contest!: finally, Giro fans, it's time for our annual Grand Tour Contest o' Glory Part Uno, so enter here to win, and remember, anyone prostrating themselves flat on their faces before the Euskaltel gods until the boys take their first stage win of the race (shut up! will too!) gets extra good karma points!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

It's the 2013 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Win Free Stuff Contest!

Why?: What, you'd rather freeze your !@# off on a mountainside for six hours waiting for the peloton to flash by in six seconds while eating French food instead? Thought so! Plus, really, there's never been a charminger, more genuinely Giro-lovin' non-Italian defending winner than Hesjedal. Way to go dear neighbor Canada!

What: You answer the week's question right, I toss your name along with the other smartypants' into the Holy Once-Eroski Cap o' Destiny, I pick a name without peeking (I promise!), and you win! I e-mail you to find out where to send the prize, I don't hock yer info to spam-wanks like a goon--that's it!

The Rules: Yap, yap, see the site for the legalese--in essence, I can change whatever I want whenever I want, which I really generally wouldn't do barring some stupid self-imposed disaster anyway, and you kindly cut me some slack if that happens. Bonus points for anyone who shows photographic proof they went to work (*outside* your "home office", wisenheimers) with face painted in full Euskaltel team colors!

The Prizes: A smashing custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap, one of only 3 of its kind on the planet! A passel o' racejunkie stickers to pimp your racejunkie pride (or shame)! Best of all, for the slightly defensive amongst you: an agonizingly long two-week rider insult moratorium on your favorite peloton studpup!

Where: Enter here ,fellow Giro freaks--and good luck to all!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Woo-hoo--It's Il Grande Giro, Baby!

Yep, you know what May brings: it's the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby! What you need to start:

Why?: It's *Italy* fer chrissakes, what more do you want? It's not an irritating circus like the Tour, the fans are more fanatical, the Dolomites'll make you cry like Thomas Voeckler just *watching* the race. Andiamo, honey!

The Course: yeah, yeah, Cav's here--but wait for the Tour de France, velocisti, this is a climber's race! Time bonuses reward consistency over blow-out body-gutting Contadorian stage attackfests for the GC contenders; mountains decide it all in the last week. Don't count *too* much on that bull!@#$ 800-kilometer time trial, Wiggo, but you're still gonna need it! Question: will Brad's season-long focus on mountains training cost him in his go-to discipline? Probably not, but I'm game to watch it happen!

The Contenders: Look, as at the 2012 Tour, we all know why Wiggo's here, so frankly, I'm too pissed to even count 'im. And y'know, I am getting exceedingly pissed that no one seems to be giving defending maglia rosa/wholly bitchin' Canadian Ryder Hesjedal the respect he deserves. "Weak 2012 field" my !@#! And if you don't fear him, dimwits, you oughta at least be a little nervous about that all-star group of Armstrong-era ex-dopers (since 2006! they swear it!) he's got for domestiques. Ex-Tour King of the Mountains (that's right, beeyotches!) we love Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez: in it for a stage win, ending with a podium (shut up! bite me! will too!). My (yes, obvious, stuff it!) pick, tho' I'll still be beyond delighted if ever-generous Ryder takes it again: Sicilian shark/monster climber-descender Vincenzo Nibali to win. Let's face facts: he !@#$s it up, Vinokourov breaks his weakling peon scumbag kneecaps. Like *that's* gonna be out-motivated by a friendly post-triumph noogie from Vaughters?

Pre-Race Trouble: Cadel: there's gotta be *some* reason he ain't doing the Tour, but I wish him well all the same! Two-time champ/fading GC flower Ivan Basso: out with a humongous cyst to his taintal region, which, as some consolation, is clearly *not* doping-related, as it'd then be a "viral infection" or "stomach problems." Cav, deprived of a mid-season Petacchi lead-out. You've had plenty o' warning, Cavendish, no blaming yer teammates again if you lose this time!

Wish List: The great Stefano Garzelli to take a farewell stage win. A Colombian climber to make the GC boys screech in frustrated defeat. Danilo DiLuca not to creep us out *too* much with some goodbye-Giro Valverdian surge. Some truly unexpected gut-wrenching breakaway jailbait to grab a stage and not get busted the next day. And the tenacious Cadel to put in a good show, probably by taking a mountain win solo in snow, sleet, rain, hail, a tornado, a volcanic eruption, and a whirring plague o' grasshoppers. And me to be there next year!

Well, fellow tifosi, it's off to the races. In bocca al lupo, boys, and forza, forza Ryder and Nibali!