Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Yer Post-Carnage Stage 2 Tour Roundup; and, The Giro Rosa Takes Off! #GiroRosa

I am Stuck on (trademark) Brand 'Cuz (trademark)'s Stuck on Me: yep, the post-stage 1 body count is in, and aside from Johnny Hoogerland having the Crappiest Luck in the Peloton, again, most of the guys managed to show back up for stage 2 with whole identifiable portions of their team kit visible beneath the mummy bandages. Which brings me to this question: why the !@#$ was Tony "Forget the Bruised Lung, He's Got a Friggin' Concussion!" Martin allowed to ride today? I'm no doctor, but it's still up to his DS to allow or forbid 'im to ride, and if I understand right, optimal brain function is, y'know, highly useful when it comes to split-second reactions like taking a corner, avoiding a crash ahead of you, or not plunging off 3000 feet off a moutainside on a descent. Am I the only one who thought how freakin' scary it was that time Johan Bruyneel let Chris Horner ride after he whacked his head on the pavement and he barely even remembered the stage he'd just ridden afterwards? Please guys--if it involves their brain, take 'em out of the race. And get well soon Tony Martin!

Surprise!: so despite the efforts of an increasingly pissed-off Sylvain Chavanel, the dithering dipwad break managed to cannibalize itself right outta a guaranteed victory, all except an incredulous RadioSkank's Jan Bakelants, who stuck it out to the end to smashing head-slappin' effect. Not shocking: some nimrod already letting his annoying yapper dog jump out into course, selfishly (if wisely) saving himself and leaving the dog to its instincts as they both jumped the hell outta disaster an instant before it rolled over 'em. It's called a *leash*, people! Or does "the first guy you take down gets to whang you over the head repeatedly with a bike stand" seem clearer to you? Not as happy: Peter "Now He's the Hulk?" Sagan, who almost reeled Bakelants in, and a completely zonked and still-ticked Mark Cavendish, who twitter-lammed into the race organizers for wholly screwing the sprinters outta their rightful points yesterday. And what the hell was Froome up to--or *did* he really psych out Contador into total helplessness tonight with that show of strength towards the end? Here, (almost) Flat Fido:

It's the Giro Rosa, Baby!: and, Kirsten Wild took a dazzling sprint over Marianne Vos, but Vos still--for reasons I assume have to do with intermediate points--grabbed the first maglia rosa of the race, and tomorrow, Wild'll and the other fast 'uns'll have another chance to take it off her. With all respect to the fearsome rest of the peloton, better grab it while you can--is there *any* terrain that Vos can't win on? Still waitin' for video of the finish (geez! even podium photos to post!), but here's the happy winner: Forza Kirsten! Wait, here's *some* video (I swear the sprint is in there!):

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Total Chaos !@#$shit at the Tour! #tdf

Damn, I thought this'd be about the normal little twitchy crashes that ceremoniously start of the Tour, like Chris Froome going down within a k and mercifully unhurt and Johnny "Barbed Wire" Hoogerland hitting the tarmac agains--no, the Orica Greenedge bus whams into the finishing banner, the race organizers call the new end of the race at 3k, which turns out to be immediately after a freakin' roundabout, the teams immediately recalibrate their strategy, they start crashing all over the place, the team bus gets backed out, the end of the race is back at the original line, the teams start crashing all over the place again, Contador's hurt, Sagan's really ripped up, Cav's hurt, Greipel has a mechanical, they neutralize the times because they were within 3k of the 3k mark, there's like 2 lead-out guys left, Kittel takes it, gendarmes are gesticulating all over the place, and no one *still* knows what the hell what happened, what's going on, and which 3 people in the entire Tour de France and supporting organization even have a job by the time I'm finished typing this. And did I mention that a sweet Euskaltel boy is in the mountains jersey? Jeez louise and holy !@#$, what a morning!

Here, a quick replay:

And from Rosemary (thanks!):

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Heck With the Tour, It's the Giro Rosa, Baby! #girorosa

Can't get enough of the fabulous Giro d'Italia? Me neither! But despair no more, maglia rosa freaks--it's the women's Giro d'Italia, and it sets off this weekend! The score:

What Is It?: 8 stages of spills, chills, and hi--the hell they are, they're mountains, baby! 13 more stages and we've got ourselves the Giro these smashing riders deserve--but I'm very, very grateful for what we've got!

Who's In it?: the last 4, that's 4, winners of the race: reigning champ Marianne Vos, USA's Mara Abbott, Claudia Hausler, and legendary *five* time champ Fabiana Luperini (eat that, Froomey!). Also on hand (well, wheel): a host of great Aussies including Chloe Hosking; US' Evelyn Stevens; ever-bad-!@#es Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Giorgia Bronzini; Trixi Worrack; and pretty much everyone else in the women's peloton who can make your legs scream and the rest o' you beg for mercy. Onwards to the fireworks!

What's In It: a coupla stages for the sprinters (1 and 7), some great chances for a bold solo attack or a break (2 and 4), no shortage of uphills (3 and a potentially-decisive 6), a monster Cat-1 climb up Monte Beigua to cap the queen stage 5, and a down-to-the-wire last-day individual TT. All hail the Queen!

Where Can I Find It: the website's here. The twit-feed's @GiroRosa2013. RAI's got it on TV, and for the rest of it, well, we'll likely mostly be scrounging it on youtube. So we'll be posting video right here at racejunkie, too!

What Else Is Especially Bitchin' About It: It's got a theme song! It's got a mascot! and best of all, it's partnering with the Marina Romoli foundation, a nonprofit started by Romoli after a catastrophic bike accident that's dedicated to helping cyclists with spinal cord injuries. Forza, Marina! Here, the music video:

Well, it's on the Giro Rosa. And with this field, how the hell am I supposed to pick who to root for?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's Yer Tour de France in Preview, Part Deux!: The Sprinters! The Climbers! The Roleurs! 'Nother Stuff!

Oh yeah, the Grand Boucle starts in just deux days, baby, and as the teams hit their formal presentation in Corsica by boat and bike, it's time to preview the non-GC part o' the race! What's what:

The Sprinters!: 7 flat chances for glory! Okay, really who cares, but I guess we oughta yap fastmen. Mark "the Manx Missile" Cavendish. Peter "the Tourminator" Sagan. Andre "the Gorilla" Greipel. Come to think of it, Robbie "the Pocket Rocket" McEwen and Mario "the Lion King" Cipollini. Why do the sprinters get all the cool nicknames? The missing: BMC's Thor Hushovd (I know, not quite a "sprinter" in recent years), Garmin's Tyler Farrar. Crap, nabit, crap! Look for: Cav and Sagan to come to blows over smart-!@# !@#$-you victory celebrations. Watch out Peter, Cav is pretty scrappy!

The Climbers: 6 mountain stages, 4, count 'em4, mountain top finishes. look, at this point, we're mainly talking GC riders, their top mountain domestiques, pretty much all of Movistar, and of course my beloved Euskaltel (shut up! will too! bite me!). Contador for Alpe d'Huez. Richie Porte for a stage, if Froome can afford him wasting energy. Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez for a mano-a-mano death match in the steeps. Missing: Jose Rujano, whose retirement at the top of his game has nothing to do with his recent entanglement in a doping scandal. Eat Orange dust, beeyotches!

The Roleurs: basically, 5 or so shots for these boys. We got some great stage hunters here, honey, and holy improbable crap some of 'em are even French: Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler, the great Sylvain Chavanel, luckless (so far) curse-o'-the-rainbow-jersey world champ Philippe Gilbert. Jens for anything he damn well wants, so pack it up and bow before the One, you weaklings! And while he's no breakaway artist, can I show mercy enough to suggest baby Schleck for a stage of *some* kind? No, there's descents in them thar hills....

'Nother Stuff!: Bjarne's rumored to be retiring, the Tour is inviting every dope-sucking drug-fiend *except* Lance Armstrong to the big party, the French have put the mute button on the appalling Laurent Jalabert but are letting every other dirty doping DS of the last 10 years yap direct instructions into the ears of their clean innocent riders, Froome's still talking smack, and Contador, as always, is keeping his reserve. So Peter, remember not to pop those wheelies til *after* you cross the line, and Cav, if he paints his bike all smug-!@# maillot vert again before he earns it, you *chomp* that frame to pieces before Paris!

Here, Cav makes it 22 last year: The rest of you, let the excuses begin!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Yer 2013 Tour de France In Preview, Part Un!: The GC Contenders

Yes, the 100th Tour de France is just days away, and it's got a pretty bangin' field to boot. So before 3 weeks of fun, pain, and general chaos gets underway, let's review the overall contenders to watch:

1. Chris Froome: apparently, he's on the BBC right this minute explaining how Contador's a no-threat weenie and his Tour victory is all but assured. Keep it up, you eejit! Aaaaanyhoo: Strengths: openly bushwhacking his own team leader; climbing; time trialling; damn near anything but sprinting. Also, he's got his whole Team Sky frankly starting to look disconcertingly like the ol' US Postal Stepford-wife androids. Attrition through metronomic beat-down, baby! Weaknesses: uh...maybe he peaked a little too much a little too soon? And for !@#$'s sake, kid, shut yer *yap* til you gain more sense!

2. Alberto Contador: y'know, this guy's actually *won* a few of these things already, so I don't know why he seems to be presumed DOA. Strengths: he is attentive, he is experienced, and he doesn't melt down like a Schleck at every setback. And while he hasn't shown this season that, well, mutant capacity for constant consecutive light-n-lively 21% gradient uphill attacks he had, well, before, if he's got it back, the rest of the field's just screwed. Weaknesses: so...can he do what he used to do if he needs to, or can't he?

3. Cadel Evans: Strengths: no matter how tired, the man is a tick on the backs of even his strongest rivals, the gracious Tejay's not gonna stick a Froomeian knife in his back, and he can triumph in the most miserable conditions the Tour or any race on earth has to offer. Weaknesses: yeah, he's old. He was old when he won it the first time. So what?

4. Alejandro Valverde: sure, he's a mid-race car-wreck-in-waiting at every Grand Tour he's in, and of course his riding well still creeps us all out, but he is one wily tenacious s.o.b. with a simply ravenous team of near-daily stage winners and unholy mountain beasts right with 'im. Allez Alejandro--if only to see the outraged race organizers go all bull!@#$ when you take it!

5. Purito Rodriguez: no, he hasn't won his Grand Tour yet. Yes, he's always about to. Aiming for the podium but capable of the top step, it's only a matter of time, luck, and maybe someone else's ill-timed crack. Strengths: one of the most brilliant climbers of his day. Weakness: won't be whacked as hard as usual by this year's rolling time trial, but on a flat stage, the man's basically got to be hauled by donkey cart. Just someone grab hold of his jersey so he doesn't get blown off the course by a crosswind, and he'll be okay!

6. Dark Horses: no, Ryder, Voeckler, or Van den Broucke won't win, but they'll sure put a scare into everybody at least one point in the race. And no, he won't be French. But for a twist, Andy Schleck is coyly promising a surprise. Just finish and let Jens off the leash, and that'll be surprise enough!

Well, there's yer faves. Me, I'm getting shameful Vinokourov flashbacks just thinkin' about rooting for Contador, but I'm sure there's no reason for that. So let the debauchery begin, and may you all stay safe and test clean!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's the Tour de France, Baby!: The GC Contender's Guide to Proper Behavior

This Is How We Do It: Look, Froome. Quit bitchin' about how oppressed you were last year, and how unfair it is you have to address suspicions of doping when you're only like the third guy in 20 years not to actively attend at the pre-Tour de France press conference with an inch-thick veterinary needle sticking out your !@#. In three weeks, either you'll be a big-mouth punk-!@# bawling beneath Contador's armpit on the final podium in Paris, or you'll have put the cherry on top of the spectacular sundae you've been so expertly crafting all season. And while I've already *told* you what (and what not) to say here, you and the rest of you wannabe maillot jaunes still need to know what to *do* to win friends, influence people, and get yourself back safely on the team bus home. Ergo--and remember, it's only because I love you--the official racejunkie GC Contender's Guide to Proper Behavior:

1. Speak French. Well. You're a cultured guy. And you love France, and the French, and the Tour. So speak it. To the press before the stage, to the press after the stage, to the narc who comes to peer at you providing a wee sample. Incredibly, it worked for Lance Armstrong. Who are you to contradict *him*?

2. Sign Autographs. For the kids, for the grownups, for the sponsors, for the local dignitaries, for every base money-grubbing cycling-hater to pimp for maximum dough and zero feeling on eBay. It makes you seem nice, which you are, and everyone likes it when nice guys win. Now pick up the !@#damn Sharpie and get to work!

3. Hold It Together. Oblivious teen texting her way across a rider-studded Alpine road? Neon-thonged camera-whore lamming right into you on the climb like a drunken rhino? Deranged clown with a highly photogenic moppet daughter letting his pony-size dog gallumph right into your wheel at a crucial strategic moment? Tough crap! I mean, Gilbert did *not* look cool last year. Pick up that blood, sign a shred of your tattered jersey for the traumatized onlookers, and get yer butt back on the road!

4. Look Tired. On a flat stage, it's the crosswinds. On a rolling stage, it's controlling the break and marking the competition in the yellow jersey group. On a mountains stage, it's that last darned kilometer. And in a time trial, it's not your best discipline. Please forgive you for not staying for more interviews, you've *got* to get back to the hotel to rest!

5. Compliment Your Rivals. I don't care if you think Contador can't climb a jungle gym since he got popped for Clenbuterol, he and everybody else are *dogging at your heels*, man!

6. Bring Your Baby On the Podium. No, I *don't* know if you even have one. You shoulda thought of that earlier! Borrow someone else's if you have to. A little presumptuous of you to get it a teeny yellow jersey to wear ahead of time, BTW. A twee little team jersey and matching cap, though--how cute!

7. Be Nice to Your Domestiques. They can bring you into this race, and they can take you out of it. Do whatever you gotta do to rally or even correct the troops on your own time, but do *not* ever, ever air dirty laundry in public. You see how Cav stopped that !@#$? There's a reason!

Well, gentlemen, time for the Grand Boucle. Best of luck to all, and don't forget--when you cross the finish line first, point your fingers at the sponsor's name on yer jersey, and hold 'em there til you fall off the bike!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oh, Like You Don't Miss Him Too: The Grimy, Thrilling Pleasure of Jan Ullrich

Look, before I get a ton of crap from, well, both my faithful readers, let me reiterate--*again*--that doping is bad. Really, really bad. It was bad when early-1900s Tour riders were smoking cigarettes to "clear their lungs," it was midcentury bad when guys were popping amphetamines like tic-tacs, it was wicked bad--and deeply disgusting to boot--when boys like Tyler Hamilton and Riccardo Ricco' were whizzing black and damn near exploding their livers with botched transfusions, and it still ain't sporting today. But if you can still say with a pure heart that Jan Ullrich on a bike wasn't the most just plain fun to see on a bike since, well, that unctuous filthy mastermind Alexandre Vinokourov, honey, you are either so noble that a caffeinated energy gel is the food of the devil or you are Pat "Dick" McQuaid on an implausible-deniability post-Lance-sycophant faux-ingratiating total-bull!@#$-artist last-ditch-o'-glory-desperate-UCI-presidency-seeking-shameless-power-whoring-campaignfest. Yes, after breaking years of post-downward-spiral silence--on freakin' Lance's doping, for heck's sake--the gun-shy Jan has finally spoken out on his own. Sure, it's that same cheap level-playing-field just-business-ma'am self-congratulatory rationalization that's egregiously failed everyone else and screwed generations of riders unwilling to put their health or integrity at risk--but let's review Jan on a bike, shall we?

He was erratic. He was uncontrolled. He insisted in grinding away in some ridiculous gear on the most inappropriate terrain because he could. He was a bratwurst-snarfing self-hosing bon vivant in the offseason, padding his gut outta contention til way later in the season than he should've been. He was a killer-instinct in motion without remotely the self-discipline he needed to actually back it up. He was a screeching brakeless train on a half-!@#ed bridge just waiting for a derailment. And he was way, waaaay, waaaaay more entertaining than that damn joyless robot and his perfectly-pharmaceutically-tuned tick-tock domestiques who beat his !@# every year like clockwork.

So what's he doing now, after what must have surely been an agonizing--if hardly sympathetic--Floydian several years watching equally-drugged-up compatriots complete--hell, even evade entirely--some penny-ante wrist-slap ban and return to loving accolades lucrative careers and a completely whitewashed place in history while he almost alone freakishly bore the blame for an entire generation's destruction of his sport? He's teaching little kids cycling, without a single carnival-quack Millaresque self-serving camera-slut wah-wah that's so bizarrely succeeded in rehabbing other guys just as stupid to get caught to save himself. Mr. Ullrich, you were a very bad boy indeed, and there's no justifying how you cheated the good intentions and honest regimens of--hell, certainly *somebody*. And yep, having opened the door on the obvious years after the party's broke up and gone home, it's probably better--and clearly more comfortable--for everyone, except of course the still-wildly-adored-but-more-promptly-shameful dopers that still make a handsome living off of DSing the clean new stars, if you just chill back into obscurity after this. But having so loved it back then, it'd be even more hypocritical to rewrite our own complicit history now. !@#$, Jan, you were fun to watch!

Holy moly, is this a dirty dirty parade of crooks in this clip: Enjoy--even if you won't admit it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

So You Wanna Beat the Narcs: A Friendly Guide for What *Not* to Say for Cyclists

So, Grand Tour contender, you've been just been nailed by some vengeful data-wielding nerdling who's called your performances "suspicious," "miraculous," or even, if you're really lucky,"mutant." Yet, you *persist* in staying stupid !@#$ to the press that is guaranteed to freak the authorities into a state of high alert. Don't want a nightly invasion of needle-wielding narcs and urine-catching bathroom vultures derailing your nightly routine all July and dooming you to a life of Ricco-esque shame when you're caught? Then listen up and learn to keep 'em off the trail--and yeah, this means *you*, Froomey!

WRONG: I feel great.
RIGHT: The sensations are good.

WRONG: I'm going for the stage win today.
RIGHT: We'll see what happens.

WRONG: I'm exactly where I need to be at this point.
RIGHT: I'm really suffering from allergies. Hopefully, they won't be so bad in a few weeks.

WRONG: I'm confident I can win the Tour de France.
RIGHT: It's a long road to Paris.

WRONG: I could've won myself if I hadn't had to help the team leader up the mountains the whole tour.
RIGHT: It was an honor to ride for ______. I'm really grateful for the experience I gained.

WRONG (REALLY WRONG): I'm aiming for the next six or seven Tours.
RIGHT: I'm still young and I've got a lot to learn. I'm aiming for a high placing this year if everything goes right.

WRONG: My main rival is ______.
RIGHT: My main rivals are ______, _______, and ______. Of course, _____ and _____ are also very strong. And you can't discount guys like ______, _______, ________, or _______.

WRONG: I spent a lot of time in the off-season training at "altitude".
RIGHT: I spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel working on my time trial position in the off-season. I really hope it helps me this year.

WRONG: If my chain hadn't come off, I could have won the day.
RIGHT: I just didn't have the legs today.

WRONG: My team is phenomenal.
RIGHT: My teammates worked phenomenally hard today. But ______, _______, and _____ are incredible teams. We'll have to be very attentive.

WRONG: crossing the line with a long victory celebration, taking a quick swig from your water bottle, and conducting a lengthy, smiling TV interview in your second language before bounding up the steps for the podium presentation.
RIGHT: weakly raising a half-clenched fist two inches above the handlebars, dumping a whole water bottle over your head, and collapsing off your bike onto the ground in agony as the medical team runs to your side. Bonus points if you hurl on your soigneur!

All right, you Eddy Merckx wannabes, I've done my damndest to help protect you from yourselves. Now if you're gonna dope like a scumbag, at least don't bray like an !@# about it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Johan Bruyneel's Lament: Lance's Right-Hand Man Speaks Out (Sorta)

So lemme get this straight: if Lance hadn't had the desperate adoration-slut black-hole life-suckin' vortex-o-ego to come back outta retirement, *and* Johan had had the common sense to offer a bitter broke-!@# Floyd Landis a contract when he asked for one, *none* of this USPostalDiscoveryAstana doping'd've come to light? But I thought all these guys came forward solely outta personal regret and pure love of the sport! Damn, I *hate* being fooled. Anyway, it just goes to show, (1) hell hath no fury like a loogie-covered fall guy watching his equally-dirty ex-teammates still rakin' in the dough and fan-love and (2) Johan'd still have a pretty sweet job in this business if he'd only been a loooooooooot nicer to Alberto Contador. Live'n'learn! In further "woe is me" news, Johan is deeply--*deeply*--hurt by the allegations he endangered his riders' health with a coercive doping regime. You think he's some cloak-n-dagger back-alley-buyer home-fridge beer-cooler amateur? He bought those guys the best !@#$ money can buy, you !@#$ers! Oh, and he's not a "demon." He's a sasquatch. But aside from that, he can't say anything else for legal reasons. Uh, Johan, haven't you already said *enough*? Keep it comin' though, I say!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Mauro Santambrogio's Doping Poz: the (Alleged!) Perp Weighs In

When Riccardo Ricco's Got the High Ground, You Know You're !@#ed: Yap, yap, another day, another Vini Fantini doping poz, but what's *really* been impressive has been the immediate and total rider condemnation of Giro d'Italia stage phenom Mauro Santambrogio in the twit-sphere. Big disappointment of the day: the Cav-whacked Elia Viviani, who after a so-close-but-yet-so-far run at the Giro finally bagged his first sprint of the season at the Dauphine only to be grossly overshadowed by the latest moron. By far the best rider reaction of the day: ex-racer/aspiring bartender near-deadly-doping-dumb!@# Riccardo "the Cobra" Ricco', who delightedly suggested that all these guys he personally *knows* were stoked to the gills and were going all moralist today ought to please examine their own consciences. But if they're not benefiting from doping *now*, it's not fair they're getting beaten, is it? Keep this up Ricco' you weasel, and I may actually end up loving you almost as much as I do that other unrepentant hater-o-hypocrites Vinokourov! Naaaaahhhhhh....

What, Me Worry?: still, it's only fair to make sure poor ol' Santambrogio has his say, which he certainly did: "I can only say I'm in disbelief that this happened." Hey, don't feel bad Mauro, me too--I figured Danilo Di Luca taught you how to do that !@#$ *right*! Oh, wait...

Talkin' 'Bout (His) Generation: in happy news, the spawn of peerless (if, y'know, imperfect in his past) sprinter Erik Zabel, Rabobank protege Rick Zabel--already a frighteningly good fastman at the tender age of 19--has scored a sweet pro gig with Cadel Evans' BMC. Still, the boy is modest, looking forward to learning from pretty well the entire roster of high-caliber idols and hoping to be a nice little helpmate for the team. I doubt you got much to worry about Rick--and it's good to see a Zabel back on the tarmac!

Those Were the Days: and, before Mauro demands his B-sample, slinks off into the sunset, kisses a buncha babies for a coupla years and returns as a rabid anti-doping advocate and weepy penitent for the peloton youngsters, here's his Stage 14 win at the Giro: Damn, Nibali, I guess you shoulda kept it for yourself!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Road to the Tour Blasts Off!; and, Thanks @iamtedking !

It's the Dauphine, Baby!: yes, most of the big Tour de France contenders--Contador, Froome, Rodriguez, and Valverde--lined up today to size up each other up stay out of trouble build up some racing miles and hopefully not blow too much energy psychologically intimidating their competition on the mountains, and it was a smashing Stage 1 solo win for Canada (woo-hoo!)'s young David Veilleux before another (if less) lumpy day in the saddle tomorrow. Shockingly, Chris Froome stayed right with his rivals in the peloton, despite an alleged two-day booze-fueled bender after Brad Wiggins' Tour-withdrawal-announcement in which Froome was apparently seen at a local restaurant leaping up on a table, waving his arms triumphantly to an imaginary crowd, tearily mouthing the words to his national anthem as he faced an invisible flag and spraying a giant bottle of Champagne on irate diners and wait-staff before being dragged down by a burly chef who, having been mistaken for a podium babe and enthusiastically kissed, knocked him flat unconscious into a busboy with a solid left to the jaw. Glad to see you're handling your now-unequivocally-confirmed team leadership with grace there, Froomey!

Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke!: meantime, Tom Boonen is finally coming back after his off-season illness, limb-threatening elbow infection, and cracked ribs, taking a nice win at the Heistse Pijl: I don't know what the hell he's saying, but he sure *looks* happy, don't he?

Injury Report: and, best wishes for a speedy recovery to legendary bike god Johan Museeuw, who busted his collarbone and dislocated his shoulder at the 24 Hours of Zolder after two other riders crashed in front of him and could not be avoided. Get well soon, and to the guys who took him down--just be glad he didn't make your injuries worse after you jacked him!

Introducing the Holy I-Still-Think-of-it-as-Liquigas-Cannondale Cycling Cap o' Destiny!: finally, many many thanks to the extremely gentlemanly Ted King, who kindly gifted me a tres chic Cannondale cap via Mr. RJ at a local bike event, and which I'll not only be wearing into tatters like a besotted twit but will now use to draw future winners in the storied Grand Tour Racejunkie Win Free Stuff Contest every year. Grazie mille, and good karma to all!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Fantasy Brad Wiggins Press Conference

Good morning. I'd like to thank all of you for coming here today at my insistence despite the fact that I hate the press, despise publicity, complain at any acknowledgement of my existence, and want all you vultures to just leave me alone. HEY--YOU AT THE BACK GETTING THE DONUT--PAY ATTENTION OR I'LL HAVE BRAILSFORD KICK YOUR !@#!

We're here to address the controversy surrounding my agonizing decision not to defend my 2012 title at this year's Tour de France, which as you know I never even wanted to do at all in the first place, even before I saw I'd completely choke on this year's course, that nutwhacking little !@#$ Froome was gonna steal my thunder *again*, and the race organizers inexplicably turned down my 50,000 euro "incentive" to substitute the mountaintop finish at Alpe d'Huez with a 300 kilometer perfectly flat time trial. HEY, LADY IN THE SECOND ROW NURSING THE BABY--ITS EYES FOCUS *HERE*! (jabs fingers towards his own face) Instead, I was fully committed to riding as my very first choice the noble and beautiful Giro d'Italia, which I proved by telling the press continuously throughout the race that what I really wanted to do was ride and win this year's Tour again. Luckily, I was able to get outta *that* one just in time to keep yet another one of my superdomestiques from embarrassing me with an overall win!

Next, in light of my catastrophic and previously-unannounced knee injury, which also has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Froome, Rodriguez, Contador, and even that erratic whackjob Valverde would crush me like a cochroach in July, I'd like to make it absolutely clear that I throw the entire weight of my prestige, power, and warm support behind my great friend and worthy Grand Tour team leader Chris Froome. BLUE SHIRT WALKING OUT THE DOOR--NEXT WEAKLING WHO GETS UP TO USE THE 'BATHROOM' WHILE I'M TALKING CAN !@#DAMN USE HIS PANTS! Accordingly, any instances of the chamois being ripped outta his bike shorts, tranquilizers being put in his water bottle, custom bikes mysteriously falling into the hotel woodchipper, and/or Muzak blasting into his earphone from the team car instead of instructions from the DS during key strategic moments is purely accidental.

As for the repulsive and slanderous rumours circulating in the peloton about Team Sky's unimpeachable training methods and firm anti-doping stance, I'd like to say not only that if you think Lance came down on anybody who crossed him, you haven't haven't halfway seen the destruction *I'm* capable of wreaking, and frankly, if there's anybody you oughta be looking at, it's F--uh, France! Finally, as for my plans for the rest of season, I'm really looking forward to undermining my hardworking loyal helpmate Henao at the Vuelta a Espana, even though its brutal heat and sadistically steep climbs are totally unsuited to my strengths and beautifully suited to his. As for the World Championships, I--YOU WHISPERING AT THE BACK, ONE MORE PEEP WHILE I'M UP HERE AND I'LL RIP YOUR VOCAL CORDS OUTTA YER THROAT!

I will now take questions I find complimentary and pleasing, accept adulation from commoners, and pose for photographs wearing a full set of knightly armor and hoisting a javeli--HOW DARE YOU GET UP TO LEAVE EARLY, I'M ABOUT TO PLAY "STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN" ON MY GUITAR, I'LL HAVE YOUR JOBS YOU !@#ERS! Thank you.