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!

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