Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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

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

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

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

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