Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's Yer 2015 New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Yes, the debauchery is over, the hangovers have passed, and now it's time for all the good--and not so good--folks o' the peloton to vow to improve their filthy, sinning selves for next year. And to give them just the help they need, we here at racejunkie have done it for them--it's yer 2015 New Year Resolutions for the Peloton!

1. Alberto Contador: I will do the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple. And win it.

2. Oleg Tinkov: Alberto will do the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple. And win it. Or I will squish him like an ant.

3. Alexander Vinokourov: I vow to get 5 more doping pozes on my squad this year. They'll probably give me a *two* year WorldTour license for that!

4. Mark Cavendish: I will knock that preening Eurotrash Kittel down off his pedestal. That, or I'll shave his head in his sleep, the showy bastard!

5. Peter Sagan: I will win a major Belgian Classic. And if not, I will distract the crowd with some obscure gesturing movie reference or pop a wheelie over Quintana's head.

6. Purito Rodriguez: I will podium at the Giro, Tour, or Vuelta. Because racejunkie will be heartbroken if I don't.

7. Nairo Quintana. I promise to share team leadership with Alejandro Valverde at the Tour de France this year. Ha ha, fake-out!

8. Marianne Vos: I vow to kick back with a nice bowl of popcorn and a cold one and watch a "Downton Abbey" marathon. How the hell else is anyone besides me gonna win a race next season?

9. Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix. Sixth time's the charm, baby!

10. Jens Voigt: I'll get my DS license. And start a new clothing line. And set the hour record again. And set the day record. And set the year record. And I'll ride alongside the guys at the Tour of California the whole way just for fun. And start my own coffee bar. And build a high-end bicycle line out of toothpicks. And wear the Alps down to nubs just riding up and down 'em for no reason. And...

11. Brad Wiggins: I will--no, I guess I really won't do anything this year either!

12. UCI: we will put up 8 jillion dollars of our own cash to re-fund and re-start we still miss Euskaltel-Euskadi. Oh Euskaltel!

13. Giro d'Italia Organizers: we will move the Stelvio stage to mid-January this year, and replace the riders' and teams' race radios with strings strung between empty soup cans. *That* oughta !@#$ those guys over!

14. Alejandro Valverde: I'll carry lots of sterile gauze around. 'Cause god knows I'll need something to plug the holes I'll have from the narcs pricking me to find out why I'm riding like such a freak again this year!

15. Michal Kwiatkowski: I'll break the curse of the rainbow jersey and win a race this year. No, I mean it, I will! Whaddaya mean, "who?"

16. Samuel Sanchez: I will make BMC pay for what they have done to me. Aw, no I won't, I'm too nice. Darn it!

17. Tour de France: We will not have a single doping positive this year, again. UCI has seen to that!

18. Brian Cookson: I will support a minimum wage for the female riders. Like, 5 euros an hour oughta cover the cost of their manicures and hair-salon appointments, right?

Well, as you can see, the sport's all officially cleaned up nice for next year. On to 2015, and remember kids, we'll be watching, so keep yer promises you layabouts!

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's Yer 2014 Racejunkie Awards!

Yes, put on your heels, wax your back thatch, inject silicone into yer lips and haul your boobs u--uh, wrong awards show, but anyway, it's that time of year, folks, and while the hoi polloi are throwin' themselves big congratulatory incestuous ho-fests of prime-time TV awards galas, it's time for cycling fans to throw our own! So, without further ado, the good, the bad, the questionable, and the just plain horrifying of Year in Pro Cycling 2014!

Grotesque Enabler of 2014: and this prestigious first-time award goes to...UCI President Brian "New Generation" Cookson, for punishing Astana and its truly impressive 5 doping positives with a WorldTour license while race-enlivening but slightly broke-!@# Tommy the Grimace Voeckler's fine Europcar gets tossed in the incinerator like yesterday's clandestine team-bus medical debris. Damn, UCI, keep that !@#$ up and guys'll be snarfing masking agents right during their post-race urine tests!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year: Raised-by-pigs Walter Perez, of Team Nobody Gives a !@#$ and You Guys Never Win Anything Anyway, sucker-punches Lotto nice-guy Kenny Dehaes right in the face during a sprint, apparently because Walter hadn't brains enough to get a decent place in his own right. And, in fact, Kenny was *so* nice he didn't do anything back for fear of bringing down other riders. !@#$, even Cav'd just chew your helmet to pieces. One free hit for Kenny, and then let this go like gentlemen!

Crushing Disappointment of 2014: sure, it's the weight of completely ludicrous expectations, but if you're gonna be a wheelie-poppin' camera-whore with swooning fans blocking everyone else's view of the peloton waving giant picture-blowups of yer face on wooden stakes, suck it up. Plus, with a 4.3 million euro gig for the upcoming year to console you, I don't wanna even *hear* any whining. Peter Sagan, this one's for you--now I *don't* want to see you win this one again next year!

Rider of the Year: Marianne Vos. Damn, she's Rider of Every Year. Bow, beeyotches, before your queen!

Crash o' the Year (Extended Rehab Edition): Ever-cheerful Taylor Phinney's leg-crushing hit at the US Championships. He's down, but he's clearly not out--just follow the kid's interviews and tell me he won't be back with a vengeance in 2015!

Crash o' the Year (Oh, !@#$! Edition): Mark Cavendish, going down by the barriers and visibly instantly knowing his Tour de France was over--and *just* when he was he was getting his confidence and his street cred back after constant poundings from New Big Thing Marcel Kittel. Like you didn't jump outta yer chair swearing along with millions of other fans!

Crash o' the Year (GC Gift Edition): Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the Tour de France, who left like 2 obscure neo-pros to try fruitlessly to take on Vincenzo Nibali. A lion among toothless mewling kitty-cats--it'll be much more fun if that don't happen next year!

Corresponding Energizer Bunny Award: y'know, normally, this goes to Stuey O'Grady, or some Belgian hardman who gets run over by tanks or a thundering herd of elephants and still not only takes a stage win but a major Classics win as well. But this year, a sincere chapeau to Skymaster Chris Froome, who took a licking--okay, like 40 hard, bloody, pavement-smacking lickings--before he finally gave up ticking at the Tour de France. Now *that* is a man who loves his sport!

Corresponding From Here to Eternity Award: yep, Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali, who let's face it despite his obvious Grand Tour prowess will always have a giant "What If?" hangin' over Froome-and-Contador-less 2014 win. He (and Vino) may be justly pissed, but it's question-marked nonetheless for all time. But as Lo Squalo pointed out, part of winning the Tour is just staying upright--oh, snap, you clods!

Farrah Fawcett Memorial Trophy: yeah, yeah, he can sprint. In fact, pretty spectacularly. Oh, but that's nothing compared to how he can toss his hair like a 70s pinup icon. Well, not toss it, but it sure does look pretty in its stiff-standing glory. Marcel Kittel, your pompadour may climb on stage to receive your award. And next year, you might win for something you can do on your bike!

The Little Engine That Could Award: Nairo Quintana, next year's pint-size Tour de France threat. and boy, was he pissed he wasn't allowed to "could" at the Tour this year!

Doping Excuse of the Year: y'know, I almost didn't award this, because there's only one obvious winner, and he had a near-tragically terrible time the first time he got busted. But in fairness, it's still gotta go to Mauro Santambrogio, popped again while still on double-secret probation because, he claimed, he was being treated for erectile dysfunction. Worse, he apparently got the okay from the doctors first. If that's true, that is one mean screwup to bust him for it--any o' you guys have anything *you* wanna share?!

The Walking (Well, Riding) Dead Prize: like anything *else* than a chomping zombie undead takeover can explain Alejandro Valverde's unstoppable performance this year? Jaysus, what rocket-fueled supernatural demon-spawn bit *that* guy?

Best Team of 2014: Sky. Just kidding! This one's clearly for crazed dictator Oleg Tinkov's Team Tinkoff-Saxo, who somehow won damn near every remaining stage of the Tour de France after Contador left. Or else!

Fine French Whine Prize: wait, they actually didn't bag this one so much this year--in a remarkably instantaneous reversal of two solid decades o' suck, they got two frickin' podium spots at the Tour de France! Next up--Frenchman actually wins his home Tour in 2025. Well, like anything, a good vintage takes time to develop!

Suck Transfer of the Year: ok, technically, they took place earlier. But this is a three-fer for we love big lug Thor Hushovd, god-o'-the-Ardennes/former world champ Philippe Gilbert, and of course we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's An Olympic Gold Medalist!" Samuel Sanchez, all of whom took a vicious dive the minute they joined the ungrateful, and underutilizing, BMC. You suck BMC--now give Samu back his contract!

And Finally, The Edge of Night Award: yep, he went gently into that good night--so gently, hardly anyone realized this former hot-headed Rival-o'-the-Century to Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, hadn't already physically and mentally retired a year ago. Good luck Andy--at least you've got that belated maillot jaune to remember the sport by!

Well, them's mine, and if I missed anything, spit it out. So for now, come up and grab yer trophies, you shameful miscreants--and don't none of you pull this !@#$ again in 2015!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Yer 2014 Pro Cycling Year In Review! #cycling

Yep, as 2014 draws to its chaotic close, and as the umpteenth playback of "Santa Got Run Over By A Reindeer" and mugs of spiked egg-nog cloud our brains, it's time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the plain butt-ugly of our beloved--and, as always, it's given us a truck-load of all three! So, without further ado:

January: Samuel Sanchez threatens to retire. Who gives a crap what else happened all month? Anyhoo, Gerrans wins 3rd Tour Down Under, Sky mesh skinsuits immolate Froomey, leave pile of ashes as Sky's GC contender for Tour de France; Viagra's the hot new doping product, cue the cheesy 70s pornstaches!

February: Patrick "Who?" Sinkewitz gets 8-year ban for failing to be as cute as Dave Zabriskie--uh, butt-kiss CAS; Valverde off to skeevily fantastic start at Ruta del Sol; doping benefits last waaaaay longer than the drugs themselves, Astana throws 3-day EPO-fueled "training camp", Iglinsky brothers accidentally set world land-speed record on rusty Big Wheels; women get 1/21th of a Tour de France, hailed as greatest improvement in women's cycling since they stopped making Marianne Vos compete in pantaloons. Next year they can wear helmets instead of sunbonnets!

March: Contador wins at Tirreno, Sky's mechanic generously offers to "fix his bike for him" in July; Peter Sagan disappoints as Kristoff takes Sanremo; John Degenkolb wins bloody Gent-Wevelgem as Tyler Farrar of course takes down Greipel, who immediately pounds him into the ground like a tent peg; Wiggo generously promises to "help" Froome by, uh--!@#$, he never actually *does* anything for him in 2014, does he?

April: It's the Classics, Beeyotches! Peter Sagan is crushing disappointment in every single race, receives 4.3 million euro raise; Fabs takes Flanders; Stijn Devolder crashes record-setting 367 times in single race, stuck back together with duct tape, Hammer Gel, and spit; Contador pulls controversial wheel-suck on Valverde at Tour of the Basque country, shrugs to press "like *that* little freak can complain?"; numbnut loses mystery pills on course, later determined to be "not half so bad as that !@#$ Sky is taking"; Niki Terpstra takes Paris-Roubaix as Tom Boonen superdomestiques 'im to the win. Oh *c'mon*, Tommeke, you've only got like another year or two to take this again!

May: It's the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby! Race organizers go on grappa bender over being dissed by big stars for Tour de France prep, podium babes knocked out flat from fumes; Uran grabs maglia rosa as other GC contenders talk smack; Nairo Quintana takes advantage of crap weather on Stelvio as rest of frozen peloton demands mommies blankies before descent; Quintana wins race, gets lost in upholstery of Giro throne, doesn't resurface 'til August; Boonen slams everyone else at Tour of Belgium, gets giant keg of co--beer. Did I mention it's the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby?!

June: Oh yeah, it's the road to the Tour! Crack Spanish authorities throw doper out of Gran Fondo, pronounce somehow miss THE ENTIRE REST OF THEIR RIDERS FOR !@#$'S SAKE; Froome caught on camera huffing on inhaler on climb during Dauphine, "new" UCI totally cool with it; Vincenzo "the Shark" Nibali chews through press corps in gory feeding frenzy when they refuse to mention him along with Froomey and Contador as Tour de France GC contenders.

July: Listen up, publicity whores, it's the Tour de France! Cav crashes out six centimeters into start of race, still doesn't keep Sagan from sucking; Froome, Contador crash out, press *still* ignores Vincenzo Nibali, Alexander Vinokourov shoots long-range missiles into press tent as Oleg Tinkov "encourages" remaining troops to unusual series of victories; Luke Durbridge beats crap outta Movistar soigneur, awarded lucrative pro-boxing contract; French actually *don't* suck, Bernard Hinault revived with smelling salts; shut the !@#$ up, we love Purito Rodriguez was just giving someone else a chance this year!

August: Jens Voigt announces retirement! All the heavens weep, flowers wilt, milk turns sour and oceans turn to giant fetid puddles of suck; Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claims bio-passport bust due to being "so wasted last night, man!", fellow frat-brother hurls on UCI prez Cookson at press conference; Contador, Froome announce they'll ride the Vuelta on broken everythings, Purito spotted in local library doing anonymous Google search on "how much Xanax do you have to sneak into a bidon for it to work"; it's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby!

September: did I mention it's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby? Contador crushes Froome in mountains as Dutch mistake Froome's flailing for windmill, use him to grind grain; Brad Wiggins takes men's TT, redeems crap season, whines into pretty much retirement; Pauline Ferrand-Prevot wins women's Worlds road race as big-name stars sit up 5k before the line, decide to go out for a beer instead; Michal Kwiatkowski takes men's championship in upset as Valverde dumps bucket of tacks over Breschel, Gerrans; Oleg Tinkov challenges 2015 Tour de France GC contenders to do Giro/Tour double with Alberto, but decides to do Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple himself BECAUSE ALL OF YOU ARE PATHETIC WORM WEAKLINGS! I ALREADY WORE DOWN THE PYRENEES INTO VALLEYS RIDING THEM SO MUCH YOU VERMIN! ALBERTO WILL BE MY SOIGNEUR !@#$# NEXT YEAR! YOU...

October: WHY THE HELL DOESN'T SAMUEL SANCHEZ HAVE A CONTRACT !@#DAMMIT?; Dan Martin takes Lombardia over still-frighteningly-surging robot Valverde; despondent injured Andy Schleck retires, no-one has heart to tell the poor guy they all thought he--wait, even *I'm* not mean enough to rag on 'im; 46 Astana riders, team-bus drivers, and towel boys test positive for drugs, Vino looks up from tapping air out of syringe to say it's all a total coincidence; Froome threatens to bow out of Tour de France if organizers don't let him plan every stage, 2015 Tour now has 16 days of time trials. Sucks to be you next July, Alberto!

November: Sick !@#$ UCI president Brian Cookson suggests shortening the Giro & Vuelta because they're not already overshadowed by the gaudy slutfest of the Tour de France ENOUGH, you wanker; Vuelta organizer tosses in 40k flat time trial to bribe Froomey, agrees to provide boy to run beside him fanning him with palm leaf during hot-weather mountain stages; roadside fan-favorite Didi "the Devil" Senft retires, actual Lord of Hell replaces him with Alexander Vinokourov; Andy Schleck awarded 2010 Tour de France, still didn't win it. And where the !@#$ is Samuel Sanchez' new contract?!

December: Time for Team Camps! Oleg Tinkov harnesses Tinkoff-Saxo boys to gear-loaded sled like Huskies, forces them to haul him across frozen Siberian tundra on foot on diet of dog food; Astana gives up the charade, holds training camp in Michele Ferrari's living room; Europcar denied WorldTour license for minor budget shortfall, Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler's face really *does* freeze like that, just like his mamma said it would; Cookson vows to crush Astana in zero-tolerance show of force, renews WorldTour license, buys all the boys seaside summer homes and tattoos Vino's name on his !@# with a big red heart around it. Ouch, *that*'ll teach 'em! Nope, still no Samu contract...

Well, by my count, these clowns still got 12 days to add all kindsa hijinks to the list. So let's hope they hold it together, and meantime, onwards to 2015--next up, the 2014 Annual Racejunkie Awards, and Yer 2015 Year in Preview!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's A Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton! #cycling

Oh, sure, they may get on our nerves now and then by, y'know, recklessly causing someone else to crash at the line like a punk-!@#, or replacing their entire bloodstreams with doping products, but they also still thrill us every day for months on end with blistering attacks, excruciating climbs, daring descents and nail-biter sprints for the line. And dag nabit, we still love them no matter what. So, in the magnanimous spirit of the holidays, and with the presumption that every single one of 'em deserves to be on the Nice list, here's my Merry Festivus Wish List for the Peloton!

1. Peter Sagan: A major, serious Classics win. Because (1) Oleg Tinkov'll hurt him if he don't and (2) Tom Boonen's gonna take the rest of 'em anyway!

2. We Love Samuel Sanchez: A contract! A freakin' contract! Why won't someone worthwhile give him one? Aiiiiggggghhhhhhhh!

3. Alberto Contador: the Tour de France. Oh, come on, like he wouldn'a won it last year if he hadn't snapped his tibia!

4. Chris Froome: a lifetime supply of high-SPF sunscreen. Still sympathetically wincing from that mesh-skinsuit fiasco over here!

5. Fabian Cancellara: a squad that can halfway match and support his incredible talent. Even Spartacus can't do *everything*!

6. Marianne Vos: a *full*, three week Tour de France route. And a Giro. And a Vuelta. And a damn raise!

7. Marcel Kittel: after the year he had--and more importantly, the smashing hair he has--what more could he actually want for?

8. Dr. Michele Ferrari: Immunity. Now yap, you weasel!

9. Tyler Farrar: one of those gyroscope thingies like in a Segway that keeps you from falling over. 'Cause goodness knows the poor guy couldn't stay upright otherwise this year!

10. Alexander Vinokourov: y'know, I was *gonna* wish him this cool invincible superhero Teflon force-field that can repel and destroy all threats, but apparently he's already got one. How else could he still be getting away with all this !@#$?

11. Brian Cookson of UCI: a spine, which is a lot nicer'n what I could've said. Really, you gave Astana a WorldTour license over Europcar? The hell with the letter of the rules--how the heck does that advance their *spirit*?!

12. Mark Cavendish: The green jersey at next year's Tour. And a coupla stage wins. A poor reward for his crap crash-out at the Tour de France--and just when he was getting his mojo back!

13. Michal Kwiatkowski: a major stage win. At a *real* race, not some petty-!@# zero-rated nowheresville. Reverse the Curse!

14. Alejandro Valverde: the WorldTour championship again. Just to piss people off!

15. Purito Rodriguez: the Vuelta. Come on Purito. I know you're riding the Tour and I believe you can do it. But it's like asking for a pony and getting a rocking-horse: let's aim for something Santa can really pull out for you this year!


17. And Finally, My Dear Reader(s): May your favorite rider sign your out-thrust cap, may your peloton crush stay ever upright, may that sneaky little bastard you know is guilty hate get his comeuppance, and may all your days on the bike or just watching others race on it be fair. Merry Everything to everyone--and may all your most expensive spouse-aggravating frame and component dreams come true!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Call for a Bull!#$% Moratorium In Cycling

Look, everyone has the right to defend themselves, and oughta be completely exonerated unless proven scumwadly. But some of this !@#$ going on is just downright insulting, and we fans, whose denial, naivete, and dumb acceptance the sponsors count on to justify your salaries, deserve better. Ergo, I propose (and hereby impose, since heck knows UCI won't do it), the following guidelines for dealing with doping allegations:

1. Anyone who claims they met with [insert notorious doping doctor here] merely for "training advice" is summarily banned for life. Plus thwapped.

2. Anyone who goes off the radar for their "altitude training" will be presumed to have doped at sea level.

3. Next guy busted for using a party drug recreationally will be given a free pass. If he's not snorting a line at the start of Paris-Roubaix, who gives a !@#$?

4. The entire women's peloton will, effective immediately, be given a raise sufficient to afford Dr. Ferrari's premium goods and services. Not that they can use it for that.

5. Anyone who dopes and *still* sucks will be placed in stocks in the local piazza so people can throw rotten vegetables at them. *That* level of incompetence as a pro cyclist is just embarrassing.

6. Anyone working for or having previously been associated with Alexander Vinokourov, Lance Armstrong, Michele Ferrari or Eufemiano Fuentes is presumed a lying guilty sack of crap.

7. All asshats claiming they "only doped once" are presumed to have doped every single day of their professional careers.

8. All riders who are stupid enough to get popped, and who get to ride again post-ban, are forbidden from criticizing the doping of other cyclists still smart enough to get away with it.

9. The following riders we love are innocent of everything: Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras, Jan Ullrich, Bobby Julich, and anyone from Euskaltel-Euskadi ever. One, because justice must be tempered with mercy, and two, because I am irrationally biased towards them, so you can all stuff it. Frankly, I'd've even included that crazy s.o.b. Vino, but if he was actually both dumb and careless enough to get his squad into this mess, he's lost me.

Well, I think we can now proceed with confidence that the cringe-worthy spewing we've been hearing lately from these idiots will now cease. On to the champagne for Astana's renewed WorldTour license!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Yeah I'm Sorry/I Can't Afford a Ferrari/But That Don't Mean I Can't Get You There #cycling

I Guess He's Xbox/And I'm More Atari/But the Way You Play Your Game Ain't Fair: yes, just as Team Astana's still reeling from--what is it, 50?--of their assorted losers testing poz this year for banned substances, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the narcs personally saw nefarious life-banned dop--uh, "training"--doc Michele Ferrari meeting with a pile of Astana's riders right outside their team hotel. *Jaysus*, Vino, you reckless cheapskate, you couldn'a' reserved 'em a freakin' conference room with a *door* on it for !@#$'s sake? The good news--press-beloved starlet/reigning Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali wasn't one of 'em. Well, great, so maybe he won't have any *domestiques* left for this year's race, but you don't actually need *them* to win the Tour, right? Dr. Ferrari, meanwhile, denounced the report as all-caps "MEDIA BULL!@#$" (but not being a delicate lady like myself, he actually spelled it out), saying (1) he was only in that town once in 1994 to try the famous waffles, and (2) by "to try the waffles," he does *not* mean "to try the product before I feed it to my clients." Thanks for the clarification, Michele! Oh, like it's gonna affect their prospects anyway--but *Jaysus*, Vino! Though if we love dear Purito says Astana oughta be able to ride, who are any of us to complain...

In Which My Entire Conception of the Universe Goes to Hell: meantime, we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's Always Gonna Be An Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez sez he's open to the possibility of the Grand Tours being cut a bit, because it's "inhuman" to expect anyone to be able to ride all three at a high level. Well I don't !@#dammit, so guys can skip the stupid Tour if they want to ride the superior Giro or Vuelta! Oh, Samu, next you're gonna say they should take the cobbles outta Paris-Roubaix...okay, I'm clearly wrong about everything on the planet, now can someone give Samu a freakin' contract already?!

Lawsuit Alert!: finally, in the latest legal wrangling between Lance Armstrong and the US narcs, the---aiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh! Make it stop, I can't take it anymore! Aaaaaaaiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The First Rule of Fight Club Is, Don't #$% With Bouhanni In a Sprint

Watch Out, Mark Cavendish!: Oh, so you go in for a little argy-bargy at the line, maybe a shove like Cav or a head-butt like Robbie McEwen do you? Maybe even a Rui Costa post-race wheel whang, a little assault'n'battery? Well get your dukes up, you mewling wussies, because boxing is 2014 sprint revelation Nacer Bouhanni's true "passion," and not only is he training in the off-season with an eye towards a post-cycling pugilistic career, one can sensibly imply that he'll !@#$in' knock your lights out if you come within 4 feet of his wheel in the last 2 kilometers of a race. Just try screwing with *his* line, Roberto Ferrari, if you want an impromptu and highly unflattering nose job! I don't know, man, Sagan and Farrar are so nice I can see 'em going down like a ton of bricks, and Kittel'd maybe hit the deck with a sucker punch while he's moussing his hair, but Greipel you could actually break your hand on and Cav is one scrappy little bastard. First bout: Tour of Qatar, see you there, baby, and bring the Band-Aids!

Tinkoff Goes Stealth: and, in a subtle attempt to evade the nar--uh, jazz up its team-kit sales to the insatiable wannabe masses--Oleg Tinkov's debuted a smokin' blue-camo training-camp team kit for the boys to romp in. Oh, who *gives* a crap--the only team kit that ever mattered is the orange and black--bring back Euskaltel, !@#dammit!

Tour de Force: finally, it's all in for terrifying pasty wraith/prior champ Chris Froome at the Tour de France this year, so Nibali, you're gonna really have to bring your A-game if the boy manages to stay upright and not go up in flames from exposure to the sunlight. Lucky for you Froomey Contador's got a built-in excuse if he's tired out winning the Giro--at least, you better *hope* Oleg lets him get tired next year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Schleck! Kreuziger! Ullrich!: It's Yer Naughty Naughty Doping Roundup

Roman Empire: there's still hope for your lovable superdomestique, Alberto Contador: Roman Kreuziger, popped (then sorta exonerated) for a bio-passport violation after recovering like a freak for a stage win at the 2012 Giro, has released his blood values on his very own website to claim (1) he never tested poz (though not that he didn't, well, do it) (2) he was being treated for a thyroid condition and (3) Brian Cookson can suck it. Wah, wah, Tyler Hamilton inhaled his own twin back in the day, cry me a river Roman! Of course, I *do* actually like the guy, and hope his values show he did indeed manipulate them incredibly, incredibly careful--uh, that he didn't do nothin'--so Alberto, maybe you'll have him back by your side soon anyway!

Like Kickin' a Puppy, Man: and, in an almost too-depressing honor, poor retired Andy Schleck was finally awarded the official 2010 Tour de France trophy, which selfish clen-snorting meanie Alberto "8 Seconds" Contador shamelessly stole from baby Schleck and never gave back. Aw, this doesn't fix *anything*--can't he stop crying in his O.J. over Chaingate *now* and hopefully find something else to replace his cycling career?

The Jan Speaks: finally, you sorta gotta sympathize with the Armstrong era's most intermittently brilliant and entirely unpredictable engine big Jan Ullrich, who, finally telling all after his struggle with and recovery from post-fall-from-grace depression, opines that while he was in fact doping, he wasn't exactly *cheating*, which, considering that T-Mobile as a Grand-Tour-contender-backing-entity didn't seem to have quite the tic-tic-tic quality of the Stepford Discoverybots, is perhaps not completely untrue. Oh, shut up, he said he was really really wrong anyway, what more you do want, the kind of unbearable hypocrite "no one should dope now that I'm clean and have to compete against 'em" wallowing that made David Millar so excruciatingly whack-'im-upside-the-head annoying? At least you were always fun to watch Jan--considering the slimeballs before you now enjoying the lucrative limelight, isn't it about time we let *him* come back for at least a commentator gig or something?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ten Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving (And One I'm Darned Well Not) #cycling

Woot woot! Time for we Americans to gorge ourselves on turkey and stuffing, bloat off the couch for the occasional big football-game cheer, oppress workers by lining up to buy stuff on Thanksgiving at CrapMart instead of letting 'em spend the day with their families, and, best of all, consider all the things we're truly thankful for this year. Luckily, our beloved cycling's chock-full of 'em, so here's my Top Ten Things I'm Thankful For This Year (And One I'm Darned Well Not)!

1. The Giro d'Italia. Sorry, Tour de France--*this* is the essence of three-week stage racing. Steep, mountainous, unpredictable, unpretentious, beautiful. Grazie tutti!

2. Chris Froome. He's so *cute* when he badgers the Tour de France organizers into changing the route for him!

3. and 4. Alexander Vinokourov and Oleg Tinkov. They're a two-fer, because I love them for the same twisted, sick-!@#$ reasons. Win or die, beeyotches!

5. Alberto Contador. Oh, sure, he's maybe made some wholly innocent mistakes in the past--heck, what trusting, naive soul hasn't? And maybe he's lost a *little* of his pell-mell mojo on the highest sharpest passes. But he's one cagey s.o.b., and he remains just plain fun to watch. And he's got a score to settle come July, to boot!

6. Marianne Vos. Simply one of the greatest cyclists in history. Road, mountain, 'cross, probably even unicycle--there's nothing she can't ride, there's nothing she hasn't already won, and there's hardly anyone outside this amazing sport who even knows who she is. *Tell* me how much that dope-snorting miscreant Valverde gets paid in comparison again?

7. Paris-Freakin'-Roubaix. If there's any race on earth that separates the hard men from--well, other hard men, 'cause anyone who makes it through the mud, cold, slop, and rocks remotely bodily intact can't really be argued with--this glorious monument is it. All Hail Tom Boonen!

8. The Vuelta a Espana. Steep and smashing in its own right, with the added bonus of actually scientifically baking the poor b@stards who manage to survive to the mountaintops every damn day for three weeks. Forget "food" and "water"--*sunscreen*, people!

9. Purito Rodriguez. The quintessential underdog. I *love* underdogs. And dear Purito--ever so close, ever so often, not quite yet, but dag nabit he's gonna take the top spot this year--is their patron. There's no need to fear--Underdog is here!

10. My Dear Reader(s). Without you, tifosi-dom blows, and me, I'm just howling into the abyss. Wait, I am?--but I haven't told you about Alejandro Valverde's latest implosion yet!

And One I'm Distinctly Not:

1. Where the !@#$ is we love Samuel Sanchez's 2015 contract already? Chris Horner is like 100 years older and he just signed a deal for !@#$'s sake! You *suck*, BMC!

Well, them's mine, and I'm sure there's buckets I've missed. But I really am thankful to you for reading and for your feedback--let's hope for an even more bangin' year to come!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Fantasy Alexander Vinokourov/Team Astana Press Conference #cycling

ALEXANDER VINOKOUROV: Good morning, !@#holes. I've called you here today because you crybaby weaklings keep bitching about the four recent doping positives on Team Astana. First, I'd like to say that I'm deeply shocked and angered that these !@#$ing morons didn't do exactly what they were told to do exactly the way they were told to do it. Which is not to dope. Second, I'd like to say !@#$ you, you !@#$ing hypocrites, I'll !@#$ing bring you all down with me if you don't get off my back!

Next, I want to discuss the plans Astana has to address this problem, even if it isn't quite really a "problem" unless they get busted, if you catch my drift. First, we're gonna give a huge pile of dough to MPCC and make sure we're right on time to every board meeting to prove we're really, really sincere. Then, every athlete on Astana is not only going to be forced to sign a completely meaningless sheet of paper saying taking drugs is really, really bad, but they're gonna have to pinkie-swear not to do it, too. And, they're all gonna start wearing those silicone "DOPERS SUCK" bracelets. *That* oughta fix the problem!

Now, let's talk about defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali. As you all know, there's no way in hell UCI's gonna yank our World Tour license as long as we've got this guy in the bag. Therefore, I am proud to announce that he recently totally voluntarily signed a 15 year contract at gunpoint with a coupla extremely large hired goons with crowbars beside me for good measure. Thanks, Vincenzo, and UCI, yank *that*, suckers!

VINCENZO NIBALI: I just want to add, I am outraged by these cretins. Don't drag me into this--I don't even know what any of them even look like! How could I? I was looking at Iglinsky's !@# while he was protecting me the entire Tour de France!

AV: Finally, I'd like to remind you guys, again, that if you dare !@#$ with me, you will pay. And we here at Team Astana take doping accusations very, very seriously. Now get out of my sight, you worms!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Jaysus, Vino, Get (Back) With the Program!

Reality Check: look, let's be pragmatic here. Dopers gonna dope. But frankly, I expect a *lot* more efficacy and a *lot* less careless stupidity from a guy with as much d--uh, management experience as the great Alexander Vinokourov. Okay, you're no Lance Armstrong (or any then-Discovery rider, for that matter)--you did got popped once, at the end of a long and illustrious career--but *jeez*, Vino, at least you had *standards*! Your jailbait proteges getting nailed for half-wit amateur-hour bull!@#$ like steroids or EPO--it's inexcusable! Forget that you've got a !@#damn defending Tour de France champion to protect--it is just downright *embarrassing* for someone of your stature to have so many people in your crew get busted. Either show these punks how to plumb or shut off the faucet, pal! Oh Vino, my beloved Vino, have you no *pride* anymore?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

When *I* Was A Youngster, We Rode Up Alpe d'Huez on Wooden Wheels, and We *Liked* It!

Damn Whippersnappers!: yep, the generational war is on: legendary cycling god Bernard "You !@#$ With My Podium, I Land On You Like Bricks!" Hinault has weighed in on the sport's doping scandals, saying that while cycling *is* being way picked on, he still wouldn't even hock a lougie on that sport-destroying systemic-scarfin' dirtbag Lance Armstrong to help put a raging fire out on his head. Hell, I can respect that! The problem: guys like former drug-stoked pro Jorg "Did Not! Did Not! Okay, Maybe I Did" Jaksche are calling bull!@#$, saying not only has doping been around since the early days when cyclists famously smoked to "open their lungs," but Hinault--uh, his generation--itself consumed enough speed to turn a bunch of nacho-stuffed football-watchin' couch-spud nut-scratchers into Flash Gordon supersonic superstars, so who is *he* to complain, the disgusting hypocrite? Well !@#dammit, if these coddled futuristic EPO-eating blood-gorging vampire weaklings hadn't had access to such advanced obvious supercharged rocketfuel !@#$ no-one'd ever've gotten busted in the first place! Oh, Bernard, you were all *so* ripped off with the primitive drugs around in your day....

Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Heads: meantime, newish UCI prez Brian "I Heart Women's Cycling" Cookson has explained his opposition to a minimum wage for women's (though of course not men's) cycling: forget all that crap with the thousands of fans lining the roadside for women's races in recent years, if you make the sponsors pay the riders enough for the women to not have to fence stolen goods outta the back of a truck for a living, they'll all lose incredible piles of money and bail outta the sport, and *then* whose fault would it be? I tells ya, give those petty high-maintenance pampered princesses an inch and they'll start demanding bathroom breaks once a day! And water to drink! And, like, equipment from the 21st century and stuff! !@#$, they'll be whining for those incredibly expensive energy drinks, the *men's* teams might be down one for their towel guys! And who'll offer me fries with that if the cyclists don't have to get a second job at McDonald's to survive? The horror, the horror...

Puritoooooooooooooo!: finally, watch out Valverde--at least--we love Purito Rodriguez is coming for your podium spots, as, while you're knockin' yerself out herding Nairo Quintana up the high passes playing superdomestique, he's decided to ride both the Tour de France and the Vuelta. Odds of you having at least one race-destroying catastrophic meltdown day in either Grand Tour--well, pretty freakin' high, let's be honest. Odds of Purito kicking your !@# up and down the mountains at a steady pace with intermittent streaks of intimidating speed--pretty darn sweet. Allez allez Purito--the Vuelta at least is yours--is so either people, bite me you haters!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

No No No My Darling Vuelta, Don't Go Kissing Froomey's Butt! #savethevuelta

Tiiiiiiime Is On His Side (But It Shouldn't Be): First we're talking about *shortening* them--for which some repugnant eejit already oughta burn in an eternal flamin' pool o' hellfire--*now* we're talking about screwing with the *course* of the fabulous Giro and Vuelta? Yes, the organizer of the fabulous Vuelta a Espana himself has apparently offered to toss in a wholly flat 40k Froome-bribing time trial, just because you-know-pain-in-the-!@#-who bitched about all the hills in the race and implied he'd be more likely to ride it if it was plotted out his way. !@#dammit Froomey you preening prima donna, stay the hell out if you don't like it, you're already gonna be going up against a Giro-tired Alberto Contador at the Tour, what the hell more you do want, that they !@#$in' knock the Lagos de Covadonga down to rubble so Purito can't bother you? You like time trials--we get it. So do I! But for heck's sake ride a freakin' Grand Tour where the flat ones matter then, am I the only one who remembers the damn debacle the last time even the Tour de France caved to these solo-speeding babies by building a whole course around one schmo? *No*, I repeat *no* changing this glorious and underrated race for one freakin' sore-loser whinger--Save the Vuelta!

Runnin' With the Devil: and, an extremely fond farewell and wishes for good health to the incomparable Grand Tour-hounding Devil--no no, not Lance Armstrong, the smashing trident-wielding but now retiring Didi Senft, who so awed me when I came upon him at the Giro d'Italia back in the day that I was too much of a star-struck nerd-dork to even approach him, much less be ween enough to ask him for a photograph. From the Giro to the Tour to the Vuelta, he's been the man to see on the mountainsides, I guess along with whoever happened to be racing that year, a dashing annual antidote to the horn-hatted screaming Speedo-dweebs tackily torturing cyclists and fans alike for the cameras. Grazie Merci Gracias Didi--you'll be so much missed!

Mountain High: meanwhile, huge kudos to the stalwart riders and staff of Tinkoff-Saxo, most of whom (including new hire Ivan Basso, who says they "crawled" up the thing) made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for their first official team-building exercise, reportedly with the loss of only a few easily-replaceable neo-pros bought cheap for the upcoming season. Next: having scaled the peaks, Oleg Tinkov sends 'em all on a free-swim down to some boiling deep-sea thermal vents, where the sulfurous gasses and bone-crushing water pressure is apparently really good training for the lungs. Enjoy the trip kids--and I hope you all make it back to the surface in one piece!

Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cyclists: finally, congrats to this year's leading contender for the Most Frightening Cycling Photo Ever, NetApp bad-!@# Barstozs Huzarski, for this battle-worn selfie from the Tour de France. No *wonder* this image is so disturbing--the self-tanner goes all the way *up* the leg, big guy!

Monday, November 03, 2014

You Suck Cookson You Goon! A Gentle Plea Not to Shorten the Giro & Vuelta

Bite It, Blasphemer!: look, I get it. The Tour de France is a thrilla, the Superbowl of cycling with doping pozes instead of nip-slips, the apogee of all the hype and excitement of the sport. But dang, it gets *enough* attention, even worse compared to what are clearly the standard-bearers of cycling's true three-week Grand Tour glory, the vastly underappreciated but even more bitchin' Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana. So your solution to the TdF's relentless golden whoredom is *shorten* the magnificent other two to *further* pimp the maillot jaune? What about those of us who just want the pure climbers to slug it out, the awful pitch of the Dolomites, the relentless heat of the Basque high country, the beauty of a race for its own sake rather'n just a buncha publicity-slut bull!@#$? The Tour's a great race--but it's not the *only* race, the Giro and Vuelta have a stunning if less flashy beauty all their own. !@#$ this Tour de France disco-ball !@#$, and DON'T !@#$ WITH THE GIRO AND VUELTA YOU HEATHEN BEAST!

Sure, let's shorten two of the three Grand Tours. While we're at it, why don't we fix some other races, too? I mean, let's take half the cobblestone sections out of Paris-Roubaix--we wouldn't want those poor boys jouncing all over those big lumpy rocks, right? Or we can take out all but the last two k of any kind of sprinty race, 'cause no one gets their lead-out in order til the last 1/2 k anyway! Or damn, what's the point of those ouchy white gravel roads in the Strade Bianche, someone might get a puncture or something! And don't even get me *started* on those stupid Spanish climbing stage-races--I mean, why not let the guys sign in then retire to their team bus for a nice nap the rest of the day, Cookson you tool!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Playing Doctor! Hide and Seek! Hikes to the Death! Yer Assorted Off-Season Hijinks Roundup

The House of Doctor PleaseDon'tBustMe: so, almost alone among the current crop of Grand Tour champions, you've got a sparkling reputation as a clean rider for the ages--despite working for, of all bosses, the notoriously practical Alexander "Shut the !@#$ Up Or I'll Rat Out the Whole Lot of You!" Vinokourov--and what do you think is a great thing to do to preserve it? That's right, rehire your close friend and previous associate, Marco Pantani's freakin' doctor. Jaysus, I love Vinenzo Nibali, and admire his personal loyalty, but where is his *head*? I mean, by his tweet today, apparently even former Armstrong teammie/confessed but reformed dopester team boos Jonathan Vaughters thought this guy was too sketchy! Oh, I guess it's silly to worry, we'll all be too distracted to worry about this soon enough when another one of Vino's proteges gets popped...

No, Samu, No!: and, we love Samuel Sanchez continues to frustrate with assurances he's got buckets of offers but is merely chillin' at home with a nice cold beer considering whether he feels like just retiring or not, and all I can do is--BEG! BEG! BEG! CAN WE ALL START SOME KIND OF HUGE PLANETARY PETITION TO GET HIM TO KEEP RIDING? ANYONE ELSE WILLING TO CHIP IN for, y'know, not like a bribe or anything but a really, really expensive pile of encouragement? How crappy is BMC's rumored offer if he's not even taking it?! !@#dammit Fernando Alonso can you at least get your WorldTour act together and give this guy a DS job nurturing jailbait Basque talent? Aiiigggghhhhhhh!

What Was That Sylvester Stallone Movie Where Jon Lithgow Went All Nutwhack and Started Pitching People Off the Mountainside?: well, whatever it is, it oughta be retitled "Tinkoff Saxo Team Camp," because megalomaniac sadist-adventurer Oleg Tinkov has decided to make his twee toothpick GC contenders and everyone else on the squad conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, which Oleg'll've already personally done butt-naked in flip-flops sixteen times before base-camp breakfast and for which they'll be a special prize--first one to whinge about blisters, vomitous altitude sickness, losing limbs to frostbite or any other crybaby crap gets to singlehandedly pull Peter Sagan's lumpen carcass up the entire 19,341 feet of the thing. Just like they'll have to do during the regular season, ba-dum-bum! Oleg, you *do* realize most of these guys don't have enough body fat to keep 'em halfway warm at noon in the Sahara Desert, dontcha? Oh, well, some team-kit armwarmers and a coupla newspapers stuffed in their jerseys for the trek downhill and they'll all be juuuuuust fine, I'm sure....Look, there's Oleg at the top celebrating right now!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hell With the Giro-Tour-Vuelta Triple, I Don't Even Wanna Ride the Tour de France Single!

Somewhere, Alejandro Valverde Is Crying In His Beer: yep, the 2015 Tour de France is out, and, without just gackin' up the details you already read, it is, as it should always be, a climber's delight--so much so that the Tour organizers' orgasmic dream of an Alberto/Nairo/Froomey/Nibali Tour is already wrecked, with a, well, unconfident Chris Froome bailing rather'n face a rather-comfy-lookin' Alberto Contador in the heights. Wah, wah, he's already gonna be tired from Tinkov flagellating 'im all Giro anyway, what are you afraid of you big baby?! Meantime, Valverde, already sworn to sacrificing himself for wee jailbait phenom Quintana next year, has reportedly been careening around the streets in a sobbing drunken haze cornering disinterested strangers and drooling on 'em, "it coulda been me next year! it coulda been me!" Luckily, leaving aside one hopes the nasty hand of fate in 2015's coming battle, Alberto's still got Nibs and Nairo to amuse himself against next year--if Nibs still has any domestiques left by the time the narcs are done crackin' down!

Nightmare on Hincapie Street: back on our side of the pond, yet another shameful scandal has erupted on the US cycling scene--highly regarded and beloved 7 time Tour de France victor Lance Armstrong was first allegedly allowed, and now is for no good reason whatsoever not allowed, to ride ex-teammate/partner in dope George Hincapie's upcoming Gran Fondo. !@#damn right it's an outrage--Lance is a hero! He's never tested positive once! He's a sterling example to young riders everywhere! He's proven you can come back from a two-year retirement and kick total !@# on jailbait upstarts at the To--oh wait, what year is this again?

Watch Out Sagan, He's a'Comin For Ya!: last (but never least), Peter Sagan better watch his back at next year's Tour de France--Mark Cavendish all better from his disastrous Tour-ending crash, he's tired of everyone else taking the spotlight, and he is ready to stomp Marcel Kittel Andre Greipel (like he even has to) and not-even-a-sprinter Peter Sagan for stage-win glory in July. Oh well, Peter, at least he's not going for the green jersey--I'm sure the patient and sensitive Oleg Tinkov won't mind that for a consolation prize if you don't take any stages next year!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Holy Crap Astana's In Trouble! An Alternate Career Plan for Vincenzo Nibali #cycling

Calm Down, Everybody!: okay, so yet *another* numbnut Vinokourov protege--a stagiare, but still--has gotten popped for drugs, and boy, is UCI mad how bad it makes them look: they're micro-examining every tiny detail of Team Astana, and, worse, threatening to take away their World Tour license. And while they're realistically not gonna put down the team containing the reigning Tour de France champion--who has a rep as a raging anti-doper, no less--still, more freakish things can happen, and with damn near *everybody's* budget too blown to accommodate as expensive a rider as Nibali, if the boy wants to be entirely safe, he's gotta start thinkin' backup. My proposal: Nibali to Tinkoff-Saxo! And cool it, Contador fans, I've got good reason here: Oleg Tinkoff sheds Nibali's annual salary in euros when he blows his nose, and the Contador-Nibali matchup is headline city. Can you imagine that in combination with Oleg's ability to force both riders to take on all 3 Grand Tours ('cause no matter who's exhausted by September, Oleg's highly likely to take at least one of 'em), he gets to stroke his raging ego by having Alberto and Vincenzo cage-fight it out on the roads for Oleg's favor all season? Will Contador count on Nibali's hometown pride to drive him to the win and total exhaustion at the Giro, thereby allowing Alberto to prove himself the indisputably stronger captain for Alberto's lost Tour de France? Will Nibs leave the Vuelta entirely to Contador, or take advantage of Alberto's now-frazzled legs to smack Alberto right in front of the boy's own hometown crowds? Will Chris Froome take advantage of the internal team discord he used so effectively to screw Brad Wiggins the last couple years to grab Grand Tour glory while Nibs and Alberto mark and attack each other? I hope Astana holds on, if for nothing else because Vino's such a crazy vindictive fabulous bastard--but Vincenzo, there's hope for you just in case!

See No Evil, Rat on No Evil: meantime, Thor Hushovd's still stirring up controversy with his new autobio, getting viciously slagged for maintaining his friendship and omerta with his pal Lance Armstrong even after the latter casually admitted to Hushovd that he was a giant doping peloton-screwing scumbag. Oh sure, maybe his tacit complicity contributed to the wholesale public-relations destruction of the sport we love, but jeez, cut the big lug some slack, I say--I mean, if we apply that sort of good-sportsmanship narc-on-your-pals rule equally, there'd probably be like two guys left in Mo--uh, Montana, and *then* who would be left for us to watch? More, big Thor has also dissed Armstrong destructo-campaign victims such as Bassons for trying--and being wrecked for--calling bull!@#$ on Lance back in the day, on the theory that if Thor could win when *he* wasn't doping, Bassons and those other whiny clowns just plain sucked anyway. Thor, Thor, just because the Thunder God could take on some of the most stoked-up sprinters in the peloton on the flats doesn't mean that single individual climbers could reasonably be expected to compete in the Alps against not only Armstrong but his entire damn needle-stuffed pace-setting robot army! Oh, Thor, can't we just talk about your green jersey or something--you're not *helping* yourself here!

P.S. !@#dammit, why does we love Samuel Sanchez still not have a contract yet? Another ex-Euskie already retired this season! !@#$in' 800-year-old Alessandro Petacchi's got like three offers to choose from! I mean for !@#$'s sake Valverde's still riding! You *suck*, BMC!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Give Samuel Sanchez a Contract, Dammit! #HireSamuNow

You Blow, BMC!: so, here we love ex-Euskaltel god/Olympic gold medalist Samuel Sanchez is, busting his works as a superdomestique for Philippe and Cadel all season without complaint, and what does he get? Right, treated like the laundry guy's own rancid sock-washer and without a damn contract with *anyone* much less a World Tour squad when all the decent dough's already been sucked up for next season! Dang, I'd get it if like BMC had to pull a Lampre on his !@# and ditch 'im like Horner because he had to get pulled for unfortunate drug levels or something, but really? The guy who was sixth in this year's Vuelta, despite being some egregiously decaying geezer? Who's faithfully exhausted the field in the mountains all season in service of his team leaders? Well the hell with you ungrateful freaks, I'm starting a campaign. #HireSamuNow, or may endless noogies bedevil your days!

I'm On Top of the World!: and, Bjarne Riis is apparently tranferring his sadistic old CSC team-building philosophy to the innocent boys of Tinkoff-Saxo, forcing them into treacherous a 4,000 meter march up Mount Kilimanjaro, where Oleg Tinkov, who will already have twice conquered the summit earlier that same morning, will reward them by kicking the loser stragglers back down the mountain off the rockface before making everyone else left drop and give him fifty pushups. Now, if a desperate struggle to survive doesn't decide whether Alberto or Sagan is really the year's team captain, what could? Well, good luck and happy trails to the lot of you, and watch out Sagan--we already know who's the better climber of you two!

Good Pick MTN-Qhubeka!: finally, huge congrats to Tyler Farrar, whose snap-up by up-n-coming MTN-Qhubeka got his head and his legs right back in the ol' sprinting game with a bangin' win at the Tour of Beijing in his last race in Garmin kit. Welcome back Tyler--here's to more of *this* in 2015 (hello we love Phil Liggett)!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Schleck! Nibali! Tinkov! Astana! Nairo! Tyler! Just Buckets o' Roundup #cycling

A Sigh Is But a Sigh: okay, now that everyone's had a day or two to simmer down from the mourning, adulation, and general freakout over the sad injury-driven retirement of former CSC shooting star/next Great Grand Tour Hope/one-time Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Andy Schleck, let's talk straight--poor baby Schleck's heart seemed out of the game even *before* he got so badly and repeatedly hurt, particularly under the beastly ministrations of a frustrated Lance-less Johan Bruyneel, whose constant public motivational speeches like "ride, you lazy weakling b!tch!" failed to help the sensitive Andy get his mojo risin'. Indeed, one of Schleck's most notable results of his post-CSC career was convincing everyone Alberto Contador was an unbearable lowlife punk-!@# and Andy was a saint over the ostensibly Tour-deciding "Chaingate," when Andy's own brother Frank had similarly attacked Alberto like a wank when *he* had a mechanical in the very same race. Still, to be fair to the boy's prowess, it was rather astonishing at Andy's peak to watch such a gangly kid scale the heights so tenaciously, it's a pretty rare thing that a guy who repeatedly podiumed at the Tour and technically won the thing in 2010 is considered a disappointment, and while it is probably correct that he lacked some of the freakish mental impermeability so necessary to sustain a dominating Grand Tour career, if he can't compete I sure hope he and his knee are up to getting a bike ride in now and then for the pleasure of it. In bocca al lupo Andy, hope the real world is kind to you!

Nibali v. Tinkov: meantime, reigning Tour champ Vincenzo "Don't What-If Me, You !@#holes!" Nibali has slugged back at Oleg Tinkov's million-euro triple-Grand Challenge, pointing out that not only does he hardly need the money, but *he* cares about spending time with his family you narcissistic megalomaniac *and* he'd put the money if he had it towards starting a youth-development cycling program anyway. Take *that*, Daddy Warbucks! Still, the team directors--always a cash-hungry sponsor-whoring bunch by necessity--seem less concerned with the personal toll on their riders but at least rather concerned about the public-relations and sponsor-angering implications of injuring one of their prized racehorses like Nairo Quintana before their actual main Grand Tour goal of the season. Aw, we already know that Alberto Contador can slaughter the Vuelta on a fractured tibia--let the rest of those wussies stick on a band-aid and quit their whinin'!

Alexander Vinokourov, Anti-Doping Champion: and, the fallout from the Iglinskiy brothers' mutual pops for EPO over at Astana continues, with vigilant team bosses launching a heart-felt internal investigation into how these guys !@#$ed up so badl--uh, strayed from the team's gleaming golden path of righteousness, 'encouraging" the two to meet with the narcs to (carefully!) spill their guts out, and offering their sincerest hopes that UCI will take up the team's offer to meet so they can promise any bul!@#$ it takes to hold on to their World Tour licen--uh, immediately address any concerns these unfortunate and wholly isolated incidents may have raised. I love you Vino--but I still love you better when you just tell anyone who questions you to !@#$ off or you'll start naming names!

Just Breathe (As Long As You Use a Gas Mask): finally, as class-act Tyler Farrar vows to give it his all as farewell thanks to Team "No Lead Out for You!" Garmin as he heads to MTN-Qhubeka next season, complimenti to the organizers of the dying Tour of Beijing, forced to cut a stage short due to crappy polluted air quality. Damn, between the riders getting busted after noshing from the contaminated food supply and the inconvenience of these stupid athletes needing some dumb!@# "oxygen" in order to ride 200 miles a day, it's a wonder this race is continuing next year at all! Oh, wait...

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

How Cute of Oleg to Donate his Pocket Change to Riders Who Do the Grand-Tour Triple!

Mony Mony: okay, forget that this year's Giro has been ratcheted down to entice Alberto to manageably do the Giro-Tour double--perhaps too much, as Contador expressed consternation over the Froome-friendlier monster individual time trial--Oleg Tinkov's calling out *all* you wuss-weenie competitors to Alberto: you do the Giro-Tour-Vuelta *triple*, and he'll hand over a cool one million euros. More, Oleg has *personally* challenged Nairo, Nibali, and Froomey to a throwdown, promising to ride each Grand Tour stage in 2015 himself, on two flat tires and carrying Andre "the Gorilla" Greipel on his back to boot. Man up, you wilting flowers--wah, legs, wah, wah, crashes, wah, wah, undoped limits of human endurance, wah, ya crybabies!

Wiggle Me This: and holy crap, not only does Wiggle-Honda already have a lock on the great speedster/prior world champ Giorgia Bronzini, but now they've got and signed two-time Giro Rosa winner/queen-stage bad-!@#/US hell-on-wheelwoman Mara Abbott as well. Dang, Giorgia for the sprints, Mara for the climbs--maybe Marianne Vos *has* got something to worry about next year!

Crime Pays: finally, good news for all you drug-stuffed cheating weasel miscreants: new research suggests that, at least as far as anabolic steroids go, the benefits of doping last looooooooooong after the thief-skank has served his/her ban and returned to the sport. Lesson: it's a good thing they haven't apparently researched this !@#$ with cycling's drugs yet, or a good percentage of the existing peloton'd be out on its !@#! On the plus side, this speaks well for Riccardo Ricco's planned attempt at we still love so go to hell Iban Mayo's climbing record. Forza Ricco the Snake--Cobra, whatever--anyway, you oughta be juuuust fine when yer ban is up in 2024!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

It's the Race of the Falling Leaves (And Carcasses! And World Tour Rankings!): the Road Season Almost Wraps Up #cycling

Puritoooooooooooooooo!: no, I *don't* give a crap he didn't win Lombardia today, Rodriguez *still* gets an adoring shout-out, as well as the Vuelta title next year (will too either! bite me!), but is this an early Halloween frightfest, or is Alejandro Valverde really coming so terrifyingly close on some terrifyingly prestigious races lately? I mean !@#$, is that guy a zombie from the bottom down?--his legs just *never* *!@#$in'* *die*! Anyway, *just* lovely to see Dan Martin escape for the win, woo-hoo Samu for pulling off a fabulous 5th!, and crap luck for Alberto Contador (and even worse for him now that Oleg's given 'im two seconds to heal up before he threatens to break his legs himself)--a nasty knee-whanger fall right in the last 250 meters or so. With Valverde now in the World Tour lead, Alberto, you got about two days to get better before the Tour o' Beijing and your last chance to avoid Tinkov wrath! Here, the last 4k: Complimenti Martin--damn great tactics!

Cyclist, Heal Thyself: and, a rather nice contract result there for Italy's former Next Great Hope Damiano "Il Piccolo Principe" Cunego, as he drops down discreetly to the Pro Continental level after years of diminishing results with Lampre and, wisely, starts prepping for his post-race career as a physiotherapist. Hey, even with years of lingering rage over his beastly backstabbing of we love Gilberto Simoni I can't help but think that's quite sweet! Lucky for eternal pin-up (if only occasional podium-finisher) Pippo Pozzato, he's still got another year left with Lampre on his contract, which I believe definitively makes him not only one of Lampre's elder statesmen but also the most rakish little devil on the squad. Forza Pippo--you've got all next season to earn your keep!

Astana Heads Home (And Vino's Head's Gonna Explode): meanwhile, a storm's a-brewin' in Kazakhstan, as Vincenzo Nibali publicly blames some sponsor publicity-ho-ing for his sorta-off late-season form, *and* Astana gets booted from the World Tour races the rest of the season for the Iglinsky brothers' getting popped for EPO. Leaving aside that damn, kids, it's not like you don't know anyone who doesn't know how to do that !@#$ correctly, I say cut Maxim and Valentin a little slack--they're a two-fer, like the Schlecks, just treat it like one single doping poz and you'll feel all kindsa better!

Welcome Back, Briefcase: finally, as Fernando Alonso misses the deadline for forming a new World Tour squad for next year (tho' a Pro Conti is still a possibility), great news for Basque cycling as its young developing talent rises again (and here's the bad news) under the nurturing bloodb--uh, hand--of notorious Operacion Puerto/early Contador mentor Manolo "Briefcase" Saiz for this coming season, but considering some of the odious clowns running actual World Tour squads, I suppose the worst thing about 'im is his unfortunate propensity for getting busted. "Don't* screw over the next generation of Basque riders, Manolo--PLEASE, can't Samu just be put in charge of, say, reconstituting dear departed Euskaltel when he retires, and we can bring some unabashed glory--and even better, legitimacy--to this smashing sport?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Whoa Moly That Was Creepily Close For Valverde! Yer Way-Quick Worlds-in-Review #Worlds

The Quick and the Dead: yep, even as we love Purito kept his noble promise and actually worked for Valverde--kiss his butt for that, Alejandro, I mean it after last year, KISS HIS ACTUAL PERSONAL BUTT!--it was still a nail-nipper as new rainbow jersey/games-playing jailbait Michal Kwiatkowski sat up what looked like a mile before the line to meander across celebrating as the hopeful-too-late trio of Gerrans Valverde and Breschel came up behind 'im. Sooooo close to an atmosphere-shattering world-wide howl of agony as Valverde almost took the show! *Geez*, Michal, freak the whole lot of us out whydontcha! So to round up the rest of yer Worlds:

Your Winners: Team Time Trials: Lululemon grabbed the prize as Rabo-Liv hit the deck. Next year, I bet Marianne Vos won't get dropped! For the boys: BMC stomped the unstoppable Quick Step. Women's and Men's U-23: so who should you fear in the years to come? No, it's not Spain, Italy, or Belgium--it's Denmark (Amelie Dideriksen) and Norway (Sven Erik Bystrom). Thor Hushovd (and, uh, Michael Rasmussen?), you already got somebody picking up the torch! U-23 Time Trials: woo-hoo Cadel you've got some serious talent behind you, Aussies Macey Stewart and Campbell Flakemore! Women's Elite Individual Time Trial: Lisa Brennauer, Germany's first big hope (I *know*, I'm not counting sprinters) since we love and still miss (yeah yeah, stuff it, I know this too!) Jan Ullrich. Men's Elite Individual Time Trial: screw you, what the hell is Tony Martin supposed to be, some kinda Transformer Aerobot, the man's human for heck's sake! Oh right, Wiggo. Way to save the season, man! Women's elite: holy crap, what a disaster--unless you're Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, who sure oughta get a bonus stripe for she-nuts! Men's elite: You still suck for leaving Samu off the squad, Spain! Michal Kwiatkowski for the well-earned (and damn near lost) win. Oh, from "up-and-comer" to "marked man every single day of the 2015 season"--sniff, they all grow up so fast! Here, the elite road men's and ladies have us all yelling at our screens and jumping off our couches like crack-stuffed lemurs:

Well, that was exciting, and the smack-talkin' blame-game from the men's and women's road races is already even more so, with Armistead, Gerro and Gilbert laying it out. I love thoughtful, measured, adrenalin-raged post-race analysis! Now, it's onto Il Lombardia--forza azzuri, any of you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Total Carnage, Tactical Disaster, and a New World Champion at the Women's Worlds Road Race! #worlds

Medic! Uh....Tactician! Uh...Jersey Printer!: holy cow it was total bloody bone-whacking carnage at the women's world champ road race in Ponferrada, with half the peloton going down before the rain even kicked in to slicken the roads--including American star Alison Powers, who despite missing what appeared to be approximately half a buttock after her crash still managed to make a bold attack that completely shook up the field--and a certain podium flushed entirely (and worse, entirely needlessly) down the toilet in the last half k when the four lead riders, Vos, Armitstead, Longo Borghini and Emma Johansson collectively sat up, wouldn't work together or hell even separately, and pulled off the road entirely to call it a day and go out for a beer. Damn, I expect this stupid !@#$ from someone like Valverde, but not these pros! Still, to be fair, Vos just didn't seem to have the legs in any case, and surprise new world champ/22 year old road and mountain biking prodigy Pauline Ferrand-Prevot utterly earned that win. As for the injured, a bunch of folks unfortunately had to go to hospital, and wishing a full and speedy recovery to all. Woot woot to our new rainbow jersey--and whoa moly, watch out for double-threat road-race 2nd place Lisa Brennauer this coming year, she completely smoked the elite women's time trial already too!

Puritoooooooooooooooooo!: bite me, he can so either! But if not I'm rooting for Boonen or Gilbert. Or Cancellara would be nice too I suppose. Puritoooooooooooooooooooooo!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Oleg Tinkov Throws It Down (In Case Alberto Contador Can't In July) #procycling

Pony Up or Shut Up, People!: Yes, having rashly committed 2014 Tour de France crashout/Vuelta a Espana champ Alberto Contador to the 2015 Giro as Alberto's first big goal of the season--and you know the boy don't go into *any* Grand Tour unless he plans to win it--Tinkoff-Saxo team emperor Oleg Tinkov appears to be having second thoughts about how his could affect his star rider's performance in July, and has now challenged all of Alberto's Tour de France competition--Froomey, Nibali, and Quintana--to do the Giro/Tour double with him as well. Because if you can't do 'em both and win 'em both, YOU'RE A PATHETIC PANSY WEAKLING! And thanks to a new dietary training regimen, ALBERTO LITERALLY EATS CHUNKS OF THE PYRENEES FOR BREAKFAST YOU SNIVELING IMPOTENT WUSSBAGS! And until Roman Kreuziger gets popped again, we will WEAR DOWN YOUR SUPERDOMESTIQUES TO WHIMPERING NUBS OF JELLY! Already begging off: Astana's Vinokourov, realizing that for the first time he's actually met a team boss more bat!@#$ crazy than he is, and Chris Froome's Team Sky, apologizing that Froome's already tied up for May with his official role as team toothpick. Game on: Team Movistar, whose directeur sportif reportedly opined: "!@#$, at least if we exhaust Valverde, we won't have to worry about him bushwhacking Quintana at the Tour de France!" Wise move, my friends--uh-huh, pass the nachos, honey, the 2015 cycling Superbowl is gonna be one hell of a fight!

You Suck, Spanish Worlds Team Honchos!: meantime, as the World Championships rolls along (sometimes catastrophically) in Ponferrada this week, the Spanish Worlds team bosses can officially suck it, because you hurt we love Samuel Sanchez' feelings by not calling him ahead of the official announcement to everybody that, despite a very fine 6th in the Vuelta and some bitchin' legs, he wasn't going to be on the squad. Screw you asshats--good luck again this year when we love Purito and that sneaky bastard Valverde eat their young again! Oh, Samu, they don't deserve you the way, guys, does *this* podium look familiar? Yeah, thought you mighta blocked that out!

The China Syndrome: finally, a fond farewell to the young-but-beloved UCI Tour of Beijing after this season, as cycling fed UCI pulls the plug on the grounds that, according to an anonymous and fictional spokesperson, "the team directors were really pissed that their guys kept getting busted here but not at any of our other races." Well, at least there you could blame the food supply--maybe you all shoulda kept the one gig that got yer accidental miscreants off the hook and kept the UCI looking dead-on effective!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Oh No We Love Thor Hushovd's Really Retiring! #thankyouthor

Yep, I've been in deep denial, both over the actual end to his career and his damn-well-looked-like-the-end-of-his-career-for-all-the-luck-he's-had-at-BMC for former holy crap he's the World Champion we love Thor Hushovd, but our big lug's turn in the peloton is officially over, so I thought I'd list just a few of his accomplishments here:

1978: Thor Hushovd is born in Grimstad, Norway. At age two, receives 52-cm road bike for birthday, but it's 2 cm too small for him.

1998: New pro Thor wins baby Paris-Roubaix. Watch out already, future Classics wannabes. After winning U-23 time trial championships, though, career in discipline derailed as he squashes every ultra-light time trial bike his sponsors try to make for him.

2001: And he's off! Thor takes first major win in Tour de Normandie and shares team time trial stage-winning victory in Tour de France.

2002: Stage wins ain't just for group rides, honey: Thor grabs first individual Tour de France win ever. Way to go big guy!

2004: Thor takes first of 4 Norwegian national road champ victories, another stage win at the Tour, and his second stage at the Dauphine.

2006: At Tour de France, some dipwad waving a lethal machete of a stupid plastic promotional item at the barriers hits Thor with a slasher-movie gore-gash to the arm; Thor still finishes 9th on the day and later takes his second stage win of the Tour. For next year, races with heavy protective "Popemobile" plexiglass shield around bicycle. And how many stages at the Dauphine has he grabbed now?

2007: Thor gets a stage in the Giro, wrapping up the Grand-Tour trifecta.

2009: The Thunder God takes the green jersey at the Tour de France. Eat that, Cavendish!

2010: Yeah, he's the World Road Champion! How do you like *them* stripes, beeyotches?

2011: Third time's the charm: three stage wins *and* a half-dozen days in the Tour de France maillot jaune. Boy looks good in gold, dontcha think?

2012: unidentified virus and BMC contract-o-doom take out his entire season. Oh go to hell, he's still better'n 99% of the riders on earth!

2013: Shut up! He's still sick but he wins the Norwegian national champs for the 4th time and takes overall in the bitchin' new Artic Tour of Norway, and a whole buncha 'nother stuff. You rock Thor!

2014: Thor announces retirement; Norway better be planning a giant bangin' sculpture for this guy somewhere. You got quite a palmares there, Thor--and who else in the peloton is ever gonna have such a bitchin' name again?

Next up for our hero: as you can see here, a pro contract with Team Godzilla in the controversial new sport of gila monster racing.

Thanks for many exciting years of racing, and good luck with your new gig ya big lug!

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's the 2014 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! #LaVuelta

Do you find yourself standing on an empty mountainside for 6 hours at a time waving your national flag at nothing? Running along right next to unsuspecting cyclists in your community screaming "Venga! Venga!" at the top of your lungs? Standing on a box, shaking a big green bottle, and spraying champagne on the people around you? Then you, like me, are suffering from Severe Vuelta a Espana Withdrawal Syndrome! The cure: we're gonna celebrate the good, the bad, and the just plain disgusting with the highly coveted and sometimes shameful 2014 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards!

Fake-Out of 2014: I'm not riding it. Gee, I wish I could ride it. Okay, I'm riding it, but just to recover, not to win. Well, maybe I'll ride it for a stage victory. Oh yeah, I'm riding to win the whole damn shebang, baby! Alberto Contador on his post-Tour tibia-busted best form in years. Geez, if snappin' a *leg* can't keep this guy down, what can?

Woot Woot of the Time Trial: holy crap did you see that, we love Samuel Sanchez moved up to 7th in the overall! Woot woot!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race: Alejandro Valverde, being all "I'm here just to help little Nairo," then leaving his poor tired wee butt down the mountain and attacking for the stage win. Well, any further backstabbing was neutralized by the cruel hand of fate, anyway!

How Much Am I Paying This Yawner Next Year? Award: Aw, Peter Sagan. Mustered *just* enough motivation for a single third place, then bailed in drowsy ignominy. But that's okay, because he was just "helping out his teammates" and "training for the Worlds." Oleg, you better get this high-priced bauble of yours a hell of a tactical mentor for next year!

Crash o' the Race (Oh, !@#$! Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ GC Edition): 2014 Giro champion Nairo Quintana, futzing with his shoe on a treacherous downhill curve and doing a terrifying endo over his handlebars and right into the roadside barrier. Thank goodness he wasn't more seriously hurt--but that was the race for him. Now rest and heal up that shoulder, Nairo, and I'm sure you'll be ready to take on the Tour de France GC next year!

Crash o' the Race (Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ Domestique Edition): poor Dario Cataldo's horrible skid into the pavement and also a tree. Amazingly, he was able to get up and continue on the day, whether he perhaps should've been allowed to, or not--and again, thank goodness he was ultimately okay, stay safe out there you guys!

Revelation of Vuelta 21014: sure, Astana baby Fabio Aru bagged two stages and fifth place after coming in a surprising 3rd in the Giro--but some "Pim Ligthart" in the breakaway every damn day? Who the hell *is* this guy?

Sissy-Boy Slap Fight Prize (Dumb!@# Edition): Rovny and Brambilla, flailing at each other on a descent like a coupla whiny windmills--in front of the race organizers, no less! Forget lack of sportsmanship--they oughta've been expelled just for stupidity. Do you *really* think it *helped* Contador to have one of his domestiques get kicked outta the race?

Sissy-Boy Slap Fight Prize (George Foreman Edition): Damn, Purito--who knew that someone so tiny could pack such a powerful left hook? Boys, *this* is a how a *real* pro does it--in the pack, and away from the cameras!

Corollary Tweet o' the Vuelta Award: Sky diplomat Peter Kennaugh, defending his teammate Philip Deignan's honor (and insulting Purito's weak "I touched him accidentally" excuse) with an emphatic "What a lying prick, take responsibility for your actions coward!" Now *that*'s the kind of honesty you want to hear at the boring rest-day press conferences...

Cry-Baby Hissy-Fit Prize: Nacer Bouhanni, you picked the wrong line, & John Degenkolb beat your !@# fair and square. Gesticulate all you want, but suck it *up*, honey!

Good Thing Cav Stayed Home Award: no, Kittel and Cav weren't there this year, and for some, there'll always be a bit of "what if" about the sprints. But John Degenkolb was one on-form hell of a competitor no matter who else was around him--so maybe watch out for this more'n you think!

Dyfunctional Family Award: Valverde, Purito, and Alberto bitching about none of the others collaborating to drop Froomey instead of, y'know, collaborating to drop Froomey, all the while Chris was chugging up the climbs away from them in week two. Valverde, I hope you're content with third place this year!

Memorial Carrot Statuette: no, they weren't there as a team anymore (waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!)--but from Nieve to Samu, the huge pile of former Euskies in this year's Vuelta certainly did their old team proud. Bring back Euskaltel! Bring back Euskaltel! Bring back--no, I mean it, really people!

Fade Into You Prize: Cadel Evans' loooooong, slooooow slide into this Grand Tour good night. But you're still the 2011 and forever a Tour de France champion, and you're even sticking around for your home tour next year--thank you for a smashing career to the most dogged foul-weather hardman of the peloton!

Watch and Learn Award: the great Guardia Civil, which liberally applied guys the approximate size of a box truck to toss back the eejits crowding the riders on the mountain finishes like empty chip bags into a garbage bin. Tour de France--you might want to consult with these guys for next year!

And Finally, the Fan !@#$head Award: yeah, yeah, there were the usual screaming miscreants touching the riders like talismans and shoving cameras in their faces, but, for the win, it's that total numbnuts--and the innocent minor with whom he appeared to act in tandem--running next to Chris Froome waving little pine branches in their hands on the final mountain stage of the Vuelta. For !@#$'s *sake*, stupidity like that could bring the guy down on the tarmac like a ton (okay, an ounce, but still!) of bricks and crash out his whole career, much less just the freakin' race. Insta-penalty of a year of the affected rider's salary for such clowns, I say--so you jack!@#es *better* hope you don't take out one of Oleg "Moneybags" Tinkov's guys next time!

Well, them's my prizes--winners, you can take a bow (or hang your head in shame) as the reigning champs til next year!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Smack! Even With a Broken Leg, Beeyotches! Contador (Surely Unintentionally) Rubs It In #LaVuelta

*Such* a Great Effort, Purito!: okay, it perhaps wasn't the most gentlemanly gesture after Froome's textbook-perfect tactics and repeated attacks, but I'll chalk up to relatively youthful enthusiasm, adrenaline rush, and judgment-impairing pain meds that Alberto Contador appeared to make a gently bite-me-doubters gesture towards his trainwrecked knee and leg as he hit the line. Must've just been motioning to the nice tape job his physio did this morning! Anyway, Contador is one tough little beast, chapeau to Froome (and how dear are cyclist's little sunglass reverse raccoon eyes?), and Purito, that was a wise and bangin' move to try to shake Valverde while he was distracted hoping to pop Froome even if you couldn't sustain it. But 4th at the Vuelta is nothing to be gloomy at--and I guarantee you Sky 'n' Tinkoff're gonna glue Alberto & Froomey's wheels to the French freakin' tarmac to keep 'em upright and in contention at next year's Tour, so a little off-season training tweaks, and the 2015 Vuelta will still be yours!

Next up: the last-day grab-for-glory time trial, the incredibly prestigious 2014 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards recapping the all the disgrace and thrills o' the race--then it's on to the Worlds, honey, and let's hope Fabs didn't blow it entirely bailing out of the time trial for the road race!

Here, your hot-off-the-presses recap--and great job by the Guardia Civil pounding back the overenthusiastic if sincere miscreants endangering Alberto 'n' Froomey at the top of the climb!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Three Is a Magic Number (Unless You're at No. 4) #LaVuelta

He's Got Leeeeeeeeeegs/He Knows How to Use Them: Okay, more like the power meter he's always glommed onto like that disgusting gooey face-sucker from "Alien", but still Chris Froome's legs are a considerable part of it too, and dang, Alberto, even if you *were* right sticking it on Valverde to do the work chasing Froomey down (instead of just marking each other and choking), 13 seconds still counts and if he can distance you again on Saturday that *does* leave you like one extremely crap day or mechanical away from at least a damn close call at the final time trial short as it is! Don't give up dear Purito, these two may just eat their own young yet!

My Bloody Valentine: and, another great win by jailbait Italian talent Fabio Aru, particularly as its exquisite timing distracts the cycling press and unnervingly erratic mastermind Alexander Vinokourov from the sleazy unpleasantness of Valentin Iglinsky's just-affirmed synthetic EPO test bust. @#$%, Iglinsky, you're on !@#$in' *Astana*, if you're gonna dope at least take advantage of the in-house expertise from someone who knows how to use that !@#$ right! Damn kids today, *no* respect for their elders *whatsoever*...

Auguri Pippo!: finally, a belated "Buon Compleanno" to 33-year-old stud-pup birthday boy Pippo Pozzato, who's now officially at the age when Lampre's team boss is gonna give him a serious beat-down if he doesn't get his head back in the game and start coughing up some serious results by next Classics. May all your wishes come true Pippo--especially the ones about, y'know, continued gainful employment!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

It's Yer Vuelta a Espana Rest-Day Dos Roundup! #LaVuelta

Yes, a lot's certainly happened in our dear Vuelta since the first rest day, hasn't it? And we've still got a week of this glorious freakshow left to go! So before we get week 3 of this party started, let's review:

1. Somewhere--and it pains me deeply to say this--Purito Rodriguez is hunched over an espresso muttering to himself, "!@#$! Those guys were supposed to be at the Tour!"

2. I don't think it's fair to suggest Alberto Contador, Purito, and Alejandro Valverde shoulda collaborated to drop Froome because they're all countrymen. They shoulda done it 'cause he's gonna knock one of the three of 'em off the podium!

3. Okay, Valverde's performances creep everybody out. So Alberto "Broken Leg" Contador and Chris "Flails Like He's Been Tasered" Froome's don't?

4. Froome--lift your damn head up, you're glued to that damn power meter like some robot! Oh the other hand, it *does* appear to be working...

5. Sorry, but scrawny cyclists in shiny little spandex outfits are just *never* gonna look tough, no matter how hard they slap at each other. Two Girl Scouts drunk at a bar, now *that's* a fistfight!

6. While we're at it, the first rule of Fight Club is: don't do it in front of the cameras, dumb!@#!

7. Purito didn't "punch [Philipe Deignan] full in the face"--he "accidentally touched him." With a balled-up fist. To the face. At high velocity. So *that* explains half the peloton riding around with split lips all the time, all that accidental touching! Socks to the mouth, slap-fights, wheel-whangs...oh, how I miss the gentility of the Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen days!

8. Damn, Pozzato. Either go back to posting daily lurid selfies or liven up a stage already--you can't not do *either*, for heck's sake!

9. Shut up. Samu's just reserving his energy for the final mountain stage. Bite me!

10. That was a nice little ride there the other day by Fabian Cancellara. But I still want Tommeke to stomp him at Worlds!

11. If I were Brambilla or Rovny, and Purito *doesn't* get kicked outta the race if he actually pulled this !@#$--well, let's just say, Purito, you might want to keep your guard up next time you ride with these guys!

12. I think the boys are all trying just a liiiiiiiittle too hard for the daily "Most Combative" prize. What's next, siccing a freakin' pit bull on each other?

13. Don't !@#$ with this guy. I mean, would *you* !@#$ with this guy? Hell, he might even scare his boss Oleg!

Well, them's my words o' wisdom (oh cut me some slack you wisenheimers!). If I missed anything I shoulda gotten, speak up or forever hold your breath 'til Contador makes it through the time trial!

Monday, September 08, 2014

It's a Battle Royale at the Vuelta a Espana! (Oh, Yeah, and the GC Boys Go At It, Too) #LaVuelta

Sissy Slap-Fight Alert!: yeah, yeah, there was that big-!@# battle in the mountains the last three days between GC contenders Contador, Froome, Valverde and Purito--but for my money, the *real* fight of the day was happening out in Domestiqueville, where, for reasons still unknown, Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Gianluca Brambilla and Tinkoff-Saxo's Ivan Rovny came to blows right on the bike, and, ill-advisedly, right under the noses of the prissy joyless race commissaires, who clearly have some ridiculously antiquated notions about 'sportsmanship' and promptly kicked the two pugilists outta the race. The four-wheeled melee apparently began when Rovny grabbed hold of Brambilla's bib shorts and administered an "atomic wedgie", upon which Brambilla retaliated with the dreaded "wet willy." Reached by telephone at his hotel room, where he was still being held on time-out by his Tinkoff-Saxo squad, Rovny whined, "but he was LOOKING at meeeeeeeeee!" Here, the smackdown, and the justly outraged reaction to his ejection by Brambilla: Now Gianluca, I don't care *what* kind of apology you posted on that "Twitter" thing, you march *right* on over to Ivan's house in person and apologize!

Next up: yer rest-day roundup. And for the GC contenders--keep your damn hands to yourselves!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Now *That's* Bike Doping!; And, Attack of the Flailing Undead Zombie #LaVuelta

Magic Bicycle Ride: well, if Ryder Hesjedal's incredible surge and heartbreaking pass-by of holy-crap-he's-nailed-it-Oliver Zaugg for Vuelta the win today didn't convince you that that wily fake-benevolent Canadian wasn't already bike-doping exactly as he's been accused of, nothing will, but you're still a paranoiac eejit, because that was one drained (and Giro-winning!) tank that collapsed over the finish line today. Whoa moly I hope Zaugg found some kinda hidey-hole from Oleg Tinkov back at the hotel this evening! And don't lie to me you dissemblers--you were absolutely *delighted* to see Alejandro Valverde dropped in the final kilometer today, though that rather does tend to discredit the widespread assumption that he's got a discreet little IV port permanently implanted in his !@#. Even a natural powerhouse like Alejandro can have a slightly off-day I suppose--though it was a far cry from the one-day stage-long catastrophic race-wrecking implosion we can expect from him at every Grand Tour! Meantime, *so* lovely to see Purito covering Alberto Contador's every move, clearly Samuel Sanchez is just holding back for tomorrow and Monday so you can all just stuff it, and jeez louise it was a surprise to Chris "The Walking Dead" staggering back up to and even past the GC contenders after having been dispatched to the underworld already near the start of the final climb. Dang those things are tenacious--haven't you ever seen the video for "Thriller" Alberto, the monsters *always* throw you for a loop just when you think you're safe!

Worlds o' Hurt: in other news, a dispirited Peter Sagan pulled out of the Vuelta entirely today, presumably to prepare for the Worlds in friendlier, less-vertical pastures, though his Cannondale team director sounds majorly freakin' grim about even that prospect. Word to the wise, big guy: now is *not* the time to start drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream! And even the great Fabian Cancellara, perhaps totally flamboozled by Tony Martin's incredible domination this year, is pulling out of the Worlds time trial to focus on the road championships. I love you Fabian, but I still hope that an increasingly happy-go-lucky--hell, he's apparently even lost his fear of the sprints--Tom Boonen takes it over you!

Eat This Bouhanni!: yes, he's been riding very well and is a lovely bike rider, but consider how far fewer'n'far between the women's opportunities for sprints are, much less wins, as they haven't even a 3-week Grand Tour to their name yet--but there's the grandissima Giorgia Bronzini, bagging her third--third!--win at the Tour d'Ardeche today. No video that I could find yet, but here's an illuminating "day in the life o' Wiggle-Honda" from yesterday--enjoy!

Well, on to tomorrow's lumpy then whoa-is-that-a-mountain-or-what stage to Lagos de Covadonga--I'm sure even the mountain goats won't *quite* be adoring that final 17.5% gradient push to the line!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Oh No! Woo-hoo! Holy Crap! All Hell Breaks Loose (And Just Plain Breaks) #LaVuelta

Okay, so the individual time trial tossed a distracted Nairo Quintana over his handlebars and outta GC contention, thumped Chris Froome right in the nuts, catapulted Samu to 7th overall, pleasantly surprised Purito Rodriguez, gave Valverde the team leadership without even having to continue to bushwhack poor Nairo to get it, and anointed Alberto Contador Fake-Out King of the Universe. But they all had to get back in the saddle for the mountains today, and what'd *they* do to the field? Snapped down-but-determined Nairo's shoulder blade like a toothpick and outta the whole race, redeemed Froomey, justified the hype over Giro-podium Fabio Aru, confirmed Contador's riding like a freak, gave Valverde *another* chance to creep us all out, and pushed Purito up yet another spot in GC. Am I the only feeling like after about stage 5 the Tour de France was a 2-week Lawrence Welk Show marathon in comparison to this year's Vuelta? Not to mention that our beloved ex-Carrots have been kicking absolute !@# when not beholden to their team captains! So *now* do we get to bring back Euskaltel? Tomorrow: an eight-loop rolling circuit where Bouhanni gets another chance to bitch if Degenkolb rides better'n him. Come on, Sagan, give Oleg another reason to think you're gonna earn your paycheck next season! Here, today's stage winner Fabio Aru gestures to the Orica-Greenedge team-bus guy wedged under the banner again to honk his horn: Well done kid!

Monday, September 01, 2014

It's Your Vuelta a Espana Rest-Day Uno Roundup! #LaVuelta

Okay, so it's 8 stages in with the GC-destroying individual time trial yet to come tomorrow, so before that completely jacks everything, what've we learned? Buckets!

1. The GC: Well, if there was any doubt that wee ingenue Nairo Quintana wasn't gonna let his big brother/tormentor Alejandro Valverde grab the red jersey and apologize that he had to because Nairo just didn't have the legs, Quintana's now smacked *that* (and Alejandro) down--the boy's got the lead, and while he'll almost surely give it up (perhaps more than once), Valverde's stuck playing nice to his jailbait team boss for now. Might as well attack him--uh, go for a coupla more stage wins then, Alejandro! As for Contador, he's clearly been bull!@#$ing everybody, and though he may not have the finishing punch to take out Purito and Nairo just yet, it's apparent that fear of Oleg Tinkov breaking his damn legs is bigger'n the pain he's got in the one he's currently busted. And go to hell, Samuel Sanchez is only 1:35 back, he's just chillin' while those show-offs burn themselves out! Froomey? Still can't figure out how he climbs so well careening about like a punch-drunk bat, but the time trial oughta make up some of the damage from yesterday, tho' for my dough, Purito's looking easily the steadiest of the bunch, and if he can limit the carnage tomorrow, his consistency may be able to hold off the flashier competitors for at least a podium. *So* close Purito--we're rooting for you for the big one this Vuelta, you're being very gentlemanly about the frustrated Tour dropouts spoiling your sweet-sixteen party!

2. The Sprints: okay, like we really care, but there are some, and I gotta concede, when Nacer Bouhanni's not being a big whining toddler deprived of his turn at the playground, he's really got it going this year. Watch out Mark Cavendish, while you were snarking about other guys only winning "!@#$ races" a season or so ago I bet you never figured this kid would have to be on your radar! In the meantime, guys like Michael Matthews excepted, it's still the Bouhanni-Degenkolb show--unless Roberto Ferrari decides to jam somebody into the barriers or stick a bidon into somebody's wheel with 200 meters to go and then get all outraged when he's relegated!

3. The Maligned: and, it's kinda nice to see Damiano Cunego, who's seemingly not being offered a renewal at Lampre next season, at least trying to justify a continued paycheck with a decent breakaway performance, though I do think it's time for the ambivalent if highly photogenic Pippo Pozzato to decide to either focus on his selfie modeling career full time or ride his damn bike like he means it. Fickle climbing talent Carlos Betancur, meanwhile, has apparently decided to kiss and make up with the highly irritated AG2R, which presumably thinks it's found a way to (1) get him to lay off the Haagen-Dazs and (2) keep 'im happy enough so he won't runaway home and actually show up in Europe for some of his scheduled races in 2015. Good luck with that--he seems to have a need for some serious coddling! As for Peter Sagan, though he did push for an admirable third place the other day, here's hoping that his ennui fades before he hits the Worlds, even though I'm seriously hoping for we love Tom Boonen (no, I *don't* care if the course isn't particularly suited to him) kicks his !@#. I'm assuming Oleg Tinkov is gonna be able to motivate dreamy-eyed Sagan next season anyway--or else!

Well, almost time for Purito to get hosed in the individual time trial--just stay up Froomey, and it's likely the GC day will be yours!