Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Samuel Sanchez Sez He's Gonna Retire! Someone Hire 'Im! Aiiiggghhhhhhhhh!

You Suck Oleg Tinkov!: all right, I've offered repeatedly to chip in to buy dear Samu' a new gig (sure, I've got like five bucks, but still it's a start), and have been met with absolute ennui, so now that a despondent Samuel Sanchez is giving it 10 or 12 days to find a new team before he hangs up his wheels for good--because he doesn't seem inclined to, say, have to take a year off the bike then see if he still score a space with Alonso--I'm making a general plea to everyone in the universe: someone hire Samuel Sanchez, dammit! Anyone! I'll sell my Euskaltel hat to raise cash! I'll hold a bake sale--and you folks *really* do not want to have to eat my baking! I mean, jeez, ProTour, even if your roster's filled with superstars and pack fodder you can at least find him a job as a really, really, really fast coffee-getter, right? And to everyone who contributed to we're still crushed by darling Euskaltel's downfall, which has left a whole 'nother group of very fine riders without jobs--screw you you !@##$ing !@^%$wads! Here, look at Samu cooking down the Galibier in 2011:

Uh-oh, *Someone's* in the Dog-House: in news about folks who already *have* contracts, all of whom except Jens I irrationally resent right at this moment, beloved big lug Thor Hushovd's conceded he's gotta pull in some serious results at BMC or else he's gonna have a beastly time staying with them or anyone else--I still believe in you Thor!--and Philippe Gilbert's outright saying that if he chokes this season after his difficult World-Champ year he's gonna bail outta the peloton entirely even if he's otherwise got options. I admire you as an athlete for wanting to retire when you've still got something in the tank--but I still think you'll cause everyone a lot of pain this year at the Ardennes!

Please Don't Eat the Daisies: and, UCI's finally conceded defeat on the issue of clenbuterol, warning riders of the risk of genuinely accidental guiltless positives from beef in China and Mexico, which, unfortunately, still leaves poor Alberto Contador down a Tour de France. So, we letting Mick Rogers off the hook now or what?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Team "If We Can't Beat You, We'll Beat You Down"; and, Quit Pickin' On Nairo You Damn Sponsors!

Like a School-room In Summertime--No Class: well, I wasn't planning on an awards show for the Tour de San Luis, but I guess at least one is due for Thugs o' the Race--after one of their boys already sucker-punched the harmless Kenny Dehaes during a sprint, now Team Buenos Aires Provincia's whacked (purely idiotically, but still) poor Tyler Farrar with their team car, leaving Tyler, already screwed for the whole season out of a lead-out by Garmin's new focus on GC, with a pile o' abrasions and some bruised or possibly even busted ribs. Jaysus, guys, you're supposed to win by *out-riding* the competition, not *eliminating* it! What's next, sneakin' in while the mechanics are asleep and slashing the tires? Better not give 'em any ideas, I guess...

San Luis Luis/Whoah-Oh/We Gotta Go!: meantime, as Nairo beats everyone else up the mountain by approximately 6 days 4 hours and 37 minutes, then puts in a bangin' time trial and locks up the GC, our baby superstar is also feeling just a bit beseiged by everyone fighting over whether he's gonna race the Giro or the Tour, which, aside from the relative merits of the arguments and the distinctly unnecessary psychological pressure it must be putting on the boy, at least has the minor benefit of surely driving Grand-Tour-lusting teammate Alejandro Valverde absolutely insane. So leave little Nairo alone everyone--do you *want* him to crack like a walnut before he even decides which leader's jersey he's gonna target? Here, he wraps up the whole show on stage 4:

A Man Down Under: and, despite a very encouraging performance by the Giro-targeting Cadel Evans, congrats to Orica-Greenedge's unbeatable Simon Gerrans for winning his third Tour Down Under, which will henceforth, according to a press release from the riders' association, be known as the "Screw Riding Around In All This Heat For Nothin' Guys, Let's All Go Get a Cold Beer While Simon Takes It Anyway Tour." Way to go Simon--next stop, whoever bothers to race against you at the Sun Tour!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Danilo Di Luca Feels the Love; Froome Feels the Burn; and Hey BMC, Hire Samu'!

If "Scumbag," "!@#hole," and "Bastard" Are Terms of Endearment, That Is: yep, the peloton's sure taken kindly to Danilo Di Luca coming clean about doping in the sport, with Andrew Talansky in the early lead for Tweet-o'-the-Year for sayin' he feels "genuine hatred" for him and he's a "worthless lying scumbag" who is clearly "delusional," damned-by-implication defending Giro champ Vincenzo Nibali kindly suggesting he's perhaps "a bit brain-damaged," and his few defenders--Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and assorted miscreants who think it's a good thing to break omerta again apparently among them--getting blocked, unfollowed, dope-smacked, turbo-noogied and generally humiliated in the ihateyourgutsosphere. Who *is* gettin' the love outta this fiasco? That's right, 2008 CERA disgrace Riccardo Ricco', whose ever-loyal fans, as the Cobra's own proud retweets indicate, figure if what Danilo is saying is halfway true, Ricco' should be able to come back and join his equally dirty peers in the races right this very minute. Me, I think anyone who damn near kills himself with a bag o' blood left to sour in the fridge next to the week-old pizza leftovers oughta be banned for life just for stupidity, but if they're gonna ease up on that whole no-doping thing, well so be it. Just check the expiration dates on that !@#$ before you use it this season, moron!

It's a Glamour "Don't"!: oh sure, those Sky 'n' Trek mesh skinsuits were hot'n'sexy (well, actually just plain creepy) in theory, but in practice, they're a slather-you-in-hot-sauce-n'-throw-you-on-the-barbecue disaster, as reigning Tour de France king/fashion faux-pas lab-rat Chris Froome apparently had a baaaaaaaad experience with the scorching sun at the Tour de San Luis today. Now fix this mess before you take we love Cancellara out--and like Andy Schleck's not a crybaby enough *already*, now you wanna turn the poor kid into a piece o' toast?

Horner My !@#: and fine, Lampre's still all game to have Horner sign on, but have you fair-weather freaks forgotten about dear Euskaltel's we love Samuel Sanchez? Well, I haven't, and here's my solution--if Oleg Tinkov didn't love Alberto Contador enough to take 'im on, I see BMC's recently got a big hole in its roster and budget now that it's fired poor ozone-doper Alessandro Ballan. Wah, wah, you got Cadel for the Giro and Tejay for the Tour, but who better to shine for you at the beautiful Vuelta than Samu? And it's not like Lampre don't already have too many cooks in the kitchen, either--c'mon, BMC, take out that checkbook and Give Samu a Ride!

"Tattoo Tom" Comes Along: finally, nice to see Tom Boonen threatening some 2012-era form already at the Tour de San Luis today, and, according to the swooning local press, he's got some bangin' new ink to boot. Watch out, Pippo--dashing new bike-short tats or no, Tommeke's catching up with you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Now *That's* a Gnarly Doping Control; the Season Takes Off; and, Carnage Report!

If You Have an Erection Lasting Longer Than Four Hours, Tell Your Team Doctor He !@#$ed You Up: so, thought you'd mercifully heard the last of serial eejit/banned for life ex-cyclist Danilo DiLuca? Nope, he's back honey, and--with the exception of having enough politesse, or at least self-preservation, not to name names--ready to squawk about doping in the peloton. First up: 90% of the peloton is doping, as are all the top 10 finishers in the Giro d'Italia, so quit pickin' on him you meanies! Second, as an EPO aficionado--and an inept one at that--he's completely calling bull!@#$ on the idea that you can ingest that stuff unintentionally, particularly (and he does make sense here) if the best way to take it is to stick a needle in your !@#. As for other designer drugs? Well, Viagra, as a vasodilator, is apparently useful when it's cold out, but *he* sure as hell wouldn't take it--I mean, the guy has standards! Uh, am I the only one feeling exceedingly sorry for the poor bastard asked to check for evidence of Viagra ingestion at the post-race doping control? I swear, they can't pay those guys enough...

And We're Off!: Before we get to actual results, let's all howl at the top of our lungs how a peloton without our dear orange-and-black Euskaltel completely sucks eggs, shall we? There! But still, the season's finally kicked off, and while Saxo boss Oleg Tinkov can pity impoverished Garmin impresario Jonathan Vaughters all he wants, he sure oughta envy his results: approximately ten minutes into the season, Vaughters protege Phil Gaimon has already bagged his first win with the big boys in the Tour de San Luis. Well done, whippersnapper! And has anyone yet explained how Simon Gerrans--brilliant a rider as he is--actually kicked Andre "the Gorilla" Greipel to the curb in a sprint at the Tour Down Under? Here, the San Luis recap, with a great beat to boot: Welcome back peloton--it's been a loooooooong off-season!

Carnage Report!: sadly, with the start of the season comes also the start of the destruction, with poor Tommy "the Grimace" Voeckler crashed out before he even leaves team camp with a crap re-break of his just-healed collarbone, philosophical Movistar good-guy Giovanni Visconti mourning the lonely 5-week road back from a snapped tibia, and both valued Cav lead-out Ale-jet Petacchi and inevitable-future-Tour-winner Nairo Quintana both whacked with stomach ailments at San Luis. Hey, I thought you only got a "stomach ailment" when you were about to test poz for something! Well, better to hear it's just some lousy bug, if it has to be anything, I guess...anyway, get well soon boys, and Alessandro, with Cav's beloved Renshaw back in his train, you sure don't want him getting too used to your absence!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

So That's How He's Getting Rid of Contador; and, Oleg, Giver of Alms

Color Me Badd: yep, the same week that Team SaxoTinkoff busts out its bright new team kit, goes on an all-out PR offensive that YES ALBERTO IS TOO THE SAME UNBEATABLE CHAMPION HE WAS BEFORE HIS TDF WAS STRIPPED, and publishes an all's-well kissy-fest between Bjarne Riis and his--uh, his team's--new owner, nutwhack oligarch Oleg Tinkov unveils his secret back-up plan: if he doesn't think that little twerp Alberto'll get 'im results, he'll have the team boycott the Tour de France if the race organizers don't pony up big dough to keep 'im in it! Also, he's sorry Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters is a broke-!@# sponsor-bitch, and has kindly offered him gruel for life. Aw, who said the 1% don't share?

Giro Dreams of Nairo: meantime, way to blow about the Tour GC by stickin' in one lousy section of pave', as 2013 baby podium revelations Nairo Quintana wisely aims to hone his craft at the cobble-less Giro instead, which, unfortunately for Movistar, leaves it to luckless Alejandro Valverde to (1) pick up some freak tropical infection that only attacks the leg muscles (2) drop his chain two yards from the summit of the queen stage or (3) personally spontaneously combust into a shower of smoke and ashes come July. Well, at least y'all still got Nairo for the Vuelta, too!

Nipple Wars: in other news, congrats to Fabian Cancellara's Team Trek for joining Froomey's Sky in the see-through skinsuit craze, which not only means a bonanza for the lucky European sunscreen industry, but also means that sheer mesh catsuits are gonna replace speedos and neon banana-hammocks as the screaming camera-whore fan's running-wear of choice next to the pissed-off stars on the Alpe d'Huez. Not to be outdone, cover-boy Pippo Pozzato has defiantly announced that instead of wearing *any* team kit in 2014, he's simply gonna tattoo the image of some bike shorts and a saddle right on his !@# and ride the season that way. Let the fashion wars begin!

A Humble Offer: finally, I see Movement for Credible Cycling has got out its latest weapon in the neverending war on doping that hasn't happened anyway since 2006: peloton, show your pride with these spiffy new sky-blue I'm Clean! bracelets! Yeah, well, I *personally* offer--I swear--100 euros to the first active ProTour cyclist who wears a black "I'm a !@#Damn Dirty Doper" bracelet at a race this season. C'mon, you know who you are--hell, the bans you've served (or are gonna), you could probably use the money anyway!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pretty In Pink: Horner Finds a Home?

He Wore Blue....Spandex: so after weeks of speculation, a harsh diss against Christina Watches for hell at least half giving him a lifetime, Vuelta champ Chris Horner, whose most recent likely gig looked like the freakin' unemployment line, has apparently snagged a serious ProTour gig with...stylin' princelings Cunego and Pozzato at Lampre? Me, I'm thinking it's a little like throwing in a snortling stumpy drooling bulldog amidst a pampered pack of diamond-collared high-strung poodles, but then, maybe he'll shake 'em all out of their obsession with flash and bring some actual bang to the squad. Anyway, Rui Costa, remember *you're* World Champion so don't take any crap, Chris, good luck, if this isn't some colossal wise-!@# January Fool's joke, *now* can somebody please Samuel Sanchez because this is clearly *complete* bull!@#$ if he remains hosed--and damn Horner, I know Baden Cooke's working for you for free, but you owe him some *serious* schwag if he signs you this job!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

It's the 2014 Vuelta a Espana, Beeyotches (Unless You're Chris Horner, That Is)!

Whoa nellie, viciously-underappreciated Grand Tour fans, the fabulous Vuelta a Espana route is out, and it's a humdinger! Out: 4 of the 12 mountaintop finishes at last year's brutally entertaining route, for a mere sprinter-friendly total o' 8, the Euskaltel-lovin' (oh! I still can't stand it!) Pyrenees, !@#$-me-I'm-the-reigning-Vuelta-champ-and-I-can't-even-score-an-invite-to-the-presentation-much-less-a-team-for-the-damn-party Chris Horner. In: I-better-at-least-save-my-rep-with-this-one-if-I-choke-on-the-Tour Contador, I-will-break-your-domestiques'-kneecaps-to-grab-this-sucker-if-I-can't-win-the-Giro Purito Rodriguez, 1 team time trial, 2 individual team trials, 5 medium/rolling stages, 5 freakin' sprint finishes (and what the Tour de France hell is that about?) and, despite its less extravagant sadism than before, really a quite leg-nipping final 10 days that oughtn't decide the final podium 'til even wee Contador is crying in his muesli. And damn, a pile a' heretical *sprints* just when dear Euskaltel even got a credible fast-man on its squad last year! Anyway, we still love you Vuelta--and riders, quit usin' it as a late-season consolation prize for your blowin' the Tour!

Back to Business (School): meantime, the symbiotic brothers Schleck are back in action, with Frank, who actually can ride alone (albeit with a little, well, help), inexplicably stuck changing diapers for Andy *again* so the baby brother can crawl away, and, just to show they're done with their season-long casual-Friday-attitude bull!@#$, Trek's put 'em in somber banker businessy pinstripes, with a witty white shoulder for a little wacky cyclist pizzaz. That oughta make up for Andy's inability to descend--maybe someone in the pack'll mistake him for the tarmac and inadvertently give 'im a little push. Oh, it's enough to make one long for the hot-pink Telekom days--at least we've got the riotous Yellow-Fluo to be able to pick *some* guys out in the peloton! And in the interests of ladylike delicacy, I'll spare you today's lurid twit-fest o' revealing Astana'n'Thor Hushovd photos, at least unless y'all ask--after all, isn't that what Pippo Pozzato is for?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Leave Phil Liggett Alone (Again), !@&dammit!

Fine, Phil Liggett said today he thinks the young peloton is clean, and of course, now everyone's piling on him for it and for his years of denial about everyone else. Let's get this straight--!@#$ off! Lookit. Phil is the sweet innocent kid whose sadistic smug bastard of a big brother just told him there's no Santa Claus. (Okay, like ten years ago, but still.) He has heard the words, he has seen the proof, he has seen the fake beard and cheap red suit in his parents' closet, and nonetheless he believes. He is marshalling every bit of evidence in his favor. There are presents under the tree. The milk and cookies left for him have objectively been nibbled at. He has personally sat on his lap at the mall. There are whole Christmas specials about the man. You can send him letters, even e-mail him. NORAD tracks him by satellite every year for Chrissakes--the government wouldn't lie! And whether you like Phil or not, we still need him. He is credulous--yes, he is a flat-out naif. But all arguments (and not all unfair or unreasonable) to the contrary, he is not the, or even really a, problem with this sport. He reminds us, with every breathless broadcast, with every unquestioning cheer, with every visceral memory of a particular local wine and particular local cheese in a particular local bar that calls up a particular stage that he talks about, that the fantastic, however unlikely--and however brief if it is likely--can still occur. That years of relentless dedication can lead to one perfect suspended moment, that eight people with completely different interests and skills and egos and desires can yet unite for a few short hours in a single goal, that physical effort and achievement--so far from those of us who can't bike out of our own driveways without gasping for a water bottle and power bar--can be its own kind of art, that one stupid random millimeter can snap a life's work to pieces in an instant, that the fleeting fragile beauty of this sport, however flawed and worldly and conflicted and dirty and downright mean it can be, is nonetheless something worth cherishing. Otherwise, why do any of us care about any of this? Every dream needs its dreamers--don't blame him, even now, for not being the cleanup crew. We still love you Phil!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Froomey In the Sky Mesh Skinsuit: Dang, I Shoulda Made His New Year's Resolution "Cover Up"

Yes, the intrepid team kit designers are out to confuse again for a new season, so how to spot yer fave rider in the pack (or lead group)? Here's your roundup:

Sky: If you see skin, you see Sky. Thank god for privacy panels!

Ag2R: brown may be the color of chocolate, but on Ag2R, it's the color of bugly. Bad enough they don't win, you gotta punish 'em by putting them in this?

Lampre: less sparkly 'n' more reserved blue, but still some sparkly pink. Come back, original garish princess Lampre!

It's Still Liquigas Dammit/Cannondale: no official word yet, but reportedly, ever-shy Peter Sagan again blasts the floodlights. CAN YOU SEE ME? CAN YOU SEE ME? CAN YOU SEE ME?

Omega Pharma Quick Step: what, it's not just enough that Cav's the one at the front? Oh, right, that Kittel guy!

Astana: not as much sunny yellow or (even worse) no giant pic of Vino's face on the front, but they'll still kick your !@# anyway. We love you Vino!

Garmin: Aw, it's got a panda on it. Vaughters, you coy cynical manipulator!

Trek Factory Racing: officially unveiled January 10, but from all indicators, black black black black black. Geez, we get you're in mourning hiring Andy Schleck and all, but can you at least not demoralize 'im right off the bat?

Euskaltel-Euskadi: what else? Orange and--waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

All right, you got your party outfits on, and Bronzini's already bagged her first race--the rest of you, get *moving*!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

It's Your Cyclist Video Roundup Part Un--Musical Edition!

Look, except for 'cross, which I am grossly unqualified to comment on except to note that Tim Johnson is a hometown god, ain't nobody racing at the moment, so let's start the New Year off with a bang with a Cyclist Video Roundup, Musical Edition! Here:

Happy 2014 to All--now get on your boogie shoes!