Friday, July 04, 2014

It's Yer 2014 Tour de France in Preview: the Climbers, Roleurs, 'n' Everyone Else We Love (Or Don't!) Roundup!

Tic-toc, you can't make it stop, baby, because it's one day left to the Grand Boucle, so time for our final pre-Tour preview! So last but not very least: the mountain goats, and yer everyone else who's in or out who we love, or just love to hate!

Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler: whose face embodies the angst, the glory, the tragedy, the suffering of the Tour de France? That's right, Tommy Voeckler--and that's all before he gets to the day's sign-in! Watch him for the ebb and flow of attack after attack, the surge of triumph and the gutted visage of defeat. We love you Voeckler--you're like the overacting soccer player of cycling!

Jeeeeeeeeeeeens! Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeens! Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeens! really, need one say more? He just got to Yorkshire and already completed a geocache! Plus reconned the course, rebuilt his own bicycle, participated in a barn-raising, repaired Big Ben, took the Queen out to a rave, and personally hammered Sir Brad a new suit of armor. See you in the breakaways, Jens!

Purito Rodriguez: yes, I put 'im in with GC, tho' he's basically here because he crashed out of the Giro and needs some miles--but not pounded out too hard--for the Vuelta. Me, I'm putting him in for a stage win. Woot woot!

Rui Costa: he's the world champ, he just bagged the Tour de Suisse after a typical curse-of-the-rainbow-jersey start to the season, and he aims, if not to win, to make a fuss. Plus, if you piss 'im off, he'll whang the crap out of you with the nearest bike wheel. Now *that's* world-class!

Sylvain Chavanel: for years, along with Sandy Casar, pretty much the only reason the French *didn't* suck. He doesn't make a fuss, but he always scares the crap out of his unlucky companions in a breakaway. Class act all 'round!

Christophe Riblon: no, still not a huge name, but he *did* win the Alpe d'Huez last year. Who wouldn't like a double?

Darwin Atapuma: Colombia's latest sensation among a sea of latest Colombian sensation, this boy has a hell of a future--and luckily, at the last minute, a freakin' visa. Good support for his boss at BMC, and a massive threat in the heights if he gets the nod to strike out on his own for a stage!

Andrew Talansky: yeah, I got smacked for leaving him out before, but here he is: the man who outsmarted--and out-rode--Alberto Contador on the highest passes of the Dauphine. He may not get GC, but if he can hang in for three weeks, he can sure place high--and afford to throw in a body-crushing performance on at least one mountain stage. Let Nibs Alberto and Froomey mark each other--Andrew, take full advantage! Along those lines, Michal Kwiatkowski, 11th last year, who should be able to put on a pretty sweet show despite some recent uneven form. Allez allez boys!

Ex-Carrots: look, I'm not apologizing for Alejandro Valverde here--he still creeps me out. But damn, he's got a great squad of mostly ex-Euskies to back him, and you can't fault Valverde for his total generosity to his teammates in the face of personal setback. Benat, Ion, the whole lot of you--be ready to step up after Piti's inevitable meltdown!

Chris Horner: the oldest Grand Tour winner is back, without huge expectations but still having to convince everyone he really deserved his big win last year. But for !@#$'s sake, if he gets another concussion, take him *off* the bike before the stage ends!

Fabian Cancellara: oh, no, I didn't forget your darling, Fabs fans! He's predicting monster GC chaos on the fateful cobbles, and I'm betting (oops! jinxed 'im!) he'll come out on top. Go Fabs!

Finally, the Missing: out: the incredibly annoying unctuous hypocrite David "I Hearted Doping Til Others Got to Do It Without Me" Millar, who took to social media to whine about his rejection for the final Tour de France Jonathan Vaughters apparently owed him. Everytime this guy opens his mouth, no matter what the topic, I swear it makes me nostalgic for omerta. But don't worry, fans, he'll apparently be the mosquito in yer ears over on British commentary! Nairo, of course, as Movistar herds its baby superstar cautiously. And Cadel, and Uran, and Gilbert. Worst of all on the out list: the glamorous Pippo Pozzato, who's reportedly planning in revenge to pop up and take a nekkid selfie right next to the day's stage winners as they cross the finish line. Well, that settles who wins the queen stage, I guess--now get that guy a maillot jaune before he shocks the innocent public!

Ah, Jeez!: I can't believe I nearly missed mentioning we love Ted King, who got completely screwed out of the Tour de France last year by a pack of soulless nit-picker bean-counter judges, who kicked his !@# over a measly 7 seconds after a nasty crash while repeatedly letting more well-known riders (Cav! Cav! 'scuse me, must be a frog in my throat) off the hook. When he's helping Sagan to yet another stage win over a suck French rider, race organizers, remember that!

No comments: