Friday, August 29, 2014

Oh Yeah, We've Hit the Mountains, Baby!; and, It's Yer Peloton Perp-Walk Roundup! #LaVuelta

First, an important health update from the Vuelta a Espana peloton: Peter Sagan and Carlos Betancur are still fat and out of shape, which means, in cycling-speak, that (1) they're still wraiths, but you can't quite see their actual skeletons without an X-ray, and (2) they can still literally eat mountains for breakfast while you're gacking up your local col like it's Alpe d'Huez, which explains all those jagged gaps that've suddenly appeared in the Pyrenees. I'm sure some Hollywood starlet could update you on the latest disgusting and laxative kale-juice cleanse, boys, if just cutting back to 8,000 calories a day while you're riding doesn't cut it!

Holy Crap It's Finally the Mountains, Baby!: and, after days of flattish sprinty finishes, 2 really impressive breakaways from some Pim guy who's clearly on the hunt for a big salary increase (or just contract renewal) outta Lotto-Belisol, and a total whiny beeyotch sissy-fit from Nacer Bouhanni over John Degenkolb kicking his !@# completely fairly in a sprint, we've finally hit the whole point o' the Vuelta a Espana, the fabulous climbs! Lessons learned: (1) Chris Froome's being able to climb so much better'n everyone else when wasted nuke-plants of energy flailing around like a just-tased stork has gotta mean he's some kind of physiological freak; (2) either Alberto Contador is the toughest son of a b on the planet, or Oleg's just sworn to soak 'im in ice water and leave him butt-naked in the snow on some desolate Siberian tundra to be eaten by wolves if doesn't overcome his broken tibia and grab a queen-stage win or the whole show; (3) Alejandro Valverde, who let's be honest creeps the lot of us out already, really *is* happy to superdomestique for his young team leader Quintana as long as he beats 'im; (4) watching half of Euskaltel completely stomp the field for everyone else without actually being ensconced in orange and black is a daily damn kick in the nuts, and (5) we love Purito Rodriguez is, though stretching his legs with a gentle attack, clearly just faking the rest of the podium contenders out by holding back until he whacks 'em like a goon with a two-by-four at the end of week three. Keep going, Purito--we *know* you can do it, don't we!

Fry 'Em!: yes, there's a wonderful Grand Tour on, but lest you foolishly think the sport of cycling is all about, well, y'know, actually cycling, there's also some key legal developments to cover: (1) Orica-Greenedge's Daryl Impey has actually been cleared to ride on the grounds he really did ingest the handy diuretic Probenecid accidentally, so welcome back and sorry 'bout that lost season so hope he sues someone's pants off to him; and (2) extremely useful sidelined Alberto Contador wingman Roman Kreuziger's hearing on his bio-passport bust appeal is currently scheduled for September, just in time to screw the rest of his season after falsely getting his hopes up. Shoulda fixed those blood values *before* they set your passport baselines, kid! But wait, there's more: we love that canny bastard Alexander Vinokourov has categorically denied cheating his way into a Liege-Bastogne-Liege win, declaring, "I bought that !@#$er from Kolobnev fair and square!" Wait, did I translate that right? Anyway, I've got a serious question here: if a bunch of asshat amateurs 'n' newbies keep getting popped for EPO this week, is it either (1) the pro peloton, which is a hell of a lot faster'n these guys, is really clean now and there's nothing to nail 'em on or (2) the pro peloton's still dirty as Al--uh, dirty, but they're (a) not using EPO anymore at all or (b) just generally using a lot higher-quality !@#$ with a lot higher-quality advice on how not to get nailed for it? Inquiring aspiring sleazebags need to know!

Well, I'm mostly off-gridish for a coupla days, so to give a quick preview, today: a lumpy little breakaway/puncheur playground; Saturday, a (nearly) last-gasp playground for the sprinters; Sunday, a cat-one thrilla finish to Aramon Valdelinares; and Monday, a 36.7k screw-Purito-Rodriguez-outta-GC-*again* individual time trial. Oh for heck's same, *someone* take some time back outta Froome--but doesn't it seems a little impressive (and no, I imply nothing here) how well Quintana's been doing at this discipline lately? Anyhoo, in case you missed it, Universal Sports sums up the action from yesterday, and holy crap, is that a tornado? With these lightweight little pipsqueaks, they were lucky not to all get sucked up into the vortex like matchsticks!

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