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?