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!