Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's Yer 2015 New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Yes, the debauchery is over, the hangovers have passed, and now it's time for all the good--and not so good--folks o' the peloton to vow to improve their filthy, sinning selves for next year. And to give them just the help they need, we here at racejunkie have done it for them--it's yer 2015 New Year Resolutions for the Peloton!

1. Alberto Contador: I will do the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple. And win it.

2. Oleg Tinkov: Alberto will do the Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple. And win it. Or I will squish him like an ant.

3. Alexander Vinokourov: I vow to get 5 more doping pozes on my squad this year. They'll probably give me a *two* year WorldTour license for that!

4. Mark Cavendish: I will knock that preening Eurotrash Kittel down off his pedestal. That, or I'll shave his head in his sleep, the showy bastard!

5. Peter Sagan: I will win a major Belgian Classic. And if not, I will distract the crowd with some obscure gesturing movie reference or pop a wheelie over Quintana's head.

6. Purito Rodriguez: I will podium at the Giro, Tour, or Vuelta. Because racejunkie will be heartbroken if I don't.

7. Nairo Quintana. I promise to share team leadership with Alejandro Valverde at the Tour de France this year. Ha ha, fake-out!

8. Marianne Vos: I vow to kick back with a nice bowl of popcorn and a cold one and watch a "Downton Abbey" marathon. How the hell else is anyone besides me gonna win a race next season?

9. Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix. Sixth time's the charm, baby!

10. Jens Voigt: I'll get my DS license. And start a new clothing line. And set the hour record again. And set the day record. And set the year record. And I'll ride alongside the guys at the Tour of California the whole way just for fun. And start my own coffee bar. And build a high-end bicycle line out of toothpicks. And wear the Alps down to nubs just riding up and down 'em for no reason. And...

11. Brad Wiggins: I will--no, I guess I really won't do anything this year either!

12. UCI: we will put up 8 jillion dollars of our own cash to re-fund and re-start we still miss Euskaltel-Euskadi. Oh Euskaltel!

13. Giro d'Italia Organizers: we will move the Stelvio stage to mid-January this year, and replace the riders' and teams' race radios with strings strung between empty soup cans. *That* oughta !@#$ those guys over!

14. Alejandro Valverde: I'll carry lots of sterile gauze around. 'Cause god knows I'll need something to plug the holes I'll have from the narcs pricking me to find out why I'm riding like such a freak again this year!

15. Michal Kwiatkowski: I'll break the curse of the rainbow jersey and win a race this year. No, I mean it, I will! Whaddaya mean, "who?"

16. Samuel Sanchez: I will make BMC pay for what they have done to me. Aw, no I won't, I'm too nice. Darn it!

17. Tour de France: We will not have a single doping positive this year, again. UCI has seen to that!

18. Brian Cookson: I will support a minimum wage for the female riders. Like, 5 euros an hour oughta cover the cost of their manicures and hair-salon appointments, right?

Well, as you can see, the sport's all officially cleaned up nice for next year. On to 2015, and remember kids, we'll be watching, so keep yer promises you layabouts!

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's Yer 2014 Racejunkie Awards!

Yes, put on your heels, wax your back thatch, inject silicone into yer lips and haul your boobs u--uh, wrong awards show, but anyway, it's that time of year, folks, and while the hoi polloi are throwin' themselves big congratulatory incestuous ho-fests of prime-time TV awards galas, it's time for cycling fans to throw our own! So, without further ado, the good, the bad, the questionable, and the just plain horrifying of Year in Pro Cycling 2014!

Grotesque Enabler of 2014: and this prestigious first-time award goes to...UCI President Brian "New Generation" Cookson, for punishing Astana and its truly impressive 5 doping positives with a WorldTour license while race-enlivening but slightly broke-!@# Tommy the Grimace Voeckler's fine Europcar gets tossed in the incinerator like yesterday's clandestine team-bus medical debris. Damn, UCI, keep that !@#$ up and guys'll be snarfing masking agents right during their post-race urine tests!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year: Raised-by-pigs Walter Perez, of Team Nobody Gives a !@#$ and You Guys Never Win Anything Anyway, sucker-punches Lotto nice-guy Kenny Dehaes right in the face during a sprint, apparently because Walter hadn't brains enough to get a decent place in his own right. And, in fact, Kenny was *so* nice he didn't do anything back for fear of bringing down other riders. !@#$, even Cav'd just chew your helmet to pieces. One free hit for Kenny, and then let this go like gentlemen!

Crushing Disappointment of 2014: sure, it's the weight of completely ludicrous expectations, but if you're gonna be a wheelie-poppin' camera-whore with swooning fans blocking everyone else's view of the peloton waving giant picture-blowups of yer face on wooden stakes, suck it up. Plus, with a 4.3 million euro gig for the upcoming year to console you, I don't wanna even *hear* any whining. Peter Sagan, this one's for you--now I *don't* want to see you win this one again next year!

Rider of the Year: Marianne Vos. Damn, she's Rider of Every Year. Bow, beeyotches, before your queen!

Crash o' the Year (Extended Rehab Edition): Ever-cheerful Taylor Phinney's leg-crushing hit at the US Championships. He's down, but he's clearly not out--just follow the kid's interviews and tell me he won't be back with a vengeance in 2015!

Crash o' the Year (Oh, !@#$! Edition): Mark Cavendish, going down by the barriers and visibly instantly knowing his Tour de France was over--and *just* when he was he was getting his confidence and his street cred back after constant poundings from New Big Thing Marcel Kittel. Like you didn't jump outta yer chair swearing along with millions of other fans!

Crash o' the Year (GC Gift Edition): Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the Tour de France, who left like 2 obscure neo-pros to try fruitlessly to take on Vincenzo Nibali. A lion among toothless mewling kitty-cats--it'll be much more fun if that don't happen next year!

Corresponding Energizer Bunny Award: y'know, normally, this goes to Stuey O'Grady, or some Belgian hardman who gets run over by tanks or a thundering herd of elephants and still not only takes a stage win but a major Classics win as well. But this year, a sincere chapeau to Skymaster Chris Froome, who took a licking--okay, like 40 hard, bloody, pavement-smacking lickings--before he finally gave up ticking at the Tour de France. Now *that* is a man who loves his sport!

Corresponding From Here to Eternity Award: yep, Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali, who let's face it despite his obvious Grand Tour prowess will always have a giant "What If?" hangin' over Froome-and-Contador-less 2014 win. He (and Vino) may be justly pissed, but it's question-marked nonetheless for all time. But as Lo Squalo pointed out, part of winning the Tour is just staying upright--oh, snap, you clods!

Farrah Fawcett Memorial Trophy: yeah, yeah, he can sprint. In fact, pretty spectacularly. Oh, but that's nothing compared to how he can toss his hair like a 70s pinup icon. Well, not toss it, but it sure does look pretty in its stiff-standing glory. Marcel Kittel, your pompadour may climb on stage to receive your award. And next year, you might win for something you can do on your bike!

The Little Engine That Could Award: Nairo Quintana, next year's pint-size Tour de France threat. and boy, was he pissed he wasn't allowed to "could" at the Tour this year!

Doping Excuse of the Year: y'know, I almost didn't award this, because there's only one obvious winner, and he had a near-tragically terrible time the first time he got busted. But in fairness, it's still gotta go to Mauro Santambrogio, popped again while still on double-secret probation because, he claimed, he was being treated for erectile dysfunction. Worse, he apparently got the okay from the doctors first. If that's true, that is one mean screwup to bust him for it--any o' you guys have anything *you* wanna share?!

The Walking (Well, Riding) Dead Prize: like anything *else* than a chomping zombie undead takeover can explain Alejandro Valverde's unstoppable performance this year? Jaysus, what rocket-fueled supernatural demon-spawn bit *that* guy?

Best Team of 2014: Sky. Just kidding! This one's clearly for crazed dictator Oleg Tinkov's Team Tinkoff-Saxo, who somehow won damn near every remaining stage of the Tour de France after Contador left. Or else!

Fine French Whine Prize: wait, they actually didn't bag this one so much this year--in a remarkably instantaneous reversal of two solid decades o' suck, they got two frickin' podium spots at the Tour de France! Next up--Frenchman actually wins his home Tour in 2025. Well, like anything, a good vintage takes time to develop!

Suck Transfer of the Year: ok, technically, they took place earlier. But this is a three-fer for we love big lug Thor Hushovd, god-o'-the-Ardennes/former world champ Philippe Gilbert, and of course we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's An Olympic Gold Medalist!" Samuel Sanchez, all of whom took a vicious dive the minute they joined the ungrateful, and underutilizing, BMC. You suck BMC--now give Samu back his contract!

And Finally, The Edge of Night Award: yep, he went gently into that good night--so gently, hardly anyone realized this former hot-headed Rival-o'-the-Century to Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, hadn't already physically and mentally retired a year ago. Good luck Andy--at least you've got that belated maillot jaune to remember the sport by!

Well, them's mine, and if I missed anything, spit it out. So for now, come up and grab yer trophies, you shameful miscreants--and don't none of you pull this !@#$ again in 2015!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Yer 2014 Pro Cycling Year In Review! #cycling

Yep, as 2014 draws to its chaotic close, and as the umpteenth playback of "Santa Got Run Over By A Reindeer" and mugs of spiked egg-nog cloud our brains, it's time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the plain butt-ugly of our beloved--and, as always, it's given us a truck-load of all three! So, without further ado:

January: Samuel Sanchez threatens to retire. Who gives a crap what else happened all month? Anyhoo, Gerrans wins 3rd Tour Down Under, Sky mesh skinsuits immolate Froomey, leave pile of ashes as Sky's GC contender for Tour de France; Viagra's the hot new doping product, cue the cheesy 70s pornstaches!

February: Patrick "Who?" Sinkewitz gets 8-year ban for failing to be as cute as Dave Zabriskie--uh, butt-kiss CAS; Valverde off to skeevily fantastic start at Ruta del Sol; doping benefits last waaaaay longer than the drugs themselves, Astana throws 3-day EPO-fueled "training camp", Iglinsky brothers accidentally set world land-speed record on rusty Big Wheels; women get 1/21th of a Tour de France, hailed as greatest improvement in women's cycling since they stopped making Marianne Vos compete in pantaloons. Next year they can wear helmets instead of sunbonnets!

March: Contador wins at Tirreno, Sky's mechanic generously offers to "fix his bike for him" in July; Peter Sagan disappoints as Kristoff takes Sanremo; John Degenkolb wins bloody Gent-Wevelgem as Tyler Farrar of course takes down Greipel, who immediately pounds him into the ground like a tent peg; Wiggo generously promises to "help" Froome by, uh--!@#$, he never actually *does* anything for him in 2014, does he?

April: It's the Classics, Beeyotches! Peter Sagan is crushing disappointment in every single race, receives 4.3 million euro raise; Fabs takes Flanders; Stijn Devolder crashes record-setting 367 times in single race, stuck back together with duct tape, Hammer Gel, and spit; Contador pulls controversial wheel-suck on Valverde at Tour of the Basque country, shrugs to press "like *that* little freak can complain?"; numbnut loses mystery pills on course, later determined to be "not half so bad as that !@#$ Sky is taking"; Niki Terpstra takes Paris-Roubaix as Tom Boonen superdomestiques 'im to the win. Oh *c'mon*, Tommeke, you've only got like another year or two to take this again!

May: It's the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby! Race organizers go on grappa bender over being dissed by big stars for Tour de France prep, podium babes knocked out flat from fumes; Uran grabs maglia rosa as other GC contenders talk smack; Nairo Quintana takes advantage of crap weather on Stelvio as rest of frozen peloton demands mommies blankies before descent; Quintana wins race, gets lost in upholstery of Giro throne, doesn't resurface 'til August; Boonen slams everyone else at Tour of Belgium, gets giant keg of co--beer. Did I mention it's the fabulous Giro d'Italia, baby?!

June: Oh yeah, it's the road to the Tour! Crack Spanish authorities throw doper out of Gran Fondo, pronounce somehow miss THE ENTIRE REST OF THEIR RIDERS FOR !@#$'S SAKE; Froome caught on camera huffing on inhaler on climb during Dauphine, "new" UCI totally cool with it; Vincenzo "the Shark" Nibali chews through press corps in gory feeding frenzy when they refuse to mention him along with Froomey and Contador as Tour de France GC contenders.

July: Listen up, publicity whores, it's the Tour de France! Cav crashes out six centimeters into start of race, still doesn't keep Sagan from sucking; Froome, Contador crash out, press *still* ignores Vincenzo Nibali, Alexander Vinokourov shoots long-range missiles into press tent as Oleg Tinkov "encourages" remaining troops to unusual series of victories; Luke Durbridge beats crap outta Movistar soigneur, awarded lucrative pro-boxing contract; French actually *don't* suck, Bernard Hinault revived with smelling salts; shut the !@#$ up, we love Purito Rodriguez was just giving someone else a chance this year!

August: Jens Voigt announces retirement! All the heavens weep, flowers wilt, milk turns sour and oceans turn to giant fetid puddles of suck; Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claims bio-passport bust due to being "so wasted last night, man!", fellow frat-brother hurls on UCI prez Cookson at press conference; Contador, Froome announce they'll ride the Vuelta on broken everythings, Purito spotted in local library doing anonymous Google search on "how much Xanax do you have to sneak into a bidon for it to work"; it's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby!

September: did I mention it's the smashing Vuelta a Espana, baby? Contador crushes Froome in mountains as Dutch mistake Froome's flailing for windmill, use him to grind grain; Brad Wiggins takes men's TT, redeems crap season, whines into pretty much retirement; Pauline Ferrand-Prevot wins women's Worlds road race as big-name stars sit up 5k before the line, decide to go out for a beer instead; Michal Kwiatkowski takes men's championship in upset as Valverde dumps bucket of tacks over Breschel, Gerrans; Oleg Tinkov challenges 2015 Tour de France GC contenders to do Giro/Tour double with Alberto, but decides to do Giro/Tour/Vuelta triple himself BECAUSE ALL OF YOU ARE PATHETIC WORM WEAKLINGS! I ALREADY WORE DOWN THE PYRENEES INTO VALLEYS RIDING THEM SO MUCH YOU VERMIN! ALBERTO WILL BE MY SOIGNEUR !@#$# NEXT YEAR! YOU...

October: WHY THE HELL DOESN'T SAMUEL SANCHEZ HAVE A CONTRACT !@#DAMMIT?; Dan Martin takes Lombardia over still-frighteningly-surging robot Valverde; despondent injured Andy Schleck retires, no-one has heart to tell the poor guy they all thought he--wait, even *I'm* not mean enough to rag on 'im; 46 Astana riders, team-bus drivers, and towel boys test positive for drugs, Vino looks up from tapping air out of syringe to say it's all a total coincidence; Froome threatens to bow out of Tour de France if organizers don't let him plan every stage, 2015 Tour now has 16 days of time trials. Sucks to be you next July, Alberto!

November: Sick !@#$ UCI president Brian Cookson suggests shortening the Giro & Vuelta because they're not already overshadowed by the gaudy slutfest of the Tour de France ENOUGH, you wanker; Vuelta organizer tosses in 40k flat time trial to bribe Froomey, agrees to provide boy to run beside him fanning him with palm leaf during hot-weather mountain stages; roadside fan-favorite Didi "the Devil" Senft retires, actual Lord of Hell replaces him with Alexander Vinokourov; Andy Schleck awarded 2010 Tour de France, still didn't win it. And where the !@#$ is Samuel Sanchez' new contract?!

December: Time for Team Camps! Oleg Tinkov harnesses Tinkoff-Saxo boys to gear-loaded sled like Huskies, forces them to haul him across frozen Siberian tundra on foot on diet of dog food; Astana gives up the charade, holds training camp in Michele Ferrari's living room; Europcar denied WorldTour license for minor budget shortfall, Thomas "the Grimace" Voeckler's face really *does* freeze like that, just like his mamma said it would; Cookson vows to crush Astana in zero-tolerance show of force, renews WorldTour license, buys all the boys seaside summer homes and tattoos Vino's name on his !@# with a big red heart around it. Ouch, *that*'ll teach 'em! Nope, still no Samu contract...

Well, by my count, these clowns still got 12 days to add all kindsa hijinks to the list. So let's hope they hold it together, and meantime, onwards to 2015--next up, the 2014 Annual Racejunkie Awards, and Yer 2015 Year in Preview!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's A Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton! #cycling

Oh, sure, they may get on our nerves now and then by, y'know, recklessly causing someone else to crash at the line like a punk-!@#, or replacing their entire bloodstreams with doping products, but they also still thrill us every day for months on end with blistering attacks, excruciating climbs, daring descents and nail-biter sprints for the line. And dag nabit, we still love them no matter what. So, in the magnanimous spirit of the holidays, and with the presumption that every single one of 'em deserves to be on the Nice list, here's my Merry Festivus Wish List for the Peloton!

1. Peter Sagan: A major, serious Classics win. Because (1) Oleg Tinkov'll hurt him if he don't and (2) Tom Boonen's gonna take the rest of 'em anyway!

2. We Love Samuel Sanchez: A contract! A freakin' contract! Why won't someone worthwhile give him one? Aiiiiggggghhhhhhhh!

3. Alberto Contador: the Tour de France. Oh, come on, like he wouldn'a won it last year if he hadn't snapped his tibia!

4. Chris Froome: a lifetime supply of high-SPF sunscreen. Still sympathetically wincing from that mesh-skinsuit fiasco over here!

5. Fabian Cancellara: a squad that can halfway match and support his incredible talent. Even Spartacus can't do *everything*!

6. Marianne Vos: a *full*, three week Tour de France route. And a Giro. And a Vuelta. And a damn raise!

7. Marcel Kittel: after the year he had--and more importantly, the smashing hair he has--what more could he actually want for?

8. Dr. Michele Ferrari: Immunity. Now yap, you weasel!

9. Tyler Farrar: one of those gyroscope thingies like in a Segway that keeps you from falling over. 'Cause goodness knows the poor guy couldn't stay upright otherwise this year!

10. Alexander Vinokourov: y'know, I was *gonna* wish him this cool invincible superhero Teflon force-field that can repel and destroy all threats, but apparently he's already got one. How else could he still be getting away with all this !@#$?

11. Brian Cookson of UCI: a spine, which is a lot nicer'n what I could've said. Really, you gave Astana a WorldTour license over Europcar? The hell with the letter of the rules--how the heck does that advance their *spirit*?!

12. Mark Cavendish: The green jersey at next year's Tour. And a coupla stage wins. A poor reward for his crap crash-out at the Tour de France--and just when he was getting his mojo back!

13. Michal Kwiatkowski: a major stage win. At a *real* race, not some petty-!@# zero-rated nowheresville. Reverse the Curse!

14. Alejandro Valverde: the WorldTour championship again. Just to piss people off!

15. Purito Rodriguez: the Vuelta. Come on Purito. I know you're riding the Tour and I believe you can do it. But it's like asking for a pony and getting a rocking-horse: let's aim for something Santa can really pull out for you this year!


17. And Finally, My Dear Reader(s): May your favorite rider sign your out-thrust cap, may your peloton crush stay ever upright, may that sneaky little bastard you know is guilty hate get his comeuppance, and may all your days on the bike or just watching others race on it be fair. Merry Everything to everyone--and may all your most expensive spouse-aggravating frame and component dreams come true!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Call for a Bull!#$% Moratorium In Cycling

Look, everyone has the right to defend themselves, and oughta be completely exonerated unless proven scumwadly. But some of this !@#$ going on is just downright insulting, and we fans, whose denial, naivete, and dumb acceptance the sponsors count on to justify your salaries, deserve better. Ergo, I propose (and hereby impose, since heck knows UCI won't do it), the following guidelines for dealing with doping allegations:

1. Anyone who claims they met with [insert notorious doping doctor here] merely for "training advice" is summarily banned for life. Plus thwapped.

2. Anyone who goes off the radar for their "altitude training" will be presumed to have doped at sea level.

3. Next guy busted for using a party drug recreationally will be given a free pass. If he's not snorting a line at the start of Paris-Roubaix, who gives a !@#$?

4. The entire women's peloton will, effective immediately, be given a raise sufficient to afford Dr. Ferrari's premium goods and services. Not that they can use it for that.

5. Anyone who dopes and *still* sucks will be placed in stocks in the local piazza so people can throw rotten vegetables at them. *That* level of incompetence as a pro cyclist is just embarrassing.

6. Anyone working for or having previously been associated with Alexander Vinokourov, Lance Armstrong, Michele Ferrari or Eufemiano Fuentes is presumed a lying guilty sack of crap.

7. All asshats claiming they "only doped once" are presumed to have doped every single day of their professional careers.

8. All riders who are stupid enough to get popped, and who get to ride again post-ban, are forbidden from criticizing the doping of other cyclists still smart enough to get away with it.

9. The following riders we love are innocent of everything: Iban Mayo, Roberto Heras, Jan Ullrich, Bobby Julich, and anyone from Euskaltel-Euskadi ever. One, because justice must be tempered with mercy, and two, because I am irrationally biased towards them, so you can all stuff it. Frankly, I'd've even included that crazy s.o.b. Vino, but if he was actually both dumb and careless enough to get his squad into this mess, he's lost me.

Well, I think we can now proceed with confidence that the cringe-worthy spewing we've been hearing lately from these idiots will now cease. On to the champagne for Astana's renewed WorldTour license!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Yeah I'm Sorry/I Can't Afford a Ferrari/But That Don't Mean I Can't Get You There #cycling

I Guess He's Xbox/And I'm More Atari/But the Way You Play Your Game Ain't Fair: yes, just as Team Astana's still reeling from--what is it, 50?--of their assorted losers testing poz this year for banned substances, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the narcs personally saw nefarious life-banned dop--uh, "training"--doc Michele Ferrari meeting with a pile of Astana's riders right outside their team hotel. *Jaysus*, Vino, you reckless cheapskate, you couldn'a' reserved 'em a freakin' conference room with a *door* on it for !@#$'s sake? The good news--press-beloved starlet/reigning Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali wasn't one of 'em. Well, great, so maybe he won't have any *domestiques* left for this year's race, but you don't actually need *them* to win the Tour, right? Dr. Ferrari, meanwhile, denounced the report as all-caps "MEDIA BULL!@#$" (but not being a delicate lady like myself, he actually spelled it out), saying (1) he was only in that town once in 1994 to try the famous waffles, and (2) by "to try the waffles," he does *not* mean "to try the product before I feed it to my clients." Thanks for the clarification, Michele! Oh, like it's gonna affect their prospects anyway--but *Jaysus*, Vino! Though if we love dear Purito says Astana oughta be able to ride, who are any of us to complain...

In Which My Entire Conception of the Universe Goes to Hell: meantime, we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's Always Gonna Be An Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez sez he's open to the possibility of the Grand Tours being cut a bit, because it's "inhuman" to expect anyone to be able to ride all three at a high level. Well I don't !@#dammit, so guys can skip the stupid Tour if they want to ride the superior Giro or Vuelta! Oh, Samu, next you're gonna say they should take the cobbles outta Paris-Roubaix...okay, I'm clearly wrong about everything on the planet, now can someone give Samu a freakin' contract already?!

Lawsuit Alert!: finally, in the latest legal wrangling between Lance Armstrong and the US narcs, the---aiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh! Make it stop, I can't take it anymore! Aaaaaaaiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The First Rule of Fight Club Is, Don't #$% With Bouhanni In a Sprint

Watch Out, Mark Cavendish!: Oh, so you go in for a little argy-bargy at the line, maybe a shove like Cav or a head-butt like Robbie McEwen do you? Maybe even a Rui Costa post-race wheel whang, a little assault'n'battery? Well get your dukes up, you mewling wussies, because boxing is 2014 sprint revelation Nacer Bouhanni's true "passion," and not only is he training in the off-season with an eye towards a post-cycling pugilistic career, one can sensibly imply that he'll !@#$in' knock your lights out if you come within 4 feet of his wheel in the last 2 kilometers of a race. Just try screwing with *his* line, Roberto Ferrari, if you want an impromptu and highly unflattering nose job! I don't know, man, Sagan and Farrar are so nice I can see 'em going down like a ton of bricks, and Kittel'd maybe hit the deck with a sucker punch while he's moussing his hair, but Greipel you could actually break your hand on and Cav is one scrappy little bastard. First bout: Tour of Qatar, see you there, baby, and bring the Band-Aids!

Tinkoff Goes Stealth: and, in a subtle attempt to evade the nar--uh, jazz up its team-kit sales to the insatiable wannabe masses--Oleg Tinkov's debuted a smokin' blue-camo training-camp team kit for the boys to romp in. Oh, who *gives* a crap--the only team kit that ever mattered is the orange and black--bring back Euskaltel, !@#dammit!

Tour de Force: finally, it's all in for terrifying pasty wraith/prior champ Chris Froome at the Tour de France this year, so Nibali, you're gonna really have to bring your A-game if the boy manages to stay upright and not go up in flames from exposure to the sunlight. Lucky for you Froomey Contador's got a built-in excuse if he's tired out winning the Giro--at least, you better *hope* Oleg lets him get tired next year!