Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's Yer 2016 Cycling Year in Preview (Yeah, You Read Right)!

Well, cycling fans, 2015's mercifully done, and it's time to look ahead to the Year in Cycling 2016. So what're you gonna miss if you don't pay attention? This!

January: Team camps wind down! Tinkoff debuts new flashing-strobe-light team kit, wins Tour de France in July by blinding, disorienting teams Sky and Movistar; Sky to undisclosed location for training because "no-one'll be able to see what we're doi--uh, we found some totally new mountains to ride on!"; women's enormous new World Tour budgets allow Vos, Armitstead to quit exhausting Wal-Mart night-shift jobs for exhausting McDonald's night-shift jobs instead. Progress!

February: The road season really kicks off! No winners at Tour of Qatar as sprinters melt into tarmac, sucked under 500 feet of sand; carnage at Kuurne as actual furniture replaces road furniture in race course, riders wipe out on new bedroom set in middle of road; Omloop Het Niewsblad courts controversy with naked photo of Sagan's butt crouched over bicycle, Pippo Pozzato sues demanding it be replaced with picture of him instead. Already on the road to glory, I see!

March: It's hard-man season, baby! Mark Cavendish takes Strade Bianche after personally chewing entire gravel course to head mechanic's specifications; Luca Paolini repeats win at Gent-Wevelgem by--what the !@#$, !@#damn Alejandro Valverde's still in the freakin' sport and you're going after LUCA?!; Jens Voigt wins Criterium International when peloton collectively quits after mistaking Jens' walk to press box for walk to sign-in.

April: Oh, yeah, it's the big shows of the cobblestones! Boonen, Cancellara crash again, this time break pave', pave' begs for mercy; Valverde becomes first centenarian to sweep Ardennes Classics, says "I guess all that !@#$ I was taking in 2006 is still--uh, I get up bright and early, every morning, and have my muesli!"; Pippo Pozzato blows career-reviving Flanders triumph by stretching out on cobbles to work on his tan, again. Dammit Pippo, preen on your own time!

May: It's the Giro d'Italia, baby! Mikel Landa accidentally attacks self without Fabio Aru around to bushwhack, beats self to Milan by 14 days 22 hours 8 minutes; Nibs mistaken for own soigneur by Vinokourov, buried under pile of dirty team kits, soigneur rides/wins podium spot; Amgen EPO Tour of California--oh, who gives a !@#$, how *dare* they run this stupid thing against the beautiful Giro anyway!

June: Pre-Tour tuneups! Marcel Kittel continues season-long sprint-loss streak due to 34 kilos extra weight in hair gel; Andre Greipel wakes dead in Hades with primal scream of victory, doors of underworld opened, living dead take over earth; Tinkov sweeps Contador off to last-minute "training camp" at undisclosed Siberian "black site". Now *that's* motivation, I say!

July: What else--Le Tour! Sagan pops wheelie with Contador on board before Stage 1 sign-in, launches him to Paris for maillot jaune/overall triumph; Vinokourov allows Nibali to ride Tour so long as carries Fabio Aru on shoulders the whole way; Valverde attacks Quintana for 3 consecutive weeks, still loses when Quintana hides his bike shoes on penultimate day, Alejandro forced to finish race on flat kid's pedals and cheap flip-flops; Porte shares BMC team leadership with Van Garderen by dissolving latter's bicycle/spares in giant vat of acid hauled behind team bus, claims he was "just trying to help by lubing the chain"; Froome DQd on final day when race organizers realize he's actually too skinny to be visible to the human eye, determine no-one's even seen the guy for three weeks.

August: Post-Tour recriminations, Olympics, and Vuelta time! Richie Porte demoted from staying in hotel rooms to staying in cat-carrier squished under boss Ochowicz's feet in team car; record-breaking 67 Astana riders, staff popped for doping in single day, UCI punishes by stripping FDJ of its World Tour license and giving it to Vinokourov "in case he needs an extra, plus FDJ sucks anyway"; Tom Dumoulin takes gold medal after climbing Mount Everest on 86-lb. wrought-iron single speed, attributes freak climbing win to "superlight new bike technology."

September: It's the fabulous Vuelta a Espana finale! Race organizers rue last year's neutralized sandy-stage debacle, run 350-km prologue directly through Mediterranean sea instead; Purito takes final podium takes final podium when ASO "forgets" to put on individual time trial, ASO celebrates with 200,000 euros mysteriously simultaneously deposited into offshore bank accounts; Purito doubles, bags "combativity" prize for whanging Valverde upside head with new disc breaks for that nasty crap Alejandro pulled on him last year.

October: It's the end of the road (races), honey! Nibali repeats Lombardia victory after Vinokourov too tired from long season to remember to order Aru to slash his tires; Worlds races moved to overnight hours to avoid incapacitating Qatar heat, entire sport of professional cycling gets irretrievably lost in desert when mechanics forget to pack lights for everyone; Nairo Quintana announces 2017 signing "with anyone who'll get me away from that backstabbing b!@#ard Valverde!"

November: New-contract count-down! Landa, Intxausti pack Sky with remaining peloton ex-Carrots, convert team to reconstituted Euskaltel, Chris Froome announced as baggage-wrangler for 2016; Sagan starts own one-man World Tour team, because it's not like he even needs anyone else; Oleg Tinkov bails on pledge to exit cycling, purchases entire peloton, announces that all 2017 races will be ridden on Big Wheels for his personal amusement. Now *there's* an epic climb on Alpe d'Huez!

December: Team camps begin again! Contador sticks with cycling another year, reasons "there's no way that flailing stork Froome can beat me on a Big Wheel"; FDJ builds core strength by stacking selves into pyramid formation so Bernard Hinault can stand on their shoulders with bullhorn, yell how much French cyclists all blow compared to the Saganator; Van Garderen mistakenly sends Porte plane ticket to Antarctica, Porte misses 2017 season waiting for ice to melt enough to get home. Oopsie!

Alrighty then, there's your 100 percent accurate, completely and utterly inevitable preview for next season--and when it happens, don't say I didn't warn ya!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's Yer 2016 New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Look, let's face it: half these folks in the peloton barely know what's best for them. But *we*, their adoring fans, sure do, and, in the continued spirit of love and giving which the holiday season inspires three days before it gives way to our workaday, year-round spirit of venal snark and relentless cynicism, it's time to make our New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton:

Chris Froome: I resolve to release all my unadulterated physiological data to a internationally respected group of neutral experts to prove once and for all I'm doing nothing wrong. Those crack accessories editors at Teen Vogue will *nail* their analysis of my hematocrit!

Alberto Contador: I resolve to win the Tour de France. Of course, I'll have to knock off half those androids over at Team Sky, but that oughta just take a little surreptitious interference with their circuitry when Brailsford's put 'em in their pods into "sleep" mode...


ASO and UCI: We resolve to work together in grace and amity for the greater good of our beloved sport. Holy crap, whaddya *mean* some nefarious dirtbag hacked into your Swiss bank accounts took all your money and dissolved your corporate structure so now you're just an impotent shell of a bad memory in cycling? Sweetheart, that is just *terrible*!

Nairo Quintana: I resolve to ride "more defensively." Against Valverde.

Alejandro Valverde: I resolve to ride "more offensively." Against Qu--uh, Fabio Aru. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Alexander Vinokourov: I resolve to throw former Tour de France Giro and Vuelta champion Vincenzo Nibali a bone this season. No, literally, a bone. Now fetch it, b$tch!

Richie Porte: I resolve to give Tejay Van Garderen all the deference he is due as my deserving captain and team leader. Just like I did for Chris Froome before him!

Peter Sagan: I resolve to--oh, betcha didn't expect me to pop a wheelie/play the violin/juggle a half-dozen flaming waterbottles over my terrified mechanic/win the Worlds again by making a parachute outta my feedbag and skydiving over the finish line/bite the head off a chicken and spit it into the audience!

Marcel Kittel: I will start winning sprints again. If I mousse my hair straight up 5 inches, ditch my helmet, and bend my head down to perpendicular, I'm *bound* to beat Mark Cavendish at the line with my mane!

Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara: I will stay upright. I can fall over into the waiting arms of my soigneur when I've got Roubaix/Flanders in the bag!

Marianne Vos: What's to resolve? I'm back, and everyone else except arguably Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is doomed. See ya when I peek back under my armpit, suckers!

Race Motos and Other Vehicles: I resolve not to nick, knock over, run over, crowd, richocet, or otherwise bodily smush any cyclist in any race. Unless I'm playing for points with my buddies, ha ha!

Race Organizers: I resolve not to actively install slalom-inducing deadly road furniture in the race course within 50 yards of the cyclists. But hey, if it's part of regularly scheduled road maintenance, who are we to interfere with the brilliant timing of the clueless stupid local hacks?

Lance Armstrong: I resolve to truly, sincerely apologize to everyone I ever hurt in the world of cycling. Apologize that I'm still rich, and you're still !@#$ed. Nyeah nyeah!

The French Cycling Federation: we resolve to...oh, hell, our guys'll never win anything the next 30 seasons or so, who are we even kidding?

Brad Wiggins: I will retire. Except I want to do the Classics. And write another book. And do an extensive book-pimping tour with 4-times-daily public appearances. And go for an Oly--hey, where are you guys all going?

US Television: I will cover cycling on TV at least to the same extent we cover the revolting Kardashian clan. Hell, that's 5000 consecutive hours of airtime a season right there!

Tifosi: I resolve not to try to take a selfie with Andre Greipel within the last 10 meters of a sprint. I resolve not to wander into the road while checking my Facebook page, ride my Big Wheel into the peloton in the middle of a stage, run alongside anyone in a (1) clown wig (2) neon banana-hammock or (3) unidentifiable animal suit, allow my untended child or dog to meander into the leaders, throw urine or any other unappealing substance onto riders, push any cyclist on his/her back who doesn't personally make a defeated desperate gasping gesture that s/he wants me to, wave a flag that's not even the right nationality fer chrissakes into someone's crankset, block the line of any climber weaving in agony up a Dolomite, or suspect ex-Euskaltel Mikel Landa of any wrongdoing whatsoever just because he had a wholly innocent breakout 2015 season. I mean it, or I'll sic Hinault on your sorry !@#!

There, whatever stupid thing you clowns were thinking you *oughta* resolve, we've already gone and fixed it for you. Enjoy your 2016 seasons: and remember, anything, except Astana getting nailed for anything, is possible!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2015 Racejunkie Awards!

Yes, let these pampered prettified celebrities hit those boring movie awards shows in designer gowns, personalized golden coke spoons, and custom-tailored tuxes--it's time for the peloton to have its well-earned eve of glory in day-glo spandex and the clip-clop of little cleats on pave'! So, without further ado, yer much-coveted (or wholly-mortifying, depending on the award) 2015 Racejunkie Awards!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Spectator): so Cannondale's Ben King's getting untangled from a road-furniture pileup during the Vuelta a Espana, and as some other skank takes off with his bike computer, who's there to steal the very ride straight out from under his sweaty desperate chamois? Damn right, some cig-huffing bare-chested lunkhead of a "fan", trying to ride off with the rather distinctive 10k neon bike before an outraged King pries it back from him. Smooth move, you insane troll--now wave to the race-moto camera in yer face so the cops can shake yer hand while they cuff ya!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Race Organizer): so in a friendly exchange between gentleman competitors, fellow Aussies Richie Porte of Sky and Simon Clarke of Orica swap out a wheel when the Sky leader flats during a crucial attack in Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia. The thank you--a humongous, seemingly race-screwing 2-minute penalty (not that it mattered in the end, but it sure seemed to at the time) for Porte, and a 200 euro smack to salt the wound. Next time, just have another rider sucker-punch 'im off the bike instead, it's not like they'd apparently care about *that*!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Rider): now, this category is the gift that keeps on giving, and to all of us, not just the noble awardees. Valverde's endless self-serving attacks on the faltering Quintana? Mikel Landa blasting Fabio Aru outta the water sixteen times per stage, which I loved to watch too much to snicker at? No, Vincenzo Nibali's stage-19 attack on Froome at the Tour--however pointless for the overall GC--as the maillot jaune attended to a mechanical. Oh, you can punch 'im, you can bite 'im, you can crowd 'im into a barrier--but attack? *That*'s gonna earn you a quite strict scolding, sir!

Numbnut Ride o' the Year Award: not quite punk-!@#, but still devastatingly selfish and stupid, was the fixie-suckin' publicity-slut !@#hat who thought how fun it would be to charge into the peloton and gift sheer terror catastrophic crashes, and season-ending injury to a good half-dozen of the planet's best bike riders on Stage 2 of this year's Giro d'Italia. *Now* aren't you glad all some jerk did is throw pee on you at the Tour de France, Froomey?

(Please) Go Gently Into That Good Night Award: I'm retired. I'm riding again. I'm retired. I'm doing the hour record. Leave me alone. Buy my new book. I quit. Wait dontcha want to see me ride track again you fickle Fanny? Geez, Wiggo, you're great, we get it, but make up your *mind* already!

Crap Luck Golden Band-Aid Prize: and, sadly, we've got a tie--yep, it's late-career but still-stunning Classics gods Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, fully capable of still winning but nastily knocked out their most iconic--and potentially record-shattering--showcases by ill-timed and decidedly !@#$ crashes. Come back Tommeke and Spartacus--2016 is waiting for you!

Chutzpah Ride of 2015: look, Nibali, you're a class act, and I know you're still smarting from your performance--and a world o' press and fan ridicule for someone who, after all, has previously won cycling's showiest show--at the Tour, but honestly, bolting yer bike on top of the Astana team car and catching a snooze for a good 10k up the mountain with 50 cameras tracking yer mechanical-blown chase at the Vuelta a Espana took some nerve. Just have Vinokourov fly you up in an airplane right past the TV helicopter, whydontcha?

Always a Bridesmaid Engraved-Tchotchke Consolation Prize: oh, Purito Rodriguez. One bonk, one mechanical, one spectacular race-saving ride by a fading rival--despite a huge pile of Grand Tour stage wins that would be the pride of most anybody's palmares, that most beautiful win, on the final top step of the podium in either Italy, France, or Spain, continued to elude you this year. Screw the Olympics Purito, the Vuelta I swear can be yours!

Pride Goeth Before a Fall Award: a !@#$in' giant Ritz Hotel personal motorhome for the Giro you stood no chance of winning, Richie Porte? Who the hell are you, Aerosmith? Heck of a lotta good that did you anyway!

Magical Mystery Tour (Well, Vuelta) Prize: Tom Dumoulin. How the !@#$ did some guy the size of the Lincoln Memorial suddenly gain the ability to climb like an amphetamine-charged spider monkey? Only his nutritionist and soigneur know for sure, and so far, they ain't yappin'. Whatever the hell's in that guy's espresso, I want it--and I bet a whole lotta other Classics boys do, too!

Sissy-Boy Slap-Fight of 2015: what do you get when you take two whole teams worth of cyclists and put 'em in a humongous hotel fist-fight over a routine sprint altercation? Well, not nearly enough firepower to take down a half-dozen Hello Kitty dolls, frankly, but still, the guys from Reitt-Zumco and Frijoles Los Tiernitocos at this year's Tour of Costa Rica sure gave them and the goons from the My Little Pony squad one heck of a snor--uh, scare. Now, time-outs for all and *no* juice boxes this snack-time for *any* of you!

Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin' Reminder Statuette: He wins 9 (or 7, depending, hey, not me fan-kids, I'm just sayin' what some folks are sayin') Grand Tours, bags the 2015 Giro d'Italia in commanding form, sticks with the Tour through every kind of Twitter abuse, and his team boss *still* treats him like a hoof-clomping loser who couldn't beat a pack of tranquilized tree sloths to the head of an espresso line. C'mon, Oleg, doesn't Alberto deserve *some* kinda reward for his very very hard work this year?

Domestique of 2015: y'know, normally, this would go to Alejandro Valverde, for superior performance in bushwhacking Nairo Quintana with a smile, or for this year, the incomparable former Carrot Mikel Landa, for accidentally sticking his fingers in his ears yelling LA LA LA LA LA anytime his team boss told him to, uh, *help* his captain Fabio Aru, but in all fairness, I gotta hand this one to our newly-crowned World Champion Peter Sagan, stepping off his bike despite Oleg Tinkov giving him wholehearted permission to screw Alberto Contador at the Tour, and giving the wee Pistolero his own ride as our wee hero struggled to overcome a mechanical. That boy may be the reigning peloton show-off, but he is also one class act!

Sports (Multiple) Personality of 2015: Peter Sagan's gonna win all the Classics! YOU SUCK, YOU WORTHLESS OVERPAID DILETTANTE, I'M GONNA BREAK YOUR STUPID CONTRACT OVER YER THICK !@#DAMN HEAD! Alberto Contador's gonna crush the Giro-Tour double for the first time since Marco Pantani! YOU USELESS WASTE OF DNA, I'M GONNA INEXPLICABLY GIVE YOU NO BACKUP WHATSOEVER AGAINST FROOME FOR THE TOUR DE FRANCE AND MOCK YOU WHEN YOU CAN'T WIN WITHOUT ANY TEAMMATES IN THE LAST 150K OF EVERY STAGE! I'm dying myself maglia rosa pink, YOU'RE ALL A PACK OF GUTLESS WUSSIES FOR NOT TAKING ON TWO GRAND TOURS LIKE ALBERTO ONLY TO !@#$ IT UP YOURSELVES! I'm transforming the sport from the ground on up, NO-ONE'S PLAYING WITH ME SO I'M TAKING ALL MY EXPENSIVE TOYS AND GOING HOME! Whew. Oleg Tinkov, this one's for you--now maybe the lot of *us* can finally get some rest!

Grinta Ride of the Year: his own newborn-baby domestique Aru outshone 'im. His own team leader Vino publicly humiliated him. But--and gee, for a guy who lost the Tour de France, he's getting an awful lot of presents this year--who rode one of the most beautiful stages of the year when he was already discarded by press, fans, and teammates alike like a spit-slathered energy gel? That's right, 2014 Tour de France winner and *still* worthy competitor Vincenzo !@#$in' Nibali, in a brave if ultimately fruitlessly attack into Gap. Nice to see you've still got yer pride there, Nibs!

You're As Cold As Ice/I'm Willing to Sacrifice/Your Bod Award: sure, you can get heatstroke in Qatar, coated in frozen mud at the Classics, and baked like a Snickerdoodle at the Vuelta, but what's apparently even more fun? Yes, genuinely endangering the lives of professional cyclists in a Stage 5 ice storm at Tirreno-Adriatico, because we ain't sacrificing something as important as advertiser dollars over some silly minor human appendages lost to frostbite, are we? Hell no--and congrats on your "win", you abusive selfish clueless race-organizer jerks!

Howling Sobbing Weeper Moment of the Year: a gut-wrenched, chest-infected, bone-exhausted, tank-emptied Tejay Van Garderen, climbing off his bicycle mid-way through stage 17 after a beautiful, elegant, and podium-positioned run at the Tour. If you weren't cryin', you're *lyin'*, and you know it you soulless cynical tough-guy!

Last But Not Least, the Colossal Whiner of the Year Award: ha, thought we forgot 'im, did you? Well, no, because even beyond his wonderful and heartwarming Tour de France win, Chris Froome's perpetual whinging about it--and everything else in the known and unknown universe--stood out. Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. You're the King of the Tour de France, Froomey--now just shut the hell up about your grievances and ride your danged bike (if you must) next year!

Well folks, them's the best of the best, and the worst of the worst--now grab your statues, thank your agents, hit the afterparties, and let's bring on 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Yer Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Yes folks, it's that most wonderful time of the year, when we maul other shoppers last-minute bargain on the latest gadgets, pelt each other with whiskey-soaked fruitcakes, and, best of all, give gifts that are truly from the heart to those we most truly love. Ergo, in the spirit of generosity and caring which the season inspires, it's yer Merry Whatever-the-Hell-They-Celebrate Gift List for our beloved peloton!

Alberto Contador: the Tour de France. Because Oleg Tinkov may be bailing after 2016, but he's still gonna !@#$in' kill ya if you don't win. Good luck, wee little Pistolero, you're gonna need it!

Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix. 5th time's the charm, baby! And after his miserable body-mangled season, he deserves a fine farewell (don't go Tommeke!) But cool yer jets, fan-boys'n'girls, 'cause next on the list is...

Fabian Cancellara: Flanders. Because he's Spartacus, and because I still want Tommeke to win Roubaix!

Luca Paolini: it's a glittering three-fer alphabet-soup gift pack o' EPO, AICAR, *and* HGH. Because if yer gonna take banned drugs, dumb!@#, at least take some !@#$ that *works*!

Tom Dumoulin: A neck brace. He's gotta have had the same whiplash the rest of us did watching him go from hulking Classics specialist to lithe mountain goat climber in one single Vuelta, amirite?

Chris Froome: A sandwich. God love the poor starveling thing, a big, weight-packing, week-o'-sustenance sandwich, like a nice pastrami on rye, and a hot cup of matzo-ball soup to start. Here, have a black-and-white cookie for dessert. Now keep eating!

La Course: 20 more days !@#dammit. Where the hell is the *real* women's Tour de France?

Lance Armstrong: A one-way ticket to Mars. Because in space, no-one can hear you still YAP YAP YAPPING all the time!

Bjarne Riis: Team Tinkov. Forget that failed, fickle oligarch, Bjarne!

Lizzie Armitstead: A raise. A !@#$in' raise, already--what the hell is *wrong* with you people?

Peter Sagan: Hmmmm. World Champion stripes, check. Huge paycheck, check. Gorgeous wife, check. Mad bike handling skills, check. Oh, like he freakin' needs anything else!

Brad Wiggins: A nice, quiet retirement cottage waaaaaaaaaaay out in the country. Where people, y'know, retire, and *mean* it for once!

Purito Rodriguez: The Olympics. He'll be too tired grabbing the queen stage at the Tour (shut up, will to, go to hell!) to contest our beautiful Vuelta!

The Race Motos: BRAKES. You're supposed to use 'em BEFORE you run over the riders, you morons!

The Tifosi: Etiquette lessons. Do we really need to be *taught* not to toss a cup full o' urine on a passing rider, no matter how irksome? At least hand the guy a nice clean syr...uh, water bottle, or something he can actually use!

Fabio Aru: Well, he already got rid of Mikel Landa in the off-season this year--what more could the boy even want?

Mikel Landa: A faulty, smoking, sparking earpiece. If you're gonna pull that !@#$ again, Mikel--and as you're an ex-Carrot, I say this with *all* due love and respect--you gotta come up with a *reason* you're essentially telling your team manager to go blow!

ASO/UCI: Coal, right in the ol' stocking. No treats for you til you play nice, you petulant whining babies!

Alexander Vinokourov: Damn, he's already got UCI on a leash--maybe a diamond-studded collar for it, just to rub it in?

My Beloved Reader(s): May all your cycling wishes come true. Unless it's Froomey winning the Tour. Sorry, even for you all, can't have that. But everything else you want is yours!

Well folks, them's mine--if I've stiffed anyone deserving, I promise I'll make up for it next year!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's Yer Racejunkie 2015 Year in Review!

Yep, it's almost 2016, and already, the rumors are rollin' hot'n'heavy on schedules, scandals, 'n' intrigue for next year. But before we get there, it's time to ponder the year just past, particularly before we grant out incredibly prestigious (and embarrassing) 2015 Racejunkie Awards! Ergo, Yer Year In Review:

January: 2013 Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner fails to land World Tour or Pro Conti gig, consumes world-record 367 Big Macs in single setting for consolation; former Tour de France/World Champ Cadel Evans retires, kicks crap out of fan for petting his dog; Cav responds to journo's unwelcome question about doping in cycling by suggesting his wife is banging someone else. Classy!

February: UCI threatens to strip Astana of WorldTour license due to constant doping violations, Vino pops out of team bus with syringes, blood bags, unidentified vials in grocery bags, screams "THAT'S BULL!@#$, I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!"; Tinkov hypes Contador Giro-Tour double as money-pit Sagan woofs early Classics season; Nibali already ignored as potential Tour GC contender, Krazy Glues trophy to top of head, *still* ignored.

March: Implosion at Casa Tinkoff as Contador, Sagan blow early season, Bjarne Riis' !@# is *fired*, baby!; total clowns at UCI respond to report excoriating current doping controls as useless by testing...uh, everyone's *bikes* for *motors* at San Remo; vicious Stage 5 storm at Tirreno-Adriatico freezes riders into solid block of ice, Cancellara scheduled to be thawed out in 3015; Sagan finally takes first win of 2015, Oleg Tinkov breaks kneecaps with bike pump anyway; Cav drops chain, chews new one out of crashed rival Elia Viviani's to take win anyway.

April: UCI won't strip nice clean team Astana's World Tour after all, as Vino almost chokes Brian Cookson with his puppet strings; Valverde wins second consecutive Fleche-Wallone, barely escapes being busted when visible scrape on legs reveals entire circulatory system contents replaced with highly-classified black-market rocket fuel; Alexander Kristoff grabs Flanders as Oleg demotes4th place loser Saganator to bottle-beeyotch.

May: It's time for the fabulous Giro d'Italia, honey! Astana assuages UCI doping worries by having minor domestiques take combined 16 stages by time-shattering margins; anointed Sky sensation Richie Porte docked race-wrecking 5 minutes for missing sign-in when mani-pedi, pore-cleansing facial, custom nose-hair trim in spa on private motorhome runs late; Contador secures Giro title despite mercurial Tinkov removing entire rest of team from race to rake leaves, redo landscaping at expansive Russian dacha. Good to know you support 'im, Team Tinkoff!

June: Oh Yeah, It's the Road to the Tour! UCI bars Chris Froome from using personal motorhome for Tour, Froome's flailing spiky elbows scare everybody else on squad from rooming with him anyway; Oleg can't decide whether to support Alberto or Sagan for Tour de France, locks 'em in medieval armory shrugging, "they'll figure it out"; Nairo Quintana solves likely Alejandro Valverde bushwhacking problem by...nope, nothin' he can do, he's !@$ed!

July: It's the Not-Since-Pantani Giro-Tour Double, baby! Contador loses disatrous 1 minute 3 seconds in first week of race, Chris Froome graciously shows continued respect by using Alberto's team kit as post-stage snot-rag; ; Froomey enraged by systemic doping allegations, whines that "marginal gains" helped team complete entire 3-week route by end of Stage 14; women ride inaugural La Course in rain, snow, tornado, volcano, tsunami and once-in-a-millenium superstorm before army of 50,000 soigneurs dispatched to dry off entire final *men's* stage course with individual linen hankies. Oh, and you're !@#$in' winning me the !@#$in' Tour de France next year if I have to run behind you personally sticking you with a cattle prod every !@#$in' meter of the entire !@#$in' race, get it Alberto?!

August: Woo-hoo, It's the Beautiful Vuelta a Espana! Clean-team denizen/reformed ex-doper Tommy Danielson gets popped for drugs, again, shocked clean-team boss/reformed ex-doper Jonathan Vaughters professes "I thought he'd get it right this time"; Mikel Landa offers to support Fabio Aru in Vuelta a Espana "just like I did in the Giro d'Italia," sensible Aru demands that Vinokourov immediately terminate Landa's contract; Vuelta organizers promise to weigh down Chris Froome's back wheel with 46 kilograms of lead pellets "so someone has a chance to win this year against those Sky freaks." *Now* we've got ourselves a race, folks!

September: End of of Vuelta/World Championship time! Nibali ejected from Vuelta after Vino launches him into stratosphere with trebuchet; triumphant Peter Sagan bags men's road race after total !@#$ season, Oleg rewards by immediately slashing salary by 3 million euros a week; British legend Lizzie Armistead nails women's road race, rewarded with huge increase in pay in form of $25 Dunkin' Donuts gift card. On to the terrifying late-season holy-crap-I've-got-no-2016-contract season!

October: BMC buys delusional would-be Tour de France team leader Richie Porte in apparent bid to pointlessly piss off Tejay Van Garderen; sportsman-o'-the-year Paul Voss sucker-punches Federico Zurlo in Abu Dhabi sprint altercation; Oleg Tinkov guarantees desperately-desired 2016 Alberto Contador Tour win by...well, hiring Peter Sagan entire squad of high-end domestiques. I *told* you to get the hell away from that nutjob, Alberto!

November: Mark Cavendish awarded honorary Ph.D. in groundbreaking Theory of Argy-Bargy Cheap-Shots; Froome vows to release physiological data scientifically vetted by crack team of Vogue Magazine accessories editors; WHERE THE !@#$ IS WE LOVE EX-EUSKALTEL IGOR ANTON'S NEW CONTRACT, !@#DAMMIT?!

December: Team camps begin! Team Tinkoff debuts new controversial "maillot jaune" team kit so Froome can't look like the only actual Tour winner in 2016 anyway; exultant Sagan practices popping wheelies on Alberto Contador's head; Sky reassuringly has entire team's physiological data expertly analyzed by world-renowned troupe of 10-year-olds with Christmas-present chemistry sets. Good to go for 2016, baby!

Well folks, that was the year that was--let's hope that 2016 is a whoooooooooole lot less embarrassing!

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Yer Racejunkie 10 Cycling Things I'm Thankful for This Thanksgiving (And Two I'm Not)

Yes, as we here in the States celebrate the Native Americans generously saving a small band of imperialist invading ascetic fanatics from starvation by gorging ourselves into pumpkin-pie comas, arguing politics with long-lost relatives, and watching a bunch of giant walking steroids pound each other into a dedicated grass field til serious bodily injury is inflicted and the remaining carcass standing gets a "touchdown," it's also time to consider what we're, y'know, truly thankful for this year. So, since this is about our beloved sport, here's my 2015 10 Cycling Things I'm Thankful For This Thanksgiving (And Two I'm Freakin' Well Not)!

1. The Giro d'Italia. No matter what happens, what a beautiful, moving, perfect race. Il Grande Giro, indeed--and it can be yours next year, wee Landa!

2. The Women's World Tour. Finally! *Now* can we pay these bad-@#$es enough to drop their backup jobs as 3 a.m. Slurpee wranglers at the local 7-11?

3. MTN-Qhubeka. Great cause, great team, great heart. Really, they've been around for just *how* many months, and already they've snagged their first Tour de France polka-dot jersey?

4. Mikel Landa. What a breakout year for our young superclimber mountain goat ex-Carrot, right? Shut up shut up shut up don't disillusion me you soulless cynics!

5. Thanksgiving Dinner. This is too either cycling related. Because if god help me that poor starving waif Chris Froome ever comes to my doorstep, I'll be able to feed the scrawny thing enough turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce to bring him from being a two-dimensional stick figure into the real three-dimensional planet actual corporeal human cyclists inhabit. C'mon, just *one* more bite of sweet potatoes with marshmallows, I promise it won't hurt you!

7. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Road, mountain, cross--holy crap, this young rider is already an all-star all-terrain hellraiser. Now when Marianne Vos is finally back on form, *that'll* be some damn fireworks going off!

8. Puritooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! And the Vuelta. Which is his next year. Aw, bite me!

9. Alexander Vinokourov. Yeah, stuff it! In an age of prissy "justice" this and "clean sport" that, isn't there *something* (albeit "something !@#$ed up") about a guy whose team can garner a record-breaking 36,000 positives in a single season and *still* scam their way into keeping their World Tour license?

10. Last (But Not Least) My Loyal Reader(s). You educate, you enlighten, and you don't hesitate to tell me when I'm full of it. Is it really 9 years since you've put up with this !@#$ already? Dang, you all deserve a medal or something!

And Two--No, Three--I'm Freakin' Well Not:

1. !@#$in' *hell*, Oleg, why the !@#$ didn't you buy Alberto Contador more backup, sure the man's a legend but you want him to win the !@#$in' Tour de France against those Sky androids or not?

2. Where the hell is we love ex-Euskie Igor Anton's new contract dammit? The man had a bangin' season for heck's sake! He's a super superdomestique, he's a short-stage-race phenom! Some of the marginal clowns we got as pack fodder for 2016 and *this* is who ends up jacked? Aiiiiggggghhhhh!

3. NBC. There I finally am, able to watch the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta, and even the Classics for heck's sake on Universal Sports right here in the US--and a welcome respite from the "Bass Fishin' Beer Swillin' and Tale-Tellin' Channel" it sure is--and what happens? That's right, you soulless corporate mercenary goons *buy* the damn thing, *shut it down*, and now we're gonna get like one two-hour Tour recap every Saturday a !@#damn year after it happens and forget Paris-Roubaix altogether, I'll be watching some !@#$ pig-Latin underground pirate feed that'll wipe out the rest of my !@#$in' computer with a death virus before I even get through the vile porno ads to the crap two-pixel-per-screen !@#$in' picture! You *suck*, NBC!

Well folks, them's mine, and I truly am thankful for all (well, most) of it. Now eat well, enjoy the football--no, not that one, the *other* one--and then let's get psyched for our annual Christmas list!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dr. Cav! Froomey! Marianne! Tommy D!: Yer Cycling Gossip Roundup

Taking the Lead: yep, it's all a-gonna change for newly honored Doctor of Science/I've heard tell he's also a cyclist Mark Cavendish: his new squad Delta Dimension's confirmed that their superstar signing ain't gonna get the lead-out train he's used to from now on. And let's be honest here, Cav *loves* himself a lead-out! Why the hosing? Well, because cycling's purportedly just *changed*--instead of 5k of 8 guys hammering til they yack to set up their man for the last 200m, it's now a much tighter time frame, so here's a coupla dudes to help you out the last kilometer or so and you're on your own for the rest, pal! Oh, this sucks--how I *do* still miss Fassa Bortolo's beautiful blue train, and now they're *all* headed for the trash heap o' history! Still, giant bonus: Cav's gonna have *far* fewer teammates to accidentally mistake for a rival and plow into the barriers like a punk-!@# at the line. Yay for silver linings!

The Waaaaiii-ting is the Hardest Part: and, what's our outraged unjustly-suspected Tour champ Chris Froome finally gonna do, after months and months of delayi--uh, thoughtfully considering? That's right, release his long-promised physiological data to shut up the haters, right square in the pages of the fine men's fashion-n'-cocktail rag Esquire magazine. Well, if f!@#$in' *Esquire* guarantees it, it's *gotta* be true--especially with a six-month lead-out to manip--uh, double-spell-check--the data! What would *really* help, frankly, is if Esquire can explain physiologically how anyone whose wings flap around on the bike like a rabid drunken fruit bat can possibly not spin himself off a mountaintop, much less triumph on the likes of Mont Ventoux, but I'm guessing that's not the data the beastly Froome detractors are gonna be looking for. Anyhoo, 'til then, the boy's wisely hiding out in Rio checkin' out the Olympic roads course--so don't worry Alberto, not only is he clean as a whistle, but he's not even *thinking* about the Tour next year!

Talk Dirt to Me: meantime, all-terrain goddess Marianne Vos, who's spent a miserable 2015 on the sidelines with overwork injuries, is now finally back on the bike--in moderation--and looking forward to some type of form sometime in 2016. And while she waits and works on that, she's scored a nice side gig as well, announcing cyclocross races 'til she herself is allowed back to play in the dirt. Forza grandissima Marianne--I can't imagine you taking too long to get back up to your formidable speed!

"D" is for Dumbass: finally, congrats to clean-team Garmin stalwart Tommy Danielson, who not only got a *great* score on his last test for synthetic testosterone, but got his grade *doubly* affirmed this week on his B-sample. It's so *nice* to see our dedicated students doing so well on their homework--tho' apparently *someone's* been quite the slacker in his masking-agent class!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tejay vs. Richie! Nairo vs. Valverde! Skybots v. Contador! The 2016 Tour de France Shapes Up

Worlds are Colliding!: yep, before the ink even dries on Team Tinkoff's endless parade of shirtless Saganator studmuffin training camp photos--and Alberto, don't say we didn't warn you to get the hell outta there before fickle Oleg's man-crush faded--there's already warfare at the Tour de France, and this time it's at BMC: in what's likely to be July's best entertainment, BMC's boss has decided it'll be a great idea to let incoming Froome-whacking Skybaby Richie "Motorhome" Porte cheerfully share team leadership duties with stalwart existing GT leader Tejay "What the !@#$ Are You *Doing* To Me, Ochowicz?" Van Garderen. Hey, no reason Porte's epic meltdown at last year's Giro doesn't deserve as much credit as your incredibly gritty performance at last year's Tour de France! Still, BMC assures us they're best buds, and will figure it out like total gentlemen at the Tour. Uhhh...I don't know if you missed, say, the entire last season where Porte was treating unchallenged team domination and general pampering as his birthright, but I think you're overestimating your new hire "Mr. Sportsmanship" here!

Shooting Star: in contrast, the wise folks over at Movistar--who've spent the nascent off-season packing their roster with top-flight domestique helpmates--have already decided to at least tire out ever-podium Alejandro Valverde at the Giro d'Italia, presumably leaving him knocked out enough not to challenge Nairo Quintana's supremacy at the Tour but hopefully not so knocked out that he can't help Nairo beat down Froome and Contador there. I bow to your superior tactics, o Movistar! Still, Valverde's never missed a chance to take a chance, whether it's at someone else's expense or not, so maybe keeping a close on eye on 'im wouldn't be *too* ill-advised, wee Quintana--just ask Purito Rodriguez!

Like American Football, But With One Guy on the Other Team: and, congrats in advance to the perpetually irritating Team Sky, who, in light of Porte's imminent transfer, took the obvious opportunity to buy up half of we still love Euskaltel to support that flailing bat-winged skeletor freak Froome, while, as noted, Oleg Tinkov decided to help his now-abandoned Giro-Tour double golden boy Contador by...yeah, getting new world champ Peter Sagan some backup for the Classics. Jaysus, Oleg, Contador's the greatest GT rider of his generation, but even he needs *some* ammo to help him *sometime* during the race. Oh, Alberto, to jack you out of yellow just to put Sagan in green near breaks my fair-play-lovin' heart...anyway, you've still got the winter to maybe talk that backstabbing sneak Valverde into some sort of beneficial alliance come next July!

Friday, October 09, 2015

Sucker-Punches! !$%holes! Team-Buying Hijinks! Yep, That's Our Dear Late-Season Road Cycling

Cyclist On a Hot Tin Roof: well, it's sure hot in more ways'n one over at the steaming Abu Dhabi Tour, where some curbside argy-bargy between Federico Zurlo and Paul Voss in pursuit of an intermediate sprint led to the offended Voss allegedly punching Zurlo smack in the ribs and his subsequent expulsion from the race by outraged officials. Now, dope all you want, but ungentlemanly fisticuffs, *that* we cannot tolerate! I say, let 'em face off in a post-stage wheel-spoke duel, fair and square, the last man standing gets to ride next day--hey, who *says* sprint stages are boring?

Water World: in other Abu Dhabi news, you gotta give it to Vincenzo Nibali being a cheerful water-bottle-carrier for his sprint-lovin' teammates today (as did Sagan, who still came in second). Well, get used to it Nibs--I hope you don't mind Vinokourov making you do it when he's backing whippersnapper Aru 100% at the Tour!

No Porte in a Storm: so, just as BMC tries to figure out how it's gonna integrate the Grand Tour ambitions of new signing/ex-Froome lieutenant Richie Porte with those of existing GT stalwart/tenacious brave guy Tejay Van Garderen, Porte's helpfully solved *that* mystery--he's "not coming from Team Sky to BMC just to ride the Giro." Screw you Porte you disrespectful asshat, you don't deserve the perfect Giro anyway in a rat-hole bed-bugged pup tent much less a luxury motorhome, go for the Tour so Sky *and* and* Tejay can kick your !@# into 2017 instead!

All I Want for Christmas Is a World Tour Team: meantime, Bjarne Riis and Fernando "Almost Saved Euskaltel" Alonso are now both linked to a reported bid to buy Oleg Tinkov outta his interest in Team Tinkoff-Saxo, which, now that he's left Alberto with virtually no domestique support for the Tour de France, seems like an awful lot of dough to pay only to find one of yer big stars utterly hosed off the podium later in the year. You do get new World Champ the Saganator though--and he's so cuuuuuuuuute in those stripes!

Practical Magic: finally, big points to new USA Cycling prez Derek-Bouchard-Hall, sayin' *nobody* with a doping past gets to coach USA riders from here on out. Uh, you *do* realize this basically leaves you with the food-truck vendors from the local weekend crit to choose from, right? Not that that should enter into your calculations or nothin'--but luckily, most of the likely candidates already made out with quiiiite sweet gigs after their Postal days anyway!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's Yer 2015 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! #LV2015

Still struck with a pang of sorrow when you see some schmo on the street in a red t-shirt? Watch an ad for a Spanish telecommunications company and think angrily, "Valverde, you little !@#$%$#"? Find yourself running after the carelessly-discarded spit-covered gel packets of passing roadies like you've just been tossed the Holy Grail? Then you're in severe Vuelta a Espana withdrawal, honey, and we've got the cure--the incredibly prestigious, factually dubious, and beastily biased 2015 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! Prizes for the lucky winners, if they're ever desperate enough claim them--a custom-embroidered racejunkie cap and I *promise* I'll find some neat little high-school-jock statuette somewhere in a thrift shop. So here, this year's noble (and disgraceful) awardees:

Punk-!@# Move of the Race (Rider): Yay! We're popping champagne and chillin' our bone-exhausted legs 'til the sprinters can fight for last-chance glory in the final 2k of the entire 3 week race. Until we love Purito Rodriguez has a routine mechanical and that low-rent punk Alejandro Valverde attacks 'im to take the intermediate sprint and Purito's already-won green jersey. Well he's still got white *and* second on GC, you graceless jackass--and you better watch out for him at the Worlds!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race (Spectator): To the shirtless beer-gutted cig-smoking jerk who actually tried to steal Ben King's jillion-dollar Cannondale during a post-crash tangle in the peloton: it's not like anyone wouldn't've noticed you as slightly anomalous tootling on it, eejit! To the invisible dirtbag who took off with his Garmin, which he might've wanted to use to, y'know, figure out if he's about to blow up in the middle of a professional bike race: you're certainly more discreet than that other guy, but still a disgusting jack!@#. What the !@#$ is *wrong* with people?

Beach Blanket Bungle Award: I know! Let's run a Grand Tour opening team time trial right through a fast-blowing traction-hosing sand dune! No *way* the freaked-out GC riders'll crash out on *that*! Uh, on second thought--can you just toss some tacks down on the road next year, I think they'd have better odds with those things!

Crash o' the Race (GC-Screwing): the great, tenacious Tejay Van Garderen, sorely busted and out in a wicked Stage 8 pile-up and still by far not the worst off of the mercifully-healing-at-last boys to hit the deck. Get well soon, the lot of you--Tejay, we're looking for more great things from you next Grand Tour you ride!

Crash o' the Race (Totally !@#$ing Inexcusable): yep, it's a two-fer! Despite the conventional wisdom that one is there to escort the riders, not kill them, some moto-bound moron apparently--for I believe literally the umpteenth time this season--didn't get the memo. What are you *doing*, UCI, issuing hunting licenses to these guys before each Grand Tour? For !@#$'s *sake* already!

The Freaks Come Out at Night (Well, During the Day Award): if you pegged Tom Dumoulin as a high-mountain-goat-for-the-ages before the queen stage of this race, you're either a butt-naked liar, or the only cheesy late-night-infomercial fortune-telling hotline on the planet that actually freakin' works. Next year, Purito takes Paris-Roubaix--watch out, Fabs and Boonen!

Crazy Eights Statuette: all right, the Vuelta's always a bit of a wildcard, but even by its weird standards, *eight*--8 out of 21!--first-time Grand Tour stage winners this race alone is pretty damn impressive. Esteban Chaves (solo, he's won a ttt I think), Bert-Jan Lindeman, Jasper Stuyven, Kristian Sbaragli, Nelson Oliveira, Danny van Poppel, Alexis Gougeard, Caleb Ewan--this 8-headed prize is for all of you!

Sticky Bottle Award: hey, let's be honest--everyone drafts a wee bit from the team cars wending one's way back from a flat, or holds on to a fresh bottle o' refreshment a few seconds longer than strictly necessary at the start of a nasty climb. But having your team director shoot you out of a cannon to the front of the freakin' pack is a whole 'nother level o' naughty entirely. Nice work, Team Astana--hope Nibs enjoyed the rest of the race from his living-room couch!

Corollary Dumb!@# Life Lesson Award: while we're rewarding your catastrophic stupidity--much less lack of sportsmanship--let's give you this to boot. *Don't* pull this crap in front of the cameras--at least wait til the motos are busy rammin' someone else before you make your move!

Bye Bye Bushwhacker Prize: first, lemme say that as an ex-Euskaltel rider, anything and everything Mikel Landa does is beyond reproach, especially when his team bosses held him back--to no good end, even--at the Giro. But it sure was entertaining watching him piss Vinokourov off 'til Mikel finally caved for Aru's sake on the penultimate stage--Mikel, I can't wait to see what you do over at Sky!

Raving Oligarch Verbal Twitter Assault Golden Keyboard Award: you're all spineless pathetic wussies because none of you had the nuts to face Alberto Contador at the Giro. Astana are a pack of cheating scumbags (okay, maybe you can't really fault the man for that). Froome's a simpering crybaby (to his credit, he did apologize when he saw Chris broke his foot). I WILL TAKE YOU DOWN ASO FOR DAMAGING MY GOLDEN BOY PETER LIKE A STEROID-STUFFED PRO WRESTLER ON A 98-POUND WEAKLING! Oleg Tinkov, you sure beat the dullards in the team-boss world all hollow. And you still found the time to berate a million other schmucks as well!

No Guts No Glory Award o' the Race: Ruben Plaza's amazing 100 kilometer solo attack from his own breakaway to take the win. *That* is how it's done, you amateurs!

Just Plain Guts Award: Tom Dumoulin--I gotta admit, this one is--by far, no contest--for you. With virtually no team support (in legs, if not intent), you clenched the red jersey so tightly that only days of coordinated attacks by damn near everyone and from the only GC contender *not* already gob-smacked from the Tour de France could wrench it away from you at last. You are hors categorie, Tom--take a bow, *and* a nice, well-earned nap!

Finally, Yer 4.3 Million-Euro-Man Insult to Injury Prize: okay, it was a bit, well, intemperate of Peter Sagan to swear like a sailor and kick the crap out of a medical support van and his own bicycle, scaring a helpful--and innocent!--medical support person when he got whacked over and substantially de-skinned by a race moto. But really, *fining* him on top of that, when he wouldn't have had to react in the first place but for some eejit thinking *he* was the more important party in the race? Geez, UCI, make 'im send the asshats *flowers* next time whydontcha?!

Well folks, that was the Vuelta that was--Purito, I *know* you can do it, you still got another chance next year!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

My Fantasy Oleg Tinkov/Tinkoff-Saxo/Peter Sagan Open Letter to UCI #LV2015

Dear UCI/!@#$ you you incompetent !@#holes! Do you *know* how much this !@#$ has cost us?,

This letter is to respectfully request that you remind drivers of race motos, neutral service cars, and other vehicles to drive with the utmost care and concern for the cyclists while assisting in UCI races/to try not to !@#$in' kill our riders. As you may recall, there have recently been several serious incidents involving racers and support vehicles/Do the words "impaled on a huge nest of barbed wire" "broken clavicle" "blew my Tour de France stage win" or "piles of blood streaming all over the road" ring any bells?

While these cars and motos perform a crucial function in helping the riders and in bringing the intricate beauty of the sport to fans worldwide/are a constant !@#damn obstacle that cause more problems than they solve, athlete safety is of course the primary concern/we wouldn't want to inconvenience some tool with a clipboard by having an actual rider attack and interrupt his peaceful reverie. Therefore, we humbly suggest that thorough training as to the particular challenges of driving in an active race scenario would be very helpful in achieving this important goal/Where the hell did you pluck these imbeciles, outta the freakin' clown cars at the local circus? Further, careful driving will ensure a more harmonious relationship between the riders, the teams, and the race organizers/I will take a !@#$ing crowbar to your skulls if you ever damage so much as a nut hair on Peter Sagan ever again.

Of course, in these difficult economic times, we understand that the financial and logistical challenges attendant in such an effort will be considerable/we are going to sue you and your families until you are living in the streets scrounging for scraps like dogs if you don't come up with the dough anyway. To that end, we are willing to offer that the teams jointly contribute a small, set percentage of our annual budgets to driver's ed classes/we will refrain from sinking your feet into cement and accidentally knocking you off a boat dock so be grateful you're getting that much out of us.

We thank you for your consideration of these serious issues, and look forward to working together to make our sport a safer, more enjoyable experience for all/You'll be served with legal papers tomorrow, you bastards!

Best Regards/Rot in hell, scumbags,

Oleg Tinkoff
Peter Sagan

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

It's Yer Ultra-Compact (for racejunkie) Vuelta a Espana Rest Day Roundup 'n' Mountain-Hell Preview! #LV2015

Whew, that went by quick, especially if yer a moto driver runnin' like the wind ahead of a fire-spittin' Tinkov! So what'd'ja miss, and what're we in for tomorrow (today, whatever) as the race *really* gets underway? This!

Stage 1: Surfin' safari! Riders enjoy GC-neutralized party in the dunes as enraged Nibali blames sand up his hoo-ha for lackluster team Astana performance. It only gets better from here, Vincenzo!

Stage 2: Rocket man: in an extraordinary display of common sense, 2014 Tour de France champ Nibali is ejected from the race after Alexander Vinokourov launches him to the finish line from a trebuchet. Jaysus, didn't they teach you in cheat school to pull that !@#$ when the cameras are somewhere *else*?

Stage 3: The prodigal son returns! Bouncing back from a disastrous Classics season, Peter Sagan finally takes first--that's even better than second!--in a sprint. Guess who's Oleg's little favorite *now*, Alberto?

Stage 4: Cue the Boris Karloff music, honey--Valverde creeps us all out again with his first win o' the race. You got like *one* day to pull this guy back before you end up being his water-bottle beeyotch, Nairo!

Stage 5: He's off--Orica-Greenedge's young Caleb Ewan bags his first Grand Tour victory over John Degenkolb. Didja notice Greenedge was already wiping the floor with everyone so far this race?

Stage 6: Remember when Orica rammed its team bus under the finish-line banner at the Tour de France, causing hours of chaos and an eternity's worth of humiliation on YouTube? Well ram this, haters, because it's wee Esteban Chaves' *second* stage of the race, *and* he's back in red. How do you say "woot woot!" in Spanish again?

Stage 7: Dutch treat! A nice win for Lotto's Jan Lindeman, and, even more satisfying, Fabio Aru put the hurt on the infernally annoying Chris Froome as Tinkov breathes a sigh of relief that Sky hasn't totally humiliated him with a Grand Tour back-to-back win just yet. Take *that* Landa, who's team leader now?

Stage 8: Carnage, and there's no dressing this one up, so speedy recovery and sincere best wishes to all involved. Best off of the day, with just a pile o' skin 'n' shorts ripped off and a DNS the next morning--Peter Sagan, fined 300 euros for kicking the crap out of a medical support van and his own bike after being knocked off it by an eejit moto. And just when his curse seemed to be lifting!

Stage 9: Puritooooooooooooo! No, he didn't win, but again, Chris Froome didn't, and, as some small comfort for Rodriguez fans, at least a deceptively cooked Tom Dumoulin came back from the dead and took the win. Hey, isn't this guy like two feet too tall for a climber?

Stage 10: Calm before the storm! The sprinters get one last chance to play before the mountains really kick in, and while most of 'em have already either crashed or bailed out already, Rojas and even Degenkolb were caught out short by a smashing surge from we love MTN-Qhubeka's Sbaragli. So nice to see the unexpected grab the day!

Rest Day: I don't know what-all's been involved for the riders, except maybe staying locked in their hotel rooms studying the Stage 11 race profile and sobbing uncontrollably. What gears do you need for "totally !@#$ed", again?

Stage 11: you've seen the pic, you've read the previews, you've heard the screams from the team bus--it's 6 peaks o' Cat-1 and Hors Categorie agony, and with almost everybody still at least professing to be whacked out from the Tour, a comparatively well-rested Aru might yet have the legs to take some GC time on this one--if Mikel Landa, who had a surprisingly crap stage 9, has either the legs or the mindset to protect him. Oh, dammit, that freak Froomey's gonna get this, right? Dammit!

Well, riders, the GC officially starts now--first one who cracks gets a pony for a consolation prize!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's Yer Vuelta a Espana in Preview, Part Tres: the Climbers, the Sprinters, and Late Hot Gossip! #LV2015 #lavuelta

Woo-hoo, the beautiful Vuelta's finally upon us, and now that we've covered the Course and the General Classification Contenders, it's time for--and yes, it's still both bitchin' and handy to know--the 'Nother Stuff! The score:

The Climbers: if they can't climb, they ain't GC. And if they can't climb, and still ain't GC, they're working for the man who is. But if they bust hard, do well, and sufficiently exhaust the overall competition setting a barf-inducing page in the mountains--or if their team leader irredeemably tanks, or if there really isn't one--they may be rewarded with the go-ahead for a stage win. Natch, they're mostly on Sky, Movistar, or Astana, and we love ex-Euskaltel to boot. Too many to count, including the free-rangers without a GC hope, but Mikel Landa for Nibali and Aru--who's been thoroughly warned, as he was at the Giro, not to !@#$ with the designated leader(s). Mikel Nieve for that spidery freak Froome. Newly-rejoining-the-World-Tour-for-2016 Amets Txurruka for Caja Rural. We love Samuel Sanchez and Darwin Atapuma for whatever's left of Tejay after his valiant fight at the Tour de France. Fran Ventoso for Alejandro, uh, Nairo over at Movistar. Dani Moreno for he can so either win it you haters Purito. And geez, pretty much everyone on Team Colombia, when you look at it. Either way, they're all firecrackers to watch, and most of 'em have hometown pride to fill. Goooooooooooo ex-Carrots!

The Sprinters: let's be honest, the steep'n'gory Vuelta's no place for pampered princes like Cav, Kittel, or for that matter, the hulking Greipel. But I'll also be fair (for once)--there's a few, and any of 'em what can make it outta the first week alive has more'n earned his keep for the team. On tap: Nacer Bouhanni; Angel Vicioso; JJ Rojas from Movistar; Gerro and Ewan at Greenedge with trusty Docker to show the way; Bennati. Good luck, you sprinters'll need it to survive those pesky mountains in between!

The 'Nother Guys: yes, yes, the Saganator, who better come up with a pile o' stage wins if he knows what's good for him, and he doesn't think "good" is Oleg Tinkov kicking his !@#$. But other gents in the race: LL Cool Sanchez (yeah, yeah, checkered past, throw half the field out then!), Sylvain Chavanel, Talansky, John Degenkolb, and--no, don't worry, Fabs fans, I didn't forget him--our tough-as-nails Spartacus, with Frank Schleck no less. And holy crap, what is the entire Classics planet o' Belgium doing here?

And Last But Not Least, the Controversy: well, apparently the entire field--much less their terrified leadership--is enraged that there's some dirt roads to enjoy, slow down, crash out, and puncture our GC faves in the team time trial. Oh, what's a little stretch of "that totally !@#$ed me off the podium!" between friends? Meantime, still irked by the Simoni-Cunego or Wiggo-Froome disasters (hell, I don't give about the Wiggo situation, but man, that Cunego still gets on my last nerve!)? Well, pass the popcorn for the disdainful Vinokourov's raw survival-of-the-fittest Nibali-Aru deathmatch and the subtler Valverde-Quintana stealth-mode backstab! Me, I'm a sucker for underdogs, so I guess it's Nibs and brilliant-but-sort-of-defenseless Quintana for me. But only after Purito has *stomped* them!

Okay, time to get out my Once-Eroski and Euskaltel caps and start screamin for Samu and Purito. Oh, and Happy 80th Birthday to this phenomenal race--Vive la Vueltaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Monday, August 17, 2015

It's Your Vuelta a Espana in Preview, Part Dos: the GC Contenders! #LV2015 #lavuelta

Oh yeah, it's only a few short days 'til the fabulous Vuelta, honey, and now that we've previewed the excruciating course, it's time for General Classification contenders that'll be takin' it on! And while the Tour is one nasty prologue for the flaming-hot, steeper'n hell painfest like the Vuelta, with pretty well all these guys similarly gobsmacked, that oughtn't be such a huge factor this year. Yer heroes:


2. Chris Froo--ack! yaaaack! gaaccccckkkkk! arrrrghhhh!--me (Sky): yep, he won the freakin' Tour de France, beeyotches, with a freakishly mountain-goat contingent o' Classics riders to pace 'im, and now the smug little !@%# is back to show that, though the Giro-Tour double was arrogant and reckless as well as downright embarrassing, the Tour-Vuelta double is, for any real rider, a piece o' cake. So sorry you're not there for me to stomp on again, Alberto--I'll be sure to wave to you from the final podium in Madrid!

3. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC): Dang, he rode well and bravely at the Tour de France, didn't he? But whether his body can handle the stress 'n' strain of a 3-week two-fer, at the heights at which his impressive talent is capable, is a whole 'nother question. Still, he's got Samu. Stay strong, Tejay, and hopefully you can show 'em all in week 3!

4. Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru (Astana): Oh, the pain of having to "share" team leadership at the Vuelta! Say what you will about Nibs, but even after his Tour de France GC hopes were obliterated, the man kept stubbornly riding as hard as he could--pure and unadulterated grinta. As for Aru, yeah, you rode a *really* nice Giro with ex-Carrot Mikel Landa's monster aid--but remember your place, rugrat, your time is coming soon anyhow!

5. Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): Oh, the pain of having to "share" team leadership at the Vuelta! But at least with Movistar it's because Nairo--and miraculously, even the dependably self-destructive Valverde--completely kicked !@#. So lay off Nairo if he falters, which he won't--the poor wee thing is probably *tired* for heck's sake!

6. Purito Rodriguez (Katusha): As the GC plans of the "fabulous five" imploded around him, Purito kept his cool, and took *two* smashing stage win at the Tour. But for my money, and despite his nearly Hornerish advanced age, the starkly beautiful Vuelta is the race for him, and now is his time. Shut up, go to hell, will so too either!

Yes, there's others. And the Vuelta being the Vuelta, I'm sure I'll be proved mortifyingly wrong. But even the GC contenders ain't all the action for this phenomenal race--next up in preview: the climbers, the sprinters, and all the other stuff to see!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's Yer Vuelta a Espana in Preview, Part Uno!: The Course! #lavuelta

Mourn the Giro, forget the Tour--it's time for the fabulous Vuelta a Espana! And before we get on to who's riding it and what their chances are--because frankly, at least one of the GC contenders seriously makes me want to just yak--we better know what the corsa itself is gonna throw at 'em. Ergo, let's go--the Course!

The Kick-Off: well, we gotta shake the nerves outta the lets and get the red jersey on *somebody*, and how better to do it than a short, 7.4k superflat coastal team time trial? Barring catastrophe--there, that ought curse things--some lucky guy'll inadvertently get the crowning moment of his career, and even the worst of the GC contenders, though suffering some psychological humiliation, won't be *too* freaked out by their time losses. Just stay the hell upright, Purito, and I am a happy fan!

The Individual Time Trial: happily for most of these guys, there's only one of 'em, a mildly lumpy, 38.7k Stage 17 hot off the rest day. Still, as the Vuelta don't hesitate to remind us, for the wee-est, the least-aero, and the generally unlucky, even a few seconds lost or won can count. Don't lose heart here Puritooooooooooooooooooooooo!

The Hills: if ain't mountains, it's probably "hills", which by Vuelta standards is still most people's on-the-rivet definition o' "agony". The intermediate pain starts almost right off the blocks on Stage 2, followed by the merciless run of stages 6 through 10 before the rest day of September 1st. Phew, that's a relief to get those out of the w--what, there's still *more* of this !@#$ on stages 18 and 19? "Rest" my !@#!

The Sprints: Okay, like I give a crap, but there *are* six, for those big galoots stupid--or at least masochistic--enough to ride this carousel. Stages 3 thru 5, 12 and 13, and natch, the sponsor-slutfest two-K-thrilla ending to a ceremonial GC day for the last fast man standing (or weeping, whatever) in Madrid. Aupa to anyone who's made it this far with some gas left in the tank--you're truly a sprinter like no other!

Last But Not Least (Hell, More Like the Most) Mountains: La Vuelta ain't no simpy sprinter's race, honey--it's the !@#damn Vuelta, and despite this glorious race getting *no* respect, only the climbers will survive. On tap: 5 truly high mountain stages, beginning with a post-rest-day Stage 11 Andorran slaughterfest, billed as the toughest ever to feature in the Vuelta--and let's be honest, a buncha guys'll pick up gnarly, race-ending "stomach viruses" on the rest day just to avoid it, and there's *absolutely* no shame in that. Six! sadistic mountain passes, including one hors category climb (thoughtfully placed mid-course), 4 cat-1 climbs including the finish, and a lone cat-2 climb as a consolation prize. And that's not all! After two teaser flat stages, it's full-uphill-gas for the next 3 days on Stages 14-16, with an uphill finish at the hors categorie Alto Campo, next day a gentle cat-1 finale at Alto de Sostres--and yeah, it's still freakin' "alto", at the Vuelta it's always "alto!", and a *seven*-mountain deathmarch to the HC Ermita de Alba before what's left of the shredded carcasses of the peloton get to drift into merciful sleep for the final rest day--before, of course, they're woken up by their sadistic DSes that morning for an "easy" 3-hour spin to keep fresh. The finale: if it isn't already painfully set in stone, it comes down to who can triumph--or who just doesn't catastrophically crack--on penultimate Stage 20, with 4 Cat-1s to enjoy including two tries at Puerto de la Mocuera before a coy downhill and mood-killing uphill nip of a last k to Cercedilla. Congratulations to the final red jersey--just enjoy the bubbly tomorrow, and offer thanks to the Vuelta gods it's over!

Well, them's the corsa. Next up--the poor GC bastids who'll be riding it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Confused About the Whole Tommy D Mess? My Fantasy Jonathan Vaughters Press Conference Explains It All!

JV: Good morning. I'm here today to explain why I'm reneging on my sacred vow to discontinue my 'clean team' if some jerk on it tested positive for drugs/I am so proud to continue to support the most morally superior team in the peloton, Cannondale-Garmin. First, I'd like to say that I must've been an idiot to think that any one of Lance's teammates who got a bull!@#$ 6-month off-season suspension for years of destructive cheating and omerta had any incentive not to pull that crap again/the positive test of that wholly unauthorized freak and outlier Tommy Danielson was a complete and utter shock to all of us. Next, I'd like to remind you that we have one of the most rigorous internal anti-doping testing programs on the face of planet Earth/if those clowns at UCI could actually detect doping this year there's no excuse whatsoever for any half-!@#ed kid with a mail-order chemistry set not to have found it.

As to why I am choosing to let this team continue in the face of such a disappointing occurrence/such an unadulterated hypocrite not to keep my word when it counts, all I can say is that, upon further reflection, it would be genuinely unfair to destroy the livelihoods of dozens of innocent riders, soigneurs, team chefs, and staff members/I genuinely thought I would never in a million years be held to such a ridiculous promise. For my riders, I can only offer my deepest apologies for this unexpected incident happening on my watch/my most pathetic begging because if fan-friendly cash-cow nice guys like Dombrowski bail on me my career is !@#$ing f!@#$ed. I also urge you, and all cyclists, not to order any nutritional supplements off the internet, no matter how seemingly reliable/to just blame yer next positive on some obscure relative's coke-dusted candies right now for how stupid you'll look. Finally, I affirm to all you today that our team remains committed to the highest standards of sportsmanship/compared to some of the other squads, we are the *least* of this sport's continued problems.

Thank you for joining me here today/screw you for rejoicing in my downfall you lazy ignorant poseur know-nothing armchair Monday-morning quarterbacks. I look forward to joining you in the continued fight against this foul disease that taints our beloved sport/you guys getting the hell off my back and going back to bitching about Froomey. Have a great day/bite me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's Yer Post-Tour Gossip 'n' Recriminations Roundup! #letour

Straight Outta Paris: hot on the heels of Alberto Contador's pledge to target--and target *only*--the Tour de France next season, tuttobiciweb's reporting that he's going to officially end his 2015 season with this weekend's Clasica San Sebastian, leaving him only a crappy worthless Giro d'Italia (the most beautiful race in the world Oleg you publicity-whoring goon!), and a subsequent top-5 Tour de France GC that most cyclists would still kill for to show for all that work, immediately after which he'll be stuffed into the oxygen-deprived cargo hold of a decaying Soviet military aircraft and airlifted to Nepal, which Oleg Tinkov recently bought in its entirety to serve as a high-altitude training ground for Alberto to win the Tour next year or else, you little !@#$! Quoth a forcibly duct-taped Alberto, in response to a reporter's question about the tactic, "Mgggmmpph!"

Transfer-a-palooza: and, with the Tour de France results in hand, the post-transfer clamor has predictably started, with Mark Cavendish demoted to the just-banned Androni-Sidermec squad for his loser 1-stage victory, Andre Greipel given 3 billion euro from Lotto-Soudal to build a 36-man leadout squad, Porte shoved off to BMC at the special request of Chris Froome for getting dropped one one of the Tour's approximately 968 categorized climbs--uh, to "pursue his own GC ambitions," and Tejay Van Garderen reportedly taking intensive fencing lessons with a top-notch Olympic coach in order to challenge Porte to a gentlemanly duel for team leadership. Sky, meanwhile, has apparently hired ex-Euskaltel Giro revelation Mikel Landa, Benat Intxausti, and both Izaguirre brothers, upon which a potentially-retiring Samuel Sanchez will buy the squad, put everyone in orange-and-black kit with the words "WE'RE !@#$ING EUSKALTEL, DAMMIT!" emblazoned thereon, and force defending Tour de France champ Chris Froome off the team and into early retirement unless he can prove definitively he's actually Basque. Aupa Samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Finally, over in the women's peloton, Giro Donne/LaCourse conquistadora Anna Van der Breggen and the inimitable (if currently dented) Marianne Vos will be given a raise commensurate with their athletic prowess, meaning they'll be paid in a whole handful's worth of 1-euro coins instead of those little wooden tokens you redeem for cheap tacky crap when you win beanbag-toss games at those sandy seedy seaside amusement venues. Also, any and all women riders who've still been stiffed outta their rightful (if pathetic) earnings in *last* year's UCI races will be allowed to sideline as podium babes at men's amateur races to *really* earn their keep instead. Who *says* there's been no progress in the women's sport this year?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's Yer 2015 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards! #letour

Yes, the urine's been thrown, the champagne's been quaffed, and Peter Sagan made like a 1930s machine-gun gangster on the podium, so as we all catch our breaths and finally tear ourselves away from our Twitter feeds, it's time for the incredibly prestigious 2015 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards! Prizes: well, if anyone's so insane as to actually claim it, I swear I'll toss in an actual pretty little engraved trophy to go along with the eternal glory, shameful notoriety, and humiliating internet obscurity these fine awards will bring. So cue the Bernard Hinault-Christian Prudhomme dancing spangled chorus line, and let's start the show!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race: Yes, it is the topic of some debate whether Vincenzo Nibali intentionally attacked the yellow jersey when he looked directly into his face, saw he'd had a mechanical, and made what was undoubtedly a long-preplanned attack for redemption exactly at that very moment. Am I the only one who remembers the Schleck brothers (yeah, I said that, not the other attack that day) at Contador's Tour? But the winner is absolutely maillot jaune Chris Froome chasing down *every* second of Alberto Contador's moves from the very first *hint* of a hopeful pedalstroke. Valverde pulling that !@#$, I get--he's likely to self-destruct at any moment. But with AC six minutes down, that's not cautious. That's !@#holean!

Dumb-!@# Move of the Race: Warren Barguil, shouldering Geraint Thomas headfirst into a telephone pole *and* !@#-over-end into a ditch on a surprisingly broad switchback. Hold yer line, you eejit!

Formula One Wannabe Dipwad Award: Poor Jakob Fuglsang, about to pounce in the Alps from a breakaway and save the day for Astana when he's taken completely out by a race moto. Cold comfort: the motoman's ejection from the Tour, which was probably better off for the lout's personal post-race safety anyhow. You're supposed to ride *alongside* the riders, not *into* them, you !@#$!

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm" Prize: for a hulking track-n-classics specialist, Geraint Thomas sure is one hell of a freaky-deaky mountain goat. All-rounders are a refreshing change of pace in the modern peloton, though. Quintana for Paris-Roubaix 2016!

Fan Disgrace o' the Race: that skankball who allegedly threw a cup of wee onto Chris Froome. There's *wanting* to--which let's be honest, is pervy enough--and there's *doing* it. Can we just find this repulsive clown and shove 'im off to live in a cave somewhere the rest of his life, away from civilized folks? Oh, the innocent days when you just had to worry about some bewigged howling doofus in a neon banana-hammock half taking you down on the Alpe d'Huez waving a giant flag in your face...

Best Domestique: yes, I am instinctively voting for we love Samuel Sanchez, who has turned his Olympic gold medal and prior King of the Mountains jersey into platinum domestique superstar service. But this one's honestly gotta go to brash prettyboy goofball Peter Sagan, who never hesitated to help a struggling, bone-tired Alberto Contador wherever and whenever he needed it most. Nice work, Peto--between that and the green jersey, even Oleg probably won't beat you too hard for not winning a stage!

Don't Look Back Award: y'know how Nairo Quintana took off on that brave, if ultimately too-late, attack against the yellow jersey on Alpe d'Huez? Yeah, it wasn't Froome he really had to watch out for, it was his own teammate Valverde! Just to make sure he was there to help if wee Nairo needed, I mean. Right, Alejandro?

Tearjerker Moment of 2015: Tejay Van Garderen's head being cradled by team management as he steps sobbing off the bike and into the team car as he retired within spitting distance of the podium in Paris. Shut up, ya cynic, like you weren't tearing up, too--now pass me the Kleenex, you know you've got a box of 'em right next to you right now!

Marginal Gains Award: Sky, I don't know *what* tweaks you were makin' in the absence of Porte's personal Giro d'Italia motorpalace--but I bet the other squads are trying to find out!

Whining Crybaby Statuette o' the Tour: his graceless constant bitching in the face of overwhelming success was that single singing mosquito that drives you screaming out of bed and bat-!@#$ arm-swinging crazed in the middle of the night. Wah, the press is conspiring against me, wah, it's just the Wheaties leaving me 8 teammates in front of me on the top of la Toussiere, wah, Nibali's unfairly attacking me, wah, someone's turned my face into a toilet, wah wah wah. Chris Froome, this one's for you--was there anything you *didn't* complain about this Tour?!

Uncomfortable Announcer Commentary Award: it rather guts me to do this, but ex-Lanceman Christian Vandevelde so perkily commenting on Sky's creepily familiar robotic superiority in the Alps and Pyrenees without a hint of, well, anything, for days on end was a sight and sound to behold. What's this paranoid bull!@#$ about the press constantly besmirching your integrity all about again, Froomey?

Hissy Fit of 2015: sure, I'd like to've heard what Froomey yelled at Nibs after their little imbroglio, especially as Nibs discreetly suggested it was far too outre' for delicate ears to hear. This one's for Thibaut Pinot, completely blowing his cool at a routine mechanical and even losing it at the teammate who responsibly stopped to help 'im. Did you see Contador petulantly slamming $10,000 of equipment around when Peter Sagan offered 'im *his* bike? No--but by all means feel to throw an epic toddler tantrum for the cameras all over again!

Crash o' the Race: sadly, there *were* too many contenders this road-slick destructive disastrous year, though miraculously, the race organizers managed to keep from actively planting a pointless metal pole right in the middle of the course to bring down the riders. Poor Tony Martin, enjoying one day in yellow after a blazing near-win in the time trial then busting his collarbone into six different pieces within meters of the line. And of course, he got back up, climbed on his bike, and--with the help of his teammates, but still--brought the maillot jaune home. Allez allez for a speedy recovery, with that attitude I expect you to get it back next year!

Simp Overlord Decision of the Tour: it poured like hell during the entire LaCourse, turning the streets of Paris into a Slip'n'Slide and sending a good half the women's peloton skidding across the cobbles like drunken ice dancers. And what do the Tour de France race organizers do? Celebrate Anna Van Der Breggen's audacious solo attack for the win ahead of a surging chase, and then call "time" on the men's GC after the first pass of the finish line when the pavement was already drying out so Froome needn't roll over any dangerous remaining damp spots. Can we just give the women a *real* Tour de France already, and let those pampered princes in the men's race take their chances in the last 10 minutes of the whole shebang for all that dough they make?

Everybody Polka Award: yeah, whatsisface won the mountains jersey in the end. But who clawed his way into it beforehand, *and* won two stages this TdF to boot? That's right, Purito Rodriguez, baby. Puritooooooooooooooo--now let's see what you're gonna bring on in the Vuelta!

A Bicycle Built for Two (Well, Second) Award: Peter Sagan, you are *nothing* if not consistent this season. But for your sake, can you at least take a stage win sometime this year, before Oleg remembers how much he paid you to help out Mick and Kreuziger and to bring home a snazzy green t-shirt?

Reality Bites Consolation Prize: finally, before the post-race team-bus horsewhippings get underway, let's give a big round of applause *and* buckets o' credit aforethought to Tinkoff-Saxo boss Oleg Tinkov, who, before the grease was even off Contador's chain, had Alberto loudly proclaiming his one and *only* focus from now on is to bring the Tour de France home for himsel--uh, for Oleg next year. Go to hell, Oleg, the Giro's by far the more beautiful race--and this debacle is all your stupid fault anyhow!

Well, I just noticed I didn't do a sprint award, which in any case belongs to Andre Greipel. So let's pass out the prizes, say farewell to Paris, toast the Tour, and get on to the beautiful Vuelta a Espana--Puritooooooooooooooooooo!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's Yer Tour de France Rest Day Deux Roundup! #letour


2. On the other hand, anyone who gets kissed by a beagle can't be a *total* goon. But still mostly.

3. Alberto's looking, as he tends to heading into the third week of a Grand Tour, pretty strong. But if Froome's PostalDiscoverySky androids keep riding like this--not even counting Chris "the Pterodactyl" Froome himself--it ain't gonna matter for !@#$.

3. Quintana, man. Your "helpmate" Valverde is right behind you, and, well, it seems highly unlikely he's gonna hold off outta teamsmanship. Watch your back, little Nairo!

4. Am I the only one who thinks Oleg'd rather Sagan just take a !@#$in' stage win for once than don the "most consistent" green jersey every day?

5. Don't blame the !@#$in' media for everyone thinking you and your team are doping, Froome you baby. You riding like such a freak and having a !@#damn Classics specialist making Quintana look like freakin' Cavendish on a mountain climb are why. Wah, wah--the maillot jaune's your reward, whether you deserve it or not!

6. Speaking of whom, it's kinda a testament to Cav's sheer amazingness that everyone's acting like he's a loser for taking "just" one stage win this year. We really take him for granted, don't we?

7. Tejay Van Garderen. What a great job by him, *and* BMC. Samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!


9. Major, *major* grinta by Nibali yesterday. No matter where he places, *that's* a champion.

10. New UCI rule: any classless skankfest "fan" throwing wizz on a rider--no matter who that is, or why--shall be used as a fire hydrant for the entire peloton's next "nature break."

11. Of all the reasons guys've left the Tour this year, it's a relief to hear Basso's prognosis after his terrible news is excellent and dandy a baby Van Avermaet is pending. And could Vandevelde quit bitching how BMC should never have squandered a spot on 'im in the first place?

12. Andre Greipel. Gets no credit, but gets the glory!

13. Loved, *loved* Steve Schlanger desperately trying to milk Geraint Thomas for tearful emotion after Warren Barguil whanged him head over heels into a telephone pole and a ditch and getting a mild "it's irritating" in return.

14. It's been a *lot* less bloody this week. Let's hope it stays that way in the Alps--and go Alberto, or it's *this* next week in Paris!

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Yer Tour de France First-Rest-Day Week-One in Review! #letour

Well, the roads have claimed their broken victims, the cobbles are past, and two French journalists are reportedly recovering in hospital after Oleg Tinkov beat them over the head with Peter Sagan for asking about yesterday's team time trial debacle, and as the boys transfer to the Pyrenees and a day of well-deserved rest and screeching recrimination, it's time for we fans to take a deep breath, reflect on what's happened, and think ahead about what's to come!

1. The Giro-Tour Double: I *know*, my dear Contador fans. I *know*. He's gonna attack Froome when the guy pokes himself in the eyeballs with one of his own flailing elbows, take 14 minutes on 'im in the neutral zone, and already be putting on the final maillot jaune in Paris while Froomey's still riding the second stage in the Pyrenees. But 1:03 is a !@#$load of time to make up, even for him, and with our doe-eyed golden boy still looking tired from the Giro--and I *know* he's just psyching people out when he *says* it, but just entertain the possibility here with me that he actually *seems* that way--it's not looking completely *amazing* for the top spot here, and he's *still* gotta pile on a buffer on Sky on top of *that*. Not that he can't do it, because he's Contador, and he has a sad new motivation now to give him wings and do his teammates proud. Go Alberto--damn, Froomey's getting on my nerves!

2. Corollary "Please Don't Hurt Me" Observation: didja notice how Froome didn't barely even *mentioned* Alberto when he was waxing poetic about his competitors the rest of the race? Kick 'im in the nuts while he's down, whydontcha!

3. Race-Altering Mechanicals: one giant bike-slamming hissy-fit (delightfully caught on camera) and one screaming wankfest at his mechanic and an innocent domestique who stopped to, y'know, *help* you you ungrateful troll. You may not get the podium this year, Thibaut Pinot, but you sure do your country proud anyway!

4. Corollary Pro Tip: *don't* scream at the guy who can make your saddle accidentally fall off the next day when you're riding, and sorely need it. Ouch--and respect your support staff!

5. Crosswind in the Willows: y'know, I'm wholly accustomed to, say, Alejandro Valverde individually committing a catastrophic !@#$-up, but Movistar *and* Astana both letting their leaders lose mountains of time in a known crosswindy flat stage? For shame, team strategists--tho' at least Movistar redeemed themselves nicely in that team time trial!

6. The Bone Collector: even for a typically twitchy first week, this Tour's a cracker (literally). 98 consecutive crashes on perfect pavement, 2 bones in one wrist (Gerrans), a scapula, a Lincoln Log set of a collarbone (Martin), 2 broken vertebrae in the neck (Bonnet), 2 bones in the back hard next to the ones he just healed from (Cancellara), an ankle, a coupla ribs (Bling), 735 contusions, 14 miles of skin ripped off, and 2,864 general boo-boos. And those are the guys who could barely if at all get up. Medic!

7. Corollary Advice for Tour 2016: the safest place by far in the peloton was, freakishly, the feared cobblestones. Next year, let's just bring in the Forest of Arenberg for a few circuits instead of all that nasty smooth treacherous pavement, and give these guys a chance to survive their first week!

8. Feed Zone: Froome, man. No matter how well the guy's riding at his current level of emaciated, I can't believe the poor thing couldn't use a nice lunch. Here, just one more cookie, too, honey!

9. Peto Power: I'll give it to Sagan--he's been a real prince for Alberto Contador. But I still don't think Oleg Tinkov's gonna offer you another 4.3 million euro if you don't start bringing home the stage wins!

10. All the Road's a Stage: speaking of stages, make no mistake, winning a stage on another rider's bike is like winning a marathon in another runner's shoes. Chapeau Tony Martin--and Pinot, watch and *learn*!

11. Puritooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

12. Nibali's starting to sound pretty pissed off. Vino, isn't it *your* job to manhandl--uh, manage the disrespectful press while your boy focuses on his *race*?

11. Game of Thrones: tomorrow, it's the Pyrenees, and the (leg) smashing hors categorie Col de Soudet. Alberto, it's gonna be tough gaining any time for the long haul by your lonesome coming off those wee starter Cat 4s--Tinkoff-Saxo, you know what you need to do for him!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Have (Some) Coke and a Smile: It's the First Doping Poz of the Tour de France! #letour

Let It Snow (In July): well, *that* sucks for dear Purito Rodriguez: joining the ranks of we love Gilberto "My Grandma Sent Me Coke-Tainted Candies" Simoni and Tom "Hell, At Least It Didn't Make Me Crash My Lamborghini!" Boonen, now Luca "the Beard" Paolini's tested positive for metabolectrawhatsitlytes of cocaine, which means either: (1) he was just a careless good-time party boy and what's a little blow between friends on his off-hours anyway? or (2) the dumb!@# never heard of ESPRESSO, which can also enhance your speed(iness) and performance without getting you KICKED OUT OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE YOU EEJIT. *Must* we go years back to My Fantasy Tom Boonen Press Conference on how to deal with this issue? Oh, Luca--don't you know you'd'a gotten off *entirely* if you'd only taken that freakish !@#$ that makes one look like a terrifying undead skeleton wraith and *does* help your performance, to boot? Here, poor Luca's so out of it he's accidentally trying to snort his own jersey: Good luck with yer B-sample, honey!

C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me): and, after a disappointing series of sprint losses, for which he reamed his team, the press, the fans, and pretty much everybody but himself as usual, the expensive Mark Cavendish--currently looking, as team boss Pat Lefevere keeps pointing out, for a new contract--at last took a downright spiffy win in today's sprint, leaving green jersey Andre Greipel with 2 and lone wolf (and even *more* expensive) Peter Sagan with a big fat zippo (tho' to be fair, a selfless and gracious domestique, as Peter has been for Alberto, oughtn't come *too* cheap either). Good to see you on the map again, Cav--if you can just cling on to the autobus through the Pyrenees, the Champs is yours as usual in Paris!

What's In a Name? That Which We Call A Rosa By Any Other Name Would be As Bad-!@#: finally, in addition to celebrating MTN-Qhubeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot's first-ever-for-Africa polka-dot jersey at the Tour, over at the Giro Rosa, Wiggle's Mayuko Hagiwara became the first-ever Japanese rider to win a stage at the Giro Rosa with a spectacular 30k solo breakaway win on Stage 6. The action? Wiggle lays it down! Complimenti Mayuko!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But the Road's Gonna Hurt You Worse #letour

Three Days of DeCarnage: First, we get an upset in the time trial. Then, we get a superhigh (and supersuck, depending on who you're rooting for) when cross-winds crush the GC, Cav sits up and excoriates his team the press and the fans for saying so, and Spartacus holds 'im off at the line with the sprinters for a season-redemptive maillot jaune, and does any of that retrospectively count as interesting? Well no, because holy *crap*, we haven't even gotten to the cobbles yet, and today went from "gee Cavendish still looks pissy in the neutral zone" to "well, shouldn't be much trouble til the Mur de Huy today" to OH MY GOD ITS FABS/IMPEY/DUMOULIN/FARRAR/GERRANS/BONNET/PIPPO/TEN DAM/MOST OF ORICA/I CAN'T BELIEVE CANCELLARA'S BIKE DIDN'T BREAK THE SOUND BARRIER FLYING LIKE THAT to what the hell is with neutralizing the race and dang Astana looks pissed and Lefevere is going on a twitter rampage to don't the riders look twitchy all jockeying for position like that to how awful it's even way worse than they thought originally to woo-hoo Purito's gonna win the stage to oh no Contador's bonking this doesn't bode well for the mountains to jaysus Froome's riding like a freak to holy crap with that many injuries it's a miracle they didn't have to neutralize the entire stage! The final toll: poor Cancellara--who I honestly thought looked sorta dazed when he got up, but apparently that wasn't the problem--broke two vertebrae *again*, Ten Dam shoved his shoulder back in his socket, Impey friggin' finished the stage before realizing he'd snapped his collarbone, Dumoulin with a busted shoulder, the utterly cursed Simon Gerrans snapping a wrist (I think his third broken bone of the season right?), most of the guys riding half-naked with both skin and kit ripped off and worst-off FDJ's William Bonnet breaking his neck bone and miraculously not ending up impaired even worse. Poor *everybody*, they even all managed to avoid the road furniture so far, please heal up safe and get well soon and may the four guys left in the race manage to stay upright on the pave tomorrow! On tap: seven sectors of cobblestones, and forget losing time to tame boring mechanicals, after yesterday this is just gonna be a war of attrition to stay halfway up front with the two domestiques you've got left on the roster and hope to hell you make it to the line intact. Good luck boys--from now to the finish line in Paris, sincerely!

La Vie in Rosa: meantime, with some inevitable hitting of the deck, things have been comparatively tranquillo at the Giro Rosa, with buckets of coverage on their facebook page here (along with cyclingtips and prowomenscycling) and Lucinda Brand taking a tight sprint and the overall classification out of a rare successful breakaway over Orica's Valentina Scandolara and Italian national champ Elena Cecchini. Tomorrow: a flat run for the sprinters' squads to redeem themselves before the road starts heading upwards most of the rest of the week. Forza Giorgia Bronzini, sei veramente campionessa! And while I can't find anything from today's stage that isn't blocked (@#$dammit!), here's Wiggle-Honda's stage 2 with some carnage of their own unfortunately: Get well soon too, everybody!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Can't Get Enough of the Giro Even Though It's Time for the Tour? Me Neither--It's the Giro Rosa, Baby! #GiroRosa2015

The Race: 9 stages and a just-completed explosive 2k time trial prologue--hellooooo, 1st leader of the race Annemiek Van Vleuten!--with a sprinty-rolly 1st half yielding to a climber's delight--or agony!--for the final stages, with a 21.7k stage 8 time trial, 2 summit finishes and 3 more mountainy stages tossed in. Forza donne--you're gonna need all the "forza" you can muster!

The Ruckus: the women's peloton is at its most leg-to-leg competitive in virtually every discipline in years, the tifosi appear to be at historic levels of freakout, and, for my money, it's time for the women's sport to take its rightful place just as tennis' did a generation ago. And, you can follow it, and all the action, here! Heck, you can even catch it on RAI, if you get it (not me unfortunately--screw you American cable)!

The Contenders: the national jerseys have just been awarded, prior winners have a lot to show against the young'uns, and there's a whole lotta pride--and scarce scanty sponsorship dough on the line. Sprints--the great Giorgia Bronzini, who sez, to broken hearts everywhere if you got any brains whatsoever, she might retire next year. Her own Wiggle teammate Julien D'hoore, Barbara Guarischi. GC--2-time campionessa/US bad-!@# Mara Abbott (follow her here! French phenom and new world road champ--are you watching, French men's teams? 'cause she oughta make you weep!--Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Brit fastwoman and all-round danger the great Lizzie Armistead, Evelyn Stevens! Also on tap: last year's blue best-Italian-rider jersey winner Elisa Longo Borghini and 2009 maglia rosa Claudia Lichtenberg. Out: unfortunately, still, defending champ Marianne Vos, but even without her, the depth in this field is insane. See you next year, Marianne--but even you're gonna have your work cut out for you when you get back!

Well, onto the fast course tomorrow--congratulations to you and whatever the hell you're standing next to, Annemiek!