Monday, January 05, 2015

It's Yer 2015 Pro Cycling Year in Preview! (Yeah, You Read Right)

Well, the past has been covered, the gifts've been given, the awards accepted, and the resolutions made--now, it's time for the infallible predictions of the 2015 Year in Preview!

January: Time for new team kits! Astana emblazons front of jersey with giant Brian Cookson portrait; Tinkoff-Saxo replicates maillot jaune for entire squad, in case there's any doubt who's just gonna win it anyway; Sky ditches disastrous 2014 mesh skinsuit, goes for straight-on naked; cold-loving Belgian hardmen accidentally melt into tarmac at Tour Down Under; overcaffeinated Jens Voigt accidentally DSes Tour of California, Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta, and men's world championships several months before they actually occur.

February: The Tour of Qatar rolls out! Sagan wheelies over finish line, relegated from first-place finish in sprint; Mark Cavendish accidentally cuts into Roberto Ferrari's line with a chainsaw; Marcel Kittel spontaneously combusts when hair gel reaches critical 458 degrees Fahrenheit in blazing sun; Samuel Sanchez announces late 2015 contract with WHERE THE !@#$ IS SAMUEL SANCHEZ' NEW CONTRACT !@#DAMMIT?!

March: Woo hoo--it's the Classics! Fabian Cancellara falsely accused of "bike doping" when exhaust fumes from "cool new bidon" make lead group choke to death; Boonen wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne over Moreno Hofland for second consecutive year with last-moment "bike throw" into Hofland's head; Andre Greipel ensures sprinter's race at Milano-Sanremo by personally stretching the Poggio out flat with bare hands.

April: It's the Hell o' the North! ASO enforces rule against riding alongside cobbles by digging trenches on both sides filled with hissing deadly pit vipers; Boonen domestiques Niki Terpstra to win, again, by carrying him on piggyback through Arenberg Forest; Philippe Gilbert sweeps Aredennes Classics by whanging BMC directeur sportif over head with spoke wrench until he lets him break his contract, ride solo.

May: Yep, Grand Tour season begins--it's the beautiful Giro d'Italia, baby! Oleg Tinkoff entices Froome, Nibali, Quintana to ride Giro-Tour-Vuelta triple by threatening to break their legs off if they don't; collapsing glacier slices top off Stelvio, sending it plummeting onto peloton, race organizers deride riders as "pack of wussies" for not digging out from under 2.5 million metric tons of granite as Nairo Quintana takes stage saying he thought it "was just a pebble kicked up by the Orica-Greenedge team car." Guess who wins again!

June: Pre-Tour prep time! Sky to race organizer's house to completely revise course to Froomey's specifications; Tinkoff-Saxo to Tenerife for high-altitude training, robotic implants; Cav caught slipping Kittel 100,000 euros to "run down to the corner and get me a decent espresso."

July: What else--le Tour! Contador, Froome so busy marking each other they accidentally pedal backwards into coastal Portugal, out of contention; Valverde wins first Tour de France by "supporting" team captain Nairo Quintana by personally caring for Nairo's bicycle every night, replacing derailleur lube with Krazy Glue; Oleg Tinkov hitches Peter Sagan to Roman chariot, wins green jersey by using big spiky metal things on chariot wheels to shred the spokes of other riders. Victory is mine!

August: It's fabulous Vuelta a Espana, baby! Purito Rodriguez attacks for 31 straight days, realizes the race was actually already over during the last 10; Contador denied Tour-Vuelta double when poked in eye by randomly flailing Froome elbow; still-disappointed Orange Army fans kidnap all non-Basque riders, reconstituted "Euskaltel-Euskadi" squad wins all classifications.

September: Contract season! 16 Astana riders test positive for banned substances, Vinokourov forced to sign untainted squad of untried tricycle fans from local Kazakh nursery school; Quintana at Movistar through 2016 "so long as that greedy bastard Valverde don't stab me in the back"; Marianne Vos renews gig til 2048, wins F1 World Championship by record margin, explaining, "I thought all those race cars I passed were just some kind of fancy new fatbike."

October: World Championships time! Michal Kwiatkowski fails to defend men's road title when mistaken for Polish team towel boy, hounded away from start line; Pauline Ferrand-Prevot defends women's gold after other contenders decide to chill in their national team busses with beer and some nachos instead of riding and waiting for the last kilometer to blow it; Pippo Pozzato misses Il Lombardia due to hand injury sustained in tanning-salon imbroglio.

November: Vacation time! Pros collectively "go play video games" over at Lance Armstrong's house since they're now forbidden from consorting with Michele Ferrari; entire Astana squad disappears for 4 weeks, Brian Cookson chuckles "those scalawags!"; Froome eats single pea at dinner, doubles weight, Sky terminates next year's contract.

December: WorldTour licenses announced! Vino buys UCI prez Brian Cookson Buckingham Palace, Queen of England forced to live in nearby Motel 6; Cookson concedes Astana's been "very naughty" but rents Iglinsky brothers palatial Monaco summer homes to wait out doping bans; Thomas Voeckler snags ProTour license from Cofidis by impaling it with his prehensile lizard tongue; Alejandro Valverde proclaims himself "the greatest Spanish rider to ever get away with taking all this !@#$". Merry Christmas, suckers!

So, onwards to 2015--and don't say I didn't warn you!

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