Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Fantasy Team Astana/UCI Press Conference

Alexandre Vinokourov: Good afternoon. We're here today to discuss UCI's controversial decision not to strip Team Astana of our WorldTour license, despite a string of doping busts that make the entire US Postal squad look like they were just poppin' a few Tic-Tacs for some extra race-day pep. First, I'd like to say, NEENER NEENER NEENER! Further--(aide taps him on shoulder, hands him phone)--dammit, I *told* you only to call me on that untraceable disposable cell phone! No, not *that* !@#$, the *other* !@#$! (hands back phone)--I'd like to point out that I've been firmly assured by UCI that this decision had absolutely nothing to do with my omnipresent screaming threat to rat every other team out and bring the entire !@#$ing hypocrite WorldTour down with me if I have to spend one more !@#$ing minute listening to this total hypocrite scapegoat bull!@#$ about *my* squad. Right, Brian?

Brian Cookson (smiles brightly): That's right, Vino! This decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that this entire sport would collapse, *again*, if you actually followed through with your threat!

AV: Additionally, the UCI's decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the incredibly powerful Tour de France organizers looking like a pack of complete incompetent !@#holes if the TV coverage every day had to run embarrassing Landis-esque recaps of why the 2014 Tour champ Vincenzo Nibali of Team Astana wasn't there to defend his title. Right, Brian?

BC (smiles brightly): That's right, Vino! This decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the Tour de France looking like a pack of incompetent !@#holes when the TV coverage runs an endless series of reminders why the defending Tour de France champion isn't there!

AV: Well, at least we never injected baby formula into our veins or whatever weird quack-doctor !@#$ Van Avermaet or whoever was accused of doing, ha ha! Finally, I wish to address UCI's warning that they will, instead of actually *doing* anything, be "watching us carefully" from now on. Hey, UCI, watch this! (pulls pants down, moons audience)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sins of the Fleche; and, Watch Your #$!, Alberto Contador!

Piti Party: all right, own up you lying liars: Valverde's second consecutive win at a crash-marred Fleche-Wallone creeped the hell outta you too, as does the fact that this freak continues to podium straight through the entire season with no variations in form in every kind of race on every kind of terrain except--maybe--a pancake-flat sprint. !@#$, Valverde, you *want* you and everyone else on Movistar being assaulted by rubber-gloved narcs with giant needles in the middle of every freakin' night the rest of the season? Come to think of it, why aren't they doing that to you already? Oh, !&$! it, if it weren't for his Official Annual One-Stage Grand Tour Meltdown he'd already have the maillot jaune locked up in Paris...

Hard to Porte: meantime, right as Fabio Aru's epically incapacitating (and disgusting) stomach bug may already be screwing him out of the Giro, leaving Nibali to pick up team leadership (tho' a late tweet from Aru sez he's back on the bike, however shakily)--particularly in case Astana's adventures in pharmaceutical experimentation keep Nibs outta the Tour--now key Contador Giro rival Richie Porte is clearly en fuego, smashing the field at the lovely Giro del Trentino with an uphill victory. Y'know, Alberto, I *get* that Oleg Tinkov is still distracted chasin' Peter Sagan around in a hockey mask with a chainsaw over his monster Classics fail. But I hope your top-secret training regime is going precisely to plan, honey, because even Sagan might outsprint Oleg eventually and leave you as his next B-movie horror-show target if you can't step up to resounding success in both May and July. Climb, for God's--well, your--sake, *climb*!

Allez PhilGil!: finally, speedy recovery to an already Amstel-sore we love Samuel Sanchez and Philippe "Please Please Please Win Liege" Gilbert, who both hit the deck today alongside approximately half the peloton at Fleche, and whom I would desperately like to kick the rest of the field's !@# in Liege. The rest of you, same get-well wishes and best of luck--but I still hope Gilbert stomps you in the race! PS Don't worry Purito you still did great!

Oh, man, this is still somehow *so* disturbing....

Monday, April 20, 2015

On Being on a Bike Tour in Mallorca with a Rarin' Pack of Aussies: So Why Do *You* Ride? #whyyouride

Okay, to be precise, by "being on a bike tour" I mean "chillin' in the van watching the astonishing landscape sprint by while a pack of crazy Aussies and Americans actually ride these ginormous mountains", but I was being there all the same, and since I was asked to and I promised I would I ask: so why do *you* ride? Companionship? Fitness? Personal challenge? The perfect communion of person and machine? Slightly disconcerting sheer love of the pain cave? Me, I ride to go get truly superlative ice cream. So...what's your excuse?

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Now Win Flanders For Me, Sagan, Or I'll Grind You Into Dog Meat!: It's Your Ronde in Preview! #rvv

No Pressure: let's face it: our little Sagz has lost some of his joie de vivre. Whatever tactical sense he had has disappeared like a dirtbag ahead of a drug test, he's got squat in the tank when he needs it most, and the poor kid's been so down he hasn't even had the heart to pop a wheelie onto Contador's head. So you've got *one* day to get your mojo back before your desperate boss Oleg goes completely crazy-!@# on your overpaid overhyped has-been butt--but no pressure!

Oh Tommeke!: and, it goes without saying that a Flanders without Boonen and Cancellara is a party without a cake, so while I dry my maudlin tears and grab a cold one to scream my head off watching everyone else slug it out, I gotta say, I know furry bad-!@# Luca Paolini's justly working for strongman Alexander Kristoff and all, but if *I'd* just won Gent-Wevelgem in total dominating fashion, I'd be sending that guy back to the team car to get me a refreshing lemonade while the rest of squad carried me on my shoulders on a palanquin all the way to the line up at the front of the race tomorrow, which, among other issues like a complete lack of athletic ability, is why I'm a selfish !@#hole and not an incredible gracious cycling champion. So this leaves us with a wide-open race with a slew of guys who've been absolutely blossoming in the absence of Fabs and Tommeke's long shadows, like just-dented John Degenkolb, Van Avermaet, Stybar, gutsy E3 Harelbeke winner Geraint Thomas, and former shock champ Stijn Devolder, as well as, well, realistically, everybody else in the peloton from Belgium. My dark-horse fave? Niki Terpstra. My guilty-pleasure-no-chance-in-hell-but-I-still-love-to-watch-him-anyway? The all-style GQ king Pippo Pozzato. Still, forza grande Luca!

The Forecast: 48 F and sunny. Like even *that's* gonna help you poor bastards!

Ow, !@#$!: finally, your course map is here, and while it's gonna be a bangin' bucket o' excitement from start to finish for us, it is, as always, a study in total !@#$ing bone-jarring suffering for the peloton, including three trips up the Kwaremont, a spin up the Paterberg, and, of course, the fearsome pave of the Koppenberg. Me, I'm hoping someone smashes apart a potential bunch sprint by a daring far-out attack. And to remind you, like you needed it, here, your tribute to Fabs' decisive 2014 victory, as the big guy (get well soon!) brings it in:

So good luck boys--both winning the race, and just plain staying upright in one (especially your collarbones) piece--let the pain and glory begin!