Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Pre-Tour Head Games! Hour Record Controversies! Doping Wisdom! #cycling

The Intimidation Begins: yep, Tinkoff-Saxo's struck the first big psychological blow of Tour de France 2015: they've unleashed their special Tour team kit, a blue-and-yellow tie-dyeish camo design that virtually declares war on Alberto Contador's pathetic rivals. Not to be outdone, defending champ Vincenzo Nibali's Astana squad has reportedly released its own team kit design, a simple white jersey with "!@#$ YOU TINKOV!" emblazoned across the front in giant red letters. As for Movistar, Alejandro Valverde has allegedly secretly paid millions of euros to an elite military contractor to develop a cloak of invisibility to allow him to bushwhack titular team leader Nairo Quintana without warning. When asked for his comments, Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford dismissed the entire brouhaha, opining, "Nothing can beat our sexy see-thru mesh skinsuits. Except maybe those guys in the neon mankini banana-hammocks who always run alongside the riders on Alpe d'Huez...Hey, Arvesen, get our kit manufacturer on the line!"

Hour of Power: in track news, Sir Brad Wiggins' blazin' immolation of the fabled Hour Record is now totally overwhelmed by two far more important issues: (1) fer God's sake, you *don't* wear long black socks with navy kit; and (2) banned-for-a-decade doping-conspiracy team leader Johan Bruyneel and former UCI prez Pat "Dick" McQuaid were observed at the event having a disturbingly friendly laugh together. !@#$, like no-one thought that they were doing that for the better part of Lance Armstrong's reign anyway? Oh, right, and in inconsequential news, Brad's bike was illegal so his entire hour record was meaningless and Alex Dowsett's gonna come back and beat the crap outta Wiggo's new record anyway. Yeah, but with all this drama, who's gonna be left to watch the attempt itself?

UCI Can't Believe This Is Happening Again: meanwhile, I see two Pro Continental riders have tested "non-negative" for human growth hormone and EPO respectively, which, in addition to the recent scourge of amateur doping in the sport, the uselessness of the biological passport, *and* the fact that hardly any WorldTour riders have tested poz since, well, Contador (sorry, fans!), clearly proves an inverse relationship between doping and success, in that only riders who already suck by comparison to their WorldTour compatriots are dopers, and all of the very top riders in the sport are clean. Cause and effect, honey--whew, I feel so much better about those WorldTour squads now!

Lookin' Good for Tejay!: finally, as the Tour de France GC contenders (minus Alberto and Nairo, of course) face off in the Dauphine, the more interesting question seems to be how much the team time trial is gonna hurt 'em in the quest for the final maillot jaune, because it was a loooong 34 seconds over 24.5k between Dauphine time trial champs BMC and, unfortunately, Chris Froome's Team Sky. Well, everyone gets one bad day--I don't doubt that here or in the Tour, Froomey'll be able to inflict some serious damage on at least a few of his rivals in the mountains!

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