Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Road to the Tour Begins: It's the Dauphine, and Associated Ridiculousness!

Island of the Blue (and Black!) Dauphines: yes, the road to the Tour de France is *on*, baby, as the traditional pre-Tour psych-out of the Criterium du Dauphine gets underway, with Chris Froome, defending Tour champ Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana number 2 Alejandro Valverde, and we love Purito Rodriguez (shut up, he does so too either count as a Tour threat!)--all deprived of a close-up look at Contador or Quintana--at least able to see if all that humble downplaying in the press about how their training's been going holds up for at least 4 of the expected maillot jaune contenders. Almost as fun: watching 2014 victor Andrew Talansky and--uh, a bunch of other guys who deserve a ton of press that the Tour-obsessed press is sure to ignore--battle valiantly for the win in *this* race. Plus, Samu!

A Little Roman-ce: and, as ever-shy team boss Oleg Tinkov bitches how unfair it is that those weakling weenies Froome and Nibs've got an edge in July by having been too cowardly to ride the Giro, congratulations to formerly-sidelined bio-passport suspect/indispensible Alberto Contador right-hand-man Roman Kreuziger, who, you've no doubt heard, has been completely exonerated by crack narcs UCI and WADA, or, if not completely exonerated on merit grounds, at least wins by sheer dint of incompetence on the part of antidoping authorities. Hell, we'll take our triumph however we can get it--and at least Tinkoff-Saxo's performance last month made them look like perfect angels compared to those freaks of Vinokourov's!

Froome Wagon: meantime, news reports indicate that Team Sky will indeed put up Chris Froome in his own personal rolling hotel room for the Tour. However, in response to concerns that the ultra-luxe Giro setup made Richie Porte "too soft," this version will be outfitted with a rusty washbasin for bathing in, lumpy pillows, a saggy military cot, and, worst of all, instead of a spankin' new deluxe espresso machine, he'll be given a 3-year-old tin of stale ground Sanka and unfiltered tap water to drink. Sure, it's disgusting and probably downright unsanitary--but if it works on 'im, who but Froomey'll give a crap?

Bike Doping Update: y'know, this whole motor-doping has long seemed to me like paranoid idiocy, but then, even paranoid idiots gotta hit the jackpot sometime, and while I still think the lingering hysteria over the Giro d'Italia Contador-Basso wheel change is totally ridic, I gotta say, this latest Youtube footage of Alberto Contador's clandestine training on Tiede is starting to look just a *liiiiiittle* bit suspicious. Still, I'll leave it to you to judge for yourself: Nope, looks like standard-issue UCI-approved equipment to me!

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