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!