Monday, March 21, 2016

My Fantasy Volta a Catalunya--uh, Milano-San Remo Press Conference

Volta a Catalunya Race Organizer: Good morning. I am proud to welcome you to today's press conference for the Volta a Catalunya, where for the first time this season, our honored guests and premiere Tour de France contenders Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana, and Chris Froo--hey!

Matteo Tossato (seizing microphone): well, *we're* here today to call out that punk b!@#$ Arnaud Demare for cheating his way to a win at Milano-San Remo, which an Italian should've won anyway, by getting a giant tow from his team car. I saw him do it with my own eyes--just ask my team doctor, he was hanging out of *our* car taking 15 minutes to adjust a Band-Aid on a boo-boo on my finger!

Eros Capecchi: !@#damn straight Matteo, I saw it too--I was holding ont--uh, getting a bottle from *my* team car the whole way up the Cipressa!

Nacer Bouhanni (butting in): As you can tell from my Catalunya win today, *I* would've *totally* wo--(mic goes dead) MERDE! (slams mic on table, smashing it into a million pieces, stomps off) Where the hell is that audio-visual guy, I'll rip your !@#$ing head off you mother!@#$er!

Michael "Bling" Matthews: Oh, screw you you big cry-baby, I almost took it and I bled 5 liters of blood right on my freakin' handlebars!

Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan: Wait a minute, if that amateur clown Gaviria hadn't gone down right in front of us for no reason, (Peter) the race would've been (Fabian) Peter would *so* have come in second!

Matteo: Hold on, you guys are completely missing the point here...

Capecchi: Yeah, if you didn't do it Demare, post your damn data, cheater! (Tossato whispers in ear) Well then, post some damn data we can complain about!

Chris Froome: C'mon, mates, can we just (Cancellara huffs, puffs, and blows Froome through wall of press conference)

Arnaud Demare (prancing about with trophy): I got the trophy, I got the trophy! Nyeah, nyeah! Suck that Eros and Matteo you sore losers!

Alberto Contador: That's it, I'm outta here! (walks off)

Race Organizer: Well, thank you all for joining us. Come back tomorrow, and we'll try it again!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Extreme Weather Twit-Fight! Tinkoff Cries Foul! Post-Doping Career Planning 101! #cycling

Tell Us How You Really Feel (On Second Thought, Don't): Look, Vincenzo Nibali may be widely considered to be clean--which alone puts him in such rarified company as...!@#$!, give me a minute here!--but anyway, he's also acquired a bit of a rep as a weaselly drafter and a *major* whiner, so, if there's something incredibly annoying or aggravating to be done, you know our hero's gonna be there. His latest prob? The "Extreme Weather Protocol" at Tirreno-Adriatico that led to a premature stage cancellation is bull!@#$, and, if anything like this *ever* happens again, he's going to bail out of the beautiful, perfect, and beyond petty-!@# reproach home race of the Giro d'Italia. BECAUSE REAL RIDERS RIDE TIL THEIR LIMBS ACTUALLY CLINICALLY FREEZE AND FALL OFF IN A LIFE-THREATENING GANGRENOUS ZOMBIE-FLICK SPECIAL-EFFECT HORROR SHOW! and totally coincidentally, I WON'T WIN IF YOU NEUTRALIZE EVEN A TENTH OF A MOUNTAIN STAGE JUST SO MY FELLOW-CYCLIST WUSSY-MEN DON'T CROAK FROM HYPOTHERMIA! Anyhoo, as you might've guessed, the pro-peloton twit-sphere immediately descended into reasoned and sportsmanlike debate, with Matt Brammeier chiming in with a thoughtful "Better you stay home and skip the whole season you narrow minded, selfish moron", Tony Martin leaping in to his defense, and Nibs' agent-to-the-Italian-stars Alex Carera extending the ol' olive branch to Brammeier by noting that he was finally "having his day of glory, not for a victory on the bike, but for a tweet." Ouch!

Two Princes: meantime, after Peter Sagan was again left panting behind the day's victor Greg Van Avermonster at Tirreno, terrifyingly erratic team boss Oleg Tinkov, apparently all recovered from his $4,000/bottle champagne-bender twit-war with Jonathan Vaughters, sent a hearts-filled tweet today to his two superstars/recent second-place finishers Sagz and Alberto. Yeah, I'm sure *that* mood'll hold boys--right til he covers 'em in raw meat and tosses 'em into the exotic-cat enclosure at his luxury dacha if they don't actually *win* a major Classic and the Tour this year! Meantime, Tinkoff's Sean Yates was quick to blame Sky for Alberto's (damn noble--seriously, the guy *never* gives up) 4-second loss, claiming the race motos egregiously paced the boys back to the peloton after eventual winner Geraint Thomas was dropped on the Cote de Peille. Y'know, there's no shame whatsoever in Contador's valiant effort--but Peter, maybe a little less obsessing over the leg-coif and a little more worrying about the finish line! Oh, calm down, tifosi, here's a little gratuitous world championship porn:

Get Your Motor Runnin'/Head Out on the 'Cross Course: finally, today cycling bids a fond farewell to novice bike-doper Femke Van den Driessche, who's already dropped her UCI appeal of her motor bust and called it a day on her riding career in the face of a nasty ban for a surely innocent mistake at a cross race. I get it--bike doping is BAD, very very BAD. It not only goes against the rules, but cuts right to the heart of the perverted wallowing physical sufferfest mentality that infests the guts of every hard-core cyclist. But Van den Driessche effectively getting a lifetime ban for motor doping when any number of star- and super-star riders have been able to (1) chow an all-you-can-eat buffet's worth of PEDs every morning (2) get popped repeatedly (3) be forced kicking and screaming to admit that "I was doing my girlfriend" is a completely separate issue from "and I also took all that crap" and (4) *still* return to the highest and most lucrative levels of the sport, seems like total disproportionate bull!@#$. Damn, Femke, if you'd only been caught cheating three times in the last 12 months you'd'a' probably scored yourself a whole World Tour license! Mmmmm, pass those "nutritional supplements" boss--I'm hungry!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

It's Yer Handy Pictorial Guide to Avoiding Rider-Spectator Collisions During Bike Races!

Look, justifiably exciting as it is to attend a bike race and have your hero zip by close enough to touch (which would get you tackled and beaten by goons at, say, an NFL game), we here at racejunkie have tried *repeatedly* to educate eejit spectators on how *not* to down a speeding (or hell, even crawling) cyclist. Still, some folks can't get it through it their thick heads, so now, we're gonna try it with *fewer* words and *lots* of easy-to-understand pictures, just like those books your teacher read to you back in nursery school. So, How Not to Collide With a Cyclist:

This is a "bike racer."

S/he races on a "course."

In some places, there are "barriers" on the course.

Do not stick objects, like cell phones , promotional tchotchkes , or selfie sticks into the course or over the barrier.

These can hit the rider, who can fall and bleed. That is bad.

If there are cobblestones , or a rider gets squeezed off the course, s/he may occasionally ride in the gutter . Don't stand there.

Dogs don't understand bike races.

They may wander into the course, because they are *dogs*. Hold onto them.

Toddlers don't understand bike races either. So like dogs, they may wander. Hold onto them too.

This is a handlebar.

If you wave a plastic bag into it, it stops. Like, hard.

Don't do this either. Plus, because you just hurt we love Iban Mayo, I will hate you forever.

And get the !@#$ off the race course!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Mud 'N' Guts! The Badger Retires (Again)! Tinkoff Training Secrets Revealed! #cycling

Race to the..What the !@#$ Is This?: yes, Paris-Nice is off, and while it may be the race *to* the sun, it sure as hell ain't the race *in* the sun, as mud, rain, snow, and freezing treacherous glop besets the peloton for a messy--and mercifully finished--Stage 1. Not liking the cold: big Belgian bad-!@# Tom Boonen, waxing philosophical and still, despite an injury-delayed return to top form, gunning for Roubaix. Just take good care of him the next few weeks, Quick Step--Lefevere, if this boy so much as gets the sniffles and it affects his race when it counts, it's *your* damn fault!

Babe in the Woods (Well, Off the Podium, Anyway): and, legendary cyclist and Tour de France podium babe extraordinaire Bernard Hinault--whose frequently violent defense of the sanctity of the podium ceremony gives a whole new meaning to the word "puncheur"--is stepping down from his duties of congratulating the day's champion and keeping the celebrations clear of social activists, publicity-ho rabblerousers, and general miscreants, typically, in recent years, by landing on 'em like a ton o' bricks. Here, he takes down a spindly tax protester just last year: We'll miss you Bernard--but I bet your victims won't!

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All Abou--RIDE, YOU GUTLESS WEENIES, RIDE!: meantime, after Oleg "Dynasty" Tinkov got into an extended twit-fight with Jonathan "Hipster" Vaughters over whether gaudy Trumpesque gilded champagne-swilling extravagance is superior to smugly downscale faux-rusticity--thereby engaging in precisely the sort of substantive discussions about cycling the lack of which is purportedly driving Tinkov out of the sport at the end of the season anyway--Oleg immediately got right back to the business of, y'know, rallying his troops to start winning *bike races* by, as shown in this clip, encouraging his Team Tinkoff boys from behind as they trained this afternoon. Damn, Oleg, you're no braggart after all--you really *are* a better athlete than they are!

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby: finally, while I frankly can't typically tell the difference between an omnium a cadmium or a millenium, I do gather that (1) Mark Cavendish did something to help his teammate and himself yesterday that was wholly within his rights to do and (2) Elia Viviani, who apparently didn't like how this affected *him*, threw a colossal snit over it. Jaysus, you sprinters are annoying enough constantly crying about each other after every !@#damn *road* race--can we at least agree to let the track rest in obscurity as a pure, quiet space in this broader clash of unbearable egos?