Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's Yer New Year's Resolutions for the Peloton!

Look, most of these folks--dear as they are to all of us--are either too inept, too narcissistic, or too darned clueless to help themselves for 2017. And while the philosophers say the unexamined life is not worth living, I say--if we can examine it for them--it darn well is. So listen up beloved cyclists, while we make Yer 2016 New Year's resolutions for the peloton!

1. Brad Wiggins: oh, !@#$ off. Really, who cares? We're all sick and tired of hearing about you anyway!


3. Peter Sagan: seriously, do I have to resolve anything? We all know I'm winning everything I want in 2017 anyhow!

4. Tom Boonen: I will win my 5th and final Paris-Roubaix. So suck it, Fabian!

5. Race Moto Drivers: we're gonna remember to put our contact lenses in this year. And take a coupla driving lessons. And try not to confuse the cyclists with freakin' bowling pins. And...

6. Chris Froome: I swear, when the narcs come knocking, I will be exactly as loyal to my former captain Brad Wiggins as I was during the 2012 Tour de France. Sucker!

7. Roman Kreuziger: well, I'm on a new team now...wait, who's the team captain I'm supposed to screw again?

8. Alberto Contador: Up. I will stay *up*, no matter what train-wreck idiot tries to take me down. Right, and I'm coming for you at the Tour, Chris you joyless android!

9. Greg Van Avermaet: I resolve that the next jack!@# that calls me an "almost-man" is gonna get it right in the kisser. I AM THE OLYMPIC CHAMPION FER CHRISSAKES!

10. Nacer Bouhanni: I will not pick stupid fights with random drunks break my hand punching 'em out and ruin my entire team's Grand Tour season. I will hold back, and punch out Mark Cavendish during a sprint finish instead.

11. Alejandro Valverde: I will meticulously follow the orders of my DS and unequivocally support my captain Nairo Quintana as his loyal-est domestique. From the top spot of the podium, that is! Oh, I'm sorry, was that my earpiece that I accidentally tossed back to be crunched under the front wheel of the team car?

12. Marianne Vos: You won't *make* me a three-week Tour de France? I'll damn well *ride* the three-week Tour de France--what, you gonna stop me?

13. Fabio Aru: I, I probably *will* have one spectacularly crappy race-wrecking day at my Grand Tour target again. Yeah, you've got competition now, Valverde!

14. Dave Brailsford: uh, Dave? Dave? Pick up the phone! Where are you, man? Anybody seen him? Wait, what's this about a plane ticket to the unmapped Amazon jungle?

Well folks, them's mine, if I missed any, have at--and riders, listen up, we're trying to *save* you here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2016 Racejunkie Awards!

Put away those ballgowns and tuxes, bag the stilettos, skip the hours of hair 'n' makeup, and break out the spandex, bike helmets, and clipless-pedeal cleat covers--this ain't no fussy film-star red carpet, fans 'n' riders, it's the incredibly prestigious (and morally dubious) 2016 Racejunkie Awards! Prizes--your obscure place in internet cycling-fan history, eternal shame (or glory), and, for those confused or desperate enough to get their actual physical prizes, something--I swear--approximating a golden trophy, and a stylin' custom-embroidered--I swear--racejunkie cycling cap! So turn off those stupid Oscars, and get ready to scream at your TV--it's on to the 2016 Incredibly Prestigious racejunkie Awards!

Like That Killer Rabbit in That Monty Python Movie Award: oh, just *look* at the cute little fuzzy chipmunk-cheeked smiley wee th--AIGGHHH! AIGGGHHH! IT'S RIPPED MY THROAT OUT! IT'S JABBED OUT MY EYEBALLS! WHERE DID MY LEFT ARM JUST GO? Esteban Chaves, this one's for you. Fool you once, shame on him. Fool you twice--well, don't say I didn't warn you, you eejit!

I *Cannot* *!@#$ing* *Believe* It *Again* Slam-Your-Head-Into-a-Concrete-Pole-in-Frustration Prize: is there some new, sick-!@#$ game I haven't heard about this year, like "Betcha an Espresso I Can Knock Alberto Contador Off His Bike and Lose Him a Grand Tour" or some twisted crap? *How* is it possible that such a tranquillo bike handler with such a good sense of tactics can be so inevitably placed within a millimeter's proximity of the dimwittedest most uncoordinated nimrods on the pro cycling planet? You have my truest sympathy if you fall and hurt yourself, Anonymous Inattentive Peloton Jerkface--but you're maybe a little *less* sympathetic when you take prize-winner (who I'm sure would rather have a big TdF trophy instead) Alberto Contador down with you!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year: yeah, you heard me--while Alejandro Valverde typically grabs this one by a landslide, Chris Froome's flailing-ditzbag faux-panic babyfaced-naif Usain-Bolt overall-victory-nailing foot-sprint up Mont Ventoux in the please-don't-patronize-us-you-!@#hole 'confusing' wake of an ill-timed mechanical and even more unfortunate team-car delay--which totally coincidentally resulted in him *gaining* crucial time and space he would *never* have gotten otherwise over his exhausted bike-pedal-welded podium rivals--takes the Tour de France, *and* the cake. Like you'd normally even *notice* you were having a mechanical if it weren't happening to the power meter you've got glued to your eyeballs, you tick-tocking power-drone? Now climb those !@#damn stairs to the stage to pick up your stupid !@#ty trophy, before I lose my temper and smack you upside the helmet with it!

Implausible Deniability Award: It's "marginal gains." No, it's "functional dehydration." No, it's *bull!@#$*, you shameless asshats. They're amped up like a playground full of just-napped toddlers force-fed a lifetime diet of Red Bull and sugar cane, and that's *after* they've crossed the finish line after 6 hours of riding uphill. !@#$ you, Sky, in ten years you clowns'll bite it in a scandal of Operacion Puerto--hell, Lance Armstrong--ian proportions. Til then, we wait and sneer. Oh, except all your ex-Euskaltel riders are innocent victims of your inestimable toolishness. !@#$ you, Sky!

Bad-!@# of the Year: like the nearly indestructible Stuey O'Grady before her, Annemiek Van Vlueten can get hit by a train, run over by a bus, corralled by sheepdogs, stampeded by lion-spooked hippopotami, and kicked out of a plane at 30,000 feet without a parachute--oh, and endure a truly horrific crash at the Olympic road race--only to bounce right back up and start killing it at races while barely skipping a beat, which beats promptly got the hell outta her way the second they realized she was coming up behind them anyway. Bow, bow before the iron will--and body!--of Annemiek!

What, Are You *Trying* to Kill Them You Dipwad? Award: now, I may not be an esteemed road engineer, nor highly respected and often-utilized bike race planner, but one thing I *do* know in my pathetic liberal-arts doofusness is that, well, YOU DON'T FREAKIN' LEAVE A METAL POLE IN THE EXACT MIDDLE OF A RACECOURSE when the poor unsuspecting peloton is unerringly going to smash right into it at 60 kilometers an hour. Thank you, 2017 UCI races, you can pay me later for my sage advice--but you can !@#damn remove those stupid bone-snapping obstacles *now*!

Best Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: he was reviled for testing poz after his miracle run at the Tour de France, then duped some very nice people into donating into his "Floyd Fairness Fund", then reviled even worse for breaking omerta' and ratting out his former buds, and *now*, after years of public scorn, has earned back the love of the cycling--hell, entire--world by coming back with his blazing entry into the legal weed business. Floyd Landis, come on up--no, seriously, put down those damn nachos and come on up to claim your prize!

Worst Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: oh, 2002 Vuelta star Aitor Gonzalez, how it *pains* me to do this. And generally, I'm in no position to give career advice. But if you're gonna hit the netherworld up for a job after your cycling career is over, robbing a cell-phone store (allegedly!) in Alicante like a common schnook is *not* the way to go. For heck's sake, man, you're a *pro cyclist*--you've at *least* got the connections the know-how and the ready-made market to be a dope courier!

Total !@#$ Team Dissolution Prize: IAM Cycling. Short, but so *very* sweet while it lasted. Oh, how we'll miss you!

Retirements of the Year (Aw, We'll Miss 'Em): Fabian, you're a legend. Mara, *just* when I was about to put you into the racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton with yet another Giro Rosa, I realize you'd already announced your plan to hang up (for pro racing purposes, anyway) your wheels. Dag nabit, come up and get your trophies, while I'm still inclined to hand 'em over!

Retirement of the Year (It's About Time Already): oh, thank !@#$ Bradley Wiggins has decided it's time to rest on his impressive (if now slightly tained) laurels and--*what*?! This !@#$ing !@#$er is still leaving the door open for unretiring again?! Jaysus H. Christ, pack it in already, pal--or are you waiting to milk a few *more* euros out of yet *another* autobio over your latest track feats with Cav?

Retirement of the Year (!@#$ You Teams For Not Hiring Him Yet!): look, unless and until he makes an official statement--and if common sense, justice, and pre-November 2016 American values prevail--dear ex-Carrot, breakaway artist, and climber supremo Amets Txurruka is still in the game. And we all remember the nailbiter of a film-noir suspense-fest when we also love Samuel Sanchez *finally* announced his renewed deal with BMC a year or two back--after the baby season had already started. But *!@#dammit*, you ignoramus short-sighted amoral freaks, *where* the hell is Amets' new contract ffs?!

Golden Memorial !@#-Kissing Award: Hey, I--um, you--just won that race! Here, let me heft up that trophy! Move your !@# over so we both fit on the podium! Look, I'm photo-bombing you while you're trying to pose for the ceremonial post-victory handshake with a true legend of the sport! Ooh, I've tattooed my whole body in World Champion stripes so I can match your jersey and piggy-back right on you the next race you have! Oleg Tinkov, you self-serving, publicity-whoring, Contador-screwing victory-slut, this one-fingered salute of a trophy is for you--and no, Peter Sagan can't be in the picture this time!

Domestique of 2016: It's over for your team captain, and at the best Grand Tour of the year. Oh, *boy*, is it over. And you, comfortably ensconced in the breakaway and with no-one needing to bother to chase *any* of you down for GC, have a serious chance at perhaps a last-ever Giro d'Italia stage victory--and you're Italian. So what do you do? *That's* right, you disloyal punks (I'm talking to you, Tinkoff riders!), if you're Michele freakin' Scarponi, you pull over to the side of the road and chill (literally, in a snowbank) for a good half-hour, downing water bottles energy snacks and barely dodging frostbite to boot, til your captain finally schleps up to you and you bash the crap outta the rest of the contenders til they're mere whimpering jelly beneath your wheel, and you *win* that guy the Giro. Michele, I concede I've had my issues--but damn, did you earn your keep!

And Finally, Yer Corollary Comeback Ride of 2016: look, you can say a lot of things about Vincenzo Nibali, and I'm frankly too much of a lady to say them here. But in the absence of any mechanical-or-PED-assistance scandal to the contrary, you gotta admit, his Stage 20 bounce-back to take the overall win at the Giro d'Italia after his excruciating humiliation on Stage 16 was genuinely a marvel to see. But I'm still rooting for Mikel Landa to take it in 2017 Vincenzo!

Ok folks, claim yer prizes, crack some Champagne--and for most of you, just *pray* you don't end up on this ignominious list next year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Yes, no matter what we celebrate this time of year--or with what delightful, appalling debauchery we celebrate it--we've all got one thing in common: we love our dear peloton and its saintly (or dastardly) denizens. And what better way to show how much we love them than to give them the wonderful gifts they so rightly deserve? Ergo, cyclists and cycling fans, here's Yer Annual Racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!

Alberto Contador: what else? The 2017 Tour de France, baby! You can come back and re-win the beautiful Vuelta the *next* year instead!

Chris Froome: a warm, hearty, sincere congratulations from Alberto Contador on yer second place in the Tour de France. It feels almost as good as 1st place, amirite?

Tom Boonen: what else? A record 5th Paris-Roubaix, baby! Crappy, season-hosing crashes, bad luck, and sudden nerves, begone--YOU ARE TORNADO TOM, !@#DAMMIT, YOU HAVE GOT THIS IN THE BAG!

Mikel Landa: okay, I *know* I am supposed to root for an Italian, like Vincenzo Nibali or Astana starlet Fabio Aru, to win the 100th Giro d'Italia. But I guess I better get ready for my eternal trip to hell, because you, Mikel, are not only a noble ex-Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, but also doomed to play second fiddle to that snotty little !@#wipe Froome for the rest of your career if you stay with your current !@#$ty squad. Win the Giro, Mikel, and you can name yer price--and yer team--for 2018!

Pierre Rolland: yeah, that's right, he just called out the sainted Tour de France for being boring! And he's *French*! A gold-plated--no, solid-gold--superfast, supersexy blinged-out super-powered Lamborghini for that boy!

Nacer Bouhanni: some common sense. And some boxing gloves, to protect your delicate cyclist hands in case you randomly decide to ruin your whole team's Grand Tour again in some stupid beef with an obnoxious hotel guest. Seriously, you're an actual pugilist--you don't already *own* these things?

Annemiek Van Vlueten: well, you're already clearly a bounce-backing bad-@!# after your terrifying spine-fracturing crash at the Olympics and incredibly speedy recovery--and not only race *return*, but immediate *win*--at Lotto Belgium Tour, so I suppose there's not much I can get you that you won't perfectly be able to get for yourself--but damn, I'm wishing you the World Championship anyway!

Mark Cavendish: you actually had a pretty decent year, but still and all, you're not *quite* back to your usual whinging, smack-talking, sprint-obliterating self. I gift you your mojo--because *you* oughta be able to win without head-butting, Cav!

Women's Cycling: !@#$ this one-day 'La Course' dabbling--a real, three-week race-o'-destiny, just like the boys get. And some !@#damn decent paychecks while we're at it!

UCI: a fence. A giant, 50-foot-high, concrete, steel-reinforced, glass-shards-and-barbed-wire-covered fence that goes all around Europe. Now keep that tyrant asshat Oleg Tinkov away from our sport!

Team Sky: a year's gift subscription to Federal Express. Seriously, numbnuts, a *team courier*? Why not just hire a !@#$ing marching band with a majorette in spangles and a big !@#$ing banner screaming "I'm carrying a big bag of dope here!" for cripes' sakes?!

Dave Brailsford: speaking of which, a linear, credible excuse for Brad Wiggins' "mystery package," which, after months of sordid speculation (mine included), you grudgingly claimed to be a pile of, yes, ordinary, harmless *decongestant*, which is apparently (1) easily available over the counter without hauling it a thousand miles through Europe and (2) actually violently contraindicated for the bull!@#$ asthma diagnosis you *did* scam a TUE for Brad for. Brilliant!

Brad Wiggins: a peaceful, happy, *permanent* retirement. RETIREMENT already, you hear me? FFS!

Roman Kreuziger: You screwed--and dissed!--your own team leader Alberto Contador, and relentlessly butt-kissed your repulsive wingnut publicity-ho team boss Oleg Tinkov. Wishing you *karma*, jack!@#!

Amets Txurruka: Santa, I have literally been tweet-storming you Christmas carol lyrics for this talented boy--and most importantly, ex-Carrot--every single day for the last month. CAN WE PLEASE GET AMETS A CONTRACT ALREADY?

The lot of you: may your favorite rider ever win, your favorite Classic ever cobble, your Belgian beer be ever cold, beautiful Giro never end, your Tour de France--aw, who the hell cares--and your fabulous Vuelta go ever upwards. Now break out the nog--or glogg--and let's toast a Very Merry Whatever You Celebrate to fans and riders, one and all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Pro Cycling Year in Review!

Yes, it's December, that special time when we reflect on the events of the year almost past with a mix of joy, gratitude, revulsion, horror, and profound self-recrimination. And in our beloved sport of cycling, with its soaring (and plummeting) extremes of the divine and the disgusting, such reflection takes on particular significance as we consider that HOLY CRAP THERE'S STILL TWO MORE WEEKS FOR SOME GROTESQUE SCANDAL TO ERUPT! So in case you missed it--or have merely already blocked it out--here's yer 2016 racejunkie 2016 Pro Cycling Year in Review!

January: Team kits come out! AG2R relegated to Conti level for having "the butt-ugliest team kit the peloton has ever produced"; Tinkoff in hi-viz yellow so Oleg can find, leap into presence of Peter Sagan at all times; Pozzato personally designs dashing Southeast-Wilier kit, decides to ride naked all season anyway because "hell, I'm even prettier than it is!"

February: The road season begins! Ion Izaguirre accused of motor-doping because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara; numbnut Katusha twerp endangers license, dear Purito's season by being 968th straight team stagiare to test positive for dope; Van Avermonster pips the Saganator at the line at Omloop as teams decide to quit race, have tea party at local hotel instead. Workin' hard for the money, boys!

March: Yay, it's Classics season! Matteo Tosatto, Eros Capecchi accuse Arnaud Demare of stealing Milano-Sanremo victory by team-car tow, pissed their own attempts didn't work; Nibali incensed as "extreme weather protocol" bags Tirreno-Adriatico stage, threatens to lose Tour de France, *again*; UCI solves bike doping controversy once and for all by busting, banning 'cross novice Femke Van den Driessche because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara. Thank god this cesspool's all cleaned up!

April: It's Tommeke's Bid for a 5th Roubaix! Matthew Hayman wins Hell of the North in stunning upset, Bernard Hinault congratulates by shaking hand, asking "who the !@#$ are you?"; Fran Ventoso makes unsuccessful case for disc brakes in peloton when disc flies off mid-race, slices off top of legendary Mont Ventoux; Philippe Gilbert smashes too-close motorist in face with giant spiked medieval mace--uh, maces too-close motorist. Don't !@#$ with the Phil-Gil!

May: Il Grande Giro, baby! Pissed-off organizers nearly cancel entire show when realize only 3 Belgian neopros registered, everyone else is riding the stupid Tour; FDJ's Alexandre Geniez viciously assaults AG2R's Hubert Dupont at the line by wagging finger, pulling jersey collar, Dupont hospitalized for 3 weeks; remorseful Vincenzo Nibali gives overall race win to Esteban Chaves, who actually lost Giro on penultimate stage, "because he just looked so *cute* when he was crying." Awwwwwwwwww!

June: Pre-Tour de France prep time! Movistar, Astana, to unidentified "black sites" for top secret do--uh, top-shelf "nutritional counseling"; Sky hires master robotics expert, entire tenured faculty of MIT to "help us with some wiring in the team car that's on the fritz"; Contador to Oleg Tinkov's house for three weeks of wholly unwarranted verbal abuse and morale-crushing death-spiral. Thank you Oleg, that's *gotta* help!

July: It's the Sprint Heard Round the World! Bouhanni accidentally punches Bernard Hinault in face in hotel altercation instead of hapless drunken guest, requires 2,643 stitches when Hinault punches back; Contador crashes 18 times in first 2 stages, persists for two weeks despite looking like one of those creepy skinless plasticized cadavers frozen in weird poses in museum exhibitions; Oleg Tinkov extends support, sympathy by hiring small aircraft to skywrite "ALBERTO CONTADOR IS A TOTAL !@#$ING LOSER" above peloton during Stage 13; Froome realizes his riding style is !@#$iest, most inefficient on planet, ditches bike to run up Ventoux and seal overall win in Paris. God, *when* will this !@#$show be *over*?

August: Woot woot, it's the beautiful Vuelta at last! Contador's Tour redemption bid already wrecked on Stage 1 when Oleg hires actual turtles from local pet store as Alberto's Vuelta domestiques; Valverde "helps" Quintana by setting hotel-room alarm to blare Nairo awake every single night at 5-minute intervals; race organizers take out poor Steven Kruijswijk by unexpectedly parking 5000-ton decommissioned Soviet army tank in middle of race course. Shoulda put an orange cone in front of that one!

September: The Vuelta continues! Froome announces switch of focus from climbs to sprints from now on, Kittel, Cav, Greipel give up, quit cycling "effective immediately"; Contador taken out by some random dimwit, entire season ruined, *again*; "Fancy Bear" TUE scandal shows that Froome's bodily fluids entirely replaced by pure liquid amphetamines. 'Marginal gains' my !@#!

October: It's the Worlds, Baby! Extreme heat in Doha mummifies entire peloton into those invisible "sea monkey" things you can order out of back of comic books and reconstitute with water; 100th Giro d'Italia route announced, Froome declares interest in ra--ha ha, just kidding, of course I'm riding the Tour!; Team Sky "mystery package" determined to be "just a !@#$in' bunch of vials and !@#$, nothing to worry about!"

November: Transfer season! Contador formally announces expected transfer to "Please God, Anywhere Else"; Kreuzinger to "Hey, I Can !@#$ Over My Team Leader at *Any* Squad"; Marianne Vos to "We'll Pay You Anything! *Anything*! Here, Take This Ferrari! No, This Lamborghini! No..."

December: UCI announces no doping pozes at any Grand Tour ever, Armstrong smashes picture frames, grabs his 7 yellow jerseys off the wall of his man cave, runs up and down in front of Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis yelling "THEY'RE STILL ALL MINE, BITCHES!"; 2017 team kits revealed, goths raid cycling shops worldwide to snatch entire supply of all-black cycling garb; where the hell is Amets Txurruka's contract, dammit?

Well folks, that was the year that was--and hopefully, that *never* will be again. Next up: Yer 2016 Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!