Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Yer What the Hell There's Still Racing and Stuff After the Vuelta? Update!

Yes, as we slowly wake up from our post-Vuelta stupor, and the world's best athletes continue to recover from their garbage-bag TUE hangovers, the world of cycling charges ahead, so what're you missing? Buckets!

Sprint Train Sounding Louder/Everyone Jump Upon the Sprint Train: this week, the Classics boys, so long dormant, come out to play again, this time at the beloved Eneco Tour, where Can'tTellTheTwoLottosApart's Dylan Groenewegen snagged the first sprint stage in a chaotic--read "universally choked"--lead-out, and Nacer Bouhanni, who came in second ahead of new Eurochamp stars-man Peter Sagan, celebrated his podium spot by gratuitously punching two random members of the public and the guy who hands the winner the hot-off-the-presses leader's jersey. We're proud of you too, Nacer--you're behaving less Cavishly every day!

To Gasp, Perchance to GC: and, in "seriously,-we're-not-doping news", the controversy continues over the commie-conspiracy "Fancy Bear" athlete Therapeutic Use Exemption leak, which revealed an astonishing 74 separate TUEs for Chris Froome alone at this year's Tour de France, including totally coincidentally performance-enhancing meds for such common pro-cyclist maladies as asthma, high cholesterol, influenza, the common cold, arthritis, gout, heartworm, rabies, saddlesores, toenail fungus, and a particularly nasty case of dandruff. Geez, you really *can't* win a Grand Tour nowadays unless you're damn near dead! Over on Planet Bull!@#$, immortal Tour de France champ/unendingly self-promoting autobiographer Brad Wiggins justified getting over the Great Britain peloton's "total taboo" against using needles in order to receive a deep-tissue drug injection by saying, "I was on so much other !@#$, they coulda jabbed me with that thing they used to eviscerate Mel Gibson in "Braveheart" and I wouldn't'a felt it." Thanks for the clarification, Brad!

Move It or Lose It: finally, the smokin' hot end-of-season transfer market speeds on, as Alberto Contador explained his long-anticipated shift to Trek (bringing along like the only 2 teammates who didn't stab 'im in the back this season) by opining that, while the collapse of his team surely played some role in his wing-spreading, "there's only so many times even a diplomatic guy like me can say he's "grateful" to be Oleg Tinkov's b!@#$." In other team news, new-but-bangin' squad Dimension Data was briefly in danger of losing its coveted World Tour license for lack of points, at least until Mark Cavendish met privately with UCI prez Brian Cookson for tea, reportedly smashing a crumpet into dust with his bare fist and telling Cookson over the clotted cream that "this'll be your !@#$ing face, you !@#$ing !@#%!", after which Cookson announced "an accounting error" at an afternoon press conference and granted DiData its license back after all. Welcome back Dimension Data--and smooth save there Mark!

Well, until Tom Boonen takes an Eneco stage (shut up! will too! go to hell!), that oughta hold us, at least til some other dimwit breaks with the proud history of team d--nutritional guidance by getting popped for some sketchy "internet supplement" and ruins the fun for the rest of the riders. Allez Toooooooooooooooooooooom!

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Ultra-Coveted Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! #LV2016

Still reeling from the official end of Grand Tour season? Unrelentingly morose since that !@#$wit King of the Freakshow Froome shot a poison dart right into our darling Vuelta? Well morose around no more, dear reader(s), 'cause it's time for the incredibly prestigeless 2016 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! Prizes for our mortified (and thankfully oblivious) winners: eternal Internets glory, a custom-embroidered racejunkie cycling cap, a hideous trophy-like tchotchke, and, in lieu of a magnum of champagne, you come on over thisaway and I'll treat you to a regular at Dunkin' Donuts. So roll out the red carpet, don your finest cycling socks, and let's get this awards show on the road!

Guy I Want to Smack Every Time He Opens His Lying Doping Weasel Mouth Award: "Nairo did a nice job today." "Boy, was that climb tough." "Merry Christmas!" Yep, no matter how outwardly polite he is--and despite the fact that I was raised to be a delicate lady--I swear I want to slap Chris Froome upside the head with a lead bidon every !@#damn time he speaks from today til his inevitable Armstrongian downfall, which, to go by previous UCI track records, will probably occur about the time the Big Bang reverses and the universe collapses back in on itself. Dammit! Chris Froome, accept your prize--if you dare!

What the !@##king !@#$! GC-Screwing Dumbass Award: all right, race organizers--normally I'd give you a pass on anything because you're the noble Vuelta a Espana, but what the *hell* were you thinking starting off with a remotely-longer-'n-5-kilometer team time trial that decimated the !@#damn GC on the FIRST DAY and left Alberto Contador almost a minute back before he even had time to get his chamois on straight? Take your award, and shove it!

Crash o' the Race (Oh, for !@#$'s *Sake*! Edition): Lotto-Numbnut, whoever you were, come on up in tearful quivering misery and accept your life o' notoriety, because after taking down the luckless Alberto Contador in an excruciating crash that left him fully held together with gauze pads and tape for reasons no mechanical, road surface, or basic familiarity with a bicycle could explain, this is frankly the last award you're ever gonna get. Save the daydreaming for the off-season, you eejit, or get the hell off the road and let the GC contenders alone!

Crash o' the Race (*What* Did I Just Tell You Not to Do? Edition): yep, *another* steel bollard thoughtfully placed smack in the middle of the road by some unaccountably embittered urban planner, *another* utter failure by the race bosses to place the smallest shred of marking upon it, *another* innocent rider down and Taaramae'd home in an ambulance. Bollocks, uh, I mean, bollard!

Crash o' the Race (The Entire Planet Sucks! Edition): after battling through the mountains at darn near double the age of some of his competitors, with a hot shower and a cold beer in Madrid virtually within view, our dear Samuel Sanchez caught a bad corner and dislocated his shoulder in a horrid--and horridly demoralizing--time-trial take-out. And he *still* came in 12th on GC after he winced across the line--get well Samu you bad-!@#!

Get Your Motor Runnin'/Heavy Metal Thunder Prize: Chris Froome. La Covadonga. As the bone-crushing fatigue of supremacy in the Tour de France, a bronze medal in the Olympics, and an 8-month performance peak finally hammers home--as if!--Froome's 'energy reserves,' led by a really zippy lemon-poppy scone at breakfast, kick in right on cue, and he tick-tocks up the mountain and onto the podium with the perfect regularity of a Postal Service drone. Damn, that "marginal gains" hocus-pocus really *does* work!

Oh, Snap! Rest Day Press Conference Excellence in Insults Award: he's been soooo nice to his miserable !@#$ team, and so typically complimentary of his usual opponents, that you'd scarce believe it. But even our doe-eyed hero Contador couldn't resist confirming to an inquiring wiseacre that no, he *didn't* want to ride like Froome does making out with his power meter for 2,000 kilometers. Take that, you horrid Sky spider-metronome!

Bestest Bestest Sprinter Award: what the !@#$ are you people talking about, this is the freakin' Vuelta a Espana fer chrissakes! Any of you poor bastards who made it over the Aubisque without having to be airlifted by helicopter gets a prize. Step on up--if you've got any legs left!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race: yes, this is indeed a shocker: for approximately the 96th consecutive Racejunkie Awards (jeez, I've been writing this drivel a long time), it's everybody's best bud Alejandro Valverde, saved from picking up the prize for nutwhacking his own team leader by this time actually bothering to hose someone else, to wit, apparently reassuring fellow countryman (and we all saw how much *that* mattered with Purito Rodriguez) Alberto Contador that they'd kick in a few wholly unneeded calories to chase down no-threat-to-Nairo cheerful stealth-weapon Esteban Chaves when he took off on a daring--and thanks to Movistar, unanswerable--late-Vuelta move to seal the podium *and* yet another reason for that tool Oleg Tinkov to bitch about him. Jaysus, Valverde, you're like a slavering spandex pit bull, throw yer budsd a *bone* whydontcha when you say you will!

Attack o' the Race: and, correspondingly, this is for wee adorable Esteban Chaves, cannily taking advantage of Alberto's still-healing body--and a peloton full of ennui--to attack from way out with Madrid in view and bag third place on the final podium. Aw, it's like being piranha'd on the ankle by a snarling Bichon Frise--it's just so cute you *can't* be mad at it!

Domestique o' the Vuelta: wah, Valverde for Nairo, wah. We all know if that if the Green Bullet hadn't choked so spectacularly on GC he'd've 'helped' Quintana by accidentally feeding his main--and all his replacement--bikes into a woodchipper. But who *could* be relied on, no matter what the challenge, terrain, or wincing blow to his own chances for stage victory? *That's* it, dog-loyal Tinkoff's (I know, right?) Daniele Bennati, working diligently for Contador from the first pedalstroke of the disastrous team time trial to the last depressing ceremonial schlep to the finish line in Madrid. Class, thy name is Benna-Jet!

Sleeping Beauty Award (And Lazy-!@# Prince Award, to Boot): *who* decided to catch up on their beauty sleep with a silent screw-you by meandering in a cool 60 minutes past the time cut, and *who* collapsed like a hurricane-swept house o'cards rather'n anger the whinging toddlers and kick out, well, the equivalent of the entire women's peloton, to avoid cringing embarrassment the next day when like 2 guys'd be left to show up to race? Uh-huh, like 90 clowns who smugly sought safety in numbers (and totally coincidentally, saved a ton of energy for the remaining mountains ahead), and the completely whipped race organizers. Congratulations--you oughta be ashamed of yourselves!

Grace Under Pressure Award: your team is nowhere to be found, except that one assclown who sent a congratulatory tweet out to one of your opponents. Your lackadaisical emperor team boss is still chasing Peter Sagan's holy shadow. And how do you respond to this total !@#$shit? Yeah, you sweetly thank the engineer of your complete miserable crap season and depressing 2016 fruitless downfall for their unending warmth and continued support. Oleg Tinkov, you owe Alberto Contador a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge reward for not completely losing it and going all Vinokourov on your sorry !@#!

Finally, the Corollary "You Suck, Oleg!" Award: it's one thing to be a bit short on reserves after you've targeted the Tour, to unfortunate effect. It's a whole 'nother animal to set 'em snarling on each other carcasses while they're desperately camera-whoring for new contracts at the gaudiest show on the calendar and merely send their wraith-remnants to halfheartedly schlep around at a Grand Tour you clearly don't care about. Forget Contador, the whole damn Vuelta deserves better than the likes of you buddy!

Well, now that the hair gel has melted, the trophies are handed out, and the few who've bothered to remain this long have collapsed into the warm remnants of their gourmet meals, it's time to pack it up on this edition of the Vuelta a Espana and head for home. Next stop, Lombardia--and Contador'll be there, beeyotches!

Sunday, September 04, 2016

It's Yer Holy Crap What Just Happened Out There Vuelta a Espana Roundup! #LV2016

Yes, we're fully two weeks into what is usually the least ridiculous of the Grand Tours, the smashing Vuelta a Espana, and what've we picked up so far, scholars? Damn chaos, I say! Anyway, the current hoo-ha:

1. Today, where like 90 guys deliberately finished about an hour outside the time cut by pulling over for a cool drink, a massage, and a dip in the local hotel pool, is presumably a friendly "!@#$ you!" to the sadistic organizers of the last two stages, which ironclad rule, as the peloton correctly predicted, UCI would be too spineless to enforce. S!@#$w off, UCI, or next time we're going on a 4-hour guided walking tour of the nice village we're passing by, too!

2. Usually, Grand Tour riders are strong in their youth, but gain tactical sense and lose, well, stupid as they age. Froome, of course, is in total reverse. What the heck was he thinking today? I mean, I get--maybe--condescending to Contador and covering your own implausibly miraculous performance by letting him take a little time back today. But Quintana? Jaysus, *how* can this amateur have won three Tours? Oh, wait, I know...

3. It's perfectly normal to peak, as, say, Valverde and Froome have, for 8 straight months of the season including all of the GTs, most of the Classics, the Olympics, and all the short "training" stage races in between, as long as you have one bad day. Must be that no-one in cycling--save, perhaps, Postal/Discovery--ever knew how to train, eat, sleep, or ride until this year. Whew, bullet dodged on the doping front UCI, you can go off and scan another top pro's ride for a motor you're never gonna find there!

4. Contador. If you were Froome, you'd've made up some bull!@#$ excuse to drop out 6 stages ago. Chapeau!

5. Tomorrow is a sprint stage. Given that giant Dutch riders have lately been known to take 86% gradient mountain stages the last season, anyone else banking on Esteban Chaves for the win?

6. Surprised to see Oleg Tinkov there shaking his fist for Contador--or was that giving him the finger? Sagan finally lose patience and kick you out of his entourage now that he's got a shiny new contract, did he?

7. What the hell, LL Cool Sanchez, you couldn't have told Vino to stuff his bizarro pointless orders to put the hammer down in the chase and let your ol' we-still-miss-shut-up-I-don't-care-what-they-were-forcefed-Liberty Seguros buddy snag back a few extra seconds on the Pasty Spawn of Satan's Soulless Beancounter? You *trying* for the Alejandro Valverde Hosing Your Teammate Lifetime Shameful Achievement Award? Send that unholy Astana/Sky alliance back to the flaming underworld from which it came!


9. Didja see Greipel took a win today? Look out World Championships, he's comin' right at you!

Well, that's my solid analysis--and if you're thinking that Sky'll figure out a marginal gain for Froome between now and the next mountain stage that'll completely blow the race back apart, well, wouldn't that be an un-surprise. Til then, hang in there Alberto, you got essentially a rest day coming up tomorrow--just stay outta the sprinters' way, and don't let that petty asshat Valverde pip you for seconds while you're the only sensible one avoiding the 3k-to-go feeding frenzy!

And here, the sweet replay: