Friday, October 20, 2017

The Tour de France is *On*, Baby!

Miss the hard smack of Cav ramming someone into the barriers? Find yourself sighing dreamily whenever you spy the color yellow? Well, I don't, but if you do, have we got a bangin' 2018 Tour de France right outta the gate! And it's still 9 months away for heck's sake!:

1. Pave'!: that's right, Classics specialists, not only is there reputed to be gravel patches ahead, have we got cobblestones for you! What better way to ensure total chaos in GC than to have Froome's spider limbs flailing wildly across cracks he can't even see due to his unseemly relationship with his power meter, or to launch a two-ounce climber into outer space when he hits a particularly lumpy slab o' rock? Enjoy the novelty, boys--if you survive it!

2. Mountains!: yes, it's already billed as "one for the climbers", meaning, presumably, that the giant Classics men who've recently taken over the mountains by storm'll be leaving boys actually built for mountain-goat duty, like Esteban Chaves, struggling at the base of every col like they've got a lead chamois in their shorts. Allez ogres! Over at Movistar, we can expect intra-squad treachery of truly epic proportions, as Nairo recently affirmed to the press that he is TEAM LEADER FOR THE TOUR DAMMIT, and Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde burst out into maniacal laughter before being whapped upside the head with a miniature Tour trophy by their distinctly irritated team boss. Froome, meantime, will abandon his beloved power meter in the heights in favor of a full-on Iron Man helmet, which will spit out a continually-updated full-body MRI, once-a-minute body-weight update, *and* replace his bike's mo--uh, Chris' own personal motivation. Asked about their captain's 5th-win Tour prospects, Sky domestiques Michal Kwiatkowski and Geraint Thomas responded in physical and verbal unison "He's great, he's great, he's gre--", until Dave Brailsford fiddled with some software on his iPhone and the riders slipped back into "human" mode. Fabio Aru, natch, is making his move from Astana to UAE in search of greater success, while Alexander Vinokourov, reportedly "stunned" at Aru's leaving, has already announced Astana's complete Tour de France lineup for next year, including surprise return Alberto Contador, who was lured out of retirement with the seductive promise, "!@#$, it can't be any worse than working for that !@#hole Tinkov, right?" May the best climbers actually win--and good luck with that, you underfunded suckers from every other team but Sky!.

3. Time Trials!: Uh-oh--there ain't much. Tom Dumoulin, upset at the lack of 28% percent gradient climbs that come so naturally to giant Dutch time triallists, is reportedly considering not riding the Tour de France because--oh, holy crap, it *is* because of the lack of time trial kilometers! Don't worry Tom, with your recent transformation you'll just take the queen stage in the Alps by 10 minutes instead--you'll hardly even remember you were ever some big sleek TT guy at all!

4. The Sprints!: As to the seeming lack of sprint stages in next year's course, Newly Sensitive Cav Version 2.0 issued a press release stating "!@#$ this !@#$, what the !@#$ing &*% do I look like, !@##ing Esteban Chaves you !@#$ing c@#$!?", Nacer Bouhanni, also present at the route reveal, had no comment about the course itself, but did sucker-punch the tech guy running the slide presentation on his way out, while Peter Sagan--oh, who cares what he said, he's just gonna win all the damn things anyway, can we just hand over the green jersey now and save the other guys the humiliation?

4. La Course!: Next, the Tour de France once again makes a great leap for gender equality by allowing the delicate ladies a one-day race on the exact same route as the guys', with the proviso that they all attach brooms to the backs of their bicycles because "we wouldn't want to risk the *real* Tour de France racers getting a puncture." Furthermore, in lieu of a gravel stage, the entire women's peloton will instead be assigned to breaking large granite rocks into little tiny pieces for the menfolk to ride on. I am woman, hear me roar--no, seriously, don't walk away ASO you !@#$wits, I said HEAR ME ROAR !@#DAMMIT!

5. The Circus!: Finally, what's the Grand Boucle without the glorious, tawdry circus that surrounds it? Lance Armstrong, who persists in clawing back from the dead like some gory extra in a Michael Jackson video, is launching his new podcast, "Look at These Guys. You've Gotta Be !@#$ing Kidding Me, Right?", and best "bud" the disgraced Floyd Landis, long banished to the trash heap of pro cycling, will be the Official Weed Provider to all the French teams who've already given up on GC anyway, *again*. Have a toke and a smile, kids!

Welp, that's yer 2018 Tour de France early preview. Now can we all get back to the Giro dammit?