Wednesday, May 09, 2018

It's Yer Holy Crap It's Time for the Mountains Giro d'Italia Roundup!

Okay, one prologue, a couple boring sprints, an ugly transfer day, and two bumpy wake-up calls later, we're finally back and well-entrenched on Italian soil, so to those just tuning in now (and those just waking up), welcome to the smashing 101st Giro d'Italia! So what've we learned, and what's a-comin'? This!

1. Shut up, Froome. Jaysus!

2. Elia Viviani is doing his team, and country, proud. See what happens when all the other top sprinters skip the race in favor of that stupid Amgen EPO Tour o' California or to hold back for the gaudy Tour de France?

3. As usual, the prologue !@#$ed the GC on Day 1. Word time trial champ--and freakishly inexplicable high-peaks whiz kid--Dumo slaughtered the field, with (to be fair, this sucked--I want him to get his !@# kicked staying upright) Froome bashed up from a recon ride and dropping 37 seconds (up to 55 now with him too nervous to use his mot--uh, mojo), flyweight Pinot at 34' on the day, piccolo Chaves at 47, perpetual almost Fabio Aru at 57, and Lopez at 1:14, so it's gonna be a looooooong ride back to the podium for most of 'em. Hell, since apparently being 2 feet taller and 80 kilos heavier won't do the trick, maybe Dumoulin'll have another--nope, I'm sure they've got his digestive system under control this time, you're all just hosed!


5. Ya gotta love Riccardo Ricco'. After hiding behind the skirts of first his own girlfriend, *then* his own grandma when he got popped, he's finally decided to stick his hand up like that annoying kid in science class who can't bear to be ignored for two seconds with his new book "Heart of the Weasel"--uh, "Cobra", with the apparent revelation that while he'd definitely still dope today, as one must, he'd probably not be so parsimonious as to refuse to pony up serious dough for medical assistance instead of what he did last time, which was to stick his blood bag in his dorm fridge next to the mold-mangled remains of a two-week-old burrito and the disconcertingly off-smelling mayonnaise. Y'know twerp--everyone *still* likes Rasmussen better, so !@#$ off! David Millar, though, you might beat in a yearbook popularity contest, so I suppose that's something old boy!

5. Stage hunters, enjoy this while it lasts--'cause starting tomorrow, the time-screwed mountaineers are gonna jostle you for anything left that they think they can get. Aruuuuuuuuuuuuu--well, maybe you'd better hold off for a superhuman effort in week 3!

6. Ale Petacchi, who was notoriously busted for asthmatic-rhino levels of inhaler juice a ways back, was waxing poetic on his Twitter about his gorgeous 2004 Giro victories. Okay, he got a *little* wheezy in his day, but am I the *only* one who still loves and misses Fassa Bortolo's beautiful blue train from the long-past eons when sprinters still *came* to the mountain-monster Giro with joy?

7. Outside the bellissime roads of Sicily, meantime, Nacer Bouhanni has apparently gotten into a "violent" altercation with his Cofidis DS on team bus which, given cyclists' usual ineptitude at the manly art of the bar brawl, usually consists of nothing more'n taking a wild swing in someone's general direction with an empty bidon or, God forbid, attempting to give one's rival a "noogie", but with a trained pugilist on the downslide like Bouhanni could actually mean a pretty decent sucker-punch to the noggin. !@#dammit Bouhanni, hold it together--if you blow yer chance at the Tour team, who's gonna be there to body-check that horrid little punk Moscon?

Well, tomorrow the fearsome Mt. Etna beckons. Now *what's* that !@#$ you have to wrap all yer discreet motorized assistance with so it doesn't get molten by lava?

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

It's Yer Giro d'Italia in Preview, Part Due: The GC Contenders!

Look, let's face it--to my eternal enmity, and what should be the World Tour's eternal chagrin, ain't nobody sending their "A-Teams" to the beautiful Giro this--or lately, any--year, opting instead for the garish golden circus, and inevitably maillot-jaune-disgracing doping scandal, of the Tour. You *suck*, cycling! Anyhoo, the squads are contractually bound to send *somebody*, so here they are, and with any luck, the actual winner won't be *too* much of an embarrassment. Any anyway, it's the Giro--*nothing* will mar its beauty dammit, or else! So, in no particular order except the person who pisses me off the most first, the GC:

1. Chris Froome. First--shut up, Froome. Second, you're only riding this for (1) the 1.5 million euros you're getting, you overpriced ho and (2) so you've still got a Grand Tour victory this year on the (extremely) off chance the UCI shows some nuts and doesn't allow you to defile the Tour de France, which *itself* is such an insult to the perfect Giro that you don't deserve to ride it at all, you contemptible alien stick figure. Still, we're stuck with you *and* your hideous ungainly riding style. The hell with your recon of the route: can we just lock this monstrosity into a screening room with 360 degree displays of Contador, Pantani and Heras climbing so he can at least learn some grace?

2. Tom Dumoulin: Amazingly, Tom "Andre the Giant" Dumoulin has managed to turn himself into a 5-foot-2-inch, 120-lb climbing specialist, and while the whole cycling world--the sick freaks--'ll mostly be tuning in with a toxic mix of prurience, fascination, and dread to see if a graphic replay of last year's notorious Ass-Gate returns, I'll be watching wondering why I wasted my time on a stupid law degree rather'n some advanced physics crown that could enable me to figure out how his still-newish climbing ability is possible within the known or theoretical physical structure of the universe. Nonetheless, Dumo's riding, his stubble is carefully curated for maximum photo op, and he just insulted Froome today, so in my book, he's got a good possibility to win against the Evil Twig, tho' of course the winner should actually be Italian. So Forza Dumo!

3. Thibaut Pinot. Ah, Thibaut. So close, but yet so !@#$ed. The q is can he overcome his team and apparently mandatory ill-timed bad luck, illness or injury. The asnswer is, there's no shame in a podium, kid! Heck, why not be happy with a coupla stages or a lovely KOM jersey, to boot?

4. Miguel Angel Lopez. If this were the Tour, we wouldn't be having this conversation, talented as he is. But this ain't and we are. The mountains are a done deal--but can he survive the rest of the course?

5. Mikel Landa. WHAT THE !@#$ ARE YOU DOING MIKEL I TOLD YOU TO WIN THE GIRO TO GAIN UNQUESTIONED CAPTAINCY AND STREET CRED BEFORE GOING FOR THE TOUR! Now you'll just waste half of July shaking Nairo *and* that crafty little !@#$ Valverde off your wheel, not focusing on your external enemies. WHAT THE !@#$?

6. Fabio Aru: Let's be honest, the Next Great Italian Hope has seemed a little, well, melancholy at never having quite yet lived up to his potential. But you may surprise us, little flyweight--on a good day, you're still a panting, awkward, tenacious pleasure to watch, and if you can get your confidence up, your legs, I truly believe, can follow. Vai vai vai vai vai--and don't let the belittling press get you down!

7. Simon Yates: C'mon man. No matter how perfectly he sets this up, he's gonna collapsed like a 10-story house-o'-cards whacked by a bazooka. Yap, yap, Yates fans--I'm prepared to eat my words, but fairly certain that I won't have to!

8. Esteban Chaves: go to hell, can too either! So what if he can't do any of the other kinds of stages? No one cares about those in the Giro anyways!

Ok, barring catastrophe--or embodying it--there's yer GC. Tomorrow last but not least, yer sprinty-rolly-stagey guys!