July 11, 2016 § 20 Comments
In the past, if you googled “Chris Froome” and “panache” you would get articles about how “Froome has no panache.”
If you googled “Chris Froome” and “robotic” your computer would smoke, then break.
On the first mildly hilly stage of this year’s Turdy France, which included the Col d’Fuzzy, the Col Gate, and the Col d’Peine en la Sourde, Chris Froome, the eternal robot, the marginally gained volcano doper, the pre-planned, Excel spreadsheeted, laboratory refined, data driven starer-of-stems ripped a page from the actual sport of bike racing and won in glorious fashion, gloriously, with much glory.
He attacked on a crazy descent that hit speeds of up to 56 mph.
He descended on his top tube.
He pedaled like a bent cricket, or like PeeWee Herman –video courtesy of METAL Andrew Danly And Never Middle Name Sadness.
He caught everyone with their pants not only down, but with their hands on their, uh, suspenders and their thumbs jammed up their, uh, noses.
Then he won the race, snatched a dozen seconds from his future podium mates, and pulled on the yellow jersey.
Not bad for a robot.
In fact, it was an incredible move. Froome had little to gain, and everything to lose. Seated in a position designed to maximize speed and minimize control while bombing a gonzo descent, had he flubbed a turn, had he rolled a tire (some riders rolled tubulars due to the scorching road temperatures), had he hit an oil spot, had he had a flat or a mechanical or a twig in his spokes or a kink in his pancreas, ANYTHING, he would have crashed out of the Tour.
And with that he would have become the biggest Tour Goat of all time. They would have to come up with a new Goat Jersey to commemorate the biggest smelly steaming lump of oatmeal ever to lose a bike race. No one would ever forget it, no matter how many wins he subsequently racked up.
To call it a big gamble doesn’t even begin to capture the gutsiness of the move. Perhaps tired of being a robot, he lashed out, took the risk of all risks, and pulled it off.
Keep in mind that this type of nads-out racing rarely even happens among racers who are behind the leader and who truly do have nothing to lose. It’s unthinkable for the guy who had the Tour won by simply following the competition and kicking butt on a couple of climbs and in a time trial or two.
Nice job, Chrissy. I sure wish your programmers would let you race your bike a little bit more often. Because when they unsnap the leash, you ride pretty damned good.
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July 6, 2016 § 23 Comments
Le Turdy France has become a big, steaming pot of tasteless oatmeal. Average Joe thinks it’s boring and stupid. Hobby bicycle people think it’s boring and stupid. Profamateur Cat 4 underwear models think it’s boring and stupid. And now, in a new twist, even the riders think it’s boring and stupid.
This is like David Lee Roth admitting that he can’t sing. Everyone knows it’s true, but why’d ya have to come out and SAY it?
Various reasons have been put forth to explain the mind-numbing boredom that sets in after just a few minutes of watching terribly underfed chickens, bones poking through their underwear, slam into motorcycles that have no business on the course. Here are the biggies that have oatmealized Le Tour:
- Robots. No one enjoys watching robots.
- Chris Froome. If you’re going to dope up a robot, make him handsome, like Eddy or Lance or Fabian.
- Radios. If you don’t think radios remove all excitement and fun, look at the average 8-year-old from a rich helicopter-parent family that controls his every move.
- Gore. Pro underwear racing is dangerous beyond belief. There aren’t enough sick people who enjoy bloodshed, closed head injuries, and Hoogerland meat-shredding in the general population (NASCAR excepted) to get pleasure out of this choreographed slaughterhouse.
- Power data. Use a power meter for three weeks and tell me how much it has increased the joy and spontaneity in your cycling.
- Freak show. We know they’re volcano doping because they’re riding faster now than they did in the EPO Era. Yawwwwwn.
- Dentist chair syndrome. What is already miserable is worse because it’s so long. It takes three weeks to find out which doper climbs one mountain faster than his podium rivals by two minutes? Really?
- France. We can’t stand another castle viewed from a chopper. We just can’t.
- Yellow. Check your comic books, especially anything with the Two-Gun Kid. Yellow is the color for chickens and cowards. “Why, you yaller-bellied varmint, I’ma gonna fill you plumb full of lead.”
- Names. Most Euro names are too hard to pronounce. No red-blooded American will watch a sport with names that don’t sound like “Ruth” or “Aaron.” “Gretzky” gets a pass because he was, you know, not bad.
So after reviewing these terrible problems, I’ve taken the old admonition to heart that “You shouldn’t raise problems if you don’t have solutions.” Here they are:
- Humans. Make the Tour open to actual humans. Hairy legged, pot-bellied, flatulent couch potatoes welcome! It will be awesome to watch your Uncle Fred out on his bike for the first time since 1973 struggle up the ONLY STAGE IN THE TOUR, L’Alpe d’Huez.
- Give Chris Froome his own race. He’ll be the only participant and he will win every year. We’ll call it the Tour de Froome. That way he can eat a few thousand cheeseburgers, stop volcano doping, and look human again.
- Coach ride-behinds. Don’t ban radios, but make the schlumpy DS’s follow along on their bicycles instead of in a follow car. If they still have the lungs to shout instructions from 30 miles back while climbing L’Alpe, more power to them. If half of them keel over, no worries. Your average DS can be replaced with a 3rd-Grade dropout drug addict dope dealer.
- Moto licensing. Require anyone who wants to follow or mix with Le Tour on a motorcycle to pass a certification test that involves wrestling hungry tigers. Survivors will be required to pass a crash dummy test where they are slammed into the back of a truck going downhill at 50. Successful applicants can safely follow the peloton from 100 miles back.
- Strava. Require all riders who use power in the race to post up better numbers than Thorfinn-Sassquatch. Those who fail will have their power meters confiscated.
- Bike motors. Since we’re letting Uncle Fred race Le Tour, which now only has one stage, everyone who’s not a doper or professional underwear model gets a bike motor. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Nairo Quintana getting dropped by a fellow whose shorts stop halfway up the San Andreas Fault buttcrack?
- Cut Le Tour. One stage. 35 miles. Winner takes all. In alternate years it will be held around Chris Lotts’s parking lot crit course in Compton.
- Expand the meaning of “France.” The world has lots of cool places to see. In non-Compton years, stick Le Tour in guaranteed bike-friendly places like Palos Verdes Estates, San Bernardino, or Houston.
- Black and red. Those are some winning colors. Black for “aggression,” red for “blood.”
- Americanize. Remember how in your Spanish class in junior high Mrs. Simon gave everyone a Spanish name (mine was “Francisco,” and I loved it). Give all the riders American names. Peter Sagan is Pete Smith. Roman Kreuziger is Robbie Johnson. Fabian Cancellara is John Davis. Nairo Quintan is Bill Jones. Chris Froome is Suzy Small. You get the idea.
And yes, you’re welcome.
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July 7, 2015 § 12 Comments
As much as I try to ignore the annual pro-wrestling championships for skinny people, the Tour invariably impinges on my serenity. Here are the impingements so far:
- Cav is a d-bag. Sitting up in the sprint because he couldn’t win, letting Cancellara get third, and thereby depriving TEIMMATE Tony Martin of yellow? There is apparently a very large “I” in Teim, or rather a very large “Cavendish” in “douchebag.”
- Since the Tour no longer has 300-mile stages and it’s “short” enough for most riders to complete, and complete pretty tightly bunched, the challenging, cobbled, wind-swept, hardass opening stages are fantastic. Nice work, whoever continues to push for such stages.
- Tony Martin no longer has to drag his dick to the microphone and answer the German journalists’ questions about why he didn’t win stage one, why he didn’t win stage two, why he didn’t win stage three, why he didn’t win stage four and why in the world is he NOT in yellow?
- Enough with Astana and Boom’s doping. They all cheat, it’s pro wrestling for skinny people. Can we sweep all that under the rug for another few years until someone important dies? Thank you.
- Froome hasn’t fallen off his bicycle yet. Amaze-balls.
- In addition to boycotting the Tour, we’d appreciate it if Oleg Dickov would just boycott cycling and go back to making usurious payday loans to poor people. Oh, wait, he never stopped …
- There are three Americans in the Tour: Van Garderen, Talansky, and Farrar. Way to build the grass roots, USA Cycling! Perhaps they could work with Alto Velo to sue some more small pro teams and encourage promising riders and sponsors to quit the sport?
- Pro bike racing is more dangerous in terms of injuries per race than any motor sport. It’s no fun watching the yellow jersey swap shoulders because of crashes (Cancellara), or watching the whole event turned on its head because contenders crash out (Froome, Contador in 2014). It’s also no fun watching people get hurt.
- Trying to reach a cyclist on the West Coast on July late mornings is like trying to get a SoCal handyman when there is a good swell.
- It will be interesting to see how much, if any, Tour Fever has spread to Germany. It’s taken years for the cycling public to recover from Ullrich/Zabel Telekom.
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July 1, 2015 § 6 Comments
Hair product manufacturer Alpecin, co-sponsor of the Giant-Alpecin team, announced on Tuesday that it has dropped its controversial slogan, “Doping for your hair” ahead of the Tour de France and for the duration of the race in order to make sure the focus stays on the team’s athletic efforts rather than their attempts to avoid doping controls, reported AFP.
Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Edward R. Doerrenberg who in addition to having a name that no one can say or spell properly is also the managing the director for the team.
CitSB: So, that’s a really hard name to spell.
ED: Yes, it’s given me trouble all my life.
CitSB: I bet press conferences in Japan are hell.
CitSB: So the team has decided to drop the “Doping for your hair” slogan for the Tour? What’s up with that?
ED: It was pointed out that “doping” and “Tour de France” might have negative connotations for some people.
CitSB: You’re joking, right?
ED: It took us by surprise, frankly.
CitSB: What were the specific concerns?
ED: There was concern on the part of the organizers that by using the slogan “doping for your hair” it was possible that some people might think that the riders were actually doping.
CitSB: For their hair?
ED: For the race. Doping for the race.
CitSB: Come on.
ED: I’m serious. That’s what the organizers were afraid of.
CitSB: Any thoughts as to why they were so prickly on the issue?
ED: It’s hard to say. One highly placed person with the UCI whose name rhymes with “Bookson” said that doping issues had negatively affected sponsorship.
CitSB: Hair doping?
ED: Performance. Performance doping.
CitSB: But isn’t Lance Armstrong riding a section of the Tour this year?
ED: Well, yes. But he doesn’t have hardly any hair left. So, no hair doping there.
CitSB: I see. And wasn’t Chris Froome pretty vocal about the absence of volcano doping tests at Tenerife recently?
ED: He did seem to think it was an issue.
CitSB: Got it. Volcano doping, bad. Hair doping, bad. Lance riding the Tour, good. Do I have it right?
ED: I’m afraid so.
CitSB: What have you come up with for a replacement slogan?
ED: We’re trying out a couple of new ones in focus groups right now.
CitSB: Want to share any of them with our readers?
ED: Sure, what’s the harm? The first one is “Doping for your muscles and cardiovascular system to illegally enhance athletic performance.”
CitSB: I kind of like it. It’s a bit long, but also succinct. Any others?
ED: “Doping in undetectable quantities to avoid detection by scientifically administered doping control.”
CitSB: Oh, that’s good. Any others?
ED: “Dope ’til you croak.” We were going to use that if they had Ventoux and the Simpson Memorial on the route. And there’s also “Just Dope It.” That was for a potential spot we were planning with Nike.
CitSB: Nice! Well, good luck, Mr. Dorkenberg.
ED: It’s Doerrenberg, atctually.
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July 15, 2014 § 11 Comments
With the recent crash-abandons of Andy Schleck, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Frank Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Alberto Contador, and the remaining 189 riders, the lead in this year’s Tour de France passed today to unheralded Mathers Tumpkins, a little-known domestique for Team Diaper. Diaper was the last team to receive a wildcard invitation, and Tumpkins, a/k/a “Jellyroll,” was the last rider to be selected.
Tumpkins appeared astonished at being led to the podium and asked to pull on the coveted leader’s jersey. “One minute I’m the lanterne rouge and the next I’m on a stage sticking my tongue down some bimbo’s throat watching the Badger punch out some bum in a wheelchair. Dayum!”
Evgeni Mxyzptlk, director of Team Diaper, was also suprised. “That’s the shits, as we say on Team Didy. Only reason Tumpkins even got on the team was because his father owns the company.”
After Froome’s multiple bicycle-falling-off incidents and resultant boo-boo, the biggest news of the day aside from everyone giving up was Contador’s falling-off-incident. El Dopalero was eating a banana when he inadvertantly flung aside the remains and his bicycle slipped on the peel. Dramatic photos show El Dopalero’s bike frame cracked in half; bystanders said that Contador rode into a small 12-foot pothole and snapped the frame.
Specialized immediately issued a press release denying that its frame was weak, substandard, shoddily made, or in any way less than perfect. The release is printed in full below:
Specialized deeply regrets losing El Dopalero from the 2014 Tour de France. However, the catastrophic failure that appeared to occur when he slipped on a banana peel and rode off into a mine shaft had nothing to do with the integrity of the frame despite alleged eyewitness accounts.
Eyewitnesses were flown to a Specialized Rendition Center in Uzbekistan where it was determined through perfectly legal measures that they were drunk at the time of the accident. Each witness signed a full confession admitting that Specialized makes perfect bikes of uncompromising structural integrity.
Specialized fully intended to make the witnesses available to the media, but after signing their confessions they accidentally fell down some stairs and died. Moreover, in the event that El Dopalero did not fall into a volcano crater, we are prepared to offer evidence that the frame broke because it was damaged while passing the Belkin team car, or because it got run over by accident after El Dopalero fell, or because it was mauled, but not eaten, by the dog.
Race leader Tumpkins was circumspect about the crash and mass abandons as he chewed on his fourth donut and swigged from a bottle of beer. “Look, it’s all the same to me whether he rode off a cliff or is having a heavy monthly flow. Fact is, there’s no one left in the Tour except me and I intend to take my fuggin’ time.”
Mxyzptlk concurred. “There is no reason to rush anymore. Everyone else has gone home. This last 450-mile cobbled uphill headwind freezing rain and ice stage was too much, even for Jens Voigt and his pharmacist.”
When asked whether fans would stick around for a 2-week victory parade, Mxyzptlk shrugged and turned the corners of his mouth down in that funny Euro way which essentially means, “Who gives a fuck?”
Facebag issues Tour de France news blackout
In related Tour news, Mark Suckerberg, president of social media giant Facebag, issued a press release regarding the new Tour Blackout algorithm. “We have set up Facebag so that nothing can be posted on it anymore before the entire Tour concludes, thus saving sensitive members of our community from having the event spoiled for them.”
The new algorithm was apparently developed in response to the piteous cry made by Mr. Mailliw Enots, winner of the not-so-coveted 2013 Most Time on Facebag Award. Enots’s plea for help is reproduced below:
It is really terrible when blatherskite people post the Tour results before I return home from work because, juice box. Those who do this apparently have a deep seeded (sic) disorder marked by wanting to be considered important and knowing when they have done nothing to suggest they are either. This posting of spoiler things must be stopped.
Although it was later pointed out that Enots hasn’t been to work since 1974, and a study team posed the question of why he was on a web site that exists specifically to spoil everyone’s fun about sporting results while posting photos of last night’s dinner and cats, Suckerberg took pity on the orthographically challenged Savant from Hooterville.
“While it does seem strange that someone would be surfing Facebag at work (you get fired for that here at Facebag), and even stranger that they would be surprised to find out what happened in the day’s major sporting event, some people deserve pity, and if not that, at least a healthy measure of contempt, or both, and he is one.”
It is not clear how Facebag or Enots will deal with the fact that Mathers Tumpkins seems poised to win every successive stage until Paris.
June 27, 2014 § 21 Comments
CitSB sat down with Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena to talk about the team’s 2014 TdF roster, announced two days ago.
CitSB: So it looks like Trek will be pinning its hopes on the single biggest bedwetter in pro cycling, his doped up older brother, and an over-the-hill-doper-who-never-got-busted?
Guercilena: That is outrageous and insulting. I wouldn’t call him a bedwetter. More like a nervous tinkler.
CitSB: Most observers agree that this is the team’s weakest Tour lineup ever. What gives?
Guercilena: Well, when we saw Team Sky drop Wiggins even though he had won the Tour of California, done well in Roubaix and Flanders, and had committed to help Froome, it was pretty clear.
CitSB: What was?
Guercilena: That to manage a winning pro cycling team you must be a complete idiot.
CitSB: But even with a colossal, hopelessly stupid person such as yourself, how can you expect to win with the Schlecks?
Guercilena: It will not be so difficult. Andy has been building since his Paris-Nice DNF in 2012. He had a very strong ride in the second stage that year, finishing 113th. It was impressive.
CitSB: It was?
Guercilena: Yes, especially when you consider how he followed it with his DNF in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Let’s remember that he came in 104th in the first stage before giving up and quitting.
CitSB: I don’t think we’ve forgotten.
Guercilena: Then he continued his build with his 2012 DNF at the Brabantse Pijl. In this DNF he fought with great courage before throwing in the towel at Mile 45, and he followed it up with his amazing Stage Six flop-n-drop in the Criterium du Dauphine. When he quit that race it was a victory; his fans were thrilled. As William Stone reminds us, it is not winning that makes a winner, but rather a juice box and the courage to not admit defeat even when, in the face of defeat, you are soundly defeated.
CitSB: Is that when they started calling him The Bedwetter?
Guercilena: No, that was before. A few days after the Dauphine he confirmed his promise with a strong DNF at the Binche-Tournai-Binche/ 3rd Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke. It was impressive the way he sobbed and hit his handlebars in frustration. The fans went wild at this display of raw competitive emotion.
CitSB: Yes. Yes, they did.
Guercilena: And how can we forget the cherry on top, the icing on the cake in 2012, the cornerstone of his preparation, when he bailed during Stage Six at the Tour of Beijing after strong placings in the previous stages of 137th, 132nd, 137th, and next-to-last? He quit that race with gusto, let me tell you! The Chinese government released 4 gigatons of coal smoke in celebration. It was beautiful!
CitSB: Fans went wild again, I’m guessing?
Guercilena: Oh, absolutely, the ones who didn’t die from the smoke. And the one pretty girl in Luxembourg sent him her 76th wedding proposal, a fitting end to a great year. And 2013 continued his march, building his momentum even stronger. He began with a powerful DNF in the Santos Tour Down Under, followed it with a devastating DNF in the Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel, crushed the peloton with a masterful quitting performance in the Strade Bianchi, and culminated his March training block with an unbelievable DNF at Tirreno-Adriatico.
CitSB: Why was it unbelievable?
Guercilena: You jest, no? He grimaced, he suffered, he endured, he wrecked himself until he could do more. It was beautiful suffering. And then halfway through the first stage there was no more, he was spent, he had given all he had. How you Americans say? He left it all on a toad.
CitSB: The fans went nuts again, right?
Guercilena: Yes. The girl from his home country (her name is Hilda) sent him flowers and a certificate that she was also a 17-year-old virgin, Luxembourg’s first.
CitSB: Then what?
Guercilena: The rest has been history “writ large” as they say. Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, DNF. Amstel Gold Race, DNF. GP Oueste Plouay, DNF. Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, DNF. Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, DNF. Milano-Torino, DNF. Il Lombardia, DNF.
CitSB: Pretty amazing palmares.
Guercilena: And let’s not forget that as the team’s most highly paid stage racer he finished an impressive 20th in the Tour that year, 40th in the Tour de Suisse, 25th in the Tour of California and 35th in the US Pro Challenge.
CitSB: Sounds like he’s peaking for 2014.
Guercilena: Exactly, and his schedule confirms it. With a DNF in the Criterium Internationale this year, a DNF at Amstel Gold, a DNF at Flèche-Wallone, a DNF at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, a DNF at the GP du canton d’Argovie, and a stunning 29th place at the Tour de Suisse, no one can say that he is not poised to do what he does best.
Guercilena: We can only hope.
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December 18, 2013 § 23 Comments
At a press conference today, UCI President Brian Cookson revealed that “The first official act of my administration in 2014 will be the announcement that doping in professional cycling has been eliminated once and for all. We have finally moved past the sport’s dark days of doping.”
Putting this into context, Cookson explained that “All of the news focuses on drugs and cheating and doping, and innocent people are harmed by the implications. You have perfectly clean riders being tarred as dopers because of the actions of a few bad apples who did bad-applish kinds of things in the past. Part of the ‘Clean Cycling’ initiative that I’ve begun is to help fans and casual cyclists, as well as amateur racers, understand that doping is no longer happening in our sport. We cannot continue to live in the past, and people are tired of all the bad news. People want good news.”
When asked how he could justify saying that doping had been eliminated, Cookson pointed to the following:
- The biological passport. “It’s working. We’ve canceled the visas of numerous cheats through this program.”
- More sophisticated testing. “Athletes know they will get caught, so they no longer have any temptation to cheat.”
- Public shaming. “People won’t accept doping anymore. If you’re caught doping, you’re publicly humiliated. Shaming works.”
When asked about today’s revelations, in which Mick Rogers was busted for doping during the Tour of Japan, which he won, and in which Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was busted for doping passport violations, Cookson said, “There’s no better person to quote on this matter than Chris Froome, so I will. ‘We need to get on and start talking about the good things in the sport and the great racing that’s getting missed now because we’re harping on about what happened 10 years ago.’
“D’ye get that?” asked an agitated Cookson. “Doping happened ten years ago. Chris said it, I believe, and that settles it. Now, where can I get another drink?”