Giro d’Italia wrap-up

May 15, 2018 § 3 Comments

The Giro is on Stage Ten, which means there are nine previous stages and a rest day that no one has paid any attention to. Let’s catch up on the exciting news, along with a few behind-the-scenes quotes from the stars.

Stage One: Jerusalem Time Trial

Winner: Tom Dumoulin

Race summary: Machines rode machines.

Winner’s quote: “It’s been awesome getting to race here the year that the U.S. is finally moving its embassy to Jerusalem. A few dozen Palestinian protesters may get murdered, but I’m proud to stand with the Donald, Ivanka, and Jared.”

Stage Two: Haifa to Tel Aviv

Winner: Elia Viviani

Race Summary: #Fakebreakaway establishes #fakegap until race directors order #robots to chase #fakebreak and #boringrace ends in a #bunchsprunt.

Winner’s quote: “We’re athletes, not politicians. Just because Muhammed Ali went to prison for his principles doesn’t mean anything. Our contracts don’t require us to have principles.”

Stage Three: Be’er Sheva to Eilat

Winner: Elia Viviani

Race Summary: #Fakebreakaway establishes #fakegap until race directors order #robots to chase #fakebreak and #boringrace ends in a #bunchsprunt.

Winner’s quote: “This has been the most magnificent Giro ever. Next year I hope we can start the Giro in Myanmar, or North Korea.”

Stage Four: Catania to Caltagirone

Winner: Tim Wellens

Race Summary: #Fakebreakaway establishes #fakegap until race directors order #robots to chase #fakebreak and #boringrace ends in a #bunchsprunt.

Winner’s Quote: “It was really exciting watching our power numbers and calculating exactly how it would all end. We weren’t sure it would work out like it does 99.9% of the time … but it did!”

Stage Five: Agrigento to Santa Ninfa

Winner: Enrico Battaglin

Race Summary: #Fakebreakaway establishes #fakegap until race directors order #robots to chase #fakebreak and #boringrace ends in a #bunchsprunt.

Winner’s Quote: “Our team director made sure all of our computers were synched so we could dial it in like a science. The fans were crazy, they were so excited!”

Stage Six: Caltanissetta to Etna

Winner: Esteban Chaves

Race Summary: Froome got dropped, causing everyone who follows pro cycling at all to rejoice.

Winner’s Quote: “It was like a chess match, a chess match with power meters so we could all know that it was, you know, more or less pre-determined. That’s how chess is, right? I’ve never played, myself.”

Stage Seven: Pizzo to Praia a Mare

Winner: Sam Bennett

Race Summary: #Fakebreakaway establishes #fakegap until race directors order #robots to chase #fakebreak and #boringrace ends in a #bunchsprunt.

Winner’s Quote: “Incredible excitement for the fans, and for the racers, too. The breakaway could have pulled it off, really.” [snickers]

Stage Eight: Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano

Winner: Richard Carapaz

Race Summary: Ecuadorian gets first ever Giro win for his country, but most of the attention goes to Froome, whose asthma has 100% recovered, resulting in a fall and more lost time.

Winner’s Quote: “Eight boring stages, one exciting win. This is what makes pro cycling the world’s greatest spectator sport!”

Stage Nine: Pesco Sannita – Gran Sasso d’Italia (Campo Imperatore)

Winner: Simon Yates

Race Summary: Froome continues to tank. Haters gonna hate!

Winner’s Quote: “I win the fuggin’ stage. I’m the first Briton ever in the pink jersey, not counting Elton John, who was in a different pink jersey for completely different reasons. And what do they write about? Froomey flopping.”

Stage Ten: Penne – Gualdo Tadino

Winner: Matej Mohoric

Race Summary: Yates’s teammate and “co-leader” Chaves loses 25 minutes. Yates stays in pink, does best schadenfreude ever in the history of cycling. “It would have been better for me if he was still there in the classification.”

Winner’s Quote: “I dedicate this win to every person who has ever confused Slovenia with Slovakia. Which is pretty much everyone.”



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A shitty little sport

May 24, 2017 § 26 Comments

If there is a lamer sport than pro cycling, I hope to never watch it. Because the most exciting, dramatic, challenging, lungbusting leg of cycling’s most legendary stage race was decided today by a poopy diaper.

Say it isn’t so. And even if you say it isn’t so, Laurens Ten Dam will: “I think you all saw what happened on television, right? He had to shit,” said Ten Dam, commenting on the decisive move in the race, a move which involved the lower gastrointestinal tract.

How can you explain that to Grandma? She understands the vague basics behind the Cubbies, the Patriots, and the Spurs. “One team won because the other team scored more points, Grandma.”

“Oh, I see,” she says, briefly looking up from her knitting to see a tall, athletic looking fellow named Flubbs or Crowley or Hockinspittle doing something athletic with a ball. Everyone roars and the points on the scoreboard change. She goes back to her knitting until you prod her again. She looks up, new numbers. Even Grandma gets it. The nice fellows in the yellow suits got more points than the other nice fellows in the blue suits, so they won.

Contrast that with yesterday’s Giro d’Italia. “Hey, look Grandma! The fellow whose name I can’t pronounce just took off his shorts and is crapping behind a bush! Now the others are attacking! The decisive bowel movement of the race has begun!”

Grandma doesn’t look up, she looks away, mortified that you watch such filth, and unable to understand how pooping behind a bush is a sport. “Don’t they have port-a-potties for that?” she asks. “Even though it’s Italy?”

Then you fall into a long explanation about the “etiquette” of pro cycling, and whether those behind in the GC who are now off the front have an obligation to wait for the race leader like Tortellini did in ’37 when Effluvia, who was in the lead by ten seconds, flatted on the Mortirolo, and then on the descent in the ice storm when Fettucine slid out and fell off the 1,000-meter cliff, Effluvia, who had regained the lead, sent his sister’s third cousin Panini back to hoist Fettucine out of the crevasse, and as the patron of the peloton Effluvia then ordered Tagliatelle, Linguine, and Spätzle to slow the tempo until Fettucine regained the peloton and was able to help his team leader Tortellini, who had broken a fork and needed help with the bellows to fire up the forge down in the village in order to repair his bike. But after this gallant gesture, when Tortellini rejoined the leaders, he attacked Effluvia, who had stopped to complete some masonry on a cathedral, and ended up winning the stage and the race by a mere eleven seconds, which was almost exactly the amount of time that Effluvia had had when he flatted back at the bottom of the Mortirolo. And therefore, cycling tifosi have argued ever since about exactly when it is appropriate to win the race with a heroic attack and when it is instead appropriate to quit racing and let the other guy win because of random dumb luck. “That’s the whole thing about etiquette in cycling, Grandma,” you say.

“If they had any etiquette at all they wouldn’t be doing their business on the side of the road, and the t.v. certainly wouldn’t be broadcasting it,” Grandma says angrily. “And why does everyone in the race sound like the menu at the Olive Garden?”

As usual, Grandma is always right.



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Porte offers exclusive tour of motorhome on way home from Giro

May 26, 2015 § 16 Comments

Team Sky leader Richie Porte retired from the Giro d’Italia today and offered journalists a personal tour around the customized motorhome that will drive him from Italy to his home in Tasmania, where he plans to take a well deserved rest from two grueling weeks of racing. As he piloted the posh Mercedes-Benz Panzer IV Kustom around the docks of Naples, Cycling in the South Bay took a moment to talk with him.

Cycling in the South Bay: So, what are you doing here in Naples?

Richie Porte: Well, I retired from the Giro today and am headed back home to Tasmania.

CitSB: But why Naples?

RP: Oh, I’m just looking for the bridge. It’s got be around here somewhere.

CitSB: The bridge?

RP: To Tasmania, mate. This thing don’t float, y’know.

CitSB: Right. So, what happened in the Giro?

RP:  Well, this is a pretty cool motorhome, eh?

CitSB: It’s incredible. Really first class.

RP: That’s what you gotta have when you’re the team leader, mate.

CitSB: But there’s still another week left in the Giro, and the queen stage on the Motirolo is tomorrow, and, well, with the 27 minutes you lost yesterday, plus the four minutes in the TT and the two minutes with the wheel change and the other two minutes with the crash, you’re not really the team leader anymore, are you? Especially since you’ve, you know, quit.

RP: Oh, right, that. Hey check out this espresso machine. Soy out of this spigot, steamed milk here, whipped cream over here. Pretty cool, eh?

CitSB: Yes, it’s awesome. So what happened? Before the race when you were offering tours of the motorhome, there was criticism that you should be staying in a hotel like your teammates.

RP: Right? Hey, when you take a leak in the john be sure to gel your hands with that antibiotic cream. I don’t want to get sick, eh?

CitSB:  Do you think being isolated from the team hurt you?

RP:  I don’t think so, not at all. It was the team’s idea anyway, not mine.

CitSB: Really? Why did they want you to sleep out in the parking lot instead of in the hotel?

RP: Oh, it’s a little thing I’ve had since I was a wee ‘un.

CitSB: What’s that?

RP: It’s nothing really, just a bit of a bed wetting habit I’ve had for a while, since I was three, actually.

CitSB: And how did that affect the team’s decision to put you in a bus in the parking lot?

RP: Well, we sleep in bunks in the hotel, and since I’m the team leader I always get the top bunk. So y’know, the blighter down below gets rained on all night.

CitSB: That sounds pretty grim.

RP: Oh, it was. It was even worse when I rode for Saxo Bank and had to bunk with Sven Gunderhausen. He was a bedwetter too, and Bjarne was always trying to cure us of it, so one night he’d put me in the top bunk and the next night he’d put Sven in the top bunk, so one of us or the other was always getting a bit of a golden shower.

CitSB: Jeez.

RP: Yeah, finally we took to sleeping in full rain gear, but on Sky it was just me, so the team voted for the motorhome. Hey, check this out.

CitSB: What is it?

RP: It’s an automatic wet wipes dispenser with a little reservoir here for baby powder you can put on your bum after you get wet.

CitSB: These motorhomes have everything.

RP: Yeah, they really do.

CitSB: Except for a pink jersey. This one doesn’t seem to have one of those.

RP: Right?

CitSB: Right.



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Why not “Dongwhacker Hill”? Why not, I say?

May 25, 2012 § 5 Comments

So, like, I like riding my bike. And I like reading shit about other people who ride bikes.

You probably do, too.

Have you noticed, though, how hard it is to give a crap about the Giro d’Italia?

It’s like cleaning out the hall closet. You get up in the morning and say “Today’s the day I’m gonna clean the hall closet!” Then the morning goes by because it’s such a nice day and you’ve had a leisurely cup of coffee and you’ve got the whole day to do it, so heck, you think, “I’ll do it in the afternoon.” Afternoon goes by and then it’s dinner and the food coma or beer fog sets in and you’re just like, “Aw fuckit, I’ll do it tomorrow. First thing tomorrow morning.”

Keeping up with the Giro is kind of like that.

You’re supposed to keep up with it. You kind of want to keep up with it. You know that the REAL cycling fans keep up with it. But truth be told it’s no sexier than the hall closet.

I’ve identified the main reasons that we don’t like the Giro, and listed them below for your convenience.

1. Too many foreign words

Everything’s in Italian. This is the biggest problem. If it was in English, it would be lots easier to read about. Studies show that putting foreign words in the middle of a sentence makes the sentence go down like dirt pizza. The only cycling language worse than Italian is Flemish. How’s a normal person going to even start to get a handle on “Hooydonck?” Mouth it out loud to yourself in a public place around small children and you’ll get arrested.

One way to fix the foreign words in the Giro is to make them in English. So yesterday, instead of saying they went from “Pfalzen to Cortina d’Ampezzo” you could say they went from “Hooterville to Dongwhacker Hill.” Even your grandpa could read through that without choking. Granny, maybe not so much.

2. No peer pressure

If you don’t know what’s going on with the Turdy France, you’re made to feel like an outcast. Your buddies have TWAP’s (tour watching parties), and even your non-biker friends seem to have a vague idea of what’s going on. “So is Lance gonna win again this year?” That kind of stuff. It’s like March Madness–if you can’t even pretend you know or care, you’re in deep social shit. Plus, if you have a Giro-watching party what are you gonna bring? Italian beer?

People who are up on the Giro are weird. Kind of snobby, almost like they know too much. Remember that dude who used to know how to use a slide rule? You didn’t pull him behind the bushes and beat the snot out of him because of anything personal, it was just the fact that he a) knew what a slide rule was for and b) knew how to use it. That’s why you were practically required to do some equalizing on his narrow ass.

3. Too many Italians

The success of the Turdy France is based on the fact that there are hardly any more French people in it. I know the French have won the World Cup in soccer, and they’ve had some good tennis dudes, but at the end of the day, or rather at the beginning, nobody wants to sit around and watch French people do athletic stuff. When the Turdy started letting Germans win, and Americans win, and Danish win, it started getting interesting. Even the Spaniards are okay. They’re the crazed bastards who kill raging bulls with a fucking folding knife. Muy macho.

So the Giro sucks because it’s basically just a bunch of Italians. I know they’re great bike racers and great soccer players and great singers and cooks and the world’s best war cowards, but in your heart of hearts you just don’t want to see them doing athletic stuff. Maybe a couple of them. Fucking. In a porno video. Otherwise, you get more than two Italians together at one time and you start wondering when somebody’s gonna put a horse’s head in your mattress. Blame it on Mario Puzo.

Fixing the problem

Fortunately, there’s a solution to all this. It’s long. It’s skinny. It’s got a weird Swedish name. It’s from Canada.

The “it” is Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal. Despite the funny name and the double-entendre name, he’s a real Canadian: He only likes three seasonings (salt, pepper, ketchup). He knows which leaves make the best toilet paper. He thinks hockey is what happens before they get brain surgery. But for our purposes, he’s something else…an incredible bike racer.

Ryder Hesjedal, whose name is almost harder to pronounce than an Italian one and will therefore be called “Sam Johnson,” has ridden an extraordinary Giro, which sounds like a Greek sandwich but isn’t, and so we’ll call it “Tour.” Johnson pulled out all the stops in Stage 19, unleashing a beatdown on his Italian GC rivals Joey Humdinger and Billy Tubbsworth. By finishing second on the monolithic climb up Mt. Dongwhacker, he is now in position to take the overall victory on Sunday.

Sunday’s final stage will be a 31.5 km time trial finishing on the streets of Italy’s most majestic city, Hooterville. Despite being written off before the start of the stage up Mt. Dongwhacker, Johnson took thirteen seconds out of Joaquim Rodriguez’s (English name: Pooter McGee’s) lead at the top of the maglia rosa (“manly jersey” in English) standings and now lies just 17 seconds behind him. Just as importantly he also extended his own lead over Humdinger and Billy Tubbsworth.

After today’s sensational ride, Johnson is poised to win it all. Good on ya’ mate. (Canada’s part of Australia, right?)

Phinney takes race of truth, victor in race of lies TBD

May 6, 2012 § 10 Comments

In the first stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, Davis Phinney became the first American to win a stage in the Tour de France Taylor Phinney became the first American to win an ITT in this prestigious, 3-week event in which the world’s best doped athletes ride amongst some of the world’s lewdest, craziest, and most drunken sports fans.

Although the time trial is commonly regarded as the “race of truth” due to the test of each racer’s strength and skill against the inflexible constraints of the clock, experts agree that the rest of the Giro consists of a “race of lies.” Wankmeister lists the most notably mendacious events below.

Team Car Hang and Draft: Rider gets dropped, crashes, breaks his bike, has a bowel movement, and finds himself wayyyyy behind everyone else. Rider then grabs onto car, or gets motor-paced by team vehicle back to the group. In marathoning, this would be like having the leaders pull away from you, then having your supporters plop you on a moped and drive you back up to the front.

Beat the Cut Grupetto Scam: Big tours set time limits so that the podium girls can blow the commissaires before they have dinner with their wives. Riders who have no hope of finishing the 200-mile stage with 15,000 feet of climbing on the same day team up so that enough of them are together to prevent the majority of the field being kicked out of the race. In golf this this would be like having 95% of the players at the US Open spend 15 hours dawdling per round so that if the rules were enforced and the players DQ’d, the event would be cancelled.

Handshake Deal Sprint Rigging: Riders are in breakaway. Spindly no-hope wanker dude wants to win. Powerful, badass sprinter dude wants money. Done…the essence of sportsmanship, where a bold and crass financial transaction is packaged in adjectives like “courageous,” “canny,” “tactical,” and “surprise outcome.” In baseball they actually do this. It’s called “the Chicago Black Sox from the 1919 World Series.” And in cycling, it happens all the time.

Sprint Train Lameness: Alleged fast man with cool nickname like “Lion King,” “Manx Missile,” etc., is the fastest human being ever to ride a bike. So fast, in fact, that the only way he can beat solo sprinter dudes like Robbie McEwen who have to win on brains, balls, and brawn is by hiring the other ten fastest riders in the pro peloton and paying them to do nothing but drive him to the line. In college sports there’s an analogue. It’s called “Bear Bryant and the Alabama football program.”

Perfectly Timed Breakaway Catch: Riders are brainless doofuses who have no idea how to reel in a breakaway. So they hook their tiny brains up their race directors via radio to perfectly time the breakaway “catch” with 1k to go. The valiant escapees don’t get the chance to do the Handshake Deal Sprint Rig, and the Manx Misericordia gets to win the 15th Tour stage with his sprint train. In pro football it’s called “$50 million Quarterbacks Too Stupid To Call Their Own Plays.”

Domestique Donkey Food and Water Hustle: The word “domestique” in French means “put on your bitch suit you stupid skinny prick because I’m going to drive your sorry ass back and forth a hundred times to the team car per race to fetch water, food, and drugs so that I don’t have to work and can place in the race even though you’re just as good, probably better than me, but I’m more famous.” In football they are called “fullbacks,” “the practice team,” and “Tim Tebow.” I mean, why pay Cunego all that money just to find out he’s too weak to do the race on his own, when you can pay his bitch $12 to finish the race for him?

Domestique Donkey Wind Pull, Climb Pull, and Tempo Pull: Donkeys in bitch suits go the front and break the wind (saving protected douchebaguette 30% or more energy) while prima donna Brad Pride or Abandy Schleck get a peddie. Boys in bitch suits blow up, fall off the back, and barely make the time cut, then fail to get a team the following year because they have no UCI points. In soccer this would be like having the entire team get the ball in scoring position, then stop the game, and bring in Lionel Messi while the goalie stands off to the side and everyone else on the field just watches.

Multi-team Conspiracy: When a leader sucks and his whole team sucks, he will conspire with several other sucky teams to work against potential threats, breakaways, strong riders who race aggressively with panache, etc. This assures that the better funded, “cooler” team takes the win over that ugly dude from GS-Colnago-Pimplimiento-Ladies-Products-Cologne wearing the orange and pink and red and blue and green-striped kit. In basketball, this would be like two weak playoff teams agreeing to waylay Kobe on his way home from Whole Foods and break both his legs.

Sticky Bottle Scam: When a rider has been dropped (again) or has a blister on his pee-pee, the team car hands him a bottle and drags him several hundred yards closer to the pack. In swimming this would be like letting a dude jump into the water before everyone else.

Derailleur Adjustment Cheat: When a rider’s drugs aren’t working right and he needs to drop back to the team car to have the soigner ram the suppositories further up his ass with a fist, the team mechanic pretends to adjust the derailleur while pushing Dopey along for kilometers at a time. In auto racing this is called “The Pit,” and it’s the reason no one takes seriously a sport where you get to whip in and fill up with gas, change tires, have a smoke, and do quick photo sessions of Danica’s long, flowing pubic locks.

UCI Bio Passport Permanent Doping Visa: When a rider’s blood values have become so ridiculous that even a UCI drug tester can’t look at them without giggling, the entire governing body throws the program in the trash and issues every rider a doping visa, valid for entry into every race, and in every country (except Iran and North Korea). In football it’s called “Weight Training.” And it starts in junior high.

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