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?)
May 4, 2012 § 6 Comments
The 2012 Giro d’Italia is one of the most open editions of the race in recent years, with a host of contenders vying for the 2012 maglia rosa. Wankmeister takes a look at the top picks for the overall win.
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
Basso is a pale shadow of the once-godlike doper who resurrected his career two years ago after being banned for shipping off blood to Dr. Fuentes in Spain, but who never actually inhaled. It took until the Giro del Trentino in April for him to even finish a race, so weak of leg and feeble of spirit is he without cheating aids. His performances in Romandie suggested little in the way of a return to a solid doping program.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD)
Credible in time trials, powerful on the climbs, and stronger than a leather-clad, whip-wielding bitch in a room full of bound and gagged chubby business executives when he’s on the juice, Scarponi has every reason to feel confident that he’s gotten his micro-dosing dialed in to a “tee.” His 2-year doping ban? Done. His 2010 Giro campaign? Fourth. His 2011 campaign? Second + a reverse relegation thanks to Dopeador’s tainted meat. His 2012 prognosis? Katie, bar the door (to the medicine cabinet).
John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
The Frenchman, after finishing a surprise fourth in last year’s race, has a huge point to prove, namely, that a French dude can win a real bike race. Weak against the clock, he will have to count on natural talent, determination, and better medications to improve on 2011. Spanking Rujano, Kreuziger, and Menchov last year meant that someone in Gadret’s camp knows how to handle a syringe.
Jose Rujano (Androni-Venezuela)
Since his doping positive and suspension in 2003 during the Clasico RCS, the 30-year-old Venezuelan has managed to elude every doping tester ever sent his way. In 2010 he outsprinted a team of UCI passport regulators on a hilltop finish near Caracas for his third consecutive “Beat the Testers” purple jersey in the Tour of Venezuela. He got his grand tour career back on track last year with 7th place in the Giro, a performance that required him to juggle several masking agents and a body double while peeing remotely from a catheter attached to his smartphone. Can he win the Giro’s prized “Dirty but Clean” jersey again? We’ll see.
Roman Kreuziger (Astana)
Kreuziger has languished in the chasing group of elite racers, indicative of a third or even fourth-tier doping regimen. Although his close association with Astana and the obvious benefits of working with the filthy, nasty cheater Vinokourov should have led to better results this year, he has failed to fulfill the promise that everyone expected from a talented rider coming out of a dope-happy, Eastern European land of drug cheats like the Czech Republic. If Vino can deliver the “vino,” look for Kreuziger’s blood values to take him all the way to the podium
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda)
The sad sacks of pro cycling, Garmin’s previous attempts at Giro GC success have all ended exactly where you’d expect to see a bunch of pollyannas end up in this dirty sport full of liars, cheats, drug dealers, felons, and criminal MD’s. Hesjedal has repeatedly shown that, for brief periods, a drug-free athlete can compete with the worst reprobates in the pro peloton. Unfortunately, all of his races so far have been longer than 30 minutes. If any of the Giro mountain stages are shortened down to half an hour or so due to volcanic activity, earthquakes, avalanche or famine, look for Ryder to put in the ride of his life.
Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)
The biggest check mark in Schleck’s doping column is the expert advice and positive drug test avoidance skills of doping king par excellence Johan Bruyneel. On the down side, Frank has clearly said that he’s not much interested in racing the Giro as it is poor preparation for the doping rigors of the Tour. However, since brother Abandy Schleck has quit so many races this year, indicating serious difficulty with his doping regimen, the Giro may be the only chance the Schlecks have in 2012 to beat the testers and make it to the top step of the podium
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD)
A 2005 edition of Procycling once featured Cunego [doper], Lance Armstrong [doper], and Jan Ullrich [pure as the driven snow] on the cover, with the headline “three’s a crowd.” Fans bought the mag hoping to see these three icons disrobed and fighting over a brace of porn stars, but no. At the time Cunego was seen as the next hero of grand tour doping, having shot to fame with the 2004 Giro title, a year in which even the podium girls were rubbing EPO on their vital parts. A lot has changed since then, and Cunego finds himself unable to use the massive quantities of performance boosting drugs that would put him atop the heap without also getting a positive test. A lackluster ride in last year’s Tour was a reminder that although drugs can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey, their absence can sure make a donkey out of a horse.