April 10, 2015 § 26 Comments
Phenom Tiesj Benoot, the 21-year-old speedster with Lotto-Soudal who pulled off an amazing fifth place in the Ronde van Vlaanderen was allowed to speak with the press yesterday about his expectations for Paris-Roubaix. Benoot, who is clearly on form after a string of strong early-season performances, sat down with CitSB to discuss the big day on Sunday.
CitSB: So you’re unsure of what to expect in your first professional Paris-Roubaix?
TB: Yes. I’ve ridden it as an amateur, but as a professional it will be completely different. I really don’t know what to expect.
CitSB: You don’t?
CitSB: Can I help you out with that?
TB: Well, sure.
CitSB: It’s going to be really fucking hard.
TB: Yes, but …
CitSB: There is no “but.” You’re going to get your ass handed to you on a plate.
TB: The Belgian press believes I may be Tommeke’s successor, of course that’s ridiculous, but still …
CitSB: The Belgian press believed that the Kaiser was going to invade France through Nigeria. You are gonna get stomped.
TB: Since it’s my first professional P-R, I’m unsure how it will play out. My director sportif says …
CitSB: Your director sportif will be sitting in a leather chair behind the wheel of a Mercedes sipping espresso from a spill-proof cup while The Wiggster has your nuts in a vise and holds them out for the rest of the peloton to jump on. You will get your fucking head staved in.
TB: That’s kind of negative.
CitSB: And what the nut-crushing doesn’t accomplish, the jagged paving stones will. Expect a complete beatdown.
TB: If you say so.
CitSB: I do.
*Note: After this interview, CitSB reached out to several past winners of P-R to ask them what they thought Tiesj should expect. Here is a sampling of their responses.
Eddy Merckx: It will be very difficult and hard. And long.
Roger De Vlaeminck: De Paris-Roubaix, it has a hard day. Very hard. Difficulty and hardness.
Tom Boonen: What can he expect? A hard day in the saddle, much pain, difficulty, struggle, unpleasantness, misery, dust, perhaps rain and mud, bone-jarring exhausting. Perhaps a few crashes. Hard day, for sure.
Fabian Cancellara: He can expect the hard.
Francesco Moser: Itsa hard carrera. He will have the hard day.
Frederic Guesdon: Tres dur. Dur, et difficile, sans doute.
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April 14, 2014 § 27 Comments
Less than 24 hours after soloing to victory out of an elite group of the world’s best cobblestone specialists, 2014 Paris – Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (HOL, OmegaPharma – Quickstep) was stripped of his victory by race organizer ASO Sports. At a hastily convened press conference in Paris, ASO president Antoine de Saint-Exupéry issued the following press release, which is reproduced below:
ASO regrets to inform M. Niki Terpstra that he has received a disqualification in the 2014 edition of Paris – Roubaix 2014 because of his unpopularity, or to be more precise, because no one knows exactly who he is. By finishing ahead of MM. Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, M. Terpstra has taken away an important marketing and sales opportunity for global cycling and ASO, which has been poised for several months now to profit handsomely from the victory of either M. Cancellara or M. Boonen at Paris – Roubaix. M. Terpstra will be allowed to race the 2015 edition of the race, but only if he agrees to finish no higher than second. The official winner of the 2014 edition of the race is hereby designated as M. Fabian Cancellara, the third place finisher. This now places M. Cancellara in the ranks of the greatest riders ever, with four Roubaix victories to his name, and promises an incredible showdown in 2015 between him and M. Boonen to see which one will be the first ever rider to win this monument five times in his career.
Terpstra was stunned to learn that he had already been stripped of his victory, and he immediately broke down. “It is true my first name is that of a girl and my last name sounds like a kind of turtle, and it is true that few people know who I am, and worse, that I am Dutch, but I won Paris – Roubaix honestly. How can they take it away just like that?”
Other riders were sympathetic, but understanding of the difficult position in which ASO was placed with Terpstra’s win. Second place finisher John Degengolb agreed that “It’s a shame to strip him of the win, but it’s even more of a shame for a great race like this to be won by a nobody with a girl’s name. Would the NBA tolerate a championship by the Rockets or the Bucks? Of course not. It’s bad business.”
Tom Boonen concurred. “Either I or Fabian should have won today, everyone said so, including me and Fabian, so it’s only fair that Niki got DQ’d. You have to remember that unlike the premier European soccer leagues, in cycling we don’t have refs who can make sure that the fix is in. Niki had the ride of his life, but with Fabian being declared the winner it really sets up a more dynamic spring classics season for 2015.”
CAS appeal possible
Although Terpstra has promised to appeal his disqualification to CAS, a long line of precedent suggests that a successful appeal is unlikely. According to attorney Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “ASO will be able to prove without question that no one has any idea who Terpstra is. He’s less than unknown. He’s a mote of irrelevance in a niche sport within a micro-fissure of anonymity.”
Others are less sure. According to one sports lawyer, Terpstra may have a chance on appeal. “While it’s true that famous races in general must be won by famous racers, there are exceptions such as Van Summeren’s win in 2011, Guesdon’s in 1997, and the forgettable Servais Knaven in 2001. If these non-entitites can have their names engraved at the velodrome in Roubaix, why not Terpstra as well?”
The answer appears to lie in the historic clash between Boonen and Cancellara, according to Rousseau. “If this were a normal year it would perhaps be acceptable to throw a bone to a nobody. But this year is far from normal. We must ensure that the results comport with the marketing opportunities.”
April 10, 2014 § 7 Comments
This year Paris-Roubaix promises to be the one of the best editions in years. Here’s why:
- With the less-than-on-form Tom Boonen failing to effectively challenge Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders, 2014 marks the first time in over a decade that there is less than a 98% chance that the race will be won by either Tommeke or Fabs. Riders, fans, and pundits alike are thrilled at the 3 – 4% chance of crowning a new winner.
- Following the sunny, pleasant weather of the Ronde, Paris-Roubaix promises to be another beneficiary of the global warming that seems destined to kill off the human race while, instead of hanging the Koch Brothers and Exxon from the nearest yardarm, instead basks in the warmth of a fun bicycle race. Trademark applications have already been submitted to change the race’s nickname to the “Heck of the North.”
- Rainy, chilly weather ruined half the pro peloton’s Belgian campaign with the sniffles and the ouchies after Milan – San Remo, so team managers are doubly pleased at the prospect of picnic weather for Paris – Roubaix, even as the ghosts of Roubaix Past roll in their graves.
- As with MSR and the Ronde, Paris – Roubaix 2014 promises to be another epic “strategic” battle between alcoholic, drug-addled team directors screaming instructions into earpieces while their automatons robotically follow instructions until their legs fail or their bicycles break. A PSA on race radios and how they’ve improved race safety will be given by Johan van Summeren.
- The finishing velodrome will not be renamed “Specialized.”
- American fans have a new, popular, handsome, energetic disappointment to replace the old, battered, brokedown disappointment of George Hincapie, as Taylor Phinney promises to be one of USA’s greatest potential 2nd-place finishers since Big George.
- A handful of up-and-coming French riders promise to bring Gaulish strength back to this legendary French race by threatening to crack the top fifty.
- 2014 Paris – Roubaix has introduced a brief comedy segment called the “Wiggins Hour,” where Mr. Drinkypants himself seeks to be the first TdF – PR winner since Bernard Hinault.
- Sep Vanmarcke believes he’s ready to beat Cancellara in a sprint finish on the velodrome in Roubaix because, unicorns.
May 17, 2012 § 13 Comments
Okay, so when people want to know what to wear, Wankmeister isn’t on speed dial. I get that. But I do know a thing or two about fashion. Just because I always wear that black t-shirt, ratty jeans, and those Vans with the holes in the back doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s what.
For example there’s a difference between chick fashion and dude fashion. Chick fashion follows “TPO,” which means “Take my Panties Off.” Dude fashion follows “FOMI,” or “Focus On My Income.”
In other words, chick fashion is sexy, whereas dude fashion is all about brand recognition and money. Cycling fashion, however, is a unique blend. Tight, slinky, revealing stuff that is also designed to make you remember names and buy shit while hopefully not drawing too much attention that your junk is really tiny. Cycling clothes were gay before gay was the new straight.
Got that? Good.
A brief history of cycling fashion
A long time ago, cycling fashionistas wore wool shorts with real leather pads that scrunched up around your groin and acted as involuntary butt wiping rash inducers. You’d pull off the shorts along with a pound or two of brown crud. Yeccch.
Shorts were black. Shoes were black. Socks were white. Jerseys had a couple of sponsors’ names in big letters. Primary colors all the way, except for the occasional gay Italian ice cream sponsor who liked lime green and purple.
And that was pretty much fuckin’ it.
Modern cycling fashion
Then someone realized that plastic fabric was better than wool. It tore up easier. It was less comfortable. It didn’t breathe at all. And the synthetic chamois was originally a variant of sandpaper. But unlike wool, when you sweated it didn’t smell like an old tampon. So it prevailed.
The other thing that happened with cycling fashion is Adobe Illustrator. Every moron with a computer now had a 56-million color palette and the template for a bike outfit. At about the same time, local clubs realized that they could defray some of their beer money by selling ad space on their kits.
Real estate became scarce. Good taste became scarcer. Legit fashion and design skills became extinct. Pro and amateur teams alike wore whatever vomit some junior high school pre-accounting major with a laptop threw together. Design wasn’t an afterthought. It was an afterbirth.
Bicycling magazine recently posted a list of the best cycling kit designs in the Amgen Tour of California. It’s a shame that so little thought went into the piece, which could have shed light on some of the mechanisms behind the grotesquely ugly kits that generally blotify the pro and amateur pelotons, not to mention the “ride jerseys” and club outfits that litter our beautiful California landscape.
As a public service announcement, I’ve decided to review their list and comment on it. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I can sum it up thus: Get Joe Yule and StageOne to design your stuff. It’s really that simple.
1. Black proves you can’t design
“These lads know how to dress. Black jersey, black shorts, and stealthy black bikes—it’s all so punk-rock.” Uh, are you fucking kidding me? Black is the ultimate non-test of design. ANYTHING looks good in black. It’s the default color for slimming a double-wide butt, for repositioning curves that are in the wrong places, and for lifting saggy belly lumps that belong above the belt line…Black is such an addicting and easy color to design and dress with that once you get used to it, it’s hard to wear anything else, kind of like a vampire. But the problem isn’t that it’s “punk rock,” it’s psychotically depressing. It’s what people wear to funerals. It’s the color of religious clothing, judges’ robes, executioners’ masks, Ozzie Osbourne. Worst of all, it demonstrates zero design skill, because it goes with anything. Black bike. Black helmet. Black jersey. Black tires. Black deep dish rims. An occasional red highlight if you like the police car look, or a yellow one if you fancy bumblebees. Boom. You’re done. For cycling, as a design motif black sucks because it’s a slow and boring color. That’s bad, because for spectators, cycling is already a slow and boring sport. You want excitement on two wheels? Watch a fucking formula motorcycle race or some dirt bike action. Manorexic weenies with spindly arms who are clad head to toe in slow black women’s clothing? I’d almost take NASCAR. Almost.
2. If you’re even thinking about Orange, you’d better be nicknamed “G$”
“Those orange stripes! So swoopy! Swoopy is good, in case you were wondering. An orange and black pairing often evokes thoughts of Halloween, but on these Optum Orbeas, orange and black mean fast and stylish” Wow. Someone really wrote that, someone who supposedly wasn’t smoking a crack pipe. Her name is Jen See. Jen, the orange stripes aren’t “swoopy, swoopy.” They’re buttlicking ugly, especially with the lightened orange squares and slashes blended in with the regular orange. The other problem with this nasty looking kit is that you can hardly read the sponsors’ names even in a still photo. Are we really supposed to tell what this says at 35mph? Which brings us to the “money and brand” part of the design package. On a pro bike kit, you sure as shit better be able to read the sponsors’ names. And what brand of LSD was it that suggested the black/white/orange combo would look good with…green lettering…yellow shoes…bright red bottle? Kill the mutant now, doctor, before it spreads.
3. Everything looks good on a winner, right? Wrong.
“Does it matter what color a four-time Paris-Roubaix winner wears? The sea-foam and white jerseys are paired with black shorts—never a bad choice.” Actually, Jen, sea-foam is always a bad choice, unless you’re in a Jello marketing focus group or unless you happen to actually be an ocean. This color is so fucking ugly that it wasn’t even popular during the 70’s disco boom. The idea that winning makes everything pretty is doubtlessly true if your objective is to give Tornado Tom a fangirl fucking, but all the pave trophies piled up in a heap don’t make sea-foam green anything other than fugly. The epaulettes, arguably the most valuable real estate on the kit, have a tiny-ish red “S” for Specialized and a completely illegible scrawl for “innergetic,” along with some squiggly shit on the world champion sleeve striping. Poisonest of all, the sea-foam is really similar to the Astana “Blood Doping Blue” made famous by Vino, Tainted Meat, and a whole host of crooked drug cheats. When all you’ve got is a nasty coke habit like Tom, you don’t want to wear colors associated with dopers.
4. Garmacuda was styling when Jen See was still calling pale orange “swoopy”
“But with this year’s kit, the Garmin-Barracuda boys have hopped on the style train.” Jen has dealt out a true left-handed compliment, but at least she gets that the Garmacuda kit designed by Joe Yule is badass. In fact, Garmacuda has been on the “style train” from its inception. The last two years in particular have seen forceful, noticeable color combinations that do an extraordinary job of highlighting sponsors’ names and looking fantastic. This is shit you’d wear to a job interview. To a first date with a rich girl. To your fucking wedding. And it’s not “swoopy.” It’s “leg rip-offy,” Jen.
5. Your kit is boring and blah, but I love your Pinarello.
“How did Bissell get on the most stylish list? Two words, my friends: Pinarello and Campagnolo.” At first I thought, “Shit, this girl is funny.” Then I realized she was serious. Yep. Your kit is stylish because of your bike frame and your Campy gruppo. So, like, you could just ride naked. Jen, honey, your LinkedIn profile says you fucking went to Claremont College, Georgetown University, UCSB, you have a Ph.D., you speak French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch…and your critical analysis calls the Bissell kit stylish because of the BIKE FRAME? Our country is so fucking doomed it’s not even funny. Note to the computer programmer who designed the Bissell kit: That red and white swooshy thing on the ass that looks like a tuning fork or a toothless barracuda’s jaws…drop me a line when you finally figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to be. Thanks.
6. Just because it’s a color doesn’t mean it looks good
“Quite simply, this team oozes style from head to toe…Liquigas is all about color, lime green to be exact. The color isn’t for everyone, but the men of Liquigas totally own it.” No, Jen. The men of Liquigas don’t “own it.” They are contractually obligated to wear it. There’s a difference. You are sort of right when you say lime green isn’t for everyone, but to get it exactly right you should probably say “lime green isn’t for anyone.” For starters, it’s a total JOC, or “junk outline color” as we say in the trade. This means that it totally highlights each dip and curve of your package. For bike racers, who are scrawny little fellows with scrawny little toolboxes, that’s bad. Lime green doesn’t go with anything, but it especially doesn’t go with blue. Now I know what you’d say, Jen: “Does it matter what a four-consecutive-stage winner of the ATOC wears?” And again, we’d say, uh, yeah, it matters. Like, it really matters. And if you don’t believe me, try googling images for something called “Mapei.”
And when you get around to looking at the rest of the peloton, check out Spider-Tech. Shoulda been number two, after Garmacuda. Ciao, baby.
May 16, 2012 § 5 Comments
I recently upgraded to Cat 3 and am pretty fucking proud of that. Participation in all those races was hard. So I showed up at the start in Santa Rosa for a same-day race reg, and guess what? Douchebaguettes wouldn’t let me enter. “No registration on race day,” or some bullshit. There wasn’t even a sign-in table for pre-regs.
Like I said, douchebaguettes.
But I didn’t go down without a fight. I got hold of the race director dude. “Yo, race director dude. How come there’s no race-day sign ups? This is bullshit.”
“Sorry. It’s a UCI invitation-only race. But there is an event for cyclo-dorks like you to ride around the course and feel like you’re racing.”
“Fuck that shit. I came to race. This is the fucking perfect Cat 3 race for me. A couple of these races have my fucking name engraved on them. I could upgrade to Cat 2.”
“Uh, this is a UCI pro race. Ever heard of Tom Boonen? Levi Leipheimer? Chris Horner? Peter Sagan?”
“They’re doing this race. It’s not a Cat 3 race.”
“First off, you’re a liar. Carl Sagan is dead. And he’s an astronomer.”
“Peter Sagan! The pro!”
“Peter, Paul, Mary, Carl, who gives a rat’s ass? It’s a fucking Cat 3 race and I want in.”
Security tries to stifle my First Amendment rights
Anyway, they didn’t let me register. Since getting released from the facility, though, I’ve been following the race real closely. And let me tell you, it’s a fucking Cat 3 bike race if there ever was one.
First off, the same wanker has won every stage. Ever see that in a good Cat 2 race? Nope. So it’s a Cat 3 race from that standpoint.
Next, it’s total Cat 3 road racing. Ride flat for a hundred miles. Go over two hard hills. Everybody sprunt together. Now sure, most Cat 3 road races aren’t a hundred miles long, but they always stay together and end in a big ol’ sprunt. If it was even a half-assed 45+ RR, fuckin’ G$ or DQ Louie or THOG or DJ or Roadchamp would be cracking ass and spitting the wankers out on the first climb.
Next next, it’s total Cat 3 faux stage racing. Cat 3 stage races have a crit, a TT, and a RR. The winner of the TT wins the whole thing. Okay, you’re gonna be like “This is EIGHT stages!” and “There aren’t any CRITS!” Awright, douchebaguette, so instead of a crit it’s got seven “road” races. But just because you add a fake pair of tits and butt implants don’t make you a chick. This Cat 3 ATOC deal is gonna come down to the TT. You watch.
Lookit this fuckin thing. Three stages over all these supposedly hilly routes that are supposedly gonna bust up the whole race and supposedly make it a thriller and there are still like 400 dudes contending for the win ’cause they’re only 30 seconds back. I’m telling you this is Cat 3 shit.
Now, next next next, it’s fucking Cat 3 from top to bottom because if there’s one thing you know about Cat 3 racing it’s fucking sandbagging. There was never a sandbagger who sandbagged like a Cat 3 wanker. And what do you have here? Dudes who fucking won P-R, and all kinds of badass Euro shit, instead of manning up and riding the Giro which is a real fucking race, they’re douchebagging it in Cali, tweedling through the fucking desert and along the coast and up the anus of the Central Valley and through the rectum of Palmdale, getting their nutsacks licked at night by the fangirls and getting their nuthairs combed by the fanboy bloggers and charity riders I mean if you wanna talk sandbagging douchebaggery these dudes are Cat 3 all the way.
I’m gonna be there on Friday and Saturday, though. If it’s anything like a Cat 3 CBR crit, after they have a few off-the-backers and no-show-losers and got-a-booboo-on-my-elbow quitters, they’ll see me flash my $35 and I’ll have a number pinned to my ass quicker than you can say “Bag of pistachios to the winner of the next lap!”
Don’t look for me at the front, though. I’ll be sitting in for the sprunt. Cat 3 all the way, baby.