Friday, December 17, 2010

When All Is Said And Done...

So, another year, another Curacaon holiday. Another gathering of the Cool People in Cycling. Too bad this year was kind of a wash out (or shall we say a ‘blow out’?) because of various cyclones and tornadoes and hurricanes in the area. Those pesky forces of nature really affected the amount of scuba diving that could be done, but at least it didn’t stop the boys from doing anything serious, or anything original, like prancing about in print board shorts (again), or staring poutingly into the sunset (again), or swimming with flippin’ little dolphins (again), or riding on flippin’ little dolphins (again), or flippin’ with flippin’ little dolphins (again), or making sandcastles (again), or perhaps even posing on one of those sandy beaches (again).

Yeah. Curacao sure had changed this year. I was shocked. I was shocked by the change in the Schlecks’ activities, and I was shocked by the staggering array of activities Curacao had to offer. I’ve got to get me there one day, because I don’t think my life will be complete until I ride one of those flippin’ little dolphins and make it flip for me. At least six times.
Curacao is Da Bomb. Who needs any of the other, say, six thousand tropical tourist locations around the world when you have Curacao? No one, that’s who. And certainly not Frandy.

Training camps
I’m fully prepared to jump ship and swoon over luxo-coloured lycra for the next cycling season rather than gawk in horror as a certain Spaniard plays the maracas clad in the ultra sexy saxo colours. But there has been a complete FTA of information regarding the Luxo-Leopard team and their kits/name/race schedule/whatever the hell else is all being kept a ‘secret.’ Newsflash, dudes. No one cares as much as you think. It’s not the unveiling of the bloody Mona Lisa. Sure there’s curiosity and excitement from some corners, namely from chubby middle-aged men who don’t shave their legs as much as they should, but from the rest of the world, there’s a big, fat ‘who gives a shit’ factor that Nygaard doesn’t believe could possibly exist. Get over yourself, pal. It’s not like Branjelina adopted another starving African baby. It’s just a cycling team. Get some perspective, dude.

Saxo Bank Sungard, on the other hand, courtesy of Tim de Waele (happy snap extraordinaire), has been busy capturing every glorious moment of sun, surf, and man-tower building you could hope for. The newly Spanish Armada-ised Saxo Bank team has windsurfed, paddled, and rescued fair maidens Baywatch-style to the delight of Tim de W’s lens. Also captured for all eternity are the ‘balance-the-plate-on-the-stick’ sessions that looked fun as anything, plus ‘touch-the-fire-and-therefore-overcome-your-fear’ sessions. I’m pretty sure I never saw these activities in any Saxo Bank team camp before, so maybe Bjarne thought he’d pull out all the stops to give Da New Boyz a treat. A bit of a stiff middle-finger salute to the Schleck boys. Bjarne: “Did I ever let YOU BITCHES have ‘balance-the-plate-on-the-stick’ sessions? I don’t think I did, Frank and Andy. I don’t think I did.”

Another thing Bjarne has treated Da New Boyz to that he never liked the Schlecks enough to bother with is the Man Towers. Wow. How much fun do they look? Pile three dudes on the ‘ground-floor,’ then add two more on the ‘second storey’, and then one more for the ‘penthouse’. That is really something. And not only is it a bonding session for Da Boyz, being that they have to get close to each other (as in, on top of each other), it is also LITERALLY team building. Get it? As in, ‘I’m building a team’s morals, and I’m building a team’s talent, and I’m building a team TOWER!’

Take THAT, Schleck bitches! (courtesy of Bjarne)

Oh, and there was Bjarne in Budgie Smugglers. The Schlecks could never look that good in Budgie Smugglers. No Siree. Hot, Bjarne. Hot.

With regards to The Luxo-Leopards, we do know that the training camp was ‘awesome, everyone was amazing and friendly, we have such good management, and we’ve just got a great bunch of guys together.’ Everyone who ever goes on a team camp will always, until the end of time, say the same thing. If a volcano erupted and took out the village they were staying in, or a serial killer prowled about the premises, or Jakob and Andy had a punch-up, they’d say ‘the training camp was awesome, everyone was amazing and friendly, we such good management, and we’ve just got a great bunch of guys together.’ EVERYONE was amazing and friendly? Even the serial killer? Hmmmm. It’s called sportstalk - designed to never get you sued for telling the defamatory truth. Not that I’m suss of Team Luxo-Leopard – I’m just saying sportstalk tells regular Joes like us abso-bloody-lutely nothing. Just saying.

New Riders
With new teams clearly come the abandoning / desertion of various riders, as well as the arrival of new ones. Saxo Bank Sungard has turned into an All American (Spanish) Affair, and the Luxo Leopards are semi Italian, French, Luxo, Belgium, German, Nederlandical (Dutch), Australian, and probably even Tongan. You name it, they’ve got it. No trend to speak of, nor riders that I know, or care, about. This opens up a whole lot of opportunity for random unwanted people to use up Tour Down Under spots. New riders on Saxo Bank include most of Astana, like Jesus Hernandez, his boss Bertie Bott and various other Spanish dudes that ride bikes. They’ve also got a new Italian called Manuel Boaro, who I’m scoping, if I’m honest.

In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it; I think Saxo Bank Sungard’s team is hotter than Luxo Leopard’s Team. Sure, Frandy is aboard. But who else that is actually good-looking? Saxo Bank Sungard have the Haedos. And this Boaro dude. And Bertie Bott, obviously. And the best and second best looking Sorensens.

Take THAT, Schleck bitches! (courtesy of Bjarne, again)

Tour de France as a wrap:
Frank was good. For three days. Cheers, Frank. I mean, it’s not like Andy blames you for losing him the Tour, but it helped him about as much as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick helped him. So thanks, Frank. Cheers for nothing.
Andy impressed me, the little tacker. He’s just growing up so quickly, isn’t he? Turning into a real little man, winning bike races, and being a gracious winner / loser like a true gent. God bless his “my stomach is full of anger” statement. I would have liked to see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ locker bashing (or team-bus-bashing, I’m sure he had rage enough for both), but alas, we only got to see a pissed Andy stomp past the camera, jaw set, eyes blazing. And; unimportant sidenote - did anyone ever tell Andy that it’s not proper English to say one’s ‘stomach’ is full of anger? Oh well. It was cute. Sportstalk after all.

I developed a rather healthy loathing of Contador in this year’s Tour. That Chain Moment was disgusting. A champion should never win a Tour through someone else’s bike chain coming off. A champion should win the Tour by waiting, and attacking at a later point when the playing field is level. A dirty cheat with no morals should win the Tour by attacking someone’s mechanical failure, and then pretending he had NO IDEA about it. What, Contador? You rode right past Andy yanking at the bike and hollering at the team car, but you thought he’d just stopped, on a mountain, in the yellow jersey, for a perusal of the scenery? Contador, Contador, Contador...

Relevant disclaimers and all. Photos from Tim de Waele, thanks dude. And Corbis and someone else. Please dont sue. We're broke.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sussing le Tour de France 2010

As in every year, we suss the Tour de France. We rip it, we roll it around and then we slaughter it. And when the slaughtering is over we come back here and ring that victory bell……..Well, the winner does anyway (courtesy of Grease, for those who aren’t so culturally aware). Which is what brings me to The Potentials Of Le Tour. The Favourites. The Fully Loaded Men. So, who is going to win this years Tour, I hear you ask? Here is where I conjecture, speculate, abuse, discount and, ultimately, champion the various potentials.

The Obvious Dudes

Alberto Contador (nn. Bertie Bott, Best Cyclist Of All Time, Spanish whiz-kid on the two-wheeler, and so on). I don’t want him to win his millionth TdF, but unless you’re totally retarded, you’ve probably noticed he’s a bit of a Favourite with a capital F. The Favourite status would probably have something to do with the fact that Contador wins every Grand Tour he’s ever looked at, and even the ones he hasn’t. But I’m not daunted by his undeniable Favourite status. I think, in the words of the indomitable Kevin Rudd, “it’s time for a change, Australia”. So, if Schlecks F and A can work together up mountains, and Cadel can beat his arse on timetrial bikes, and Masterlance bitchslaps him one just for luck, then hopefully Contador won’t kill this year’s Tour like he’s killed every other.

Andy Schleck. (nn. Schleck Jr, etc) If Andy strikes form like a vein of gold in a mountainside, then Eureka! He really could win. Unhappily, Andy striking said form so damn quickly is about as likely as me striking a vein of gold in a mountainside, not least because there aren’t any mountains where I live. Andy’s lead-up to this year’s Tour has been dismal, to put it generously, and so if Andy doesn’t have a sudden and unexpected form-strike, then he can’t win. Contador is seemingly in better form, has a more effective kick when climbing, and is more consistent overall. And everyone knows how the episode entitled “Out-of-Form Andy vs In-Form Contador” ends. Answer: Not well.

Frank Schleck. (nn. Franklin, The Other Schleck Brother). Less attractive, less youthful, less talented and less confident than Andy, Franklin seems like the outsider of the Main Pack. The outlier. The unwanted. The red-headed stepchild. The Other Brother. But this year, more than any year, is Form Time for Schleck Brunette. He’s been spanking that tarmac a lot more effectively than his little bro, and hell, if he can beat Andy, then beat Andy. If Franklin can also take on Bertie Bott Contador and win the actual Tour de France itself, then go for gold. Frank is the Dark Horse of this year’s Tour. Watch out, Unsuspecting Plebs, coz he could take it.

Lance Armstrong. (nn. Masterlance, The Boss. THE BEST CYCLIST OF ALL TIME) The Big Man is back in business now that he’s got Loveshack and a new team of Bitches to do his every bidding. Life is good for Masterlance. A new Babychild on the way too. But can he win the Tour de France for an eighth time? Can he relive his glory days? Can he pretend he’s 28 again and get something more out of those tired old pensioner’s legs of his? Can he take back the title of Best Cyclist In All The World from his BFF Bertie Bott? Is his team good enough? Is he stronger than Contador, stronger than the Schleck brothers combined? Is he The Lance Of Old? No, dude, he aint. But he’ll give it a fair crack, bro. He’ll try his ASS off, and he’ll do what it takes to come out on top. But that ‘top’ probably don’t mean a TdF win is on the cards, man. He’s Masterlance, hell yeah. But he’s also a human, dude, and he’s, like, 39. Unlikely, bro.

Ivan Basso. (nn. Not applicable) I have to acknowledge Mr. Basso’s position as a Tour de France favourite here. I can’t get away with ignoring it, because a handsome 6” Italian dude charging up the Italian Alpes in lime green lycra is hard to ignore. Especially given the fact that he’s only recently returned from a 3-year drugcheat suspension. That’s also hard to ignore.

Cadel Evans. (nn. Cadellio, Little Aussie Battler) Yes. You’re right. Last year’s Tour for Cadellio sucked. But everyone has their bad days, months, even years. And he’s obviously not having one of those this year: this year he’s got a Fleche Wallone under his belt, as well as roughly 40 second-places to various Italian drugcheats. He’s also World Champion, in case anyone forgot, and did I mention he’s Australian?

The Not So Obvious Dudes and the Dudes I Cant Stand The Thought of Winning

Bradley Wiggins. (nn. Friggins) Will Not Win. I’ll shoot myself first. He needs to get back inside his cozy velodrome and stop pretending he can road race like the real men.

Denis Menchov. (nn. Deni, Rampaging Russian) I love Deni for the simple fact that he has so much personality. He’s just so emotional, so outspoken, and so good-humoured. And he’s Cadel’s partner-in-shithouse-form (of last year’s forgettable TdF fame), so perhaps he and Cadel can, together, bring the house down with twinsets of bitchin’ good form.

Carlos Sastre. (nn. The Sastrinator, Boringest Waste of Time To Ever Win A Tour De France). Ha, that was a joke, but a joke I did not, and still do not, find very effing funny. Go suck off Cervelo’s wheel, and see how far that gets you, pal. Not far at all, I can tell you, because a lucky strike on a lucky day with the lucky addition of being thrown up the mountain by two much better teammates only comes around once in a blue moon. And you’ve already had your blue moon, buddy, which is more than even the luckiest loser in the world should ever have gotten. Not that I’m bitter.

Christian VandeVelde.
(nn. V-da-V) V-da-V is one of those dudes who I’ve heard a lot about, but never actually seen doing anything worthwhile. It’s like he decides to suck when I’m watching. Which, if you go by that way of thinking, means that if I’m watching the Tour de France, he can’t possibly win it. I’m sure he’ll be respectably placed in the top twenty again, along with all the other bridesmaids, and I wish him luck.

Kreuziger Roman. (nn. He wishes) He’ll keep up on a few of the big mountain stages, but then he’ll falter on one that really matters, at which time he’ll watch his AMAZINGLY TALENTED BUT TOTALLY NOT ON DRUGS team leader Ivan Basso shoot off the front and leave him to die on the roadside. If its Kreuziger or Nibali, it doesn’t really matter. They’ll come roughly 7th-ish, give or take ten places.

Well, it’s a few days before the Biggest Cycling Race Of Them All, actually tonight for Southern Hemisphereans like moi. Time has flown since writing and posting this, so let’s barricade ourselves on the couch with our hot chocolates, croissants, and Haighs, and enjoy a Tour de France that is actually worth enjoying this year.

Pictures from Tim de Waele and Roland Miny if you couldn't tell. Hope its not illegal.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Curacao Dreamin'

See Blog “Frank and Andy’s Curacaon Vacation”, the 2008 version.

So, another year, another Curacaon Vacation. The location is the same, the trees and beaches are the same, the kissing dolphins are the same, the attempts to even out Cyclists’ Tans are the same, the awkward tangles with diving gear and fishing lines are the same, the fishing in the deepsea and Da Boyz are the same. Everything is pretty much the same, give or take a few variations of frightening print boardshorts. Some (*cough*BertieBott*cough*) are barbie pink, with complimentary purple and turquoise stripes. But apart from those eye-catchers, everything is pretty much identical to the last three trips to Cycling Tropicana Central.

You may be thinking “Jolly Moses, wouldn’t four trips in a row to the same place at the same time of year with the same people doing the same things get a little old?” Well, the long and short of it is, no, not really. Andy loves himself a Curacaon Vacation, that’s for sure, so don’t be expecting his end-of season race-holiday to change scenery any time soon. Curacao is the shiz. It’s the End-of-Season Cool Young Cyclists’ Hang Of Choice. As if Andy’s going to branch out and do something radical like change locations. He’s a Cool Young Cyclist after all. Where else is he gonna hang?

And anyways, there have been one or two changes from last year. Bertie Bott’s barbie boardshorts, for one. Andy had a pina colada instead of just a plain old corona. Brice Feillu hung about getting sunburnt and wrestling madly with his flippers in the shallows of Curacao Bay (I made that up btw). Cav the Gent did the chivalrous thing and brought his new lovely lady with him to paddle about looking sexy together. And the whole Schleck Fam (minus the Schleck Patriarch) rocked up to party like its ’99 in the tropics. Oh, and Frank proposed to Martine.

Gotta love the Curacao Dreaming’...
Relevant disclaimers and all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

As the Wheel Turns... And the Gears Click...

This blog is a long time coming. And what has happened in the four months that transpired between this post and my last?

Well, Bertie Bott Contador won the Tour de France. Yay for him. Actually, not yay for him. His winning was a boring, predictable, anti-climactic formality. Just one of those little old TdF wins, a maillot jaune to go straight to the pool room along with all the hundreds of other leader’s jerseys. Andy, could you kindly win next year, please? I want someone to win the 2010 Tour who is not totally brain-dead boring. And who doesn’t have teeth like terrible tombstones.

Big Jens obviously won the Maillot Man Classification. Obviously. I mean, who else could?

The Vuelta happened. At some point. Some Spaniards won. I think.

Trade Month happened. Cadellio left Silence-bloody-Lotto at-bloody-last. I was starting to worry – after all, it was meant to have happened three years ago and never did. Oh, and half of Saxo Bank bailed. Well, Kurt Asle did, anyway, as I was scandalised to see. Maybe I’m retarded, but why would Kurt Asle leave Saxo Bank? Yeah, I’ve heard all the ‘new horizons’ and ‘changes of scenery’ and ‘wanted different things’ excuses, but underneath all that, what was the real reason Kurt Asle would possibly leave the best team in Pro Cycling at the moment?

Jonny Bellis came a gutser. And I don’t want to trash the boy, but aside from all the forensic investigations, what does a little old thing called Common Sense think a 21-year-old guy was doing at 3am Saturday morning, on his scooter, hitting an unmoving WALL at high speeds? Hmmmmmm. Let me think about this one. It’ll come to me eventually.

Cadel won the World Championships. Haha to the doubters (no names). But haha anyway. Now, you see, if Cadel did more of that ‘attacking business’, he would be sort of unstoppable. So here’s hoping he remembers to attack when he’s going up hills, coz it pays like a dole-bludger’s payday.

Andy did a bit of Twittering. Not much, but a bit. And he showed us he’s not great at spelling or grammar. No offence. On that note, I don’t know who writes Andy’s blogs, but I’m pretty sure it aint him. The spelling is too good. The sentences make sense.

Mark ‘Look at Me’ Cavendish upgraded his girlfriend. What a gentleman. Cav: “Hey, you know what? I’m like the best sprinter in the world, and everyone damn well knows it. I have a new, bigger paycheque. I have a new villa in Italy. I have a new Audi R8. I need a new girlfriend too. A hotter one than my childhood sweetheart FIANCE. How about Miss Italia Monde?” Words can’t describe how proud I am of Cav. He’s just such a classy guy.

Andy rocked up to the Unveiling of 2010's TdF Route. In high-waisted jeans. Belted. I think I'll leave it there.

The O’Grader showed us that tiny squeaky-voiced Casey Stoner is more man than him on an 800cc motorbike. That’s got to hurt.

Andy and Frank did something weird and decided to go to Curacao this year. Out of character or what? I was pretty floored by that decision. Curacao: Since WHEN?!

Frank's getting himself hitched after all. Like I prophesied he would during last year's Curacaon Vacation. I so knew. I have a fifth sense.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man of the Tour Classification
(Main article: The Maillot Noir, or in colloquial terms, “The Maillot Man”)

The Maillot Noir is awarded to the rider who is the Most Man during a stage. Inspired by the unsung heroes of the peloton – The Hot Ones. The Hardcore Ones. The Fully Loaded Men. They need some kind of thanks for lifetime services to lycra. This jersey – the Maillot Noir - is that thanks.

The competition gives points to the Real Men of the peloton. Points can be awarded on flat stages, mountain stages, half-and-half stages, intermediate stages, time trials, team time trials, rest days, you name it. If it’s Manly, it’s on the board.

Points for Maillot Noir Gained By:
10cm+ expanse of chest showing whilst riding.
Jersey tails flapping and bibshorts straps exposed.
Cycling Like You Mean It. Hah.
Crashing and getting back up and going for it with broken bones and blood running down your limbs.
Being Drinks Bitch. It’s manly, alright.
Not getting dropped. Like Cav on mountains.
Breaking away and doing all the work. Like Big Jens.
Not being on Astana. Like Astana.
Being on Saxo Bank. Like Saxo Bank.
Having a brother in your team (that wins). Like Frank and Andy. Or Romain and Brice.
Being Australian. Like Cadel. And Heinrich. He’s ours Germany
Wearing armwarmers.
Wearing crosses.
Filling out your lycra (saggy arse-areas result in minus points).
Not wearing skivvies underneath jerseys. (An unexposed chest area is a big minus.)
Not posing stupidly for Tim de Waele.
Leaning on the Manbar.
Beating Cav.
Winning. It’s hot.

Man of the Tour Classification
As It Stands After 2 Weeks of Le Touring
1. Big Jens: Because he is Big Jens. And he breaks away like a Bat out of Hell and then does all the work because he’s Too Much Man to do otherwise. And he has 5 kids. What a man.
2. Heinrich Haussler: A Little Aussie Battler. He also broke away from a breakaway and WON. He makes a hot drink’s bitch. And he gets up mountains like no other sprinter can. Hardcore.
3. Brice Feillu: He broke away from a break away and WON. He consistently wears his jersey open and flapping in the breeze, with bibshorts exposed. He is also rather nice looking.
4. Andy Schleck: Has really gotten Manly this year when he started to open the jersey and expose his lucky medallion and gold cross. But he has a way to go. Breaking away BEFORE Contador would be Tres Manly. Beating Contador would be Tres Tres Manly.
5. Sexy Sorensen: WON on a broken-away breakaway. These Men are hot. And he’s a totally forgotten hero, so winning was just so good and Manly for him.
6. Frank Schleck: Hasn’t done much, but he will, so he’s on the list. And he gets points just because he always has his jersey unzipped, and he has a brother in the team. Masculine as.
7. Cadel Evans: Everything’s going horribly wrong for poor Cadellio, but it’ll get better. And if anyone tries hard against the odds of Crappest Team Ever, it’s Cadel. And that’s Manly.
8. Fabian Cancellara: He’s usually fairly safe on the Manly standings, but Fabian’s taken some hits recently. Anyone who bitches at fellow breakers-away to ‘go back coz it’s not fair, we’ll get caught coz of you’ is not okay in my books. And it’s not like he won that stage anyway.
9. Rinaldo Nocentini: He’s not on here coz he’s good, or even that he’s particularly Manly. He’s on here coz he kept the Yellow Jersey away from Masterlance in laughable style.
10. Masterlance Armstrong: Better than I gave him credit for, and able to keep up with the young whipper snappers on the climbs, thus far. At 37, I’ll give him some Manly credit.
NOT LISTED. Bertie Contador. He’s not squeezing one Manly point out of me because, while he might be winning and he might be a little savage on those pedals, he’s not pretty, he does ultra-lame pea-shooter gestures when he wins and he’s NOT Manly. And this is the Man of the Tour Contest after all, so Bertie Bott aint gonna win this one, at least.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sussing Le Pre-Tour

Well, we’re getting close now. It’s about that time of the year when friends start shooting suss looks at each other and polarising to opposite ends of the table. It’s when the colours come on and the gloves come off. When the sly digs at other people’s favourite riders emerge like rats from a flooded drainpipe. And when perfectly rational adults are transformed from “supporters” to hysterical teenage fangirls at a Jonah Brothers concert. Jonas Brothers, whatevs.

Yes... it’s Tour de France time...

I’m excited. Well, I’ve been excited for about 11 months and six days, but now I’m getting REALLY excited. This is the highlight of the year for any cyclist or cyclist fan. Especially if you’re a cyclist fan who has been denied her fix of cycling all year because her TV stations don’t show fricken anything. Except Paris-Roubaix, but that was a waste of time because Boner won and he’s gotta be the World’s Biggest Cycling Bimbo Of All Time. So anyway, point is, I’ve been unjustly deprived of most of the cycling calendar and consequently am very much looking forward to live, unedited, Phil Liggett-commentated 5-hour long stints of pure Tour de France. Bliss.

Top Five Cyclists Who Will Probably Win the Tour de France.

CADEL EVANS. I don’t care how much he’s loathed (unjustly I might add – all he did was bash people), Cadellio deserves a break. He’s thankfully not the favourite this year, which will remove the pressure that was obviously chaffing a bit last year. So with the spotlight on The Favourites, Cadel should be free to breakaway on Mont Ventoux with his ever reliable silence lotto boys. Sweet sweet justice.

ALBERTO CONTADOR. I don’t want him to win, but I’d be living under a rock not to have noticed his undeniable favourite status. So, Bertie, you do what you have to do; use up the old ones first (as in Masterlance), and have some sprint-offs with fellow youngen’ Andy Schleck. While you’re there, you and Andy can have a text-messaging competition – first one to text 100 girls in a mountain stage wins. Hopefully then Bertie won’t notice Cadel slipping away on Ventoux...

DENI MENCHOV. The Legendary Russian is just getting started. After a stellar Giro, he’ll be on the angry Russian rampage and gunning for the overall. And he’s so interesting that he really doesn’t need any more superlatives than that.

FRANK SCHLECK. He’s been a little overlooked with all the Team Masterlance and Andy Schleck Is Mercx Incarnate excitement, but underestimating him would be retarded. He’s done almost as well as Andy this year – won a few stages here and there, then the Tour of Luxembourg. He’s going under the radar because he doesn’t look scary and because he isn’t particularly aggressive. But give him a chance and Team Masterlance will be staring at Frank’s (and Saxo Bank’s) burnt rubber. And I mean, simply on a personal level, how hard must it be for Frank? I’d be such a jealous asshole if I was him.

[Picture it: Your little bro Andy swans straight into CSC/Saxo Bank (and Overlord Riis’s good books) at a much younger age than you at the time, and never has to go through various Italian drug-cheating teams before making the Big Break. Then, after you having been the best-looking in your family for most of your life, Andy suddenly blossoms into undeniably The Hottest Schleck Ever. Then everyone calls him Mercx Incarnate, interviews him, and ignores the fact that you’re STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM AND PROBABLY DID BETTER IN THE BLOODY RACE ANYWAY. Then Andy goes and receives all the marketing deals, and the plethora of fangirls abruptly stop ogling you and go and mob your little brother instead. Frank’s been updated, methinks. There’s a Younger, Hotter, More-Talented and Possibly More Interesting version in town, and Frank’s been relegated to the shelf. Until he wins this year’s Tour, obviously.]

LEVI LEIPHEIMER. So he’s a good rider. So he can win some things now and then, namely the Tour of California. He doesn’t seem to be able to win anything else, and while I’m sure he is a serious contender for the overall, I just can’t take him seriously. Usually, I forget he’s on the planet, let alone in the peloton. And while I won’t discount his riding ability, if he wins the Tour I’ll be mighty annoyed. It’ll make the Tour de France just as boring as last year’s. SURELY someone with a personality can win; is that too much to ask?

Top Five Riders Who Should Win the Tour de France But Wont.

CARLOS SASTRE. He’s washed up without a Schleck Express. But that’s not the only reason he won’t win. I’ve really come to dislike this man. It started when he callously pinched the Maillot Jaune off Frank. Then he went on to not even bother thanking him and Andy for winning him the freaking Tour. It got worse when he deserted. I was on Overlord Riis’s side for that. Riis: “Hey, Sastre, we won you the Tour! Let’s party like it’s 1999!” Sastre: “Or not. I’m throwing a temper tantrum STRAIGHT AFTER I won the Tour de France because the Schlecks are your priority. Coz you totally backed Frank and not me on Alpe d’Huez. You bastardo. I’m off.” But there’s more. Sastre went on to defect to Cervelo, a team far too good for him, and then he selfishly and single-handedly destroyed a teammate’s dreams of winning a stage during the Giro. Unforgiveable. And then – wait for it – he prevents Simon Gerrans (a stage winner in both last year’s TdF and this year’s Giro) from riding in the freaking TOUR DE FRANCE because Sastre (and I quote) “wanted a Spanish rider”. *stunned silence* That’s why Sastre won’t win the Tour. He’s a selfish little man who ruins hopes and dreams of young riders. And he’s already won a Tour. Move over and give someone else a go.

ANDY SCHLECK. He’s good, but I don’t think he’s going to win this year’s Tour. He’ll win some other year’s Tour, and maybe more than one, but not this time. Too young, too inexperienced, too unpredictable. If Frank gets a millisecond ahead of Andy, Bjarne will bank the whole team behind older bro. And that means Andy’s relegated to domestiquing. Because I think, while the public adore Andy the most, Bjarne won’t ignore Frank because they’re best pals and Frank is still Maillot Jaune-experienced. Sorry Andy. Book in early for next year’s Tour. It’s probably yours already.

ROMAN KREUZIGER. Good – really good - but probably not good enough. He’ll get close. He’ll challenge for stage wins and he’ll challenge for the white rider’s jersey (again), but he won’t win. His team is not equipped for supporting a champion. Even if Roman gets himself into a yellow jersey, Liquigas won’t help him keep it because they simply don’t have a bloody clue how to. Instead, they’ll help Bennati win (and lose) sprints (to Cavendish).

KIMMI K. I don’t care enough to even comment. He won’t, just coz.

MASTERLANCE ARMSTRONG. He’s in decent enough form, but let’s face it: he’s not going to challenge the leaders. He’ll have a few flashbacks to his glory days over the 3 weeks, where he’ll break away in the mountains, looking sort-of invincible, but they’ll probably only last 1 or 2 kilometres and then he’ll get caught again by a sniggering Bertie. Or Andy in between texting all his girlfriends. Or Roman K. No matter who, Masterlance will be upstaged by the young upstarts. It just will happen.

So crack open the tia maria and put on the footy franks - its Tour de France time! For me it means 3 straight weeks of graveyard shifts because the TdF starts, for Australians and other southern hemisphereans, at 10pm and finishes at 2am (if you include Taste Le Tour, which any sane person would because Gabrielle Gate is just such a freaking legend). So I’m going to stock up on numerous forms of caffeine (coffees, mochas, hot chocolates, cold chocolates, hard chocolates, soft chocolates, every chocolates), and incalculable packets of chips, and then I’ll pull up a rug and entrench myself on the couch for 24 days. Sounds good to me.

...Relevant disclaimers and all... photos aren't mine, big surprises...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some Other Cyclists Worth Looking At

There are a few cyclists in this hallowed Team of Saxo Bank that find their unique brand of Hotness overshadowed by Frank’s sideburns+mullet combo, Andy’s overbite and Fabian’s hair. But these three lads are not, despite such astounding physical attributes, the only Cyclists Worth Looking At In Saxo Bank.

And anyway, the Schlecks are getting pretty commercial now. Every man and his dog knows who the Schlecks are and that they’ll be Tour Favourites. Every man and his dog in the Eastern European Advertising Company wants them for their shaving cream or their mobile phone deal, or their hairdressing salon.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys, but I think there comes a time when a person’s Attention Quota is full, and you need to start giving it to someone else. Share the love, so to speak. I mean, Andy Schleck isn’t the first and last pro Cyclist to have nice fluffy hair and smooth skin and a pretty pout, after all.

Oh no…

More specifically, three Danes have stolen my attention and taken it hostage. They are as follows: Matti Breschel, Alex Nicki Slyvest Rasmussen, and Michael 'Morks' Morkov.

Matti Breschel deserves attention because he’s a New York ex-model. And a decent sprinter. He has that Cold But Hot thing going and really lovely curvy lips. He’ll be big one day soon. And he came tenth in Paris Roubaix. I know tenth is still tenth and not first, but it was a hardcore race and he did better than Fabian after all. And everyone knows Fabian is supposed to rock the cobblestones.

Alex Nicki Sylvest Rasmussen (what a name), deserves attention because he is a very big man and therefore hard to miss. Eight kilos more man than Fabian himself and a similar set of v8 thighs. And refreshingly, Razza doesn’t actually look much like a cyclist. He doesn't have inch-thick upper arms and a bony chest and thighs slimmer than mine to make me feel fat. He actually looks more like a Bouncer than a mountain-climber.

Morks deserves attention because he’s Razza’s mate. He’s a semi-cool Dane and he and Razza are bff's so he has an automatic VIP pass into Club Danmark. He isn't actually the hottest thing since sliced bread but he and Razza come as a sort of 'buy one get one free' deal.

So what about you ladies in the Cycling Blogworld? Anyone catch your eye who is worth mentioning that isn't a Schleck? Now don't get me wrong - I love myself a Schleck. And I'm not about to turn on them and stop caring or staring. I'm just being fair to the rest of the hotness on Saxo Bank and acknowledging the Good Looks That Be outside of Mondorf-Les-Bains. So, anyone? You may go Peloton-wide if Saxo Bank is too limited.

[Oh, and none of the photos are mine. Relevant disclaimers and all that]