Monday, June 21, 2010

Shooting the breeze - TDF top ten and other stuff

Back from holiday, back to shooting the breeze. Without even a whiff of TDF bike porn yet, I probably shouldn’t do my top ten spec-u-m-lation, but what the hey, I am back at my soul destroying temp job for at least a week or so and need a boost.

1. Contador
2. A Schleck
3. Rogers
4. Evans
5. Gesink

The rest I’m not putting in order but they round out my top ten: 

Kreuziger, Frank Schleck, Tony Martin, Ryder Hesjedal, Leipheimer

1. and 2 - was a hard choice and almost heads/tails. Contador could easily have a bad moment and Schleck will take advantage. Saxo is a very strong team, but Astana hasn't been doing as badly as people are saying or want to say.  While AC can go awol sometimes and is beatable, he just won’t leave anything to chance, even cobbles prep. Contador wasn't even trying at Dauphine and still came second.Comparatively, Schleck hasn’t been in the greatest form, but he’s focused on the Tour and had similar lead up/results last year. Don’t forget AC slow pedalled last year and who knows what damage he could do, unfettered, to even Andy.  Looking forward to this tussle.

3. Rogers - not just my Canberra heart ruling here, ok, maybe a little. But HTC will have a strong - and smart - team especially for the first week. In too good form for me to ignore and his TT skills will see him hang in there. He won’t trouble - attacking wise - Schleck and Contador in the mountains though. Or will he surprise?

4. Evans – he could easily be my 3rd step choice too. This is probably a heart choice for the top five as who knows what the GIRO has taken out of him. Having said that, he’s tough and BMC - the little team that could - is hitting form at the right time. I really want to put him higher than this….

5. Gesink – only concern with Gesink is he didn’t time trial great at TdS.  However, the rest of the parcours at TdS was only a bit lumpy and he likes to climb.

Some of my other choices? I know, I should've put Kreuziger in top 5?  And could Hesjedal be Garmin’s Wiggo this year?

If Braijkovic gets a ride, then I’d put him in top ten at Levi’s expense….if he’s not called back that is. I want to put Sastre in here but not sure about his injury.

Also top ten chances/speculation – and probably should’ve put them in: Samuel Sanchez, Monfort, Nibali, Zabriskie, Lokvist, Armstrong, EBH, Ivan “look what you can do with normal blood values’ Basso, Kloden.

Armstrong not in Top Ten, even with TdS result?  I probably could’ve/should’ve put him in top ten, but – and in all seriousness as I don’t hate the guy – he’s said it himself, too many young guys (everyone is young to him) that are too good. His TdS will encourage him, but that was only nine days, the climbing wasn’t TdF like and his TT wasn’t great. Great for an ol guy but not great for someone hoping to beat Contador/Schleck. Nor was Luxembourg that great either - he was behind 2mins on 3rd place on the GC before the rains came. But who knows what he’s capable of and it’ll be a chapeau from me if he proves me wrong.

Wiggins? Sorry folks, just hasn’t had the form and he’s no Andy Schleck.  The course suited him last year but not this one.  Despite the GIRO not being his main focus, he was, well, woeful.  Happy to be proved wrong though. 

Polka dot jersey – I ain’t even going there, too bloody hard. Is Soler going to be riding? Polka dot jersey will probably also go to the winner of the GC.

Green – hard to go past Thor even if he’s been out with injury and he was in good form prior to that. Cav won’t have the train or the form like last year.   I'd dearly love to put down Farrer and Henderson as outside chances.  Whatever happens, sprints will be awesome this year and not just a one horse race this year. 

Young rider’s – Is Sicard way too young?  Sagan if he is riding?  Dunno…

Anyway, I don’t care if I get any of my top ten right. All I do care about is that the race is set alight. I couldn’t stand it if it was 2009 all over again. And neither will my husband because I’m throwing the remote through the TV if it’s a “let’s wait to see what TRS does,” fest. 

Attack attack attack boysssss!

Friday, June 11, 2010

That's so couch

How to disarm a doping bomb, a Twitter PR Plan by LanceCorp

1. Up the cancer talk on Twitter. New programs launched, new research talked about…..everything’s new, you’re the cancer one stop shop

2. Mention that someone dying is in your thoughts

3. Mention your sponsors e.g. Nissan – if sales stay the same or go up, they’ll stick by you

4. Up the Schleck pal talk, they’re clean…right?

5. Agree with followers by @ replying them about their disparaging Lemond remarks. This will distract everyone from the fact it is now quite clear you well and truly lost the Trek case, even though it settled out of court - e.g. no gag order - coz boy, if they knew that...and see the same team are representing Landis – hello credibility.

6. Question the tactics of Garmin at the Dauphine, a team who has been offered amnesty by Vaughters. How can a team who can’t race properly have credibility?

7. Get the cops to get rid of boo-ers…you wanted to do this in 2004 when lots of people did it, but you didn’t have the same power you now have after all the Livestrong stuff and didn’t come close to attracting the same appearance fees you now get to help pour money back into the local economy.

8. Also capitalise on said star power with event organisers to make the 2 minutes you fell behind on 3rd on the GC to magically disappear because of the weather. Now you finally again got on a podium looking thin and in form.

9. Tell Johan to tell the press you’re using all this Landis stuff as inspiration for the tour. Again, this will make you look more in form than you actually are and people will be excited to see the showdown in July rather than you in bracelets (not the yellow kind).

10. Attack any attempt to reform anti doping procedures, pound it even.

11. Forget karma, say people breaking things is shit. Ignore the fact that people like Horner and Brajkovic probably should’ve been on the TDF team anyway. Acknowledging this means your team is probably only good for a few stage wins at the tour, not the top step. And bugger you if Levi gets a podium place. Slow Pedal.

12. Invite Bono over for a five hour lunch, take a twitpic, mention the work u want to do in the 3rd world. Ignore his pleas to repent by giving him painkillers and have your missus show a bit of flesh. For your own sanity, decline his offer to say grace because you know he’ll say something to God about that thing that never happened. Plying him with massive painkillers and a bit of booze will mean he also hopefully won’t give you the Jesus talk again….what blasphemy, you’re the only Messiah.  

Red dead redemption and ham on rye

1. I'm in spain but at the same time I'm in the old west playing red dead redemption. 8:47 AM Jun 9th via web

2. wishing I had my copy of Ham on Rye handy. 10:23 PM Jun 8th via web

Still hanging around from last week, Comic Book Guy had this to say about the above Zabriskie tweets:

" Well, According to Wikipedia, Red Dead Redemption is a computer game that:

"makes use of a morality system where players have the ability to gain positive or negative 'honor'. Some of the ways to gain positive honor include taking an outlaw alive instead of killing him, or saving a kidnapped innocent. Negative honor can be gained for committing crimes including killing or robbing civilians. This works along with another system, 'fame,' showing and governing how people react based on Marston's honor status.”

And according to Litclicks, Ham on Rye to sum up is a Simultaneously comic and poignant, Ham on Rye is a novel that studies three influences that had a huge impact on the artist's life and work:

1.) His father's cruelty, 2.) His severe, disfiguring acne 3.) His early experiences with alcohol

Throughout his art a sense of being an outcast is felt, a sense of alienation, and a distinct rugged individualism. In Ham on Rye Bukowski analyzes his early life and tells the story of how Bukowski became Bukowski."

I therefore do believe he refers to the computer game because he is actually talking about his next move, i.e. whether to talk to the Feds or not.  And Ham on Rye, is he talking about Landis or Lance or himself. Or is it an amalgam of all doping cyclists and why they do what they do.

Couch – Um, I’m not sure. Mmm…ham on rye….

Thursday, June 3, 2010

That's So Couch

Comic Book Guy talks about GRUBER Assist and Cancellara

Comic Book Guy is all in a sweat about GRUBER Assist and Fabian Cancellara. 

TdC:  Don't you think this is just all a great marketing ploy by GRUBER Assist
CBG: No I do not.  If it was, why would RAI be covering it and why is it on the Sporza website?
TdC: Yes, why indeed. 
CBG: Besides, if you look at those videos of Cancellara and knowing what we now about the motor you can quite clearly see him accelerate unnaturally, as if with a motor. 
TdC: Why would a rider carry that extra weight for 5-6 hours? 
CBG: What, 2kgs?
TdC: Which is almost an extra third of the bike's weight...
CBG: Almost, but not quite.  Well, he had bike changes
TdC: But they didn't come until well into the race.  And after the acceleration he still had 50km to go carrying an extra 2kg
CBG: Well, he'd be using the motor
TdC: So the battery would last for a whole hour? 
CBG: Yes, I'm assured from conversations with the GRUBER Assist spokesperson that yes, it would. 
TdC: What about the noise?  It's pretty loud, almost like an electric lawnmower
CBG: The race helicopters could easily hide that noise. There were also reports from riders that Cancellara coughed alot when they asked, what's that noise. 
TdC: So Boonen and he - alone on the Muur, the crowd really close, NONE of them heard the motor?
CBG: It's yet another case of omerta.  Worst Kept Secret. Ever.

A Specialized Reunion

(pic from Alberto's twitter)

In another case of stunt or reality, two friendly rivals had a "showdown" on the Tourmalet both on recon.  Cycling Weekly asked for people's thoughts on what was discussed, TdC decided to have a go:

AC: Wow, how did all those cameras get here
AS: I have NO idea
AC: So how's it hanging, what's been happenin'
AS: Not much.  How about that Juan Pelota guy.  Seems like he'd do anything to get out of racing us in July. 
AC: What do you mean? 
AS: Bless Berty.  Well, those Landis emails didn't exactly leak themselves now did they? 
AC: Oh right! Yes. I get you now.  Did Landis send them to you?
AS: yeah, but Riis told me not to do anything about it. You?
AC: I think Fran said he had seen them, but he told me he deleted them straight away
AS: Well anyway, best get this photo shoot and schmoozing with the Specialized team out of the way
AC: Yeah. Hey Andy
AS: Yeah buddy?
AC: Are you scared of the cobblestones too?   It keeps me up nights
AS:  Berty, I'm shit scared....

Flag Stealing -Aussies can't get enough of it

At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, 4 times gold medal winning Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser allegedly stole a Japanese flag from outside the Emperor’s Palace. At the Giro, Lloyd, Porte and Evans collectively stoke an Italian flag while in Italy. Dawn received a ten year ban for her troubles from the governing body, while the Emperor gave her the flag as a souvenir.  Sounds exactly like something a governing body would do.

pic Lelangue's twitter

More Aussie hijinx

Here's Lloydy working on a Dawn Fraser style hangover

(Pez/Matt Conn)

And here's what some Australian fans got up to.  (via Stephen Farrand/Cycling News as it appeared on LaGazettaDella bici)

But TdC doubts this was written by Australians - the writing isn't yellow.

UK Anti Doping Agency Launches Hotline

Caller (squeaky voice as if a disguise): I'd like to report a case of doping at some club racing events. 
Hotline: Oh yes
Caller: I want to confess about what I've seen. 
Hotline: Mr Millar, is this you again?  This is the fifth time you've called since we launched. In fact, you've been our only caller so far.

The Cycling Rivalries: Ozzie Journalists not at the Giro vs Journalists from around the world at the Giro

Anthony Tan: Cadel and BMC will lose 3 minutes in the Giro team time trial.  (didn't happen)

Mike Tomalaris: "I'm probably not alone in the band of Cadel Evans supporters who have been left a little frustrated and disappointed that the "little Aussie battler" failed to make it onto the podium at the Giro d'Italia.  Remember when many of us expressed our bewilderment when the announcement of the Cadel's move to BMC was first released in August last year?"


Trofeo Bonacossa (top rider as voted by journalists).

(BMC Pro Team Twitter)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another muddy hero

According to the AROC website, Capital Punishment is a 50km and 100km mountain bike enduro taking in 'the best of the Canberra single tracks including Sparrow Hill, Kowen Forest, Majura Pines, Black Mountain and Mt Stromlo. These famous single tracks will be linked via fire trails with only the minimum necessary bitumen.'

But here’s what my dear dirt addict friend Shane Gill (above) said it REALLY was like:

Should not be called capital punishment but cruel and unusual punishment. By the time you got to our part of the pack we were no longer riding in wet conditions but ploughing through bog. Brought out the Irish ancestry.  Might even finish it next year...

Shane pulled out at the 70km mark while his friend Shep pushed through. I say pulled out – I would never use the words quit or ‘gave up’ around Shane, he’s a top criminal barrister by day and a tough bastard on his bike by night and on weekends. So I’m guessing he knows ‘people.’

But seriously, that's not giving up or quitting, it's just smart!

Making it even 10km in those conditions deserves a chapeau. Do you say chapeau to MTB’ers? Or is that not hard enough?