Archive for October 2009
The war of words between UCI President Patrick McQuaid and French Anti-Doping Agency head Pierre Boudry escalated Saturday.
They’ve decided to settle their disputes once and for all, in the wrestling ring. “”I’m sick of that whiney French guy, always complaining and turning up his nose. I’m gonna stomp on his face. ” said the red-faced McQuaid.
For his part, Boudry is hardly worried. “You can see he is flabby, a bureaucrat who sits on his hindquarters all day making pronouncements like he’s king. I am training already,” said Boudry.
The UCI president appeared to snap after the constant hounding by Boudry in the press. “Boudry thinks he’s some kind of intellectual, drinking his red wine, reading his French existentialist novels. I will break him in two,” said McQuaid.
Rumors are spreading fast that the under-card for the much-anticipated event will feature Anne Gripper, head of the UCI’s anti-doping team, taking on Alejandro Valverde. But at this moment, no details have been announced.
However, the wrestling promoters are already planning a tag team match between the embattled Spanish Cycling Federation and Italian Olympic COmmittee (CONI). Winner to decide Valverde’s doping ban.
Stay tuned for more developments.
Yesterday we were able to share some behind-the-scenes photos of the UCI Halloween party for all ProTour riders. Time and space prevented us from covering the whole photo shoot in one post but here is Part Two.
Master of Ceremonies Patrick McQuaid was dressed in his keystone cops costume. Plenty of treats were on hand and none were on the WADA’s list of banned substances. Except for a suspicious cake from Cera Lee.
Do we get a finder’s free, a VIP invitation to the race, free frites for life?
Organizers of the 2010 Gent-Wevelgem have extended the race an extra 50 kilometers and are apparently searching for more cobblestones.
Race director Hans De Clerq told Het Nieuwsblad that “We are still looking for another cobblestone stretch here and there.”
We say pave it and they will come. The well-respected firm e-cobblestone is ready to help with an impressive selection of granite cobbles, also known as “Dutch Block.”
New or reclaimed — for that nice ProTour Dutch classic effect — these cobbles are in inventory, ready to ship.
Truckload quantity is 850 sq. feet and these babies run from 6″ to 12″ in size, big enough to destroy bike rims, handlebars and rattle the bones of even the strongest riders.
Has Mr. De Clerq really done his due-diligence on the cobblestone question? A quick look at E-Bay turns up a number of exciting options, including antique cobbles at a fantasic 11 cents a pound. This could be the deal of the century for savvy cobblestone shoppers. Paris-Roubaix is already worried.
And why just drab, predictable grey? What’s wrong with a little dramatic Gent-Wevelgem flair? You want to make some noise on the UCI calendar? Earth-tone cobbles come in brown, red, taupe and buff. That’s right, big, buff chunks of ball-busting stone.
Twisted Spoke can see the rider quotes now: “I was okay on the Kemmelberg but I had trouble in the new multi-colored section.” Mr. De Clerq needs to work that Visa card. Gent-Wevelgem is about to stock up on quality cobbles.
We ran across this while scouring the internet for things of bike interest. It being two days before Halloween, it was our good fortune to stumble upon this amazing piece of sculpture from Jud Turner called Bio-cycle.
You’ll do better googling Skeleton bike. Either way it’s a master work and we’re excited to have made the discovery because Turner’s art is amazing. His gallery is a definitely worth a few long looks and now we know if the whole bamboo bike thing doesn’t work out we can always call Jud for a bone bike.
Is Trek working on a version for Lance Armstrong? Could be. Add a longhorn skull on the front and Lance in in business.
This is scary stuff.
The annual UCI Halloween costume party for all ProTour riders, hosted by none other that the always quotable president Patrick McQuaid.
Twisted Spoke was given a behind-the-scenes look as riders tried on their outfits for the invitation-only bash. Funny how all the costumes seemed to match the personalities.
This is Part One. Look for Part Two, tomorrow, my cycling ghouls.
We bring you an important non-news flash.
Nikolai Proskurin, a spokesman for the Kazakh Cycling Federation, says that two-time Tour de France winner will ride for Astana in 2010. A meaningless statement and certainly not news or fact. Although we are giving it thumbs up for humor.
It was more accurately a desire, a wish and desperate hope that Contador wouldn’t leave now that the UCI has cleared Contador to exit Astana “without notice or liability for damages.”
According the governing body of the sport, Astana no longer has a legal hold on the Spanish rider. And lawyers are about the only creatures who could force Contador to stay in the snakepit with Alexander Vinokourov. Alberto has a fondness for birds, but he’s not big on snakes, especially the vino-viper.
Everyone seems to understand the ruling but Mr. Proskurin. “Certain people, it is unclear who, have completely dreamed this up, but there has been no occasion on which he has made an official statement on this issue,” he said. Yes, the bozos are at it again.
Note to Federation: Your ship sank last week. Don’t bother looking for survivors.
This must be one of those black comedy situations that happen in the former Soviet Republic. The kind of thing that routinely occurs on the team we like to call Astanastan. A goof-ball kind of place where the paperwork never gets down, the checks always bounce and the kafka-speak goes on forever.
Does the bold, posturing statement from the Kazakh Cycling Federation carry any weight? Nope. Was it amusing in a clueless way that reminded us of low-level, bumbling communist bureaucrats from the 70′s? Yes.
Is Stefan Schumacher still on drugs? Has he been tested for moron-enhancing drugs?
Forget the EPO, what is he taking these days? Is he smoking rastafarian amounts of weed or Turkish hash — or maybe it’s cocaine, which would explain his wildly inflated sense of confidence.
Twisted Spoke suspects the man is deep into the hallucinogenic drugs. What else would explain the bewildering number of senseless appeals he’s launched. Know when to say when, buddy. Ride your bike, take up whittling, learn the saxophone, sign up for classes in pastry baking. You’re suspended for two years– do something better with your time.
Schumacher is going the Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton route and bankrupting himself with his never-ending legal wrangling. The latest being his plan (or crack pipe dream) of appealing the decision by a French court to uphold his two year ban in France.
This is a man who was busted for CERA-EPO in the 2008 Tour de France and Olympic Games. That’s the doping double play. He doesn’t have a lycra leg to stand on. His credibility is zero and his bank account is headed that way fast.
Next up, his November 4th appeal with the Court of Arbitration in Sport. You’d think he and Alejandro Valverde could get a group rate on lawyers, maybe invite Danilo di Luca and Mikel Astarlosa and old Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin to pitch in.
It appears that Schumacher insists on appealing every legal ruling out there. He doesn’t like test protocols, jurisdictions, judges, legal arguments, ethics or honesty and seems to be embarrassment-free.
Like many suspended riders without facts on their side, he played the conspiracy card, claiming he was a victim of a “French clique,” noting that Pierre Bordry, head of the French anti-doping agency (ALFD) had a “close relationship” to the court where he was formerly a judge.
Again, we return to the hallucinogenic drug theory. The man is on ecstasy: he thinks he can fly, he hears in colors, he believes his appeals will work and that no one is laughing.
We had no idea the National Inquirer magazine put out a cycling edition. The sensationalist rag has nothing on Belgian lifestyle magazine Humo’s latest edition with the juicy, tell-all interview with Johan Bruyneel.
The man pulled no punches, he named names, he dumped freely and dished widely. He unburdened himself in a NorCal way, honoring his “feelings.”
While most of the revelations weren’t new, they were still dramatic. The only thing missing was Lance having Britney’s baby and Contador admitting he was abducted by aliens dressed like Elvis — or kazaks dressed as Elvis singing “Hound Dog” with a suspicious slavic accent.
Thank God Humo got Bruyneel talking. Did they slip him a few drinks — was Tom Boonen doing the big pours, working the other side of the bar, to curb his insatiable thirst and cocaine habit? Did Johan work his way thru a case of Chimay, Armstrong’s favorite brew? Who knew the normally cagy Belgian Director Sportif would spill so many guts at once.
This was the tell-all we knew would eventually come out. But not the new Armstrong book where we’d have to shell out $25 and only get half the story. Besides the obvious, a few things stick out for us, meaning me, at Twisted Spoke.
Yaroslav Popovych and Andreas Kloden are good guys. According to Bruyneel they were the riders keeping things professional and as relaxed as possible around the dinner table when the team could have split into two camps.
Bruyneel hates the Kazak bozos at Astana even more than we thought. The man is still bitter, still angry and still indignant and has a whole “dear diary” list of grievances. What becomes clear is that the year was one long stressful grind and he earned every dollar of his salary getting the team through it successfully. When new Astana DS Yvon Sanquer reads the quotes, he’ll be looking at the UCI clause that freed Contador to see if he can exit the same way.
Bruyneel is never going to marry Alberto Contador. Let’s all admit Johan has a man-crush on Lance and verse visa. Nothing wrong with that– most of us have a man-crush on Lance and when he invites us along for a crazy “hangover” weekend in Vegas, we’re going. We’ll bring the lion and the stripper, he brings the guns and Mike Tyson.
Now Twisted Spoke understands the full tragedy of Frank Vandenbroucke. When Bruyneel says, “Frank was the biggest talent I’ve ever seen,” you realize the sad magnitude of VDB’s mistakes. And in that cauldron of pressure and impossible expectation that is Belgian cycling, you fear for Tom Boonen.
The Bruyneel interview was everything news-starved cycling fans needed as we face the long, dreary off-season. Now we await the Armstrong and Contador follow-up responses. El Pistelero is going fire back soon.
Mountains are just mountains.
They are pointy, majestic and steep and you will find them in Italy and France. A time trial is a clock going tick, tick, tick and it is the same tick in Rome and Paris. The Giro and Tour de France may be compared, contrasted, debated and disputed.
Twisted Spoke has made an exhaustive study of both routes, the individual stages, elevation gains, transfers, cobbles, weather conditions and relevant historical data for both the Giro and Le Tour. The true difference is this:
The Giro has Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen and Le Tour doesn’t.
A shameful oversight on Monsieur Prudhomme’s part. He is fast losing the hot podium girl war to the Italians and Spanish and that is inexcusable. Did France not invent the sexy girl? Are they just laying down without a fight and super-models?
Yolanthe is a 24 year old actress model who helped “present” the route at the 2010 Giro presentation. All that pointing to maps with squiggly lines and red marks was hard but she’s a trained professional.
Born in Ibiza but raised in the Netherlands, the Dutch have voted her FHM’s Sexiest Woman in the World twice with absolutely no call for a recount. Her hobby is listed a fish-eating. Strange but why argue?
She dates a Real Madrid soccer star Wesley Sneijder– the Vuelta could have had her! But instead ladies man and Giro boss Angelo Zomegnan grabbed her. Crazy Z was quoted as saying, ” I will not miss Armstrong, I gladly trade the annoying Texan for Yolanthe.”
Yolanthe accomplished the difficult task of making the normally stone faced Denis Menchov smile. Little Prince Damiano Cunego kept asking to sit in her shimmering gold lap — which she refused since he was 2 inches shorter than her.
“It gives me a great opportunity to be introduced to Italy, ” she said. “This event has always be a great inspiration for a me. And, now I will be part of it and that’s a great honor for me.” Nice pr work there, Yolanthe.
So the final score reads: Giro, Yolanthe, Tour de France, zero. There are still eight months to go for Mr. Prudhomme to pull a sexy rabbit out of the chapeau. Too much time spent tweaking the stages in the Alps and not enough time flipping thru French lingerie catalogs and celebrity magazines.
Yolanthe Cabau is just another wake-up call. The Giro plays hardball and the honor of France and le Tour are at stake.
This is the smiling Alberto Contador, the post UCI 2.15.139, article 8.1.f Contador.
That’s the magic clause that states if team doesn’t have its act together by October 20th, the rider may terminate his contract “without notice or liability for damages.”
Yes, we see what the two time yellow jersey winner has been up to the last month when he said he was calm and relaxed. He got his teeth cleaned and whitened. He was in Hollywood for the full A-list, Brad & Angelina, glittering choppers make-over.
Alberto is giving us the Post Astana Grin.
Surely, this photo was taken this weekend at the Pinto bash for all this supporters as they celebrated his amazing Escape From Kazakhstan. It’s a post Vino world for el Pistelero and the man is counting the piles of money. Remember, Caisse d’Epargne is stuffed with Spanish riders and sponsored by a large and solvent bank.
In all the discussions of which team Alberto will sign with, consider this: who do you want signing your checks –a floor covering company (Quickstep), a company that makes GPS units (Garmin) or a powerful financial institution (Caisse d’Epargne)? Uhh, go with the bank.
“Of course I would like to race for a Spanish team and Caisse (d’Epargne) is incomparable, we will see what is going to happen,” said Contador, still tapping his feet to Orishas, his favorite new Cuban hip hip group.
Alberto did say something nice about Astana but it was such an obvious bargaining ploy to extract more dollars from his next team that nobody paid any attention except the bozos at Astana.
The Post Astana Grin was in full effect Monday. Nothing could top that for Alberto Contador except perhaps a “Radioshack-Just-Went-Out-Of-Business Grin.