Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Archive for the ‘Vuelta Chuhuahua’ Category

Oscar Sevilla wins Vuelta a Chihuahua. Last bark of the yappy dog.

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How do you say goodbye to your first Chihuahua?

Speed merchant Javier Benitez (Contentpolis-AMPO) won the sprint in the final etapa, beating Takashi Miyazawa (Meitan) and Cristian Benenati (ISD).

There was a group of escapados but they were caught, hog-tied and whipped with old bicycle chains. Well, okay they were just caught– that was enough punishment.

The 120k run from Delicias to Chihauhua was largely a ceremonial affair. Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) took home the overall classification by six seconds over Gregorio Ladino (Tecos Trek). Ladino also earned himself a high place on the Michael Rasmussen poop list for having wiped out the Dane’s podium shot.

Benitez proved to be the fastest sprinter in the Chihuahua, winning three stages to go with the three he snatched last year. That pretty much makes him Mr. Chihuahua. He’s good for free tequila shots in this town for life. Only a tactical miscalculation prevented him from winning four.

Oscar the chihuahua.

Oscar the chihuahua.

The crazy day-glo green jersey goes to Sevilla who took the opportunity to rail against the forces of darkness and evil. “Despite the hypocrisy that exists in the world of cycling, I’m still winning, ” he said. A reference to his alleged involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping ring?

And so the champagne has been popped, podium girls kissed, photo-ops taken and fish tacos devoured. The chihuahua-toting Hollywood stars have all departed. Sexy actress and underwear model Aracely Arambula is nowhere to be seen.

The Frito Bandito, whose bold raid of the stage 2 feed zone enlivened the race, has disappeared. The fourth Vuelta Ciclista a Chihuahua is over, the race of the yapping toy dog has gone silent. The pinata is smashed and los ninos have scarfed the candy.

And yet, we are not sad or forlorn. We’ve had our chuckles, seen some great racing, picked up some chihuahua lore, historical facts and local color. Make no mistake: the Chihuahua is getting bigger — don’t be surprised to see the World Championship here in five years. They ran a great race, the scenery and terrain are fantastic and the underwear show was simply top-notch. Was there lingerie in Mendrisio — doubt it.

Time to say adios but how? Feels like like we should leave with a song playing in our heads? A hip-hop version of La Cucaracha? That sassy Shakira covered in motor oil grease and writhing around?

Two good choices but we’ve chosen a track from out favorite Spanish-singing alt rock band, Monte Negro. Doubly perfect when you consider their guitarist is of Japanese and Chinese descent — a special nod to todays’ second place finisher, Takashi Miyazawa.

Compadres, we’re closing the puerto on this years Chihuahua. It’s been doggone fun. Now turn up the music.

Written by walshworld

October 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Vaquera victorious in Chihuahua, stage 5. Lingerie show a big success.

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Winner Vaquera, before lingerie show.

Winner Vaquera, before lingerie show.

Aiii CHuhuahua.

Mexican rider Cesar Vaquera (Orven) proved that Mexican riders can win a stage of a Mexican Race. Hometown fans were treated to an exciting finish in the 140K etapa from Parral (where Pancho Villa was murdered) to the beautiful tourist town Carmago (where Vaquera was victorious.)

Welcome to the finish line.

Welcome to the finish line.

The 20 year old Vaquera took advantage of the disorganization and chaos of the sprint into Carmago to grab the wheel of Javier Benitez, (Contentpolis-Ampo) winner of two Chihuahua stages.

Benitez was forced to launch before he was ready, then faded badly. “I had to jump early, and it was very long for me so I could not win.”

Vaquera rocketed past Benitez and took the biggest win of his career. “I got on Benitez’s wheel and I managed to pass him,” he said.

“It is a very important victory for me because I’m looking for a European professional team and I hope this may serve me to get it.”

The big surprise for the young Vaquera was the seductive woman waiting for him at the finish line. Actress, singer and Chihuahua native, Aracely Arambula. The beautiful Aracely gave Vaquera a spontaneous rendition of her hit songs Sexy and Arriba, her duet with DJ Kane.

Then things got mucho festive for Vaquera and Day-glo green race leader Oscar Sevilla, as Armabula treated them both to a lingerie show based on her Hanes underwear advertising campaign.

Not your average podium girl.

Not your average podium girl.

The star of numerous top rated Spanish telenovas, Aracely showed several revealing outfits and neither Vaquera nor Sevilla — nor any of the hundreds of spectators at the finish line could see any genetic resemblance to the famous Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa. Not that he wore much lingerie.

But in fact, Aracely is related to the train robbing, swashbuckling, tequila slurping National Hero with the crossed leather ammo belts and bad-ass sombrero. Twisted Spoke will repeat that, due to our propensity for making stuff up. Fact: Aracely, Pancho, related. You see, Chihuahua has it all: Anthony Quinn, Pancho Villa and sassy starlets.

Cycling and lingerie. A perfect fit.

Cycling and lingerie. A perfect fit.

Such is the continually surprising, bizarre and thrilling action in the Vuelta a CHihuahua, the race of the yapping toy dog and our new favorite on the long and winding UCI calendar.

The Chihuahua wraps up tomorrow with Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) set to win the overall. Twisted Spoke is already experiencing withdrawal pains and sadness as the sun begins to set on the Tour of the Yappy Mutt.

But amigos, the Chihuahua has its sights set high. Race organizers have already opened discussions with the UCI about hosting the World Championships in five short years. Yes, soon, the Chihuahua will be the top dog. Faithful readers were in on the ground floor, already soaked in chihuahua lore, local history and famous characters. Manana, amigos.


Written by walshworld

October 10, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Pancho Villa, Veulta Chihuahua and cycling jerseys.

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Pancho Villa, in his team Revolution jersey.

Pancho Villa, in his Team Revolution jersey.

Senors y senoritas, it’s Pancho Time.

In our lavish praise of all things Chihuahuan, especially the race of the toy yapping dog, we’ve failed to mention the big guy: Pancho Villa.

He was born in Chihuahua and died in a hail of bullets in nearby Parral in a really clunky-looking car. In between, the man lived mucho grande large. Even bigger than Chi-man, Anthony Quinn.

Is this cool? Yes it is.

Is this cool? Yes it is.

Revolutionary war general and national hero, Villa was always the man. He ran circles around U.S Commander Pershing, robbed trains, rode horses up staircases, faced down a firing squad and learned to read in prison.

If he was a director Sportif of a Pro-Tour cycling team, those men would ride hard. Harder than El Pollo Rasmussen’s Team Tecos, harder than Oscar Sevilla’s Rock Racing outfit. More like Postal and Discovery in the days of Lance when they ruled the Tour de France with an iron hand.

Is this cool? Yes, again.

Is this cool? Yes, again.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone in the pedaling universe that Pancho Villa would have his own cycling jersey. Hell, the man should have three jerseys named after him — and if fact he does.

Riders have a choice between the Mexican Guerrillero Bike Jersey, the wacky yet cool Pancho Villa Guns jersey or, if that just doesn’t match your old Kelme shorts, there’s the Pancho Villa Tequila wear. Some truly bad-ass, fast-wicking gear. Wear one of those jerseys with two crossed ammo belts and nobody is gonna mess with you and your Colnago.

Need we say more about Pancho Villa? Yes, he might be buried in Chihuahua or he might not be — historians are undecided. Thus, he is bigger than life and also bigger than death.

Is this cool? Three times, yes.

Is this cool? Three times, yes.

Our favorite story? A pawn shop in El Paso, Texas claims to have his preserved trigger finger. Is that just plain loco? The mind reels.

And keep this in mind as a final Pancho Villa thought, No Pancho, maybe no bucket of cheap margaritas on Cinco De Mayo. Oscar Sevilla, you’re about to win your first Vuelta Chihuahua. Somewhere Pancho is smiling.

Written by walshworld

October 10, 2009 at 2:11 am

Moreno wins Chihuahua stage 4, Sevilla in green, more chihuahuas arriving.

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On the road to Parral.

On the road to Parral.

Welcome back to Chihuahua, stage 4 with Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) in the day-glo lime green jersey and facing 188 kilometers of racing from Guachochi to Parral. There will be attacks — nothing personal, no knives or sawed-off shotguns — but attacks. It’s a bike race, compadre.

Michael “el pollo” Rasmussen woke up in a foul mood ready to attack after his own teammate Gregorio Ladino torpedoed the Dane’s chances for overall victory. In stage 3, Ladino fouled up team tactics, jumping into the winning break that finished over seven minutes ahead of Tecos captain Rasmussen.

Reese and chihuahua.

Reese and chihuahua.

“Yesterday, the team made a mistake in its tactics, as the strongest rider of the team was me, and today I have again demonstrated this,” said the modest Rasmussen. Why stop bragging there — he’s also the skinniest and baldest.

But we’re jumping ahead. We begin today with our favorite mangled Spanish to English translation from the always amusing Pan American Cycling Foundation.

Highlights of their etapa quarto coverage included: “It was the longest stage, undulating, with prizes of lesser mountains. Oscar Sevilla, Spanish leader is preserved, as missing two stages to realize the International Fair.” How can Twisted Spoke compete with that, amigos?

The chicken attacked relentlessly today, making three attacks and eventually breaking away. Only Daniel Moreno (Caisse d’Epagne) was able to bridge up to Rasmussen. The two gained two minutes on the peloton, Moreno doing the bulk of the workload.

Hilary Duff and pal.

Hilary Duff and pal.

“Rasmussen didn’t work in the final kilometers, but I didn’t stress because I knew that he was very tired and also knew that I was faster than him,” said Moreno.

The Caisse d’Eparge rider took his first win of the season, with Rasmussen trailing him in seconds later. Race leader Sevilla’s Rock Racing team had the peloton on San Quentin lock-down, no dangerous escapes and all possible threatening riders accounted for. With a strong team and Francisco Mancebo as his right hand man, Sevilla was never in danger.

“It [the stage] was hard but we know that we controlled it very well; Paco Mancebo and I are perfectly attuned and to have someone like him makes me much more confident. He did a great job for me,” said Sevilla.

The Hollywood atmosphere in this years’ Vuelta Chihuahua continued in Parral as chihuahua-totting stars continued to arrive. Hilary Duff, Adrien Brody, Reese Witherspoon, Brendan Fraser and George Lopez all made the trek to Chihuahua to see the their favorite cycling event: the race of the yapping toy dog. Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France always bring out the American fans. But it takes a cute, yippy mutt to get Hollywood worked up about a bike race.

Yo Adrien, nice chihauhua.

Yo Adrien, nice chihauhua.

The only famous celebrity now missing is famous bandito (and Chihuahua local boy) Pancho Villa. However he has a reasonable excuse: he was ambushed, shot and killed in Parral, our finish line town, back in 1923. Somewhere up in the sky, Pancho is looking down, yelling arriba, arriba Oscar!

Rasmussen was ambushed by his own team yesterday but Oscar Sevilla has a loyal squad, not much chance of that happening.  But you never know what what’s coming next in the silliest, rockin-est race on the UCI calendar. Vive Chihuahua.

Written by walshworld

October 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Sevilla takes day-glo lime jersey in Chihuahua.

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Sevilla: King of Chihuahua.

Sevilla: King of Chihuahua.

Dead chicken in Chihuahua.

The mountainous 153k etapa from Creel to Guachochi exceeded all hype, expectation and yes, red carpet glamor and glory.

Riders battled over four categorized climbs as Hollywood stars flew in from Los Angeles for this chihuahua-studded event.

Spears in Chi-town.

Spears in Chi-town.

One could forgive Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) for feeling like he was hardly the biggest star;  he was certainly the biggest winner.

He snatched the day-glo lime jersey on the slopes of Lalaja (cat.1) when Dani Moreno launched a muy fuerte attack that shattered the peloton.

Only Sevilla, Rui Costa (Caisse d’Epargne), Gregorio Ladino (Tecos) and Dario Cioni (ISD) had the legs to answer.

The group gained more than seven minutes on the weary peloton — adios Michael “chicken ” Rasmussen and two-time Chihuahua king Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing).

Stage honors went to Costa while the eternally baby-faced Sevilla proclaimed himself the man to beat in the race of the yapping toy dog.

“The team rode a great stage,” said an overjoyed Sevilla. “There is still much more racing and I haven’t won it yet although the number of rivals has been reduced and I’ve got a very experienced team with a great run of form.”

Scarlett and pal.

Scarlett and pal.

Top placed American Matthew Busche (Kelly Benefit) achieved perfect symmetry, finishing 5th on the stage and in the overall classification.

Was this the Academy Awards or a bike race in Guachochi? The queen stage of this years’ race turned into a Hollywood stage as A-list chihuahua lovers turned out in force for their favorite race.

Even recluse Mickey Rourke made the trip, wandering the boisterous town, threatening to wrestle strangers and shouting obscenities.

For one day at least, Guachochi, the small Mexican town known mostly as a hot spot for the Sinaloa drug cartel was instead the “it” place for movie stars, singers and dancers.

That is the transformative power of the Vuelta a Chihuahua. The rockin-est, funniest race on the endless UCI calendar. The Tour de France is great, Roubaix is amazing, but the Chihuahua rules.

Paris, Mexico

Paris, Mexico

Thursday’s etapa quarto, a 192k run from Guachochi to Parral, promises to be another snarling dogfight.

And who knows? Perhaps additional movie stars are on their way. Perhaps the Frito Bandito will strike once again.

Until then we leave the drama, excitement and superstars of the Vuelta Chihuahua behind and say, “manana, jalapeno.” Tomorrow, my chili friend.

Written by walshworld

October 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Anthony Quinn, Chihuahua’s favorite son and bike fan.

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That's MR. Chihuahua, to you, pal.

That's MR. Chihuahua, to you, pal.

Aiii CHihuahua. In our continuing obsession with the funniest race in Pro-Tour-dom, we realize we’ve forgotten a word or two hundred about the most famous son of Chihuahua, the great actor Anthony Quinn, winner of two academy awards for Viva Zapata and Lust For Life. Sadly, he did not star in Breaking Away, the seminal cycling flick with Dennis Quaid.

Any cyclist who has adopted the Vuelta Cyclista Chichuahua should be Quinn-savvy. Suppose you’re at the race some year, standing at a corner taco stand and a local asks you about Quinn’s role in Fellini’s La Strada. What are you going to do? Mumble some nonsense like “Quinn, uhh, wasn’t he a support rider for Eddie Merckx?” You could get knifed for that kind of mistake.

Quinn in Zapata.

Quinn in Zapata.

Anthony Quinn was born in poverty in a hut in Chihuahua, the son of a Mexican mother and an English-speaking Irish-Mexican father. Dad fought for Pancho Villa before saying vamos for California and Texas.

Some cycling specific facts about Quinn. His autobiography, One Man Tango, uses the metaphor of a bicycle trip over the hills of Rome. As he pedals, he reflects on his entire life.

One of Quinn’s twelve kids, (the man had four wives and numerous flings) actor Francesco Quinn directed a documentary called Vita in Bicicletta, set in Los Angeles. He was also a contestant on Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge and a fascinating man in his own right — but that’s a different Mexico tie-in.

Quinn used to ride his bike (the motorcycle kind) with his sons in LA back when Coldwater and Mulholland drive were just dirt roads. Big, bad Steve McQueen was doing the same thing. The man had two wheels DOWN!

So there, you’ve got Anthony Quinn, Mr. Chihuahua, all memorized. And about the Fellini question– the answer there is to nod with tremendous gravity, the drop of a casual reference to Italian Neo-realism and then tossing the question back in their court — what is the common thread in La Strada and The Bicycle Thief? They, naturally, are dumbstruck. You smile, “it is like the smile of a chihuahua,” you say. Genius and free drinks are yours, amigo.

Written by walshworld

October 7, 2009 at 3:36 am

Another win for Benitez in stage 2 of Vuelta Chihuahua. A double dos, amigo.

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Dos, baby, dos.

Dos, baby, dos.

Javier Benitez (Contentpolis) won his second dogfight in the Vuelta Chihuahua. Todays’ etapa odometer read 117 kilometers from Cuauhtemoc to San Juanito. Another smokin’ day in the Chihuahua, the race of the yapping toy dog.

The escape group had “siete corredores” (seven riders) with David Vitoria (Rock Racing), Angel Madrazo (Caisse d’Epargne), Florencio Ramos (Tecos), Gonzalo Rabuñal (Xacobeo Galicia), Esteban Plaza (Andalucía-CajaSur), Daniel Bowman (Kelly Benefit) and Pedro Merino (Fuji Servetto) all ignoring the odds and racing for glory.

The local scenery. Fantasico!

The local scenery. Fantasico!

They didn’t get too far — no more than two minutes ahead as the Tecos team of race leader “el Pollo” Michael Rasmussen kept the safety leash tighter than a nervous dad with a hyper-active 4 year old boy. That is to say, mucho tight.

However, our man from Colorado, Mr. Bowman, surely got in some free Spanish lessons from his tutors in the breakaway. Who needs that pricey Roosetta Stone language software? “Hey, como se dice, lactic acid, fellas?”

The climbs of the el Terrero, (category 4) and el Nogal (category 3) proved no problem for winner Benitez. The fire drill into San Juanito was arriba-arriba madness — in the foreshortened photo it appears the entire peloton has Benitez’ wheel. But he squashed Michael Kreder (Rabobank) and José Antonio Carrasco (Andalucía-Caja Sur) like cucarachas.

“Today’s win was easier than yesterday’s, my legs were heavier then,” said Benitez. (Maybe sprinters should weigh their legs each morning and then they’d know what do to.) “I still think it will be hard to win as many stages as last year, but after today I’m going to try.”

I think I bonked, senor.

I think I bonked, senor.

It was a sad and miserable day for the cartoon cousin of Speedy Gonzales, senor Slowpoke Rodriguez. The LosLoony Tunes rider disappeared out the back and missed the time cut. Generous race officials, taking into account Slowpoke’s huge fan base, decided to keep him in the race. The Chihuahua is full of love, amigos.

The crazy day-glo limeade jersey remains on the skinny backside of “el Pollo.” Ahh, but Wednesday is “la etapa reina,” the queen stage of the majestic Chihuahua. On the menu: four categorised climbs: one category 1, one category 2 and two category 4 ascents. We shall see what a chicken can do– crossing the road, easy. Crossing over the mountains, not so much. With four riders, including Mancebo, Moreno and Seville all within 4 seconds, expect a dogfight.

There will be tequila shots in San Juanito tonight. Two wins for Benitez the sprinter and what does he care about mountains? Make that dos tequilas! Manana, my cycling compadres.

Written by walshworld

October 7, 2009 at 12:38 am

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