Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Vino and the Vuelta. Absurdistan all over again.

with 2 comments

Absurdistan, the novel. Astana, the black comedy.

Absurdistan, the novel. Astana, the black comedy.

And so the number one rated doping team in the peleton comes back full circle. The vulture has returned, Vino is back in the saddle and riding for his old squad Astana. Warm up the blood swirling centrifuge, alert the black market EPO dealers, tell the UCI and WADA they’re working over-time for the foreseeable future.

In the hilarious black comedy novel, Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart, an obese Russian with a love of American hip-hop and Brooklyn mulatto girls tangles with the Russian Mafia, soviet corruption, the US State Department and his own strange and outsize obsessions in a made-up place called Absurdistan. It must share a border with Kazakhstan and its capital city, Astana.

Welcome Vino. Set your blood bags and suitcases in the corner. There are still a few syringes in the secret hiding spot. It’s the Veulta, baby. You’re back riding a grand tour and nobody is giving you the cold shoulder. Say hi to soon-to-be barred Alejandro Valverde; don’t turn a pedal without a wave to Ivan Basso. (At least Basso had the class to admit his transgressions and move on with some shred of honor.)

Doesn’t it all seem a little strange? What would you call this story–Astanastan? A black comedy on two wheels about a disgraced son and congenital liar who returns from exile, thumbing his nose at every drug tester in Europe.

Boxing is one of the most popular sports in Kazakhstan and Vino basically punched out team manager Johan Bruyneel, forcing him to bring him back. No doubt part of the deal was Bruyneel’s escape to Radio Shack to join Lance Armstrong. This team is only going to get weirder. If Alberto Contador plans on staying, he not only needs drug testing but mental counseling.

The UCI targets suspicious riders and Vino has moved to the top of the list. Crazy, weird, bizarre? Nope, it’s Astanastan.


Written by walshworld

August 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

2 Responses

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  1. “At least Basso had the class to admit his transgressions and move on with some shred of honor.”

    months of steady denial, signing a new contract with a big smile and eventually, when he was absolutely certain there was no other option left but admitting, he said: “it’s my blood, but i never doped”.
    that’s about as low as you can get as an athlete (dogfighting included :P).

    i prefer people who stick to what they have said, even if they’re obviously wrong (as long as they don’t hurt anyone).

    vino might be a cheat, i admire him more than basso.


    August 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  2. […] in the former Soviet Republic. The kind of thing that routinely happens 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 […]

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