Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pills, Pils, and the Other 'P' Word

Stage 16 of the Giro was one of the most exciting and ridiculous stages - a 12.9 kilometer uphill time trial. Seriously, if the organizers of the Giro expect the riders to race as fast as possible up the Plan de Corones with grades as steep as 24% and then complete a hilly, 173 kilometer stage the next day maybe they should rethink their stance on using performance enhancing drugs. Just look at the faces of Basso and Evans as they approached the TT finish line:

I came back for this?If this stage wasn't so steep I definitely would have thrown a slap or two at these Italian fans.The stage was so grueling Evans didn't even have the energy to slap any of the Italian fans that circled him.

After a stage that saw the GC favorites put in herculean efforts, it was expected that the pace would be a little slower on stage 17. That didn't stop Frenchman Damien Monier from soloing away from the break on the day's final climb to claim his first professional victory.

Chapeau Damien, chapeau.Despite his physically (and most likely emotionally) draining win, he was able to put on his best face for the post-stage interviews:

How do you think I feel, assnuts?The mountain stages of the last week or so have highlighted the superiority of the Giro over the ATOC. I know that Americans love the ATOC and think it's the most important race in the world (heck, Velonews ran their cycling show Velocenter everyday during the ATOC, only once discussing what was happening in the Giro, one of only three grand tours), and I agree that it is an important race for American cycling as it shows the sport has an American fan base (and more importantly can bring in revenue). But think about this: Neil Rogers (from the previously side-noted Velonews and Velocenter) pretty much said that Levi had no chance of winning the ATOC after he finished the stage 7 TT 25 seconds back. In the Giro, guys like Vino, who is 5:12 back after today's stage, are still considered contenders with only four days of racing left. Maybe some like to watch a stage race that is decided during one stage, but why race the other stages? That is why the race calendar includes the classics.

Since we're on the topic of cycle racing, let's have a chat about the TV commentators. A few years ago when I was just getting into professional cycling I loved the commentators and all the wisdom they imparted - explaining the tactics of breakaways, discussing team support, detailing the history of each rider/team, and reading the descriptions of each palace/castle/town the race passed through from the local tour book. Now that I have a basic understanding of how a race works I find myself criticizing the commentators and their need to always talk about something. I'll tell you guys, we don't need to know that you guys call Tommy Danielson 'Tommy D' or that George Hincapie never misses a move a dozen times each stage. So stop it, thanks.

Back to doping real quick. The whole Landis affair has brought Burt Friggin' Hoovis and his gang over at Flemish for Poser/Doucheblogcycling back to their roots. The world needs it's watchdogs, keep up the good work over there guys.

Finally made it to Keesman for a beer and some lunch on Monday. The signature beer offered by Keesman is their Herren Pils. Like any good pils, the Herren Pils is smooth with a hoppy flavor, as opposed to a "hoppy cyclist." Beautifully clear and clean, there is nothing better on a warm summer day than a dip in the river followed by a couple of Herren Pils at Keesman.

Seek this sign for some good beer, just be aware that it has some weird hours.It was hard to stop drinking it and take these pictures.While at Keesman, Penny and I were presented with this masterpiece of European hair:

I bet you didn't even notice the rolled shorts.As the week crests the hill and heads down its backside, I think it fair that I impart some training tips I've acquired over the years. Despite the fact that I have not competed in any sanctioned races on my bicycle, I have been known to use performance altering drugs: namely beer. Recently though I was introduced to what could become my new secret weapon in the daily grind:

Go ahead, open one up!Let's just hope the UCI never places it on the banned substances list.

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