I attended the Garmin-Slipstream Team Presentation a few weeks ago in what I hope will become an annual tradition here in town. It was certainly a fun event but after being at the Boulder Theatre for the first Slipstream-Chipotle (keep up with the name changes, please) shindig last year, it seemed a little tame in comparison. Instead of last year's “Hey, we’re all a little/severely faded and really excited to be racing in such an interesting environment” kind of vibe, the 2009 Team Presentation was far more serious in declaring the need for more W’s in the coming year. And I don’t mean Wiggins. Wiggins's's.
Speaking B-Wiggs...I am still trying to figure him out. First of all, the guy’s haircut is so unbelievably bad that it must have cost him hundreds of dollars. It sounds kind of counter-intuitive, but I figure that the worst looking haircuts actually tend to cost the most. Think about it. I mean, there is no way that someone would walk into a Cost Cutters, get butchered and walk out looking like Bradley Wiggins without demanding their money back and thinking that their barber was drunk. But...if you go into some fancy pants Salon in London and the “Stylist” tells you that the chainsaw look is super hot right now – you (or Bradley Wiggins) probably shell out the $200 and walk out the door thinking you’re the Shiz.
Anyway, B-Could Use Some-Wiggs also failed to endear himself to the crowd during the presentation by jokingly referring to Boulder as Kansas City. Twice (Don't think I didn't catch both times). Not the best choice there, mate. It was probably a better choice than Dallas but still – I think the humor was lost on most of us when he started trying to act like Boulder was not The English Speaking Bike Mecca. Besides, Gold medals are a dime a dozen in this town Son, you better recognize. But most importantly, this is where they print your checks.
Other highlights of the evening included Dave Towle rocking the mic, Julian Dean, Matty White and David Millar all walking up into the balcony to say hi to Tyler Hamilton before the show started, DZ extolling the virtues of “The Google” and Vaughters wearing a Lucy t-shirt instead of a turtleneck sweater. Good times.
Now I will regurgitate and ramble on some recent stories circulating the cycling scene:
In financial news, it seems that the U.S. may not control the market on massive corporate evilness after all. In a stunning, yet fascinatingly Hollywood-esque turn of events, it appears that the former CEO of IT Factory (the former co-sponsor of the former CSC cycling team, former winner of the Tour de France) may have embezzled anywhere from $85-$140M from the Danish company. After mysteriously vanishing during a trip to Dubai, Stein "T" Bagger eventually showed up in Los Angeles (of course) and turned himself in to Taggart and Rosewood from Beverly Hills Cop.
Detective Axel Foley has reportedly been called in from Detroit to handle the case but said that Bagger will probably just be shipped directly to Bjarne Riis’ house – where he will almost certainly be killed.
Wii Game Apparently More Challenging Than Pro Field Sprinting
In a story that should only involve Major League Baseball players, sprinting sensation Mark Cavendish apparently injured his calf while playing a snowboarding game on his Wii recently. Upon further investigation, it was acknowledged that Cavendish had been operating the video game on the extremely dangerous “Abdujaparov-Level” despite Bob Stapleton requesting that he keep it on the far safer “Bennati-Level” during the offseason. Reports that the team has placed a bounty on Shaun White are unconfirmed.
Although similar, this story is far less noteworthy than the tragic “I Thought We Were Playing Duck Hunt” incident involving Greg LeMond and his Brother-in-Law back in 1987. Video games sure have come a long way since then.
Frank Schleck Did Not Inhale
Apparently Frank Schleck has done nothing wrong. OK. Apparently he wired many thousands of Euros to Eufemanio Fuentes a few months before winning the Amstel Gold Race out of the kindness of his heart and the desire to unload a little excess cash for a few good training tips. OK. Apparently when you pay many thousands of Euros to a drug dealer in another country, there is no legal way to determine that the money was actually for...well, anything. OK. Apparently Frank Schleck wants us to believe that he never got anything other than some training advice in return for his many, many thousands of Euros. Eh… Apparently he also thinks that we are not paying attention. And are not very smrt. Not smrt at all.
I hear Marion Barry is going to run for office in Luxembourg.
Rock Racing Will Do Whatever It Wants To Do…For A Little While
Someone may want to take the stack of jeans off of that big binder with “UCI Regulations” written on it that has been collecting dust in the back of Rock Racing’s Escalade for the last couple of years. It seems that Michael Ball may have been a little too ambitious with the roster for 2009 and the team has been forced to cut a number of racers from its Continental squad in order to meet UCI age and rider limits. D’oh! I know there are lots of big words in the Rule Book and precious little information on denim stitching but…this does not reflect well.
“Sorry guys…we were told there would be no math. Bummer that we gave all the good spots to a bunch of sketchy foreigners but have fun doing the local crit series and cheering for us at all the big races that you can’t do now. Rock On!”
I guess it’s a good thing they don’t have to keep a spot open for The Tat anymore.
Plaxico Burress vs Tom Boonen
Question: What would happen if Tom Boonen carried an illegal, loaded handgun into a club and then proceeded to accidentally shoot himself through the thigh while sitting at a table with numerous other patrons?
Answer: The entire country of Belgium would go on strike for a week, Boonen would be immediately thrown in jail, banned from cycling for the foreseeable future and his parents house would probably be burned to the ground within hours.
Question: What would happen if Plaxico Burress was caught in an out-of-competiton test for having done some recreational party drugs while at a club and had some minor traffic violations in his Lamborghini?
Answer: No one would think twice and he would be given a five-year, $27M contract extension.
Perhaps I need to write NFL vs UCI Part Deux now. Hey, does anyone know where I can score some Star Caps?
Amore & Vita signs Chad Gerlach, Amy Winehouse and Gary Busey
I had the terrible misfortune of watching a portion of Gerlach’s Intervention show a while ago and am really confused by the fact that he will be racing professionally while so many other excellent racers and more importantly, excellent human beings are going without contracts in 2009. While I respect the desire to help people overcome past problems, as it seems R-Gag and AV/McDonalds are claiming, I cannot get over some concerns that the sport would be better served by giving that roster slot to a young rider or a veteran who has made better life choices. I’m all for redemption but not at the expense of those who have been consistently positive influences on others.
Then again, maybe they were smoking crack when they designed that horrendous, white and red kit and are looking for someone to sympathize with them.
Where’s The American Beef?
In slightly sad news, Fuji-Servetto has replaced Scott-American Beef as the sponsor-driven name of the artists formerly known as Saunier Duval. The cycling world certainly did not get enough time to enjoy listening to Phil Liggett say things like “American Beef is being dropped” or “The American Beef riders are gathering at the head of the field.”
After all, nothing says bike racing like a Mexican-based meat-packing conglomerate. Alas, farewell American Beef, we hardly knew ye.
Astana The World Turns
On a final note, I am still waiting to hear back from someone in Hollywood regarding my idea for a reality show about Astana. I am also working on a script for a daily soap opera called Astana The World Turns but haven’t sold the rights yet. Maybe I should be shopping this around in Spain? Anyone? I swear it will be better than Dancing With The Stars or Flavor of Love.