“I've been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy. I know high school girls.” - Charles, Better Off Dead
It is safe to say that Carlos Sastre was like the older guy who used years of experience to capitalize on the opportunity hook up with the head cheerleader/Alpe d’Huez before going on to take the Prom Queen/Yellow Jersey back to the hotel/Paris and the record books.
In the end, Big Papa Sastre was the only guy in the mix who actually seemed like he had a plan and was “tranquilo” for the whole race. He was the only one who handled it all like he knew exactly what he was doing. While Evans was losing his marbles, hitting cameras and spending too much time listening to Rockwell, Menchov was hindered by bad luck and descending skills, and Vande Velde couldn’t even believe he was there with the leaders, Carlos/Charlie was no dummy, and finally got the job done in the biggest way possible. Next up, K-12.
“Disturbing the peace? I got thrown out of a window! What's the f-ing charge for getting pushed out of a moving car, huh? Jaywalking?” – Axel Foley, Beverly Hills Cop
Levi Leipheimer was a mad guy at Tour of California. News had just come from ASO that LL’s Astana team would not be extended an invitation to the Tour de France and the defending champion of the ToC was all business…and some revenge too. Similar to Axel’s window experience outside Victor Maitland’s office, Levi was suddenly feeling the strong-arm of a European guy in a suit and was not about to just take it without a fight.
I was fortunate enough to be at the TT in Solvang and have never seen someone as hyped-up as LL-Cool-Heimer on the start ramp. It was kind of freaky actually. He was huffing and puffing and looked like his eyes were going to burn a hole through his Specialized sunglasses. It reminded me of how the guys from World’s Strongest Man Competition get all crazy before they pull a tractor with their teeth or something. If it weren’t for the skinsuit and 300lb weight differential, you would have thought it was Magnus Ver Magnusson up there holding off Cancellara. Millar and Vande Velde.
“I must break you.” – Ivan Drago, Rocky IV
Fabian Cancellara’s win in Milan-Sanremo was probably my favorite race of the year. I wrote about it a bit earlier, but it’s worth repeating that his move at the end of the race was as close to my vision of a perfect victory as I have ever seen in real life. You know, that sequence of events that you play in your head when you’re out on a ride and imagine yourself bursting out of the pack and holding them off over the last few desperate kilometers?
Well, F-Can just basically stepped up like Drago to the peloton’s hapless Apollo Creed in Milan-Sanremo. There was such a shocking difference in strength that normal tactics never even entered the picture and the race was over before anyone even knew what happened, with the sprinters lying unconscious, twitching on the canvas as Cancellara and Brigitte Nielsen walked away with the victory. “If he dies, he dies.”
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” – Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
Similar to Levi in California, Alberto Contador raced the entire season with a huge chip on his shoulder courtesy of ASO. This was certainly the case at the Giro d’Italia. After getting the call from Johan while chilling on the beach doing the Macarena, Bert came into Italy ready to put a whupping on the entire sport.
Substitute “father” with “relaxing vacation on the beach” in the above quote and you basically have the Spanish Spider Monkey’s repeated declaration to the rest of the field at the Giro d’Italia. Substitute “father” with “chance to repeat my Tour victory” a little later in the year and you have his war cry at the Vuelta.
“Relax, would you? We have seventy dollars and a pair of girls underpants. We're safe as kittens.” – Farmer Ted, Sixteen Candles
“Les jeux sont faits. Translation: the game is up. Your ass is mine.” – Ed Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This sequence of quotes seems to sum up the most depressing part of the entire year - the multiple high-profile CERA-related doping cases at the Tour de France. There had to be a similar process by which Ricco, Piepoli, Schumacher, Kohl and everyone else actually thought they were going to sneak through the controls, tried to relax and enjoy the party but were ultimately nailed by Ed Rooney, Dean of Students and Dope Testing.
The parallels of these quotes and the whole doping scene are endless. For example, would Farmer Ted have had the most amazing night of his life before waking up in the back seat of a Rolls Royce with the hottest girl in school if he had not mistakenly thought that he and his dopey friends were safe from harm before they entered the party at Jake Ryan’s house?
And come to think of it, is there a better symbol of the anti-doping system than Ed Rooney? I mean, at the heart of his job is a strong desire to make sure everyone follows the rules. Nothing wrong with that, right? Right.
But unfortunately, sometimes the whole process of enforcing the rules gets a little out of hand and you occasionally end up with a guy like Rooney who turns it into a personal vendetta against those he is trying to control. This never works out well for anyone, although I would probably prefer Ed’s dog attack and subsequent beatdown by Jennifer Grey to a courtroom battle against the Anti-Doping Establishment. At least he had a brief chance against the Dirty Dancer. But if you go up against an "-ADA" of any kind, it's pretty much "Pucker up Buttercup."
“You using the whole fist, Doc?” – Irwin M. Fletcher (as Arnold Babar), Fletch
Depending on how you view Tyler Hamilton’s victory at the USPRO Championship, you may find it easier to identify with either Dr. Dolan or Fletch in this uncomfortably funny examination scene. Even though neither position is desirable at all, I guess it’s better to be the guy with pants than the guy without pants. As Seinfeld says, “Pants always beats no-pants.”
So whether you think that Tyler stuck it to everyone that has stuck it to him or not, the fact remains that he is now the guy with the Stars & Stripes jersey (pending Rock Racing actually racing in 2009) and seems to have reclaimed a more pleasant position than the one he had been in for the last few years. “Whew, you ever serve time, Doc?”
“He went from totally geek to totally chic.” – One of the Brunette girls, Can’t Buy Me Love
Even though Slipstream had some decent results in the Spring (including Maaskant’s remarkable ride in Paris-Roubaix), it wasn’t until they won the Team Time Trial at the Giro d’Italia that they really forced the media to take note and prepare for the publicity onslaught that accompanied the lead-up to the Tour.
Little did we know that the formerly overlooked Christian Vande Velde was beginning to make a Ronald Miller-esque jump in reputation and results after briefly donning la maglia rosa and going on to sit at the cool clique’s table at the Tour a few months later. Apparently he kept mowing Cindy Mancini’s lawn because the former Boulder-ite then went on to fend off a ferocious Columbia team in Missouri while Courtney Gains, the creepy red-headed friend looked sadly at the podium from the back of the crowd.
“Who put this thing together? Me, that's who! Who do I trust? Me!” – Tony Montana, Scarface
We all know that Fabian Cancellara likes to fancy himself as both Spartacus and Tony Montana but I wonder if Kristin Armstrong doesn’t have a poster of Scarface somewhere in her house as well. Regardless of film taste, the reality is that by winning gold medals in Beijing after multiple previous world titles, both Armstrong and Cancellara have clearly displayed the single-minded self-confidence to go out and master the toughest test in bike racing. It could be argued that the road Time Trial is the ultimate display of personal strength and mental fortitude, although perhaps Tony might make a case that creating a drug empire is higher on the list. Maybe we can get Dr. Fuentes’ opinion?
“There is no Dana, there is only Zuul.” – Dana Barrett, Ghost Busters
The other thing that is interesting about Cancellara is that he seems so balanced and happy off the bike, but is clearly a cold-hearted monster while on it. The same can be said for Armstrong, whom I have had the pleasure to meet a few times and is extremely nice and pleasant. I am sure that they have focused and driven personalities off the bike but both riders seem absolutely possessed when they get on it. Much like Dana (Sigourney Weaver) in Ghost Busters, it’s like they turn into Zuul the Gatekeeper when they get on those Cervelos and go after the finish line like it’s a demonic refrigerator or something.
“There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.” – Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf
If Teen Wolf had been made in 2008, the final thing on Coach Finstock’s list would have been “never get into a field sprint with Mark Cavendish.” Because much as Scott Howard was unstoppable on the basketball court when he was The Wolf, Cav was not to be beaten when he got a whiff of the finish line this past year.
Although Cavendish was remarkably fast, it should be noted that he had had the distinct benefit of a much stronger team than Michael J. Fox. I mean, besides being an average of about 35 years old, the Beavers were a pretty feeble group to begin with. The 37 year-old fat guy character was even eating a sandwich during some of the games. What’s that about, Chubs? Enjoy the show man, you’re playing hoops with a freaking werewolf! And killing everyone! And no one seems to care that you have a werewolf on your team! Appreciate this while it lasts! I don’t recall Hincapie or Ciolek snacking during a lead out. Although Melanie’s husband does kind of look a little like Mick, the 33 year old guy who played for the Dragons.
“Daniel LaRusso is gonna fight?” – Official at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Karate Kid
This was basically what I said when I heard that Lance Armstrong was going to come back to professional road racing. It was pretty much the same thought process. You know, come on man, haven’t you proved yourself enough? It’s okay, we know you competed against some bad guys and all but let’s just stay safe and spend some more time with Elizabeth Shue or whoever McConaughey brings over okay?
But LA has a little Cobra Kai in him too and may have begun to miss leading chants of “Strike first, Strike hard, No Mercy, Sir!” I just hope that he learns from the trainwreck that was Karate Kid 3 and doesn’t show up looking like someone wearing a Ralph Macchio fat suit. Somehow I don’t foresee that being a concern but then again, it’s got to be tough to stay hungry when you've done it all before and have it all at your fingertips. Why do you think they had to get Hilary Swank for the 4th Karate Kid installment?
But if the 2009 season plays out anything like the final fight scene between Daniel and Johnny at the All-Valley Tournament, then you can bet I’ll be one of the people cheering like crazy from the side of the mat. Anybody but the “Put him in a body bag!” guy, that is. I always hated that guy.