Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TdF 2009 - Green is for the Money. Gold is for the Honeys.

After winning his fourth stage of the 2009 Tour de France and reclaiming the Green Jersey in the Points Classification, Columbia-HTC rider Mark Cavendish has announced that he would like to be known as “Bishop Magic Mark” from this point on.

During the press conference following Stage 11, the sprinter from the Isle of Man asked the media to address him by the new title and name at all times. He then paused and conceded that it would also be acceptable to simply call him “Bishop” if you are “really in a hurry.”

Most in attendance seemed unsure of what to make of the statement at first but after a few minutes, a curious journalist slowly began to ask some questions regarding the origin of his newfound personality.

“My new name and title are all because of the one and only Archbishop Don Magic Juan, a man without whom I could not have pimped all these stages and raised my game to level of a true player,” Cavendish stated matter-of-factly to the confused crowd.

Following a few seconds of awkward silence while he adjusted his green glasses, green hat, green kit and green shoes, he continued to explain.

“After my disappointment at the Olympics last year and missing out on the Green Jersey because of it, I was searching for guidance. I needed a life coach and a spiritual advisor. But most importantly, I wanted someone who could understand just how much I like the color green. Obviously, it didn’t take a genius to realize that Archbishop Don Magic Juan was the best person to educate me on the true nature of the game.”

The brave journalist then asked who Archbishop Don Magic Juan was and quickly received an angry glare from the Columbia-THC rider. Taking a step back from the podium, Cavendish took a long drink of Cristal’s new recovery drink from his jewel-encrusted water bottle and composed himself before responding.

“Look…we all know that pimpin’ ain’t easy, and neither is sprinting in the Tour de France. But ever since Rolf Aldag and Bob Stapleton started making us listen to their hip-hop mixes with lots of Big Daddy Kane and Ice-T songs on the bus, I figured that pimpin’ was probably harder. So naturally, I went to see the Archbishop Don Magic Juan at the Player’s Ball and the rest is history.”

“You see, most people don’t know that Archbishop Don Magic Juan is actually a huge cycling fan and a really good rider. He’s got a super-fly custom-made Eddy Merckx that is actually covered in emeralds and gold. He and Eddy have been friends since the 60’s. And we all know how that worked out for the Cannibal…and he didn’t even take the full nickname,” explained the rider formerly known as the Manx Missile and Cav.

“So basically, since he’s the Archbishop that means that I have to stick with just Bishop for now. Even though a lot of people mistakenly call him Bishop and not the more accurate Archbishop, I recognize that I still have a lot to learn about how to keep my pimp hand strong and make sure the player haters don’t salt my game. I am not worthy of the Archbishop status and my name is not Don, so I couldn't use that either. But both of us are still Magic though, for the record.”

The room of journalists still seemed somewhat confused as another reporter stood up and asked about the most valuable lesson Cavendish had learned from Archbishop Don Magic Juan.

“That’s easy,” exclaimed the leader of the Tour de France Points Classification with a laugh, clearly showing his newly acquired grill of gold teeth and pointing to his completely green outfit.

“Green is for the money! Gold is for the honeys!”

He then put his hands in the air, dropped the podium microphone to the ground with a thud that echoed through the silent press room and proceeded to walk off the stage without another word.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tour Def Rants - Week 1

Is it just me…or is Astana kind of like Def Jam Records? Think about it, they’ve got Johan Bruyneel as the mastermind of the organization, just like a Belgian Russell Simmons. Then there’s Ekimov dropping the science like Rick Rubin, only in the team car instead of an NYU dorm room.

Obviously, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador are like Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys; two contrasting styles battling for the top step while operating on the same team/label and vying for the favor of Johan Simmons/Russell Bruyneel.

Like the Beasties in their younger days, Alberto is a bit rebellious and prone to bursts of immaturity at this point in his career but you can tell that there is some deep talent that will likely age gracefully and successfully. I’m not sure if Contador will end up organizing Tibetan relief bike races or marrying Diane Court from Say Anything…but again, like the Beasties, this guy can pretty much do whatever he wants so you never know.

“You gotta fight, for your right to the Yellow Jersey.”

Then there is Lance as Run-DMC, a lock for the Hall of Fame but still tries maybe a bit too hard to play the tough guy. But despite the hardcore image, they also both effectively catapulted their genre/sport into the mainstream U.S. consciousness. Interestingly, Run-DMC had the help of Adidas and Aerosmith, whereas LA got his name out there by associations with Nike and Sheryl Crow. Coincidence?

“Now me and my Nikes do the illest things, we like to stomp out pimps with diamond rings.”

Next up you’ve got Levi Leipheimer, who is clearly LL Cool J, right? I mean, the physical similarities are obvious enough but replace the “J” with “Heimer” and they may as well be twins. I don’t know if Levi will carve out an acting career that includes WB sitcoms and movies like Rollerball…but I can see him listening to “I Need Love” as he reads all of the predictions about LA and Contador.

“When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall, and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call.”

I can’t decide if Kloden is more like EPMD or Slick Rick. Both were pretty solid but a little inconsistent and plagued by some external drama. I guess it all depends on the final verdict in his doping case. If he ends up getting caught out, he’ll definitely be more like Slick Rick. Or the Public Enemy of Germany.

“Flava Kloden got problems of his own.”

Okay, I think we’ve worn that one out enough so let’s look at some fun Tour de France nicknames that riders would have if they were rappers or a band:

Bradley Wiggins – Wiggie Smalls

Fabian Cancellara – Swissy Elliot

Mark Cavendish and Columbia-THC – Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Sprint Train

Cadel Evans – No Faith Evans

Luis Leon Sanchez – Kings of Leon Sanchez

Frank and Andy Schleck – Schlecks-n-Effect

Thor Hushovd – Bjork ?

Sorry Thor, I couldn’t think of anything good there. We’ll see if we can come up with something better by Paris.

As a final note on the Tour so far (you know…because the repetition of media coverage and the fact that the race has really only just begun) it should be noted that Alberto Contador is kind of beginning to remind me of Norman Bates from Psycho. There is a little bit of a physical resemblance but it’s mainly just the sense that there is some serious stuff bubbling under the schoolboy fa├žade.

In fact, I have likened his climbing style to that of a “crazed spider monkey” in the past, but perhaps he is a little more like Norman at the Bates Motel. Ideally, his seething internal aggression and psychotic desire to slaughter people will make for some good racing...and no unfortunate accidents in the shower.

He’s not rooming with his Mother, is he?

“Psycho Killer. Qu'est-ce que c'est?" ("What is it?") – Talking Heads

I don't know what it is yet...but it should be an interesting road to Paris.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

For the Record

Pre-Tour de France Predictions:

Stage 1 - A. Contador or Jens Voigt

G.C. - (1) A. Contador, (2) C. Sastre, (3) L. Leipheimer

Mountains - A. Schleck

Points - M. Cavendish

TV Watching - Me