I don’t know much about Blazin’ Saddles, but I love his stuff.
A few choice bits below:
Tour de France – Blazin’ Saddles: Liqui-blast
Eurosport – Sat, 12 Jul 13:02:00 2008
The honeymoon is over. Just when the world started to believe in a clean Tour, along came the moment that so many had anticipated: a rider tests positive.
The scene: 8pm, Friday night. Blazin’ Saddles is sitting in his Shoreditch warehouse, hunched over his laptop, surrounded by empty beer cans, stubbed out cigarettes and an array of skinny jeans, colourful wristbands, visors and other hip paraphernalia. He is trying to write his daily Tour blog before hitting the pub and the only idea he has so far is rambling on about the lessons learnt after one week’s racing.
“Zut alors,” Blazin’ curses, for he has a penchant for the French language. This time last year, he recalls, there had already been a cluster of blood transfusions and high testosterone levels to speculate about, and hadn’t that guy called ‘chicken legs’ or something been caught out for eating undisclosed tacos in Mexico?
And just as Blazin’ begins to lament the good old days of cycling, the days when whole teams were caught out, when housewives’ favourites like Richard Virenque were reduced to tears, when the Landises and Vinos and Rasmussens of this world made us briefly believe in heroism on two wheels, just when he begins to lament this seemingly bygone era, he decides to check eurosport.yahoo.com (admittedly to see how many more readers had called him a ‘jerk’ in the course of the afternoon) and is greeted with his saving grace: Manuel Beltran tests positive.
Yes, yes, he’s quite good. Surrounded by empty beer cans hunuched of a laptop? A true brother in arms.
Before being belted with the Beltran blast, Blazin’ Saddles had been reflecting over the first week’s racing and thinking just how exciting it had all actually been. These are the few conclusions he reached.
Evans is in control: Without shining, the Australian has not put a foot wrong, lying second in the overall standings just six seconds behind Kim Kirchen and finishing every stage near the front. It might take a miracle to see the 31-year-old ever instigate an attack, but the passivity is serving him well.
Lunch on a bike is folly: Apart from one stage there has been a crash in every feeding zone so far, with debutant Herve Duclos-Lassalle the most unfortunate victim after breaking his wrist on day one after a musette choked up his spokes.
Kirchen is brimming with confidence: Second place in a sprint, second place in the ITT, the Luxembourgeois upgraded his green jersey for a yellow after Stefan Schumacher comically hit the deck. It remains to be seen how he fares over the big peaks, but we may have another Charly Gaul on our hands.
Kirchen may have too much confidence: The 30-year-old has already boasted about wearing the yellow all the way to Paris, while his claim that he would have beaten Schumacher by the 12 seconds needed to take yellow regardless of his crash was, to put it mildly, delusional.
The French are turning on the style: Frenchmen have been ever-present off the front of the peloton, with Sylvain Chavanel particularly explosive. Two polka dot jersey wearers, Romain Feillu in yellow and a Sammy Dumoulin stage win have given the home crowds the most excitement since pictures of their President’s wife posing naked hit the news stands.
The French are falling like flies: It would be unfair to say that France’s riders are living up to the national stereotype of being hypochondriacs, but over 50 per cent of those who have pulled out of the Tour hail from l’Hexagone.
Don’t stand too close to the road (especially if you are a generously proportioned lady of a certain age): You will get hit by Aurelien Passeron, cry on international TV, break your arm, end his race and get ridiculed in not-actually-funny-at-all Tour blogs.
Best avoid trees and road furniture: Ask Lilian Jegou (broken wrist) and Angel Gomez (collar bone).
Moreau will surely retire now: An embarrassing effort from the veteran, pulling up before the Pyrenees and failing to shine in what must be his final Tour. Maybe he was “assez troublé” with something on his mind?
Ricco is the real deal: He may be annoying, cocky, disrespectful, loud, brash, squeaky, outspoken, arrogant etc etc. But he sure is entertaining, winning the stage he said he’d win to open his Tour account.
McEwen is isolated: With his team Silence Lotto focusing solely on Evans’ overall classification hopes, if Robbie is to win a sprint, it will be without a lead out. The Australian veteran has already said his next chance might only come on the Champs.
Cav is the new McEwen: A faultless train to lead him out and sheer pace and determination to see him to the line, Mark Cavendish is the new fastest man in the peloton. He’s also about as popular as McEwen.
Chapeau Columbia: Founded, like Garmin, on a heavy anti-doping stance, the team formally known as High Road has Kirchen in green and yellow, Cavendish winning the sprints and Thomas Lovkvist as best youngster. That said, it still humours Blazin’ Saddles to think in this day of anti-doping any team would consider calling themselves Columbia.
Schumacher is Vin Diesel’s younger brother: Have you seen the bald German without his helmet on?
Spain are sailing: First Euro 2008, then Wimbledon, Spain’s roll is continuing in France as they become the first nation to win two stages.
Cunego is not up to it: Not only is his form not there, he has a stupid hairstyle.
Valverde is the same old Valverde: Created a buzz by winning the opening stage, but then put in a weak time trial before falling of his bike a day later in innocuous circumstances. At this rate, his presence in Paris is far from certain.
Read the rest: uk.eurosport.yahoo.comby