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Archive for July, 2009

Stop. Doing. Drugs.

I really don’t understand why cyclists do drugs.  I am, on a related note, glad that Mikel Astarloza did not fill the “Basque” category on Team Awesome, because he is a cheating moron.

If you are a cyclist and you are doing drugs, you will get caught.  And then you will get banned.  You will lose your title.  This is in sharp contradistinction to all other sports, where people tend not to get caught, and, if they do, nothing happens.

How is this so hard to understand?

This year was great at the Tour, because there was no horrible doping scandal.  There still isn’t really, because Mr. Astarloza’s not a huge deal, and he may not have been doping during the Tour, so it’s not soul-crushing in the same way as the Floyd Landis case.

But.  My point here is: even if you’re not going to get caught, and even if, having been caught, nothing happens to you, you shouldn’t do drugs.  It’s not fair, it’s not decent, it’s not honorable.  Those are three strikes.  Additionally, it devalues your sport.  Why would you do that?

Cute!  American!  Probably doesn't do drugs!

Christian Vande Velde: Cute! American! Probably doesn't do drugs!

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He’s complaining about pre-fabricated championship gear.  You know, the reason that there are apparently starving children somewhere who think that the Philadelphia Eagles have ever won a Super Bowl.

He also points out Roger Federer’s most recent Wimbledon title, and its attendant “15” sweater, as a “rare show of classlessness from a normally classy guy.”  He’s right.  Kit and I sat in front of the television, our Pimm’s Cup clutched in disbelieving hands, as Andy Roddick took the interview tastefulness title with flying colors.  In some ways, a “14” sweater a few weeks earlier would have been much less disappointing–he would have been carrying it for months, and it would be sort of a joke at the Roland Garros final. That would have been cute and hilarious instead of looking like swank.

The worst thing about the sweater is not its tackiness.  The worst thing is its predictability.  Not that Mr. Federer did it, but that it happened at all.  The contemporary obsession with pointless, tacky ephemera is to blame.  I have an NFC Championship t-shirt.  Why?  What is the possible point?  Why are people suckers?

The legend lives in the name on the board, not the sweater.  It’s the trophy that matters, not the ugly baseball cap.

And, seriously, does Alberto Contador have a whole room in his house full of stuffed lions?

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The Tour is over and we are devastated.  To buck us up, we have decided to do an All-Star Team of this year’s riders.  It’s not a team we think would win, but it is made up of some of our favorite riders, favorites for reasons of their being awesome.  This is a team post, so Dottie’s contributions will be marked with a D, and Kit’s with a K.  Pretty self-explanatory, there.

voigt awesomeJens Voigt (left), for being quite possibly the most chipper man alive.  Sure, I slid down a large mountain under my bike for a while, and I was bleeding into my skull, but doesn’t it suck that they won’t let me back on the bike on time to do the tour of Denmark?  Also, check out my killer tan lines. (K)

hincapie awesomeGeorge Hincapie (right), because he broke his collarbone and refused to see a doctor so he wouldn’t have to withdraw.  He got screwed out of a yellow jersey and was not a little girl.  I have never been screwed out of a yellow jersey, but I have broken a collarbone and I have cycled on cobblestones.  Both at once seems like the worst thing ever. (D)

txurruka awesomeAmets Txurruka (left), because he is Basque, and super scrappy, and has a totally awesome name.  He had to drop out very late in the Tour because of crash injuries, which must have been miserable, especially after a second place finish into Colmar. (D)

renshaw awesomeMark Renshaw (right), because he’s the best lead-out man there is.  Being a great lead-out man seems fairly similar to being the excellent and oft uncredited offensive line in front of any great quarterback, except without the benefits of being allowed to weigh 350 pounds.  It was great to see him take second in Paris, and I hope Cavendish bought him a lot of beers. (K)

wiggins awesomeBradley Wiggins (left), because I like justifying Kit’s claims about my anglophilia, and he had the best overall finish ever by a Briton, which is pretty nice.  Also, stage racing isn’t really his thing, so double points there, and he seems not to mind being called “Wiggo,” which makes him a champ. (D)

klöden awesomeAndreas Klöden (right), because I heard a lot of complaining out of Astana when Contador inexplicably dumped Klöden in the Alps, but the complaining wasn’t coming from Klöden.  In fact, what with all the “Lance is ruining everything” and “Contador hates his team” nonsense, I think most of us missed Klöden’s 6th place finish, which turns into a 3rd if he finishes Stage 17 with Contador and the Schlecks. (K)

cancellara awesomeFabian Cancellara (left), because he did not murder Alberto Contador with an axe after losing the final time trial by two and a half seconds, for which he deserves a prize.  Also, he is hilarious and adorable and has sweet tan lines, which he very kindly exhibited to us on the final stage. (D)

knees awesomeChristian Knees (right), because his name is Knees.  Come on. (D)

haussler awesomeHeinrich Haussler (left), for losing it at the Stage 13 finish line.  There is little that confirms what is great about sports more than the sight of a grown man weeping for joy upon a victory. (K)

And an Honorable Mention.

fränk awesomeFränk Schleck (right), because he is absolutely selfless, and does not have a silly Tintin tuft of hair coming out the top of his helmet as his brother does.  Also because people love the Schlecks, and we are not above strategic name-dropping.  And in case you were wondering, we have no idea if he has a girlfriend. (D)

Any glaring omissions?  Are you convinced that Christian Knees is not in fact awesome?  Let us know!

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Dear American soccer fans,

You’re the worst.  Shut up.  It’s not very nice to boo David Beckham just because he’s too good for your team.  Especially because he is actually too good for your team.

Rather less than cordially,

Dottie

I’m pretty surprised that Becks is fazed by this at all, because it seems like pretty junior varsity stuff and he played in England for a long time, where fans are really mean.  Also, he should be a grown-up, regardless.  But so should the people in the stands.  It is actually possible to go to a sporting event and not insult anyone’s wife.  I promise.  I have done it many times.

Apparently this is our theme of the week!  Grow up, guys.

Still cute, whereas Landon Donovan is a whiny little child.

Still cute, whereas Landon Donovan is a whiny little child.

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He seems like a pretty great guy.  He wins stuff.  He goes up mountains really fast.  He has a cute kid.

He has a sweet bike.

I want this bike, but I bet it would look like swank.

I want this bike, but I bet it would look like swank.

He has good-looking team-mates.  He has truly fascinating hair.

He also has a soul patch.

He generally doesn't look this startled.

He generally doesn't look this startled.

FIE!

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We have all heard, correctly or no, that everyone on Team Astana is a whiny little girl.  I’m so sure that’s true.  I bet Mr. Contador short-sheets everyone’s bed and then Mr. Leipheimer, limited by his broken wrist, just steals everyone’s shorts.

On Sunday, you may recall, Mr. Contador left Mr. Armstrong behind.  Cue chorus of nay-sayers, gripers, and louts.  It was about time that jackass Lance Armstrong let someone else have a share of the limelight.  Apparently, at 37, being less fast than you used to be means you’re a wuss.  Also, if you are merely second in the general classification for the Tour de France, you should probably just pack it in and call the church choir with instructions for your requiem.

So, today, everyone’s toddling along in the peloton like good little boys, Astana as usual at the front, Saxo Bank doing a bit of needling, when suddenly Andy Schleck (apparently the cute brother) attacks, bringing with him, among others, Alberto Contador.  Mr. Armstrong, again, is left behind, up to about 50 seconds.

OH NO!  Commentators the world over have written his epitaph, and it is “slacker.”  Except Lance Armstrong is kind of famously not one to give up the ghost, and he fights back and goes by Fränk Schleck, as Simon Brotherton said, “like a train.”  He comes across the line at Bourg-St-Maurice at +59″, just like Mr. Contador, or “wee Bertie.”

Do I think Mr. Armstrong would rather win outright than ride support for Mr. Contador?  Of course I do.  That’s why people race.  Do I believe Mr. Armstrong’s graceful Twitter posts about how glad he is for Mr. Contador?  Not entirely.  Am I however certain that, unless Mr. Contador does something dreadful, Mr. Armstrong will do his team duty?  Absolutely.

That is a large hill.

That is a large hill.

We’ll see how it pans out, of course.  I have no idea what goes on in any of their heads, which is probably good.  I hope it’s an exciting finish, and that everyone makes it.  Let’s all of us try to act like grown-ups, and then we can believe in good faith that they are too.

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As I’m sure you all know, England triumphed over Australia today at Lord’s for the first time since 1934 in an epic and glorious match in which Freddie Flintoff was cosmically effective.  And I’m not really making any of that up or editorializing much.

Without the stress, then, of watching England blow it, as usual, I was free to consider other, possibly more pleasant, things, like whether Alistair Cook is cute.

Exhibit A:

The best part is the other fielders' body language.

The best part is the other fielders' body language.

So that’s pretty much the case against Alistair Cook in a nutshell.  Failed attempts at fielding and an enormous jaw.  I feel kind of bad for posting it, actually, because in fairness he did catch three in the first innings and they weren’t all sitters or anything.  Also, he looks ridiculous.

Exhibit B:

At least here he doesn't need a haircut.

At least here he doesn't need a haircut.

Pretty cute, right?  And his eyelashes are less girly than usual (I think it was Tom Fordyce on the BBC text commentary who called him “doe-eyed,” and he’s not wrong).  And the face makes the jaw less obvious.

Exhibit C:

Poor Matt Prior.

Poor Matt Prior.

Um, I’m pretty sure he looks smokin’ there, and I don’t think it’s just because he’s next to Matt Prior.  Tall, dark, handsome, not dropping anything.  Sharp.

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