This is the best night of our lives.

Alberto would like to personally thank the Schleck brothers, who put up a hell of a fight on Mont Ventoux and made things semi-interesting. Thanks also to the fans who lined the route; their energetic cries and songs of support gave Alberto the strength to ride in Andy Schleck’s slipstream. TOACV staffer/former professional cyclist Cadel Evans was in the right place to capture this song (TOACV is in negotiations for the rights):

We’re going to Euro Disney!

[See also: Alberto Contador Will Win Tour, Make Love to You]


The Tour de France Goat Jersey Standings (as of Stage 15)

dagoatAs the Tour de France rests its weary bones before a final, brutal week of alpine stages and time trials, it’s time to take a look back at the riders that have thoroughly disappointed me thus far. Consider this Festivus come early.

Yes yes, there’s still a week of racing to go – I know this. There have been many a redemption story in the Tour’s history. But did you see Contador’s assault at Verbier? According to the latest press release from TOACV, the winner of the 2009 Tour is a given; so what better time than now to begin handing out points for the coveted maillot chèvre (roughly translated as “jersey of goats”)?

Cadel Evans, Silence-Lotto (200 points)

Cadel, what happened to you, man? Ever since winning the UCI ProTour in 2007 (over Alberto, no less) and placing second in the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Tour de France, it’s been all downhill for you. Everybody — everybody — had you on the list of contenders for this year’s running, but after a disasterous TTT; a ridiculous, ill-timed attack in the 8th stage that was doomed to fail (“It turned out to be a big waste of energy,” you said afterwards); and your failure to make up any time on the first day of the Alps, you’ve been reduced to throwing pity parties attended by the international sporting press, always hungry for self-destructing athletes (“I’m so far behind in the GC that I didn’t think anyone would show up today,” you told reporters coming to visit you on the rest day).

So, congrats, Cadel! You probably won’t get anywhere close to the podium in Paris, but the maillot chèvre is firmly yours (for now; you might lose this one too).

[the rest of the goats after the jump]

Continue reading ‘The Tour de France Goat Jersey Standings (as of Stage 15)’


RAGBRAI, Day 2: A Case of the Mondays


The first day of RAGBRAI saw fainting goats, kilts and a traveling bachelorette party (“Occasionally it gets in my face,” sayeth the almost-bride.) What’s next for day two — Miss Iowa playing a fiddle on the courthouse steps in a meager attempt to entertain the troops? Oh, really? Wow, that was a total shot in the dark.

[The Official RAGBRAI Site]


Alberto Contador Wins Stage 15, Your Girlfriend’s Heart

Tour de France 2009 Stage Fifteen


7.20.09 (VERBIER, SWITZERLAND) – The Office of Alberto Contador Velasco (TOACV) is proud to announce that the world’s strongest cyclist and UCI ProTeam Astana leader, Alberto Contador, has won Stage 15 of the 2009 Tour de France, a demanding mountain top finish in the Swiss ski town of Verbier. Contador is very much excited for his second Tour de France victory, to be celebrated on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, July 26th, and would like to invite you and a guest to attend (please consider using mass transit, as parking will be limited).

Contador launched a brilliant attack with only 5 km to go and launched away from a group of riders including the Schleck brothers of Saxo Bank and Garmin’s Vande Velde. He quickly distanced himself from the chase group and was pleased to win the stage 43 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. The win has placed Contador firmly in the maillot jaune, and he looks forward to getting it framed at an expensive Swiss frame shop during the Monday rest day.

Continue reading ‘Alberto Contador Wins Stage 15, Your Girlfriend’s Heart’


Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Cycling Caps

chicago capI don’t know if cycling caps are currently cool or not (all I know is that hot pink is apparently the new black), but with my particularly ambivalent brand of “whatever works” style and a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I’ve decided it’s time to add a few pieces to the wardrobe.

But general fashion concerns aside, there’s the question of what to get in the first place. I feel like I should say something here like, “picking the right cap says a lot about a person,” but that would insinuate that I actually know. Personally, I’ve always loved the racing style of pro team caps, but would feel like a poseur pulling up at the local club ride and pretending that my fat ass just got back from Milram training camp.

[Note: looking cool and being a poseur are two related but theoretically distinct concerns in the fashion world.]

That said, my sources do tell me that retro/vintage team caps are now acceptable, thanks to the latest innovations in ironic fashion. I’m leaning towards a classic Team BiC cap to pay tribute to Luis Ocaña, or the retro Reynolds model to channel Big Mig, but there are a wide variety of classic, extinct team caps to choose from that should keep you out of the poseur police’s crosshairs.

If you’d prefer to sidestep the delicate business of declaring your loyalties with your head, Cognition Caps out of Madison, Wisconsin is producing a solid line of handmade cycling caps, including the smooth Chitown tribute shown above; coming in at $24, they won’t break the bank either.

Continue reading ‘Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Cycling Caps’


The Armstrong Files: How Did I Miss This One?

Finally, some Lance Armstrong promo copy that’s sharp like a sword.



A Pep Talk from Lance Armstrong

Tour de France 2009 - Previews

As the Tour de France finishes up its first week and looks to the mountains, Lance Armstrong finds himself in a virtual second behind Fabian Cancellara and de facto leader of supergroup Astana (imagine Jay-Zr, Dr. Dre and and Ghostface with the Roots Crew…). After a rain-drenched Stage 6 to Barcelona that put many a rider on their ass, energy in the peleton is low and morale is lower. Armstrong sent this quick note from his Barcelona massage suite:

Good work, everyone, real good work. I know it’s been a tough week; that last stage was especially torturous, and there’s a lot of guys walking around all banged up (no one from Astana, of course). I just want to say as we look forward to 3 long days in the Pyrénées, let’s keep it together, okay? It’s our first real test in the mountains, and the beyond-categorization Arcalis summit will probably make a few of you shit your pants. No joke — I’ve seen it happen before, and I know it will happen again. And that kind of thing takes its toll on a man after a few days of thigh-searing climbs.

Continue reading ‘A Pep Talk from Lance Armstrong’


The Official Denis Menchov Blooper Reel

Poor Denis Menchov just can’t seem to stay on his bike — maybe it’s his tires, maybe it’s his handling skills, or maybe he just loves the salty grit of pavement. Although the international cycling press lacks the cobbles to ask him which one it truly is, I suspect it’s the last one. After all, why would you lose your concentration and hit the deck during an important Stage 4 team time trial — one in which you’re fighting to keep time against powerhouse teams like Astana and Saxo Bank — unless you absolutely love the taste of French asphalt?

And think back to a month and a half ago, as Menchov was finishing up his final TT through the streets of Rome, enroute to his first Giro d’Italia win:

Sure, it was a little rainy and Menchov was on his TT bike, but have you ever had authentic Italian road?

[the rest of the highlights and bonus hilarity after the jump]

Continue reading ‘The Official Denis Menchov Blooper Reel’


Mark Cavendish is Fastest Man in the World (sorry, ladies)

Tour de France 2009 Stage Three

Someone get Usain Bolt and Bill Curtis on the horn: according to every Versus commentator (including the mind numbing team of  Craig Hummer and Bob Roll), Mark Cavendish is now apparently the “fastest man in the world,” following powerful sprint wins of Tour stages 2 and 3. In both cases, Cavendish beat the strongest sprinters in the world by at least a bike length, and he even had time at the end of his Stage 3 win to further immasculate a tapped Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) by placing a call on his mobile to Thor’s girlfriend.

That said, even the fastest man in the world can’t do it alone, and Cavendish owes both Columbia-HTC teammates George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw a few beers for some of the best sprint lead-outs I’ve ever seen (“Again, [Renshaw’s] showed he’s the best lead-out man in the business,” said Cavendish after Stage 3). While it’s still very early in the race, Columbia-HTC have proven their ability to control the pack all the way to the end of a stage, and an uncanny ability for launching the Manx Missile at precisely the right moment (referring to Cavendish, not his penis).

Of course, none of this should really be surprising, considering the fastest man in the world is taking his marching orders from a brilliant Tour staple of the past:

Cavendish also praised Columbia sprint coach Erik Zabel, calling him “the most consistent rider of the last generation” and crediting his victory at Milan-San Remo to the German who wore the Tour’s green jersey for six consecutive years during 1996-2001.

“I just turned 24, I’ve won some races, but if I can combine my sprint with Erik’s consistence and experience. … We work so well together. There’s a great alchemy.”

Cavendish needs three more stage wins to tie the current British record of 8, held by Barry Hoban.

[see the Stage 2 finish after the jump]

Continue reading ‘Mark Cavendish is Fastest Man in the World (sorry, ladies)’


A Highly Visual Reference for the Tour de France

colorful pelotonOne of the things that prevents cycling from reaching a broader audience in the US, in my humble opinion, is the fact that it’s tough to keep track of all of the major players, especially in a Grand Tour like the one starting on Saturday. American sports, much like the American ethic in general, are centered around flashes of individual greatness — the quarterback, the running back, the pitcher, the home run bomber — and as such, team-oriented sports like soccer and cycling have no chance in hell of going mainstream, save for some sort of socialist/communist revolution.

The ironic thing is that professional cycling is full of individual heroics, but the fact that it comes in rarer flashes, after hours of riding in a tightly compressed, seemingly anonymous pack, leaves many people bored as hell. A person can only ask “Where’s Lance?” so many times before flipping over to the baseball game for good, where there are only two teams and pronouncable names on the back of each jersey.

In an effort to counter boredom-by-confusion, Bike Scene proudly presents a visual reference of all the teams competing in the 2009 Tour de France, so you can easily follow the teams and know who you’re yelling at.

[the complete list after the jump]

Continue reading ‘A Highly Visual Reference for the Tour de France’


Christmas in July: Iowa City Bike Lanes Are Finally Here!


For all the cool things about Iowa City, the place has never been known for its adept administration — I once counted two days without seeing a plow after several inches of snow — so you can imagine my surprise as I drove home this morning and saw an honest-to-goodness bike lane on Jefferson Street, complete with — get this — pothole patches all the way to the curb.

Was there some sort of mayoral coup I had missed? Had stimulus funds finally found their way to the heartland? Had the city managers finally tired of receiving my hate mail? Whatever the reason, I was so stunned that I literally pulled off Jefferson St. and ran back into the middle of it with my iPhone to take a photo commemorating the event (the above image can be seen if you’re at the corner of Jefferson and Lucas Street, looking west). I guess I would have known about this ahead of time if I actually read the local paper (and it turns out the actual story is a lot less exciting):

Kristopher Ackerson, assistant transportation planner for the Johnson County Council of Governments, recommends adding bicycle lanes on Jefferson and Market streets between Governor and Gilbert streets in a memo to the Iowa City Council. The items are part of the JCCOG Metro Bicycle Master Plan.

Ackerson wrote that studies have shown that cyclists ride more often and in a more predictable manner when bike lanes are available.

The bike lanes will be subject to the approval of the council. They will not require widening streets or reducing parking spaces, Ackerson said.

Shared lane arrows—or sharrows—are recommended for Jefferson and Market streets between Madison and Gilbert streets, as well as College Street from Summit to Linn streets.

Sharrows are an alternative to bike lanes and are used where road width is inadequate for bike lanes, according to the memo.

“Although popular in other cities across the country, this will be one of the first applications of sharrows in eastern Iowa,” Ackerson wrote.

This may be one of those minor technicalities/asshole moves, but sharrows have been in nearby Coralville for a while, and popped up about a month ago one hour north in Cedar Falls. But, hey, if Ackerson wants to portray it as a truly groundbreaking event, I’ll take it. I might even start paying some of those back taxes I owe the city, but I want to see a goddamn plow once in a while!

[Sharrows, bike lanes in the works — IC Press-Citizen]


Dress Your Desktop in Team Astana Crotchshots


Just in case you were hoping for a new wallpaper to dress up your desktop before the Tour’s kickoff, you can thank Team Astana for their newest series of official Alberto Contador victory crotchshots. Download them all today and relive the Spaniard’s sculpted groin every time your computer boots up.

[even more after the jump]

Continue reading ‘Dress Your Desktop in Team Astana Crotchshots’


Alberto Contador Will Win Tour, Make Love to You


6.28.09 (PINTO, MADRID) – There has been much confusion emanating from the international sporting press corps about the up coming 2009 Tour de France, and The Office of Alberto Contador Velasco (TOACV) would like very much an opportunity to set the record straight. Very simply, Alberto Contador, lead rider for UCI ProTeam Astana, will be the humble winner of the 96th running of the Tour de France, and will be accepting advanced congratulations and gifts at the address listed at the end of this release.

Contador has come off of a long season of training and preparations for this year’s Tour de France, and as leader of Team Astana, is excited to lead the other eight riders to victory on July 26th. Fresh off a Spanish national TT title, where he beat former Caisse d’Epargne rider (now TOACV staffer), Luis León Sánchez by 37 seconds, Contador is confident that he’ll be in the yellow jersey from the prologue — a short time trial in the streets of Monaco.

TOACV would also very much like to thank the American rider, Lance Armstrong, for his upcoming support of Contador through the Tour’s 21 stages, including 3 grueling mountain top finishes. Here is a picture taken in 2008 by the Telegraph of London, featuring Contador with Astana manager, Johan Bruyneel, and Armstrong.

the threesome

Armstrong will make a fantastic domestique and addition to Team Astana, and may even be strong enough to win a second or third podium position.

[official TOACV video after the jump]

Continue reading ‘Alberto Contador Will Win Tour, Make Love to You’