Blazin' Saddles

  • Haribo makes Andy happy

    Luxembourg's Andy Schleck celebrated his third consecutive white jersey triumph by guzzling a whole packet of Haribo sweets during Sunday's showpiece stage to Paris.

    While his grown-up rival sank glass after glass of vintage champagne, Schleck feasted on foam eggs and jelly bears, making sure he kept a few of those red heart-shaped gummy chews for his special friend Alberto.

    Schleck's close confidants say he is already hoarding a load of multi-coloured rings from the Starmix selection in the event that the Spaniard will accept his hand in civil partnership before next year's race.

    "That way,

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  • Pellizotti punt backfires

    12:05 at Melbourne's famous Flemington racecourse on Saturday included a hotly
    tipped horse called Pellizotti, and Saddles - quite naturally - couldn't resist
    a little flutter.

    on his own tour Down Under and out at the races for a friend's
    "bucks" (stag) day, BS backed the handsome royally-bred bay colt at
    $5 each way at generous odds of 11-1.

    could he resist? Pellizotti's film-star looks encouraged his trainer to bid
    $450,000 for him as a yearling at the Sydney Easter sales last year. This was a
    horse with prime pedigree. In the paddock, the aristocratic looker was sleek

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  • Whiff-whaff in the woods

    Quite astonishingly, this week billions of cycling
    column inches were filled with two things we all knew were going to happen all
    along, namely the overturning of Alberto Contador's one-year ban and the
    retirement of Lance Armstrong.

    It was very like the Texan to choose to make his
    second retirement official on exactly the same day as his old foe Alberto
    announced he had been exonerated by his own national cycling federation. Talk
    about piddling on Contador's vegetarian tapas.

    It's a bit like Arsenal stealing North London rivals Tottenham's Champions
    League thunder by selfishly beating

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  • Landis condensed

    On the tip of everybody's tongues this week was the extraordinary interview between the shamed former Tour champion Floyd Landis and the award-winning, soup-spitting, sports journalist Paul Kimmage.

    The full 30,000-word transcript of the seven-hour interview, which took place in November last year, was made available online after Kimmage's article in last weekend's Sunday Times in the UK - but the sheer length of what was a fascinating insight into what is clearly a very troubled mind put many readers off.

    Which is where Saddles comes in to help: ever the Good Samaritan, BS has condensed the

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  • Ricco’s black pudding

    Apologies for the tardy nature of this blog, but Saddles has been holed up in a hospital bed after a near-death experience last week involving black pudding and a dodgy fridge.

    You see, ever since watching the film The Lost Boys, Saddles has had a penchant for the British delicacy of black pudding - a type of sausage made from blood. You could say that Saddles had an addiction. He even makes his own home-made black pudding. And given his narcissistic tendencies, it's probably no surprise that BS recently tried to make one using a pint of his own blood.

    Such things are illegal - but then some

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  • Papp to the Future

    the third installment of "SaddlePapp", Joe Papp the pocket-rocket from Pittsburgh
    talks blood thinners, chat-up lines, Christmas and the sexual habits of the
    peloton, while also making some insightful predictions for the 2011 season.

    To get up to speed, Saddles suggests you read last month's
    second Q&A with Joe Papp, the man who could once eat Spanish steak until
    the cows came home.

    So, what have you been up since we last spoke?

    I've been trying to figure out how four months seemingly passed in the span of
    24 hours. I still have unopened pairs of Vermarc bib shorts! On a more

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  • Party season

    The Tour Down Under is still more than 40 days away and as Christmas fast approaches, most pro riders are easing their way into the new season with a series of team training camps, bonding exercises and parties.

    Take birthday boy Alberto Contador, for instance. In the week that he turned 29, the Spaniard has been trying to blot out those nasty doping rumours with a steady diet of cabaret, charades and odd-looking balancing tasks with his Saxo Bank team-mates on the island of Fuerteventura in the Canaries.

    And there was Blazin' Saddles thinking Bjarne Riis's (pictured, left, with Contador)

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  • Bradley’s Book

    On flicking through Bradley Wiggins' book about the 2010 Tour de France, Saddles was bemused to see that his advance press copy contained a rather large blemish on the bottom of the first page of the section devoted to Lance Armstrong.

    It was surely just a coincidental fault of the printers - the ink smudge clearly could have just as easily tarnished the double-page spread on, say, the designer Sir Paul Smith - but Saddles did find it hard to suppress a little chuckle.

    When things are going against you, sometimes even the smallest of coincidences can seem like a conspiracy. Poor Lance, trust

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  • Clenbuterolled over

    so there we have it: poor Bertie's one-year ban has been more or less
    confirmed; but instead of taking it on the chin - after all, the Spaniard only
    had another six months on the sidelines to sit out - Alberto Contador will
    appeal the decision in a bid to defend his honour and name

    is, of course, a tactic that may backfire; a one-year ban which many already
    see as too lenient may well be doubled, leaving only enforced retirement or a
    contract with Katusha as viable options for the three-(or-is-that-two?)-times Tour
    de France champion.

    a white shirt with a grey collar, and at

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  • Riders in card game shame

    Two riders were sensationally thrown off the Vuelta this morning by their irate directeur sportif for violating a series of "specific internal team rules" thought to be related to post-dinner interactive entertainment.

    The news comes one day after Andy Schleck and Stuart O'Grady were withdrawn from the race by Saxo Bank big wig Bjarne Riis for drinking alcohol over the rest day.

    It was reported that these two new riders in question - who cannot be named for legal reasons - were caught playing 'Rummy' after lights-out in their team hotel following stage 10, won by Caisse d'Epargne's Imanol

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