Blazin' Saddles

  • Vuelta wrap

    If you were to order a "Vuelta wrap" from
    your local sandwich shop you'd probably expect something with a rather tired
    and dry filling.

    It would be made with the remnants of the kitchen
    cupboard, throwing in bits from the back of the fridge together with some
    ingredients which had clearly seen better days, alongside others that were
    undeniably tasty - but unproven in the sandwich wrap stakes.

    The whole thing would be a totally maverick operation
    - the chef would be making things up as he went along, while the waitering
    staff would often change orders at the last minute depending on who was on

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  • Sentences and suspense

    If ever there was an advertisement highlighting the folly of doping, it was the live internet podcast with Floyd Landis and Joe Papp that took place last Sunday evening.

    The two convicted dopers - both of whom have recently received suspended sentences for subsequent doping-related misdemeanours - were guests on the weekly Tour Chats discussion forum, hosted by affable US cycling journalist Neil Browne.

    Sporting a blue lumberjack shirt ("Two dollars from a sales rack in Gap") and long shaggy locks ("Obviously, I have a personal hair stylist"), Landis was up first.

    Looking a shadow of the man

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  • Accountant marries fisherman

    Saddles learnt this week - albeit from the unlikely source
    of the Katusha Facebook page - of the recent nuptials of Alberto Contador and
    his childhood sweetheart.

    Translating the story (already itself pranged haphazardly
    from Spanish into Russian) via a popular online language altering device made
    for a startling discovery.

    Indeed, it first seemed that not only had Bertie given up
    cycling for accountancy, he had taken his anti-meat stance to new alarming
    levels by marrying a fisherman while singing the Bayside Boys remix of the Los
    del Rio hit song, Macarena.

    Of course, this was just a false

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  • Vaughters’s Sugar daddy

    With Jonathan Vaughters desperately seeking a new
    sponsor, could Sir Alan Sugar of Amstrad and UK Apprentice fame become Garmin's
    new big mate?

    It's been a tricky start to the off-season for
    Vaughter's Garmin-Cervelo outfit. A couple of weeks back, they had reached an
    estimated $5 million agreement with French building material distributor BigMat
    to clamber aboard as the team's co-sponsor for the 2012 season.

    Then, with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders combined -
    no doubt - with a pensive 'bof', BigMat reneged on their letter of intent just
    hours before the team were required to submit the

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  • Schlecks get Punk’d

    Saddles never thought the day would come, but he has to
    admit that both Andy Schleck and his brother have this week soared in his
    estimation.

    In a hilarious Japanese-style spoof interview filmed back in
    August but only just recently aired on Dutch TV, Andy deals with being labelled
    "a skinny man person" and interrogated about his sexuality while
    Frank manages to keep his cool despite being accused of taking drugs and being
    his brother's security blanket.

    The premise for the weekly TV skit - entitled Ushi & The
    Family - seems to be quite simple: seasoned blonde Dutch presenter Wendy van
    Dijk

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  • Being human

    Spain's
    Alberto Contador insinuated over the weekend what we had always suspected: that he is in fact some kind of robotic and entirely inhuman being.

    Speaking
    at the unveiling of the 2012 Giro d'Italia route on Sunday, the defending corsa
    rosa champion admitted that "the course is good for me" before
    opening up the possibility of an AC-verses-vital-body-organ tussle: "If I
    went with my heart, then I'd certainly race it."

    Despite
    all this graphic imagery, Contador then confirmed that he would nevertheless not
    be present at the start on 5 May.

    Without
    stating whether or not the following was as

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  • ITTour de France

    It's been a rather tasty week for Team Sky after a
    leaked 2012 Tour route
    revealed more time trials and flat stages than recent
    years. But will it be enough to keep both Bradley Wiggins and new arrival Mark
    Cavendish happy?

    Yes, the close season's worst-kept secret was finally
    confirmed this week: world champion Cavendish will ride alongside Dave
    Brailsford's men
    next season - much like he did in the streets of Copenhagen a
    fortnight ago. Joining the Manx Missile is Teutonic lead-out chum Bernie Eisel,
    making it a picture perfect double swoop.

    With Cav and Sky's (previous?) team leader Wiggins

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  • Pie in the Sky

    As expected, riders from HTC won gold in both the men's ITT and road race world championships in Copenhagen - but the rainbow stripes worn by Tony Martin and Mark Cavendish will run underneath different sponsors' logos next season.

    Martin will take his long neck off to QuickStep where he will continue being the best against-the-clock racer of his generation, but he'll have less lead-out work to do when Cav completes his likely transfer to Sky.

    Although Saddles likes the idea of Skittles jumping in with a 13th Hour rescue package and rebranding HTC under the catch phrase 'Taste the Rainbow', it

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  • Cobo’ Selecta!

    Superhuman Juanjo Cobo threw a Spanish cat amongst the British pigeons on Sunday after brushing aside the fearsome Angliru climb as if it were a mere mound.

    Geox's Cobo roared into the red jersey to complete a magnificent turnaround after he seemingly disappeared from cycling following the demise of his former team Saunier Duval back in 2009.

    While Cobo, wearing those fetching black socks of his, juggernauted his way up the steep 20+ per cent sections of an infamous final climb that's invariably described as barbaric, ridiculous, pitiful, brutal etc. - British pair Bradley Wiggins and Chris

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  • The Worlds are not enough

    History rewrote itself in Copenhagen on Wednesday
    with Germany winning Worlds War One ahead of Britain, while Switzerland was
    neutralised into third.

    The time trial done and dusted, focus now switches to the big one as Britain bids
    to bounce back with a bang in the Second Worlds War, for which Mark Cavendish
    is clearly one of the danger men.

    But first, let's forget Cav and his bejewelled moonboots as Saddles takes a
    look at the German Giraffe Tony Martin's supreme showing in the ITT.

    Saddles was given an earful last month during the Vuelta when he referred to
    Martin as the time triallist of

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