My 5 for the Tour - You asked for it, you got it!

I don’t get as excited about the Tour as I used to. It’s not all Lance’s fault, it’s not FLandis’ either. I love the Tour, really I do, but it’s just not the same with Bert. He’s worse than LA in the boredom factor, I know, I know, 2002 and 2004 were stupefying, but what have we had to show for it since? Andy dropped his chain! OMFG, dees es en drama!

What DOES get the old blood boiling is the f*%@-ing VDS, baby! Yeah, especially since tshwatchamacallit, gravel road, dinomite, TrailMonkey and I have a little local VDS pool; wherein each of us puts up $20 in a winner take all, no holds barred, season long, smack talk fest for who gets bragging rights for the 2011 VDS (and $80). The "real" VDS does not even come into the equation for me, as a wise woman once said, "All politics are local." Can you guess who’s leading now? I knew you could.

Initially, my TdF 5 were going to be 5 guys from my squad that are going to continue to kick butt. But, the more I thought about it the more I realized that I was about to miss a great opportunity to take this local slagging to a whole new level! This should be fun. Follow me, below the fold.

First up, our current Lantern Rouge : dinomite’s 'coffee, bike, beer' in 590th place with 4275 points. Man there is a lot to give dino grief about here, Sam San, St. David, Iglinsky (!), Gesink (he’ll get his)… but mon victim has to be JVDB. Where to start? Well, for one, what’s up with calling this guy VDB, huh? That’s just sacrilege. There will be only one VDB, got it! Another thing is that this guy did some time with Postal and Disco back in the dark LA years, that can’t be good knowing now what we do about what a lousy guy LA turned out to be. I hope the JVDB fella doesn’t go all Samuel L Jackson on someone at a bar. As a rider, well let’s see what CQ has to say. OK, he had a decent Dauphine, won a stage, placed very high in the KOM and Pts comps, not too bad. I am in the "Too good a Dauphine means lousy TdF" camp, so this looks only sorta, kinda promising to me. Last year he was not quite as strong there as this and he went on to finish 5th in the Tour. Can he do better at the Tour this year? " I don’t think so, Tim." But VDS doles out points for 8th doesn’t it?

Next up is our very own Trail Monkey’s 'Raspberry Funk Bunnies' in 583rd place with 4316. This is the Monkey’s first ever VDS, so I’m gonna go easy on him, but as you can see, he’s not much better off than dino. For one thing, he’s got Eddy Boasson Hagen. 'Mr. Is he a climber, is he a sprinter, is he a TT-er… Is he worth 16 points?' That would be a yes, yes, yes and NO! On the positive side, he’s Norwegian, which counts for a lot and he’s got some cool nicknames. But he should have known better than go to Sky, the Dauphine pretty much sum up what their plans for him are. Oh, I know, the ENECO Tour is just around the corner, and they may let him off the leash for that. The TdF? Not a chance. They’ll work this guy like a borrowed mule and put him away wet. Other thing is this most miraculous recovery ever from Shingles. Those things kick your butt hard, no way do you recover from them between epic stage racing performances, something has to give.

Tschywatchamacallit's 'Diminutive Vikings' are in 435th place with a whopping 4989. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Many of you will remember that the Dim Vikings made it all the way to the top a few years ago in their first VDS comp. He held the multicolored monstrosity for some time, a truly noteworthy accomplishment. Nowadays, not so much. Where did all go wrong for this once powerful team? Well, the easy thing would to blame it on EBH once again or on HH. Since HH is also on my VDS, I’m gonna steer clear of that line of reasoning. I am going to go after Gesink though. Even if he is the Dim Viking’s number 2 points getter after Cadel, he still cost 18 points and has only earned about 130 points more than Brutt, a 1 pointer. For the most part, I blame the Gesink pick on Chris for all his hoopla about the coming Dutch Hegemony (Fish-Boy is easily led astray, believe me). As for Gesink, running amok at TdOman does not a season make. He had a good Dauphine, not too good, a solid buildup to the Tour. The main thing that is gonna scupper his chances this year is the same thing that drags him down every year at the Tour, Rabobank. Rabo just does not win big races. Oh, they can put on a good front a few times with the TTT attacks and what not, but if Oscar’s not rolling for the win forget it.

My only true competition at this point, if you can call it that, is gravel road’s ‘smokey and the bandage’ at 353rd place with 5312 points. Now these guys have some class, in large part because they share 5 riders with my team. Leaving those guys aside and removing Tyler from the slagging and I don’t have much to pick from here. But have no fear. When I called gr yesterday to discuss this article, he made a point of drawing attention to one David Navarro. Now, Navarro would not normally draw mire ire. For one thing, he’s Spanish. I just don’t have that much depth of knowledge regarding Spanish riders. Don’t get me wrong, I love Spanish riders, it’s just all the multiple sir names, I get confused.

But one look at Dani and you see the issue. Mind you, he doesn’t fit the category of epic underperformer (DeVolder!). But a doughnut is not much to show for 8 points. No, the problem with Dani is that he rides for Bert and Bert has had winning on his mind of late. That means no scraps for anyone else. When he changes teams, or Bert gets canned, then look for the points to come.

Now for the moment all but 78 of you have been waiting for… my team. ‘Wheelies in the Gutter’ is sitting in a commanding 79th place with 6930 points (so far). I really don’t have that much of a Tour team, looking to bring it for the Vuelta this year (All the points, none of the drama.). That I have Cadel, Chava, Gadret, little Aments and a few others is just an attempt to bide my time till September. I‘m looking to score points, but if I stay in the top 100 through the Tour I’ll be psyched. That is not to say I don’t have ambitions and those ambitions are firmly aimed at my local cohorts.

You see both Fish-boy and gravel road have been waving the 1 point wonder that is Pavel Brutt in my face all year long, as (one of) the highest scoring one pointers. But I have a few one pointers of my own that are doing pretty well (Nizzolo and Navardauskas). Of these two, only Navardauskas will be at the Tour. My hopes are pinned on him. With a few good attacks and his finishing speed he could, in one fell swoop, dethrone Brutt in the 1 pointer race AND displace Ryder and / or Tyler as the first GarMan to win a stage. This Neo–pro has been racing hard all year long, culminating in a National Champs Jersey last weekend (Lithuania). The boy is en fuego and is going to have a hell of a Tour, I can just feel it. His Dauphine was duly anonymous and in addition to the NC jersey he has recently racked up a few podium spots in the Ster ZLM. You heard it here first.

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