Why yes, it's fascinating to think about how Tony G will go, um, galloping through the spring classics as part of a history-laden Belgian squad next year ... or listen as certain members of this fine community imagine various perspectives of Tommeke wrapped in Cannondale green. But come now. How about some really juicy, completely unsubstantiated truthiness about the next truly innovative and exciting direction for our beloved sport?
Because it occurs to me that Mr Sideburns (no, the original one) may have finally figured out just exactly how to make that breakaway league notion take flight. Now that Bruyneel's lifeless body has been removed from the runway, there's a chance, you know?
How, you ask? By ruthlessly ripping a page from the Senior PGA Tour playbook!!!
Now I'll admit to being more than a little baffled that golf is a multi-billion dollar/euro/whatever worldwide industry. Really? The sporting plot consists of "oooh, this guy hit a ball with a stuck so much better than that guy did." The human plot consists of a bunch of privileged dudes trying to beat Tiger, and generally failing except for when he's in self-destruct mode, which seems to be coming to an end. So kudos to Lindsey Vonn for that, or something.
Sorry, that was quite the pointless aside. What was my point again? Oh yeah, the Senior PGA Tour ... because they figured out that watching legendary old guys play the game was just as interesting as watching fit young guys play the game.
Drum roll, please...
The breakaway league will fly because it will consist of all your old faves!!!
Paddy McQ will fight it of course, for all the usual reasons:
1) How can you go back to the past? I'm the firstborn of the new guard!! Our great and glorious future lies ahead! Swear allegiance to me and to me only, all you scumbags!
2) I didn't think of it, so it's a bad idea
3) I haven't figured out how to use it to make a buck or expand my power. Yet.
But why exhaust yourself with all this yimmer-yammering about whether or not the sport is cleaner now, and whether or not we can believe Chris Froome? You know what you really want. You really want to see all the beloved heads of old duking it out on the open roads, heroes laying their lives on the line day after day, like they still do in your dreams. On chromed-out steel bikes. While not wearing helmets. Sexy, baby!
Imagine what the new old heroes league will bring you. Salivate if you must...
- Pedro Delgado, dancing his way up some Pyrenean col with that out-of-the-saddle sway that was his alone. Chased closely by Richard Virenque, with that out-of the saddle shimmy that was his alone. Look closely, I do believe Virenque is closing the gap...Allez Richard, Allez!
- A time trial pitting Merckx, Lemond, Boardman, and Indurain all on the same equipment. Because it's a question you always wanted answered.
- Theunisse, whose stare still scares me after all these years. And Breukink. And half a dozen other low-country heroes of old. What the heck, let's have Rabobank come back and sponsor those dudes.
- Cipollini, duh. Bugno, especially if he wears my all-time fave jersey, the old Gatorade/Chateau d'Ax green & black number. And Andrea Tafi; no explanation needed there, right?
- Tom Steels, because I just always liked that guy, and his name is "Steels."
- Oooooh, Oooooh ... Abdujaparov!
- Dare I say it? Lance (shhhhhh, you fool!!). Tyler, if he rides with a broken collarbone.
Oh yes, I did increase the font size for that one. Clever, no?
- And last but not least ... Jonathan Vaughters. As rider, manager, and league commissioner. Because it's his world. Surely you saw that one coming.
It's a brave, old world out there. Hey, if it works for something as scintillating as golf (um, yeah...) then why wouldn't it work for the most beautiful sport in the world?