Monday, July 31, 2006

For the record...

[photo caption] For the record, Floyd...I don't believe you. (photo courtesy CNN.com)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

News Alert!

[photo caption] Dave Zabriskie -- professional cyclist and Floyd Landis' best friend. Which job is more difficult right now? (photo courtesy ThePhilter.Com)

New Dave Zabriskie audioblog.
Does he discuss Floyd?
Click here to find out.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

So, what color is the sky in your world?

[photo caption] American cycling icons Greg LeMond (l) and Lance Armstrong enjoy a light moment following the 1999 Tour de France. (photo courtesy VG.no)

The public feud between American cycling legends Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong has flared up once again. This time, the fuel for the fire is the allegations that 2006 Tour de France champion Floyd Landis produced a positive t/e test following Stage 17 of the Tour (a.k.a., "The Greatest Comeback of All-Time").

The LeMond v. Armstrong battle has taken to the airwaves in the past few days.

In an interview for Reuters on Thursday, three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond stated the following:
--LeMond hoped Landis was innocent but that the Phonak rider should admit guilt if tests on his B sample were also positive for testosterone: "Floyd, if he's innocent, he should absolutely defend himself. But if the sample is positive, I hope it's not denial, denial, denial like many other athletes have done. We need to clean the sport up."
--LeMond believes it takes courage [for the Tour organizers] to announce the winner is positive
--LeMond thought he saw evidence of a "clean" Tour this year: "Riders looked tired, they had bad days. For years you never saw any suffering in the riders."

Then, on Friday in an interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong stated the following:
--Armstrong wasn't going to pass judgment on Landis yet: "I don't want to pass judgment until we have confirmation on the 'A' sample."
--Armstrong railed on those who had offered speculation: "I'm not going to speculate; you can get Greg LeMond to go on the air and speculate. I'm not going to do that...I'm not going south [on the sport] like Greg does. I believe in the sport, I'm a fan of it and I love it."

So, who's right?

Is LeMond right when he argues that the sport of cycling needs an enema? That there should be no tolerance of dopers and cheats in the sport? That those dopers and cheats who are caught should stand up and take their punishment like men?

Or is Armstrong right when he states that he believes in the character of cycling as a sport despite the recent deluge of doping scandals? That people, like LeMond, who question the sport's integrity are "going south"? That, when accused of doping, riders should do everything that they can to defend themselves by hiring expert doctors, talking to the press, and "suing someone"? That Armstrong didn't actually test postive himself in 1999 but was framed in an elaborate conspiracy involving a French laboratory, Tour Director Jean-Marie LeBlanc and WADA chief Dick Pound?

You decide.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Is Disco To Do?

[photo caption] Embattled and embittered former T-Mobile star Jan Ullrich. (photo courtesy of EuroSport.Com)

In many sports there's an "America's Team".

In baseball, it's been the Yankees -- like it or not -- ever since the Ruth era. In football, it's traditionally been the Cowboys.

In cycling, it began as 7-Eleven -- the first U.S.-based team to participate in the Tour de France. Then, in the early 1990s, 7-Eleven sponsorship departed in favor of Motorola. Towards the end of the last decade, Motorola morphed into the U.S. Postal team. Finally, in 2005, U.S. Postal gave way to Discovery Channel.

Why is Discovery Channel America's team? First, seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong surely played a big role; I'm guessing you've heard of him. Second, Discovery Channel's UCI license lists a "home" nation. For Discovery and Discovery alone in the professional cycling peloton, the answer to this question is "U.S.A."

This reality can lead to some perplexing situations, however. For instance, two teams had more Americans participating than Discovery in this year's Tour: Team CSC had 3 (Julich, Vande Velde, Zabriskie) and Davitamon-Lotto had 2 (Horner, Rodriguez). Discovery, of course, had only Georgie Hincapie.

Worse for Discovery in the eyes of their American fan base was their dismal performance. Sure, Yaroslav Popovych won a stage, but Popovych, Hincapie, and Paolo Savoldelli were all supposed to contend for the overall GC. Instead, the highest Disco GC finish was by longtime Armstong domestique Jose Azevedo in 19th. Popovych rolled across the line in 25th and Hincapie finished in 32nd place. Savoldelli did not finish the race.

Rightfully so, Team Discovery and Directeur Sportif Johan Bruyneel went into full panic mode following the Tour.

Realizing this, I made the following prediction on a cycling message board last Friday:
"I've been saying this all week, and some say I'm crazy..., but if [Jan] Ullrich doesn't retire I'd be surprised if Discovery doesn't take a run at him.

Well, guess what? Headlines today in VeloNews, EuroSport and others all reported the same thing: "Discovery Courts Ullrich".

This news came one day after Disco signed former Gerolsteiner team leader Levi Leipheimer. Leipheimer was the first casualty in what appears to be a reshuffling of Gerolsteiner around young sensation Marcus Fothen.

"Slow down!", you're saying. "Don't they already have George, Popo, Tom Danielson and now Levi? Why would they want Ullrich?"

Because Bruyneel is cutting this "rebuilding stage" short. He, along with team co-owner Armstrong, have surveyed the future of Team Discovery. And they, along with anyone who watched the Tour, don't like what they see.

Therefore, why not go out and try to sign the rider considered by many to still be the most talented rider on the planet in Ullrich? What do they have to lose?

Heck, if Ullrich signs with Disco and wins the Tour next year, not only will it have been a success all-around, but Bruyneel and Armstrong will surely get accolades for being the ones finally able to get the perennially-underachieving Ullrich back to the top step of the podium.

Thus, Hincapie, Leipheimer, Savoldelli, Popovych, Danielson, Azevedo and the rest of this year's disappointing Discovery squad will not vie for team leadership. Instead, if all return for the 2007 season, they will simply comprise a daunting gaggle of domestiques that will look to serve a new, stronger team leader.

And this, of course, is where Ullrich, or someone like him, comes in.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Googling "Wet Cell Phone"

Remember this?

Or this?

Or maybe this?

All of these images are from the Friday night downtown Minneapolis criterium stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in mid-June.

What none of these images shows is what happened to my cell phone that night: it got wet.

When the skies opened up over Minneapolis, I was commuting and couldn't seek shelter right away. I took my cell from my shorts pocket and put it in the pocket of my rain jacket. "It should be safe in there," I thought.


Minutes later, after I checked-in as an event volunteer, I took out my cell to check for any damage.


No life.


When I got home that night, after another wet commute, I went downstairs, disassembled my cell, and put it on a shelf next to the dehumidifier. I thought, "That should dry it out."


When I checked on the phone the next morning, it was just as lifeless as the night before. That's when I started Googling.

I put the search term "wet cell phone" into the ol' Google machine. Here's some of what I found:

"Wet cell phone? Piece of cake, don't worry about anything. I have dropped my cell phone in lakes, rivers and streams and used to pay for new ones all the time.

A good friend of mine that is a VP for Sprint told me that they make buuku bucks off of replacement cell phones. The scam is a good one. They try to get the sucker to pay for an insurance plan on the phone. I fell for this one and lost my phone in a lake. When I went in there all confident to get my new phone I realized that you dont get a "new" one. You get a replacement one that was used. Where did it come from? It was a wet one that someone returned for a new one.

They [the cell phone companies] simply dry them out to get them to work and then send them out as replacements on the insurance. They are laughing to the bank. It's a scam and I hate them.

Here is what you do:
1) Take the battery out

2) Put the phone in the oven at 125 degrees for 5 hours

3) Take the phone out and let it sit in the sun or a dry hot place in your home for 24 hours

4) Put the battery back in and plug it in but DON'T turn it on

5) Let it charge for 5 hours

6) Turn it on and enjoy. This works about 90% of the time"

Needless to say, I was somewhat hesitant about putting a cell phone in the oven. But, after thinking about the durability of the plastic and how no-so-hot 125 degrees is, I gave in. What else was I going to do? I had nothing to lose.

After about only three hours in the oven (and regular check-ups while I cooked my phone), I took the phone out (HOT!), put it on an oven mitt, and left it sit overnight.

The next morning, I plugged my phone in to the charger and let it sit for about three hours again. After the wait period, I walked over, picked up my phone, and...

...it lit right up.


I shared this story with some friends and one of them told me that he had gotten his cell phone wet, flipped it open, and crammed it in one of the heating vents in his car. It dried out and worked just fine.

Apparently, the idea is that in order to dry out a cell phone, you need a radiating heat source. This will dry out all of the contact points and allow the electronic components to work correctly once again.

Now, I should relate that both my friend and I have Samsung cell phones. Because of that, I can't speak for how this might work for cell phones produced by a different manufacturer, but I really can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work.

Long story short: Don't get your cell phone wet. But, if you do, don't go running to your cell provider until you've been a little resourceful on your own -- it could pay off!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stage 19 Running Diary!

7:52 AM - We're coming to you live from Casa del Tuffy for Stage 19 of the 2006 Tour de France! We're also completely ripping off the (Boston) Sports Guy's "running diary" bit! So I'm not original...neither are you! Anyway, today's individual time-trial will determine the maillot jaune of this year's Tour, and it should be exciting.

7:54 - Apparently David Zabriskie of CSC has already completed his ride and is the current leader. I guess I didn't realize that he was that far down on the GC to be done already. But he's first in our hearts, isn't he? Zabriskie's tremendously ackward interviews while wearing yellow last year indeared him to a huge new legion of fans, and "DZ" has cemented his demi-god status with his audio blogs; check 'em out.

7:55 - Whoops! New leader! Sebastien Lang of Gerolsteiner set the new best time at 1h11'03".

7:58 - Oh boy...Big Dumb George Hincapie is on the road. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are commenting that George has had a disappointing Tour: he was to be the team leader, possibly podium, and make his parents and his lisp proud. He's failed on all accounts. Even his dog is embarrased.

8:06 - David Millar of Saunier Duval comes across in 1h11'46". Good time for a guy who not only has been out of pro cycling for two years but is also off of the juice. Wink wink.

8:10 - Speaking of the juice, T-Mobile's Serhiy/Sergei Honchar/Gonchar/Gontchar finishes in 1h07'45" besting the next best time by over three and one-quarter minutes. And Jan Ullrich was the T-Mobile riding who was supposed to be doping?

8:15 - Now the waiting game begins until the top ten begin their rides. I'll put it out there right now...Tuffy's final podium predictions are: 1) Landis, 2) Sastre, and 3) Pereiro.

8:23 - Ooo ooo ooo! Michael Rasmussen of Rabobank is now starting, wearing his polka-dot King of the Mountains kit. Word is that Rasmussen fell off of his time-trial bike in the start house. Four times.

8:30 - Best Young Rider challengers Marcus Fothen of Gerolsteiner and Damiano Cunego of Lampre will start back-to-back in that order. Cunego currently owns the white jersey, but Fothen is expected to put in the better time. Cunego has said that he doesn't plan on doing the Tour the next couple of years, preferring to focus on the lesser-regarded Giro d'Italia of his home country. Way to have your priorities straight, Damiano! Cunego could be his generation's Gilberto Simoni, which is to say "a huge disappointment outside of a few Giros".

8:38 - American Levi Leipheimer of Gerolsteiner starts. Leipheimer's had a disappointing Tour, currently sitting in 13th on the GC 15'01" back, losing four of those minutes to Pereiro in the first individual time-trial. Is Leipheimer America's version of Andreas Kloden, i.e., their annual overblown expectations? I think so.

8:46 - We're told T-Mobile really wants to win the Team Classification. Really, who cares? Quick! Name the last five Team Champions! Let me know when you're ready...

8:48 - T-Mobile's Michael Rogers begins. That means we're down to our last ten riders and our Tour champion is expected to be determined within the next 1h30', probably around the same time you finish with your Team Champions list.

8:54 - Holy crap! Did you know that Phonak's Floyd Landis grew up as a Mennonite in rural Pennsylvania?

8:59 - Denis Menchov of Rabobank starts. Remember last fall when Menchov put in that devastating Vuelta, vanquishing all of his opponents and completely dominating the GC on his way to his first Grand Tour win? What's that you say? Roberto Heras who?

9:03 - We're down to our last five riders. Only the last three are going to matter today, however.

9:06 - Landis is already in the start house, over three minutes before his start time. Apparently Floyd isn't willing to give away another ten seconds in a second start time gaffe this Tour.

9:07 - Hincapie finishes. He lost. That makes him a loser.

9:09 - Landis starts. One thing I won't miss when Tour television coverage is over: Landis' smug little coach, Robbie Ventura.

9:11 - Carlos Sastre of CSC is underway. Sastre is down 0'12" to race leader Oscar Pereiro of Caisse d'Epargne and has 0'18" in hand on Landis.

9:14 - Ok...and Pereiro is underway, sporting a sweeeeeeeet full-on yellow kit. Enjoy it, Oscar: this may be your last day in yellow. Ever. All of the riders have started now.

9:23 - As the television shows Landis' hind-quarters, this is probably a good time to remind you that this is Phonak's last year as title sponsor of Landis' Swiss-based team. Next year British wagering company iShares will take over, reportedly bringing with it new team colors of red with black. Just like CSC. And Caisse d'Epargne. Great.

9:26 - Kloden went past the first checkpoint just 10 seconds slower than Honchar's ridiculous time. If he keeps that up, he could podium. Why is it that Kloden only shows up to race in contract years? I think I just answered my own question.

9:29 - Landis has just set the new best time at the first checkpoint. Liggett just announced that Floyd will win the Tour after only 16km into a 57km time-trial. Knock on wood.

9:33 - Sastre has come through the first checkpoint over a minute slower than Landis, which means Sastre's also lost almost a minute to fourth place Kloden as well. Is CSC Directeur Sportif Bjarne Riis screaming or crying right now?

9:35 - Landis has taken ten of the thirty seconds he needs off of Pereiro at the 16km mark. He has 41km to take back the other twenty.

9:44 - Cunego just crossed the line...and he beats Marcus Fothen! Cunego will hold onto his white jersey as Best Young Rider. I would've lost cash in Vegas on that bet.

9:45 - Landis is just one of a long-line of riders who have left Discovery Channel/U.S. Postal after having a falling-out with Lance Armstrong. Landis, Boonen, Hamilton, Heras, Livingston, Vande Velde, Zabriskie, Vaughters, Andreau, and on and on. I'm sure Lance is a great guy, though.

9:50 - Landis has slowed slightly, going through the second checkpoint at 34km in second position (to Honchar). Liggett has put a little more seriousness back in his voice and has now ventured that Laurent Fignon will retain his yellow jersey. Liggett hasn't been at the top of his game this Tour.

9:53 - Who will be the first to disparage Landis' expected victory: Lance Armstrong or Greg LeMond?

9:56 - Sastre doesn't look like he's having fun anymore. Where's the in-car camera for Riis? We're missing some of the best footage of all-time!

9:57 - Pereiro was 1'23" off of Honchar's time at the 34km mark. That makes Landis the virtual leader of the Tour by 27".

9:58 - It's looking like the final podium will look like this: 1) Landis, 2) Pereiro, 3) Kloden. Kloden is really putting those extra red blood cells to work today!

10:02 - OLN didn't even bother to televise Leipheimer's finish. For good reason: Levi dropped six minutes to Honchar's winning time for the second straight time trial this Tour. At least he's consistent.

10:08 - Commentator Paul "Quick Calculation" Sherwen is in agreement with my latest podium prediction. Trivia time! What is Kloden's hemocrit level today? a) 60%, b) 70%, c) 80%, or d) 147%?

10:13 - Cyril Dessel and Christophe Moreau, both of Ag2r, just completed their epic battle for "Best French Finisher" with Dessel getting the nod. Those French sure are funny.

10:14 - Kloden finishes 0'40" back of Honchar with the second best time today. Let's just say that Kloden is obviously not a Creationist.

10:18 - Landis comes across 1'11" behind Honchar. He's lost the stage, but he's won the Tour, capping an amazing comeback from over eight minutes down just over two days ago. Amazing.

10:24 - Sastre finishes 4'41" behind Honchar and has lost his place on the podium. It's too bad teammate Bobby Julich isn't here to tell him what he did wrong.

10:25 - And Pereiro brings it home 2'39" behind Honchar. Pereiro has lost the yellow jersey, but he's ridden the time trial of his life, finishing with the 4th-best time today.

10:26 - And that's it, folks! Floyd Landis and his mutant right hip will win the 2006 version of the Tour de France! Floyd will sip champagne tomorrow in Paris! The news for the next few weeks will be Landis laying out his timeline for his impending hip surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation. Will Landis be able to return to professional cycling? If so, can he return to his elite level? Stay tuned.

[photo caption] Floyd Landis = Winner. (photo courtesy CarolineYang.Com)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Breaking News!

12:22PM, Friday, July 21, 2006:
Breaking news out of Minneapolis!

After exhaustive research, Tuffy has learned so Tuffy must report that the "guest blogger" for Smithers during his vacation will be...


Congratulations, (dis)pencer! Now, just don't bring down the Smithers Empire in one foul key stroke!

[photo caption] (dis)pencer, pictured center, assumes full responsibility for cycling and political wit during Smithers' "bon voyage". (photo courtesy SkinnySki.Com)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Floyd Landis

Q: Paper tiger?
A: Iron lion.

(photo courtesy LeTour.Fr)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Paper tiger?

(photo courtesy CarolineYang.Com)

Monday, July 17, 2006


[photo caption] Smithers riding Tuffy's bike. (photo courtesy SmithersMPLS.Com)

So, Smithers is out of town and is looking for a "guest blogger" for a week or so until he returns. Thus far, according to his comment log, Tuffy is tied with Mrs. Smithers as the people's choice to replace him. Interesting.

But Smithers wants nominees to post an "audition post" on their blog and then e-mail him the link.

Here's the bottomline: Tuffy would have no problem filling in for Smithers, but there's no way in hell that I'm sending him a link to an audition post. Tuffy doesn't need no audition. Take him or leave him.

Here's a Smithers-style nugget for you to munch on, though:
"Christian Vande Velde of CSC reveals how big of an impression Discovery Channel's highest GC rider, Yaroslav Popovych, has made on his rivals."

PS: In an effort to beat this global warmi...err...heat, Tuffy's decided to train at night. I'm not shitting you. So, if you see someone getting their training rides in from 11pm-2am wearing lycra and sporting lights on their racing bike, good chance it's me. See, 'cuz at night, it's all shaded.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Training Ride

Q: How do you get your training ride in when the forecast calls for 100 degree weather?

A: Hussle out the door when the thunderstorm begins and ride in the rain. And love it.

Photo courtesy CarolineYang.Com

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Are you tuning in?

Are you tuning in?

And I wanted to go
Half my life
And I feel kind of strange
Like I never lived that life

And I'm trying hard
To control my heart
And I always want to know
And I always want to go

New York are you tuning in
New York big city of dreams
New York oh what a city
New York are you tuning in

There's no time to unpack yet
Lets get straight out on the street
And feel no inhibitions
This city was built for me

And my head is full of questions
When did I feel this good
In the arms of my lover
Burning through the night of New York

And its funny how time flies
In the city that never sleeps
Its getting after hours
And I'm feeling the heat

I'm almost dead and buried
The day nearly done
But I want to keep on going
I'm going to kiss the sun in New York

And I'm feeling kind of selfish
I've been busy on your island
Just having my own fun

Its an English tradition
Find some money make some time
Get busy on your island
And slowly lose our minds in New York

--Richard Ashcroft, "New York"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Genius That Is Tim McCarver

[photo caption] Fox televison baseball broadcast partners Tim McCarver (l) and the nepotismically-challenged Joe Buck (r). The Fox executive who keeps them on the air is pictured between them. (photo courtesy NYOpinion.Com)

This is a paraphrased account of the in-game banter between announcer Joe Buck and color man Tim McCarver that took place during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday night. If anyone has the exact transcript, let me know.

Joe Buck (in reference to Joe Mauer): Tim, why do you think it is that so few catchers have won batting titles, none in the last sixty-four years?
Tim McCarver: Well, the thinking goes that the better the pitching staff the less likely the chance that the catcher will win a batting title. What happens is that as the game goes on, the catcher's hand becomes more and more bruised. By the third or fourth at-bat of the night for the catcher, his hand is so sore that he can only grip the bat with, maybe, eight fingers.

You have got to be kidding me, Tim. Mr. McCarver, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Now, to be fair, a catcher's sore hand might come into play once in a while, but that they're the main cause of a catcher not winning a batting title in over a half-decade? C'mon, Timmy!

What you should have said, Tim, looks something like this:

Option 1: "Well, Joe, the fact is that the catching position has traditionally been one focused primarily on defensive concerns. If you talk to most General Managers and skippers, what they'll tell you is that they first thing they look for in a catching prospect is defensive abilities. They want a player who can block balls in the dirt, a guy who can throw out baserunners. If they kid can hit on top of all that, well, that's just a bonus."

Option 2: "Well, Joe, the fact is that the catching position just might be the most physically demanding of any position in baseball. Squatting, blocking balls, and being so mentally involved in the game for nine innings takes its toll on the best of catchers, and it then takes a toll on their hitting, too."

Option 3: "Well, Joe, the fact is that a catcher, playing the most physically demanding position in the game, necessitates more days-off than any other player outside of a starting pitcher. Because of this, only a handful of catchers finish the season with enough at-bats to even qualify for the batting title, let alone win it."

Feel free, Tim, to combine elements of Options 1, 2 and 3 into one answer, should you see fit. I would've thought you'd come up with a better answer, Tim, seeing as how you were a catcher and all. Well, better luck next time, and I sure hope Al Leiter doesn't show you up again when he joins your broadcast booth for the playoffs this fall!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Best Cycling Jersey Ever, Finale

Yesterday's post on the best cycling jersey of all-time generated a lot of feedback.

Here are some jerseys that garnered "honorable mention", followed by the jersey determined by Tuffy's panel of judges to be the "Best Cycling Jersey Ever".

Honorable Mention #1: Faema (1960s; suggested by Skidsy McSkids)
According to Skidsy, this is the most stylish of all the jerseys worn by the great Eddy Merckx. What really sets the Faema jersey off is its simplicity / intricacy juxtaposition in the classic red on white color adorned with the cool "Faema" font on the chest.
Honorable Mention #2: Vuelta "Fishy" Sprinter's Jersey (present; suggested by VelociPete)
Excuse me while I vomit. Which page of the Primal Wear catalog did the Vuelta organizers find this thing? Thor Hushovd (pictured below) should sue for slandering his image.

Honorable Mention #3: Tour de France KOM Jersey (1975-present; suggested by Lunatic Biker)
Easily one of the most easily recognizable jerseys around. Red polka-dots on white? KOM, for sure! This jersey nearly made the original Top 5.
Honorable Mention #4: Astana-Wurth (June 29-30, 2006; suggested by Plan B)
A jersey famous for being worn for only two days: June 29-30, 2006. June 30 is also known as the date the Astana-Wurth team was disqualified from the Tour de France. The team had just unveiled its new kit after former title sponsor Liberty-Seguros pulled support earlier in the year. These kits won't be worn again, either, as Wurth has now pulled its support, too.

Honorable Mention #5: Cinzano (1970s)
It's easy to dismiss this jersey as one simply made famous by a movie ("Breaking Away"). Such dismissals don't give justice to the great style of this kit, however. A blue/red rectangle diagonally separated and adorned with a stylish logo on a black jersey is nothing to take lightly. This is a great jersey.

Honorable Mention #6: Cutters (1970s; suggested by Skibby)
The other jersey made famous by "Breaking Away" is the simple cotton t-shirts worn by the little engines that could, the Cutters. Not stylish, not original and not special, but definitely classic.
Honorable Mention #7: 7-Eleven (1980s)
The team that put American professional cycling on the map. The 7-Eleven jersey represents a nice mix of classic jersey styling with the influx of sponsorship logos that occurred in the 1980s. Plus, this jersey helped Bob Roll to write not one but two books based on his experiences with this team. Well done, Bob!
Honorable Mention #8: Castorama (1989)
Any jersey that makes you look as if you are wearing overalls is a winner! Plus, Frenchman Laurent Fignon wore this kit while losing the 1989 Tour by 8 seconds to Greg LeMond. Double honorable mention goes to Fignon's 1984 Systeme U kit, as well. Honorable Mention #9: La Vie Claire
Like a Mondrian painting set to lycra, the La Vie Claire jersey is one-of-a-kind. The jersey also gets special mention because it was the kit worn by Tour greats Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond in 1985 when the former double-crossed the latter and reneged on a promise to be a loyal domestique. See if you can figure that sentence out!
Honorable Mention #10: T-Mobile (2004-present)
The only truly classic kit in the modern peloton. T-Mobile's jersey has remained relatively unchanged since they evolved from Team Telekom to T-Mobile in 2004 -- and that's part of what makes for a classic uniform. When you think of the New York Yankees, the Detroit Red Wings, Penn State University, what do you think of? You think of unchanged uniforms that are simple in styling. T-Mobile, whether you like the hot pink or not, possesses a kit that will stand the test of time.

And the winner of the title, "Best Cycling Jersey Ever" is...

Wait for it...

wait for it...

Winner: Domina-Vacanze (2003)
Ultimately, what puts the Domina-Vacanze kit of 2003 on a level above all others is two factors. First, the aggressive and unique style of this zebra-like jersey is like nothing else ever unveiled upon the peloton, and credit has to be given to those who push the envelope. Secondly, the most notable rider on the 2003 Domina-Vacanze team was the great "Super" Mario Cipollini. This fact is important because the daring kit matches the daring personality who wore it -- this kit is inextricably linked with Cipollini himself and vice-versa, a reality that elevates this jersey to a level unequaled by all others. Well done, Domina-Vacanze!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Best Cycling Jersey Ever

Tuffy has been privy to a few different discussions recently regarding cycling fashion. In conversing with a BMC rep on Sunday, I think I put it the best way that I could:
"Listen: I'm not winning races, so style is the most important thing right now."

With that in mind, it is now up to you to decide on the best cycling jersey ever. Note your choice and rationale, if necessary, in the "Comments" section below.

[Ed: And don't offer your own jersey idea because you know I'm right about these five.]

Here we go...

Option 1: Molteni (1970s)
Most famously worn by the best cyclist ever, Eddy Merckx, and immortalized in the legandary documentary, "A Sunday in Hell".

Option 2: Brooklyn (1970s)
Another jersey made famous by "A Sunday in Hell", the Brooklyn team jersey was most notably worn by Roger de Vlaeminck.

Option 3: Domina-Vacanze (2003)
Ahh, yes. The famous Domina-Vacanze "zebra" jersey of 2003. While this jersey is incredibly unique by itself, it was made even more famous by adorning the shoulders of the crown prince of cycling fashion himself, "Super" Mario Cipollini.

Option 4: ONCE (2002)
On the surface of it, there's really not much special about this jersey worn by countless Tour de France failures (most notably Joseba Beloki, though he wore a pink version for his 2003 crash). However, the simple block-style lettering of team sponsor ONCE stands out from other teams' title sponsors. As well, the fact that there is an image of an individual with a walking stick is highly ironic for a professional cycling jersey. And finally, black and yellow always seem to go together nicely.

Option 5: Norwegian Champion (2000s)
No Norwegian champion has made this jersey more visible than Thor Hushovd of Credit Agricole. National champion's jerseys have to be here, as many of them are very stylish, and Norway's just happens to be the best of the lot thus far.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tour de France, Post Stage 8 Notes

[photo caption] T-Mobile's Serhiy Honchar is surprised that he's in yellow. So is everyone else. (photo courtesy LeTour.fr)

Saturday's 52km individual time-trial brought great change to the GC standings at the Tour de France.

Sprinters Tom Boonen (Quick-Step), Robbie McEwan (Davitamon-Lotto), and Thor Hushovd (Credit-Agricole) were vanquished from the top of the table and now occupy their lower, more proper, places in the standings.

Going into the stage, the favorites were the American riders. Floyd Landis (Phonak), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), David Zabriskie (CSC), George Hincapie (Discovery), and maybe even Bobby Julich (CSC) were supposed to shine.

Of these, only Landis lived up to expectations, producing a solid ride despite a bike change along the way. Zabriskie's ride was acceptable, though not up to his standards. Hincapie proved that he was Hincapie the Domestique and not Hincapie the Team Leader. Likewise, Leipheimer's immensely disappointing ride probably lost him control of his Gerolsteiner team in favor of Austrian Georg Totschnig.

Disastrous, however, was Julich's ride. Little more than a mile into the time-trial, Julich entered a "s"-curve too fast, went down, and severely damaged his right wrist. Doctors on scene reported that Julich's skin had suffered abrasions so deep that one could easily see the tendons and bone just above his hand. Needless to say, Julich was forced to abandon the race.

Where does this leave the pre-race favorites? Here are the riders I tipped in my "Tour de France, Redux" post little more than a week ago along with their current outlook:

--Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
The former Giro winner is now 07'06" down. His Tour will now revolve around trying to win a mountain stage, however unlikely that may seem.

--Danilo DiLuca (Liquigas-Bianchi)
DiLuca did not start Stage 2 due to illness and abandoned the race. Even worse for Liquigas, their other most notable rider, Magnus Backstedt, has ridden a miserable Tour.

--Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Evans is still a legitimate GC contender currently in 8th place at 01'52" back. Davitamon-Lotto has had a great Tour thus far, with sprinter Robbie McEwen dominating the green jersey competition. Look for Evans and his team to do everything they can to ensure a yellow jersey / green jersey double in Paris.

--George Hincapie (Discovery)
If it's not clear to Discovery Channel Directeur Sportif Johann Bruyneel by now, it should be. The three-headed Discovery leadership monster of Hincapie/Popovych/Savoldelli isn't scaring anyone. What Discovery is going to have to do is decide which one of the three aforementioned riders will be the team's designated leader and the entire Discovery team will have to put everything they can behind him. And that still might not be enough. The biggest problem facing Discovery is that Hincapie nor Popovych nor Savoldelli has done much of anything to grab the reins of the team. Savoldelli is currently the highest on the GC in 13th at 02'10" back. Hincapie is in 17th at 02'30" back, and Popovych is in 23rd at 03'27" back. While Savoldelli may have the pedigree with his two Giro wins and Hincapie is the (American) sentimental favorite to replace Armstrong, Discovery may have to force Popovych to the fore if only to find out what they have in the Ukrainian. Rumors persist that Discovery has been courting Landis about a return and, if that's the case, this may be Popovych's only chance.

--Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile)
The enigmatic Kloden has had a great first week and currently sits in 6th on the GC at 01'50" back. With his podium finish in '04, Kloden probably represents T-Mobile's best chance right now. However, like Discovery, T-Mobile's leadership situation may be unsettled. Ukrainian journeyman Serhiy Honchar won the Stage 7 time-trial by over a minute and currently sports the maillot jaune. Likewise, Matthias Kessler won a stage and was caught in the last 200m in another in Week 1, a distinct sign that Kessler may be trying to grasp the team's leadership as well.

--Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Landis has to be considered one of the most, if not the most, likely to win the 2006 edition of the Tour de France. Floyd has won three stage races already this year, is a proven commodity in the hills, and may be the strongest time-trialist in the peloton. However, Landis has relinquished over one minute to the field in two time-trial mishaps, and that single minute may be the difference between podium steps for Landis in Paris.

--Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Leipheimer's Tour hopes went up in smoke with his terrible Stage 7 time-trial performance. To add insult to injury, Leipheimer may also have lost control of his team Georg Totschnig.

--Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Mayo is down 06'11" and will try to make up that time in the mountains. It won't happen.

--Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
Like a pest that won't go away, Menchov keeps hanging around. The Russian currently sits in 10th, exactly two minutes behind Honchar. Menchov "won" the Vuelta after Roberto Heras' disqualification last year, so he has the chops to contend. Whether the Rabobank squad can properly support him may be the bigger issue.

--Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery)
See "Hincapie".

--Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
Despite Rasmussen threatening the podium in last year's edition of the Tour, his complete inability to perform an even adequate time-trial has forever dashed his chances as a legitimate GC contender. Now Rasmussen and Rabobank will have to decide whether he should focus on the King of the Mountains competition or devote himself entirely to Menchov's cause.

--Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Basso = gone. Julich = gone. By default, Sastre has become the leader of team CSC, even producing a splendid time-trial yesterday to put him in 16th on the GC at 02'27" back. Having lost the two strongest riders on the team, however, will Sastre, the heretofore super-domestique, have enough support from CSC for a podium spot?

--Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery)
See "Hincapie".

--Gilberto Simoni (Saunier-Duval)
Simoni is now 05'34" back in 49th place on the GC. Like Cunego, Simoni is now left to look for individual stage wins.

--Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Out. Broken collarbone. Stage 3. Abandoned for the second straight year. A terribly disappointing outcome for the rider who most had tipped as the race favorite before his crash. Maybe next year, Alejandro.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Happy (belated) 4th of July.
[enlarge image and zoom in on center of photo]

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tyler Denniston Exudes Love

[photo caption] Tyler Denniston of Category 6 Racing Squad exudes love. This love, obvious to both the eye and nose, emanates from within. (photo courtesy TheFogOfWork.blogspot.com archives)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tour de France: Stage 1 Notes

[photo caption] A bloody Thor Hushovd of Credit Agricole is helped to the ambulance for a hospital visit following Stage 1 on Sunday. Hushovd's arm was cut by a cardboard souvenir held by a spectator. (photo courtesy VeloNews.com)

Tour de France notes following Stage 1:


Some might say that there appears to be a curse affixed to the yellow jersey wearer after the Prologue. During today's sprint to the line, Thor Hushovd, sporting the maillot jaune following his Prologue victory yesterday, suffered a cut on his arm which affected his sprint and forced a visit to the hospital. According to VeloNews.com, Hushovd's injury is not considered serious, and the website projects him making it to the start line tomorrow.

Hushovd's incident brings to mind the crash of last year's Prologue winner, David Zabriskie of CSC, during the team time-trial event which made up Stage 4 in 2005. Zabriskie's still-unexplained crash cost him the yellow jersey in dramatic fashion. Similarly, Hushovd's cut forced him out of the sprint finish today, thereby foresaking the maillot jaune as well.

[photo caption] CSC's David Zabriskie looks a bit worse for the wear following his 2005 team time-trial crash. (photo courtesy ABC.Net.Au)


Thor Hushovd wasn't the only rider feeling the ill-effects of spectator interference following Stage 1. Reigning World Champion Tom Boonen claims that he aborted his finishing sprint after coming into contract with what he believes was a spectator's camera.


Fashionistas everywhere are wondering, "What could have been?" after photos of the Astana-Wurth team's new kits hit the internet. Eschewing the navy blue they had employed as team Liberty-Seguros, the team had taken the light blue of the Kazakhstani national flag as their new primary color. Because the team was expelled from the Tour, however, the kits will have to wait for their day in the sun.

[photo caption] Tour exile Alexandre Vinokourov (r) models the new, obsolete kits of team Astana-Wurth. (photo courtesy ESPN.com)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bobby Julich's Time-Trial Routine

[photo caption] CSC's Bobby Julich finished 29th of 176 in Saturday's Tour de France Prologue. Julich, who is not a time-trialing specialist, has stated that his Tour preparation has been focused on climbing. (photo courtesy ESPN.com)

[Editor's note: American Bobby Julich of CSC is keeping a web journal for ESPN.com during this year's Tour de France. The following excerpt is completely lifted from the ESPN site and is the intellectual property of Julich and ESPN.]

Bobby Julich's time-trial routine, in his own words:

• I only eat pasta with olive oil with parmesan cheese -- no ketchup, no meats, no veggies -- and I finish eating exactly 3 hours before the event.
• Try to relax as much as possible.
• Go down to the route about 90 minutes before the race starts.
• Try to follow one of my teammates in the follow car to see what the turns look like at real speed.
• Get back to the bus, go inside and try to relax; drink water and talk to teammates about the turns and wind in the trial.
• Start on turbo turner, a device we hook up our bikes to about an hour before the stage; I go 20 minutes, very easy, then move to five-minute progression intervals to get muscles and heart rate and sweat going.
• 10 minutes before race, I go back into the bus, dry off and put on my racing gear.
• I'm ready to roll about 4-6 minutes before the start.
• Normally, I listen to music, anything with a real high tempo. Rap music does it for me. Today, I wasn't in the mood, but I'm sure I'll have my iPod on later, like before the 20th stage of the Tour!

• I try to warm down and get to the bus and get on the stationary bike to warm down before meeting with the press. It's a time to reflect on my effort and share knowledge with my teammates that haven't yet gone in the time trial.