Cranky Merckx in Oman. Calling Mr. Hinault?
Great line from the old Hey Arnold cartoon where grandpa says “Simmer down ya hot headed looney.”
Was that Eddy in Oman? Did he get a little heat stroke and lose his head when the temperatures went over 100 degrees, tires were exploring and riders said, uhh, thanks but we’re going back to the hotel?
Merckx sure seemed grumpy down there in the desert and that’s no way for a legend to act — unless you’re crabby Bernard Hinault. In fact, there’s a theory right there — Hinault works for ASO and we believe Merckx does, too in setting up the Tours of Qatar and Oman with ASO backing.
Is Merckx trying to give Hinault some competition in the grumpy old grand tour winner category? We will know for sure when Eddy starts throwing hooligans off stage during the Tour de France presentations.
It’s like having two old bar bouncers, both grousing about how soft today’s riders are, how by God, back in the day when we were racing, we were men, with testicles and iron wills and nerves of steel. These guys today, well, really, look at Cancellara and Boonen, are they men or just whimpering boys? I mean they only have about seven Paris-Roubaix wins between them. That sounds soft to me.
Eddy got all pissy, making threats about excluding teams at next years’ race and maybe even having ASO frown on future Tour de France wild card invitations. He was irritable, crabby, boorish, full of threats and dismissive declarations — it was almost like listening to old UCI president Patrick McQuaid.
As in this bitter diatribe: “The riders spoke about their lives being in danger, and things like that, but that’s stupid because when they race the descents in the Tour de France and it’s raining, that’s dangerous, too. Had they not started the neutralized section at that point, nothing would’ve happened.”
Merckx was engaging in Conduct Unbecoming Of A Legend. Or perhaps he was oddly trying to re-live his Cannibal days when he dictated his terms to the other riders in the peloton. Eddy stood there underneath the underpass bitching out the riders like he was their boss and they were lazy ass, minimum wage losers.
That was kinda sad. Does he really think he’s going to threaten a genuine warrior like Fabian Cancellara? Seriously? We’re surprised Cancellara didn’t fall off his bike laughing. Is Tom Boonen really trembling in fear that his team won’t be invited back to Oman or Qatar? Don’t think so.
Carbon rims were melting and tubes exploding and Eddy’s head blew off. He lost it in the searing heat, sweating like a pig, lugging around all that extra weight and with no baseball cap to shield his melting noggin. Bad things happen in the sand dunes and Eddy needed a cold glass of ice tea and an air-conditioned hotel room. Chill out, Mr. Cannibal.
Then he threw out a lame attempt to shame the riders for their chicken-shit behavior — they were destroying the very existence of the race. “I don’t know what decision the city will take,” Merckx told VeloNews. “Will the race continue? I don’t know. We have to wait and see what happens. The protest could cause problems. They are very angry with a few riders and some teams may not be invited back.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. What else you got? Why not add that the riders were holding back women’s rights in the Middle East and raising the price of importing oil to Europe? You see — those pansy-ass riders are so selfish and inconsiderate that they should just have their licenses revoked.
Did Merck think about throwing a few punches? Was he ready to go Full Hinault on the bunch his face beet red, fists flying, shouting Walloon and Flemish insults? Image the headline: Spartacus drops ancient Cannibal with one punch.
Already ASO and the organizers in the Tour of Oman organizers are rewriting the race contact. They’re adding in an extra guarantee: Five time Tour de France winner and amateur boxer Bernard Hinault will be hired for “security.”