Maybe you missed this classic race. The Vuelta Ciclista Chihuahua Internacional. Yes, chihuahua, like the yappy little dog that, surprise, comes from the town in Mexico where they run the esteemed bike race.
Yes, this is hilariously true. A race named after a toy dog. Sort of like if there was a Tour de Poodle or a Giro del Gerbil. This Mexican Vuelta is the real deal, a 2.1 UCI cat race. Oscar Sevilla has done this race, Francisco Mancebo of Rock Racing has won the Chihauhua twice already. Dos chihuahuas, amigo! (Don’t make fun of chihuahuas in this part of Mexico or they take a switchblade to your brake cables and neck.)
But wait, the story (and the race) just gets weirder. Former Rabobank star Michael Rasmussen, the man booted from the Tour de France with the yellow jersey on his emaciated, Buchenwald back, plans to ride the Chihauhua. The Danish climber is nicknamed the Chicken — a Chicken in the Chihauhua. Apparently his wife is Mexican (true) and she loves small, rodent-like dogs nominally involved in bike racing (speculation). The town moto is “bravery, loyalty and hospitality,” which might be what you need to invite the blood-doping, centrifuge-buying Danish rider.
If you love the unique humor inherent in mangled translation, check out this nugget from a bizarre write-up on the Pan American Cycling Federation website. It reads like they went from Spanish to Chinese to English: “Rasmussen is registered again with the Tecos Trek, since then we have loved, we must not forget that in 2007 when he was leading the Tour of France, was removed from the fair, accused of doping, in a movement in the which was a plot.” Is that comic and yet touching and beautiful in a strange way?
By now, you’re thinking “I have to see this race.” Yeah, Paris-Tours or the Giro de Lombardia is exciting but wow, this race where pro cyclists chase a chihauhua across Mexico, now that’s the pinnacle of cycling action. Well no, they don’t chase a chihauhua — it’s not greyhound racing. There may be a cock fighting match in one of the team buses — can’t really say.
I would not expect the roads to be crowded with chihuahuas on leashes held by sassy senoritas in tight red leather mini-skirts all yipping and yappy as Seville or Mancebo go tearing by. The dogs, not the senoritas. That sounds like an old Taco Bell commercial for those step-above-dog food chalupas. Having spent my entire Useful Working Life writing TV spots, that campaign is a classic. Which reminds us, what about a new Powerbar or Clif Bar flavor that’s called fish taco? That sounds … horrific.
There, case concluded. Deluge Versus with e-mails — “I demand full stage-by-stage coverage of the Vuelta Ciclista Chihuahua!” Insist that Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen be dispatched immediately to lend their vocal gravity to this singular event. Force cyclingtv and Universal Sports to take affirmative action. The Tour de Runty Mexican Dog begins in less than a week. We must have stories, photos, insightful coverage and a few pics of chihuahuas biting Rasmussen’s tiny buttocks.