You want clean cycling?
Welcome to the 2014 Tour of California, now called the well-scrubbed, organic soap bar extravaganza.
Dig it in a love-hippy, revivalist, Greg Lemond born again way.
Or just grant me the benefit of the three glasses of wine in Santa Barbara. No, sorry, that’s two blackberry jalapeño margaritas and two glasses of stupendous California Syrah. That pretty much makes me more of an expert than Phil and Paul.
I digress, no, I escalate, no, I pontificate, no, I’m not Velonews, no, I am, oddly, rarely wrong.
What have we witnessed close up and inspired at the 2014 Tour of California, arguably the most dramatic, unexpected and thrilled edition of the race ever, is the absence of filth.
Boommuthafugga, as Garmin MBA candidate Jonathan likes to say between classes. Let’s review, shall we? (Oh, by the way, why do the bars in Santa Barbara shut down at 8:45? Do those trust-fund, entitled, beautiful SB students actually have classes on Friday?
I digress again because I’m not Daniel Benson of cyclingnews who is a fine human being but I suspect a slower drinker than myself.
So, evidence, Mark Cavendish, who hates dopers and love pistachios, wins the stage one sprint into Sacramento.
On stage two, on a 20kish time trial around the suburban gated communities of Folsom and damn renovation project, avowed dope-hater and Armstrong disser and English queen favorite Bradley sir facking Wiggins wins time trial.
How we doing so far Michele Ferrari and Johan Bruyneel and Riccardo Ricco and Operation Puerto Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes? You guys following the new script, you gleaming the squeaky clean reality?
Stage three and Sir Brad, the knighted Mr. Clean, sets a hard temp and only the non-doped-to-gills guys bother with an attack. Young clean gun Lawson Craddock takes his shot, then young well-scrubbed Garmin-Sharp kool-aid drinker Rohan Dennis hammers it for 200 meters. That’s it, no Ricco flash, no questionable bullshit.
We’re just getting warmed up people. Call David Walsh in Ireland and tell him everything is okay.
Then completely disinfected madness happens on stage four from Monterey to Cambria.
First, a six man break of Continental Never-Head-Of-You riders tricks the peloton on a sure-fire sprint stage and then to add insult to injection, middle finger to syringe, a skinny slumber from Canada who’s famous only to his wife, wins the sprint to defy Cavendish, Sagan and Degenkolb.
Well, that’s illustrative, aint it? Will Routley, we salute you and your vegetable garden and half-renovated house.
And yet the anomaly isn’t done and the next day the new fresh miracle occurs again. Taylor Phinney, Cycling God in Waiting, a man that hates pharmaceuticals so much he has sworn off aspirin, holds an entire rabid, rapid dog peloton to win solo on another sure sprinter stage.
Santa Barbara explodes with optimism. Hours later, our heads still spin.
Just today, former HTC-Highroad team owner Bob Stapleton told that he doesn’t think the peloton is as clean as some think. I respect his opinion but have to differ.
We’ve entered a magical period where riders handle a race one of two ways: stare at their power meter hour after hour because they know that they only have a single match. Option two: do the Taylor Phinney Dance and listen to the voice in your head that says go, go. go.
That sounds freakin’ exciting to anyone who love bike racing.