News of the impending Garmin – Cervelo morph job has the cycling world buzzing.
Lots of rumors, wild guesses, scenarios and variables. Who’s coming over and who’s not, how will Hushovd co-exist with Farrar, where does Heinrich Haussler fit in, will Tyler still be the only rider painted on the team bus, is there enough argyle fabric to go around?
However, the real essential question is no joke for team manager Jonathan Vaughters: are these two guys funny enough for Garmin?
No one is more cognizant and careful about team chemistry than argyle genius Vaughters. He is doing some serious background checks on Hushovd and Haussler. Yet to be determined — is Thor funny, can he ad-lib, what are his comedic references?
Garmin is not only a powerhouse ProTour squad but their sense of humor is second to none. Let’s not forget special guest Owen Wilson hanging with the boys at the bus in Paris on the final day of the Tour. Vaughters has no plans to compromise humor — he knows full well what happened to Radio Shack this year when they dumped Ben Stiller from the roster.
His people are in Germany and Australia interviewing Haussler’s friends and associates. Sure, this guy is a threat in the big one day races but what about improv skills, can he handle his end of a comedy sketch with Millar, is he as goofy as Zabriskie, is he a joke teller or does he write his own material?
When Garmin lost the acknowledged skills of laugh man Bradley Wiggins, Vaughters was distraught. Not at losing his best hope at a Tour podium, but on pure comedy alone. It took a while to recover, riders stepped up, even the shy Ryder Hesjedal threw out a few dumb blonde jokes.
When Vaughters looks at Hushovd’s resume he gets damned excited but what’s the powerful Norwegian have to offer beyond that — is he a crack-up or not?
By the same token, Haussler’s biological profile has passed muster at Garmin, nothing suspicious showing up, no anomalies, no strange, oscillating parameters. Still, signing up the Germaustralian is not a done deal. What are his influences — Monty Python, Marx Brothers, Dave Chappelle — is he wired on Tosh 2.0?
It simply doesn’t matter how much Pom pomegranate juice Hushovd and Haussler can drink, how many Chipotle burritos they can down in one sitting or how much DZ Nuts cream they can apply to their privates. All meaningless next to the core question Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters is wrestling with right now: do these guys make me laugh?