Posts Tagged ‘Alberto Contador’

Three Spanish cyclists and the mystery of the third person

January 20, 2014

Three cyclists, three quotes, one common factor.

Here is the final line of a news report on last year’s world championships in Florence:

“Clearly this is Purito’s destiny […] To lose the Giro by a whisker, then the Vuelta and now the Worlds.”

This is from the pages of Procycling magazine in 2012:

“Carlos Sastre was there for him; and when he had someone who could make his dreams come true, Carlos Sastre was in the second line.”

And this is how one rider assessed his previous season last week:

“I was often in the top five in races that mattered but that’s not good enough for Alberto Contador.”

In all three cases, the quote comes from the rider himself. Joaquim Rodriguez, Sastre and Contador are all talking about themselves in the third person.

I’m reliably informed by two people who, unlike me, can actually speak Spanish that this isn’t a quirk of the language: referring to yourself in the third person is unusual and just as likely to make you look pompous among Spaniards as it is among English-speakers. So I wonder if this is self-aggrandisement as a form of defence, because in all three cases the riders are trying to come to terms with a significant disappointment: Purito narrowly losing the world champs, Sastre constantly being Bjarne Riis’s second choice, and Contador winning only one race in 2013.

Cycling is a cruel sport with many big egos. Which makes it a bit of a mystery why we don’t see riders of all nationalities talking like this when the chips are down.

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Coming up with a new nickname for José Rujano

May 31, 2012

During the Giro, I learned that José Rujano’s nickname is “El Condor” – which, if I am to trust the services of Google Translate, is apparently Spanish for “The Condor”. Like the soaring bird of prey, the Venezuelan climbing specialist displays his magnificence at high altitudes. In that sense, the name is apt.

But condors are enormous, heavy birds, while Rujano is a light, relatively compact fella. More pertinently, lanky Dutchman Robert Gesink is known as “The Condor of Varsseveld”, and we really can’t have two condors in professional cycling. That would be like having two Cannibals or two Pistoleros or two Tyler Hamiltons, one of whom somehow vanished while in the womb. Utter madness.

So we need a new name for José. Littlejen suggested “The Dassie”, which is a small creature that dwells in mountainous regions. But dassies are found in Africa, not South America, which is a shame because I can’t help noticing that the cute little critters bear a slight resemblance to little José.

Instead, I suggest cyclepeople should use the name of another bird of prey when referring to the Androni team’s upwardly-bound sensation. Like a condor, it is found in Venezuela (and, in a pleasing co-incidence, it too shares its name with an independent bicycle brand). But unlike a condor, this feathery killer is small yet robust, similar to the man himself. And the moniker I’ve come up with also incorporates Rujano’s home state, as well as gifting many wordplay opportunities to sports commentators who seek to praise the multiple Giro stage-winner’s magical climbing ability and wizard skills.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby dub José Rujano… The Merlin Of Merida.

I hope this one will fly.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The Tour de France, remixed. Issue #10

July 29, 2011

5 DOWN “Ablerto” Contador
It was the Tour where he revealed himself to be a mere mortal – but before Cadel and the Schlecks humbled him at high altitude, Alberto Contador’s godlike status seemed unimpeachable, particularly to the subeditors over at the Daily Telegraph. The penultimate paragraph of Brendan Gallagher’s pre-Pyrenees assessment refers to Bertie as “He” rather than “he”, and in keeping with each of the Gospels giving slightly differing accounts of the same events, the quotes from the man himself appear to be somewhat repetitive (“The stage went well, and that’s good news for my knee […] The stage went well, and that’s good news for my knee.”) And God only knows why he’s referred to as “Ablerto” in the picture caption. Heavens above!

4 UP (too far up) Shorts
The drama of stage nine, which saw plucky Thomas Voeckler take yellow after a car walloped Johnny Hoogerland into a barbed wire fence, overshadowed a far more serious development: shorts are becoming far too short. The two breakaway men have been sporting the high-up-the-thigh look for a while now, with Hoogerland eliciting an “ooh-look-at-you” stare from Riccardo Riccò back in January, and Voeckler’s appearance causing a teammate to bite his lip at the Tour’s opening ceremony. But now they’re bloody heroes, so expect to see your more impressionable mates wearing the sort of shorts that would make a speed skater blush. Oh, the indignity…

Courtesy of the lip-smacking cyclinginquisition.com


3 UP Nicknames
Some say “Bo-AH-son Hagen”, others “BWA-son Hagen”, whereas Mrs Dynamite, referencing the sort of films young Edvald’s home region is perhaps most famous for, prefers to pronounce it “Boobs-and-hard-on”. That always gets a laugh in our famous soundproof bunker, although it’s obviously far too rude to become common currency among less rakish cycling fans. Similarly, her name for a certain high-shorted Dutchman – “Johnny Sexylegs” – is unlikely to catch on now that the horrific image of his lacerated pins is indelibly etched on everyone’s mind. But The DYNAMITE! Files thinks it has stumbled on a nickname for Thomas Voeckler that can sit next to modern classics such as “Cuddles” and “SMASH”. The little Frenchman licked his lips en route to taking yellow, got a bit mouthy with Hoogerland’s Dutch fans booing him on Alpe d’Huez, and he has a quintessentially Gallic gob shape, so The DYNAMITE! Files shall henceforth refer to him as… Le Mighty Bouche.

2 UP Viewing figures
Terrible news for anyone still hoping that the Tour de France would remain a weird, esoteric sporting event: watching grown men suffer for three weeks has apparently become a ratings hit, with UK figures for the final stage almost equalling its 1980s Channel Four heyday. Snobs looking to defect to another pain-filled sport may want to try The Spartan Race, which apparently involves running through flames and tugging a boulder on a rope. Like, epic!

1 DOWN The points competition
As you might expect, this blog is overjoyed that Mark Cavendish, our favourite tweeting cycleperson, has finally claimed the emerald prize that should have been his two years ago. But as for the concept of the green jersey itself… well, it’s great that the competition is now weighted in favour of winning stages, but you can’t make intermediate sprints any less uninteresting by renaming them super intermediate sprints and throwing a few more points at them. And let’s be honest: how many fans actually know the number of points up for grabs in a stage anyway? It seems perverse that the competition featuring the fastest, most thrilling finishes should rely on a dull, arcane number-crunching system to decide the winner. So here’s a radical idea: ditch the intermediate sprints altogether, give the maillot vert to the rider who wins the most sprint stages, and call it the Stage Winners’ Jersey. If there’s a tie, the rider who has consistently finished the highest wins. Otherwise, the points competition is, well, a bit pointless.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #3

April 22, 2011

5 DOWN Assos
Despite it’s unhealthy fascination with Fabian Cancellara, The DYNAMITE! Files has never met anyone from Switzerland, so it cannot wholeheartedly vouch for the intelligence of the country’s male inhabitants. Yet this blog is surely not alone in reasoning that Swiss chaps who ride bicycles do not habitually slop dollops of beauty cream on their private areas in the mistaken belief that a cosmetic product sold by a women’s fashion retailer is the same as chamois cream made by a high-end cycle clothing giant, even though the two have near-identical names. So how, then, has Assos managed to ban Asos from using the name in its home country? And to prevent any further confusion, will they drop the terms “knickers” and “tights” from the Assos website? Because those things really aren’t what ladies are looking for when they Google them, fellas. Especially when they’re modelled by a homoerotic mandroid.

4 UP Alberto Contador
The pressures of infamy appeared to have finally got to Alberto Contador on Tuesday when the Clenbuterol swallower was spotted shielding his mouth in a manner not wholly dissimilar to the late Michael Jackson. But let’s not label the poor chap Wacko ‘Berto just yet or concur with the banal explanation that the band of material covering his gob was to help him cope with his hay fever during training, because there is a possibility that El Pistolero was wearing a face mask to take his gun-slinging nickname to the next level. Wardrobe updates to watch out for at his next race: spurs on the heels of his Specialized BGs and a ten-gallon hat glued to his Giro Ionos. Ride ’em, cow-eating boy!

3 UP Sean Kelly
Speaking of bovines, Eurosport’s one-man humour vacuum Sean Kelly broke out of character on Sunday by deploying the wonderful phrase “done for the deep freeze” as a euphemism for the slaughter and dismemberment of a heifer. He was relating the story of how he won a cow in a Belgian crit and plumped for the latter option when the organisers asked if he would like to take it home alive or dead. That unexpectedly humorous anecdote delivered during a lull in the Amstel Gold would be enough for the Irishman to make The DYNAMITE! Five any week of the season, but he also gets an extra tip-o-the-hat for his steadfast refusal to pronounce the word “leopard” in the embarrassingly feigned manner laid out in Team Leopard-Trek’s infamous dictum to the cycling industry. For that one small act of defiance, he can mangle “classement général” and anglicise “Paris-Roubaix” any time he likes.

2 UP Kebabs
Fabian Cancellara’s choice of recovery food on Sunday produced another fascinating entry in the ever-expanding Dictionary of Fablish: a “Vino kebab”. Rumours that rickety carts bearing the legend “Honest Alexander’s Meaty Treats” were seen near the finish line of the Amstel Gold are wholly unfounded. Nevertheless, if you ever ingest a post-pub meal so toxic that you feel it has done something peculiar to your bloodstream, yet the sense of shame forbids you from ever admitting to ingesting it, then at least you now have a wholly appropriate term for the unfortunate foodstuff. Thank you, Fabian!

1 UP Douglas
You may have missed it, but Mark Cavendish won something last week: the Freedom of Douglas. Perusing the brief list of Manxmen who have previously garnered the same award, one can’t help noticing that Sir Winston Churchill and Norman Wisdom are no longer with us, and one of the three Bee Gees has not been Stayin’ Alive since 2003 – so it is a credit to the borough’s council members for bestowing the same honour on a 25-year-old who can raise the area’s profile among the under-50 age bracket. The Manx missile was supposed to have picked up the gong three years ago but his hectic schedule got in the way, so expect him to start exercising his freedom of his hometown sometime after the 2014 Tour de France.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #2

April 15, 2011

5 DOWN Universal Sports
Tired of waiting for the sporting authorities to decide whether Alberto Contador is a naughty boy? Then look no further than Universal Sports. According to a trailer, all you need to do is watch its forthcoming coverage of the Giro and the answer will magically reveal itself to you. Coming next on Universal: did a certain footballer really do all that business with a lady of the night? Watch how he kicks a football to somehow work it out.

5 UP Alans
He has suffered many indignities in the course of his long and undistinguished career – and now the present host of Mid-Morning Matters on North Norfolk Digital has been trumped by Alan Titchmarsh on a peculiar set of Allen keys which feature on the mighty Bianchista’s blog. Has the chirpy gardener ever shot a man live on air or put his foot through a spike? Then why, in comparison with Alan Partridge, is Titchmarsh the, er, bigger tool? At least we can all agree it is only right that Tim Allen gets the tiniest key because he’s not British and “Allen” is only his middle name. The fraud.

3 UP Round stays

Following on from the world’s first laser-fused nylon frame and last week’s wooden SRAM-equipped bike from Audi comes another staggering innovation in bicycle technology: two huge rings in place of seat and chain stays. Riding a gigantic Venn diagram has a certain novelty, even though its Canadian inventor Lou Tortola appears to be unwilling – or unable – to guide the thing in a straight line. Loopy.

2 UP Dangerous cycling
Instead of wading into the hoo-ha created by the proposals for a new Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill instigated by Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, The DYNAMITE! Files would like to maintain its reputation as a wholly unbiased media outlet by directing our inquisitive readership to the excellent Bagehot in the Economist and the Guardian’s Erin Gill, who respectively argue the cases for and against the legislation more persuasively than other commentators. Or if you really prefer to be irked, then pop over to the BBC News magazine, which bizarrely claims: “There is little that divides UK public opinion more sharply than cyclists.” Except for, say, Iraq, Afghanistan, tuition fees, the efficacy of following horoscopes, the imminent return of Big Brother, the existence or not of a supreme omnipotent being, global warming and just about every topic that comes up daily on a Jeremy Vine phone-in.

1 UP Johan Vansummeren
One of this blog’s few proud moments took place during Eurosport’s coverage of last year’s Tour de France when we made David Harmon chuckle by suggesting lanky Belgian Johan Vansummeren should be nicknamed Johan Van Somersault for his less-than-graceful exit down the time trial ramp in Bordeaux. Sadly, that comic moment will soon vanish from fans’ memories now that the gangly Garminator has won Paris-Roubaix, heroically crossing the line with a flat tyre and then immediately proposing to his girlfriend. The cry of “FABEEAAN!” from someone in the crowd which greeted the victor as he entered the velodrome on Sunday sounded very much like Sylvester Stallone’s anguished wail of “ADREEAAN!” in Rocky, and its tone summed up The DYNAMITE Files’ despair at realising the world won’t get a victory tweet written in Fablish, as well as the realisation that our mildly amusing nickname for Vansummeren will now be erased from history. Never mind, because as this belter of a photo shows, he’s earned a better one: No Hands Vansummeren. That, chums, is taking the well-worn phrase “floating over the cobbles” to the next level.