Monday, December 14, 2009

Birds of a feather

Following the news of the pro-peloton these days has become like watching a soap opera and has revealed what appears to be not just a few disgruntled cyclists and managers alike.  Late season rider transfers, buy-outs, unhappy members who wish to be on other teams, frustrated directeurs, on and on and on.  It seems that it's hard these days in the pro-circuit to establish one's identity as a stand-out athlete, and at the same time form and maintain allegiances. 

It was thus with great joy that I read on cyclingnews that a new alliance has formed between 2009 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and his new Astana co-captain, Alexander Vinokourov who were together this weekend in Pisa, Italy to unveil the team's new kit as well as welcome the other new cyclists in the first training ride of the season.  I cannot remember the last time I saw such beaming, genuine smiles (labeled for your reference with the yellow arrows, below) on two people.

Being in Pisa, Contador took the time to have the obligatory touristy photo taken of him seemingly holding up the iconic leaning tower to represent his ambition of holding up the weighty responsibilities of Team Astana for one more year.

Unbelievably, at the very moment Contador's emblamatic photo was taken, a pigeon began to attack his size 7 Sidi.

I was absolutely baffled by this.  I mean, what kind of a pigeon would want to undermine Contador's efforts of holding up the team for another year!  I decided to use some photo-enhancing techniques I picked up on CSI the other night to maginfy and examine this photo in an attempt to get at the root of what might be going on here.

Apparently, AC's feelings were quite hurt about the whole thing, as he has always been a major proponent of pigeon's rights.  Why, back in his hometown of Madrid, the local townspeople have even erected a statue of Alberto gesturing in his now famous "finger-bang" salute, and the likeness of Contador's giant marble index finger has become the favorite roosting spot of a pigeon the people of Madrid have affectionately named "Johnny".

Following the pigeon attack incident, in an amazing display of compassion, Contador's new teammate, the ever sensitive Vino, immediately rushed to his side to console the emotionally wounded champion.

In other news, the Garmin boys, still smarting from the recent jilting they were given by Bradley Wiggins, were the guests of honor at the NYVelocity's roller races as part of a fund raiser.  The Garmin manager, Jonathan Vaughters served as master of ceremonies wearing, what many have claimed to be, the most festive pants known to man.

I've reported on JV's pants obsession previously, as he is a firm believer in the good or bad fortune that his pants can bring.

But it should be remembered that what is one man's tartan-fabric talisman, especially when  red and fairly loud, is like the matador's cape to another man and might just invoke sheer fury.  We'll never know if such were the reasons that drove Bradley Wiggins away from the team recently, but at least one competitor at the roller races was not feeling the love for Vaughter's pants....

And just like in Pisa, there was more fowl-play at hand in New York on this particular evening...

Hell hath no fury like a pigeon scorned, or a chicken on rollers.

Pedal on!

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