Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The year of the Pistolero or NOT?

With news of his arrival at Saxo Bank camp and a possible 1 year ban, I started thinking about a year with Pistolero.  Much like the Yankees, Duke basketball, The New England Patriots or Lance Armstrong, not many are on the fence about Conta, you either love him or hate him.  You watch to see him attack and win, or you hope he will not just lose, but get beaten!  Here is our take on 2011 with or without the Spaniard.

Say hello to his little friend!

Another year with Contador:

1. A pissed off Contador will be focused and ready to prove he did not need a Spanish Big Mac to win races. Alberto will attempt to win all 3 Grand Tours in one year. He will attack everything, including his shadow, as he tries to prove he is innocent.
2. Contador vs Schleck (on the road, not on another horrible commercial).  Each plays their part in this feud, with Conta looking smarter and just as strong.  Say what you will, but Andy got played on and off the road at the Tour last year.  Both are needed to make this the modern Hinault vs Lemond; Lance vs Jan battle. If Andy gets punked again, we just might make the "SHUT UP GIRL PARTS" tee @DivasTourFrance requested in his honor.
3. Contador being attacked by everyone that ever dreamed of a podium.  Let's face it, he has his work cut out for him this year.  Many have ridden with him and have an axe to grind and others don't like the way he raced the TDF. Other riders HATE Riis and the way he does business.  All non-Spanish riders might take turns putting him under pressure.
4. Marketing, marketing, marketing (Specialized, SRAM, Sidi, etc). Images of Conta riding, sleeping, levitating etc... Spanglish commercials aplenty.
5. The Pistol salute on Mountain Top finishes (while wearing the crotch eagle on his kit).  This gesture usually gets one of 2 comments "Man that is so cool!" or "Finger guns looked stupid when we were 6 and still do!"
*They might rig up a remote "wing" gun that the crotch eagle can fire when Conta posts up.
6. The tone of fans on the road would be interesting.  Will the majority cheer as he has been "vindicated" or boo like they did at Vino last year?
7. A more flamboyant TT helmet than last year.  Rue Paul thought that thing was loud; 2011 would be even more out there. Picture an eagle face on the front with aero-carbon feathers to match the eagle on Saxo kit.

A year without Pistolero (if he is suspended)

1. 3 stage races wide open for the likes of Schleck, Basso, Evans, Van Den Broek, Menchov, Nabali and others.
2. NO FINGER GUN SALUTES! More hate this than love it, so we say this is addition by subtraction.
3. US Bike Company Feud scoreboard is updated to read "Trek 1 and Specialized -1,000".  If you follow this US bike company rivalry, you will appreciate the impacts of the signing of Andy Schleck and/or Alberto Contador.  Major $'s lost on marketing for Specialized as they have to re-think everything from print ads to their booth at Interbike. Even a year later if/when he comes back, it will be like trying to market the love child of Floyd and Ivan Basso. Can you sell that? Especially in the US?
4. Chalk up one more for Espana as they are far and away the worlds best at doping in sport (or just getting caught) and trying to drag their feet during the process.
5. 2nd Winner of the TDF in 5 years to lose the jersey either means a cleaner sport or less careful athletes. This also means more stupid questions and coverage from the ball and bat crowd.
6.  Andy Schleck gets a pass on having to grow a pair for another year. He got played last year, and thinks Conta is his BFF.  Meanwhile the Spaniard laughs all the way to the podium and the bank.  Without Alberto racing, how can Andy show he has the stomach/stones to be a great champion?
7. Bjarne Riis finally loses the ability to get a sponsor.  Riis has proven over and over again he is bullet proof (Mr. 60 doped himself, had riders busted in Puerto, and still gets sponsors) this would be the end of his streak.

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