Saturday, July 23, 2011

Schleck Brothers: What if other GC guys had a brother?

So we know now that Cadel Evans will win this addition of the Tour de France, and once again Andy Schleck will be in 2nd place.  I have 2 main thoughts about the Schlecks:

#1 Is Andy happy with 2nd?  It appears based on his answer to the interview questions, post Amstel Gold (Schleck Bros towing service used by Gilbert) and today, that he sees 2nd as an achievement.  For some riders, like Tom Danielson, even 9th can be an achievement, but 2nd place should not be satisfactory for Andy. I have said it before and I still feel this way, I think Andy is a nice guy!  I would want my kid to go ride with Andy and get his autograph, etc.  However, I don't think he is a "killer" that has the IT to win the Tour de France.  Merckx, Hinault, Big Mig, Pantani, Lance and Contador had it, but I don't see that in Andy.  I can not imagine any of those guys in the prime of their career being pleased/enjoying 2nd place. I can not picture them saying things like this:




#2 Imagine what it would look like if those mentioned above had a brother that was close to their form.  Can you imagine the wicked damage the Merckx brothers or Armstrong brothers would cause? That is my main challenge in being able to root for the brothers Schelck; they just don't use all their tools.  Imagine if Frank attacked and they had to follow, only to launch Andy and on and on.  One of them would win and the other would be in the top 10 or a bit lower.
No question these guys knew how to play the #'s!


Look at how Mapei rode in the classics, that could be done by the Scheck brothers in a Tour. They have everything you need to rip apart the field, except the Killer instinct.  Others will argue that they still love the brothers and someday they will win one.  If it was a nice guy contest they are right up there, but Grand Tours are war for GC guys.  They are not ready to do everything they need to win the GC war. Until that changes, I see lower podium steps, and only lower steps, in their future.

Thanks for reading the blog and taking our Poll (you did vote, right?) PROMO CODE: ALPE good  for 20% off our Cycling tees @ www.hbstache.com Home of the HoogerlandTFU tee!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Contador: A more likeable character?

Earlier today I asked the question "@neilroad Not a Conta fan, but I liked that a lot. Does this TDF make him more likeable overall?" His response "@hbstache Pondering that same question."

It started quite the Twitter chat, with many people jumping in. It also started me thinking about how I viewed Contador myself


Pic I took post TT at Tour of Missouri.  He borrowed Levi's new bike and headed off to the hotel.  Not what I was expecting from a Tour winner.
  • 2007 - I was pulling for him to beat Rasmussen at the Tour.  Full disclosure, I was riding RAGBRAI with Team LIVESTRONG.  It was easy for me to get in the spirit, Lance owned part of the team and that team was filled with guys I really liked.  Conta seemed likeable enough, he had comeback from a serious crash, was a bit quiet and appeared humble.  I was around Alberto for a few minutes at the Tour of Missouri a few months later.  My impression of him, was that he was very quiet and really lacked a strong presence compared to Popo, George and Levi. It was hard to believe he was a Grand Tour winner.
  • 2008 - I still liked the guy at the time of the GIRO, but the Pistolero thing was wearing on my nerves.  I felt he and Levi got robbed with the Astana/ASO conflict.  
  • 2008 - Vuelta This is where I feel Alberto's new "Pistolero" persona started to grow and take on a life its own.  He was critical of Levi's efforts in the final TT at the Vuelta.  They were gonna take the podium and Levi had been a faithful teammate and didn't follow Alberto's wheel on previous stages as it would have taken across rivals. I was stunned with the attitude and media comments of the new/real Alberto.
  • Late 2008 - Alberto initially made positive comments about Lance's comeback.  Then quickly followed them up with comments about wanting to be the leader, leaving the team, etc. This was the point where most fans began to choose sides.  Much like Brady vs. Manning, you make a choice and you have your reasons.  
  • 2009 Tour - We all know this story with the Lance and Conta team battle.  Everyone has their opinion of that situation.  I will say again, as I did on Twitter, I heard some 2nd hand stories from the Nike rep that was with the Team. The gist was that Contador was being a loner, and staying away from the other team members, etc. The Lance battle is what most people talked about, but I felt the most telling issue was the attack Contador put in, that took Kloden out of podium contention.  At this point I flat out did not like this guy! They had the chance to sweep the podium and he still attacked. At this point you were either pro-Lance or pro-Contador.  I had met and ridden with Lance, so it's pretty obvious who I pulled for.
  • 2010 Tour - I felt his attack on Schleck and subsequent youtube apology were a joke.  I will agree with initial comments of Pro's like Steven Cozza, that the attack was not right.  There was no way he did not see Schleck come to a dead stop in the middle of the road.  After that stage I was really anti-Contador, as many were.  But, by the end of the Tour in 2010, I had to respect Contador's ability to manipulate the not so clever and naive Andy Schleck. I hated the stage finish on the Tourmalet, but thought Contador was brilliant trading a stage for the Tour.  He gave up 1 Mountain top finish and completely cleared up Andy's upset tummy.  I actually respected  Contador more than Schleck after this Tour.
  • Clebuterol positive test - I was in the 90% of people that thought the steak excuses was completely BS.  Combined with plasticizers in the blood, I figured he just screwed up and took a transfusion of blood that was not completely clean of PEDs.  Had I thought before that he was using something?  He was brought into the sport by the kingpin of Operation Puerto Manalo Saiz so the answer was YES! I was not shocked that Spain cleared him, and that he was racing in 2011.  
  • Giro 2011 - He was on the top of his game even with Beef Gate still hanging over his head.  He simply out rode everyone, while be tested more than he has ever been.
  • This year's Tour - I didn't believe it was possible to win the most difficult Giro in years, and then win the Tour.  Alberto's luck was only slightly better than Lance's luck last year.  On several occasions this year, Alberto seemed mortal in mountain.  I didn't think he was going to win the Tour, but I didn't expect to see him get dropped by Thomas Voeckler.  Then came the attacks that showed he would rather lose this Tour than finish on the podium.  I will say those attacks and his post race interview today had me warm a bit to Alberto.
     



Could it be that his mortality made him more likeable?  Was it the lack of "shady" moves during this race?  Did not seeing him do the "Pistolero" help? Is simply okay now that he is not going to win and then possibly have it taken away in court?  I am still not sure how I feel about Contador, but I am sure of one thing, cycling is better when he is riding.  There are teams and athletes that people want to watch because the like them or hate them. Contador is one of these characters; if he is racing, you know it is a must watch!  



Thanks for reading the blog and taking our Poll (you did vote right?) Here is a PROMO CODE: ALPE good  for 20% off our Cycling tees @ www.hbstache.com www.hbstache.com Home of the HoogerlandTFU tee!

TT showdown: Lanky Lux vs Spirited Aussie should be epic!


Andy will be in the start house in the Maillot Juane.  The question is will he have it on later in the day?  Cadel is one of the best Time Trialists in the world and seems to be in the best form of his career. He has also shown us that he can avoid bad luck for a full 3 weeks.  Andy is not built like a time trailist, doesn't look the part, has not performed well in TT's past.  All that said the same was said about Sastre vs Evans in 08.  Some how someway Sastre was able to put in the TT of his life to keep the jersey.  The only thing we are sure of is that one of these "brides maids" is FINALLY getting hitched.

Here are some recent battles that happened at the end of the TDF (Floyd vs Oscar, Marco vs Jan).  It doesn't always end as you would expect, so we are excited to see how it turns out!  Take our poll on the upper right of this page to let us know how you think it will turn out!




Thanks for reading the blog and taking our Poll (you did vote right?) Here is a PROMO CODE: ALPE good  for 20% off our Cycling tees @ www.hbstache.com www.hbstache.com Home of the HoogerlandTFU tee!

Monday, July 18, 2011

CYCLING WIKI LEAKS: LEOPARD TREK have a NEW BIKE for the Schlecks ?

We want to share BREAKING NEWS on the 2nd rest day of the Tour de France. The Schleck brothers have a solution for their separation anxiety.  As seen earlier on in Le Tour, when Frank went up the road "He really missed his lil' brotha!" Andy was also seen, looking around for Frank when he is getting separated on the big climbs.







After experimenting with a few others options including: A child harness leach system, helmet mirrors and picture lockets, a solution has been found.  





Fans spoke and they listened! Some fans suggested earlier on in the Tour via Twitter "The Schleck brothers should just ride a tandem!"  The brothers are taking advice and going forward with THEIR new bike.  The UCI weighed in, saying "We can not understand this decision, but as long as the seat is level...um...SEATS are level they are allowed to ride a tandem."

 So here is a 1st look at the new Schleck Mobile!


We hope you enjoyed our inside scoop!  Check out our cycling tees and kits at www.hbstache.com (home of the HoogerlandTFU tee!)


Friday, July 15, 2011

PINK #FUCANCER KIT Pre-order SPECIAL

We have been asked since our 1st version of the FUCANCER kit if we would do one in pink.  We have been thinking on it for quite a while, and inspired by the old Deutsche Telekom / T-Mobile kits of Ullrich, Kloden and Erik Zabel, we went to the drawing board.  We wanted something men and women would want to wear.  Pink is synonymous with the fight against Breast Cancer and the those affected by that disease. Anyone that has had a family member or friend touched by breast cancer will always look at the color pink differently. We feel we have achieved a combo that honors the strength of those taking on breast cancer and the legendary cycling team. We will be donating $2 per item to LIVESTRONG and $2 per item to Susan G. Komen. We hope that you like the PINK version of the FUCANCER kit and it helps you express the way you feel about the disease.
A few details we want to point out as we are not sure the pictures make them obvious.  The white sleeve and back section have a small light gray FUCANCER print.  The stripes on the neck and jersey pocket are pink, white, and gray.
Few 
Our PRE-ORDER SPECIAL is $185 if you order the entire kit. $80 for the jersey by itself. (We will be selling it on the site for $90 for the jersey and $125 for the bibs) On the site we will be selling race cut jerseys only.
* We will donate $4 per item (jersey or short) $2 to LIVESTRONG/$2 to Susan G.
On this pre-order we will offer race or club cut mens or women’s sizing. The kit is made by Champion Systems other jersey styles are an option (sleeveless, long sleeve, skin suite etc. email us for a price)
Please let us know if you would like to order by 7/29/11 order online @ www.hbstache.com  or (email us at info@hbstache.com)
Take Care,
Hbstache crew

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

HoogerlandTFU




Here are the HoogerlandTFU Tees!  We are offering Men’s in Black and Aqua and Women’s in Black and Gray (HoogerlandTFU is in red and the quote “I’m a Zeelander. We’re not easy to tear apart.” below is in white) You can purchase them at http://www.hbstache.com/default.asp 


The shirts are $24 each and as always we have a charity partner that will benefit from each purchase. We recognize that Johnny Hoogerland has redefined the term “HARD” at this year’s TDF.  While his injuries are thankfully not long term, there are others who have a longer journey to recovery.  We will be donating $1 per tee to Saul Raisin’s Foundation (Raisin Hope)Raisinhope.org   

Monday, July 11, 2011

Filling in the rest day of #TDF w/great videos

It's the 1st rest day for the TDF so I had to get my cycling fix in other ways:


Galibier – Who Are You? from RAPHA on Vimeo.








The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.


Viva Tommy V!  We watched him gut it out on Lamongie and it was Epic!



Hell on Wheels is an AMAZING look at the TDF! Now streaming on NETFLIX

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stage 8 of the TDF: Provoking thoughts about Vino, Basso, and cycling fans

So I awoke from my codeine cough syrup fog (I have bronchitis, I'm not using it in a Lil' Wayne fashion) to see the final 10k of today's TDF stage.  When I tuned in, Twitter was a buzz with Vino hate! Stuff like "I hope that Doper Vino doesn't win", etc..

I have to say I have been on two stages of the TDF that he won with his balls out style and I dig the way the guy races his bike.  I was on 2003 Stage 9 into Gap and 2005 stage 11 into Briancon and they were both awesome to watch.  As I have stated in the past, I do give these "sporting school" kids of the eastern block a bit of a doping pass.  If you were getting the needle since age 10, it would tend to throw off your moral compass.  I'm not sure when or how they were supposed to realize it is wrong.  There past was full of coaches, teachers, and mentors telling them it was part of the sport.



Vino got busted, served his time and now is free to race and win if he can.  I see WAY MORE negative social media going on around Vino winning a one day race or attacking on stage, than I do around Basso winning the Giro.  This has led me to ask the question, "does it really just come down to who we like?"

Basso won the 06 Giro in "ET" fashion by 9 minutes. He then got caught up in Operation Puerto, caused his dog quite the identity crisis, had his "Clintonian" style admission/non-admisson. Then re-enters the peloton, and goes on to win the Giro in 2010 and it is seen as a "come back" story?  So what gives?  Is it really because he a good looking Italian fellow that makes really bad Sidi commercials for Eurosport and could not double as a Bond villain? Umm...Yeah pretty much!



This Tweet from @podiumchic really got me thinking about the lense we view the sport through: "I do think #Thor is as clean as any, but NO1 has even wondered about him keeping Yellow this long?Just saying our "like" keeps us from ?ing"

Can anyone but Thor know if he is clean?  No not really.   We can believe, hope and think but we don't ever really know.  You can't prove anyone is clean.  It doesn't take many degrees of separation with anyone in the peloton to tie them to a doping team, teammate, director, coach, doctor or training buddy.  I even had someone send me a nastygram about my pick for this year's TDF, Cadel Evans, based on the BMC low level associate being caught with doping product prior to the TDF.  You name them and they have been, or can be linked - Levi, Horner, Fabian, Christian, George, the Schlecks, DZ, Cunego, Cadel, and even Jens.

I have come to this conclusion: It really comes down to belief that those you root for are clean and those you don't like are doing everything dirty to win.  Just filter for a second before you Tweet/FB about their "doping ways". Your guys can have the same thing thrown at them.  These riders are turning themselves inside out, giving their best, and risking their lives.  If they are in the race, they have as much right to win as the next guy.  Yes, although it pains me to say it, even Contador! If and when they get busted...then fire away.  As far as generally making fun of their kits, things they say, riding style etc..GO FOR IT!


Thanks for reading! Check out our cycling tees and kits at www.hbstache.com 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Stage 3: First 4th of July TDF win for US Rider!

Until today it had never happened, a US rider winning on the 4th of July.  That all changed today with Tyler Farrar winning the sprint in stage 3!  As he crossed the line he once again saluted Wouter Weylandt.  I agree with Robbie Mcewen's tweet: "Also shows what a great guy Tyler is that in his finest career moment he makes the #W #WouterWeylandt"

Bottomline: Tyler could not have had a better victory for US cycling!  Capt. America eating a red, white and blue bombpop, listening to Lee Greenwood, with his girlfriend in a stars and stripes bikini, with a pet eagle could not be more AMERICAN than Tyler was today! 


We are celebrating by wearing this:



Get this Tee and others with a SWEET DEAL from www.handlebargains.com $20 voucher for just $10 to spend @ www.hbstache.com 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

TDF Stage 2: Contador says "His lil' Pistolero wasn't happy!"

Our inside sources @ the TDF say Alberto Contador plans to protest today's UCI saddle inspection.  He claims that the adjustments he had to make kept his "lil' Pistolero and bullets" from being in a good position. He lost another 24" to his one of his main rivals Cadel Evans and now sits 75th overall.



After the stage Contador was visibly upset and made a call.


One has to wonder if he was on the phone with:

His butcher?
or
His BFF Valpitti?
Thanks for reading! Want a deal on www.hbstache.com tees?  We are this weeks HANDLEBARGAIN!  Go to www.handlebargains.com to get 50% off!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stage 1 of the #TDF: Even Gilbert's girlfriend matched his new kit

It get's no better for fans obsessed with all things Belgian than Gilbert kit today.  He paid attention to all the details from his his glasses to his watch.  His girlfriend even joined in!


His Belgian colored Canyon also looked sharp! (It's no Ritte Vlaanderen Bosberg but they are not UCI legal, so we will say his Canyon looks good.)




His watch is now on our MUST HAVE list of Belgian Bling! 








His girlfriend was also in the spirit!!! WE LOVE BELGIUM!




Thanks for reading.  Want 50% off to use on our site www.hbstache.com ?  We are this weeks Handlebargain. Buy @www.handlebargains.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

Contador and the #TDF. We have a few questions?


How is Contador able to ride in the #TDF?  Do we blame Spain?  Do we blame the UCI and their system? Has the CAS been dragging it'
feet?  




Umm...this might be part of the problem!

I think this is a legit question?


Want $20 worth of Handlebar Mustache gear for $10? Go to www.handlebargains.com this week only!