That’s No. 2, a’ight. (I’d credit the shooter but I can’t nail down its source.)
I thought cycling fans worshiped the hard men at the spring classics until I endured the online wailing, the virtual gnashing of teeth and the rending of digital garments that accompanied Peter Sagan’s gruesomely juvenile fondling of a podium girl at the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Heavens to Merckx. A 23-year-old jock does something knuckleheaded in front of the cameras and from the caterwauling you’d think HBO had canceled “Game of Thrones.”
Some perspective, if you please. Ours is a sport focused on men who compete wearing garments that would shame a Lexington Avenue shemale for the honor of getting trophies that look like Home Depot garden-center remainders and air kisses from killer hotties who are holding their breath until they can rub up against something that smells better, like the homeless guy talking to himself on the train, or maybe a paycheck.
Then the guys in the plastic pants work up a big one and ejaculate a frothy fluid all over anyone within range.
I mean, as George Carlin once quipped, you don’t have to be Fellini to figure this one out.
Was Sagan out of line? Of course. Did you ever do anything stupid in public without the questionable excuse of being The Next Big Thing In Pro Cycling at an age when many a young fellow has just graduated college and is trying to decide which Mickey D’s can make best use of his B.A. in English? Seems likely. I know that if Twitter had been around when I was 23 I’d never have lived to see 24.
Hot links from two prominent bicycle-racing websites.
It would have been swell if the podium girl in question had swung around and slapped the smirk off Sagan’s face and hissed, “Only the winner gets to touch me!” Or if Bernard Hinault had suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hurled him off the stage. Then we could all move on from our long international nightmare.
But this tempest on Twitter strikes me as a bit over the top.
How about a little outrage over the lack of opportunities for (and coverage of) women racers? Doesn’t anyone find it disturbing that slender models smooching smelly Belgians get more TV time than women pros? Has anyone on the fainting couch noticed that certain bicycle-racing websites derive some of their revenue from links that could more charitably be described as “questionable?”
Maybe it’s time cycling did without the podium ceremony, in which beautiful women are among the spoils claimed by victorious male gladiators. It seems anachronistic, a bit of theater that has outlived its usefulness, a dinosaur long overdue for its date with the tar pits — you know, like the UCI.
The biting of the medals, the spraying of the bubbly, the raising of the arms (at which the podium girls take a few paces back) — it all makes for lousy imagery, until some hormone-crazed showboat decides to play a little grab-ass.
And then what on the cobbles is a thing of beauty starts to look like your cousin’s wedding, with drunk Uncle Buster mistaking a bridesmaid for an hors d’oeuvre.
• Late update: Young Master Sagan apparently has been taken to the woodshed, from whence issues this video apology.
• Even later update: Good lord, the putz has apologized and they’re still at it on Twitter. These people need to get laid. Get jobs. Get stuffed. Jaysis.