The Morning Wood: Recounting an Epic Day of Sport

Oh thank Christ, the summer doldrums are almost over. Football’s back, fútbol is back, and the Race War for the White Haus™ gets in full swing this week as thousands of self-hating welfare queens descend on Tampa, Florida for the intellectual equivalent of a Furry convention.

Will Hurricane Isaac swamp the proceedings, leaving the conventioneers of Real America with nothing to do except to cruise Grindr? HOPEFULLY. Will Doctor Ron Paul’s delegates get pretty pissed about being administratively removed from having any formal recognition at the convention? YOU BET.

Monday’s RNC proceedings have been canceled in light of the weather, so we’ll come at you with a preview of ALL THE HAWT GEE-OH-PEE ACTION Tuesday morning, for liber-tea and freedumb.

On to the Monday Morning links, you peasants!

Yesterday’s heavyweight matchup between Liverpool and reigning Barclays® Premier League Champions Manchester City finished in an all-action 2-2 draw at the white-hot Anfield Road Stadium in scenic north Liverpool, Merseyside. A sellout crowd 44,000 turned up to see the first home league match under the new leadership and philosophy of Brendan Rodgers, the 39-year old Northern Irishman recruited from fellow Premier League club Swansea City.

LFCee’s players are still getting used to Mister Rodgers’s short passing philosophy, and this learning process manifested itself in two ghastly mistakes from defenders normally inclined not to take chances under pressure, punished to the fullest by Manchester City. Your correspondent has every confidence that Martin Kelly and the Slovakian man-beast Mrtn Skrtl will get the hang of it, but gifting two goals to spare the champions’s blushes is difficult to take. All in all, the performance left several positive impressions and may put to bed some of the initial hand-wringing after a harsh 3-0 reverse away at West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season. Joe Allen’s passing was incisive, 17-year old Raheem Sterling justified his selection in the starting XI by tormenting Kolo Toure for 90 minutes, and Luis Suárez scored a peach of a free kick.

Here for your footballing enjoyment are the BBC highlights from the wonderful (and therefore unavailable to ‘Merican cable subscribers) Match of the Day, which has been on the air for 48 years almost to the day since the program first covered Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Arsenal in a league match at Anfield on August 22, 1964.

Yesterday marked the finale of a successful second iteration of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a seven-stage road bicycling race through the mountains and the Front Range cities of scenic Colorado. Your intrepid correspondent found a shaded spot at the second to last turn of the 9.5 mile individual time trial stage through central Denver and watched the riders fly into the first corner of a downhill corkscrew turn just before the finish line. Like the Laguna Seca raceway, but for bicycles… and in Colorado.

Oh, just shut up.

Boulder, Colorado native Taylor Phinney was the stage winner; at 17:25 he averaged just over 33 miles per hour on the mostly flat course. Young master Phinney, who finished 4th in both the 2012 Olympic time trial and road race, finished well off the pace in the overall General Classification standings at 69th out of 135 riders.

The overall winner of the Pro Cycling Challenge and second place finisher at the Denver time trial was Christian Van de Velde, the American from Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda who finished just ten seconds slower than Phinney.

Monsieur Van de Velde’s victory came at the second time of asking; the 36 year old Lemont, Illinois native finished the 2011 Pro Cycling Challenge just 11 seconds behind that year’s winner Levi LeipheimerHerr Leipheimera native of Butte, Montana and rider for Team OmegaPharma-Quickstep held the yellow jersey going into the Denver finale but at 43 seconds behind could only manage a ninth place finish and dropped to third place in the overall standings.

Boulder and the great state of Montana were further represented on the winner’s podium by Tejay Van Garderen, the 22-year old Bozeman, MT native and resident of the Republick of Free-Range Granola. Herr Van Garderen finished third in the time trial and second in the overall General Classification standings, a mere three seconds ahead of Leipheimer.

See the brilliant Radio Shack® Tour Tracker® for comprehensive highlights of all seven stages of this marvelous race, which may be already eclipsing the Tour of California as the premier road racing event in ‘Merica. Some stages of this year’s event, but particularly the mental Golden – Boulder – Nederland – Lyons –  Ward – Boulder – Flagstaff Mountain Stage 6, even compare favorably to stages at the Tour de France for attendance, sporting quality, and excitement.

This periodical’s resident Denver Broncos correspondent, Magic Sam, will be along later to share his impression of the Broncos’ third of four pre-season games, yesterday’s match-up with the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority® Field at Mile High in Denver. Some impressive play from Peyton Manning, profoundly dodgy decisions from the replacement referees, and perhaps the dawn of a golden era for young Broncos wideout Eric Decker. THROW THE BAWL TO DECKAH!

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