A Note from Fatty: Huge thanks go out to Paul Guyot for his extraordinary guest-posting for the past couple weeks. I now look forward to the next time I head out on vacation not just for the sake of the vacationing, but for another chance to have Paul write here. Paul (and Bucky), thanks!
I have been in France for the past couple of weeks, riding with The Hammer and Andy Hampsten. It was a fantastic trip and I have a lot of stories to tell. In fact, I had hoped I would be able to begin telling those stories today.
But I can’t. Because this simply cannot wait.
You need to face the facts, Levi. And the facts are that while others in the pro peleton are content to use their legs to do the talking, you have adopted considerably more brutal tactics to facilitate your “win at any cost” mindset.
Choke-holds. Kidney punches. Strong language expressed in a loud voice at inopportune moments. It’s as if nothing is off-limits to you.
Oh, don’t go and give me that innocent look, that “Hey I weigh 112 pounds and spend my free time smiling next to cute little doggies” face.
That face doesn’t fool me for one second.
And judging from that look of terror in the little dog’s eyes — notice the way it’s doing its level best to look away from you — it’s not fooled, either.
You may look like a friendly, unassuming pro cyclist, but the evidence of recent public events, photographic evidence, and my experience all tell a very different story.
A very different story indeed.
I remember — all too clearly — the events at the Festa del Fondo last year that gave me the first inkling of your strategy of force and intimidation that is now all too clear.
I was walking around, meeting people. Eating an occasional h’ordeuvre. Signing autographs. Enjoying the ambiance.
And then I heard my name called. “Hey, Fatty!”
It was you, of course. Smiling. Always smiling. “Come on over here and let me get my picture with you!” you called, smilingly.
I’m used to this request, so patiently complied. We got that first photo.
I remember registering surprise at the way you sucked in your gut, but said nothing. You were with an internet cycling celebrity; of course you wanted to look good in the photo.
And then, suddenly, I was doubled over, my air supply cut off. My head was being pounded, relentlessly. Noogie after noogie.
The pain was incredible, and — I confess it — I screamed for mercy.
You smiled and tightened your grip. And the noogies kept coming.
My agony was such that I nearly blacked out. Just look at me, for pity’s sake.
Is that not the face of agony? I submit that it is.
Finally, as my knees were about to buckle, you released me, shoving me away. “Take it easy on the h’ordeuvres, would you?” you sneered (while somehow still smiling). “Other people might want some too.”
My next set of evidence of your brutish behavior is much more severe, and reveals the scope of your reign of terror over your fellow professional cyclists, both within your team and without.
Let’s consider the 2011 Tour de France.
Team RadioShack started the Tour with approximately nineteen GC contenders, of which you were one.
First, Brajkovic conveniently exited the race. And then Chris Horner crashed out. Mysteriously. How curious that we all saw the aftermath of his crash, but not the crash itself.
And how surprising that his concussion has rendered the events surrounding the accident rather fuzzy.
Oh, and then there was Kloden. Kloden, who everyone was supposed to get behind and work for.
Kloden, who retired from the race with a “sore back.”
From four GC guys down to one. And who was that one? Levi “All Smiles” Leipheimer, that’s who.
When you consider all this, is it any surprise that you’re no longer wanted on Team RadioShack, Levi?
But it wasn’t just inside Team RadioShack that you were beating up on others, wasn’t it? Here you are with a rider some have called one of the toughest men in cycling, Jens Voigt:
I tell you, Jens should have started running as soon as he saw that smile. Instead, he hung around, and before long, you were up to your old tricks:
That poor guy never had a chance. Oh, and your smile here looks positively sinister.
As I have mentioned, Levi, I have spent the past couple weeks in France, riding in France. While there, I got a chance to interview Andy “Freaking” Hampsten, a former pro cyclist of some renown. The entirety of this interview will be presented later this week, but for now, I think this part is pretty telling:
Clearly, Mr. Hampsten was too afraid to come right out and say it, but I think it’s pretty clear that he’s afraid of the repercussions of admitting that he — like all too many others — has been punched in the throat by you.
Please, Levi, seek help. Your anger issues are quite obviously severe, and only getting worse.
If your unchecked aggression remains … well, ummmm … unchecked, who knows where it will eventually lead?
Will you one day smile as you spin-kick Phil Liggett?
Will you smile as you strike Andy Schleck with a blackjack, thereby quite likely breaking him in half?
Will you someday snap entirely and yell at one of the pot-bellied pigs in your petting zoo?
Frankly, I shudder at these thoughts, and hope never to find out.
Do the right thing, Levi. For others. For yourself.
The Fat Cyclist