Ride the Puddles

The Evil Conspiracies of Paris Roubaix and the Interrogation of Jonathan Vaughters

Posted by bikezilla on April 14, 2011

The very first thing I wondered about Paris – Roubaix this last Sunday was, “When you know that no matter who wins, he’s going to have the upper body strength of a 5 year old, why do you create a trophy that’s got to weigh every ounce of 30 pounds?

You have to think that race organizers watch each edition’s winner struggle desperately attempting to hoist this mighty chunk of stone above their heads while posing for the camera, and then laugh until they cry or wet themselves.

Look at the picture in Velo News article.

Do you know what that is? It’s Van Summeren and his prize, 1/4 second before his intestines burst through the wall of his abdomen and his spine disintegrated.

True story.

But why complain about something as silly as a few blown disks and a couple of hernias when we have a perfectly good opportunity to bash Jonathan Vauthers?

Tyler Farrar finishes the Tour of Flanders as the highest placed Garmin – Cervelo rider at 13th, after the sinister Jonathan Vaughters orders him to hold back and hope for a bunch sprint for third. Vaughters gets ripped.

If you watched the live video you saw Vaughters twirling his non-existent mustachio and snickering like Snidely Whiplash as he gave that order (again, true story). Clearly he had plotted all along to doom Farrar to the obscurity of a non-top ten finish.

A little JV bashing after that one was understandable. Misguided, sure, but what’s the point of wasting our fairness and reason on a blackheart like Vaughters?

Then Johan Van Summeren, an undeserving nobody, takes the top spot for Garmin – Cervelo at Paris – Roubaix, the most prestigious cobbled classic, the Queen of them all.

Sure his win was gorgeous, emotional and inspirational. Sure it was bought through a combination of his own strength, toughness and suffering, through strong team riding, intelligent tactics and a bit of luck, but we know he didn’t really belong up on that podium.

Again, that villain Vaughters manipulated the field of play, nefariously tying Thor Hushovd’s hands for no other reason than to humiliate him by gifting the win to a lesser talent, a lesser man.

Imagine, Thor Hushovd, World Road Race Champion, forced to endure the humiliation of a mere domestique, HIS domestique, holding that most coveted of all classics victories.

There is no humanity in such an injustice and clearly there is no goodness or rightness in the heart of Jonathan Vaughters, even as he guides his team to their greatest performance of the season thus far.

That Thor must ride vs Fabian Cancellara is not relevant. That Fabian is a stronger rider of considerable guile and intelligence, is not relevant. That Thor had no realistic chance of besting Cancellara in a head to head showdown, is not relevant.

Only the wrong done to Thor by the dastardly Vaughters is of consequence.

As John Wilcockson mentioned, Johan Van Summeren is no Phillipe Gilbert and the fact that Gilbert cared not enough about Paris – Roubaix to even show up only punctuates the unworthiness of lowly Van Summeren.

Wilcockson, in his brilliance, cleverly noticed that Van Summeren is also no Sean Kelly. The fact that Van Summeren’s strength is entirely his own and that Kelly’s strength came under a potential dark cloud, is clearly further evidence that Van Summeren’s win disgraces the very name “Paris – Roubaix”.

I had fully intended to come here and say “Obviously Vaughters screwed up AGAIN. Duh, screwing up is what Vaughters does best”. But that absolves Vaughters of the pure, Hell-born evil of his intentions.

There are so many “ifs”. If Lars Boom (“Boom”? really? Shouldn’t his nickname be “Ka”?) hadn’t flatted. If Tom Boonen hadn’t been forced to relax and snort a line while waiting thirty seven hours (yes, 37 hours. I timed it) for a new bike after his chain got stuck. If Hushovd and Cancellara had put on their Big Boy Pants and worked together. If better, more deserving riders had not had problems. If more quality riders had chosen to race P-R instead of taking the easy way out and racing the Basque Country or sitting at home getting fat eating popcorn. If former champion Guesdon wasn’t nearing his four hundredth birthday.


Each “if” again defining the many reasons that Van Summeren is an impostor to the thrown.

Everyone knows that such things are not a normal part of racing, and so it is right to use them to invalidate this victory by the lowly Van Summeren.

Here’s another article, this one from
Lionel Birnie
, trying to explain away Vaughters’ malignant and wrong-headed control of the race.

Go. Read.

Done? Excellent.

Now that that silliness is out of that way, we can continue our Vaughters bashing.

The facts that Thor abandoned Fabian’s wheel when Fabian made his final jump, that Fabian, with no help from anyone, nearly managed to pull off the win, that the only time and place Thor had any chance of victory was if he could face off with Fabian inside the Roubaix Volodrome, all underscore the merciless reality that Thor was victimized by the hideous duo of Vaughters and Van Summeren.

From race reports and Twitter conversations it almost seems like fans and news wanks are angry at Van Summeren for winning, like in some way they actually think less of him, that they resent him, as well they should.

Any victory of that caliber, a victory that nearly inspired tears, by a mere domestique, is rightly and justly denigrated by the masses.

Let us, you and me, strap Vaughters to a chair, clamp our battery cables to his nipples, aim the flood light at his face (including those goofy sideburns) and get some answers out of him.

Whilst spy . . . , er, whilst performing my reconnaissence I noticed Vaughters praising Peter Van Petegem, Garmins’ Classics Consultant, a classics legend himself and the possible successor to Matt White, for his brilliance.

Bikezilla (no, I’m not going to give you any credit for this interro . . . interview.):

You thanked Peter Van Petegem for his brilliance. What exactly did you mean? How did his brilliance shape the race?

Jonathan Vaughters:

“Peter was a great partner in all the classics. He knows those races so well, its just unreal. So, I know the riders, he knows the races, together we made a good team.”

So, you’re going to be evasive. Fine.

Don’t watch, comrades. I need to strike him several times in sensitive places. The less you see, the less you can tell the authorities.

Ok, let’s try again.


Going in, was Johan Van Summeren your Plan A? Was Thor a decoy?

Jonathan Vaughters:

“No, no, please don’t hit me again. I’ll tell you everything!” (It hurts me that you think I made that up)

“Thor was always plan A, but for him to win it needed to be a sprint on the velodrome. So, that’s what we were trying for.”

The careful application of bamboo and baton has loosened up Vaughters’ dastardly tongue. And so we continue.


Was Van Summeren your Plan B going in? If so, at what point did he become your Go To Guy?

“I’ll tell you! I’ll tell you everything! Just, please, don’t make me eat that plate full of day old brussel sprouts!” (No, seriously, he really said that).

“Summie made himself plan B by riding across to the break with Boom after the Arenberg. Once he was out there, I knew he could win as well, as he is very strong after 250kms and very strong on the cobbles.”

Yes. I see. Would you like some water? Perhaps in a bit. If you continue cooperating.


When Fabian rode along side your team car and said he wasn’t going to do all the work, did you think something along the lines of, “Now I have him by the balls!”?

Jonathan Vaughters:

“Whenever your rival loses their cool, its a good thing for your own race.”

So, you’re back to being evasive. Ok.

Take THIS! AND . . .

Jonathan Vaughters:

“No! Please, I’ll say anything! Anything!” (again, totally real dialogue)


How did that conversation affect your tactics for the rest of the race? Don’t make me ask you this twice.

Jonathan Vaughters:

“I’ll talk! I’ll talk! I swear I’ll talk” (Nice to see he’s finally coming around)

“I simply told Fabian that we would chase with Vanmarcke and I would pull Rasch back from the break to chase too. I didn’t say more.

Having Thor go pull for pull with Fabian would be a sure way to lose. So, we kept bringing the break back to 50 seconds or so, and then if Fabian wanted to finish it off, he could, but he’d have to take Thor with him.

By chasing from behind we also put pressure on the other riders in the break to keep pulling hard, keeping Summie at an advantage, as he is very good at a high/steady pace.”

“Now can I have some water? Please? Just a sip?!”

Soon, my friend. Soon.


15km is quite a solo from the lead group with a race that long. Did you choose that distance because Fabian often makes his move between 15 and 20km? If not, then why?

He seems to hesitate. I raise the baton menacingly and he caves in, utterly broken.

Jonathan Vauthers:

“Carrefour is the last hard cobble section. Summie doesn’t have the acceleration to attack on a paved road, but on Carrefour he could just steadlily drop his rivals, which he did. So, that distance was the last opportunity for him to go solo, and solo was the only way he’d win. If he came out with 2 guys on his wheel, he would wait for Thor.”

Bikezilla (acting as if I’m about to pick up the pitcher of water and pour a glass):

You told Van Summeren that he could go, but only on his own.

Jonathan Vaughters:

“JVS would have had to wait (for Thor), if he didn’t come out of Carrefour alone. But he did come out alone….”

Bikezilla (pouring a glass of water, moving it to the table, just out of JV’s reach):

What if anyone had jumped with him when he went at 15k? How would that have gone?

Jonathan Vauthers (starring longingly, desperately, at the water):

“Not well. JVS has no sprint. If Rast/Tjallingi had stayed with him thru Carrefour, Johan would have to sit or wait for Thor.”

Very good, my friend, we are almost finished, here.


How did Thor’s struggle to stick with Fabian play into your tactics and plans?

Jonathan Vaughters:

“Thor was fine.”

I apologize comrades, but I must again request that you turn away. Please, pay no attention to whatever crying, begging and screaming you may hear.

Bikezilla (wiping, sticky, ugly, yucky goo from baton):

Now, let’s try this again.

How did Thor’s struggle to stick with Fabian play into your tactics and plans?

Jonathan Vaughters:

“Ok! Ok! Just please . . .!” (Silly little Vaughters)

“We never told Thor not to work, we just said “don’t ever put yourself in a position where Fabian can drop you.” Thor knows his body well enough to know what he could and couldn’t do to make sure Fabian couldn’t drop him.”

Very good, Jonathan.

(I drink the water in the glass and pour the pitcher down the sink, then exit the room, laughing manically as Vaughters begins to cry)


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