Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wrong Again!

Forza Italia: So it’s CSC youngster Franck Schleck, not Carlos Sastre (who usually uses Schleck to help him, but didn’t quite have the legs), to take the stage after he was propelled out of a 25-then-15-man break by Dave Zabriskie and Energizer Bunny Jens Voigt in the final run up the legendary Alpe d’Huez, after valiant surges by Giro-winner-at-22/boy-wonder-in-recovery Damiano Cunego and another prior Giro winner not to be messed with in the high passes Stefano Garzelli. Yay Italy, and it’s nice to see Cunego back on form after his miserable schlep through the Giro. Meanwhile, c’mon Gibo, you rather sacked out yesterday, pull it back together and redeem your Giro today!

GC roundup: okay, I was right that Landis would take back the yellow jersey (like every idiot who’s ever watched a race easily predicted), but hooray for Oscar Pereiro for not tanking in the first Alpine challenge as everybody swore he would and only losing it by 10 seconds—if he’s going to be a podium contender out of nowhere, that would be fantastic for hard-luck Spain given that only like two of its riders (plus Euskaltel) haven’t been busted for doping this year. Sastre, whom we love, is in a very solid 5th but I can’t imagine he can hold up against Landis in the tt; Leipheimer worked hard, did well, and is in a respectable if too-far-back I still think 9th, and Menchov and Cadel lost time but are still in decent shape. Oh, plus Gerolsteiner’s apparently being whacked en masse by the flu in a spectacular fit of bad timing, so so much for helping Leipheimer the next two days unfortunately.

Poor Tom: gacking his way up the climb, Boonen finally called it quits, which means the freakin’ Belgian press are still going to have the cojones to go nuts gleefully slagging somebody who wore the maillot jaune for 4 days (Boonen rarely needs defending, especially after crushing everybody including Petacchi all season, but in a rare tactical shift I’m supporting a winner here), and unfortunately it’ll be left to just Hushovd to try to take out Robbie the Ego in the sprint run-up to Paris. Crap! At least he’s got the prologue.

Legal Eagles: In a page taken right out of an amateur-hour legal-intern playbook, Ullrich’s lawyers are telling him not to take a DNA test (and good for Voigt incidentally for supporting a DNA bank, particularly on the express grounds that his wife would kick his @#$ if he messed with any of that stuff), and Basso’s attorney insists Basso couldn’t possibly be the man whose dog’s name was used as an identifier in Fuentes’ extensive written doping records (don’t even get me going on that stupidity), because he personally repeatedly observed Basso’s toddler daughter calling their dog by a different name entirely, which proves that Basso (and his dog) are innocent. Jesus H. Christ, 2 year olds routinely stick Legos up their noses, and you’re going to call one to the stand as an expert witness in canine identification?

Too Much Information: Can OLN in the future kindly spare us yesterday's orgy of TV footage of the boys in the peloton heeding calls of nature? I love and strive to understand cycling in all its flawed, prickly glory. I want others to love and understand it too. And I esteem the sacrifices, like hours of suffering up the most fearsome climbs in the world with a complete lack of access to sanitary facilities, that these brave athletes make every day. But I'm eating dinner for god's sake, and there's some aspects of these fine gentlemen I'd just as soon not see. Isn't there something more pleasant they could show us instead, like a moto running over a spectator or the latest stage-stopping French agricultural rebellion? Thanks, OLN.

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