Friday, August 04, 2006

This'n'That from the Peloton

Invincible: Fabian Cancellara, an exceedingly engaging rider to watch who was such a good sport (at least publicly) about being dropped from CSC's Tour squad in a last-minute substitution by Vande Velde (who did indeed ride beautifully all Tour and more than pulled his weight incidentally), snagged himself and CSC a win in the Tour of Denmark on the same day that Jens won his stage in Germany and Ljungvist won his at Paris-Correze. Whatever else you can say about Riis, he's built an astonishingly deep team that makes even T-Mobile look like circus clowns on trikes. Even without Basso, and even with their domestiques spread out over three races at once, is there anything CSC can't do?

Speaking of T-Mobile, what the heck are they thinking jerking poor Andreas Kloden around without a contract offer? Is it his persistent friendship with the disgraced Ullrich (though honestly, given Kloden's Vino-like tendency to bushwhack Jan on critical stages, I never understood it--clearly I'm misinterpreting something here)? His two-time podium hits on the Tour without achieving the top spot (which sure as hell would have argued against keeping Ullrich around the last seven years)? A cheapskate will to undercut the team's near-term future by shortsheeting an excellent rider on a decent contract? Not that I'm a colossal Kloden fan by any means, but he's earned his keep, so cough up the euros T-Mobile!

And speaking of strategic decisions, with Vino on a post-Saiz-lover's-quarrel puritanical rampage against all that is dishonorable about the sport, what the hell is Astana doing hiring Godefroot as directeur sportif after T-Mobile sacked him for letting Ullrich drag the Pevenage-of-ill-repute, with his explicit doping-porn phone crooning, back on the team? Sure, a good (much less excellent) ds is hard to come by, especially since they all seem to be heading towards a turn in the big house these days. And sure, Godefroot's probably just a hapless innocent scapegoat for an irked corporate sponsor stung by the natural results of the pressure they put on a beleaguered off-season party boy. But this is the white knight you call on to start things off?

Rope-a-Dope(rs): So Basso's been named a substitute for the Vuelta for CSC, and goodness knows it would certainly be fascinating to see him there, but--oops!--the Italian authorities have thoughtfully scheduled his hearing on doping charges for 3 days *after* the Vuelta starts. Like they absolutely positively can't tweak their schedules a bit to squeeze the boy in a day or two before it starts?

While we're at it, if Spain, which seems to have done quite a thorough job with Operacion Puerto so far (at least judging by all the leaks), was utterly unable to nail our beloved Joseba Beloki for anything, despite Saiz briefcases full 'o' fun and profit and that blockhead Fuentes' fanatical record-keeping and a grand conspiracy running through Liberty Seguros and a million other purported fellow riders-in-crime in exceedingly close proximity, can Italy kindly get off his @#$ then?

And holy moly, is there anything Jan Ullrich *isn't* accused of taking?

Free Joseba!

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