Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yap, Yap, Yap

Give Me a Break: So the ProTour teams (sans AG2R, Astana & Phonak) have mostly unanimously asked UCI to suspend Phonak and Astana from the ProTour and the upcoming Vuelta. Oh, please ! If every single existing rider and every single existing manager and every single staffer on every single existing ProTour team is clean--and I mean actually clean, not just testing clean--I'll personally eat the stylin' black vinyl banana seat off my bitchin' copper 1972 Ross Apollo 3-speed chopper. Until they are, concentrate on cleaning your own houses before you run a white-gloved finger over anyone else's dusty mantlepiece, you hypocrites!

All Right Already, the Landis Situation: in the wake of Landis' open letter to Phonak after the team-demise announcement, I continue, during my progression (or more accurately, vacillation) through the 5 Stages of Grieving, to be jerked to a stop by my sheer inability to get my head around the Stupidity Factor. Not knowing Landis personally of course, so having no more or less reason to doubt his integrity than anybody else, I can nonetheless conceptualize what must be the truly staggering pull of desire for the maillot jaune, and the almost intentional recklessness which might reasonably ensue in its pursuit. But in the most highly-doping-scrutinized Tour in years, under the very same paranoiac preemptive scrutiny that took out Basso and Ullrich without even a positive test, with the knowledge that the hawks are circling, the press and anti-doping agencies are grandstanding, the check-writing sponsors are freaking, the glove-clad medics are hovering, and the fans are watching for signs of unusual prowess, to take something *synthetic*? It just seems *so* stupid--well beyond even the arrogance that Julich seems to believe Landis is incapable of--as to confound the senses. To trust a "my body is naturally this way" argument to plausibly bypass high natural hormone results? Eye-rolling, but not beyond the pale. To take a synthetic for which no biological explanantion, no matter how weaselly, is possible, even with the friendly backup of a guaranteed magic masking agent? Under the perfect storm of the current circumstances, beyond reckless, beyond arrogant, beyond simply the ordinarily dumb, and deep into the realm of Jerry Lewis. Although I'm normally not surprised by extreme stupidity, this truly seems to be an hors category screw-up that no-one in this time and place, even given the prize at hand, would make. But then, what the heck do I know?

And to end tonight's rant on a sort of Davy-and-Goliath positive happy note: !Es verdad!: Carlos Sastre is officially on for the Vuelta. I hope he gets on the podium again (without the secondhand grimy cloud of scandal this time). We love Sastre!

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