Friday, September 08, 2006

I Want a New Drug

German prosecutors are about to charge Jan Ullrich with 3 solid years of doping at the tender hands of Rudy Pevenage; French doping chief Pierre Bordry is ticked that 12 of 13 riders testing poz for banned substances at the Tour and a giant slew of other riders have a therapeutic use exemption for drugs that coincidentally happen to cause performance enhancement, mostly due to a totally legitimate plague of asthma among elite athletes who can take hors category climbs after 6 hours and a few simpy cat-1 climbs already in the saddle; and, no points again to Floyd Landis' legal team for annoucing they're about to seek dismissal due to "inconsistencies in testing protocols and methodologies," which sounds so much like legalese for "we've got webcam footage of him getting a testosterone patch slapped on his $!@#" that you hardly even get to the totally legitimate-sounding and genuinely entirely possible part about how a review the just-received lab docs will "support Landis' innocence." That's all your lawyers really needed to say Floyd, is the latter part. Sigh. *Must* we go over this again?

T-Immobile: well, Rolf Aldag apparently almost got the unbeatable Jens Voight for 2007, but for the minor inconveniences of a CSC contractual commitment through next season, Jens' alleged lack of desire for a court battle, and Bjarne Riis' perhaps understandable reluctance to let a truly stellar asset go to a rival team which seems incapable of snagging a Voigt-worthy team to support (or a team leader to properly use) him anyway, so all the better for Jens to stay put as-is. Nice try T-Mobile! As Aldag diplomatically notes, this will be a "transitional" season ahead for the team, so let's just hope than with Jan and Sevilla sacked there'll be someone to watch in pink in the mountains next season who's actually riding somewhere north of the autobus. There's gotta be someone left without a new contract who you haven't alienated yet!

Nailbiter: Finally, in actual Vuelta news, yesterday Luca Paolini took his first Grand Tour win in a hell of a powerful breakaway-from-a-breakaway at 4k to go leaving Bettini & co. in the dust; and today, mountain gods/lately flat-attack freaks Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez positively shrieked down the descent of the Cat 3 Alto de Castillo to leave DiLuca, omnipresent Bettini, Valverde, Landaluze, Davide Rebellin, and no-fool Sastre desperately moto-dodging to catch up, only to have them (with the adddition of Vino, now sensibly locked back in with the GC contenders, and we love Thor Hushovd) finally whack the hammer down on his 7 or so second gap as they cut things dazzlingly close at the corners in the final charge, but still gasp-inducingly beat them to the finish with only 3 or so bike lengths to spare. Right on Sanchez! Now, if only we love Iban Mayo could get his act together for the mountains next week...

Speaking of the motos, is it too much to ask that they get the hell out of the way particularly on a decisive twisty descent before a rider already vision-impaired from his aero-slump beneath the handlebars bodily rams his bike up their @#$es to the presumptively severe detriment of all parties? Given the disasters that have already ensued in the Grand Tours this season with a surfeit of nimrod spectator encounters, might not the race organizers have these clowns actually watch a damn bike race first to give them the heads-up that the riders are there to actually use the roads to win the race, and that it might cause them more than a bit of inconvenience to be churned under the wheels of a motorbike like so much inconsequential road grit? Not to diminsh the valuable function the motos serve, though aside from the ironic job of road-clearing (and that pretty cool chalkboard job) I'm at the moment hard-pressed to remember it. I'm just sayin'.

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