Thursday, October 19, 2006


The Elusive Basselope: So, in the wake of the CSC debacle and the purported interest of Milram and Discovery (the latter of which in particular I'm rather surprised isn't more gun-shy even with Lance's mentorship of the teen-dream wunderkind especially given Lance's constant tiresome need to slap around the latest sore-loser French mudslinger to profit off a book full of old-news doping allegations), Basso now says he's seriously considering a home with continental team Barloworld, which Basso claims "in three years" could be as strong as CSC. What?! First, I imagine (no offense to Barloworld), that it's all a nice way of saying "I'm afraid there might not be a ProTour team willing to squander their racing license on me if Fuentes pimps me to the Spaniards in exchange for a deal." Second, not if they don't get a ProTour license and enough sponsor dough to outspend every other sap organization trolling for enough talent to play with the big boys! 3 years, after all, brings Giro winner Ivan to 31, certainly leaving him with a couple of top-level seasons for the Grand Tours barring disaster, but given his fairly youthful ascendancy, as far as I can tell completely squandering the strongest years of his career over the dubious prospect that Barloworld can even sneak into the Tour de France on a wildcard. Don't do it unless you're forced to do it, Ivan!

So Much for the Swiss Family Ullrich: So Jan says he won't renew his Swiss racing license because, with the Swiss cycling federation's "press campaign" against him with "contradictory statements," he can "no longer trust them." I imagine that's rather mutual Jan! Oddly enough, this comes after the Swiss already said there's not enough evidence to nail him in the Op Puerto affair (Jan, send the Spanish court that quashed the documents some flowers!), though to be sure they didn't rule out going after him later either. Still, Jan gamely claims his career's not over--riiiiggggghhhht!--and that he may seek his new license in Germany, like they're gonna be less out for blood (literally) than the Swiss, with the constant abuse Jan takes in the German sports press for failing to kick Lance's nuts the last seven years and humiliating the entire country despite what any moron would consider an impressive career particularly for an after-hours good time party boy (and which of course has already started pounding Jan like a tough of meat over this latest ploy).

Anyway, faithful manager Wolfgang Strohband (who, let's recall, almost tossed out Jan's monster T-Mobile severance package with his ill-advised comments) assures us, there's been contact with several ProTour teams already. You're kidding me, right? Bjarne Riis drops Ivan Basso like a hot potato on far sketchier evidence, Lavenu's still whining about the dope-fueled burden of Francisco "the Money Pit" Mancebo, everyone cleared from Liberty Seguros is still a jobless leper, the grossly hypocritical team managers have all declared war on the Op Puerto riders, and we're supposed to believe someone's got both the endless spare cash it takes to bankroll even a black hole of a star and the lack of the sense to take in a costly probable dope fiend who's likely to be kicked out of the next Grand Tour they'd have to bust their @#$$# to build and train a team around? Hey, I hear CSC might be in the market for a new leader...

Y'know, as an aside, I don't particularly believe in Jan Ullrich as far as I can throw him (and trust me, I'm a wuss), but I still like him in all his careless fallible glory, and I'm glad I got a chance to watch him in action in person at the Giro. When he's on form--whatever he takes, I mean whatever it takes, to get there--he really is a powerhouse of a sight to see. So will the antidoping Dobermans forgive me if I'd still actually rather see Ullrich on the road that some whistle-clean flatlining domestique at the back of the autobus? If you're really gone, I'll miss you Jan!

Iban a New Gig: yep, this is old news, but it's official! We love Iban Mayo announces a 2 year deal with Saunier Duval, Mayo sez for less money than Euskaltel was actually offering him, but that he'll be happier at SD and have a better chance of reaching his potential. Meantwhile, DS Joxean Motxin weighed in on Mayo's '07 goals by basically writing him off as an overall Grand Tour contender and saying his his best results, like in the Tour de France, will come if he's "not obsessed," there are other races, and he must fight for obtainable objectives. We still believe in you Iban! But the thought of who I'll root for in the Basque high passes when he's slugging it out with Sanchez and Zubeldia with the beloved Euskaltel fanatics in orange screaming their heads off, while a foregone conclusion, still bums me out. I'm throwing my allegiance to SD on this one!

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