Saturday, October 28, 2006


This Team Will Self-Destruct in 3 Seconds: So the reconstituted and largely emasculated T-Mobile has held a bonding camp in a fruitless effort to build a more'n-stage-winning team. Y'know, instead of making s'mores for the boys and telling ghost stories by the tents at night, they've might not've b!@#$%-slapped everyone who remotely supported Jan Ullrich, who even if a filthy disgraced garbage-can'o'doping-products served them rather well, and kept Kloden and Kessler instead of boot-imprinting their @#$$@$ out the door. Even better, they've kicked solid sprinter Olaf Pollack off the team (who incidentally did not hesitate to slag we love Erik Zabel for not mentoring him enough--screw you Olaf!). But hey, why focus on purchasing and retaining actual talent when you can sing Kum-Ba-Yah by the banks of the Danube in hopes of pulling off a Grand Tour that way? Nice work, nimrods!

Thanks Floyd!: In the wake of the Tour debacle, Phonak riders continue to get deep-sixed to startup ProTour wannabees and continental or even US squads. Latest: 01-03 Postie/maillot jaune winner Victor Hugo Pena heads to Unibet; sprint ace Robbie Hunter to Barloworld; Ryder Hesjedal to Health Net/Maxxis; Nicolas Jalabert to Agritubel. Man, is there anyone from Phonak besides Axel Merckx who's ended up in a halfway comparable team for next year? Particular given that Landis actually appears to have some level of (US, anyway) support and a half-decent argument for exoneration, you suck Phonak for abandoning these guys! No, they weren't the strongest team in the peloton, but did do all right for you, and after all, you hired 'em. Could you perhaps have given them some assistance in finding new gigs for the future beyond "don't let the door hit you in the @#$ on the way out"?

Spanish Officially Clear Their Riders, For Now: Having destroyed the seasons and possibly the careers of riders such as we love Joseba Beloki and every other Spaniard from Liberty Seguros, the Spanish Cycling Federation has just affirmatively, if perhaps temporarily, shut their investigation and cleared all their local boys to ride even with their own ProTour squads. An added bonus: leak-happy witchhunters UCI, smacked again. I know I oughta support 'em and all, because they're all for clean sport so long as they can take out their personal vendettas on the implicated without any concrete proof or the bothersome necessities of due process and the like, but am I the only one who's really enjoying this?

Meantime, a pissed-off and largely overlooked Oscar Sevilla is threatening war with T-Mobile over breach of contract, and while we're at it, if anyone's listening, he wants to get a new job. Fortunately, with the ProTour teams on an anti-even-remotely-suspected-doper rampage and their reaction to the Spanish cycling federation's rider exonerations still unclear, Sevilla'd consider a continental squad, but with even Ullrich's chances looking dicey despite Wolfie's best efforts to pimp him, even that looks dubious frankly. Speaking of whom, Ullrich, who lacks the good fortune to either be Spanish or just as darned dreamy as Ivan Basso, has apparently conceded ProTour defeat entirely, with Austrian team Volksbank saying they were approached, he's got an anonymous private bankroller for his contract so they needn't even cough up much dough, but oops!--Jan's gotta clear himself with UCI first. Well, with the Spaniards and Ivan Basso maddeningly outside the reach of UCI's bloodsucking tentacles for now, and the pool of household-name targets thereby severely limited, and UCI insane with desire to recapture some shred of ego-stroking efficacy, good luck with that one Jan!

Uni's Big Bet: Finally, rumors are a-swirling that ProTour desperate hopeful Unibet dearly wants brilliant Kazakh upstart Andrei Kashechkin. Sure, it'd mean team leadership, and sure, your life is maybe hell right now with that tool Manolo Saiz refusing to let go of his unjustifiable grip on your throat, but Andrei, you'd have to be freakin' nuts! You are an unbeatable combination with Vinokorouv. He is still teaching you things you need to know. And, unlike the nasty way he bushwhacked his own team leader in a prior Tour, Vinokorouv proved fair and square at the Vuelta that he is willing both to respect and reward you for a job well done. Hell, let's even leave aside the fact that Unibet could still use at least a year to shake out the kinks of sudden ProTour adjustment. Give it a year Andrei!

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