Friday, October 06, 2006


Right On!: A brace of the disgraced-and-uncharged Liberty Seguros boys, among them we love Joseba Beloki, Izidro Nozal,Aitor & Unai Osa, Allan Davis, and Jorg Jaksche, have finally hit the bricks to the courthouse and accused the Spanish cycling federation of "spreading information incorrectly, which violated their rights of personal data protection." An odd claim to be sure, at least by US pitbull standards, but it's a start. Free Joseba!

Ugh: Perpetual weeping penitent St. David Millar is back in court again, as the French courts have been a bit leisurely in tidying up the 2003 Cofidis affair; and, though he just took the Brits' 4000m track pursuit in fine fashion, still won't get to go to the Olympics as the British Olympic Committee has some inexplicable rule about even dopers who really, really publicly feel really, really bad about it not getting to ride for gold medals. Am I the only one who'd almost rather see a baldly lying current doper than some smarmy mea culpa-spouting smurf racing at this point?

Hmmm: So CSC's aggressive new antidoping program has apparently gotten a bit delayed due to some bogging down in pesky details in less than fruitful talks between a Danish antidoping specialist and Bjarne Riis. I think I'll stop right there, particularly as, to be fair for once, they've got plenty of time before the next round of serious testing starts up with the 2007 season. Looking foward to it! Meantime, coy Belgian Senator Jean-Marie Dedecker has coughed up the name of a freelance soigneur to the national cycling federation, but not the public--pickin' on guys without the euros to hire a Boonen-worthy legal goon squad, are we?

Roadtrip!: The cycling museum of the Madonna del Ghisallo, pope-stamped the patron saint of cicliste in the 1940s and reasonably located at the foot of the fear Ghisallo climb near Lake Como, has been newly expanded and reopens to the tifosi on Oct. 15. Anyone up for Italy?

Contract Dramedy: Crap sport AG2R's Lavenu's still blaming Francisco Mancebo's cash-eating contract for its inability to give a contract extension offer to sprinter Alexandre Usov. Am I on dope here too, or shouldn't he be wanking at the team-hired nits who presumably drafting this document for AG2R (innocent til proven guilty, indeed!)rathern' the rider who sensibly signed it? Take it up with the lawyers, Lavenu!; Phonak's Jean "See No Evil" Lelangue has an offer from old boss Tour de France organizer, ASO, but apparently wants to stay in the peloton (no wonder) and is considering ProTour hopeful Unibet. Any riders you want to rescue from Continental team obscurity due to Phonak's self-destruction, perhaps?; and Toyota United's Tony Cruz' headed home to Disovery. Anyone else feel that, fine as some of the lineup a huge number of loyal Lance lieutenants who are great talents in their own rights are being entirely unjustly smacked out the door suddenly for the egregious crime of Not Becoming Lance in the wake of his retirement?; and, last but certainly not least, Saunier Duval denies signing we love Iban Mayo, but admits interest, while Mayo confirms a counter-offer to Eusakltel still for less than he's been making this year on the humble admission that despite his results in Burgos and the Clasica San Sebastian his record this season fairly merits it (we still believe Iban!), no word on the veracity of Cofidis' alleged interest (don't do it !), and Gerolsteiner pretty bitchily denies an offer to Mayo with a cold "totally ridiculous" and he "will most probably never appear on the roster of Team Gerolsteiner." Geez, couldn't you've just said, "no, it's not accurate"? Kick a man while he's down, why dontcha!

You Say Goodbye/And I Say Hello: a bummin' goodbye to 37 year old Estonian Credit Agricole's Jan Kirsipuu, for whom I admit bias because of his excellent name, retiring after this weekend's Paris-Tours with 4 stages in the Tour de France and 6 days in the maillot jaune under his gloves. Nice work Kirsipuu! However, 38 year old ex world champ Laurent Brochard has signed on for one more Bouyges Telekom. Meantime, Liquigas has finalized its pretty intimdiating 2007 lineup, with newbies Leonardo Bertagnoli and Baby Giro winner Daniele Cataldo, plus previously-set Triki, Pozzato, and Guido Trenti, with DiLuca, big Maggy Backstedt, and Luca Paolini all still in the fold as well. We love Triki!

TV News: Bizarrely enough, given that OLN has in recent years decimated its classics and even Grand Tour coverage in light of cycling's ratings obliteration by the likes of such captivating video alternatives as bass-fishing and Bambi-shooting shows, NBC is going to air the new "US Open Cycling Championships" next year. They're genuinely hoping that whacking "US Open" on the name will link it in Americans' dimwit minds to big important sporting events with big important athletes. So why don't these wily marketing pimps just slap on a graphic so people will watch teh "US Open Vuelta a Espana" or the "US Open Paris-Roubaix" and bring some real bike races back to TV? In TV news not being shown in this country, Sunday's Paris-Tours is gonna be 254.5 km of wind-drive sprint madness. Zabel got it last year; Daniele Bennati wants to avenge his second place this year; and O'Grady and Boonen are going for it along with Uros Murn and Fabrizi Guidi in Phonak's Last Stand. Allez Erik!

Riposa in Pace: Finally, world champ Paolo Bettini has decided to race this weekend in memory of his brother Sauro Bettini, killed in a car accident, a particular reason to hope Paolo takes anything he races. Plus, good work to Quick Step for offering to stay out of the Coppa Sabatini in the wake of Paolo's loss and to the race itself for its moment of silence in his brother's memory. Vai Paolo!

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