Friday, October 27, 2006

Riders Up!

Paranoid Landis Conspiracy Theory, Part 1: so in the latest, not entirely implausible explanation for that he did it, and how, that I've heard, testosterone patches are rife in the peloton, and if you look, you can frequently find these sweat-stained babies scattered like smelly confetti all along the route at races before an eyecatching testosterone ratio kicks in (and, as one who nearly passed out at the TdF coverage of guys letting it rip at the roadside, I'm seriously hoping these don't become the latest in sought-after souvenirs). Discreet disposal? In a pack of 80 riders, not a problem. But here's the idea: Landis doesn't anticipate the length and breadth of his solo breakaway up Morzine. By the time he does, the cameras are glommed right on him to stay--too late for the roadside tossout. It's stuck on far longer than he anticipated, and whammo--positive test! I have no idea if this could've happened, as I suppose that even in the spotlight he might've persuaded the cameras to switch over to the chase for a moment while he removed the patch under the guise of discreetly adjusting the works, then crammed it into his glove or jersey pocket or something. But it's entertaining to consider nonetheless. Ah, the perils of cheating successfully!

Ivana New Team: It's official! Following the recommendation by CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, the Italian cycling fede has officially dropped--or at least shelved--Op Puerto-related doping allegations again Ivan Basso. He's free to race, and unless and until the Spaniards get their acts together, it's highly unlikely to be reopened. Right on Massimo Martelli, and Ivan, give that lawyer a colossal raise!

Jan-demonium: While everyone tries to figure out the implications of the Spanish court's "you're not under investigation" letter to Jan (and others), the state of the Swiss witchhunt and his manager's contradictory claims of who he's trying to sell Jan's drug-ridden carcass to, the Austrian cycling federation, just days ago slobbering after Jan like hounds on fox, has firmly distanced itself from poor Ullrich, saying their leader was really only commenting on the legalities of granting him a license, and there's certainly no invite for him to move to Austria and apply. Move your boy fast, Wolfgang, you're running out of countries at this point! Cuz if you think say Italy, which has no sentimental attachment to the angel-faced German, is gonna grant him a Bassoesque free ride, I think you're way off base. Perhaps Spain, with its snail-paced justice system, can buy you enough time to sneak into the Tour from somewhere else?

Whooooo Are You? What's clear, however, is that Ullrich and pretty much everyone else worth watching from the Op Puerto scandal has about a snowcone's chance in hell of signing with a ProTour squad this year. Yep, the teams agreed to require DNA samples for all new riders in 2007 (now there's a hell of a grandfather clause!), and is "encouraging" the rider's association to okay UCI taking DNA samples from all the boys, like no matter what the riders agree to their lawyers (1) are gonna let that happen or (2) will ever acknowledge the validity of any DNA match anytime anywhere ever. And, they've all agreed (not in writing, I imagine so they really oughtn't stick with it once they come up with some half-@#$%# excuse) that they won't sign contracts with implicated--not even convicted or positive-tested--dopers. So any poor bastard implicated by his guinea pig's name on a known lying scumbag's record book is gonna be banned from the ProTour until his legal claim's resolved about the same time his dessicated body is being bundled off to a nursing home? I call bull!@#%, ProTour!

Meanwhile, Manolo Saiz, despite some petty earlier incident in which he just totally coincidentally happened to be snacking in a cafe with the male riders' personal gyno, a hematologist, bags of human blood and tens of thousands of euros, continues to maintain his deathgrip on Active Bay's ProTour license, leaving Astana's ProTour status unclear as well as the minor issue of who owns Alexander Vinokorouv. Well, worse comes to worst, Astana's at least got Andreas Kloden! Jesus H. Christ, Manolo, you already killed off the careers of half the Spaniards in the peloton and screwed Vino out the of Tour this year, can you give at least one poor boy a break instead of continuing to feed your control-freak ego and your overstuffed pockets off the misery of others? Do you really think there's any chance the Tour's gonna let you put a team together for 07 even if you get your ProTour license branded on your ass, much less keep it in a courtroom battle? Let it go already!

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