Sunday, November 19, 2006

DN-A Perfect Move

The Very Best Lawyer on Earth: In the most perfect cosmic confluence of legal gamesmanship, public relations genius, and smug team weaselling imaginable, Discovery and Basso have announced that indeed, Mr. Clean will be taking a DNA test to show he's not a doper. Why am I swooning in admiration? Because his DNA's availability will be limited to cases in which there's a judicial or other inquiry that calls for its release--coincidentally, not now, nor not ever, the case in the Op Puerto investigation. So as long as Basso doesn't have any doped-up bags of dog-labeled blood currently stored with any other skankball doctor besides Fuentes--as I somehow imagine he doesn't--there's no possible threat to him or Discovery by taking this test, not now, nor not ever. This is not to suggest, of course, that Ivan Basso's ever done anything wrong, or that Discovery had any conscious intent of producing this result. It is to suggest, however, that Basso's lawyer, Massimo Martelli, is perfect. I say again, bow before him, Ivan!

Bruyneel, meantime, has noted that legally speaking, nothing can stop Discovery from signing a contract with Ivan Basso, which means, I imagine, that he was simply the first DS to have the chutzpah to take the ProTour teams' unwillingness to put their vaunted "gentleman's agreement" in writing to its natural, and predictably disgusting, conclusion. And now that he's had time to ponder it, the new ProTour code, with all its yip-yap about not signing riders under suspicion this and increased penalties that, does really go too far anyway. Ya think he might've raised these doubts to the team managers at the actual meeting? Then again, maybe not--he's no fool, after all. Anyone feeling the slightest twinge of sympathy for, say, T-Mobile right now?

Tinkoff the Freakin' Wall: Well, I was joking about Manolo Saiz, but apparently Tinkoff actually is talking to him about a ProTour deal. Incredible. Of course, there's still no way the Tour organizers would ever let them in, but it does present an interesting PR conundrum for the other ProTour races. And as an added bonus, can UCI even get smacked around any worse at this point?

Speaking of our noble watchdogs, I see WADA is considering revising its doping code, not only to up the current worst-case suspension from 2 years to 4, but also, as "Dick" Pound cannily suggests, to completely eliminate the taking, and thus troublesome testing, of the B samples entirely. Hell, if you can't eliminate the threat of career-crushing false positives not holding up due to crap lab work by improving the actual tests or training the fallible nits who conduct them, why not just fix the problem by ensuring no one can ever question or confirm the A sample results in the first place? If anyone can think of a way that this guy sleeps at night without the use of heavy narcotics to stun his conscience into submission, I would like to hear it. Looking forward to the new protocols for 07!

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