Thursday, November 09, 2006

Testa della corsa

Dammit! Part Due: Basso confirms that Levi Leipheimer is screwed: "I'm incredibly happy. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say it's a new life for me. I feel reborn. The squad is commiteed to supporting me in the double challenge of the Giro and Tour." Anyone ask Levi how committed he is to supporting Basso at the moment? Of course, Levi's got a rep as a level-headed, kind guy, fortunately a cross I don't have to bear, so while I'm sure he'll be be gracious in total screwedoverness, I can freely say, bite me, Discovery! You, like Bjarne Riis, miscalculated the fallout from the OP affair, and while I really like Basso, who richly deserves team leadership either here or at any other top team in the peloton, you are still a pack of low-rent skanks for jacking over someone else with empty promises, particularly this late in the contract season. Vattene, Bruyneel!

Sore Losers: The teams who didn't have the guts, lack of conscience, or confidence to sign Basso, meanwhile, are already sniping at each other in the wake of continued uncertainty as to whether he'll submit a DNA sample. T-Mobile, of course, who already f@#$ed themselves out of Ullrich, Kloden, Kessler, and every other GC contender who matters, was among the first out of the start gate, whining that there is a clear commitment from the teams, and Bjarne Riis is already crying that he's confused and lost over the whole issue, conveniently forgetting he took about 2 seconds to throw Basso, "the best rider in the world", to the wolves, all of which I imagine is merely code for "We could've kept Ullrich? And Basso? And our ProTour license? And a Tour podium spot? God *dammit*!"

The newly castrated UCI, meantime, has bravely leapt into the fray, changing its position and saying they'll be happy to whore the rider DNA they've kept for "research" purposes to the Spanish authorities after all, if only they'll ask nicely, with Pat "Dick" McQuaid smarmily noting that far from the riders' crying about the loss of civil liberties and other such nonsense, they oughta welcome the idea of some white-gloved lab clown jabbing a Q-Tip into their cheeks as an opportunity to prove their innocence. Even WADA shelved its open contempt for UCI in the wake of the OP collapse, newly happy to help UCI in its quest to make Spain cough up more info to our caring watchdogs for their inquest. After all, why not? If there's any reason why some trifle like lack of court-worthy evidence should prevent UCI from culling its filthy herd, I've yet to hear it! More, UCI's meeting with ProTour and rider reps tomorrow, presumably to crush the boys into compliance with their DNA registry by the sheer weight of their sanctimonious hypocrisy. Ugh! I swear I am almost rooting for the freakin' dopers at this point, the shrieking Harpies on the other side are so odious.

I Am Woman: Marianne Vos, jailbait road and cross world champ, sometime mountain biker, and poindexter biomed student (try that hat trick, boys!), has weighed in on the doping dispute, declining to whack the men directly for the most part and simply surmising that the women, who have less money shorter races and more going on in their lives, are probably doping less than the men. Now, I'm highly inclined to assume she's right. But let me just strike a blow for equality here and suggest that, given the same podium babes press slobbering obscene cash contracts groupies fawning entourages and giganto endorsement deals, I am absolutely certain that my sisters can be just as successful selfish unscrupulous greedy amoral cheating stealth skankbag dopers as the men. What else have we been fighting for lo these many years, if not such pure and perfect justice? You go sisters!

Double Jeopardy: French prosecutors, regrettably, recommended no jail time for David Millar today in the 2004 Cofidis affair. You can safely get back to whining about how oppressed you were by the burdens of team leadership and how mightily your humble soul wrestled with the pressures of doping, now, David!

Piling It On: Team Tinkoff, which has already helpfully derided the battered Jan Ullrich for porking up in the winter, now has kindly suggested that without a contract, the drug-happy party boy is going to OD himself into oblivion like the great, dearly lamented Marco Pantani. Ullrich, though, who is already back training on his bike, gamely professed to appreciate the ghoulish concern but affirmed that, with the love of family and friends, he is fully invested in life. All right already! First, Basso and his huge Discovery deal slam Jan in the face like a six-foot inflatable brunette Ken doll, now you coarse pigs start yapping about him in the past tense? If you're not gonna help him by offering a deal, Tinkoff--and I notice that *actual* positive tests didn't stop you from ass-kissing Tyler Hamilton or Danilo Hondo, O Defenders of Teetotaling--then shut the hell up! What are you, trying to send the poor boy off into a club-hopping Ecstasy binge? Jesus!

Jangentially Related: T-Mobile's fired Olaf Ludwig was recently press-yapping about his breakup with the self-destructing squad (and what the $#%^ were the sponsors upset about exactly? Innumerable consecutive Tour podium finishes? The constant stage and classics wins? The massive publicity of the Ullrich-Armstrong rivalry?), and naturally whacks all the blame for this year on everyone else but himself. The team was built around betraying junkie Jan; he switched off Gonchar and Mazzoleni in the spring to save them pointlessly for the Tour; replacements Klier, Ivanov, and Wesemann woofed the classics; and Kloden and Kessler completely screwed the team for the entire Tour in the 11th stage in the Pyrenees by acting on their own and blasting the pace with Rogers Sinkewitz and Mazzoleni until they blew themselves out Kloden bonked and their Tour win went down in flames. Only the management clowns at T-Mobile could make such a (previously) successful team sound so crappy. Take some responsibility, and leave Kloden alone--at least he had a spine and took a risk!

Round and Round we Go: Last, in actual race news (yes, there is some), new Olympic *track* hopeful Paolo Bettini takes on last-year's winner Erik Zabel in the 2-man Munich 6 Day; the Tour de Flanders is shelving the monstrous crash-inducing hike up the Koppenberg next year, but keeping in 18 climbs sure to visit cobbled misery on the bone-rattled peloton; Petacchi's back on the bike and wants Milan-SanRemo and stages in all 3 Grand Tours again; and Michael Rasmussen's snapped hip is recuperating nicely. Allez Chicken!

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