Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Else?!

ProTour, SchmoTour!: Barely a day after distancing Discovery from the ProTour teams' decision to require DNA testing of new signers and lamenting the probable loss of Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich to the Continental hinterlands, Johan Bruyneel has announced that yep, despite all the teams' yammering about no-suspects-allowed, despite Basso's refusal to cough up a swab (which he may yet perhaps be obliged to reconsider), despite the allegations of extensive contacts with Fuentes and blood bags named after his own dog, he's signed Basso to a lengthy contract, reportedly for a cool 6 mil (euros). Holy crap! Am I the only one who thinks Bjarne "Ivan Wrecked My Rep" Riis is sitting in a dark room softly rocking and sobbing right now? And am I the only one who thinks that any one of these sanctimonious team leaders would happily stuff their own grandmothers full of EPO if it would ensure the creation and retntion of a cash-cow of a rider like Basso?

And what's more, on a purely professional tangent, Ivan's lawyer is already on the warpath, claiming that anyone who F#$%s with Basso's image of integrity and cleanliness from here on out is going to get crushed with litigation til they're crying for mercy. Listen to me Ivan. It is unbegoddamnlievable that he not only got you out of this, but that he managed to get your @#$ signed to a ProTour squad, much less freakin' Discovery. Your lawyer is a god. You owe your career to him. I don't know what the hell he's charging you, but unless it's your firstborn child it's not nearly enough. Pay up, and kneel before him!

Frankly, I feel sorry as hell for Jan Ullrich. Not because I don't think he's a guilty lying doper cheat, because I pretty much do, but then, I pretty much think the same thing about Basso--and I like 'em both a *lot.* But this whole fiasco just completely confirms the biased arbitrary way these corrupt "V for Vendetta" cowboy vigilante f@#$wads go about choosing who and how hard to come down on. If I were Jan, even if I'd had Rudy Pevenage jam a needle in my butt cheek right in front of the time trial gatekeeper at the Tour, I'd still be pissed. What exactly does he have to do to get a break from the press, the teams, and everyone else like, um, somebody else I can think of? Distance himself from everybody who helped him win the Tour and stuck with him for years of constant wins and concurrent inexplicable German press abuse? Pimp cuddly "who, me?" photos of himself nuzzling his family to Vanity Fair? Pout his lips at the fawning starstruck journalists like shameless GQ disco pinup Basso? Cry a bunch of bullshit crocodile tears like David Millar about how tough it is emotionally to be exploited for a million euros a year? Jesus!
I'm not excusing these guys, and of course I'd rather the sport were clean like the dedicated amateurs who test themselves every year against the same cobbles and cols without the benefit of a fully dedicated sports career, team cars, or cheering fans or waiting press corps. But if you're gonna have rules, then enforce them fairly or not at all, you hypocritical cash-sucking wussbags!

As if Ya Didn't Have Reason Enough to be Irked At Lance Armstrong: Even worse, poor Levi! Here the poor SOB signs on as Tour leader, only to be smacked upside the head by Bruyneel's blindsiding contract with Basso. Now, Mr. R_J has suggested that this'll still leave Levi for the Vuelta, which he's ridden so beautifully, and possibly for the Giro, so that he won't just be relegated to superdomestique with maybe the consolation prize of a high finish in a mountain stage or individual tt in the Tour. But in the Giro, either Basso's gonna try to pull a two-fer with the Tour, or Johan won't let him and will make everyone use the Giro for a training instead--neither scenario benefitting Levi--and by August, with everyone zonked from killing themselves for Basso at the Tour, they're not gonna have (1) the will or (2) just the flat-out late-season freshness to give Levi the help he'll need to really do him justice in the Vuelta. So either way, I figure he's screwed. Dammit! Look, I understand the doe-eyed allure and fluid grace that is Ivan Basso at his peak, and Lance's not unreasonable desire for a payoff after years of courting. And I understand that, and why, we love Levi is a less certain bet for next year's Tour than this year's well-deserved Giro champ. But you asked him back, Discovery, and I think you're skanks to jerk him over. Not that you deserve to lose next year in a monstrous public flameout for being complete and total $@$holes to Levi Leipheimer. I'm just sayin'.

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