Thursday, December 14, 2006

Trouble Brewing

Road Warriors: Man, Chechu's right; the riders *are* in disarray. First, we love Jens Voigt smacks Basso around for disgracing the sport and the team, and undermining the riders; then Paolo Bettini smacks Basso around for caving on DNA testing, and undermining the riders; and now Michael Rasmussen (who just lost Danish Cyclist of the Year honors to the first woman, U23 Euro tt/Route de France Feminile champ Linda Villumsen--right on sister!)'s smacking around Basso for receiving special treatment compared to other riders under suspicion, and undermining the riders. On second thought, perhaps the riders are united after all! It is sort of sad, particularly if Basso is actually (as opposed to merely legally) innocent. And I do like him, and watching him at the Giro (despite the controversy over whether he jacked Gilberto Simoni out of a stage win) was a fine thing to behold. On the other hand, I remain completely irked that Prince Charming, without a positive test but under suspicion, is riding for Discovery for a cool six million euros, while equally pretty unfortunate German press b@#$% Jan Ullrich, also without a positive test but under suspicion, is left struggling for a spot on the Toys'R'Us Remedial Regional Big Wheel Squad. Sure, Jan's getting a bit long in the tooth in Tour years, but is that really any reason to abandon him? Free Jan!

Piling it On: Speaking of Basso, the Tour of Denmark has stated that neither Discovery nor Basso are welcome next year. While that's perhaps understandable, they're also telling Tinkoff to sod off, which is frankly unfair. Okay, Hamilton and Hondo are actual convicted doping crooks, protestations of innocence aside (and true or not, can you really blame 'em for it?). But they've duly served their time, and there's no allegation whatsoever (fine, yet, you cynics) that the riders or the oligarch who started the team have started slapping testosterone patches on their--selves. Is there *no* redemption allowed by the race organizers whose TV ratings benefit from riders' suspiciously enhanced performances? You suck TdD!

Utterly Beside the Point: I see the French lab implicated in the Landis affair and various Lance shenanigans is getting an upgrade--to its computer security. Now if it'd only upgrade the competence of the lab chimps who, if nothing else, made themselves look like such nits! Meanwhile, the French antidoping president sez there's no evidence the Landis camp was involved in the lab's computer hacking in the first place, which might've been nice to mention in light of the instant blame on his team. And while we're on the subject of beside the point, can someone explain to me why Cofidis jailbait Tristan Valentin was suspended for six months for testing poz for a stimulant his doctor screwed up and gave him but that the team acknowledges he didn't knowingly take? It's not like was given this all wink-wink-nudge-nudge at a start gate, by all accounts. I call bull@#$& Cofidis!

Speaking of which: So Jesus Hernandez, denying doping along with Alberto Contador at his OP testimony, denied even knowing the fine Dr. Fuentes, but happily concedes that Manolo Saiz has "total control" of Liberty Seguros, including medication, specifically, patches of some kind, that apparently never warranted any overt curiosity by the riders, put on their skin. Jesus, Jesus. Haven't we all learned by now that "don't ask, don't tell" is a lousy shield?

Ullrich/Vino Redux: finally, I note that Illes Balears estrellas Valverde and Pereiro seem to be setting themselves up for an ugly repeat of T-Mobile's self-destructive 2005 Tour de France, each claiming the Tour as their top goal, with Valverde optimistically saying it's possible he and Oscar can share team leadership in France, as Vino and Kashechkin did taking 1st and 3d at the Vuelta. Ah, but there's the clincher isn't it--Oscar, not Alejandro, took the Tour (almost) last year, after all. You sure you two agree on who gets 1st and 3d next year?

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