Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's Showtime, Folks!

Uh-Oh!: German prosecutors, currently nailing Jan Ullrich for defrauding T-Mobile by doping in violation of his contract (is anyone going to prosecute T-Mobile for unceremoniously screwing all of their riders at the end of last season?), are about to get the coded blood bags seized from the fine Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes by the Spaniards and, far worse, are planning to compare them to a DNA sample which the witchhunting Swiss apparently scraped off Jan earlier for their own investigation. Luckily, Jan has until the end of January to appeal against the use of his DNA for this terrifying purpose, which means he's got til then to fire his entire monstrously incompetent management and legal team and sell off everything he owns on this earth to raise whatever it takes to hire Ivan Basso's genius Teflon lawyer. Have you still got a contract offer lingering out there, Jan? I don't care who it's from or what kind of humiliating crap terms they're offering--SIGN, dammit, SIGN!

Insult to Injury: German TV, meanwhile, has just announced that it won't cover the Tour of Germany if any rider implicated in the Operacion Puerto affair is allowed to participate, which means the race won't even be held, which doesn't actually mean much anyway, because if they really stick to that impossible standard, then there's only gonna be Jens Voigt, Carlos Sastre, and St. David Millar left qualified at the start line, so they might as well haul the podium babes and champagne out now and save everyone the trouble of schlepping around on their bikes. Which brings us to...

V is for (Hyper)Ventilating: Angel-of-anti-doping-wrath Alexander Vinokorouv, whose presumptive name "Vino" was found jotted on a card from a cyclist-frequented hotel, coincidentally located in the wallet of our pal Dr. Fuentes, along with such other common cycling nicknames as "Popo" and "Valv," and who strenuously denied any involvement with doping or the OP affair, stating firmly "I have never even met the man." Now, not to be paranoid or, more boringly, overanalytical, but is anyone else thinking that that really leaves a monster-sized hole open here as there's no specific denial Vino never met, say, one of Fuentes' phlebotomist flunkies? But I am hard-pressed to believe that the brilliant, and dearly press-favored, Vinokorouv will be in any real trouble, particularly in light of...

S is for Similarly-implicated: Alejandro Valverde's new, post-accusation ginormous windfall of a contract extension with Illes Balears, lining him and his euro-loaded pockets til a sweet 2010 no matter what the Op Puerto leakers are alleging. Lucky for T-Mobile, I suppose, who are running out of people to throw under the bus if they were obliged to clean house again if they'd managed to hire Valverde. Right on Alejandro!

Swiss Army Knifed: Sadly, Tinkoff newbie/doping oldie Danilo Hondo hasn't fared quite so well, with the Swiss upholding his two year ban, thereby delaying the start of his season until April 1st. Tyler Hamilton, fortunately, is a done deal for the season's start if the OP investigators can't come up with the threatened goods anytime soon, which didn't prevent him from being crudely smacked in his home-state press today by constant self-promoting nut-pain "Dick" Pound. Y'know, believe Tyler or not, he's paid his dues. Don't you have anyone else from a current doping scandal you can hit? Or are you too afraid of, say, Ivan Basso's swooning press- and fan-base, not less the power and sue-happiness of his power-mentor Lance Armstrong, to try to take him on?

The UnWounded: Finally, Floyd Landis, healed in body if obliterated in career, is working well on his spankin-new hip, just in time to be called to account on February 8 in front of the French, who don't hold Landis' racing license but, presumably having nothing else to do, can still bar him from competing in any French races. But even better than Landis' improving form is we love Oscar Freire's, finally reportedly on the mend from his endless weird dizzy spells, training hard, and aiming this season for some classics, a Tour stage, and with any luck, the Worlds. Allez Oscar!

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