Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jan Ullrich Contract Watch

Nope, He Still Hasn't Scored One: But he is, apparently, deep in negotiations with continental (what happened to your ProTour team, Jan?) squad Acqua e Sapone, inexplicably the new home of 2x Giro god (and still quite in the game) Stefano Garzelli. The problem? Well, according to team manager Palmiro Masciarelli, a few minor sticking points: (1) Jan insists three other riders come with, including similarly damaged-goods Oscar Sevilla; (2) he has to get a content Garzelli and the rest of the currently-happy boys to sign on; (3) he's gotta get the ok from the sponsors, who understandably are worried about (4) getting whacked out of the ticked-off Tour of Germany and other "Jan Bites" races, whose organizers he's also gotta soothe; and (5)Jan's got to have a license from somewhere, and they are awaiting word from the Swiss fed despite Jan's ardent claim that they've no longer got jurisdiction over him in any case. Is anyone else starting to feel less than optimistic on this one?

Oh Jan. You obviously can't control nos. 2-4 (and at this point I think you've pretty much tanked on controlling no. 5, too). And I truly do admire your sticking by your friends, as they've clearly (except for, say, the entirety of use-em-and-lose-em T-Mobile team management) all stuck by you. But to compensate for my own lack of imagination and therefore roll out an excess of tired, nay exhausted, cliches, don't look a gift horse in the mouth Jan! Particularly this late in the season (and the budget projections), beggars can't be choosers. And if they can barely afford your justifiably grossly expensive carcass, Jan, what the hell makes you think they can afford you, *and* Oscar Sevilla, much less two other pals, even if the anonymous last are pennies on the dollar? Sign, goddammit! Do you want to ride next season, or don't you? Aaaarrrrggghhh!

League of Extraodinary Alleged Dopers: in sharp contrast, tainted but still innocent late Saiz puppets Michele Scarponi and Jorg Jaksche have also found new homes in the Continental world (along with most everybody else except poor Ullrich), to Barloworld and Volksbank, respectively. Thank goodness these teams don't have a "gentlemen's agreement" they're each and every one sticking to like the ProTour, else there'd be no place for guys like these and Iva...oops!

Giro Don't Like It: Speaking of UCI, in response to the Grand Tour organizers' threat to limit the number of ProTour teams participating, the UCI ProTour Council has kindly offered to to cut the ProTour rosters from 9 men to 8 to leave room for the additional wildcards the GT organizers would dearly like to see--from 2 to 5, in fact. The Grand Tours, however, have politely noted that this solution was proposed 3 years ago, when UCI roundly rejected it, and in any case they've now concluded there'd be too many teams and too much chaos with the change. Not to discount your generous offer, UCI (particularly since at those tight margins even one rider can make the difference between a team leader's winning or losing, say, the Tour) but ya think it might've been better received if you hadn't spent the entire last season dope-slapping the GTs in the press?

No comments: