Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Amgen EPO Tour of California

Kings of All Marketing: Y'know, it was funny enough last year when pro "doping bad!" cycling allowed Amgen, manufacturer of legitimate lifesaving blood booster/nefarious banned cyclist's-best-friend EPO (yep, what stripped we still Roberto Heras of his last Vuelta) to freakin' sponsor a major bike race. I mean, what better way to accidentally target a select yet lucrative group of consumers, and their pro-athlete wannabe fans, than to plaster your logo over every surface they pass for 6 days straight? But it's just downright hilarious that--oops!--everybody forgot to test the riders at last year's Amgen Tour for EPO. Of course, the sponsor's indignant and the teams shocked and horrified at the oversight, just as the riders surely are when they learn they've totally inadvertently scarfed someone else's, say, asthma meds. Me, I'm looking forward to the 2007 Bob's Exogenous Testosterone (TM) Deutschland Tour. You go, Amgen!

Talking Heads: Well, talks between Tour de France organizers ASO and UCI appear to be on the fritz again, not that Patrice Clerc's "drop dead" blowoff was any indication of impending obstacles, so the fate of Unibet, the ProTour, the Classics, and the cosmos remains unknown. On the plus side, ASO stands firm that Paris-Nice will go forward, so if UCI wants to call their bluff and crush the dreams of their own cyclists to participate in a storied race with more--and more beautiful--history than soulless doomed corporate stooges like UCI will ever achieve, there'll be just that much more room at the start line. By contrast, WADA's "Dick" Pound and Floyd Landis have been nothing but amiably chatty, with Pound continuing to slag doping-scum Landis and Landis continuing to smack Pound for his slimemaster character assassination and brutal preemptive leaks that sunk Landis before he was even on personal notice that the ship had left the dock. Anyone else starting to wish for a nice hostile silence from all parties at this point?

Jan Ullrich Contract Watch: who the hell knows? Well, Jan apparently does at last, and his camp is coyly hyping his upcoming press conference Monday, at which the "good news" about Jan's "professional future" will be revealed. Professional what future--rider? Tell-all author? Ongoing sportsgear endorsement studmuffin? Freelance team management doping, I mean antidoping, consultant? If it were a team that got him, wouldn't they have coughed up the word and gotten a cyclist that seriously expensive into spandex and earning his keep by this point? And while we're at it, Michele Scarponi for heck's sake just got a gig with Acqua e Sapone and Stefano Garzelli. Free Joseba Beloki dammit---aiiiigggghhhh!

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