Tuesday, March 06, 2007

All Together Now

Magna Carta: well, the meeting's been held, the season's been saved, and everyone reserves the right to hate each other's guts for all eternity. The upshot: this is an interim agreement, so don't get your hopes up, because everyone reserves the right to sue later if they don't hammer out a final resolution by the end of the season; the 18 'accepted' ProTour teams get to ride all the Grand Tour/associated races; Unibet and Astana get to wildcard in, with the caveat that Unibet may still need to wear those random question-mark jerseys in France, and the Grand Tours still don't like 'em; and finally, the Grand Tours won't be involved in any way in letting the winner of the ProTour white leader's jersey be awarded it within a thousand miles of one of their podiums. Not bad, IPCT--on to Paris-Nice!

Jaksche All, Folks: in the wake of the Deutschland Tour brazenly tanking ex-Liberty Seguros refugee/OP nonconvict Jorg Jaksche's deal with Volksbank by threatening to kick them out if they brought to the boy to the start line, or even simply aboard, poor Jorg has become the latest OP victim whose career has been destroyed on pure speculation--yep, he's officially retired. Now, no doubt Jaksche's ex-boss Manolo Saiz seems rather, well, compromised from all anecdotal reports. And with the Germans in receipt of buckets of OP documents they have yet to translate into Spanish, it's quite conceivable that some, well, unflattering revelations against one or more riders may someday be forthcoming. But Beloki, Jaksche, and Ullrich are all in the land of the departed now, while Mancebo, Sevilla, Scarponi, Prince Ivan and pretty much the rest of Liberty Seguros, totally coincidentally the promising youngsters I'm sure, all quite similarly situated, remain riding. And as far as I can tell, it's largely UCI and WADA, with their career-death-by-innuendo bull!@#$ leakmaster rampages, who are to blame for this. This is manifestly unjust--an arbitrary witchhunt, I would argue, is far worse than a slash-and-burn all-or-nothing slimefest, as bias, passion, favoritisim and ego dictate the victims--who have, after all, tested positive for nothing--with unchecked impunity. Free Joseba Beloki dammit--aaarrrrrgggghhhh!

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