Sunday, March 25, 2007

Crash Cart

Freire Oscar: Dormez-vous, Oscar, you earned it! Meantime, the rest of the pack was a (literally) bloody mess, as David Kopp was knocked unconscious and out with a broken nose, Axel Merckx, Davide Rebellin and countless others also hit the pavement in varying degrees of speed and pain, and Moletta flipped upside down and whammed head-first into the pavement on a break with Popovych after a nasty airborne encounter with a light pole. Yowch! Luckily, no-one seems permanently worse for wear, though I assume Kopp's season is pretty far in the tank, and after a last valiant solo charge by Popo and a dangerous attack by Phillipe Gilbert and Riccardo Ricco, the group glommed together behind a perfect Milram lead-out, Petacchi bonked, and Friere neatly shot off his wheel to take the win by a bike length. The man of the race? Besides the obvious, I call Paolo Bettini, who was caught out at an excruciatingly bad time behind a crash, clawed his way back from the autobus to the front of the race, set up the chase-down of Gilbert, and only faded at the very end--a testament to his sheer tenacity that he ever got halfway back in the first place. Vai Paolo! Meantime, Petacchi was bummed if generous towards his teammates in his 8th place finish, while Erik Zabel, who peeled away in the leadout as required but still came in ahead of him in 6th, seemed a bit more miffed at both their outcomes, remarking glumly that it was "in his contract." And Petacchi trash-talker du jour Daniele Bennati? Somewhere round about 26th if I recall. Try not to go too nuts over your earlier pounding of the old boy, Daniele!

Joseba Beloki Contract Watch: Nope, but @#%%^! Allan Davis from @#$^*&! Liberty Seguros came in second at Milano-Sanremo with Discovery's logo on his @$*. !@#%%*^!

Achtung Baby: Finally, it seems the Germans, lacking immediate means to exact belated vengeance on betrayer ex-unquestioned-cash-cow Jan Ullrich, have decided to go after the rest of the peloton in frustration, requiring escorts of all test-subject riders from the line to the, well, testing site, mandating that any rider whose A & B samples test positive be suspended by their teams no matter what crap legalistic nonsense (like, say, deal-killing error or actual innocence) the sporting courts throw their convictions out on, and, as earlier promised, barring any boy remotely 'under suspicion' from any start on German soil. Man, given that last giant arbitrary invitation-to-petty-revenge, is there gonna even be anyone left to start at the Deutschland Tour?

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