Tuesday, March 13, 2007

True Confessions

Gripe of the Week: Forgive me for being a broken record on this point, but can we please all stop the endless media ass-kissing of St. David Millar for admitting he doped (most recently wah-wahing after his Paris-Nice prologue tt win)? Yes, it's very nice that unlike everyone else who's guilty he actually copped to it in a timely manner. Indeed, under other circumstances, and if he weren't so self-congratulatory about it, it'd even be admirable. But it's not as if he admitted it after a positive test, and it's not like some random guy's unidentifiable blood bag was code-named after Lassie and found hundreds of miles away from him for God's sake--he was sitting there in his @#$%% hotel room with it when he was busted! What the hell else could he have done but suck it up? Frankly, it almost makes me want to cheer for some amped-up hoser openly jamming a needle in his rump in front of the cameras instead. You won clean, Boy Scout--we know, you've wept and preened for the press for a hundred hours already--but you're hopefully not the only one, so shut the hell up and ride without asking for a freakin' medal after every race! Y'know, when I was but a tiny tot, I took a few stickers from a store on a dare and immediately felt so horrible I ran back in and put them back. That was the absolute end of my life of crime, and I wasn't even caught. Ya think I ran around crying for a ticker-tape parade over it?

Paris-Nice Job Pellizotti!: After a lively Stage 1 where Jean-Patrick Nazon unexpectedly (though handily) took the sprint, stage two excruciatingly reeled in lone breakaway leftover Thomas Voeckler within a kilometer of the line, Quick Step and Lampre inexplicably began reeling around like drunks tossed onto the pavement after last call, and Pellizotti of all people attacked out of nowhere (and with no discernible reaction from anybody) to coast over the line with buckets of time to showcase his jersey full-on for the cameras. Was I the only one completely taken aback by this? Bennati, if you're gonna talk smack about a guy like Petacchi, explain yourself!

Manolo-no, Not Again: Manolo Saiz, asked about his Op Puerto vindication and unwilling to talk before he consulted with his lawyers until two seconds later when he did anyway, said that unfortunately it wasn't a "personal satisfaction," but that pleasingly, his "family and friends" have been "strengthened." Like Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki, you goon?! Aaaiiigggghhh!
Meanwhile, in perhaps the most hilarious piece of news to come out in weeks, the teams have begun weighing in on the pointless destruction of Op Puerto and how they would've been glad to help the Spaniards if they'd only been asked--in fact, Bouyges Telecom's general manager asserted that not only was he eager to hand over his boys' DNA samples to the investigators, but he encouraged Johan Bruyneel to come along with him with Basso's sample in hand in order to compare it and clear Prince Charming on the spot--and surprisingly, Johan refused. Hmmmm...on second thought, I better stop right there.

Jan Ullrich Contract Watch: I wish, but Wolfgang Strohband for one seems to think it's possible, claiming today that Jan might come out of retirement. Unfortunately, this looks a little less likely in the face of allegations that Ullrich's lawyers sought a deal in which Jan would pay a fine in exchange for the Germans dropping their investigation--which, as the German prosecutor noted, was rejected because it amounted to a guilty plea, which in turn required some actual evidence. Well, if they don't have any this late in the game, oughtn't they drop it anyway? And, in the last bit of legal drama I can stomach tonight, I see Quick Step manager Patrick "30 YEARS OF DOPING" Lefevre has decided to smoke out the offending in-house rider turncoat who sold him to the press by asking all his boys to sue the newspaper too, and seeing who refuses--so far, with the entire Paris-Nice squad apparently knuckling under to this wily demand, we can rule out Tom Boonen at least. Good work, Nancy Drew!

Olive Branch: On a positive note--and man, it's nice to see one in this sport--the embattled team Unibet has apparently been asked to ride Milano-San Remo. That's really sweet, and bodes quite well for the Giro I hope. ASO, you sure despite the righteousness of your position with regard to the ProTour as a whole you don't want to follow this noble example with regard to this really rather likeable team?

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