Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's All About the Benjamins

Would You Buy a Used Car From This Man?: as if having his reputation sullied, his place in history destroyed, his future in pro cycling management tanked, and his talent, integrity and general worthiness mocked by the German press weren't enough, Jan Ullrich's last hope for making a living, his endorsement gig with X-Bionic, is now in doubt as the company polls its customers to find out whether they still would, or now wouldn't, buy any Jan Ullrich (TM) gear in the wake of his disgrace. Not that they don't genuinely want to project an image of wholesome innocent athletic success and good sportsmanship--but they might be talked out of it if the euros are right. Well, they may be mercenary, but at least they get points for not convicting the boy before a trial! Hear that, UCI?

Redemption Song: Aching to find Floyd Landis guilty of *something*, and thereby redeem their current reputation as the Three Stooges of the scientific world, the hapless techs at the French lab who so skillfully mishandled the Landis Morzine-day samples are now having a go at the different-day B samples whose As tested negative, all at the behest of even-more-eager-to-convict USADA. Now, it seems to me that Landis is in a bit of a Catch-22 here: if the B samples test negative, confirming the results on the A samples--which the Landis team of course would not contest--the lab gets to say, "see, we're both honest and competent after all!" But if the B samples test positive--which the Landis team of course would vigorously contest--the lab gets to say, "see, we told you Landis is a dirty doping lying pig!" So as far as I can tell, either way, they win and Floyd is jacked. Besides polishing these clowns' sterling rep and sinking Landis by implication, can anyone give me a legitimate reason this exercise is taking place?

Can We Pleeeeaaaassseeee Not Talk About Doping At Quick Step?: yep, Patrick "So What If I Did?" Lefevere has joined the chorus demanding that the investigation against Dr. Fuentes be reopened, this time elaborating that he's--horrors! at least in the sense that not everyone in the peloton might have access to it--providing a new alternative to EPO that is not yet detectable. Deflecting attention a bit from your Belgian press humiliation, are we? Meantime, Danilo Hondo's Swiss court date has been put off yet again, leaving in some doubt when the Tinkoff transplant can get back on his bike, which is just as well as it gives Tyler Hamilton some time to get up to speed and prove that he rides just fine when he's tested every two minutes.

Where in the World Is Iban Mayo?: most recently, playing domestique to J.J. Cobo and Koldo Gil at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco in his run-up to supporting Gilberto Simoni at the Giro. Oh, Iban. Is Saunier-Duval ever going to let you out to run in your own right, even outside the pressure-cooker of the Tour?

O ('Grady) My!: Sprinter. Grand Tour GC contender. Classics man. Between catastrophic injuries, it seems Stewie O'Grady's been all 3, until he, and CSC's incredibly wily team tactics, firmly whapped him into the pantheon of timeless classics champions with his truly butt-kicking breakaway victory in Paris-Roubaix. Right on O'Grady! Bonus points: CSC first choice/2006 defending champ Fabian Cancellara disrupting the French press interview to clamber all over O'Grady in congrats; Lars Michaelson's grand farewell performance; and the immediate public smackdown between usually amiable Tom Boonen and the rest of his failed gruppetto over whose fault their chase choke really was. Allez!

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