Monday, April 09, 2007

Just Say No, and a Proposal

Jan on the Run: so Jan Ullrich, hurt apparently by the German press' unjustly destroying his reputation over such trivial questions as why a notorious doping provider was seemingly in possession of a bunch of his blood, has decided to limit any future remarks on his situation to the more controlled environment of his personal website, plaintively claiming he's not only innocent, but "blameless," and promising that, while he must unfortunately keep his explanations to himself for now, all will be revealed in due course. (Y'know, if he'd just kept it to the ambiguous "blameless," he could've really sold any or all of his handlers down the river as the "blameful" parties in this matter, and claimed helplessness under the pressure, should he really get busted this time. Not that he oughta do such a lame and cowardly thing. I'm just sayin'.) Anyhoo, his lawyers, by contrast, seem less welded to the idea of his actual purity, speaking hopefully of their "good working contacts in Bonn" amidst rumors they're working on a plea bargain. Jan, you're either a doper or you're not, and your lawyers at least publicly should be toeing the party line--get your message together, people!

Misery Loves Company: on the plus side for scapegoat-o'-the-peloton Ullrich, the ProTour teams' association, in a shocking (and rather suspicious) bit of fair play, is now demanding that the teams make all the Op Puerto-implicated riders turn over their DNA now for comparison to Fuentes' extensive stash, officially closed Spanish investigation or no. Don't worry, IPCT, I'm sure--as I'm sure you genuinely believe--every one of the teams'll eagerly comply. After all, they kept their word on the ultra-successful "gentlemen's agreement" not to hire any of these accused skankbags in the first place, didn't they? Oops, wait a minute...

A Proposition: Tyler. Floyd. Jan. 10 or 12 others I can think of. Now, I know it's all too easy to Monday-morning quarterback here. But still, it seems to me that certain legal and other matters might've occasionally been approached, well, slightly differently to date. So, as a devoted believer in truth, equal application of the rules, and fair sport, and having a vested interested as a fan in not seeing 1/2 the pro peloton banned from racing for life (if only so we needn't all yawn our way through the next few Grand Tours), I'd like to humbly offer my legal services to the various riders clearly unjustly implicated in Operacion Puerto and similar baseless scandals. Qualifications: a genuine love of cycling, a general disgust with hypocritical authorities, a relentless attraction to losing causes, and a nascent-and-growing ability to bellow "slander!" "libel!" and "significant monetary damages!" in several pertinent languages. Alternately, if you're Ivan Basso's genius lawyer Massimo Martelli, I'm actually pretty content to toss years of training in the tank and just do your Xeroxing (TM) or something so I can watch you in action. Free the OP 50!

Leif Blower: well, as both my faithful readers know, my calls on the Tour de Flanders were complete crap, and as absolutely everybody knows by now, upstart 3 Days of De Panne champ Alessandro Ballan unbelievably surged past 3x-a-bridesmaid/certain victor Leif Hoste right on the line, despite a very fine tactic to simply wear the former boy down and out of sprint contention, by half a wheel. While Ballan was kind in victory, poor Hoste was so obviously destroyed by his incredible loss I can't help but root for him desperately next year. That, and on a personal note I was also sad to lose the chance to smack around Discovery for ditching Hoste so ignominiously over to Predictor-Lotto. You can do it, Leif--Predictor, start your planning for next year now! And, amongst all the bodies littering the pave' this year, possibly the most bummin' is vet we love Erik Zabel, whacked out of Ghent-Wevelgem and the Hell of the North with a sorely bruised hip and shredded, if otherwise undamaged, arm and knee. Hold it together Erik--you must go out with at least one last stage in the Tour!

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