Monday, April 23, 2007

Target Practice

L'Equipe's Been Working on the Railroad, All the Livelong Day: yep, as you've no doubt heard, the dreams of every whipped French cycling journalist still smarting from their failure to nail Lance Armstrong have finally come true, as L'Equipe joyously reports that Floyd Landis' B samples--of As from the Tour that tested clean under one method--have fortuitously tested dirty for exogenous testosterone under a different method. Phew! Since the lab utterly denied Landis due process by screwing up the Morzine samples that originally ripped Landis' Tour victory out from under him, it's good they were finally able to peg him for *something*! The catch? Well, according to Landis' exasperated team, in addition to giving the lions a second chance to down the prey they humiliatingly--and publicly--missed the first time, the lab utterly denied Landis due process this time around, too, by failing to allow, as required by the rules, one of Landis' own experts to observe the proceedings. Nice work reaching your foregone conclusion, you apes!

Look, from a legal perspective, I have decidedly mixed feelings about those rare instances where due process concerns trump actual facts. But what's incredibly clear in this case is that none of these idiots should be allowed to judge a kindergarten schoolyard dispute over the rightful ownership of a spit-covered lollipop, much less a complex scientific determination as to whether someone's hard-earned career oughta be blown to bits. Destroy him fairly and honestly--fine, them's the breaks for Floyd, justice is served. But if you can't, suck up the pain of your unjustified suspicions and acknowledge either that he's really not guilty, or you haven't the competence to prove that he is. Y'know, I've got nothing but admiration for France. The food; the wine; the history of brazen imperialism almost as impressive as our own; not to mention the Tour de France organizers satisfyingly smacking around the irksome crybabies over at UCI at every opportunity. But can the yellow journalists (and I say that with the utmost respect, as I can only aspire to be one) over at L'Equipe please get over their grudge about the French losing the Tour every year in recent memory and at least wait til they can nail any American they can find with some halfway credible evidence?

Do You Feel Lucky, Punk? Well, Do Ya?: lest anyone in the peloton implicated in the dead-in-the-water Op Puerto welcome the Landis diversion too happily, UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid has now appealed openly to the Spanish sports minister for help, begging him to allow the 100ish blood bags seized in the investigation to be made available for DNA comparison, citing rumors that the wily Dr. Fuentes is at it again (said whisperings xenophobically fueled, apparently, by the Spaniards predictably crushing everyone else in the peloton in their hometown Vuelta a Pais Vasco.) This, one might surmise, is likely to make many of the ProTour teams and their favored riders a bit twitchy, particularly considering their perhaps retrospectively ill-considered promise to make DNA samples available for future scandals--though they could always argue that this old-news witchhunt doesn't count, and I imagine the dozen-odd anonymous riders who refused to sign onto that pledge (now, not to speculate, but anyone else guessing Ivan "Come Within 800 Miles of Me With a Q-Tip and My Lawyer Will Chew Your Face Off" Basso is one of them?) aren't flipping out too badly yet. Hell, there's plenty of time to weasel out of this one til July!

Bruyneel Giveth, and Bruyneel Taketh Away: and, in the wake of the Prudhomme halfhearted "Op Puerto Riders Go Home" hoo-ha, Discovery master Johan Bruyneel remains surprisingly unperturbed by the suggestion of Basso's forced nonparticipation in the Tour, shockingly claiming that we love Levi Leipheimer was "always" to be their leader at the Tour de France, and Basso was ever only really hired to defend his Giro. Really? Am I the only one whose gut response to that announcement is "that's crap!"? Why else would an American team almost exclusively fixated on the Tour, with an American fan base that's barely even heard of the Giro, have handed over 90 gazillion euros to secure Lance protege Basso? Luckily, Levi's smashing recent performances at the Tours of California and Georgia give Johan something halfway plausible to hang one's hat on, at least if one ignores the preening press conferences and uber-gentleman Leipheimer's curiously late and flat response that accompanied Basso's signing. As to Prudhomme's request re: Basso particularly, Bruyneel maintained a stoic "no comment." Man, do we have to go through all this drama at the Tour de France start line *again*?

1 comment:

Daniel said...

"Destroy him fairly and honestly--fine, them's the breaks for Floyd, justice is served. But if you can't, suck up the pain of your unjustified suspicions and acknowledge either that he's really not guilty, or you haven't the competence to prove that he is."

Very well put -thanks.