Sunday, May 27, 2007

Il Grande Gibo

That's Right, Gibo: Fine, today's the queen stage of the Giro d'Italia, with a brutal series of climbs up from Trento, and everything I'm about to say is going to be proven egregiously wrong in about the next two hours, not the least of which that Gazzetto dello Sport's poll saying Cunego is the best climber in this Giro is absolute crap, which means he'll probably take the stage and make me look like a total moron today, like I can't dig my own grave without help. So I'm going to focus on what I really love--and is concurrently most exasperating--about Gilberto Simoni: his utter lack of verbal self control. Sure, he's easily the greatest whiner in all the peloton; but can anyone not adore him for his viciously self-excusing--and of course, perfectly prescient--attack on Ivan Basso at last year's Giro for being an "extraterresti"? (Bonus points for playing cyclist etiquette police and knee-capping Basso for bailing on a verbal agreement over a stage finish by cheerfully going for the jugular [actually, rather lower] and proclaiming "he is not a man.") But I gotta say, Gilberto, you flat-out blew it yesterday by lighting into the hapless RAI motos for allowing Garzelli to draft off 'em like a cheating lazy-ass and thereby steal the stage from you, the rightful winner. With all due respect, quit being such a baby! It's the second stage this Giro you got pipped at the line, are they both everyone else's fault? And even if it's true, Garzelli's 5:26 back and in no danger of taking your spot on the podium unless you completely blow up the next two days or the group is stupid enough to let him off the leash on an attack or breakaway which they won't be, why look like a sore loser *again*? You can match your earlier slanderous heights and still take the Giro as well if Di Luca bonks even with Liquigas' astonishing (and dare I suggest, otherwordly--did anyone really expect them to take the team time trial?) performance--hold it together, and choose your targets wisely!

The Danish Inquisition: so yawn, Bjarne Riis confessed to doping throughout the 90s and during his Tour, and with Christian Prudhomme merely suggesting it would be nice of him to hand his actual yellow jersey back (as he already offered) but also acknowledging the futility of finding anyone halfway high in GC that year who wasn't also stoked to award it to, it seems clear that nothing's gonna happen to the puppetmasters as usual, and every rider is, as always, a rare rogue acting in utter isolation from the guidance and leadership of the sponsors, the soigneurs, the doctors, and, most of all, the directeurs sportif. Is it me, or is it rather unjust that it's the poor SOB slogging up the endless Cat 1 climbs in a sleetstorm instead of the overstuffed ex-pro scarfing pastries in the team car who's always made the scapegoat in this? Indeed, Patrick "Everyone Else Who Dopes But Me Should Burn in Hell" Lefevere smirked as much, noting that if Prudhomme is really planning to hold management accountable for their riders, there's only gonna be two crap continental squads led by talentless Boy Scouts left to drive the Tour de France's ratings and revenues completely into the tank, so we can all guess where Captain Morality over at ASO is going to come out on that one. Which really makes me confident you're gonna rush to read the 6000 pages of Op Puerto docs you just got whose names you don't want to surface, you hypocrites! What's really tragic about this whole situation is that one can't help but wonder if Marco Pantani's disastrous implosion would really have played out as it did if he hadn't been, by sheer bad luck, the lone fall guy for every cowardly bastard-on-a-bike during that time who hit the GC without him, happily secure in the knowledge that they had a team doctor who made sure they didn't have the crap isolated luck to test positive. I can only imagine that 10 years from now, the same cynical remorseless stupidity is going to play out again--hell, can there be a grander scale than Op Puerto? and that's ridiculously assuming riders not implicated there aren't getting their own drugs in Belgium or France--and Jan Ullrich's going to be completely redeemed after a decade of hitting the bottle while his competitors tearfully admit that Fuentes got their dog's names right, just as another Festina makes its filthy degraded way into the headlines and the revisionist history lesson predictably draws attention from the new doping scandal then actually at hand. Spare me, everybody--can't any of you overpaid prima donnas draw a lesson from the dedicated amateurs stuck in a cubicle all week at a real job and just race?!

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