Saturday, May 19, 2007

Il Grande Giro, and the '06 Tour, Again

The Tour Can Blow: Well, not only is Alejandro Valverde not his dog "Piti" in the small matter of the Eufemiano Fuentes blood-bag code-names, just like Basso's not his dog "Birillo" though actually he is, but Galician Oscar Pereiro--who veers disconcertingly (in the sense of, is he going to hold it together, or ought a veterinarian be on standby with a tranquilizer dart) on the subject of the Tour de France from humble deference to Landis to discreet hope it may yet be his to slavish dedication to Valverde's interests to the outright assertion that Valverde's too weak to take it to total screaming rage if he's questioned while not in the mood--is apparently not his dog, "Urko," either, because as any idiot knows "Urko" is a hill in the Basque country, while it is the far different "Urco" that is actually a mythological Galician dog, so it is clearly impossible that he could be a Fuentes client, presumably because Fuentes, besides being the Most Meticulous Record Keeper Ever, is not only a great speller generally but also a noted expert in Spanish regional fairy tales. What's more, if Pereiro's gonna be asked to submit a damn DNA sample to match against "Urko's" blood, the Tour de France, which is a meaningless minor ride after all anyway, can completely screw, 'cause Pereiro, as a matter of honor and not avoidance of doping charges, will simply ride the far more prestigious and well-known Vuelta instead, as any rider with half an eye towards eternal glory would prefer. Forget the 'roid-rage mood swings, Oscar, that DNA stance makes you look just great! (And while we're at it, your freakin' Therapeutic Use Exemption didn't give you enough gas, you had to scarf a pile of crapola on top of that? ugh) Anyhoo, by my reckoning, if Floyd gets stripped, but Oscar then makes Tour king Christian Prudhomme twitchy, I believe this puts Andreas Kloden in the '06 maillot jaune (and we love Carlos Sastre on the podium at last, in 2nd, woo-hoo!), which then puts Kloden in the interesting position of being the winner of the '06 Tour but forced to go solely to support Alexander "I'm Not Vino" Vinokorouv--unless of course *he's* barred again--as his domestique for '07, and I absolutely have no recollection of who that sets up for last year's podium in 3rd. I don't know about you, but my head's starting to ache--can we just give this thing to some half-@#$sed French neo-pro from F. de Jeux and call the matter settled once and for all?

My Hero, Giro: well, I imagine the boys in Pepto-Bismol pink can let go of the breaths they've been holding for a second at least, as T-Mobile might keep their sponsorship after all with the glory of the Maglia Rosa in hand for the moment. But the real news for me--besides the fact that boy, has Petacchi come back out of nowhere--is the classifica generale, with Di Luca suddenly looking like the man to beat but, with the mountains hard by after a couple more sprint stages, the rest of the GC contenders all within shouting distance of each other, with blonde bambino Cunego just shy of a minute back of him, Savoldelli an additional 13 seconds back, Garzelli--and man, is A&S looking suprisingly strong!--another 20-odd behind and Gibo Simoni in slightly more, but certainly not insurmountable, trouble, a further minute-plus in arrears. My question? Riccardo Ricco', still ahead of Simoni in GC and looking rather stronger so far, is playing modest second-banana to Simoni as he should at the moment, but then so did Cunego in '04 as I recall and we all know how that turned out, so is Ricco going to show some loyalty to his mentor or stab him in his yellow-clad back the second Simoni starts to bonk on a Dolomite? Me, I'm rooting for Simoni for the overall, which actually, if Basso and Guitierrez both get it stripped from last year, could suddenly make the two-time champ a four-fer. Vai Gilberto!

Oh, Yeah, *That* Guy: y'know, tired as I am by the ubiquitous "Drunken @#$hole" defense, now whined forth by Landis' ex-manager over the Greg LeMond witness-intimidation hoo-ha (does anyone else know people who call other people when they're loaded and taunt them about their childhood sex abuse? 'cause everyone I know who "cells drunk" at 2 in the morning just blubbers disastrously to an ex's answering machine or something), I have to say it's a damn shame, because to my confused and scientifically talentless eyes, it seems like USADA's expert conceded that the testing methodology relied upon by the French lab actually uses a less accurate evaluation method than is currently the standard, leaving the true testosterone/epitestosterone ratio in some doubt, plus that the chain of procedural disasters does tend to speak to the general competence and ability of the lab itself, thus leaving Floyd with some fairly colorable arguments on his behalf. Or does this not matter at all now that Landis, thanks to his moron manager, has been utterly flambeed in the press?

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