What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted? And, an Explanation: Well, I thought I'd successfully made the transition from naive ditzbag idealist to jaded cigar-chomping curmudgeon since my eye-opening experience at the Giro last year, but apparently not, because my guts absolutely dropped to the floor when I read that we love Erik Zabel admitted to taking EPO "for a week" in the 90s, but stopped because of the side effects (right, Aldag I wasn't surprised was lying). Dammit, dammit, crap! Let's leave aside the peculiarity of how the Op Puerto judges weren't able to nail anyone on, say, Liberty Seguros, much less human vending machine Dr. Fuentes, for the negative health effects of doping which then were the only violations covered under Spanish law, since Zabel is making it clear that at least EPO has some negative side effects. I'm going to defend Erik against the distinct possibility this is merely a lame extension of the clear bull@#$% Ivan Basso "I smoked but I didn't inhale" defense, if only to make a last-ditch effort at preserving my innocence, but I gotta say, Milram's goddamn stupid if they fire him over this as Zabel was sobbingly afraid they'll do. After all, with virtually all the powerhouse that was Telekom in the 90s now retired and dominating the ever-unpunished management ranks, is it really fair to take it out on a Telekom rider in the last season or so of his career? And while we're at it, I haven't noticed Christian "Doping Bad, Unless We Need the Riders" Prudhomme expelling the 3/4 of the peloton that by his own roaring demands ought to be ejected from the Tour de France over the Op Puerto scandal, so until the money-grubbing hypocrites at the top are willing to put their dough, and the speed of the races, where their mouths are, it seems damned unfair to nail the riders they're clearly pressuring to do it. Either purge from the top down, or admit you want these boys stoked to up the TV ratings on Alpe d'Huez, you skeezbags!
Incidentally, I've now been very amiably dope-slapped twice over my disgust
with St. David Millar, so I just want to make the source of my vexation clear. It's not that he doped--fine, it's Cofidis, who didn't? It's not even that he's now an advocate for clean sport, which is honestly really nice and all. It's that he's a goddamn sanctimonious hypocrite about it. He didn't confess out of the goodness of his heart; he was sitting in his freakin' hotel room practically with a needle in his !@# for heck's sake! So to shove your face in the TV cameras bawling about how reformed you are compared to all the filthy unrepentant cheats you voluntarily left behind and how very, very bad you really feel is just beyond irritating. If Carlos Sastre's not doping, for example--and for all I know Millar still is--he's not making out with his own reflection over it and whoring himself everytime a RAI crew comes into sight; he puts on his team kit, climbs onto the saddle, keeps his mouth shut and does his goddamn job without expecting fireworks and a parade every morning. Learn it, Millar, and live it!
Le Montagne, Baby!: The sprinters having frolicked for several days, Petacchi recovering his strength dignity and supremacy, McEwen getting satisfying smacked around and Hushovd having crushed my soul for the 4th straight sprint in a row, it's time for the mountains, baby, and holy crap is DiLuca absolutely wailing in the high passes far better than I ever thought he could. Simoni, I know you've got far more domestique firepower in the big mountains than liquigas (vai Iban!), but watch out in the Dolomites!