Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dope On Wheels

Friday the 13th (well, 15th): it's only a hop-skip-and-a-jump to the surely-productive meeting between UCI and the ProTour teams, designed to reassure the Directeurs Sportif that their GC contenders and higher-level domestiques won't be openly matched to the Op Puerto blood bags til well after the Tour start in Paris, I mean, to join together in valiant combat against the shameful scourge that is doping in time to obliterate it all before the first Maillot Jaune is worn this year. The guarantor of its success? Why, Quick Step Grand Poobah Patrick "Needles? I Thought They Were for Acupuncture" Lefevere, who immediately crowed his delight and dedication at the noble task ahead. I'm reassured, aren't you?

It Ain't Just Cycling Anymore: top Canadian wheelchair marathoner/Sydney multi-medalist Jeff Adams has been busted and banned for 2 years for doping after testing poz for cocaine. Smashing lawyer defense: coke "is not a performance-enhancing drug." So what about the ever- beloved blow-and-heroin cocktail "Pot Belge," back in the news just the other day as the syringe-du-jour of the Quick Step raids? Well, I'm sure it's the heroin that perks you up and propels you over Mont Ventoux at a thousand k an hour...

Le Tour: yes, VeloNews' fine preview issue is out, and big love to legend Bernard Hinault for (1) giving we love Iban Mayo the credit and props he so deserves and (2) pointing out that Euskaltel's flat-out sucked since he left. While my own jury's still out on that for the long haul, given that I fully expect an Haimar Zubeldia-fueled Sammy Sanchez to take to the podium at the Vuelta in August, I'm delighted to see the team smacked nonetheless after their vicious treatment of Iban, particularly considering the beleaguered boy's spiffy late-season-06 results. And speaking of the VeloNews coverage, did anyone on Caisse d'Epargne even bother to give presumptive 06 TdF king (sorry Floyd, even if you're innocent, I still think you're hosed) Oscar "Before Valverde Can Win the Tour, First He's Got to Finish a Tour" Pereiro a heads-up before straight-on announcing Valverde--not Oscar, alone or in combination--as the sole team leader for the Tour, despite the ambitious Pereiro's coy suggestions to the contrary? Okay, he was competing against a bit of a half-assed tier of GC contenders with Basso, Vino and the rest of the Brady Bunch mired in the Op Puerto gulag...still, ouch!

Roberto Heras Suspension Countdown: yep, it's only a few short months til disgraced Vuelta god we love Roberto Heras is back on the market, and he's "confident" (and I'm falling over with desperation) that he'll find a team for 2008. Hell, Jorg Jaksche had no problem getting a job and a pretty sweet salary, and his results were crap in comparison--venga Heras! Now, I realize I'm a completely disgusting hypocrite--like the ones I exceedingly slap around on an average day--for slagging boys like Ivan "Man Candy" Basso for doping when actually I don't give a rat's @#$ if Roberto Heras, plus, say, Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Bettini, Iban Mayo or even we love Thor Hushovd are passed out daily in their team kit in some skank doctor's opium den, but frankly, I like them better. However, I assure you all I feel very guilty and conflicted about that. Truly. Am I absolved yet?

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