Monday, June 25, 2007

Le Tour, Mon Amour; and, Dammit Gibo!

Simoni Non E Uomo, E' Ragazzo: just when I thought I could relax and enjoy my relatively untainted Giro, comes the deep consternation of the Italian cycling fed on the "extremely bizarre" results of Danilo Di Luca, Eddy Mazzoleni, Ricardo Ricco' and Gilberto Simoni, who apparently showed levels of testosterone akin to those of "prepubescent boys" on the stage to Zoncolan, a day when one might reasonably conclude they actually needed some, and the concurrent demand that UCI turn over their blood profiles. The concern? Not for their manhood--for the presence of masking agents such levels typically indicate. Dammit, can't any of you clowns give me *one* day's rest from this crap? And while we're at it Simoni--your time trialing *still* sucked--if you're going to dope, can't you at least improve enough to justify it? Luckily, on the eve of a Tour that UCI and the race organizers are desperate to let the contenders in, the same policy of disgusting avoidance will likely apply to the Giro as well, as there seems to be a study about showing that riders' testosterone levels routinely drop like rocks for no reason. @#$%^%!

Le Tour, I Swear: so after Andreas Kloden completely smoked the time trial at Tour de Suisse, my question is, does Vino really mean it when he claims "there won't be any problems" and he'll "work for whoever's stronger on the road" at the Tour? After all, we're talking a guy who (1) got jacked out of the Tour last year and (2) is getting a little long in the tooth in Grand Tour years, and (3) *two* guys with a truly impressive history of bushwhacking their own team leader at the Tour (hi Jan!). My guess is that a paranoid desperate Vinokorouv, especially with a Kazakh consortium backing him, absolutely won't let Kloden off the leash except for a non-GC-threatening stage win, to both reward a proven podium finisher so he doesn't look too scrimy about it (and, to be fair, as a generally just Vinokorouv is typically wont to do) and to keep Kloden from open rebellion in the mountains. Y'know, I'm sorry Vino took the hit for Liberty Seguros (particularly since he probably oughta be taking the hit for T-Mobile), but despite his clear superiority in almost everything and the almost embarassing way he took the Vuelta, I'm rooting for Kloden on this one--plus, let's face it, this coming Tour could already use some excitement. You've got Matthias Kessler with your back--a worthy foil to Vino's Kashechkin--don't take any crap Andreas!

Bite me, Bjarne!: While we're on the subject of the Tour, is anyone else surprised as I am that we love Dave Zabriskie is still in limbo regarding his place on CSC's Tour squad? Fine, Riis needs some firepower in the mountains (where Zabriskie performed surprisingly well of late), and Cancellara has, and deserves, his backing in the time trials (where Zabriskie hasn't exactly bitten Bjarne!). But he's had a decent season, and he's won stages in the Tour and worn the maillot jaune for heck's sake--free Zabriskie!

A Last Lament: finally, with Valverde's status in some doubt, nearly every other rider worth watching retired or banned for doping, and Thor Hushovd in crap form and barring some miraculous reversal no contester for any of the sprints, I'm fearing that this is going to be one major snoozer of a Tour. Anyone else thinking we oughta just let Ullrich Basso Mancebo and Landis in, maybe at the base of a few climbs and Ullrich again at the time trials, just to shake up the peloton a bit?

No comments: