Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Axis Powers: yes, on the very morning of the Tour, and with the French having totally coincidentally no GC hope whatsoever (much as I hope Christophe Moreau smokes the field), the early season's nationalist warfare has started again, with the ProTour teams meeting and the pure and noble anti-doping French and Germans taking one side, and the filthy cheating Italians and Spaniards the other. The hoo-ha? The notoriously clean and honest Germans (like T-Mobile) and French (cough! Richard Virenque! cough!) 'walked out' in outrage when the Spaniards (at least honestly) opined 'we use medicine like all the other teams, this is not doping'. The horror! I'm sure I'm just hallucinating when I recall that CSC's doctors were not in fact Spanish nor Italian, but still just went down in a burning ball o'doping flames two weeks ago. And didn't Jan Ullrich and Jorg Jaksche ride for Euskaltel their whole careers?

The Civil War: meantime, the riders themselves aren't getting along much better, with paranoid conspiracy theorist and accidental associate with every doping scandal anytime anywhere ever Alexander Vinokorouv attacking Jaksche for lying for cash (and we know no other rider ever has, say, by denying doping to the press) and even ever-happy Jens Voigt taking out Jorg for using fake charges to pursue personal grudges. Glad to see we're all getting along, boys!

The Wounded: speaking of actual riders riding, fragile flower we love Oscar Freire has been felled at the start of the Tour while in top physical form yet *again*, this time with a reoccurrence of the nasty saddlesore that crushed him out of most of a season and required surgery better left undescribed. Petacchi. Freire. Boonen and Hushovd in the tank all year. At this rate, anyone else thinking McEwen could just walk his bike across the line from 300 meters out and still take every freakin' sprint this Tour?

The Mandatory Prediction: not to curse him, but his name rhymes with 'smabriskie.' Allez allez!

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