Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Final Countdown, and, Holy Crap!

Will He? Won't He?: yep, it's mere days to the start of the Tour de France in London, and the race is on to see who the UCI will actually have the cojones to boot out of the Tour and who they'll let in with the astonishing spinelessness that has become, in addition to their impotent hypocritical blustering, their disgusting and cowardly trademark. So far, it looks like Alejandro "Blood? What Blood?" Valverde is in, Alessandro "I Only Get Asthma in the Sprint Stages" Petacchi is likely in (if only because the Italians won't want to give Milram's sprint leadership to actual confessed doper and German Erik Zabel), Alexander "It's A Total Coincidence That Every Rider Trainer DS and Doctor I've Ever Worked With Is Implicated in a Doping Scandal" Vinokorouv is in, and @#$%ing Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso and Floyd Landis, who let's face it are likely no dirtier than any of these guys, are @#$%ing out. And, in a further sign that the handy oxygen-carrying drug OD his handy Therapeutic Use Exemption permits has nothing on the useless illicit crap that guys like Dr. Fuentes are pushing, Petacchi's happily agreed to sign the UCI Virginity Pledge just in time for the prosecutors to let him off the hook and send him straight to this weekend's start line with inhaler in hand. Aiiggghhh!

Mata Hari Strikes Again: So, thinking of UCI, I've been pondering the fact that they promised that "6 or 7 high-profile riders" have not only been shadowed in their pre-Tour training for the nefarious crime of training without their team kit, but have been so clearly busted for blood-value irregulaties as to guarantee that half the podium contenders are going to be viciously knocked out of the Tour de France. Now, I know that Saturday is very, very far away, and as we all know, UCI's desire to truly keep the dopers out of the Grand Tours is famous--witness, for example, their extreme dedication to, say, studiously ignoring the Op Puerto file they've had for a month that actually identifies 107 guilty riders until after the entire '07 season is over. But am I really supposed to believe that, oh, domestique Matthias Kessler--fine an asset as he would've been to Andreas Kloden's hopes of bushwhacking Vinokorouv for supremacy--is the GC contender that UCI was talking about? Riiiiiiiight!

Godefrootloop: And, as everyone shows the moral righteousness to clean house in timing totally unrelated to the Tour de France's start date, Astana's consultant Walter Godefroot--implicated by every rider he's ever worked with in handing out drugs to riders like grown-ups passing candy to kiddies at Halloween--has suddenly developed "agonizing back pain" and will, regretfully, be unable to assist the team at the Tour de France, or anywhere else for that matter til his monstrously lucrative contract runs out at the end of July and a relieved twitchy Vinokorouv has his yellow jersey, and the attendant giant champagne bottle and armful of podium babes, firmly in hand after his triumphal lap on the Champs-Elysees. Am I the only one thinking that this guy ain't the only manager in the peloton who could use a little pre-Tour mystery malady to help his team's rep?

Holy Crap!: and, I edit to note I've apparently just been proven wrong yet again, as Gazzetta dello Sport is just now reporting that the Italian prosecutor has formally requested that Alessandro Petacchi be suspended from racing for a year for his mindboggling salbutamol levels at this year's Giro d'Italia. Oh, why the hell not, he's already got his 800 stages at the Giro, the Italians don't really care about the Tour anyway...anyway, if it's true, sorry to miss you Petacchi, but go Zabel!

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