Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ullrich Speaks! and Oh, Right, that Big Race

Jantastic: yep, it's Gazzetta dello Sport first out of the gate again, with Jan Ullrich lamming into we love Erik Zabel a bit, and Rolf Aldag entirely, for their recent boo-hoo Telekom/T-Mobile doping confessionals. Granted, my Italian is crap, so it's of course possible he was just reciting a schnitzel recipe, but I'm pretty darn sure he said that not only did the remorseless boys just yap to keep their jobs (reasonable enough), but that Aldag in particular is somehow rich thanks to all Jan did for him (what? share his stash?), and while we're at it, they're bastards for talking smack about Jan's own case this whole time as if they themselves were saints. Interestingly, however, Jan's neither denying he did dope, nor copping to it in similar hopes of reviving his career. Come on Jan, I understand if you're pissed if they sold you down the river--but you're really gonna be above coughing up the goods yourself once the gasoline fund for your Ferrari starts running a little low? I give you two years max to fall off your moral high horse!

UCI I Hate Their Guts: so, deeply lame UCI has finally decided to ask the directeur sportifs to pay the price for assisting doping--welcome to the party, putzes, I suggested that ages ago--but, in a move I must say I deeply disagree with, actually wants the poor SOB mechanics, masseuses, and soigneurs to also give up a year's salary for helping the riders (who write their paychecks and can get them fired, for heck's sake) along the path to glory. OK, the dirty DSes should in fact fry--though why UCI continues to ignore the actual Op Puerto riders currently likely racing the Tour de France eludes me. And simply fire the front-line suppliers, sure. But you actually want some sap who has to use the pathetic money he earns arm-deep in rider-sweat or covered with bike lube in two in the morning sweet-talking a bent derailleur to pay normal human bills to be whacked with the same financial penalty as some coddled baby who (1) is the actual damn doper, or the actual manager directing its use and (2) makes enough dough to use the bulk of his disgusting bloat of a salary to buy diamond-encrusted yachts? Kill the messenger, why dontcha?!

A Lament for Floyd: well, I'm increasingly bummed that, along with the inevitable outcome of Landis' kangaroo court hearing, Floyd, who clearly belongs on a bike probably along with the other two guys in the peloton who aren't currently doping and certainly with the astonishing percentage at the Tour who are (thanks, UCI!), is instead stuck on a shuttlebus pimping his book city to city during the day and slumping with a can of beer at night watching the action at the Tour on Versus the same as anybody else. Look, I love Levi Leipheimer, and I hope he can take out even a rider as brilliant as Vinokorouv, if for no other reason that I find it grossly implausible that, particularly since he's maintained ongoing relationships with every dope-pushing bottom-feeding hanger-on in the industry, Vino's the only guy from Liberty Seguros and T-Mobile never to have partaken of the ambrosia of performance enhancement. But Levi and Dave Z are the only other Americans worth watching at the moment, and I personally would appreciate someone besides them and we love Carlos Sastre (and Iban Mayo of course) to root for the next three weeks. Come back Floyd!

Carnage!: finally, it's been an egregious bruiser of a Tour all round, as half the sprinters and damn near everyone else with a shot at a stage win in any terrain goes down in a bruised and bloody tangle thanks to Erik Zabel's uncharacteristic snafu nearish the line after an opening couple days that had already seen one too many romances with road furniture. Can we just make it in one piece to the mountains, please, so we've got something else to watch besides the flat-stage boys in the autobus limping up the cols? That goes double for you Valverde!

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