Monday, August 06, 2007

Chicken Fingers

Are a' Pointing: With UCI and ASO desperate for a reason to justify taking Michael Rasmussen's Tour away, particularly with likely more than a few Op Puerto riders riding thanks to UCI's peculiar ennui and actual positive tests breeding like rabbits, and everyone else piling on Rasmussen to draw attention off their own tainted cyclist corps, CSC accidentally comes to the rescue, with the then-DSes proclaiming that Rasmussen's freakish and suspicious blood profiles, and not merely the usual battle of egos and budgets, were the reason the dirty renegade scuzzbucket left the team in 2002, presumably because guys like Bjarne Riis really, really oppose doping, at least when it can make them look both noble and prescient with regard to other riders long after their own drug-stoked careers have come to an end. So there--he may not have tested pumped at the Tour, but we can sure punish him for the rumors! Um, by that lame standard, wouldn't pretty much *every* recent contender for (and, say, golden-boy 7-year lock on) the podium be stripped of the maillot jaune before the sprinters crossed the line in Paris? Thankfully, the raging-mob hysteria against the Chicken appears to have subsided somewhat, as he managed to race in Denmark this weekend without a wooden stake being hammered through his heart and even, apparently, a few gestures of goodwill from a crowd that days ago was building his gasoline-stoked funeral pyre. Feeling a little sheepish now that the final boy in yellow in Paris is, as a Manolo Saiz protege, entirely possibly no cleaner than the Dane who isn't?

Thor-n Away: Crap! Yes, poor Thor Hushovd, a rider we love but who really relies on his boys to guide his way to the line, needs a new lead-out man, as sprint machine Julian Dean becomes the latest high-profile rider to unaccountably defect to US Pro Continental squad Team Slipstream in anticipation of a Tour wildcard and possible ProTour status down the road. Crap! Speaking of which, is anyone else as devastated as I that Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde have hit the pavement from CSC to join new Brit road champ/sobbing sensitive antidoping crusader St. David Millar? (Extra congrats, and perhaps even less verbal abuse, to Millar if he lets Jonathan Vaughters bawl for the cameras over the next random rider's EPO positive test from now on.) Fine, Cancellara's wiped the floor with everyone all season--but whatever else is going on with Zabriskie lately, he's still the most fluid tt rider out there for my money, and he bails from CSC for a not-yet-there US squad we'll be lucky to see in half the 2008 races for God's sake? That's a full year in the tank in the prime of his career! Aiiiigggghhh--you *suck* Bjarne, who are you going to screw over next?!

The People's Court: as Gilberto Simoni superdomestique Leonardo "Hey, How Come Petacchi Can Scarf Enough Salbutamol To Kill An Ox And I Can't?" Piepoli faces off with the Italian prosecutors this week, gazzetta's dello sport's reporting that Danilo Di Luca's doping decision is due as early as this morning. Good luck boys, whether you deserve it or not!

Right (Well, Old) Guard: Okay, it was a far more entertaining Tour than I'd ever imagined. But as Cadel Evans politely supports Contador for the cameras, riders we *know* can still kick both their @#$es languish in either the doldrums of their bans or retirement, guys compliment each other like ladies-who-lunch on their latest handbags and even we love reliable attack dog Gilberto Simoni is too busy playing on his mountain bike to talk smack about his latest targets, is anyone else thinking the peloton's become just a little too, well, genteel of late? Someone with some guts already, come back!

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