Saturday, August 18, 2007

Land(is) of Confusion

Gallows Humor: so the New York Times Sports mag's run a long piece on Floyd Landis which, if indeed an interesting character study--and whatever the hell Landis has or hasn't done (and I remain inclined towards "hasn't," at least on due process grounds), you have to give the man massive credit for having the strength not to pull a Vandenbroucke or, even worse, a Pantani, and completely blow to pieces given the astonishingly crappy year he's had--still manages, nonetheless, to provide virtually no enlightenment for the Times' jock section's largely cycling-ignorant readership on *anything* related to the sport, much less how, contrary to popular yip-yap, it was in fact possible for a rider like Landis to take his stage to Morzine so spectacularly that day *without* having to single-handedly imbibe enough drugs to sate, say, T-Mobile. Most depressing: the account of Landis having to constantly chase down rich amateurs for cash-for-cycling-companionship, a little too "Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute" for comfort. Most engaging: Landis' relentless love for the Tour, even after all it's done to him, and bonus points for conceding he woofed his initial booze-infused explanations for his positive test, and even huger points for keeping his mouth shut about Lance Armstrong, who was such a colossal public !@## to him when he betrayed his lordship and left for Phonak, beyond a gentle he's "not particularly a nice guy." Too bad his early mentor/later vengeful one-man-nest-o'wasps never learned such restraint when it came to lambasting Landis, til his testosterone poz gave Lance an excuse to go all media-whore in the US slagging the French again. Either way, arbitrators, I appreciate your clearly thorough review of the evidence (and I'm hoping for that scenario over a clearly thorough review of how to cover your !@#es over that disgusting debacle), get your goddamn act together and at least let the boy (and Pereiro, and the entire 06 Tour) out of limbo already!

Oh, the Humanity!: Meantime, the disgraced Alexander Vinokorouv has suddenly gone all Gandhi on everybody, blasting the "clear violation of human rights" that is unannounced drug testing--a righteous, and reassuring, call to arms to all his similarly-oppressed brethren (and sistren) in isolation in rat-infested torturefest prisons everywhere and thereby enduring similar atrocities to his own--which, if this egregious abuse of justice is corrected, will free overpaid pro cyclists the world over from the cruel inconvenience of telling exactly where they've gone between vacations in Monaco to procure some other guy's red blood cells. Power to the people, Vino--right on! And, in vaguely related news, Koldo Gil got a nice kick in the @#$$ from the sport's governing bodies, who clarified he's actually not off the hook from Op Puerto, and doesn't get to ride the Vuelta. I was about to say too bad 'cause we still love Iban Mayo could've used him, then realized, dammit! Speaking of notorious Spaniards, and the constantly self-congratulatory ultra-clean German contingent, rumors are also about that Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes worked with a German doctor for certain clients, which reminds me that hey, didn't a couple of T-Mobile doctors just get fired from their team and their universities, heck, now I'm just being mean wondering such preposterous things. Please guys, leave me *one* warm body worth watching at the Vuelta!

Romper Room: finally, in actual race news, we love Jens smokes Levi Leipheimer of all people in the individual tt over at the Tour of Germany and thus the entire show for an unprecedented two-fer, baby Ciolek--is this kid even old enough to drive yet?--takes his third stage off the more established sprint gods (the testing boys must be punching him full of enough holes to turn him into a colander by this point), fellow jailbait Tour wonder Maurizio Soler yet again proves Barloworld's wiliness for signing him on the cheap by taking the overall at Burgos, and the French finally get someone on the Tour de France podium--in the women's race of course--by way of Maryline Salvetat's very fine third to total Amazon Amber Neben's #1. Allez allez!

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