Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tabloid Wars

Bjarn Again: on the heels of Jorg Jaksche's rather old-news accusation that he talked doping with Bjarne Riis on the ski lift while at CSC, Bjarne's responding at last, saying that while he remembers going skiing, he did not either talk doping, and what's more, in a classic switch to Completely Beside the Point Dodgery, sez anyway, Jorg was a colossal pain in the @#$ to work with, kept asking other riders questions about stuff which clearly indicated he was a filthy cheating skeezbag, made everyone in the peloton hate him, was pissed about not getting an offer from Astana, was happy to get an offer to bail for Liberty Seguros of all scumly disreputable outfits, and, most outrageous of all, actually ticked off Jens Voigt. Off with his head! And on the Basso matter, it's entirely the fault of those clowns at UCI, as is in fact all the doping anytime anywhere ever by anyone remotely for a split second associated with Bjarne or CSC like Tyler Hamilton, because their blood profiles were sparkly and pure enough to make a vampire swoon and it's UCI's goddamn fault for tricking poor innocent dopus Bjarne into thinking that meant something in the first place. Now, I'm all for anyone sandbagging the apes over at UCI by any rationale--but if the current crop of team managers are so naive and useless, why not just let a bunch of ex-dopers go right on ahead and run the show? Oh, wait....

CONI Island: thwarted in their efforts to nail Danilo "Oil for Drugs" Di Luca, displeased at the continued tifosi hero-worship of pretty-boy criminal Ivan Basso, and frankly unimpressed themselves with the minor prize of Cristian Moreni, CONI's gone to the the Court of Arbitration for Sport over Alessandro Petacchi, hell-bent on at least salvaging some dignity (and enforcing the beauty and integrity of true sport, yap yap) by overriding the Italian cycling fed's scandalous ruling that anything taken under a Therapeutic Use Exemption must be okay, even if one guy's just taken enough to Therapeut the EU's entire population of wheezing asthmatics into a truly Cheech and Chong level of stoked. Much as I like Petacchi, it's actually sort of sweet and encouraging that CONI's so sincere about cracking down--but one can hardly blame Petacchi for UCI's handing out these exemptions to anyone who offers up a polite cough for the officials, can one?

Team Implosion Contract Watch: disgraced maillot jaune Michael Rasmussen's been apparently chatting with Acqua e Sapone, and isn't hesitating to make Rabobank pay for his need to do so either, claiming that Rabo knew exactly where and when he was training at least in the Pyrenees, because they ponied up for his plane ticket. As for the slight disconnect between his claim to be training Mexico while accidentally seeming to do so in the Dolomites? He can't explain that right now, surely for some completely valid reason, but while we're at it, he didn't really miss any doping controls anyhow, because he was around for all of UCI and WADA's and, as he rides under a Monaco license, the Danes had no right to ask him for one. Holy moly, that very nearly makes sense! Andreas Kloden, meantime, stuck twiddling his thumbs til Astana gets to ride the comparatively meaningless GP Plouay, continues to deny talking to any other teams, but does cop to their talking to him, and while we're at it, the Code of Ethics is crap his ex-teammates are thoughtless dirtbags who completely jacked him out of his rightful place at the end of Tour de France (from my view, it's just a total accident on Vino's part that he didn't get to do it to Kloden personally on the course) and Astana can blow for throwing 26 clean riders under the bus just to damage control the three who cheated. Finally, ever-kind Levi Leipheimer has made it clear he's quite distraught over the loss of Discovery, even after the way that troll Bruyneel jerked him around romancing pouty dreamboat Ivan Basso, but expects to have a new gig with a comparably happy and quality tied up in a week or so, leaving open the question, where? I'm sorta hoping Slipstream actually, not only 'cause they've got a killer broad-range lineup with Millar and Zabriskie for the time trials (and I must admit, Millar was a hell of a domestique in the Tour as well), Julian Dean for the sprints and big Maggy Backstedt to cause some pain in the Classics, meaning the only thing they're currently missing is a Grand (and short) Tour GC contender, but also because, for such a young squad, they've proven they've got, and are willing to use, their budget on at least guys just entering and just leaving their prime. But if you're gonna come up with their ProTour license a year early, McQuaid, try not to Unibet over your new addition to the group this time!

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