Monday, August 13, 2007

(Un)Natural Male Enhancement

The Italian Stallion: So it seems to me that Cristian Moreni's humble if perhaps rather preposterous apologia for his doping positive, blamed on a wholesome cream from random purveyors on the internet that he had no idea would be unfairly considered to boost testosterone production as it was all about the amino acids that every rider takes, and that no rider with a livelihood to protect would naturally question when accepting a supplement from some anonymous goon with a post office box and a total lack of quality control or scruples, and that anyway he obviously didn't dope systematically as he hasn't won 50 races in his career like some people, was entirely rendered ineffective by the far sexier news that the prosecutors also seized, among other items in his possession, an obscure plant revered not only for its performance-enhancing qualities, but also its "performance-enhancing" qualities, if you catch my drift. Oh Cristian. You were a hell of a domestique, a good hard worker, and I wish you only the best, so I just can't bring myself to say a word. But I am just *dyin'* here. Do I get any points towards a jersey for self-restraint?

Riders Up!: On the chopping block, as usual, as T-Mobile's repulsive management announces a plan to purge doping by the team by collectively raiding the riders' salaries. I call bull@#$% T-Mobile! As usual, this plan puts all the blame and responsibility on the cyclists *again*, without any similar penalties against the disgusting sponsor and DSes who literally profit from such practices, which is (1) completely ironic coming from a team with more positives than even, say, the late Phonak squad, and (2) screws the few riders who actually *aren't* doping or even just slathering their packages with "amino acid" creams off anonymous sleazeball vendors. I'll say it again: for every positive test on a team, the managers should have to forfeit their own leech salaries, either as a penalty for encouraging it, turning a blind eye to it, or failing to motivate the troops to truly avoid it. Why should, say, Linus Gerdemann, if he's clean, have to fund testing or anything else for Sinkewitz's weak tainted @#$? These guys are egomaniacs and some of the world's greatest athletes--jack these guys out of the palmares and record-book immortality they so badly want, and you're hurting 'em enough. And in two years, a DS can always come back--not so a rider. So take some responsibility for the teams and the boys you purport to control, and cough up your own damn dough!

We'll Always Have Paris: actually, I guess we won't, as Astana was kicked out of the Tour de France too, but now they've also been ejected from the Vuelta, not that, without Vinokorouv Kashechkin or Kloden (despite, to be fair, a very dandy supporting cast), there was much point to their showing up anyway. Who gets to attend? Why, Cofidis, Rabobank, T-Mobile, Saunier Duval...all the problem-free squads, of course. (Meantime, I am just so thankful we love little Sastre at CSC and lords of the climb Euskaltel's still in that they could actively jab a needle into every single rider rump at the start line and I'd still be at peace with it frankly.) Helpfully, though, UCI's noting that with Discovery gone there's a ProTour license up for grabs, even if Slipstream's not ready to take it up yet, in which case, I've got a radical suggestion: why not truly give it to poor betrayed boys over at Unibet, stop using them as a punching bag for problems they didn't cause, and let the team and the riders who accepted its promises get what they paid for?

In From the Kold(o): finally, in a genuinely nice bit of doping news for once, Koldo Gil's been officially cleared of any link to Operacion Puerto, leaving only 100 or so tainted riders meandering about the peloton--it's lovely for Gil though! In related news, ex-Phonak alleged drugmeister Santi Botero just won the Tour of Columbia after getting dissed last year by the ProTour peloton, reminding us all yet again, no matter how many positive tests Phonak racked up the last few years of its existence, the sponsors, managers, and crestfallen teammates were all completely justified in blaming the entire team's implosion solely on the renegade nefarious criminal Floyd Landis. And, in even more pleasant news, Damiano Cunego--I still forget how very young he is--snagged a fine stage over at the Tour of Germany after a valiant effort by we love (and somebody hire!) Levi Leipheimer, while we also love Jens Voigt takes a blow as an allergic, yacking baby Schleck unfortunately abandons. How you say "allez, Jens" in German?

1 comment:

Shameless St Millar Defender said...

Oh Racejunkie.
Firstly, don’t blame T-Mobile’s present incarnation for the doping of the Godefroot era. Hmmm Godefroot… where did he end up this last year…?
Secondly, the mistake Stapleton made was to focus on blood-doping testing to the exclusion of other stuff. Give the guy a break. There are only two other teams I can think of that have even made the effort. Let’s ask the rest of them, including the not-mourned Discoes, why they haven’t bothered taking responsibility for the athletes in their care - and for the wellbeing of their sponsors - and checking for something that’s clearly rampant in the peloton. Costs half a million a year, roughly, according to Slipstream. That’s the price of one top rider. Just one. And less than a quarter of what it costs to hire Valverde for the year, apparently (E2m = $2.7m).
And T-Mobile let Honchar go as a result of "suspicious" tests, despite no positives. Can’t see many teams doing that.
And thirdly. Two words for ya – peer pressure. This is what T-Mobile’s salary steal is all about. I’m with you on not loving the fact its coming out of riders’ pay, but you’re missing the point of peer pressure power. Can you imagine what the Cofidis team bus is like post-Moreni? You can betcha life any whiff of a doping rumor around one of those guys – or a T-Mobile, now – is going to result in some heavy pressure from the clean guys.
The problem with cycling has been its very individualism – its allowed people to go off and do their own doping thing. I say bring ‘em together, make them collectively responsible – carry on kicking out the dopers’ teams, for example - and see how long they tolerate their teammates’ suspected bad practices.
Fair? Not necessarily, but that’s life, dude. My tax level ain't exactly set at the level of public services I use or plan to, after all.
It’s a privilege to be a pro cyclist, not a right, and they owe it to the younger generation to ensure there’s a pro scene left for them.
They owe me, too, frankly.