Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What a Piece of Work is Man!

Though This Be Madness, Yet There is Method In't: somewhere anyway I'm sure, as the Kazakh cycling fed claims that not only has an independent French lab tested each of Andrey Kashechkin's blood samples and determined he never doped at all in any way, but what's more, Astana's psyched for the upcoming Vuelta and Andreas Kloden will be out there as team leader, all of which certainly comes as news to Astana, which sez that the B sample hasn't even been taken for testing yet, Unipublic steadfastly assures them they won't be allowed within 10 miles of the start line, and even clean queen Kloden can't ride a race his entire team's been bagged from. Y'know, I'm all in favor of fruitless whistling-in-the-dark cheerleader propaganda, if only for its sheer chutzpah, but might these guys all get their story straight before they start making themselves look like total wingnuts to the press?

Et tu, Iban?: I certainly hope not, anyhow, though I remain glum, as delicate reclusive flower Mayo nests discreetly at home with his family as the results of *his* B sample, tested at his request with a neutral Belgian observer glommed onto it like a leech, are due in 3 days. Gee, why *wouldn't* he trust the fine lab that busted him to do its job well--right Floyd? So the question is, did he really not, or, given the odd recent explosion of old-school EPO pozes in the peloton, is he and everyone else (fine, except St. David Millar, Jesus!) just microdosing even more extremely carefully than in the past and he's just flat-out flabbergasted he's been busted? Oh Iban--say it ain't so!

And Thus I Cloth'd My Naked Villany: yep, Pat "Dick" McQuaid, beset by pissed-off teams, riders, race organizers, rabid tifosi, and WADA alike, has come out swinging, amiably promising he's really committed to changing UCI and the ProTour from the impotent self-destructive backbiting jokes that they are and the next moment swearing he'll crush like a bug any impudent power-grabbing weasel that tries to take them down. And why wouldn't he be proud of what he's accomplished?--of course UCI and the ProTour must stay in total control--after all, you did such a great job keeping the boys to their written no-doping Purity Pledges this season and taking such fine care of your new team Unibet (who dope-slapped you yet again just today taking a stage at the Tour of Ireland)!

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears: well, Ale-Jet's announced quite nicely he's back on form, snagging the first (and pretty well only) sprint at the Regio Tour just after Milram's formally confirmed him for the Vuelta. There, backed by Zabel (depending on the legs) he'll be able to take on smack-talking upstart Daniele Bennati, Tom Boonen, Oscar Friere and (depending on the terrain) Paolo Bettini, with we love Thor Hushovd unfortunately nowhere in sight. Sorry as I am for how horribly Petacchi's been oppressed by not being allowed to scarf infinite amounts of salbutamol ahead of every sprint, my heart's with King of Weird Ailments Oscar Friere for this one. Venga Oscar!

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