Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's the Spaniards! No Wait, It's...

Yep, Now It's All the Italians' Fault: Having blamed the Spaniards from everything from his dissatisfactory breakfast waffle yesterday at his local IHOP to the rapid disappearance of the Arctic ice cap (and just today having being forced to choke down the news that Alejandro Valverde was just cleared by the distinctly non-Spanish Court of Arbitration for Sport to ride the Worlds on Sunday, thereby forcing UCI even more ignominiously to let ex-Liberty Seguros' Allan Davis in out of the unheard-of concept of 'fairness'), Pat "Dick" McQuaid, in typically whining bait-and-switch deflection mode, has also unleashed his righteous wrath upon the Italians, not only the Italian cycling fed who he sez "doesn't take ethics seriously" (like Pat does), but also particularly the irksomely skeptical Paolo Bettini, who refused to sign UCI's idiot (and clearly ineffective) anti-doping virginity pledge, but, contrary to UCI's earlier reports til Quick Step popped up with a contradictory email, did offer to cough up a DNA sample--just not with the "forfeit a year's salary on the word of the same lab monkeys who so grossly botched the Landis affair" promise every other sap was forced to sign to ride the Tour. Said our hero: "There are some people who still do not realize the condition of cycling today. I feel very angry and very annoyed." Has it occurred to you, Pat, that being one of the greatest pro cyclists of his generation (no matter how he may or may not have gotten that way), Bettini *does* get it but perhaps doesn't appreciate your disgusting selective persecution tactics? Last time I checked--um, yesterday--you were defending actual confessed German doper Erik Zabel, who unlike the reviled Alejandro Valvderde you're happily welcoming to the Worlds, opining "we need riders like him who support a change of the system." Look, we love Zabel. He's a great champion, and it's still thrilling to watch him snatch a Grand Tour stage win over the rising Eriks-of-tomorrow like Daniele Bennati when guys like Mario Cipollini have long since ditched the spandex (team kit, anyway). But did it really escape even your hawk-like notice that even he 'fessed up only after everyone on his team from the soigneurs on started yapping to the narcs and the statute of limitations for actually busting him had passed?

Stelle Italia: Still, Pat "Dick" McQuaid must be in heaven this evening after all, as German TV hands him the big one by reporting that recent convict Patrik Sinkewitz said Paolo Bettini personally provided him doping products during their time together at Mapei. Bettini's response? Sensibly (if I'm reading gazzetta dello sport correctly, a big freakin' "if" I admit), he's challenged Sinkewitz to put up the the proof now or "he will pay the consequences." Now, not to make you all jumpy Patrik by pointing out UCI and WADA blasted Italy this year as one of the "Mafia nations" of cycling--but you sure you don't want to reconsider that accusation? After all, at the very least, til you've come face to face with the sort of legal bills one could pile up fending off the sharp-suited attorney attack dogs a deep-pocketed rider like Bettini can swing, you haven't been truly whacked! Meantime, Danilo DiLuca finds himself possibly out of the Worlds for crap that happened back in 2004, as Oil for Drugs rears its ugly head *again* while the Italian Olympic Committee decides whether to sanction the Killer for seeing an unapproved doctor even if they can't actually nail him for anything else, which charge coincidentally carries a penalty of 30 days off the saddle. Damn, can't any of these blockheads get things sorted out *before* half the riders start a major race? Anyway, between the doping and the infighting, the dominoes are falling over at the squadra azzura--I love you Bettini, but seize the Worlds Freire, seize it I say, it's yours!

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