Sunday, September 16, 2007

Toga! Toga!

Party Hearty: yes, it's a mere week to the gala event of the year, as the French health and sports minister woos perpetual mutual kneecappers UCI, WADA, and the organizers of all three Grand Tours into coming together in the City of Lights to play nice and fake like they don't all profit handsomely from the rider results derived from doping, I mean, to genuinely bury the hatchet (in each other's backs) and conquer not only the disgusting problem that is rider cheating, but the minor interpersonal difficulties that tend to arise when some folks call other people in other countries, like Italy and Spain, dirty doping "Mafia" and their preferred kind, like the clearly trouble-free Germans, the only winged saints interested in cleaning up the sport. Surprisingly, the two entities most affected by the current wave of faux outrage--the ProTour teams organization, whose members stand to benefit so from doping, so long as no one gets caught, and the cyclist's union, and why should anyone think the riders have a stake in this?--are not yet reported to be invited. Thankfully, despite the sour feelings on all sides, the Tour de France's Patrice Clerc started off reconciliation ahead of time by helpfully reminding everyone that UCI blew his beautiful Tour by stupidly not kicking out the disgraceful Michael Rasmussen in the first place, when they knew perfectly well in June that he ought never have been allowed to start, much less lead the thing two weeks in, though he's sincerely looking forward to the opportunity to chat with the incompetent bastards. I can't see any obstacles to a productive meeting here, can you?

Discovery Implosion Contract Watch: and, right on top of the homeless Jason McCartney's smashingly timed stage win in the Vuelta, Jonathan Vaughters confirms that it's McCartney he's been courting, which is too damn bad for him as I imagine the boy's asking price just went up, and which is so far as I can tell completely disastrous news for Levi Leipheimer, who now looks increasingly likely to be stuck with Bruyneel over at Astana, which means he's going to get hosed yet again with at least a year left in top form in the service of jailbait genius Alberto Contador, so long, at least, as the latter doesn't get caught up retroactively in the Liberty Seguros/Op Puerto fallout. Don't do it Levi! And, while we're on the topic of riders we love with Astana who are completely and utterly !@#$ed, poor Andreas Kloden is out of the Worlds, not having recovered either from Vinokorouv's repugnant brainless betrayal or, in more practical terms, from the physical beating he endured in a training crash, which likely would never have happened in the first place if Vino had held his ginormous egomaniacal need for vindication in check, thanks for nothin' you weasel!

Pain in Spain: yes, my heart is broken for little Carlos Sastre, presumptively foiled again by a second time trial he has no hope of beating Menchov or Cadel in and the presence of only one more really serious mountain stage before the boys all coast into Madrid. Dammit! Happy as I am for Sammy Sanchez' thrilling stage win (I honestly didn't realize what a fabulous descender he is, and right on Triki!), what happened to the bonecrushing endless mountain passes of prior years--what the hell is the beautiful Vuelta for, if not to let the twee little climbers out to play as the heavyweight all-rounders cry like babies as they shoot out the back of the peloton? Aarrggh!

The Green Mile: finally, after weeks of dead silence, I note that it's almost time for Floyd Landis and Iban Mayo to officially fry, as the arbitrators announce that they've closed their inquiry at last and intend to completely destroy Landis' career based solely on the grotesque results-obfuscating bungling of a pack of monstrously inept lab chimps, I mean, release the completely neutral untainted results of the Landis hearing on Friday. Am I the only one thinking that if the Landis team hasn't already started writing their appeals briefs, they oughta get crackin'? As for poor Iban Mayo, training away bravely if fruitlessly at home as Saunier Duval declines to renew his contract for '08 and the Spanish Worlds team shapes up without him, his endlessly delayed positive EPO B sample, having finished its little trips to Belgium and Australia for double-checks, is finally due home just in time to give the self-righteous trolls over at UCI the perfect PR distraction in case they actually don't succeed at booting Valverde out of the Worlds despite the Spanish cycling fed and Valverde's final decision to sue their pants off for it. Oh Iban!--what a glorious fragile brilliant train wreck of a career to lose!

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