Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Danish Mafia Strikes Again

Swimming with the Fishes: I see Jorg Jaksche, lately quite the squawker about peloton doping (which one would assume to be a *good* thing)--most recently claiming that each and everyone of his squads but Tinkoff systematically made him and everyone else on the roster gack down untoward quantities of unidentified chemicals, despite endless team apologist Pat "Dick" McQuaid's assurances that such a thing could never occur--has now accused Bjarne "Cement Shoes" Riis of threatening to make it so he "could never come back to cycling" if he didn't shut the hell up about anyone else but himself. Bjarne, meantime, has accused Jorg of "twisting the truth", claiming that they merely had a pleasant chat about how sadly difficult it is for the noble truthtellers to be embraced again by irrationally skittish colleages, and what's more, the boy might not want to name names if he knows what's good for him, not that it's not really admirable and all. Um, anyone else not see much of a difference in accounts here, when push comes to shove? In other antidoping news, Dr. Werner Franke has flat-out blasted recent renegade T-Mobile poz Patrik Sinkewitz for denying there was organized doping at the team this season too, when everyone just knows there was. Damn, Franke, I certainly loathe T-Mobile for its astonishing hypocrisy, but you already took out Jan Ullrich--can't you find any bigger fish to fry nowadays than little Sinkewitz?

Indurain Drops Keep Falling on My Head: and, cycling deity (yes, he's better than Lance, 'cause he freakin' trained for other races besides the Tour for heck's sake) has finally weighed in on the good fight, not only specifically denying he ever doped personally, but writing off the current wave of positives as overeager hypefest scandalhound press-whored yellow journalists crushing the souls of innocent cyclists to the exclusion of even dirtier athletes elsewhere. So does his doping denial--"It's something normal, you win, you pass controls, and there's no problem"--leave something to the imagination, or at least raise the familiar "only the dumb ones get caught" refrain, perhaps? If it does, I sure as hell ain't sayin' it!

Le Tour, Still More: here's hoping ex-Liberty Seguros wonderboy Alberto Contador isn't quite so glass-fragile as "Next Lance Armstrong" we love Iban Mayo (still waiting for even the indomitable nits at Chateneau-Malabry to dredge up a half-assedly credible B-sample, UCI, are we?), as both Caisse d'Epargne and Oscar "Man, Was It A Cheap Shot To Hand Over the Maillot Jaune Before Landis' Appeal is Done" Pereiro opine he's the clear favorite for next year's Tour, particularly given the truncated time trials and at least 4 reasonable mountaintop finishes. And Michael Rasmussen, embraced at the start line by UCI despite their later faux horror at his missed pre-race doping controls, is expressly unwelcome at the Tour next year, and if *I'd* ripped the maillot jaune out of its rightful hands midway through the race for no valid reason, I'd freakin' want a little airspace between me and the object of my grotesque thievery, too. Allez Chicken--even if you did mistake Italy for Mexico for the pre-Tour runup, those wanks at UCI obviously wanted you in the Tour anyway even after they knew after you didn't meet up with their vampires--why the hell should *you* pay for ASO catching them with their hands in the cookie jar?

An Unexpected Discovery: so Johan Bruyneel's presumed-crap "inability" to find a new sponsor for Team Discovery's now apparently acknowledged-crap, as Bruyneel admits he just needed a fresh start, apparently obtained by unemploying a giant number of innocent staffers only to take a golden welcoming handshake with Astana's backers and rebuild his own little slice of Tour de France-prep heaven without any embarrassing reminders of his ignominious ability to shepherd his squad through the immediate post-Lance tank of 2006. More entertaining: his concession that maybe it "was probably a mistake" to sign Ivan Basso. Leaving aside that you relentlessly screwed Levi Leipheimer by doing so, yes Johan, it must have been so shocking to find in September after Basso had been kicked out of the Tour, disowned his own dog, and been barred from hire by all the other slobbering Pro Tour teams that the boy was implicated in some petty scandal!

Grossly Hypocritical Roberto Heras Contract Watch: Fuenteventura-Canarias' finances are in the tank, so that's clearly out the window. Dammit!

Walking the Plank: and, over at Gazzetta dello Sport, there's an interesting review of the latest paranoid conspiracy theory French journalist's book on the late Marco "Il Pirata" Pantani, with his poor mom begging for the inquest to be reopened despite Pantani's clearly tragic overdose from cocaine, not only because the time of his death remains incorrectly reported for some odd reason, but also on the grounds raised in the book that, according to his hotel room records, someone had repeatedly used the telephone to call the registration desk to request help for Marco to no avail and that Chinese food, which Pantani never ate in his life, was in the room, so someone else, perhaps his drug dealer, was clearly there with him and later eluded--or was given a free pass on, by someone--investigation. Folks, I'm the last one in a position to make a credible plea for mercy on any rider, but can we all just agree to be discreet enough about this to be kind to his heartbroken Mom--though not so discreet that we have to end up watching yet another rider senselessly fall prey to this sport's demons?

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