Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Don't Do It, Levi!

Discovery Implosion Contract Watch: Yes, as speculated, baby Tour-winner-by-default Alberto Contador has signed with Alexander Vinokorouv's clean team Astana, and inevitably Johan Bruyneel, for a cool 1.5 million a season, giving him a ticket to the Tour podium next year and, I assume if Johan has his way, Levi Leipheimer to grind out the pace up the mountains as superdomestique next year in the bargain. Don't do it Levi! Okay, I understand he's been a bit of a late bloomer, what with Gerolsteiner first lacking the firepower to get the job done, then the bait-and-switch courtship over to Discovery only to be ditched on prom night in favor of first the comely (and wily, as we all know Discovery had no reason to think he'd done anything wrong when they signed him) Ivan Basso and then the admittedly brilliant Contador--but he's bloomed, gosh darn it! Did he take off and conquer the mountains with the same razzle-dazzle as his jailbait teammate?--no, but he did help get him there, toiling away respectably like the low-key Cadel to fine results, and taking the time trial in blazing fashion to boot. You've still got another year or two left Levi--are you really going to be happy going back to say the Deutschland Tour or maybe California as your season's main goals when you've come so very close in the Grand Boucle? Or, given the Italians' and Spaniards' focus on their home-turf races, is an inevitable off-podium finish in the Giro and Vuelta--if Johan even lets you out to play there--really going to be enough? Aaaarrrggghhhh--say it ain't so Levi!

I'm King (and Queen) of the Worlds!: hard on the heels of Paolo Bettini's smashing win at the men's Worlds' (sad as I am Oscar Freire couldn't take it, but as Bettini said on gazzetta, "see what happens when you make me angry?"), and his very young compatriot Marta Bastianelli almost accidentally grabbing the women's road race over a charging Marianne Vos after setting up the line for a teammate, comes the hideously crappy though unsurprising news that Bettini's going to call it quits after next year's Giro di Lombardia, leaving Daniele Bennati to take over Italian sprint-god duties for Alessandro Petacchi (tho' not if Petacchi has anything to say about it the next couple of seasons), Riccardo Ricco set to inherit the Gilberto Simoni lord of the climbs mantle, Di Luca with a firm grip on the Grand Tour overalls push so long as Basso's out of the picture and Cunego doesn't come back, and absolutely no-one I can see coming up with both the versatility and sheer tactical genius to be a worthy successor to Bettini. Aw, rats! Still, I'm happy enough to see UCI humiliated by Bettini's win on Sunday (and even UCI sucked it up with some decent sportsmanship, which was a long way to come given how they were lamming into Bettini all through Saturday), and anyway, he ought to have a lively year or two ahead of him even off the bike suing the pants off everybody for the Patrik Sinkewitz debacle that nearly cost him his Worlds spot, particularly after Sinkewitz wisely denied implicating Bettini in anything to anybody anytime anywhere ever. As for Danilo Di Luca, who bailed out of the Worlds rather'n be forced out in light of a three-year-old scandal that should just as well have kept him out of this year's Giro if it was so awful? Waiting, I imagine, til his October 16 date with destiny (or the fine folks over at the Italian Olympic Committee, anyway), to see if he needs to gear up his legal team to do the same. While we're rounding up the Worlds, looks like we've got one unhappy Sammy Sanchez blasting Michael Boogerd for screwing him out of the podium by meandering his way down the mountain and blocking Sanchez' way like a wallowing hippo dozing off for its afternoon nap. Anyone else want to cast the blame on someone else for their loss, while we're at it?

Round and Round She Goes, and Where She Stops, Nobody Knows: McGee to CSC. Tomas Vaitkus on the Discovery, I mean Astana, train. We still love Roberto Heras deciding whether to accept a new gig with a continental squad lacking the power to bring him back or, perhaps better, take a nice quiet DS job somewhere, though he'd likely have to 'fess up for that. But the most entertaining news by far for my money: indomitable warhorse and confessed long-ago-and-far-away doper Erik Zabel, back home to Bob "Dopers Must Die (Unless I've Just Handed Them a Management Gig)" Stapleton's T-Mobile to retire and then presumably a cushy seat in the team car rallying his troops, right after T-Mobile announces a one-million euro (anti)doping program. Hell, after this season, am I the only one imagining they're gonna need it?

Where In the World Is: Iban Mayo's presumptively dirty B-sample, that's been sitting around for weeks--can we just cut to the chase and get the agony over with already goddammit?!

1 comment:

mindtron said...

Is it just me or is it a bunch of BS that Bettini, Valverde, and other non-Germans were vilified for "links" to doping, but Stefan Schumacher has an "irregular" result (read positive doping control) and it's all explained away with some BS excuse....hmmmmmmmmmm