Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Highway to Hell

And the Pave' to Purgatory: oh Levi, what have you done? Sure, Discovery, I mean Astana, is home. It's also where Bruyneel relentlessly !@#$ed you *twice* last season, and though I've no doubt you know what's best, I can't, as a poor humble tifosa, see how the hell "best" means completely jacking you over for the Tour next year. By the same token, while it's true as you say that it's good for a *team* to have two strong boys for the Tour, let's face it, Johan's never operated his squad that way, with the unintentional exception of 2006, and between you and Contador, barring catastrophic injury or illness (and one certainly hopes it's barred) by Contador, that one boy ain't gonna be you. Dammit! And while we're at it, since you're saying Johan's got "two" strong men for next year, does that mean that Andreas Kloden is officially out? For his sake--not that it's necessarily a hell of an improvement to be vastly undersupported in the mountains over at sprint squad Milram--I sure hope so! Oh well, Levi, there's always the very fine Deutschland Tour to aim for again next year, if Bruyneel doesn't think it'll blow your domestique legs for baby Contador...

Passport to Purity: meanwhile, the sudden bizarre mutual admiration society that is UCI and WADA, at least for its two-day dope summit (and I choose my words carefully here), has formally, at last, announced its new antidoping passport, providing a handy reminder to the boys that, given UCI's recent abandonment of approximately 80% of its planned out-of-competition controls and the imminent introduction of the new regs, it's time to start optimizing your base blood values right now. The bonus for UCI? According to their spokes-wank, the riders needn't actually even test positive to be busted anymore, saving UCI from the irksome inconvenience of alleged (and surely impossible) lab screw-ups claimed by the crybaby due process crowd. Between the open invite to early-season rider panic-cheating, and UCI's get-out-of-unjustified-witchhunt-free-card, I'm confident it's gonna be a clean, shiny, scandal-free 2008!

Finally, Buon Anniversario!: To pouty pinup studmuffin Ivan Basso, one year in to his tragic two-year "attempted doping" ban, sleek in his plain black kit and subject of a lushly swooning story in today's Gazzetta dello Sport. Is Basso at home glumly watching his compatriots contest the Giro di Lombardia? No! On this chilly, unforgiving Saturday, he is riding many kilometers, alone. Shall he take 20 thousand euros to do an interview, as his soulless manager urges? Never! His life is his bicycle and his family, nothing more. Does he whine and moan about his predicament? Not this man! He bears his great burden with humility, and a serene dedication to return to the peloton to vanquish yet again the roads and the races he loves. Three days a week he takes to his old Discovery time trial machine to practice and practice his crono; yet his is truly a bike without a name, a maglia without a sponsor. Can one imagine the trumpets that would be played by the golden angels on high if Basso'd copped to *actually* doping? I love you Gazzetta!

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