Monday, October 15, 2007

It's [His] Party and I'll Cry If I Want To/Cry If I Want To

...You Would Cry Too If It Happened to You: so Oscar Pereiro finally got his 2006 maillot jaune today, and the more I think about it, the less my emotions are mixed on this and the more straight-out pissed-off I am. Nothing against Pereiro, who does get some points for diplomacy during this disaster til he finally assumed the crown without apologies today (apropos of nothing, was anyone else besides me just dying as the Spanish sports minister, who'd throw Pat "Dick" McQuaid in front of a speeding train before letting him within 100 miles of a Valverde DNA sample, righteously declared "we need to separate those who play clean from those who play dirty"? Unless they're ours. But I digress.). And absolutely, if Landis did it as most people seem to assume he did (and as I dearly if perhaps gullibly still hope he didn't), he is not only guilty of being a thief and a cheat, but also a total ass to Pereiro. But I've finally concluded, it is just !@#$ing *wrong* to hand over the 2006 Tour before Floyd Landis finishes his appeal--let's just immolate him now and if we have to we can toss a little water on him with a really sincere "I'm sorry" later, why don't we? Much as I hate to contemplate the victory of due process over factual justice, Landis has the right to appeal, and more, he didn't cause all the bull!@#$ problems and delays in this miserable case; so far as I can tell, UCI and WADA's repugnant self-serving media leakmongering, in combination with the complex endless flaws in the shockingly atrocious monkey lab work by LNDD that required 8000 experts on both sides to decipher instead of a simple, clean, fair, reliable by-the-book testing procedure, did. And not only is it just relentlessly nasty to Floyd to do this now--it's goddamn patronizing to (and potentially humiliating for) Pereiro as well. Not only does it not change what actually happened--Landis won, and Pereiro (a teammate from land-of-a-thousand-dopers Phonak for God's sake) will never really know how--but if Landis does win his appeal, does anyone really want to make poor Oscar hand his maillot jaune back as he's called an also-ran yet *again*? Moreover, a gentle note for Christian Prudhomme and the rest of the preening crusaders over at the Tour: (1) particularly in light of your actions today, you appear to be total hypocrites for not formally handing over admitted-doper Bjarne Riis' 1996 Tour to runner-up Jan Ullrich; (2) while I know you're genuinely irked at Landis and all, true-target Lance Armstrong has still escaped with his 7 Tour wins intact, and (3) sorry, but Oscar Pereiro's still not French. Either way, my sympathies to Pereiro, and let's get this damn CAS appeal on the road already!

Rider Roundup: I imagine there's more than one sigh of relief in the peloton today, though I certainly won't speculate by whom, as Paris-Tours fails to get around to doing any antidoping controls apparently due to the docs being delayed by a late golf game, and it's good to see the ProTour taking the fight against doping so seriously; the luckless Robbie McEwen not only gets clocked by a spectator and is forced to unclip, but more outrageously, inadvertently jacks we love Oscar Freire out of his sprint; get well in like two days or else to Michael Boogerd who deserves to finish out his smashing career in the Giro di Lombardia; Danielson still holds out for a Tour win; Chris Horner still needs a new gig so cough up the dough already Predictor; and many thanks to Anonymous for pointing out that Kloden is going to Milram (where he's still hosed unless they back off on the sprint focus and give him decent GC backup, but still, sure beats languishing at Astana)--anyone got a link for that?

A Final Note: and, I see tomorrow's Danilo Di Luca's date with destiny, or at any rate his possible 4-month ban, which will presumably decide if he gets to keep his ProTour lead and near-certain win, or whether Cadel'll get it by default just for showing up unopposed at the Giro di Lombardia. Now, I don't condone any dopers in any way whatsoever, with the possible and wholly shameful exceptions of Iban Mayo and Roberto Heras. And I'm not even particularly a Di Luca fan, though he did take me quite by surprise in this year's Giro d'Italia. But, in bocca al lupo, Danilo!

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