Monday, November 12, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth, or Two

Rabobank Lied, and It's Still All Rasmussen's Fault: yes, the 'independent panel' of private eyes convened by Rabobank has confirmed that, as Michael Rasmussen said, it did in fact know where he was when he was, that he was utterly bs'ing UCI about his whereabouts, and that he was consequently missing doping controls; that under those circumstances Team Skeezbag ought never have allowed the Chicken to start the Tour de France in the first place; UCI should never have let him in either knowing full well such tactics might totally coincidentally allow a rider time to vacation with the dope provider of his choice, though there's still no evidence the boy did so; and, somehow, the fact that Rabobank and UCI deliberately let a preestablished liar and test-evader enter, race, grab the maillot jaune in, and damn near take the top podium spot at the Tour de France til this all inconveniently went public and Rabo and UCI were unexpectedly obliged to run screaming from their handiwork in the opposite direction, is still all Rasmussen's fault. I'm not saying it's not at all--hell, he's hardly some starstruck jailbait Liberty Seguros pickup-- but is this cowardly sport ever going to hold their corrupt hypocritical overseers, slimedwellling team management, or, heaven forbid, their willfully ignorant (or outright collusive) cash-cow sponsors to account? Right, lookin' forward to that! Happily, though, Rasmussen intends to respond after a thorough review and lawyering-up process on Wednesday, allowing him plenty of time to "straighten things out" with UCI as he's always intended to. Note to Michael: admission of wrongdoing on their part, I can say with some small confidence, is mighty unlikely. And they're not gonna give you a reduced penalty (for embarrassing the crap out of 'em--forget the comparatively minor sin of breaking your Boy Scout honesty oath) just because they're exactly as guilty in this whole pathetic affair as you are, either. Have fun sitting there while they're stoking up the bonfire, though!

Dammit!: and, as Rasmussen and DiLuca languish in the netherworld of the Seventh Circle of Hell (reserved, it seems, for those presumed of but unable to be nailed for actual doping, unless you're Alejandro Valverde--damn, guys, hire that boy's manager at any cost!), quiet 2005 Vuelta king Roberto Heras has, despite "several" reasonably acceptable Continental offers on the table, glumly pronounced his depression at the "state of cycling in the world today," and is, despite his imminently permissible return to the peloton, within mere seconds of announcing his retirement and packing it in. Dammit! Fine, he's a guilty dirtbag, yap yap yap. But if he hasn't gone around crying like a Miss America contestant for the cameras every ten seconds like St. David Millar (and self-preserving reticence will always earn points over self-promoting wah-wahs, in my book, even assuming he's an EPO-snorting bucket o' forbidden pleasures as I do), at least he's sucked it up despite his initially-ambiguous B-sample which should have tanked his suspension entirely while we're at it and served his time. Must it end like this?! Aiiiigggghhhh!

The Second Inconvenient Truth: which brings us to a hard-to-take reality in this gorgeous sport: let's face it, the current, near-empty peloton almost completely blows thanks to the latest round of revelations from '06 through today, and the sport's clearly still as clean as the floor of a factory pig farm on a bad day and rife with filthy cheating superstars and lesser domestiques alike nonetheless--and they're not just all in their 30s, so let's cut the !@#$ about how pure the new generation of riders is, shall we? Let's review the lost boys. The cool, elegant Ivan Basso. The glorious trainwreck that is Jan Ullrich. Danilo DiLuca. Rasmussen. Erik Zabel, who by some miracle and the sheer nostalgia of the hypocrite powers-that-be is still riding. Heras, if you'll be so kind as to block out his ridiculous improvement in the time trial in '05 and just watch him climb in re-runs. Joseba Beloki (don't even get me started on that travesty--nice work, Saiz!). Vinokorouv, a total bastard for selfishly destroying Andreas Kloden's career but, let's be fair, a smashingly entertaining and unpredictable presence in the saddle. And let's count Kloden while we're at it, who's been accused of nothing but wrecked nonetheless, no stranger to bushwhacking either but an inevitable winner of the Tour de France if let off the leash. Human rights crusader Kashechkin, who would've broken free eventually of Vino and his mere occasionally permitted stage win. Matthias Kessler. Patrik Sinkewitz, a fine, attack-happy up-and-comer. Heck, even the goofily inarticulate Floyd Landis, who while not as flashy as some, was (and, one hopes, will be again) nonetheless a quiet, relentless thrill to watch at work. While I'm sure it was right to purge them (Landis, Kloden and Beloki excepted), and I feel incredibly sorry for the (by Jorg Jaksche's count) 5 or so percent of the peloton who's constantly jacked out of winning honestly, when you look at the people who are still riding, and the astonishing amount of deliberate skankball tactics still poisoning the peloton, so far as I can tell, this sport's been completely decimated both quality-and-personality-wise to no productive effect. Add to that, the Simonis, Bettinis and Julichs who'll be calling it quits after next year. Man, if that smack-talking upstart Daniele Bennati ever goes down for any reason, we might as well pack it up and stick a pack of Stepford Wives in the remaining boys' places at the press conferences from here on out. No, I'm not excusing anybody--but is really such heresy to be honest about being bummed about it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"an EPO-snorting bucket o' forbidden pleasures"

Damn, you are too funny.

Thank you for keeping me entertained.