Friday, November 30, 2007

Pretty In Pink

...No More: well, the reactions to T-Mobile's hot pink implosion continue to pour in, as rider Andreas Klier cheerfully confides his intention to keep on training anyhow, as he wasn't so sharp a pencil in school and isn't actually qualified to do anything else; Walter "How Many Teams Can I Wreck In One Season" Godefroot predictably has no regrets for his actions; Soigneur of Doom Jef D'Hont doesn't feel any responsibility at all, as it's all the individual riders' fault (that the team oversaw and organized systemic doping and if you don't like you insignificant cyclist twerp we can easily shove you out the team bus at 60 mph), and Bjarne, too, feels no pain, for though he did indeed win the Tour cheating, he only did what a pro cyclist in those long-ago faraway dark days was expected to do, and as the Vinokorouv, Kashechkin, Moreni, Kessler and Sinkewitz cases have clearly proven, it's an entirely different situation in 2007. What a happy, innocent, carefree little world these boys live in! Don't you wish you could score whatever the hell they're on, too?

Camp Whythehelldidn'tIsignwithLiquigasinstead: yes, it's that time of year again, as most of the boys meet up with old and new teammates to test new equipment and take those nice team photos (might want to take a few advance mug shots of select individuals to save the trouble later next season, but who am I to suggest it?), Barloworld basks in Tuscany, Liquigas sensibly takes the mineral baths after an unexpected early rendezvous with the UCI vampires (Pippo Pozzato, who was running a day late, excepted), and poor ol' CSC, as usual, gets dropped in the middle of snowpack for two days of hardcore survival training with nothing but a sleeping bag and Bjarne Riis' great good wishes as he, of course, nestles in front of a ski-resort fireplace with a hot toddy. Y'know, I'm all for hoo-rah teambuilding; hell, no one ever got (seriously) hurt falling back blindfolded into the arms of a "trust circle" or schlepping between tree trunks tethered to harnesses. But tell me again how a bunch of tiny body-fat-free defenseless climbers shivering in the snow like Chihuahuas is gonna improve their performance, particularly if the wee little things lose a couple of toes to frostbite in the process? Way to do it Liquigas!

Spanish Doping: yep, it's their fault again, as the German court refereeing the Germans Jan Ullrich/Werner Franke 'secret payment' slander smackdown decides to call in the fine Dr. Eufemiano "It's All for their Health" Fuentes to testify, and Tinkoff reject (and German) Danilo Hondo, lately signed with Simoni's new squad, is warmly lauded by vacuous hypocrite Pat "Dick" McQuaid, who is "confident" the clearly reformed repentant will fully support the fight against doping. Now, not to question Pat "Dick"'s perfect objectivity and fairness here, but if this is indeed the same Danilo Hondo who as I recall was dragged off to his ban kicking and screaming like an overstimulated tantruming toddler, why exactly is Floyd Landis--who after all has at least expressed support for severe doping penalties, if they can be clearly proven--being held up by McQuaid as a monstrous example of the sort of shameless soulsucking scumdwellers draining the life from this beautiful sport?

Charity Begins at Home: finally, in the latest gushing article by our friends at Gazzetta dello Sport, if you cough up just 10--that's right, 10--euros & drop by the home stomping grounds of dearly-missed attempted-doper heartthrob Ivan Basso this weekend, you can actually join Ivan (if you can reach him through thousands of fellow swooning fans) on a charity bike ride to support Casa di Miro, an organization dedicated to helping disabled youths. Following the story of his good works, of course, is yet another lushly adoring update on our solitary soldier's intense training, noting with reverence that he pedals as if he were going to return to triumph in the peloton this very season, and including his faithful split between his time trial and road bikes and centered, nay wholly spiritual, sense of purpose. Y'know, I love Basso, and think that as with Ullrich, the sport is much the lamer without him. But I remain mystified why this pouty pinup boy is getting his halo gilded by the Italian press for copping to the ol' "but I didn't inhale" at most, while the German press ceaselessly pounds on Ullrich to this day for only a slightly less plausible claim, when he's at least retired and has done his own tot-loving charity gigs to boot. Anyhoo, the tifosi, according to the comments page, appeared approximately evenly split between the he's-suffered-enough-free-him-from-his-exile Basso acolytes , and the contemptuous hooting drop-him-down-a-deep-well-without-a-lifejacket pro-Simoni crowd, while by the end of the article, I must confess I too was ready to take up swords to get the tragically oppressed Basso's ban reduced on the basis of his superior virtue. How swiftly the cult of personality swings, like Teen Beat fans between vapid boy bands!

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