A !@#$*&' Lot of 'Em, if You're Rock Racing: so as we dearly love 3-time Tour de France podium finisher/34-year-old climbing god Joseba Beloki is forced to retire because he wasn't actually busted for anything except being on ONCE and Liberty Seguros (burn in hell, you soulless rider-pimping bastard Saiz!), 80-year-old Tyler "I Ate My Twin" Hamilton, lately booted off Tinkoff with fellow dopehound Danilo Hondo in a fit of moral righteousness as soon as its oligarch got done profiting off their names, has actually managed to score a new gig with Rock Racing, new home of dope-linked ex-Phonak-cohort Santi Botero incidentally and most recently noted for its obnoxious jean-seller owner's bizarrely slagging Chris Horner's ethics to a chorus of boos from the Velonews faithful. Tyler, with your slammin' new bank account--and assuming, and I still certainly hope I'm wrong here, that your protestations of innocence at Phonak of all squads lacked, well, accuracy--any chance you could reimburse me the 15 bucks I blew defacing my Tyler Hamilton Foundation hat defending your innocence before the disgusting perpetual intrigue of this beautiful sport finally debauched mine?
Did I Mention Burn In Hell, You Soulless Rider-Pimping Bastard Saiz?: and, as Joseba concedes defeat and mournfully schleps off into the sunset without even a DS sympathy gig at old home stomping grounds Euskaltel to show for it, I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute his spectacular palmares, including a fine podium finish at the Vuelta a Espana. Yap, yap, anyone Manolo Saiz touched was a colossal drug-snorting one-man corroded cesspool--even if so, can we honestly believe he was the only team manager force-feeding any or all of his brilliant proteges something more powerful than Tang? Beloki was gorgeous to watch on a climb at his height, he was just coming back beautifully even as a superdomestique years after his post-Tour leg-snap when Liberty Seguros went down, and the peloton's far the crappier for his loss. Tell me again why his tangential association with Op Puerto should've excluded him from the pack any more than, say, gentlemen with gigantic buckets of blood bags in Eufemiano Fuentes' fridge with ambiguous code names like "Valv" tatooed on 'em, or, say, half the riders on the recently-deceased alleged-Spanish-doper-refugee-camp Relax-Gam, who continue to ride to this day?
Unparanoid Conspiracy Theorist: finally, as an enraged Iban Mayo refuses to recognize Chatenay-Malabry's inevitable Z-sample poz on the not unreasonable grounds that they had no right to run the damn thing in the first place as a B-sample test in his favor had already been conducted, and that it's just the slightest bit possible that UCI had perhaps a vested interest in obtaining a positive result after spending the last six months crowing over his downfall, the Spanish cycling fed, which seemed noncommittal on the possibility of defending Iban yesterday given how tough it is to argue about a two-fer test positive, has now at least decided not to sanction the boy and to instead face the music with UCI and their certain whining, if their incessant swooning over Alejandro Valverde doesn't distract them beforehand. We'll see if that resolve sticks, but meantime, free Iban!
Finding My Happy Place: finally, in about the only bit of nonsucktastic news this week, gazzetta dello sport's got a bitchin' audio and video clip of Matteo Tosatto and Pippo Pozzato singing away, which for my money in the annals of jocks crooning is far and away better than the Red Sox croaking their way through "Dirty Water" so mortifyingly a few years back. If cycling doesn't work out for you boys (though it has pretty damn well to this point), at least you've always got a spot on the pop charts....