My DS Says Go to Rehab, I Say Vino, No, No: hot on the heels of the smashingly wussbag 1-year suspension gifted by the (pro-)doping zealots at the Kazakh cycling fed, naturally setting UCI into an immediate lathering rage complete with whining threats to cry to CAS, Alexander Vinokorouv unexpectedly tops his Landis-lawyer press-conference I'll-be-back non-farewell with a subsequent surprise retirement, announcing that, while he won't challenge the underlying suspension, he will continue to fight on "for his honour." Tilting at windmills, are we Vino? That's so sweet. Anyway, while I had earlier thought to ream Vino's cycling fed for their twerptastic wrist-slap, especially compared to how guys like poor Floyd Landis and Ivan "I Smoked But Didn't Inhale" Basso have suffered, and Vino himself for his gross hypocrisy in dope-slapping Liberty Seguros for two straight seasons when let's face it Manolo Saiz was clearly the least of the boy's problems, that's all moot now, so I'll pause instead to say a few words of admiration and farewell for his filthy cheating tainted palmares in all its scrimy weaselled discredited dirtbag glory. Will the peloton ever be the same without the sheer shock-and-awe entertainment value of his spectacular Jan Ullrich Tour de France team-leader bushwhacks? Or his randomly timed full-gas attacks on seemingly wholly irrelevant stages and painfully unsuitable terrain? And, to be fair, off his head as he's frequently been, he must indeed be given credit for first his continued lauding of very fine promising young teammate the late Andrei Kivilev, his careful grooming of the brilliant-if-lately-disgraced human rights crusader Andrei Kashechkin, and his resolute reward (unlike some Grand Tour winners I can think of) of the riders who bust their !@#es for him with a well-earned stage win, every time. Two minor peeves: Heras' Vuelta is still gone while this dope-fiend clown's is still his; and, thanks to Vino blowing the team apart, Andreas Kloden's just resigned with Johan Bruyneel's Astana and is now completely screwed out of the Tour win he so obviously deserves and still so optimistically and fruitlessly hopes to be allowed to take. Sure, I'll miss you Vinokorouv, you were a fabulously unpredictable thrill to watch, a lively havoc-wreaking trainwreck in a field of earnest plodding stable dullards. But see what happens when you jack over poor Klodi?--karma, baby!
Mafia Nations: and, as further evidence of the Great SpanishItalian Doping Conspiracy, I see that noble Quick Step guru Patrick Lefevere has bailed out of his presidency of the ProTour teams' association, of course to spend more time with his family and surely having nothing to do with the fact that he's having to spend a considerable amount of energy lately defending himself and his team against the latest round of systemic-doping allegations on his watch. Indeed, Quick Step was apparently so irked at the Belgian newspaper responsible for both the doping story and pegging Tom Boonen's new girlfriend as the 16-year-old daughter of the Amstel Gold race organizer in a high-ick-factor if admittedly accurate piece that they snottily boycotted the awards ceremony for the Belgian Cyclist of Year ('cross god Sven Nys, not Boonen). Wow, systemic doping (allegedly) *and* crap sportsmanship--what an example we're setting!
Victory Is Mine!: finally, congratulations to Danilo DiLuca, who caps off his disappointing exclusion from the Worlds with a decisive win in the cell-phone shotput at the squadra azzura's 'Bettiniadi,' and fine if wholly inadequate substitute for the UCI-official toss I would certainly prefer (gazzetta.it/ciclismo, scroll down to "bettiniadi" for photos, particularly Paolo popping a wheelie on a rather lower-rent ride than his usual steed). So maybe those babies at CONI are upset you mysteriously tested for the hormone levels of a tot at some post-Giro testing--but can some lame maglia rosa really compare to this triumph? Complimenti, Danilo!