Survival of the Thickest-Skinned: so even the mainstream sports press, whose cycling coverage is generally limited to dope-slapping the hitherto-unheard-of nefarious (and sole) Tour de France cheat Floyd Landis in heinously know-nothing articles on his legal situation and ridership, or lauding the iconic hero Lance Armstrong for his unimpeachable perfection, has now perked up its salacious little ears on the Michael Rasmussen story, that being, of course, that poor Rasmussen, jacked out of the Tour nigh on the eve of a near-inevitable win, was in such shock and distress immediately thereafter that he considered yanking the wheel of the car he was riding in into traffic or hanging himself in his hotel room--particularly, as he pointed out, and as Rabobank has now admitted, when the team knew where he was the entire time and that the aforesaid mysterious personal problems were keeping him there. Disgraced Rabo manager Theo de Rooij's sympathetic response? Yep, in the face of Rabo's concession to the contrary, Rasmussen still lied to him, he didn't want the boy to start the Tour anyway but it was UCI of all rider-hating freaks who said he had to, and, though he maybe might've handled things differently, it's still all the lying dirtbag Rasmussen's fault anyway. Nice! Y'know, I'm not offering tons of sympathy here for doping skankballs, but is it not perhaps possible that the random vendetta-driven selective persecution (and prosecution) in this sport has helped the likes of Pantani, Vandenbroucke, and now Rasmussen into their tragic spirals as they watch even more heavily-stoked riders pedal away to glory in the races they've been barred from--and as teams and managers that utterly encourage and enable them get to so easily disclaim any responsibility for the monsters they create? Grow a spine and a conscience, UCI, and choose your targets fairly from here on out!
The Abominable Snowpack: well, according to CSC's trainers--and as further proof, dear little Carlos Sastre himself--the boys are safely back from their snowbound death-defiance bootcamp training, as "everyone's accounted for and there's no casualties," which, especially as it pertains to the poor soigneurs office administrators and mechanics who were also hauled off into the wild, will come in awfully handy during, say, the Grand Tours, when you see how great it is you didn't kill off any of your handy domestiques or their equipment-maintenance gods before the season even began. Luckily, Karsten Kroon and Jens Voigt escaped teambuilding-by-near-death-experience, which they had the great good luck to avoid thanks to lucky newborn arrival times. Anyone else thinking any boys in danger of having a contract with CSC next year might want to start planning those baby cyclists about 3 months from now, if they want to avoid say a week in the Sahara with no water and the occasional scorpion for lunch?
Andreas Kloden is Still !@#$%^*! finally, I see the poor saps from the '07 Astana debacle are finally going to get paid by the Kazakh cycling fed, and, as Johan Bruyneel, Marc Biver, and assorted management companies rush to trade insults, poor Andreas Kloden still appears indentured to none other than Johan itself til his contract runs out, and inevitably relegated to a third-rate exhausted shadow of a team for the Vuelta and the ignoble prospect of getting his Tour hopes dashed in the service of a baby savant who, having himself been a refugee from Liberty Seguros and taken last year's Tour by bull!@#$ fiat, is certainly no less tainted-by-association than Kloden himself. Are we really going to be forced to watch Klodi waste himself and his near-inevitable Tour win yet again playing nursemaid to someone else's agenda? Free Kloden, I say--dammit!