Tuesday, January 08, 2008

'Cuz Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1999

Party on Wayne! Party on Garth!: so I see Worlds podium finisher/Amstel Gold champ/Gerolsteiner golden boy Stefan Schumacher, who blamed his pre-worlds "irregular" blood values on a tummyache and later crashed his car after a night at the disco while under the influence of alcohol, has now had to explain another pretty "irregularity" issue, this time, why he also tested poz that night for amphetamines. Now, I'm not inclined to give poor Schumi much of a hard time on that one, as I certainly didn't begrudge we-still-miss-and-yes-I'm-a-lowlife-hypocrite Jan Ullrich's little alleged rendezvous with Ecstasy, but in return, can we all please cut the stupid, nay downright insulting, "how could I have tested poz I didn't even know I was taking anything" defense he's pushing? In competition--fine, what innocent rider knows what "vitamins" your beloved and trusted team doc is giving you? But even in my wildest paranoid theorist fantasies I don't imagine that, say, a desperate UCI or immediate rival is following a given cyclist around dissolving speed into his drinks in the off-season in an effort to trip him up. You're wasted, you're tired, there's no decent espresso around, no hard feelings, man up already! Luckily, the German cycling fed has declined to pursue any case against him, because unlike the last time Ullrich got busted for amphetamines and got his @#$ suspended for it, the fine antidrug hounds at WADA have lately decreed that out of competition amphetamines are actually just fine. Poor Jan--can you never be on the winning side of any embarrassing scandal?

Fighting the Good Fight: meantime, having failed to get the dreaded (and worse, actually potentially useful) blood-values "passport" up 'n' running til the riders have had plenty of time to work their way up to their desired baselines before the 2008 Tour de France, UCI has once again put its foot down in the fight against doping by sensibly testing...um, Michael Boogerd, who already freakin' retired two months before his Christmas Eve surprise visit from the vampires. Good God, UCI...is that Bernard Hinault I see over there? Go get 'im, boys!

Rock Steady: so with Oscar Sevilla officially on board over at Rock Racing, Michael "Napoleon Complex" Ball has gone even more off his head, this time responding to his wheel sponsor's post-Tyler-Hamilton-signing bailout (and the tenuous continued sponsorship of other equipment makers) by angrily proclaiming he'll make better wheels, he'll make cooler wheels, he'll buy all your companies and make his own damn components, he'll personally weave the carbon fibers for the rims, no, he'll personally roll himself up into a ball, jam himself into Hamilton's bike and *be* the wheel...um, I'll concede to the pro-Rock Racing crowd that he's certainly livening things up around the dull ol' peloton, but is anyone else concerned that poor we love Freddy Rodriguez has signed on with a guy that even a tankload of sedatives can't soothe?

Okay, That's One New Year's Resolution Broken: finally, having briefly forgiven Denis Menchov for winning the 2007 Vuelta fair and square, I'm now forced to irrationally loathe him yet again, this time for saying he's bailing out of the '08 Vuelta in favor of going for gold again at the Tour and will prep for it via the Giro. Now, I won't even mention that it's darned lucky for Menchov that the rightful winner of the '07 Tour won't be in Rabobank team kit to defend it this time, but more to the point, how dare you usurp Heras' Vuelta and bother with winning another one when you don't even value this beautiful race, you unappreciative twerp? *Must* the Vuelta always be the sad-sack Jan Brady to the fawned-over Marcia that is the Tour? Aaaiiiigggghhhh!

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