Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Want to Take You Higher

That's the Sound of the (Wo)Men/Working on the Chain Gaaa-aaaaang: due to the irksome necessity of a day job, I've been unable to do much more of late than sneak an illicit glance or two at when I'm supposed to be working, but it's been a lively week and I'm both grateful for your kind words and rarin' to get back to whining about anything in this smashing sport that catches my jaded yet still romantic eye. Which brings us to:

Tour of...Um, Germany?: Yep, team High Road is starting off its martyrly season of morally superior drug-free play with a truckload of wins by hard-charging youngster Andre Greipel, taking the overall lead as well as the slightly dispirited Aussies lose one of their own to a distinctly nasty head-butt by a disgruntled Italian over at Milram that took our fallen Rabobank hero firmly to the tarmac and then the hospital with a broken collarbone and made even Robbie "Road Rage" McEwen, himself inclined to whack innocent riders out of his way like a crazed croquet mallet, suddenly look sweet'n'cuddly as a Mon-chi-chi. C'mon Robbie, are you really gonna let that spoilsport embarrass both you and your country and show you up like you're some kind of wimp--where's your national pride already?

How Many Riders Can Johan Bruyneel !@#$* in a Season?: so far, it's looking at least 3, as he's already declared his intention to viciously hose both Leipheimer and Kloden, and golden-boy ex-Liberty Seguros Tour-snatcher Alberto Contador remains under investigation by the vengeful Italian prosecutors over the extremely unlikely possibility that the "AC" in a thoroughly-outlined doping program in the Op Puerto files might refer to him, right as both the Amgen EPO Tour of California and the Tour de France vow not to let any rider or perhaps even team participate if there's an open investigation with their name on it. Great, that leaves us with a pack of sixth-graders on crumbling crappy Huffys to hit the ProTour this season! Y'know, I've got nothing against zealous anti-doping enforcement; hell, I'd even appreciate it if the poor soigneurs didn't have to pump themselves full of amphetamines just to keep up with their turbo-charged masters. But jeez louise Manolo, you couldn't even have given your protege a puppy for a plausible pseudonym to hide behind like Basso and V--oh, no one!

He Drugs Me, He Drugs Me Not: so, I see the Belgian authorities, having sensibly chosen to ignore the claims of a current Quick Step rider that the team's rife with systemic management-driven dope-snarfing, got right on the case again by--yes, going over to Tom Boonen's poor mom's house just as he's packing up for the Tour of Qatar and demanding to know whether her son was dealing coke at a party to a top Belgian cyclo-cross god, who says reports he gave up Boonen to the cops were entirely crap, as, though he did foolishly imbibe one evening, he and the swoon-worthy babe-magnet have only had a few pints--of beer, that's all--together. That's the sort of crack investigation that'll clean up the sport, gentlemen! Perhaps we ought to bust into Iban Mayo's grandmother's house with a battering ram and a pack of gun-toting body-armored thugs next time...that'll send the right message to those renegade cheating enabler rider relatives....

Barloworld, Here I Come: and, in actual riding (though not race) news, Ivan Basso continues both his charity work and his ban-end training by doing yet another fundraising ride for the bambini as his race buddies vie for form in Qatar, raising the question of, if Barloworld really is courting Basso as passionately and so far as successfully as they suggest, is baby King of the Mountains Maurizio Soler really going to be inclined to domestique Ivan up the Alps next year when, if he can improve his time-trialling a bit, this revelation of a climber could have a shot at the Tour podium himself a year or two hence. Add to that the rumors that they're interested in DiLuca as well when his LPR gig runs out, and we could have quite the T-Mobile Vino-Klodi-Ullrich bushwhacking rivalry here--but much as I do admire the two Italians, on this one, venga wee upstart Soler!

Suit o' the Week: finally, as both Alessandro Petacchi (March 12) and Floyd Landis (when hell freezes over) await their dates with destiny over at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Leukemans vows to fight his cruelly unjust two-year testosterone ban on the theory he shouldn't have to pay for either his team doc's relentless stupidity or his own manly wiles (whichever excuse you prefer), UCI finally finds an even greater rival in the governing-body sleaze-tactics race to the bottom as an anonymous US pro rider has to borrow Landis' legal team to sue USADA for trying to test the B of an already-negative A urine sample. USADA, however, remains defiant, noting that any number of things could raise the suspicions of the all-knowing narcs, including trafficking or administering drugs to others, and intentional test evasion, none of which of course are remotely related to the cleanliness or even existence of one's own negative A-sample. !@#$, you clowns, why not just openly shoot a tranquilizer dart into the !@# of whatever rider you're displeased with at the start line if you can't even be bothered to make up a reason to target somebody? Free Anonymous (and please, please, please, don't let it be Levi...)!

Mortifyingly Necessary Update: as the far-smarter-than-I Anonymous has kindly pointed out, the culprit's apparently not Levi thank goodness but Rock Racing alterna-badass Kayle Leogrande, whom Michael Ball, owner of perhaps the most impressive stable of doping thoroughbreds since Astana, immediately leapt to defend on the utterly dense grounds that those pansies at USADA are just afraid of Leogrande's tats. To be fair, it's a better excuse for going after a rider on unsubstantiated doping charges than most of those coming out of, say, UCI these days...


Anonymous said...

Rumors are its Kayle Leogrande

Anonymous said...

nice post. i am very admiring of your "jaded but romantic eye" i have been watching the Tour Down Under adn havent even seen robbie mcewen. don't know whats going on, lack of fitness maybe?

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog provokes the wonder--do you want cycling to clean up? Or do you enjoy the sleaze? Because practically everything you write gravitates towards the 2nd conclusion. If you were in favor of clean cycling, how could you be so outspoken in favor of dopers, and eager to repeat their smears against governing agencies?

It's hard to say whether you like watching burning buildings or whether you just have contempt for riders who refuse to dope and want a fair sport.

I guess nobody is going to say this so here it is---it's the cynicism of people like you that destroy the sport. If you don't like doping, stop supporting dopers. It's that simple.

freehub said...

If you don't like doping, stop supporting dopers. It's that simple.

ah good, one of the proponents of simplicity and all things simple, including your understanding of the relation of cycling to doping. guess there's nothing like seeing everything in black and white.

why is it that critiquing the obviously unfair practices of various governing bodies is tantamount to supporting doping? do you have any ability to think critically, or do you simply abnegate that ability to any authority figure you encounter?