Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clash of the Titans

Or Maybe Just the Petty Preening Selfish Egomaniacal !@#holes: as everyone who's not actually clinically dead (and perhaps a few who are) now knows, in an incredible triumph of hypocrisy, showmanship, and contempt for both riders and fans over common sense, fair play, and merit, the chest-thumping weenies over at ASO officially announced today that not only is Astana is out of the Tour this year because of a completely unrelated team's scumly tactics last year, but Alberto Contador is welcome to pop by anytime and defend his title should he only have the courtesy to tell Johan Bruyneel to screw and sign up with a new squad in time for this year's start line. Among the pure and shining stars in the antidoping sky the boy has to choose from? Yep, none other than clean Team Rabobank, largely unchanged themselves from last year after their gross protectionism of Rasmussen's evasions ended in a crumpled pile of dream-dashed riders sobbing in the team bus right before their presumptive victory laps on the Champs-Elysees. (Sure, Contador stole the Tour from Rasmussen, who if knowingly allowed to ride by those clowns at ASO and UCI when everyone knew he was off evading doping controls should've been allowed to ride til the end, but it wasn't *his* fault.) Oddly, Christian Prudhomme seems to have no problem excluding Levi Leipheimer, who's never been tied to anything, or we love Andreas Kloden, whose greatest crime seems to be playing hapless gun moll to a series of ill-chosen dope-snarfing goon amores, while welcoming baby Contador to the race after a passel of Liberty Seguros teammates testified to the Op Puerto investigators that Manolo Saiz whacked mystery skin patches on his unquestioning proteges like badges on Girl Scouts, nor allowing in, say, Caisse d'Epargne, particularly since he spent the last two years bitching about Alejandro Valverde's foul unwanted presence in his race. I'm so glad Prudhomme's committed to clean sport, at least where he arbitrarily likes the teams who are at least bothering with an attempt to achieve it! Still and all, there's plenty of time for ASO to change its mind if duly appeased, so it's entirely possible that once the snowball fight is over and Mom calls in everyone for hot cocoa, tempers will soothe and everyone'll be friends again. Lookin' forward to it ASO!

The Fallout: I can't imagine what poor Kloden is doing at the moment, unless it's drinking himself into a disbelieving stupor, but Levi Leipheimer has (still politely) expressed his shock and sorrow, promising to justify the fans' faith in himself and the team elsewhere if he has to this season, and Contador is already planning to take on the Vuelta, as the squad's at least found a home there (and not to bite the hand that feeds me, but can everyone !@#$%$' *stop* using the Vuelta as an also-ran dumping ground for faded dreams?). And the ever-vocal faithful over at gazzetta? Generously bemoaning Contador's blameless hosing, still ticked that the only riders taking the hit for a Spanish doping scandal are Italians, and, in further nationalist fervor, snarking that ASO's only pulling this stunt so that finally a French guy has a chance of winning the Tour. Keep on waiting there Prudhomme--it really ain't gonna help you that much!

PS Woo-hoo Thor Hushovd on his first win of the season--green jersey again in '08!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The TDF is going to suck without Astana. I don't know if I'll be able to get over it. Especially without Kodi.

I love reading your blog, keep up the good work.