Sunday, February 03, 2008

Giro d' !@#$% You, UCI!

But What Did A&S Ever Do To You?: so, the shock and hoo-ha over the Giro d'Italia start list continues, and while I must admire the sheer evil genius of making Pat "Dick" McQuaid pay for his years of vicious empire-grabbing self-centered stupidity by spurning his new darlings Astana and High Road in a spectacularly backhanded dope-slap, I gotta wonder--what's exactly being gained here (besides gratuitous humiliation of the French, itself a worthy enough goal I suppose) by excluding poor Bouyges Telecom, which let's face it hasn't the palmares to threaten or even mildly annoy *anyone* these days? And while of course I'm delighted to see we love flawless smack-talkin' Gilberto Simoni get one last marvelous crack at a farewell stage win thanks to the invite for Diquigiovanni, and certainly appreciate the welcome for Slipstream so Zabriskie can take the time trial, I must in all fairness call bull!@#$--what the hell are you people thinking excluding Acqua e Sapone with Stefano freakin' Garzelli on board?! He's a long-ago taker of the whole show, itself enough to merit a nostalgia welcome. What's more, even without the staggering budget of a ProTour squad to domestique his aging carcass up the Dolomites, the boy blasted the peloton absolutely apart in the last week and a half with the most limited of support to beautiful and triumphant effect this very race past. Explain to me exactly why--particularly since, if doping is the snit du jour you're claiming for the exclusions, you're letting in Petacchi DiLuca Piepoli (all with disconcerting drug or hormone levels last year) and Cunego (see below)--Garzelli is not only the utterly inexplicable fall guy for these shmoes, but also for the second explanation you've given, that Astana and particularly those openly-Tour-de-France-prepping ungrateful twerps Levi & Contador just don't appreciate the race enough? I stand firmly with you that the Giro (and Vuelta of course) outrageously gets no respect--but you're absolutely making the wrong guy pay for it. Meantime, the tifosi over at Gazzetta dello Sport, never shy about expressing their emotions, are in seriously imminent riot mode over the dissing of their hero, except for Damiano Cunego's roaring supporters, who are naturally delighted to see one less excuse for Il Piccolo Principe to choke again in 2008. Free Garzelli dammit--and let him liven up the mountains for one more year!

Midnight Espresso: speaking of Cunego, the outrage continues over Lampre's late-night wake-up by the narc squad, with the Italian cycling press buzzing over the news that not only could he and Ballan be barred from the peloton for up to a year for unforgivably sneaking out the window down the trellis and off to dinner without telling their parents, but that CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri is now justifying the attack by alleging a possible link between the cherubic innocent and Oil for Drugs. The amiable Cunego, meanwhile, has appealed for calm, noting that while he did indeed commit the egregious sin of going out for a nice dinner after a lively evening with the fan club, he zipped right back to the hotel when they called him on his cell phone, and he'd neither the inclination nor even the opportunity to dope himself into a stupor over antipasti anyway. Y'know, I think it's fine to ascertain that, say, you're not reclining in a team doctor's university medical clinic over the border with an IV in your arm when you're supposed to be peacefully resting up for the next day's stage under the DS's noble and watchful eye, but doesn't the second booth at your local Chili's seem a rather less likely site for syringe-snarfing than, for example, the privacy of one's own hotel room? Then again, who'd be stupid enough to stash performance-enhancing drugs smack dab in the middle of their own luggage--right, Millar?

Guess Who's Hosing Landis for Dinner?: yep, none other than leakmaster Landis-lambasting accusation-pimping WADA ex-honcho Dick "Dick" Pound, now aiming for the leadership of the Court of Arbitration for Sport just in time for his new minions to hear Floyd Landis' utterly fair and unbiased March doping appeal. I, for one, think the boy has nothing to worry about. After all, not only has he already been kindly forced to serve his entire ban anyway whether he did the dirty deed or not, but who can possibly fault the impartiality of a man who openly excoriated the morals, ethics, talent and cleanliness of a winner of the Tour de France before the poor thing even had time to get his boxers on straight, much less to prepare for and defend himself in court?

Rock Me Gently, Rock Me Slowly (Not!): as ex-manager Frankie Andreu acknowledges his pre-split discomfort with the Kayle Leogrande situation, only to have Michael Ball reflexively label USADA a pack of tattoo-fearin' Wonder-Bread-eatin' ultrasquare Pat Boone weenies, rumors abound that Rock has predictably decided to ratchet up its knee-jerk "!@#$ you!" response to any perceived challenge by not only naming every Op Puerto-linked rider on earth (save Valvderde of course) to its Tour of California team, but yep, Kayle himself, if our head-stitched USADA-suin' rebel-without-a-cause manages not to knock his own head off on the tarmac entirely beforehand (listen to your mother and wear your helmet from now on, alright?). Touchingly, Rock remains "deeply committed" to "racing clean," which point may be moot even if--as I'm absolutely certain it is--entirely sincere, as the Amgen EPO Tour organizer AEG renews its vow that no rider with an open doping case can ride their race, and it looks forward to speaking with UCI and WADA to nail down who exactly, in their learned and perfectly fair opinions, that is. Who's apparently *not* named to the ToC Rock Racing squad to date? Bizarrely, none other'n Lion King Mario Cipollini, whose gig is said to be already on the rocks but which gossip the Italian press--perhaps because of their current preoccupation with Cunego, or perhaps because it's just plain crap--has for some reason completely ignored. Now, not to be superstitious here, but let's see...Andreu bails, Leogrande gets named, Cipo's uncertain, Leogrande cracks his head open days before the team debut...Fast Freddie, get the hell out of this sinking ship before it disappears in the salty deep for good!

Down But Not Out: finally, speedy recovery wishes to big Maggy Backstedt, now nursing a broken collarbone after his lousy crack-up in Qatar but already cheerfully planning to put the hurt back into the peloton at his beloved Paris-Roubaix. Allez allez Maggy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your comments. I wish we could take a ride together sometime.
The dopes running cycling and the Olympics always seem to forget that's what it's really all about.