Team Effort: in a remarkable reversal of their usual spinelessness, the habitually meek and impotent teams association has marvelously struck a blow for actual riders, bravely informing UCI that, notwithstanding its terrifying threats of unspecified misery, they're telling the organization to blow and happily planning to ride the beautiful and eternal Paris-Nice. Pat "Dick" McQuaid's hilarious response? Yes, race organizer ASO and their disgusting employees are evil scumly anti-rider dirtballs who will lose no opportunity to destroy the innocent cyclists and their even more cherubic team managers on the most slender of unsubstantiated unkind doping-related rumors in heinous disregard of the truth, in contrast to UCI of course, which always has the very best interests of the poor riders at heart and has shown them nothing, as their exemplary track record will clearly show, but compassion, kindness, understanding, and, most of all, justice. Um, aren't we talking about the same pack of soulless rider-whoring vicious bitter bastards who left Iban Mayo wallowing on his couch like a slop-stuffed pig over their nasty refusal to accept his unpositive Z sample and bonfired Floyd Landis as the loathesome example of all that is wrong with cycling to every press outlet on earth before the boy even had the chance to get his boxers on the morning the scandal broke? What a sparkling little snowglobe of a fantasyland you live in, Pat "Dick"!
Lover's Quarrel: and, the bloom seems to be distinctly off the rose for Rock Racing's Mario Cipollini and Michael Ball, as the former appears to realize that not only does he remain a living god amongst the besotted tifosi on his home turf, but even the lumpen cycling-ignorant Americans know and adore him and, if Ball doesn't give Cipo the power and control he so clearly deserves, plus keeps embarrassing him by having a pack of convicted or even merely implicated declining dopers running after the team car at races like slobbering tire-nipping hounds, he's gonna take his pearly whites smashing wardrobe and general suavity back to Europe where he's duly appreciated. Surely a nice box of chocolates or perhaps some roses would patch things up--turn down the ego and turn on that charm, Ball, he's already proven he's a keeper!
Daniloh, Crap, Is There Gonna Be *Anyone* Left to Ride the Giro?: meantime, our friends at CONI, still strangely displeased by Il Killer's amusingly toddlerish hormone levels post-Zoncolan at last year's Giro, have now decided to press for a two-year ban for DiLuca, leaving his lawyer to sputter outrage, his team to stoutly proclaim its faith, his fans to demand not only exoneration but also immediate fair-play tar-and-feathering of certain suspect Spanish cyclists, and the head of the Italian cycling fed to pay a sympathetic visit to the bewildered champion at the sanctuary of his home. Okay, I make no bones about the fact that I hope Paolo Savoldelli kicks his !@#, or at least leaves him whimpering at the back of the autobus like a baby on a couple of descents. But really, how fun is that if he doesn't even get the chance to bushwhack DiLuca fair and square? Plus, just look what the stress of the last few days has done to poor Danilo! (photo from tuttobici):
Basso Amongst the Bambini: lest anyone think Ivan Basso's been forgotten in all his comely glory, gazzetta dello sport's got a gusher of an article on his continued good works for the children's charity Intervista, particularly charmed by his irresistible urge to buy the local waifs some bicycles, as a soul-touched, humbled Ivan swears to return to the peloton not a better cyclist, but a better man, all thanks to the blessing in disguise that was his two-year ban. Not to disparage the truly laudable work he's doing, nor doubt the sincerity of his dedication as a parent himself to helping the children of others, but given his constant St. David Millar-esque protestations of unwanted (yet somehow perpetually press-paraded) martyrdom, is anyone else starting to wish someone'd just cut off the end of his sentence and get the boy back on a damn bike already?
Dick Clark On Wheels: finally, though I know I'm supposed to revile Erik Zabel for his repulsive one-time 90s doping slip-up (and I'm quite certain that's all he did), I can't help but be delighted by our ageless warhorse's recent sprint triumph at the Valencia Tour over a peloton's worth of far younger also-rans. Allez allez Erik--I mean, bad, bad, bad, bad cyclist!