Monday, February 25, 2008

The Silence of the Soigneurs

...Yeah, Kayle Leogrande *wishes*, as ex-Saturn pro/Rock Racing soigneur Suzanne Soyne sez our hero 'fessed up to ingesting truly T-Mobile-worthy quantities of doping products, including EPO and a bucket of other reprehensible no-nos, during the past Superweek. Y'know, I'm no evidence maven, but I'm pretty sure that, intimate though the relationship can get (at least according to the bone-chilling chamois-cream-spreading scene from "Hell on Wheels"), there's yet no "soigneur-cyclist privilege." Kayle, what were you *thinking*--do the words "shut the hell up and use your masking agents in silence" mean nothing to you?! Now, before I get accused of supporting doping *again*, let me make clear that I hope every cheating scuzzbag has the lack of self-restraint and, frankly, sheer stupidity to hire an airplane to sky-write their doping plans above UCI headquarters. But man, can't anyone speak out against the plague of moronity besmirching this sport? Anyhoo, Rock Racing immediately issued a press release assuring all doubters that they take such accusations quite seriously, thank you, and there will be severe consequences if he's proven guilty, such as, presumably, pulling guys like Vinokorouv Kessler Heras and Bjarne out of retirement signing 'em to lucrative contracts and pimping them proudly for the cameras at every event. Allez allez Michael Ball!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (Or the Summer of 2006, Anyway): yep, not content with the prospect of poor Patrik Sinkewitz dessicating in an isolated Viennese jail cell for a crappy little year, yip-yappy anti-doping ankle-biter Dr. Werner Franke, in an apparent attempt to have the boy consigned to the clink for a far more pleasing "all eternity," has chosen this very moment to regurgitate tired allegations that a good six-pack of riders from T-Mobile besides the aforementioned cheating lying hear-no-evil-see-no-evil drug skank were also blood doping at the team docs' Freiburg clinic during the Tour de France. Damn, Werner, I'm sorry you failed to get Jan Ullrich actively stampeded by a herd of raging wildebeests in addition to merely making him retire, but must you take out your thwarted dreams on an entirely unrelated cyclist?

V for Vendetta: and, as ASO utterly validates Vino's ridiculous charge that Astana's the hapless victim of a Vast Anti-Kazakh Conspiracy by blocking a team from the Tour de France that has nothing in common from last year's drug-stuffed outfit except its check-writing sponsor (though I suppose punishing Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden for Johan Bruyneel's boys' taking 8 of the last 9 Tours is a perfectly fair reason, as well), UCI announces its own sweet revenge for ASO's treachery by threatening any team that dares to ride ASO darling Paris-Nice with dire, if still rather unspecified, consequences. Heck, how could removing the best cyclists in the world from the road and leaving one of the most storied and beautiful races on earth to a few careening no-name neophytes *not* improve "the image and stability" of the sport, which loss Pat McQuaid so eloquently bemoans?

Cipo's Run: in actual race news, colossal kudos to aging chick magnet/Re Leone Mario Cipollini, who not only pulled off a perfectly respectable time trial and a third-place finish in a key sprint at the Tour of California after two years out of the saddle, but also came in an admirable 58th in the overall. Next up? He dreams of Sanremo, with the adoring tifosi skeptical of his actual chances but absolutely dewy-eyed over his passion. Meantime, over in the World Cup, Geelong goddess Katheryn Mattis has, despite her smashing win, been sadly hosed out of the US team for the Beijing Olympics due to rules that unfortunately don't count this race this year towards her chances for the squad. You still kick @#$ Katheryn!

Photo o'the Week: finally, this handsome photo of Pat "Dick" McQuaid and Dick "Dick" Pound getting ready to pick over the roadkill that is pro cycling these days at the recent Tour of California:

Image by Getty Images, caption by racejunkie

(Image by Getty Images, caption by racejunkie)

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