Thursday, March 13, 2008

This Is the Dawning of the Age of...

...Yep, Cycling Protests, as all those lame social revolutions of the past give way to the noblest purpose of civil disobedience--busting Danilo Di Luca out of past and future doping suspensions. The circumstances of this history-making stand for civil rights? Four train-cars full of "Il Killer Fans Club"--a good three hundred tifosi by at least one count--descended on CONI HQ in Rome on Monday, pleading for his freedom and chanting "Hands off Di Luca!" Luckily, despite the simmering passionate crowd and a heavy preponderance of jack-booted order-keeping thugs, disaster was averted as a besotted and acid-tripping Di Luca stalwart bravely approached a truncheon-bearing goon and offered him a flower the color of a maglia rosa, which defused tensions beautifully until nearby goons accidentally mistook the flower for a wielded weapon and clubbed the poor sod into the pavement. Wait, maybe I'm translating this wrong...

Days of Thunder: and, as Petacchi gets set for his showdown with CAS on April 1 over his little salbutamol OD, Ale-Jet fans are sure to freak as he admits in an interview that, at thirty-four years of age, if he's disqualified, he's done racing for good. As to his current season, he may well skip the Giro for the upcoming birth of little Alessandro (if a boy), particularly as there's little there this year for sprinters, which will would allow him to focus on taking out Sanremo Paris-Tours Ghent and the Tour de France green jersey. His nearest rivals? Not up-and-coming sprint godlet Daniele Bennati by his measure, as he names damn near every serious sprinter on earth including Freire (damn right!) Bettini Boonen McEwen Hushovd (damn right!) and even junior threats Cavendish and Ciolek, but not his smug smack-talkin' self-proclaimed rival. Oh, snap!

Mea Culpa Roundup: as we love Oscar Freire takes a win at Tirreno, youngster Gesink gets rightly if discreetly pissed as Cadel wheel-sucks his way to the win on Ventoux, and disgraced Di Luca gets to ride Tirreno and Milano-Sanremo (which oughta really be making poor Stefano Garzelli, screwed out of those races plus the Giro for no apparent reason whatsoever, quite apoplectic), over in the If-I'm-Sorry-Enough-Will-You-Still-Pay-Me-500,000-Euros Department Ivan Basso seems just one comely lip-pout away from the Worlds as the head of Italian cycling fed compliments him lushly for serving his punishment with honor and spending this time in humble dedication to charitable efforts, saying he must still fill out his full suspension but likely in serious physical danger from thousands of enraged tifosi should he fail to ultimately clear the boy in time to hit the road in Varese. Patrik Sinkewitz, meantime, is rushing to throw some raw meat at Andreas Kloden's legal Dobies, swearing he hasn't sold him or anyone to the cops and totally coincidentally hoping to find himself a nice team he swears he would never ever ever rat out to the narcs no matter what systemic doping scheme they push, I mean, no matter what some utterly betraying rogue cyclist might come up with the team docs absolutely on his own with no help from anyone management-related at all. And, as even Santi Botero is cleared to ride the Olympics by the Colombians despite repeated whispers of his link to some minor Spanish cycling brouhaha, is anyone else thinking that Jorg Jaksche, repentant as he's been and open about the entire sport's flaws as he's been, is completely and irredeemably !@#$%& no matter whether his suspension's up before he retires or not?

He Who Laughs Last, Laughs His Shorts Off: Finally, as the season heats up and the victors salute the sky in triumph again and again as they cross the line, I offer a cautionary note for those folks newer to winning as they learn to control their steed:

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