Sunday, April 20, 2008

Russian Roulette

To Russia, With Love: so I see that in his increasingly desperate bid to make up for his crushing loss of control over damn near every race that matters, I mean, expand the fan-love of the power and glory that is cycling to every remaining region on earth that has yet to convert to its gospel, Pat "Dick" McQuaid over at UCI has expanded the reach of the ProTour deep into Eastern Europe. I'm actually all for it in principle, but Pat, do you really think this one is gonna compensate for the humiliating loss of the Tour?

Damiano, the Omen: yep, as he apparently predicted 'long about last October, two-time-Giro-king/fruitless-Tour-aspirant Damiano Cunego has taken Amstel Gold over a formidable and only slightly wheel-sucked senior Schleck, to the besotted shrieks of the tifosi, who nonetheless are surprised that their Grand Tour boy is turning into a Classics king and more than irked that their hero is ditching his hometown corsa rosa to focus on some crappy little race like the Tour de France this year. Next in the boy's sights? None other than the venerable Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but at least for the next day or so, the boy's clearly content to take some well-earned R&R (and has apparently made up quite nicely with former Lampre teammate/relentless contemptuous press-slagger we love Gilberto Simoni as well):

Baby You Can Ride My Bull: while we're talking about the Classics, a big "you suck!" *again* to the bambi-hunting-and-bull-wrangling-obsessed executives over at Vs., who managed to not only desecrate Paris-Roubaix by airing its coverage a week after everyone on earth knew its result, but also to grossly squander the dual perfection that is Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen by doing so. Damn, why not just bring back that idiot Al Trautwig if you're gonna spit on the sport as you broadcast it? Aaarrrrggggghhhhh!

Swiss Cheese: meantime, the Swiss seem uncharacteristically befuddled as to the state of their own vendetta against the hapless Jan Ullrich, which may be moot anyway, as the boy's going to be distracted enough as whining turncoat hypocrite soigneur-o'-Satan Jef D'Hont swears to hunt down and sue Jan for defaming his character by denying that D'Hont ever personally jammed his !@# full of EPO. Right, 'cause participating in someone's doping activity then pimping yourself for cash about it is just the sort of character-affirming obsequiousness that builds up a man's reputation in the world, you nit! Still and all, Jan's sure to be comforted by his late (if not cheap) escape from fraud charges, if for no other reason than the Germans were forced to concede that no fraud really took place with the sponsor masterminding the whole pharmaceutical plan and all, which must really be a comfort to everyone from T-Mobile who's gotten excoriated as a rogue cheating lone-ranger lowlife before they, unlike, say, Rolf Aldag, could manage to age out of relevance in the peloton. Anyhoo, anyone else excited that the teams are gonna finally be held responsible for their systemic profit-driven skankery? Nope, I don't think they ever will be, either!

The Night the Lights Went On In Georgia: finally, in the happy race news that is the reason we still love this endless simmering cesspool of a sport, it's the smashing Tour of Georgia this week, with just about everyone you could dream of from American cycling and a bucket o' talent from Europe weighing in on the first-ever team time trial and the decisive burst of Brasstown Bald. Allez allez Levi of course, but Hincapie really deserves to crush the competition after his lousy luck this spring! Still, whatever else is going on there or at the thrilling Ardennes classics, for my money the real test is at the Giro d'Trentino this week, as Simoni, Garzelli, Di Luca, a rib-sore Bettini and damn near everyone else worth watching for the Giro d'Italia descends upon (and schleps painfully up) the Dolomites in the first real test of form ahead of the Giro. Free Garzelli for the start line of the Giro you disgusting cowardly clowns--wasn't Acqua e Sapone gonna sue those wanks for cheating him out of another go?

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