Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Wages of Sin

Or Not: as reformed attempted doper Ivan Basso signs with Liquigas, which is sure to get a spot at the Giro at least this year, and Danilo Di Luca, who was suspended for three months last year, at least gets to defend his title with LPR, and Petacchi's Milram squad remains on the start list despite the boy's snorting enough salbutamol in a key sprint stage to fuel the space shuttle (though the glum champ's own 2008 Giro is now in doubt due to a training-killing particularly nasty respiratory infection), it's official: 2x 2007 Giro stage winner (and 2x overall champ) Stefano Garzelli and Acqua e Sapone, who have been accused of--much less busted for--absolutely nothing, are, despite what should be their wholly unnecessary appeals for mercy from the authorities, completely !@#$%^ out of the 2008 Giro despite Garzelli's brave if fruitless !@#$%-slap of winning two vicious stages in the Giro del Trentino this week. Okay, RCS, you've got some bee up your butt with A & S management. But Garzelli's not only earned the maglia rosa at the end of the road in Milan twice, but as last year's smashing rallied showed, he's proven himself even in his golden years as a valiant, viable, thrilling competitor. Considering who *else* you're letting into your glorious, filthy race, and in light of the noble fact that such arbitrary assiness has til now been the almost exclusive province of the bitter petty game-players over at the Tour de France, can't you just let this highly deserving boy ride for the glory and betterment of the race? Free Garzelli dammit!

Here She Comes, Miss Ame-ricaaaaaaa: speaking of Liquigas, I was flabbergasted as West Coast racer god bluesquirrel that Basso was allowed to sign with the team for '09, as I'd believed in my obvious ignorance that a 2-year ban meant an additional 2-year limit to the half-!@#$#d backup strength of a Continental squad, and even more befoozled that there wasn't an instant screaming rampage against them both from UCI stickler Pat "Dick" McQuaid, but then, this is the same hypocritical tool that went to the mat to get Op Puerto-linked Alberto Contador back into the Tour despite testimony from the Liberty Seguros youngsters that Manolo Saiz was pumping them full of mystery supplements whose contents the mastermind surely ran openly by the narcs. Ah, to be young, pretty, and in the prime of one's Grand Tour-winning years! Holy crap, I've just described a beauty-pageant-winner-on-wheels. Let's just cut to the chase and concede that, say, the wisely if sadly retired Jorg Jaksche or the striving Hamilton can't hold a candle to Basso & Contador in the swimsuit competition, shall we?

Out of the Mouths of Babes: and, as Liquigas, like Discovery before it, discreetly pulls out of the ProTour teams' association over its comely controversial signing, and the remaining squads slobber jealously over Liquigas' enviable coup and doubtless scour the disgraced-and-retired for a possible ex-attempted-doper score halfway as impressive (and in his prime) as theirs, the team remains proudly unrepentant, pointing out their brunette cherub's selfless road back to respectability, and moreover (and not unreasonably), since everyone knows half the stars in the current peloton are disgusting drugged-up cheats, one can hardly complain if Basso hits the tarmac as let's face it he oughtn't've been the only one off it in the first place. St. Ivan, meantime, continues to fluff the feathers in his angel wings in a lengthy interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, humbly acknowledging the justly mixed reactions of his compatriots to his return, his continued remorse for his never-quite-happened treachery, his gratitude and dedication to his wife and bambini, his openness to sharing team captaincy with his friend Di Luca, and last and surely least, his dear hope to win again. Am I the only one surmising that somewhere, Jan Ullrich Roberto Heras and damn near everyone else lately excluded from the German and Spanish federations are gacking on their orange juice this morning?

Faster, Pussycat!: okay, the continued implosion of cycling under the weight of its own fecklessness may continue, but so, miraculously, does actual racing, with High Road smacking the Vuelta for excluding it with a handsome stage win at the Tour de Georgia, a host of triumphs by the usually-Euro-mocked American domestic squads, Liege finishing up at this very moment and even, in ancient-history news, Floyd Landis coming out to play of late in his home stomping grounds. Anyone else thinking one more !@#$%^% scandal in this gorgeous repugnant disappointment of a sport and we all oughta just pack it in and head on down to our local road races to hand out bottles to the hometown guys who don't have the bucks or inclination to snort their way to the finish line?


strbuk said...

Hey Rj, thanks ever so much for the kind words to us over at TBV. How 'bout that "angel" anyway? If only Floyd (who is fine looking in his own right) had had her, er his face, well we won't go there :-)


sds said...

Garzalli only won 1 Giro. Di luca and Basso will not be on the same team next year unless Di Luca decides to change back. The Spanish federation did not press to ban the OP riders. Heras tested positive in the Vuelta. Anyway, i'm confussed. Do you believe in the ProTour or only when it suits your agenda?

racejunkie said...

sds, many thanks for pointing out my (not infrequent, I'm sure) errors, you're absolutely right on Garzelli, he was on the podium again but not 1st. Gazzetta asked Basso what he thought about riding w/DiLuca, and he answered; yep, the Spanish fed did zip; and I've explained my gross and inexcusable bias towards Heras on a number of shameful occasions and in any event it's a pretty good guess he wasn't the only one stoked at the time. As to the ProTour, it's a nice idea, but apparently only when it suits the teams' agendas, and *my* only agenda is calling !@#$!@#$ on the fight-against-doping-when-it-suits-us mentality that's wrecking this beautiful sport (as to my own egregious hypocrisy on Heras, a moot point in any case, I assure you, I'm filled with well-deserved self-loathing).