Tuesday, May 27, 2008

See No Evil

Or Any Good Either, Apparently: not to start out cranky, folks, but am I on a boatload of crack or did no one watch the same freakin' time trial I did yesterday? As I saw it, we love insult-king-of-the-peloton Gilberto Simoni not only absolutely wailed on saps like Di Luca still-didn't-deserve-Heras'-Vuelta Menchov and even narcissistic twerp ex-protege Ricco', but actually took five seconds on Prince Alberto, yet all I see in the post-race coverage--including willfully-blinded apologists-for-all-Italians gazzetta dello sport and tuttobici, no less--is Ricco's headed for second, yap, Contador's maglia rosa is wrapped up, yap, poor Danilo, yap. C'mon, people, the boy's just aging, not wrapped in linen and stuffed in a sarcophagus already for !@#$'s sake, plus he made half the GC contenders look like helpless grinding toddlers on defective Big Wheels--where is the love for Gibo already?

Speaking of Love: congrats to revelation-of-the-Dolomites Emanuele Sella, who in addition to crushing everyone but Pellizotti yesterday and taking two of the nastiest days in the race outright apparently promised his girlfriend they'd get married if he took a stage in the Tour, which not only means they're getting married in few weeks' time but that presumably because of the two-fer (and Sella's likely overstuffed bank account next season) they're off to a lovely honeymoon as well. Meantime, back to the time trial itself, was anyone else absolutely kneecapped by we love Jens Vogt's amazing performance in terrain even he had no chance of excelling in? See what happens when he gets bored--right on Jens, you've still got a chance for a stage win the next two days! Of course, I can't help but hope poor cursed Paolo Bettini gets one of 'em, particularly as, while I relax in the wilds of California, my wee nephews keep shouting his name at the top of their incredibly powerful lungs asking when the World Champ is going to win one. Patience, my little tifosi--he'll come around!

Take That, Ivan!: finally, I see Franco Pellizotti's continuing his campaign to dope-slap Basso (and his adoring 2009 team management) into utter submission, taking the time trial and generally beating up most of the rest of the field in his desperate attempt to keep St. Ivan of Varese crushed under his cleats when he dares show up in training camp come January to challenge Pellizotti's hard-earned supremacy. Y'know, if only he'd stop preening the feathers on his glowing new angels wings for five minutes, I'd actually rather root for him to have a smashing comeback, but I can't help but sympathize with Franco that just as he gets rid of Di Luca due to some pesky alleged tape recordings discussing doping injections he's gotta get it together to obliterate some other shmoe he never even anticipated. Speaking of angels, could David Millar kindly whine a little less about yesterday's mountain time trial--yes, we *know* it didn't give you an ideal forum for weeping about how repentant you are for your tragic doping bust and how obviously triumphant you can be without using the good stuff, but can you just let the climbers have their day? Much appreciated!

Free Roberto!: holy moly, speak of the devil, or at least the devil who prefers discretion to grossly calculated martyrdom and publicity-whore wah-wahing, as Tuttobici reports via a Spanish website that The Only Guy Who's Doped The Last Few Years Besides Jan Ullrich, evil renegade Roberto Heras, may return to the Vuelta with Karpin Galicia in the unlikely event the race organizers will let someone who had his title stripped from him two years ago--and worse, is too old for a few more years of camera-friendly Teen Beat-pretty repentance like Ivan Basso (or, some might suggest, former teammate/Manolo "Mystery Skin Patch" Saiz-nurtured Contador, if some didn't want his legal team on his or her !@#)--back in the race. Hmmmm...to let him in only to choke after two solid years off the saddle would be heartbreaking; on the other hand, it would be deeply satisfying to watch him smack Menchov around in the mountains again if he's been sneaking in some significant saddle time on the sly...decisions, decisions!

Okay, two flat/rolling stages and then it's time for Simoni to make his rivals weep again. Forza Gibo--and in bocca al lupo the next two days Paolo and Jens!

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