Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thor-n Between Two Time Trialists...

Feelin' Like a Fool: okay, so I admit I jumped up shrieking like a granny-panty-tossing blue-hair at a Tom Jones show when we love Thor Hushovd completely smacked around the rest of the field in the Dauphine prologue, but when we also love Levi Leipheimer came through and brutally crushed even that, I gotta say, I was caught on who to yell for more. But aside from Thor's recent bizarro morphing from sprint king into time-trial specialist, let's talk about what was *really* unusual on Sunday: Alejandro "Piti Is Not My Dog" Valverde, of all people, coming in third on a short, flat time trial course. Taking today on what was at least an uphill sprint? Sure. But come on, gack it up people--tell me honestly you weren't all thinking "Doper!" same as I was when he crossed the line in that shocker!

Phil and Paul Are Gods: y'know, I almost felt sorry for 2006 Tour de France second banana/maillot jaune anyway Oscar Pereiro yesterday, as the perfect team of Liggett and Sherwen said straight out they'd never seen him as the winner of that Tour and never will, because he took it on one escape where he wasn't even a marked man, then, mercifully switching the focus from the really pretty decent Pereiro's shortcomings and on to Floyd Landis' total hosing, expressed annoyance with ASO's handing off the jersey without a definitive ruling and that's it's flat disastrous for both the rider and the sport to have no resolution damn near two years on. Right on Phil & Paul--suck up the embarrassment of the complete farce that's been this process, CAS, and free Floyd already!

In Defense of Contador (As Much As I'm Capable, Anyway): Okay, Michael Rasmussen is indisputably the *true* winner of the 2007 Tour de France, but as no-one appears inclined to give him back the maillot jaune that was cruelly ripped from him days before the finish line and before the time trialists even had the chance to scare the bejeezus (if not the actual jersey) out of him in the last few days, it seems to me there's only one other thing left to be done: let baby Contador defend the Chicken's, I mean his own grossly unjustly stolen, Tour de France title. Let's be honest ASO: (1) You hate Bruyneel because (a) you think Lance doped his way through 7 consecutive Tour titles and (b) an American of all coarse cultureless pigs made French riders look like simps; and (2) you think Contador doped at Liberty Seguros, so you don't want him in there now. Well, so does anyone else with any sense, you petty little wanks, but really, hasn't everyone else effectively decided to forgive such alleged youthful discretions to keep Cycling's Next Great Savior on wheels, particularly given the wholly mitigating factor that when he and the rest of his vulnerable generation came under the influence (so to speak) of the formidable genius Manolo Saiz, the child was merely a helpless freshman at the high-school-senior party, virtually held upside down at the keg by his ankles and forced to chug by the big jocks til he yacked? Add to this the thrilla of a Giro that makes this year's Tour parcours look like a kiddie 1k, the reality that a reasonable proportion of the high-level peloton is still gonna try to sneak by your narcs anyway, and that the disgusting and amateurishly indiscreet antics at Astana last year were by basically a whole 'nother team, and you really do look like a bunch of petulant crybabies not letting him in. Of course, you could argue he's "on vacation" as he was just before the Giro and thus won't be on form for the race even if you did back down, but given that "on vacation" appears to be Kazakh for "training on 24% gradients on strategically important mountain passes for 18 lung-busting hours a day," even that last-ditch hope doesn't wash. You've got nothing to justify your actions, in sum, except the fear of losing face if you change your minds and let our wiry little prodigy play. Is this really a good enough reason to deface cycling history in the making, I ask you?

Vanilla Ice (Well, Snow): speaking of Tour de France decisions, cyclingnews is reporting that rakish speed demon Tom Boonen, lately busted yet again for speeding and last year named by a fellow local jock as his drug dealer, has now allegedly tested poz for coke in an out of competition doping screen, perhaps putting ASO in even more of an uncomfortable position as it contemplates the positives and negatives of the participation of yet another fan-beloved ratings-increasing yet vaguely-tainted cash cow. Oh Tom, not to worry--I'm sure it was your Dad's. Or your grandmother's. Or Simoni's. Or...

History Rock: finally, for those of you who bear, as I do, the secret shameful opinion that dopers do-really-suck-so-please-get-the-hell-off-my-back-about-my-being-an-apologist but the despised Jan Ullrich was still a gloriously compelling trainwreck to watch and the peloton's exponentially the lamer without him, I bring you this wholly traumatic link to "his" 2006 Giro blog, found courtesy of faithful reader Marc. (If, however, you have any fellow-feeling at all for the harmless Matthias Kessler, or any natural sense of delicacy whatsoever with regard to the intimate life of Simoni's bike pump, don't say I didn't warn you that this guy is some sick !@#$.) For those of you who *can* still bear to look at him after you wake up screaming in a cold sweat, I see that from Jan's actual personal website, you can send family, friends, or perhaps even Jan's little BFF Ivan Basso any one of a selection of handsome Jan Ullrich e-cards. Enjoy, and share the beauty that is Ullrich!


Mary said...

I love that about Phil and Paul too; sure Periro is probably a perfectly fine cyclist, but the guy did NOT win the TdF and the ASO can not bend reality enough to make me believe it.

And, my god, I'm so disgusted by the way the whole Landis situation has been handled (as is any decent person, of course) that I can hardly imagine what it must be like to actually be IN this mess. Free Floyd! Or, at least hand down a damn decision already so we can get this over with!

I also watch Nascar (when not catching up on cycling) and a couple of the drivers there are starting to talk about bringing in drug testing; I just want to scream at the tv to tell them "NO!" Although I'm opposed to doping (as is any decent person, I guess), the horrible mockery of justice or fair play that the assorted cycling agencies have displayed certainly inspires no amount of positive feeling for testing.

Boo ASO. Here's hoping Contador takes the Vuelta as well as the Giro and the TdF falls out of favor as "the" race for the pelaton!

bill hue said...

Dr. Fuentes said Contador wasn't in his doping program. Fuentes said he didn't treat nor serve Contador at all. Fuentes will not and did not say similar things about Valverde (Piti?) or Pereiro (Urca?).

Pereiro had this to say about providing his DNA to authorities so that it might be compared to plasma in blood seized in the Puerto affair:

“It’s unfair that cyclists have to prove our innocence. I am ready to do anything, but if I have to use DNA to demonstrate my innocence, I will leave cycling, because it’s obvious that cycling like that isn’t worth it.”

Contador is linked to the Puerto affair by handwritten notes about Fuentes' "program" in Spanish, translated as follows;

"Nothing or the same as Jaksche" (Bella by admission).

The Spanish Court cleared Contador but they also cleared Isidro Nozal so you have to take that
exoneration" with a grain of salt.

However, contador has provided a DNA sample to compare to the blood seized in the Puerto affair.

All in all, I'd say Periero and contador are on equal footing in the Puerto affair, with a nod to contador for providing DNA along with fuentes' denial of contador's involvement.


Jack said...

totally agree w/ your write up regarding landis/pereiro and aso. i have an opinion of the whole aso/uci affair written on my blog. take a look:

racejunkie said...

Thank you Bill! Contador is also implicated (but surely innocent) by reports such as this from the December 13, 2006 cyclingnews:

Jesús Hernández Blázquez and Alberto Contador Velasco have become the first to testify in the Operación Puerto investigation after they appeared before judge Antonio Serrano on Monday. The pair were the first to take to the stand as they both live in Madrid.

The cyclists were asked three questions each. Firstly, they were asked if they know the people involved in the case, then if any of those people had ever obliged them to take any pharmaceuticals and finally, if they suffered any damage to their health caused by those medications.

Both denied ever having noticed any type of doping in the Team Liberty. Jesús Hernández (Relax-Gam), who rode for Liberty in 2004 and 2005, stated that he does not even know Eufemiano Fuentes personally.

But according to journalist Sergi López Egea, Hernández mentioned in his statement that Manolo Sáiz was the one who had total control of the team, including medication. The 25 year-old mentioned patches that the riders applied on their skin, but he did not mention the type of substance used. The case's investigators believe it could be testosterone.

I'm sure Manolo's mystery patches were just vitamins. Or that newfangled birth-control thing you stick to your skin. Or...

randie said...

Good for Phil and Paul! I definately agree. Even if Landis did dope the way the whole thing has been handled is just ridiculous, ASO suck. I'm pissed at Boonen. How dare he take coke and risk his bright future!
Agree with Mary, hope Contador does win the Vuelta and then Le Tour becomes largely irrelevant, destroyed by ASO and their crappy decisions.

Donna said...

Racejunkie, I agree with everything you said, and thanks for putting it so well, except for one little thing.... It's kinda obvious you don't like Alberto Contador. I wish you would read Johan Bruyneel's new book, "We Might As Well Win". A fascinating read, and a lot of insight into Contador and what happened in the 2007 Tour. Well worth it. I came away with admiration for Contador's talent, and even deeper respect and affection for Levi Leipheimer. Maybe it will sway your opinion too, just a bit.

bill hue said...

The Spanish court also cleared every suspected member of Comunidad Valenciana as well as Joseba Belocki, Sergio Paulinho and Alan Davis.

Davis was also cleared by the Australian ADA but he had a real problem finding a job after discovery folded. Bruyneel brought Pauhlino and Contador over to Discovery and then Astana.

Belocki is on a long list of usual suspects and Valverde happened to have the time trial of his life at the Dauphine today.

I would not put much stock into "exonerations" by the Spanish Court as i said before. Isidro Nozal is not the only one causing me pause.