Dear Little Sastre!: okay, first, a big shout out to my faithful Aussie reader(s?), because it was indeed nice that Simon Gerrans took a stage win the other day, but mainly because Stuey O'Grady absolutely kicks !@# over every other rider in the peloton, and without the freedom to watch out for his own chances for a stage win to boot. And, though I would've choked on my pick o'the day as usual (I was rooting for baby Schleck, despite the fact he'd clearly have to kill himself today kneecapping Cadel, who is still generally too much of a steady grinding lump to attack but can stick to anyone like a tick on a beagle), can anyone doubt that whatever his excruciating inability to time trial, when it comes to the epic climbs of any given Grand Tour, wee little Sastre wholly deserves his place in history? Woo-hoo! Oh Carlos, I'm still not sure it's enough time on Cadel for the overall, but at least you made him work for it! And big points to Valverde as well, especially since one never knows with the boy when or if the ax might fall, not that (please-don't-sue-me-disclaimer) there's any reason for it to do so whatsoever, nor that it would, and, even I must concede in the bitter depths of my Heras-preferring heart, to Menchov for his truly valiant struggle back from the precipice of an ugly crack. Okay, I've been fair to Denis, can I go back to resenting him for taking Roberto's Vuelta now?
Now That I've Strip-Searched You, Can I Have Your Autograph?: so Riccardo Ricco's been interviewed (along with a protective posse) by Gazzetta dello Sport, and among the details emerging, besides that he's innocent and his team doctor is a slimy incompetent tool, is that the French gendarmes were, despite the manhandling, very nice to him and, after the requisite invasive body cavity search and disinfectant dousing, politely asked for his autograph for themselves and their friends, to which our gracious (for once) hero kindly obliged. In other news, the EPO manufacturer's apparently marked the new form with a molecule designed to be snagged by the doping tests--d'oh!--which means, presumably, that the riders'll start re-using the old form that gets missed by half the tests or looking to the Spanish university docs for ever-more sophisticated evaders, I mean, that the chastened peloton is gonna cut out the hijinks right this very second. Update: okay, now WADA's new chief John "Dick" Fahey apparently misspoke, in which case, I take back what I said: the peloton'll split nicely between "old reliable" EPO and WADA's-got-a-new-test-but-these-chumps-are-wrong-half-the-time-anyway new formula. Either way, lookin' forward to cleaning up this dirty generation of riders post haste!
Goldfinger: and, as if Ricco's teammates didn't already find him loathesome enough just for being, well, Ricco', they've now got yet another reason to hate him: Saunier Duval--previously just "on hiatus"--has just announced it's shutting down for good effective immediately. Damn, Ricco', I can certainly see why you've been hiding behind everybody's skirts the last week like some kind of terrified naughty busted toddler--but man up already, it's not like your spindly pack of enraged teammates doesn't already know where you live!
Phew! An Update: lucky for Ricco and most of his teeny vulnerable body, I see alterna-sponsor Scott has just stepped in to save the day, at least til the end of this season. Well, that gives either (1) the team til October to score a new sponsor or (2) you til then to find a really, really wily diguise. Good luck Ricco!
Hope Springs Eternal: and, in a last note on our whiny cherub, I see the cycling narcs are set to interrogate Ricco' on the 30th and his pal Piepoli on the 29th, and since Piepoli has already reportedly tossed his master somewhat to the wolves, I'm thinking they're better off that way, unless Ricco' sends his mother down to Leonardo's proceedings to kick his !@#. Oh Simoni--not only did your twerp protege lack your legs, he also lacked your smooth way with head-on verbal abuse (and your own little coke bust some years back, but I digress)--*why* did you waste your time with this rugrat?