Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! (And New Resolutions, Too)

Okay, I won't keep 'em, if looking back at last year's list o' doomed aspirations is any guide. But I will probably feel mildly crappy about it, which may be motivation enough to restrain, even if temporarily, my baser instincts. So, in the interests of some sorely-needed self-improvement, and for love of this repugnant glorious wreck of a sport, here goes:

1. I will welcome Ivan Basso back with open arms. The man has paid his dues for something he entirely credibly claims he never even actually did in the first place, and that's good enough for me. In fact, I'll welcome him back even more if he gets into a sissy-boy verbal slapfight with Gilberto Simoni at the Giro for old times' sake. On a related note, if Simoni leaves him in the dust on at least one stage in the Dolomites, I'll build a shrine to Gibo in my office.

2. I will give Lance Armstrong 24 hours after the start of the Tour to prove he will work for Alberto Contador's GC victory before I excoriate him for being an !@#$%&!.

3. I will not post that photo of Tom Boonen in his gladiator outfit again. It's not his fault he's a Belgian babe magnet. If he's caught outside a nightclub or in his Ferrari with white, um, baby powder caked on his nose, though, I will post that.

4. I won't be mean to Bjarne Riis, who is after all a Tour de France winner and one of the best DSes in history--besides having, even better, backed Frank Schleck--and Photoshop a picture of his head on a turkey again. I'll wait til February 2nd, and Photoshop his face onto a groundhog instead.

5. I'll be nice nice nice to Alberto Contador, who has truly earned his place in history despite his sordid (allegedly!) past at Liberty Seguros, his Tour win on Michael Rasmussen's crap last-minute ejection, and his total (if politely done) co-hosing of Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden. But I'll be even nicer if Samuel Sanchez whomps him in at least one stage.

6. Okaaaaaay, it's been like two years, I'll stop whining about the absence of we-still-love-so-bite-it-buddy Jan Ullrich and Roberto Heras from the peloton. I will, however, whine extravagantly about the loss of Paolo Bettini Bobby Julich and Iban "I Can't Believe Even That Twerp Jaksche Scored a New Gig Instead of Me" Mayo. Dammit!

7. I won't assume that any rider who beats the one I'm rooting for up an epic climb, particularly in the Vuelta or Giro, is a worthless scumsucking dopesnarfing IV-jabbin' skank. Except you know you are, you dirty bastard. Right, Sella?

8. In lieu of promising not to endlessly abuse the upcoming winner of the 2009 Doping Excuse o' the Year Award--which I can tell right now I'm gonna do anyway, resolution or not--I'll provide the cheat-weasel in question free (if somewhat dubious) legal advice as a reward for sheer ingenuity. Inhaled your body double lately? Busted in flagrante delicto? Cocktail spiked with a totally coincidentally fun recreational drug by some nefarious nonexistent enemy hell bent on taking you down for no reason? Bring it on, baby!

Last but not least, it is with a deep and abiding sense of "Aw, rats!" that I bid a fond "ciao" to the all-knowing lords-o'-Landis analysis at trustbutverify, who, after 2 years of dedicated and immaculate parsing of every chromatowhatsis, Idon'tknowwhatthehellRMSmeanses, cheap blog dope-slap, and tedious legal detail that justifies Shakespeare's loathing of the lot of us, have finally, with the appeals all done and the boy back in the game over at OUCH, decided to call it a day and simply let their archives live on as the definitive source for all things Floyd. Thanks to all and sundry at trustbut, and I'll try to cover his actual return to racing at least passably from here on out!

All right, any cycling resolutions I missed, or got any of your own you're willing to have to stick to? Spit 'em out!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rock Slide: News from the Front Lines

Honest!: so I’ve perhaps had my, well, issues with Rock Racing, but nonetheless it truly does appear that the recent rumors circulating in the cycling press with regard to the state o’(in)stability over at Michael Ball’s pet project have, if anything, vastly underestimated the problem. To wit:

Ever wonder what you’d do if your boss called, told you the company you just joined was hemorrhaging dough, professed he was trying to scrounge up the cash from his own pocket, and generously offered to honor your contract at a crap percentage of what it says you’ll get paid? Right, well, he bailed, and luckily snared a last-minute gig somewhere else before the solvent squads finalized their rosters. Great, that’s one boy saved!

Remember that scene in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” when Cindy Lou Who busted “Santa” stuffing her Christmas tree up the chimney and our archvillain promised he was just borrowing it for a little tinkering before bringing it back? It’s like that, but with Santa asking for the contracts back for a slight modification in the wake of the team’s recent reclassification, the riders trustingly sending ‘em on, and at the end of this show, Santa never actually feels bad about it and returns ‘em, and he won’t respond to slews of desperate terrified time-sensitive e-mails, either. Um, leaving aside the strong likelihood that some of the boys’ wily managers have actually heard of those newfangled “copy machines,” Michael, couldn’t you have at least had the spine to break the agreements to their faces and retained *some* of your dwindling dignity?

Last but not least, a few key items have apparently gone missing as well: the team’s got no mechanics, no bikes, and, thanks to UCI telling Rudy Pevenage to blow when it came to his app for a director’s license, no DS. Nothin’ a little trip to the sports equipment aisle at the local Wal-Mart can’t cure!

I gotta say, I know there is limited sympathy around these parts for those who have either actually or allegedly done the dirty deed (doping, that is) but have failed to work up a full-scale wah-wah for the swooning media hordes—and let’s face it, that’s a pretty impressive slice of the pie here—but I really feel sorry for all the riders, whose chances of obtaining a contract at this point with anything stronger than your local gang of sixth-grade bike hooligans terrorizing the good folks buying a Slurpee at 7-Eleven are now somewhere handsomely south of zero, and whose training, seasons, and careers have been tanked through no fault of their own. On the plus side, you the consumer ought to really, really be able to get a good fire-sale deal on those overpriced-if-sartorially-bitchin’ $200 flaming-skull acid-green jerseys. See, good things *do* come to those who wait!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Wishes (and Champagne Dreams)

So now that I'm emerging from my post-Giro-route-announcement rage that the organizers of this gorgeous race have designed its centennial corsa rosa, thanks to the bull!@#$ inclusion of an endless time trial, around a freakin' American who never cared enough to ride it anyway--or maybe for Ivan Basso as well, if one generously assumes that his disconcertingly Schumacherish improvement in the discipline in 2006 was a natural result of his evolution as an athlete instead of, say, an unnatural evolution prompted by whatever he solely "attempted" to imbibe 'til the narcs caught up with him in Op Puerto--it seems to me that some of these boys could use a plea to Santa Claus, or a jolly gift-giver of any appropriate persuasion, for presents this year. Ergo, on behalf of those in the biz too humble and selfless to ask for anything themselves, and in the spirit of charity and kindness that defines the season, I gently beg whomever's in charge for the following:

1. Not to be a massive geek, but remember in "The Matrix" how Neo's mouth fused together in a creepy amorphous blob the second he claimed his right to a lawyer when he was being interrogated? Right, so the next time some chump tests poz and the cameras and mics start rolling on irrelevant cyclist commentary, David Millar could really, really use the same thing. Thanks, Santa!

2. So the virtuous anti-dopers over at UCI and WADA swear on all that's holy that if doping-implicated cyclists pony up and spill some names, mercy, and a warm embrace back into the peloton where their repented souls deserve to be, shall be theirs. And what does obedient cheating sap Jorg Jaksche get (besides my undying enmity for implicating Andreas "Haven't I Been Hosed *Enough* This Year?" Kloden) for buying this crap? Right, a major ban, permanent exile from the simultaneously pissed and terrified ProTour squads, and a rockin' reward of one dollar a year from Team Obscure'n'Powerless. So for Pat "Dick" McQuaid and Dick "Dick" Pound, a charitable donation of one year of their salaries to the guilty-and-so-very-truly-sorry-about-it boys they suckered. Heck, it won't compare to what, say, Liquigas can shell out, but sure beats selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door, right?

3. Okay, he's clearly got a brain. A heart? Aw, I'm sure he does. Courage? Well, if chutzpah counts, the guy's an embarrassment of riches. But humility? Oh, *that* he could really use a dose of from the Wonderful Wizard. And he's gonna need it, if he really means this !@#$%*& about being a happy little domestique for Alberto Contador at the Tour. Try it, Lance--you'll like it!

4. So close, but yet so far; so clearly capable, yet year-after-year, so ruthlessly yanked out of the end-game blitz of flowers, statuary, podium babes, screaming crowds and champagne. For Klodi and Levi, just *one* of 'em, *any* of 'em--haven't they *earned* their Giro or Vuelta or Grand Boucle already?

5. I don't care if you think he ought to be roasted like chestnuts over an open fire at Christmastime. In fact, I don't even particularly care if you think he's actually innocent (okay, I do, it's not your fault I'm still too heartbroken over Iban to hope). But what I do think is that considering who's still left in the international peloton, Floyd Landis--gifted as he is this upcoming season with one of the best US squads out there--more than deserves his crack at a serious European road race after two years' disgrace. Come on--like *no* scrawny little big-mouthed weasel from somewhere else is gonna test positive at next year's Tour?

6. If you can read and write, accurate sample labeling--even following the instructions for the A and B tests themselves--is a snap. "Hooked on Phonics" for everyone at Chatenay-Malabry Labs!

7. He's big. He's pretty. He's certainly likable. And when he's not being banned for being a party-boy Paris Hilton idiot, he's one of the most smashing sprinters of his, or anyone's, generation. Common sense for Tom Boonen's stocking, pronto!

8. Sure, there's nothing better than finding a Ken-doll ripoff of some Disney-musical he-starlet or, far better in my view, Rock-em-Sock-em Robots under the tree, but some years, we just need cold, hard cash. How *else* is our dear Euskaltel-Euskadi going to keep its deathgrip on Grand-Tour-winning talent just as it reaches its peak? Samu' in '09! And '10! And...

9. The dough these ProTour twits spent on just the whining weaseling likes of Ricco' and Kohl could sustain the entire women's peloton for 10 years. Raises, raises all 'round--ya can't buy a Ferrari with accolades, you cheapskates!

10. Finally, not to be selfish, but we pay out the nose for cycling coverage our own countries are too lame to air, freeze our works off on mountaintops waiting for a road race to pass in a sport that no-one else on our continent even knows exists, and, perhaps worst of all, invest otherwise handy brain cells in useless garbage like this. Please, please, can't we have *one* season without some shameful disgusting dope scandal smacking us upside the head?

Well, I'm sure I'm missing plenty of wheelborne wisenheimers who ought to get just coal in their stockings, but being that I'm supposed to be all chipper and magnanimous this time of year, I'll just wish upon a star they don't do anything to embarrass themselves, or the sport, or us faithful if pathetic tifosi, again. Merry Everything, everyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2009: The Year in Preview

Yeah, You Read Right: okay folks, we all know what happened in the alternately nauseating and transcendently beautiful season o' 2008, so with apologies to Nostradamus, and anyone else with a modicum of common sense, fair play, accuracy, and tact, it seems to me it's high time to take on the 2009 Year in Preview:

January: finishing up the team camps! Garmin-Chipotle boys forcibly removed to day spa and waxed; Quick Step PR head honcho takes riders club-hopping, whacks Boonen upside head with Oxford English Dictionary every time he reaches for nose candy in "negative reinforcement" exercise; team Astana breaks out the calisthenics drills by kneeling repeatedly in front of Armstrong as latter reclines upon golden dais.

February: It's the Tour of California, baby! Brilliant reformed US road champ Tyler Hamilton takes queen stage *and* lands on GQ's Best Dressed List for bitchin' though egregiously overpriced flaming-skull team kit; Levi Leipheimer snags the GC, the only win he'll be allowed all season; Floyd Landis declared poz for testosterone on Stage 3 even though he doesn't actually race or get tested, righteous UCI bans for life. Aw, heck!

March: It's the start o' the Classics! Mark Cavendish takes 14th straight bunch sprint of season, exceeds speed of light, disappears into thin air; Cunego takes Milano-Sanremo, pelted with rotten fruit by Italians still pissed he didn't ride last year's Giro; O'Grady wins Paris-Nice in full-body cast from Stage 1 crash; Marianne Vos procures cutting-edge though wholly unnecessary Internet weight-loss supplement, shrinks into gnat, accidentally inhaled by panting teammates on training ride.

April: Whaddaya mean, the Tour de Georgia's been cancelled?! Big George, Floyd (defying ban), Levi and Tyler(s) grab their best teammates, commandeer the roads, call out the fans, and get the party started. Landis takes Brasstown Bald--yeeeee-haaaaaah!

May: It's the Giro d'Italia, baby! Italian narcs wisely decline to dope-test anyone; Gilberto Simoni takes the overall when Franco Pellizotti, distracted by gorgeous visage of own flowing blonde locks in race-moto mirror, forgets to domestique Ivan Basso; Armstrong mistakenly rides in France for 3 weeks, as he's never quite figured out where that obscure "Italy" place is anyway.

June: Time for pre-Tour doping controls! American squads test clean, promptly barred from race; Bwee-guh Telekom, Cofidis riders unfortunately unavailable due to being on space flight, granted automatic podium spot in Paris; Danilo DiLuca OD's on masking agent, turns into sparkle-ballgowned Disney princess, immediately swept off feet by asthma-med-intoxicated Alessandro Petacchi.

July: What else? Armstrong "domestiques" for Contador by accidentally tossing musette into his wheel at 60 kph, tho' boy takes maillot jaune despite lack of training caused by 10-week pre-race bubble bath; repeat podium finisher/omnipresent GC threat Andreas Kloden assigned to hand-wash team's laundry; Valverde, caught out taking leisurely glass of wine from fan-club spectators during decisive move of the race, chokes *again*. Back in the US, Kristin Armstrong takes national championship while fast asleep at home in bed.

August: Time for post-Tour doping scandals! Armstrong poz for bread-and-water, lurid accusatory French book released to lavish praise by whining disappointed ASO and immediate injunction by Lance's legal team. In unrelated news, Tom Boonen parties hearty again, as no-one in Belgium gives a !@#$ if he's kicked out of the who-cares-noone-watches-it-anyway Vuelta.

September: Not like anyone would know, but it's the Vuelta, baby! Samu', on form to beat the best in the business, takes maillot d'oro without breaking a sweat when only he, a couple other guys from Euskaltel, and delusional Classics specialist Valverde bother to show up.

October: Time for the World Championships! Babelicious pinup Ivan Basso takes the boy's ride, accidentally gilded by jubilant crowd like that chick in "Goldfinger," permanently installed by sheepish tifosi on marble pedestal in Piazza San Marco; Nicole Cooke takes the women's, triples salary to record-breaking 5,000 euros/year.

November: Late-season contract hijinks! Liquigas signs Ricco', Schumacher, Sella, Piepoli, Kohl, and Beltran; Rock would've retaliated by hiring Frank Schleck, but internal Code of Ethics forbids hiring any racer who's actually been cleared.

December: Team camps again! CSC's latest incarnation buried alive in "Kill Bill" punch-your-way-out-of-that-coffin-training, most of roster survives; Milram to sponsor's dairy farm for hard labor, bewildered milch cows stampede fragile cyclist bodies, delaying season; Spanish squads retreat to secret location; Lampre boys improve gear-shifting dexterity by spending 12 hour days with Bedazzlers amping up already-pretty pink-and-turquoise team kits.

Well, cycling fans, that--and the usual cesspool of smack-talk, doping scandals, and rabid bloodthirsty crap monkey trials by incompetent officials--ought to keep us blissfully occupied 'til a potentially even more shameful and disgusting 2010. Now let's all paint our national flags on our overhangin' stomachs, tick off the riders by screaming two inches from their faces and glommin' our hands onto 'em on the mountainsides, and practice yelling, allez allez!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The 2008 Racejunkie Awards

Well folks, another delightful, disgusting, sordid, exciting, gack-inducing, and beautiful year has nearabout drawn to a close, and while there's still another three weeks to up-end even this season's rack-up of hideous scandal, it's that time o' year, and without further ado, I humbly award the following:

Charity Begins At Home Award: Tyler. Santiago. In fact, damn near everyone of a certain age who's romanced an IV line, popped on a patch, or snuggled a syringe. And now, even notoriously blabbermouthed Jan Ullrich procurer Rudy Pevenage. For reasons surely totally unrelated to an insatiable personal need for constant attention like some preening overgrown toddler, Rock Racing's Michael Ball's loving redemption of some of the most notorious, and wholly coincidentally, famous once-dirty names in the biz has made this shameless publicity slut into a bona-fide Mother Theresa of the peloton. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, honey--and hey, is that a camera over there? Come back, I'm over here! Look, I'm signing Richard Virenque!

The Karma,Baby Award o' 2008: I just could't decide which was more delicious: Saunier Duval's boys throwing smack-talking crybaby Riccardo Ricco' to the narco-wolves after he !@#$%-slapped 'em for being maglia-rosa-losing suckmaster weaklings in his Giro, or Patrick Lefevere jacking over we love Paolo Bettini over at Quick Step only to have cheapo (in wallet and character) replacement Stefan Schumacher promptly test poz for dope. See, good really *does* always triumph over evil!

Celebrity Rehab o' the Year: oh Ivan. Two short years ago, you were flashing your wares in gazzetta dello sport, pouting charmingly for every camera you could find, and treating every lower life form on earth with the cool scorn they so clearly deserved from cycling's Next Great Hope. Then, even those long-lashed dreamboat eyes couldn't save you from your spectacular Op Puerto-driven self-destruct. And now, two short years later and with your best seasons still in your legs, you've been reborn, older-and-wiser graduate of a feckless youth, UCI's new anti-doping ambassador, humble patriarch of a beautiful famiily, endless benefactor of worthy children's charities, and, not accidentally, lime-green owner of a smashing cash-cow of a contract from one of the most powerful teams in the world. Give this man's PR team a bronze monument in the Dolomites!

Enviable Coup Award of 2008: on a related note, who *wouldn't* ditch the universally-loathed ProTour and its stupid rule about not hiring dopers for four years when you could perpetrate the scam-of-the-century by snatching Basso out from under your insanely frustrated jealous and naively moral big-league competitors a full two years early? Chutzpah, thy name is Liquigas!

Jesse James Lives Again: he drives drunk, snorts coke, cavorts with certifiable jailbait, crashes his car twice a week like clockwork, and routinely squanders the most formidable talent in the peloton for the hedonistic pursuit of ephemeral pleasures. Yet everyone (me included) still loves amiable aw-shucks leather-skirt-wearing outlaw big Tom Boonen, especially his ever-exasperated yet all-forgiving Mike Brady of a best-dad-ever over at Quick Step. We all *wish* we could live such a charmed life, Tommeke--just time your stupidity a bit more sensibly and don't deprive us of your presence in Tour next year, all right?

Defender of the Faith Award: to flying deliverer-o'-heavenly-justice Bernard Hinault, landing like a ton of bricks on the heinous ignoramus protester of some petty stupid cause like world peace, an end to human suffering or farm tariffs who dared to defile the sacred podium ceremony at the Grand Boucle. Get your priorities straight, you peasant chump, and you can eat cake from your hospital bed for all I care!

All Talk, No Action Prize: yes, it's actually-really-smashing-Classics-rider Alejandro Valverde, who has managed to reward his fans, his endless hype, the dope-rumor-ignoring Spanish officials, and his own constant predictions with yet another season sans the Grand Tour win that we're so relentlessly promised and denied each year. Embrace your true nature, Alejandro, and the hell with promises you can't keep--who wouldn't be proud of your existing palmares anyway? Subsidiary Deathgrip o' Futility Award to UCI and WADA for fruitlessly swearing every Tour, Olympics, Classic and Worlds they're gonna bring him down, and blowing it--damn, would you concede your mortifying defeat and give it *up* already, you *lost*!

Crap Verdict of 2008: I love you, Iban, but this one's for Floyd Landis, whom even the brilliant underappreciated loyalists at trustbutverify and a crack legal team couldn't save from the scumly vendetta-driven selectively-prosecuting due-process-abusing lowlife press-yapping hypocrites over at UCI, WADA, and the Most Incompetent Chimp-Staffed Lab On Earth. Hell, even if you think he *did* do it, this was a freakin' travesty. And am I the only one going absolutely insane thinking of who's still zipping around happily in the high-paid Grand Tour-racing Classics-taking ProTour while poor Landis only just managed to scrape up a deal with an artificial-hip manufacturer? Oh well, at least he'll be racing domestically where we can see him...

Unsung Verdict o' the Year: finally, a team gets held responsible for *something*, as disgraced rightful 2007 Tour de France winner Michael Rasmussen wins hundreds of thousands of euros in a breach-of-contact action against enabling team Rabobank for righteously firing him even though, as the court found, they knew damn well that Rasmussen was lying about his whereabouts when he completely accidentally was nowhere in sight during surprise pre-race doping controls for the Tour. Gee, if a *rider* does something illicit, he gets roasted like a marshmallow at a bonfire, but when a *team*'s implicated in any kind of wrongdoing, even Pat "Dick" McQuaid and Dick "Dick" Pound fall so silent you can hear the crickets chirping--cowardly sponsor-appeasing money-grubbing double standard, much?

Wuss-Baby Sissy-Boy Move o' the Year: Oh, Riccardo. You're busted for doping, and what do you do? Right, run hiding behind the skirts of first your sister, then your fiance, then your mamma, and let 'em protect you from the Big Bad Media and assorted other neighborhood bullies til finally, like a naughty child caught red-handed with a forbidden ice-cream smeared all over your face, you were jerked kicking and screaming from beneath their petticoats to face the obvious. That's an 18-month time-out for you, you bad, bad, boy!

Crash-o'the-Year (Cringeworthy): Oscar Pereiro's excruciating body-snapping airborne switchback traverse at the Tour. All that work for Valverde, for nothin'!
Crash-o'the-Year (Moronic): if there's anything more fulfilling for a cyclist than to work like mad for six hours only to be taken out within sight of the line by some meandering idiot on an oblivious stroll through the course right as the peloton comes through, I've yet to hear of it. I mean, a *dog* I can understand, but for a spectator to be this dimwitted?
Crash-o'the-Year (Spectacular): yep, it's a three-fer for the Tour, as young breakaway artist John-Lee Augustyn slightly misjudges a curve and pitches about 18,000 feet head-over-heels down the Alps before, remarkably unhurt and impressively tenacious, he scrambles back up the rockslidey slope on his tractionless bike shoes and gets back to business on his bike without a second's pause. Sure, he might review the laws of physics a bit when it comes to zipping around a turn at a zillion kph, but anyone else see a great future for this kid?

La-La-La-I-Can't-Hear-You-Doping-Poz-Award: Piepoli? Yawn. Kohl? Cry me a river, baby. Ricco'? Nobody could stand him anyway. Frank Schleck? Okay, that one hurt. But Triki? Triki!? Aiiiggggghhhhhh!

Doping Excuse of 2008: let's face it, nothing's ever gonna come close to Bjorn "I Did It All for the Nookie" Leukemans' in flagrante delicto defense of 2007. But this year, though it breaks my heart, we love Marta "Does My Butt Look Big in This Chamois?" Bastianelli's banned supplement poz comes close. Heck, why be World Champion for the second year in a row in one of the hardest, most beautiful, and most prestigious sports in the world when you could fit just a little more hotly into those already-miniscule blue jeans?

The Why, Why, Why Award of 2008: Lance. You are degrading the perfect and beautiful Giro by acting like you've ever given a toss about it 'til you got a little scared that a surprisingly resistant baby legend-ascendant Contador might take you out at the Tour, and insulting all of us by proclaiming your sudden selfless happiness to domestique for any first-year neo-pro who earns it when, frankly, in your own career you showed your gratitude for the role they play by barely ever letting any of your own willingly-subservient worker bees off the leash long enough to reward 'em with a thank-you-now-go-take-the-stage-win 'til they were damn near too old to be carried up a mountainside in an ambulance, much less personally ride the thing. Your legacy as the Greatest Tour de France rider in History is--justly--secure. Your noble dedication to cancer awareness and eradication is unquestioned and hugely successful. And your celebrity-snogging Matthew McConaghey-palling place in People magazine is permanent. Why, Lance, why, why, why?

And Finally, the Best Attack of the Year: he had to do it, he did do it, and even the tireless grinding and quietly amazing Cadel Evans couldn't answer it. Carlos Sastre on the Alpe d'Huez. Isn't nice to have *something* pure to celebrate in this stunning ever-tainted soul-singing trainwreck of a sport? Woo-hoo!

Well, that's about it for this year folks, and I'm sure there's a bucket o' stuff I either missed, or flat-out blew. So have at, and here's to a thrilling (if intermittently loathesome) 2008!