Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Cry For Me Team Astana/ And, A Holy Crap Cadel Update!

The Truth Is, I !@#$in' Hate You: so Machiavellian Lance Armstrong Shepherd Supremo Johan Bruyneel has opened up on Lance, Astana, Vino, Kashechkin, and Contador, and guess who he despises?! Yep, you win! Aside from the predictable harrumphs that the Kazakhs are psychos, Vino's a dirty Frankenstein, and Kashechkin his filthy disgusting Igor, comes the acknowledgment that of course Alberto was riding better than The One and deserved to win at the Tour de France--ergo, why *wouldn't* he completely screw Alberto and back Armstrong instead? Seems reasonable to me Johan! The problem: Alberto, apparently, kept trying to think for himself. Now, I gotta admit some sympathy here for Bruyneel, because as we've all seen time and time again, Contador thinking for himself *can* be both wince-inducing and terrifying. However, with Johan and half the team hell-bent on undermining him, can anyone really blame the child for taking the initiative to protect himself at the Tour? Anyhoo, Johan's free, he can take comfort in the fact that he and Lance have, like all rich gourmands, bought up all the best confections and left peasant Contador with the five-second-rule ground-dwelling leftovers, and he'll never, God forbid, have to deal with some loser who's only won a Giro a Vuelta and two Tours when he's barely out of diapers again. Oh Klodi, oh Levi--how can you *stand* it?!

Aaaaaaaahhhhh/Love to Love You Baby/Aaaaaaaahhhhh: while on we're on the topic of Contador, it looks like, despite earlier reports to the contrary, he still can't shed his Fatal Attraction bunny-boiling stalker one-night stand Astana, which sez it's cleaned up its little paperwork snafu and is all set to take Alberto out for a whole nother season on the town. Contador, meantime, remains both desperate and coy, but at least has put a timeline on resolving this freakin' nightmare at a fortnight at most. Honey, didn't your momma ever tell you, you better shop around before you commit like this so young?

And Speaking of Tour Winners: yep, after UCI handed the Chicken's Tour win right over to Contador when word got out that they knew perfectly well he'd missed a whole bunch of pre-Tour doping controls and they still allowed him to ride anyway, everyone's favorite time-trial train-wreck Michael Rasmussen is about to come back to the Grand Tours with a new squad, and boy, has UCI got some explaining to do if they pull that hypocrite enabler pro-doper bullhockey again. Meantime, I'm thinkin' that, assuming those total cleansters Rabobank won't take him back with open arms, an Italian squad might make a nice, if unconventional, choice. Hell, it's not like they don't take folks with little, um, indiscretions, right Basso, Di Luca, Piepoli, Ricco',...?

Bridezilla Alert!: finally, everbridesmaid Cadel "Holy Crap He's the New World Champ!" Evans has once and for all called bull!@#$ on this also-ran bizness, saying he's tired of being stuck in the ugly unflattering poof dress while some other jerk gets to wear the tiara the sparkly white gown and the cinderella shoes in Paris, and from now on, is no longer taking "at least you got the podium" for an answer. Y'know, if Vino can't pull off the domestiques even Alberto occasionally needs to keep him safe from baby Schleck or at least to keep him from being totally blasted out the back in the flats, *and* even Lance's awesomely scumlordly purchasing power can't make up for aging (if, to be fair, still formidable) legs, *and* Whatever-The-!@##$-It-Is-Now-Lotto doesn't lose half its morons to dimwit amateur doping pozes, *and* pigs fly *and* UCI and AFLD make up *and* the Good Witch of the North and unicorns and magic dragons are real, he might just have a shot. Go Aussies!

Smart Boy, Cadel!: my goodness, that dopus little Contador could really take some lessons from his more-experienced if still Grand-Tourless elder, 'cause Cadel's just amicably parted ways with Silence "How Many Crucial Domestiques Can Test Poz In a Single Season?" Lotto and is shopping for a squad that can give him the backing he needs to take the final maillot jaune in Paris. Garmin or Caisse? Still waiting on Contador. Quick Step? Still built around the sprints, but possible. Katusha? Sky? Hmmm...who else has got the dough...any predictions? Ah well--at least we know it ain't RadioSkank!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ding Ding Ding! We Have a Winner!

And By Unanimous TKO, It's Alberto "Freebird!" Contador!: yes folks, thanks to Alexander "Do I Look Like a !@#$ing Accountant?" Vinokourov's spectacular failure to get Team Astana's paperwork in on time, our wee little hero's apparently free under some sweet UCI rules to hit the road for another squad if he signs on the dotted line before Vino gets their balance sheet in, and if it weren't for the fact that I want the wholly underestimated Luis Leon Sanchez to take over for that dirtbag Valverde after his inevitable (1) July meltdown or (2) worldwide ban, I'd be rooting like heck for Caisse d'Epargne to take him, plus no matter what the sporting Tom Boonen sez about how neato it'd be to have Alberto on the team, he can forget about them ponying up for a lead-out next season if his team bags a pinup GC contender, so I suppose Quick Step's not on my hot list either. Which leaves us with Garmin, and that'd be just fine with me. But if you don't like them, Alberto, I'm sure Lance'll take you at RadioSkank if you ask nicely, right?

Very Superstitious/Writing's On the Wall: meantime, there's speculation from the AP that--*gasp*--the French narcs' alleged probe into unusual medical equipment being used by the squads at the 2009 Tour de France is "highly suspicious"--at least when it comes to The One's Team Astana. Why? Because those damn snail-eatin' wine-snortin' foulard-draped wuss-puppies DON'T LIKE LANCE! and worse, they DON'T LIKE UCI, WHO RAN A 100% DRUG-FREE TOUR THIS YEAR! And there are LOTS OF REASONS FOR INCREDIBLY HEALTHY ATHLETES TO USE SYRINGES. And THEY WERE PROBABLY PLANTED ANYWAY. And besides, DID WE MENTION THEY'RE FRENCH? Next up: English antidoping authorities' new efforts to clean up the peloton tossed because WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SISSY 'BERGAMOT' !@#$ THEY PUT IN THAT SISSY 'EARL GREY' TEA and CAN YOU BELIEVE THoSE NAMBY-PAMBIES EAT SOMETHING CALLED 'CRUMPETS'?! Well, at least the Spaniards seem to like ol' Lancypants just fine--does that mean all their jacked-up riders get a pass now?

Victory Is Mine!: and, in giant karmic payback for having the insane whim to schedule the Tour of California at the same time as the perfect Giro d'Italia, thereby guaranteeing it'll be stripped buck-nekkid of anyone worth watching from the European squads, Lance has announced that he'll be skipping the Giro this year to support Levi for his 4th win at the ToC. Woo-hoo, I've got my Giro back, and go Levi--after all, it's not like you-know-who's gonna let you go for the podium at the TdF you so clearly deserve!

Welcome Back, Doper: finally, it's a warm welcome back to the peloton for irritating egomaniac/multiple stage-stealing cheat-scum Riccardo Ricco', who between his (relatively) new bambino and endless calculated, I mean entirely sincere, woe-is-me-(that-I-got-caught) groveling has managed to charm UCI into taking him back into the fold early enough to score him a spot at the Giro with Ceramica. Heck, it's not like, say, Di Luca is any worse!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh, Get *On* With It, You Sissies!

Got Spine?: Look, UCI, we *know* you really, really, really don't want to give Alexander Vinokourov, who ranks right up there with your ol' pals Floyd Landis and Jan Ullrich on your Immolate In Flaming Hell for All Eternity podium, a ProTour license. And we *understand* you really, really, really want to set the doe-eyed sigh-inducing ginormous cash-cow of a sylph that is Alberto Contador free to go to a squad you like to continue to grab the incredible results that would bring this sport back to the heights of the Armstrong glory days and justify your increasingly irrelevant and irksome existence. But aside from the understandable conundrum that if I were you schmucks I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I denied the team a license for the self-loathing and hyperawareness of my own hypocrisy such a decision would engender, would you !@#$ing make up your dithering weenie cowardly minds already and quit screwing with the careers of half-a-dozen decent guys who really deserve to know if they're about to be jacked if they sign(ed) with the squad(and what the hell are you trying to *do* to me Velonews suggesting that they're gonna suck in Giro god Gilberto Simoni? Dang, I'd rather watch this kissy-face crap he's been pulling with that backstabbing snake Damiano Cunego all season and have him sign, as rumored, with Lampre!)? Face it, Vino's corralled the dough and passed his exams this season, and no matter how many formerly, well, ill-associated DSes he employs and what unusual medical equipment his soigneur happens to be carrying for wholly personal reasons completely unrelated to the needs of his boss--and frankly, if he were, I'd be expecting even better comeback results--he's hardly any less deserving than, say, the Valverde-snogging enablers over at Caisse d'Epargne, is he? Gather some guts and pony up a decision, for heck's sake!

It's A Whole New World: meantime, get ready folks--in the wake of Moises Duenas' unfortunate but relatively inconsequential drug poz comes happy news for the peloton: he's apparently cooperating with the narcs and passing on the multiple text messages he's shared with 2 boys from Caisse, another sap from Rock Racing, a guy from an Italian squad and a Russian rider about what were surely harmless and entirely legal do--I mean, health-improvement products. Whew--even I was getting really bored with everyone batting that ol' Op Puerto thing around! Aside from the minor issue that, if actually guilty, you're disgusting amoral cheats ruthlessly kicking in the packages (even worse, the palmares) of every clean innocent rider out there, a bigger principle is in play here so listen and learn, dimbulbs: do not ever, ever, ever, put anything in writing anywhere, anytime, ever that you do not want to end up on the front page of the New York Times or whatever local news outlet is going to turn you into a sports-paparazzi-stalked national symbol of societal decay after your next imbroglio. I don't give if it's about the blow you scored for the old, pre-reform-school Tom Boonen, how hard you'd like to slap Contador every time he pulls that freakin' "pistolero" move at the finish line, or the massive masochistic torch you've got burning for the UCI vampires who take your samples each day. What the !@#$ is so challenging about remembering this? You *pay* your handlers to think for you, they can't be leaving out "Dumb!@# No-Nos 101" from the curriculum, right? Now stop futzing with that needle when I'm talking to you, and *pay attention* already!

Just Say No: finally, in genuinely *good* news for this gorgeous if occasionally errant sport, congrats are in order to the Brits, who are not only gonna bash half the peloton into abject sniveling submission with Team Sky next season, but who've also started their very own anti-doping program, complete with a "drug-cheats hotline" so the accused-n-busted, or merely baselessly grudge-bearing, can inform on those of their compatriots either lucky enough to escape detection, or stupid enough to get on yer bad side. That's the last time you get *my* !@# relegated in a sprint, sucker!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's the 2010 Tour de France, Baby! and, Adventures in Kazakh Cycling

Bring Me a Higher Love: so woo-hoo! the 2010 Tour de France route is a pure climbers' hot hot hot fiesta, and if Alberto Contador doesn't manage to bash his fragile tiny body to bits on the cruel pave' of Belgium (take it, Thor!) right outta the gate, it's gonna be a dirty nasty slugfest-o'-the-featherweights in the Pyrenees for supremacy, and Cadel, honey, you better get ready to keep this new attack !@#$ of yours *up*. The reactions, of course, have been rocketing in, with Mark Cavendish, natch, taking the wholly irrelevant opportunity to whine once more that he *should've* gotten the green jersey *this* year. Which you would've, to be sure, if you hadn't (1) been a total punk-!@# and rightly been relegated and (2) we love Thor Hushovd hadn't beaten you senseless in the mountains anyway. Meantime, in actually relevant commentary, Sastre is holding out for the Giro and Vuelta; the other sprinters are wary; and Alberto, instead of using the element of surprise to sissy-boy-slap-fight Armstrong for his piglike behavior on this year's podium at the press conference, glossed over his umpteenth doping accusation and, in a verbal sissy-boy-slap-fight I suppose, tagged baby Schleck as his number 1 rival. Ouch!

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (and Monday, and Tuesday, and...): meanwhile, having stuck their heads out cautiously to attend the Tour announcement, I imagine more than a few DSes are already planning their throw-the-individual-riders-under-the-bus press-conference statements, as the French narcs investigate, as previously reported, somewhat suspicious medical waste from the teams including transfusion equipment and non-banned medications for conditions like diabetes, high-blood pressure, and seizures. The team denials, of course, are out in force, because any idiot knows that it's impossible for a team to detect 12 guys packed 2 to a hotel room on the same floor within 3 feet of their managers wandering around with blood bags sticking out of their arms attached to one of those 5-foot-high hospital wheelie contraptions. Leaving aside that there's a whole squad dedicated to folks combating diabetes and anyone who takes stuff used to control it for performance-enhancing purposes is exhibiting extreme doucheosity, anyone else expecting, like the "asthma" craze a few years back, that there's gonna be a sudden rash of previously-misplaced doctor's notes popping out for insulin imbalances?

Holy Crap I Think I'm Starting to Love Alexander Vinokourov Again: no, not because he's a repulsive IV-sucking spawn-o-Satan--though he does get massive points for not apologizing to UCI about it on the grounds that he's the least of their disgusting problems--or even because he's a smashingly erratic psychopath, but because the newly-flush Team Astana has just announced that it ain't letting we love Andreas Kloden, Haimar "That's What You Get For Betraying Samu' Sanchez You Chump" Zubeldia, or even the harmless amiable Gregory Rast out of their contracts to go to Team RadioSkank next year. So why does this set my black heart all a-flutter? Let's be honest, if this ridiculous plan holds, Klodi is gonna be in the best damn spot of his life, because if there's one nice thing you can say about Vino, it's that he never, ever begrudged his loyal domestiques the right--and more importantly, the support--to pursue their own glory. Romandie my butt, Klodi--even if Contador can't weasel out of his iron maiden of a contract and gets his Tour, how's the Vuelta for ya as a consolation prize? Go Vino, and suck it Armstrong!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Your Bestest Bestest Friend in the Whole Wide World; and, a Tragic Update

Or Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction," Whatever: well, it must be awfully flattering to be so very wanted, Alberto, as now even new Brit superteam Sky has declared itself among your bevy of dashing desirable suitors, but too bad for you your psycho stalker of a Jesus-H-Christ-how-many-times-do-I-have-to-tell-you-it's-over deranged clingmeister you'll-never-be-my-ex Alexander Vinokourov professes his undying love, unreserved domestique support, and absolute unwillingness to let you out of the last year of your contract, *again.* I hate to say this, honey--in part because a huge chunk of the Kazakhs will just test poz again for blood doping next year, though even that's not gonna be the prob with the squad that'll cost you the Tour de France if you even get in--but unless you at least insisted that your gig was contingent on Astana remaining a ProTour squad--and frankly the odds of your having thought that one up seem, well, unimpressive at best, as apparently it didn't occur to half the eggheads over at Cofidis either--you seem increasingly totally !@@#$ed. Damn, is UCI so accustomed to coddling dopers that even hating Vino so much they can't help their prettiest little cash cow think a way out of this?

Hope and Glory (Except for the Italians)!: not only did the Italians manage to lose the prestigious centenary edition of their own Giro d'Emilia--with Cadel coming in fourth no less, could this boy actually reclaim his Tour podium next season?--but Tom Boonen's agonizing miscalculation in the last couple hundred yards of Paris Tours whacked another defeat on the end-of-our-fave-almost-redeemed-frat-boy-in-spandex's-season Tom Boonen. On the other hand, that was one sweet steal by the wily Phillipe Gilbert. Geez, maybe Tommeke's bizarro decision to focus on the time trial next season isn't so without sense after all!

Blood, Sweat, and Crashes With 5-year-olds: meantime, I was highly amused yesterday to see that the uber-amped little tyke in the full-face monster crash helmet that I watched careen all over the expo area all day at the Providence cyclocross festival without so much as a juice-box break was none other than the same lad who ended up in a major accident with 'cross god Tim Johnson about ten seconds after he'd just finished stomping the rest of the elite men's field shortly after Katerina Nash crushed the women's, and not only was Johnson class act enough to call the kid up on the podium and hand over his medal which the little munchkin immediately started hauling aloft like the Holy Grail to anyone who'd look at it, but this kid has a future. Trust me, if this boy remains half this jacked up as an adult as he was for about 5 straight hours Saturday morning before this even happened, he's not gonna even *need* to dope. Plus, he's got the official arms-raised podium salute down pat already. 10 years from now, you cynics, mark my words!

Shut Up Shut Up Shut *Up*!: okay, he's an ex-cheating dirtball, shut the hell up who isn't especially with that disgusting blood-doping dissembler avoidance weasel Valverde still on the road besides which he would've retired by now anyway with a pack of equally scrimy drug skanks still polluting the roads. And I almost wasn't gonna post it, which I haven't for a freakin' week, because it just about broke my heart. But as a lesson to the rest of you two-wheeled disgraces on the declining value of respectable omerta and the increasing currency of some fake whining redemption song, here's what's become of Vuelta a Espana king (go to hell, all he improved in inordinately creepily last time was the time trial) we still love so stuff it Roberto Heras:Aiiiggggghhhhhh!

Take Your Filthy Hands Off Euskaltel-Euskadi, Ya Greedy Grasping Bribing S.O.B.!: and, in a last lament o' the day, I know he and Markel Irizar both have the triumph-over-testicular-cancer connection (and it's a great triumph to have, of course), but can Lance !@#$ing Armstrong get his glommy nasty vulgar Donald-Trumpesque dough-dripping mitts off Samuel "Holy Crap He's the Olympic Gold Medalist!" Sanchez's domestiques already?! It's like watching a decaying pervy Robert Redford money-grab the wifely virtue of Demi Moore in "Indecent Proposal" for heck's sake. Look, you already purchased we love Levi Klodi and damn near everybody else who ought to be running a team of their own to chew up and spit out like greasy gone-stale no-name potato chips--can you !@#$ing leave the broke and wholly helpless Euskaltel with, if not Haimar Zubeldia, some shred of dignity and even a passing, miserable hope for next season? !@#$%!

Condolences: troubled shooting star Frank Vandenbroucke has died in his hotel room in Senegal at age 34, reportedly of a pulmonary embolism. After racking up an impressive palmares including Liege-Bastogne-Liege, followed by a doping ban, struggles with mental health, and drug and alcohol problems, Vandenbroucke had recently declared his plan to post his blood values online in his effort to rehab his image. Whatever any of us think or thought of him, let's let him rest. Condolences to his family friends and squad.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Halloween XXVIII: The Reckoning

"Fear Factor" is Right: yep, as our favorite US holiday of ghouls, candy corn, and pervy, gratuitously-nubile-flesh-infused slasher flicks descends upon us, the season's getting even scarier over in the European peloton: the UCI has announced, to the terror of every wiry little bastard with a Ferrari fund worth protecting, that it's retesting the 2008 Tour de France samples. CERA-snorting poster-boy-of-perfidy Bernhard Kohl, of course, is ecstatic, I mean, sorry for those of his scumly compatriots who evaded the narcs last time, pointing out that 'til that idiot Ricco' got busted, everyone was amped to the gills, and only breathed a great sigh of relief on the Champs-Elysees that the rest of 'em hadn't gone down with him. Oops--guess you schmucks miscalculated! Of course, I'm sure there's some fatal flaw in the latest lab procedures that precludes a usable, legally-sustainable B sample...

Not So Fast, Suckers: meantime, the French allege that at least two new doping products were in use at the 2009 Cleanest Tour Ever, and that the Inspector Closeaus at their anti-doping agency even saw discarded doping equipment in rider-accessible garbage cans, none of which is gonna help UCI fend off the latest charges that Lance's team Astana, and possibly a few others, were given suspiciously friendly treatment by the testing vampires, including buckets of masking-agent-friendly time to meander off on their own after doping controls were announced and a pass on testing for certain substances prohibited while in competition. Not that there's any reason for concern. I mean, aside from the fact that it was all totally accidental on the narcs' part, it's not like The One's gonna let any of his boys get in trouble. So don't worry little Contador--we all know he *loves* you!

Race Roundup: mindbogglingly, there's still actual racing going on amidst the usual late-season annual drug-fiend meltdown, which (speaking of drug fiends) includes the recuperating-and-hopefully-not-too-late-about-it Tom Boonen snagging a stage at Franco Belge, reborn 2008 Giro scalawag Emanuele "I Stole Simoni's Stage Win Like a Scumwad" Sella (now at Camariore) taking his own win, scrawny Danish scrapper Michael "Like I Was Cheating When UCI Knew I Skipped Pre-Tour Doping Controls?" Rasmussen relocating to Mexico to sensibly seek citizenship ride freelance and take his second win of his return, and at last Ivan Basso, of all pretty pretty comeback kids, taking a crit. Nice to see you all back (except for, you know, Sella. And Rasmussen. And....)--now Tom, just keep holding it together for heck's sake!

Question o' the Week: finally, I couldn't help but notice of late, as teams scramble to hire the latest reformed-n-rehabbed talent, that the noble 4-year ProTour ban on rehiring convicted drug felons into the big-league squads has gone gently--*really* gently--into that good night. Reasons, anyone?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Dark Knight

King, Whatever: so I see Lance Armstrong's sucked yet another team-leader-in-his-own-right into the hellish pitch-black vortex that is Team RadioSkank: yep, as if losing Levi to it weren't enough, now he's signed the eternally-doomed we-love-so-shut-the-hell-up-he-didn't-take-anything-everyone-else-didn't-take-twice-as-much-of Andreas Kloden. Aaaaaiiiiggggggghhhhh--oh Klodi! Fine, you'll always have Romandie, but yet another Tour being some ungrateful wanker's water-!@#$% instead of climbing the podium in Paris...dammit, how much more of this can we be expected to take?

All Hands On Dek: meantime, Rabobank/Silence-Lotto Dutch hope-o'-the-future Thomas "I Should've Waited Til I Could Afford a Doctor Who Knew How to Microdose" Dekker, who strongly denied doping til he stupidly insisted on having his B sample tested, has now come out with the Official Faux-Repentant Cheat-Weasel Wah-Wah Of The UCI ProTour, tearfully confessing a one-time weakness due to extreme youth and immaturity and vowing his belief in honor, fair play, and his ability to get a lucrative new gig in two years if he plays this B.S. Shawshank Redemption older-'n'-wiser sage-of-the-antidoping-movement maudlin overacting opportunity right. Y'know, as someone who's certainly been young and stupid, I sympathize with young'n'stupid, and it's often a plausible and even genuine explanation for many sins of feckless greedy jailbait. But damn, with all the info about illicit substances available to the peloton, shouldn't we hold these clowns to an even higher standard of at least being able to figure out how to do this right? Ah well--frees up a few bucks for the new sponsor to buy Cadel Evans another crap dope-fiend domestique who'll screw him over next season!

(No) License to Kill: well, venerable (if underperforming) French squads Cofidis and BBox-Bweeguh continue to digest the full extent of their humiliation as they ponder their demotion from the ProTour, and, I'm unsurprised to report, the recriminations, vendettas, and general backstabbing are rolling in apace. UCI's scorning the French teams' unbearably arrogant "France IS Cycling" contradictory monster suckage (despite, to be fair, some quite stellar individual talents, Thomas Voeckler among them); whiny riders like Pierrick "Where Were My Results Before This Season, Exactly?" Fedrigo are screeching to be freed from contracts they were too dense to negotiate an out-clause into in the first place; the squads are telling the riders to stick it since they're still gonna get into the Tour de France next year if (literally) nothing else; and Pro-Continental gigs Cervelo (home of green jersey god Thor Hushovd and dear little Sastre of course) and even Giro overlord Gilberto Simoni's Diquigiovanni get to gloat that they've stomped these delusional out-of-date egomaniacs into the tarmac. Astana's license, meanwhile, is still on the auction block, as UCI frantically searches for a legitimate or at least smell-test-passable way to keep punishing the vexingly forthright Alexander Vinokorouv, and poor sap Alberto Contador continues to face the disconcerting prospect of racing for a team that's only gonna be invited to ride the prestigious "Race Ya To The End of My Driveway for My Nintendo DS." Oh well--since our wee little champion's guaranteed to take that one, at least he'll stay entertained while watching the Tour de France on TV next July!

Can We All Quit Whining About the Worlds Already?: over in excruciating hangover land, the Italians are still angrily microparsing the Worlds road race to figure out exactly who they ought to turn on the most, and while I'm generally in agreement that your boys did blow it, I can't help but feel compelled to remind you (as, to their credit, the tifosi continue to swoon over) that the 2009 *women's* road race champion is none other than your own brilliantly-supported tactically-smashing escape artist Tatiana Guderzo. *That's* how it's done, baby!

California Here I Come--Please, For the Love of God, Please!: finally, as I'm reminded yet again of the organizers' disgusting thoughtlessness in scheduling the Tour of California at the same time as the "There Goes Half the Peloton Worth Watching, You Nits" Giro d' Italia--because we all know what's gonna get all the airplay in the US--The One is pondering which one of them he's gonna ride next year in preparation for dope-slapping his entire team into unquestioning automaton subservience come July, and for my money, I'm hoping--hell, I'll go flat out begging--that (and I truly do sympathize with the Italians' need for the hype-machine tourist dough here) it ain't the beautiful, flawless, fanatically scandal-filled smack-talking joy that is the Giro. Lance, pink's not even your color--you can't get decent Tex-Mex in Italy--they're all gonna EPO right past your struggling carcass in the Pyrenees anyway--your prior mentorship of Ivan Basso morally precludes your taking him on next year--the California press'll kiss your !@# far more than the Italians will--help me people, I'm running out of rationalizations here...