Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's the Magical Mystery Tour (de France)!

Higher, Baby!: yep, the Tour route's been announced, and while you can read all about it here, suffice it to say there's 3 stages in the Pyrenees in week 2, 3 Alpine stages in the last week including a mountaintop finish on the Galibier, the intermediate sprint and stage-win bonuses have been scrapped, and, all in all, it's a pretty tough climber's course that oughta suit Contador perfectly--if he gets there. Oops! The rider reaction? Baby Schleck--waxing diplomatic about his hopes Contatwerp is innocent and gets to keep his Tour--pegs Nibali, Cadel and Basso as his other rivals--don't let that faze you little Sastre, a mountain stage is still yours but what the hell is this crap about your killin' yourself with three Grand Tours again?!, Hincapie sees his own opportunities if his bike don't combust, and Van de Velde's already lookin' at the Pyrenees.

Slow'n'Steady Wins the Race: or at least avoids more crap publicity for the doper-enablers at UCI, as it promises spons--I mean, those interested in the careful application of justice that it's in no rush to bust--or even not bust--Contador for anything. And hey, if, as Contador is bankin' on, clenbuterol use is okay for a hard-core endurance athlete like a ping-pong player, why *shouldn't* it be okay for some lazy wussy ProTour cyclist as well?

Employment Wanted: meanwhile, looks like Ivan Basso doesn't have to worry about the annoying 2009 team-leadership rival Franco of the Euromullet--currently in the doghouse over a bio-passport prob but having been vociferously supported by Liquigas--anymore, as Ivan utterly ignores his existence in discussing the 2011 season but does suggest he'll give jailbait upstart Vuelta winner Nibali, with whom he swears there is no rivalry, the Giro Ivan won in 2010 so Ivan can focus on the Tour, on the grounds that riding the Giro first is just too damn exhausting. Funny how that wasn't gonna be an issue when Ivan won the Giro by 9 minutes in 2006 and planned to ride the Tour then, too, no? Though it's probably very *good* news that it *is* an issue for him this time around!

I'm Rich! I'm Filthy Rich!: finally, congrats to Alexander "IV" Vinokourov, who's won his epic battle with UCI and doesn't, after all, have to pony up his entire season's salary for that minor little blood-doping matter back in 2007. Me, I think it's great--hell, now he can afford to print up a whole line of those Vinokourov-faced jerseys so we can *all* enjoy wearing his (formerly!) hopped-up little visage on our chests!

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