Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blood, Guts, and Liquigas--It's the 2012 Giro d'Italia, Baby!

Who Can It Beeeeee Now?: yes, reluctant defending Giro champ Alberto Contador is going for full-on revenge at the Tour de France--and not even considering he won't be able to do either of them--which leaves, despite a penultimate-day blowup on the Stelvio that Contador could really whale on, basically a spindly-gladiator internecine dog-fight between warily-complementary Liquigas teammates Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso for Grand Tour glory. Look, prodigy Nibali blew this year's Vuelta and Basso woofed--despite a fine and steady performance throughout, but we're talking by Basso standards here--his once-unquestioned claim to the Tour. So the question is, does Liquigas put a much surer bet on proven Giro commodity Basso for three-peat Italian glory and just pray for Nibali to hold it together for a decent showing in July, or does it assume that a Contador-free Nibali can still grab the Giro with a bunch of domestiques essentially training to support Basso and put all its real faith into Ivan's potential for a final maillot jaune in Paris? Me, I'm guessing that even Basso's hard-swallowed pride of the last few years won't allow a major rebellion from Nibali just yet--but one thing I do know is, with this year's flat-lovin' parcours, Mark Cavendish'll look really bad even for a sprinter if he skips out any time before the final week!

"Falling Leaves" My !@#--You *Suck*, UCI!: and, as the last edition of the real Giro di Lombardia goes out with a thrilling and satisfying end with a win by typically unheralded worker-bee Oliver Zaugg, it finally whacks me like a Grand-Tour post-doping-control "stomach virus"--that wanker Pat "Dick" McQuaid really means it when he booted Lombardia from its rightful season-ending position in favor of the Tour of Beijing for 2012, because if there's any hallowed tradition *more* deserving than the beautiful Giro di Lombardia of being kicked back to a totally unnecessary and irrelevant time slot near the Worlds in favor of a one-year-old race no-one yet cares about in which cyclists are afraid to eat the food, DSes are afraid to feed it to them, and riders are tweeting each other terrifying photos of the lung-munching pollutant haze, Pat "Dick" apparently hasn't heard of it. What next you goons, rescheduling the dandy and certainly enjoyable--but still pretty new--Amgen EPO "Don't Bother With Those Silly Blood Tests, We Don't Mind" Tour of California exactly so half the peloton'll bail on the far more worthy, century-old Giro d'Italia? Oh, *double* suck, UCI! Anyway, here's the glory our humble Zaugg deserves: All Hail the Domestiques!

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