Y'know, not to claim I'm psychic or nothin', because frankly I banked on CAS simping out with a one year ban, but I did have a dream about Alberto Contador last night, and while yes I *do* apparently need to get a life you wisenheimers, it was this: Contador's on his knees before Pat "Dick" McQuaid, clutching a big black UCI rulebook and wailing to the skies above with tears streaming down his face in one of those ostentatious and peculiarly American jailhouse conversions that totally coincidentally allows you to act like an !@#wipe your entire life then lets you off with just a crappy apology and still lets you rule over your family and like half the universe with an iron fist without any merit on your part whatsoever but you are ABSOLVED, baby, and Pat "Dick" had his hand on Alberto's head like he was a-drivin' the devil o' doping outta him and about to dunk him in the purifying waters of one of those foul contaminated oil-slicked bayou swamps because the skies above don't believe in environmental controls, and then I woke up this morning and whammo, Alberto was well and truly nailed and there Lance was on ESPN blitzed on whatever lite beer he's pushin' wearing a blurred-out "!@#$ You, Landis!" t-shirt and babbling on about how at least he wasn't that stupid back in the day and with the statute of limitations on doping about to run out Travis Tygart can just bite 'im and he's returning to the peloton and good luck nailin' him then either anyway.
So in this same spirit of thoughtful, reasoned analysis, let's proceed with our scientific review of the CAS decision. To summarize our hypothesis, I believe the technical term is "bull!@#$." You say flat out you think *both* UCI's paranoid plasticizer conspiracy and Alberto's "smoking cow" defense are equally unlikely, and the problem is he wholly unintentionally ingested a contaminated food supplement, and you're *still* banning him for two years? Y'know, I'll admit, I usually don't like "zero tolerance" policies, one because I don't personally want to get busted for anything and two because they tend to be used to treat a Cub Scout showing off the new jack-knife he got for Christmas like he's a triple-murderer perpetual-solitary feces-throwing sociopath trying to shank his prison guard with a filed-down toothbrush. But I can accept them as at least making some sense, until you say you *might* have made an exception to it if he'd *happened* to have made up the same ridiculous excuse for his positive that *you* just did. How the !@#$ does *that* make sense?
Yes, Contador's an arrogant, and probably intentionally performance-tweaking, twerp. One thing's likely, you didn't emerge at the very top of Manolo Saiz and Johan Bruyneel's snarling two-wheeled wolfpacks without *some* savant sommelier's knowledge of the finer points of the good stuff--if you wanted it. But the fact is that Andy Schleck could personally mainline him, Vinokourov, *and* Armstrong like some sort of repulsive bat-hybrid vampire, and he *still* wouldn't be the rider that an undoped Contador is. Righty-o, delusional rabid all-caps "CONTABITCH" haters, we'll see if that's still true in August, when Twerp comes back from his ban and obliterates the entire field in the Vuelta. One does wonder, though, if much-derided riders like Cadel and Leipheimer would've ever *quite* earned their prior reps as boring wheelsuckers *and* gotten even more wins, if Contador hadn't been somehow assisted in his startling powers of superacceleration. Unless this kid's truly an idiot, the end of the season'll tell us. My money, however, is on "aberrant if charmingly doe-eyed mutant genetic freak."
Still and all, even with the two-year ban, this really isn't as bad as it looks. Contador's actually being banned from riding for a grand total of six squat months, still allowing him to race, as noted, his own Grand Tour--even if Bjarne's team does go down in flames by then in a haze of sponsor abandonment UCI downgrades and tragic Riisian 24/7 meth-chasing, it's not like a Spanish squad won't pick him up by then. So it ain't like he's gonna have two straight years of no competition to lose his form, his rhythm, and the feel of riding in (and away from) a position-jockeying peloton. All he's losing are the victories. And sure, it'll look like crap in the history books, but really, what's a freakin' asterisk in Wikipedia and the skeptic's intellectual sense of dismay compared to the indelible, visceral raw footage of Contador whacking the crap outta everyone else in the mountains? So Scarponi (and don't even get me started on *that*), enjoy the hand-me-down maglia rosa, Andy, best regards for being a class act in your statements today, Cobo, sorry you won't get to make your memorable 2011 Vuelta a two-fer, and Armstrong, put down the champagne and the karaoke mike because one more !@#damn chorus of "We Are the Champions" and I swear I'm gonna yack!