The Winds of Change

Dec 7 2006

I feel this strange drop in temperature all of a sudden. Some might say “oh, Cosmo, you haven’t posted in so long; you must not realize that it’s December.” These people are clearly idiots and have never heard of global warming. The refreshing chill that I’m talking about is due not to cooler prevailing winds but cooler heads prevailing.

First off, we have Phil Liggett condemning the recent UCI megalomania in the soft-but-firm style that is so unquestionably his. Would have been nicer if he’d taken a similar approach to the AIGCP back in July, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get. Maybe he’ll back it up by putting his name on this petition, supporting Jan Ullrich’s return to the peloton.

Also firing shots on behalf of der Kaiser this week was his new manager, Wolfgang Strohband. A few days back, the Tour of Germany organizers took it upon themselves nine months in advance) to ban Ullrich and Basso, despite the fact that they’re both clear to race. Strohband reminded everyone that the Tour of Germany wouldn’t exist without Jan and that it’s dangerous to let sponsor pressure dictate how a race is run. He’s right; just imagine what kind of freaky crap could go down at the Amgen Tour of Cali.

Meanwhile, the Brits have come up with an interesting doping solution: Team 100% ME. Overlooking the corny name (sounds like some sort of self-esteem mantra), the idea of riders having regular, year round tests to establish baseline blood and hormonal levels, thus “proving” they’re clean, is a good idea – provided it’s voluntary. Baseline testing would be a great PR move for any cyclist, essentially guaranteeing clean performance, but as recently-crowned World Champ Paolo indicates, many riders would rather quit than submit to more procedures.

In the same ANSA interview, the ’06 arc en ciel also calls out country Ivan Basso for flip-flopping on the DNA issue. Paolo, if I were you, I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in Basso’s ability to generate wattage above the neck. After all, here’s a guy who was unfairly banned from the ’06 TdF on a doping charge, calling the guy who came in second at the ’06 TdF “the moral victor” because of an unproven doping charge. I don’t want to smear Basso’s reputation any further here, but maybe that’s why they call it “dope”?

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