Ullrich's DNA, DePanne, Last Bit of Fool

Apr 3 2007

Yesterday, a reader named “ryan” posted a bunch of pro-Ullrich comments on this page. Today, word leaks that the big guy’s DNA actually was in those Operation Puerto baggies. Did ryan know something we didn’t? Anyway, Conspiracy theorists will be quick to point out that Ulle is an easy scapegoat, having already retired and being among the least “encrypted” of the Puerto codenames. Departure from the sport notwithstanding, the Rostockian’s legal team has already circled the wagons, suggesting LNDD-style tampering. Are the other Puerto accused quaking in their Sidi’s? I’m doubtful.

Anyway – did I say that all the April Fool’s stories this year were believable? It seems like a stretch, I know, but apparently, people have taken equally ludicrous claims seriously. Really drives home the point that we Americans are not easily swayed by logic, preferring instead to seek out the miraculous and sensational – thus the immense popularity of Lance Armstrong. Perhaps it’s the subconscious rejection of these inclinations contributes to Big Tex having startlingly few fans among America’s March-to-October tifosi. Still we’d be wise to remember that Europeans, while perhaps more worldly, are seldom any wiser.

But less soapboxing and more racing! Before the Ronde comes Three Days of Pain, today being the first of those. I could have watched it live, but instead I sat around and did my day job (booooring). Anyway, seems like two Italians who’ve historically lacked that killer edge (high podium-to-win ratio) got clear from a break, with Luca Paolini lacking the “Eye of the Tiger” less than Alessandro Ballan in the finale. Discounting the group of 7 or so other riders from whom they broke, the rest of the field finished 2:30 down, meaning that the number of potential GC winners is now quite finite. But if DePanne simply won’t sustain you, Pez already has Sunday’s main event in its crosshairs.

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