Giro GC = Corn, The Doping Tide Turns

May 22 2007

Like someone stuffed all the contenders into a can of corn and fired a shotgun through the bottom of it – that’s how I’d describe the Giro d’Italia GC after today’s stage. The shot missed some corn entirely – most of the GC contenders – and they’re floating right around where you’d expect them to be. But others – like new, 38-year-old maglia rosa Andrea Noe – got plastered to the ceiling. I realize the actual shake-up happened last weekend and not today, but whatever. The mountain stage today determined the true order of corn in the can and I like the metaphor and I’m sticking to it. Podium Cafe has a solid rundown of the names at the top of the can (the winners today), while Pez seems to think it may be some time before Noe’s kernel finally plops back to Earth.

The way I see it, today really put Liquigas and Saunier in the driver’s seat. The boys in yellow not only took the win but put three in the Top 5, a force that’s going to be tough to crack as the climbs continue. And Danilo DiLuca’s squad has now put its 3rd different rider into pink – and I’m willing to bet with a 38-year-old ace in the hole, the team captain is much more psyched this time around. Having Pellizzoti a few seconds further down sure doesn’t hurt, either. While it’s true no one lost massively today – Savodelli rode well, finishing s.t. with Cunego, but the two of them and a hard-headed Yaroslav Popovych seemed awfully lonely out there. But unless each squad musters a Disco TdF-style turn around (which was, BTW, allegedly doping powered), it could be a long week and a half for those guys.

Phew! Made it almost two paragraphs without the D-word. I guess that’ll happen when you open with a can of corn and a shotgun. Anyway, I’d love to comment on the Landis trial some, but Cyclingnews’ story is so mangled, I can’t really tell what it’s trying to convey. I guess after all those eggheads came in and spat on USADA, the anti-dope empire has struck back by making Floyd look kinda skeezy. But Landis returned fire with another scientist attacking LNDD’s methodology. How will it all come out? Who knows. Certainly, with more and more riders coming forward, and even the most trenchant opposition relenting, it may be that the tide is turning against those who’ve tested positive. Then again, if Europeans are reluctant to relinquish even the most foolish traditions, imagine how loathe they’ll be to give up doping’s hard, empirical proof.

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