May 23 2007
You know, VeloNews’ Charles Pelkey seemed to think today’s victory hearkened back to the golden days of Petacchi and his train at Fassa B. And while I didn’t see the race, look at that picture – seems like Gabriele Balducchi came dangerously close to talking the stage. And if the live reports are to be believed, his Acqua-Sapone squad did a good amount of work to get him to the line. But hey – that’s what I get for not ponying up the 25 bucks to watch races. I also missed the high comedy of a few dozen spandex clad dudes surfing across the finish line on their backsides – among them Paolo Bettini, who should be careful what he wishes for. Even oldest maglia rosa ever Andrea Noe couldn’t avoid the mayhem.
Now that two (well, three, if you count Udo Bolts’ admission today) emeritus Telekom riders and a soigneur have come out and admitted doping during the cycling’s crazy 90’s, the two doctors involved have come forward as well – resulting in the loss of their University jobs (at least for a bit). Looks like Bob Stapleton would have been better off investing in some fresh “Stop Snitchin'” tees instead of his fancy pants team dope testing program. Still, he’s being a good sport about it, and plans to call a press conference so Rolf Aldag can confess. It seems impossible to imagine, but nearly everyone questioned has owned up to it – could Jan Ullrich’s involvement in Operacion Puerto have changed some minds in Germany? And could Erik Zabel be the next to come forward, confessing even though it would end his storied career?*
Floyd Landis – not a German. His carnival of a case finally ended today. Millions of dollars are estimated to have been spent, Greg LeMond made a painful, personal admission, essentially to besmirch the crowd Landis runs with, and handfuls of yellow ties were paraded shamelessly about. Now it’s up to the arbitrators, who should come to a decision sometime after this year’s Tour de France comes to a close. Guilty, not guilty – eh, I’ve really got no idea. But given the hematocrits of some Spanish juniors, it may well be that the only guaranteed clean bodies at the bike race belong to the podium girls.
*According to the d’Hont book, Zabel used drugs only once, and decided it wasn’t for him – still a mandatory two-year vacation under draconian WADA rules.