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That would be the sound of heads exploding in Paris at the news that Lance and Basso will be teaming up to win the Tour this year, albeit with the former in the support car.

This may be nothing more than "look who's in Basso's entourage." Or a slightly more significant implication is that Armstrong, who knows a thing or two about winning the Tour, will tutor or at least cajole Basso to a dominant win. Kind of a Rocky 5 thing (from what I understand, I think I saw a poster for the movie once). Nice story, but Armstrong may merely be the difference between a six minute win and an eight minute one.

Still, there remains the slight possibility, if you put on your conspiracy hat, that the Tour will exclude Discovery. For starters, they recently stated that the Tour will choose its participants without input from the Pro Tour, and as I've posited, you can bet they'll try to make an example by leaving out at least one Pro Tour team. These are, after all, the adolescents who pronounced "Armstrong has duped us" after reading a newspaper article, who did the cracked mirror effect on Landis, who excluded Lance and McQuaid from their galas, etc.

Well, nothing plays more clearly into their sanctimonious little mitts than the prospect of their hated all-time champion teaming up with an Operacion Puerco suspect, and an Italian at that. The very notion is no doubt driving them to distraction at this moment. So, will they access the easy pretext of OP's unadjudicated accusations to exclude Basso individually, and the Discovery team as a whole? Will they use Disco's violation of the alleged gentlemen's agreement not to hire OP guys to divide the teams and conquer the Pro Tour?

Maybe it'll all be nothing, but in my paranoid little mind, I see a huge showdown brewing.