I kind of scotched the Tour coverage by splitting the conversation into two posts... didn't think of it til later, but then again that sort of symbolizes things lately. Everyone's busy, including you of course. But not everyone is up late poring over the details of their team's assault on the baseball world. Still, we don't trade in excuses here at the Podium Cafe, do we? No, no we don't.
- This is so cute. Newcomer American team, founded on the sport's highest ideals, scoops up a combination of riders seeking redemption, others with chips on their shoulders, and still more young talent looking to stake their claim. That team thinks it has elicited the ultimate handshake promise: an invitation to the 2008 Tour de France. Yes, being outside the Pro Tour means they need to put up some results in the Cycling meritocracy, but those nice guys at ASO, they gave them their word, right? This can't possibly end badly...
[Honestly, I think they're probably in, but can't shake the creepy feeling.]
- Continuing with the CN notes, it doesn't take a seasoned PR professional to see what's wrong with this headline:
Eurosport has a stand-alone piece. I've long argued that, if you accept the Landis et al complaints about inadequate quality control at the labs, there's a due process problem in the sport. Unfortunately Kashechkin is claiming that taking blood samples is itself a human rights violation. And frankly, he'd be right, if he were a private citizen instead of a bike racer and a government were threatening him with imprisonment for refusing a test. It's a little different when the tests are a precondition to entry into a privately-run event which he has every right to not enter. Still, I'm rooting for him: if he wins, Kashechkin will have established the principle that a start in the Tour de France is a human right. My application will be in the mail the next morning.
Maybe there's a logical explanation. Like, Sacha Cohen is his interpreter.
- Sinking Joke dishes on his old mates, circa 2006. It's easy to believe, frankly, since the Mob promptly drove off most of the team that fall with its new doping control regime. Of course, the current team shouldn't bear the stain, but Andreas Kloden's Tour career may be over. Sinkewitz is also saying he's not returning his salary per the Pledge. I don't mind the rest of the Pledge, but the salary part always seemed fraught with problems. Sinking Joke's lawyer plans to scotch the salary notion pretty quickly.