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Smack Talk Edition

The Gossip returns today for another round of espresso-fueled rumor-mongering, speculating and gesticulating (We are in Italy, after all).

Yesterday, during a post-race interview, de Stefano asked Veronica Bettini (that would be his daughter, not his wife) whether she liked to go bike riding. Domenica shook her head no, and hid her face in Papa Bettini's shoulder. Mmm, stinky world champion kit, smells yummy.

In the previous issue of the Gossip, we predicted the divorce of Petacchi from Milram. Omniscient, prescient, or dumbly lucky? We leave that, lovely readers, to your infallible judgement. Now, the next chapter in the Petacchi Drama is unfolding, as rumors swirl about his future team. Lampre appears the most likely destination, though LPR currently runs a close second. A possible reduction of Ale's sanction so that he might ride the Vuelta is also whispered. The Gossip does not venture to guess as to the outcome these machinations. We would not wish to push our luck.

Ricco, meanwhile, continues to make friends by refusing to appear on the post-race show. Why? The Gossip would dearly like to know the reasons behind the Big Dis. Could it all be ego?

Though Ricco may think rather highly of himself, Danilo Diluca claims The Ego will be lucky to lose less than four minutes to Klödie in tomorrow's time trial. Dani D calls Klödie the clear fave, though the finishing climb up to Urbino suits the Killer himself quite nicely thanks. Dani thinks he can hold the gap to 90 seconds to Klödie. Ricco's response to Dani's smack talk? Scoreboard, Dani Baby, Scoreboard.

Ricco is also calling the bluff of Contador. No way was the Accountant on vacation, says Ricco. Indeed, the Ego is convinced that Contador knew since the Pais Vasco that he would ride the Giro, and has trained extra hard for his Italian adventure. What? What's that? The ticker is clacking and spitting here at the World Center of Cycling Gossip (where we're far too old skool to have an RSS feed.) What's it say? That Davide Cassani might have seen Contador training in the Dolomiti? That he might not actually have been in Mexico? Stop me if you think you've heard this one before.

From the department of awkward moments comes this tidbit. During the rest day press conference of Saunier Duval, an enterprising journo asked Piepoli why he was still racing while Petacchi was suspended. Now, in the normal way of things, the Gossip does not deal in doping matters. But certainly we can appreciate the Drama of such a moment. Indeed, we're all about the DRAMA. Peeps? Well, his situation is totally different from that of Petacchi. No word as to whether the journo actually believed him. Signor, signor, a follow-up...

On the subject of enterprising journos, Capodacqua, whom Dani D banished from the Presence, needled Ricco recently about his high hematocrit certificate. Now, here at the Gossip, we do think The Ego's ego could use a little pricking. If it grows much larger, the little dude might have trouble climbing, which could cause problems come the Dolomiti. Ricco was suspended as an amateur for busting the 'crit limits repeatedly. Now, all is legal, according to the UCI. Capo? He likes to stir the pot. There's one in every crowd. Ricco has yet to banish Capo from his presence, but surely it is only a matter of time.

In sponsor news, it appears that Gerolsteiner has found a new sponsor. Who? Even the Gossip does not know that, despite several forays into German press and forumländer. But never fear, when at last the rumor surfaces, you will be the first to know, though we may be the last. Sadly, we are not always so omniscient here at the Gossip.

Though not strictly gossip, let us turn our attention briefly to the weather. Italia, it appears, is looking not so bella in the Dolomiti. The webcam on the Plan de Corones shows copious amounts of this odd white stuff. Weather forecasts call definitely for cold, possibly for rain, and probably for clouds. Though we feel sympa for the fate of the riders in such weather, we can't quite suppress a shiver of anticipation for the epicness sure to ensue.

And lastly, what would an episode of the Gossip be without a little eye candy? This one is for the boys. Here at the Gossip, we feel certain you will not need any translation to enjoy this clip. (safe for work and kidz)

That's all for today from the Gossip's world headquarters.

à presto!