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Gossip du Jour


Original Edition

It's Wednesday, which is not such an important day after all. But now it is, for we have Gossip! The original, one and only, 100 percent genuine Gossip. Accept no paltry knock-offs or substitutes. Only the real thing will do.

The Pro Tour is dead. Really, we can think of nothing funny to say about this.

Epo? How delightfully retro. Who else is going to make like Manuel Beltran and Moises Dueñas and party like it's 1999? We hesitate to speculate, though here at the Gossip we strongly recommend against carrying doping products in your luggage during the Tour de France. Should you insist on doing so, consider engaging the services of a good lawyer. It's good to be prepared, though we hear the prisons in France are rather nice this time of year.

Following the announcement of two postive test results from two Spanish riders, UCI President Pat McQuaid accused the Spanish government of laxisme in relation to doping. No, that is not a medical problem. Spain is too lax on the doping issue, according to McQuaid. Jaime Lissavetzy, who does not sound at all Spanish, but is in fact the Secretary of State for Sports, conceded that the two doping cases were a heavy blow, but cautioned against jumping to conclusions. We must be prudent, he said. Psst, Señor Lissavetzky, prudence aside, staying the course might not be your best choice.

French newspaper Le Monde today confirms that Christophe Moreau is abnormal. Or, at least he was back in March when the French anti-doping authorities demanded that he take a vacation from racing his bike. The Tongue Twister abandoned the Tour de France suddenly provoking widespread speculation. He told l'Equipe that his abandon was a complete coincidence. So far, he has offered only the vaguest of explanations for his departure. Perhaps he's still abnormal, though no confirmation has emerged that he was among those subject to double secret probation by the vampires.

Martijn Maaskant likes burritos. Or maybe it's the shorts. Maaskant, 4th at Paris-Roubaix and 12th at de Ronde, has prolonged his contract with Team Garmin for three years. Maaskant and his team mates had the chance to enjoy burritos on the rest day, compliments of sponsor Chipotle. Photographers were on hand to record the moment.

Favorite number at Team Rabobank? Four. Following the signing of Yuri Trofimov to a four year contract, Rabobank has now granted Nick Nuyens the right to wear Orange for four years. Four is good. Everyone knows bad luck comes in threes. That, or maybe they just liked his lawyers.

Cadel Evans, not impressed with Team CSC's show of force on the road to Hautacam. They are a very strong team with an interesting tactic. Interesting for the media, that is, he said. Evans claimed he would not be allowing Fränk Schleck to escape in the Alpes either. You've had too much fun. You're grounded! But daaad, I just wanted a pretty yellow shirt. Though the media may be interested in CSC, Evans is watching Denis Menchov. And here at the Gossip? We're watching everyone. We found CSC's tactics plenty interesting. Right, the press pass is in the mail.

Speaking of the Media, the rest day is all about predictions. And predict they did. Most Likely to Win in Paris? Denis Menchov received the most votes. Over at Caisse d'Épargne, they also like Menchov's chances, but they haven't ruled out Carlos Sastre. Run silent, run deep, the Russian may be quiet, but no one is understimating his chances of wearing Yellow in Paris. And Riccardo Ricco? He voted for himself, bien sûr!

Surely Fränk would like to have worn the Yellow Jersey on the rest day. Asked about the team's future tactics, he evaded the question, saying only that "one can not always be on the defensive at the Tour." Translation: Schleck will attack. He refused to predict the outcome of the race, only that he expects Juan José Cobo to finish fifth. How did he deal with his disappointment on Hautacam? He drank two glasses of red wine and went to bed.

Evans may have had the Shirt, but CSC did the work, when Oscar Pereiro escaped on the Col de Portal during Wednesday's stage 11. Was this a mistake? Perhaps, if CSC felt the need to wear down Silence-Lotto, it was. The scarcity of Red jerseys at the front of the bunch suggested there wasn't much left to wear out. Thursday's stage crosses a region notorious for high winds. Echelons, anyone? Thank you, I'll have another. Since we are giving out free advice today at the Gossip, those of you wishing to win the bike race in France should consider staying near the front on Thursday. The gutter is your friend. Just trying to help.

Though Rémy DiGrégorio did not win with his long break on the road to Hautacam, he had no regrets. "I passed a good day, and all the people were nice to me." It's good when people are nice to you. But it's even better when you win. He also had good sensations. Sensations, vibrations, it's all the same, right?

Schleckomania! Everyone loves Andy Schleck. Despite his jour-sans on the Hautacam, the younger Schleck remains among the most popular riders at the Tour. What happened to Schleck on the Hautacam? A noob mistake. With still 5 kilometers to ride to the summit, he threw tossed his last bottle. Bonkage ensued. The groupies don't seem to mind, and swarm at the sight of him. Coming soon: Girls Gone Wild, le Tour edition.

Rock Racing, the team everyone loves to hate, will become a Pro Continental team next year. That means, they become eligible to ride the classics and the grand tours. If anyone invites them. Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla, and Santiago Botero? The ASO is so going to invite them to the Tour next year. By the way, for those who were wondering, Tyler Hamilton is currently riding the Tour of Quinghai Lake, where he today finished second behind a Polish rider with too many vowels.

Last seen unwillingly embracing a tree by the side of the road, Lillian Jégou of Français des Jeux will miss up to six months of racing. On the day of his crash, he underwent surgery for a complex fracture to his wrist. The surgery was a success. Unfortunately that did not mean the end of Jégou's troubles, and today he enjoyed another visit to the surgeons to repair his newly discovered broken jaw. For at least six weeks, only soup for you. We wish Jégou a speedy recovery and a fabulous dinner out once his jaw is healed. And Lillian, do stay away from the trees, mmm?

Tinkoff Version 2.0 will have a budget of 20 million euro per year for 8 years. Let's consider that number for a moment, 20 million. Most teams are happy to have half that amount for their shopping wishes. That amount pay the expenses for the entire womens' peloton in the US, with a few euro left over for ice cream and such.

Gert Steegmans, currently of Quick-Step has confirmed his presence on the new roster. Filippo Pozzato is connected by rumor to the new team, though he has not confirmed the transfer. No doubt he negotiated a separate contract for his hair. Me, I'll take 1.2 million per year. But the Hair? It will require 1.5 million. Plus products. The team will change its name to Katyusha, a Russian company. They make rockets. Very large rockets. Phallic, even, though not phlogisticated. So long as the rocket fuel does not get mixed up with the bike racers, all will be well.

Damiano Cunego is not Roberto Damiani. Just in case you were wondering. Damiano is the team leader for Lampre, who got doodsmaked by CSC on the way to Hautacam. Damiani is the directeur sportif of Cadel Evans, who doodsmaked himself on the road from Toulouse. Please make a note of it.

Au Revoir, mes amis, from the Gossip. We have nothing more to share with you today. The End.

It's over. So, go on, go home. Why are you still here? Go on.