Dick Pound, whom I dislike profusely, and who is so hard nosed and litigious that he once sued the Premier of Quebec for calling him a “crackpot,” really seems to be out of his mind. He’s supposed to be the head of the organization concerned with fairly eliminating doping from sport. But so far, he’s been little more than world’s largest Dopers Suck t-shirt, sounding off ineloquently about how all cyclists are on drugs and how he doesn’t “like people who cheat. Period.” (Funny, I don’t recall Pound being at all miffed about the conclusion to this year’s Gent-Wevelgem – you can watch the finish yourself on Cycling.TV to see what I mean.) The latest victim of Pound’s frothy vitriol is UCI chief Hein Verbruggen. What’s the deal, Dick? Trying for a place on Celebrity Mole?
It’s really too bad the racing isn’t hot enough right now to distract people from all this. Today’s Vuelta stage gave off some exciting tactical fireworks, being taken in the end by Gerolsteiner’s 21-year-old first-year pro Heinrich Haussler. But with Heras and the rest coming in 17 minutes down, there really wasn’t a lot in the line. Today’s finish in Poland was pretty good, with a finishing circuit that sent riders over a Category 1 climb, but I guess it was some sort of Polish Cat 1 climb, because Quick.Step’s Luca Paolini, despite not finishing in the Top 10, was still able to retain his race lead over stage winner Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner, by 8 seconds.
Finally, Lance Armstrong ruled out a comeback in the 2006 TdF today, which, quite frankly, comes as no suprise to me. The 7-time Tour de France winner expressed frustration at WADA, French Journalists and pretty much anyone else that had ever gotten in his way in a statement today. Armstrong cited all sorts of double standards and failures in protocol that certainly shed doubt on these latest allegations against him, but, as far as I can see, the Texan has yet to make any statement directly addressing just how the EPO got into six of his urine samples in 1999.