In Belgium this morning, WADA stormtroopers raided the Quick.Step team bus just after dawn, on a tip that World Champion Tom Boonen had been using cocaine to boost the power and confidence of his sprinting ability. “We believe Boonen became addicted to blow after his wild night in Madrid last Fall”, stated WADA Chief Dick Pound at a press conference following the raid. “Our source informed us that Tom had begun speaking English with a Cuban accent, rather than his usual Dutch/British accent, and thrusting his hips about boldly as he walked. In the eyes of WADA, these textbook signs of cocaine abuse are more than enough justification for a raid.”
“Freeze, doper scum!”
However, no banned substances were actually recovered during the shootout, and sources within the organization report to Cyclocosm that Tom had recently purchased Brian dePalma’s 1983 classic Scarface on DVD, and was simply honing his Tony Montana impression. Undeterred, Mr. Pound added “The bus fired several escape pods during the skirmish; though no life readings were detected, one of the pods fired its steering thrusters. We believe the banned substances to have been aboard”. Though Tornado Tom gave no official statement, upon getting up to leave the conference, he was heard to mutter something about “cock-a-roaches”.
Unlikely as it may seem, there is even more big news on the eve of this 90th Ronde van Vlaanderen. Overwhelmed by the problems of hosting an event with such convoluted route, race organizer Wim Van Herreweghe announced earlier today that the notoriously curvy Flanders parcours would be “straightened” before tomorrow’s start.
“It solves a lot of issues,” he told Belgian daily HLN. “Obviously, it eliminates the problems of couperen (scroll down), and we’re hoping the new shorter course will increase the pace, giving riders less need to eat, and less time to litter. Plus a shorter race means the spectators won’t get nearly so drunk. And if you’ve read Breaking the Chain, you know that in the past, riders have used the double-backs to cheat! Finally, it solves this year’s problem of the slippery Koppenburg by bypassing it entirely”.
When asked if decreasing the number of climbs from a legendary 17 to a so-so six would detract from the character of the event, Mr. Van Herreweghe replied “No, six is enough to get the point across. Maybe those Dutch guys over there at Amstel need 30 some-odd climbs to feel like men, but here in Belgium, we’re secure just the way we are.”
Speaking of being secure, embattled airline AirTran (formerly ValuJet) has been seeking to improve its image for some time, and finally seems to have found its new face in Milram sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. “Mr. Petacchi’s speed and reliability embody everthing this airline stands for”, a company spokesperson said today, adding that the carrier has now officially changing it’s name to “Ale-Jet”. The company also unveiled a new, fuel-saving flight routing system, in which individual Ale-Jet flights will follow closely behind the planes of major carriers, before shooting past them to the runway in the final kilometer.
I hear the seats underneath the head are cheaper
Finally, a sad note from Norway today, as several UCI officials were seen participating in the barbaric practice of clubbing baby seals for their soft fur coats. UCI President Pat McQuaid had initially announced two-year bans for the seal-clubbers, but upon hearing that they were officials and not riders, lowered the punishment to 200 Swiss Francs and no dessert for a week.