Ah, the ENECO Tour. Often cited, in comparison to Paris-Nice, as why the UCI cannot possibly survive without the ASO. And certainly, last year’s race had a few issues. But it’s so far so good, with two stages down. The prologue was Michael Schumacher, one of that mob of Teutonic TT technicians (Lang, Pollack, Rich, etc) that seem bounce endlessly between Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile. But, as so often is the case (outside the TdF), what Tommy wants, Tommy gets. Elsewhere in Europe, Matthias Russ took a classy first win over Andreas Kloden at the Rothous Regio-Tour International (?), while at Tre Valli, Stephano Garzelli redeemed himself somewhat for getting pwned at San Sebastian. And apparently, this race is also important (second billed at Cyclingnews), but damn if I’ve read a word of text on it.
Yes, still, for some reason, everyone wants to talk about doping. Floyd Landis’ father-in-law kept the ball rolling by killing himself (no, really; he did), and Bob Mionski offers tips on what to do in case the Nazi Frogmen get to you, too. More unsubstantiated “evidence” from Operation Puerto leaked out today, this time from the German media sewage lines. Exhibit A: A mystery fax, claiming to have the names of Basso, “Ulrich” [sic] and others, apparently sent from Dr. Fuentes to some Columbian guy who hasn’t been mentioned yet in connection with this case. Like the other Puerto evidence, it is apparently impossible to photograph, copy, or reproduce in any way. Exhibit B: German police raid a doping doctor; well, actually, just a suspect doctor. And the raiders made off with lots of “evidence”; that’s nice. It would be a shame if people were informed what it was, first.
The good news is, the AIGCP, much like the European press, doesn’t really give a two sh!ts about evidence. The ProTour owners group banded together today to unanimously scapegoat Teams Phonak and Astana, the latter despite the fact that it’s riders have a nasty habit of not being guilty. Active Bay, the Manolo Saiz-run company that still owns Astana’s license, pointed out their continued innocence, and threatened lawsuits in response. Meanwhile, the UCI (which has been at this for over a month, mind you) continues to “work on expanding” the Puerto dossier. Does its brave leader Pat McQuaid have anything to explain the delay, or calm the seething masses? Naw, he just says we “have to come to grips” with it. News flash, fat man: I, like most cycling fans, came to grips with the drugs a long time ago. So fire up the damn bus, or I’m getting off and taking the subway.