The spectacle that is the third greatest cycling event on the calendar behind the World Championships and WorldTour Team Selections never fails to provides massive third place style entertainment. Of course the racing isn’t too bad either, especially when we at the UCI have been rolling out chaos right, left and centre to ensure that these boys all understand where the shows begins and ends.
Monday, however was an unfortunate day for me. I alluded to this on twitter; we had our usual Rest Day conference call to determine who was going to be the designated sacrificial lamb. The trouble was that for some reason we just couldn’t find any adverse analytical findings of any kind. It’s almost as if these boys are actually believing our “party line” and are truly racing clean. Well, clean is relative, because we all know that doping to the limits is really what’s happening, but alas, that’s for another time.
My first mistake was the fact that Vittorio Adorni was physically present in the suite for this one. We set up our massive roulette wheel in the penthouse, let the ball roll, roll, roll, roll, roll, roll, roll (Adorni let a big push fly, rotten bugger) roll, roll, roll, and roll. Once it dropped, there it was – Fofonov. But just like a giant game of Clue, we needed to establish what the adverse finding was. Too large of a product would overshadow our work, and as the Index of Suspicion demonstrated, we couldn’t go for the HGH or the EPO, it had to be something slightly hinting at “potential” doping instead of outright guilt.
I mean, we really learnt our lesson on this Contador business. The fact that the entire nation of France has been booing him is surprising; considering that the French hate the UCI as much as they do the United States, we figured he would have turned into a cult hero. I’ll take the win.
Back to Fofonov. Bhon had a simple job to do. Leak the information to the press, ensure that the Astana team didn’t hear first, and then release the press statement afterwards. Somewhere along the way, the combination of Adorni succumbing to narcolepsy and Bhon doing body shots with the gents of Europcar turned everything into a complete disaster. Fofonov became, sigh, Kolobnev.
For those of you not really sure of the implications of this focking big brutal slip, let me catch you up quickly (I’ve covered this business in detail in a previous Dispatch):
- Katusha is owned by Itera.
- Itera are the Russian mafiosi of the gas business. Mafiosi, literally.
- Makarov owns Itera and therefore owns Katusha.
- Makarov is now my fellow UCI Management Committee member as of this spring (shocking, I know).
- Makarov once tried to allegedly bribe a US Senator through the Senator’s daughter
- Makarov gave a multi-million dollar yacht to a President of one of the Soviet ‘stans.
I think you catch my drift here. Makarov is the money and the muscle behind the throne I occupy. He also plays a mean game of Jai Alai.
Needless to say, the fact that one of his prized gents ended up on the losing end of a “doping control” caused me massive amounts of grief. You know that feeling when you’re standing in the supermarket and some guy who saw you pishing on a lawn the night before stares at you not sure what to say? Take that feeling times one thousand when I saw that Carpani, through Bhon, released the name of Kolobnev to the press.
It only took 2 hours for the Land Rovers to show up at the hotel. I’m a little surprised that they’ve gone with the Evoques though. They just don’t carry the same intimidation factor as the traditional Range Rover Supercharged HSE’s wield. Sure they’re new, they are nifty, and they have some wonderful features, but it would be like Patton showing up to the battlefront on a … bicycle.
So the conversation went something like this:
“Pat, we are very very unhappy.”
“I understand, Dmitri. I blame Adorni.”
“Are you throwing him under the bus on this one?”
“I charged him with ensuring the correct name was leaked to the press. It was supposed to be Fofonov. I think he just got a little confused by all the Russians that are here at the Tour. He made some crack about the names all blending together.”
“Hm. He said that?”
“He’s having his mid-morning pre-nap nap right now – you can wake him and see what he says, if you’d like.”
“No, no. The old man needs his sleep. Makarov has a soft spot for the champion. At least he didn’t pull out Karpets. We had to do enough fucking spin control over his temper tantrum yesterday.”
“So what’s the plan?”
“You will make your usual comments to the press. We will be “asking” Kolobnev to voluntarily leave the Tour, take a little vacation and you’re going to make sure that this is all swept aside before the Vuelta.”
“Shall I send him a gift basket as an apology?”
“Please do, make sure it has those lovely mini-muffins in it. He really likes those.”
Thankfully, Makarov still believes that I’m going to step aside after the next term for him to assume the UCI presidency – it’s satisfying his Leninist leanings.
So, there I was, sweating bullets, hoping for none penetrating my person, when a “Gift from God” fell from the heavens. Good fortune always smiles on the rich and semi-evil. So, what was this lottery-winning ticket that pushed aside this Kolobnev mistake of mine?
Ah yes, Roger Smith. Wait, no. Steve Smith? No. Bob Smith? What’s that Bhon? Right. Michael Smith.
Michael Smith. Open mouth and insert size 14 or whatever model shoe he wears. Pick any other year, any other time, and maybe being “funny” might have led the cycling community to collective sigh, a “meh.” But no, after the tragedies we have all witnessed this year, it turned into what happens when you mix General Tsao chicken with tequila – a big focking mess. (Anyone like the new “fock?” thank Feargal for that one)
I even had to wade into the war after the big brawny ham-fisted ESPN bobblehead wouldn’t back down and tried to attempt humour at the expense of our fellow snark mafia. Thankfully, and we’ll see, certain elements at the almost sort-of top of ESPN are going to pay penance for their mistreatment of our cycling tragedies and almost tragedies. Ssssh, just don’t tell them that we really didn’t like Hoogerland too much until he ran into the pole…
Speaking of running into poles, I wonder if my former friend Johan Bruyneel is wishing for a do-over of 2011 from the Giro rest day until today? I mean, I really don’t think that Klöden is going to make it past Saturday. (Ed. note: Klöden abandoned early in the stage on Friday.)
This is what happens when you mess with the Karma gods. Like Lance last year, sometimes if you poke the dog too much, too much, too much, you’re going to get your focking hand bitten off. Well, Bruyneel has had his hand, forearm, elbow, shoulder, and the other hand, forearm, elbow, shoulder bitten off. Now I think the jugular is a little exposed.
I don’t like to crow over the suffering by the boys riding for Jabba the Bruyneel; you can’t fault them for following along blindly into battle like the stormtrooper clones in those sci-fi movies that my youngest boy watches way too much. However, I can’t but help laugh with glee that his biggest showcase for his team has turned disastrous. I hope he doesn’t lose his sponsors over it. Lord knows how he managed to snow them with the “I’m great, I made Lance” bullshite, but hey, PT Barnum made a career out of it.
Still, the breathalyser test was definitely the icing on my cake. Even though it was a negative, surprisingly, it’ll still come in handy when we yank their WorldTour status out from under them in October.
So what about this race business? Best tour in a long time. Drama. Grit. Controversy. Hot women. Bentleys. Snoop Dogg. And I’m still hoping for some Basso and Evans fireworks to put some meat into the grinder prior to us popping someone in a week’s time for something truly nefarious.