Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton Barroom Brawl?

Just when you thought nothing else could happen in the perpetual Lance Armstrong versus the world federal doping investigation; a strange encounter ensued at a popular Aspen restaurant, which Lance Armstrong frequents: Tyler Hamilton entered with a complete legal team and supporters to dine at the establishment, and alas a confrontation erupted between the two former US Postal teammates who unfortunately happened to be in the bar at the same time, a verbal confrontation, which Tyler Hamilton claims contained threats to his reputation as a potential prosecution witness. Lance Armstrong was reported to have said, "We will rip out your lungs on the witness stand and make your life a living hell," according to Chris Manderson, Tyler Hamilton's lawyer. Manderson accuses Lance Armstrong of witness tampering and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) thinks the encounter serious enough to do an investigation into the matter. Problem is that the witnesses to the Armstrong/Hamilton discussion have no recall of what the conversation was because no one could hear them talking, there may have been some choice words spoken, but certainly not fisticuffs, the body language postures between the combatants suggested nothing of the sort. And so on. Another in a long series of he said/she said unverifiable accusations that seem central to the Lance Armstrong doping investigation, and after hours of grand jury testimony, still no indictment.

Yes, the wheels of justice move slowly, ask Alberto Contador. Declared innocent by the Spanish Sport Federation as a victim of clenbuterol meat contamination innocently introduced into the Alberto Contador diet by an unsuspecting friend who provided beef stakes from Spain. During a Tour de France rest day team meal, no less. You can't get more imaginative than that for an excuse. A work of art! Soon to be emulated by other athletes. Horrible. Anyway, the nutcase WADA and UCI faction that is supposed to be ensuring "fair play" appealed the whole contaminated meat charade to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) who promised a speedy resolution to the case, at least before the beginning of the 2011 Tour de France. Christiane Prudhomme, the Amaury Sport Organisation guru, is befuddled by this development and is in a quandary. The 2011 Giro d' Italia winner, Alberto Contador, is a man who is accused of doping, lying, and cheating in the 2010 Tour de France and has a pending doping case before the CAS. Alberto Contador could be suspended from the day of the offense if found guilty and forced to forfeit all of his prizes from that day forward. Yes, indeed, Alberto Contador could be the first man in history to forfeit two Tour de France titles and one Giro d' Italia title on the same day: an eternal monument to scoundrels world wide. Christiane Prudhomme could circumvent this possible disaster by refusing to invite the Saxo Bank Cycling Team as Tour de France participants because the Tour de France is a privately owned entity and teams are allowed to enter the race by invitation only.

Racejunkie made me laugh with her Ben Hur allusion to bladed wheels in a race, not bladed spokes. The epic Ben Hur criterium, four horse power chariots, with beautifully matched horses, and a bum dressed in purple who has an uncanny resemblance to Pat McQuaid. The chariot race can be seen here and is good for a laugh. The moral is quite clear, cheaters never win: even with bladed wheels, bullwhips, and doped horses. The tactics used in the chariot race are deplorable but so adaptable to modern bicycle racing, criteriums, classics, and grand tours. And unlike the movie, cheaters do often win, often frequently, and they never get caught! And Pat McQuaid is still dressed in purple.