Friday, February 3, 2012

Requiem for a Hater...

Regardless of whether you are a fanboy or a hater, cycling lost today. The details are brief. The news was announced that the case against Lance Armstrong was being terminated by US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., who has a history of backing out of large-scale investigations involving wealthy and well-connected individuals, like when he dropped the case against Countrywide and Angelo Mozilo. Here is the line from the Los Angeles Times from February 18, 2011-

"Federal prosecutors have shelved a criminal investigation of Angelo R. Mozilo after determining that his actions in the mortgage meltdown — which led to $67.5-million settlement against him — did not amount to criminal wrongdoing.
As the former chairman of Countrywide Financial Corp., Mozilo helped fuel the boom in risky subprime loans that led to the crippling of the banking industry and the near-collapse of the financial system."

Given this tidbit of information, it is obvious that Birotte is the ultimate whore who gets paid with taxpayer money to protect the rich and powerful. How this guy sleeps at night we'll never know, but HE is the reason why this almost two-year investigation got derailed at the last minute. It was solely his decision to have the Armstrong investigation terminated, and for the life of me I have no idea how one man at the California US District Attorney's office can wield such arbitrary power.

This is what we are left with in pro cycling. Entrenched Mafia-style tactics, complete with bribery of officials at the highest levels of the sport and the bullying/marginalizing of opponents and whistle blowers has become the template for success in cycling's highest ranks. This is Lance Armstrong's legacy. He gets to keep all 7 of his stained piss-yellow jerseys, his millions of ill-gotten dollars, and the opportunity to smugly continue lying about how he achieved his success on the bike clean. And now nothing can stop him. I'm so disgusted I'm at a loss for words.

This is vindication for one of the biggest assholes to ever pollute the world of cycling. While people piled on Ricardo Ricco and his pathetic attempt at being cycling's bad boy, his career lasted only a few years until he wound up marginalizing himself into oblivion. Yes, he is a liar, threw his then-girlfriend and mother of his child under the bus when she herself got caught doping (proof that a family that dopes together does not necessarily stay together) and almost died while attempting to self-administer a rancid blood transfusion that he kept in his refrigerator right next to the romaine lettuce. This was AFTER he was given the all-clear to come back to the sport after serving a hefty suspension.

But he was a one-off, a lunatic rogue who didn't care one bit about cycling's doping decorum. He did not have a whole apparatus of supporters in high places who looked out for him because he didn't have the money nor the influence to perpetuate such a scheme. He went rogue and paid the price. Not so for Armstrong. He did it like the old time Mustache Petes of Mafia lore, and came out smelling like roses. Santo Trafficante would be applauding this spectacle if he were alive to witness it.

Don't kid yourselves for one minute that this is a victory for anyone but the cynical and conniving cheats who have ruined the sport at the highest levels. Johan Bruyneel, Fat Pat McQuaid and Dr. Michele Ferrari must be very proud of the legacy they leave behind. And they continue working in the sport-

1) Bruyneel is now the Director Sportif of a new super-team (Radio Shack-Nissan) who are staffed with some of the dirtiest, rottenest scoundrels this side of "La Cosa Nostra"-Chris Horner, Andreas Kloden and recent additions Andy and Frank Schleck. Watch as they doped-up hooligans prance parade around France all July with no one to stop them.

And believe me when I tell you there was no joy in Mudville last week when Levi Leipheimer, the 38-year old wonderboy who should have retired YEARS ago, pounded out a time-trial best 32 mph average over 19.5 kilometers on his way to overall victory in the Tour De San Luis in Argentina. Leipheimer, a devoted ex-lieutenant to Armstrong, is like the previously mentioned riders as dirty as they come. He's a disgrace to US Cycling, but he'll ride out what's left of his career as a hero, along with George Hincapie, David Zabriskie and all the rest of those drug-addled goons.

And yes, blame must be shared by Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, who only spoke out after it was clear they would never make a living in the sport like they used to before they received their initial bans. Neither were wanted back in the European peloton, and so they had to make do riding around on two-bit US domestic teams for bullshit money. If they had come out and spoke when the time called for it, their credibility and mental states would not have become such an issue in their own self-inflicted marginalization.

2) UCI President Pat McQuaid has joined forces with ex-UCI chief Hein Verbruggen to sue Irish journalist Paul Kimmage in a defamation suit to the tune of 6,000 Euros. The amount is symbolic-what these two assholes are looking for is vindication of their reputations, which they claim has been sullied by the reporting of Kimmage. Yet they make no mention of their involvement in this fiasco as active participants in the perpetuation of the Armstrong myth for personal financial gain.

The financial ties between McQuaid, Verbruggen and Armstrong run deep, from a business relationship involving a hotel in Switzerland (Verbruggen and Armstrong) to the hundreds of thousands of dollars taken by McQuaid from Armstrong, ostensibly for the fight against doping. All of this is public knowledge, and the putrid taste it leaves is disgraceful beyond anything I've ever seen.

3) Last but not least there is Dr. Michele Ferrari, who for the last 30 years has been at the vanguard of organized individual and team doping in cycling and has never been brought to justice, and more than likely never will. He has been able to dodge the authorities for years, and in the twilight of his career remains as cynically unrepentant and seemingly above the law as ever.

The trickle-down effect is even worse. More riders I know than ever are clearing their own individual paths to cycling glory with PED's on the amateur level, and the arrogant attitude displayed by these guys will continue unabated. Yes, they ruin the sport for the hapless and unwitting riders who futilely struggle against them when they declare that guys who can't keep up must "work harder", and say so without a tinge of hypocrisy or irony, all the while jacking themselves up on anything they can get their hands on.

I will go down in flames as an unrepentant hater, and I don't care. My one wish was always to get to the bottom of the whole doping apparatus-how Armstrong did it, who facilitated his reign of terror in the pro peloton, and how he was able to get away with it for so long. Now we'll probably never know.

All we'll hear going forward is how a super-determined, super-talented athlete with laser-like focus the likes cycling has never seen before or since beat the flaccid, flabby Euros at their own game on their home turf and profited like no other cyclist ever has because he simply outworked his rivals, and rose from his deathbed to do so.

He hijacked the cancer community and lined his pockets with exorbitant speaking engagement fees that were double and many times triple what other famous celebrities charged. And people lined up at the trough and slopped up his lies like rotting chum thrown at starving zombies, because that's just how it is in a cult.

Don't let the ineffectual rantings over at the USADA fool anyone. If Armstrong was able to get his lawyers to derail the Federal probe, cycling's governing body in the US doesn't stand as chance. So goodnight to all those assholes who never came out and demanded justice because they wanted to consolidate their positions and job statuses within cycling-George Hincapie, Jonathan Vaughters, and yes, even Frankie Andreu, who had to be pulled by the ears by his wife (whose got bigger balls than he ever will) to say anything at all.

In the end, Andreu decided to hedge his bets when admitting his own use of EPO without ever going into details about team-orchestrated doping. He still wound up getting fired from every single job he was able to procure in cycling, no doubt the machinations of a vindictive and vengeful Armstrong. Let this be a lesson to anyone who wants to come forward with information on systematic team-wide doping-keep your mouth shut or you'll be marginalized into the grave and beyond.

Cycling has officially become a clown show. The process has come full circle, and the bad guys won. The biggest sporting fraud in modern-day history has been successfully perpetrated, and regardless of what side of the fence you're on there is no one who can claim victory going forward. Both sides lost today.

And what a shame it is.

So if you want to know, this is how you do it-become a corporate darling, make tons of money for the companies that sponsor you, insulate yourself with lowlife yes-men and pathetic hacks like Chris Carmichael who won't ever have the balls to rat you out, and spread out the bribe money in a manner that doesn't look like a bribe.

From now on, at all sporting events and government swearing-in ceremonies, instead of having to pay tribute to the flag by singing the Star Spangled Banner, we should all do like Lance and don one of those stupid "Livestrong" yellow bracelets while chanting the country's unofficial anthem-

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