Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Millar on HBO, Garmin Roster, Papa Georgio x2!

I just watched the David Millar piece on HBO's Real Sports. I always cringe a little going into these things, knowing how the MSM covers our "niche" sports. But this one wasn't bad as those things go. I don't understand people who have a hate on for Millar, and I never quite get if it's him they don't like or just the media reaction to him. I like him plenty, and have no problem with people paying attention to him. The more I read about how oppressive the atmosphere was back in the day, it makes perfect sense to me why he and Jonathan Vaughters make such a big deal about Garmin-Chipotle. No one's looking for a pity party, but it was a very difficult thing they went through for many years. So to now get a chance to do things differently, to talk openly, to save a crop of young riders from ever having to feel that pressure or experience that disillusionment, I'd be shouting it from the rooftops too! There are those who saw the drugs as just another piece of the puzzle, but for those who didn't, there was a lot of pain there, and that fuels their outspokenness today.

Not to mention how completely entrenched doping is (dare I say was?) in the sport. You're not going to change that with a one-time press release about your testing program. If you're going to slay this beast, you've got to be loud and repetitive and beat it into submission. If some people are tired of hearing about Garmin-Chipotle and David Millar, good, beats being tired of hearing about Puerto and Piti.

Interesting close to the piece, Bryant Gumbel's klatch with reporter Jon Frankel. Well, first Frankel blows a question about who was writing checks before Garmin came along, leaving Doug Ellis out of the picture and making it seem like the current team all sprang from Vaughters' 50K. But then, Gumbel goes there and says okay, so how is it Lance Armstrong can still be considered the big hero? Frankel, visions of lawsuits dancing in his head, smiles/grimaces and suggests that Lance would answer with the "never tested positive" line. Reflecting the times in which we live, Gumbel sniffs and puts him in the sinking ship with Bonds, Clemens, and the like. Frankel, more grin this time, allows "we agree on this," and they leave it there. I'd call that progress.

Just as I don't understand the Millar haters, I don't understand the Lance haters either, I mean the ones who have venom in their veins for him and anyone who likes him. There's plenty I don't like, but it doesn't make my blood boil. I'm just looking for a more open and realistic discussion. Because how can we know if they're making progress if people can't talk about where they've been? That's why Millar is one of the few people you can have a reasonable discussion about this with.

Garmin-Chipotle announced their Tour de France squad, and a lovely squad it is. The experience of guys like Millar and Christian Vande Velde, and also the fresh new faces making it to their first Tour, I'm excited for all of them! Tom Danielson is not among them, sad to say. Tom is a puzzle, but I take comfort in the fact that I think he's in the right place, on the right team. If there's a way for him to make it, they'll find it, and take good care of him along the way. I didn't appreciate Lance's snide reference the other day - well, like I said, I'm glad Tom is where he is now and not where he used to be.

Another happy announcement - the latest addition to the Hincapie family - baby Enzo! Congrats to George and Mel, can't wait to see iPhone photos of Julia playing with Enzo!

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