July 29, 2007
In a hastily-called press conference today after the ending of a tour rocked by doping, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme implicated Team Discovery in yet another scandal. A noticeably shaken Prudhomme read from a prepared statement:
“It has always been the goal of the tour to provide an even playing field for all riders and to vigorously prosecute any malfeasance by the teams. It is with very great regret that I announce that, based on the results of a recent investigation, Team Discovery riders Contador and Leipheimer have been stripped of their GC titles.
After the doping issues, we would have liked nothing better than to finish the tour and head off to the Riviera, but the obviousness of the incidents that occurred during the tour, and a push for action by the peleton left us with no choice but to investigate.
Based on a tip from a Bulgarian veteranarian, agents from the DGSE searched the Team Discovery European headquarters and discovered an advanced canine research center. Documents captured during the raid described prohibited research into canine mind-control, and detailed plans for using these canines to disrupt the 2007 tour and push Team Discovery riders to the top of the GC.”
Newly-crowned winner Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) was outspoken in his criticism:
“It used to be that this sort of stuff was conducted with some subtlety, but this time it was blatant. I’d leave the house on a training ride, and there’d be dingos. On the climbs, dingos. On the descents, dingos. And that Team Discovery “film crew” that was purportedly scouting locations for a documentary, but ended up staying the whole month that I was home, in a car with suspicious amounts of dog hair.
There is simply no place for mind-controlled canines in the world of professional bicycle racing.”
Team Discovery directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel dismissed the charges as overblown:
“The use of canines in professional cycling has a long history, and what we are doing is totally within the rules. During the 1982 Tour Bernard Hinault traveled with a miniature Schnauzer who he had trained to fetch bidons for him, and our canines are assisting in a similar manner. For example, if a masseuse has forget his oil during a post-stage rubdown, the dog can be used to fetch it, saving valuable seconds.
We also have a separate program to quantify exactly how hard a rider must exert himself to be “working like a dog”
It is fanciful to claim that we are using these pets to disrupt the race and put riders at risk”
In a short question and answer session, Prudhomme clarified that while Team Discovery riders would be stripped of their individual titles, the team would retain their team title because, “nobody really cares about that anyway”.
(somewhat inspired by Fatty)