Blazin' Saddles

Pellizotti punt backfires

Blazin' Saddles

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.
The
12:05 at Melbourne's famous Flemington racecourse on Saturday included a hotly
tipped horse called Pellizotti, and Saddles - quite naturally - couldn't resist
a little flutter.

Currently
on his own tour Down Under and out at the races for a friend's
"bucks" (stag) day, BS backed the handsome royally-bred bay colt at
$5 each way at generous odds of 11-1.

How
could he resist? Pellizotti's film-star looks encouraged his trainer to bid
$450,000 for him as a yearling at the Sydney Easter sales last year. This was a
horse with prime pedigree. In the paddock, the aristocratic looker was sleek
and elegant, while like his cycling namesake, Pellizotti's jockey wore the
green, blue and white of Liquigas (the previous red polka dot design was
recently pulled).

And
wouldn't it make a great blog entry if a horse called Pellizotti took the
spoils just days after a man called Pellizotti trotted away from cycling after
being slapped with a two-year ban?

The
thing is, had Saddles taken time to consult Pellizotti's form - the horse's
biological passport if you will - he would have seen that since back-to-back
wins last June, the three-year-old had only mustered a fourth-place and a
couple of sevenths.

It
will come as little surprise then that, mirroring his curly haired cycling
alter ego, Pellizotti trickled home second-to-last in a race won by chestnut
filly Panipique. Typical.

Also
in a bit of a pique this week - quite naturally - was the real Franco
Pellizotti, who told reporters that he was "disappointed with the sport
and with justice" after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld an
appeal by the UCI regarding the 33-year-old rider's suspicious biological
passport.

Banned
for two years, stripped of his results since May 2009 and fined 115,000 Euros,
"Il Delfino" must feel like a dolphin that has swum into a Peruvian
sushi bar.

"I
do not accept this penalty, but what I can do?" he told Italian media.
"This is cycling... The leaders do what they want and will continue
because they are allowed to do so. They are powerful, very strong and nobody
says anything against them. I just cannot do anything."

Whether
Pellizotti was having a swipe at the UCI and CAS or whether by
"leaders" he meant top riders such as Alberto Contador is unclear.
But, following the news, surely Bertie would have had another one of those
sleepless nights he's been telling us all about ad nauseum.

With the UCI boosting the validity of its biological passport by overturning
the decision of the Italian Olympic Committee to clear Pellizotti, Contador,
himself bailed out by his own national cycling federation, must be feeling a
bit nervous.

The
Spaniard is already planning his defence: "My biological passport has not
got a stain on it," he said before winking to his new hot-shot lawyer and
trying to scrub clean a stain on the carpet in the house of his clearly upset
and crying parents, whose suffering knows no bounds.

LAST
ORDERS FOR RICCO:

As tempting as it was to lead this week's blog with the news that Riccardo
Ricco now plans to become a barman
, Saddles couldn't resist punting on
Pellizotti.

After
all, can anyone actually trust something Ricco says anymore? The guy claims he
plans to become a bar tender - but he's just as likely to harbour desires to be
a pizza delivery boy or a Europop video background dancer for all we know.

Still,
if Ricco is going to switch pedalling for pulling pints, then he'll be able to
fix a mean Pina CERAda, Tequila Vacansoleilrise or EPO on the Beach - although
watch out for the freshness of his Bloody Marys.

If
the 27-year-old speaks to a few testing laboratories, he should also be able to
procure some of his frozen urine samples from the myriad doping tests he's
taken over the years - that should make a nice Long Island Iced, ahem, Pee.

And
yet despite all this promise, something tells BS that Bar Ricco will stock
Desperado, will favour Babycham over Bubbly, and load up his fridge with tepid
bottles of Cobra Beer (next to containers of "gazpacho" and other
Spanish-style tapas bites).

The
shamed Italian sounded off to Gazzetta dello Sport this week, claiming that his
latest fall from grace - an alleged self-administered autologous blood
transfusion - was "not doping".

"I
have not tested positive but I have already been judged. I don't want to ride
anymore. The world of cycling makes me puke," he said, pouring himself a
large glass of whine.

Were
Saddles a barman he'd love to serve Ricco a good old-fashioned rum punch.

 

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