Paris France, July 30 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – In a press conference following the ejection of Tour favorites Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo and Ivan Basso from the Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme announced that the 2006 TdF had been officially declared “The Year of the Asterisk.”
“I am pleased to announce that the asterisk (*) will play an exceptionally prominent role in this year’s tour,” said Prudhomme. “Of course, it already had a starring role, due to Mr. Armstrong’s absence and the universal certainty that the only reason he wasn’t going to win this year is because he isn’t racing.”
“Now, however, with Basso and Ullrich gone, combined with efforts to remove other racers like Vinokourov, we feel certain that any victories won in this year’s tour will be very nearly meaningless.”
“We are taking measures to really make the asterisk play a special role this year,” continued Prudhomme. “Instead of a stuffed lion, stage winners will be handed a stuffed asterisk. Instead of excited discussion about who raced how in a given stage, Phil and Paul have been instructed to talk about who would have raced better, had they been present.”
“Most importantly,” concluded the race director, “the leaders’ jerseys have been specially modified. The yellow jersey will be a much paler, washed-out yellow; in fact, it will be hard to tell it’s yellow at all. The white jersey will be more off-white than white, and may prominently feature a coffee stain if we don’t get around to washing it soon. The polka dot jersey will have red asterisks instead of dots, and the green jersey will have a camoflauge pattern. And of course, all jerseys will have a big asterisk over the right breast.”
“I’m so glad all of these dirty racers have been caught,” said one professional cyclist, who on the advice of his lawyer asked to remain anonymous. “You see, all the rest of us are absolutely clean.”
“Yes,” agreed another cyclist, who also asked not to have his name printed, “With all of the leading names in cycling gone from this race, viewers—if there are any—can have high confidence that the person who wins has never taken drugs. You have my word on it.”
“Isn’t it amazing,” asked a third unidentified racer, “that there are so many of us who are dirty, but none of us were able to beat Lance? It just goes to show: clean living pays in the end.”
Elden Nelson, an avid cycling fan who was so excited about the Tour de France he recently purchased a Slingbox so he could watch it wherever and whenever he wanted, looked despondent upon hearing the news. “This thing cost me close to $200.00,” said Nelson, close to tears. “And now I don’t know if I’ll even bother watching at all.”
“That’s not all I’m upset about,” said Nelson, who appears to be approximately twenty pounds overweight. “I was more excited for this TdF than I have been for three years. I mean, finally: a tour where there could be honest debate about who would win.”
“Now,” said Nelson, glumly, while idly scratching his paunch, “I guess people could still debate who’s going to win, but it’s not easy to get worked up about it. I guess I’ll cheer for Floyd, but that’s just kind of a fallback position.”
Nelson then wandered away, evidently looking for something to eat.
With Ullrich, Basso, and Mancebo out of the tour, other racers suddenly have newfound opportunities to shine. Expert cyclist analysts say that faces to watch include:
- David Millar: Oh, the irony. It is rich, is it not?
- Floyd Landis: Dollars to doughnuts, Floyd will win the whole thing. And he might have won the whole thing even if Basso and Ullrich were racing. But now we’ll never know, and it’s suddenly tough to care.
- David Zabriskie: OK, I’ll admit: if Zabriskie shines, I’ll get excited. Really excited.
- Others: There are likely other candidates for a strong showing in this year’s tour, but—unfortunately—the expert analysts got bored of listing them, mumbled something about “doesn’t matter anyway” and walked off.
OLN Fails to React
OLN, the network broadcasting the Tour de France, was unavailable for comment on this development, because everyone involved in the broadcast (with the sole exception of Al Trautwig, who had no idea what had just happened) had committed suicide.