Tales from the Peloton, September 6, 2005
Lausanne, Switzerland (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - As Tyler Hamilton began his final appeal regarding doping allegations that surfaced almost exactly a year ago, sources close to Hamilton's legal team have leaked his startling defense strategy. "Tyler Hamilton will present strong evidence that this entire blood doping scandal was definitively not caused by Hamilton receiving blood transfusions," said a member of Hamilton's defense team, on condition of anonymity.
"Instead, we will demonstrate that a cursed tiki charm caused these false positives to surface." Continued the source, "Indeed, we will show that it is the exact same tiki charm shown in The Brady Bunch, episodes 73 - 75. We will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hamilton has been in possession of the exact same tiki necklace that caused Greg to wipe out on his surfboard and nearly drown, Peter to be attacked by a very scary spider, and many other dangerous - yet entertaining - incidents in the popular television show in 1972."
The problems begin
Pressed for details on how the case will work, the source went on. "It is no secret that Hamilton has been plagued by 'accidents' most of his professional career. What nobody - until now - has ever understood, is why. The fact is, on a family vacation to Hawaii back in 1984, a teenage Tyler purchased what he thought was a harmless tiki charm from a suspicious-looking salesman in a ramshackle tourist shop." "Since then," said the anonymous source ominously, "his troubles have never stopped dogging him."
Tiki Trail of Woe
"Everyone knows that Tyler began his cycling career only after crashing out of competitive skiing," said this member of Tyler's 'inner circle'. Then, holding up a grainy, highly-enlarged photograph of what looked to be a necklace on a flailing skier, he said, "As you can see, he was wearing the tiki charm when he had this fateful crash." "Tyler made the same mistake Mr. Brady did regarding the dreaded tiki charm," said the source. "He believed that the charm was actually good luck and had saved him from more serious harm, rather than understanding the tiki caused the accident. Since then, the tiki charm has brought him nothing but trouble."
Defense talking points
When told that many athletes, not just Hamilton, have suffered career setbacks, our source smiled. "That is actually an integral part of our defense strategy. Consider the 2003 Tour de France - one of the most drama-filled races in modern history. The morning before Stage 1, Levi Leipheimer noticed Hamilton's tiki charm and asked to see it. Hamilton obliged, but then Leipheimer began a game of keep-away, with numerous racers tossing the charm back and forth before eventually returning it to Hamilton."
"As you no doubt have guessed," he continued, "Every person who touched the charm that day was involved in the crash. And you can see what Leipheimer got for his role in playing with the charm that way." Our whistle-blower had a friend with him, who weighed in on the point, saying, "On the day Beloki crashed out of the race, he was actually carrying the tiki charm. Knowing that the stage was important to Beloki, the always-friendly Hamilton had loaned the charm to him, 'for luck.' Ironic, isn't it?"
"And the day Armstrong got his handlebar hung up on a kid's musette may be the most telling of all," he continued, his eyes wide, his voice low. "All Armstrong did to merit that stroke of bad luck was to brush up against Hamilton's charm on the start line that day."
"Since then," said the source in a hushed, trembling voice, "It's been one bad thing after another. Hamilton wrecked out of the 2004 Tour de France. His dog died. He won a gold medal in the Olympics, but somehow his blood tested positive for something I can promise you he did not do. Then it tests positive in last year's Vuelta and suddenly he can race no more. At that point, he gave his charm to his teammate Santiago Perez to help give him luck. I don't think I need to tell you how that turned out." "I tell you, this tiki charm must be destroyed, so Hamilton can begin his career and life again," said our man on the money, his voice shaking with emotion. "Our legal team has top warlocks and sorcerers looking into how to either destroy the charm or otherwise de-curse-ify it."
Tyler Hamilton, reached for comment on this legal strategy, rolled his eyes. "That's simply ridiculous," said Hamilton. "This charm is no more magic than the vial of salt I keep with me, or the mystical water I drink before each race." "In fact," continued the man from Marblehead, "I'll be carrying this charm with me during the entire proceedings. I think it'll bring me luck."
Read more of Elden Nelson's cycling satire, ill-formed opinions, and bad advice at the 'Fat Cyclist' blog