Armstrong and Leipheimer at Gila Masquerade ball.
What would you call a pro bike race in costume? That’s sure how the Tour of the Gila sounds, with top riders like Lance Armstrong and Dave Zabriskie wearing a disguise.
Thanks to UCI code 2.1.009, ProTour and Professional Continental teams are verboten at national ranked events. They’re permitted to send a maximum of three riders but only if they play masquerade ball.
The Radio Shack boys, Lance, Levi Leipheimer and McCartney are going as riders sponsored by Armstrong’s Mellow Johnny bike ship back in Austin.
Meanwhile Dave Zabriskie, Tom Danielson and Danny Pate of Garmin-Transition will be decked out in DZ Nuts jerseys, Zabriskie’s side business.
That should fulfill UCI regulations and no make-up, wigs or fake noses are required. Then again, you never know with the UCI folks who ban and un-ban bikes with never-ending confusion.
Should Radio Shack boss Johan Bruyneel show up, the UCI has mandated he disguise himself as hot fashion designer JB. Rumors that Floyd Landis might crash the race dressed as a French gendarme continue to circulate.
Danilo di Luca, serving a two year ban for doping, had hoped to enter the race using the identity of famous Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Those Gila plans fell through at the last minute.
No matter what jersey Armstrong, Leipheimer and Zabriskie wear, don’t expect any other riders to be fooled. Even the lizards in New Mexico know who they are.