Sunday, June 01, 2008

The 2008 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Awards

Okay, having (1) nursed my 3-week post-Giro-downer hangover with a nice bottle of wine from we'll-always-love-and-if-you-don't-go-to-hell Gilberto Simoni's home stomping grounds and (2) fortunately survived the Harrowing Plane Ride of Imminent Death that temporarily kept me from timely end-game mountains coverage or damn near anything at all for all eternity, I humbly wrap up this year's Giro d'Italia coverage for both my faithful readers by, for once, truly giving credit where credit is due. Thus, without further ado, a nice bottle of Prosecco and a bonus video of "Podium Babes Gone Wild" goes to:

I Call Bull!@#$ Award: to man-o'modest-expectations Johan Bruyneel, natch, for claiming the maglia rosa was a total unplanned and unhoped-for shock to the system, only to have Alberto show up 5 seconds later in perfect-fitting pink helmet, socks, gloves, shoe covers, musette and interior chamois. By the way, did anyone else think, even for a shameful second, that after weeks of virginal blushing, aw-shucks hemming-and-hawing, and charming self-deprecation at every suggestion the boy can ride a bike better'n your average beer-swilling couch lump, Contador's sprinter-worthy chest-thumping gesticulating across the line at the time trial belied his true filthy down-n-dirty bite-me-Ricco' eat-my-dust-you-pathetic-weaklings nature?

Like A School In Summertime...No Class Award: brilliant and generally quite likable young upstart Mark Cavendish, happily affirming to the press that Andre Greipel's stage win was in fact a gimme by his captain, right when an annoyed and ego-bruised Greipel had just denied it to the same press corps. We get it, you rock, it was truly dandy of you to body-block Bennati for Greipel, can you sprinters *please* ever shut the !@#$ up?

Mountain King: who else? 'Nuff said. Now that he's getting married as promised on account of those stage wins, does he get to wear the green jersey under his tux?

An Officer and a Gentleman: yes, baby Contador's modest, perfect, and ever so cute as a button, but this one actually goes to Danilo Di Luca, who didn't blame his teammates, some crap fictional ailment, his soigneur, the weather, an unduly weak espresso or his mechanics for his largely disappointing performance, instead candidly copping to a simple failure of form and, after expressing only modest hopes for a pick up, had the guts to fruitlessly attack in the mountains anyway in the final weekend. Right on Il Killer!

Tifosi of the Year: no, it's not the guys who even the gentle Emanuele Sella had to frantically swat off him like killer bees nor the helpful loyalists who wreck rider's lines on an excruciating ascent by sticking giant foam fingers in their faces, it's Marco Pantani's, for splendidly and wholly irrelevantly plastering his name and visage all over the roads, on every race-side banner, and in 90% of the comments on the Gazzetta dello Sport boards, despite the fact that technically (if not certainly in the hearts of all concerned) he's not actually raced in the Giro this year. Tell me, can a bunch of rioting drunken British soccer louts or screaming Dorito-spraying beer-gutted American football fans match such love?

General Team Bitchin'-ness Prize: though Gibo's loyal lieutenants came a close second, this one goes to the boys at LPR, who managed to take a wad of stage wins and several days in the maglia rosa while herding Di Luca along with a competence far beyond their craptastic Continental paychecks. Give these boys a raise, and a ProTour license while we're at it!

Shot Through the Heart!/And You're to Blame! Award: yep, this one's for Simoni, for whom I am still hoarding a miserable heartbreak over his hideous breakdown that whacked him flat off the podium in what is likely his last Grand Tour ever (and who the hell is going to cover his mountain bike races so I can see 'em? Dammit!), but who rallied to 3d in a fabulous mountain time trial in which he actually beat Contador like anyone gives a rat's fuzzy !@#, then broke away from the gruppo maglia rosa to take second to the unbeatable Sella's penultimate stage. First, major points to Gibo's tifosi for giving him the adulation he's due for an incredible career even amidst the fuss over at-the-moment-perhaps-stronger-riders-but-certainly-lesser-men. Second, next time even Phil or Paul refers to him like he's some decrepit old bat from the era before those ridiculous Horseless Carriages I'm gonna really get irked. Third, man Gilberto, you did a great job thwapping that obnoxious jerkface protege Ricco's body into shape at Saunier Duval, but like you couldn't have done something about his mouth?

Domestique O' the Race: Oh Klodi. You cracked, you got sick, yet you still wordlessly managed to slap around that little twerp Ricco' til he cried for mercy in the Alpine passes before you keeled over on the next to last day with a lung infection, though as with the other Grand Tours on which you have podiumed, you are more than capable of taking your own. Oh well, better to work for outwardly-amiable little Contador than toddler tyrant Ricco', right?

Shameless Nationalist Rah-Rah Award: yep, Christian Van de Velde, for taking the maglia rosa on day 1 even if it meant that poor we love Dave Zabriskie didn't get to. Dag nabit, and forza Christian!

Total Freakin' Stupidity Award: Y'know, I'll forgive the Italians damn near anything, up to and including the fine points of Italian grammar I've spent the last weeks being too dense to comprehend and that no-one told me doesn't even matter because folks actually speak Ladino in the Dolomites, but waiting for Leonardo "Aaacck! Snoorrtt!" Piepoli to crash out after he'd already helped Ricco' to stage wins, when Stefano Garzelli and Alessandro "Post-Race Doping Violation" Petacchi were barred from riding at all, is absolute !@#$%$^%!. What the hell were you twisted amoral goons even thinking, RCS?

Ricco'...Un-Suave Prize: finally, this one goes to red-faced rabid wolverine shrieking crybaby you-know-who, who had the great good sportsmanship not only to rip into Pellizotti and Sella for failing to be his !@$%#%$ and hunt Contador down by daring to ride for their own GC placements instead when they also happen to ride for other organizations, but also handsomely--if unproductively he'll find, I imagine--humiliated his own teammates at really a very fine squad by snarking that if he had a backup team like Astana's , he'd've obviously ground the rest of the field and especially Contador into the dust like a spit-covered cigarette stub too. Um, not to slag such piercing strategic analysis, Riccardo, nor such spectacular excuses for why you continue to bite at the individual time trial, but if you are really thinking about taking the Tour some day mightn't you not want to insult boys who now have a vested interest in accidentally touching wheels and nudging your ungrateful !@# down the mountainside on the Alpe d'Huez?

All right folks, if I've missed something or made a lousy call (and I'm sure I have), spit it out. Til then, it's on to the Dauphine and the riders' prep work for the irritating Tour de France, and we love Jens!


randie said...

ibecile-with-a-big-mouth-but-lacks-the-performance-to-back-it-up-award: Who else? ricco!

hurrah for we love Jens! who kicked some serious butt.
pity about klodi.

Donna J Frey said...

Racejunkie, really enjoyed your comments on the Giro. Yes, yes, Di Luca is truly a hard act to follow. But a lot of good men in this Giro. Contador, Kloden, Van de Velde, Leipheimer, so many others we didn't hear much about but wanted to. As for Ricco, maturity will take care of his insert-foot-in-mouth problem---if the peloton doesn't kill him first. What a race! The tactics, especially in the last days, had me knawing my fingers. Too bad we won't get to see Contador defend his Tour de France title AS HE SHOULD BE DOING, thanks to those xxxxxxx ASO officials.

N.B.O.L. said...

In the "I Call Bull!@#$ Award", I'd like to know exactly when Trek started production of the pink Madone with pink accents on the Bontrager carbon wheels. I'm sure they just happened to have one laying around in Alberto's size.

Anonymous said...

Alas, poor Kloden; hosed again. Is it better to withdraw because of your very own lung infection, than to be tossed out because some of your teammates liked to snort up too many red blood cells?? Maybe...

And, yes I was highly amused that Ricco would have the idiocy to blame his team. It's one thing to pick on "the lifeguard and the Kraut," but - your own team? I predict a rash of "mechanical failures" for him over the rest of the season, as well as his team mates suddenly suffering from simultaneous bonking in crucial stages. (Hopefully putting in a few more years will help him grow up a little more.)

All in all, it was a pretty great Giro! Now I just need to figure out how to cope with the daily coverage withdrawal. (I believe Chianti will help the problem!)

Anonymous said...

Great post, as always, after a thrilling Giro! We love Jens indeed!