Monday, July 27, 2009

It's The 2009 Racejunkie Tour de France Awards!--and, Our Win Free Stuff Contest Winner!

Well folks, Team Astana has officially eaten its young, three weeks of blood, sweat, tears 'n' disgusting Armstrong fawning have come to an end, and it's time for the 2009 Tour de France awards! Sure, I'm somewhat hamstrung by the Win Free Stuff! Contest's two-week rider insult moratoriums--but who doesn't love Cadel and Tom Boonen anyway? So, without further ado:

Like Britney Spears Flashing Her Crotch at the Paparazzi, But Less Classy Award: yep, this one's for Lance's petty crybaby podium antics, notably reaching over to shake 2nd place finisher Andy Schleck's hand heartily while virtually ignoring Contador, rudely not even glancing at his own 3d place trophy proudly given to him by the race organizers and pissily ogling Alberto's instead, and, icing on the cake, blasting by the neatly single-filing riders on his squad at the best-team presentation so he wouldn't have to stand next to the guy who'd beaten him and he could nestle in among his own happy servants instead. Let's be honest--if one of Lance's teammates had pulled that disrespectful crap on *him* during one of *his* Tour de France wins, he'd have gone Al Capone on him with a baseball bat *plus* had his broken carcass posthumously fired on the spot. Punk whiny sore-loser move, Mr. Armstrong!

Miracle on Ice Award: okay, I thought Denis Menchov maybe doped to improve his *performance*, but did anyone realize he needed to be on the juice just to maintain his *balance*? Never since Michael Rasmussen's ignominious podium-tanking final Tour de France time trial a few years back has a rider crashed so often with so little reason. Lots of guys were still tired from the Giro, Denis--what the heck was going on?

The French Revolution Prize: okay, when it comes to GC hopes--and half the time when it even comes to stage wins--the French have pretty well sucked in their own Grand Tour since Hinault. Until this year. Yes, time for us coarse arrogant McDonald's-suckin' bull-ridin' cultureless barbarian Americans to acknowledge the truth: from Fedrigo to Voeckler to Brice Feillu, not to mention the usual suspects pounding away in the breakaways, the French riders kicked !@# this year. Felicitations, boys!

Sissy-Boy-Slap-Fight-o'-the-Tour: so between we-still-love-so-I'm-sure-this-was- just a hallucinogen-induced-deviation Thor Hushovd cussing out Ciolek and Cav on the sprints, Cav whining about Thor, Bruyneel crying about Contador, and patient little Sastre finally completely losing it and slammin', well, everybody, this one was a killer. In the end, though, it goes to--and it wounds me deeply to say this--big George Hincapie, excoriating a wholly innocent team for protecting their own sprint and GC prospects which is, after all, quite their job. I'm sorry you didn't get yellow too, George--might've taken that one up with your own squad Discovery for oh, seven years straight!

Tuff Enuff Prize: on a sunnier note, this one, too, is for Hincapie: he rode the end of the race with a broken collarbone. What a bas-!@#--truly, even in a sport where you're expected to ride through incredible pain, kudos to you, George!

Celebrity Butt-Kiss of the Race: again, another embarrassment of riches, as a host of irrelevant Hollywood heavyweights, assorted quasi-royal dignitaries, and damn near every media outlet on earth sought to outdo each other with paeans to, and even momentary association with, the One. But only one name stands supreme: yes, former teammate Bob Roll, whose almost pornographic daily lovefests on Vs. could make a hard-core career gigolo blush. You're great fun to watch and listen to, Bob--but TMI man!

Crash o' the Tour (Cringe-Inducing): all right, no-one pitched off the side of the mountain this year, but gnurk! Jens' spectacular--and bone-shattering--face-plant on a none-too-smooth descent. Get well soon Jens--and come back and attack the crap out of the peloton again next year!

Crash o' the Tour (Tactical Significance): anyone else wonder what would've happened with GC if only he'd been around in the mountains to pick up where Popo left off? Yep, this one's for Levi Leipheimer--an ordinary crash with likely race-altering consequences. Okay, I'm still irked you piled on Contador over the Klodi debacle--but fair is fair, you earned this Levi!

Domestique o' the Race: yeah, no-one mentioned his name, not once in three long, long weeks of constant coverage--but if you review the tapes, you'll see him there, faithfully setting the pace, blocking the wind, and working his butt off in a humble obscurity completely at odds with his Classics-winning godliness--yes, it's indomitable Aussie tough-guy Stuart O'Grady. Okay, I know your big bro' Frank was invaluable Andy--but buy that man a drink post-haste!

B-B-Bad to the Bone Award: last year, he landed on some spindly socialist protester like a ton of bricks. This year, when someone dared to try to pass themselves off on the podium as a stage winner, he put on the hurt again. Bernard Hinault--if you ever get tired of being a cycling legend, you can always get a gig as the most-feared bouncer at a dive biker bar!

Sweet Spot o' the Race: lest you think I'm a total cynic, this one goes to Thor's leadout man Heinrich Haussler for choking up as he took his finely-played stage win. Didn't you want to about burst into tears, too? I know I did!

Ivan Basso Can Suck It Award: yes, as our comely long-lashed reformed miscreant readies himself for the Vuelta, the Adonis of the Euromullet, Ivan's equally-supermodelesque Giro "co-captain" Franco Pellizotti was, while sadly ditching his GC hopes, relentless and brave in his successful pursuit of the King of the Mountains. He got Most Aggressive Rider too! And boy, does he look pretty in polka dots...

Unsung Quote o' the Tour: from a smashing article in the Wall Street Journal of all places, this gem from 1/2 of the best cycling-commentator team in the universe Phil Liggett on the rise of the team-centered strategy from the ashes of purely individual contests in the high passes in the old Fausto Coppi days: "The strong men just got together in the mountains and knocked the crap out of each other. Nobody was helping them." Great, so can we finally lay off Contador for not domestiquing Klodi back up to him now?

What the !@#$? Prize: sure, it ain't easy winning the Giro, and goodness knows it's distracting to constantly be hauled off to testify to the doping investigators, particularly when you're about to try to win the most famous race in cycling, but am I the only wondering if there was perhaps something else--like oh, I don't know, a radical, um, nutrition-related redesign in the scandal-plagued Rabobank's race preparations--going on with Denis Menchov? If it's anything more than just really, really needing a nice long nap, buddy, give Roberto Heras back his Vuelta !@#dammit!

Young Rider: all right, Tony Martin was spectacular. And the boy I'm choosing didn't even take a stage--though barely. But I was gaping like a bass on a hook when jailbait Irishman Nicholas Roche was stomping on riders with buckets more experience. Anyone else think we're gonna see a lot more of this kid in the coming years?

Gross Hypocrisy o' the Tour: my, Lance Armstrong really *is* a winner. Stage 3: Armstrong takes advantage of crosswind, ditches Contador, credits self. Stage 7: Contador takes advantage of opportunity on Arcalis, ditches teammates, roundly !@#$%$-slapped by Armstrong for betrayal. And don't even get me started on Armstrong suggesting team leader Contador should've domestiqued for Klodi. Look in the mirror much?

Fan Overboard Award: we wreck their line in the mountains shoving flags in their faces, push 'em on the !@# til we have to be punched away, run alongside them screaming in highly disconcerting neon-green mankinis, and knock them over with sword-sharp advertising-giveaway-whatsits, but *shooting* at them? Aside from being criminal, psycho, and murderous, that just ain't right. What the hell is next, aiming water cannons at the peloton when they're three inches away from a precipice and blasting 'em off the Alps? Don't even think about it, you freaks....

Magical Mystery Tour Award: last but not least, let's look back on the most astonishing fact of an astonishing Tour--three whole weeks, faithful reader(s), and not a single--single!--doping poz announced yet. Luck? Simply careful double-checking by the oft- (and rightly-) maligned lab chimps? Or could we actually have the clean and sparkly peloton we've all been, so idealistically and fruitlessly, dreaming of at last? Somehow, I'm guessing the answer's a grim one. But please, in the name of similarly pure and precious fantasies like unicorns and the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, someone prove my disillusioned heart wrong this time!

Well folks, that's about it for this year, tho' I'm sure that in the likely event that I've (1) missed someone and (2) !@#$ed this up, you'll let me know. 'Til then, cue the schmaltzy music while we bust out the big rhinestore tiara and bouquet of roses for the winners' walk down the runway, and let these boys enjoy their reign!

And, after a plunge into the Holy ONCE-Eroski Cap o' Thrills 'n' Chills, we've got ourselves the final Win Free Stuff! Contest winner, and it's: Tusher! Tusher, check your e-mail so I can get your prize to you! And our Two Week Rider Insult Moratorium is on: TBA. Thanks to all for participating, and if you like, we'll do it again next year!


bill hue said...

This is some juicy stuff from a comment at the Competative Cyclist blog:

July 27, 2009
lance fan boys....i hope contador rides for garmin next year. 2nd strongest gc team 2nd fastest sprinter.....not bad for a 1 year old pro tour team the real LANCE.......not televised or blogged about above A Tale of solitude It happened on Thursday, a few hours before the Annecy ITT. Contador came downstairs to the entrance of the Palace of Menthon, the luxurious Astana hotel. The Tour was on. He looked right, then left. Nobody, nothing. No Astana cars or helpers. Cold sweat. Quick time check. Where are they? The hotel is several kilometers from the start. There he was, the leader of the Tour, in flip-flops, bag in hand and alone. He went to the hall looking for an answer: Armstrong had ordered the helpers to go pick up his wife, kids and friends to the airport. Contador left his room last because he was the last one starting the ITT. Armstrong had managed to take away his means of transportation. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Hot flashes, he was rabid. He called his brother Fran. He came to pick him up by car and took him to Annecy in a private vehicle. He left last and finished first. His best victory. In the ITT. In solitude. The same way he has won his second tour. Contador’s toughest climb was not recorded in images. It was narrated by others. It was fought in the hotel and the bus: during one stage, Armstrong sat his guests at the very back of the bus, right in Contador’s usual seat. One more provocation. Armstrong to the luxury suite. Contador to sleep with Paulinho, the only ally. Same deal during the entire tour. Mouth shut, listening to Armstrong’s jabs: “It doesn’t take a Nobel prize to figure out what happens with side winds”. Contador didn’t reply in the hotel. He did on the road. He attacked in the first mountain finish in Arcalis. Without permission from Bruyneel, Armstrong’s DS. That night the Astana hotel was a funeral. Red eyes from the Texan (anger? crying? not sure). The first cyclist that stood up to him. And he did it in silence." Not in the article – apparently LA did not attend the team dinner in Paris to celebrate Contadors victory.
- jb, montreal

Anonymous said...

Where did all this Contador bashing come from? What has he really done to deserve disrespectful ---hateful--attacks from the press, and teammates? Is Contador a saint? Is anyone? What do people expect of him? Is it simply a hatred of anything good? His ability to win races?

Thanks for shedding light on all this crap that is enough to turn me off on cycling. Sad. Very sad.

bill hue said...

The Armstrong/Contador "feud" is like a car crash on the freeway...... I cannot avert my eyes from the carnage.

Alberto would be well advised to get media savy fast or he, like many others, will be steamrolled by the Lance Armstrong PR machine.

Anonymous said...

And to think that Lance was once Alberto's idol. And about Lance's cancer ---Alberto has a scar from ear to ear and a plate in his head. He once had only a 50% chance of surviving his brain surgery, never mind making it back on a bike. We don't hear a lot about that.

Kit said...

Alberto should ignore the crazy man in the corner. He's the champion, he needs to act like it. No reason to roll with a pig in mud - you get dirty and the pig likes it. He should focus on his team, giving them props. and shoring up his dominance over the peleton - not giving it away to LA.

randie said...

@ bill hue
thanks for that little share there, it's really incredibly sad to read that, and I hope Contador craps all over Lance next year - with the full backing of his team.
It's disgusting to think that a man who is admired by millions can be so petty. Damn you Lance - can't you just crawl into obscurity already.
on a lighter note - rj you forgot "The Most Disturbing Podium Girl Headdress" with the award being the Minnie-esque headbands of the KOM girls.

Rosemary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

Fine, I didn't want to win anyway. I'd rather wait for the full Race Junkie kit to come out.