Sunday, May 29, 2011

The 2011 Racejunkie Giro d'Italia Awards

Yes, dear reader(s), another terrible, beautiful Giro is behind us, and it's time to reward both the sublime and the ridiculous with the respect, admiration, and wholesale mockery they deserve. So, with thanks to the peloton for their contributions to ignominious cycling history, here goes:

Punk-!@# Move of the Giro: okay, Visconti's World Wrestling Federation slugfest then spectacular post-relegation whining campaign came close, but this one's for Alberto Contador repeatedly attacking Vincenzo Nibali in the last 500 meters of the climb up Zoncolan. Let's be clear: Contador had by far the time to spare to show some class, and didn't. !@#$, Alberto, do *you* want to beat Lance Armstrong's unbreakable record as Biggest !@#hole In the Peloton?

Spectator o' the Race: sure, there's always gonna be guys in almost unlawfully tiny Speedos content to show off their flapping love handles to 2 million people innocently watching at home, but for my money, this goes to the guy in lederhosen dressed in horns running alongside Contador and bearing aloft a giant syringe. Still not a true believer, are you? Shame on you, naughty tifoso!

Always Something There to Remind Me Prize: Team Radioskank hotel hangout invaded by the narcs, followed by Johan Bruyneel's hysterical denials that he did not either bail out of the country like a wussbag with barely a change of underwear to avoid the heat. Doesn't *anyone* believe they're clean?! Oh, wait...

Krusty, Crostini, Crostis, Whatever Award: all right, the race organizers couldn't help the dirt Crostis descent getting cut--that was the teams' fault--but how lame to change the course *again* just to avoid a violent mob protest over the decision. How'd *you* feel if you camped out with no working toilet on top of a freezing mountain for 2 days only to be told to 'enjoy' the nonexistent remaining roadside spots elsewhere instead--show them some respect, and as for yourself, organizers, show some stones!

Sweet Spot o' the Giro: oh, my ever-underfunded, ever-underestimated Euskaltel. First you accomplish your entire race goal of one stage win with Igor Anton, then loyal superdomestique Mikel Nieve caps it off with a phenomenal, grinding win on the queen stage. Woo-hoo Euskaltel--you can just change that maglia rosa to orange-and-black from now on, suckers!

Wah-Wah of the Race (Self-Serving): remember in stage 3, when Alessandro Petacchi moved over like a foot during the sprint and--aiiiggghhhh! !@#$in' Two-Week Rider Insult Moratorium! Aiiiggggghhhh!

Wah-Wah of the Race (Just Plain Irritating): The road has potholes. The Giro has mountains. I won a stage. Other people, except me, don't clean up til after they're caught doping. Yap, yap, yap. Dang, don't St. David Millar *ever* quit complaining? Nope, not as long as there's a camera around, I guess...

Stick a Fork In 'Em, They're Done Award of 2011: first, it seemed outright stupid, then, it seemed merely reckless, and finally, it seemed like the wiliest !@#damn move in Giro history. Alberto Contador on Mt. Etna. It's only stage 9, and game over, baby--better luck next year, Nibali!

Braveheart Award: no matter how many times Contador attacked, Michele Scarponi, to his everlasting credit, immediately tried to match him. Sure, he cracked like Humpty-Dumpty every time within two pedal strokes, but doesn't such dogged insanity *deserve* our respect?

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm Prize: okay, Contador every day, but in particular, Contador on the individual time trial to Nevegal. Um, don't you think you'd look just a *little* more innocent over the clenbuterol-huffing cow thing if you didn't beat the other best climbers in the world by half an hour? You made yer point, now cool yer jets, dingbat!

Is That Crickets Chirping? Award: yep, the sound of Denis Menchov this Giro--and yes, I saw his final GC placing--was the sound of a whole lotta nothin'. Geez, leak a UCI hit list putting you at a 9 outta 10 for doping suspicion, and look how totally coincidentally it affects a guy! Don't worry Denis, you've still got the Vuelta this year--at least til Igor Anton kicks your !@#!

Desperately Seeking Dignity Prize o' 2011: dear, reformed Danilo DiLuca. You've won the Giro, you've gotten busted, you 'fess up to a priest and a roomful o' schoolkids, the next thing you know, you're down to a 5-meter attack on the penultimate stage. But darn it, you're gonna have your own team someday and mentor younger riders, you are! Might try to regain your street cred with an undoped victory at *somethin'* though, first--maybe riding out to pick up a pizza for the Katusha boys?

Finally, the Publicity Whore of 2011 Award: just when you thought he'd finally retired, just when you thought we were finally rid of 'im til he becomes governor of Texas and King of All the Galaxy, he steals the spotlight off our beautiful Giro d'Italia once again: Lance Armstrong's collapsing house o' cards sucks up 90% of the press attention in May. Gaaaaaaahhhhh!

So, them's mine for this year--on to 2012, and Scarponi, your turn will come!

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