Yes, as we ponder the deeper spiritual meaning of the holidays by waiting in line outside stores for 36 consecutive hours for a 6am crack at a 684-inch flat-screen, gorging ourselves to excess on marshmallow Santas, and shoving little old ladies outta the way in a toy-store death-match to grab the latest Teach-Me-To-Curse Elmo, it seems to me our beloved cyclists deserve a treat this year, so I hereby bring you my Merry Everything Gift List for the Peloton:
Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix, the great Hell of the North. 'Cause not only will it prove he's still got it, he can whack all his foolish naysayers upside the head with that bad-!@# cobblestone. Better quit pickin' on him, Lefevere!
Juan Jose Cobo: a contract. A freakin' contract. How can the freakin' winner of the freakin' Vuelta a Espana not have a freakin' contract!
Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen: a network. A freakin' network. How can they stick you guys on the butt-end of 3am on the schedule after bass-fishing on their crappy network!
Johnny Hoogerland: a teflon coating for his entire bod. Try scorchin' me with razor wire through *this* !@#$, suckers!
Jens Voigt: a gilt-and-marble statue so huge it can easily be seen from outer space; immortality; and the title, duties, and aggregate powers of Supreme Ruler of the Universe. A bonus lifetime supply of coffee if you bail on your contract with RadioSkank, Jens!
Andy Schleck: May the Time Trial Fairy descend in a flutter of glitter as you peacefully sleep on your pillow and, with a flick of her golden wand, give you wings for that most troublesome of disciplines. That, or the Giro, 'cause even *she* don't have the power to grant you the Tour!
Alberto Contador: a year-long membership to the Organic Meat of the Month Club. Oh sure, mock it now--but can you say "paper trail"?
Bjarne Riis: a career. 'Cause if Alberto goes down, he ain't gonna have one. See, I can be nice!
Thor Hushovd: a shining suit of armor. Why? Between Gilbert and Cadel, your !@# is gonna get beat on this season, and you're gonna need all the protection you can get!
Jeannie Longo: honey, after that doping scam you pulled on the cowardly enabler French, just be glad it ain't still the French Revolution--you remember what happened to those clowns, right?
Floyd Landis: a cloak of invisibility. Come to think of it, that's actually more a present for *us*. Can't hurt next time you're anywhere near Lance Armstrong though, I guess!
Ivan Basso: what do you give a guy who's already the patriarch of the Cutest Family on the Face of the Planet, the winner of two Giros, and looking forward to a wholesome retirement to the family blueberry farm? I'm gonna go big here, and wish him the Tour. Redeem yourself once and for all, Ivan--it's your last chance to prove it shoulda always been yours anyway!
Riccardo Ricco': lucky for you, Santa don't do beat-downs. You wanna be a bartender, have at--a Mixmaster's Guide, and be grateful for it!
Alexandre Vinokourov: whatever he wants. Or he'll sink your !@@damn feet in concrete and toss you to the bottom of the harbor, you peon!
Mark Cavendish: this semi-civilized diplomacy !@#$ you've adopted of late is, to be frank, dull as dirt. You got one free day to bushwhack your rivals, insult yer leadout train, and dope-smack everyone who's ever dared to do you a kindness. Have at, Cav--and don't forget to shove yer best buddy into the barriers!
Last But Not Least, My Dear Reader(s): may your favorite rider score a blazing and wholly unexpected victory against the best of the best at their dream race, and do so entirely, genuinely, and unimpeachably clean. Allez allez, you studpuppy!