Oops, 2012, Whatever: It's been a smashing, exciting, surprising, and periodically squick-inducing year in our beloved cycling, dear readers, and in honor of all our sweet peloton's done to entertain, thrill, and even annoy us, it's time to honor and thank the worthy (and un-)with our Official 2012 Racejunkie Awards! The prizes: glory, immortality, and, as I cannot afford the 40-foot marble statue of a three-horned six-eyed four-clawed forked-tail fire-breathing bike-riding beast-demon that you know who deserves plunked right down flat in the middle o' Texas, I swear if any of these guys even hear of their awards' existence, I'll throw in a beautiful custom-embroidered racejunkie cap to boot, so without further ado, here goes!
The Holy Crap I Think He Just Restored My Faith in Cycling Award: Ryder Hesjedal, taking the beautiful Giro d'Italia--and his country's first Grand Tour win--for noble Canada. Humble, grateful, hard-working, and most of all just obviously so very happy in his shining maglia rosa--Ryder, this one, and hopefully many more, are for you!
Aiiiiggggghhhhh! What the Hell Are You Doing? Oh My God He's Doing It! Ride of the Year: look, with his brilliant snatch of the Vuelta on the verge of stinging defeat, the now-wily veteran Alberto Contador's come a loooooong way tactically since he couldn't find his outta the team bus without a DS, but if your heart wasn't in your throat when Tom Boonen took off solo a bazillion fruitless kilometers from the line at Paris-Roubaix, you were clearly tranquilized like a runaway rhino during the race. Faaaan-tastic, Tommeke!
Comeback Kid of 2012: yes, it's a double for our Belgian studpuppy--everyone, us included, who thought your best days might be behind you were clearly permanent residents in Dumb!@# City. Congratulations--and next year, let's all !root for Thor or Philippe Gilbert to bag this one, shall we?
I Call Bull!@#$ Award: no doubt, Wiggo deserved to win his Tour de France, and a cheery salute to him and the justly-proud Brits for his great accomplishment. But *really*, what's next, o Tour de France organizers--20 straight days of flat time trialling and maybe a speed bump on the Champs Elysees? No, it's not supposed to be the fearsome Giro or Vuelta--but dang, it *is* still the Tour, you guys!
Shut Up Shut Up Shut *Up* Prize: Contador, Valverde--heck, damn near the whole Spanish peloton while we're at it--the less you self-destructive nimrods keep defending Lance Armstrong, the better. You *want* a GPS implanted in your !@# by the narcs all next season? Just keep it up, kids, keep it up!
Doping Excuse of 2012: well, Frank Schleck didn't exactly *claim* monthly lady cramps as the reason for his banned-diuretic use, and frankly there's been rather a dearth of high-profile drug pozes since as we all know only the broke-!@# Masters guys are cheating now, so for once, this 'un was a toughie. Ergo, this year, it's a group award for all o' USPostalDiscoverySkank, with their two-toned mantra of "I Never Saw It!" and "He Made Me Do It!" I mean, don't parents call bull!@#$ on their *toddlers* for this garbage?!
Scandal o' the Year: the late-December Hinault/Lemondesque Wiggo/Froome smackdown over who'll get Sky team leadership at next year's Tour de France. Close, but just kidding--it's you-know-who, and you-know-why!
Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Road): y'know, with their boundless braggadocio, smug smack-talk, and zeppelin-sized egos, sprinters are pretty annoying as it is, but there's a biiiiiiiig difference between the usual adrenaline-fueled argy-bargy at the barriers, and flying across the helpless field like a rubberband-shot spitball, and Roberto Ferrari spectacularly--and obnoxiously--crossed that line, taking the helpless Tyler Farrar and enraged Mark Cavendish right down. Your award? Apologize for real this time, or Cav gets ten minutes alone with you behind the podium!
Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Wussy Little Bureaucrat): really, Pat "Dick" and Hein at UCI? You're gonna threaten a broke-as-dirt true-fan journalist for doing his job with integrity and rightly calling your own disgusting actions and self-serving motives into question? Yeah, hide behind your lawyers' skirts you squalling babies--karma, I say!
Revenge of the Little Boy Who Called Wolf Award: congrats Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, it's a two-fer. Sure, you lied the first ten thousand times you spoke to the press and your trusting fans--but when you finally told the truth, you sure made it count!
Crash of the Year (Dog-Wielding Dimwit): to Philippe Gilbert, stage 18, Tour de France, taken out by a humongous canine whose owners apparently thought it was a dandy idea to let it wander into the road as the peloton passed through. Road Rage o' 2012 Corollary Award: Gilbert goes screaming nutwhack at the owner-dad and his sweet little daughter. Good thing John Lelangue was there to protect the guy!
Crash of the Year (I'm Sorry, Does This Look Like a !@#damn Bistro?): to the surely-well-meaning nice elderly gent who thoughtfully set up his lunch table and chair in the route of the Tour de France. You broke we love Samuel Sanchez' hand *and* made him cry, clueless sir!
Crash of the Year (Season-Screwing): honestly, I think this rightly goes to tough-guy Fabian Cancellars for his season-crushing crash at Tour of Flanders, but because it's Festivus, I'll give poor Andy Schleck the benefit of the doubt that his 'Skank-whipped mental fragility wouldn't have hosed him anyway and give 'im this one for his pure sorry suck of a pelvis-fracturing takedown at the Dauphine. Truly, get and stay strong, Andy--you're gonna need all you got next year!
What the !@#$? Head-Scratcher o' 2012: so lemme get this straight. Vande Velde, Dave Z, Hincapie, Vaughters, and Tommy D doped like fiends for years for their own personal bank accounts and glory, got a slap on the wrist for it--and at least two of 'em built freakin' retail empires thanks to it--and everyone still loves 'em. Meantime, Johan Bruyneel, who if nothing else generously helped make 'em the ill-gotten champs that they are, ends up desperate beleaguered and snarling in a dank mossy cave like a hound-cornered rabid wolverine. Jeez, Johan, maybe you shoulda been nicer to all those "douches" you called out, it mighta gotten you a few extra brownie points!
Rider Tweet o' the Year!: sure, Bruyneel's erratic see-saw of cheer and defiance was a lock--'til righteous (and righteously righteous!) car-victim Andy Jacques-Maines weighed in: "To the chickenshit motherfucker who rammed me from behind with their Black Chevrolet Impala, FUCK OFF. THEN DIE." And that's just him getting started. Oh, and nice work by 5-Hour Energy/Kenda to dump him from your roster via the press you clods--like he said, "I'm too drugged right now to deal with this shit."!
Dirty Dirty Dirty Award o' 2012: Alexander-freakin'-Vinokourov at the Olympics. Oh yeah, baby, cue the gross 70s blue-movie soundtrack, groom that porn-stache, and break out the gold chest-hair medallions. Clean sport, schmean sport--you loved it too, so man up and wallow in it!
I Swear To God I Feel Almost Really, Really Guilty About Being Delighted About This Award: oh, Roberto. As a faithful if slightly self-loathing Heras fan, and a devoted ween who still thinks fondly of Ivan Basso's peerless legal team from 2006, I've been whining for years that that undeserving freak Denis Menchov oughta give you back your Vuelta, and what happens just on the cusp of the New Year? That's right, this one's for the Spanish court that gave it to you--never has an act of technical if not factual justice been so sweet!
Saving Grace o' 2012: in an incredible year on the road for women's cycling, matched only by incredible disregard from the powers that be, Italy comes in to save the day: yep, it looks like the Giro Donne is back on. Thank you, thank you, whoever you are!
And Finally, Redemption Song of the Season: yeah, just *keep* complaining about Greg LeMond being a bitter ol' jealous once-was--aside from the fact that the man came back from a near-fatal gunshot wound back in the day for heck's sake, he was right all along, too, and a *bunch* of folks who ought to've known better were just too greedy, starstruck, glory-wh@ring, and dismissive to listen. Greg, vindication is yours--like you ever needed it!
Well, this year's sought-after and highly prestigious awards are out, the peloton's got the night off, and the champagne's popped--apologies to anyone whose accomplishments I've missed, and let the celebratory debauchery begin!