Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's Yer 2013 Tour de France Racejunkie Awards!

Yap, Oscars, yap--this is pro cycling's biggest 'n' gaudiest show, so, fellow fans, it's time for our annual (and highly prestigious) Tour de France Racejunkie awards! Prizes: eternal golden glory (or sniveling shame), and--honest!--a pretty statue or custom-embroidered rj cap if any winner asks for one! So instead of some dopey tedious 10-minute musical preview act everyone'll hate to start the show, let's get right to our winners!

1. Camera-Whoring Running-Fan Originality Award: no, not those hideous neon banana-slings--it's the guy running up the mountains with the giant stuffed boar under his armpit. Mmmmm....creativity, *and* porky goodness!

2. Epic Fail o' the Race (non-Contador): ya give the Orica-Greenedge driver the okay to pass under the finish line banner, and you organizers (1) ram him flat stuck under and into the thing right as the sprint squads are bearing down and (2) cause about 60 broken limbs in the peloton contradicting yerselves in the last 3 k over where the finish line's gonna be. !@#$, why not just sucker-punch 'em all off their bikes at the start line and save 'em 5 hours in the saddle? Not to the mention the face-covering horror of the poor ol' Greenedge bus driver--honey, it *wasn't* your fault!

3. GC Surprise o' 2013: look, at least everyone knew the top finishers would be able to climb. But much as it kills me to say this, only Machiavellian Lance-mentor Johan Bruyneel that I could see *really* pegged brilliant young Colombian Nairo Quintana for the podium for the whole show. You *rock*, Quintana--and huge points for dedicating your fantastic stage win to injured mentor/countryman Mauricio Soler!

4. Big Whining Baby of the Tour: wah, I ride like a freak and you're asking me about doping, wah. Wah, Contador's not holding my hand down the mountain, wah. Wah, I don't wanna go down the Col de Sarenne or climb Alpe d'Huez, wah! Well you could obviously do all o' that without any problem, Chris Froome--so heartfelt congrats on your win, but you're the maillot jaune at the biggest prize in all of cycling, pal, quit yer cryin' and act like it!

5. Hardman o' the Race: y'know, he doesn't make a big fuss relative to his talent, and usually Stuey O'Grady bags this win because he's been hit by a train or eaten by tigers or sucked into a matter-crushing black hole or something, but Geraint Thomas--pounding his cracked pelvis into the saddle for 6 hours a day for three weeks in a row with nary a public peep o' pain--is the *man*. Chapeux, tough guy!

6. Bull!@#$ Rules Application Award (Time Cut Edition): cutting Tour de France debutante/all-round good guy Ted King--who separated his shoulder, I believe, in one of the pileups *you* clowns caused on the first day with the botched stuck-bus debacle--for a seven-second deficit in the team time trial, when you've repeatedly lifted this "strict rule" before for other (and surely no more hardworking) names, just sucked. Where's the fairness in *that*, jerks?

7. Bull!@#$ Rules Application Award (Feed Zone Edition): lemme get this straight--the near-unbeatable leader on GC blows his food intake, has a massively threatening hunger bonk on an important climb, and grabs some crucial nourishment denied to his more-prepared competitors, and all he gets is a do-nothing 20-second time penalty? Am I the only one who remembers Contador getting no mercy when he hunger-bonked some time back? That just bites. Next time, penalize the amount of time he *bought* from the other guys taking the illegal feed whydontcha?

8. Domestique o' the Tour: Roman Kreuziger, you deserve a *huge* raise and promotion for tugging Alberto Contador along. And Alejandro Valverde was a gracious, no-holds- barred helpmate for Quintana on the instant his own podium dreams were shattered. But Richie Porte, you blew up *every* *single* *stage* like a pin-stuck balloon for your man. What's more, you weren't even an impatient backstabbing open complainer like *your* boss was to *his* boss last year. I mean, your *work*--wow!

9. Punk-!@# Move of 2013: Cav, Cav, Cav. Sure, the great Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen was capable of pulling a Mike Tyson and chompin' somebody's ear off, but ramming yer elbow into poor Veelers and steamrolling that nice lead-out boy into the tarmac for the horrendous offense of doing his job? *Not* nice, Mark Cavendish, *not* nice at all!

10. Savior of French Dignity Award: yes, I *am* still sniveling over Sylvain Chavanel not getting a stage win, thank you for your tender concern. But "super-combative" (though natch I'd have liked that one to go to Jens), *and* a historic win in the 100th edition of the race on the iconic Alpe d'Huez for what was right then an increasingly desperate and despondent nation? Champagne for you, Christophe Riblon--and I'm sure the Tour'll make it the really good stuff!

11. Monday-Morning Quarterback Prize: I guess the Giro wasn't such good prep for this year's race after all. But Cadel Evans, as always, you struggled on nobly, and whatever your future may bring, you're always--just not this time--a winner of the Tour de France!

12. Hype City Overkill of 2013: Peter Sagan, you are the fine and, for millions of dreamy-eyed fans, swoon-worthy winner of both a stage of this year's Tour de France and its superb green jersey champ. Congratulations! But for all that, the Hulk bike, the wheelies (amazo as your bike-handling skills are), and finally, your Kermit the Frog colored facial scruff were maybe just a *shade* too much compared to your pre-Tour multi-stage-win expectations. Sure entertained the fans though--now get thinkin' about hijinks for next year!

13. Mechanical o' the Race: yep, valiant Tejay's agonizing stage-18 chain-suck comes close--and he *still* rode so well--but Alejandro Valverde's dream-destroying wheel collapse on a theoretically-boring flat stage gets the win for sheer GC impact. Come on, like half of you wouldn't've been slightly squicked out seeing him up on the final podium anyway!

14. Liar Liar Pants on Fire Award: you did *not* see Marcel Kittel taking three freakin' sprints from Mark Cavendish, you Pinocchios! What you *did* see over and over again, however, was his bitchin' hairdo after the stage win. Let's all try to predict a little better next year--though I guess we know who'll bag the style award!

15. Team Tactic Head-Scratcher Prize: yer attackin' on the downhill but not attackin'? You're putting two guys up in the break then pullin' 'em back? Whatever the hell you were thinking out there everyday, Saxo-Tinkoff--and I have *no* clue what that is--you *did* grab the team classification out of it!

16. Last But Not Least, the Misty Moment of Tour de France 2013: whatever you think of Chris Froome, and whatever 5 years from now may or (we'll try hard to presume) may not show us, his shaking his head like he couldn't believe it to his national anthem, his generous speech, and his gimme-fiving Purito Rodriguez's little guys was tender indeed. I hope it's true I hope it's true I hope it's true!

Well, break out the podium babes, cue the laser beams on the Arc de Triomphe--let's all take a deep post-Tour letdown breath, then get ready for the fabulous Vuelta! Congrats to all our winners--and to the bone-tired peloton, well done on what I genuinely think is yer very first year not requiring (yet) one of our Doping Excuse o' the Tour awards!

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