Monday, September 15, 2014

It's the 2014 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards! #LaVuelta

Do you find yourself standing on an empty mountainside for 6 hours at a time waving your national flag at nothing? Running along right next to unsuspecting cyclists in your community screaming "Venga! Venga!" at the top of your lungs? Standing on a box, shaking a big green bottle, and spraying champagne on the people around you? Then you, like me, are suffering from Severe Vuelta a Espana Withdrawal Syndrome! The cure: we're gonna celebrate the good, the bad, and the just plain disgusting with the highly coveted and sometimes shameful 2014 Vuelta a Espana Racejunkie Awards!

Fake-Out of 2014: I'm not riding it. Gee, I wish I could ride it. Okay, I'm riding it, but just to recover, not to win. Well, maybe I'll ride it for a stage victory. Oh yeah, I'm riding to win the whole damn shebang, baby! Alberto Contador on his post-Tour tibia-busted best form in years. Geez, if snappin' a *leg* can't keep this guy down, what can?

Woot Woot of the Time Trial: holy crap did you see that, we love Samuel Sanchez moved up to 7th in the overall! Woot woot!

Punk-!@# Move of the Race: Alejandro Valverde, being all "I'm here just to help little Nairo," then leaving his poor tired wee butt down the mountain and attacking for the stage win. Well, any further backstabbing was neutralized by the cruel hand of fate, anyway!

How Much Am I Paying This Yawner Next Year? Award: Aw, Peter Sagan. Mustered *just* enough motivation for a single third place, then bailed in drowsy ignominy. But that's okay, because he was just "helping out his teammates" and "training for the Worlds." Oleg, you better get this high-priced bauble of yours a hell of a tactical mentor for next year!

Crash o' the Race (Oh, !@#$! Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ GC Edition): 2014 Giro champion Nairo Quintana, futzing with his shoe on a treacherous downhill curve and doing a terrifying endo over his handlebars and right into the roadside barrier. Thank goodness he wasn't more seriously hurt--but that was the race for him. Now rest and heal up that shoulder, Nairo, and I'm sure you'll be ready to take on the Tour de France GC next year!

Crash o' the Race (Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ Oh !@#$ Domestique Edition): poor Dario Cataldo's horrible skid into the pavement and also a tree. Amazingly, he was able to get up and continue on the day, whether he perhaps should've been allowed to, or not--and again, thank goodness he was ultimately okay, stay safe out there you guys!

Revelation of Vuelta 21014: sure, Astana baby Fabio Aru bagged two stages and fifth place after coming in a surprising 3rd in the Giro--but some "Pim Ligthart" in the breakaway every damn day? Who the hell *is* this guy?

Sissy-Boy Slap Fight Prize (Dumb!@# Edition): Rovny and Brambilla, flailing at each other on a descent like a coupla whiny windmills--in front of the race organizers, no less! Forget lack of sportsmanship--they oughta've been expelled just for stupidity. Do you *really* think it *helped* Contador to have one of his domestiques get kicked outta the race?

Sissy-Boy Slap Fight Prize (George Foreman Edition): Damn, Purito--who knew that someone so tiny could pack such a powerful left hook? Boys, *this* is a how a *real* pro does it--in the pack, and away from the cameras!

Corollary Tweet o' the Vuelta Award: Sky diplomat Peter Kennaugh, defending his teammate Philip Deignan's honor (and insulting Purito's weak "I touched him accidentally" excuse) with an emphatic "What a lying prick, take responsibility for your actions coward!" Now *that*'s the kind of honesty you want to hear at the boring rest-day press conferences...

Cry-Baby Hissy-Fit Prize: Nacer Bouhanni, you picked the wrong line, & John Degenkolb beat your !@# fair and square. Gesticulate all you want, but suck it *up*, honey!

Good Thing Cav Stayed Home Award: no, Kittel and Cav weren't there this year, and for some, there'll always be a bit of "what if" about the sprints. But John Degenkolb was one on-form hell of a competitor no matter who else was around him--so maybe watch out for this more'n you think!

Dyfunctional Family Award: Valverde, Purito, and Alberto bitching about none of the others collaborating to drop Froomey instead of, y'know, collaborating to drop Froomey, all the while Chris was chugging up the climbs away from them in week two. Valverde, I hope you're content with third place this year!

Memorial Carrot Statuette: no, they weren't there as a team anymore (waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!)--but from Nieve to Samu, the huge pile of former Euskies in this year's Vuelta certainly did their old team proud. Bring back Euskaltel! Bring back Euskaltel! Bring back--no, I mean it, really people!

Fade Into You Prize: Cadel Evans' loooooong, slooooow slide into this Grand Tour good night. But you're still the 2011 and forever a Tour de France champion, and you're even sticking around for your home tour next year--thank you for a smashing career to the most dogged foul-weather hardman of the peloton!

Watch and Learn Award: the great Guardia Civil, which liberally applied guys the approximate size of a box truck to toss back the eejits crowding the riders on the mountain finishes like empty chip bags into a garbage bin. Tour de France--you might want to consult with these guys for next year!

And Finally, the Fan !@#$head Award: yeah, yeah, there were the usual screaming miscreants touching the riders like talismans and shoving cameras in their faces, but, for the win, it's that total numbnuts--and the innocent minor with whom he appeared to act in tandem--running next to Chris Froome waving little pine branches in their hands on the final mountain stage of the Vuelta. For !@#$'s *sake*, stupidity like that could bring the guy down on the tarmac like a ton (okay, an ounce, but still!) of bricks and crash out his whole career, much less just the freakin' race. Insta-penalty of a year of the affected rider's salary for such clowns, I say--so you jack!@#es *better* hope you don't take out one of Oleg "Moneybags" Tinkov's guys next time!

Well, them's my prizes--winners, you can take a bow (or hang your head in shame) as the reigning champs til next year!

No comments: