Yes, put on your heels, wax your back thatch, inject silicone into yer lips and haul your boobs u--uh, wrong awards show, but anyway, it's that time of year, folks, and while the hoi polloi are throwin' themselves big congratulatory incestuous ho-fests of prime-time TV awards galas, it's time for cycling fans to throw our own! So, without further ado, the good, the bad, the questionable, and the just plain horrifying of Year in Pro Cycling 2014!
Grotesque Enabler of 2014: and this prestigious first-time award goes to...UCI President Brian "New Generation" Cookson, for punishing Astana and its truly impressive 5 doping positives with a WorldTour license while race-enlivening but slightly broke-!@# Tommy the Grimace Voeckler's fine Europcar gets tossed in the incinerator like yesterday's clandestine team-bus medical debris. Damn, UCI, keep that !@#$ up and guys'll be snarfing masking agents right during their post-race urine tests!
Punk-!@# Move of the Year: Raised-by-pigs Walter Perez, of Team Nobody Gives a !@#$ and You Guys Never Win Anything Anyway, sucker-punches Lotto nice-guy Kenny Dehaes right in the face during a sprint, apparently because Walter hadn't brains enough to get a decent place in his own right. And, in fact, Kenny was *so* nice he didn't do anything back for fear of bringing down other riders. !@#$, even Cav'd just chew your helmet to pieces. One free hit for Kenny, and then let this go like gentlemen!
Crushing Disappointment of 2014: sure, it's the weight of completely ludicrous expectations, but if you're gonna be a wheelie-poppin' camera-whore with swooning fans blocking everyone else's view of the peloton waving giant picture-blowups of yer face on wooden stakes, suck it up. Plus, with a 4.3 million euro gig for the upcoming year to console you, I don't wanna even *hear* any whining. Peter Sagan, this one's for you--now I *don't* want to see you win this one again next year!
Rider of the Year: Marianne Vos. Damn, she's Rider of Every Year. Bow, beeyotches, before your queen!
Crash o' the Year (Extended Rehab Edition): Ever-cheerful Taylor Phinney's leg-crushing hit at the US Championships. He's down, but he's clearly not out--just follow the kid's interviews and tell me he won't be back with a vengeance in 2015!
Crash o' the Year (Oh, !@#$! Edition): Mark Cavendish, going down by the barriers and visibly instantly knowing his Tour de France was over--and *just* when he was he was getting his confidence and his street cred back after constant poundings from New Big Thing Marcel Kittel. Like you didn't jump outta yer chair swearing along with millions of other fans!
Crash o' the Year (GC Gift Edition): Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the Tour de France, who left like 2 obscure neo-pros to try fruitlessly to take on Vincenzo Nibali. A lion among toothless mewling kitty-cats--it'll be much more fun if that don't happen next year!
Corresponding Energizer Bunny Award: y'know, normally, this goes to Stuey O'Grady, or some Belgian hardman who gets run over by tanks or a thundering herd of elephants and still not only takes a stage win but a major Classics win as well. But this year, a sincere chapeau to Skymaster Chris Froome, who took a licking--okay, like 40 hard, bloody, pavement-smacking lickings--before he finally gave up ticking at the Tour de France. Now *that* is a man who loves his sport!
Corresponding From Here to Eternity Award: yep, Tour de France champ Vincenzo Nibali, who let's face it despite his obvious Grand Tour prowess will always have a giant "What If?" hangin' over Froome-and-Contador-less 2014 win. He (and Vino) may be justly pissed, but it's question-marked nonetheless for all time. But as Lo Squalo pointed out, part of winning the Tour is just staying upright--oh, snap, you clods!
Farrah Fawcett Memorial Trophy: yeah, yeah, he can sprint. In fact, pretty spectacularly. Oh, but that's nothing compared to how he can toss his hair like a 70s pinup icon. Well, not toss it, but it sure does look pretty in its stiff-standing glory. Marcel Kittel, your pompadour may climb on stage to receive your award. And next year, you might win for something you can do on your bike!
The Little Engine That Could Award: Nairo Quintana, next year's pint-size Tour de France threat. and boy, was he pissed he wasn't allowed to "could" at the Tour this year!
Doping Excuse of the Year: y'know, I almost didn't award this, because there's only one obvious winner, and he had a near-tragically terrible time the first time he got busted. But in fairness, it's still gotta go to Mauro Santambrogio, popped again while still on double-secret probation because, he claimed, he was being treated for erectile dysfunction. Worse, he apparently got the okay from the doctors first. If that's true, that is one mean screwup to bust him for it--any o' you guys have anything *you* wanna share?!
The Walking (Well, Riding) Dead Prize: like anything *else* than a chomping zombie undead takeover can explain Alejandro Valverde's unstoppable performance this year? Jaysus, what rocket-fueled supernatural demon-spawn bit *that* guy?
Best Team of 2014: Sky. Just kidding! This one's clearly for crazed dictator Oleg Tinkov's Team Tinkoff-Saxo, who somehow won damn near every remaining stage of the Tour de France after Contador left. Or else!
Fine French Whine Prize: wait, they actually didn't bag this one so much this year--in a remarkably instantaneous reversal of two solid decades o' suck, they got two frickin' podium spots at the Tour de France! Next up--Frenchman actually wins his home Tour in 2025. Well, like anything, a good vintage takes time to develop!
Suck Transfer of the Year: ok, technically, they took place earlier. But this is a three-fer for we love big lug Thor Hushovd, god-o'-the-Ardennes/former world champ Philippe Gilbert, and of course we love Samuel "Holy Crap He's An Olympic Gold Medalist!" Samuel Sanchez, all of whom took a vicious dive the minute they joined the ungrateful, and underutilizing, BMC. You suck BMC--now give Samu back his contract!
And Finally, The Edge of Night Award: yep, he went gently into that good night--so gently, hardly anyone realized this former hot-headed Rival-o'-the-Century to Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, hadn't already physically and mentally retired a year ago. Good luck Andy--at least you've got that belated maillot jaune to remember the sport by!
Well, them's mine, and if I missed anything, spit it out. So for now, come up and grab yer trophies, you shameful miscreants--and don't none of you pull this !@#$ again in 2015!