Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2015 Racejunkie Awards!

Yes, let these pampered prettified celebrities hit those boring movie awards shows in designer gowns, personalized golden coke spoons, and custom-tailored tuxes--it's time for the peloton to have its well-earned eve of glory in day-glo spandex and the clip-clop of little cleats on pave'! So, without further ado, yer much-coveted (or wholly-mortifying, depending on the award) 2015 Racejunkie Awards!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Spectator): so Cannondale's Ben King's getting untangled from a road-furniture pileup during the Vuelta a Espana, and as some other skank takes off with his bike computer, who's there to steal the very ride straight out from under his sweaty desperate chamois? Damn right, some cig-huffing bare-chested lunkhead of a "fan", trying to ride off with the rather distinctive 10k neon bike before an outraged King pries it back from him. Smooth move, you insane troll--now wave to the race-moto camera in yer face so the cops can shake yer hand while they cuff ya!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Race Organizer): so in a friendly exchange between gentleman competitors, fellow Aussies Richie Porte of Sky and Simon Clarke of Orica swap out a wheel when the Sky leader flats during a crucial attack in Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia. The thank you--a humongous, seemingly race-screwing 2-minute penalty (not that it mattered in the end, but it sure seemed to at the time) for Porte, and a 200 euro smack to salt the wound. Next time, just have another rider sucker-punch 'im off the bike instead, it's not like they'd apparently care about *that*!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year (Rider): now, this category is the gift that keeps on giving, and to all of us, not just the noble awardees. Valverde's endless self-serving attacks on the faltering Quintana? Mikel Landa blasting Fabio Aru outta the water sixteen times per stage, which I loved to watch too much to snicker at? No, Vincenzo Nibali's stage-19 attack on Froome at the Tour--however pointless for the overall GC--as the maillot jaune attended to a mechanical. Oh, you can punch 'im, you can bite 'im, you can crowd 'im into a barrier--but attack? *That*'s gonna earn you a quite strict scolding, sir!

Numbnut Ride o' the Year Award: not quite punk-!@#, but still devastatingly selfish and stupid, was the fixie-suckin' publicity-slut !@#hat who thought how fun it would be to charge into the peloton and gift sheer terror catastrophic crashes, and season-ending injury to a good half-dozen of the planet's best bike riders on Stage 2 of this year's Giro d'Italia. *Now* aren't you glad all some jerk did is throw pee on you at the Tour de France, Froomey?

(Please) Go Gently Into That Good Night Award: I'm retired. I'm riding again. I'm retired. I'm doing the hour record. Leave me alone. Buy my new book. I quit. Wait dontcha want to see me ride track again you fickle Fanny? Geez, Wiggo, you're great, we get it, but make up your *mind* already!

Crap Luck Golden Band-Aid Prize: and, sadly, we've got a tie--yep, it's late-career but still-stunning Classics gods Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, fully capable of still winning but nastily knocked out their most iconic--and potentially record-shattering--showcases by ill-timed and decidedly !@#$ crashes. Come back Tommeke and Spartacus--2016 is waiting for you!

Chutzpah Ride of 2015: look, Nibali, you're a class act, and I know you're still smarting from your performance--and a world o' press and fan ridicule for someone who, after all, has previously won cycling's showiest show--at the Tour, but honestly, bolting yer bike on top of the Astana team car and catching a snooze for a good 10k up the mountain with 50 cameras tracking yer mechanical-blown chase at the Vuelta a Espana took some nerve. Just have Vinokourov fly you up in an airplane right past the TV helicopter, whydontcha?

Always a Bridesmaid Engraved-Tchotchke Consolation Prize: oh, Purito Rodriguez. One bonk, one mechanical, one spectacular race-saving ride by a fading rival--despite a huge pile of Grand Tour stage wins that would be the pride of most anybody's palmares, that most beautiful win, on the final top step of the podium in either Italy, France, or Spain, continued to elude you this year. Screw the Olympics Purito, the Vuelta I swear can be yours!

Pride Goeth Before a Fall Award: a !@#$in' giant Ritz Hotel personal motorhome for the Giro you stood no chance of winning, Richie Porte? Who the hell are you, Aerosmith? Heck of a lotta good that did you anyway!

Magical Mystery Tour (Well, Vuelta) Prize: Tom Dumoulin. How the !@#$ did some guy the size of the Lincoln Memorial suddenly gain the ability to climb like an amphetamine-charged spider monkey? Only his nutritionist and soigneur know for sure, and so far, they ain't yappin'. Whatever the hell's in that guy's espresso, I want it--and I bet a whole lotta other Classics boys do, too!

Sissy-Boy Slap-Fight of 2015: what do you get when you take two whole teams worth of cyclists and put 'em in a humongous hotel fist-fight over a routine sprint altercation? Well, not nearly enough firepower to take down a half-dozen Hello Kitty dolls, frankly, but still, the guys from Reitt-Zumco and Frijoles Los Tiernitocos at this year's Tour of Costa Rica sure gave them and the goons from the My Little Pony squad one heck of a snor--uh, scare. Now, time-outs for all and *no* juice boxes this snack-time for *any* of you!

Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin' Reminder Statuette: He wins 9 (or 7, depending, hey, not me fan-kids, I'm just sayin' what some folks are sayin') Grand Tours, bags the 2015 Giro d'Italia in commanding form, sticks with the Tour through every kind of Twitter abuse, and his team boss *still* treats him like a hoof-clomping loser who couldn't beat a pack of tranquilized tree sloths to the head of an espresso line. C'mon, Oleg, doesn't Alberto deserve *some* kinda reward for his very very hard work this year?

Domestique of 2015: y'know, normally, this would go to Alejandro Valverde, for superior performance in bushwhacking Nairo Quintana with a smile, or for this year, the incomparable former Carrot Mikel Landa, for accidentally sticking his fingers in his ears yelling LA LA LA LA LA anytime his team boss told him to, uh, *help* his captain Fabio Aru, but in all fairness, I gotta hand this one to our newly-crowned World Champion Peter Sagan, stepping off his bike despite Oleg Tinkov giving him wholehearted permission to screw Alberto Contador at the Tour, and giving the wee Pistolero his own ride as our wee hero struggled to overcome a mechanical. That boy may be the reigning peloton show-off, but he is also one class act!

Sports (Multiple) Personality of 2015: Peter Sagan's gonna win all the Classics! YOU SUCK, YOU WORTHLESS OVERPAID DILETTANTE, I'M GONNA BREAK YOUR STUPID CONTRACT OVER YER THICK !@#DAMN HEAD! Alberto Contador's gonna crush the Giro-Tour double for the first time since Marco Pantani! YOU USELESS WASTE OF DNA, I'M GONNA INEXPLICABLY GIVE YOU NO BACKUP WHATSOEVER AGAINST FROOME FOR THE TOUR DE FRANCE AND MOCK YOU WHEN YOU CAN'T WIN WITHOUT ANY TEAMMATES IN THE LAST 150K OF EVERY STAGE! I'm dying myself maglia rosa pink, YOU'RE ALL A PACK OF GUTLESS WUSSIES FOR NOT TAKING ON TWO GRAND TOURS LIKE ALBERTO ONLY TO !@#$ IT UP YOURSELVES! I'm transforming the sport from the ground on up, NO-ONE'S PLAYING WITH ME SO I'M TAKING ALL MY EXPENSIVE TOYS AND GOING HOME! Whew. Oleg Tinkov, this one's for you--now maybe the lot of *us* can finally get some rest!

Grinta Ride of the Year: his own newborn-baby domestique Aru outshone 'im. His own team leader Vino publicly humiliated him. But--and gee, for a guy who lost the Tour de France, he's getting an awful lot of presents this year--who rode one of the most beautiful stages of the year when he was already discarded by press, fans, and teammates alike like a spit-slathered energy gel? That's right, 2014 Tour de France winner and *still* worthy competitor Vincenzo !@#$in' Nibali, in a brave if ultimately fruitlessly attack into Gap. Nice to see you've still got yer pride there, Nibs!

You're As Cold As Ice/I'm Willing to Sacrifice/Your Bod Award: sure, you can get heatstroke in Qatar, coated in frozen mud at the Classics, and baked like a Snickerdoodle at the Vuelta, but what's apparently even more fun? Yes, genuinely endangering the lives of professional cyclists in a Stage 5 ice storm at Tirreno-Adriatico, because we ain't sacrificing something as important as advertiser dollars over some silly minor human appendages lost to frostbite, are we? Hell no--and congrats on your "win", you abusive selfish clueless race-organizer jerks!

Howling Sobbing Weeper Moment of the Year: a gut-wrenched, chest-infected, bone-exhausted, tank-emptied Tejay Van Garderen, climbing off his bicycle mid-way through stage 17 after a beautiful, elegant, and podium-positioned run at the Tour. If you weren't cryin', you're *lyin'*, and you know it you soulless cynical tough-guy!

Last But Not Least, the Colossal Whiner of the Year Award: ha, thought we forgot 'im, did you? Well, no, because even beyond his wonderful and heartwarming Tour de France win, Chris Froome's perpetual whinging about it--and everything else in the known and unknown universe--stood out. Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. You're the King of the Tour de France, Froomey--now just shut the hell up about your grievances and ride your danged bike (if you must) next year!

Well folks, them's the best of the best, and the worst of the worst--now grab your statues, thank your agents, hit the afterparties, and let's bring on 2016!

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