Yes folks, it's that most wonderful time of the year, when we maul other shoppers last-minute bargain on the latest gadgets, pelt each other with whiskey-soaked fruitcakes, and, best of all, give gifts that are truly from the heart to those we most truly love. Ergo, in the spirit of generosity and caring which the season inspires, it's yer Merry Whatever-the-Hell-They-Celebrate Gift List for our beloved peloton!
Alberto Contador: the Tour de France. Because Oleg Tinkov may be bailing after 2016, but he's still gonna !@#$in' kill ya if you don't win. Good luck, wee little Pistolero, you're gonna need it!
Tom Boonen: Paris-Roubaix. 5th time's the charm, baby! And after his miserable body-mangled season, he deserves a fine farewell (don't go Tommeke!) But cool yer jets, fan-boys'n'girls, 'cause next on the list is...
Fabian Cancellara: Flanders. Because he's Spartacus, and because I still want Tommeke to win Roubaix!
Luca Paolini: it's a glittering three-fer alphabet-soup gift pack o' EPO, AICAR, *and* HGH. Because if yer gonna take banned drugs, dumb!@#, at least take some !@#$ that *works*!
Tom Dumoulin: A neck brace. He's gotta have had the same whiplash the rest of us did watching him go from hulking Classics specialist to lithe mountain goat climber in one single Vuelta, amirite?
Chris Froome: A sandwich. God love the poor starveling thing, a big, weight-packing, week-o'-sustenance sandwich, like a nice pastrami on rye, and a hot cup of matzo-ball soup to start. Here, have a black-and-white cookie for dessert. Now keep eating!
La Course: 20 more days !@#dammit. Where the hell is the *real* women's Tour de France?
Lance Armstrong: A one-way ticket to Mars. Because in space, no-one can hear you still YAP YAP YAPPING all the time!
Bjarne Riis: Team Tinkov. Forget that failed, fickle oligarch, Bjarne!
Lizzie Armitstead: A raise. A !@#$in' raise, already--what the hell is *wrong* with you people?
Peter Sagan: Hmmmm. World Champion stripes, check. Huge paycheck, check. Gorgeous wife, check. Mad bike handling skills, check. Oh, like he freakin' needs anything else!
Brad Wiggins: A nice, quiet retirement cottage waaaaaaaaaaay out in the country. Where people, y'know, retire, and *mean* it for once!
Purito Rodriguez: The Olympics. He'll be too tired grabbing the queen stage at the Tour (shut up, will to, go to hell!) to contest our beautiful Vuelta!
The Race Motos: BRAKES. You're supposed to use 'em BEFORE you run over the riders, you morons!
The Tifosi: Etiquette lessons. Do we really need to be *taught* not to toss a cup full o' urine on a passing rider, no matter how irksome? At least hand the guy a nice clean syr...uh, water bottle, or something he can actually use!
Fabio Aru: Well, he already got rid of Mikel Landa in the off-season this year--what more could the boy even want?
Mikel Landa: A faulty, smoking, sparking earpiece. If you're gonna pull that !@#$ again, Mikel--and as you're an ex-Carrot, I say this with *all* due love and respect--you gotta come up with a *reason* you're essentially telling your team manager to go blow!
ASO/UCI: Coal, right in the ol' stocking. No treats for you til you play nice, you petulant whining babies!
Alexander Vinokourov: Damn, he's already got UCI on a leash--maybe a diamond-studded collar for it, just to rub it in?
My Beloved Reader(s): May all your cycling wishes come true. Unless it's Froomey winning the Tour. Sorry, even for you all, can't have that. But everything else you want is yours!
Well folks, them's mine--if I've stiffed anyone deserving, I promise I'll make up for it next year!