Monday, May 30, 2016

It's Yer 2016 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Awards! #Giro

Feeling unaccountably wistful whenever you see something pink? Suddenly unable to enjoy your morning !@#dammit-I'm-not-drinking-this-in-Italy espresso? Already drained and disoriented from going back to your normal sleep patterns or, even worse, having to pay attention again at 'work'? Yes, tifosi, you've just been nutwhacked with Post-Giro Letdown Syndrome--but fear not, we here at racejunkie have got the cure! Prizes for the winners, if they've got the time, obsessive interest in Googling themselves, and total lack of anything interesting to do but read this crap: eternal glory (or cringing shame), and a free stylin' embroidered racejunkie cap! Ergo, campioni, it's Yer 2016 Giro d'Italia Racejunkie Awards!

1. Punk-!@# Move of the Race: ok, bear with me here, because I *am* gonna give even this guy a little credit later on. But Michele Scarponi, punching the air in triumph *right* next to sweet, despondent Esteban Chaves' head as they crossed the line after Chaves' crushing loss of the maglia rosa on the decisive penultimate stage. For *shame*, Michele--what next, yer gonna teach yer freakin' parrot to squawk "neener neener" whenever the poor kid walks by?

2. Astanashing Publicity-Ho Turnaround of 2016: good luck, whatsyerface! You *suck*, Nibali! Huh, nice you managed to salvage some dignity there. HOLY @#$% YOU'RE GONNA WIN THIS THING I ALWAYS SAID YOU HAD IT IN YOU CAN I BRING YOU A LIMONATA/COOL YOU WITH A PALM LEAF/WASH YOUR STINKING FEET/ARU YOU LITTLE !@#$ GET OVER HERE AND START PAINTING HIS BIKE PINK! Alexander Vinokourov, I hate myself for loving you!

3. Sissy Slap-Fight of the Giro: oh sure, there were a few snarls of annoyance, emphatic elbow-flicks, clearly rude gestures, and exasperated slammings of the handlebars--but for sheer pointless, if heartfelt, drama, you can't beat FDJ's Alexandre Geniez physical and verbal assault on AG2R's Hubert Dupont at the line over what appeared to be the most trivial of offenses. Fingers were wagged, OMG a collar was pulled--damn, I'd hate to see the bloody warfare by Geniez over a *real* insult!

4. You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine Award: Gee, my legs felt good today! Boy, did I crack this afternoon or what! Did you know it's my parents' first trip to Europe? My, that crash sure smarted! Hey, I *just* lost the maglia rosa! Also Class Act of 2016 and Bestest Smile in the Peloton--Esteban Chaves, this one's for you!

5. Holy Crap It's All Over Oh !@#$ Moment o' the Race: a moment's inattention, a frightening flyer of bike and man, a fractured rib and crushed dreams after endless impregnable days in pink--Steven Kruijkwijk's terrifying somersaulting smash into a 7-foot wall of ice ended his Giro dreams in an instant. Cycling, how cruel thou art!

6. Corollary Tough Guy of 2016 Award: yep, Kruijswijk. His certain victory gone, the boy plugged on, honoring his team, the race, and himself, bringing a still-amazing-when-you-think-about-it 4th-freakin'-place to Torino. Incredible work by an incredible young talent--however the hell you pronounce yer name, I'll never underestimate you again!

7. Superduperdomestique Prize: yes, he's a doping skankwad with a history of weaselality. But holy !@#$, would Nibali have been steamrolled without him. Sitting back for half an hour on the side of the road, forgoing his own inevitable Giro stage triumph, chillin' with a beer, getting a haircut and hopping on the computer to manage his retirement portfolio while he was waiting to help his team leader with nary a complaint to be heard--*that* is sheer worker-bee perfection. Michele Scarponi, I gotta give credit where credit is due!

8. Crash o' the Race, Decisive: yeah, yeah, same one. Kruijswijk, come get yer prize!

9. Crash o' the Race, Oh No Oh No Oh No: A resurgent Ilnur Zakarin's devastating--and temporarily totally incapacitating--zoom into a stony creekbed. The kind of thing that makes you wonder, ought they be filming this if his family is watching? Incredibly fortunately, just a coupla super-painful, season-screwing fractures, and a cheery post-hospital selfie. Geez, we're glad you're okay! Corollary Touching TV Interview Award: you'd barely know that coolest-name-in-the-peloton Rein Taraamae had won a stage at the Giro d'Italia at all, the way he was so clearly focused on his teammate's well-being. Stand up guy, stand up champion!

10. Crash o' the Race, Just !@#$ing Stupid: he's *so* close to the line, in a brave--and possibly even successful--ripping attack in the final meters of a three-week-long behemoth of pain, suffering, and ignominy. And what should appear like some hideous race-!@#$ing nightmare? That's right, some nimrod's shod foot *right* into the race course, and Sonny Colbrelli goes flying like the Wright Brothers on steroids. Forget those useless ad-covered'barriers'--what we need is some straight-on barbed wire to contain these eejits!

11. Tifosi !@#hat Award: with a mercifully distinct lack of free-ranging livestock, family pets, or oblivious toddlers this Giro, we still managed to shame ourselves mightily. On the last climb of the entire race alone, I counted a Pony, a Pig, and a Banana Guy, each one causing a GC CONTENDER DESPERATELY SEEKING TO GAIN RACE-DECIDING SECONDS !@#DAMMIT TO ACTUALLY HAVE TO SWERVE OFF HIS LINE! Jaysus, what're you gonna try next, sucking the freakin' oxygen right outta their starving gasping lungs by setting off smoke flares on the racecourse? Oh, wait...

12. What the Ungrateful !@#$ Award: look, I know you're sprinters. And I know that, once you hit the Dolomites--or hell, even see them looming 10 stages away in the distances--the terrain is just not for you. But dag nabit, the race organizers went OUT OF THEIR WAY to cater to you boys this Giro, and what do you in return for their kindness? *That's* right, use the beautiful Giro as a lowly training !@#$! for your *real* season's objective, the Tour de France, where no doubt you'll stick it out straight through the Alps to the final line in Paris. *And* you wore the holy maglia rosa to boot. Marcel Kittel--*not* *cool*!

13. God I Love Italy Award: now and forever, "PANTANI" spray-painted on every roadside snowbank, inch of tarmac, and homemade banner. Say what you will about the subject, but that is devotion, my friends!

14. I Call Bull!@#$ Award (Time Trial and Mountain Stage Edition): Foliforov, man. Are you *kidding* me?!

15. I Call Bull!@#$ Award (Sprint Edition): Giacomo Nizzolo's moment o' glory, interview o' glee, and subsequent spirit-crushing defeat on the final day in Torino. If Robbie "Head-Butt" McEwen sez it's okay, it *must've* been okay!

16. Darned Decent of 'Im Prize: look, I *know* you all think Vino shoved a rocket up his--uh, in his pocket on the rest day, but it *was* right for Nibs to go over and give props to Esteban Chaves' darling family--at least before Vino horned in for the huggy-kissy "I *made* you and you *owe* me!" photo op!

17. Cry Me a River Excuse o' the Race: not to minimize the very real effects of the dearth of a very handy item like, y'know, oxygen, but jaysus, Valverde, the "altitude"? Isn't that where you gallivant off to 'train' every year? Get thee to the Tour then if you can't handle the Giro!

18. TMI Statuette: Of all the reasons to bail outta a Grand Tour--the air-sapping bronchitis, the explosive diarrhea, the imminent biological passport bust--this is for Tom Dumoulin, brought down by the humblest of enemies, the gnarly saddlesore. Heal fast, Tom--and even better, heal discreetly!

19. Gratuitous T&A Prize: no, no, not Pippo Pozzato (for once). Don't know what the white, pink, blue and red jerseys are for? Yeah, well, you still don't know now either--but boy, don't they look hot on those models every morning!

20. Most Likely to Have His !@# Kicked By His Team Boss Award: No, he wasn't a particular favorite for a podium sport. And let's face it, our lovably erratic Moneybags has really got his eye--and horsewhip--set on July. But Oleg Tinkov surely expected *something* outta this race, and Rafal Majka, unfortunately, didn't give it. Like a college kid being stalked by a mask-wearing psycho perv in an isolated cabin in a third-rate horror flick--Rafal, GEEEEEET OUUUUUUT!

21. Questionably Enjoyable Race Tactic o' the Giro: Cannondale's Rigoberto Duran Duran, giving up the ghost after a rather middling campaign by throwing all he had left in the service--darn near successfully--of fellow countryman and opposing squad denizen Orica-Greenedge's Esteban Chaves. Why the hell not--beats all that "Vincenzo and Alejandro" yapping!

22. Overhype o' the Race Prize: Yes, I *know* it's dear Mikel Landa. Shove off! Bite me! Saving Grace Consolation Award: dear Mikel Nieve, a stage win *and* the blue jersey. Mikeeeeeeeel--both of you, you smashing ex-Carrots!

23. Last But Not Least, the Miracle On Ice Award of Giro d'Italia 2016: It was the Clif Bar! A nice spa facial on the rest day! No, the acupuncture! Whatever, Nibali--you recovered, enjoy the maglia rosa, *and* ignore the petty haters whinging about "integrity" and "blood bags" while you can!

Well, that's the best of a shockingly exciting thrilla of the Giro d'Italia 2016--same time next year, if you're not all disgustingly aiming for the circus-freak Tour de France instead!

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