Yes, it's December, that special time when we reflect on the events of the year almost past with a mix of joy, gratitude, revulsion, horror, and profound self-recrimination. And in our beloved sport of cycling, with its soaring (and plummeting) extremes of the divine and the disgusting, such reflection takes on particular significance as we consider that HOLY CRAP THERE'S STILL TWO MORE WEEKS FOR SOME GROTESQUE SCANDAL TO ERUPT! So in case you missed it--or have merely already blocked it out--here's yer 2016 racejunkie 2016 Pro Cycling Year in Review!
January: Team kits come out! AG2R relegated to Conti level for having "the butt-ugliest team kit the peloton has ever produced"; Tinkoff in hi-viz yellow so Oleg can find, leap into presence of Peter Sagan at all times; Pozzato personally designs dashing Southeast-Wilier kit, decides to ride naked all season anyway because "hell, I'm even prettier than it is!"
February: The road season begins! Ion Izaguirre accused of motor-doping because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara; numbnut Katusha twerp endangers license, dear Purito's season by being 968th straight team stagiare to test positive for dope; Van Avermonster pips the Saganator at the line at Omloop as teams decide to quit race, have tea party at local hotel instead. Workin' hard for the money, boys!
March: Yay, it's Classics season! Matteo Tosatto, Eros Capecchi accuse Arnaud Demare of stealing Milano-Sanremo victory by team-car tow, pissed their own attempts didn't work; Nibali incensed as "extreme weather protocol" bags Tirreno-Adriatico stage, threatens to lose Tour de France, *again*; UCI solves bike doping controversy once and for all by busting, banning 'cross novice Femke Van den Driessche because no-one has the guts to call out Cancellara. Thank god this cesspool's all cleaned up!
April: It's Tommeke's Bid for a 5th Roubaix! Matthew Hayman wins Hell of the North in stunning upset, Bernard Hinault congratulates by shaking hand, asking "who the !@#$ are you?"; Fran Ventoso makes unsuccessful case for disc brakes in peloton when disc flies off mid-race, slices off top of legendary Mont Ventoux; Philippe Gilbert smashes too-close motorist in face with giant spiked medieval mace--uh, maces too-close motorist. Don't !@#$ with the Phil-Gil!
May: Il Grande Giro, baby! Pissed-off organizers nearly cancel entire show when realize only 3 Belgian neopros registered, everyone else is riding the stupid Tour; FDJ's Alexandre Geniez viciously assaults AG2R's Hubert Dupont at the line by wagging finger, pulling jersey collar, Dupont hospitalized for 3 weeks; remorseful Vincenzo Nibali gives overall race win to Esteban Chaves, who actually lost Giro on penultimate stage, "because he just looked so *cute* when he was crying." Awwwwwwwwww!
June: Pre-Tour de France prep time! Movistar, Astana, to unidentified "black sites" for top secret do--uh, top-shelf "nutritional counseling"; Sky hires master robotics expert, entire tenured faculty of MIT to "help us with some wiring in the team car that's on the fritz"; Contador to Oleg Tinkov's house for three weeks of wholly unwarranted verbal abuse and morale-crushing death-spiral. Thank you Oleg, that's *gotta* help!
July: It's the Sprint Heard Round the World! Bouhanni accidentally punches Bernard Hinault in face in hotel altercation instead of hapless drunken guest, requires 2,643 stitches when Hinault punches back; Contador crashes 18 times in first 2 stages, persists for two weeks despite looking like one of those creepy skinless plasticized cadavers frozen in weird poses in museum exhibitions; Oleg Tinkov extends support, sympathy by hiring small aircraft to skywrite "ALBERTO CONTADOR IS A TOTAL !@#$ING LOSER" above peloton during Stage 13; Froome realizes his riding style is !@#$iest, most inefficient on planet, ditches bike to run up Ventoux and seal overall win in Paris. God, *when* will this !@#$show be *over*?
August: Woot woot, it's the beautiful Vuelta at last! Contador's Tour redemption bid already wrecked on Stage 1 when Oleg hires actual turtles from local pet store as Alberto's Vuelta domestiques; Valverde "helps" Quintana by setting hotel-room alarm to blare Nairo awake every single night at 5-minute intervals; race organizers take out poor Steven Kruijswijk by unexpectedly parking 5000-ton decommissioned Soviet army tank in middle of race course. Shoulda put an orange cone in front of that one!
September: The Vuelta continues! Froome announces switch of focus from climbs to sprints from now on, Kittel, Cav, Greipel give up, quit cycling "effective immediately"; Contador taken out by some random dimwit, entire season ruined, *again*; "Fancy Bear" TUE scandal shows that Froome's bodily fluids entirely replaced by pure liquid amphetamines. 'Marginal gains' my !@#!
October: It's the Worlds, Baby! Extreme heat in Doha mummifies entire peloton into those invisible "sea monkey" things you can order out of back of comic books and reconstitute with water; 100th Giro d'Italia route announced, Froome declares interest in ra--ha ha, just kidding, of course I'm riding the Tour!; Team Sky "mystery package" determined to be "just a !@#$in' bunch of vials and !@#$, nothing to worry about!"
November: Transfer season! Contador formally announces expected transfer to "Please God, Anywhere Else"; Kreuzinger to "Hey, I Can !@#$ Over My Team Leader at *Any* Squad"; Marianne Vos to "We'll Pay You Anything! *Anything*! Here, Take This Ferrari! No, This Lamborghini! No..."
December: UCI announces no doping pozes at any Grand Tour ever, Armstrong smashes picture frames, grabs his 7 yellow jerseys off the wall of his man cave, runs up and down in front of Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis yelling "THEY'RE STILL ALL MINE, BITCHES!"; 2017 team kits revealed, goths raid cycling shops worldwide to snatch entire supply of all-black cycling garb; where the hell is Amets Txurruka's contract, dammit?
Well folks, that was the year that was--and hopefully, that *never* will be again. Next up: Yer 2016 Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!