Yes, no matter what we celebrate this time of year--or with what delightful, appalling debauchery we celebrate it--we've all got one thing in common: we love our dear peloton and its saintly (or dastardly) denizens. And what better way to show how much we love them than to give them the wonderful gifts they so rightly deserve? Ergo, cyclists and cycling fans, here's Yer Annual Racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton!
Alberto Contador: what else? The 2017 Tour de France, baby! You can come back and re-win the beautiful Vuelta the *next* year instead!
Chris Froome: a warm, hearty, sincere congratulations from Alberto Contador on yer second place in the Tour de France. It feels almost as good as 1st place, amirite?
Tom Boonen: what else? A record 5th Paris-Roubaix, baby! Crappy, season-hosing crashes, bad luck, and sudden nerves, begone--YOU ARE TORNADO TOM, !@#DAMMIT, YOU HAVE GOT THIS IN THE BAG!
Mikel Landa: okay, I *know* I am supposed to root for an Italian, like Vincenzo Nibali or Astana starlet Fabio Aru, to win the 100th Giro d'Italia. But I guess I better get ready for my eternal trip to hell, because you, Mikel, are not only a noble ex-Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, but also doomed to play second fiddle to that snotty little !@#wipe Froome for the rest of your career if you stay with your current !@#$ty squad. Win the Giro, Mikel, and you can name yer price--and yer team--for 2018!
Pierre Rolland: yeah, that's right, he just called out the sainted Tour de France for being boring! And he's *French*! A gold-plated--no, solid-gold--superfast, supersexy blinged-out super-powered Lamborghini for that boy!
Nacer Bouhanni: some common sense. And some boxing gloves, to protect your delicate cyclist hands in case you randomly decide to ruin your whole team's Grand Tour again in some stupid beef with an obnoxious hotel guest. Seriously, you're an actual pugilist--you don't already *own* these things?
Annemiek Van Vlueten: well, you're already clearly a bounce-backing bad-@!# after your terrifying spine-fracturing crash at the Olympics and incredibly speedy recovery--and not only race *return*, but immediate *win*--at Lotto Belgium Tour, so I suppose there's not much I can get you that you won't perfectly be able to get for yourself--but damn, I'm wishing you the World Championship anyway!
Mark Cavendish: you actually had a pretty decent year, but still and all, you're not *quite* back to your usual whinging, smack-talking, sprint-obliterating self. I gift you your mojo--because *you* oughta be able to win without head-butting, Cav!
Women's Cycling: !@#$ this one-day 'La Course' dabbling--a real, three-week race-o'-destiny, just like the boys get. And some !@#damn decent paychecks while we're at it!
UCI: a fence. A giant, 50-foot-high, concrete, steel-reinforced, glass-shards-and-barbed-wire-covered fence that goes all around Europe. Now keep that tyrant asshat Oleg Tinkov away from our sport!
Team Sky: a year's gift subscription to Federal Express. Seriously, numbnuts, a *team courier*? Why not just hire a !@#$ing marching band with a majorette in spangles and a big !@#$ing banner screaming "I'm carrying a big bag of dope here!" for cripes' sakes?!
Dave Brailsford: speaking of which, a linear, credible excuse for Brad Wiggins' "mystery package," which, after months of sordid speculation (mine included), you grudgingly claimed to be a pile of, yes, ordinary, harmless *decongestant*, which is apparently (1) easily available over the counter without hauling it a thousand miles through Europe and (2) actually violently contraindicated for the bull!@#$ asthma diagnosis you *did* scam a TUE for Brad for. Brilliant!
Brad Wiggins: a peaceful, happy, *permanent* retirement. RETIREMENT already, you hear me? FFS!
Roman Kreuziger: You screwed--and dissed!--your own team leader Alberto Contador, and relentlessly butt-kissed your repulsive wingnut publicity-ho team boss Oleg Tinkov. Wishing you *karma*, jack!@#!
Amets Txurruka: Santa, I have literally been tweet-storming you Christmas carol lyrics for this talented boy--and most importantly, ex-Carrot--every single day for the last month. CAN WE PLEASE GET AMETS A CONTRACT ALREADY?
The lot of you: may your favorite rider ever win, your favorite Classic ever cobble, your Belgian beer be ever cold, beautiful Giro never end, your Tour de France--aw, who the hell cares--and your fabulous Vuelta go ever upwards. Now break out the nog--or glogg--and let's toast a Very Merry Whatever You Celebrate to fans and riders, one and all!