Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's Yer Incredibly Prestigious 2016 Racejunkie Awards!

Put away those ballgowns and tuxes, bag the stilettos, skip the hours of hair 'n' makeup, and break out the spandex, bike helmets, and clipless-pedeal cleat covers--this ain't no fussy film-star red carpet, fans 'n' riders, it's the incredibly prestigious (and morally dubious) 2016 Racejunkie Awards! Prizes--your obscure place in internet cycling-fan history, eternal shame (or glory), and, for those confused or desperate enough to get their actual physical prizes, something--I swear--approximating a golden trophy, and a stylin' custom-embroidered--I swear--racejunkie cycling cap! So turn off those stupid Oscars, and get ready to scream at your TV--it's on to the 2016 Incredibly Prestigious racejunkie Awards!

Like That Killer Rabbit in That Monty Python Movie Award: oh, just *look* at the cute little fuzzy chipmunk-cheeked smiley wee th--AIGGHHH! AIGGGHHH! IT'S RIPPED MY THROAT OUT! IT'S JABBED OUT MY EYEBALLS! WHERE DID MY LEFT ARM JUST GO? Esteban Chaves, this one's for you. Fool you once, shame on him. Fool you twice--well, don't say I didn't warn you, you eejit!

I *Cannot* *!@#$ing* *Believe* It *Again* Slam-Your-Head-Into-a-Concrete-Pole-in-Frustration Prize: is there some new, sick-!@#$ game I haven't heard about this year, like "Betcha an Espresso I Can Knock Alberto Contador Off His Bike and Lose Him a Grand Tour" or some twisted crap? *How* is it possible that such a tranquillo bike handler with such a good sense of tactics can be so inevitably placed within a millimeter's proximity of the dimwittedest most uncoordinated nimrods on the pro cycling planet? You have my truest sympathy if you fall and hurt yourself, Anonymous Inattentive Peloton Jerkface--but you're maybe a little *less* sympathetic when you take prize-winner (who I'm sure would rather have a big TdF trophy instead) Alberto Contador down with you!

Punk-!@# Move of the Year: yeah, you heard me--while Alejandro Valverde typically grabs this one by a landslide, Chris Froome's flailing-ditzbag faux-panic babyfaced-naif Usain-Bolt overall-victory-nailing foot-sprint up Mont Ventoux in the please-don't-patronize-us-you-!@#hole 'confusing' wake of an ill-timed mechanical and even more unfortunate team-car delay--which totally coincidentally resulted in him *gaining* crucial time and space he would *never* have gotten otherwise over his exhausted bike-pedal-welded podium rivals--takes the Tour de France, *and* the cake. Like you'd normally even *notice* you were having a mechanical if it weren't happening to the power meter you've got glued to your eyeballs, you tick-tocking power-drone? Now climb those !@#damn stairs to the stage to pick up your stupid !@#ty trophy, before I lose my temper and smack you upside the helmet with it!

Implausible Deniability Award: It's "marginal gains." No, it's "functional dehydration." No, it's *bull!@#$*, you shameless asshats. They're amped up like a playground full of just-napped toddlers force-fed a lifetime diet of Red Bull and sugar cane, and that's *after* they've crossed the finish line after 6 hours of riding uphill. !@#$ you, Sky, in ten years you clowns'll bite it in a scandal of Operacion Puerto--hell, Lance Armstrong--ian proportions. Til then, we wait and sneer. Oh, except all your ex-Euskaltel riders are innocent victims of your inestimable toolishness. !@#$ you, Sky!

Bad-!@# of the Year: like the nearly indestructible Stuey O'Grady before her, Annemiek Van Vlueten can get hit by a train, run over by a bus, corralled by sheepdogs, stampeded by lion-spooked hippopotami, and kicked out of a plane at 30,000 feet without a parachute--oh, and endure a truly horrific crash at the Olympic road race--only to bounce right back up and start killing it at races while barely skipping a beat, which beats promptly got the hell outta her way the second they realized she was coming up behind them anyway. Bow, bow before the iron will--and body!--of Annemiek!

What, Are You *Trying* to Kill Them You Dipwad? Award: now, I may not be an esteemed road engineer, nor highly respected and often-utilized bike race planner, but one thing I *do* know in my pathetic liberal-arts doofusness is that, well, YOU DON'T FREAKIN' LEAVE A METAL POLE IN THE EXACT MIDDLE OF A RACECOURSE when the poor unsuspecting peloton is unerringly going to smash right into it at 60 kilometers an hour. Thank you, 2017 UCI races, you can pay me later for my sage advice--but you can !@#damn remove those stupid bone-snapping obstacles *now*!

Best Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: he was reviled for testing poz after his miracle run at the Tour de France, then duped some very nice people into donating into his "Floyd Fairness Fund", then reviled even worse for breaking omerta' and ratting out his former buds, and *now*, after years of public scorn, has earned back the love of the cycling--hell, entire--world by coming back with his blazing entry into the legal weed business. Floyd Landis, come on up--no, seriously, put down those damn nachos and come on up to claim your prize!

Worst Post-Cycling-Career Career Move: oh, 2002 Vuelta star Aitor Gonzalez, how it *pains* me to do this. And generally, I'm in no position to give career advice. But if you're gonna hit the netherworld up for a job after your cycling career is over, robbing a cell-phone store (allegedly!) in Alicante like a common schnook is *not* the way to go. For heck's sake, man, you're a *pro cyclist*--you've at *least* got the connections the know-how and the ready-made market to be a dope courier!

Total !@#$ Team Dissolution Prize: IAM Cycling. Short, but so *very* sweet while it lasted. Oh, how we'll miss you!

Retirements of the Year (Aw, We'll Miss 'Em): Fabian, you're a legend. Mara, *just* when I was about to put you into the racejunkie Merry Festivus Gift List for the Peloton with yet another Giro Rosa, I realize you'd already announced your plan to hang up (for pro racing purposes, anyway) your wheels. Dag nabit, come up and get your trophies, while I'm still inclined to hand 'em over!

Retirement of the Year (It's About Time Already): oh, thank !@#$ Bradley Wiggins has decided it's time to rest on his impressive (if now slightly tained) laurels and--*what*?! This !@#$ing !@#$er is still leaving the door open for unretiring again?! Jaysus H. Christ, pack it in already, pal--or are you waiting to milk a few *more* euros out of yet *another* autobio over your latest track feats with Cav?

Retirement of the Year (!@#$ You Teams For Not Hiring Him Yet!): look, unless and until he makes an official statement--and if common sense, justice, and pre-November 2016 American values prevail--dear ex-Carrot, breakaway artist, and climber supremo Amets Txurruka is still in the game. And we all remember the nailbiter of a film-noir suspense-fest when we also love Samuel Sanchez *finally* announced his renewed deal with BMC a year or two back--after the baby season had already started. But *!@#dammit*, you ignoramus short-sighted amoral freaks, *where* the hell is Amets' new contract ffs?!

Golden Memorial !@#-Kissing Award: Hey, I--um, you--just won that race! Here, let me heft up that trophy! Move your !@# over so we both fit on the podium! Look, I'm photo-bombing you while you're trying to pose for the ceremonial post-victory handshake with a true legend of the sport! Ooh, I've tattooed my whole body in World Champion stripes so I can match your jersey and piggy-back right on you the next race you have! Oleg Tinkov, you self-serving, publicity-whoring, Contador-screwing victory-slut, this one-fingered salute of a trophy is for you--and no, Peter Sagan can't be in the picture this time!

Domestique of 2016: It's over for your team captain, and at the best Grand Tour of the year. Oh, *boy*, is it over. And you, comfortably ensconced in the breakaway and with no-one needing to bother to chase *any* of you down for GC, have a serious chance at perhaps a last-ever Giro d'Italia stage victory--and you're Italian. So what do you do? *That's* right, you disloyal punks (I'm talking to you, Tinkoff riders!), if you're Michele freakin' Scarponi, you pull over to the side of the road and chill (literally, in a snowbank) for a good half-hour, downing water bottles energy snacks and barely dodging frostbite to boot, til your captain finally schleps up to you and you bash the crap outta the rest of the contenders til they're mere whimpering jelly beneath your wheel, and you *win* that guy the Giro. Michele, I concede I've had my issues--but damn, did you earn your keep!

And Finally, Yer Corollary Comeback Ride of 2016: look, you can say a lot of things about Vincenzo Nibali, and I'm frankly too much of a lady to say them here. But in the absence of any mechanical-or-PED-assistance scandal to the contrary, you gotta admit, his Stage 20 bounce-back to take the overall win at the Giro d'Italia after his excruciating humiliation on Stage 16 was genuinely a marvel to see. But I'm still rooting for Mikel Landa to take it in 2017 Vincenzo!

Ok folks, claim yer prizes, crack some Champagne--and for most of you, just *pray* you don't end up on this ignominious list next year!

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