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The alternative Cyclist awards

Felix Lowe Cyclist awards
Felix Lowe
31 Dec 2015

It's time for some pro cycling awards - done the Cyclist way.

Victories for Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Fabio Aru in cycling’s coveted Grand Tours this year were merely cursory, with each rider dancing/spinning/grimacing away (delete as appropriate) to arrive at the far more prestigious Cyclist gongs.

Contador wins the Rolling Stone Award For Making A Grown Man Cry – the man in question being the toothy Italian Aru, periodically reduced to a quivering wreck by the Spaniard during the Giro. Unlike his lookalike Ed Miliband, Aru bounced back from his loss in May by guzzling enough peloton plankton during the Vuelta to scoop the Basking Shark Award. Over at the Tour de France, Chris Froome’s clinical second victory made him a shoo-in for The Hangover Award For Predictable Sequels

Froomey’s loyal lieutenant Richie Porte wins the Captain Oates Taking One For The Team Award, after he guinea pigged Team Sky’s camper van experiment at the Giro before going all-in for his team leader in France. Porte and fellow Aussie Simon Clarke of Orica-GreenEdge also share the My Kingdom For A Horse Award for swapping wheels during the Giro.

Time-trial specialist Fabian Cancellara wins the Put Me Back On My Bike Award for finishing a Tour stage with a broken vertebra, while another chiselled chrono czar, Ben Affleck lookalike Tom Dumoulin, plunders one half of the Good Will Hunting Award For Best Breakout Duo after his dramatic showing at the Vuelta. His co-victor? The Dutchman’s not-so-Matt-Damon-esque fellow Vuelta sharpshooter Esteban Chaves (winner also of the Cheshire Cat Smiling-While-Disappearing Award).

After stalling on Stage 2 in Spain, Vincenzo Nibali took a tight grip on this year’s Sticky Fingers Trophy before being driven off-stage at high speed. Nibali’s Astana team are runaway winners of the Oleg Tinkov Award For Skating On Thin Ice after capping their spate of positive tests by placing six riders in the top 25 of the Giro.

German super-sprinter Marcel Kittel wins the Lord Lucan Disappearing Without Trace Award, but didn’t turn up to collect it, leaving his oak-legged compatriot Andre Greipel to accept The Force Awakens Award for his four Tour stage scalps – the most heroic comeback from a grizzled old-timer since Harrison Ford signed up for the new Star Wars movie. 

Peter Sagan pulverised the field to take the Always The Bridesmaid Award after his numerous second and third places in big races. He was run close for the award by BMC’s Greg van Avermaet, but the Belgian lost out on the gong after pipping Sagan to the line on a thrilling Stage 13 of the Tour.

Of course, Sagan may yet be forced to return his Bridesmaid Award after his world-beating performance in Richmond, Virginia. But at least he can swap it for the much more prestigious Rainbow Award (for being zippy and not bungling it this time, by George!).

In more minor categories, the Greece 2004 Unexpected Victory Award goes to Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka for his world championship ITT gold; the Perfect Porridge Award For Remarkable Consistency goes to Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff, who managed a win ratio of almost 25% over the season; and the Monuments Men Award (not to be confused with the film The Monuments Men, which is entirely awards-free) goes to Giant-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb for his San Remo/Roubaix double, and Alejandro Valverde for his own Amstel/Flèche/Liège haul.

So to the final prize of the year: the ’Allo ’Allo Award for Gallo-British Relations: step forward Steve Cummings, who soared past Messieurs Bardet and Pinot to deny the French what looked like a certain win on Stage 14 of the Tour, resulting in some rather good moaning from our cross-Channel cousins.

Read more musings from the award-dodging Felix Lowe in volume six of The Cycling Anthology (Peloton Publishing, £8.99)

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