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Editor’s note: Dan Wuori is one of the funniest Twitter bards in the cycling world (follow him at @dwuori). This month, he expanded beyond 140 characters to share daily journals during the Tour de France.
So it’s over. 21 days of agonizing, superhuman effort. But enough about me.
The 2011 Tour de France made its way onto the fabled Champs-Élysées Sunday, bringing closure to one of more suspenseful chapters in the grand tour’s recent history. In the end it was Australia’s Cadel Evans who — in a total lack of regard for the much-hyped Andy/Alberto storyline – stood atop the podium in Paris wearing the Tour’s most coveted reward: the maillot jaune.
But what — you may ask — of the others? The riders, the teams, the broadcasters … Do they not deserve recognitions of their own?
In today’s final 2011 Tour de France edition of The Livestream Diaries we honor the best of the rest by presenting the first annual LSD Awards.
The Most (Passive) Aggressive Rider Award: Alberto Contador
It was a hard month for Saxo Bank-Sungard’s Alberto Contador. The reigning champion’s 2011 Tour began with a chorus of boos at the team presentation and went downhill from there. Caught up in a series of early crashes, the Spaniard (fresh off a dominating win in the Giro d’Italia) lost time from the get-go and fell quickly from any realistic GC contention. But if you think Contador didn’t help to determine the final podium, think again. Never once shedding his yellow sunglasses, the rider’s early attack of L’Alpe d’Huez wreaked havoc with the Schlecks’ game plan — and may just have cost Andy the win. Maybe it was all about Andy and Alberto after all?
The Breaking Away Pump in the Spokes Award: Vladimir Karpets
Amongst Contador’s most difficult moments was a stage 9 crash in which — depending on which version of the story you care to believe — the reigning champion either: a) got his handlebars tangled under the saddle of Katusha’s Vladimir Karpets or b) was shoved off the road by the in an act of aggression by the Russian. A video of the incident became the 2011 Tour’s very own Zapruder film — but ultimately proved inconclusive. Either way, Karpets future as a hockey goon has been secured.
The Mr. Hanalei’s Tiki Award: Johan Bruyneel
It was a most unfortunate year for Johan Bruyneel’s RadioShack squad. Beginning the Tour with four GC contenders, crashes soon diminished the
nine-man squad to five riders — with Jani Barjkovic, Chris Horner, Aldreas Kloden and Yaroslav Popovych forced to withdraw due to injury. Foregoing the team’s post-Tour party, Bruyneel traveled directly from Paris to Hawaii Sunday — where he hoped to break the team’s curse by returning Mr. Hanelai’s tiki necklace to the ancient burial ground.
The Petit Engine That Could Award: Thomas Voeckler
Wearing the maillot jaune is the dream of millions. So it came as something of a surprise when Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler took the occasion of his 20th career day in yellow to announce that he’s begun to think that — if he prepared accordingly – he might just be able to win one. Um, yeah …
The Oiija Board Says … ” Award: Paul Sherwen
Lagging behind in his on-air team’s stage win predictions competition, Versus’ Paul Sherwen took to devising novel methods through which to select his own daily picks (ex. reading tea leaves, drawing names from a hat, rolling bones). By week three the announcer’s running jokes had grown so tiresome that Sherwen was invited to spend the next three weeks blogging for VeloNews.