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The VeloNews awards for Tour 2002

Sure, you've seen the finish, watched the awards and read all aboutthe official Tour de France podium. Well, with the Eiffel Tower in our sights and the rumble of cobblestones on the Champs-Elysées under our wheels, we thought it opportune to announce our own awards for Tour de France 2002. The Happy Camper award for stage winningMichael Boogerd (Rabobank) on stage 16 to La Plagne. Grinninglike a Cheshire cat with 500 meters still  to go was Boogie. No matterthat Lance Armstrong was only 1 min 25 secs behind. With big white horsechoppers like his, Boogerd could do Colgate commercials. The

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By Rupert Guinness, Of The Australian

Happy camper!

Happy camper!

Photo: Graham Watson

Sure, you’ve seen the finish, watched the awards and read all aboutthe official Tour de France podium. Well, with the Eiffel Tower in our sights and the rumble of cobblestones on the Champs-Elysées under our wheels, we thought it opportune to announce our own awards for Tour de France 2002.

The Happy Camper award for stage winning
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) on stage 16 to La Plagne. Grinninglike a Cheshire cat with 500 meters still  to go was Boogie. No matterthat Lance Armstrong was only 1 min 25 secs behind. With big white horsechoppers like his, Boogerd could do Colgate commercials.

The dig deep, keep trying and it will pay off award for persistence
Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole). Cramping and off theback at 19 minutes was the big Viking on stage 2. Then he was out in front(well nearly) in the Alps on stage 17 to Cluses, winning the group sprintbetween five for fifth place. Twenty-four hours later, it was the otherswho were `thor’ as he pedaled like mad and in front again (but this timedefinitely), enjoying Norway’s first stage win since Dag-Otto Lauritzenin 1987.

Rowdy crowd award
To the drunks and mugs on Mont Ventoux. Not only for givingLance Armstrong the bird, but – in the case of one nutter – whacking VeloNewsEuro beat man Andy Hood on the arm.

Biggest and best crowd award
To the hundreds of thousands who lined the roads of Germany to Saarbrückenon stage 2. Hoping to see Erik Zabel either return home in green or atperhaps take yellow, they cheered their hearts and souls out from kilometer53, where the stage crossed the Moselle River and entered Germany to thefinish at kilometer 181. It mattered not that Zabel’s efforts were foiled,the Germans were still cheering way into the night.

The `Jeez, we’ve gotta host a Tour stage in 2004` award
The German town of St Wendel, of World Cup mountain bike andcyclo-cross fame. Stage 2 passed through — even though the official racebook didn’t list it as the VeloNews guide did. Full marks to StWendel locals for their giant yellow jersey draped across a farm paddockpitching their case.

The Dud team of the Tour award
The Basque Euskaltel team for failing to deliver in the Pyrénéesas promised. You couldn’t blame the Basque fans if they took the defeatharder than the Germans on stage 2. They had to climb up the mountainsto watch the sorry story unfold.The Dud rider of the tour award
No, not the last-placed rider, but Frenchman Christophe Moreau (CréditAgricole). So much promised. Sadly, so little given back in return.The most interviewed rider of the Tour
See aboveThe most crashed rider of the Tour
See aboveThe cry-baby of the Tour award
Sorry, we know this is a hard call, but …. see above

The VeloNews awards for Tour 2002

The VeloNews awards for Tour 2002

Photo:

The guest celebrity of the Tour award
Miss Ed … the reporter-ravaging nag on the Col d’Aubisque…Special mention though to Robin Williams and Prince Albertof MonacoThe Paris is just too damn far away award
Jonathan “this race sucks” Vaughters (Crédit Agricole).Tough end to his Tour career, four tries, four outs.

The Redemption stakes award
Tied between two of cycling’s most forgiven and wrist-slapped dopingbanditos Richard Virenque (Domo) and Dario Frigo (TacconiSport) for their respective stage wins at Mont Ventoux and Cluses.

Miss Ed

Miss Ed

Photo:

Animals of the Tour award
No … we are not talking about dirty foul-mouthed types in the pack.Real animals. Such as Miss Ed (hey, we love her), the heifer awardedto Brad McGee for his stage win, the 45 huskies at La Plagne,the Friesian and Holstein cattle who argued over weather conditionsin Luxembourg, the eagles in the Pyrénées and thepoor little marmots who spent all day dodging them to save theirlives.
The winner … a close call, but we give it to the CréditLyonnais giant Lion. No … we were not paid to pick him.

The team mechanic who is probably now looking for a job award
To the Lampre grease monkey who worked on Raimondas Rumsas timetrial bike for stage 20. Well … we should say he obviously didn’t workenough on it.

The I love to hear my voice and can’t be gagged award
To Spanish journalist Chico Perez (BiciSport) for his recordlength question to Colombian Santiago Botero in his stage-winning pressconference in the Alps. Chico, a man of good intent, gibbered for threeminutes about the background of Colombian cycling and the greats of thecountry before finally asking Botero if he thought he deserved to be placedalongside the likes of Luis Herrera, etc. Botero’s response? “Yes,” hesaid.

The scandal of the Tour award
A bit lean this year, but there were a few contenders such as:

* Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE) and his week one headachesover salbutamol.

* How organizers refused to concede that the race needed a sprinterlike Mario Cipollini and his team, preferring to grant wild-cardentry to French sprinter Damien Nazon and Bonjour. Not only didNazon fail to win or get close to winning a stage until the last day, hewas only 106th in the points competition.

* Organizers again, for saying Gilberto Simoni could not racethe Tour for implication in a doping offense he was later cleared of; butwelcome the likes of past Festina dopers Laurent Brochard, LaurentDufaux and (again) Moreau.

The non-scandal of the Tour award
To UCI commissaires for their alert of an 8 p.m. press conferenceat Plateau de Beille, which left everyone guessing what it, was all about.We almost couldn’t hold our breaths. Luckily we didn’t. It was hardly earth-shatteringstuff. They announced news of a 2-minute penalty on Moreau (yes,him again) for whacking little Carlos Sastre (CSC-Tiscali) becausethe Spaniard simply didn’t recognize Moreau for being the star he (thinks)he is. Sastre got a 20-second penalty, too. The same night, Jacky Durand(FDJeux.com) was booted off the race for holding onto a car up the lastclimb.

Biffo of the Tour award
Could have been close. Moreau and Sastre get it onlybecause Robbie McEwen’s reported threat to feed Lance Armstrong with afist of fives remained that … a report that neither would comment on.

Biggest bluff of the Tour award
To the ONCE team. They were going to rip the race apart withincessant attacks against Lance Armstrong. The Texan and the rest of the5000-strong entourage and millions of spectators are still waiting.

On the rivet award but let’s ride award
To Stuart O’Grady (Crédit Agricole) who had a tachycardiaattack in stage 3 to Reims where his heart rocketed to 235 bpm for an houruntil it came down with 10km to go – just in time for the bunch sprintin which he was still 10th.

The thanks for the memories, have a great life award
Ties between Laurent Jalabert, Abraham Olano and Kevin Livingstonwho all announced their retirements during the Tour. Special mentionto Jonathan Vaughters. He has quit the Euro peloton, but will beseen on the roads of the US..

The John Wilcockson award for Tour typos
To John himself. Midway during a late night transfer, he was busilywriting in the car. Looking over his shoulder from the back seat we noticedhe was writing about the Tour’s 214th stage! Phhhhh …
 

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