Last year I gave out a few awards after the Tour de France to deserving individuals and teams so we're back in 2008 with another round of acknowledging what made this year's event so memorable.
Biggest Fashion Faux Pas - white bike shorts. Unless your team bought a case of Oxy Clean from late-night TV huckster Billy Mays white shouldn't be worn below the waist even before labor day when you are talking bicycles. Ugh! I don't believe in coincidences; Team CSC Saxo Bank wore black shorts and took home the yellow and white jersey plus two stage wins. Team Columbia was in black and won five stages.
Nicest Domestique to turn into a Team Leader - this is a three-way tie between Andy Hampsten, Miguel Indurain and Christian Vandevelde. Since we are talking the 2008 Tour, the award goes to Vandevelde he is one heck of a nice guy.
Teen Heartthrob - Mark Cavendish. He looks so young and at age 23, he is young. His boyish good looks should be giving the girls of Britain fits especially now that the Harry Potter series is winding down.
Comeback Shane Award - Team Gerlosteiner title sponsor is leaving at the end of the season. They won both time trials with Stefan Schumacher who also wore the yellow jersey and with Bernhard Kohl took home the polka-dot climbing jersey and a spot on the podium as well. Maybe with all the success at the Tour a new title sponsor can be found. If not, and the team disbands, some other teams are going to get some great riders.
Missing Person Award - Australian ace sprinter Robbie MKewen usually wins several stages at the Tour and is an ex-winner of the green, sprinter's jersey. He was nowhere to be seen in this year's Tour. I wonder what happened?
Missing Team Award - what's up with Silence Lotto? Cadel Evans looked pretty lonely in the mountains and Robbie MKewen looked lonely as well in the field sprints. Where were their seven teammates? I hope Chris Horner is getting a good laugh out of this one. Silence Lotto traded him in for Yaroslav Popvych. Yeah, like that was an upgrade.
Best Stage win by an Australian - Simon Gerrans victory at Prato Nevoso. The fourman breakway was off the front the entire race and he still found the energy to drop his companions for a convincing win up a difficult climb.
Best Stage win by an American - well, uh, um. Honorable mentions go to Will Frischkorn, Danny Pate and George Hincapie for almost making it happen.
Next Frenchman to win the Tour - he hasn't been born yet. Look for the 23-year drought to continue. The big question is can a Frenchman win before the last winner, 53-year old Bernard Hinault way back in 1985, exits this planet?
I Don't Get It Award - Sylvain Chavanel and Sandy Casar can incite a riot among the French fans just by going up the road for five seconds. I guess they are the current French hopes, and even though Chavanel won a stage (which they showed over and over and over and over again on French TV) 14th place isn't even close.
My Bodyguard Award - Cadel Evans brought a bodyguard to the Tour. OK, Lance had one during his Tour years, but he had to deal with death threats. I would have had a better chance getting an audience with the Dali Lama and he is in exile. Cadel's bodyguard used physical force to protect Evans from "threats" and I have first-hand experience of that. Everybody deals with the pressure of being a favorite at the Tour in their own way, but Cadel, leave OddJob at home next year and spend a little more time with the press. It will help improve your image and take it from me, you need it when it comes to the journalists.
Thank You Very Much Award - to team Saunier Duval. I have known Team Director Mauro Giannetti for almost twenty years and one of my favorite jerseys is an old white with blue and red Team Saunier Duval. Now when I wear it I get jeers of "doper" from the usually adoring French public. I have never used drugs and I have the performances, or lack thereof, to prove it. Thanks a lot!
Where Were You During the Big One Award - in the 2008 Tour the French attacked more often than in the entirety of World War II. That aggression was rewarded with a host of stage wins. Bravo. Now, you just have to figure out how to climb and time trial.
Best Team not at the Tour Award - Astana. Lest we forget the team of that other great Spanish rider and Levi as well. Next year they better be in the race.
What awards do you want to give the 2008 Tour de France. Post up!