We reflect on another year of cycling; who has been naughty and who has been nice. The rusty chain award used to go to the biggest tool of the year but that has been folded into the Anti-V award. In years past the rusty chain award usually went to the present day dopers. Multi-year winners like Danilo “triple threat” Di Luca would now be eligible for the Anti-V award. To finally earn a lifetime suspension which should have been issued after his last infraction, that is something. To bring down a whole team because of his cretino behavior, that’s impressive. How many riders, coaches and support staff on Vini-Fantini Selle Italia lose a living because of his bad brain? But really, enough of him and his 2013 doping colleagues, let us leave them behind.
For those who did not read the Freddy Maertens recent interview, please do so before 2013 expires. It’s important to be reminded how tough he and his competitors were. They were racing more and being paid much much less. We have to admire how much Rule #5 was fueled on passion alone. This brings us to another personality in the running this year, Abandy Schleck.
We cannot criticize an injured rider. One can only compete at the professional level with mind and body working in harmony. Abandy seems to be suffering on both sides of the equation. We can criticize him for his lack of professionalism before he was injured. If you are a terrible time trialist and you want to win a stage race that might include time trials, you really should be working at that, even if it slows your awesome climbing talent. Contador was an impressive stage racer when he beat Cancellara in a TdF TT. Ha! When Freddy says today’s pros are paid too much and are too soft, he was winking at the interviewer and using international sign language to spell out “Abandy”.
Specialized threw itself in the running with it’s abysmal treatment of Dan Richter and Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio. CEO Mike Sinyard pulled Specialized out of the top spot for the Anti-V award with a personal apology to Dan and a promise to do business differently in the future. We take people at their word, let’s move on.
What really made us crazy was the notion that corporations have some legal rights to stop anyone to using the word Roubaix. Roubaix is a town in which the world’s most awesome velodrome decides the world’s most awesome bike race. Trek has a trademark on Alpe d’Huez and Specialized (and Fuji) have one for Roubaix? How clever of you. Well, keep it to yourself, leave the cycling community out of it. Cyclists made these places iconic, not lawyers so if want to have a slap fight over trademarks, do it in the privacy of your law offices. If you would like to do this in public, please make your argument in a bar in Northern France, in early April. You are not welcome to ride the secteurs of Roubaix on two wheels. Piss off. And yes, trademark lawyers, We are looking at you, you have earned both our incredulity and the 2013 Anti-V award.