Tour de France Rule #5 Award: Johnny Hoogerland

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Not an absolute; the beauty of Rule #5 is the graduated scale upon which it is measured. Rule #5 means to push yourself beyond the signals your body sends to stop what you’re doing, usually with ever-increasing urgency. It means to disobey reason and to surpass physical boundaries previously considered impassable. This is why Rule #5 stands apart: it is measured upon a personal scale; not against others, but against the very limits of your own mind and body.

In a tradition started last year, the Velominati hand out the Rule #5 Award to the rider whom we feel most embodied the spirit of Rule #5 during the hardest race of the year, Le Tour de France. By overwhelming consensus, the community has identified Johnny Hoogerland as the most deserving winner this year; as such, we present him with this humble award for fighting through one of the most gruesome crashes any of us can recall.

Brett’s Take:

In New Zealand, there’s a saying that “you can fix anything with Number 8 fencing wire” It means that no matter how hard the task, a bit of elbow grease and determination – not to mention ingenuity – can solve the problem.

But not even Number 8 wire is a match for the guts shown by Johnny Hoogerland on Stage 9 of the Tour de France. In fact, barbed wire fences lining the roads of Europe will be cowering at the thought of Johnny catapulting towards them, laying waste to their pitiful attempts to force him to abandon. #8 wire? Pffft… It’s Rule #5 wire where Johnny’s concerned.

Chapeau Johnny, you are a true hardman of cycling and a deserving winner of the Rule #5 Award. Enjoy a cold one after laying down The V.

Frank’s Take:

How do you single out one rider as ‘the tough guy’ in a race where 200 racers participate in 21 days of racing nearly back-to-back, over the highest mountains in all kinds of weather? How do you single out one rider in a race where a 3-hour 100km Stage raced a bloc over the Telegraph, Galibier, and up l’Alpe d’Huez figures as a “short” stage? How do you pick out one rider in a race lasting more than 86 hours fought out by competitors so tough and closely matched that the time differences are measured in fractions of minutes, not fractions of hours?

How do you pick out one rider when each stage saw riders risk their lives descending at 80kmh (or more) on melting or rain-slick tarmac? How do you pick out one rider when you see a GC contender throw caution to the wind in a do-or-die 60km break over the most difficult climbs in the world in a Hail Mary attempt to win the Tour?  How do you  pick one rider when you see a heroic effort to bring back that same man and singlehandedly drag him within reach? How do you pick out one rider in a race where sprinters won mountain stages and rouleurs fought for the Maillot Verde? How do you pick one rider in a race where the strength of the adversaries defines the quality of the winner?

I’ll tell you how: You pick the guy who catapulted into a rusty barbed-wire fence at 65 kmh because a man driving a car for the media decided his job was more important than that of those doing the racing. You pick a guy who was robbed of the chance to win a stage and go on to defend the Dotty Jumper by a driver who was ordered by race officials to pull over not once, but twice in order to make way for the team cars. You pick the guy who goes on to laugh it off, suggesting the driver didn’t mean him any harm. You pick the guy who did all that and not only finished the stage within the time limit, but managed to take the Polkadot Jersey that day and hold it for a few more. You pick the guy who, after he received dozens of stitches in addition to the damage done when you come off a bicycle at such speeds (it’s not the falling off that is the problem, but the quick stop afterwards that is), went on to finish every other stage and even get into several more breakaways along the way.

Johnny, it’s hardmen like you who make this sport so incredible and remind us that it’s not just the man who stands on top of the podium at the end of the day who is tough. It’s the fact that they beat riders like you, riders who can endure more hardship than most of us can comprehend that makes this such a great sport. You remind us that there is a reason we dub the men who finish the Tour de France Giants of the Road. As a fellow Dutchman, it is my profound pleasure to offer you the well-deserved Rule #5 Award. I hope you allow yourself a beer or two.  Cheers.

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151 Replies to “Tour de France Rule #5 Award: Johnny Hoogerland”

  1. Yes, well deserved.

    But a mention in despatches for Laurens Ten Dam I hope… yet another Dutch hardman. That photo of him is destined to be used to scare children for years to come.

    And Rolland for best Young V… can’t find it in the plethora of stories on Cycling News but there was a lovely quote from him about his win where he said basically “I knew I just had to put it in the big ring and ride a bloc to the finish”… on Alpe d’Huez FFS.

  2. Aye, ’tis a tale of Merckxian proportions.

    That’s a *real* engraved v-pint! Please tell me you really did send it to him; and if he acknowledges it?

  3. What a race! Johnny Barbed Wire a worthy winner of the Rule #5 award but there were plenty of other hardman incidents, Horner chasing home on his own from 15k out with heavy concussion no idea what was going on or where he was but still being driven by the instinct to get to the finish. Popovych only going to the Drs car after pacing one of his many team leaders back to the peloton after a heavy crash. Vino pretty much walking out of a ditch with a broken leg (best summed up by someone on Twitter as ‘if Vino is limping it is not a question of IF it is broken but how badly’). Jean Claude Ten Dam riding on with a smashed up face after going over the handlebars in what I can only presume was an effort to make his bearded face even less aerodynamic. Voeckler turning himself inside out day after day. There are plenty more examples but these are the ones that spring to mind.

    Is there an award for most casually deliberate moment of the tour? My nomination would be Geraint Thomas’ casual brush down and saunter back to the road and his bike after nearly riding off the edge of the side of a mountain at 1000k an hour, even taking the time to see how far the peloton were behind him.

  4. Voeckler definitely desrves an hounourable mention!! Toughing it out behind the GC contenders for a week.

  5. Johnny Hoo is the obvious choice, but let’s not forget the guy who got smashed into the tarmac that day, JAF, who was trying to break the peleton on the Champs Elysee today, chapeau, you mad bastardo

    A bit naff I know, but I’m going to maximise the number of opportunities of telling peeps how hard Johnny Hoo is by donning this shirt…

  6. @All

    The V-pint is indeed on its way to Johnny, his team has been contacted and they kindly forwarded Johnny’s address, so he’ll be supping his Hoegaarden (Hooger-den?) from it soon.

    So much V on display in this Tour, as you all mentioned.

  7. well put fella’s, A-merckx to that

    I would also add that another reason he is so deserving is because 35 stitches later, after being robbed, raped and left for nothing; he answered w/panache and class and didn’t bitch a bit about it. He rode on.

    I woulda been pissed, angry, righteously ready to kick ass upon arrive’, yet he has more class than I.

    Ride on Johnny!
    gotta get that T!

  8. Raising a pint of my own to Johnny Hoogerland for his exemplary representation of the V!

  9. Wish I had something eloquent to say……Chapeau Johnny! And chapeau to Frank, the Keepers and everyone else here who have renewed my faith in our fine sport. Fuckin’ fine tour! Just fine……

  10. A well deserved award to Hoogerland, the mayor of Awesomeville 2011. This year’s Tour has produced some of the hardest and finest riding in a looong time. There were a number of riders who could have earned the V pint but Hoogerland earned it…the hard way.

  11. Here’s Frank: “Not an absolute; the beauty of Rule #5 is the graduated scale upon which it is measured. Rule #5 means to push yourself beyond the signals your body sends to stop what you’re doing, usually with ever-increasing urgency. It means is to disobey reason and to surpass physical boundaries previously considered impassable. This is why Rule #5 stands apart: it is measured upon a personal scale; not against others, but against the very limits of your own mind and body.”

    Womanish drivel. “Disobey reason”?? WTF does that mean? Cadel Evans, more than Hoogerland, deserves the Rule #5 award. His brutal, sustained efforts were measured precisely by reason with the aim of WINNING. And he did. You’re such poser, Frank.

  12. @Slash
    Probably been said before, as you’ve been a cock before, but get your own site up, nurture a community over a number of years, get a pint glass made up and send it to the rider of your choice.
    But you won’t, ‘cos weakly trolling frank is a lot easier.
    And quite a few will take bait, but we needn’t, as frank can more than look after himself from the likes of you.
    Cock.

  13. Besides, a good troll will have people debate your point, not just call you a cock. You don’t even get trolling, let alone TdF rule V.

  14. @Slash
    “disobey reason” is a fairly simple concept. But seeking an answer to that question isn’t why you wrote your post, is it?

    You just wanted some reactions and a bit of attention didn’t you? Are you lonely at your little terminal?

    Hoiwever, calling Frank a poser isn’t far off the mark. Posing is a VERY important part of cycling.

    Piss off.

  15. @Slash
    *Snore* Try coming up with a new way to insult me, please. You’re getting really boring.

    Also note that calling me a “woman” does not qualify as an insult. See below for any questions.

  16. @scaler911

    BTW,
    Johnny has more V in that finger than Slash has in his entire universe.

    This. If we didn’t get these Adrian’s we would be doing something wrong.

  17. How fucking cool that Hoogerland is getting his V-pint?

    And somehow we need to recognize David Harmon for crashing the website with a tweet and couple of global apologies live on Eurosport–all the while sitting with King Kelly and reporting on the Tour de France.

    Spectacular 2011 TdF, Keepers. Thank you! And well done!

  18. @RedRanger

    @brett
    I hope we will be forwarded and messages if any from JH?

    Yes indeed.

    Slash, calling a man a woman as an ‘insult’ shows how much of a misogynistic, narrow-minded little fellow you are. Why do you hate women? Did your mum not give you enough ‘Cuddles’ when you were a kid?

    Next you’ll be calling me ‘gay’…

  19. @Slash
    That’s it, Slash. I’m not buying anymore Velvet Revolver CD’s. And I’ve thrown away all my G&R.

  20. @scaler911
    Great photo of Mr. Cash. First glance I thought it was Joe Strummer, hadn’t seen the similarity before….


    or is it just me? Of course Joe is a bit youger in this photo but I’m guessing he was an inspiration

  21. Wire like that, it will not stop me.

    Wait…just did a quick scan to the bottom after reading this…slash is here? Man, what is the point of yelling into a chasm? You’re wasting your time here, bud. Let it go.

    I was so worn out after watching Le Tour, plus being ron-guard for all the VSPs tossed at us all hours of the day that I needed a nap today after the final stage. I woke up at around 16:00 and thought, “It’s is Monday already?” Hell no, it’s Sunday, and Cadel just won in fine style, let’s have some more beer!

    Nice, nice way to spend a Sunday.

    Lads, rest up, get a good week in, for on Friday, we start going again, more racin’!

  22. @scaler911 I’m not trolling. I mean every word of what I say. You tell me, what Frank means when he says, “disobey reason”. That’s womanish babble.

  23. @Marcus More babble. No, honestly, I do want to know what it means to disobey reason and why this is important to comply with Rule #5. Harden the fuck up. Why is doing this disobeying reason? One should harden the fuck up only if one needs to get tough and fierce in order to accomplish one’s goals. How is that disobeying reason?? Marcus?? How about this, Marcus, do you really think cycling is about “Looking Pro” rather than trying with everything to be PRO? Honestly, above everyone here, I’d have thought that you’d understand.

  24. @Marcus

    Hoiwever, calling Frank a poser isn’t far off the mark. Posing is a VERY important part of cycling.

    Hear, hear. As has been expressed on numerous occasions on these pages, we have to look fabulous at all times. As long as we’re still casually deliberate, remember? Like this…

    Though I fear Slash may have lost too much weight in the mountains in this one

    or even this…

    though this may be too “girly” for these pages!

  25. @Slash
    ok – I am sitting in a teleconference so I have time to address your query. Surely the idea is that your body is sending you signals to stop through your nerve ends in the form of PAIN. You disobey that signal by maintaining your effort. Thus Rule #5-ing it. That signal from your body could also be called reason – and you are disobeying it.

    As to the remainder of your post, sorry if I have let you down. I confess that I am just a vacuous poser like the rest of them. If you have the impression that I am something else then my posing skills must be nothing short of World Class. I mean, I have tricked an all-knowing cycling expert like you.

    We are having FUN you morose fuckwit.

  26. @Slash

    It means, to ignore that little voice in your head telling you to stop (like the one that no doubt popped into your head before you posted the above), that you’re about to hit the wall. Most “reasonable” people might call it in, but Rule #5
    prevents true Giants from that luxury. I humbly suggest you re-read The Rules, get out on your fixie, and think on these things.

  27. @Slash

    @brett That’s all you have? You reply like Basso rode the Tour this year.

    Thanks! Top Ten at the Tour is pretty frikkin good…

    I see you as more Horner-esque; dazed and confused and not really knowing where the fuck you are or why you’re here, all alone.

  28. @Dr C

    A bit naff I know, but I’m going to maximise the number of opportunities of telling peeps how hard Johnny Hoo is by donning this shirt…

    Just ordered mine. Gotta have it. Just wish I could hear the words “resplendent in his barbed wire and polka dots” from Sherwin.

  29. Can’t we all just get along?

    Won’t someone think of the children?

    Ebony and Ivory, etc…

  30. In honour of Hoogerland’s feat of sheer strength and reverence to Rule #5, I will start using the expression ‘Hoogerland the fuck up!’

  31. Nice one Frank. I hope Johnny H can find this fine pint glass among all the other swag that must be coming his way. He can fill it with “dutch courage.” It is amazing he finished that day’s race and went on to get in break after break and ride into Paris. He has no excuses to not finish any Tour he enters now. Ouch. Speaking of ouch…

    Who wouldn’t climb into the ambulance after this?

  32. @eightzero
    I also ordered the “Shut Up Legs” t-shirt – in due reverence for JV’s outrageous “climbing/falling off /climbing/falling off/out-climbing everyone whilst whistling at his mate up the hill before blowing up with max-panache” virtuoso – not in J-Hoo’s league admittedly, but worthy of a re-mention!

  33. @Dr C

    Absolutely an honourable mention for Jens, when ever it looked tough he seemed to be out the front burrying himself for his team

  34. A worthy winner.

    @ Dr C – Great montage at the end of the ITV4 coverage. Footage of a very peeved Jens pulling his bike out of a bush before jumping back on to continue was brilliant…legend.

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