2011 Broken Chain Award

2011 Broken Chain Award

by / / 89 posts

Brought back to life by reader demand, the Broken Chain Award is considered for any person or thing that protrudes above the surface of cycling’s bad behavior and bad ideas.

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

The obvious first choice, the easy choice, was the French TV driver who put Juan Antonio Flecha down on the road and Johnny Hoogerland into the barbed wire on Stage 9 of the Tour de France. The driver, rumored to be an ex-pro, was trying to get ahead of the break, passing them where there wasn’t room. Hit a tree or hit some riders, he went right and now might be in the witness protection program in Latvia. But can this guy be the biggest idiot of the year in cycling? Passing a group of racers who are already using both lanes, driving fast to get around them, keeping eyes on the cyclists and a tree runs out into the road. This is inexcusable driving but there is an even bigger tool in the bin.

The vitriol I distill in my heart for the cheaters in cycling has somehow decreased this year. Less doping or better cheaters – I’m not sure. The lack of busted, denying dumb-asses has had a good effect on my health. The two-time loser brigade which should, by all reasonable calculations still be paying the price, seems to have found teams corrupt enough to pay them to ride. OK, Di Luca is riding but not getting paid. Tchmil should break him like a twig and toss him in a Russian potato field. Stefan Schumacher is back riding for Christina Watches, the Rock Racing of Europe.

Having a high VO2 max has no correlation with intelligence. Some riders even have the perfect amount of dumb. But Ricardo Ricco has much more than his fair share. He had already served a ban for his CERA-EPO busting during the 2008 Tour. In February of this year he ended up in the emergency room with kidney failure. He told the ER staff he gave himself a blood transfusion from blood stored in his own refrigerator. Giving oneself an IV can’t be easy but rummaging around your refrigerator for some stored blood, looking in the lettuce drawer, where did I put that old blood? Oh, here it is, is that mayo on there? Shouldn’t this be colder? It boggles the mind.

This award is not exclusively for cheaters but I tend to see them as most deserving. Ricco has earned mention in the past for cheating and being a prick but for this prank I have to nominate him for the 2011 Broken Chain Award.

I don’t really know what to say about Ricco, he is looking at a lifetime ban and possible prison time. The Italians won’t drag this out like the Spanish. Everyone must dislike him and feel sorry for him in nearly equal amounts. I would be insane to think we have seen the last of him but at least we won’t see him racing unless Tchmil steps in.

// Awards // Etiquette

  1. @frank
    I think that Mikel’s point was their statement about him being unbeatable and not challenging in the last few k’s. I think that he has a point to be considered there.

    I still think they were pussies with all their whining about the descents during the TdF, though, and deserve some abuse.

  2. @Fradetti
    Welcome Fraddetti and thanks for the link. Ricco is starting to behave like Frank VDB who later in his life would jump out on the road on his bike, haul ass ahead of some riders, blow up and then disappear.
    @sgt

    @Fradetti
    Hahahahahaha! This thread is too fun! I have to say that I enjoy the back and forth inherent in subjective topics like “who wussed out during x race” or “who’s the biggest douche on wheels” much better than objective discussions of, say the various qualities of different equipment, kit, etc. We’re all getting a little starved for some bike racing I think! Can we get the MSR Countdown Timer on the banner?

    I agree, and all this would be better done in a pub with pints. Drinking alone is no fun.

  3. @Gianni
    But it beats not drinking at all!

  4. @Gianni
    Riccò is really a tragic character of cycling you are right to mention VDB to him, I’d add also MP. Riccò looks like to be equally self-destructive.

    @frank
    Talking about Nibali…
    I recall a funny thing, this year the arrival of the Tour of Lombardy was in Lecco, which is a small town on the shores of Lake of Como and so the big buses of the teams were parked outside it. You can imagine the difficulty of the riders, in the chaos at the end of the race, to reach the places where the buses were parked, there were cars and tifosi everywhere. While I was (too) stuck in traffic I saw Vincenzo Nibali zigzagging between cars in search of his team and his coach. Obviously all the enthusiastic tifosi greeted him, while some other were trying to show him the right direction to his team and in doing that increasing the already insane chaos around him. The typical Italian picture I love!

  5. You do realize that this kind of reportage is grossly unfair and exasperating to us stateside? I’m lucky if I see another cyclist anywhere, let alone this. Keep it up – always nice to live a little vicariously!

  6. @wiscot
    Not everywhere stateside my friend… I routinely see more serious cyclists than cars on my weekend rides, and we have big group rides almost every day of the week. http://www.bicicorsa.com/rides/index.html

    Just lucky I guess…

    But back to Ricco. I wouldn’t compare him to MP, whose life had such a tragic arc (in the truest classical sense). MP had great skills and great personal demons, he was a figure of shame and maybe even derision, but never scorn or ridicule. Ricco has always been a joke, his career riddled with positives, bans and outrageous behavior. He’s a poltroon and a fool.

  7. Hey! Where’d everybody go?

  8. @sgt

    Hey! Where’d everybody go?

    ha, I was thinking the same thing.

  9. @RedRanger

    @sgt

    Hey! Where’d everybody go?

    ha, I was thinking the same thing.

    Me too. I thought everyone was getting moderated or something.

  10. @sgt
    You are right, I was too generic, MP was a totally different man as it was VDB.
    I was pointing only at the self-destructive aspect of those riders.

  11. @wiscot
    Thank you

  12. @sgt
    You’re lucky! I regularly ride organized centuries here in SE WI and there are tons of serious riders participating. I live in a part of the world with miles of wonderful back roads, that are lightly trafficed. I ride as close to all year round as weather permits yet it is always the exception rather than the norm to see other riders. I seriously wonder where they all go after the centuries.

  13. @sgt

    @Fradetti
    Hahahahahaha! This thread is too fun! I have to say that I enjoy the back and forth inherent in subjective topics like “who wussed out during x race” or “who’s the biggest douche on wheels” much better than objective discussions of, say the various qualities of different equipment, kit, etc. We’re all getting a little starved for some bike racing I think! Can we get the MSR Countdown Timer on the banner?

    I may only be one rung higher than the purest luddite but I have learned that the internet can cross the equator. The question is…can your consciousness?

    The Tour Down Under starts next Tuesday 17th through six stages to Thursday 22nd. Granted – its not a classic – we don’t have cobbles, you can’t win a trident, battle through snow or pull past a 12th century chateau – but it is a bike race. Its on the UCI World Tour AND there’s more than enough quality riders to pique interest…

    For example: Gerrans, O’Grady, McEwen, Bobridge, Goss, Meyer, Greipel, Freire, Hesjedal, Haussler, Boss Hogg, Gerry Thomas, Danny Pate, Ballan, GVA, Petacchi, Big Jens, Rickshaw, Valverde, De Gendt…and various other hardmen…

    Racing is generally rolling, hot and aggressive. COTHO is giving it a miss this year in favour of his comminity / twitter events. Cuddles rates the event so highly that he stays in yurp in order to avoid the negative impact of giving excruciatingly awkward interviews.

    Check steephill for coverage…

  14. @Harminator
    Hehehehe – you took the bait.

    I’ve seen @sgt mention the MSR countdown a couple of times so far and bit my tongue.
    Not so much for the TDU, which I love to see, mainly due to the many Aussies involved and having attended a couple of times, but because of Het Volk (yeh, yeh) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, which I’ve always seen as the season openers, then Paris-Nice, Tirenno Adriatico (P-N and TA are world tour), Strade Bianche, all great races before MSR.

    Set the timer for MSR if you wish, but you’re missing out if that’s your start to the year.

  15. @Harminator, @Blah
    Het Neiuwsblad is also before MSR, as are various other good races. I think the point wasn’t so much that MSR is the first bike race of the year…it’s when the connoisseur’s calendar starts.

    That aside…since when do we judge the quality of anything by the UCI’s endorsement? TDU nevertheless will be loads of fun to watch.

    Cuddles rates the event so highly that he stays in yurp in order to avoid the negative impact of giving excruciatingly awkward interviews.

    Gold.

  16. Incidentally, I don’t think its a coincidence that as soon as Bruyneel gets involved with the Schlecks, a video of them practicing TT’ing surfaces.

  17. @wiscot
    NE Wisconsin also has many low traffic roads that seldom have other cyclists. My feeling is that the rider:road ratio reduces the odds of random meetings with other riders.

    Given my poor hand-eye coordination and weak social skills, solo riding seems to be a perfect activity. That said, I’m interested in helping organize a Wisconsin Cougal.

  18. @frank

    @Harminator, @Blah
    Het Neiuwsblad is also before MSR, as are various other good races. I think the point wasn’t so much that MSR is the first bike race of the year…it’s when the connoisseur’s calendar starts.

    Actually, the only reason I referred to MSR was because that’s historically the first VSP Event… I assure you I’m no connoisseur!

    I’ll be following the TDU, don’t worry.

    I’ve been having a lot of problems getting the site to load up today… is there something wrong with the Dutch Monkey, Frank?

  19. @sgt

    @frank

    @Harminator, @Blah
    Het Neiuwsblad is also before MSR, as are various other good races. I think the point wasn’t so much that MSR is the first bike race of the year…it’s when the connoisseur’s calendar starts.

    Actually, the only reason I referred to MSR was because that’s historically the first VSP Event… I assure you I’m no connoisseur!
    I’ll be following the TDU, don’t worry.
    I’ve been having a lot of problems getting the site to load up today… is there something wrong with the Dutch Monkey, Frank?

    Fuck me, mate; the servers needed a massive Rule #5 Talking-to. Been down all morning and you can’t begin to know how mad that makes an obsessive like myself, especially when I’m busy trying to get an article published. Seems to be running better now…

    I should have known you hold the first VSP event as the most important! A VSP timer is not a bad idea – counting down to the deadline for registering for the next event, which in this case is MSR in three months! I love it!

  20. @frank

    Fuck me, mate;

    Umm, thanks, no….

  21. @frank
    I wonder if the SchleckShack TTT practice was getting the new boys used to having the Grimpettes in the trailer at the back and only rolling the front 6 through?

    Liking the addition of a bit of red to the kit mind you

    Was in Gran Canaria last week, climbing the volcano much slower than I thought I was (damn that Strava performance comparison site) – was on the last few kms of a long day, along rolly cliff edge roads, when I heard some general burbling HispanoGermanic followed by a massive whoosh as the entire SaxoBank squad overtook me (I thought it was a bus idling behind me up the climb!!) – foxy new outfits this year – big Saxo logo written at an angle in sky royal blue over navy blue kit – you’ll like it or loathe it – I think it’s pretty cool

    Anyway, Bertie was there at a press gathering at the Anfi Resort complex next day – amazing how he stands out from the rest of the team, if nothing else because of the scrum of “well wishers” wanting a piece of him

    I happened to be wearing just my Speedos, so thought I’d leave him alone – he’d declined to give interviews anyway, “in view of the ongoing legal wranglings…”

  22. @frank
    what, no VSP for the TDU – I’m shaking withdrawal for a bike race to obsess about – anything will do!

  23. @Dr C

    Wow! Did you hitch a ride on the back of the paceline?

  24. @Dr C

    @frank
    I wonder if the SchleckShack TTT practice was getting the new boys used to having the Grimpettes in the trailer at the back and only rolling the front 6 through?
    Liking the addition of a bit of red to the kit mind you
    Was in Gran Canaria last week, climbing the volcano much slower than I thought I was (damn that Strava performance comparison site) – was on the last few kms of a long day, along rolly cliff edge roads, when I heard some general burbling HispanoGermanic followed by a massive whoosh as the entire SaxoBank squad overtook me (I thought it was a bus idling behind me up the climb!!) – foxy new outfits this year – big Saxo logo written at an angle in sky royal blue over navy blue kit – you’ll like it or loathe it – I think it’s pretty cool
    Anyway, Bertie was there at a press gathering at the Anfi Resort complex next day – amazing how he stands out from the rest of the team, if nothing else because of the scrum of “well wishers” wanting a piece of him
    I happened to be wearing just my Speedos, so thought I’d leave him alone – he’d declined to give interviews anyway, “in view of the ongoing legal wranglings…”

    OK, where do I start with this? There is so much gold here, I’m wondering if I can take to the bank.

    Re “in the trailer at the back” – genius. Poor guys.

    I actually don’t hate the kit – I know I’m in the minority, but theirs is way better than the new Garmin-BAAAAARRRRRAAAACCCCUUUUUDDDDDAAAA!!!!! kit.

    So cool to be close to the Pros. Even a guy I hate as much as Bertie would be fun to see in person.

    @sgt

    @frank

    Fuck me, mate;

    Umm, thanks, no….

    Methinks thou doth protest too much…

  25. @Dr C
    Yeah, we reserve the VSP for good races. Not anything against the TDU – we don’t include the Tour of California or the Eneco Tour either. They just aren’t races of the right caliber.

  26. @frank

    I agree totally as far as limiting VSP. It’d be good to be something to look forward to rather than a weekly or more than weekly chore to keep up with.

  27. @frank

    @Dr C

    So cool to be close to the Pros. Even a guy I hate as much as Bertie would be fun to see in person.

    At TDU the pros were riding 50km back to the hotels after stages. They didn’t mind hacks (who could stay on) joining the train and chatting at lights.
    Now that’s cool.

  28. Here’s a reason the TDU is important.
    Car position in the caravan for the upcoming classics is determined by UCI points. TDU is worth quite a few, so by the time we get to the Ronde, where you need to have your car at the pointy end, those points you got for the TDU are gold.

  29. @Blah

    @frank

    @Dr C
    So cool to be close to the Pros. Even a guy I hate as much as Bertie would be fun to see in person.

    At TDU the pros were riding 50km back to the hotels after stages. They didn’t mind hacks (who could stay on) joining the train and chatting at lights.
    Now that’s cool.

    No shit!?!?!? Now THAT is amazingly awesome!!!

  30. @frank. Dr C.

    Well, Dr C did not go to six years of evil med school to have to wait three months for the VSP to start.

  31. @Dr C

    Anyway, Bertie was there at a press gathering at the Anfi Resort complex next day – amazing how he stands out from the rest of the team, if nothing else because of the scrum of “well wishers” wanting a piece of him
    I happened to be wearing just my Speedos, so thought I’d leave him alone – he’d declined to give interviews anyway, “in view of the ongoing legal wranglings…”

    Speedos to a press conference? Casual Tuesday? Or have you caught the Australian germ that seems to be floating around

    This is the leader of the opposition in Australia. Mitt Romney eat your heart out

  32. Oh God what have I done. Frank feel free to ditch that it’s hideous in full size.

  33. @minion
    My eyes! My eyes!

    I know cyclists are known for tight-fitting clothing, but I think you might be missing the point. Also, this risks a Rule #42 breach:

    You did this.

  34. I know I know. I thought that was the most blatant bit of Marcus – baiting I’d done for a while but fuck did that backfire. It was a tiny thumbnail I copied I swear!

  35. @minion
    Pulled the wrong jpeg from the wrong folder, hmm?

  36. How can you like Saxo Bank’s kit it has a frakking bird on it.

  37. @frank
    NTTAWWT

  38. @DerHoggz

    Well, if it was just a bird like a pigeon or seagull it would be pretty lame. When it’s a bird of prey (eagle, hawk, falcon) now that’s a different story.

  39. @doubleR
    It just looks stupid, sounds like something an elementary kid would get excited about.

  40. @DerHoggz

    How can you like Saxo Bank’s kit it has a frakking bird on it.

    @doubleR

    @DerHoggz
    Well, if it was just a bird like a pigeon or seagull it would be pretty lame. When it’s a bird of prey (eagle, hawk, falcon) now that’s a different story.

    When the bird in question appears to be coming out of Bertie’s bibs, no. Bertie looks ill at ease with the situation as well.

  41. @Chris
    actually, that looks a little different to the kit they were all wearing – same colours, but they have a big SAXO lettering across the back which looks pretty cool IMHO – I guess the fact I only saw their backs tells a story in itself!

    That said, I had such a rush of adrenaline/V as they came past, that not only did I nearly swerve into the middle of them and wipe out the back half of the team (well it was that or go over the fucking cliff edge – you do the math!), but I also managed to wheelsuck them for the guts of 5 seconds up the climb – just a shame they only caught me with my pants down wobbling up an incline rather than going downhill, as I reckon they were doing 20kmh+ up the hill, and holy be jaysus on the decline – now that would have been a fast ride!!

    At the photo shoot, I was talking to the new Spesh dealer in Gran Canaria who rents out Roubaix’s with a SRAM 12-32 casette on the back with an overlong Ultegra RD cage (pretty wierd looking – not cool, but gets the less able bodies up the hills I guess) – he was great gas, and my best mate until Bertie came along, when he started jibbering uncontrollably and started asking Bertie questions akin to “what is a nice girl doing in a place like this?” or “do you come here often?” – to be fair, Bertie did answer his question (“de baak weis abat 7kg” – fuckk!!)
    – I actually got more satisfaction by the fact that he was in lulu land over seeing his idol, and that I was standing there beside him in my speedos! Johnny (9) recognised AC, which pleased me, despite his alleged complete disinterest in cycling

  42. the other thing that amazed me was just how small Bertie’s guns were – like the little pistols ladies carry in their handbag – clearly they work though…

    that said, he is diminutively tiny – I reckon if you popped him into Faboos bibshorts, he’d fall clean out one of the leg holes without touching the sides

  43. @Dr C

    the other thing that amazed me was just how small Bertie’s guns were – like the little pistols ladies carry in their handbag – clearly they work though…
    that said, he is diminutively tiny – I reckon if you popped him into Faboos bibshorts, he’d fall clean out one of the leg holes without touching the sides

    Such a great story. What amazes me about these guys is how small they all are…when I got plowed into by il Falco, he was also shockingly small. You see them on TV and they all look normal, but in person…then we went and watched the World Cup Final in Sestrieres for Alpine racing, and you’ve got the oposite effect – all the skiers look normal on TV but you see them in person and they’ve got tree trunks for legs and buildings for torsos. Amazing.

    the other thing that amazed me was just how small Bertie’s guns were – like the little pistols ladies carry in their handbag – clearly they work though…

    I hear the doping helps offset the disadvantage of being gunless. I’m considering it myself.

  44. @Dr C

    @Chris
    …Johnny (9) recognised AC, which pleased me, despite his alleged complete disinterest in cycling

    Little things like this can keep you smiling for a few days. I recently put Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride on Mrs Chris’ iPad rather than waiting for a paper copy to be delivered to me. I’ve not read much of it, he’s way too bitter about everything in life, not just the doping thing, but to my surprise when I last fired it up it opened to about page 350. Mrs Chris, awake due to jet lag whilst on business in Beijing, had got through most of it. Other than liking cycling because I’m getting fit and less fat, she has shown no interest in it at all.

    She thought he was a bit whiny as well.

  45. @Chris
    Wiggo and Brailsford think he’s a bit whiny too

    Loved reading Wiggo’s story on my kindle – I’m officially his number one fan now

  46. though I obviously shalln’t be wearing the Sky 2012 kit,regardless of what it looks like

    I’m also Geraint Thomas’s number one fan too by the way – potential TdF winner IMHO

  47. @Chris
    I actually stole the pic off of BSNYC, where the comment was that the bird was after his pants yabbies. That would explain the grimace.

    @Dr C
    I’ve come to really like Wiggo recently, didn’t know he had a book. I may check it out.

  48. @DerHoggz
    if you are reading the Wiggo book, try to keep going through the sentimental stuff about his Dad, once it gets into the cycling, it’s pretty rivetting stuff, and he has a pleasantly self depracatory way about him

  49. Hey- met both of you on Baldwin- you noticed my broken chain tattoo. I was surprised to find I had lost the card you gave me, but I remembered this website. drop a line if you want

  50. Cuckoo cuckoo – I’ve had to drag this article back out simply to post this link against.  This guy has some seriously broken chains in that mixed up head of his….

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/report-ricco-caught-buying-doping-products

Leave a Reply