Tour de France Rule #5 Award: Johnny Hoogerland

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.

// The Hardmen // The Rules


  1. and just once more for good luck

  2. @Ron
    on the contrary, in my opinion…

  3. Alberto looks like he has taken a page out of Hinault’s book and is toughening up.

  4. I saw a photo of that gal the other day, maybe on Cycling Tips.

    Goodness, that is one fine lookin’ woman. Wow.

    Who got to kiss her, Rein?

  5. And, as much as I’m not a big fan of Happy Jack, good on him for slugging that punk. Most of those fans need to get punched in the face. Show some goddamn respect for the racers. Boo him, hiss, whatever, but don’t get in a guy’s face as he tries to race up a mountain. Though not anywhere near their level, as a fellow cyclist and sportsman, I’d never try to fuck with a PRO while they’re “at work” beyond some booing. I think hecklers are real lowlifes.

  6. Are you going to send him the pint glass? Here is an address off the Vacansoleil website.

  7. Oops. Here it is:

    Postbus 540
    NL-4870 AM Etten-Leur
    The Netherlands

  8. @Ron

    Yeah, one of the things I love about this sport is that the fans are allowed to sit right THERE on the route, which looks like a ton of fun. However, sometimes people cross the line and need to be handled, like with a good punch. Good on ‘ol Steakie for hitting the douche running along side him. I was watching stage 13 last night, and J. Roy was waving people off near the top of the climb… some folks just cross the line.

  9. @AD
    I disagree. Dodgy Steak is way too soft to be mentioned in the same sentence as Hinault. Le Blaireau would’ve gotten off his bike and cold-clocked him

  10. @VTjunkie
    a goldiggin’ skank once said ‘you can never be too thin or too rich’ I say ‘you can never have too many T-shirts’. I saw the T on the site and had to have it. top link

  11. @Gianni
    There’s about 1 metric-zillion photos of this man’s backend floating around the Intarweb now, some more ignoble than others. Humiliation (or at least some degree of embarrassment) can be added to the list of pains that Hoogerland Rule V’d his way through.

  12. @Netraam

    @Marcus
    @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Lars Boom and Laurens ten Dam both really went for it.

    Seriously? Those races are usually scripted. Then good for them that they are out racing for real!

  13. @zalamanda
    Ok. You have a longhorn for your gravatar. They’re near and dear to me. What’s the backstory?

    Mine? Thanks for asking: I’m a UT grad (Hook ‘Em), and my mom and stepdad used to have 47 head of longhorn no too long ago.

  14. @Gotta Ride Today

    Are you going to send him the pint glass? Here is an address off the Vacansoleil website.

    Thanks, but we’re in touch with the team and have made arrangements with the team management to have it delivered directly to Johnny. We’ll keep you posted, of course.

  15. @frank

    @Gotta Ride Today

    Are you going to send him the pint glass? Here is an address off the Vacansoleil website.

    Thanks, but we’re in touch with the team and have made arrangements with the team management to have it delivered directly to Johnny. We’ll keep you posted, of course.

    The hard son of a bitch is likely to send you a picture of it back filled with a pint of his blood before he dumps it on the ground just show us all how fookin tough he is.

  16. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @Netraam

    @Marcus@Jeff in PetroMetroLars Boom and Laurens ten Dam both really went for it.

    Seriously? Those races are usually scripted. Then good for them that they are out racing for real!

    Netraam, do you still believe in Santa Claus and COTHO?

    Take a look at the results – where was the crit held? Holland. Where were the riders all from? Lars Bak – domestique extraordinaire wins a race? Mmmm, local boy wins for crowd. And as for looking like they went for it, well that’s the show.

    For a little more reality, take a look at the Belgy crit. PhilGil wins followed by Sammy Sanchez(!) and Basso(!!)? The next 10 placings, all Belgeys. You really think a Spaniard and Italian (without teams I might add) are gonna hold their own in a kermesse??

  17. @Marcus
    WHAT!? There’s no Santa Claus?

    I…I didn’t know, Marcus. I…I believed in Santa. He gave me my first bike (*crying*).

  18. Rule V is a special one, standing apart from all the others in the fine list. It can rule your mind when you are in the saddle, allowing you to shut out all else and either revel in the pain in your legs & lungs, or try and ignore it & go to a better place inside your mind.

    But, I also think Rule V is important because of how each of us must apply it and adhere to it on our own; a collective Rule, but one we must pursue on our own. It allows us to test ourselves, to push ourselves & only we know our own V-limits, as others have pointed out here.

    This nature makes it applicable out of the saddle as well. We can push ourselves to achieve in other pursuits, or in our professions, but we really can’t compare what we accomplish with others, for our abilities all differ.

    A sprinter cannot be a climber, a climber cannot be a sprinter. Yet, each can apply the V as best they can in all situations. I love how Rule V asks you to go to your limits, then push beyond, but allows each of us to realize our own limits independently of our peers.

  19. @minion

    @WhiteRoseRider

    You can’t do it in less than 4 years now. We were slack submitting the application, took less than 6 weeks after that went in. Lived here 5 years and started the Visa app in 2004.

    I though most Aussies just had to steal something to earn the right to live in Straya? Or do you have to be SENTENCED to four years minimum now…ok now I get it.

    @minion So true in years gone by you had to have a Police record to get in, now you are screwed if you do.

    I nearly got caught out being smart when they asked if I had any convictions, I replied “I didn’t realise you still needed them?” ;0)

  20. @Roadslave

    @Frank @Brett
    … I could not understand how JH could be so forgiving of the driver at the end of the day, nor how he could get back on his bike…

    JH must understand Hoʻoponopono
    To forgive someone releases the grudge you have on that person/event and frees you JH).
    Now the other person (driver) is stuck with the guilt until he asks to be forgiven.
    That’s part of how he got back on his bike, and pure fuckin V!

  21. @WhiteRoseRider

    @minion
    I nearly got caught out being smart when they asked if I had any convictions, I replied “I didn’t realise you still needed them?” ;0)

    Yeh don’t be smart. Huge proportion of my country doesn’t like smart.

  22. Nice shot of Hoogerland’s leggs, post-crash:

    (via The Atlantic.)

  23. @frank
    Looks like Dr. Frankenstein has constructed some legs.

  24. Serious gun envy

  25. @mouse
    Not obviously causing him too much of a problem though….

  26. @Dr C
    Hehehe.

  27. That fucker has an actual needle in his hand – mad bastard – should be arrested and chucked in the slammer for a long time

    I was just cheering myself up with a quick look at daisy again and spotted the right hook again from Contador down the page a bit – but on closer inspection, that twat dressed as a surgeon ACTUALLY HAS a needle in his hands – that is so unacceptable – no-one should have to put up with that shit!!!

  28. @Dr C
    I don’t see a needle. I do see a stethoscope though.

  29. @zalamanda

    @ADI disagree. Dodgy Steak is way too soft to be mentioned in the same sentence as Hinault. Le Blaireau would’ve gotten off his bike and cold-clocked him

    He would have gotten off his bike, ripped the guys arm off and then beat the guy with his own arm. Le Blaireau was (is) one tough bastard!!!

  30. @Collin
    By crikey I think you might be right – somewhat less dangerous in that case….

    ….unless he missed a developing pneumonia…..or heart murmur….

    Mmmm. 5 extra interval hills for hysteria DrC

  31. I’m hard pressed to think of three dudes cooler than Cash, Strummer, and Merckx.

  32. @Dr C

    ….unless he missed a developing pneumonia…..or heart murmur….

    In which case it would be malpractice and he deserves a punch anyhow!

  33. @Dr C
    Love the avitar! The fookin’ fightin’ Irish.

    @Collin
    Either way that twat deserved a punch in da faaaace. Good work, Bertie.

  34. @Marko
    Yep.

  35. @Gianni
    why thank you – I actually look like that you know

  36. @Dr C
    The French Actress in those Clio ads was Estelle Skornik, she looked like this.

    Now that you know her name you can see some other photos of her on Google images etc.

  37. I digress. I meant to leave a post here enquiring as to whether or not Johnny ever got back to The Keepers thanking them for his Rule #5 award?

  38. Maybe you’d like this one better, this could be her good side ;)

  39. @all

    Just got a note from Johnny Hoogerland in regards to the Rule #5 Award:

    I normally don’t drink that much beer anymore but having my first off-season beer in this glass makes it taste great. I moved to my new home and will find it a great place because it honors my way of racing.

  40. @frank

    @all
    Just got a note from Johnny Hoogerland in regards to the Rule #5 Award:

    I normally don’t drink that much beer anymore but having my first off-season beer in this glass makes it taste great. I moved to my new home and will find it a great place because it honors my way of racing.

    No kidding?!?! That’s AWESOME!!! Guy definitely deserved it and seems to be honouring it in the true V fashion. Chapeau.

  41. One word – BITCHIN’!!!

  42. @snoov

    Maybe you’d like this one better, this could be her good side ;)

    btw, since we are back at this thread, this pic deserves a reposting (missed it the first time around). snoov: I do not think that she HAS a bad side!

  43. @frank

    @all
    Just got a note from Johnny Hoogerland in regards to the Rule #5 Award:

    I normally don’t drink that much beer anymore but having my first off-season beer in this glass makes it taste great. I moved to my new home and will find it a great place because it honors my way of racing.

    Awesome. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones sending him mail since the TDF but it’s nice that he took the time to respond.

  44. @King Clydesdale

    @frank

    @all
    Just got a note from Johnny Hoogerland in regards to the Rule #5 Award:

    I normally don’t drink that much beer anymore but having my first off-season beer in this glass makes it taste great. I moved to my new home and will find it a great place because it honors my way of racing.

    Awesome. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones sending him mail since the TDF but it’s nice that he took the time to respond.

    agreed, and it is another sign of his character that he bothered. Chapeau!

  45. @Buck Rogers

    @snoov

    Maybe you’d like this one better, this could be her good side ;)

    btw, since we are back at this thread, this pic deserves a reposting (missed it the first time around). snoov: I do not think that she HAS a bad side!

    it sure does, as many times as possible

  46. @huffalotpuffalot

    @Buck Rogers

    @snoov

    Maybe you’d like this one better, this could be her good side ;)

    btw, since we are back at this thread, this pic deserves a reposting (missed it the first time around). snoov: I do not think that she HAS a bad side!

    it sure does, as many times as possible

    Couldn’t agree more!

  47. Saw the tweet from Johnny on his acknowledgement of his award. Like my t-shirt says: Welcome to Hoogerland – population: heroes.

    A-Merckx!

  48. 路过看看~写得不错,加油!!

  49. @云南旅游网

    路过看看~写得不错,加油!!

    Welcome.

  50. Unfortunately it appears the curse has struck again…

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/hoogerland-hospitalized-after-training-accident

    talk on the twitters of broken vertebrae & possible liver damage as well as the ribs mentioned in the article.

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