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. @Slash

    @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.

    The beauty of Rule #5 is that it is subjective, it’s not about acheiving a certain average speed, coving a set distance or climbing at any particular rate, it’s about pushing ones own limits.

    So desespite being a bit of a dick, it seems like you sort of get it when you talk about accomplishing one’s goals. What you don’t seem to get is that it is about more than just beasting yourself to win as per cuddles (whom I’m sure everyone will agree laid down some V over the last few days); it’s about going beyond the point where it would be reasonable to say I’ve given it my best or I’ve done my bit.

    Guys like Hoogerland, Voight, Montfort, countless unamed domestiques do this but rarely get any mention. We chose to regognise such efforts and hold them up as something to aspire to and maybe even take that ethos to our own riding.

  2. Chris makes a v. good (forgive the pun) point. The guys who aren’t going to win the overall – the chancers, the guys who put themselves in every break, the domestiques who are just doing their job (albeit very well) have a higher V factor almost by definition. So I’m, OK with Jonny H’s Vaward.

    Maybe the best thing about Cadel’s win this year was that he deserved it. He rode smart, accurately assessed his opponents strengths and weaknesses and worked when he had to (and didn’t – stage 19 being a good example – when he didn’t). He won a stage. And even though he came second on the stage, those final 8.5kms up the Galibier chasing after Schleck the Younger on stage Stage 18 rank up their with his win the mud over the strade bianchi in last year’s Giro and the world championship in terms of pure grit. You could almost hear the reat of the break shrug when he asked if they were going to help him at which point he went to the front and ground his way back. The gap came down agonisingly slowly but it was magnificent to watch.

    Great day to get out on the bike in one’s Aussie team strip yesterday. Chapeau Cuddles, sorry I doubted you.

  3. @Gianni
    damn that hurts just to look at that picture again – looks like he was lucky not to slice those varicose veins on his left arse cheek, that would have made a serious medical situation turn a bit scary

    Also admirable how he insisted on quickly getting some new shorts to maintain Rule #7

    Veino Rule #64 – nailed it – get well soon – (but use a different doctor from the last time…..)

  4. All through the rest of the Tour, I was telling the VMH every time he got a mention, “that’s him that took out the fence”!

    It takes a special kind of something to come back from that kind of “off”. Before this Tour, Vino would have won my “toughest” vote everytime. Need to re-assess the scale now. Sorry to hear of his retirement in such bad circumstances.

    They should introduce another jersey, based on Rule #5 points. Time at the front of the peleton in the wind etc. Not just a red number. The GC contenders excluded.

    Also, glad I got Australian citizenship last month, so I can claim the Yellow and Green Jerseys!!

  5. 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.

  6. Johnny H. is a great pick and certainly well deserved. I wold just like to say that it while his crash was spectacular let us not forget Juan Antonio Fletcha who was also taken out by the car, hit the pavement very hard and got back on the bike too. Both of these guys are true hard men.

  7. Are we going to have to get an ignore feature up and running so all of us can ignore one COTHO poster?

  8. A special shout out should also go to Tommy V. For turning himself inside out to hold on to that jersey for as long as he did.

  9. @Gianni

    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?

    It’s the ligaments showing on his knee that really make my skin crawl.

    By the way, I lightly grazed my palm on the little metal rail you use to cut tin foil from the roll while rooting around in a drawer today. I was inconsolable.

  10. @Chris

    @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

    Yes, yes, Jens definitely lives in the House that Rule #5 Built. The whistling that day was great. Andy to Jens, then Jens to whats-his-face.

    What amazes me about Jens is the way he’ll just go from 100% to 0. He goes till he blows. Hey, that rhymes!

  11. @Ron

    Are we going to have to get an ignore feature up and running so all of us can ignore one COTHO poster?

    I wouldn’t want to do that. Gotta keep things lively. ‘Sides, Frank can handle himself. I’ll post this one more time ’cause the last time it was for Leroy, but in the middle of the TT (think folks including myself were focused elsewhere):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhmjnYKlVnM

  12. @Chris

    Guys like Hoogerland, Voigt, Montfort, countless unamed domestiques do this but rarely get any mention. We chose to recognize such efforts and hold them up as something to aspire to and maybe even take that ethos to our own riding.

    Exactly, Cuddles laid down loads of V. And he got his prize for his efforts.

    As you say, Rule #5 has nothing to do with winning, even if you can’t win without it.

    @scaler911

    @Ron

    Are we going to have to get an ignore feature up and running so all of us can ignore one COTHO poster?

    I wouldn’t want to do that. Gotta keep things lively. ‘Sides, Frank can handle himself. I’ll post this one more time ’cause the last time it was for Leroy, but in the middle of the TT (think folks including myself were focused elsewhere):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhmjnYKlVnM

    Gold.

  13. @frank

    By the way, I lightly grazed my palm on the little metal rail you use to cut tin foil from the roll while rooting around in a drawer today. I was inconsolable.

    Awfully “womanish” of you Frank.

  14. @Cyclops

    @frank

    By the way, I lightly grazed my palm on the little metal rail you use to cut tin foil from the roll while rooting around in a drawer today. I was inconsolable.

    Awfully “womanish” of you Frank.

    What’s perhaps funniest to me is that he’s paying so little attention that he thinks calling me a sissy, douchebag, poser, or bitch is in some way newsworthy. As if each and every one of you don’t already know that.

    @Jangari

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

    +1

  15. @frank

    @Chris

    Guys like Hoogerland, Voigt, Montfort, countless unamed domestiques do this but rarely get any mention. We chose to recognize such efforts and hold them up as something to aspire to and maybe even take that ethos to our own riding.

    Exactly, Cuddles laid down loads of V. And he got his prize for his efforts.
    As you say, Rule #5 has nothing to do with winning, even if you can’t win without it.

    If you’re going to win, it helps if your team mates have it. Cuddles may have appeared to have been working by himself over the last few stages (the Champs-Élysées apart) but his team got him to point where he could chase down the Grimplette

  16. @Frank @Brett

    Fucken spot on with your award… 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… After the crash, the next day, ever

    Great article, great tradition. And great runner up with JENS! That dude is forty this year, and I LOVED that stage where he rode off the road, got back on, crashed on a corner, got back on… Fought back to the front then buried it at the front on the first part of the climb for Frandy… And reading his blog, he’s pretty magnanimous to both Cadel (for winning) and the Schleck’s (for not)

  17. @frank
    I’m really trying to stay off the beer at the moment, trying to get down to climbing weight and that photo really isn’t helping. It was particularly hard seeing it for the first time yesterday getting home after my derailleur fairure a long single speed ride back. Excellent article though!

  18. Huh, the folks at Merriam-Webster must be cycling fans, as their “Word of the Day” for Saturday (just checked my email from the weekend) was panache. Very fitting.

  19. @Cyclops

    @frank

    By the way, I lightly grazed my palm on the little metal rail you use to cut tin foil from the roll while rooting around in a drawer today. I was inconsolable.

    Awfully “womanish” of you Frank.

    I bet Frank got his panties in a wad over that one.

  20. Hoogerland finished second in the criterium of Boxmeer today. How hard is that?

  21. @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.

  22. @Jeff in PetroMetro

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

    No! Don’t do it! Remember the good times, when Axl had the white lycra shorts and homoerotica was gripping rock like something I don’t care to construct a metaphor for! I honestly don’t understand the need for losers to out themselves on the internet but then I do it nearly every time I post here. Oh well.

    For some reason Slash reminds me of this guy

    Lighten up Francis

  23. From an espn.com article of all places:

    I think 80 percent of French roads are paved with cement and the other 20 percent are covered with Jens Voigt’s flesh. …

  24. @minion
    Nope. I’ve eliminated Slash from my music library.

    And I’m gonna miss “Slither” from Velvet Revolver. I really liked that song on my indoor trainer mix.

    Slash seemed like a really cool guitar player. I…I didn’t know.

    And BTW, excellent choice of movie clip.

    Oh, and, since I’ve already made it really clear that I’m a Luddite, how do you make a web address do that “Lighten Up Francis” link thingy? Is it as obvious as using the “Link” button?

  25. @Netraam
    Hate to spoil the illusion – but the crits are rigged. Cuddles (and probably a schleck) will come out and win a sprint somewhere this week

  26. @Marcus

    @Netraam
    Hate to spoil the illusion – but the crits are rigged. Cuddles (and probably a schleck) will come out and win a sprint somewhere this week

    I knew the winner was rigged but how much of the rest of the placings are rigged?

  27. @il ciclista medio

    @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

    Similarities everywhere, not sure who is copying who now?

  28. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    @minion Nope. I’ve eliminated Slash from my music library.
    And I’m gonna miss “Slither” from Velvet Revolver. I really liked that song on my indoor trainer mix.
    Slash seemed like a really cool guitar player. I…I didn’t know.
    And BTW, excellent choice of movie clip.
    Oh, and, since I’ve already made it really clear that I’m a Luddite, how do you make a web address do that “Lighten Up Francis” link thingy? Is it as obvious as using the “Link” button?

    Yup, press the link button->put in the address->put in the text you want to show up in the next box & you’re golden

  29. @Netraam

    @Marcus
    Yep. Post Tour crits are professional wrestling. It’s where, back in the Dark Ages, guys made their real incomes from the appearance fees. Somehow, a local 58kg climbing specialist who finished the Tour in 97th place always managed to just get pipped by Eric Vanderaerden at the line in a pack sprint. Visiting Green Jersey winner gets first, local town hero gets a close second, the town gets to celebrate for a day and rub elbows with a jersey winner, and the local guy’s fan club gets to drink until they fall down. Town gets lots of visitors. Local shops get lots of business. Riders get seriously paid and move on to the next town. Everyone wins. It’s a pretty cool thing, really.

  30. @Markp

    @il ciclista medio
    Similarities everywhere, not sure who is copying who now?

    And that just takes us down the James Bond Route.

    “and what’s your name my dear?”

    “Pussy Galore”

    “Of course it is. Let me show you my Race winner’s bedspread”

  31. @minion

    @Markp

    @il ciclista mediosrc =http://velominati.com/wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/Markp/2011.07.26.02.49.59/Eddie.jpg width=”449″ height=700>

    And that just takes us down the James Bond Route.
    “and what’s your name my dear?”
    “Pussy Galore”
    “Of course it is. Let me show you my Race winner’s bedspread”

    and so it does…..

    It doesn’t bother you? Killing all those people?

    Well I wouldn’t be very good at my job if it did.

  32. @minion

    “Of course it is. Let me show you my Race winner’s bedspread”

    But it sure beats “let me show you my etchings/drawings/paintings/come up for a cup of coffee” don’t it?
    I kinda like the thought of Eddy with the ladies – “hey baby, want to see my jaune’s? I have yellow, green, pink, white, many, many others. I think you would look best in the (insert colour here) in zee morning light before my race tomorrow. In fact I will win another one just for you”

  33. what the hell did they make those jerseys from back then, those look like they have been rehashed out of an set of Old Folks Home’s hall curtains, or one of my dearly departed granny’s evening dresses – thank Merckx for lycra and spandex!

  34. @Dr C
    Thats funny about the curtains! Back in the day it was hard dye fine Italian wool in bright colors. If you have never owned a really good wool jersey you might want to save up and try it sometime. Strangely, hot or cold wool is awesome.

  35. Might have missed it, but we surely need an honorable mention for Laurens ten Dam, right?

    Smashed face, shrugging it off and continuing to race. Lots of V there, and I’m sure he’ll have the marks on his face to remind him of this hardman move for the rest of his life.

    I have a scar over my eye from a crash, but it just reminds me not to go full gas in a driving rain storm, and then get cut off by a cabbie…not quite as cool as a scar from Le Tour.

  36. @frank
    by the way Frank, how’s the hand? I thought of you just now, monster paper cut on my tongue, hurts like f..uck

    sorry to be a dingbat, know you’ve been over this somewhere in the dusty past, but can I have a link to the “how to upload an avatar instruction manual” please? – loving the V-cog, but would like to put a pic of myself up there in the buff instead

    Cheers

    (just got my decal pack, can’t wait to increase my boost my sticking them on!)

  37. @Dr C
    Dance on over to Gravatar.com and upload a pic. Gravatar is a cool, free service and they work across a lot of sites, basically tying your image to your email address. Clever shits.

  38. @frank
    top man Fronk, shall do that indeed, though am worried if it links to my email, my professional credibility may be endangered elsewhere…

    was going to do something fun with the photocopying machine, but then peeps might wonder why I had Cadel’s chin as my avatar, so shall contemplate further…

  39. @mouse

    Might I humbly suggest that the TDF Rule #5 Award be presented to Johnny Hoo by the White Jersey podium girl?

    AGREED (though I think I took her number down incorrectly, sorry)

    Nicole….. Papa….. Nicole!!……I’m in love again (wasn’t she in that Renault Clio advert? – good recycling by the French, or maybe they are all just booootiful)

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