The time to celebrate the achievement of Carlos Sastre, Óscar Freire and Bernhard Kohl has arrived; But let us also consider some of the other awards that we, the fans of the Tour and members of the Podium Cafe, could see fit to award to various people who have come to our attention over the course of Le Tour.
Most Ravenous Fan Award
Winner: Nikki - Honestly, this one was pretty obvious. You have to imagine that the "C" and "V" keys on her keyboard have to be replaced at the end of every race that Garmin participate in. Her fan-ishness is both relentless and infectious.
Runner Up: callmecayce - Sarah's love of Sylvain Chavanel was a fervent, slowly simmering pot of fan-itude always threatening to boil over.
Honorable Mention: ElvisGoat - Really... that love for Oscarito is unholy.
Worst Thread Hijacking Award
Winner: "I Won a T-Shirt" (author = bethie) - This thread was originally a light hearted post about the various prizes on offer at various websites during the Tour de France and immediately devolved into Dan-bashing, Jimbo-bashing, Hottitude Discussion, Corn-dog love and various other topics completely unrelated to the subject at hand. While not as zen a hijacking as the empty story posted by Tifosa during the Giro, this was an outright threadjack of the highest order.
Runner Up: "China Offering Doping" (author = crashdan) - Honestly... did that thread have to touch on that subject?
Winner: Damiano Cunego - The Little Prince crashed into a k-rail and looked like he fell into a paving machine after losing a fight with a meat grinder. Then he got up off the ground, climbed on his ride, and finished the stage. The HTFU Award doesn't require completion of the race (or necessarily the stage), just performing an act of such clear denial of pain and suffering that we all stare in amazement, and after seeing Cunego's face... that was pretty much textbook HTFU.
Runner Up: Sven Krauss - He shattered his bike on the road furniture, instantly stood up, got a replacement and continued on.
Honorable Mention: Cadel Evans - If he were more candid about the extent of his injuries from the unfilmed tumble he took early in the race, he would probably be the winner... but since we have no idea, he can't take this one.
Biggest Douche Award
Winner: Marc Sergeant - Marc gets the Golden Massengil for managing to assemble a useless team built shabbily around his GC threat, Cadel Evans. Then to top that off, bringing a world class sprinter to the tour, knowing damn well that the team couldn't give him an iota of support... and then that team not supporting the GC candidate in the end either. What sealed the deal was listening to him in the team car urging on Cadel during the final TT with all the enthusiasm and vigor of a Soviet bread line.
Runner up: I won't even acknowledge that little twerp's name.
Most Shocking Fan Revelation Award
Winner: MegaBeth for admitting she once attended a Young MC concert in order to Bust A Move. The Award committee certainly hopes that after the move was busted, she came to her senses.
Runner Up: Finding out that Jimbo's a girl
Honorable Mention: Finding out that Jimbo's not actually a girl, he just gets dropped by them in races.
Most Quoted Movie in Comments Award
Winner: The Big Lebowski - no, there was no competition here. The Dude had this one covered like a rug that ties the room together. From Donny being out of his element to Nihilists to Jeffrey being Fatuous... this one made the rounds.
Runner Up: Big Trouble in Little China - It wasn't quoted as much, but once the lid was off this can of worms, it actually spawned people going out to buy the DVD. Do we like "Big Trouble in Little China"? INDEED!
Most Uncelebrated Rider Award
Winner: Massimiliano Mori (Lampre) - This guy was mentioned a total of once on Podium Cafe the entire month of July, and that was just a transcript of a Damiano Cunego interview. Yet, without our noticing or paying attention, he dragged his body across the Pyrenees, across the Alps and went to help pace Cunego back to the finish after his massive crash... all without even a glimmer of glory. I don't know anything about this 27 year old, if he's a saint or a prick, but he did his job and finished the Tour in anonymity... and I want to shine just a little bit of light on the achievement of a working class rider.
Runner Up: No one really, everyone else got mentioned in a breakaway or in a funny comment or something.
Greatest Unacknowledged Sacrifice Award
Winner: The employers of Podium Cafe members - Seriously, they got a sum total of zero productivity out of us for nearly an entire month (not including classics season, the Giro, Tour build up, and right now as you read this). If they only knew...
Runner Up: Family and Friends - chances are, we weren't as sneaky about our July Passion with them as we were with our employers so the are relegated to being the runners up. Always remember, they are still around... and the Tour isn't. Thanks Friends and Family.
Most Annoying Advertisement Award
Winner: TapouT - if I don't have to see that clown car accident of a television ad again it will be too soon.
Runners Up: Michelob Ultra, Hampton Hotels, Saab, Enzyte, Shamwow, Ultimate Pushup, Foodsaver, Send Us Your Gold, MagikJack, Mike's Hard Lemonade and The Mogo Scooter
Rider with Greatest Increase in Fandom Award
Winner: Carlos Sastre - He made a stunning impression on all of us when he attacked at the base of the Alpe and rode away from the group and into history. He gets the award for winning el todo enchilada, le grand fromage, il gigante cannoli. That attack will certainly be remembered for a long, long, long time.
Runner Up: Mark Cavendish - His joy in winning along with showing a more marked maturity in dishing out the love for the hard work of his teammates, coupled with displaying utter dominance in the sprinting discipline, really opened a lot of eyes. He's come a long way from the frustrations of his '07 Tour during which he really lessened the respect a lot of us may have had for him.
Most Necessary Technology Award
Winner: Coffee Maker - Particularly for those of us out there in the Pacific Time Zone, the only way 99% of us made it through the day was with coffee. The other 1% had to be using something on the Banned List. I doubt a single one of us tried to go through a day commando style and even with the coffee, I certainly had a jour sans or two through the course of the last three weeks.
Runner Up: TiVo - the only reason TiVo doesn't make the top spot here is because so many of us idiots were intent on watching this shooting match live that having TiVo didn't mean bupkus. If only we could have lived 20 seconds into the future like people in Finland do.
Best New Word Award
Winner: Ploegmanager - Hell I have no idea what the word means, but I will be using it onomatopoeiacly in the future. Really, come on, everyone now... say it outloud... it's fun - "plurgmanager"
Runner Up: Doodjammer - "A Great Shame". If it weren't so close to "doodsmak" (best new word earlier in the '08 season), the uniqueness of it would have vaulted it into contention for top podium spot. Really though, it's hard to beat "Ploegmanager".
Winner: Jens! and Tony - To see those two dishing out servings of suffering from the dining car on the pain train, knowing full well that they are suffering terribly themselves... wow. Grinta-defined.
Runner Up: Cadel Evans - If he'd managed to win while fending off the terrible twosome, then he'd be hip deep in praise. Unfortunately, despite his grinta, he came up wanting by a handful of seconds.