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New Year’s resolutions for the pro peloton

We’ve watched the ball drop, and we’ve popped the champagne. January 1 is finally here, and everyone knows what that means: a crowded gym floor for about a month, until people start to waver on their New Year’s resolutions. But what if everyone really made the effort to follow through on those promises of self-improvement? Think of the things we could accomplish! We’ve taken it upon ourselves to suggest a few totally serious 2016 resolutions for the pro peloton.

Peter Sagan: Win early.
The “Curse of the Rainbow Jersey” talk gets annoying fast, especially when it’s tweeted in Russian.

Marcel Kittel: Win, generally.
Seriously, just win some races.

Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky: Ditto.
Slovenia, population 2 million, earned more WorldTour points in 2015 than the United States. Taylor Phinney gets a pass, because he took time off from cycling to pursue his passion for painting, but we’re going to need more from you guys.

Simon Geschke and Dan Craven: Keep the beard game strong.
Not everyone can pull it off, but you do. Aerodynamics be damned.

John Degenkolb: Shave.
Yeah, that mustache on the other hand …

Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo: Write better commercials.
“John Degenkolb, do you use this shampoo because Alpecin is your new team sponsor now?” It’s easy to blame the riders for the comically bad TV spots, but some advertising professional, somewhere, wrote those bits, putting Degenkolb and Kittel in the unenviable position of convincing us that they don’t use caffeine shampoo just because it pays the bills. We’re not saying you need to stage an expensive Hollywood production, but maybe this could get your creative juices flowing?

Androni-Sidermec: Make it at least to the summer without a doping-related incident.
2015 marked three straight seasons for Androni with some kind of missed control or adverse analytical finding. Even Astana got through a whole year without any positive tests. Maybe cut back on the doping violations in the new year?

Sep Vanmarcke: Visit the nearest witch doctor to break that hex.
As cycling journalists, maybe we shouldn’t complain that the “Vanmarcke punctures at pivotal moment” stories seem to write themselves, but eventually we’d like to get some mileage out of the “Vanmarcke finally wins the big one” piece that’s been sitting in the “drafts” folder for years.

Fabian Cancellara: Stop breaking your back.
Really though, wasn’t it bad enough when you broke your back in March? What’s the appeal there? Why did you need to do it yet again in July?

Chris Froome: Stay hungry. You’re not a knight yet.
We know it will be hard to dedicate yet another year to winning the Tour, especially when you’ve just added some fancy letters to your name. But according to Wikipedia, an OBE is not quite as cool as a knighthood. The “Sir” that prefaces “Bradley Wiggins,” on the other hand, is very cool. Don’t let it get to your head though …

Oleg Tinkov: It’s your final year in cycling — you might as well offend the only group of people left.
You’ve already belittled women and people of color, but don’t stop now. Look out, misogynistic white guys, you’re next!

Alejandro Valverde: Give your teammates a hand. Or even just a chance.
Everyone knows that you were more interested in a podium for yourself than playing domestique for Nairo Quintana at the Tour, but remember that time you “led out” your teammate J.J. Rojas at the Volta a Catalunya, beating him in the sprint? Rojas hasn’t won a WorldTour-level race since 2012. You can’t even walk out the front door in the morning without winning one. Would it be so hard to give your friends a few moments on the podium?

Nairo Quintana: Preserve your health by doing no more than three race days outside the Tour.
You’ve been the only rider even close to beating Froome in the two Tours he’s won. We aren’t sure we can handle another blowout. For the sake of the fans, we’re going to need to you to play it safe all winter and spring. (Mostly kidding here but there is some bona fide logic — Quintana started the 2014 Giro after over a month away from competition, and his eventual victory was the first in over a decade for a rider who skipped April racing. Seems like this could actually work.)

Neutral service cars and TV motos: Ruin fewer races next season.
Is it too much to ask? Could you to stop running into guys altogether? Well, since you seem to really like hitting people, at least can we tone it down in 2016?

Vincenzo Nibali: Nail the job audition for 2017 and earn a nice new contract (with your legs).
Your admirable hitchhiking skills won’t cut it.