BEST MALE RIDER OF THE YEAR
Sagan, obviously. Winning Flanders in the rainbow jersey, taking the Worlds again, plus tightening his death-grip on the Tour’s green jersey, made him the racer of the year. Bit worrying that he’s only 26 and already projecting worldweary ennui in his interviews, but he makes up for it with his weird Youtube movie re-enactments. BEST FEMALE RIDER OF THE YEAR Megan Guarnier. Shame that her Giro win was more or less invisible but the distance by which she won the inaugural Women’s WorldTour suggested that in the big races she was consistently the best. WHO ELSE IMPRESSED YOU? Froome put himself among the greats by winning a third Tour; Van Avermaet rode a superb race to win the Olympics, to add to his Tour stage win and yellow jersey; Bardet is on an upward trajectory and shows no sign of the immense pressure getting to him at the Tour.
Cavendish had been more or less written o f, but his four stage wins, and Olympic and Worlds silvers meant he was a hair’s breadth away from being the rider of the year. BEST ONE DAY RACE OF THE YEAR Paris-Roubaix. Watching EtixxQuick Step slowly put Cancellara and Sagan out of the race from so early on kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought Boonen was going to take his ifth Roubaix win but an even bigger and more compelling story emerged when Hayman won, after getting in the irst break. BEST STAGE RACE OF THE YEAR I’m surprising myself by saying the Giro, narrowly ahead of the Vuelta and Paris-Nice. I did enjoy the ambush of Sky at the Vuelta, but the Giro came to the boil slowly and the drama of the inal weekend clinched it for me. I’m not sure Nibali will win another Grand Tour, but what a way to win his fourth. TEAM OF THE YEAR When the teams have a disco, the party doesn’t get started until Orica arrive. They’ve been on ire all year, with two Monuments and two GT podiums, plus fourth at the Tour, and Chaves was so close to winning the Giro. They have been winning with bold tactics, entertaining panache, and the best recruitment policy in cycling, bar none. UP AND COMING RIDER OF THE YEAR I think Fernando Gaviria will start winning big races next year – either a Classic, or GT stages, or both. He’s still only 22. Miguel Ángel López is the same age, and has already won the Tour de Suisse. I expect he’ll ride his irst Grand Tour next year, and I hope he doesn’t get used up working for Fabio Aru. COCK UP OF THE YEAR Sky, Wiggins, Lizzie Deignan, ji fy bags, TUEs, whereabouts... Bad things happened, and their PR made it worse.