DANIEL FRIEBE Writer pod­caster and TV pre­sen­ter

Procycling - - Review Of The Year 2016 -

Best male rider of the year It seems ex­tra­or­di­nary that un­til the au­tumn of 2015 se­ri­ous doubts per­sisted over Peter Sa­gan’s abil­ity to rise to the big one-day oc­ca­sions that will even­tu­ally de­cide the Slovak’s place in cy­cling his­tory. Two world ti­tles, a Tour of Flan­ders and his sec­ond Gen­tWevel­gem later – not for­get­ting the usual gar­nish of a green jer­sey, Grand Tour stage wins and as­sorted other de­lights – Sa­gan is fast build­ing a pal­marès as rich, eclec­tic and cap­ti­vat­ing as his o f-the-bike per­sona. In the po-faced, griz­zled post-Arm­strong age, cy­cling needs Sa­gan’s sense of fun nearly as much as it needs its stars to be and re­main cred­i­ble.

Best fe­male rider If the spring be­longed to Lizzie Deignan, the sum­mer el­e­vated Me­gan Guarnier to new heights. Guarnier’s Giro Rosa, Tour of Cal­i­for­nia and over­all WorldTour wins gave her sea­son the look and poignancy of a para­ble about hard work, sto­icism and play­ing a long game.

Who else im­pressed me Este­ban Chaves’s megawatt charisma and sheer moxie made him the tal­is­man of an Ori­caBikeEx­change team whose smart re­cruit­ment, tac­ti­cal acu­men and spirit of ad­ven­ture are in­creas­ingly im­pres­sive. Thanks also to Messrs Quin­tana, Pan­tano, Gaviria, Ata­puma and López, Colom­bia in gen­eral had an as­tound­ing sum­mer. Other stand­out sto­ry­lines in­cluded Cavendish’s resur­gence, Bardet’s emer­gence as a prob­a­ble fu­ture Tour win­ner and

Van Aver­maet in­ally giv­ing BMC a fo­cal point in the Clas­sics.

Best one- day race of the year A case could be made for Lom­bardy or Flan­ders but Paris-Roubaix de­liv­ered six hours of un­in­ter­rupted, tense, de­li­ciously sub­tle dra­mas, and a pop­u­lar win­ner in Mat Hay­man.

Best stage race of the year Purists can sni f and sco f at the gim­mickry – at the goat tracks and their silly gra­di­ents – but the Vuelta a Es­paña’s role as ev­ery sea­son’s last-chance sa­loon brings it fan­tas­tic riders and ag­gres­sive rac­ing. Chris Froome’s bat­tle with Nairo Quin­tana was also the most com­pelling mano-a-mano of the year, and the stages to Gourette, Formi­gal and the Alto de Ai­tana prob­a­bly three of 2016’s best ive days of Grand Tour ac­tion.

Team of the year Orica-BikeEx­change, for the rea­sons out­lined above. Sky blot­ted an oth­er­wise ad­mirable copy­book with an aber­ra­tion that cost Chris Froome the Vuelta a Es­paña at Formi­gal, then the un­set­tling rev­e­la­tions of the au­tumn. Of the other con­tenders, Mo­vis­tar got over­pow­ered by Sky at the Tour, EtixxQuick Step bombed in the Clas­sics, and Tinko f re­lied too heav­ily on Sa­gan.

Up- and- com­ing rider of the year Adam Yates. Hon­ourable men­tions: Si­mon Yates, Pierre La­tour, Lil­ian Calme­jane, Al­berto Bet­tiol, Gianni Moscon, Mag­nus Cort Nielsen, Va­le­rio Conti, Miguel Án­gel López, Max Walscheid, Christophe Laporte and Egan Ber­nal.

Cock- up of the year Nacer Bouhanni has as­sem­bled maybe the best and most ag­gres­sive sprint train in pro­fes­sional cy­cling at Co idis. Shame that, for two years in a row now, Bouhanni’s rash­ness at the French Na­tional Cham­pi­onships has de­railed him and it a week be­fore the Tour de France.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.