2018: THE YEAR IN RE­VIEW

The 2018 sea­son threw up plenty of show­stop­ping mo­ments, from Sagan's Roubaix solo to Froome's Giro come­back and La Course's nail-bit­ing fi­nale. We take a look back at the big­gest sto­ries of the year

Procycling - - CONTENTS -

Pro­cy­cling looks back over the big­gest sto­ries, riders and races of 2018

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Most sea­sons, there’s a rider who stands out as the rider of the year, not just win­ning one big race, but tak­ing a run of vic­to­ries. Last year, it was Chris Froome and his two grand tour wins, in 2016 it was Pe­ter Sagan, who won Flan­ders, the Worlds and the Tour’s green jer­sey. In 2015, John De­genkolb won a rare San-Remo-Roubaix dou­ble. But this year, there’s a bit of a log­jam at the top. Is the rider of the year Tour and Dauphiné win­ner Geraint Thomas? Pos­si­bly, but his big wins were con­fined to sum­mer. Was it Chris Froome, who won the Giro but fal­tered at the Tour? Si­mon Yates, who won the Vuelta but cracked when he was in sight of win­ning the Giro? Pe­ter Sagan, who won ParisRoubaix and the green jer­sey but missed out yet again at San Remo? Niki Terp­stra, who won Flan­ders and E3 but whose suc­cess was largely con­fined to spring? Tom Du­moulin, who was se­cond at the Giro, Tour and world time cham­pi­onship, and then fourth in the Worlds road race?

It’s one of the unique and rich­est things about cy­cling, that we can ac­tu­ally cel­e­brate not know­ing who the best rider of the year was. The more or less ar­bi­trary points sys­tem of the World­Tour nom­i­nated Si­mon Yates as the best of 2018, but it’s more im­por­tant to say that the young Brit con­quered the hearts and minds of fans as he waspishly took the Giro apart (be­fore it took him apart), then learned from his mis­takes and rode a mas­ter­piece of con­trolled ag­gres­sion to win the Vuelta. We’ll re­mem­ber that longer than we re­mem­ber his World­Tour points tally. In the end, the de­bate is more in­ter­est­ing than the con­clu­sion. Cy­cling is a com­plex sport in which dif­fer­ent events favour dif­fer­ent riders who nev­er­the­less over­lap in their skill sets. In 2018, no­body could quite mas­ter enough dif­fer­ent events to make theirs a sea­son for the ages, but in the end, it didn’t mat­ter.

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