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