BEST MALE RIDER
It’s between Thomas and Froome for me, with Froome edging it for the style of his Giro win and subsequent third in the Tour.
BEST FEMALE RIDER
Very hard to choose between Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten. The former was the best in the one-days and the latter in the stage races. I’ll go with Van der Breggen, even if the headto-head battle they had at La Course was shaded, spectacularly, by Van Vleuten.
WHO ELSE IMPRESSED?
Sagan’s Roubaix win saved his season from comparative normality. Nibali’s San Remo heist was my highlight of the year. And Simon Yates might rue his Giro capitulation, but his Vuelta win shows signs of much more to come. On the women's side, Amanda Spratt got in among the Dutch riders as the best of the rest.
BEST ONE DAY RACE
Milan-San Remo. The usual seven hours of pottering around, followed by the most exciting and compelling 10 minutes of the season, bar none. And La Course, which was inspiring and heartbreaking in equal measure.
BEST STAGE RACE
I was already enjoying the Giro before stage 19 – I loved the aggressive jabbing and punching that put Simon Yates into pink. But Sky and Froome’s Hail Mary attack on the Finestre, two days from the end, which should never have worked, was grand tour racing at its very best.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
LottoNL!Jumbo outperformed their budget, with great results and a willingness to take the race to Sky at the Tour that teams with theoretically better rosters lacked.
UP AND COMING RIDER
Ivan Sosa’s wins promise a great future, and Pascal Ackermann is consistent, fast and due a major win. Less of the up, and more of the coming, but UAE made a good signing for 2019 in Tadej Pogacar, 19, who was fourth in the Tour of Slovenia and #irst in the Tour de l’Avenir.
MEMORY OF THE YEAR
I lost my dignity and my dictaphone in the stampede of journalists chasing after Mark Cavendish at La Rosière, when he missed the Tour’s time cut. We ran after him, Keystone Cops style, up the hill before he turned around and rode back through the panting throng, which parted like the Red Sea around him.