BEST MALE RIDER
2018 belonged to Julian Alaphilippe. He won 12 times, including Flèche, two Tour stages and the KoM jersey, and San Sebastián. People say more riders with character, who race with style and panache, are needed and Alaphilippe has it in spades.
BEST FEMALE RIDER
Anna van der Breggen toned it down in 2018, even taking a mid-season MTB break, but the way she identi!ied gaps in her palmarès, cherry picked races to win and then executed, stands out. Her 32 career wins now include Strade Bianche, Flanders and, !inally, the road world title.
WHO ELSE IMPRESSED?
For always going on the attack: Thibaut Pinot, Vincenzo Nibali, Simon Yates. For proving everyone wrong: Geraint Thomas. For !lying under the radar with the most consistent year: Steven Kruijswijk. He was top 10 at every stage race until July and then came !ifth at the Tour and fourth at the Vuelta.
BEST ONE DAY RACE
The Strade Bianche men's and women's races are the obvious choices, but the !inale of Milan-San Remo is why the term 'edge-ofthe-seat' was coined.
BEST STAGE RACE
The Giro was again the most talkedabout grand tour and forced my head and stomach to !ight during stage 19, as I couldn’t decide when was best to run to the shop and get lunch.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Quick-Step were ruthless, but had a galaxy of stars at their disposal. LottoNL"Jumbo, meanwhile, exceeded expectations by placing a rider in the top 10 of every grand tour, including two Tour top !ives.
UP AND COMING RIDER
Sam Oomen. The Dutch climber was MVP for Tom Dumoulin at the Giro, where he also !inished ninth on his !irst complete grand tour. He then set up his compatriot for the Höll climb at the Worlds road race. With Sunweb enduring an exodus of domestiques, expect Oomen to be even more key.
MEMORY OF THE YEAR
Chris Froome’s squeaky trainers signalling his arrival for an interview at 11pm at the Sky hotel in Pau, the night of the stage 20 TT. The fast food dinner ran long into the evening as Thomas’s win was all but sealed.