BEST MALE RIDER
Pogačar. He was lucky not to be unlucky in the Tour, unlike most of his rivals, but you can’t argue with two summit stages, a TT and a three-minute beating of everybody at Le Grand- Bornand. Liège and Lombardy made it a season for the ages.
BEST FEMALE RIDER
Anna van der Breggen just shades it. GC titles at Burgos and the Giro made her the best stage racer, while a seventh Flèche title in a row shouldn’t really be possible.
WHO ELSE IMPRESSED?
Roglič, Bernal, Van Aert, Van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Colbrelli. Also João Almeida, who quietly rode a brilliant Giro and beat everybody up at the Tour de Pologne. On the women’s side, all the other Dutch stars, plus Balsamo and Deignan.
BEST ONE- DAY RACE
The women’s Olympic RR was absolutely everything I need from bike racing.
BEST STAGE RACE
It wasn’t a vintage year for the grand tours. My opinion is that there was a brilliant GT in 2021, which consisted of week one of the Tour, week two of the Giro and week three of the Vuelta. Itzulia Basque Country was best. Paris- Nice was also entertaining, though only because Roglič crashed, which isn’t a good reason for liking a bike race.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
SD Worx, who have successfully negotiated the transfer of power from Van der Breggen to Vollering. On the men’s side, I was unsurprised that Ineos, Jumbo, UAE and DQS won the races that they did, but Bahrain punched above their weight.
RACING HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Stage 20 of the Vuelta was brilliant. Even if Roglič looked unbeatable, there was a proper GC shake-up by Bahrain Victorious, plus Clément Champoussin’s do- or- die attack from behind to win. I say do or die; it actually looked like he was doing both.
MVP OF THE YEAR
Filippo Ganna makes things happen. He can shape races in a way that many teams in the WorldTour can’t do with their entire squads.
BEST NEW SIGNING
Annemiek van Vleuten didn’t take long to bed in at Movistar, winning Flanders and Donostia Klasikoa plus 10 other races, while Cavendish was a steal for DQS.