You’ve read the five of us discussing our thoughts on the 2012 season throughout the year. Now it’s time to make your voices heard as we open the voting for the inaugural VeloVoices Awards. Over ten days in ten categories – some serious, others less so – we’re asking you to select your choices of 2012. We’ll publish the final results in the run-up to Christmas. (Hopefully next year we’ll have a grand gala dinner in central London …)
Yesterday we revealed our shortlist for our Flop of the Year. Today it’s the turn of our nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award:
Panache: I know he’s not a rider and I know that he’s not retiring but Travis Tygart deserves all our respect, praise and gratitude for pursuing Lance Armstrong after federal investigators walked away from their case. Finding the truth and bringing it to light was an achievement of a lifetime and will change the culture of cycling for the better. The USADA reasoned decision came with incredible risk – both personal and professional – to Tygart, but he and his people got the job done anyway.
Sheree: Alexandre Vinokourov. Winning Olympic gold in this year’s road race was a fairytale ending to a career which has divided cycling fans the world over. Whether you think he’s a villain or a hero you’ve got to hand it to Alex, he was in the right place at the right time. Others hesitated but he didn’t. And that pretty much sums up his career. He endeavours to be in the right place at the right time with a swashbuckling style of attacking riding. Okay he’s been unapologetic about his blood doping but I think we all understand why. He’s allegedly paid for wins but again you have to be in the right place to pull that off. He’s a chancer who’s made the best of every opportunity. If he were a businessman, he’d be feted for his achievements.
Tim: I’m stepping outside of the men’s ranks for once to nominate Judith Arndt, who retired after this year’s World Championships after securing back-to-back rainbow jerseys in the individual time trial to add to her silver in the Olympic ITT and a victory in the women’s Tour of Flanders. She won pretty much everything there is to win during a professional career spanning 18 seasons, including a third rainbow jersey in the Worlds road race back in 2004. An outstanding professional and one of the true legends of women’s cycling.
Kitty: He’s not retired yet and everyone hopes he keeps putting that fateful day off but he already deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr Jens Voigt. He’s 41, he still has teams clamouring for his signature on a contract and he still rides with a fierce joy that’s breathtaking to see. The look on his face when he’s putting down the pain and breaking everyone behind him is priceless.
Jack: David Moncoutie has always been distant in the peloton – almost an outcast, alone in the sea of 200 riders. “David is a loner,” former Cofidis chief Eric Boyer once bluntly said. But, perhaps partly because of his own quirks, and certainly because of his honesty and integrity, he is one of the most likeable riders in the peloton. Unfortunately a crash forced him out of his final Tour de France, and ultimately prevented him from making history at the race with which he is most notably associated: the Vuelta. Sadly his designs at winning a record-breaking fifth consecutive mountain classification were in vain, though he shall forever remain in the hearts of cycling fans after his mystical 16-year career, which included two stage wins at the Tour.
Tomorrow we’ll unveil our shortlist for the Sartorial Elegance Award.
VeloVoices Awards 2012
Breakthrough Rider of the Year
Most Thrilling Moment of the Year