As the road season comes to an end it’s time to celebrate the Season of Sagan! Oh, and also update you on the man with a thousand grimaces – Thomas Voeckler – and the flying Dutchman, Niki Terpstra.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
- Won three stages and points classification at Tour of Alberta.
- Won four stages and points classification at USA Pro Challenge.
- 10th at Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec.
- Won Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.
- 6th at Road World Championships road race.
WorldTour ranking: 4th, 491 pts.
As the 2013 season comes to an end we can officially declare that it was a ‘Season of Sagan’. The Slovakian won 22 times this year, more than any other rider, showing a consistency few could match during the entire season.
Instead of the Vuelta, Peter started his post-Tour de France preparation for the Worlds by filling his boots at the USA Pro Challenge and Tour of Alberta. He won seven stages across the two races and the points jersey at both.
He then stayed on in Canada by racing the Grands Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montreal. He was denied victory in the first race after a solo attack that failed at the very end. In Montreal however, his solo attack on the last climb was more than enough to claim victory.
Sagan came into the Worlds as one of the heavy favourites. Unfortunately he couldn’t match the climbing prowess of Rui Costa and J-Rod on the final circuit in miserable weather in Florence. Yet he still finished sixth overall, his best performance at the Worlds.
Sagan already has a palmares that most professionals could only dream of. After a remarkable 2012 he actually improved in 2013. Can he do it again in 2014? If he does we are certainly watching a living legend in cycling.
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
- 1st overall and won one stage at Tour du Poitou Charentes.
- 2nd at Tour du Doubs – Conseil General.
- 2nd at Grand Prix de Wallonie.
- 8th at Milano–Torino.
WorldTour ranking: N/A, 0 pts.
The tongue-waggling Thomas Voeckler gave us all a show at Il Lombardia with a solo attempt in the closing 30km of the race. It’s always a pleasure to watch the wily Frenchman try to outwit the field. But Joaquim Rodriguez was destined to win Lombardia for a second time as the field caught Voeckler heading into the final climb.
In fact, after winning a stage – an ITT, no less! – and the overall at the five-day Tour du Poitou Charentes, Voeckler exclusively raced in one-day events over the final six weeks of the season, including second at the GP de Wallonie – where he was outsmarted in a tough two-up finish by Jan Bakelants – and eighth at Milano-Torino. Indeed, he went right through to both Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours after Lombardia, but was fairly anonymous in both.
Voeckler had begun the season in fine form but a crash late in the spring derailed his Tour ambitions and made it difficult for him to be in peak form for the World Championships. Difficulties aside, he still had five wins – including GC victory at the Route du Sud as well as Poitou Charentes – and featured as a protagonist in many races especially in the classics. Voeckler’s palmares and star power have enabled Europcar to get great race invites and they are now planning on applying for WorldTour status in 2014.
My favorite Voeckler moment of the year was seeing him on Alpe D’Huez in person. I took this great shot of him, Look at that face and that glorious Colnago!
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
- 6th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec.
- Won Road World Championships team time trial (with Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
- 10th Paris-Tours.
WorldTour ranking: 53rd, 98 pts.
The flying Dutchman had a resurgence of form late in the season to help his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team take a second consecutive team time trial world championship alongside the Panzerwagen, Tony Martin.
Either side of the Worlds, Terpstra was given more of an opportunity to race for himself and he did not disappoint, finishing sixth at the GP de Quebec and tenth in his final race of the season, Paris-Tours.
Niki’s year-long consistent performance helped OPQS net 55 wins, more than any other team.
It will be interesting to see Niki’s role in 2014 as OPQS seem to be splitting forces between helping Mark Cavendish in the sprints and the GC ambitions of new signing Rigoberto Uran. The great thing about Terpstra is that he is versatile enough to do both.