Our 2014 VeloVoices Awards are now in full swing. We’ve already opened the polls for Race of the Year and Rider of the Year (you can vote via the links at the bottom of this post) but today it’s time to turn our attention to our nominees for Team of the Year.
Previous winners: 2012 – Sky. 2013 – Dutch women’s Road World Championships team.
Kathi: Giant-Shimano. You have the fastest sprinter in the world and you have the best sprinter on the harder terrains and a budding classics legend. One has great hair, the other a great ‘tache. But is there any animosity between Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb? Not from where we’re standing. And it’s not just about them: Warren Barguil, Tom Dumoulin and Luka Mezgec have all had some great wins this season. The reason I love them so much? Because they look like they love riding with each other and when one wins, they all celebrate! Best team EVER.
Midge: FDJ. There are times in life when you just have to ignore the statistics and the UCI rankings and go with your heart. I love this team. I like their the style, I admire the riders, they have Marc Madiot for goodness sake, and they made the Tour de France for me. Allez Les Bleus (at least for a little while longer).
Panache:: I’ll go with Astana because, you know, they were the model of clean, ethical riding … oh, wait … Yeah, vote for someone else. Anyone else. [I think we’ll put this one down as a ‘spoilt ballot paper’ … – Ed]
Sheree: BMC finished runner-up in the WorldTour rankings, with victory in the World Championships team time trial, despite not having Taylor Phinney (broken leg), confirming that the team is (finally) living up to its potential. The team racked up wins every month bar July where Tejay van Garderen finished fifth in the Tour de France, complementing Cadel Evans’ eighth overall at the Giro and Samu Sanchez’s sixth at the Vuelta. And let’s not forget great classics performances from Greg Van Avermaet and Phil Gil.
Tim: Tinkoff-Saxo. Third place in the final UCI team rankings undersells what Oleg’s boys did this year, where they were arguably the most consistent performers in the grand tours. Contador won the Vuelta, but perhaps even more impressive was the way the team bounced back from his race-ending crash at the Tour, with Rafal Majka taking two stages and the polka dot jersey, while Michael Rogers added another win to his two at the Giro, where Majka finished sixth overall.
Ant: I’m going straight to the UCI WorldTour rankings for this one, in which Movistar triumphed. As you’d expect from a strong team, there were contributions from a number of riders, notably the pink-booted Nairo Quintana and my own favourite pantomime villain, Alejandro Valverde.
Jack: Ag2r La Mondiale. Ever since the departures of the tainted duo Francisco Mancebo and Christophe Moreau, Ag2r have been lacking a serious grand tour contender. This year, two appeared. Sure, they benefited from Chris Froome and Alberto Contador’s mishaps at the Tour de France, but they pressed home their advantage with veteran Jean-Christophe Peraud finishing second and youngster Romain Bardet sixth. Add a Tour stage win for the joyful Blel Kadri and the team classification, and you have an altogether fantastic season for Vincent Lavenu’s outfit.
Polls will close at 1200 GMT (UK time) on Friday 12th December.
Next: Breakthrough Rider of the Year.
Let us know your choice and the reasons for it – or if we have missed out your personal favourite – in the comments below.