We’ve been celebrating some of 2014’s great achievements so far in our polls, but today we’re going to look at our personal selections for the riders and teams who failed to live up to expectations. Who do you think should be our Flop of the Year?
(We’re going to take a breather tomorrow, so we’ll be back with our next poll on Tuesday.)
Previous winners: 2012 – Frank & Andy Schleck. 2013 – Pat McQuaid.
Sheree: Fernando Alonso’s imaginary team. Will he? Won’t he? The long tease started at the end of last season with the much mooted potential purchase of Euskaltel-Euskadi. But the Carrots were left on the scrap-heap as Alonso sought to establish his own team on his terms and with his chosen staff and riders. Key, oft publicised dates came and went. Rumours abounded. Alliances were made. Finally the truth emerged, the Emperor has no new clothes and no team for 2015. Yes, Alonso recently confirmed his hopes of forming a professional cycling team will not materialise in 2015 but insisted that he still has plans to establish a team at some point in the future. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Tim: The oldest ever grand tour winner after seizing the overall at the 2013 Vuelta at the age of 42, Chris Horner signed a heavily performance-based contract with Lampre. But a combination of injury, poor form and, one suspects, his age finally catching up with him resulted in a paltry 2014 return: an utterly anonymous 17th at the Tour de France and second overall at the Tour of Utah. He’s rumoured to be heading to a US continental team for 2015. Many fans suspicious of his 2013 performances will be glad to see the back of him.
Ant: For once, Thomas Voeckler’s season was a bigger flop than his tongue. Having finished second in Paris-Tours, he even managed to miss the podium presentation! Now that’s flopping. In Tommy’s defence, lady luck was not on his side, and crashes in January and August are enough to put anybody off their stride, but he’ll no doubt be very glad to see the back of this winless season.
Jack: Richie Porte. I often find myself thinking of Porte as a talented youngster, waiting to be given the chance to show his true potential. Then I remember he’s now 29 years old, probably as good as he’s ever going to be and still nowhere near competitive in the grand tours. Perhaps that’s a little harsh, but considering the potential he showed when he finished seventh in the Giro d’Italia four years ago, his abject failure to finish inside the top ten of a three-week race since suggests he’s actually not quite as good as we once thought.
Midge: Peter Sagan. I know it’s controversial to put the winner of the points jersey at the Tour in here, when by anyone’s standards he has had a fine season. But that’s the point, he is not just any rider and, unfair as it might be, his talent raises expectations. In particular his spring campaign was disappointing both in terms of results and tactical choices. I am certain we will see better next year.
Let us know your choice and the reasons for it – or if we have missed out your personal favourite – in the comments below.
Polls will close at 1200 GMT (UK time) on Friday 12th December.
Next: Lifetime Achievement Award.