The polls are closed, your votes have been counted and verified by an independent adjudicator (albeit one who looked suspiciously like Tim) and we can now announce the results of our third annual VeloVoices Awards.
The awards took place at a star-studded dinner at, er, McDonald’s over the weekend, so without further ado, here are the winners of our awards as voted by you, our readers.
Race of the Year
2012 winner: No award. 2013 winner: Vuelta a Espana stage six (Tony Martin’s day-long break and near-victory).
Nominees: La Course, Il Lombardia, World Championships men’s road race, Tour of Flanders, Tour de France stage five, Vuelta a Espana stage 16, Giro d’Italia stage 16.
It’s unusual for the race of the year to be a stage from the opening week of a grand tour, but 35% of you voted for the dramatic cobbled fifth stage of the Tour de France, which saw defending champion Chris Froome abandon and Vincenzo Nibali put enough time into all his major rivals to dictate the 2½ weeks that followed. It was a day that had everything: drama, decisive selections and some incredible imagery as riders gave their all.
Just 4% separated the next four, but Fabian Cancellara’s sprint to victory in Flanders claimed second spot, while Michal Kwiatkowski’s audacious solo attack to earn himself the rainbow jersey was third. With hindsight, we should also have included Paris-Roubaix in our shortlist. But we didn’t. Oh well.
Rider of the Year
2012 winner: Bradley Wiggins. 2013 winner: Peter Sagan.
Nominees: John Degenkolb, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Marcel Kittel, Simon Gerrans, Alberto Contador, Michal Kwiatkowski.
Thanks to a surge of votes from Polish fans, the new world champion dominated this poll as Michal Kwiatkowski romped to victory with 74% of the total votes cast. Before you all start crying ‘Rick-roll’, the Pole was already out in front at that point and would probably have won anyway, and it’s hard to deny that Kwiatkowski makes a worthy winner.
Vuelta champion Contador was second with 11%, with Tour winner Nibali an even more distant third.
Team of the Year
2012 winner: Sky. 2013 winner: Dutch women’s Road World Championships team.
Nominees: Movistar, Ag2r La Mondiale, Giant-Shimano, FDJ, BMC, Tinkoff-Saxo.
After a late surge from their fans, BMC took victory with 35% of the vote. To be fair, they were the second-ranked team in the WorldTour rankings and won the Worlds team time trial, which is testament to their strength in depth and consistency despite failing to register a grand tour podium spot in 2014.
Tinkoff-Saxo did perform well at all three grand tours, contributing to their second-place finish (21%), just beating out Giant-Shimano (20%), who dominated the sprints at the grand tours with Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb sharing ten stages between them.
Breakthrough Rider of the Year
2012 winner: Taylor Phinney. 2013 winner: Nairo Quintana.
Nominees: Jens Voigt, Romain Bardet/Thibaut Pinot, Winner Anacona, Michal Kwiatkowski, Michael Valgren, Fabio Aru, Alexander Kristoff.
Another win for Michal Kwiatkowski, although this was no one-horse race – the Pole earned 32% of all votes cast, edging out Giro podium finisher and double Vuelta stage winner Fabio Aru, who had 29%.
In third was some callow youngster, an inexperienced trackie named Jens Voigt. Never heard of him – I doubt he’ll amount to much in his career …
Flop of the Year
2012 winner: Frank and Andy Schleck. 2013 winner: Pat McQuaid.
Nominees: Thomas Voeckler, Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Sky, Peter Sagan, Team Alonso, Chris Horner.
This turned into another two-horse race, with Sky edging out the increasingly fictitious Alonso project by 27% to 26%.
Sky were third and fourth as well with Froome and Porte. Still, at least they’ve won something this year!
Lifetime Achievement Award
2012 winner: Jens Voigt. 2013 winner: Marco Pinotti.
Nominees: Emma Pooley, Thor Hushovd, Jens Voigt, Didi Senft (the Devil), Roberto Amadio/Stefano Zanatta, David Millar.
No great surprise here as Jens Voigt claimed his second Lifetime Achievement Award – well, he has raced long enough for two careers! – as 35% of you (including the man himself) voted for him.
It was a close-run thing for second spot but Thor Hushovd (18%) took it from Emma Pooley (17%). In their own ways, both of them will be missed from the sport just as much as Jens. Chapeau.
Sartorial Elegance Award
2012 winner: Thomas Voeckler. 2013 winner: Taylor Phinney.
Nominees: Mark Cavendish, Dan Craven, Kenny Elissonde, Marcel Kittel, Jakob Fuglsang, Luca Paolini, Moreno Moser.
Clothes, hair, beards – they’re all fair game in one of our less serious but favourite awards. This year it was all about the hair as the vertiginously coiffed Marcel Kittel romped to victory, as he did in most sprints in 2014, with a massive 30% of the vote.
Dan Craven’s impressively fulsome beard was second with 19%, with Mark Cavendish, with his endless array of Oakleys and geeky cardigans, tucked into his slipstream on 15%.
Kit of the Year
2012 winner: Swiss national champion’s jersey. 2013 winner: Sky.
Nominees: FDJ, Ag2r La Mondiale, IAM, French national champion’s kit, Jens Voigt Trek custom farewell kit, Movistar.
Clean, elegant, simple. IAM‘s navy kit with red and white accents was favoured by 33% of you.
The equally simple and classic-looking French national champion’s kit was second with 24%, while a sentimental 16% went with the Jensie’s farewell kit.
Best Social Media User
A new award – no previous winners.
Nominees: Peter Sagan, Taylor Phinney, Chris Juul Jensen, Oleg Tinkov, Ted King, Mark Cavendish, Adam Hansen.
Taylor Phinney ensured he picked up a VeloVoices Award for the third year running with 37% of the vote.
Chris Juul Jensen’s excellent Rouleur columns and blogs impressed 20% of you, while Oleg Tinkov and Adam Hansen tied for third with 14% each. I wonder what Hansen’s regular roommate and Twitter buddy Greg Henderson has to say about that?
Most Surprising Transfer
A new award – no previous winners.
Nominees: Lars Petter Nordhaug to Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen to MTN-Qhubeka, Lars Boom to Astana, Ivan Basso to Tinkoff-Saxo, Samuel Sanchez to destination unknown, Theo Bos to MTN-Qhubeka, Nicolas Roche to Sky.
30% of you thought Nicolas Roche‘s move to Sky was the most surprising transfer of this off-season. Will he get the chances to lead the team he is hoping for, or will he be consigned to the role of super-domestique? It’s definitely a narrative to keep an eye on in 2015.
Lars Boom’s move to Astana (22%) was rated second most surprising. WIth the benefit of hindsight, anyone moving to Astana is a bit of a shocker, isn’t it? Edvald Boasson Hagen’s transfer to MTN-Qhubeka (17%) is probably as disappointing as it was surprising – what happened to the youngster so many predicted a bright future for a few years ago?
Photo of the Year
A new award – no previous winners.
Nominees: Emily Maye – Winning the Ronde, BrakeThrough Media – After the Stelvio, Gruber Images – Stage 5, Tour de France, Marshall Kappel – Quintana smile, Wei Yuet Wong – The podium realisation.
This was our favourite poll of all, with literally hundreds of great images to choose from. In the end we settled on the five shown above which showcase some of the best of the latest generation of photographic talent out there. In truth, we could have shortlisted 55 rather than five and it wouldn’t have been enough.
But there had to be a winner – a first among equals, if you will – and 42% of you went with newcomer Wei Yuet Wong‘s shot of Michal Kwiatkowski on the podium in the rainbow jersey after winning the Worlds road race. Gruber Images’ evocative shot from the cobbles of the Tour was second with 26%, while BrakeThrough Media’s post-Stelvio capture (21%) summed up the suffering everyone in the peloton goes through on a day as strenuous as this.
And that’s it for our 2014 Awards. Thanks so much to everyone who voted in the polls. We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.
Michal Kwiatkowski won or featured in three of the poll-toppers (Rider of the Year, Breakthrough Rider of the Year, Photo of the Year). Can he repeat his success in 2015? Join us again next year to find out.
You can also hear us discussing the VeloVoices Awards on our latest podcast.