The start of the Tour Down Under, the first event on the WorldTour calendar, is now just days away. Here are the thoughts of each of the VeloVoices outlining our wishes for the 2015 season.
Ant: My biggest wish is for more explosive racing. Lately I’ve felt that races have been a war of attrition, only coming to life in the final 10km, which despite being an incredible thrill in the finale, also delivers hours of laborious viewing. I’m hoping for a return to unpredictability and by that I don’t mean favourites crashing out or having bad luck, just riders racing with their hearts and not their heart-rate monitors. As some of the peloton’s great animators reach the twilight of their careers we need the new guard to be allowed to fight the good fight for passionate racing.
Chris: My wish for 2015 is to see Taylor Phinney get back to full health and be able to both race at the Tour de France and be a contender at the Road World Championships in Richmond. [As long as he doesn’t put on a Captain America costume! Hmm, now that I mention it, has anyone ever seen Phinney and Cap in the same place at the same time? I’m just saying … – Ed.]
Jack: My big wish for 2015 is that we get the great Tour de France battle we’ve been awaiting for a long time. Over the last few seasons, various factors have conspired to deny us a ding-dong three-way fight between Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, and last year’s crash-marred race was the most disappointingly one-sided yet. Maybe this time we’ll have a scrap between the three best grand tour riders in the peloton, and excitement all the way to Paris.
Kathi: That the UCI starts to get serious about punishing those who facilitate doping and start handing out lifetime bans. That the twitterati stops being so judgmental and allows for all kinds of cycling fans – ones who only watch the Tour or who only like cyclo-cross or who don’t like track. That Kwiatkowski wins a lot of races in the rainbow jersey. That Cancellara rides the Tour, wins the prologue and spends the first week in yellow. That I continue to meet great cycling fans from all over the world.
Midge: I can’t wait for the road racing to start. I long to be immersed in the familiar pattern of beloved races: my favourite spring classics, the speculation of teams for the Giro, that frisson only a race day brings. I’ll be exploring the unfamiliar too. Seeking out races with no live pictures, where the furious racing is brought to life by words only. Following the new adventures of teams like IAM in the WorldTour, and CULT Energy Pro Cycling at Pro Continental level. Most of all, I fervently hope and wish to talk with you all about the great racing, and not about the sideshow elements. 2015? Yep, way too excited already.
Sheree: I’m focussing on a micro matter but one of import to a number of fans, including @SamuSanchezFans. I am, of course, talking about our #SignSamu campaign of which former world champion Philippe Gilbert is a paid-up member. He’s reported as mulling over his future but is clearly not keen to retire just yet and has been taking part in a number of cyclo-cross races in Northern Spain – where it’s as popular as in Belgium – winning the recent CX Candas. If, like me, you’re not yet ready to see Samu hang up his golden shoes, join #SignSamu and see if we can find him a worthy berth for next season.
Tim: The mark of a great champion is not just how many victories he records but the stature of those he defeats. Eddy Merckx beat riders such as Zoetemelk, Poulidor and Thevenet to wins his five Tours de France. Cancellara and Boonen’s exploits on the cobbles are enhanced by the fact they raced against each other. Little Mix’s X Factor triumph is all the more impressive for the fact they beat … oh, never mind. Great rivalries are what define great racing, so let’s hope 2015 brings us Quintana, Nibali, Contador and Froome going at it hammer and tongs in the grand tours, Sagan, Degenkolb, Kwiatkowski and co doing the same in the classics, and Cav, Greipel and Kristoff taking the battle to Kittel in the sprints.
So those are our wishes for 2015. But what about yours? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.