It’s fond farewells to some of cycling’s biggest names, which means one thing: Lifetime Achievement Awards (and tranquillisers for me).
Previous winners: 2012 winner: Jens Voigt. 2013 winner: Marco Pinotti. 2014 – Jens Voigt. 2015 – Cadel Evans.
Kathi: With a palmares that goes on and on – four rainbow jerseys and two Olympic golds for ITT, Flanders-Roubaix doubles (and singles), the most yellow jerseys worn by a rider who never won the Tour de France, etc etc etc. I fell for young pup Fabs when he won the opening prologue in Liege in 2004 – the first bike race I ever watched – and he’s a big reason I’m so devoted to the Classics. I’m still trying to come to terms with the thought that I won’t see Spartacus hammering down the cobbles next spring but he’ll be the measure for up-and-coming riders for years to come.
Sheree: Former VeloVoices contributor Sebastien Chavanel is hanging up his cleats after 14 years of honourable service for various French professional teams. His last victory was in 2011 and his palmares are modest as you’d expect from a loyal lead-out man who helped others to victory. Like many hard-working, long-serving pros, he’s retiring more with a whimper than a bang. We should salute his endeavours, and those of hundreds of other similar riders, with this award.
Ant: With the five-time Tour Winner, Podium Enforcer, and Shower Endorser stepping down (apologies for the pun) from Tour de France podium duties, I think it’s a suitable point to pay tribute to the Badger’s career. (And it gives us another excuse to show how he can push an interloper off the podium, manhandle him into the arms of security and still smile and shake hands with the stage winner, all in 30seconds – Ed.)
Midge: After two shots at the WorldTour and with offers of interest from teams for 2017, the 30-year-old American rider walked away from a sport that he’s still in love with. He has his reasons, and he’s as eloquent in expressing them as he’s always been: see this from his Velonews blog
I didn’t do everything I wanted in pro cycling, but I’ve done just about everything I could, and boy did I have a good run. But bike racing doesn’t love me quite as much as I love it, so it’s someone else’s turn to try and live the dream, and my time to get out of the way.
We’ll miss his forthright views, his love of cookies, and most of all the way he rode with heart and soul in every race he was involved with. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way he tackled his maiden Paris-Roubaix this year: in the break and crashing the cobbles! That wry sense of humour may be missing from the peloton, but we’re sure we haven’t seen or heard the last of Phil Gaimon.
Panache: We’ll miss both the goggles and immodest bike riding of Ryder Hesjedal. The Canadian enjoyed 18 years as a professional and raced with the Garmin-Slipstream for eight seasons, winning the Giro d’Italia with the team in 2012. He also won 2 stages of the Vuelta a España and one stage in the Tour of California, placed fifth overall in the Tour de France in 2010 and second in the Amstel Gold Race in the same year.
Sarah: How do you write a short description of Emma Johansson? She’s been at the front of the peloton for over ten years, pretty much a guaranteed rider to get onto the podium, especially in the Classics, even if the very top medals had eluded her. Two Olympic road races silvers – including this year – one Worlds road race silver and two bronzes, and tons of great results in almost all the best races. She’s ultimately tenacious – her brain getting her results that she shouldn’t get just on speed, and I love her for that. Then there’s her typically Scandinavian straight-forward quotes in race results and on her blog and twitter, and the way she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She may be Swedish, but she’s also an honourary Flandrian (the street she lives on in Zingem is always decorated for her, as the Ronde van Vlaanderen races down it) – and much as I adore her racing, I’m going to put this video in for why I’ll miss her so much:
It was a close one, but Spartacus took the honours with 40% of the votes; Emma Johansson was hot on his heels, however, with 36% of the vote. From third to sixth: Phil Gaimon, Bernard Hinault, Sebastien Chavanel and Ryder Hesjedal