Last year, it was Lawson Craddock‘s riding through the pain at the Tour de France to end up doing something amazing for his hometown velodrome. This year, we have four very different inspiring stories to choose from …
Voting ends on 14 December 2019 at 11.59PM, GMT. If you think there’s someone who should be on the list, there’s a write-in option on the poll at the bottom of the post!
Marc Madiot and Thibaut Pinot
Midge: Thibat Pinot‘s Tour de France was a rollercoaster of performance and emotion and right by his side, experiencing every pedal stroke was Groupama-FDJ’s general manager Marc Madiot. The man wears his cycling heart on his sleeve. Who can forget him charging through the crowd like a linebacker when Pinot stomped to victory on the Tourmalet, or the gentle amusement of Thibaut watching the video later. However, it was Madiot’s quiet words when his rider was forced to abandon on stage 19 that captured the relationship from a different angle. Because what do you say when someone’s dreams have ripped away, when they question if the sacrifice is worth it anymore? It still moves me and here is no one I would rather have by my side than Marc Madiot.
Marcel KittelEmbed from Getty Images
Euan: In retrospect it’s been easy to see that Marcel Kittel hasn’t been happy for a long time – his move to Katusha wasn’t followed by the results we’d been used to for the man with the fastest legs in the peloton. Finally this year he just quit. He said he’d didn’t want to do it anymore and stopped. Total respect for that. Not once while the results weren’t coming did he moan or blame others. And when he quit, he was open and honest about the reasons and seems much happier for it. Instead of spin or blame he told his story and hopefully inspired others to be true to themselves.
Esteban ChavesEmbed from Getty Images
Sheree: This really should be titled: The Little Kangaroo Bounces Back, Again. The ever-smiling Esteban Chaves has suffered a lot. First with an almost career-ending arm injury in the 2013 Trofeo Laigueglia and then, when he seemed back on top of his game winning on Mount Etna in the 2018 Giro d’Italia, he was felled for the rest of the year by the Epstein–Barr virus. These misfortunes made his victory on the Giro’s 19th stage to San Martino di Castrozza extra special, although the momentum had begun on the Anterselva finish two days prior. While Richard Carapaz fought for the pink jersey behind him, Chaves evoked an outpouring of tears from family, staffers, fans (including VeloVoices) and also from himself at the finish. Post-race he said:
I believe that life can be summed in today’s final climb. No matter how hard things might get, you have to keep attacking.
James Knox and Philippe Gilbert
Kathi: We love a good bromance here at VeloVoices Towers and this was one bromance that had it all – joy, heartbreak … and a hug and a smile. James Knox was riding his first Grand Tour in the Vuelta, which happened to be his teammate Philippe Gilbert‘s last Grand Tour with the QuickStep team. PhilGil had something to prove – storming to victory in two stages. Meanwhile, Knox was riding out of his skin and making it into the top ten, until he had a nasty crash. That’s when the bromance really blossomed …