VeloVoices Awards 2019: Rider of the Year (Male)

It’s been a great, great cycling season! We had five different winners of the Monuments, three brand new winners of the Grand Tours – all from countries that have never won a Grand Tour before … what more could you want? The coveted VeloVoices Rider of the Year is for the rider whose presence in a race makes it more exciting, who rides with guts and who is gracious in both victory and defeat. Last year’s Rider of the Year was Julian Alaphilippe – can he double up this year? Here are our nominations …

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! 

Alejandro Valverde

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Sheree: What more can you say about Alejandro Valverde? Ranked third in Pro Cycling Stats and 5th in UCI World Ranking, the indestructible man will be the oldest rider in the peloton next year. He’s racked up 127 victories (5 in 2019) during his many years as a pro, here’s his top 5 results from this season, which demonstrate the breadth and depth of his racing:  Stage 3, UAE Tour; Stage 1 and the overall La Route d’Occitane; Spanish Road Race Championships; Stage 7, Vuelta a Espana, where he finished second on the final podium.

Egan Bernal

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Euan: Pinch me – the Tour de France wasn’t the dullest grand tour of the year, it was actually the best. But 90% of the focus was away from the eventual winner – it was all Alaphilippe and Pinot with a dash of unseasonal French weather too. I’m still not sure how Bernal won it but he did – the youngest rider in over a hundred years to whack on the yellow jersey at the end of the race and the first Colombian to win the most famous cycling race of the year.

On his way there, he won the Tour de Suisse and Paris Nice and, best of all for me, when others would have sat back and put their legs up (I’m lookin’ at you, Froomey), Egan had a bash at the Italian autumn classic too. It’s plain to see that he loves racing and that’s why I love him.

Primoz Roglic

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Luke: Being the sole American resident within VeloVoices, I’m sometimes left picking for scraps when it comes to nominations because they’ve picked their riders while I’m still asleep! To my surprise, however, this wasn’t the case when it came to Primoz Roglic. No one had nominated him, which is somewhat mind-boggling given his season! I’ll let the results speak for themselves:

1st overall at Tirreno-Adriatico; UAE Tour; and Tour de Romandie, third in the Giro d’Italia after winning two stages. Oh and he won the Vuelta a Espana, as well as the points classification and a stage win. Those wins also put him on top of the UCI World Ranking for the end of the 2019 season.

Jakob Fuglsang

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Midge: I could wax lyrical about Jakob Fuglsang‘s exploits this season. I could, but there’s no need to persuade – the results speak for themselves. It was podiums a go-go all year long.  Top step at Vuelta a Andulcia, second at Strade Bianche, third at Tirreno Adriatico. A stunning Ardennes week with second at La Fleche Wallone, third at Amstel and crowned by his first Monument at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Summer brought a second Criterium de Dauphine title and a vibrant Vuelta performance his first Grand Tour stage victory. He was still racing for victory as autumn blew in, finishing his year with a fine fourth at Il Lombardia. He’s third in the end of year UCI World Rankings so with a season’s palmares like that, who needs to talk about the Tour de France!

Julian Alaphilippe

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Both Kathi and Lukas picked Alaphilippe for Rider of the Year 

Kathi: Second in the UCI World Ranking. Strade Bianche, Milan-SanRemo, Fleche Wallonne. Dauphine KOM jersey. But Julian Alaphilippe‘s swashbuckling hit critical mass during the Tour de France, spending 14 days in the maillot jaune, winning two stages, electrifying fans with his balls-to-the-wall racing and daring riders to take that jersey off him, because he wasn’t going to give it up without one hell of a fight. And fight he did. In fact, it took a giant mudslide to stop him … and even though he must have been heartbroken that he couldn’t go all the way to the Champs in yellow, he still found the bonhomie to lead his fans in song …

Lukas: D’Artagnan, eh, I mean, Alaphilippe had an excellent spring campaign, but it was his run in the maillot jaune, and possibly even more so its eventual failure, that made his year.

 

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