VeloVoices Awards 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award

VVAward

You’ve read the five of us discussing our thoughts on the 2012 season throughout the year. Now it’s time to make your voices heard as we open the voting for the inaugural VeloVoices Awards. Over ten days in ten categories – some serious, others less so – we’re asking you to select your choices of 2012. We’ll publish the final results in the run-up to Christmas. (Hopefully next year we’ll have a grand gala dinner in central London …)

Yesterday we revealed our shortlist for our Flop of the Year. Today it’s the turn of our nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award:

Panache avatarPanache: I know he’s not a rider and I know that he’s not retiring but Travis Tygart deserves all our respect, praise and gratitude for pursuing Lance Armstrong after federal investigators walked away from their case. Finding the truth and bringing it to light was an achievement of a lifetime and will change the culture of cycling for the better. The USADA reasoned decision came with incredible risk – both personal and professional – to Tygart, but he and his people got the job done anyway.

sdw-livestrong-photo_edited shereeSheree: Alexandre Vinokourov. Winning Olympic gold in this year’s road race was a fairytale ending to a career which has divided cycling fans the world over. Whether you think he’s a villain or a hero you’ve got to hand it to Alex, he was in the right place at the right time. Others hesitated but he didn’t. And that pretty much sums up his career. He endeavours to be in the right place at the right time with a swashbuckling style of attacking riding. Okay he’s been unapologetic about his blood doping but I think we all understand why. He’s allegedly paid for wins but again you have to be in the right place to pull that off. He’s a chancer who’s made the best of every opportunity. If he were a businessman, he’d be feted for his achievements.

Tim avatarTim: I’m stepping outside of the men’s ranks for once to nominate Judith Arndt, who retired after this year’s World Championships after securing back-to-back rainbow jerseys in the individual time trial to add to her silver in the Olympic ITT and a victory in the women’s Tour of Flanders. She won pretty much everything there is to win during a professional career spanning 18 seasons, including a third rainbow jersey in the Worlds road race back in 2004. An outstanding professional and one of the true legends of women’s cycling.

kitty-fondueKitty: He’s not retired yet and everyone hopes he keeps putting that fateful day off but he already deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr Jens Voigt. He’s 41, he still has teams clamouring for his signature on a contract and he still rides with a fierce joy that’s breathtaking to see. The look on his face when he’s putting down the pain and breaking everyone behind him is priceless.

avatar jackJack: David Moncoutie has always been distant in the peloton – almost an outcast, alone in the sea of 200 riders. “David is a loner,” former Cofidis chief Eric Boyer once bluntly said. But, perhaps partly because of his own quirks, and certainly because of his honesty and integrity, he is one of the most likeable riders in the peloton. Unfortunately a crash forced him out of his final Tour de France, and ultimately prevented him from making history at the race with which he is most notably associated: the Vuelta. Sadly his designs at winning a record-breaking fifth consecutive mountain classification were in vain, though he shall forever remain in the hearts of cycling fans after his mystical 16-year career, which included two stage wins at the Tour.

Tomorrow we’ll unveil our shortlist for the Sartorial Elegance Award.

VeloVoices Awards 2012

Rider of the Year

Team of the Year

Breakthrough Rider of the Year

Most Thrilling Moment of the Year

Flop of the Year

VeloVoices Awards 2012: Flop of the Year

VVAward

You’ve read the five of us discussing our thoughts on the 2012 season throughout the year. Now it’s time to make your voices heard as we open the voting for the inaugural VeloVoices Awards. Over ten days in ten categories – some serious, others less so – we’re asking you to select your choices of 2012. We’ll publish the final results in the run-up to Christmas. (Hopefully next year we’ll have a grand gala dinner in central London …)

Yesterday we revealed our shortlist for Most Thrilling Moment of the Year. Today it’s the turn of our nominations for the Flop of the Year:

avatar jackJack: At risk of being lynched for anti-Wiggo sentiments, the Tour de France was the biggest disappointment in a mostly thrilling season. Sky undoubtedly rode a great race, systematically crushing the opposition, though the parcours – which placed far too much importance on time-trialling – ensured that Wiggins’ victory was all too easy. Likewise, the absence of Cadel Evans’ form and the absence of Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck completely meant there was never really any true competition. Vincenzo Nibali appeared to have the legs to compete man-for-man with Wiggins, but not the team to match Sky’s dominance. All of these factors conspired to make cycling’s most prestigious event a rather dull affair.

Panache avatarPanache: Normally I would award this to a current rider but Johan Bruyneel is just too ‘deserving’ to ignore. Here is a man who went from the responsibility of merging two of the best professional teams in the world at the beginning of the season to looking at a lifetime ban from cycling because of his doping legacy.

sdw-livestrong-photo_edited shereeSheree: Frandy aka Frank and Andy Schleck. Maybe I’m being harsh but this is a talented twosome who finished second and third on last year’s Tour podium. However, they seem to lack that necessary oomph to make it onto the top step with the regularity their talent deserves. It’s all style over substance with them. They ride better together than apart but have obvious weaknesses in their armoury – descending and time-trialling – that no amount of coaching seems to overcome. Do they not care or is it simply that they don’t listen? Who knows? But given the choice I would pick less talented riders prepared to graft. Possibly their Dad’s right, maybe cycling’s not for them.

Tim avatarTim: Anyone remember who won the 2011 Vuelta a Espana? Anyone know how he fared this year? Quite. The answers are Juan Jose Cobo and ‘not very well’. He barely raced all year before finishing an anonymous 30th at the Tour. And although he was really always riding in support of Alejandro Valverde at the Vuelta rather than to defend his crown, he had already dropped himself out of contention before Valverde really needed him to sacrifice himself. He finished 67th and didn’t contribute much to the team effort at all in the mountains. The ultimate flash in the pan: a brilliant overachiever in 2011, but performed well below his level this year.

kitty-fondueKitty: Mark Renshaw. From being the best lead-out man in the business to attempting to be a sprinter in his own right to being kind of relegated to lead-out man again in the midst of the season with Rabobank, his plan backfired horribly. I absolutely respect him leaving Cav’s side and think he would have regretted it more if he never tried to be the big cheese, but it didn’t work out at all this season.

Tomorrow we’ll unveil our shortlist for our Lifetime Achievement Award.

VeloVoices Awards 2012

Rider of the Year

Team of the Year

Breakthrough Rider of the Year

Most Thrilling Moment of the Year

VeloVoices Awards 2012: Most Thrilling Moment of the Year

VVAward

You’ve read the five of us discussing our thoughts on the 2012 season throughout the year. Now it’s time to make your voices heard as we open the voting for the inaugural VeloVoices Awards. Over ten days in ten categories – some serious, others less so – we’re asking you to select your choices of 2012. We’ll publish the final results in the run-up to Christmas. (Hopefully next year we’ll have a grand gala dinner in central London …)

Yesterday we revealed our shortlist for Breakthrough Rider of the Year. Today it’s the turn of our nominations for our Most Thrilling Moment of the Year:

kitty-fondueKitty: Iljo Keisse dropping a chain in the Tour of Turkey. I still get incredibly excited when I see this. Every time I watch the final few kilometres of this race, I find myself perched on the edge of my seat, screaming “Go, go, go!” Breaking from a breakaway, Keisse flew up the road and, in the absence of race radios, the peloton didn’t realise it as they swallowed up the rest of the break. Keisse flew into the final corner, crashed, calmly got up, refixed his chain and carried on. Except the cameras didn’t show that – we thought he was by the side of the road until we saw the home straight. There he was, with the peloton thundering down on him … and he bloody well won!

avatar jackJack: Philippe Gilbert winning the Worlds. Gilbert arrived at BMC to much fanfare, as a crucial part of the conception of cycling’s next great super-team. Unfortunately, he was one of its principal underperformers in an underwhelming start to the season. Dogged by injury and illness his spring Classics campaign was a disaster, throwing away his three Ardennes crowns within a dismal week. The exciting, aggressive and dominating Gilbert cycling fans had grown to love last season had all but disappeared. But the Vuelta proved there was hope. Two stage wins suggested he was riding himself into form ahead of the Worlds. He was. His attack on the climb up to the finish in Valkenburg was reminiscent of his now infamous turbocharged uphill sprints. Only this time – unlike in the previous two seasons – the end product was the rainbow jersey. Having endured such a tough season on the back of World Championship disappointment in 2010 and 2011, no one deserved it more.

Panache avatarPanache: Thomas De Gendt turned the Giro on its head when he attacked during stage 20 on the Stelvio. He began the stage in eighth place, 5:40 behind Joaquim Rodríguez but got into a break and then escaped his breakaway companions to solo to victory. At one point De Gendt was just 35 seconds away from the maglia rosa! Garmin-Sharp were forced to throttle themselves to keep Ryder Hesjedal in the hunt for victory.

sdw-livestrong-photo_edited shereeSheree: Alberto Contador taking the bull by the horns on stage 17 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. Just when we all thought that Joaquim Rodriguez had the race in the bag, Bertie confounded his critics and gambled his podium place on a relatively benign stage taking pretty much everyone, Joaquim included, by surprise. Of course, we shouldn’t have been since he’d said he wasn’t going to give up – ever. But having failed to shake off a terrier like Purito on the climbs we figured it was all over bar the shouting. But not for nothing is Bertie the best stage racer of his generation and a much more astute and calculating rider than he’s often given credit for.

Tim avatarTim: Cycling races are as much about the  journey as the destination, so my moment of the year is Thibaut Pinot‘s victory on stage eight of the Tour de France. Not just because it was a fantastic win for a bright young French talent, but for the image of FDJ team boss Marc Madiot leaning out of his car window screaming encouragement at his rider all the way along the final kilometre. It wasn’t just about the financial boost that a stage win at the Tour provides for one of the smaller ProTeams. Madiot eats, sleeps and breathes the sport, and cycling would be poorer and less of a spectacle without his passion and that of others like him.

Tomorrow we’ll unveil our shortlist for our Flop of the Year.

VeloVoices Awards 2012

Rider of the Year

Team of the Year

Breakthrough Rider of the Year