With the road racing season firmly drawn to a close, and the end of the year rapidly accelerating towards us, it’s time to reflect on what has been another great year for British riders as the current ‘golden age’ continues unabated.
In total, male and female road riders clocked up 44 wins in UCI-ranked races – 19 of those victories can be attributed to Mark Cavendish (Omega Parma-QuickStep) and 13 to Chris Froome (Sky), including his overall Tour de France victory.
Froome became only the second Briton to win the Tour de France overall after Bradley Wiggins last year. In his Tour build-up, Froome scooped overall wins in the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine. It was a dominant display last seen… well, last year when Wiggins did much the same. To have two world-beating stage racers at the same time is unprecedented in Britain’s cycling history.
Though Froome’s Tour win towers above everything, Cavendish has been the stand-out performer in terms of wins. The Manxman took his first win at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January and then consistently scored victories through to the end of the Tour of Britain in September. Along the way, he netted two stages of the Tour de France and five stages of the Giro d’Italia.
Cavendish won the Giro’s points classification, making him only the fifth rider in history to win the points classification in all three Grand Tours along with Eddy Merckx, Alessandro Petacchi, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov and Laurent Jalabert. He also celebrated his 100th professional win this season.
It was Cavendish’s second most successful season to date, only bettered by 2009 when he took 23 victories with the Highroad team. And he took a popular win at the British national championship road race to earn the red, white and blue striped jersey. Cavendish is Britain’s most successful rider in history, and with every win it becomes less and less likely that his record will be surpassed. At least, not for a very, very long time.
Along with Cavendish and Froome, Geraint Thomas (Sky), Kit Gilham (Metaltek), Ian Wilkinson (UK Youth), Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano), Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Emma Pooley (Bigla), Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor JLT) and Wiggins (Sky) all also contributed to the list of road victories.
Off the tarmac, Rachel Atherton has won just about everything you can win in downhill mountain biking and Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris are regular visitors to cyclo-cross podium across Europe. The British track team continues to dominate the endurance disciplines, with the women’s team pursuit quartet seemingly setting a new world record at every outing.
Starting from December 1, Lionel Birnie will be counting down the 30 British Riders of the Year across all disciplines on www.cyclingweekly.com. The top 10 will be revealed in the December 19 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
You can also vote for your favourite British and international riders and events in our 2013 Cycling Weekly Reader Poll, with a chance to win a Team Sky jersey signed by Ben Swift.