2021 Cycling Weekly awards - shortlisted riders announced

From Tour winners to Rising Stars, volunteers to turbo warriors. Here's our shortlist for the 2021 CW awards

CW Awards extension
(Image credit: Future)

As the season draws to a close, it’s time to look at the riders and people who have been shortlisted for a Cycling Weekly award in 2021. With almost a full international calendar of races we’ve reverted back to our original list of awards with one small change, the introduction of Indoor Inspiration. 

British Male Rider of the Year

From riders in their twilight years to others just starting out, this year’s selection is made up of riders from both ends of the spectrum. The heroics from Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France and Jason Kenny at the Olympics might not be their last, but everyone else named on this list is just starting out on their no doubt successful careers. 


Mark Cavendish, Ethan Hayter, Tom Pidcock, Matt Walls, Jason Kenny, Jaco van Gass

Sponsored by: Zwift

British Female Rider of the Year

We’ve enjoyed success on a variety of surfaces from Britain’s female riders this year. From Olympic medals on the track to cross and mtb for Evie Richards. There have been record breaking rides from Sarah Storey, Joss Lowden and Lizzie Deignan,  Anna Henderson has shown her potential through consistent results at the highest level. Comparing the results and deciding on a winner could be our judges' toughest task this year.


Laura Kenny, Dame Sarah Storey, Joss Lowden, Abi Smith, Katie Archibald, Lizzie Deignan, Evie Richards, Anna Henderson

Sponsored by: Zwift

Laura Kenny (left) and Katie Archibald on their way to Madison gold

Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald on their way to the victory in the inaugural women's Madison at the Olympics

(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

International Rider of the Year 

Looking down this list of riders it’s clear that the age of the specialist is over. The riders that you voted for are winning across Grand Tours, smaller stage races, one day classics, time trials and even mountain bike races. The men’s peloton has gone through a seismic shift, as even those at the top just a few years ago seem to have been completely blown away by the new breed of rider, while in the women’s peloton it’s a case of experience shining through. The three female riders listed below have 35 successful years in the pro peloton between them. 


Tadej Pogačar, Wout van Aert, Annemiek van Vleuten, Mathieu van der Poel, Primoz Roglič, Anna van Der Breggen, Elisa Longo Borghini

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Rising star

This might be the most hotly contested category of 2021 as young British riders have clearly kept their motivation and focus when there was little racing early in the year. Or maybe it’s just that the cream will always rise to the top. This year two contenders are looking to emulate their siblings as Leo Hayter aims to follow on from his brother Ethan who won this title in 2018 while Zoe Backstedt’s big sister Elynor won in 2019.


Ethan Vernon, Josh Tarling, Leo Hayter, Max Poole, Zoe Backstedt

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Zoe Backstedt

Zoe Bäckstedt after winning the junior women's road race world title in Leuven, Belgium 

(Image credit: Getty)

Outstanding Achievement 

An incredible year has witnessed some incredible achievements, and winner was chosen by you. This award should go to the rider who achieved something extraordinary in 2021. Perhaps not a season full of success, but a one-off ride, record or race that defined their career, shot them to stardom or set them apart from their peers. 


Jason Kenny - Olympic keirin gold to become GB's most successful Olympian
Christina Mackenzie - New women's LeJoG record 51hrs 05mins 05seconds
Anna Kiesenhofer - Olympic RR gold having attacked from K0
Lizzie Deignan - Winning the inaugural Paris Roubaix Femmes
Dame Sarah Storey - 3X Paralympic gold to become GB's most successful Paralympian
Josh Quigley - Setting a world record for miles ridden in one week: 2,179.6miles
Joss Lowden - Setting a new women's Hour record: 48,405

Sponsored by: Lezyne

Domestic rider of the year

Following a hiatus in 2020 due to a lack of racing in the UK, our domestic award is back. This season was once again heavily impacted by the pandemic and resulting restrictions, but a flurry of racing in the second half of the year saw some riders emerge as favourites for the title previously won by John Archibald and Connor Swift. As with previous winners, the riders listed are there for taking the racing to the WorldTour teams when they got their chance, dominating in their discipline, or like Illi Gardner, supplementing their racing with their own challenges.


James Shaw, Abi Smith, Illi Gardner, Jacob Scott , Hayley Simmonds, Alex Peters

Sponsored by: Lezyne

Hayley Simmonds time trial

Hayley Simmonds on her way to the 2021 British national 25m TT title

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Local Hero

Sporting events up and down the country are having to entice back the people they relied on to run, and it’s not been easy. Races have been cancelled due to a lack of volunteers as lives have changed and habit’s broken. These are the people who rather than stepping back, stepped forward and taken their clubs and communities with. As ever, their unwavering commitment to getting people on bikes is humbling. 

Chris Jones - North Cheshire Clarion Juniors

As lead coach Chris helps take riders from novice cyclists to talented races. He takes a leading role in many of the activities from coaching sessions to ries, social events and velodrome sessions. He is also involved with the local council’s cycling strategy group pressing for better facilities and infrastructure.

Nikki Metcalfe - Team Boompods

Still racing herself, Nikki has built Team Boompods into an elite level squad racing Tour Series events and helped develop many of the riders on the team. She is also a tireless promoter in the North East and a qualified commissaire who is at a race every weekend. 

Christina Gustafson - Reading Cycling Club

The chair of Reading Cycling Club, Christina has been called a ‘force of nature’ by her club mates who say she has transformed the club, culminating in it running the Hill Climb national championships in 2020. She officiates at many events, has helped Reading CC increase their membership and has instilled a sense of pride across the club.

Graham Bristow - Derny doyen

While Graham has promoted many international track meetings, from the Good Friday Meeting, he’s really known for his 30 years of work as a derny pacer and tutor. He has taken many riders to national titles, taken riders to race abroad. Motor paced and derny racing in the UK is still running largely because of his continuous work.

Sponsored by: Lezyne

Lifetime achievement

With no shortlist, judging panel or reader vote, this very special award is kept under wraps until December 9 when our awards issue goes on sale. Each year this title is given to someone who has spent a lifetime in the sport, from winning races to running teams, developing new talent, organising events and having a profound impact on the sport in the UK. Previous winners: Barry Hoban, Sean Kelly, Brian Robinson

Sponsored by: Zwift

Club of the Year

Cycling clubs remain the backbone of the sport in the country, but as more people have taken to cycling through the pandemic many are now thriving by attracting a different kind of rider. While this award has previous been won by more traditional cycling clubs, this year we couldn’t ignore the strength of the entries from Velociposse and Evolve. Two clubs that didn’t exist a few years ago, but are now doing great work to get more people in to cycling. 


Now four years old, Velociposse was created as a place to go for all women. This includes cis and transgender and non-binary. Their approach is a skills-focused introduction to cycling as a sport. Their slow skills sessions eliminate the ‘am I fast enough?’ barrier, and their rides are fun and friendly. Gravel rides were recently added. Based mainly had Herne Hill they also run Regents Park Intro rides.

San Fairy Ann CC

With over 400 members this Kent club organises multiple time trials and road races in the county along with a sportive and two audax’s. Setting their yearly plan from member surveys has reaped rewards with their new ‘try it out’ rides helping to bring in more female members through lockdown.

Falkirk Junior Bike Club

150 members, all of which are juniors, the club’s aim is to breed a love of cycling into their members and help them become healthy, resilient, productive adults. Who love cycling. Engaged their local community running Holiday Hunger series targeting specific areas in Scotland. These sessions fed 650 children who needed support

Lincoln Wheelers

The 125 year old club adapted during the pandemic with the aim of bringing it’s members together. Virtual club rides were held with outdoor routes shared for those who wanted to get out and ride. The club organises two ten mile TTs, one of which is charity focused and has a coaching team running Go Ride initiatives. 


A cycling club for muslim women, Evolve is already growing as they deliver BMX events for kids, encourage members to train as coaches (BC level one and two). They have delivered Breeze rides and worked with Watford Council and Watford Cycle Hub among others. 

Lichfield City Cycling Club

Along with the usual weekly rides and annual competitive and non-competitive events, Lichfield do a huge amount in their local community, donating to their local hospice and recycle bikes charity as well as sending old club kit to Ghana

Sponsored by: Santini Custom

Indoor Inspiration

Our e-racer of the year title has now evolved into an award that celebrates those who have used indoor riding to grow the sport by inspiring others to ride. Turbo training used to be a lonely affair. Not any more. These are the people who have adopted technology, got more people into their pain caves no matter where they are in the world and brought them together during a time in our lives when we all felt a little disconnected. 

Ed Laverack 

Former pro Ed has championed the use of turbo training and indoor riding through his YouTube channel. He has streamed his training and his races to bring a different dynamic to the Zwift workout and still competes at the highest level on the platform.

Craig Needham

Craig has been instrumental in building up Australia’s triathlon Zwift community and he’s done so from scratch. He leads multiple rides each week in which he includes quizzes and prize giveaways. His Facebook group has grown to over 900. Many people nominated Craig and all pointed to his unwavering positivity and enthusiasm 

Russell Downing and Matt Payne

When the pandemic hit Russ and Matt brought the infamous Donny chaingang to Zwift. Running twice a week they reached hundreds of riders from all over the world and introduced them to the British chain gang that’s been going for decades. While the original chaingang was a ‘take no prisoners’ affair the virtual version is more inclusive

Tim Searle

One of the early adopters of the Zwift platform, Tim has not only ridden the most miles on Zwift but he’s built up a huge following for his Aussie Hump Day Ride (AHDR). Originally run on a Wednesday (hump day) there are now several during the week with hundreds of riders joining from all over the world.

Sponsored by: Zwift

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