Cycling Weekly is revealing the top 50 2012 British Riders of the Year, counting down every day until December 19.
The top 10 will be revealed in Cycling Weekly’s Christmas issue, on sale from Thursday December 20.
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24th IAN STANNARD
British national road race champion
Ian Stannard didn’t just win the national road race at Ampleforth. He smashed it.
Such superlatives are bandied around too readily at times, but when Stannard is in the mood, he can squeeze the life out of a race.
Having completed the Giro d’Italia, he was in great form and incredibly strong, breaking away to win by more than a minute from Alex Dowsett and Russell Hampton. Ben Swift was fourth, 7-45 down. The rest of what was left of the field dragged themselves home over the next quarter of an hour.
Stannard is not a flashy rider but his work ethic is awesome and engenders respect readily. He’s a big unit but he can ride strong for long and in the world’s toughest races, that quality will see him go far.
We’ve been saying it for a few years now, but Ian Stannard is going to win a very big race soon. He’s been around for ages but he’s still only 25. His value to the team is inestimable but at some point he’s going to get a chance to race for himself and he’s going to grab it.
He completed the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana this season, working selflessly for Chris Froome in Spain and then went to the World Championships in Valkenburg.
The team’s leader was Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, undoubtedly a talent but untested at that level of competition and certainly over that distance. Stannard was incredibly strong in the closing stages, marking a move by the whippet-like American Andrew Talansky and powering over the climbs. As Froome later said, the fact that Stannard lugged his big frame over the Valkenburg and other steep climbs of the Limburg region proved how strong he really is.
That big win is coming, it really is.
23rd HELEN WYMAN
National cyclo-cross champion
For the seventh year in a row, Helen Wyman claimed the red, white and blue jersey at the end of the National Cyclo-Cross Championships.
She had another strong season in the World Cups – it’s rare that Wyman is far away from the top five – but the World Championships were held at Koksijde, the beach-side course on the Belgian coast that doesn’t seem to suit her. She finished 14th there.
But the current season has started brilliantly. She won the European Championship title, which was held on home soil in Ipswich, and admitted afterwards that after years competing abroad she had been waiting for the chance to make the most of home advantage.
Wyman was on the podium in the opening World Cup of the 2012-13 campaign, finishing behind Sanne van Paassen and Katie Compton at Tabor in the Czech Republic. And she was runner-up in round two at Plzen.
Then she won the iconic Koppenbergcross which is a Superprestige race rather than a round of the World Cup but, along with Koksijde, is one of the most famous races on the circuit because it takes place on and around the steep cobbled climb most people know from the Tour of Flanders.
Wyman was fifth in the Koksijde cross to set herself up for a strong challenge for the World Cup crown in the new year.
And her excellent recent form went from good to spectacular when she beat Marianne Vos, the seemingly unbeatable Vos, to win the Superprestige race at Gieten recently.
Don’t agree with our choice of riders? You can vote for your top 10 British Riders of 2012 on the CW website. When Tweeting about our countdown or your nominees, use the #ridersoftheyear hashtag. We’ll be running your choice in a future issue.
Riders revealed so far…
December 12: Numbers 26-25 – Annie Last and Scott Thwaites
December 11: Numbers 28-27 – Mark Colbourne and Alex Dowsett
December 10: Numbers 32-29 – Sharon Laws, Liam Killeen, Neil Fachie, Rachel Atherton
December 9: Number 33 – David Stone
December 8: Number 34 – Emma Pooley
December 7: Numbers 36-35 – Nikki Harris and Russell Downing
December 6: Numbers 38-37 – Anthony Kappes and Andy Fenn
December 5: Numbers 40-39 – Josh Edmondson and Matt Bottrill
December 4: Numbers 42-41 – Luke Rowe and Michael Hutchinson
December 3: Numbers 44-43 – Sam Lowe and Jon Dibben
December 2: Numbers 46-45 – Rebecca James and Jessica Varnish
December 1: Numbers 50-47 – Alex Peters, Kristian House, Richard Handley and Wendy Houvenaghel