CW’s British Riders of 2012: No. 26-25

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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Fast, not last

The incredible thing about Annie Last was not just her age – she was 21 when she finished eighth in the Olympic Games mountain bike cross-country at Hadleigh Farm – btut he fact that she had to qualify her own place, because Great Britain had not automatically earned a spot.

Perhaps the London Olympics came a couple of years too soon for her but Last, from Derbyshire, will be approaching her peak years by the time Rio comes round in 2016.

Last started the season well, finishing ninth in the opening World Cup at Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. She also had a spell at the head of the race before slipping back.

She finished in the top 10 in a string of World Cups this year although it was not until the La Bresse round in France in May that she confirmed Britain’s Olympic place.

In the Games themselves, she rode so aggressively that for the first couple of laps she was at the front of the race before again slipping back as the pace began to tell.

Nevertheless, an eighth place finish in her first Olympics was a superb result and, having postponed plans to study medicine at university to concentrate on mountain biking, you have to think she’ll be in contention for a medal in four years’ time.


Premier Calendar winner

The 22-year-old from Burley-in-Wharfdale is the youngest winner of the Premier Calendar series for generations.

Thwaites, who rides for Endura and is tipped for a big future, laid the foundations of his overall series win by taking third place in the Tour Doon Hame in the spring. He then shrugged off a heavy cold to win the Tour of the Reservoir, ahead of Peter Hawkins and Russell Downing.

Solid results in the summer rounds and second place in the Stockton Festival Road Race, behind Graham Briggs, secured overall victory in the series. His margin of victory over Marcin Bialoblocki was more than a hundred points.

Thwaites also won the National Circuit Race Championships in Otley.

He was one of four British riders retained by NetApp after the merger with the Endura Racing team – the others being Russell Downing, Jonny McEvoy and Erick Rowsell.

That means the Yorkshireman will get a chance to step up a level in 2013 and will be keen to impress in more races at ProContinental status.

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.
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Related links

Cycling Weekly’s 2012 British riders of the year index

Riders revealed so far…
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