Number 25: Sir Chris Hoy
Last year’s position: 5
Like fellow track sprinter Victoria Pendleton, Hoy has been in a tricky position this season. At the World Championships he won the Keirin in his usual imperious style but he was beaten by eventual winner Gregory Baugé in the quarter-final of the sprint.
Hoy’s season is perhaps going to be remembered for two shocks. At the Worlds in Copenhagen, he was on the receiving end of a surprise from the giant German Robert Forstemann. With the help of a hefty push-off, Forstemann caught Hoy napping. Before Hoy had even realised what was happening, the German was half a lap up.
Instead of throw in the towel and saving his legs for the repechage, he gave chase, almost got on terms, and then took the defeat with a champion’s grace. While others suggested it was not the done thing to try to pull a fast one on the Olympic champion, Hoy admitted that it was fair game, even if he might have wanted to say that the push off flirted with the spirit of the rules.
At the Euros in the autumn, Hoy was shocked again. This time he looked to have won his race against the 18-year-old Irish sprinter Felix English. Hoy eased up, saving crucial drops of energy for the rounds to come, but English kept going. He drew level and then passed Hoy, by which time it was too late for the Scot to get his gear going again.
It was a massive shock – the equivalent of a non-League team knocking Manchester United out of the cup. Hoy was kicking himself but he took it well, particularly as it meant the end of his campaign.
Earlier this month he travelled to Melbourne for the first World Cup of the season and won the Keirin and the team sprint.
For what could have been anticipated to be a quiet year, it’s been very eventful.
Cycling Weekly’s Top British Riders of 2010 advent calendar: We will reveal one rider per day behind the virtual doors of our sparkly advent calendar from Wednesday December 1 to Christmas Eve, Friday December 24. The top eight will then be revealed in Cycling Weekly magazine’s final issue of the year, which will be in the shops on December 30 2010.