No. 25: Ian Wilkinson
Last year’s position: N/A
Ian Wilkinson cemented his reputation as a tough man by winning the East Midlands Cicle Classic – outsprinting Michael Berling at the finish of the race which takes the riders over miles of rough farm tracks. The fact he led the sprint from the final right-hand bend and held off the challenge, showed him to be a more than worthy winner.
With its huge field – the biggest in British racing – and the difficult, selective course the race has established itself as one of the most prestigious on the domestic calendar.
Wilkinson also won a stage at Cobh and had a two-day spell in the yellow jersey at the FBD Insurance Ras in Ireland in May. As if to prove he can beat the best in a sprint, he also won a Tour Series round at Peterborough and the National Circuit Race event at Warwick.
At the Tour of Britain he was sprinting for victory at Blackpool when he crashed 500 metres from the line. Although he carried on for a couple of days he eventually pulled out of the race because of his injuries.
Ian Wilkinson: always giving it everything he’s got
CW’s top 30 British riders of 2009 advent calendar