We’re just days away from the end of 2020 and for many people it will be a year to forget, but there were also some cycling highlights that Cycling Weekly readers will be keen to carry with them.
Despite all the uncertainty, we hope you were able to take at least a few memories from this year that you’ll carry fondly.
On the pro side of cycling, we were treated to some amazing performances in the three Grand Tours, as well as the Giro Rosa and the World Championships.
But there is more than just the racing – many readers will have been able to reach personal milestones, hit some power PBs, or even just find an exciting new route in their area.
In order to find out your most unforgettable memories from a year defined by the global pandemic, we asked CW readers to give us their highlights.
We have had some amazing responses to our request, both inspiring and heart-warming in equal measure.
Here are just a few of the responses:
Jonathan Wickens, 58, from Nottingham had reason to celebrate this year as he got back on the bike in March after two years of suffering through back injuries.
Jonathan was able to hit 1,200 miles over the summer as he got back to cycling.
He said: “I’ve cycled for years but I finally made a fairly basic step forward in learning that you don’t have to go at it like a bull in a china shop, sometimes it’s faster to use the gears and ride smoothly…who knew? Cycling also saved me in 2020 as it was pretty much the only decent form of exercise available during lockdown.”
Iffat Tejani, 37, from Bushey, also had reason to celebrate after organising the first sportive for Muslim women with 45 riders, mostly beginners, turning up to ride: “Our youngest was 16 and oldest 62, who had just learnt to ride before lockdown.
“Personally considering in 2019 I just had a occurrence of breast cancer was not able to ride at all, its been an amazing year and hope to build more in 2021.”
For Mark Newing, 45, from Nottingham, it was the simple act of cycling to work on quieter roads that made his year.
Mark said: “Commuting to work during lockdown one was pure pleasure. Sunny, empty roads, dry trails. I often felt a little guilty for enjoying it so much, but it proved that simple pleasures are the secret to a happy life. Also knowing that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride without cars on what were and are now quickly re-becoming congested highways.”
Juvenal Winter, 55, from France said: “[My highlight] was undoubtedly the 2.57 km I cycled on Sunday, May 3. A few months earlier, out of nowhere, I had a heart attack while I was on my bike. As luck would have it, an off-duty ambulance man was driving past and saw me stretched out by the side of the road – and, as even greater luck would have it – my heart gave out while I was in the ambulance that he called: four times it stopped, four times they got it going again. I had ridden 10,000 km in 2019, done Ventoux several times, Alpe d’Huez and even bigger monsters – so, if it can happen to me, it can happen to you, too!”
For many cycling fans, it was the pro racing that stood out this year.
Howard Fry and Dave Haygarth both said it was the final time trial of the Tour de France, on La Planche des Belles Filles, and Tadej Pogačar’s victory that was their favourite moment of the year.
Merlin, 18, from London and Tim Ott-Jones, 44, from Luton said the Tour of Flanders was their favourite moment, as Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert finally went head-to-head on the cobbles, with Van der Poel taking his first Monument.
Glyn Parry, 47, from Taunton, said the Giro d’Italia was his highlight, as Tao Geoghegan Hart won his first Grand Tour.
Glyn said: “It is the most beautiful race and often the best, but to see a young British rider win in the way Tao did was just incredible.
“To show the poise and maturity beyond his years to start the final time trial and ride the best stage of his life was spectacular. How he is not on the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist is unbelievable. That wasn’t just the best sporting moment this year, it was one of the best ever.”
Jonathan White, 36, from Nottingham, agreed that the Giro was his favourite moment.
Of course 2020 was a bizarre year for everyone who follows cycling, including the journalists.
Regular Cycling Weekly writer Owen Rogers said: “Just getting to a race [was my highlight].
“I’m used to working 40 to 50 pro races a year, this year I managed nine days at the Giro Rosa.
“It was frustrating as it always is, but it’s Italy and it’s a race – that will do me.”
But for one fan, it was the age-old battle between rim brakes and disc brakes that made the year.
David Nash, 40, from Wolverhampton, said: “All three Grand Tours being won by rim brakes, especially Tao at the Giro…”