French cycling magazine Vélo Magazine has announced the 12 nominees for the prestigious 2021 Vélo d'Or prize, awarded annually to the rider who has performed the best over the year.
The nominees include Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Egan Bernal, Richard Carapaz, Mark Cavendish, Sonny Colbrelli, Harrie Lavreysen, Primož Roglič, Tadej Pogačar, Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, and Annemiek van Vleuten.
Slovenian Primož Roglič is the current holder of the award, after winning in 2020. His compatriot Tadej Pogačar finished second on that occasion, while Wout van Aert placed third in the Vélo d'Or. Roglič isn't the only winner among the nominees though, with Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe's 2019 season recognised by the magazine.
Roglič became the Olympic time trial champion in 2021, plus he won the Vuelta a España to boost his chances of retaining the award. Tour de France winner Pogačar will certainly challenge him though, as will Egan Bernal, the victor in the Giro d'Italia.
Vélo Magazine is associated with the Tour de France organisation and the sports newspaper L'Equipe, and the Vélo d'Or is voted for by a number of European cycling journalists from a range of countries and publications.
Annemiek van Vleuten is the only woman on the list, and she would become the first-ever woman to finish in the top three since the award's inception in 1992, if she manages to achieve the feat. She enjoyed plenty of success during the season, earning gold in the Olympic time trial before coming first in the UCI Women's WorldTour - a competition that includes 18 races.
Harrie Lavreysen is also the only track cyclist among the nominees, and he won six gold medals throughout the year, splitting them evenly with two apiece at the Olympics, World Championships, and European Championships.
The remaining 10 riders are all part of the men's peloton, with Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz also fighting for the Vélo d'Or crown. Mark Cavendish also earned himself a nomination, after he equalled Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France this year.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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