Top ten riders of 2012
Today's stage looks like a Peter Sagan special. (image: AFP)
It’s been a big year on the bikes for both men and women, with some thrilling youngsters emerging onto the scene and a few veterans maintaining their dominance. So who’s been the top 10 cyclists for 2012?
10. Ryder Hesjedal
The Canadian showed he can mix it with the best at the Grand Tours, taking out the Giro D’Italia from Joaquim Rodriguez. The Giro win was Hesjedal’s only win but it was a historic one as he became the first Candian to win a Grand Tour.
9. Simon Gerrans
Gerrans kicked off the year in fantastic style, winning the Australian National Championships and followed that up with a win at the Tour Down Under. He brought his stellar form to Europe taking one of the biggest wins of his career in the Milan-San Remo.
The Orica-GreenEDGE rider then faded during the middle part of the season before coming back and taking a fantastic win at the Grand Prix du Quebec.
8. Christopher Froome
Even though Froome only has one win next to his name for 2012, he could well have had more if he wasn’t the most loyal lieutenant to Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins. His one win was a remarkable one, after guiding Wiggins to the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles he still had the strength to outsprint Cadel Evans and his team leader to the line.
Add that to his eventual second place at the Tour, an Olympic bronze medal and his fourth place at the Vuelta a Espana, it was a good year for the British domestique.
7. Tom Boonen
Tom Boonen returned to the winners list in 2012 and was unstoppable in the early half of the season. The Belgian took Paris-Roubaix in scintillating style with a 50km solo breakaway. Boonen also won the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and many others before fading to less spectacular finish to the season.
6. Nino Schurter
It was a great year for the Swiss mountain biker who started the UCI World Cup on a good note, taking a win at Pietermaritzburg. He continued his stellar form throughout the season, winning the Word Cup with another three victories as well as the Swiss National Championships.
The only fault came for Schurter at the Olympic Games when he couldn’t shake Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavy and was beaten in the final sprint. He then overcame the disappointment to take the World Championships in a 1-2-3 for the Swiss.
5. Joaqium Rodriguez
The Spaniard had a terrific year, finishing atop the UCI rankings. The Katusha rider achieved this by performing well throughout the season, taking out La Fleche Wallone at its start and finishing it off by winning the Giro D’Lombardia.
In between those victories he managed to come second at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and the Giro D’Italia and third at the Vuelta a Espana, as well as numerous stage wins.
4. Bradley Wiggins
It was an incredible year for Bradley Wiggins, winning almost every stage race he was in including the Tour de France. Wiggins provided the knockout blow for the Team Sky machine on cue every time.
Wiggins’ loyal lieutenants made him an unstoppable force in any stage race and then he backed it up, smashing the time trials and adding to his list of Olympic gold medals.
3. Peter Sagan
The young Slovak let the world know just how good he really is this year by taking out the green jersey at the Tour de France. He proved he could win on almost any terrain, beating them all on flat sprints and small climbs finishes, as well as hanging in there on some of the bigger climbs.
At the Tour of California he was unstoppable, winning every bunch sprint. The Slovak superstar is still only 22 so this is just glimpse of what he could do in the future.
2. Marianne Vos
Marianne Vos once again showed why she is the best. She started off the season by winning the World Cyclo-cross Championships, then dominated the World Cup, winning the women’s Giro D’Italia.
She went on to win the Olympic Road Race before capping off a tremendous season by winning the World Championships
1. Julie Bresset
In her first year in the elite rankings, Bresset won almost everything she could win. She started off by dominating the mountain bike World Cup and added the French National Championships before dominating the Olympic Games Cross Country. The cherry on top of the cake was winning the World Championships.
This was an incredible debut season by the French youngster but after winning almost everything in mountain biking, what lies ahead for the talented 23 year old?