The New Year may be upon us, but 2013 certainly provided its fair share of great memories.
We have already reviewed the first seven months of what was a quite extraordinary year. Here, we’ll continue our reminiscence of the year that was, starting with August.
July was, for UK cycling fans at least, quite a month, but if there was a worry anything coming next would be just a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’, we need not have been concerned.
The rise and rise of UK cycling was never more obvious than with RideLondon in August, which saw thousands take to the capital’s streets over an incredible weekend of cycling.
It was already being billed as a game-changing event before the first riders took to the streets for the Freecycle, and it went on to be even bigger than anybody expected.
The crowning event for sportivists was the RideLondon100, which took keen amateurs along many of the roads used for the Olympic road races the previous year.
Our man Mark Bishop was among them as cycling’s version of the London Marathon commanded centre stage in the capital.
And proof of its immediate popularity was displayed immediately when the public ballot for this year’s event saw 50,000 sign up within 24 hours of it being opened.
It was a similarly memorable weekend for the pros too, with Hannah Barnes and Laura Trott going wheel-to-wheel on home soil again.
The men’s race meanwhile saw Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) prevail in a sprint finish on the Mall, with Ben Swift (Team Sky) finishing as the highest-placed Brit in tenth.
The rise of cycling has not just had an impact in this country either, with Eurobike returning at the end of the month to showcase some of the best brands on the continent.
We made the annual pilgrimage to the expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany, where we were able to test ride SRAM’s Red 22 groupset – complete with hydraulic disc brakes – for the first time before proceedings properly kicked off.
Hydraulic disc brakes are just one of the many major technological advances we enjoyed in 2013, with Mavic also claiming to have cracked the unreliability issues which have plagued carbon clincher wheelsets in the past.
We took a first look at their Cosmic Carbone 40C in August, which Mavic claimed to be the ‘first reliable carbon clincher wheel’.
Elsewhere in Europe, ‘cross king Zdenek Stybar earned the biggest road race victory of his career at the Eneco Tour, while in Poland Sir Bradley Wiggins bounced back from injury with a stunning time trial victory.
Wiggins hinted his days on the road may be numbered however, as he suggested he will return to the boards at the end of 2014 after enduring a frustrating year.
Another Team Sky man to endure a frustrating year on the road was Geraint Thomas, who admitted as much to RCUK, but he at least had the consolation of having played a leading role in Chris Froome’s Tour de France win.
Thomas’ reputation as a climber certainly grew in France as the Welsh hardman defied a fractured pelvis to support Froome as the Kenyan-born Brit stormed to his famous victory, and he also shared his climbing tips with RCUK.
No sooner had one Grand tour finished than another was beginning too, with the Vuelta a Espana kicking off in August.
Irishman Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) also had cause to celebrate with victory in stage two – the biggest win of his career.
Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard) also earned a stage victory, although, of course, more was to come from the veteran American.
Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) earned a place in Vuelta folklore, when his day-long breakaway during stage six was only halted 30m from the finish line.
It all meant the race was finely balanced however as August made way for September.