2013: a year in review – October

Joaquim Rodriguez crowned world number one; Tour de France route revealed

The spring Classics and Grand Tours delivered more than their fair share of excitement, but even as late as October, the 2013 season had a couple of  twists in the tail.

October saw the 2013 UCI WorldTour season draw to a close, and the Classic of the Falling Leaves – Il Lombardia – brought the curtain down on the one-day season in style.

Amidst the rain, Joaquim Rodriguez – as he had done 12 months earlier – capped another brilliant season by soloing to victory in Lecco, and in the process moving top of the world rankings.

Joaquim Rodriguez celebrates his triumph at the Giro di Lombardia, which ensured he topped the world rankings for the second consecutive year (pic: Sirotti)

Runner-up in the world road race championship just weeks early, in heart-breaking circumstances, Rodriguez would not be denied again and ousted Froome from the number one spot in the world rankings with a stunning win.

Froome was awarded the prestigious Velo d’Or as a more than adequate consolation, but the UCI recognised Rodriguez as top dog.

And Team Sky were to miss out in the final race of the season too, as Benat Intxausti won the Tour of Beijing and, in the process, earned Movistar top spot in the world team rankings – with world champion Rui Costa’s fourth place ensuring overall victory for the Spanish team before he departed for Lampre-Merida.

The end of the season also meant the end of some careers, with Juan Antonio Flecha among them – and the Spanish Flandrian reminisced on his career with RCUK.

His plans for retirement have not yet been decided, but there would be plenty of options available to him.

Sir Chris Hoy seems no less busy in retirement than he was during a 13-year career as an elite track sprinter. The Scot gave RCUK the inside track on his new Fiorenzuola track bike, which debuted later in the year.

While experience at the top level in the saddle certainly helps though, it is not essential qualification for joining the industry as Shimano’s Tim Gerritts knows.

The man behind Shimano’s r785 hydraulic disc brake, which launched to great fanfare in October, was in fact a former aircraft engineer.

Shimano’s R785 hydraulic disc brake was launched to great fanfare in October

Just as one season was ending however, preparations for another were beginning – with the Tour de France route announcement generating much excitement.

Full details of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart allowed Mark Cavendish to dream of pulling on the maillot jaune in his mother’s home town of Harrogate, while Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity boldly predicted the opening stages would be pivotal.

Froome’s concerns meanwhile centred around the return of cobbles to the route, but the Kenyan-born Brit remains confident of defending his 2013 title.

Another rider gunning for success in next year’s Tour will be Andy Schleck, who vowed to bounce back from a disappointing campaign when RCUK caught up with the Luxembourg rider.

Other riders looking forward to 2014 included British twins Simon and Adam Yates, who signed neo pro terms with Orica-GreenEDGE and Simon admitted he was relishing the prospect of testing himself at WorldTour level.

Also signing for a new team was Russell Downing, with the former Team Sky man joining new outfit NFTO Pro Cycling from NetApp-Endura.

Downing will be reunited with ex-Team Sky DS Sean Yates with the new team, alongside riding with brother Dean, ex-BMC man Adam Blythe and Scottish track star James McCallum, among others.

Other preparations for 2014 included the announcement Bespoked was to move from its Bristol home to Lee Valley VeloPark – with the decision not meeting with universal approval.

Cyclo-cross returned in October as the sport continues to go from strength to strength (Pic: Balint Hamvas)

Britain’s women cyclists also received a huge boost when it was announced The Women’s Tour was to receive 2.1-classification from the UCI, with Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead among the delighted riders.

Anybody not willing to wait until the New Year for high octane racing did not have to though, as the end of the road season marked the start of the ‘cross and track campaigns.

Britain kicked off the year in style by ruling the track at the European Championships with the men and women’s team pursuit teams in fine form – including Andy Tennant who promised the men would only get faster too.

The start of the ‘cross season meanwhile saw a rather familiar face atop the podium – world champion Marianne Vos winning the first World Cup race of the year.

Cyclo-cross continues to rise in popularity in this country, with a range of bikes on offer for those keen to head off-road, and there is a certain joy about the sportbe it the cowbells, waffles and tequila of Rapha Super Cross or the serious professional action.

Even with the road season over, therefore, it was – and is – impossible to escape the rise of cycling in Great Britain.

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