The RoadCyclingUK end-of-year survey gave you the chance to have your say on the best bikes, tech, clothing, sportives, races and riders of 2012.
Now the results are in.
The year 2012 has had it all: Britain’s first Tour de France winner, a home Olympic Games where Team GB once again dominated the cycling programme, countless bike launches, technical marvels, thousands of new riders taking to the road, and a booming sportive scene.
We will reveal the top three from each category, but you can look back on the survey to find all the original nominees. Some categories were decided by just a handful of results, while there is a distinctly British flavour to others. But that’s enough preamble from this award show host. Let’s reveal the winners…
Bike of the Year
1. LOOK 695 SR
2. Wilier Zero 7
3. Scott Foil Team Issue
Scores of bikes have graced the pages of RoadCyclingUK over the past 12 months and the LOOK 695 SR (reviewed here) has been crowned Bike of the Year. One rider’s beauty is another rider’s beast and it was a closely run contest but the French firm’s flagship race bike won the sprint for the line.
“I have the LOOK 695 and it’s just a magical and gorgeous bike to ride”; “the LOOK’s integrated cranks are superb” and “the power transfer is pretty unreal” were just some of the reader responses we received about the 695.
New Product of the Year
1. Shimano Dura-Ace 9000-series mechanical groupset
2. Campagnolo Athena EPS groupset
3. SRAM Red 2012 groupset
It’s been a bumper year for top-of-the-range groupsets and the industry’s three dominant manufacturers fill the top three spaces in the New Product of the Year category. There can only be one winner though, and Shimano’s all-new Dura-Ace 9000-series groupset walks away with the prize, proving there’s still plenty of life left in mechanical setups.
Dura-Ace 9000, unveiled in May, has been completely reworked as an 11-speed groupset, offering better braking, improved ergonomics and improved power transfer besides an extra sprocket on the cassette.
“The best mechanical groupset available and while electronics may be great for the pros, us mere mortals still like the idea of mechanical movement that has worked for over 50 years,” was one reader’s response – but there was also plenty of love for Campagnolo Athena EPS. Praise including, “A brilliant groupset at a more reasonable price”, “affordable EPS”, and, “Campy still dominates” featured among your comments on the Italian manufacturer’s latest electronic groupset.
Kit of the Year
1. Rapha Pro Team summer clothing
2. dhb autumn clothing
3. Sportful No-Rain winter clothing
The two opposite ends of the cycle clothing market went head-to-head for the Kit of the Year award but, after a closely run battle where only a handful of votes decided the winner, it was Rapha who topped the table ahead of dhb.
We reviewed Rapha’s summer clothing back in July and were impressed by the Pro Team range’s aggressive cut, technical fabrics and understated elegance. You agreed, too: “their clothing works really well”, “the best fit, the best fabrics” and “if you can afford it, buy it” being some of your feedback.
dhb deserves an honourable mention for running Rapha close to the wire and Wiggle’s in-house clothing brand received heaps of praise for its quality, functionality and value for money in an ever-crowded clothing market.
UK Sportive of the Year
1. Etape Cymru
2. Dragon Ride
3. Etape Caledonia
It could not have been closer in the UK Sportive of the Year category, with just a single vote separating the top two. It’s been a good year for Welsh sportives, with the Etape Cymru taking the top prize and the Dragon Ride securing second place.
The Etape Cymru, run for the second time in 2012, deserves significant praise for winning over sportive riders after a tricky first edition in 2011. The event’s new organisers laid out a super-tough 91-mile route which took in some of north Wales’ toughest climbs, including the Horseshoe Pass, with nearly 6,500 feet of climbing spread across the course.
From here on in we opened up the survey to your own nominations, besides those suggested by the RoadCyclingUK panel. The Fred Whitton Challenge, a gruelling 112-mile sportive in the Lake District, secured plenty of votes to underline it’s status as one of the UK’s toughest rides.
Overseas Sportive of the Year
1. Etape du Tour
2. La Marmotte
3. Tour du Mont Blanc
Each summer thousands of amateur riders pit themselves against one of the toughest stages of the year’s Tour de France. The most famous sportive of them all, the Etape du Tour, was split into two editions in 2012, with Acte I a 140km ride through the Alps from Albertville to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles, and Acte II a 197km epic from Pau to Bagnères de Luchon in the Pyrenees.
The Etape will feature on almost every cyclist’s bucket list and that’s reflected in our survey, with the 2012 rides securing nearly 50 per cent of the votes.
Fancy a crack? The 2013 Etape du Tour will take place on Sunday July 7 over stage 20 of the Tour, ending with a summit finish on the steep climb of Le Semnoz above Lake Annecy.
Hop over the border into Italy and the Maratona dles Dolomites is a climber’s dream. Three courses are on offer and while the longest may ‘only’ be 138km, it packs in seven climbs in the Dolomites which equates to more than 4,000m of climbing, earning the Maratona a reputation as one of the toughest sportives in the world and with it a fair share of votes in our survey.
British Rider of the Year – road
1. Bradley Wiggins
2. Chris Froome
3. Lizzie Armitstead
In 2012 Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France and the Olympic time trial, was crowned Sports Personality of the Year and became Sir Wiggo after being knighted in the New Years honours list. Now he’s won the biggest prize of them all after being named RoadCyclingUK’s Rider of the Year.
We jest, of course, but it’s been a unbelievable year for Wiggins, and the Team Sky man rightly romped to victory in this category, securing 79 per cent of the votes ahead of Tour de France runner-up and team-mate, Chris Froome, and Olympic road race silver medallist, Lizzie Armitstead.
An honourable mention to the anonymous reader who nominated themselves as British Road Rider of the Year having logged 20,000 miles in 2012. Chapeau!
International Rider of the Year – road
1. Peter Sagan
2. Marianne Voss
3. Philippe Gilbert
Peter Sagan lit-up the first week of the Tour de France, with the Liquigas-Cannondale rider proving unstoppable on the uphill finishes of stages one and three, before outgunning Andre Greipel and Matt Goss in a straight sprint for the line on stage six – and the 22-year-old Slovak also filled plenty of column inches thanks to his showboat victory celebrations.
Sagan went on to win the points classification with ease, while his 2012 season also included stage wins at the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of California and Tour de Suisse, while top five finishes in Gent-Wevelgem, the Amstel Gold Race, Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders shows there’s much more to come from Sagan in cycling’s one-day Classics.
All that meant Sagan secured more than twice as many votes as his rivals to be crowned International Rider of the Year.
Lance Armstrong, undoubtedly the villain in a year which has also seen cycling’s dirty past dominate the headlines, garnered a single vote (from a reader with tongue firmly in cheek, we hope!) while Alberto Contador secured praise for his show-stopping performance at the Vuelta a Espana on his return from a doping ban.
British Rider of the Year – track
1. Laura Trott
2. Sir Chris Hoy
3. Sarah Storey
A star was born at London 2012 – Laura Trott. Team GB once again dominated the Olympic track cycling programme, winning seven gold medals from a possible ten, and Trott walked away with two of them.
The 20-year-old formed part of Great Britain’s victorious women’s team pursuit trio with Dani King and Jo Rowsell, setting a new world record in every round en-route to gold, before producing a storming 500m time trial to win the six-event omnium at the death.
Move over Victoria Pendleton, step aside Sir Chris Hoy: there’s a new star in town.
Not included in our original shortlist owing to the depth of British success on the boards, Pendleton rightly attracted her fair share of votes after ending her career with keirin gold and individual sprint silver in London.
Team of the Year
1. Team Sky
2. Team GB Cycling
3. Endura Racing
Team Sky duo Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish led from the front in 2012, with Wiggins registering a remarkable run of overall race victories (Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de France), while Cavendish became the most successful sprinter in Tour de France history after winning three stages to take his overall tally to 23. His season also included wins at the Tour of Qatar, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Tirreno-Adriatico, Giro d’Italia, Ster ZLM Toer, the Tour of Denmark, and the Tour of Britain.
While Wiggins and Cavendish were the headline act, the pair were, of course, assisted by a team packed with superstars, who recorded significant victories of their own.
With the overwhelming success of Team Sky in 2012 and Great Britain at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there were very few nominations outside the original shortlist, although Euskaltel-Euskadi, FDJ, Garmin and BMC Racing all picked up a single vote apiece.
Race of the Year
1. Tour de France
2. Vuelta a Espana
3. Olympic road race – women
For RoadCyclingUK readers, the Tour de France was by far the most popular race of the year, securing more than three times as many votes as any other event. This is a British-based site after all, and the memory of a British team delivering a British winner, and, of course, four British riders securing stage wins in the race, will live long in the minds of British fans.
The Giro d’Italia went down to the wire, with Ryder Hesjedal overhauling Joaquim Rodriguez in the final time trial to secure the maglia rosa. Rodriguez had the points jersey as consolation, however, having taken it off the shoulders of Mark Cavendish on the penultimate stage in what was a thrilling three-week Grand Tour which earned plenty of votes.
Moment of the Year
1. Mark Cavendish passing the breakaway during his sprint to victory on stage 18 of the Tour de France
2. Bradley Wiggins’ now famous punch after winning the second Tour de France time trial and securing overall victory
3. Philippe Gilbert’s attack on the Cauberg to win the World Championships
The year has been packed with triumph and despair, thrilling races, daring attacks, and futile breakaways, but what single moment within a race stands above them all?
Mark Cavendish produced a stunning turn of speed to win stage 18 of the Tour de France by an astonishing margin. Race leader Bradley Wiggins turned leadout man, repaying Cavendish for his sacrifice over the course of the race, to help the then world champion overhaul the remains of a late breakaway with just metres to the line.
That was your moment of the year – and what a year it’s been. Here’s to 2013!