Top 15 riders of 2013
We count down the top performers of the year
Last Updated: 20/12/13 1:01pm
The best riders in the world - both male and female - have reached new heights on the track as well as the road.
Here, we list the top 15 riders of the year...
15. Laura Trott
The new darling of British track cycling could have been forgiven an Olympic hangover in 2013 but, on the contrary, the 21-year-old has continued her relentless march towards greatness in the past 12 months. The only blip was losing her world omnium title in Minsk in February, but otherwise, the year has been laden with success. She retained her world team pursuit title with the all-conquering British team and then added golds in the same event at both the European championships and Track Cycling World Cups in Manchester and Mexico, breaking their own world record numerous times along the way. She also won omnium gold at the Europeans and Manchester World Cup, the latter in stunning style.
14. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
"Der Panzerwagen" reinstated himself as the No 1 time-trial rider in the sport with a magnificent performance in the world championship time trial in Florence. He looked set for a neck-and-neck battle with Fabian Cancellara and Sir Bradley Wiggins for gold, but the German was in no mood for a three-way tussle and simply blew his two arch rivals away over 57.9km, winning by 46 seconds. He also won the flat time trial at the Tour de France and delivered one of the finest individual performances of the year at the Vuelta a Espana, when he fell just metres short of claiming a day-long solo breakaway victory.
13. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
He may not have notched up as many wins as the likes of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish, but 2013 was the year in which the 25-year-old German staked his first genuine claim to being the No 1 sprinter in the world. Central to his rise was an outstanding performance at the Tour de France, where he won four stages, wore the yellow jersey and became the first man to beat Cavendish on the Champs-Elysees.
12. Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard)
Aged 41 at the time, the American made history in 2013 by becoming the oldest man to lead and subsequently win a Grand Tour when he upset hot favourite Vincenzo Nibali to claim overall victory at the Vuelta a Espana. Horner won two stages along the way and then got the better of Nibali on the race-deciding summit finish on the legendary Alto de L'Angliru. Just three seconds separated the two men in the general classification as they started up the climb and although the Italian launched a barrage of attacks, Horner snuffed them all out before pulling away to secure the red jersey.
11. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
Looking solely at the Tour de France, it would be easy to conclude that 2013 has been a poor year for cycling's best sprinter of the past five years. He won only two stages - his lowest total in six years - and was beaten on the Champs-Elysees for the first time. However, while the Tour was a disappointment, Cavendish continued to meet his lofty standards in other races. In February, he won four stages and both the points and general classification at the Tour of Qatar, and then won five stages and the points classification at the Giro d'Italia, meaning he has now won the sprint jersey at all three Grand Tours. He has notched up a 20 victories in total, which is five more than he achieved in 2012 and hints he still at the height of his powers.
10. Simon Yates
Chris Froome aside, no British male rider has made a bigger impact in 2013 than the 21-year-old Lancastrian. Yates started the year off in stunning style by winning the gold medal in the points race at the Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus in February, and then set about replicating that success on the road. He finished in the top ten in the general classification at the Fleche du Sud, An Post Ras, Thuringen-Rundfahrt and the Czech Cycling Tour, but it was from August onwards that he really caught the eye. First, he won two stages of the prestigious under-23 race the Tour de l'Avenir, and then out-climbed professionals such as Nairo Quintana and Dan Martin to win a summit finish stage of the Tour of Britain, which set him up for a third-place finish overall. His outstanding performances subsequently earned him a contract with Orica-GreenEdge for the next two seasons.
9. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
It has been a case of close but no Purito for the man known as the "Little Cigar" this season, but despite a catalogue of near misses, there is no disputing that he has been one of the stars of 2013. The 34-year-old Spaniard finished second in the world championship road race, second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, third in the Tour de France, fourth in the Vuelta a Espana and second in the Volta a Catalunya during the past campaign, but walked away with just three wins, at Il Lombardia and stages in the Vuelta and Tirreno-Adriatico. Results aside, Rodriguez has once again been one of the most aggressive and entertaining riders in the sport, constantly illuminating races with his explosive attacks and ability to be consistently in contention. He also finished the season as the No 1-ranked rider in the world for the second year in succession.
8. Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
Up until 2013, the 27-year-old Irishman's career had been a low-key affair, with an overall victory at the 2010 Tour de Pologne being the highlight. That soon changed, though, as Martin rattled off a series of victories that could yet define his time as a professional cyclist. His first triumph was an overall win at March's Volta a Catalunya, which included a stage win on a summit finish at Port-Aine. He then followed that up with an outstanding victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege the next month, beating Joaquim Rodriguez with a late burst. But there was still more to come, because Martin made another late breakaway stick to claim his first Tour de France stage win in Bagneres de Bigorre on stage nine. It has been a season when he has emerged a genuine GC contender.
7. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard)
After Philippe Gilbert in 2011 and Tom Boonen in 2012, "Spartacus" took his turn to dominate the spring Classics in 2013. He already held legendary one-day status, but further cemented his legacy with a hat-trick of wins in a glorious two and a half weeks. He got started by winning E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke for the third time in late March and then followed that up by out-powering Peter Sagan to win a second Tour of Flanders title nine days later. He still wasn't finished, though, because the following week he out-sprinted Sep Vanmarcke to claim a third Paris-Roubaix crown, his sixth Monument win.
6. Becky James
If Simon Yates was the Britain's stand-out young male star in 2013, Becky James took the accolade for women. The 21-year-old sprinter from Abergavenny went to the Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus in February with big shoes to fill following the retirement of Victoria Pendleton the previous summer, but she more than rose to the challenge. James started the championships off by winning bronze medals in the team sprint, alongside Victoria Williamson, and then the 500m individual time trial. The best was still to come, though, because she went on to win gold medals in both the individual sprint and the keirin, completing a breakthrough four-medal haul. She then added six more medals at the European Track Championships and Track Cycling World Cups in Manchester and Mexico at the back end of the year.
5. Rui Costa (Movistar)
The Portuguese rider has enjoyed plenty of success in his career but nothing of the scale and consistency that he achieved in 2013. His first triumph of the year was to successfully defend his Tour de Suisse title, winning the race's queen stage on the way. He then went to the Tour de France and won two stages - taking his career tally to three - but the crowning glory of his campaign came at the world championships in Tuscany, where he out-sprinted Joaquim Rodriguez in the road race to claim the rainbow jersey.
4. Marianne Vos (Rabobank - Liv Giant)
Arguably the pound-for-pound No 1 cyclist in the world right now produced a typically dominant season 2013. The headline achievements were a second successive world road race title, victories in the women's Tour of Flanders and La Fleche Wallonne and an overall triumph at the Trophee d'Or Feminin, but it is the statistics from her year that are most impressive. The numbers are simply staggering. Of her 39 race days, she won 20 of them, finishing on the podium in another nine. She finished out of the top 10 on only three occasions, with her worst placing being 17th, which was in a time trial. If you include the general and points classifications she topped, Vos notched up a stunning 25 wins in 2013, a number bettered in professional road cycling only by Peter Sagan (27), who raced more than twice as days (91).
3. Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
Vos may have eclipsed Sagan in terms of her win ratio, but the sheer volume of the Slovak's victories in 2013 mean he cannot be denied a place in the top three. No other male rider got even close to his 27 wins, and while some of them were in races with weaker fields, others were magnificent triumphs. His victory at Gent-Wevelgem was virtuoso and the way in which he fended off a two-pronged BMC assault from Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet to win De Brabantse Pijl was brutally impressive. However, arguably his best win of the year was on stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico, when he stayed with the climbers over the 30 per cent ramp of Sant'Elpidio a Mare and then comfortably out-sprinted Joaquim Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali. What the 27 wins do not show, however, is that it has also been a season of near-misses for Sagan. In the Classics alone, he finished second at Strade - Bianchi, Milan - San Remo, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders, while he finished either second or third on no fewer than six stages at this year's Tour de France. His tally of podiums in 2013 was a bewildering 43. Excluding classifications, he finished on the podium on 37 of his 91 race days - a 40 per cent podium rate. And that's not even touching on the fact he won the points jersey at the Tour de France for the second year in succession.
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
The 29-year-old Italian has been arguably the most consistent and prominent stage-race rider of the year. "The Shark", as he is known, won both Tirreno-Adriatico in March and the Giro del Trentino in April as he built up towards an assault on the Giro d'Italia. And he did not fail there either, claiming a first maglia rosa with a dominant all-round display that included stage wins on the second individual time trial and then under heavy snow on the summit finish on Tre Cime di Lavaredo. He then looked to double up at the Vuelta a Espana and was only denied a second Grand Tour win of the year by a remarkable performance from Chris Horner. His final act of the season was a courageous display at the world championship road race in Florence, where he somehow rejoined the peloton after a heavy crash and then infiltrated a four-man move in the closing stages. He ended up finishing fourth, but depth of his performance that day was not lost on his home Italian fans.
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)
If 2012 was the year of Sir Bradley Wiggins, 2013 was the turn of Chris Froome. The 28-year-old Briton won now fewer than four stages races - the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, the Tour of Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine - during the build-up to the crux of his season: the Tour de France. Entering the 100th edition of the race as the hot favourite, he lived up to that billing with a dominant performance over three weeks, culminating with a 4min 20sec victory in the general classification. As well as winning the yellow jersey, he climbed to victory on the summit finishes on Ax 3 Domaines and then, memorably, on Mont Ventoux, before taking a third stage victory on the individual time trial on stage 17. He was clearly the best all-round rider in the race and the manner of his win hinted he could go on to dominate the Tour in the coming years.
- Nairo Quintana: Runner-up overall and winner of the mountains and best young rider classifications at the Tour de France.
- Martyn Irvine: Winner of the scratch race at the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk and winner of the points race at the Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester.
- Mathieu van der Poel: Junior cyclo-cross and road world champion.
- Matej Mohoric: Became the first rider in history to win the world junior and under-23 road titles back to back.