Blogs & Opinion


Richard Moore:

Most Popular Posts:

Blog Archive:

Cream of the crop

Who caught Richard's eye in 2011?

Richard Moore Posted 21st December 2011 view comments

Richard Moore casts his eye over all the action in the past year and recognises the cream of the cycling world in 2011...

RIDER OF THE YEAR: Philippe Gilbert

What a season. As I said in an earlier blog, some sports people become less popular when they win with such regularity that it becomes predictable. But Gilbert never became boring. He won 18 races, each one thanks to his attacking instincts and with his trademark panache.

Gilbert: impressive victories in 2011

Gilbert: impressive victories in 2011

The highlight was eleven days in April, when he won four times: Brabantsje Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But Gilbert enjoyed a season-long sweet spot, combining outstanding form with ebullient confidence.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Tommy Voeckler, stage 19 of the Tour de France, July 22

What was Tommy Voeckler doing? That's what we all asked as we watched the rider in the yellow jersey, caught between a rock and a hard place -- actually, a lead group containing Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, and a chasing group with Cadel Evans -- toiling up the Col de Télégraphe and Galibier on stage 19 of the Tour, which finished atop Alpe d'Huez.

It was excruciating to watch. It was suicidal. It was enthralling and brilliant.

Richard Moore
Quotes of the week

He faced a classic dilemma. Should he risk destroying himself to try and catch Contador, or slip back, join Evans, conserve energy? Silly question. This was Tommy Voeckler: Suicide Tommy, as he should be known. He chased forlornly, fruitlessly, agonisingly, probably losing his chance of winning the Tour, or even finishing on the podium, in the process. At times he seemed to lose the ability to pedal and slump forward, as though he might either burst into tears or erupt in fury. It was excruciating to watch. It was suicidal. It was enthralling and brilliant.

BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE: Great Britain at the world road race championships in Copenhagen

It was ridiculous to ask the British team to control the 250km race from start to finish. But they set out to do just that, and, incredibly, did, leaving Cavendish to finish it off with a sprint.

Of course, their audacious tactics could have blown up in their faces. If Matt Goss had moved a fraction to his right in the final 200 metres and closed the door on Cavendish, they would have been ridiculed for their naivety and misplaced confidence. But Goss held his line, Cavendish won, and the eight GB riders were hailed for what some called the greatest ever team performance at the world championships. That's cycling for you. Even in a six-hour race over 250km, the margin of difference between naive fool and superhero can be mere centimetres.

Honorable mention: Europcar at the Tour de France, where they overcame scepticism and some ridicule from rival so-called super teams to defend Voeckler's yellow jersey for ten days.

BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE : Mark Cavendish at the world championships in Copenhagen

His team-mates were outstanding, but in praising their efforts there seemed a danger, at times, that Cavendish's performance was overlooked. Not only did he produce a remarkable finish; he knew what he was doing for each of those 250km, deliberately easing up on the climb each lap, and he knew precisely where he needed to be coming around the final corner. Crucially, he also instilled in his team-mates the confidence they needed to ride as they did - Cavendish told them that if they executed the plan, he would win. They did, and he did.

BEST RACE: Tour of Flanders

This was a bit of a throwback: a race where rhyme, reason and tactics seemed to go out the window. It was ding-dong stuff, from Fabian Cancellara's confident (too confident, it turned out) attack with 60km remaining, to his collapse on the Kapelmuur, and his resurrection; then there was Philippe Gilbert's bid for glory on the Bosberg, Sylvain Chavanel's race-long heroics, and finally a surprise winner, Nick Nuyens. All in all, the most engrossing classic of the season.

TWEET OF THE YEAR: "Just saw today's last kilometre. Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal a 13 incher. #YIKES" -- Mark Cavendish posts his reaction to Philippe Gilbert's big one: his victory on stage one of the Tour de France.

MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2012: how the Team Sky dynamics play out, particularly when Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish pair up for the first time, at the Tour de France. Will it be a love-in? Fireworks? Both?

Follow me on Twitter: @richardmoore73

back to top

Other Cycling Blogs:

Latest Posts in Cycling:

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

Nibali: I'm in full control

Vincenzo Nibali has admitted the Tour de France is now his to lose after extending his lead on stage 18.

Wiggins misses out on gold

England claimed silver in the men's team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games after being beaten by Australia.

Contador out of Vuelta

Alberto Contador has ruled himself out of the Vuelta a Espana due to injury.

Navardauskas wins stage 19

Ramunas Navardauskas won stage 19 of the Tour de France as Vincenzo Nibali retained the race lead.

Rowsell wins pursuit gold

Joanna Rowsell won gold in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Features

Commonwealth Games: Sir Bradley Wiggins focusing on the track ahead of Tour de France

Commonwealth Games: Sir Bradley Wiggins focusing on the track ahead of Tour de France

Before coming into these Commonwealth Games there were a lot of questions hanging over Sir Bradley Wiggins, if only in the public mind.

The Tour de France was a great experience but the bigger picture is more important right now

The Tour de France was a great experience but the bigger picture is more important right now

I’m afraid to say I’m going to be leaving the Tour de France today, after my Orica-GreenEdge team decided to pull me out in order to avoid exhausting me.

Alberto Contador flew past twice as fast as I was going - and he had a broken leg!

Alberto Contador flew past twice as fast as I was going - and he had a broken leg!

I’m writing this latest post from our team hotel in Besancon on the first rest day of the Tour, after what it’s fair to say has been a really eventful first ten stages.