A rollercoaster of a year for cycling – here are some of the moments that shone for us.
Annemiek van Vleuten destroys the Col D’Izoard
In July, Vleuten attacked the Col so hard, only two male Tour de France pros had climbed it faster on Strava. And if that wasn’t enough of a feat, you may remember a little crash in Rio 2016 that left her with a little back trouble. Well – a fractured spine to be precise. So how did the rest of her 2017 go?
Victory at La Course was followed by first place at the World Championship Time Trials, and a historic Ardennes Triple. In the women’s Giro, Vleuten won both the points and mountains classifications, and even won the individual pursuit at the UCI’s Track World Cup. Vleuten proves – you can’t keep a good woman down.
Froome’s year to remember – or forget?
Le Tour was an impressive consolidation of Chris Froome’s grand tour dominance, and winning La Vuelta had the record keepers etching his name into Cycling’s Hall of Fame. But a long shadow has been cast by a blood test involving a specified substance.
The substance is a legitimate medicine prescribed for Froome’s asthma, and under UCI rules he has every right to explain the result. The Movement for Credible Cycling wants a voluntary suspension, while Nibali is refusing a La Vuelta victory by default. No doubt Froome and Team Sky would like a change of subject…
Miranda Miller perfectly times her World Championship win
Canada’s first elite downhill world title in 27 years, Miller beat Australian Tracey Hannah and Swiss wunderkind Emilie Siegenthaler. Miller proved again that simply staying on your bike yields dividends – Britain’s Rachel Atherton was unable to defend her title due to a broken collarbone.
Miller steadily piled the pressure on Tahnee Seagrave, who’d just won two back-to-back World Cups. Seagrave crashed out of the podium rankings into the pack. Miller held her nerve and, even after timing issues were corrected, put a Canadian back in rainbow stripes.
Sagan vs Cavendish
Tour de France 2017 will be remembered for this storm in an espresso cup 200 m from Stage 4’s finish line. Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish went handbag to handbag and Cav’s tour was ended with a broken shoulder. Sagan’s with a disqualification.
There’s nothing sprint-geeks love more than poring over official footage like it’s the Zapruder film – Sagan’s elbow as the man on the grassy knoll. Back and to the left. But at least most people agreed – the battle for The Green Jersey was poorer without them.
JOGLEJOG smashed by 3 hours
Fans of ultra-endurance cycling against the clock have something to celebrate in 2017. The John O’Groats to Land’s End to John O’Groats (JOGLEJOG) ordeal crosses the United Kingdom diagonally and back again, and endurance freaks regularly try to shave time of the 2,711km ride.
MacDonald isn’t a pro – but he does work for American tech giant Cisco, and persuaded his boss that he could showcase how Internet-of-Things tech can improve endurance in athletes – 20 months later, CISCO and Dimension Data helped him smash the record. Welcome to the future…