It’s been a barnstorming year in the world of cycling – especially for those who like to see records tested.

Froome’s Triple Crown-winning stage

Winning the Giro d’Italia in May made Chris Froome just the seventh cyclist to achieve the three grand tours in one year – and the first Brit to do so. What made the win all the sweeter was the way it was achieved. Froome’s Giro was a breath-taking lesson in patience.

The way Froome crushed Dumoulin, let alone Yates’ efforts, was brutal. Anyone who followed the race would know that it was even more breathtaking given Froome’s consistently low-key efforts up to then. The Giro’s 2018 stage 19 will go down as an object lesson in the importance of tactical planning.

Le Tour de France has a new king

Froome fell hard early in Le Tour, wrestled demons on the descent into Roubaix, before being tear-gassed by riot control, so Team Sky resorted to Plan B – Gerraint Thomas. Team Sky gave Thomas the green light and, as early as stage 6, he was taking chunks out of both Froome and Dumoulin – but it was stage 11 that confirmed Thomas was in the form of his life.

Team Sky have an embarrassment of riches in their roster leading some to speculate that financial doping is ruining the sport. That trivialises Team Sky’s tactical planning and race management. Don’t envy them – they now need to cater to two Tour de France winning egos.

L’Étape du Tour Exclusive Insider Report

The L’Étape du Tour, one specifically selected stage of Le Tour de France, is the imaginary Holy Grail of every amateur cyclist out there. You can count on our detailed reports each year but we wanted to make the 2018 edition special, so we sent three chosen cyclists and social media influencers, including our ambassador and Paralympic cycling star Jiří Ježek, to race and document the whole schtick. Through them, we’ve been able to bring you juicy behind-the-scenes bits such as photos, videos, GoPro footage, interviews, and more. A little throwback to summer!

Rachel Atherton smashes the records

The above two highlights leave no doubt – Britain is enjoying a Cycling Golden Age. The Queen of downhill, Rachel Atherton, has continued to dominate her sport. Atherton has won a total of six World Cups in the twelve years since her first, not to mention five World Championships.

Absolutely barbaric descent, right? But remember, it wasn’t made easy for Atherton – Tahnée Seagrave was also in form, having racked up a lot of wins in the World Cup season. But Atherton won this descent by almost 10 seconds. Let’s put that in perspective – in Le Tour de France ’89, after racing over 2,000 miles, Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon by just 8 seconds. Now watch the above video again.

Women’s Cyclocross

Watching road bikes in the mud provides a rare opportunity for mountain bikers and roadies to put aside their differences, crack open a beer, and enjoy the unfolding chaos that is cyclocross. If you’re looking for excitement, it’s the women’s events you need to watch. This race will be a classic.

Thanks to the UCI’s decision to remove the disparity in prize money, a gradual reform of TV scheduling is making sponsorship deals more attractive. These are early days for cyclocross as a spectator sport but, frankly, isn’t that the most exciting time to get on board?

The ‘Why We Ride?’ campaign

Speaking of women and girls with a passion for cycling, we’ve also weighed in with our ‘ten cents’ this year. The We Love Cycling magazine, supported by ŠKODA, launched a campaign aimed at breaking the barriers and addressing the issues that might be keeping many a rider off her bike, be it unequal opportunities or unwelcoming environment. We had a blast creating the leading video with our heroines who showed us then and again that cycling is pure love, passion, and liberation, no matter the motivation. Check the video below!

Thanks for the memories

The year ended sadly with the news Paul Sherwen passed. Growing up in England in the 80s, I remember the enigmatic Lancastrian competing in Le Tour with La Redoute. His approach to commentary was as fastidious as his training regime. Here’s some raw footage to prove it.

I think we should leave 2018 with a video that may seem strange, but speaks volumes about Sherwen’s character and love of cycling. In this video we see Sherwen interview a soigneur, and shine a light on a role that’s often misunderstood, and yet critical to any team’s success. This new years eve, I’ll be raising a glass to Mr Sherwen.

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