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The VeloVeritas Awards for 2021

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Yes, we know, it’s been done to death but it is the Festive Season so it’s time for this kind of thing, the ‘VeloVeritas 2021 Awards.’ 

Lassies first…

* * *

Young Scottish rider of the year

Anna Shackley. A contract with SD Worx, Olympic selection, the British u23 Individual Time Trial Champion and fifth in the British Road Race Championships.

Not a bad old year for the 20 year-old. 

VeloVeritas Awards
Anna Shackley. Photo©SDWorx/Luc Claessen

* * *

Scottish cyclist of the year

Katie Archibald. No explanations required for that one, save:

  • 2nd in Olympic Games, Team Pursuit.
  • 1st in Olympic Games, Madison. 
  • 1st in European Championship, Omnium.
  • 1st in European Championship, Madison.
  • 1st in European Championship, Scratch. 
  • 3st in World Championship, Team Pursuit. 
  • 1st in World Championship, Omnium. 
  • 3rd in World Championship, Madison. 
  • 2nd in World Championship, Points race.
VeloVeritas Awards
Katie Archibald. Photo©SWpix

* * *

International track cyclists of the year

The endurance crown has to go to aforementioned Ms. Archibald.

As far as sprinters go, we think that Germany’s Ms. Lea Sophie Friedrich is a safe bet for that one with:

  • 2nd in Olympic Games, Team Sprint.
  • 1st in European Championship, Keirin. 
  • 2nd in European Championship, Team Sprint. 
  • 2nd in European Championship, Individual Sprint. 
  • 1st in World Championship, Team Sprint.
  • 2nd in World Championship, Individual Sprint. 
  • 1st in World Championship, 500 m TT 
  • 1st in World Championship, Keirin.

… and she’s 21 years-old.

VeloVeritas Awards
Lea Sophie Friedrich. Photo©RND

* * *

International road cyclist of the year

Annemiek Van Vleuten [Movistar & The Netherlands] world ranked number one with 13 wins including Flanders, Donostia and the Tour of Norway.

Annemiek Van Vleuten. Photo©Getty

Honourable mention to World Ladies Hour Record Holder, Jos Lowden.

VeloVeritas Awards
Joss Lowden. Photo©Tom Griffiths

Moving on to the Laddies:

* * *

Young Scottish riders of the year

It had to be a joint award with Calum Johnston grabbing himself an elusive ProTeam contract with ‘cult’ Spanish team Caja Rural and Cameron Mason taking a UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory.

Calum Johnston. Photo©Oskar Matxin
VeloVeritas Awards
Cameron Mason. Photo©SWpix

Great to see young Scots, ‘just doing it!’ 

* * *

Scottish rider of the year

Jack Carlin. There was a time when a British Olympic cycling medal of any colour was big news.

But since Beijing 2008 we’ve become so used to British track cycling medals that unless they’re gold, well…

This gentleman came home from Tokyo with a team sprint silver and individual sprint bronze to little fanfare.

CHAPEAU! we say.  

VeloVeritas Awards
Jack Carlin. Photo©Will Palmer/SWpix

We move on to the international stage now…

* * *

Domestique of the year

Tim Declerq [Deceuninck QuickStep & Belgium]. Not for nothing is he known as, Tim The Tractor – ploughing away at the head of affairs for hour after hour. A remarkable big man.

Tim Declercq hollers in the radio to his teammates to “WAIT!” at the Vuelta a couple of years ago. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

Manager of the year

Patrick Lefevere. I’m reminded of the nervous young journalist who asked Jerry Lee Lewis if it was OK to mention the rock & roller’s brushes with the law; ‘say what you want son but just don’t spell my name wrong!’

The Belgian is intelligent and shrewd with much of what he says simply designed to stir up controversy and keep his and his team’s name in the media spotlight.

Answers on a post card please to these questions: ‘if he’s such a horrible man how come he inspires such loyalty and has riders clamouring to join/re-join his team? – and name me one rider who has done better since leaving his organisation?

VeloVeritas Awards
Patrick Lefevere chats to us at the Tour de France. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

Team of the year

Deceuninck QuickStep of Belgium. 65 wins including nine Grand Tour stage wins coming from 18 different riders – no further questions…

VeloVeritas Awards
Deceuninck QuickStep. Photo©Getty

* * *

Sprinters of the year

We have to make a joint award, yes, Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France resurgence after so long ‘in the wilderness’ was remarkable.

Mark Cavendish. Photo©Getty

But have a look at Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen’s description of the injuries he received as a result of his horror 2020 Tour of Poland horror crash; 

Brain contusion, skull fractured, nose broken, palate broken and torn, 10 teeth gone, parts of my upper and lower jaw gone, cuts in my face, a big cut in my auricle [part of the ear, ed.], broken thumb, shoulder contusion, lung contusion, the nerve of my vocal cord took a heavy blow, heavily bruised buttocks.’ 

But the end of season 2021 saw him back to his sparking best with three stage wins and the green jersey in the Vuelta then taking the Gooikse Pijl and Eurometropole Tour.

A brave and remarkable young man.

Fabio Jakobsen. Photo©Brian Hodes/BettiniPhoto

* * *

Time Tester of the year

Pippo’ Ganna. He defended his Worlds crown and won both of the Giro chronos, despite puncturing and changing bikes en route his Stage 21 win.

No panic, cool as a cucumber, clipped back in and continued his 53.787 kph rampage through the streets of Milano – hugely impressive.  

Filippo Ganna. Photo©Luca Bettini

* * *

Trackmen of the year

Okay, we’re biased, we love the man but Denmark’s Michael Mørkøv’s Olympic/Worlds Madison double on top of his ‘best lead-out man in the business’ reputation makes him for us the best endurance track rider of the year for us.

Michael Mørkøv. Photo©Bettini

As far as the sprint category goes: European, World and Olympic individual and team sprint champion, and World Keirin Champion, The Netherlands’ Harry Lavreysen is a Sprint Colossus – and he’s still only 24 years-old.

Just a pity we don’t see more of the man in race action.  

Harry Lavreysen. Photo©Christian Hartmann/Reuters

* * *

Roadman of the year

If you take five Monuments add the Worlds and the three Grand Tours that gives you the ‘big nine.’

Up until this year only six riders had managed to win three or more of them in the same season – Eddy Merckx who achieved this feat on no less than seven occasions, twice taking five of the nine and twice taking four – the late, great Fausto Coppi won four – Rik Van Looy, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche and Tom Boonen, all won three.

Note that there’s no Felice Gimondi, Roger De Vlaeminck or Sean Kelly in that list.

But there are now seven on the roster, Tadej Pogacar [UAE & Slovenia], with Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour de France and Lombardia this season.

He’s a force of nature, we look forward to his Tour of Flanders debut in 2022.

Tadej Pogacar. Photo©AFP
Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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