Going Going Bike

Nov 292014

Bradley_Wiggins,_2012_Tour_de_France_finishFor the first time in what seems like a lifetime there will be no contender from the world of cycling at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

The ten nominees were announced earlier this week with the likes of Rory Mcilroy (some golf bloke) and Lewis Hamilton (some car bloke) leading the nominations. Not one cyclist made the cut. After the glory years of 2011 and 2012 when Cav and Wiggo consecutively claimed the BBC honour, it is quite the comedown.

Of course after Cav’s disappointment in Harrogate and Froomey unfortunately not staying upright long enough to defend his Tour title, there were perhaps no glaringly obvious candidates. However there were riders who should have been in with a chance.

Sir Wiggo is perhaps the most obvious snub. The word ‘snub’ looked like it was going to be the defining one in Wiggo’s season after he was surprisingly left out of Team Sky’s tour squad. However his season soon got better. He won a silver medal on the track at the Commonwealth Games before focusing his attention on the World Championships time trial. In preparation he won the time trial around the streets of London in the Tour of Britain. He went on to absolutely smash the World Champs time trial, beating the great German Tony Martin by an impressive 26 seconds. It was a truly incredible performance and an achievement which should have earned recognition at the Sports Personality of the Year awards. His magnificent beard alone should surely win some sort of prize.

It was also something of a breakthrough year for Geraint Thomas. The plucky Welshman rode a gruelling Tour de France in support of Froome and then Richie Porte, burying himself on many stages in a bid to keep Team Sky’s hopes alive. His efforts were of course ultimately fruitless but he did manage a personal best 22nd place finish in the GC.  We can expect more to come from Geraint in grand tours. However it was at the Commonwealth Games where we saw perhaps the best statement from the man they call ‘G’. He picked up a bronze medal in the time trial before beating a star studded field to take the gold medal in the road race.

Elsewhere it was another stellar year in the life of Laura Trott. She took a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the points race in typically impressive fashion. She also added two European titles to her ever growing CV and won the team pursuit at the Track Cycling World Championships. In other words she took more victories than you can shake a proverbial stick at. Surely enough to be nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year right? Nope.

This trio were not the only ones who can consider themselves unlucky. Lizzie Armistead, Manon Carpenter and Joanna Rowsell all enjoyed excellent years as well, winning a plethora of awards between them. Why then, despite having such qualified candidates, did cycling miss out?

We have established that it can’t be down to a lack of achievement from our lycra clad heroes. Perhaps then interest in the sport is declining? Tell that to the billions of people (only a slight exaggeration) who lined the streets of Yorkshire at this year’s Tour de France ‘Grand Depart’. Perhaps then Gareth Bale (some football bloke) getting paid millions of Euros to kick a ball around in Spain is a greater achievement than winning world titles? Nah I don’t think so either.

A more plausible explanation is probably that despite being one of Britain’s most successful sports of recent years, there was no representation of cycling on the selection committee. Another factor which probably didn’t help is that Wiggo was arguably the cyclist with the best claim and he has won the award before. We’re not a greedy bunch us cyclists. Whatever the reasons are it really is a shame that another successful year for British cycling has missed out on recognition.

Here’s hoping 2015 will be so successful that we have at least one candidate this time next year. Allez.

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