In retrospect: YES!!! (my view on 2012)
2012, another year gone but with memories that’ll last. My year was one of dreams and firsts: my first magazine article, first articles on esteemed cycling websites like Velonation and Velonews, first time in the team car, first time working for top cycling teams. It was also the year in which I passed the 4-year mark of being healthy, a year of training the equivalent of pool lengths from here to Paris and a year of meeting new (online) friends.
The Fab Five
Five riders made 2012: Bradley Wiggins, Joaquim Rodriguez, Tom Boonen and Alberto Contador. The latter was responsible for one of the best moments in cycling in years. His bold attack in the Vuelta had everyone on the edge of their seats. People tweeted their awe, commentators kept track of the ever increasing time difference. And nobody said a word about doping.
It was also the second time Joaquim Rodriguez lost a Grand Tour, after Ryder Hesjedal snatched the victory in the Giro from his hands. Hesjedal, a gentleman on a bike but a highly unexpected, yet wonderful winner. In apocalyptic circumstances Rodriguez redeemed himself in Il Lombardia which resulted in him being the best rider of the year on the UCI ranking.
Bradley Wiggins won everything he set his sights on but it was mostly very boring, very methodical, very Indurain-esque. The only excitement in this year’s Tour came from the feud between Froome and Wiggo. Though the overall was not exciting, the stages were, especially in the second half with David Millar, Luis Léon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde.
Tom Boonen had the best two weeks of his career with an great run in Flanders and the north of France. His solo efforts matched Cancellara’s 2010 Roubaix run and had Belgium on top of the (cycling) world.
Apart from Contador’s victory in the Vuelta two lesser-known wins stood out this year: Iljo Keisse in Turkey. And Marc de Maar in Tour of Britain. The latter because I know him personally and it was my first full stage race as a tv commentator. It was a great win with a crash in the final and a solo rush to the line. Keisse’s win was even more heroic. Sit back but don’t relax at the great commentary by Carlton Kirby in that Youtube clip.
Rider of the year
But it’s not Contador, Boonen, Rodriguez or Wiggins who deserves the title “Rider of the year.” That is without a doubt Marianne Vos. World cyclocross champion, Giro Donne winner, three World Cups and the overall win but most of all her Olympic title in the pouring rain of London where she beat Lizzie Armitstead. And finally delivering that second world title in her own country. Next to winning, Marianne is a very sensible person, an intelligent woman and most of all a fantastic ambassador for the sport of cycling.
Live your dream
A few more hours and 2012 has come to an end. A year in which incredible things happened to me, in which dreams came true that weren’t even dreams in the first place. The year in which I became a cycling commentator for Eurosport and found more work in cycling, something so unfathomable that it was not even on the dreams list. It was way too improbable to even be a dream of mine. And yet here I am.
Write down your dreams, how improbable they seem to be. Do, instead of plan. And have a great 2013!!!