Gilbert won Worlds, J-Rod won Fleche, Vos won everything, Cav left Sky and the Giro was way better than the Tour de France. None of these things were surprising but what was? What were the greatest surprises of the year to you?
Perhaps Ryder Hesjedal is the most surprising GT winner in recent history? As solid he has been in the hillier races these last seasons did anyone really think of him seriously as a Giro winner? Perhaps Vaughters, who most certainly will claim so after the fact, but I sincerely doubt that is 100% honest. Yet, Hesjedal won a Giro that wasn't the total insanity we've seen under Zomegnan but still very challenging and he did it in impressive style. An entire nation of Canadians were set alight in a blaze of mild enjoyment. Who saw that coming?
Matteo Rabbottini's comeback from the dead to take the win in the Giro stage to Lecco was another shock. Surviving from the early break he was chased down and passed in the final km of the climb by a Joaquin Rodriguez doing what he does best. Yet he still somehow managed to latch on and squeeze past J-Rod in the last curve. Fans and commentators were in shock (if a little cynical about possible gifts) and it was probably the most surprising and exhilarating finish of a race this year.
On the list of negative surprises we might add the complete invisibility of the merged mega-team Radioshack-Nissan-Trek. They were just hammered by misfortune in every part of the season. Cancellara crashed and missed most of "his" races, recovered at the Tour but then went back into disaster mode in London and ended the season early. The Schlecks completely schlecked their seasons with bad form, injury, schlecking and doping-trouble. Fuglsang went from injury to the icebox, Horner had a strong spring and then went AWOL. etc. etc. . In the end we were all wondering what the hell went wrong?
More nominations? Please add yours in the comments below.