It’s that time! Pick the rider who did the most for your cycling fanhood this year, on the men’s side. Define that however you please. A quick recap of the nominees — in no particular order, mind you.
- Mathieu van der Poel: Won two of the five Monuments, Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, for the first time in his storied career. Captured the Men’s Elite Road Race World Championships, to add to his closet of rainbows. Couple other nice wins. Played dutiful teammate, sometimes in rather extreme ways, to Jasper Philipsen in Alpecin Fenix’s successful capture of the Green Jersey at the Tour de France.
- Tadej Pogačar: For the third straight year the Slovenian was #1 overall in points by Podium Cafe and UCI standards. He too won a pair of Monuments, breaking through in Flanders and bagging a third Lombardia, while taking second at the Tour de France. Had his best ever spring campaign winning Paris-Nice, de Ronde, Fleche Wallonne and Amstel Gold.
- Remco Evenepoel: Second in points but first in the hearts of Belgium? He traded in his road race rainbows for the time trial one, which is more fitting, while bagging another Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory. He won two Giro and three Vuelta stages, the UAE Tour, and the Clasica San Sebastian.
Primož Roglič: Broke through for a second Grand Tour win (to go with his multiple Vueltas) by taking the Giro d’Italia victory. Dominated Tirreno-Adriatico with three jerseys, and won Catalunya and Burgos. Took the Giro dell’Emilia (he likes Italy now I guess), and finished third in the
GiroVuelta (really Chris?!), possibly by team orders, after winning the Angliru stage.
- Jonas Vingegaard: A second, rather emphatic Tour de France victory, orchestrated with a masterful time trial stage win, was his case for being considered the world’s greatest cyclist. Second or third in various points systems. Won the Dauphiné, Basque Country Tour, and O Grand Camiño. Second in the Vuelta with stage wins at the Tourmalet and Bejes.
- Sepp Kuss: Years of faithful and rather impressive service to his illustrious Jumbo teammates, supra, paid off in a big way as the coolest kid from one of America’s coolest towns (Durango, CO) made the leap we kinda maybe thought he had in him? Not sure. But if you want to pick someone who changed the narrative this year, you can’t do much better than a guy whose name is German for “kiss” (presumably the affectionate maneuver, not the 70s metal band). Oh and he finished 19th overall in points after years of numbers reflecting his indentured servitude. But that’s not even the real case for Kuss. The real one is that he won the Vuelta after finishing top 20 at both the Giro and the Tour. Who does that?!?!
- Wout Van Aert: Won E3 and was top four everywhere else on the Cobbles. Then did his usual selfless thing at the Tour, not even going for the green jersey, which seemed so easy... except he knew that he was probably leaving early for the birth of his child. Which then happened! After which he got back on his bike and started winning again. Along with Jonas and Primo, he’s a top three overall scoring dad.
- Jasper Philipsen: Best sprinter, points winner at the Tour de France, and #1 in victories (tied with Superman Lopez whose palmares all happened in the Americas, so...). Jasper’s 19 wins are six more than the next sprinter, Olav Kooij, and the Belgian was operating at the very top of the sport. He is, by all possible metrics, the current world’s fastest human. But that’s not even the real case for Jasper. The real one is that HE WAS SECOND AT PARIS-ROUBAIX!!! And he did this while blocking for van der Poel! After Kuss, nobody changed the conversation about them more dramatically than Philipsen did this year. Not at the top anyway.
OK! I think that exhausts the list of credible candidates (Sorry Arnaud and Degs). Voting time! Polls close in one week.
Who was the 2023 Men’s Cyclist of the Year?
This poll is closed
Mathieu van der Poel
Wout Van Aert