A year in review - what happened on the road in 2016
In a year which has seen Chris Froome take his third Tour scalp in sometimes comedic style, the coming of age of the hopelessly lovable Orica BikeExchange squad, the reinvigoration of the Manx Missile (Mark Cavendish) and the shock-and-awe domination of Peter Sagan, we have also witnessed the continuing corrosion of credibility, the withdrawal of teams under financial pressure, and the retirement of some of our favourite riders.
IAM going to miss them
One team which has ridden into the hearts of the cycling community this season is Swiss World Tour team IAM Cycling. With some of the best kit in the peloton, the four year old Swiss team entered 2016 strong with five wins in the bus before lining up at the Giro. However, on the second rest day, the news broke that the team would be folding at the end of the year, throwing the riders and staff into an uncertain future. After what we can only imagine was a very surreal day of recovery, the team rallied and sprinter Roger Kluge delivered the team's first ever Grand Tour stage victory just two days later. It quickly became apparent that IAM Cycling would not bow out quietly, their departure would be with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal occasion. One thrilling Tour de France stage, two at the Vuelta and a near miss for the overall Eneco Tour title for Oliver Naesen were just a handful of results in what has been the outgoing Swiss team's very best season to date in a true testament to teamwork in adversity.
2016 has been a year disrupted by the biggest sporting spectacle of them all, the Olympic Games, this year held in Rio. The gathering of thousands of athletes and fans in one city every four years initiates a frenzy of excitement worldwide. In road cycling, this meant that the Tour de France in particular was cluttered with commentary on transferability of Olympics training across road and track disciplines. A handful of our favourite sprinters returned to the velodrome in a bid for precious metal, Viviani pipping Cavendish to the post in a fraught Omnium competition.
On the road, both men's and women's races were held over variations of the same tough and treacherous course. After Annemiek Van Vleuten's horrific crash during the women's race, no one deserved the win more than her compatriot, Anna Van der Breggen (NED). In the men's race, it was Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) who overhauled Rafal Majka (POL) and Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) for the win after a blisteringly aggressive race.
The e-Wig-ma, Sir Bradley Wiggins, knighted after becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012 and backed up by a convincing victory in the Olympic time trial, a man who always seems to be falling out with someone, be it his coach, his lieutenant or his best friend. Wiggins will undoubtedly be missed by roadies and track racers alike. If not for his steely-eyed determination, then for his sideburns, his Olympic palmarÃ¨s and what he has done to increase the popularity of cycling in the UK. In the fallout from the Fancy Bears hacking scandal, we've set to fully discern the effects the accusations that have flown around Wiggins will have on his legacy.
Wiggins ended his road career riding the Italian brand Pinarello, whose bikes he has been riding since joining Team Sky in 2010. You too can own a piece of the Tour-winning pie. Check out our range of Pinarello road bikes.
For all his sins, Russian oligarch Oleg Tinkov has given a lot to the sport of cycling, becoming something of a guilty pleasure. If the man himself is in the news, rather than one of his stellar riders, it will without doubt be either shocking or controversial. Regardless of his faults, Tinkov has had a knack of bringing together some of the best riders around and while the atmosphere is clearly not even close to the camaraderie evident at Orica BikeExchange, he manages to instil a race-winning culture. He's like the stereotypical wayward bachelor uncle who turns up at Christmas already drunk. He'll be back.
The professional peloton has many elder statesmen, but none are more respected than Fabian Cancellara. With a staggering 75 professional wins to his name over a career spanning 26 years, he has four rainbow jerseys and two gold medals for the individual time trial, but he is probably best known as a king of the cobbled Classics. He has won three Tours of Flanders and three Paris-Roubaix. Newcomers to the sport may remember him best for his valiant efforts to animate a race and/or to stay in contention, his leadership role in the peloton, his anything-but-graceful fall in his beloved Roubaix velodrome earlier this year, and that heroic ride to finish Stage 3 of the 2015 Tour de France after fracturing two vertebrae in his back. His name is sure to go down in history, as will the bikes he rode. Check out the Trek Domane, perfect for rough terrain including cobbles, in our range.
The 2016 season will be remembered fondly by many for its wealth of storytelling, and looking back happily on an exciting racing calendar makes the anticipation for next season build all the faster. All that's left of this year is to make the most of winter base training and prepare for the new season which will begin in Australia in January.
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