With the road racing season sinking back into hibernation until the new year, Spokenforks is now looking to YOU in order to end the year with the most important competition of all; the 2015 Spokies. During the coming weeks, we shall unveil a series of award categories, which we are opening up to the public, in order to decide who is worthy of a Spokies trophy this year. All of the awards from last year are once again up for grabs, but we would like to hear from you for suggestions of new awards, as well as contenders who you think we have not represented upon our various shortlists.
In order to share your ideas for 2015’s Spokies as the categories are announced, get in touch directly here in the comments section below, or simply tweet @Spokenforks with the hashtag #Spokies.
In the meantime, we shall start with one of the first categories upon any awards list at the end of 2015; which was the best grand tour this year? Beginning with the opening salvos of the Giro d’Italia which crowned a new winner almost everyday, to Chris Froome’s chokehold in France and onto the dramatic battle beneath the Spanish sun at the Vuelta a España acting as the final bookend to the year. If you are struggling to pick a winner, remember to click on the ‘highlights’ button beneath the nominee and refresh your memory before casting a vote.
Our second confirmed category of 2015’s Spokies is one of the most controversial likely to appear on this year’s list. A topic fiercely debated by all fans of cycling, a topic which instigates debate and divides many who dare to bring it into question. Simply put, which is the best team kit of 2015? The Notts County homage of MTN-Qhubeka perhaps? Or the eccentric print and brown shorts combination of AG2R La Mondiale? We have picked out our favourite four kits who we saw battling it out at some of this year’s biggest races, but if you do not agree with our choices, get in touch by leaving a comment below, or via twitter @Spokenforks using #Spokies, and we will add your champion to the nominations.
Award number three of 2015’s Spokies is a distilled concoction of the year’s most aggressive, fractious, and unpredictable of competitions; the one day race. Though associated predominately with the spring classics, these contests are scattered throughout the year and offer the broadest array of riders an opportunity to place their name into history. From the remote dusty white gravel roads which form Strade Bianche, to the utter cacophony which enveloped 2015’s World Championships in Richmond; these occasions provoke the most instinctive and ferocious racing of the season. Riders are all too aware how a moment’s hesitation at this level can leave them with a lifetime to rue their mistakes. So which of our selected one day races crowned its victor with the greatest glory in 2015?
From those with a burgeoning gift for the cobbled classics of Northern Europe, to the lithe limbed climbers who make the steepest of gradients appear effortless; plenty of fans will want their say as to the contenders for Hot Prospect 2016. The likes of Louis Meintjes, Julian Alaphilippe and Alexis Gougeard enjoyed a 2015 season which demonstrated their talent on some of the calendar’s biggest stages. Securing between them a Vuelta a España stage win, Tour de l’Eurométropole overall, a Liége-Bastogne-Liége runner-up and a top ten grand tour finish.
For others on the list, 2016 looks set to be the season which we see years of potential translate into big name victories. Belgium is eager to fill the void soon to be left by Tom Boonen, so a fifth place finish for Tiesj Benoot at Ronde van Vlaanderen this year has firmly stoked the public’s fires beneath him for 2016. Caleb Ewan’s turn of speed in a bunch kick has been no secret for a while now and 2015 saw him increase the calibre of his wins by taking Stage 5 at La Vuelta, while also picking up a raft of victories from Tour de Korea, Le Tour de Langkawi and many more from around the World.
Miguel Ángel López caught the eye when finishing fourth on the Rettenbachgletscher at Tour du Suisse, Tao Geoghegan Hart completed his much anticipated move to Sky after great showings in America, Mike Teunissen came close to turning his 2014 Paris-Tours Espoirs title into an elite win when making the top ten on his debut, Pierre Latour is developing an aptitude for lumpy week long races and Yves Lampaert totted up a series of performances to ignite yet further excitement from his Belgian fans after taking seventh in Paris-Roubaix.
Think we have overlooked the next big thing for 2016? Get in touch below, via @Spokenforks on twitter or by using #Spokies and we will add your champion to the public vote.