Team of the year: Who were the best riders of 2020?

Primož Roglič on stage 5 of the Vuelta a España 2020 

Arguably the best Grand Tour rider in the peloton at the moment, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) went extremely close at the Tour de France before it all fell apart on La Planche des Belles Filles during the penultimate stage time trial.

Bouncing back to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège and his second Vuelta a España title saw him top the UCI rankings and win the Vélo d’Or 2020. An amazing climber with a very good kick, Roglič is more than a brilliant time triallist who can climb a bit.

Anna van der Breggen

Anna van der Breggen at the 2020 Giro Rosa (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Along with her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) shone again in 2020 as she took the Giro Rosa title as well as both world titles.

Van der Breggen was performing superbly well after putting in a commanding performances to win the Dutch National Championships road race and Flèche Wallonne for the sixth time, and took her opportunities after Van Vleuten suffered injury at the Giro

She also managed to pip Lizzie Deignan to the overall win in the UCI Women’s WorldTour individual standings.

Tadej Pogačar fighting to the summit of the Col de la Loze (Photo by BENOIT TESSIER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

This may cause some arguments around the table or comment sections, but Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has consistently put in some amazing climbing performances, mainly in the Tour de France where he took advantage of the dominant Jumbo-Visma train.

The young Slovenian took some outstanding wins including a summit finish victory on the Grand Colombier, along with taking the Tour overall, king of the mountains jersey and best young rider’s jersey.

Pogačar also came third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he may have done better if not for an irregular sprint by world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten at the Giro Rosa 2020 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

No-one would argue with Annemiek van Vleuten being called the best climber of the 2020 season. She has shown that she is head and shoulders above the rest, taking seven wins over the season on very varied terrain.

Her most dominant performances came in Italy at Strade Bianche where she set the third fastest time in the last 25km of the race with only Wout van Aert and Brent Bookwalter going faster in the men’s race.

The Giro Rosa was her next superb ride where she smashed the rest of the peloton by taking stage two victroy by over a minute on Van der Breggen.

Her truly incredible victory at the European Championships is also worthy of a mention, as she managed to win while clearly not on top form.

Arnaud Démare wins stage seven of the 2020 Giro d’Italia (Luca Bettini/AFP via Getty Images)

Taking the most wins out of any pro rider this season, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) put in a truly incredible year with 14 wins, mainly in Italy.

Four of those victories came at the Giro d’Italia, where he absolutely dominated the sprints and took the points jersey ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

While he was left out of the Tour de France squad, Démare has shown he was faster than Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) with two stage wins at the Tour de Wallonie, as well as the overall title there.

Lorena Wiebes

Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) wins the 6th Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta 2020, Stage 1 (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno /Getty Images)

While Lorena Wiebes has had a fairly limited race schedule this season, the Team Sunweb star has shown that she is still the top sprinter in the women’s peloton.

Taking four wins across the very shortened season, with wins at the Three Days of De Panne and the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta being the biggest wins.

She also put in a very solid Classics campaign, taking several top results including an 11th place at Gent-Wevelgem and 22nd at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Cobbled Classics

Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel wins the Tour of Flanders 2020 (Dirk Waem/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

A true superstar, the Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) showed how strong he was in the cobbled races, namely the BinckBank Tour, where he won the overall title, as well as taking his first Tour of Flanders.

He did miss out on some wins due to tactical mistakes, missing out on a win at Brabantse Pijl after leaving his sprint too late to pass Julian Alaphilippe, while he was too busy marking Van Aert at Gent-Wevelgem to compete in the final push for the line.

He also showed his incredible versatility when he took a brilliant stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico from the breakaway.

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak

Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak wins the Tour of Flanders 2020 (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Consistency is key with Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Boels-Dolmans). She has been there or thereabouts in almost every race she has been on the start list for.

Usually the main domestique, she has takes her own chances too including when she put in a late attack to take the Tour of Flanders by just over a minute over the chasing group led in by her team mate, Amy Pieters.

She also teamed up with Van Vleuten to put in a tactical masterclass for the Netherlands at the European Championships.

Marc Hirschi wins the 2020 Fleche Wallonne (Photo : STIEHL / SUNADA)

A phenomenal breakthrough season, Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) has shown himself to be one of the most talented and exciting riders in the peloton at the moment.

He first came to most people’s attention on stage two of the Tour de France where he came second to Alaphilippe. He then went on to get pipped again by Pogačar and Roglič in the Pyrenees before putting in an epic 25km solo ride to finally take his Tour stage win.

He then made a big impact in the Ardennes, taking a maiden Flèche Wallonne title and then eventually second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after Alaphilippe’s disqualification. He went on to take an impressive bronze in the World Championships road race.

Elisa Longo-Borghini

Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) wins stage eight of the 2020 Giro Rosa (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

You might say that Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) has been incredibly unlucky this season – she has put in some immense performances, taking a stage and briefly wearing the pink jersey at the Giro Rosa as well as both road and time trial titles in Italy.

But she has missed out on some of the biggest races behind the Dutch mega-duo of Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen. Even at the Ceratizit Challenge she came second behind Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT).

With 10 podiums, not including general classifications, and with just three wins, not including a TTT victory on stage one of the Giro, Longo-Borghini’s performances showed how strong she is on the hardest of terrain.

Time triallists

Filippo Ganna

Filippo Ganna en route to winning the stage 14 time trial at the Giro d’Italia 2020 (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) showed complete and utter dominance on the time trial bike in 2020. At the moment, there is no-one who can come near to the Italia against the clock, taking every single time trial he competed in aside from stage three of the Vuelta a San Juan at the start of the season where he lost the Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

Ganna obliterated his opponents at the Tirreno-Adriatico, World Championships and all three TTs at the Giro d’Italia. He also took his first professional road race win at the Giro and claimed second overall at the aformentioned Vuelta a San Juan.

Marlen Reusser

Marlen Reusser at the World Championships 2020 (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

As we’ve already mentioned the world and European time trial champion Anna van der Breggen, the next choice has the be the second-best time triallist of the season Marlen Reusser.

Reusser spent her second professional season at Équipe Paule Ka, which was a tricky time with the issues around ongoing sponsorship, but that didn’t stop the now Swiss national time trial champ from having an exceptional season.

And while the Swiss title was her only win, she was putting in some solid rides including second place at both the World and European Championships time trials.

Sepp Kuss on stage one of the Vuelta a España (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Sepp Kuss is up there with the best climbers in the pro peloton but has been somewhat held back to support his leader, Primož Roglič at Jumbo-Visma.

This domestique role is one that the American is very happy with though, saying he prefers it at the moment as he doesn’t want the stress of being the leader at a Grand Tour just yet.

He did get his own chance at the Critérium du Dauphiné after Roglič abandoned, taking the final stage comfortably ahead of the main riders fighting for GC.

Ellen van Dijk

Ellen van Dijk leading the bunch during Strade Bianche 2020 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Selfless to the last moment, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) has been there for her leaders at both her team and nation, leading to various podiums and top 10s as well as a win in the team time trial at the Giro Rosa.

Her two best results have to be at Liège-Bastogne-Liège where she took third after helping her teammate Lizzie Deignan to victory as well as her third place at the Worlds TT and second at the European TT.

All-rounders

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert in the 2020 Ghent-Wevelgem (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

One of the best riders on cobbles, in a bunch sprint, punchy hills, mountains and time trials, Wout van Aert has been absolutely incredible in 2020.

Taking the Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, a hill-top finish at the Dauphiné before winning a couple of bunch sprints at the Tour de France while also helping Roglič in the mountains, Van Aert has undoubtedly been an unstoppable force for much of this year.

The Belgian is now launching into his cyclocross season, showing moreover that he is an incredible all-rounder.

Lizzie Deignan

Lizzie Deignan wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2020 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Performing in the cobbled Classics with a few top 10s along with taking the Liège-Bastogne-Liège title and La Course, Lizzie Deignan once again showed how varied her talent is on a bike.

She also put in a fantastic performance at the Giro Rosa taking a second and third in bunch sprints behind the likes of Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) and Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal).

As well as the race wins mentioned she also took GP de Plouay in a two-woman breakaway with fellow Brit Lizzy Banks (Équipe Paule Ka), her experience helping her get the best of her compatriot.

Deignan led the Women’s WorldTour for most of the season before being pipped late on by Van der Breggen to the title.

This content was originally published here.

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