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Cycling review of 2012

24th December 2012, 08:07am

Bradley Wiggins was the Tour de France's first British winner

Bradley Wiggins was the Tour de France's first British winner

A look back at how the cycling year of 2012 unfolded, with both the good and bad of the sport to the fore.

Bradley Wiggins and Team GB provided the fairytales, but there was also devastating controversy as 2012 proved a year that is unlikely to ever be forgotten in cycling.

A tumultuous 12 months has seen the sport taken from the highs of Bradley Wiggins becoming the Tour de France's first British winner and Sir Chris Hoy cementing his legacy as one of the greatest Olympians of all time, to the low of Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France titles.

It is likely to become a watershed year for the sport, with the 'Armstrong era' being effectively erased from the record books and a new age of clean cycling - no better symbolised than by a drugs-free Team Sky's one-two on the podium in Paris - being ushered in.

The ups and downs have also been reflected in the season of Mark Cavendish, who appeared to have the dream year in prospect as he raced for his "home" team in the world champion's rainbow jersey.

However, although he celebrated a fourth successive victory on the Champs-Elysees in Paris in July, the Manxman failed to achieve his two main targets for the season: retaining the Tour de France green jersey and clinching gold in the Olympic men's road race.

But while Cavendish toiled on the road, Britain's track cyclists once again excelled at the London Games.

Hoy was predictably to the fore, taking his tally of gold medals to six with victories in the team sprint and keirin, surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave as Britain's most successful Olympian in the process.

The prodigiously talented Laura Trott was equally impressive as she followed up winning world titles in the team pursuit and omnium in the spring by claiming Olympic gold in the same two events in the London Velodrome.

The men's team pursuit squad, Jason Kenny and Sarah Storey continued the gold rush on the boards, but there was a tearful retirement for the queen of British track cycling, Victoria Pendleton.

While the multiple world champion claimed a second Olympic gold in the keirin, there was heartbreak in the team sprint, when she was disqualified alongside Jess Varnish, and in the individual sprint, when she was edged out into silver by her long-time rival Anna Meares.

MOMENT OF THE YEAR

Bradley Wiggins, in the yellow jersey, leading out Mark Cavendish for victory on the Champs-Elysees before safely crossing the line to become Britain's first winner of the Tour de France.

RIDER OF THE YEAR

Wiggins, 32, rewrote cycling history by becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France with a dominant performance that saw him carry the yellow jersey for no fewer than 14 days, winning two stages along the way.


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