Mark Cavendish at the Women's Tour of Britain

There aren't many times you see professional riders supporting their countrymen and women at a tour, mostly because they're either riding it themselves or off in training for the next one. So, it was a particular highlight to catch an off-duty but still lycra-clad Mark Cavendish cheering on his British compatriots (we assume) at the women's Tour of Britain this year. He certainly wasn't cheering on his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates on the women's side as the team's boss, Patrick Lefevere, answered "we're not a welfare centre" when asked if they were going to launch a women's team. Even better then to see Cavendish supporting the women then.

 Image: Getty Images

 Lizzie Deignan entering the velodrome at Paris-Roubaix

A historic moment will always be a highlight in any cycling year and to see Lizzie Deignan enter the velodrome at Paris-Roubaix by herself, do her victory laps and show the crowd her bloodied hands as she celebrated crossing the finishing line will be hard to beat. 2021 gave us the first ever women's Paris-Roubaix race and Deignan proved herself as a more-than-worthy winner by riding solo to the finish line for 79km, even though it turned out she wasn't even her team's pick for the race. "I just felt the strength of the history of women's cycling behind me," she told Eurosport after the race, "every fan watching is also making history. It proves there is an appetite for women’s cycling and the athletes here can do one of the hardest races in the world."


Pascal Eenkhoorn at the Tour of Britain

Cycling is made up of moments that go by in a flash and the cameras can't get them all. So many slips, crashes and attacks are missed, but one cameraman at the Tour of Britain caught a brilliant moment when the breakaway was rolling through Edinburgh. As a young cycling fan joined the pack from the pavement – dressed in some pretty professional gear himself – Pascal Eenkhoorn of Jumbo-Visma took a moment to pass him his bidon and keep the passion alive for the next generation of riders.


Image: Getty Images

Danny Martínez's bag of tricks

While there may only be one winner at any Tour, Giro or Vuelta, cycling is a team sport through and through. Never was this more clear in 2021 than on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia when a pink jersey-wearing Egan Bernal started to suffer in the final kilometres on the gruelling climb up to Sega di Ala. Danny Martínez was helping pull Bernal to the flamme rouge and, noticing the cracks starting to show, egged his teammate and GC leader on with words and gestures of encouragement. The two teammates – and countrymen – eventually crossed the line together and Bernal stayed in the Maglia Rosa until the very end.

Image: Eurosport

Team spirit at the Vuelta

Over at the Vuelta a España, stage 17 was also a highlight but in a different way. In a stage that featured legendary tests for climbers, including two category one climbs before a punishing hors categorie finish, Bernal and Roglič took off as a breakaway of two for 50-odd kilometres before Roglič dropped the Colombian and sailed the final seven kilometres breezily on his own. However, it's not the epic stage itself that was the highlight, but the moment when Roglič, having crossed the finish line and claimed the Maillot Rojo, was making his way back down to the post-race area. His teammate Sepp Kuss was sprinting up the final incline to take second place on the stage and rather than the usual grimace of pain in such situations, flashed a huge grin at Roglič. A funny moment in a brutal stage.

December 20, 2021